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Newspaper of the Year

Vatican sacks 400 priests over sex scandals

Boko Haram: Bloodbath at Nigeria-Cameroon border 50 insurgents, 2 soldiers killed –DHQ

–Page 5

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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.08, No. 2733




JANUARY 19, 2014


PDP: No consensus on Tukur’s successor Search team may recommend two names to NEC

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Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir square after a new constitution was approved yesterday in the capital Cairo. The new constitution was approved by 98.1 percent, the elections chief said, in what the government declared a popular endorsement of the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Photo: AFP

I’ll back Oshiomhole for president –Fashola –Page 5

APGA NEC confirms Obi leader, BOT chair Backs Umeh –Page 6

Ex- Plateau Gov. Botmang dies at 76 –Page 6




A gunner indeed!

Nun gives birth to baby


NUN has given birth to a baby boy and claims she was 'unaware' she was pregnant. The 31-year-old woman was rushed to hospital in the central Italian city of Rieti after complaining of stomach pains. After initially thinking the pains were just stomach cramps, It was realised at the hospital she was actually in labour. The woman, who is originally from El Salvador, named her child Francesco (Francis) after the current Pope. Mayor of Rieti, Simone Petrangeli, asked the public and media to respect the woman's privacy after the news caused huge public attention. Rieti is a small city of 47,700 people and the woman was taken to hospital by ambulance on Wednesday morning. A few hours later, she had given birth to a boy.

As on the football field so on the battle ground. This young Balaka combatants –aptly wearing the jersey of English Premier League side –Arsenal FC –nicknamed The Gunners –stands guard in a street in the Cattin district of Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) yesterday. Fighting has broken out again in the troubled country. Photo: AFP

Rivers crisis: Jonathan forgets he is president



ENATOR Magnus Abe (Rivers South-East), chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), was last Sunday reportedly shot by policemen purporting to disperse a rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement in Port Harcourt. The rally itself was yet to begin. In a classic understatement, the police described shooting the organisers of the rally with rubber bullets as using minimum force. There are not many democracies in the world in which a serving senator could be so casually shot and for about a week nothing has happened other than mere investigations. But Nigeria is not an ordinary democracy. Here, perhaps because of constant public buffeting of National Assembly members, legislators have become accustomed to underestimating their own strengths and influence, while Nigerians do not feel obligated to defending their representatives. But what is even more significant is that President Goodluck Jonathan has not felt it fit to empathise with the victims, show his displeasure, denounce the brutal law enforcement methods used by the police, and order immediate probe. He obviously sees the matter from the partisan perspective. Senator Abe is known to support Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who in recent months has become both a thorn in the president's flesh and his most animated nemesis. Indeed, for the president and his wife, the continuing crisis in Rivers is a very sentimental thing.

They have no incentives to be rational about it. Nearly one week after the unfortunate incident, in which some people including children were injured as trigger-happy and increasingly uncontrollable policemen went berserk in Port Harcourt, the president has not said a word. President Jonathan does not often act presidential, even though he is constantly presented with opportunities to act as one. But in the Senator Abe shooting, he had a sterling opportunity to act presidential for once. But as he is wont, he failed to grab the chance. In his view, and in the estimation of his many hawkish aides, Governor Rotimi has become unnecessarily strident in his opposition to the president, and the governor's vituperations and excesses needed degrading countermeasures. The police have defended their scandalous methods. The Commissioner of Police in the state, the nefarious stooge Mbu Joseph Mbu, in an attempt to deflect or evade questions on the reckless shooting, cynically painted a gory pic-

ture of the damage live bullets could cause, without acknowledging his men used rubber bullets. Then he added incredulously that the rally organisers did not secure police permit, defiantly ignoring court judgements that reiterated the unconstitutionality of seeking police permits for rallies. More crucially, neither the police nor federal law officers have been struck by the scandal of using brutal force against a rally that was even yet to begin. Obviously conscious of federal backing for their methods in the past one year and more, the police under Mr Mbu have continued to overreach themselves. Senator Abe's shooting was, therefore, inevitable. When the Senate resumes, and notwithstanding their stultifying conservatism and indulgent support for the executive, Nigerians should expect some fireworks. They may be timid and devoid of ideology, but they know, as the rest of us, that if they let this indignity pass without having the head of Mr Mbu and perhaps a few other heads on a platter, they would become a byword among the people, shoved and slapped on the street by every miscreant masquerading as a law enforcement officer.


Akpabio's quizzical abnegation


HANKS to the advertisement he published in many newspapers last week, many Nigerians got to know of Akwa Ibom State's Governor Godswill Akpabio's disinterestedness in running for the presidency next year. Most people missed the original story in which he was alleged to have indicated interest. Given the fulsomeness of the denial, perhaps the target of the advertisement, that is, the president himself, will believe him. President Jonathan had better believe the governor, if Mr Akpabio is not to cut

off his right arm in a desperate bid to offer what should pass as an irrevocable proof. But Mr Akpabio's frantic abjuration of the presidency indicates something much more invidious than merely telling us the truth about his intentions. It shows very poignantly the terrible pass Nigerian politics has come to, one in which few men of character are left, whether of governors who lack the courage to aspire, or of presidents like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Jonathan who thrive on sycophancy and in humiliating and dominating their opponents.

Tukur's undignified exit

FTER many months of dithering and pussyfooting, both President Jonathan and Bamanga Tukur have finally consented to the resignation of the latter as chairman of the ruling PDP. Sadly for the two gentlemen, neither of them benefits from a transaction that deprives both of them any honour. The manner of Alhaji Tukur's resignation and its delay show the banality of his intransigence and the ignoble and mindless opportunism of President Jonathan's politics. If he had left when the opposition against him rose to fever pitch, and if the president had not erroneously felt his re-election fortunes depended on the political survival of the party chairman, they would have prevented the mass gubernatorial and legislative defections the party witnessed recently. Per-

haps, too, they could have avoided the intense acrimony the party is currently experiencing, acrimony that now seems quite impossible to mollify. It is a striking paradox that the intraparty bitterness and confusion the president struggled to avoid by lending his unthinking support to Alhaji Tukur have instead been exacerbated exactly by that support. Alhaji Tukur has belatedly resigned. It will be of no effect, for it is too little, too late. If anything, it will leave the president even more vulnerable in his party. By the time Alhaji Tukur resigned, the problem in the party had festered to the point that whether he resigned or stood pat, both options were sure to have the same deleterious effect.




Transitions and transformation


HEN the freshly minted President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan announced that his regime would be marked by a transformative agenda, not many compatriots believed him. Nigerians have heard too much of such promises in the past only for them to turn out a damp squib. Let them just get on with the job and forget the stirring heroics, cynical Nigerians would be heard grunting. From Shagari’s Ethical Revolution to Yar’Adua’s Servant Leadership, our people seem to have heard enough. So it is then that a prophet is not without honour, except in his own land. But it is also in the nature of prophecies to manifest in curious and unexpected ways. Last week as the shouting match in River State finally descended into a full scale shooting war, and as illustrious scalps tumbled from the Wadata Plaza and the military redoubt, the real transition and transformation finally unfolded before our eyes. It is not about the political and economic society. It is the transition and transformation of Goodluck Jonathan from a meek and diffident political apprentice to a full blown civilian caudillo. The interesting thing about a fascist terror machine is that it acts with impersonal rigour recognising neither its original owners nor its temporary custodians When in a moment of vengeful hubris you hand over such a torture instrument to a man weighed down by the ancestral memory of persecution and torture, a man whose cultural conditioning has not accustomed him to an automatic obeisance and deference to hierarchy and a feudal pecking order, you must be ready to reap the whirlwind. Jonathan may well be the nemesis of the old Nigerian power coalition, just as Abacha turned out its military nemesis. In human affairs, political advantages are not designed to last forever. Somebody is bound to lose concentration at a critical point and make a stupid mistake. The Nigerian post-colonial state and its hegemonic power brokers have had it coming for a long time. Good luck normally intervened. Now, the real Goodluck has intervened, and it is about time, too. Even political insanity has its statute of limitation. You cannot spend decades preparing for madness. Madness does not condone permanent deferral. As readers will attest, this column is not given to hurling invectives and personal insults. When we focus on particular individuals, it is to highlight their importance in and to the impersonal process of history. For many, Jonathan may appear as an errant personality and historic misfit, but sometimes individual actors are often helpless and hapless agents of the remorseless and relentless turns of history. In order to understand just what is going on, we must return to the nature of colonial and post-colonial transition in Nigeria and the kind of anti-developmental state and nation we have been saddled with by both our colonial and post-colonial overlords. A state and nation do not exist in vacuum. They are products of a specific political and cultural milieu and a determinate historical process. Last week, we noted in this column how the military transition programmes often mirror the colonial transition itself in their emphasis on continuity rather than radical change, and their obsession with personnel replacement rather than a fundamental re-engineering of the structure of the state and the nation itself. It is therefore appropriate to look at the nature of the military



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu


rule that Nigeria has had and their fixation with the status quo rather than the radical agency which would have rapidly transformed Nigeria’s political and economic fortunes. We need to understand the nature and character of the millennial incubus we are dealing with. It will then be possible to situate the Jonathan presidency within the lineage of civilian despotism. General Obasanjo who has been directly involved in two of the transition programmes both as a beneficiary and benefactor is a central figure in the historical tragedy. Two of the military regimes did not even bother about transition programmes. In the case of General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, he was completely consumed with tempering and negotiating the radical momentum the military uprising of January 15 1966 had unleashed. The fallout would eventually consume him. General Mohammadu Buhari could not care a hoot. His natural disdain for Nigerian politicians coupled with the violent mood of the country against politics and the political class at the end of the Shagari regime made the climate very hostile.


MAN afflicted with leprosy is often uncomfortable when it comes to the counting of fingers. While we are still on the slow-motion unravelling of the biggest party in Africa, it is meet to report on the gangland political elimination of its former party chairman, Bamanga Tukur. It has been a week of high octane drama in the PDP (Hereafter referred to as the People Decapitation Party) It was an elaborate game of bluff and counter bluff in which rumours and planted stories alternated with resignations and denials of resignation. Unlike its more famous French precursor, the PDP guillotine is not a mercy killer at all. It is a crude and blunt instrument of political decapitation, the ultimate tribute to African political savagery. It will be recalled that Idi Amin Dada of Uganda once stocked the freshly decapitated scalps of his political opponents in a deep freezer in his sitting room. Every morning, the deranged Nubian cyclops would walk up to the freezer to hurl insults at the departed. For him, death was not enough. There ought to be something more terminal.

After initially agreeing to a broad based transition to civilian rule programme, General Gowon suddenly changed his mind in 1974 on the grounds that the political class had not learnt their lesson. We may never know the intelligence available to the temperate and mildmannered general who had done extremely well in healing the hideous wounds of the civil war. But with Chief Awolowo on the prowl and the Ikenne titan acting with the majesty and assurance of a king in waiting, the odds were too unpredictable. Gowon himself would famously admit that he had rebuffed all entreaties to put Awo away. Even after the civil war, the fear of Awo was the beginning of wisdom. The following year, Gowon was swept out of office by his colleagues. Despite all the chicanery and grand deception of the Babangida Transition Programme and the frantic war-gaming on behalf of the status quo, the dominant military faction bared its fangs as soon as it was confronted with the unpredictable outcome of the end election. They panicked and summarily annulled the election as soon as it became

clear that MKO Abiola and the coalition of unaccustomed and irregular fellows were coasting to victory in a momentous landslide. For his temerity, Abiola would perish in captivity. In the case of General Abacha, the obsession with the military, political and national status quo assumed a venomous dimension. After forcing himself on the nation even against the wishes of majority of the armed forces, Abacha came to the conclusion that only he could succeed himself. His self-succession project had developed an unstoppable momentum when it became obvious to the protocol of power that the cost of acquiescing in his murderous siege on the nation might prove prohibitive. A sultan’s scalp was already in the blood-dripping kitty among many other illustrious apparitions, and the goggled one was beginning to eye the hilltop castle in Minna for the definitive endgame. An outstanding military terrorist, Abacha had bludgeoned the nation’s traditional power centres into submission and was on his way to becoming the country first truly maximum ruler when death intervened. The two transition programmes involving General Obasanjo are classic examples of how to politically railroad a whole nation into compliance using the military tactics of camouflage and deception. The hapless and clueless Nigerian political class allowed themselves to be led into a well-laid political ambush before being electorally slaughtered. Only the deeply cunning can call to the deeply cunning. As it was in 1979, so was it the case in 1999. General Abdulsalaam Abubakar, who as a colonel commanded the hand over parade by Obasanjo in 1979, appeared to have mastered the ropes very well. As usual, the obsession of the military hierarchs was with continuity and the preservation of the status quo. The political class served as ancillary and accessory to a well-oiled plot which caught them completely flatfooted. Like its NPN forebear, the PDP

Tukur is not the endgame It is so sad to watch an accomplished administrator and distinguished industrial magnate like Bamanga Tukur reduced to a whimpering nonentity while begging for a job that had long disappeared. As the old octogenarian minus one year ran from pillar to post begging for a stay of execution, the hounds appeared to have sniffed blood. It was all reminiscent of watching morbid hyenas carving up their victim alive. They were not even going to allow the old man a decent lying in state. For sheer drama, the end would have made Al Capone and the old Chicago Mafiosi look like callow apprentices. A poker-faced Jonathan pulled out Tukur’s resignation letter indicating that the Fulani aristocrat has consented to execution. From the way the old man winced and grimaced, his face contorted in pains like a badly mauled boxer, it was all clear that we were witnessing the equivalent of a low tech political lynching. When the selfsame Jonathan announced that he was giving Tukur a higher and bigger assign-

ment, one could almost hear the old man cursing under his breath in Fulfude. It would appear that in the twilight of an illustrious public career, the Fulani Brahmin made a grave political miscalculation. No matter his stout defence of Jonathan and his presidency, the man from Otueke would sacrifice just about anybody when his all-consuming presidential ambition is threatened. At almost eighty, age is no longer on Bamanga Tukur’s side. Having lost face with the larger party for what is considered his autocratic testiness, and having become a pariah among the northern power cohorts for his support for the unsupportable, a comeback into political reckoning is hard to envisage. So long then, Papa Bamanga. But let it be noted that Bamanga Tukur is not the endgame. There will be more games before the end. And there will be more chilling political executions of big games. The head hunter is surely about and abroad. The guillotine is not a grass cutter.

was designed as a broad based national party teeming with men and women of calibre and timber who could deliver the bloc votes while guaranteeing continuity and the status quo even as they indemnify the departing military against loss of face and humiliation. An ideological blueprint for the rapid development and transformation of the country was a less urgent and pressing need in the face of antagonistic and anti-military forces of change. As usual with “non-ideological” posturing, it is based on a masked ideology of a conservative stirring of the most virulently reactionary kind.. In 1979, Obasanjo famously boasted that the best candidate do not always win elections. Twenty years later, the same man after wondering aloud about how many times Nigeria wanted to make a president of him willingly yielded to a draft “ambush” by noting that generals do not walk away from an ambush. They romp through it. Unknown to the kingmakers, the king had already been chosen somewhere else. With the benefit of cruel hindsight, it is now very painful watching the AD chieftains hopping from one party to the other when their fate had already been sealed. Their participation in the Abubakar transition programmes served to confer legitimacy on a chicanery concocted somewhere else. But it could have been worse. The 1999 cliff hanger was more dire than 1979, the military having exhausted its political and historic possibility as an agent of change. If one takes a long term perspective or what the French call la longue duree on this matter, it may be possible to see some good in evil and some merits in the PDP, given the balance of power at that particular point. It was a holding device put in place to work out the contradictions of military rule as the army beat a disorderly retreat back to the barracks. It did brilliantly well in that. Only men of Obasanjo’s nerve and verve, T. Y Danjuma’s steely and strategic brilliance and Aliyu Gusau’s arm twisting spooky genius could have achieved that feat of demilitarization without provoking a monumental backlash. But eventually, a monstrosity can only beget another monstrosity. In a cruel paradox, the same road that leads to demilitarization also leads to a democratic gridlock. A holding device is just that. It is not designed to move the country forward economically and politically. We can now see the trail and the obsession with “safe” status quo that led to the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan. The PDP military-inspired hoax has lasted fifteen years. The Jonathan presidency is its defining end product. Being politically and ideologically bereft, the PDP can neither transform itself not to talk of transforming the nation. As it is at the moment, the party is a rudderless hulk that is about to transit Nigeria into another major disaster. The Titanic is approaching its titanic iceberg. Unfortunately having overdrawn their political and professional IOUs, the old Junker generals and masters of the Wehrmacht are no longer in a position to sort things out. Unless care is taken, it is going to be an apocalyptic meltdown and a nightmare for the Black race.




No consensus yet on Tukur's successor


HERE are no signs yet from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) about a consensus replacement for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who resigned as national chairman on Thursday. But it is expected that a successor will emerge tomorrow. This has sparked an intense horse-trading within the party's hierarchy. The search team saddled with the responsibility of recommending two names to the PDP National Executive Committee which is reconvening tomorrow is said to be particularly under immense pressure to deliver. Party leaders broke into caucuses last night for consultations on the next chairman of the party. But of note was the opposition swelling up against Senator Idris Umar, Minister of Transport and the supposed preference of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. Sources said that some political interests in his native Gombe State were not disposed to lending him their support. The fate of the 16 candidates jostling for the seat will be determined largely by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, and the Presidential Strategy Team led by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. The aspirants are exGovernor Adamu Mu'azu; ex-Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri; the Chairman of TETFUND, Musa Babayo; a former National Chairman of Grassroots Democratic Movement, Gambo Lawan; ex-Minister of Commerce, Idris Waziri; the incumbent Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar; Senator Abubakar Mahdi; Sena-

* PDP breaks into caucus meetings for consultations * Search team to recommend two candidates to NEC * Opposition mounts against First Lady's favoured aspirant tor Abba Aji; a former National Chairman of NDP, Habu Fari; a former member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Wakil. Others are a former Minister of Defence, Shettima Mustapha; a former Ambassador to the US, Dr. Hassan Adamu; a former National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Prof. Rufai Alkali; Ibrahim Bunu; a former Local Government Chairman in Yobe State, Hassan Kafayus; and a former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong. Some of the aspirants have already appeared before the Dickson Strategy Team for what a

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

source described as "interactive purpose." Sources spoke of intense lobbying of the team to allow the BornoYobe axis to produce the next PDP National Chairman. But it was learnt that some stakeholders from Bauchi and Gombe, including the governors of the two states, are not keen on the slot for their states. A source in the Strategy Team added that consultations were still in progress last night. The source said:


confided in party leaders that: 'I will not allow anyone dictate to me or the party this time around, I will make sure we look for a credible hand. This is why the search is challenging." Another said there has been much sympathy for the Borno-Yobe axis. The source said that attention has shifted to aspirants from Borno and Yobe states- Adamu Maina Waziri, Shettima Mustapha, Abba Aji, Gambo Lawan and Mohammed Wakil, Ibrahim Bunu, and Hassan Kafayus. But of these aspirants, only four are said to stand any good

•Mrs. Maryam M. Sanusi, Assist. Director/Head (Communications and Public Relations Unit), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, receiving FERMA Excellence award for staff from Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Dr. Abubakar Koro Mohammed at the award presentation ceremony, at the weekend.

Harmattan hampers voters turn out in Jigawa Local Govt election

H E local government election in Jigawa State was conducted peacefully yesterday even though voter turnout was low. The harmattan was blamed for the situation. Polling unit accreditation and voting commenced on schedule in most polling units, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). The exercise started 30 minutes behind schedule in polling units in Angwan Gabas, Walawa,

"PDP leaders have decided to break into caucuses for consultations to make recommendations. I think Sunday will be a decisive day for the party. We may know the direction we are going on Tukur's successor. "From the look of things, we may end up coming up with two nominees. At the end of the day, the President, the BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, the PDP governors and the Strategy Team will determine who should lead the party and table convincing arguments before the NEC. "The President has

Fada and Eid, in Kazaure town. The situation was the same in Galama, Sarkin Bai, and Kofar Fada, in Gumel Local Government. An election official at one of the units in Auyo attributed the development to the harmattan season, which he said kept people indoors during morning hours. He also said that some of the voters could have gone to the farm and might be coming to vote later in the day.

In Kayawa Local Government, however, the exercise commenced on schedule with impressive turnout of voters. Uni t s vi si t ed in Kiyawa were Zanga, Zakire-Gaba, Sabongarin Kanti and Zakire Yamma, among others. Security was tight and voting materials were available. Business activities also continued uninterrupted as some people did not abide by the directive of the Police Command, restricting movement from 7a.m to 3p.m.

chance of getting the slot. Three of themAdamu Maina Waziri, Shettima Mustapha and Abba Aji have already appeared before the Strategy Team. The fourth aspirant, Gambo Lawan is yet to interact with the Team. The source said: "But there are issues with some of these aspirants before the team. While some are claiming that Shettima Mustapha is old, a few others have revisited the role of Abba Aji on the ill-health of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua in not transmitting a letter to the National Assembly which led to the succession crisis. "As for Adamu Maina Waziri, they said he was the only PDP stalwart from BornoYobe axis whose houses in Potiskum and Kaduna were attacked and vandalized in 2011 during the post-election violence. "But some leaders are uncomfortable with Waziri being close to exPresident Olusegun Obasanjo. Waziri's loyalists however said by being close to Obasanjo, he may be a bridgebuilder and be in a better position to reconcile various tendencies in the party." Gambo Lawan is rated as a good party administrator but some forces recall the role he played as chairman of one of the five parties in the Abacha years A l t h o u g h Mohammed Wakil is being backed by some members of the Strategy Team, it was discovered on Friday that he is under 50 years. Wakil, whose name is said to be on the ministerial nominees list could make Jonathan's new cabinet. Stakeholders from Adamawa State have fears that with the exit of Tukur, they might not have a say in the NWC again.

India must condemn attacks on Africans, says Nigerian envoy


IGERIA's ambassador to India, Mr. Ndubuisi Amaku, has told his host government to openly show its disapproval of maltreatment of Africans in the country. He expects it to start by condemning Wednesday's behaviour of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti who led a midnight vigilance raid against some Africans staying in India, accusing them of being part of a "drug and sex ring." "With the Goa incident (in which a Nigerian was

murdered) recently, followed by this in the capital, I feel the time has come for the Indian government to condemn these incidents and also act again s t t h e perpetrators so that Africans living in this country feel reassured. They are feeling very insecure after such incidents," Amaku told IANS in an interview. The Wednesday incident played out in front of TV cameras, with Bharti berating the police for not raiding some Africans staying in south Delhi's Khirki Extension,

whom he described as "Nigerians and Ugandans." "How can someone say that black people are criminals?" Amaku asked. Four Ugandan women who were targeted in the raid have, meanwhile, complained to the police that they were physically harassed, threatened and racially abused by unidentified members of the raiding party. The four, who share a rented flat, say they have been threatened many times earlier to leave their lodgings.




Oshiomhole will have my vote for presidency, says Fashola


OVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State can bank on the support of his Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, should he decide to have a shot at the presidency in 2015. The support stems from what Fashola described as Oshomhole's infrastructural transformation of Edo State. Speaking yesterday at the 2014 Edo Youth summit in Benin City, the Lagos State governor said the state in which he had his university

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

education and served the nation as a youth corps members has never had it so good. He said:"I spent five memorable years in Edo State and I can tell the difference now. From Airport road to Ring Road, Akpakpava and several roads I used to know have been transformed. He is the kind of leader we need in this country. If Oshiomhole wants to contest for

presidency, I will give my vote to him." Fashola asked Edo youths to believe in the 'Nigeria Dream' the same way Americans believe in the American dream. Governor Fashola recalled how he left a N600 job in Benin City for a N1050 job in Lagos State, saying his success story was made possible by the country. He told the youths to define their individual dreams according to their choice but reminded them

that "there will never be an end to problems." Fashola who queried Nigeria's centenary celebration by the federal government said he was confused about whether Nigeria is 54 or 100 years. Another speaker, Mr. Festus Keyamo, asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to apologise to Nigerians for foisting a weak leadership in President Jonathan on the country instead of writing letters to the President.

Keyamo said it was time the youths should take up leadership positions in the state and in the country and advised Governor Oshiomhole to begin to find a successor that can deliver on campaign promises as against a successor he (Oshiomhole) will control. Former President of Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele, warned youths against choosing leaders based on ethnic sentiments. "Improve on your capabilities. If you feel the

country has given up on you, don't give up hope on yourself. This country is a paradise," he said. Motivational speaker, Toyosi Akerele, said the country needs to start leadership and mentoring programmes to look for next generation of leaders. Akerele advised the youths to develop skills and vocational education and called for revolution or vocational centres as well as demand accountability from elected leaders.

Okorocha to Ihedioha: Join APC now and save your job


•L-R: Chairman Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC), Mr. Felix Chukwu; Corp Marshal/CEO, Osita Chidoka; Associate Administrator Research Programme Development National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Jeffrey Michael and Deputy Corps Marshall(Operations FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi at the transportation research board conference in Washington DC, United States of America.

50 Boko Haram members, two soldiers killed


HE Islamic sect, Boko Haram has lost the strategic Banki town and its bridge in Borno State to Nigerian troops at what sources described as a great cost to its members. No fewer than 50 insurgents were killed in a 72 hour battle with soldiers deployed to seize the border town between Nigeria and Cameroun. Two soldiers were killed and four others wounded in the operation. Sources said Boko Haram had been using the link bridge to invade Borno State from Cameroun at will. A military source described the bridge as

•Banki Bridge seized from terrorists

vital to "our counterattacks against the insurgents." "I think their plan was to blow up the bridge but we were able to abort this. We are also in total control of Banki town. Many troops have been deployed in the area while air raid of the cells and bases of the cell continues," the source said. "The insurgents suffered many casualties; we were able to kill about 50 of them. The Boko Haram will not admit but

the military is firmly in control. "We have pursued the insurgents back to their new bases along the Camerounian borders." When contacted, the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade said the troop lost two soldiers while four others were wounded. He said: "The fighting took place in Banki to repel the insurgents. The troops have secured the territory but we have placed the entire border town under heavy air and ground surveillance."

There was no independent confirmation of the claim. In the last one month, the troops and the insurgents have been locked in a series of clashes in Bama, Lake Chad and Banki areas. The Defence Headquarters put the casualty figures on the side of the sect at about 113 as at December 30. The figures included about 50 Boko Haram insurgents and 15 soldiers that were killed in a predawn attack of Mohammed Kuru Barracks in Bama.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lafia that the deaths were recorded in 85 crashes in the state within the period. Udoma described 74 of the accidents as serious and 11 minor and that in all the incidents, 2,461 injuries of various degrees were recorded.

He attributed the accidents to reckless driving and asked motorists to respect traffic rules and the rights of other road users. "Driving is a noble profession and as such, people should go to the driving school and learn how to drive," he advised.

Udoma urged the Nasarawa State Government to establish driving schools where government drivers and other individuals would be trained. According to him, the measure will reduce the number of accidents on highways.

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

230 killed in Nasarawa road crashes in 12 months


O fewer than 230 lives were lost in road accidents in Nasarawa State between January 2013 and January 2014, according to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). The Sector Commander of the FRSC in the state, Francis Udoma, told the

OVERNOR Rochas Okorocha of Imo State yesterday advised the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to enable him retain his position in the House. The governor who was addressing Southeast leaders of the APC at the Ahajioku Convention Centre in Owerri, the state capital, said that the party would assume leadership of the House of Representatives once it resumes from recess this week. Ihedioha is from Imo State. The governor said: “I have advised my brother, the deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, to move and join the APC to retain his position for the Ndigbo. I don’t care who occupies the position so long as he is an Igbo man. I have said and will continue to say that APC is the best option for Ndigbo and we must embrace it.” Okorocha also said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

State, Ibrahim Babangida, and other past leaders of the country are in full support of the APC. He said that they are all impressed by the performance of the APC and are watching political development in the country. Okorocha also slammed political leaders from Anambra State, accusing them of sabotaging the efforts of Ndigbo in producing the country’s president. He said: “Anambra is the major problem of Ndigbo. At every election, some leaders from Anambra will go behind the zone and collect money and contracts from the federal government and sell out Ndigbo for their selfish ends. But we must resist them now.”In APC Ndigbo must produce either the vice president or the president or the other way round in 2015 but we must be united to achieve this. We must work together as a crop of new leaders to move Ndigbo forward unlike what happened in the past when Igbo leaders were not united.”

PDP denies suspending commissioners, advisers in Enugu


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Udi Local Government of Enugu State has denied the suspension of some top government officials of the state government. In a statement issued in Enugu, it said that on no occasion “did our Local Government Executive Committee meet to take any decision to suspend the mentioned party members as provided for in Articles 57 (3) and 59 (2).” The Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Mr. Amaechi Okolo, the State Commissioners for Youth and Sports, and Commerce and Industry, Mr.

From Chris Oji, Enugu Chijioke Agu and Dr. Jude Akubuilo, respectively, Special Adviser to the governor, Mr. Sunny Agu, and his counter-part in-charge of Industrial Parks, Mr. O. A. U Onyema, were purported to have been suspended by the Chairman of the party in Udi Local Government Area, Mr. Uche Ogbodo. But in the statement signed by 16 Local Government Executive Committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Udi Local Government Area, it described the purported suspension as unconstitutional, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.




Stop harassing Sanusi, Kwankwaso warns Presidency G OVERNOR Rabi’u Kwankwaso of Kano

State yesterday told the presidency to desist forthwith from harassing and embarrassing the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, over the alleged NNPC’s missing $10.8 billion. Mallam Sanusi is a Kano prince. The Kano governor said Sanusi does not deserve the embarrassment he is being subjected to by the federal authorities following the posers he raised over the


From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

$10 billion made for the country by the NNPC. Kwankwaso, at an interactive session with journalists in Kano yesterday, vowed that his administration would never forsake Sanusi or deny him the protection he requires. “The villa should understand that the CBN governor is not only the son of Kano but also an important pillar and a major contributor to the survival of Nigeria’s economy.”

He said the CBN governor has always stood by the truth in the performance of his duties, hence the numerous achievements in the banking sector during his tenure. He added: “I hope they realise that the CBN governor is not an ordinary citizen and I hope that they also take note of that. And also let me say that we are very proud of him. He is somebody who is upright, somebody who is willing to say it as it is, anywhere and at any time and not minding whose ox is

gored. “Let me tell them that we have seen nothing wrong. Anyone who advises leaders should check these figures, so as to confirm whether these figures are correct. Such people that make such statements should not be treated as enemies but should rather be embraced as friends. Let me assure the CBN governor that we are very proud of him and will continue to give him all the support and protection, where necessary.’’

Ezekwezili asks Okonjo-Iweala, NNPC Account for ‘missing $10b’

ORMER Minister of Solid Mineral Resources in the Obasanjo Administration, Mrs. Oby Ezekwezili has become an unlikely participant in the raging controversy over the alleged missing $10 billion in the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Ezekwezili took to the popular social media, Twitter, asking the Minister of Finance / Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC to detail, for the benefit of all Nigerians, what happened to the money. The ‘missing’ money has in the last few weeks led to serious arguments and exchange of words among public officials since it blew open. The Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido

•Demands ‘breakdown’ of expenditure

Sanusi had in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan alluded to the money. Last week, the NNPC had in a statement said no money was missing and explained how it was spent. However, Ezekwezili on the social media said, “Hello, NNPC! Here is ONE Citizen that DEMANDS ACCURATE ACCOUNTING for the “missing” $10 billion. What happened to it? What?” And followed it with: “If as a Citizen, U are as VEXED as I am at the way the issue of “missing $10Billion has been handled tweet @ me.” The tweets were quick in coming and she responded appropriately. In one instance she said: “Madam Minister @NOIweala can we please v your signed off BREAK

DOWN of D “missing $10Billion” that NNPC must ACCOUNT FOR? She also said: “It would help raise confidence in d Administration if you! @NOIweala took up the ACCOUNTING 4 the “missing $$10 Billion”. It would help raise confidence in d Administration if you! @NOIweala took up the ACCOUNTING 4 the “missing $$10 Billion”. Since you @NOIweala will be presenting #Budget2014 BREAK DOWN on the 22nd. Also provide BREAK DOWN OF “missing $10Billion NNPC &Min of Petroleum have no FISCAL MANAGEMENT mandate. They MUST end OFF-TREASURY spending of PUBLIC FUNDS. We Insist!

She also challenged the National Assembly to give a breakdown of the ‘hefty’ N150billion public funds it receives yearly, saying: “A NASS that has REFUSED to give Citizens a BREAK DOWN of its HEFTY 150 Billion Naira yearly allocation sets a BAD EXAMPLE!” She did not spare the generality of Nigerians and the media for not raising enough hell over the ‘missing’ money. “When Citizens & Media act UNPERTURBED by the “murky” accounting for the “missing $10Billion, the rest of the world hiss!” she said. Mrs. Ezekwezili wondered whether the NNPC knows “that some African countries SWEAT to raise $5Million to stay afloat? And here, $10Billion is waved off?”

APGA NEC passes confidence vote in Umeh


HE embattled national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, yesterday got thumbs up from the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) for a job well done. The party’s NEC passed a vote of confidence in him and the APGA national Secretary Alhaji Sani Shinkafi and gave them awards for distinguished leadership. Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State was confirmed as the party’s national leader and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) in succession to the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. He too got a distinguished leadership award from the party’s NEC which met yesterday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, four days after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja voided Umeh’s claim to the leadership of the party. Instead, the court declared

•Confirms Peter Obi as National Leader •Warns judiciary against ‘destabilising’ democracy Chief Maxi Okwu as the rightful chairman. Okwu was absent at yesterday’s meeting as was Dr. Tim Menakaya, whose reelection as a member of the Board of Trustees was stood down on account of his support for Okwu. The APGA NEC threatened to sue Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State for defecting to the APC after winning the 2011 election on the platform of APGA. The motion for the confidence vote in Umeh was moved by Mr Sampson Olalere, the Oyo State Chairman of the party, and seconded by John Sokari of Bayelsa State. It was unanimously

adopted. A committee was set up to review the constitution of the party and list of members approved by NEC. Also ratified at the meeting was the appointment of 30 members of the party’s BOT. On the board are 24 men and 6 women. Among them are: a former Commissioner for Women Affairs in Imo State, Mrs. Ann Dozie; Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Jnr, Chief Martin Agbaso, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, Dubem Obaze, Chief Okey Ezeibe, Nasiru Abubakar, Alhaji Yusuf Mohammed, Ambassador Chris Giwa, Ambassador Odi Nwosu, Boniface Alu, Dr Mike Adams, Shola Oyedele, Dom Akpan, Ziggy Azika, Wale Dunkene, state chairman of

Nassarawa and Bashru Garuba. Umeh said at the meeting that the national leadership of APGA had already filed an appeal against Wednesday’s judgement. He wondered why the Federal High Court assumed jurisdiction on the matter when the Court of Appeal had earlier adjudicated on the issue in dispute. Governor Obi pledged that under his leadership of the party, APGA would be rebuilt as a national party and positioned to win more states particularly in the Southeast. The NEC rejected the Federal High Court judgement and warned that the judiciary should exercise restraint and avoid truncating the current democratic dispensation in the country.

fore passing on in his home town of Zawan in Jos South Local Government Area of the state. He was acting governor from November 13, 2006 to April 27 following the impeachment of Mr. Dariye by six members of the State House of

Assembly. The impeachment was declared invalid by the Supreme Court which also ordered Dariye’s reinstatement. Former commissioner of information in the state, Mr. Sylvanus Namang, confirmed the death. He said Botmang

died early yesterday. Governor Jonah Jang has paid tributes to the deceased, saying he served humanity to the best of his ability. Jang also lauded Botmang’s contribution to democracy in the country and his passion for a better Plateau State.

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha

Former Plateau Deputy Governor, Botmang dies at 76


ONE-TIME deputy governor of Plateau State, Mr. Michael Botmang, has died. He was aged 76. Mr. Botmang who was two term deputy to Mr. Joshua Dariye between 1999 and 2007 had been ill for sometime be-



Jonathan, Tambuwal, Suswam condole with Mark over sister's death

How water supports economy, by environmentalists By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja



RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, House of Representatives' Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State were among eminent Nigerians at the Otukpo country home of Senate President David Mark for the burial of his younger sister, Mrs. Mary Adakole (nee Mark). Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Paul Mumeh, in a statement in Abuja, said Jonathan at the requiem Mass at sympathised with Mark and Adakole's families over the untimely death of their sister and wife who died in an Abuja hospital after child birth. The president, who was represented by Ministers of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade; Water Resources' Sarah Ochekpe and Interior Minister Abba Moro, urged the bereaved to take solace in the fact that the late Mary lived an exemplary life and died as a child of God. He renewed his pledge to give the health sector priority to save more Nigerians. Jonathan urged health professionals to brace up to the challenges of modern health care services in the country. Tambuwal enjoined the bereaved to see the passing away of their sister as an act beyond humans, saying that only God knows when a man should be born and die. On his part, Suswam expressed sadness over the untimely death of Mary, whom he described as a very prom-

NAFDAC raises the alarm over fake syndicates


HE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) at the weekend raised the alarm over a fake recruitment syndicate in the agency. It said it had not commissioned any agency for such purposes. The Chairman, NAFDAC Governing Council, Prof. John Ibu, told journalists in Abuja that the agency follows due process in its recruitment exercise. He said NAFDAC does not collect any form of money or payment for recruitment into its workforce. According to him: "Our attention has been drawn to the illegal and fraudulent activities of scammers extorting money from unsuspecting victims in the guise of recruiting them into NAFDAC. "These criminal elements have put up an advertorial message online claiming that they were recruiting for the Agency. "The message read thus: NAFDAC Recruitment from 2014/2015 is put. Call Topix on 0092348024065604. e r i a / TPP26T0946QVFMAMK.


•R-L, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Dr. Abubakar Koro Mohammed; MD/CEO, FERMA, Engr. Gabriel Amuch; Chairman, Senator Ayogu Eze, Mrs. Maryam M. Sanusi, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Bukar Goni Aji, (1st Left); FERMA Board Chairman, Engineer Ezekiel Adeniji, (2nd Left)and some recipients of FERMA Excellence and Commendation Award at the award presentation ceremony... recently


ELECOMMUNICATIONS operators have declared that the high spate of criticisms against them do not augur well for the industry. The operators, under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTCOM), said the continuous bad publicity for the sector was portraying the industry in a bad light. Chairman of the association, Gbenga Adebayo, accused the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) of emphasising the few lapses of the operators. The NCC, he said, should be aware that the criticised telecoms companies are con-

Telecoms operators accuse NCC of undue criticism By Bukola Afolabi

tributing immensely to the growth of the economy and should not be consistently blamed for the nagging problems in the industry. He said that continually portraying the operators in a bad light will discourage further investment in the sector. "It is unfortunate that our telecoms sector, which is cur-

rently driving the growth of the economy, is being perceived in a bad light because of quality of service issues," Adebayo lamented. He added: "The sector is currently contributing more to the GDP than even the banking industry. Despite these achievements, the industry is still being perceived badly. "This trend is not good for us as it makes investors to shy

away from this market because of the continuous negative criticisms." The NCC last week expressed readiness to announce new sanctions for network operators that fail to meet the expected quality of service. Its Executive Director, Dr Eugene Juwah, said the commission is currently collating data for analysis on the companies that will be sanctioned.

date and charge him to continue to exploit all legitimate and realistic ways to sell his candidature. "We resolve to jointly and individually work hard to achieve a successful election of Adesina as the President of NBA come July 2014." The chairmen described a parallel meeting of Egbe Amofin, holding in Ibadan, as "unfortunate". "We consider this state of affairs as unfortunate. We believe the outcome of the Ibadan meeting today will convince the Chief Bamidele Aiku's group that majority drives democracy and that there is the need to allow equity, fairness and justice to prevail in this matter. "We resolve that the obvi-

ous destabilisation effort of some of the members using the respected Chief Aiku should not be allowed to succeed. It must continue to be resisted." He added:"We resolve to extend our hand of fellowship to all and sundry with a view to unify the forum under the principle of equity, fairness and justice which are essential elements of democracy and rule of law." The interim executive said the Aiku-led leadership was "sacked" last year after the allegedly failed to attend the association's duly adjourned meeting despite being invited by the chairmen. "The interim executive committee was put in place after the Aiku team was sacked," Ayodele said.

of creation than man's fundamental laws of human rights founded not on the sanctity of human life but on the profanity of human sexual proclivities." On international outcries that have greeted the law, Uka said: "The church urges the president not to get bothered by the pressure from

Britain, the European Union and America who violate God's law with impunity. "They should be warned that if they do not obey God's fundamental laws on human sanctity and procreation, what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah will surely happen to them."

lands across the nation in place to assist farmers in difficult terrains. The director said that ATA is geared towards moving agriculture from a development project to a profitable business venture with a view to providing youth employment, create wealth for farmers and

be a major driver in rural development. He explained that the project is designed along value chains of crops in which Nigerians has competitive advantage, stressing that its success and other agricultural enterprises depend largely on the level of farm mechanisation.

NBA presidency: Why we adopted Adesina, by Southwest chairmen


IFTEEN branch chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday explained why they adopted the association's former General Secretary, Deacon Dele Adesina (SAN), as their presidential candidate. They said an agreement was reached in 2008 that Adesina should run when it is the Southwest's turn again after he stepped down for the former NBA President Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN). The chairmen, under the Central Working Committee of the Egbe Amofin, met in Lagos yesterday. At the meeting were members of the steering committee said to have been appointed on December 7 last year.

By Joseph Jibueze

Ten chairmen were present. Egbe Amofin's interim chairman Mr. Adebayo Ayodele, who addressed newsmen after the Lagos meeting, insisted that 17 out of the 23 branches that make up the Southwest bar were in support of Adesina's candidacy. He said: "We had directed Adesina in 2008 to step down for Chief Olarotimi Akeredolu (SAN). That meeting was chaired by Mr. Bamidele Aiku. "If in 2008, Adesina obeyed us, why must we not keep to our words since he listened to us the last time? "We re-affirm our support for the aspiration of Mr. Adesina, the endorsed candi-

Same-sex law: Presbyterian Prelate praises Jonathan


HE Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Prof Emele Uka, has stated that President Goodluck Jonathan showed courage by signing into bill prohibiting same sex marriage into law. Speaking with The Nation

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar

in Calabar yesterday, he said: "We congratulate the President for his courage and firmness in signing bill into law." This action by Jonathan, he said, falls in line with the hue and cries of concerned Nigerians who "prefer to uphold God's fundamental laws

'FG registered 10 million farmers in 2013'


BOUT 10 million farmers registered under the Growth Enhancement Scheme of the Agricultural T r a n s f o r m a t i o n Agenda(ATA) in 2013, according to the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Talabi Odeyemi. Speaking at the regional mechanisation stakeholders'

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

sensitisation workshop in Kaduna, Odeyemi said the government intends to continue with the registration of commercial farmers in 2013. He also disclosed that the government is putting a bushclearing intervention with about 6000 hectare of farm-

XCEPT the management of water resources is adequately addressed, all projections on poverty reduction and sustainable development will remain a mirage, environmentalists have declared. They spoke at the 12th Chief Shafi Edu memorial lecture organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation in Lagos at the weekend. Renowned climatology, Professor Olukayode Oladipo, who was the guest lecturer in his paper titled "climate resilient water resources management for poverty reduction in Nigeria", said that water stress is already high in many parts of the country making improved management critical to ensuring sustainable development. According to him:"Water resources underpin our quality of life and our national economy. The sustainability of Nigeria's economic growth and development will depend on what happens to its water resources. "Water is a key input to economic growth sectors and contributes to employment, job creation and gross domestic product (GDP), but the sector is highly vulnerable to climate change. "Water management can be a catalyst for a pro-poor economic growth, particularly at a local level, where it provides vital inputs into productive activities and creates opportunities for local entrepreneurs in supplying technologies, constructing facilities and providing services." President of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Philip Asiodu, called on the government to implement policies aimed at combating the various environmental challenges in the country.

African apostles meet in Lagos


VER 50 church leaders in Africa will gather in Lagos for the 2014 edition of the Council of African Apostles Impartation conference. The conference, which kicks off at Protea Hotel, Ikeja holds from January 28-February 1. It ends at The Redeemed Evangelical Mission(TREM) international headquarters at Gbagada Lagos with an impartation service. Speakers expected at the conference include Bishop Joe Imakando of Zambia, Dr Mensa Otabil of Ghana and the chairman of African Apostles Bishop Tudor Bismark of Zimbabwe. . The meeting is structured to discuss and rub minds on specific issues affecting the church in Africa. The Presiding Bishop of TREM, Dr. Mike Okonkwo, is the chief host.


Group heads to court to challenge Anambra LG election From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


SSOCIATION of aggrieved councillorship candidates in Awka-South Local Government Area of Anambra State yesterday insisted that election did not hold in their various wards last Saturday. The candidates vowed to engage the services of Ricky Tarfa (SAN), a legal luminary, to challenge the results announced by ANSIEC Chairman, Sylvester Okonkwo. The councillors are Azuka Nwobu of Labour Party, Nnonyelu Ejike of PPN , Nwosu Chika of PDP Awka ward 4, Agumadu Chinedu of PPA, Molokwu Ekene of Accord Party , Okafor Daniel Nonso of PDP ward 6, Ekwenugo Jonas of PDP ward 5, Ndigwe Daddy and Nnamdi Carter, among others. They claimed the election was a rape of democracy in Awka South and urged the Chief Judge of the state not to bother himself setting up local government electoral tribunal since election did not hold in Awka South. The group viewed the government action as an act of political rascality that can never stand. There is total confusion in the ranks of the Coalition of Accredited Election Observers in Nigeria. A group of 29 observers are of the opinion that the local government poll throughout the 21 council areas was fraught with irregularities.

Peoples Club of Nigeria to build Dialysis Centre in Onitsha From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha




HE Peoples Club of Nigeria yesterday said it has concluded plans to hire a Professor of Medicine to be at its headquarters in Onitsha to attend to people at no cost within six months. The medical doctor will be rendering free health services to the indigent persons in the society from 8 am to 4 pm everyday. It also said it has concluded plans to build a world-class Dialysis Centre in the commercial city of Onitsha for the purposes of taking care of the health needs of the people, especially the less-privileged. During the 2013 Annual General Meeting of the club, new executives were also elected to pilot the affairs of the club for the next three years with Chief Joe Ilonze emerging as the new World President of the club. Also speaking, the Chairman of Peoples Club of Nigeria, Galveston, USA branch, Chief Emeka Uzowulu, commended the process that produced Ilonze as the World President of the club, describing this year’s Annual General Meeting, (AGM) as the best of its kind.

APGA, Labour Party clash in Nnewi North repeat election A •ANSIEC forced to cancel election

Army guns down kidnappers in Aba From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba


HE rescheduled local government election by the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) has been cancelled for the second time in a week following violent clashes by the two political parties in the area. The parties are the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Labour Party (LP). As at 9am yesterday, all the electoral materials had reached the venues for the council polls, while security operatives were on ground to forestall any impending dan-

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

ger. The council election was first called off on January 11th, following the non availability of materials and violence that marred the election in Nnewi North. As a result, the Acting Chairman of ANSIEC, Hon. Sylvester Okonkwo, cancelled the election and rescheduled it for yesterday, yet to no avail.

The contest was between Okey Offor of APGA and Lady Ifeoma Ofodeme of Labour Party for the Chairmanship seat of Nnewi North. However, after sharing the materials for the election yesterday, members of the Labour Party began protests, alleging that APGA had already decided on who to declare winner even without the election. As a result, members of the two parties went on ram-

page by scattering election materials and holding the adhoc staff of ANSIEC hostage in the presence of security operatives. Though at Uru ward, Umudim, the situation was a little under control, members of the two parties were not calm but rather threatening fire and brim stone if the election was allowed to hold, which forced ANSIEC to call off the election until further notice.

•Francis Cardinal Arinze, the Prefect Emeritus, Congregation For Divine Worship and The Discipline of The Sacraments (l), with the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, at the 2014 Annual St. Paul lecture series in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

GANG of kidnappers said to have been terrorising Aba residents and its environs have met their waterloo as soldiers from Asa High School gunned down one, injuring another in a gun duel. Sources said the incident occurred along the Enugu- Port Harcourt Expressway near the commercial hub of Abia State. An unconfirmed report has it that the injured person, identified as Evans Anaba, a native of Umuelechi village in Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state, is alleged to be a member of a kidnapping gang that has been terrorising the residents of the commercial city in recent times. The Nation gathered that members of the gang operating in a Passat Wagon car were said to be on their way to collect an undisclosed ransom from family members of a victim in their custody at a location they arranged with his family members before luck ran out on them. According to a source, army personnel from Asa Military Camp have been on the trail of the kidnapping group since they kidnapped the victim, one Pastor Uchenna Bekee. The source said that the group was trapped along the Enugu Expressway by army personnel who had already laid ambush for them after a tip off. Their victim, Pastor Bekee, according to a source, has since rejoined his family, while other members of the gang that abducted him were still being tracked by the security personnel.

Ihejirika’s removal to strengthen military - Orji


BIA State governor, Theodore Orji, has described General Azubike Ihejirika, as a great soldier who represented Abia State to his best, stressing that his removal as the Chief of Army Staff was a normal thing in the military formation and that it is part of the re-engineering in the military by President Goodluck Jonathan. “General Ihejirika was appointed by Mr President and the same man that appointed him has the right to also remove him, therefore it is a normal process that will help to strengthen the military,”

Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

Orji said. The governor added, “He was not removed for incompetence as he was a fine officer and a gentle man who performed his duties as COS creditably well and his removal was the prerogative of the President. We are nearing election year so that President needs to re-engineer the polity.” On the resignation of the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, few days ago, the Abia State

governor said it was voluntary and in the best interest of the party to ensure internal democracy as well as strengthen it. He made these statements while speaking with newsmen in Umuahia when he returned from Abuja after the caucus meeting of the PDP. According to him, the mature move by the former national chairman will help to reengineer the party and also give credibility to democracy of the country. “It is rare in this part of the world to see public office holders resign in order that the in-

Orji donates N14m for repairs of burnt BIA State governor, the students and assured him Chief Theodore Orji, university hostel of their support.


has given out the sum of N14 million cash to the Abia State University, Uturu, to help cushion the effect of last week’s fire that affected female hostel C block of the institution. The governor said that out of the N14 million, N10m will be used for the repair of the hostel that was destroyed by fire, while N4 million is to be shared by more than 100 students whose property were consumed by the fire incident. Speaking during his visit to the institution to see the extent of damage, the governor said he was duty bound as a father to alleviate the plight of the students having provided them with security and thanked God that no life was lost during the ugly incident. The governor said he has ensured that the institution is

Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

not starved of funds and has tried to secure accreditation from the National University Council in all courses, stressing that the monthly subvention of the university has been increased since he came into office. The Vice Chancellor, Prof Chibuzor Ogbuagu, while conducting the governor round the affected female hostel, had appreciated the governor for always coming to the aid of the institution and urged him not to relent in his aid to the school when the need arises despite the monthly subvention. In a vote of thanks, the president, Students Union Government of the university expressed gratitude to the governor for coming to the aid of

It could be recalled that last week a female hostel of the Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) was gutted by fire which also destroyed the property of the final year students, including their final year projects and laptops. The fire, which an eye witness said started at about 8pm on Wednesday night gutted two wings of Adanma Okpara Hostel, popularly known as [HOSTEL C] and the adjoining shops and kiosks. Though no deaths were recorded, a good number of students received minor burns as they made spirited efforts to retrieve the belongings of their fellow students from the inferno, while others sustained several degrees of injuries while trying to escape from the fire.

stitution they represent will succeed and it is a great gesture and a sacrifice for the benefit of all,” Orji said of Tukur’s action. The governor used the forum to assure that the governors and lawmakers who left the party will soon come back to the party, adding that other political parties should emulate what Tukur did as his own sacrifice to move the party forward. He denied any gang up against President Goodluck Jonathan to deter him from con-

tinuing his good work for Nigerians and urged Abians to remain steadfast in giving their support to the PDP, “As it is determined to change the lives of the citizenry at all times.” Orji added that no amount of gang up against both the PDP and Mr President will stop him and the party from succeeding and making the country great and for the benefit of the people, stressing that the problem in the PDP will make it better.



Edo masquerade shooting: Police nab suspects From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


HE Edo Police Command has confirmed the arrest of nine persons over Wednesday festival fracas in Igarra in which two youths of the community were shot. The state police commissioner, Mr. Folusho Adebanjo, who confirmed the incident, disclosed that the police had arrested nine persons allegedly involved in the shooting. He said that the suspects would be transferred to the state command. The CP further confirmed that the victims of the gun shots were responding to treatment. An eye-witness account said that some youths alleged to be loyal to the Otaru of Igarra, Emmanuel Adachie Saiki II, allegedly ambushed some youths and shot Majebir Oseni and Sule Kassim, while trying to enforce the alleged ban of the Ekuochi masquerade festival. Investigation by The Nation revealed that Kassim and Oseni are receiving treatment at different private hospitals in Igarra, the administrative headquarters of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State. The monarch is, however, laying the blame on the door steps of the police, who he accused of dereliction of duty. “I believe the incident could have been avoided but the police did not manage the situation well. If the police had responded promptly and did their job well, the crisis would not have happened.”

Oshiomhole orders mobile court to prosecute environment offenders From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


OVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says the Mobile Court on Environmental Offenders in the state will be more active in prosecuting offenders of the state laws on the environment. He gave the indication yesterday during his inspection of ongoing projects in the state. He said it was nauseating to see some residents turn the drainages being constructed into drains for human waste. According to him, “It is wrong seeing people turning the drainage to septic tank where human excreta are deposited and it is government’s investment that is being destroyed. “The Mobile Court will try and persecute all those involved and anyone found guilty will be sentenced to jail,” he said. On the extent of the work done at the Upper Lawani Road, Oshiomhole said: “I am sure the residents living in this area will like what is going on and will never forget this particular intervention. “In the past, people have deserted their homes in this area. You remember the guy who said he parked his car in one of the compounds for three years, and the other who put his family home for sale because of the bad nature of the road occasioned by the PDP government,”he stressed.

INEC reads riot act to staff


HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned its staff to live above board or be made to face the wrath of the law. Resident Electoral Commissioner of Cross River State, Mr. Mike Igini, gave the charge on the heels of a case filed by Akonjom Nsed Ayip against the INEC and Igini challenging his dismissal from service. INEC through its Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee had administratively determined the matter in Abuja. The outcome of the findings was the subsequent dismissal of Mr. Akonjom on August 20th, 2013.

From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar Igini said that prior to the decision to dismiss Mr. Akonjom, the latter had been enmeshed in all manner of controversies which earned him several queries as well as suspension from duty as communicated by the Commission to him in a letter dated 17th May, 2013.”The disciplinary actions were borne out of acts that could undermine the integrity of the commission with respect to his duties in the 2011 elections and on grounds of his dealings with external bodies in a private capacity. Actions, which no doubt, undermined the integrity and public trust

on the Commission. “The actions of the commission were also based on the fact that Mr. Akonjom held a very sensitive position as Head of the ICT Unit which is key to the Voter Register,” Igini said. Akonjom, who has gone to the National Industrial Court in Calabar, is seeking, among other things, that the Court should declare his dismissal as null and void; reinstate him; order the Commission to promote him to the rank which he would have been but for the dismissal; as well as order the payment of all his salaries, allowances or emoluments which he would have been en-

titled to but for the dismissal. While reiterating INEC’s commitment to discipline, Igini said the current INEC administration, under the leadership of Prof. Attahiru Jega, has continued to advise staff against unruly behaviour capable of bringing the Commission into disrepute. “At all times and as we approach the 2015 elections, the commission will continue to admonish and send parking all those found taking compromising positions that could undermine the thrust of the commission’s duty to implement the electoral roles fully, fairly and impartially in order to sustain our democracy.”

• Ekiti State All Progressive Congress(APC) chieftain, Makinde Araoye, presenting rich and cash gift to beneficiaries recently in… Ilawe

Edo APC to begin membership registration


HE last April 20th local government elections in Edo State has proved to be a game changer of sorts, as the Peoples Democratic Party candidate who won the councillorship election in Ward 4 Estako Central Local Government and Ward 10 Estako West Local Government, Mr. Peter Akhugie, along with his supporters have since dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Justifying his exit from the PDP, Akhugie said: “I decided to dump the PDP for the APC due to my conscience because I want the best for my people and not

•Receives 400 PDP members From Osagie Otabor, Benin

deceit. PDP leaders are using us to make money for themselves rather than for the people, but we have said enough is enough. We want to join Oshiomhole to make our state and council better for our people.” Governor Adams Oshiomhole who was full of joy receiving the defectors promised the people of Ogbonna that his administration would continue to extend development to every nook and cranny of the state irrespective of the political divide.

The governor said politics is about development and not about sharing rice and sugar during elections. He said: “I have come not only to welcome Peter into our fold, this local government is now 10/10, exactly the same way it is 18/ 18 in Edo State after my election. And that to recognise that our strength is not in empty rhetoric, making promises that we will not keep, I have come to assure the people of Ogbona that we have done one borehole before, we will do another one. The weapon we have

against the PDP is our developmental efforts and they have no answer to it. Each time they plan at night but in the day time God will destroy their plots. “When you were not with us, we did a borehole and now that you are with us, we will do more. We will continue to build and rehabilitate more schools because education is the foundation for our tomorrow. We will make our schools the most beautiful and attractive. In the past, only the children of the rich attended beautiful schools,” Oshiomhole stressed.

PDP ranks deplete in Edo From Osagie Otabor, Benin


HE last April 20th local government elections in Edo State has proved to be a game changer of sorts, as the Peoples Democratic Party candidate who won the councillorship election in Ward 4 Estako Central Local Government and Ward 10 Estako West Local Government, Mr. Peter Akhugie, along with his supporters have since dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Justifying his exit from the PDP, Akhugie said: “I decided to dump the PDP for the APC due to my conscience because I want the best for my people and not deceit. PDP leaders are using us to make money for themselves rather than for the people, but we have said enough is enough. We want to join Oshiomhole to make our state and council better for our people.” Governor Adams Oshiomhole who was full of joy receiving the defectors promised the people of Ogbonna that his administration would continue to extend development to every nook and cranny of the state irrespective of the political divide. The governor said politics is about development and not about sharing rice and sugar during elections. He said: “I have come not only to welcome Peter into our fold, this local government is now 10/10, exactly the same way it is 18/18 in Edo State after my election. And that to recognise that our strength is not in empty rhetoric, making promises that we will not keep, I have come to assure the people of Ogbona that we have done one borehole before, we will do another one. The weapon we have against the PDP is our developmental efforts and they have no answer to it. Each time they plan at night but in the day time God will destroy their plots.”

Court orders arrest of Anambra 'monarch'


Magistrate Court in Abagana Anambra state presided by Mrs. M. A. Mbakwe, has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Prince Chukwudinigbo Agwuna for failing to appear to defend himself in a suit against him by HRH Igwe Ralph Ekpeh Eze Enugwu Ukwu na Igwe Umunri. It also granted the application by the council for Igwe Ralph Ekpeh that the defendant should be arrested to explain why he should not appear to defend himself in the case. The case was adjourned to 14th February 2014 for hearing. Agwuna has allegedly been parading himself as the Igwe of Enugwu despite the selection of Ekpeh by the people and recognition by the Anambra state over three years ago.

Group lists criteria for Delta guber candidate


POLITICAL pressure group, Anioma Congress has listed seven criteria which any candidate of Anioma extraction seeking to become Delta State governor in 2015 must possess. The Nation gathered that candidates aspiring to be governor are expected to

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

write the congress, intimating it of their intentions within 30 days. Specifically, the prospective candidates are expected to tender their age, educational background, experience in governance, acceptability, record of community empowerment/service

achievements in previous offices and performance before the selection committee. Also, traditional rulers from the Delta North area have been mandated to scrutinise the aspirants within a timeframe of one month. The Asagba of Asaba, Prof Chike Edozien, who presided over the meeting, said the secretariat of

Anioma Congress and traditional ruler will meet to pick those that would make the selection committee. Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, representing Delta North Senatorial District, noted the Anioma people “must realise that we have a goal that must be accomplished with the support and understanding of all.”


• Agwuna


10 Oyo Police arrest robbery gang From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo


EN of the Oyo/ Ogbomoso annexe of the Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS) have arrested members of a robbery gang that recently attacked a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Waliu Alagbo. Alagbo, who is the House Committee Chairman on Works, represents Atiba constituency. The four-man robbery gang gained entrance into the lawmaker’s residence located at Oke-Olola/Sasaenia area in Atiba local government area around 7pm when an under-aged girl was sent to buy sachet water opposite the house. Though the lawmaker was not at home, everyone around, including his wives, was severely beaten up while an undisclosed amount of money, jewelleries and mobile phones were carted away. The robbers reportedly met two members of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) walking along the street after leaving the residence. One of them was hit with gun butt on the forehead while the other was said to have fled to safety. Nemesis, however, caught up with the robbers when two of them were sighted in the town by the injured OPC member, who lured them to Agunpopo area and alerted SARS operatives. The operatives were said to have rounded them off as they settled down to eat in a restaurant. Alagbon confirmed the arrest of the robbers but the Officer-in-charge of the SARS, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sola Aremu, was not available for comment.

Ondo APC elders’ forum backs Akeredolu’s committee From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE Elders Forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State at the weekend expressed support for the new Interim Executive Committee led by Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu(SAN). Rising from its meeting held in Akure, the state capital, the forum said its members will focus on the progress of the party. A statement signed by the Interim Secretary, Dr K.S Shaba; the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Prince Fioye Bajowa; Chief S.A Ropitan and Mr. Bayo Olafusi, hailed the efforts of APC national interim executive in building the party across all geo-political zones. It described the development as”epical feat unparalleled in the analysis of political history of the country.” The forum also lauded the Southwest zonal office headed by Otunba Niyi Adebayo for swiftly inaugurating the interim executive committees of the party in all states in the region. The step, it said, has put the party on a sound footing. It urged all members and supporters of APC to align with the committee to lift the party to greater heights in Ondo State.

More than 50% vehicles not road T worthy, says FRSC HE Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has disclosed that not less than 50 percent of vehicles in the country are not road worthy. The commission also alleged that high-calibre individuals have been frustrating its operations. The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of FRSC, Osita Chidoka, disclosed these during the inauguration of the Lagos State House of Assembly Unit of Special Marshals at the weekend. Chidoka, who was represented by Assistant Corps Marshal, Victor Nwokolo, noted that the induction of the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and all other members of the House as Special Marshals

• Inaugurates Lagos Speaker, legislators as special marshals By Oziegbe Okoeki

would assist in road safety campaign. He said: “The Lagos State House of Assembly Unit among others is tasked to ensure cordial legislation on Road Safety Matters in the state to improve Regulatory and Enforcement capacity of FRSC. “This will ensure adequate protection of all the cadres of Road users and in-

still discipline as road traffic violators are conmensurately punished.” He explained that the non-uniformed arm of FRSC was created alongside the uniformed one on 18th February 1988, which was amended by decree 35 of 1992. It was later re-enacted as FRSC (Establishment Act) 2007. The Special Marshals, he said, are “volunteer men and women of proven integrity

with legitimate sources of livelihood in the society and people who have the interest of serving their fatherland.” The Lagos Sector Commander, Chidi Ebere, told the teeming audience that highly-placed Nigerians are frustrating efforts to make the roads safe. He said: “Whenever any of our officers try to enforce regulation especially if it had to be “those high calibres, they just wind down the glasses and muttered ‘what is your problem.” Ikuforiji promised that the Lagos Assembly Unit of Special Marshals will strive to be the best by embarking on training, workshops and enlightenment campaigns.

•L-R: National President Nigeria Association of the Deaf, Alhaji Suleman S. Dagbo, Representative of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Mrs. Salau-Bashua Khafeelat, Representative of Senator Ashafa, Mr Laide Adesanya, Director Special Service Governor's Office Lagos, Olusesi Titilayo, President Deaf Supporters Group (DSG) Mr Afolabi Dahunsi, Mr Lekan Adebowale and the National Coordinator (DSG) Mr Okikiade Adeyemi, during the End of Year Party/Get Together Party of Deaf Supporter Group in Lagos at the weekend. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN


RITICS of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s public financing should humbly learn from the dynamic of governance transforming the state, Commissioner for Finance, Wale Bolorunduro, has stated. He described the opposition figures and critics accusing Aregbesola of allegedly borrowing N300billion from banks as ill-informed. Bolorunduro, who featured on the maiden edition of this year’s Guest Forum of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) at the union’s Mokola Ibadan Secretariat,

‘Osun critics are ill-informed’ From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

spoke on: Improving Public Finance for better governance: The example of Osun.” Wondering why opposition politicians failed to appreciate the great feats recorded by the current administration, the commissioner said that there is no Nigerian bank that could afford to lend N300billion. “I think what they (opposition) didn’t know is the dynamics of public financing which our governor is inject-

ing into the system,’’ he began explaining that instead of going to the banks, “we went to the capital market and register a programme and before you know it, we have raised enough money needed for the development of our state.” While acknowledging greater feats in infrastructure, education and other sectors, Bolorunduro said the administration has succeeded in creating 45,000 jobs through the Youths Empowerment Programme (YEP)

and employed 5,000 teachers for primary and secondary schools. He added: “Governance is seriously facing a lot of challenges on daily basis. This is due to rising public expectations in terms of various macro objective “For us in Osun, our strategic public finance framework leverages on focused and purposeful leadership, a leader who sees more than others, farther than others and who sees before others do.”

tally wounded while the vehicle was recovered from them.” Items recovered from the gang, the police chief said, include an A-K 47 rifle, one double barrel locally- made pistol, one barrel locally- made cut-to-size shot-gun, 101 rounds of live ammunition, nine rounds of live cartridges, eight assorted mobile phones, one laptop and N17,170.00. He said the suspected robber killed along LagosIbadan expressway was one of the occupants of a Toyota Camry with registration number ST 57 AAA.

Rather than wait when stopped by policemen, Indabawa said the occupants decided to open fire. One of them was hit in the ensuing gun battle while others escaped into the bush, the commissioner added. He explained that the vehicle was immediately recovered while search led to the recovery of two shot guns, 12 rounds of live cartridges, one knife, four assorted handsets and one cutlass. He disclosed that some of the particulars recovered from the car revealed the owner as Omowunmi Abubakar of Yinusa Balogun bus stop Okota palace Lagos.

Police kill four robbers in gun battles


YO State Police command yesterday paraded four armed robbers killed during two seperate gun battles in Ibadan. One of them was killed last Friday near Dominion University along Lagos road while attempting to evade a checkpoint. The Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Indabawa, told newsmen at the Force Headquarters Eleyele yesterday that the other three were also killed during a gun battle with policemen on the same day. He said the robbers had

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

snatched a Honda Accord car with registration number TD 206 AAA belonging to one Engineer Adeniran Ademola after making away with his belongings. Indabawa stated that a popular hunter, Alhaji Kwara Azare, joined the police in search of the car. “When the three occupants (suspected robbers) discovered that they were being trailed, they diverted to Alaaka road where they opened fire on the police patrol team pursuing them. “In the course, the three suspected robbers were fa-

Cleric urges politicians to shun materialism From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


HE Bishop of the Anglican Communion of the Osun North East Diocese, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, has urged political leaders to purge themselves of selfish attachment to materialism for the nation to grow. Speaking at a press conference marking the fifth anniversary of the Diocese at its headquarters in Otan-Aiyegbaju, he said the problems facing the nation are more spiritual than physical. Most of the nation’s leaders, he pointed out, are selfish and given to corruption. The cleric said that the prevailing high corruption would continue to undermine the nation’s development unless those in positions of authorities exercise strong political will to fight it. He noted that the church was not exempted from the epidemic of corruption militating against the efforts of very few genuine leaders to take the nation’s economy out of the woods. Olumakaiye, who listed the diocese’s various achievements in the last five years, to construction of an ultra modern Bishop’s Court and an Amazing Grace Chapel, said the church should always preach undiluted words of God to impact positively on the society. He said any responsible government should refocus to develop the rural communities by making provisions for social amenities that could improve their quality of life and thereby decongest the urban cities. According to the cleric: “The corrupt politicians professing Christianity are not good Christians because they are following their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is the author and finisher of our faith. “They are selfish and are attached to the world. They don’t have the interest of the people they govern at heart.”

Lagos students for training on energy From Adetutu Audu


HE Lagos Power Kids Programme (LAPK), an energy initiative of the Lagos State Government implemented by the Lagos State Electricity Board (LSEB) in collaboration with the EKO Project and Society of Petroleum Engineers, will begin on January 29. The initiative is part of the Lagos State Government’s Energy Development Plan to improve energy efficiency and conservation practice amongst its citizens. A press statement from the office of the General Manager, LSEB Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, said the programme will have about 1,000 students participating. They will be taught energy & electricity, energy conservation & efficiency, dangers of electricity & simple circuit experiment, sources of energy, solar energy as well as oil & gas. The participants will also visit LSEB office, solar farm as well as the recently commissioned Alausa Independent Power Plant (IPP) responsible for sustainable power supply to the Lagos State Government Secretariat Alausa.



Egypt referendum: '98% back new constitution'

Vatican defrocked hundreds of priests for abuse scandals



HE Vatican revealed yesterday that some 400 priests were defrocked during two years of the pontificate of now pope emeritus Benedict XVI for child sex abuse crimes, following an explosion in reported cases. "In 2012 there were around 100, while in 2011 there were around 300. Some were as a result of a disciplinary procedures, others made a request," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP. Scores more were defrocked in the preceding years, after Benedict XVI, the Vatican's former chief doctrine enforcer, was elected in 2005 to replace John Paul II. But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said these disciplinary measures were not enough. "The pope must start defrocking clerics who cover up sex crimes, not just clerics who commit them. Until that happens, little will change," the US-based victim support and campaign group said in a statement. Benedict XVI, who resigned last year and was replaced by Pope Francis, vowed zero tolerance for offending priests and the Vatican has reported receiving thousands of reports of abuse from local dioceses. A Vatican delegation earlier this week was pushed for the first time to provide answers to the United Nations over its commitment to stamp out abuse by priests in front of the UN's child rights committee in Geneva. There are around 400,000 Catholic priests in the world.

18 dead in stampede after India Muslim leader dies


P R E - D A W N stampede killed 18 people yesterday as tens of thousands of people gathered to mourn the death of a Muslim spiritual leader in India's financial capital, police said. At least 40 other people were injured in the stampede when mourners thronged the home of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, the head of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satya Pal Singh said. Burhanuddin died Friday at the age of 102. Thousands of white-clad mourners had thronged the streets of Malabar Hill, an upmarket neighborhood in south Mumbai. Singh said the stampede occurred when the gates leading to the spiritual leader's house were closed at about 1 a.m.

• Muslim civilians prepare to board trucks in the P12 district of Bangui to flee the Central African Republic capital yesterday. Fresh fighting has brken out in the conflict-torn Central African Republic, withnesses said, as the deadline closed for candidate to register for a vote by the transitional parliament for a new interm president. AFP PHOTO

GYPT'S referendum on a new constitution has been backed by 98.1% of people who voted, officials say. Turnout was 38.6% of the more than 50-million eligible voters, the election committee said. The draft constitution replaces one introduced by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi before he was ousted. The referendum is being seen as a vote on the legitimacy of his removal and of the army, which toppled him in July last year. The vote, which took place over two days last week, was boycotted by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement which Mr Morsi comes from and which wants to see him returned to office. Several people died in clashes involving Mr Morsi's supporters on the first day of voting. There were further clashes with the security forces on Friday in which four people died.

IMF, UN officials among 21 South Korea killed in Kabul suicide attack confirms bird flu G

UNMEN burst into the restaurant spraying diners with bullets after the bomber blew himself up near the entrance around 7.30 p.m. on Friday evening. Thirteen foreigners were among those killed, according to police, and details of the victims began to trickle through yesterday. The U.S. embassy said in a post on Twitter that at least two U.S. private citizens were killed. Britain and Canada confirmed they had each lost two nationals, and Denmark said one of its citizens also died. After the initial blast, sporadic bursts of gunfire were heard over the next hour. The two gunmen inside the Lebanese restaurant, located in Kabul's diplomatic enclave, were shot dead by police, an Afghan official said. Most foreign forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan this year after

more than a decade of war, and there are fears that the Taliban will intensify attacks in the run up to an election in April to find a successor to President Hamid Karzai. At odds with Washington over the terms, Karzai is still deliberating whether to allow some U.S. troops to stay on. If no agreement is reached, Afghan forces could be left to fight the insurgents on their own. The Taliban claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, calling it revenge for a U.S. airstrike earlier this week that had also drawn condemnation from Karzai as eight civilians were killed. Several kitchen staff survived by fleeing to the roof, where they hid until they were rescued by police. "When I was in the kitchen, I heard an explosion outside. Then all the guys escaped up and I went to the roof and

stayed with my back to the chimney for two or three hours," said Suleiman, a cook at the Lebanese restaurant. By midnight, a clearance operation was still underway, with police nervously flashing lasers at passing cars and people on the dark, dusty streets. The restaurant had been running for several years, and was a favourite haunt for foreigners, including diplomats, contractors, journalists and aid workers. A couple of armed guards were usually on duty at the front entrance, which led to a courtyard in front of the main ground floor dining room. The suicide bomb attack took place at the front entrance, but accounts differed over where the gunmen had entered from. "The target of the attack was a restaurant frequented by high ranking foreigners...

where the invaders used to dine with booze and liquor in the plenty," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an e-mailed statement, written in English. Karzai issued a statement on Saturday condemning the attack, using the opportunity to swipe at the United States for not doing enough to fight "terrorism". "If NATO forces led by the United States of America want to be united and partner with the Afghan people, they have to target terrorism," he said in a statement. Karzai is upset with Washington, believing it could do more to persuade the Taliban to begin direct peace talks with his government. The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) representative in Afghanistan, 60-year-old Lebanese national Wabel Abdallah, was one of the diners killed. He had been leading the Fund's office in Kabul since 2008.

Madagascar elects former minister as president


ADAGASCAR on Friday declared H e r y Rajaonarimampianina, a Canadian-educated former finance minister backed by strongman Andry Rajoelina, as the country's new president, after elections aimed at restoring democracy. Rajaonarimampianina, 55, was "declared officially president of the Republic of Madagascar," with just over 53 percent of the votes, said the president of the electoral court, Francois Rakotozafy. The new president-elect vowed to work together with his opponents and bring prosperity to the Indian Ocean island nation. "I will be the president of

all of you without distinction," he said in Malagasy after the court's announcement. "I'm asking for your help so we can develop the country." His backer, incumbent strongman Rajoelina, seized power from then president Marc Ravalomanana in 2009, plunging Madagascar into political and economic crisis. Their proxy candidates dominated the vote, after the two rivals were prevented from running for office due to international pressure over fears of a return to violence. The announcement of the election result had been delayed pending the court's ruling on allegations of voting irregularities, following a challenge by runner-up

Robinson Jean Louis. Jean Louis, 61, who was backed by Ravalomanana and garnered 46.51 percent of the vote, on Friday rejected the court's declaration. "We contest this result because none of our complaints were heard. They said there wasn't proof but we've given a lot of proof," he said. Rajaonarimampianina's inauguration "will be void", he added. Despite the mud-slinging, international observers gave the vote the green light and called on the parties to respect the electoral process. As long as serious violence is avoided, the return to democracy is likely to see

Madagascar allowed back into the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, which suspended the country after the coup. It will also mean the restoration of vital foreign aid, though how to kickstart its economy is less clear. The World Bank has estimated that the political turmoil cost Madagascar around $8 billion in lost growth. The economy grew 3.1 percent in 2012, lagging well behind most fast-growing African nations. Nine out of 10 people in Madagascar live on less than $2 a day.


OUTH Korea confirmed the outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu yesterday and said it would expand the culling of birds to a radius of 3-km (1.9 mile) around a duck farm, but a nationwide suspension of poultry shipment was considered premature. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the case reported at a farm in the southwestern county of Gochang, about 300 km (186 miles) from Seoul, was of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain.

Two Italian workers kidnapped in eastern Libya


WO Italian construction workers have been abducted in an Islamist stronghold in eastern Libya, a security source said yesterday. The men were kidnapped in Derna, east of Benghazi, where they had been staying in a cement factory, the security source said. "There was a group of Libyan construction workers waiting for them on the highway east of Derna to fix a hole in the road, but the Italians did not arrive," The source said. "We are trying to establish the identity of the kidnappers, to find out about their demands." Derna is a stronghold of radical Islamists in the east of Libya, an OPEC oil producer struggling with turmoil twoand-a-half years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.





RAQ is a slim line, an untimely hiccup, away from full-tilt civil war. It is a war in the making, based on a war that never should have been made. In 2003, when deploying its modern warmachine against this ancient land and its brutal despot, America was purblind to the strategic back draft of this misadventure. So tactically and technologically advanced had America become that it grew arrogant and intellectually lazy. America's leaders believed so much in their technological superiority that they substituted it for strategic wisdom. This is worse than thinking one's strengths can mask weakness. They duped themselves to the point where they felt they suffered no weaknesses in the thought, preparation or implementation of this martial undertaking. History has unveiled their reasoning as the folly that it is. The most obvious violation of the truth was claiming to rid the land of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. This deception made the war illegal but did not, of necessity, consign it to be the failure it became. Throughout history there have been wars predicated on venal or false reasons yet expertly prosecuted to the desired objective. There have also been wars waged for noble causes that came to disaster for they were poorly conceived and weakly prosecuted. The American War in Iraq is of that melancholy category of war launched for bogus reason and terminating in ill conclusion for being so awkwardly designed and effectuated. The great mistake of the America war is found not in the falsity of the reason it was ignited but in the danger of the consequences it unleashed. A statesman's most sublime duty is the protection of his nation. In times of troubling exigency, a statesman bound to jettison decorum in order to perform whatever grisly and mean task is required of him to render safe his homeland. No great statesman has ever valued the propriety of the law or convention over the survival of his nation. The higher duty has always been the protection of the state. All else is secondary. A statesman must be willing to risk the damnation of his soul to save that of his country. As a corollary, the worst foul a statesman may commit is to expose his nation to unneeded danger while attempting to acquire uncertain gain in a place not of vital interest. This is the dereliction into which American leaders fell when they determined Iraq might be invaded. The Americans knew what they were doing but did not know what it would do. Defeating an inferior army is no great feat; but, corralling a smaller army is a far distance from subduing a nation or conquering an opposing ideology. The demise of the latter duo cannot solely be accomplished by bullet or blade. It is easier to kill an enemy with your weapon of choice than to force him to behave as you would choose. An enemy is usually an enemy for a reason that is so fundamental that it defines the core existence of one or both antagonists. That reason can be suppressed and concealed by superior military power but never is it completely eliminated unless the enemy himself is obliterated. Thus, America quickly won the military war it initiated; but, in doing so, it ignited more important contests it would lose. First, America said ridding of Iraq of Saddam would bring secular democracy to the nation and the region. American leaders had scant understanding of the centrifugal pressures that described the Iraqi political economy. America also did not understand the wider regional repercussions of unsettling the political balance Saddam had imposed by force on his nation. Thus, America thought it would be enough to change the direction of the nation simply by erect signposts that claimed to lead toward democracy. This was delusional for only the signage not the road had changed. The road Iraqi leaders travelled was still the cul-de-sac of shortsighted religious and tribal chauvinism. Today, there is little democracy or liberal governance save that everyone is free to kill and be killed and, in death, there is a certain equality that living mortals can never alter. There is nothing liberal in the society except bombs and weapons have become more liberally and indiscriminately employed. The nation is less safe now than during Saddam's reign. Democracy is but a silly façade in this lethal setting. Either a strong man or chaos will rise to capture the day. Either way, the 2003 war has been for naught. The several hundred thousand Iraqis and the several thousand American killed in this fracas lost their lives in vain. Those who sent so many to their premature doom may be without remorse or uneasy conscience believing they did right by their estimation of the world; however, their ease of conscience does not release them from the reality that, upon their hands, sits a vast quantity of spilled, innocent blood. Second, America hoped the war would trap Iran in a pincer. Surrounded by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran would become more circumspect. Instead, the one nation that most benefitted from the Iraqi has been Iran. Without going to war, Iran won the demise of its most implacable regional foe, Saddam. The dead man's minority Sunni government was replaced by a

Iraq: How to break a nation while attempting to fix it! The wicked help the poor that they may later enslave them.

•Iraq President, Jalal Talabani

Shiite-dominated regime increasingly adherent to Tehran's worldview. The icing on the cake is that these benefits were funded by the American war machine. America fought the war while its chief enemy in the region reaped the benefit. In common life, intellectual density is neither crime nor sin but does incur its peculiar costs. In the conduct of nations and their international affairs, the folly of a nation's statesmen is the enemy's best weapon. Dumb policy has destroyed more empires has the opposing sword. Bad enough, the Washington architects of the American-Iraqi conflict might be guilty of war crimes, worse is that they are guilty of rank strategic misjudgment that has destabilized a nation and its already combustible neighborhood. Iran's heightened influence in Iraq piqued Saudi Arabia, putting fuel to the Sunni-Shiite rim of fire in the Middle East. Positioned as guardian of the Sunni tradition, the Saudis did not take kindly to Iraq falling into the Iranian sphere of influence. Before this development, Iranian influence among Arab nations was basically limited to Syria and Hezbollah regions of Lebanon. Iraq coming under Shiite rule jolted the extant power balance. Iran could use Iraq not only to as a conduit to influence events in Syria, but also to reach out to Shiite communities in the Gulf and in Saudi itself. As a result of this perceived threat, Saudi foreign policy has turned decidedly hawkish. It now downplays the Palestinian issue. It has found informal truce with Israel for both nations loath Iran more than they hate each other. Saudi funds extremist fighters to topple Assad in Syria. These same fighters now spark civil war in Iraq. Third, America claimed to war to prevent Saddam from teaming with Al Qaeda. This allegation slandered the despot. Saddam was many a brutal thing. A friend of Al Qaeda was not among them. Saddam, like all conventional Arab dictators, feared and despised Al Qaeda. Neither he, nor Mubarak nor Qaddafi broke break with Al Qaeda. These dictators were power conscious and extreme in their own right. They were not about to countenance any free-wheeling religious extremists to go out of control so as to rival them on their own turf. The American invasion changed this. Al

Qaeda poured into Iraq when America attacked. The superiority of American muscle suppressed this presence but never could fully end it. Once the American military withdrew, Al Qaeda gradually resurfaced. It began with small scale, intermittent actions and improvised explosions. With each success, they got bolder; subsequent operations grew larger. This made Iraq more fragile and made the Shiite government more suspicious of the Sunni community. This created further political estrangement which provided fertile ground for Al Qaeda to continue its urban guerilla tactics. A dynamic was established where each incident made political rapprochement more implausible. The lack of political reconciliation across the sectarian divide gave Al Qaeda tacit support within the Sunni community, thus enabling it to continue its disruptive activities. Then war broke in Syria. Jihadists from across the region joined the fray. At first, Iraq was a staging area for the Syrian theatre. Eventually, fighters began to war in Iraq because Iraq was funneling Iranian aid into Syria. Then the fighters began to strike in Iraq to disrupt and redefine Iraq itself. The Al Qaeda franchise, the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now carried out operations in both Iraq and Syria for the purpose of seizing and controlling territory. When America assassinated bin Laden, President Obama boasted the world would be safer. As so often has been the case in military aspects of foreign policy, he was wrong. Facing an Al Qaeda headed by bin Laden would have been an easier task than dealing with this current group. Bin Laden was obsessed with the perversely quixotic dream of replicating a spectacular attack against symbols of western power as occurred in 9/11. The chance of a repeat was slim and fairly well contained. Killing Osama elevated a new leadership with a vastly more effective strategy. Al Qaeda would not target western countries as their primary goal. Instead, they would foment and take opportunistic advantage of trouble in Middle Eastern nations adverse to the group. By doing this they could gain control of territory, weapons, riches, perhaps whole governments. Thus, they joined in the fight against Qaddafi, Assad and now battle for the

heart of Iraq. Weighed against every reasonable diplomatic criterion, the American incursion into Iraq was a strategic military blunder of vast magnitude. It was one of the worse designed campaigns of the past two hundred years. Even the debacle of the Vietnam War was not as counterproductive as this episode. There is only one aspect of the American foreign policy machinery that benefits from the way things unfolded: the war industry. With fighting raging in Syria and Iraq, there will be heightened demand for war materiel. Much of this will be purchased at high costs and with Saudi money. If Iraq worsens, there will be pressure to redeploy American troops to keep this "success" from turning into failure. President Obama will not want to redeploy but he also does not want to be accused of "losing Iraq" to the jihadists. On the near horizon, there lurks the prospect of war with Iran if the nuclear deal is scratched. Many important interests in Washington hope the deal founders because war would enhance their balance sheets. It is a terrible thing that the world's most powerful nation seems primed for war just because a few vested institutional interests profit thereby. Yet, these interests are powerful and integral to the system. They say little publicly but do much harm privately. A largescale, private-sector military industry is anathematic to peace. Such firms need profits to exist and expand. They can only expand if there is increased demand for their merchandise. Demand for their product only expands in the face of broadening war. In times of sustained peace, these firms would become irrelevant then fold bankrupt. This story holds lessons for Africa. The American and western military encroachment in the Middle East is mimicked on a smaller, yet still deadly, scale on this continent. Already, we see the effects in Libya. America fought hard, purportedly to save the people from Qaddafi. America and friends neutralized Qaddafi and decimating the nation's infrastructure through aerial bombing. The West has done little to rehabilitate the nation, save for repairing the oil production facilities. The reason for the oil production repairs is so obvious that it needs no explanation save to the most naïve. Beyond this, the nation is a house of bedlam. Chaos reigns and government is a disservice. Yet, the West no longer cares. Western effectives have trundled into several African nations in the past two years. Each nation into which they have entered is resource-endowed but poorly led and governed. We are told the troops are here to save souls and rescue nations from themselves. The truth is less noble. They are here to protect or promote access to precious raw minerals. The people and humanitarian concern are but pretext. There is great fanfare and accolades from the global media wherever western intervention begins. However, there follow up is rare to see if or how the tale ends. French troops entered Mali. How fares that nation and what precious minerals are being extracted from it? Years ago, America assigned dozens of Special Forces soldiers to track the notorious Joseph Kony and his misfit army. They have had no success finding Kony although he and his glum band have little military training or expertise. Perhaps they can't find the outlaw because they are not looking for him. Perhaps they are giving protection to Western firms seeking to strip and extract costly rare minerals from some of Africa's most remote and hidden places? The bottom line is that most places Western troops deploy are no better after than before the intervention. This is because the entry was never done for the benefit of the populace or even a part of it. The encroachment happens because it profits the encroacher. Darfur has been a humanitarian maelstrom, dwarfing all others combined save for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet, there was never a thought of intervening in Darfur. The reluctance was not because of Khartoum's resistance but because there was no material profit to be had from rescuing people from that massive sand dune. A century ago, these activities were dubbed gunboat diplomacy. Today, we rename them "drone diplomacy" for the venal objective remains the same although the weapons technology has evolved. Those who run the global economy need Africa's material resources and want to pay the lowest price for them. They are not interested in bargaining with Africans and their nations as equal parties in a negotiation. They would rather that you stoop poor and weak. That way they may take what they want and tell you it is for your own good. So goes the battle of the Western war condominium against the poor and powerless, especially in Africa. This is one of the most uneven and unfair contests ever waged. You have been invaded, and know it not. You have been violated, and know it not. You have been pilfered and know it not. You cannot let this continue and expect to prosper or be independent but you know it not. 08060340825 (sms only)

Ropo Sekoni


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Femi Orebe Page 16


Bamanga taku 08054503906 (sms only)


LHAJI Bamanga Tukur, the erstwhile Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took the rug off my feet when, after behaving like a drowning man that would not hesitate to cling, even to a serpent for help, for months, finally bowed to pressures to resign on January 15. Alhaji Tukur had been in search of a saviour for months. But genuine saviours don’t come cheap. And when they do, they come to the rescue of people in genuine need of help. At some point, the PDP chair leaned on President Goodluck Jonathan; at some other time, he found succour on the shoulders of his wife, Patience Jonathan. That he was still forced out of office showed that he was all the while building (his salvation) on shifting sand. Those he looked forward to for help might themselves be in need of help. I am pained though that Alhaji Tukur beat me to it. I had already concluded, as early as the beginning of last week, to write on him because I was baffled that in spite of the fact that the PDP had been crumbling on his head, he never deemed it fit to resign, at least as honourable men would have done. The headline that I initially chose: Tukur taku! (Tukur adamant!) was provided by a colleague. That is why, despite the fact that Alhaji Tukur has resigned, I still found the headline (which I later modified to ‘Bamanga taku’) irresistible and appropriate, if only to stress the fact that his resignation came far too late. People should be able to read the handwriting on the wall. Alhaji Tukur was humiliated out of office; he only did not wait for the formalisation of the humiliation process. So, what has all his stone-walling and filibustering amounted to, after all? At his age, Alhaji Tukur ought to know when it is time to go; he ought to have known that it is best to leave when the ovation is loudest. It was because he failed to know this that he stayed longer than necessary in the toilet, and eventually ended up being assailed by all manner of maggots. The shame and disgrace that he was running away from in the twilight of his life and political career, which made him to stay put as party chair, even when it was obvious that he was no longer wanted, eventually became his lot just because he refused to face realities. Rumours had started making the rounds the day before he finally threw in the towel that he had resigned, but this was refuted with everything within Tukur’s arsenal. He said the purported resignation was a ruse and that it was the handiwork of his political detrac-

The PDP chair might have been kicked out; his ‘resignation’ now won’t amount to much

• Tukur

tors. I don’t know why people like deceiving themselves like this. A woman who has only one child was told that her child was misbehaving somewhere, and she asked: which of them? Was it not clear, even to the blind, that Alhaji Tukur had lost the battle to retain his job a long time ago? He was probably the only one that did not see that his end as PDP chair was nigh. The crisis in Rivers State is enough to finish him as party chairman. And, at a time he should be asking Allah for forgiveness of sins, he, in desperation to keep his job, even lied in faraway London when he told a gathering that for every five members who left the PDP, the party records about 500 new entrants. “The PDP remains a party with the largest spread and tested strength to win elections any day any time …” Tukur told the visiting Nigerian professionals. He added: “The good thing is that if five people move out of PDP into the other party, even by a dint of propaganda, the party takes in more than 500 at a time as replacement. The electorate in Nigeria trusts the PDP more than many people are aware,” a boastful Tukur further stated. He was trying to impress his audience that the defection of five of the party’s governors to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was inconsequential. He had for-

“A friend of mine has always warned that we need to be wary of people who eat stockfish without picking their teeth because such people will never pay their debt. I do not know how Alhaji Tukur’s resignation at this point in time will amount to much in the course of events. As a commentator said online, his resignation is ‘probably too little and too late!”

gotten that in this era of internet, such lies cannot endure. The greatest fool knows this is a lie. But that is how they have been running the country. In the PDP, lying is politics. It is shocking, however, that, at 78, Alhaji Tukur made himself available to be used as a virtual puppet. What did he want again? It is not that he is poor. Anyway, since he was not man enough to do what he should have done when it was most honourable, he should at least return home to do what he originally should be doing now that it is all over: tend to his grandchildren and great grandchildren (if any). Let no one shed tears for him. He was not born a party chair; he was not the first PDP chair. Has he forgotten that that is the way things are in the ruling party? Has he forgotten how former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited the then chairman of the PDP, Chief Audu Ogbeh, ate pounded yam with him at his family house and, a few hours later, backed Ogbeh’s removal from office? Has Alhaji Tukur forgotten that the PDP chair seat is a musical chair? He ought to have been more circumspect knowing that people who were by far better party chairmen than him had gone. If people who were able to keep the party together and elevate the status of party chair could lose their job so ignominiously, what gave Alhaji Tukur the confidence that he would be able to keep his, even as the party was crumbling under his watch? It is sad that a septuagenarian who should be thinking more about celestial matters is still hankering after terrestrial things. But just a rhetorical question: Will Alhaji Tukur, in all conscience, be proud to hand this kind of job over to his children? With speculation that the President’s wife was already scheming to install his successor, after delicately backing him through his long, troubled moments, Nigerians should pray that the First Lady should continue to bring her influence to bear in the PDP because we need more of such negative influence from her to completely tear the party apart. But no one should harbour the illusion that Alhaji Tukur is alone in this stay-put syndrome. He is only emblematic of the disease afflicting them in the PDP, nay, Africa generally. And that is one of the dangers of keeping the party in power for longer than necessary; its men will never go without a fight. A friend of mine has always warned that we need to be wary of people who eat stockfish without picking their teeth because such people will never pay their debt. I do not know how Alhaji Tukur’s resignation at this point in time will amount to much in the course of events. As a commentator said online, his resignation is ‘probably too little and too late!’ Not only that, Alhaji Tukur is only but a puppet, he is not the issue in the PDP. The real issue is the puppeteer himself. Is he seeking reelection in 2015, or is he not? This is the bone of contention in the ruling party. And it will remain so until the ruling party wobbles and fumbles out of the 2015 election.

Exit of PDP’s undertaker


By Gbemiga Olakunle

T last, the intrigues surrounding the resignation and subsequent denials of Alhaji Bamaga Tukur as the National Chairman of People’s Democratic Party has been laid to rest with the announcement by the President Goodluck Jonathan who also doubles as the Party’s Leader during PDP’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting. Tukur’s tenure was rather turbulent for the party. His tenure, due to his iron-fist style of administration led to the factionlization of the party with its attendant defections of 5 Governors and 37 Members of the House of Representatives to the major opposition party- All Progressive for Change (APC). About 20 Senators from the ruling party may also be on their way to join the APC in a matter of days, all things been equal. Despite the dwindling fortunes of his party, Alhaji Tukur continued to hold on to power on the premise that he was serving as the main backbone to Mr. President in view of President Jonathan’s perceived interest to run in the forth coming General Elections. It was unfortunate that President Jonathan himself could not read between the lines that the continued stay of Tukur in the office is inimical not only to the party’s interest but to his own interests too as the Party leader. It was when the embattled former Chairman was about to take his own party to court to challenge his impending removal that it became clear to the Presidency that Tukur was actually fighting to stay-on because of his own vested interest and not because of any party’s interest or President Jonathan’s interest ahead of 2015. May be his perceived closeness to the First Lady Mrs. Patience Jonathan also helped him to put the wool on the President’s eyes which has made Tukur to shield his real identity all these while from the President. Luckily enough, other party leaders were able to read Alhaji Bamaga Tukur’s game plan and that was why they pushed for his removal. If the embattled former National chairman has stayed till the end of this month, may be he would have driven the last nail to his party’s coffin and become its undertaker. In our own opinion, at the onset of the PDP’s factionalization that led to the emergence of the defunct New PDP led by Alhaji Baraje, Tukur should have been prevailed upon to either step down or step aside to allow room for proper harmonization and healing of wounds within the party. And now that the then New PDP has merged with the APC, only time can tell whether the defectors can still retrace their steps back to the ruling party’s fold again. Tukurs’s maladministration characterized by his headmaster’s style of administration may have done irreparable damages to his own party that is reputed to be the largest party in Africa. It may be recalled that Alhaji Bamaga Tukur’s candidacy was opposed by members of the party from the North Eastern zone of the country where he hails from.In other words, his candidacy was practically forced down on the party by the Presidency against the party’s consensus candidate. Tukur’s people might have known him much better than the Presidency. This may be a great lesson to the PDP and the Presidency in particular should learn and ensure that they do not repeat the same mistake again while shopping for Alhaji Tukur’s replacement. Maybe the party can still recover some of its lost fortunes and setbacks. There is no doubt that Tukur’s actions or inactions while in office have succeeded in digging the grave for the party’s burial except a Rapid Response Team/ Strategy is put in place to revive the party that is almost going into coma. Even Mr. President political base has been eroded overtly or covertly. Gbemiga Olakunle (J.P) General Secretary, National Prayer Movement





AST week, we argued for immediate release of the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on national conference, invoking principally the citizens’ right to know what a committee funded from the common purse recommended on a matter of obvious importance to lovers of national unity. From the release of the first installment of the report in The Guardian last Wednesday, it is now clear that the presidency must have been thinking about the need to let the public know what report has been derived from the various memoranda sent to the Conference Committee. What is left for the presidency to resolve now is the conflicting claims propagated in the media about a minority report by Chief Solomon Asemota. Ordinarily, there should have been no confusing statements about the existence of a minority report. Unfortunately, there has been. Senator Okurounmu said at the presentation of the committee’s report that there was no minority report. To support this, he reminded his audience that all members of the committee were present at the presentation of the report. Chief Asemota, who was present, did not indicate that he had a minority report. Yet, newspaper reports abound on the existence of a minority report submitted to the presidency. Given letters from readers of this column to the writer, it is obvious that the public is still largely confused about this simple but important matter. First, let us address the philosophy behind writing of minority reports. For too long, the concept of minority report has been an abiding aspect of the culture of democracy and democratic governance. Even in very sensitive cases of judicial adjudications, judges are allowed to submit minority report if they have good reasons to hold opinions that differ from those held by majority of members of a judicial panel. Once a committee, regardless of the subject of contemplation, includes

National conference: what if a minority report exists?

What is left for the presidency to resolve now is the conflicting claims propagated in the media about a minority report by Chief Solomon Asemota the report.

more than two members, it is in most democracies not unusual if some committee members to choose to do a minority report, particularly if such members feel strongly about issues of divergence between them and the majority of committee members. Doing this does not diminish the main report or recommendations submitted by majority of committee members. If anything, a minority report is capable of enriching the report of the main report, as it is likely to show the sources of disagreement and their implications for proper handling of the matter at hand. No president or leader constitutes a committee in which individual members have no right to hold opinions that are different from those held by most members. As democracy represents a model that respects and formalises plurality of perspective, minority report on the bench or on the street underscores the freedom of individuals to hold opinion of their own on matters of significance to all. The axiom that the majority must have their way while the minority must have their say captures this aspect of democratic culture. The current confusion regarding minority report on the interactions between conference advisory committee members and citizens across the country is unnecessary. Majority members of the committee have the right to present a report that captures the views of most members while minority members also have the right to express their views. Given the size of the doubt about Chief Asemota’s minority report, it is only the presidency that can shed light on the matter at this point. It is important to pay attention to the intellectual as well as the political implications of such report. Intellectually, giving the public an opportunity to know the basis and degree of disagreements between the Asemota side of the committee and the

Okurounmu side is a significant part of the form and method of argumentation. Secondly, constructing distinct arguments on the interpretation of the data submitted by citizens can assist the President and even citizens to choose which argument is more cogent. Kicking off from a clear understanding of what citizens prefer in terms of form, process, and content of the national conference is the best way to gain the confidence of the public on the important matter of turning Nigeria into a union of affection, rather than one of coercion constructed largely by military dictators before the advent of civilian regimes. Furthermore on the intellectual side, there are two related questions that the presidency can answer at this point: Is there a minority report? Has it been submitted or presented to the president? If the answer to these questions is no, then newspapers will become better informed on what to pass to the public on this issue. Should the answer be yes, then the presidency ought to share the recommendations of the Asemota report with the public. Not to do so will be tantamount to repressing views of a section of the conference advisory committee. There is a political dimension to the Asemota report, if it does exist. And the presidency ought to realize that citizens need to be assured that what they took to the conference committee is what formed the basis of both the committee’s main and minority reports. It is the citizens and various organizations that submitted memoranda to the committee that are in the best of positions to assess the degree of congruence or divergence between the preferred modalities they gave to the committee and the recommendations derived from these in each of the two reports. Keeping the minority report out of view has more negative political implication than letting citizens know the contents of

For a conference that is promised to give citizens opportunity to talk frankly about how they want to create structures to sustain the country’s unity and progress, there is no better way to start the process than to be forthcoming and upfront with citizens on the two sets of recommendations from the committee. There are already many pieces of rumour regarding what kind of conference citizens want. For example, the main report argues that there is no constitution that can be brand new, given the fact that materials from preceding constitutions are often carried over into the new one. But the main report is not sufficiently clear on the preferences expressed by citizens when committee members interacted with them. What is the percentage of the memoranda that calls for amending the existing constitution and for creating a new constitution? Retaining materials in a new constitution does not automatically justify handing recommendations from the conference to the national assembly for approval or ratification. In addition, what does the minority report say about creating an enabling legislation to set the conference in motion and including in the motion the use of referendum to determine citizens’ view of the recommendations? Should the minority report have a different view on this aspect of the conference, it will be necessary for citizens to know which committee report says what in respect of pre-conference or post-conference legislation by the federal legislature. While the president is not obliged to accept any of the two reports from a committee set up to advise him, it is important for the presidency to assist citizens, through full disclosure on the number and details of reports, to add their voices to the debate on how best to create a constitution that is acceptable to the majority of Nigerians.




Polio paralysis Ending Nigeria’s global shame


IGERIA’S status as one of only three countries where poliomyelitis is still prevalent is a sobering affirmation of the monstrous paradoxes that bedevil it. The fact that India with 1.2 billion people has just been declared poliofree makes the Nigerian predicament truly lamentable indeed. India’s achievement cannot be underestimated. Determined efforts were made to confront the polio scourge in the early 80s, involving prodigious logistics and organisational efforts, and resulting in enormous vaccination rounds in which 2.4 million volunteers immunised 170 million children during each exercise. From 741 polio cases in 2009, the number fell to just one in 2011, and the country was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries a year later. The three-year absence of infections has enabled the country to be declared officially free of polio. In that regard, it will be joining countries like Nepal and Gambia, not to mention the world’s developed and middle-income countries. Nigeria’s polio problem is a characteristic combination of several interlocking factors. They include the failure of successive administrations to treat the issue with the seriousness that it deserves; widespread suspicions of the anti-polio campaign in parts of northern Nigeria; and the outbreak of unrest in the country’s north-east. The decline in national immunisation policy is a particularly significant shortcoming. After launching vigorous campaigns against communicable childhood diseases during the tenure of the late Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti during the late 80s, Nigeria took its foot off the pedal, thereby allowing diseases like polio to make a comeback. Matters were made worse by the relatively low allocations to health in national budgets over the years. Even though N262 billion has been allocated to health in the 2014 budget proposals by the Jonathan administration, over 82 per cent of that amount will be for recurrent expenditure.


EFORE the advent of the British colonialists and not colonial masters, Nigeria as a socio-political entity was neither in existence nor contemplated; the territories that now make up Nigeria existed in fragments. We have the Benin Empire, the Lower Niger Kingdoms (popularly referred to as the Oil Rivers), the Fulani Empire of Zodge (later referred to as Sokoto), and the Kanem-Borno Empire. In addition, there were the Oduduwa Empire of the Yoruba, and the Aro-Chukwu Empire of the Ibo. Another was the Aboh Empire that


ORLDWIDE, libraries are great institutions that serve the interest of the old and the young. They are agents of communication, sources of information, transmitter of culture and conservers of values of great heritage. They are used for reference purposes, support research, educational and other back-up activities through their collections and literature. Libraries acquire, preserve, organise, describe, interpret and make factual information available through their resources and various holdings. The library is aptly defined as a collection of books

The decision by the governments of Kano, Kaduna and Zamfara states to suspend polio immunisation campaigns in October 2003 was another self-inflicted blow. Widespread suspicion that the vaccination effort was part of a westerninspired plot to make Muslims sterile or infect them with HIV stymied efforts to immunise children against polio. In spite of sustained publicenlightenment campaigns and efforts to analyse the vaccines in Muslim-majority countries, many citizens in those states and elsewhere in northern Nigeria still regard the immunisation process with great suspicion. Medical officials and volunteers have been attacked by communities opposed to the immunisation of their children. The outbreak of widespread civil unrest in the country’s north-east aggravated an already-bad situation, as the shooting and bombing campaign of the militant Boko Haram endangered the delivery of effective healthcare services. Survival rather than health has apparently become the major concern. The consequences of these factors have been devastating. Nigeria is said to be the only country in the world to harbour all three serotypes of the polio virus, namely wild poliovirus type 1, wild poliovirus type 3, and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2. Although it has succeeded in reducing transmission of the disease in other parts of the country, its inability to finish it off has


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

•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye

caused its recurrence in Nigeria and its transmission across national borders. The country’s streets are replete with the pathetic sight of polio victims, most of whom are compelled to beg for alms, as efforts to properly rehabilitate them are often arbitrary and inadequate. India has shown that polio can be beaten with proper planning and commitment. Nigeria can achieve similar goals if it confronts the polio issue with the seriousness that it so obviously requires. One of the first things is to ensure that adequate financial resources are committed to the anti-polio effort. While non-governmental organisations like the Rotary Club, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dangote Foundation are committing substantial resources to the campaign, it is vital for the Federal Government and affected states to ensure that their financial commitments are similarly reliable. In addition, they must be at the forefront in ensuring that the cultural misgivings which still prevent some Nigerians from immunising their children are overcome. There is also the vital need to revamp the nation’s social infrastructure. Polio, like so many other diseases, is an affliction which thrives on poverty, ignorance and insanitary conditions. These must be rectified if the war against polio is to be won. A truly comprehensive anti-polio campaign, therefore, must involve the provision of potable water, adequate housing, proper waste disposal and functional education. It is no surprise that Nigeria’s partners in the polio club are Afghanistan and Pakistan, two countries beset by serious security challenges. Peace must return to Nigeria’s north-east if development activities are to continue in the area, to say nothing of immunisation campaigns. If all goes well and Nigeria is able to halt transmission and go on to eradicate polio, the country could be declared polio-free by 2018. The time for working towards that happy conclusion begins now.


Was amalgamation of Nigeria a mistake? sprang from the Benin Empire. However, there was no systematic contact between one empire and the other. There were isolated trade contacts among the people of the Lower Niger Kingdom and the Benin Kingdom. Different names were used for the territories now incorporated

in Nigeria and the whole area was referred to as the Hausa territories, the Niger Empire, the Niger Sudan and the Niger Coast Protectorates. The Nigerian state, created in 1914, as an act of British colonialism, by the amalgamation of two existing British colonial states, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria and

the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was 100 years old on the 1st day of January 2014. It is most appropriate at this point to define the meaning and effect of ‘amalgamation’. Obviously, amalgamation means the fusing or merging of two bodies or entities into one, with the result that both cease to exist and are

Libraries and staff productivity and non-book materials, organised for use, to meet the varying needs of people for information, knowledge, recreation, and aesthetic enjoyment. Libraries are available in such ministries as Education, Finance, Health, National Planning, Executive Office of the President, Office of the Head of the Civil Service, Justice, Works, Supreme Court, High Court, etc. The official gazettes issued weekly by the government are very useful to every civil servant as it contains information as to when he/she was

first appointed into the service, the confirmation of such appointment, promotion, transfer, secondment, retirement etc. Thus, an officer incharge of the open registry, needing information on the dates of appointment of staff could easily go to the ministry library where the gazettes are available, and then update his or her record in the ministry, thereby enhancing the organisational efficiency and productivity. Libraries, in serving policy makers, enable them to collect current information on the state of affairs of the three

arms of government and use them in formulating and implementation so that as an end result, the three bodies run an efficient and effective government through interaction. The National Museum Library is basically an African Library. It has a bias for acquisition of materials on subjects concerning Africa and the Blackman. It captures special types of materials that have a bearing to the functions which its parent body is supposed to perform and on the professional inclination of the members of the museum staff. The library

replaced by the new body or entity. In other words, on their amalgamation in 1914, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria and the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria ceased to exist as separate legal entities and were replaced by a single entity called the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Many Nigerians have aired tries as much as possible to gear its acquisition policy towards the needs of the staff, consisting of graduates in various disciplines such as:archaeology, ethnography, anthropology, sociology, architecture, history, zoology etc The museum staff when fatigued after two or three hours work get time to visit the library to scan through magazines and read newspapers to keep themselves abreast of what is happening in the locality or country at large thereby get refreshed and go back to give their best on their job or duties. It is said that a well-relaxed brain is better suited for effective

their views on the amalgamation that is now 100 years. A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Professor Tam David-West, stated without mincing words that the country exists along ethnic and religious divides, insisting that there was nothing to celebrate because the amalgamation was a mistake. This is because from 1914 till date, Nigeria cannot showcase any tangible achievements. By: Charles Ikedikwa Soeze, Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State. and meaningful job. The museum library, indeed, is relevant to staff productivity The distinguishing factor between the National Commission for Museums and Monuments Libraries and other libraries is that it is a part of a professional organisation which, itself, is a research centre, and its role is complementary. It should be stated here, that the library though situated in the Museum, it is not to serve as an appendage but is should be seen as a vital part of the general structure. By Henry Oyediran, Lagos.





Hold Buruji Kashamu accountable for whatever mayhem in Ekiti, Osun Buruji has shown clearly that he would not mind committing any horrendous act in his quest for an unimaginable PDP victory in Ekiti

I AM ready to go if you will stand by me. If you are ready, let us start with EKITI governorship election and make it a sample to them” – Kashamu speaking at the southwest meeting of what Prof Wole Soyinka once dubbed a ‘nest of killers’ Former President Obasanjo called his own, ‘do or die’, and we know what we went through in Ekiti; Mama Iyabo came with her ‘conscienceless conscience’ and we would later have amputated legs, shown live at election tribunals. Now, it is Buruji Kasamu requesting his PDP compatriots’ support so they can show us, again in Ekiti, what disdain these Ogun State elements have for Ekiti which they would like to turn to their hunting ground at every election cycle. I plead with Nigerians to help the good and humble people of Ekiti ask this total stranger what sample he intends to make of us this time around. The last I know, he is not a registered voter in Ekiti and so is not eligible to vote there for whichever of Labour or PDP contestant emerges their gubernatorial candidate, he is not a police officer so he could not, like Rivers’ State Police Commissioner, Mbu, turn Ekiti to a lawless state; nor is this man of the Electoral Commission, so he could scientifically rig the election as is their wont. So how exactly is this man going to ‘make a sample of us? My mind could only go to the

snipers which their own ex- Chairman, Board of Trustees, and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, alleged are being trained at the instance of no less a personality than the president. Seeing how vociferously both the president and the PDP Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, have defended Kashamu, heartily disparaging Obasanjo, it is not unreasonable to believe that Kashamu must be so strategic to their evil plans in Yoruba land, not to allocate to him a phalange of those snipers. Nor would the two powerful politicians be bothered whatever when Obasanjo told them how serially world leaders embarrass him on account of Buruji. That the man is so important to Jonathan’s 2015 plans, and Ekiti and Osun especially, can also be seen in the ease with which they made him supersede not only Obasanjo himself, but the likes of Bode George, my friend, Seye Ogunlewe, Obanikoro and all those who were the PDP poster boys in the region when Kasamu was still going round his circuit of courts. It is for his central role in Jonathan’s evil designs for the Southwest that Kashamu must bear full responsibility for the safety of all Ekiti citizens that can be regarded as being in opposition to the PDP, which will translate to no less than 70 per cent of our people. Needless to say then that from this very moment, I must reckon as number one on his list but only

God can save and enemies of the good people of Ekiti will certainly work in vain. Their evil counsel, like Ahitophel’s, will come to naught in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. This is the reason why every mother, every wife, even child in Ekiti must hold the controversial Ogun state politician, Buruji Kasamu, responsible for whatever befalls their bread winners in the run down to the 2014 election in the state as he has promised to completely over run the state. It was my uncle, the highly regarded Chief Deji Fasuan, who first drew my attention to the inimical politics some persons of Ogun State extraction have historically played in Yoruba politics. I have searched in vain on my computer system for his exact quotes, in which he pointedly mentioned names and narrated what negative roles each surreptitiously played in the affairs of other Yoruba ethnic groups. Fortunately, I do not need to have those exact words since in the past few years, dating back to the 8-year stranglehold of the PDP on our geo-political zone, some Ogun State elements have famously put their animus against Ekiti people at play, the latest being this new friend of Mr. President. It had all begun with Obasanjo who, as president, spared no scurrilous word in describing Ekiti people. Beginning from how he mercilessly shredded Chief S.K Babalola, one of Ekiti’s most distinguished elders, on his way to inflicting a

governor on the state in 2003, he later callously dismissed the entire Ekiti people as educated fools. He would later conjure an inchoate impeachment of his once’ darling son’, just so he could inflict an Ogun State retired general on the state in declaring a totally reckless emergency administration whose sole aim was to prepare the ground for a PDP victory in the following election. Obasanjo would then go on to show his complete disdain for Ekiti when he disregarded the results of his party’s governorship primary election and opted for the candidate who placed third as his anointed candidate. For the next three years, Ekiti knew no peace. Next was the conscienceless INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner who, against all expectations, abandoned her avowed Christian conscience, first went underground , surfaced in the presidency in Abuja only to come back to Ado-Ekiti to eat her words and throatily declare what she had previously adjured a rigged result. Were Ekiti vicissitudes in the hands of Ogun State elements limited to these, we probably would have shouted Halleluiah. But then that would not satisfy our traducers who must not stop until they have seen the last of a people they proudly regard as inferior to them. So here comes this money man who once claimed he would spend a billion on the Ekiti gubernatorial election. Nigerians must ask him how this is his business. Must Ekiti

be roughened up to have an oil block? Anyway, if he likes he could quintuple that amount; we won’t be bothered in the least since in the first place, half that amount would be stolen by his party people and as to the rest, Ekiti will show him money is not our god. He, it is, who knows how he made his money and can therefore choose to burn it. Kashamu should go and ask how much those who preceded him have spent futilely in Lagos State these past 14 years but the wishes of the people have always prevailed. If some people worship money, we in Ekiti do not. He will therefore, equally profit nothing in Ekiti, no matter what nebulous billions he sank into their evil plans against the wishes of the people. By declaring at their Ibadan meeting that if his historically unscrupulous party men will stand by him, he was ready to start with Ekiti and make an otherwise peaceful state ‘a sample’, (and this happens to be a man who had declared the APC leader, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu an enemy, not a political opponent) Buruji has shown clearly that he would not mind committing any horrendous act in his quest for an unimaginable PDP victory in Ekiti. Kashamu should know, that with this his threats, the onus is squarely on him to prove that he does not pose a danger to the good people of Ekiti, come the next election. Nigerians are waiting to hear from him.

How not to be a lady and my other (un)social etiquettes

There are things ladies just do not do; they do not let money, position or politics make them lose their sense of propriety


ERHAPS, we may regard this age as the ruffian’s age, the rogue’s age, the thug’s age, but certainly not the lady’s age. Good example: just look at our politicians. Can you imagine a good man surviving in their midst? Now then, are you surprised that our female politicians cannot afford to be ‘ladies’ in their midst either? They would not survive. So, our female politicians have learnt to dine with their male counterparts using long spoons. Just ask our First Lady; just look at the terribly loooong spoon she is using to dine all the way from Abuja to Rivers State. Do you then wonder that we have been getting some teeeeeerribly funny results in that region? They say it takes seven generations to make a lady; and I say it may take seven countries to make one. The reason is that this is the age of THE COOOOOL; the age when bad is good, mean is beautiful, ugly is handsome, wicked is admirable and the unpredictable attracts worse than honey does bees. In this age, ladies have become men of brawn, and gentlemen have given way to laughter. They are splitting their sides watching the women painfully swing all kinds of doors open with fake manly gusto. Many people think that being a lady only means wearing ruffles, silks and diamonds. In truth, there are many ladies in AJEGUNLE and there are also many JANKARA

women in IKOYI. Actually, it is not when one is dressed up to the nines that one can claim to be a lady. Clothes, they say, doth not a man make, nor a woman. Most times, dressing up in the fineries only succeeds in making one look gaudy, untidy and a bad advertisement for the diamond cutter. But you and I know better. We know how to tell a lady apart, don’t we? We know that a lady is someone who does everything in a calculated, unhurried way. Even when it is raining, a lady may hasten her footsteps, but she will not run giddy-gadding for shelter no matter how wet she may be. She will also not swear at the blasted weather. Her habits must be neat. Now, that’s a tough one. It means that a lady will not bend down to retrieve her keys like a fish seller laying down her fish-load from her head, her bottoms up. Rather, she will stoop, her knees bent, to retrieve her object from the gutter, no matter how dirty. She will not even walk in any which way, flinging legs and thighs around as if she is trying to determine how much they weigh. Indeed, to be a lady, one is encouraged to walk as if the entire body is in a POP cast, like a broken leg or arm. More importantly, a lady watches what she says. Now, there you have us all Nigerian women. I am told that there are certain words that must not ensue from a lady’s mouth; for example, words heavily laden with

abuses, insults, curses, and such shrew-like epithets are not ladylike. I think Nigerian husbands wrote that rule, but never mind, the important thing is that her speech, to the weather and every other unruly element, must always be pleasing. Anger at erring husbands and children must be expressed in an inoffensive way, not with pestle and mortar, but with well-chosen words such as ‘Oh, but you are a funny one, are you not?’ to someone who has stolen a goat; and ‘Oh my, what a lovely rascal you are to be sure’ to someone who has stolen someone else’s house. And to someone who has embezzled billions of Naira, a lady would rather say, ‘Consider yourself slapped!’ When I ponder on why it is that men no longer want to do things for women – you know, like opening doors, drawing out chairs, giving up their seats for them, waiting attentively on the words dropping out of their sagacious mouths, making sure women eat first before the men – I find it is because the women have sold themselves out to the enemy. No, no, the enemy is not the group called men; the enemy is the weakness in women that makes them succumb to the rush of the moment and the rush for the gold of the workplace, which has sometimes been erroneously interpreted as selfrealisation. In the process, self-assertion has taken the centre stage and squeezed out the very soul of politeness women are known for.

Worse, in this age of nuclear technology, the preoccupation of most people is directed more at the nuclear bombs they are sitting on and the nuke-heads pointing at their throats. That leaves issues such as good comportment and social manners scraping the forgotten bottom of the barrel of important items to worry about. To cap everything else, I find that there is a deep, deep level of ignorance which is most astounding. ‘Lady?’, my respondents shot back at me when I vouchsafed to ask some women for their opinions on the matter. ‘Wetin be lady? Abeg comot jo; na lady we go chop?’ In this age, I say, the stomach rules, ok. But I say nevertheless. Now, in many homes, the man eats his fill of the dinner first before the woman, if she is lucky to get any. Perhaps, that accounts for why women no longer care about themselves when they are outside the home, e.g. say in traffic. Oh my, have you seen the way women drive cars these days? It is enough to make Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti turn in her grave. I tell you, if she had driven that way when she became Nigeria’s first femaledriver, there would have been a parliamentary move against female-drivers then and we would today be in the same boat as women in one Arab country where they are not allowed to drive, and from what I see now, I can’t blame them much. These days, its women who overtake with all kinds of swoosh from any direction, weaving in and out of traffic and

breaking every rule, like the Arabian genie coming in and going out of a bottle. When a woman cuts in and out of traffic like that, please, reader, be kind to her for you never can tell if she is not using the road as the only means she has to assert herself. Someone commented the other day that Nigerian women carry themselves generally with the most careless abandon in their talk, shape and gait. I agreed and decided to watch myself from then on. However, it was hard going not to fling abuses at taxi-drivers and Okada riders who cut into traffic without any care, children who crossed the roads without checking first, chickens that scurried to and fro without any care. It was tough not to pounce on my food like a famished tiger after a hard day’s work. It was tougher to remember to walk or drive like a human being when I found I was late for something. It pains me each time I see women straddling Okada with all their dignity packed up with their skirts, or when I watch their waistlines jiggling up and down as the road contours. Clearly, the women in this country need to get their ladylike acts back together. There are things ladies just do not do; they do not let money, position or politics make them lose their sense of propriety. They also do not ride Okada astride in skirts. More importantly, they must retain a good temper and be trustworthy. And they must guard the sanctity of whatever has been entrusted to them (children, power or wealth) with every sense of responsibility for the sake of everyone.




(48) “BJ, what is it that you and Mama Sagamu see in Nollywood films?” (1) T

HIS piece owes its origin to the daughter of the person to whom it is dedicated. She is Mrs. Sade Ogunbiyi. She never tires of asking me the question that serves as the title of this essay: “BJ, what it is that you and Mama Sagamu see in Nollywood films?” Sade’s mother is of course the august person to whom this piece is dedicated, Mrs. Juliana Mogbonjubade Osiberu, affectionately called “Mama Sagamu” by all her children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and family friends. She has lived a long and for the most part fortunate and blessed life, a life not without its own share of pain and tragedies, but a life all the same deeply cherished by all who know her. At 93 years of age, she looks and generally feels about twenty years younger than her real age. Last year, I teased her that the woman that I saw in a picture of her that was circulated to Sade’s circle of friends to mark her 93rd birthday was an “ayoung-e beauty”. She replied that suitors were still bothering her day in day out with marriage proposals! Well, Nollywood producers and marketers, know that in this “young” 93 year-old heartthrob you have one of your most avid and dedicated fans! Her daughter’s question – “BJ, what is it that you and Mama Sagamu see in Nollywood” – goes completely ignored by Mama. Unlike me, she has never felt that she owes anyone any explanations regarding her passion for Nollywood films. Knowing this and because Sade’s question is almost always posed to me in Mama’s presence, I too have never really responded to the question. At best, I make a nearly inaudible and generally incoherent response to the question, thereby more or less implying that an interest, perhaps even a passion for Nollywood films is its own “explanation”, its own justification. This essay is a reflection on that non-response. But before coming to the issue, a word or two is necessary concerning the social and psychological circumstances of Mama Sagamu’s great and avid interest in Nollywood films. For at least a couple of decades now, the home of the Ogunbiyis on Victoria Island in Lagos has of course been a sort of home away from home to me and innumerable other friends of the family. In the long evolutionary movement of human sociality away from fear of any space or community beyond the primal horde of the hunter-gatherer clan or the family, the notion and reality of “home away from home” is one of the great humanizing inventions of our species. Hotels, motels, inns and other edifices of the modern hospitality industry are latter-day, commercialized versions of this tradition of “home away from home”. But even the best of them cannot remotely match the sustaining warmth and assurance of the home of a close family friend that serves one as a deeply cherished “home away from home”. This is the general context for my reflections on Mama Sagamu and her Nollywood interest: for different but also related reasons, she and I watch

[For Madam Juliana Mogbonjubade Osiberu]

Nollywood films at the Ogunbiyis at Victoria Island just as if we are at our own homes, that is to say with completely free and unselfconscious abandon. Let me give a brief account of the actualities of this sort of spectatorship. Just as I do in my own house at Oke-Bola in Ibadan, I hardly ever go out when I am at the Ogunbiyis in V.I. For the most part and as I do in my own home, at the Ogunbiyis I read and write for much of the day and night in my room and then come downstairs to watch the DSTV channels for recreation. “Recreation” in this case involves watching channels for news, soccer – and of course Nollywood films, especially as broadcast twenty-four hours round the clock on the MNET-Africa Magic channels. Invariably, when Mama Sagamu and I are visiting in the same period, we end up being the only two watchers left when everyone else has either gone out or gone to bed. As we watch, Mama Sagamu runs a lively commentary on the film in question. Well, “commentary” is not the right word; more properly speaking, it is a dialogue, an interactive though one-sided conversation that she conducts with the characters and the action and on the screen. “Ha, eleyi o tile mo baye seri”. Ha, awon omo araye ma buru o! Olorun ma je kari ogun ota o! Kini arakunrin yi

tile n ro, to n fi ara e we Olorun? [Ha, this one has no clue about the nature of life and existence. Ha, the world is full of wicked, evil people! May God protect us from the malevolent machinations of wicked people! What exactly is this young man thinking acting as if he is God?] Dear reader, these are only the shorter varieties of Mama Sagamu’s dialogue with Nollywood films. She is convinced that the films in general raise vital and timely issues of morality, conscience and public good. It is of course true that I have heard similar running commentary made on Nollywood films in restaurants, bars and the waiting rooms of local hospitals and clinics. What is different between these other contexts and spaces is the fact that they lack the intimacy and the complete ease and relaxation of either the home itself or, as in the present case, the home away from home. In other words, the full impact of Nollywood films on millions of viewers in our country and across the African continent is to be properly gauged in the responses, the passions that they elicit at the home, especially with their commanding dominance of available leisure or recreation time at home. I should at this point perhaps inform the reader that I have written several times before on Nollywood in the popular press. I have also given

lectures in universities and colleges and participated in academic conferences on the Nigerian video film industry. Indeed, sometime in the second quarter of last year, I gave a very well received public lecture at Redeemer’s University titled, “What Is Right and What Is Wrong About Nollywood”. I now confess that as much as that question from Sade – “BJ, what is it that you and Mama Sagamu see in Nollywood films?” – has stayed at the back of my mind in all my writings and lectures on Nollywood, I have never actually addressed it. It is only now in the very act of writing out these reflections that I can understand why I have never addressed Sade’s question. Simply stated, I realize now that while I have been very intrigued by my experience of watching Nollywood films with Mama Sagamu, I have never really thought much of the full significance of the nature and form of Mama’s interest in Nollywood. This maybe because I have been unconsciously reluctant to speak for her, but I suspect that deep down, the real reason is that I do not yet know what to make of it in terms of both my set and evolving ideas on the great social and cultural currents of the country and the world in which we live. I confess that with regard to spectators’ attitudes, I am the extreme

opposite or antithesis of Mama’s robust and lively exchange with the characters and melodramas of good and evil of Nollywood films. I absolutely never utter a word, either to the actors on the screen or to fellow watchers. As a matter of fact, this total taciturnity extends to nearly everything I watch, whether live performances on stage or scripted and filmed dramas transmitted by television and other electronic media. Indeed, let me now make a last confession here: I am silent, I am taciturn because the films and the stage dramas themselves, as well as the audiences’ responses to them, constitute a composite enactment to which I pay attention. In other words, as much at my own home or home away from home at the Ogunbiyis, also at restaurants, bars and the waiting rooms of local hospital clinics, I watch the screen and simultaneously watch people watching and reacting to the films. If this seems a little creepy, in mitigation I enter the plea of a scholar’s and cultural critic’s curiosity as well as the not insignificant fact that I make sure that nobody is ever made aware of the fact that I include them in what I am watching! Inevitably, I come back to that question posed by Sade. And now I respond to the question by saying that Mama Sagamu, without really knowing it, has taught me to approach Nollywood films with humility but also with a critical attentiveness to its impact on millions of people in our country and our continent, especially in the most intimate of our private spaces, this being the home. For behind Sade’s question is the presupposition that Nollywood is, for the most part, artistic trash and cultural garbage. This view of our cultural elites concerning the value of the Nigerian video film industry is not without considerable merit and I have said as much in many of my writings and lectures on Nollywood. But we must not ignore the import of perhaps the single greatest historical and cultural fact about Nollywood. This is the fact that for good or ill, it has not only completely displaced both Hollywood and Bollywood as the dominant forces in the films that our peoples watch in their hundreds of millions, but it has done so by carrying the “struggle” far beyond public spaces into the intimacies of our homes. Barely more than twenty years ago, if I and Mama Sagamu were watching any films at all at the Ogunbiyi’s home in Victoria Island, we would in all likelihood have been watching Bollywood films. I cannot imagine that Mama would have had much to say to the characters and dramas of Indian films! What portents can we discern in this vastly consequential transformation? This will be the starting point in next week’s concluding essay in the series in which I intend to let Mama’s dialogue with Nollywood films be my critical guide. Biodun Jeyifo




Tamuno Diki A Be From the abundant well of goodwill that saw you elected into office in 2011 as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you have by acts of commission and omission brought Nigeria to the crossroads. In 2011 when you presented yourself to the Nigerian people, you were by your own admission, the shoeless waif from the Niger Delta creeks. Although the work ahead of you upon your election seemed cut out, but because you came across as a fresh specimen from the familiar political types that they have come to distrust, a broad spectrum of Nigerians took a chance on entrusting you with the difficult but urgently necessary task of national regeneration. Once elected, they expected that you would quickly settle down to attend to the most fundamental issues facing Nigeria; restructuring the economy to engage and provide jobs for our teeming unemployed young men and women who have unfortunately been driven to despair about their future; tackling decisively the bugbear of corruption for which Nigeria has earned a dubious worldwide reputation and which independent verifiable studies have identified as the greatest factor militating against its development and; facing down the incipient threats of insecurity and social disharmony among the various components of the Nigerian nation by instituting effective pro-active and reactive measures to demonstrate and reassure Nigerians that their security and wellbeing was of paramount importance to Government. We are in now in the third year of the mandate freely given to you by Nigerians across the length and breath of this country and thus far, you have not only fallen far short of the expectations of the teeming Nigerians who braved the odds to vote for you in 2011, on the contrary you have taken the opposite road in leading the Nation by your actions while in office, which cumulatively has brought us to the present state of unprecedented uncertainty in the country. This is the incontrovertible fact that majority of Nigerians have long come to terms with even before your parting of ways with your political benefactors and top grandees of your own political party. THE ECONOMY Let us take the economy for instance. Your Finance Minister who also doubles as coordinating Minister of the Economy continues to churn out figures and statements to indicate that the economy is growing. Her counterpart at the Central Bank talks esoterically about the positive effects of his banking and monetary reforms on the Naira. But the reality is that more and more Nigerians are getting impoverished every day, not being able to meet the most basic of requirements for a decent livelihood. Recently released figures from the National Bureau of Statistics point alarmingly to the ever rising spectre of unemployment in the country. Jobs are scarce and productivity is low. Factories and industrial establishments are folding up throwing millions out of jobs. Those that are able to earn a living have to contend with the dwindling purchasing power and value of their earnings. To compound the issue the same Economic managers who talk so glibly about how well our economy is performing have continued to raise alarm on the possible financial meltdown in the country arising from the dwindling fortunes of the economy. Between the hollow pronouncement of your economic managers and the real economic conditions in the country, there is a disconnect and Nigerians know where and how the shoe pinches them. Although the Finance Minister enjoys a reckoning in the media as a person with an economic midas touch, the fact however, is that relative to her supposed high standing reputation and connection to the world financial figures and institutions, she has neither brought any tangible benefits to the Nigerian economy nor is there anything novel or original in her economic policies. For a country of such strategic importance and preeminence on the resource endowed African continent, coupled with its immense contribution to global peace and security through its role as an outstanding global peacekeeper, and its manifest potential as the unchallenged leader of people of African descent around the world, Nigeria deserves much more than the puny handouts that the Finance Minister excruciatingly ekes out from the IMF and World Bank which she gloatingly passes as achievements. The true fact is that in the World Financial system, countries trade their political relevance and strategic importance for better deals from the dominant countries of the world and Finance or Economic Ministers always carry this important factor along in their negotiations. A few examples will suffice here. In the post second world war era, Germany’s tremendous tremendous economic achievements dubbed as wirchaftswunderwas largely due to the skillful negotiating of the German post war Finance Minister Ludwig Erhadtrading the strategic position and importance of Germany in Central Europe and hence in the strategic Nato alliance. Similarly Lee Kuan Yew, as Singaporean Finance Minister and later Prime Minister, negotiated the strategic position of his country located in the critical Singaporean straits to make it the hub of shipping and trade in the Sout East Asian region. Today Singapore with a minuscle population of less than 3 million ranks among the top economically productive countries in the world. In Turkey which during the cold war years was the headquarters of the southern flank of NATO alliance as a result of its straddling Europe and the Middle East as well as the Balkans and also the strategic sea lanes to the mediterranean sea the long standing and highly regarded Finance Minister TurgutOzal successfully negotiated and got key economic concessions for his country. Today Turkey is not only the economic hub of southern Europe, it is also the economic magnet of the newly liberated and emerging resource endowed Central Asian region stretching as far as Mongolia. The same can be said of the Asian economic power houses of South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. Comparative examples demontrates clearly that countries that have emerged into world economic prominence within the past two decades elected not to go through the drudgery of strait jacketed, doctrinaire IMF and World Bank policies which leads inevitably to the vicious circle of debts, deficits, capital flight and general economic stagnation that Nigeria currently experiences. Our Finance Minister has not demonstrated a capacity to think out of the familiar box of IMF and World Bank policies in negotiating our terms of economic engagement with the principal economic countries of the world. She has not availed herself of the opportunities and options that currently abound in the world economy to negotiate favourable terms of economic engagement commensurate with our status in Africa and our potential in the world. As a result the economy under your administration has missed out on key strategic opportunities to lauch an economic revolution that will transform Nigeria into the manufacturing hub of West and Central Africa commensurate with its size, location and resource potential. Had that been done there will hopefully be employment for our people, skills acquisition and technology transfer. The Economic policies currently pursued by the Finance Minister only concerns itself with exchange rate mechanism which can only encourage speculation on the Naira and not its long term stability as a currency of exchange. In its essence this economic policy pursued by your economic managers favours only short term economic instruments that set up to mop up our foreign reserves. It offers little or no incentive for the sort of long term capital investment required in the critically productive sectors of the economy that would foster long term economic development of the country. Under such emasculating conditions our ability to produce and manufacture is severely limited. On the downside, we cannot build and sustain factories that would employ and engage our youths and provide the value chain from production to supply and innovation. As a result we are stuck in the lowest rung of world trade not only lagging behind our peers like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, but measuring up negatively against even lesser endowed countries in Africa. CORRUPTION AND OIL THEFT Now to corruption. It has always been with us in Nigeria as in other societies and down the line administrations preceding yours have been guilty of it. But by all measures, in less than three years of your administration the level of corruption has gone stratospheric, surpassing even the stupendous records of all the administrations preceding yours. On

critical observation, this is attributable to two basic factors. The first is embedded in the need to reward those who aided your election in 2011. To compensate them for supporting and funding you to power you seemed to have relaxed even further the institutional deterrents put in place to deter and sanction corruptive acts, thereby giving tacit encouragement to it. The second factor which is more fundamental to the exponential rise in corruption lies in the unfortunate notion encouraged by your administration that as a son of the Niger Delta from where the bulk of the revenues of the country is sourced, your administration ipso facto is absolved from accountability on how those revenues are deployed. Simply put your administration does not see the need to justify or account to anybody for what it believes is “our oil money”. Due to the failure by your administration to submit itself to accountability on how it runs our national purse by these two principal factors, it has been open season for corruption under your administration. An unfortunate offshoot of this is the upsurge in oil theft , which under your administration has grown by leaps and bounds, affecting by independent accounts roughly one quarter of the entire oil production in the country. For a country that relies overwhelmingly on revenues from oil export, the loss of a quarter of revenues from this source through acts of stealing of this commodity ought to elicit strong counter measures from authorities. Again it seems your administration has been pusillanimous in facing up to the massive incidence of oil theft because you seem persuaded by the rather agricultural argument that those engaged in it are helping themselves to what belongs to them! As a result of the combined incidence of unprecedented official corruption taking place under your watch and the massive oil theft going on, Nigeria is hemorrhaging slowly and painfully with little or no sign of redemption. PUBLIC POLICY AND GOVERNANCE Nowhere is the effect of this more evident than in the area of Governance and Public Policy under your administration. Although you solicited and ultimately benefitted from a pan-Nigeria mandate to power, you have neither shown an inclination nor a capacity to reflect that in your public policy. When your administration embarked on the ill-conceived policy of increasing the pump price of petrol a few months after it came to being, it was both to pander to the corruption cartel and the oil thieves. The sensitivity and needs of the larger body of Nigerians was not your concern and when Nigerians rose in demonstration of their displeasure against that policy, you sought refuge behind the cartel and the sentiments that the oil which was in contention belonged to the people from where it is sourced and other Nigerians should have to put up with it anyway. Similarly when faced with the first major security challenge under your administration the October 1, 2010 twin bomb blasts in Abuja, your gut posture was to unpresidentially point elsewhere even before investigations by security agencies had started and even when the group that purportedly carried out the act came out to acknowledge it. Even within the Niger Delta your Public Policy reflects this narrow mind set. Taking it further even within the Ijaw ethnic nationality you have tended to alienate some in favour of the sub-group which you come from. In this regard, your administration has shown a definite bias in favour of the NembeIjaw communities of Oluasiri, Bassambiri in Bayelsa State against the KalabariIjaw communities of Kula, Elem-Sangama and Soku of Rivers State over the age old contentiuos issue of oil bearing lands and revenues accruing. 2015 ELECTIONS: DO YOU DESERVE TO BE RE-ELECTED BY NIGERIANS? The beauty of democracy which we are practicing as a form of government is that it allows for the choice of the people to prevail through periodic elections. In this exercise elected public officials who owe their mandate to the people are expected to present their performance for assessment while in office and to allow the people to determine whether to renew the mandate or not. By all parameters of performance assessment your administration has been an unmitigated failure. It has come far short of expectations in tackling the economy; it has cozied up to corruption; it has failed to promote and reassure Nigerians of Government’s commitment to their safety and security. The reason for this is not far-fetched. From inception against the expectations of the cross section of Nigerians who took a chance and elected you to power, you had chosen to see yourself as presiding over Nigeria on behalf of narrow interests. You have twisted the pan-Nigeria mandate given to you in 2011 into a mandate of divisive tendencies and by so doing mortgaged your administration to the dictates of those who do not not see Nigeria beyond the prism of their primordial sentiments. Your scorecard clearly manifests this. Your Economic policy thrusts favours only those few who are strategically placed to speculate on the national currency within the convenience of their hand held gizmos not those who want to slug it out in industry and manufacturing. Under your watch, the oil sector has become in addition to the usual tales of corruption, a bazaar for oil thieves destroying critical oil infrastructure and denying the country a large chunk of revenues. You have also obviously allowed yourself to be persuaded by the narrow, specious argument that Nigeria’s existence is sustained by the oil revenues from your area and as such other Nigerians no matter how well meaning do not deserve to question how you run the country. This clearly underlines the slip-shod manner in which you implement Budgets, spending out of control and not being called to account. Even though you have not declared to contest the 2015 election, your minders have been trying their hardest to steer the debate for your re-election not on the basis of your performance or lack of it, but on the rather blackmailing argument that Nigerians must willy nilly elect you or the country’s oil bloodline which is sourced from your area will be disrupted. Indeed some are heard to state that Nigeria’s continued existence as a country hinges on your being returned to power by all means whether merited by you or not. In the approach to the 2015 elections, Nigerians are being blackmailed into forfeiting their democratic rights of holding you to account for the mandate given to you by them and for determining whether to freely renew that mandate or not. It is little wonder then that you seem to have adopted scorched earth tactics to ensure your return to power in 2015 willy-nilly. You are slowly coercing and compromising critical national democratic institutions to achieve this. You have destroyed the National Governors forum as well as a similar forum of Governors from your own party. You have presided over the gradual decimation of your political party. Down the line with the power of incumbency in your hands it is not out of sync to expect that other national democratic institutions would be coerced and compromised into implementing your wishes. But in your particular case incumbency without legitimacy is a burden; moral, political and constitutional. Morally you have a burden to prove whether it is true or not that you freely entered into a covenant with your political associates to do one term only. Politically you have to explain and justify how your own political party should field you as its flag bearer when over one third of its most important members and counting have deserted in what amounts to a clear vote of no confidence on your performane as its leader. But most critical of all you will have to contend with the constitutional hurdle of seeking a secod term in office that will carry you beyond the prescribed constitutional limit of two terms of 8 years for Presidents, because by 2019 you would have spent 10 years continuously in office. Mr President, being hostatge to the narrow interests that have cornered you it would appear that you are far too gone to pause and ponder the implications of your current trajectory to the 2015 elections. The last straw will be when you try to destroy Nigeria in pursuit of your ambition as being egged on by certain individuals and certain sections of the country. For Nigeria as put together by God will endure not just for Nigerians but for the peoples of African descent all over the world for which he created it. To that effect I will leave you with a very popular saying in Krikese language which I am sure you are quite familiar with; Tamuno diki a be Iliyasu Gadu



Jonathan’s 2015 battles on pulpit

2015: Ogun Labour Party battles multiple crises


‘Why Aregbesola’ll win again’ PAGE 25


2015: Northern leaders plot new strategies to stop Jonathan •President Goodluck Jonathan

Northern leaders against President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election in 2015 are evolving new strategies to stop him following the gale of endorsements of the president, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan


ollowing last week’s gale of endorsements of President Goodluck Jonathan as presidential flag bearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by some states and zone chapters of the party, leaders and elites of the northern geo-political zones are now plotting new ways of truncating his second term bid. The North-East zone of the party and some state chapters, including Bayelsa, Kaduna, Kano, Adamawa, Rivers and Ogun, had last week formally endorsed the aspiration of Jonathan to seek a new four-year

term in 2015. The party leaderships in the affected zones and states also vowed to ensure the emergence of the president as the candidate of the party in 2015. Coming just around the time the president called for an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, many observers were quick to describe the endorsements as “predecessors” of many more to follow. “This is politics. It is a game of numbers and influences. What we are witnessing is usual in politics. Jonathan is the leader of the ruling party by virtue of being the president.

How would you expect him to lose the party ticket? To whom will that be? These endorsements are the beginning of many more to come. “ When that happens, the party primary in 2015 will remain nothing but a formality. In fact, all other party chieftains hoping to drag the ticket with him will be discouraged from doing so by the widespread endorsement that is to come. It is politics and it is okay,” a chieftain of the party told The Nation. Determined not to be outplayed by Jonathan and his men in the battle for the presidency in 2015, northern

While we are determined to stop Jonathan from hijacking the PDP for his unpopular reelection project, we are not losing sight of the fact that he may somehow get his will done by the party. This is why the issue of looking for an alternative platform is quite popular amongst us.

leaders, according to reliable sources, have been meeting with a view to device means of countering the latest moves by the president and his political handlers to put his re-election bid on sound footing by securing the presidential ticket of the ruling party without any opposition. The Nation gathered that some northern leaders and organisations have embarked on a number of plots aimed at stopping Jonathan at all costs following what many of them described as the “shamelessly fraudulent endorsements of the president by some northern politicians, especially within the ruling PDP.” The Nation gathered that a group of northern politicians, including about six serving governors, recently met with former President Shehu Shagari to seek his opinion on recent development concerning the region’s quest for the presidency •Continued on Page 20




2015: Northern leaders plot new strategies to stop Jonathan •Continued from Page 19 in 2015. Sources said the governors intend to visit other prominent leaders and politicians of northern Nigeria extraction in the coming week as part of renewed efforts to ensure the region is not caught unawares ahead of the 2015 presidential election. Some governors had last year paid similar visits to Shagari, former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; a former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida; and a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. While acknowledging the fact that Shagari is no longer an active politician, our source, who was part of the delegation that visited the former president said the visit was largely to keep the aged politician informed of developments within the country and seek his advice and guidance. “The visit is actually to inform and get advices. Alhaji Shagari, in spite of his age, remains one of the most respected politicians in northern Nigerian today. So it is not a big issue that we went to him to discuss politics. “The issues discussed were largely about the state of the nation and how to proffer solutions to some of the problems currently threatening the unity of this country today. We told him what is happening and he gave us meaningful advices accordingly. Of course the issue of 2015 presidential election was discussed. We went there to seek his opinion on a number of issues and like the leader and astute politician he is, he spoke with us appropriately. “He is not the only person we intend to meet. We are going round the region meeting with prominent northern leaders with a view to fostering unity, understanding and cohesion in the north with a view to ensuring that we speak with one voice always,” our source said. A reliable source also told our

correspondent that series of meetings had commenced among anti-Jonathan camps in the region to determine how best to thwart the plan of pro-Jonathan camps to get the party to nominate him as its flag bearer unopposed. It was gathered that the anti-Jonathan camps in the region are now closing ranks across party divides while also reaching out to more prominent northerners and other interest groups within and outside the region in a bid to form a formidable front against the president ahead of the 2015 election. A reliable source said one of such meetings was held in the Kano home of a prominent second republic politician last Thursday. One of the major decisions taken at the meeting, which had about three scores elites and politicians in attendance, was that a five–man committee put in place at the meeting should reach out to all former leaders of the country of northern extraction. “The decision to contact all former leaders of the country was taken, following an observation by some people that it is important for us to know the mindset of our leaders before going all out against the current president. The committee is to meet them, discuss with them, seek their opinions and invite them to our next meeting,” our source explained. The Nation also learnt that the committee already met with two former military Heads of State. While our source would not say what the responses from the duo are, it was gathered that the committee, which is due to report back to the house at its next meeting scheduled for this week, will be meeting another ex-military ruler today in Abuja. The committee is also expected to meet the likes of former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar; the Niger State governor and Chairman, Northern States Governors Forum, (NSGF), Babangida Aliyu, Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, among other prominent northerners, on what should be the next step of the region

towards the 2015 presidential contest. “We may not all be political associates. We may even differ on most issues, but one thing that is generally accepted by most northerners is that the presidency must return to us in 2015. This is why there is need for wide consultation on the recent stage managed endorsements of a non-northerner by some of our misguided political leaders,” Samaila Fari, SecretaryGeneral of the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF), said. Shedding more light on the new plans by the north to stop Jonathan in 2015, Fari said one option being seriously considered is to shop for an alternative platform to the PDP. “While we are determined to stop Jonathan from hijacking the PDP for his unpopular reelection project, we are not losing sight of the fact that he may somehow get his will done by the party. This is why the issue of looking for an alternative platform is quite popular amongst us. “The good thing about what is happening now is that a lot of groups and individuals are jettisoning political and all other forms of differences to co-operate on this mission. Stopping Jonathan from taking the north for granted in 2015 is a project we all believe in. And this is why we are all coming together to devise means of doing just that,” he added. Another source told The Nation that the region may also return to the Courts in its bid to stop Jonathan in spite of an earlier declaration by the Appeal Court that the President is eligible to contest the 2015 election. According to our source, it is likely that some people will approach the Supreme Court for an interpretation of the judgement. “That way, we may be able to re-open the case and hopefully get a favourable judgement thereafter. We strongly believe justice was not done to the case by the Appeal Court in its ruling. You will recall that the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, had earlier said the battle against

President Jonathan’s ambition in 2015 had just begun even with the court victory. Mr. Anthony Sani, the spokes person of the forum, once said the case against Jonathan would be taken to the Supreme Court for interpretation. This, we believe, is the time to do that,” our source revealed. Sources at another multiparty meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja, at the instance of a former president, which had representatives of the ACF, Unity Forum (UF), Northern Union (NU) and scores of other northern groups in attendance, claimed that the meeting concluded on the need for the north to drag the control of the PDP with Jonathan’s camp ahead of the 2015 elections. The meeting was said to have resolved to do everything possible to ensure the election of a northern president in 2015, while also checkmating Jonathan’s re-election project. “The meeting took place in the late hours of Wednesday in Maitama District of Abuja. Participants were generally displeased with the political and socio-economic fate of the north in the last couple of years. Participants deliberated on the imperative for consolidation and strategies towards ensuring the emergence of a northern president in 2015.” “Those at the meeting included officials of the ACF, NU, UF, MBF, governors, former ministers, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senators, a former Inspector General of Police, federal and state legislators, party chieftains and numerous other northern leaders. “The meeting resolved that the only opportunity we have is a democratic change of the situation and that can only be achieved through a joint effort by all northerners to reject the ongoing degradation of our region by the president and a few people amongst us. Everybody at the meeting emphasised the need for change, irrespective of which platform would be used to bring about that change,” our source said.

Ekiti PDP governorship Forget re-election, group tells Kuta aspirants may step A down for Aluko



S POLITICAL permutations continue in the build-up to the 2014 Ekiti governorship polls, fresh reports emerging from the state capital, Ado – Ekiti, indicate that some aspirants under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might be considering withdrawing from the race and backing the candidature of Senator Gbenga Aluko. Reliable sources, close to the campaign organisations of at least two of the aspirants, one from the Ekiti South Senatorial District and another from Ekiti Central,

said they were already holding discussions informally with top members of Gbenga Aluko Group (GAG), the campaign organisation of Aluko. This is a prelude to their principals formally stepping down from the race and declaring support publicly for Aluko. The aspirant from the Central Senatorial District was quoted as saying that he had seen the writing on the wall and had decided early to back an aspirant whom he believes stands a real chance of defeating the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the governorship election tentatively scheduled for June this year by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). On the other hand, the aspirant from the Ekiti South Senatorial District, where Aluko comes from, was said to have based his decision on the fact that the earlier all Ekiti South Senatorial District aspirants come together and back one of their own, the better for the district. He was said to have pledged to collapse his campaign structure to work for the success of Aluko. Efforts to confirm the report from the aspirants were unsuccessful. The campaign manager to one of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was not something they wanted to discuss in the press for now. Also, the Director–General of Gbenga Aluko Campaign Group, Prince Olatunji Olatunde, while not denying the report, said that Gbenga Aluko will continue to discuss with other aspirants on a daily basis. While noting that the aspirant is open to alliances with other aspirants, he promised to issue a comprehensive statement when definite agreements have been reached.

LLIANCE for Change 2015, a political pressure group in Zone B Senatorial district of Niger State, has called on Senator Awaisu Dahiru Kuta to forget his bid for re-election into the Senate, alleging that the distinguished senator has performed below expectation in his seven years sojourn in the upper chamber. The group also described his tenure as lack lustre. Rising from an emergency meeting in Abuja, last week, the group in a five-point resolution, signed by Alhaji Muhammed Aminu, Coordinator and Barrister Joseph Anthony, Secretary respectively, unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in the senator. According to the group, the senator, as an indigene of Niger State, has the constitutional right to contest for any position in the state, but they reaffirmed that as representatives and voice of the people of Zone B, they have vowed that Senator Awaisu Dahiru Kuta will not represent them again in the hallowed chamber of the senate, come 2015. The Alliance for Change gave reasons why the people of Zone B will not endorse or vote for the senator even if he defects from the PDP to any political party.They alleged that he was not in touch with his people as he has not visited any of the constituencies in the nine local government areas that made up Zone B since he was elected to represent them in 2007, including even Kuta village where he hails from. They lamented that the constituents were never briefed on the happenings in the senate and the country as a whole, it is only members of the House of Representatives from the zone that do come and brief them “yet we claim to have somebody in the senate. Such impunity must stop and 2015 is the year to put a stop to that.”


The Alliance said politicians are supposed to be closer to their people; regretting that “Kuta was far away from his people as even his liaison offices are always shut with no outreach officers to respond to challenges facing the people.” The Alliance concluded by saying, “this is indeed a defining moment in the politics of Niger state, the era of just selecting anybody to go and represent the state in the national or state assembly is over. They said inhabitants of Zone B are sophisticated and enlightened and the senatorial seat in the National Assembly is nobody’s birthright. We have been practicing rotational democracy, this time around it must be done the way it is supposed to be done, no part of the emirates in the state should be marginalised.”




Jonathan’s 2015 battles on pulpit Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, in this report, gauges the pulse of Nigerians on allegation that President Goodluck Jonathan has taken 2015 political battle to the pulpit

•Pastor Enoch Adeboye of RCCG, praying for President Goodluck Jonathan just before 2011 election.

• Jonathan and wife, Patience at the 2013 Christmas day service held at Cathedral Church of Advent, Anglican Communiun, Abuja

S the battle for 2015 elections peaks, Nigerians are expressing concern that some politicians and public office holders are taking advantage of the pulpit, converting religious services to mini campaign grounds or venues to get back at their critics or political opponents. One of the public officials that is so accused is President Goodluck Jonathan. Between the last Christmas Day, December 25, 2013 and today, the president, according to some respondents, has probably taken advantage of the pulpit more than any other single politician or public office holder. He has utilised every opportunity given to him to thank congregants in virtually all the church services he has attended, to either respond to criticisms against his person or office or to comment on other critical national developments in the country. “As a result,” said Dr Gabriel Uzoma, an elder in Presbyterian Church and grassroots leader, “concerned observers are today afraid that the church stands the risk of being dragged into the muddy waters of politics ahead 2015. We are worried and will appreciate it if Mr President and other politicians will henceforth refrain from making political statements when they attend church services or Muslim prayers, as the case may be. Such services are good for prayers and worship to God alone and should not be used for political commentaries and such like,” he said. On the Christmas Day, last year, President Goodluck Jonathan, who worshipped at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Anglican Communion, Gwarimpa, Abuja, used the opportunity to warn his political opponents against heating up the polity, saying the country belongs to nobody in particular but to all Nigerians. As he puts it, “For us at this time ,especially, we the politicians, we think we own this country and begin to think about next election and doing what we ought not to do, making statement we ought not to make, writing letters we suppose not to write. “This country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women, our youth. Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians.’’ The first Sunday of the year, January 5, 2014, was another day for such verbal exchanges. Jonathan, who worshipped at the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), used the opportunity to lash out at some Nigerians he identified as “evil,” prophesying that the country “must be liberated” from such people. “Nobody or group can hold this country to ransom. We will collectively liberate this country from any evil person, so that we can leave behind a Nigeria that our children and grandchildren will be proud of,”he warned. This year’s Armed Forces Remembrance celebration service offered the president another opportunity to advance his position on the 2015 presidential election and to talk back at his critics and political opponents. At the service, held on the second Sunday of the year in Abuja, he commented on the altercations arising from disagreements over his alleged resolve to contest in the 2015 presidential election. While not denying his ambition, he warned that no Nigerian should kill or maim himself or herself because of his ambition. He also came hard on his critics. “Sometimes I get worried when I listen to provocative statements that come from very senior citizens. People that ordinarily you perceive are very senior citizens. People who are probably 70 or 80 years, who have seen it all, who ordinarily should know the unity of this country is more important than the interest of any individual. “Sometimes, they preach hate and even encourage young people

to carry arms and kill themselves. “I have always said it that any ambition I have at any time is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. I will never ever expect a Nigerian to spill a drop of his blood because Goodluck Jonathan must fulfill his ambition,” he said, adding, “I always say as a politician that I pray all politicians should know that there will be no nation if we kill ourselves. If you want people to come out and vote, why do you threaten them? If you threaten people they will stay in their houses and how will you win election? ‘In an occasion like this, we should also admonish ourselves that we should preach peace and unity in all our conversations. If we do that, all our problems will be resolved, our security issues will be resolved. If all of us collectively talk about the unity of this country, about peace in this country, then our country will progress and move in the direction we want the country to move,” he said. Interpreted to be a direct attack on a personality like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently wrote an open letter carpeting Jonathan’s administration and other outspoken political opponents, an associate of the former president, who pleaded not to be identified because he was not authorized by Obasanjo to react on his behalf, has warned that Jonathan, by choosing holy services to make such direct attacks may be treading a dangerous path of dragging religion into the hard core politics. “We are not worried by the attacks. We are only concerned by the chosen venue to vent such anger. A church is a house of God, not a campaign ground where we can throw muds,” he said. It would be recalled that in his message at the service, the Arch Bishop of the Abuja Diocese of the Methodist Church, Arch Bishop Job Ojei, while supporting Jonathan, had also warned politicians against making what he described as ‘unedifying utterances.” “All politicians should give us peace of mind. Some of the utterances we hear from them make us begin to fear. If you need our votes don’t threaten us. If you continue to threaten us nobody will come out to vote. Leave 2015 alone. God will take care of it. By hating other tribes or other religion, you will never eliminate those tribes or religion. By causing trouble for a particular religion will not eliminate any religion. God knows why he allowed the existence of other tribes and religion. Every religion is meant to build up the nation,” he said. Most Nigerians who spoke to The Nation on the matter during the week condemned the act of using pulpits to exchange words on political matters or governance, warning that it does not augur well for the polity. “Nigeria has suffered so much as a result of ethnicity. It would therefore be dangerous for us to further complicate the situation by encouraging a mixture of religion and politics,” Alhaji Ademola Ogunloye cautioned. Ogunloye, an architect and retired elder in Lagos, cautioned Church and Mosque leaders across the country to stop availing public office holders and politicians of their pulpit or alter for political commentaries. According to him, “this does not speak well of such religious organisations. It reduces rather than adds to the credibility of such religious organisation. If this trend is not stopped before 2015, the result will certainly be unpalatable to all. Nobody needs be told that this act is extremely dangerous. You can imagine what will happen to our religion if every politician abandons campaign grounds for religious alters when they want to engage one another in their dirty politics. I think they will only desecrate the alter and hinder the move of the Holy Spirit,” he said. But Deacon Israel Akpan, who identified himself only as a Pentecostal minister, argued that “there is nothing wrong with a public office holder, who is a believer, talking about the challenges of the


country while in the church, especially if the aim is to subject such challenges to corporate prayers. We believe that when two, three or more brethren join hands in prayer and decree anything, it shall be established. Look, the problem of Nigeria requires the attention of the church, and blessed is a leader who recognises this fact and wants the church to intervene in prayers,” he said. Sister Elisabeth Ogadinma of Mercy Assembly Ministries, Lagos, agrees with Akpan on his matter. She described Jonathan as “a deeply religious leader,” who, according to her “is right in taking the political challenges of the nation to the house of God.” She however cautioned that such opportunities should not be used for name calling and abuse of political opponents, but should be dedicated only to prayers. It would be recalled that for Jonathan, resorting to the pulpit, for solution to his political quest is not new. At the peak of the campaigns for the 2011 presidential election, he caught the attention of Nigerians, when, at one of the Holy Ghost Night Services at the Redemption Camp ground, he stepped out for a special prayer. At the end of the exercise, witnessed physically by millions of worshippers at the camp, and watched live on cable and television across the globe, his critics loudly condemned the act, wondering why, as the president of Nigeria, he had to kneel down to pray in front of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A Adeboye, who led the prayers. One of the critics, Pastor Tunde Bakare, the Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, reacting to the development then, said mockingly, “They have signdled the campaign by going to kneel down before Pastor Adeboye. See, I am not saying that pastors should not pray for presidents, that man was representing an office; a whole nation, crumbling before men of God because of political advantage they think they can get. And if the prayer will bail him out, let us wait and see.” Bakare added, “By going to kneel down in the open before the pastor, the man (Jonathan) did not even recognise the dignity of his office. If it were a private thing, it is okay for you to crawl or kneel but it is a whole nation. That office has been diminished by a man who does not know the worth of it and does not deserve to stay there for one more day.” As it turned out, however, Jonathan won that election and has openly attributed his success at the polls partly to the prayers offered for him in that service. When he visited the same camp ground during another of such services long after his electoral victory, Jonathan told the large congregation, “I request that you continue to pray for our country. All nations pass through challenges. As a nation, we are passing through our own challenges, but there is nothing, and I repeat, nothing, that is above the power of God. I am convinced that with our persistent prayers, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to what is right... That I am here today, speaking to this congregation as President of Nigeria is a good example of what God can do because without his divine intervention, I wouldn’t have been here as president of the country. Of course, God works in miraculous way. “People ask me whether I am contesting election in 2015 and I say it is early to decide about election. I am here to thank my brothers and sisters for the prayers that you are offering for this country. With more prayers, I am sure we will conquer devil... When I was campaigning for election, I came to the camp and you prayed for me, and I succeeded,” he declared. As the actual political battle draws nearer and the major actors desperately seek prayers and support of brethren, religious purists are afraid that unless caution is taken now, campaigns may be manipulated by callous politicians to dent the image of holy grounds and possibly worsen division based on religious beliefs. The fear is deep as Nigeria approaches the 2015 election year.




•Hon Abiodun Akinlade

•Otunba Gbenga Daniel


HESE are not good times for the Ogun State chapter of the Labour Party (LP). The party, which a few months back was touted as the only opposition party ready to confront the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 general election, has fallen into troubled waters. According to close observers of the politics of the ‘Gateway State,’ trouble started for the budding political party following the decision of the ex-governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, to dump his erstwhile party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and move into the LP with his supporters. Daniel’s entrance into the party, some analysts claimed, altered some political calculations and consequently pitched the new entrants against some established interests within the party. As a result of the many frictions that followed, several efforts were made by the leadership of the LP in the state to dislodge the former governor and his men from the party. Since the beginning of the face-off between Daniel and the Simeon Olabodeled State Executive Committee of the party, the LP in Ogun State has lost its appeal, especially among politicians seeking a veritable political platform to challenge the Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led APC in 2015. Besides, many of the known leaders of the party have either dumped the party in disappointment or are being ousted from their prime positions as a result of the intraparty wrangling that has turned the erstwhile beautiful bride of Ogun politics into a troubled platform. In a move that many pundits described as a lethal blow to the very soul of the troubled party, its leading chieftain and known financier for many years, Alhaji Rafiu Ogunleye, a former deputy governor in the state, during the week, moved out of the party. Ogunleye, according to close allies, is on his way to the PDP. His decision to leave the LP, sources claim, is not unconnected with the decision of the national leadership of the LP to endorse Daniel as the leader of the party in Ogun State. ‘There is no way Ogunleye will stay within the party with OGD as the leader. He is out for good. This is a party Ogunleye nurtured in the state until it became attractive to politically displaced persons like Daniel. For the national leadership to say Daniel is now the leader, it means they are unappreciative of our effort in the LP. So, we are on our way to the PDP,’ an aide of the former deputy governor told The Nation. The Nation also learnt that most members of a group of state legislators, led by former Deputy Speaker, Remmy Hazzan, which defected into the LP late last year, are now contemplating dumping the labour camp.

2015: Ogun Labour Party battles multiple crises As opposition political parties perfect plans for 2015 elections in Ogun State, Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan, reports on the multiple crises in state chapter of the Labour Party One of the lawmakers, who spoke to our correspondent, said they are no longer comfortable within the party with Daniel as the leader. ‘You will recall the unhealthy relationship between our leaders and OGD during the last political dispensation in the state. You will agree with me that there is no way our camp can be positively considered by an OGD-led party structure. Even prior to his confirmation as party leader, we have fought him all the way to the national secretariat of the party. We even reported him to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who called him and advised him to respect the people he met in the party. Also, he has been accusing us as the brains behind his recent suspension from the party. He knew we were loyal to the Ogunleye arm of the party here in Ogun State. “With Ogunleye out now, what will become of us if we stay behind? This is why many of us are seeking alternative platform now. Soon, you will begin to see the exit of most of the people that made LP look like a force to reckon with in Ogun State politics,’ the lawmaker said. Days before Ogunleye’s exit from the party was announced, the national leadership of Labour Party suspended the state chairman of the party, Simeon Olabode, and his secretary, Sunday Oginni. The duo were accused of allegedly adopting two governorship candidates ahead of the 2015 general elections. They were dragged before a disciplinary committee of the party in Ogun State, which would sit on January 15, 2014. But analysts say the allegation against the two is a smokescreen. They claim the two party leaders are being vilified for refusing to endorse the appointment of Daniel as party leader by the national

leadership. And as if confirming the above view, the party headquarters, in the letter of suspension sent to Olabode and Oginni, also asked them to explain to the disciplinary committee, their reasons for expelling Daniel from the party. ‘The headquarters claimed the person of Otunba Gbenga Daniel was vilified, abused and called unprintable names by those who masterminded his expulsion from the party without recourse to party hierarchy. It is largely because of this that the National Working Committee, in exercise of its power under the constitution of the party, decided to suspend the chairman and the secretary from office pending the outcome of the sitting of the disciplinary committee of the party,” a party official said. To land into its current travail, the Olabode-led state exco had in December 2013 expelled Daniel from the party. The development was made known in a statement jointly signed by Olabode, and Oginni. Explaining the reason behind the decision, the official said “Our position was not a fight against those who have chosen to join our progressive mindset, but against the tyranny called Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD). “OGD as an institution he claimed to be has lost all traits of democratic ethos and pursues personal agenda rather than our collective aspiration. He is known to destroy political foundations of individuals and groups as evidenced by his destruction and destabilisation of PDP in 2011. Whatever he is today was made by PDP who gave him the lifeline in 2003 to become governor, but he later chopped off all fingers that fed him, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s.” “LP put Gbenga Daniel on probation for one year, starting from December 2012

to December 2013, but because of the trait of the mischief and callousness he had demonstrated so far and at certain times during his probation period, we told him to formerly resign his membership of PDP,’ the party had said. But in a swift disagreement, days later, the national leadership of the party not only upturned his expulsion but also saddled Daniel with the responsibility of repositioning Labour Party in the state. The National Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, stated this when he received the former governor of the state and some leaders of the party at its national secretariat in Abuja last week. The chairman said those that orchestrated the purported suspension of the former governor from the party in the state did not have the support of the party at the national level, adding that there were so many people claiming to be officers of the party at various levels that were not known to the national leadership of the party. ‘When we have people like you (Daniel), the devil will want to cause trouble and I must say that the party has come to some reasons and we have arrived at some decisions concerning the party in the state. We cannot say someone, who has served for eight years as a governor, should just go like that. “His alleged suspension is as a result of people who are afraid of his presence in the party. Daniel is the leader of the party in Ogun State and we have asked him to use all what he has to ensure we have victory in the state in 2015,” he said. Nwanyawu later handed over the party’s identity card to the former governor, asking him to use his wealth of experience to build the party in the state. But if Nwayanwu was of the opinion that putting Daniel in charge of the party would douse the tension within, he should by now be rueing his decision. Aside from the shocking exit of Ogunleye, The Nation also learnt that the party has been informed of plans by another leading light of the LP in Ogun State, Hon Abiodun Akinlade, to dump the party. Akinlade, who was recently endorsed as the party’s gubernatorial candidate by the embattled Olabode-led state leadership, according to sources, is worried that the coming of Daniel as party leader will truncate his governorship bid. ‘Except you want him to deceive himself, there is no way Daniel will give Akinlade the LP ticket for the 2015 governorship election. He is known to be an unrepentant supporter of Gboyega Isiaka’s ambition to rule Ogun State. So there is no lie in the report that Akinlade is thinking of dumping the LP in pursuant of his gubernatorial ambition,’ an aide of the federal legislator said.




Convene genuine national conference, Igbo leaders tell Jonathan


GBO Leaders of Thought, an Igbo socio-political think tank, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to convene a genuine national conference so as to stop future calls for such conferences. The leaders made the call on Friday, January 17, 2014, when they rose from the organisation’s fourth assembly in Enugu. In a communique signed by the group’s secretary, Prof. Elo Amucheazi, and made available to The Nation, the group said it was “gladdened and encouraged by the fact that the Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Odua People’s Congress, Ethnic Nationalities Movement, South-South Congress, Southern Nigerian People’s Assembly, CLO, Hurilaws and the Civil Society in Nigeria and South East People’s Development Assembly, amongst others, have openly endorsed the position of the Igbo Leaders of Thought to wit: that Nigerians desire a proper National Conference where no ethnic nationality would be excluded. “Where the decisions will not be sent to the National Assembly for final approval. That a bill should be sent to the National Assembly to give legal backing to the confab. That the decisions should not be integrated to the existing 1999 Abacha constitution but rather that a brand new constitution that will move Nigeria forward should emerge from the confab. That the decisions of the confab must be ratified at a people’s referendum.” The meeting also reiterated that

So long, Mr. Tukur


• L-R: Prof. Uche Azikiwe, the widow of Nigeria’s first president, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, the leader of the group and Evang. Elliot Uko at the Friday’s meeting of Igbo Leaders of Thought

By Sam Egburonu the report of the PAC fell short of the desires of the people of Nigeria and “pleads with President Jonathan to convene a National Conference that is in tune with the wishes of the people to move Nigeria forward and to put an end to agitations for a National Conference in the future as the opportunity this confab presents, if properly convened, has the potential of restructuring Nigeria for good and moving this great and blessed country to the next level in peace, stability, unity and prosperity.” In attendance at the meeting were Prof. Ben Nwabueze, the leader of the group, Prof. Elo Amucheazi, the secretary, Prof.

Ben Obumselu, Prof. Uche Azikiwe, the widow of Nigeria’s first president, Prof. Ginigaeme Mbanefo, Prof. Felix Oragwu, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, HRH (Prof) V.C. Ike, Prince Emeka Onyesoh, Engr. Obi Thompson, Chief Enechi Onyia and Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa. Other prominent members in attendance were Col. Emma Nwaobosi, Sen. Offiah Nwali, Sen. Anyim Udeh, Chief H.B.C Ogboko, Dr. Chu P. Okongwu, Lolo Kate Ezeofor, Mrs. Maria Okwor and Evang. Elliot Uko, among others.

Re: APC battles PDP for soul of Abia Right of Reply T HERE is the Igbo proverb that a man absent in a burial would always start the exhumation of a corpse from the feet. This is a taboo in Igbo custom. The Nation on Sunday January 12, 2014, presented speculations as facts on page 21, written by Sam Egburonu, one of The Nation’s regular columnists. He erroneously credited Chief Apugo’s exit from the PDP to APC as a big loss to PDP. Lies! Damned lies. Chief B. B. Apugo has been living on past glories of the NRC days. It is a known story how he sponsored Dr Ogbonna Onu, first democratically elected governor of Abia State. The installation of Onu got his head swollen that no cap could size it and he started playing god. His nominees for the commissionership sailed through like milking a cow, but he did not know when to stop and so got at loggerheads with the incumbent governor. In life, there is a point you cannot go beyond and it was Apugo’s first time near a governor and so, he lacked knowledge of the power of incumbency. Onu, later in his administration, weaned himself of Apugo’s overbearing Godfatherism and used the big stick. In truth, the biggest defeat Apugo had suffered in his uninspiring political career was in Onu’s hands during a party convention where Apugo’s invincibility was debunked. His thugs, one of his biggest weapons, were boxed in and couldn’t have access to the venue, now the FRSC H.Q. in Amuzukwu Umuahia. In that same administration, when Apugo could not have his way, he urged his nominees to resign, and they all did except a few like Chief Jonny Nwabuisi, who is now a stalwart of the APC. Professor Nwoko, a good gentleman, the Secretary to the

By Hilda Ifeoma Ifegwu

State Government then, was one of the people who resigned. These few mentioned are still living and could tell the story better if they have not written their memoirs. Sam equally cited Emenike as probably the second most powerful to join the APC ranks in Abia. In the article, Sam forgot Chief G. O. Onyemobi, who has been bearing the APC cross. Now, listen Sam! Chief Apugo and Emenike are two trouble makers that will destroy the APC. Apugo has never been a team player - a very poor attribute for party politics. Chief Apugo, in his autocratic behaviour does not attend meetings in another man’s house except in his palace with his bevy of domestic staff and kitchen cabinet made up of spent political forces who sing his praises, tirelessly echoing his opinions and hailing every banal utterance he makes. In physical terms, Apugo’s place is a lion’s den and there are no Daniels in the APC. Watch out, his first action now will be to hijack the APC and that’s where the trouble will start. Chief G. O. Onyemobi, who has been running the affairs of APC in the state, knows Apugo too well to have anything to do with him or take him into confidence. Emenike on his own is another tinder box. ‘Emenike is only an election politician,’ said one of his coordinators. He comes around when there is election after which he fails, litigates and zooms off. He knows more lawyers than he knows the electorate. He is more familiar with the precincts of the courts in Nigeria than he knows his home constituency and has not been known to have won any election, even that of his age grade. Emenike holds court like Apugo and seriously disdains his so-

called followers except those who have mastered his mentality and only tell him what he likes to hear. You wrote about strong political structures for both men. More inexactitudes! They neither have structures nor strong base, if you doubt, go to INEC and find out the pattern of votes they have garnered in all the elections. Emenike only thrives on chasing political shadows like the last case where he organised his own primary, ignored the PDP approved primaries apparatus and organised his lateral primary in his own venue, overseen by his selected officers. APC in Abia is really in trouble. I will be looking out to see who will stand behind Emenike except security men. If the stories that made the rounds are anything to go by, most of the people who served him in previous elections were hounded by security men and cars and other items he gave for the election were recovered. I can name names if need be. Still talking about the tempestuous Chief Apugo, he has not been of any use to Abia PDP. Recall the PDP presidential primaries in the Eagle Square, Abuja, January 13, 2011. He was the only Abia delegate who voted against the adopted candidate. Out of the 81 delegates accredited, one vote was lost and everybody knew whose vote it was. Is such a character the type to be positioned as a worthy member? Emenike’s lateral primaries and Apugo’s rebellion in Abuja drew the ire of the party disciplinary committee and nearly fetched them expulsion from the party but for T. A. Orji’s intervention. Their exit is good riddance to bad rubbish. For Sam Egburonu, if he puts his ears to the ground, he will certainly hear the drumbeats of the ants. • Ifegwu wrote in from Umuahia

O the uninformed and uninitiated, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis has been resolved with the resignation of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as national chairman. He was not the problem, but the fall guy. He came into office by the grace of President Goodluck Jonathan and held the office purely to protect the President’s political interest. He realised this and played the part assigned him in the script written in Aso Villa. As President Jonathan himself said when he was finally forced to sacrifice the 78-year-old, “Tukur has done nothing wrong”. He acted his part in the play well. He pretended to understand the political terrain and talked tough. In the process, he incurred the wrath of many members and leaders. His removal, to demonstrate that the President is not as politically powerful as he is presented, became a major demand of the disaffected. This has fuelled the baseless speculation that the five governors who jumped ship to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC) could beat a retreat and seek cover under the torn umbrella once again. While nothing could be taken for granted in Nigerian politics, it seems to me that Tukur was sacrificed to halt the exodus, rather than bring back those who have already formally defected. Also, it seems a move to save the political career of the President who has lost so much ground within such a short period. The loss of 37 members of the party in the House of Representatives, the impending change of leadership in the House to reflect the current realities and the signpost that the Senate could ultimately follow suit is a gloomy outlook that no politician would fold arms and watch unfold. Is the forced resignation of Chairman Tukur Jonathan’s joker? Just how much help would this avail him? At the state level, the most populous and politically significant states-Lagos, Oyo, Rivers and Kano- are now all in the APC fold. Kaduna is unstable and could tilt either way. The whole of the Sokoto axis of states- Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara- appear to have “ported” to the APC. Beyond the numbers, this is significant. It is even more interesting that the governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, has dismissed any expectation that the affected governors could be encouraged to return as a result of Tukur’s resignation. The North is smarting from its loss of power. It is also afraid that should it allow 2015 pass without staging a comeback to the stage, it could become a permanent loss. The Northern coalition of forces is frightening. It has brought together the traditional progressives and conservatives. In Kano, the home of radical politics in the North, the apparent coming together of the PDP, ANPP and CPC has blurred the ideological line and presented a different scenario. If the experiment in the APC works, it would be the first time that the mainstream political establishment in the West and the North West would be working together. And, supported by the North East. It might also be the first time that the East and Southern minorities would address politics as a joint venture, backed by the Christian minorities in the North Central. It is obvious that the contest for power in 2015 is at the heart of the battle for the soul of the PDP. President Jonathan’s bid for a second term is the basis for the contest. If he genuinely wants to find a lasting solution to the crisis in his party, he would have to sacrifice his political ambition. One terse statement openly and unequivocally disavowing interest in another term that would take his tenancy in Aso Villa to ten years would do the trick. It is the only means of checking the exodus to the APC. Otherwise, not only would more House members ditch the ruling party, but the Senate would witness an eruption of earthquake proportion. Can President Jonathan survive? Umeh, Nwanyanwu et al The ongoing realignment is not affecting the PDP alone. During the week, the national leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) also changed. Justice Ade Kafarati of an Abuja court ruled that Victor Umeh was not validly elected leader of the party and should, therefore, step aside. His place, the judge ruled, should be taken by Maxi Okwu. The import of this would be felt throughout the South East in the one year left before the next election. Umeh has appealed, but how long would this take? What really does the party’s constitution say about the mode of election? More important to me is the principle that the leadership of parties must be elected in accordance with constitutional specification. The APGA constitution stipulates that no leader should be in office beyond eight years, but the secretary, Shinkafi, has been kept in office for more than ten years. Political office is not traditional stool that could be occupied for life. In a subtle way, this could also extend to the presidency- is it envisaged that, for any reason, a President could be sworn-in thrice for a combined term exceeding eight years? When the time comes, this question is likely to be posed to a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction. For how long has Dan Nwanyanwu been in office? How much longer is he likely to be kept there by forces that have seized the Labour Party for self interest? The APC is saved this scrutiny because, officially, it is a new party and the executive acts in interim capacity. If, after a proper convention is held the same names and faces are recycled, the same parameters would be extended to it. Indeed, the struggle for a new Nigerian continues.





NCE again, President Goodluck Jonathan has squandered another chunk of what is left of his political goodwill with the unguarded boast to Nigerians that his performance in two and half years as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has dwarfed those of all his predecessors since independence. The President did not stop there. He further challenged Nigerians to compare his administration’s performance with that of any country’s administration in the world! This latest outburst of the President may have been necessitated by the unrelenting barrage of criticisms from the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), President’s own Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as well the growing murmurs of disappointed Nigerians who had thought that voting for a ‘humble’ and apparently cerebral (Jonathan has a Phd) man will help improve the country’s fortune and raise their living standards. Add this to the unflattering rating of Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world by the global anti-corruption agency Transparency International, and one will understand why President Jonathan should feel uncomfortable. However, in reacting to these pressures, the President’s spokespersons have continued to alienate him from Nigerians, including some of his sympathizers, through misguided comments, selective and often misleading data and, sometimes, outright falsehood. For instance, the President’s claim of superior performance over his predecessors has enlarged his enemies’ camp beyond former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has engaged the President in recent times. All other former leaders and their loyalists are now aware that Dr. Jonathan is a ‘superior’ performer! His inclusion of governments outside Nigeria further exposes him to ridicule as development indices indicate that many African countries, many of them less endowed, rank much higher than Nigeria in the development continuum. Whether it is in per capital income, life expectancy, maternal mortality, access to education, potable water, housing, employment, security, agriculture, power, etc, which are all used to measure a country’s Human Development Index, countries like Gabon, Angola, Algeria, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Malawi, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, and South Africa are heads and shoulders above Nigeria. Let us even for the purpose of argument assume that the President’s performance has been exceptional, there is still no basis for comparison with his predecessors without highlighting what parameters have been used in arriving at such a conclusion. This is because each succeeding administration in Nigeria operated in different local and global environments and was confronted with peculiar challenges. For instance, General Yakubu Gowon had the challenges of fighting a civil war, managing post-war relations, and effectively managing the windfall that accrued to Nigeria in the oil-boom era. General Murtala Mohammed confronted an emerging humongous and extremely powerful and corrupt bureaucracy, questionable sincerity of the military to return Nigeria to civil rule, and providing leadership for the efforts to dismantle apartheid and minority rule in Southern Africa. General Olusegun Obasanjo inherited these responsibilities from General Mohammed after the latter’s assassination in a failed coup, the only time in Nigeria that a new military administration was a continuity of a previous one. Alhaji Shehu Shagari became the first Executive President of Nigeria and had the immediate task of nurturing Nigeria’s new civil rule into a full-blown democracy whilst also accommodating rising cost of governance (due to civilian rule) in the face of dwindling revenue from crude oil- Nigeria’s economic main-stay. For General Muhammadu Buhari, corruption in high places, breakdown of ethical conduct amongst the populace and a failing economy were the challenges. On his part, General Babangida had to contend with economic restructuring owing to oil glut, increased corruption in the public sector, and transition to civilian rule. Generals Sani Abacha and Abdusalami Abubakar also came in tow, the latter going down in history as the most focused leader in

The presidency and dubious self-appraisal

• Jonathan By Lai Mohammed

Nigerian history, having ensured a successful transition to civil rule within 11 months of coming to power. It was not that Nigeria did not have other debilitating challenges at that time, but because General Abubakar simply took a long look, identified the most strategic issue in the land and went for it! Chief Obasanjo’s second coming as a civilian President was at a time Nigeria’s image had been badly battered in the international community. That was the era ‘pariah state’ entered the Nigerian political lexicon. He also had to confront corruption which by now had taken up a life of its own in all sectors of our national life. You can also add the trio of public infrastructural deficit, economic recession and sustenance of civil rule to his basket. Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua had his day in the sun but his greatest challenge was not the health of the Nigerian nation but his own debilitating health, a battle he unfortunately lost in May 2010. It was his demise that initially opened the doors of the President’s office to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for the completion of Yar’Adua’s tenure. Dr Jonathan then went ahead to win the Presidential election of 2011 which granted him a 4-year tenure as President and CommanderIn-Chief of the Armed Forces. Unfortunately, while he thought he would focus his attention on an aspect of Nigeria’s decayed infrastructure (power), he was proven wrong by the enormity and urgency of other challenges which did not feature in his calculations. He was not alone in this failure. Indeed, most Nigerians, exasperated by the many agenda-setting slogans of his predecessors, set a one-point agenda for him: revitalization of the power sector, an agenda the President himself bought into, at least from his campaign messages. Barely weeks into his tenure, the challenges of insecurity, decay in the petroleum sector, political intrigues, increasingly restive citi-

zenry, waning relevance of Nigeria in the international community, corruption as statecraft, etc began to rank very high in the ladder of challenges confronting the President. I have labored to compartmentalize the challenges that faced the various administrations that Nigeria has had in order to show that the only objective parameters that can be used in adjudging the success or otherwise of a government is its ability to effectively focus on its avowed agenda while proactively managing the environment in a way that does not unnecessarily throw up issues that will distract it from set objectives. Therefore, President Goodluck Jonathan should understand that rather than comparing himself with past administrations, he should be focusing on how well he has delivered on his electioneering campaign promises, while also managing the unintended or contrived issues that now endanger his presidency. To the average rational Nigerian, real and perceived evidences do not support the President’s claim of exceptional performance. Indeed, the President himself recently alluded to that when he said he is the most criticized president in the world, but that those criticisms were because the people have not started seeing the outcome of his transformation agenda, which he said may not manifest immediately due to the long-term approach of his administration. Why and how, just a few months down the line, the same President would claim to have outperformed his predecessors and contemporaries in other countries is amazing. Of late, the President’s men (and women) have been quick to point to an economic growth rate of seven percent and World Bank reports which say that foreign direct investment into Nigeria in 2013 makes the country an investors’ destination of choice. However, the same spokespersons are quick to repudiate other reports that sound less patronizing. For instance, the Federal Government vehemently repudiated Transparency International’s report that ranked

Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Indeed, some of the claims of the President’s men make me wonder whether they actually understand the enormous responsibilities that the office carries. Not too long ago, I listened to the Minister of Information claiming that the President should not be held responsible for the orgy of violence that have reigned supreme in some parts of the north. According to him, the Boko Haram phenomenon is the handiwork of political opponents of the President. Granted that this is so, whose responsibility is it to bring the alleged sponsors of terrorism to book? When you mention the rampaging prevalence of corruption, what you are greeted with by government officials is that it did not start with Jonathan. Neither could you hold him responsible for the poor state of public infrastructure in the country. However, the same government is quick to claim credit for any achievement by a Nigerian, even when it is through the individual’s dint of hard work, perseverance and a determination to escape poverty. Just a few days ago, I watched the Minister of Sports at the Glo-CAF Awards referring to Mr. President as the most successful President in Nigeria’s history in terms of laurels won by Nigerian athletes. Unfortunately for the minister, he didn’t get the expectant response from the audience. The near silence and a few audible grumblings by a hitherto animated audience was sufficient evidence that they were not impressed by the minister’s sycophantic gesture. For goodness sake, even if winning of medals and trophies by athletes and teams are used to appraise the political leadership of countries, President Jonathan will not feature anywhere close to the performing leaders. The zenith of accomplishment in sports is winning an Olympic gold medal. This President has not won one. General Abacha ‘won’ the African Cup of Nations in 1994 in Tunis and two gold medals in 1996 in Atlanta. In sports, one gold medal is greater than 100 silver medals! At any rate, the hallmark of a successful President is the legacy he leaves behind through his strategy and policies. Today, Edo and Delta States continue to be the production mill of sportsmen and women in Nigeria due to the sports development strategy of Dr Sam Ogbemudia as Governor of old Mid-West and later Bendel State. This government has not built any sports facility and has no plans of doing so. Most public schools do not have sporting arenas where talents can be discovered and honed. The only grassroots sports competitions still running are sustained by some committed individuals supported by corporate organizations. I am not aware of any robust government intervention in sports to which we can attribute the sporadic triumphs by Nigerian sportsmen and women. To think that this is the same government that spent over two billion Naira on the 2012 Olympic Games that did not yield a medal of any colour! Also, despite the hyped agricultural transformation by the Federal Government, Nigeria is still far from being in a position to feed its citizenry. Billions of dollars are spent annually on importation of just one food item, rice. Road infrastructure is still in a parlous state. At no time in the history of this country did we have so many Nigerians languishing in foreign jail houses, most of them innocently fleeing from poverty at home. Our tertiary educational institutions are a shadow of their old self. Nigerian degrees are now worth slightly more than the papers on which they are printed, leading to parents sending their wards to South Africa, Europe and America (and even Ghana) for quality education. Nigeria’s influence on the global stage has also nose-dived in recent times, climaxing in a noticeable snub at the burial of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Weighed against these setbacks, those fawning aides who are deifying President Jonathan and exaggerating his performance are doing him a disservice. This is because now that they have put him in the stratosphere in terms of his performance, what then is there for him to aspire to in terms of achievement? He can as well relax and wait for Nigerians to show appreciation for his ‘impressive performance’, come 2015! •Alhaji Mohammed is the Interim National Publicity Secretary All Progressives Congress(APC)



HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to be in disarray in recent times. What do you think is responsible for this? Once a party is rejected by the people, everything will start going wrong with it. Nigerians have rejected the PDP. And why shouldn’t we reject them? Since 1999 till date, what are the things you can call the achievements of PDP governments anywhere in the country? Take a look at the federal governments they ran for fourteen years. Electricity is not stable. They budget billions for the power sector every year. The country’s economy cannot grow without electricity. In the area of job creation, the PDP administration is not doing anything meaningful to address rising unemployment in the country. The crime rate is on the increase, leading to frequent loss of lives and properties, especially in the Northern part of the country. Our roads have become death-traps, in spite of trillions being voted for the transport sector yearly. The menace of corruption is also there. Even when they are caught stealing, they get clean bills of health at the end of the day. Here in Osun State, is the PDP still on ground? I don’t want to waste my time talking about a party that is no more in existence here. The PDP is no more a party of note in Osun. With his sterling performance, Aregbesola sent PDP packing in Osun. But the party says it will return to Government House this year? Wishful thinking by a few dreamers I would say. How will they achieve that? Who will vote for them? What are they offering the people? What was their achievement while in office? They failed the people of Osun State. They raped the state carelessly and now want a return ticket to the Government House. Isn’t that funny? The people will compare their seven and a half years in government with Aregbesola’s four years when it is time to vote. In all facets and departments of government, you cannot compare Aregbesola’s few years with the seven and half years of his predecessor. Today in Osun, visit any local government, you will see one project or the other going on. There are innovations he brought to gover-


‘Why Aregbesola’ll win again’ Michael Odesanya is the Senior Special Assistant on Youth, Sports and Special Needs to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. In this interview with Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan, he spoke on the forthcoming governorship election in the state and gave reasons why Aregbesola will be re-elected by the people of the state. nance when he came in. One of them is the monthly exercise tagged ‘Walk to Live’ whereby the governor walks about six kilometres with the people. This simply is a test of popularity and acceptance. If the generality of the people in a local government do not accept a leader, how can he walk in their midst? Aregbesola is doing this every month. The Agba Osun programme is another innovation. Monthly stipends to our elderly and others have their medical bills defrayed. Besides, when he came on board, within the first 100 days in office, he employed 20,000 youths under the OYES Scheme. Another 20,000 has been employed. Again, there is government’s intervention in agriculture such as in arable crops like cocoyam, cassava, plantain, fishery, honey and poultry. So you are saying Aregbesola will be reelected for another term? The chance of Governor Aregbesola in winning the polls is very bright. The beautiful work he’s doing in the state is already campaigning for him. For example, since the creation of the state over 22 years ago, apart from Baba Chief Bisi Akande, there is no other governor that has ever done what Aregbesola did so far. We have seen the woeful performance of his immediate predecessor. In fact, Aregbesola’s achievement is 10 times of the performance of the immediate past government which was in power for nearly eight years in the state. In the area of road construction, there is no area in the state that Aregbesola has not touched. Talking of agriculture, he has turned the state to the food basket of the nation through his various agricultural policies, giv-


ing out loans and farm implements to farmers, sending thousands of youths to China and Germany to go and learn how to farm in a large scale and so on. In the area of employment generation, within his first 100 days in office, he recruited 20,000 youths under the


scheme called OYES. He has also recruited the second batch of youths, making 40,000. So, with all these achievements and many more, I believe Aregbesola will defeat all his opponents hands down in the 2014 governorship polls in the state. But are you sure other people, especially non-politicians and members of the opposition, share your view on the governor’s performance? I will answer your question by recounting what two prominent persons said recently about the government in Osun. The first is the Orangun of Ila Orangun, a frontline traditional ruler here in Osun State. The respected monarch said when he was coming from Ila to Osogbo recently, it took him less than forty minutes to reach Osogbo due to the good road networks that are being built by Aregbesola’s government. He went ahead to say the government of Aregbesola has performed creditably well in all sectors of the economy. According to him, there has been peace in the state, economy is booming, infrastructural works are going on everywhere, schools are being built, hospitals are being rehabilitated, fantastic and qualitative road networks everywhere, youths are being employed. He added that these sterling performances are the reasons all the traditional rulers today in the state are supporting the governor and saying the works must continue. He said Aregbesola must be re-elected. Also, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Carter, recently visited the state and described Osun State as peaceful and viable for investors and investments. The envoy, who was on a business visit to the state during a courtesy call on the governor, lauded the commitment of Aregbesola on education, economy and infrastructure development. He specifically said Aregbesola has done creditably well in terms of infrastructure development, which according to him, has attracted both local and international investors to the state. So, what these two people said will tell you what the public feel about Aregbesola. But why are the governor’s critics reluctant to agree that he has performed? They will not because they are political critics. They are not objective critics.

Enugu: Misguided diatribe of Nnaji I

N an advertorial published on page 48 in the January 13, 2014 edition of The Nation newspaper, one Ojiofor Nkanu, ostensibly writing on behalf of Senator Gilbert Nnaji threw decorum to the winds and launched unwarranted attacks against Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, the Chief of Staff to Governor Sullivan Chime. The mediocre writing, lacking in elegance and communication skills, was a fitting exposure of its ill-educated sponsor and his warped comprehension of issues of state craft. It is very tragic that after a decade in the National Assembly and a stint as a Council chairman, Gil Nnaji, our half-baked lawmaker who represents Enugu East in the Senate, would authorize such a piece which put our dear Nkanu land on the radar for all the wrong reasons. Now, hear our senator: “She (referring to Nwobodo) is paying peanuts to Nkanu sons for them to continue thriving in ignorance as a diversionary tactics aimed at snatching our senatorial zone and add it to NDI AGBAJA”. Here lies his fear, myopic as it is. Nnaji is scared to hell that Nwobodo has an interest in contesting the Enugu East Senatorial District elections in 2015 and has continued to employ all manners of smear campaigns to blackmail the hardworking lady. By seeing her as one usurper of his heritage just because she was born to Udi parents and married to a distinguished justice from Nkanu West, Nnaji has exposed his utter disrespect for the institution of marriage and womanhood in general. And for Nnaji and his cronies to talk of pedigree, Mrs. Nwobodo is a daughter of Prof. Uzoh, a renowned professor of Agriculture recognized by the United Nations for his deep knowledge. For a serving senator who should be making laws for the well-being of our country to talk about such parochial lines of nativism is quite lamentable. But that is the lack of intellectual pedigree and small-mindedness of Senator Gilbert Nnaji

By Livinus Ani

for you! As his fellow Nkanu man, I want to excuse our other brothers and sisters of the possibility of any collective guilt because unlike our senator, Nkanu people do not nurse any such contempt for our wives, daughters, sisters or marriages. We treat our wives who are mothers of our children as part and parcel of Nkanu land, not as outsiders who have no rights whatsoever. If Gil sees his wife in that light, we can only but pity the poor woman! It was quite instructive that Nnaji and his hatchet writer are so shameless to call attention to the senator’s failure to organize the stakeholders’ forum when his other 108 colleagues interacted and collated the views of their constituents toward the on-going constitution review. In the said advertorial, Nnaji went a step further from his earlier timid stance to add all tissues of lies as the causes of his inability to hold the event at Agbani. A shadow chaser, he points at the direction of Mrs. Nwobodo and recalled all the meetings held in the aftermath of the event. Again, all one can do is pity the senator over his misplaced indictment of Mrs. Nwobodo rather than bury his head in shame that he would be blaming a state officer for his failure to hold such a critical national assignment. Was the Divisional Police Officer he mentioned answerable to the woman? Instead of looking for scapegoats, he should bury his head in shame that of all the 109 senators, he was the only one who could not bring his constituents together to discuss certain aspects of the constitution which is being reviewed. If anything, the man needs to be called out of his closet and be told some home truths. He must be told in unmistakable words that aside his limited education and whispers of parading a doubtful certificate, Nkanu land will do better with a more productive, not mediocre representation at the

hallowed chambers of the Senate. We challenge Nnaji to name any significant bill he has sponsored after eight years in the House of Representatives and over two years in the Senate. Rather than play the race emotive card, can he tell us what he has attracted to boost the lives of his constituents these past years? Or is it not shocking, even hurtful that such a zone with its rich array of intellectual and professional talents settled for a crass opportunist only interested in self-aggrandizement? Painfully too, he continues to stifle development in his home Enugu East Local Government Area. Can Senator Nnaji tell the whole world what happened to the contracts awarded to Three Favours Company in respect of three comprehensive hospitals some years ago? By the way, who is behind Three Favours Company? Can he tell us what happened to the two transformers purchased to give electricity to his people – one for Alulu Nike and the other for Nike Lake Road? Who hijacked the transformers for his hotel and residence respectively? Are they packed in whose residence now? Gil’s blood brother, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji is the current chairman of Enugu East Council and the state chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Enugu State chapter. Can Senator Nnaji tell us his relationship with him? Why does he not have a cordial relationship with other past council chairmen like Hons. Cyril Mbah, Eddy Nnaji, Edward Ubosi and Mathias Anike? Who is sponsoring the crisis in Ibagwa-Nike and the other among the women folk in Nike? The answers to the above questions will reveal the quality and character of the man who represents Nkanu land at the Senate. This insecure legislator simply cannot contemplate his imminent climb-down from his senatorial perch. The trouble is that he is incapable of any retrospection and too illprepared to cope with the complexities of lawmaking that will benefit both his imme-

diate constituents and the larger society. Perhaps, somebody needs to remind Nnaji that he had said in various public and private events that he would do only one term in the Senate after eight years in the House of Representatives. So, where lies the honour? The inescapable truth, however, is that Nkanu land needs a new face at the Senate in 2015, no matter who that person is. A resort to deliberate distortions and ingeniously ascribing despicable acts to presumed opponents will only raise Nnaji’s profile in notoriety. His avowed complicity to join forces with a handful of his co-conspirators to “fight” Governor Chime is as puerile as his threat to “use the EFCC to stop that woman (Nwobodo).” Ditto for all the lame talks bordering on the use of thugs to make Enugu state ungovernable! These threats are as unimaginative as other lies concocted to portray Mrs. Nwobodo as influencing the sack of officers of Nkanu origin or the distortion of facts that the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi has operated these six years and eight months from his private residence. Of course, nobody loses sleep over such falsehood knowing well that Mr. Onyebuchi only moved out of his official residence for some rehabilitation works to be done. I want to end by calling on Senator Gilbert Nnaji to imbibe the wise counsel of Gerard Ford, the 38th President of the United States who says, “I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government but civilization itself.” We sympathize with his fast-fading grip on power but threatening mortar gunfire, making hateful statements and slandering some state officers who are committed to their jobs and fiercely loyal to their boss, are ineffective deflective tactics that will not guarantee him a return to the Senate. •Ani wrote in from Maryland Estate, Enugu





Akande’s day of laughter T

Akpabio’s new headache



F feelers emanating from AkwaIbom are anything to go by, then Governor Godswill Akpabio has a new reason to be worried. The Governor who is currently battling hard on many fronts, according to sources, is now having sleepless

nights over the entry into the 2015 governorship race in the state by one University don by the name Richard King. King, a Professor of Zoology, according to whispers around town, though from Eket, the same senatorial zone being favoured by Akpabio to produce the next governor of the state, is neither an ally of the governor, nor a member of his political family. Apart from not being close to the governor, another thing that is bothering Akpabio over King’s rumoured ambition is the news fast gaining ground within the political landscape of the state that the university teacher has been endorsed by President Goodluck Jonathan to succeed Akpabio in 2015. Though it is yet to be confirmed, if the story of King’s endorsement by Jonathan turns out to be true, then Akpabio has every cause to be worried. Or what with the insinuation across the state that he has also positioned one of his aides to take over from him? •Akande

Who is afraid of APC in Bayelsa?

Shredding Okuroumnu’s report S prominent Nigerians and leading organisations continue to pick holes in the report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan by the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on the proposed National Conference, questions are being asked on the thoroughness of the process that led to its compilation. First it was the revelation that the committee has hidden a minority report compiled by one of its members, Chief Solomon Asemota. In the said minority report, Asemota has disagreed with a number of the committee’s submissions. Shortly after the president received the report, many civil society organizations faulted quite a number of the provisions therein. Organisations like Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ohaneze Ndigbo, PRONACO etc, picked one hole or the other in the report and said so loudly. The opposition political party, All Progressives Congress is not left out of the outcry that is threatening to tear Okurounmu’s report into shreds. In the party’s opinion, the report dwelled more on trivial things while leaving pressing issues of national importance unattended to. And if anybody was in doubt that Okurounmu and his co-travellers trivialized the assignment given to them, the statement last Thursday by a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Olisa Agbekoba, that the report is incapable of addressing the issues for a better Nigeria, further sent the document on its way to the dustbin.

HE Interim Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bisi Akande, last Thursday, laughedas party chieftains and other dignitaries from all over the country sang his praises, during a programme put together to celebrate his 75 th birthday Then former Osun State governor, flanked by his wife, Omowunmi, laughed and waved all through the event held at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos. And he had plenty reasons to laugh. From General Muhammaddu Buhari (rtd), to the about ten governors present and even numerous other dignitaries who spoke at the event, Bisi Akande heard nothing else from them but praises and commendations. To put it straight, nobody had anything undignifying to say about the IlaOrangun-born politician. Even the two leading intellectuals who delivered papers at the event, Prof. Akin Oyebode of the University of Lagos and Prof. Olu Obafemi of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), spared some time to join in pouring encomiums on Akande. And so it was that Akande laughed all through the programme. For him, last Thursday was a day of laughter and he had quite a lot of people around him to share the happy moment with him.




HE on-going clampdown and organized campaign against the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has shown that its opponents are conceding that it is actually a political party to reckon with in President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state. Since the emergence of the party in the state last year, it has constantly been bullied by the powers that be in Bayelsa. Its name has been dragged through all manner of muddy waters, turning it into the most discussed entity within the political circles of Yenagoa and its environs. First was its chieftains that were arrested and brutalised by the police on cooked up allegations. Then its members were told they have no right to hold rallies or even party meetings anywhere in the state. Those who dared to gather in public got the beatings of their lives for failing to heed earlier warnings that the party would not be tolerated in the state. And as if all that were not enough, information reaching us from Yenagoa has it that a chieftain of the party, Richard Kpodo, has been told by the state government that his expansive house in Yenagoa has been earmarked for demolition. Kpodo’s only known offence up till this moment is that he converted the private property into a secretariat for the APC in the state. Kpodo, a known loyalist of former Governor Timipre Sylva, is the leader of the opposition party in Bayelsa State. As the persecution of APC and its members continue in Jonathan’s backyard, the question on most lips is ‘who is afraid of APC in Bayelsa State?

•Timipre Sylva












OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821)









•Continued on Page 76










•Same-sex wedding





•Pope Francis laying hands on a man in May 2013

•Fr Gabriele Amorth







Exude a

e l a t y r i fa I


F you are getting married this year, then you must have an idea of the kind of outfit that you would like to step out in on your D-day. For many a modest wedding gown made by one of the best designers would do. Here the bridal gowns in this category are customized though our couture designers. To get a fashionably couture creation, you can add sleeves, raise a neckline, and redesign a bodice. This year, weddings locally and internationally are getting a major upgrade and everything from dresses to dance floor playlists to photo booths is fair game. According to a new survey some new trends are on the horizon for 2014. Wedding gown designs from the 60s would stage a comeback. This year, we'll continue to see dreamy, ethereal, and mystical ceremonies with lots of lush greenery, lace, and floral. “ How to exude a fairytale vibe without inflating your budget.

By Yetunde Oladeinde "For every couple that wants their privacy, there's another that's itching to broadcast their day. We call these 'Super charged weddings' because the day is designed to be sharable. The popularity of destination weddings has given way to the notion of the 24/7 events."You may also want to group all the traditional elements of the ceremony together so no one feels like they're missing out, if they skip an extracurricular activity Although jewelry will never go out of style, this year is all about the jeweled neckline. "This type of neckline can replace a necklace altogether. For brides that want a simple dress but don't want to be boring, a beaded or rhinestone neckline makes your look more eye-catching. In addition, you can also wear an up-do or your hair pulled back to accentuate the glitter.

Onigbinde weds Odunowo


•The couple

•Couple with Groom's parents: Pastor Adedotun &Remi Odunowo

he family of Dr. and Mrs. Akin Onigbinde, a lawyer and one time Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly has given out their daughter in marriage to the family of Pastor and Mrs. Adedotun Odunowo. The marriage was held at the Orita-Mefa Baptist Church, Ibadan. The couple is based in the United States of America.

•The couple with the bride's parents, Dr and Mrs. Onigbinde

•Couple with Hon Femi Emmanuel- Former Deputy Speaker, Oyo State & Senior Pastor, Livingspring Chapel International

•From left: Former Oyo State Deputy Gov Iyi Oladokun, former Governor Rasheed Ladoja and his wife, the couple,former Ogun State Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel, his Oyo State counterpart Adebayo Alao-Akala, and Chief (Mrs.) Funmi Awomolo (SAN)

I wish I didn’t have tattoos --Singer Seyi Shay



Day Calabar exploded in rainbow colours







By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

Rivals and equals


THE GReggs

Messi and Ronaldo: enthralled by the expertise of one and dazed by the dexterity of the other, the writer mustered sufficient acumen to weigh in on the eternal debate on either superstar’s perceived superiority about this time last year. Even more captivated in the wake of the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, the writer couldn’t resist comment, even if it brings the argument no nearer its conclusion. THE football world once lusted after the skills of Brazil great, Edison Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele, and the ‘pocket dynamite’ from Argentina, Diego Maradona. The famous duo cast in the classic No. 10 mould ignited a rivalry that transcended decades and outlasted a succession of world-class forwards before the emergence of contemporary pair, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both campaign for Barcelona and Real Madrid between whom Spanish La Liga bragging rights oscillate. Until last week’s 2013 Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) Ballon d’Or gala night in Zurich, Ronaldo’s second place finish in voting for the 2009 FIFA Player of the Year award as well as the 2011 and 2012 Ballon d’Ors resonated more than the 2008 Player of the Year gong and a series of individual and team accolades won for club and country. His antecedents dribble comparison, unless your name is Messi or, more affectionately, ‘Messidona’. Messi, also called ‘Atomic Flea’, in 2012 led the world with over 300 goals in 360 plus appearances for Barca beside a record 91 goals in a year for club and country to land FIFA’s honour – his fourth in a row. Some indeed consider Ronaldo the less accomplished of the two on account of the FIFA’s consistent rebuff, but the scenario could yet change. For one, if the award, as stipulated by FIFA, honours the player ‘considered to have performed best in the previous season by national team coaches and captains as well as journalists around the world’ then the midfield dynamos from Spain, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, could each stake a claim to the 2009 and 2010 awards. And Ronaldo could for the 2011 and 2012 prizes. The trio registered more impact with their national teams and clubs. While the Spanish duo galvanised Messi at Barcelona and motorised Spain to the 2008 European Championship title and the 2010 World Cup trophy in South Africa, Ronaldo fired Real Madrid and Portugal on, often single-handed. So, is Ronaldo level with Messi or even better? In some ways. Apparently the more complete player, with ambidextrous feet that shoot canons and a ‘lethal’ head that neutralises goalkeepers with ease, Ronaldo functions well on either wing or from the middle without the benefit of exceptional support and, significantly, has proven himself with different clubs and leagues (Sporting in Portugal, Manchester United in England, and lately, Madrid in Spain). Messi, on the other hand, has never left Camp Nou and may never do so, due, in part, to contract terms and the probable challenge of playing in a midfield without Xavi and Iniesta, two of the best passers in football. Indeed, Barcelona’s fluid, effective system appears constructed for the diminutive Argentine with the deadly left foot. Take him out of the comfort zone and the goals might trickle. For instance, until Argentina made Messi captain and designed the squad for him, he struggled to transfer club form to the national team. His modest achievements with the national team surely pale beside Ronaldo’s role of talisman which almost fetched the southern Europeans the 2004 European Championship crown at the winger’s first attempt. In a word, tasked with a new team required to win repeatedly, and a pick of the best attacker or wide midfielder to lead, you are better off with Ronaldo. But required to man the top of an established free-flowing system, you couldn’t enjoy a more sumptuous proposition than Messi.


Readers’ Response Resolution for all O get mi gani, Sunny Side. “Am driving, maa peyin pada”. Forget it. “Network yi o daa rara”. For where? I don’t promise to change but I will try ‘limiting perfection to being a better person’, so help me God. Ngbano, ki tie ni ‘perfection’ na ati ‘better person’, ti n baa mo nkan ti mo fe LIMIT ati nkan ti mo fe BE? +2347056128*** You just made my day. Keep doing what you do. Husain +2348097547***

QUOTE The only gift is a portion of thyself.

Jokes Humour Labour of Love WHEN Florence got a job, her husband agreed to share the housework. A somewhat laid-back character, he was stunned by the amount of effort involved in keeping a house clean with small boys to pick up after, and insisted that he and his wife shop for a new vacuum cleaner. The salesman gave them a demonstration of the latest model. “It comes equipped with all the newest features,” he said. The husband was not impressed. He asked, “Don’t you have one that I can ride?” Noticing Changes MARRIED 13 years, a couple was dressing for a party. The wife had spent all day getting a haircut and permanent. When she and her husband met in the hall before leaving, they looked at each other and said nothing. The wife complained that the husband had not even noticed her hair. “You used to pay attention to every little thing, and now you don’t notice anything! You take me for granted!”

The husband stood there rubbing his face as he let her rant and rave. Then it hit her: He had shaved off his sixmonth-old beard. Philosophy Boomerang APPROACHING 40, a frugal man called Fred yearned to buy a boat. Frugality prevailed until the day he came across the obituary of an old secondary classmate, Thomas. Convinced that this was a sign that life was too short, Fred purchased a boat that weekend. Days later, a former classmate called. “Sure was a sad thing, wasn’t it?” he said. “You know, Thomas’ boating accident and all.” Loud and Clear WHILE in city traffic, Dan was behind a line of cars. The last driver was on the phone and drifting all over the road. This did not escape the attention of a road safety officer on patrol. He pulled up behind the errant driver and said over his loudspeaker, “If you can’t stay in your lane while on the phone, pull over until the call is completed.” Eight cars pulled over immediately. •Adapted from the Internet

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Writer ’s Fountain HY WE WRITE: When writing, you don’t engage your voice As every practiced writer knows, a or guts at first. You don’t watch your expression. rush of excitement often trails the achievement You focus on the exercise. The reward comes of a word count for the day even if most of the afterwards when you cool off from your writing would have to be changed the next day. exertions. Seasoned writers know that they do not have With the benefit of experience, we to find their ‘voice’. Their story finds it for them. recommend that you follow in the steps of And finishing the story is the very first reward great wordsmiths before you. Like them, the writer gets. ensure that you draw up an outline, to begin with. Don’t think. Just write, stop, then write Animal moves: again. •If a crocodile loses its teeth it will always But does that explain why writers write? grow new ones to replace them. Despite our best efforts, we fear we may •Goats’ eyes have rectangular pupils. not be able to give a definite answer, for it is •Greyhounds have the best eyesight of any something beyond words. No one can really breed of dog. And they can reach their top explain, for instance, why the writer prefers speed of 72 kilometres per hour in only the pain of writing and re-writing to physically three strides. painful pursuits like climbing a mountain or •German Shepherds bite humans more taking up self-defense. than any other breed of dog. Do writers write to be accepted in the •Giraffes and humans have the same community of writers and to be able to amount of vertebrae in their necks. Giraffes proclaim: “I am an author”? Or to feel flush have no effective vocal chords and can last with excitement when somebody other than longer without water than a camel. their partners says: “this story is good”? Or is •Half of the entire species of Chameleons it because writers just can’t stop themselves? occur only in Madagascar, the rest mostly The latter appears to be the most acceptable in Southern Africa. answer as promising writers agreed at a forum.




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Customs generate N73.2bn at PTML Command in 2013


HE revenue generated by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ports and Terminal Multi-Services Ltd. (PTML) Command rose to N73.2 billion in 2013 up from N71.2 billion collected in 2012. The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr Steve Okonmah, disclosed this over the weekend in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. According to him, the

revenue result achieved in 2013 reflects a 2.7 per cent increase compared to that of 2012. He said: ``In 2013, PTML Customs Command, a model port, realised the sum of N73, 210, 954, 981 as against a total revenue of N71, 267, 589, 007. This shows that in 2013, there was an increase of N1, 943, 365, 974 or 2.7 per cent increase as against 2012. ``The truth of the issue is that we were able to achieve this because the CAC in his

Okoro resigns from GSK, recounts fond memories

Solar energy: Sun as alternate power source

Hopeful contenders for CBN top job

Wisdom 30 Loop Holes and the officers were adequately sensitised. ``You know that the CGC has already been motivating the officers. He has been training and re-training the officers. ``So expertise, alertness and honesty on the part of officers and constant dialogue and sensitisation of agents led to this increase, notwithstanding the withdrawal of Maersk Line on April 4,`` Okonmah said.

Okonmah said that a total of six containers were seized in 2013 which included five 40ft containers and one 20ft container. Okonmah also said that six vehicles such as Lexus Jeep, Mitsubishi Space Star, Toyota Camry, Nissan Murano, Nissan Quest and Toyota 4Ruuner were also seized in the period under review. Okonmah said that the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seized items was N97.3 million.


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TCN chairman applauds BPE efforts in privatising power sector


LHAJI Ibrahim Waziri, the Chairman, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), has applauded the efforts of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in the justconcluded privatisation of the power sector. A statement signed by BPE's Head of Public Communications, Mr Chigbo Anichebe, said Waziri made the statement when he paid a courtesy visit to the bureau on Friday in Abuja. It quoted Waziri as saying the privatisation of the power sector by the Federal Government through the BPE would reposition the sector. The statement said the TCN chairman assured that the company was committed to playing its part in the sector's reform by reaching out to all stakeholders to actualise the reform. It also quoted the Director-General of the BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, as saying the bureau was committed to assisting TCN to succeed.

NEXIM partners NEPC on export promotion


•From left: Winner of N5million in the ongoing Glo "text4millions"promo, Luka Yakubu, flanked by Babalola Samson, a transporter, Isaac Sunday, a businessman, and Oladosu Abdulrahman, a youth corps member who won N50,000 each in the promo during the prize presentation ceremony held in Abuja recently.

CBN unveils IT standards for banks


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has released Information Technology (IT) standards to commercial banks to ensure quality service delivery in the banking system. In a circular to all banks last Thursday, the CBN said that the standards were in pursuant to the need to

By Bukola Afolabi identify and adopt global IT standards for Nigerian banks. It said that the standards would serve as reference points to ensure quality IT service delivery through I n f r a s t r u c t u r e Transformation programme The circular added that the blueprints for the standards

and the framework had been defined and released for adoption pending the completion and launch of the Bankers' Committee IT Standards Portal. The apex bank said that the IT Standard Council would be reconstituted after two years and would drive the adoption, implementation and compliance to IT

standards in the banking industry. The circular said that the compliance audit would begin at the end of the prescribed periods as indicated on the implementation roadmap. It said that the baseline assessment for 'priority 1' standards should be carried out in banks in first quart

Nigeria, India bilateral trade volume hits $16.67bn


HE First Secretary in High Commission of India in Lagos, Mrs Rani Malick, on recently said that trade volume between India and Nigeria reached 16.67 billion dollars (N2.7 trillion) in 2013. Malick disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a three-day "Indian Products and Services Exhibition" held

at the Commission's office in Victoria Island, Lagos. The first secretary said that the trade relation between the two countries was favourable to Nigeria. "India has long been Nigeria's privileged business partner in various sectors and our engagement is expanding by the day. "India is today Nigeria's largest trading partner.

"During the past few years, bilateral trade has doubled and Indian exports to Nigeria have tripled. "Today, Nigeria is India's largest trading partner in Africa with 16.67 billion dollars in direct bilateral trade in 2013,'' she said. Malick said that there were over 100 Indian companies with cumulative investments as well as

creating jobs in Nigeria. She, however, said that both countries had yet to adequately harness the bilateral trade potential. Dr Justus Itsueli, the President, Nigeria-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI), said that the exhibition would sustain interaction among Nigeria and India businessmen and women.

HE newly appointed Executive Director/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, has paid a courtesy call to the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian ExportImport Bank (NEXIM) at the headquarters of the Bank in Abuja, to discuss areas of possible collaboration and synergy. Welcoming his counterpart to the government trace policy bank, Mr. Orya thanked Mr. Awolowo and his team for taking the initial collaborative step, noting that the NEPC and NEXIM Bank were the principal agencies of government responsible for the promotion of non-oil exports The NEXIM MD provided the NEPC team with a snapshot of NEXIM Bank's mandate, mission and vision, stating that the institution was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promote the diversification of the Nigerian economy away from oil and deepening the external sector. Mr. Orya informed his counterpart that NEXIM is facilitating the Sealink Project, which will culminate in the establishment of a shipping company to own and operate ocean-going vessels to boost trade within the West and Central Africa. Lauding the phenomenal successes of the NEXIM Bank Corporate Transformation initiative, Mr. Awolowo informed the NEXIM boss that NEPC is also working on human resource realignment to drive export growth, adding that the objective of the new management was to increase the level of non-oil exports by at least 30% in the next four years.

Cadbury elevates Bala Yesufu


OOD beverage and confectionery powerhouse, Cadbury West Africa has announced the appointment of Mr Bala Yesufu, Head Corporate and Government Affairs West Africa, to Membership of the West Africa Leadership Team (WALT), effective January 1st, 2014.This Team is responsible for operational issues and oversees the affairs of Cadbury business in West Africa on a day-to-day basis. In a company statement, the Managing Director Cadbury West Africa, Mr Emil Moskofian said that "Bala brings to WALT tremendous experience and clout in the Corporate and Government Affairs space for West Africa, as well as the FMCG industry. His counsel and participation in the Team will be valuable. This is a well-deserved appointment". Prior to joining Cadbury West Africa in June 2013, Yesufu an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Lagos State University was the Public Affairs Manager of Nigerian Breweries at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. Bala with over 30 years varied experience in the FMCG Industry has expansive high level network within the tiers of government, parastatals, agencies and the legislature. •Yesufu




Hopeful contenders for CBN As the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi prepares to leave office in June this year, the list of contenders for the top job continues to swell, with technocrats and bureaucrats gunning for the coveted office, report Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Bukola Afolabi









the brainchild behind Cashless Nigeria and whatever successes it has recorded thus far. Clearing of cheques which took hitherto took four days as at January 2008 now takes two days, thanks to the payments system reform which he managed. Besides, he implemented the upgraded Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system and the Scripless Securities Settlement System (S4) as well as led the migration of the banking industry to a single account structure (Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Numbering System) leading to ease in clearing, payments and settlements. Lemo equally instituted the payments system oversight function of the Central Bank of Nigeria by setting up the Payments System Policy and Oversight Office, the issuance of the Agency Banking Regulation which is currently operational, even as banks have commenced gradual reduction in their charges to customers as evidenced by the reduction in COT from N5 per mile to N3 per mille as a result of the industry infrastructure transformation plan which he supervised. With direction provided by the Governor, Lemo implemented reforms that led to cost of currency management were brought down by 44.75%, from N57.09bn in 2009 to N31.54bn in 2013, just as he assisted the CBN governor to implement the banking sector reform including the consolidation reform of 2004 as well as supervised the Special Examination of the banks in 2009, leading to the reform of 2009. Other achievements counting for Lemo include the Treasury Single Account for the federal government, which was implemented under his supervision and the benefits to the government treasury are beginning to accrue to government as dependence from borrowing for deficit fi-

nancing will decline further in coming years. Under the guidance of the Governor, he was responsible for the formulation of the microfinance policy and ensured its effective implementation. He enhanced the policy further in 2013 by establishing the framework for agency banking to enhance financial inclusion for the un-banked. As the Chairman of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, he restructured the company to efficiently and effectively serve the banks (who are the owners) as a shared service infrastructure. Lemo led the Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM), as the Chairman of the institution, just as he improved the operational efficiency of the Central Bank of Nigeria and supervised the transformation of its IT infrastructure for improved service delivery. The former Managing Director of Wema Bank, who is also considered as an insider, shares similar views with Sanusi on monetary policies and is most likely to ensure monetary policy continuity, analysts have further argued. Sources close to the government say he is the right candidate for the job as he would be able to put sentiments aside and work assiduously to steer the nation's economy in the right direction without causing undue panic. KINGSLEY MOGHALU Another strong contender is Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, a deputy governor of the central bank and head of the financial system stability directorate. A bystander at his book launch in June said that a joke made about the upcoming position prompted raucous laughter from the crowd, suggesting that it is no secret he is vying for the bank's top spot. Geopolitics, too, may play a part in hampering Moghalu, who hails from the south east.

"In Nigeria, these things still matter, particularly in the run-up to elections," says Wale Shonibare. Many of the most prominent financial regulators come from this region, including Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the Securities Exchange Commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh, and Managing Director of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Mustafa Chike-Obi, who has also been vying for the role but is not considered a serious contender in some quarters. AIGBIOJE AIG-IMOUKHUEDE It is widely speculated that Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the chief executive of Access Bank, may be the new man for the Central Bank of Nigeria job. Aig-Imoukhuede has been the head of Access Bank since 2002 and his tenure is up at the end of this year. He works well with the central bank, supporting its reforms and often representing the banking sector, has proven leadership experience and is intellectually well-rounded. But there is also a snag here. The only drawback is that other bankers may view him as an upstart and a young hand. ATEDO PETERSIDE Stanbic IBTC chairman Atedo Peterside has been touted as a strong contender. He is a trusted economic adviser to President Jonathan. He is also chairman of the Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation. Power privatisation is one of President Jonathan's landmark reforms, and any successes he makes will feature heavily in a possible re-election campaign. Speculations and shortlists aside, the race is wide open. Analysts and bankers agree on one thing - that there is a strong chance that a candidate outside the short- list could be appointed.

The race to succeed outgoing Central Bank (CBN) governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi has begun as three key persons are strategising to take over the number one banking job in the country. There are strong indications that former managing director of Stanbic/ IBTC, Mr. Atedo Peterside, a first class banker and technocrat is a front runner for the office. Mr. Peterside, considered as a close friend of the president, enjoys immense support from both within the government and among the organised private sector. The Rivers State banker and businessman who currently sits as the chairman, Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), has some credit to his advantage and enjoys the support of President Jonathan. One of his achievements is the successful conclusion of the technical bids for the unbundling of the power sector that eventually led to the sale of 15 distribution companies to the private sector a few months ago. A member of the National Economic Management Team, which is headed by the president, Mr. Peterside is the president and founder of ANAP, a non-profit organisation committed to promoting good governance. Economic watchers are, however, skeptical of Mr. Peterside's political strength to actually bring the successes he has recorded in the private sector to bear in a critical institution as the CBN, which is the financial strength of the nation. OLUSEGUN AGANGA Serving Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, have joined the list of contenders for the CBN top job. Aganga, who has the confidence of President Goodluck Jonathan, is also


T is the contention of analysts that whoever is likely to become the new CBN helmsman has to have the professional and practical track record to sustain the well-applauded gains in fiscal and monetary reforms under the outgoing CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Although the president has the constitutional power to pick the governor and the board of the CBN, after that, the CBN governor and the board act independently for a five-year term during which it is not accountable to the ruling class, especially fall to the whim and caprices of the powers that be, thanks to the CBN's subsisting Act. So, the CBN governor will serve as the moderator between fiscal and monetary interactions, and in many instances, as the independent watcher of the economy. As the nation wait with bated breath for the announcement of Sanusi's successor, The Nation can authoritatively report that the list of interested candidates for the top job continues to swell, with some of them already aligning with high net worth individuals as well as those close to the presidency. The profile of some of the highfliers includes but is not limited to the following, Tunde Lemo, who only recently retired having served his term as deputy governor. Like Lemo, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, deputy governor, Financial System Stability and Mrs. Sarah Alade, deputy governor, Economic Policy, are also in the race. Dr. Bright Okogu, Aigboje AigImoukhuede, Atedo Peterside and a host of others like Mr. Philip Oduoza, Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Prof. Pat Utomi, renowned professor of political economy and management expert and Bisi Onasanya, Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria are also likely prospects for the CBN top job. TUNDE LEMO Lemo, a highly cerebral consummate banker with appreciable wealth of experience, according to many economic watchers, is a ripe candidate for the job because he is untainted. Under the guidance of the outgoing governor, Lemo, who served as the Deputy Governor for three terms having worked with Joseph Sanusi, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and Sanusi, has a lot going for him. Among other things, he reformed the payments system recording tremendous growth in electronic transactions and reduction in fraud. Payments by mobile phone grew by 533.8%, online instant transfers grew by 228.9% while Point of Sale transactions increased by 209.6%. Electronic payments fraud was brought down by over 96%. He acclaimed as




top job



currently being adjudged as probably the best minister in the trade and industry portfolio in years. Another thing going for him is the fact that he bestrides the two geopolitical zones of the South-south and South-west, more so as both the South-east and North have successively produced Professor Chukwuma Soludo and Sanusi as central bank governors. Aganga, though originally from Edo State, was born and bred in Lagos, and represents the state as well as the South-west zone in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Ngama, on the other hand, is from Yobe State and would bring to the job extensive experience as a commercial banker and regulator, having worked for many Nigerian banks and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). He was first nominated by Jonathan as Minister of Finance in April 2010. In July 2011, Aganga was redeployed by the president to the Ministry of Trade and Investment, to make way for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to return as the Minister of Finance. Aganga previously worked in Arthur Young in Nigeria, Ernst & Young in London UK, and Goldman Sachs International in London, where he was Managing Director, Hedge Funds. As finance minister, one of his key accomplishments was the establishment of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), better known as the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). His only drawback is his not being so well acquainted with the banking industry in Nigeria, which he is also expected to oversee. YERIMA NGAMA Ngama's professional experience, however, covers several banks at top executive management positions ranging from First Bank Nigeria Limited, Diamond Bank Plc and Victory Merchant Bank. He also worked in NDIC where he was the head of Bank Analy-

sis Unit, Off-site Supervision Department. He was appointed Minister of State for Finance by Jonathan in July 2011. Born in 1961, Ngama obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Maiduguri and Masters of Science in Accountancy from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, United Kingdom. He also obtained a second Masters' degree and Ph.D in Money & Banking and Finance from the University of Birmingham, where he received the coveted Ashley Prize award for producing the best thesis in his faculty. In addition to his academic qualifications, Ngama has significant training in Islamic Banking and Islamic Capital Market Products. BRIGHT OKOGU Dr. Bright Okogu, current Director General, Budget Office under the ministry of finance, also sits on the economic management team of the government. Okogu, who hails from Delta state, is a first class financial expert with a background in global economic management. He worked at the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), where he served as a Market Analyst between 1989 and 1997 and as a Senior Operations Officer at the OPEC Fund for International Development both in Vienna, Austria, before proceeding to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1999. He played a key role when he worked closely with the coordinating minister for the economy and Nigeria's minister of finance Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and other officials to close the deal that made Nigeria achieve the popular debt relief from the Paris Club of creditors. Since his appointment into government the DG Budget has been at the center of crafting the nation's fiscal policies. Dr. Okogu who is a close confidant of Mrs. Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala is a shrewd economist and financial manager. Unfortunately, Dr. Okogu would not be the favourite of the ministry, agencies and departments (MDAs) of government as he is constantly at daggers drawn with state governments over lamentations of inadequate funds. So he is not in the states good books in a manner of speaking. "He has helped the government cut down drastically on wastage's," a top presidential aide told our reporter ,adding that "this is the kind of person that should sit as the next governor of the CBN and not some politician or businessman but things don't work that way." SYLVESTER MONYE The current special adviser on project monitoring and evaluation to President Goodluck Jonathan, Professor Sylvester Monye are also said to be interested in the job. Whoever emerges Sanusi's eventual successor will be the 11th central bank governor in Nigeria. As specified in the CBN Act 2007, the central bank governor's principal charge is to provide economic advice to the Federal Government, while acting as the official banker to the government of the federation. Apart from signing every currency denomination, the governor among other duties, oversees the country's banking sector. Besides, the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN, the governor also determines the monetary policies of the country, which have an impact on the financial system and the macroeconomy. Many analysts said the letters and spirits of the CBN Act and the current socio-economic and political situations swing more in favour of Lemo, who is believed to have the track records, experience and independence of mind to sustain macroeconomic gains and steer the monetary and banking environment to further accelerate national development.



Solar energy: Sun as alternate power source The sun is the greatest source of energy, F but Joe Agbro Jr, in this report, writes on OR many years, the pace of life for man was dictated by the sun. To say that man's life revolved around the sun is an understatement. For light and warmth, it provided succour for man’s survival against the other elements. And while mankind developed coal, crude, and other sources of energy, the sun still dutifully acts as its role - the greatest source of energy for Earth. The full glare of the sun is available in many parts of the world, yet, in many places, it just scorches. And despite its availability as a source of power, why does the sun not yet play a major role in sourcing electricity in this 21st century? Though the huge cost of setting up solar installations is widely accepted as responsible for its low patronage, the federal government seems geared to exploit this renewable energy source. Obviously in a move to step up commitment to investing in solar power, President Good luck Jonathan last Monday inaugurated operation "Light-Up Rural Nigeria," a move aimed at providing electricity to rural Nigerian communities. Accompanied by Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed and the Regional President of Schneider Electric Nigeria, Mr. Marcel Hochet, the president got a rousing welcome from residents of Durumi Community in Bwari Area Council of Abuja, where the inauguration took place. According to the federal government, the project is aimed at providing electricity to rural communities across the 36 states, using renewable power. "We are starting the year by giving light to our people, especially in the rural communities," Jonathan said at the event. However, this move coming from the federal government is a bit late. Already, in many rural communities, state governments across the country have over the years intervened in using solar to generate electricity. And these schemes have served to power street lights in communities; have been to power small refrigerating systems which healthcare workers use to preserve drugs and vaccines, and also for pumping of water. Compared with the current popular alternatives which are generating sets, solar energy is easily available since the sun's rays are forever present. Also, solar installations do not need much maintenance and are not noisy. To many that understand the abundance of the sun's energy, many African countries, including Nigeria, ought to be taking advantage of the plentiful energy from the sun. But out in the streets, there are complaints that the street lights do not work efficiently. According to Ademola Fajana, an accountant with PSC Solar, a firm that specialises in solar technology, the reason many of those street lights don't work is because the contracts are awarded to unqualified people. According to him, most of the materials used in making those solar panels that don't last are sub-standard. "To my own un-

why it will take a while before it becomes the energy mainstay

•Solar panel

derstanding, when Nigerians see cheaper things, they tend to go for it," he said. There is also the challenge that the panels and batteries which are largely used in solar installations are not manufactured locally. And like what obtains in other sectors, in terms of procuring equipment for solar power generation, products originating from China are mostly perceived as being inferior. Last September, the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa, advocated for more use of solar technology as a means of shoring up the electricity generation in the country. According to him, because of the abundance of solar energy, more attention should be given to solar technology to generate electricity. Countries such as Japan and Indonesia are already embracing it. But embracing solar does not come cheap. And Fajana agrees that initial set-up for solar panels is expensive but argues that "in the long run, it is cost-effective." According to Fajana, "if they (customers) compare what they will be using on fuelling generators to the initial cost of just purchasing it (solar systems) at once, then, they'll know which one is better." Fajana said this cost is usually offset between two and three years. A testimony of the efficacy of solar power can be seen at PSC Solar's office located in Ikeja, Lagos. There is no generator, yet the office runs its electrical equipment efficiently. For power, it relies on solar panels placed on the roof that trap energy from the sun to charge batteries. Generally, costs of setting up a solar home system range begin at about N20, 000, de-

pending on the electricity load of a customer. While the cheapest sets of components capable of maintaining a TV, fan, and light bulbs could go for around N90, 000, for set-ups requiring heavier loads, the costs could run into several millions of naira. At PSC Solar, set-up cost is N300 per watt. Hence, the total cost depends on the number of watts a customer needs. Apart from initial set-up costs, another factor militating against the growth of solar technology is lack of awareness. According to Patrick Okesanya, who also installs solar panels, many Nigerians are not aware of using solar as alternative source of power. "Some educated people do not know the benefit of using solar," he said. "They think it is something beyond their reach." He, however, said, "that most times when people complain that solar does not work , it is because most city people want to power things like air conditioners and freezers. At this level, the cost of the solar system will be so high that people would say it doesn't work." "Most of our (solar) panels are from UK," he said. "But we have panels that are not of quality but just quantity. The government should bring in a policy that would really discourage inferior goods." According to Fajana, a lot of Nigerians are beginning to embrace solar power. "I know in the nearest future," he said, "like in the next five year, Nigerians will be using it very well. As at now, we're just trying to create awareness that there is an alternative. By the time Nigerians get to know more about it, I know they will embrace it." Till then, Nigerians may just continue to endure the sun's scorch.




FAAN never approved N38b MMA 2 terminal design for Bi-Courtney


HE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) clarified yesterday that at no time did it approve the design of the domestic terminal two of the Lagos Airport , otherwise known as MMA 2, for the cost of N38 billion for a 12, year concession agreement . FAAN stated that the design it considered for approval for the terminal was the one put at N3.9 billion, which concession tenure was supposed to run for 12 years. The authority said it does not make any economic sense for it to have approved design for a terminal to cost N38 billion for a

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor concession tenure of 12 years, which is not realistic anywhere in the world. FAAN, according to its spokesman, Yakubu Dati, said such information is false, misleading and not a true representation of the circumstances surrounding the terminal. Dati said in a statement :" The attention of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has been drawn to information quoting Bi-Courtney Aviation Services as saying that "the design of the terminal (MMA Domestic Terminal

2) was approved by the federal gtovernment and FAAN after due consultation with their consultants." The Bi-Courtney source also said that "FAAN was involved at every stage of the redesign and redevelopment of the project. We wish to state categorically and for the umpteen times that nothing could be further from the truth!" Expatiating, the FAAN spokesman said: "The design that FAAN approved was for a terminal costing a total of N3.9 billion. However, without approval from FAAN, Bi-Courtney went ahead of its own voli-

tion to build a terminal different from the one originally approved by FAAN, the cost of which it put at N38 billion, nearly 10 times the approved cost. "There was no way FAAN could have approved a terminal at a cost of N38 billion for a 12, year concession because it did not make common economic sense. We hereby urge members of the public, especially aviation stakeholders, to disregard that bogus claim by BiCourtney Aviation Services which we believe was designed to deceive members of the public as usual."

New CEO for RightClick


IGHTCLICK, a professional e-business service provider, has announced a change in its leadership in line with the company's strategic growth objective for the New Year. According to a statement from the company, the move is in alignment with the primary purpose of developing RightClick's professional capacity and providing a platform for creative expression. In view of this development, Mr. Degunle Sokunbi has been appointed as the new Managing Director effective January 1, 2014. Erstwhile Managing Director of the company, Mr. Bolaji Finnih, in his parting comments, appreciated the opportunity he had to work as the MD of Rightclick for 12 years. "I feel privileged to have been part of the company right from the very start and to have contributed to the growth of this company as well as getting to know the outstanding people that I have had the pleasure of collaborating with in the course of this journey. I wish to thank the board for giving me the opportunity to serve in this position and especially the chairman for his encouragement and his confidence in me. I truly feel that the last 12 years here have been fulfilling, and have given me the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the establishment of a professional, world-class IT corporation," Finnih said. In his acceptance speech, the new Managing Director, Mr. Degunle Sokunbi, thanked the Board for appointing him the Managing Director and promised to continue maintaining the growth of the business. "The role of Managing Director with RightClick is a great opportunity and I am truly honoured. I thank Mr. Bolaji Finnih who had diligently served as the pioneer MD for this company. In the past twelve years, our company has witnessed tremendous growth in terms of clientele, providing world class e-business solutions and the trend we seek to maintain," Sokunbi stated. Sokunbi brings a critical set of skills to the management of RightClick with over six years experience spearheading projects for a wide variety of clients. Prior to his appointment, Sokunbi served as a Business Development Manager and Head of Web Development Projects for notable organisations within Nigeria and West Africa.

Bobo extends lead in milk drink segment

B •From left: Marketing Manager BoBo Food and Beverages Limited Eric Birhiray, Quality Control Manager, Adeyemi Bimpe, and the General Manager Sale and Marketing, Lawrence Chimezie, at the public presentation of the new Bobo Vanilla flavour and Boyic Strawberry Yoghurt

Okoro resigns from GSK, recounts fond memories


OR Managing Director/Chief Executive, GSK Consumer Nigeria plc, Mr. Chidi Okoro, the dictum, 'it's good to leave when the ovation is loudest', holds true, as the suave and gentlemanly CEO formally resigned his position as the MD/CEO and member of the Board of Directors, effective March 15, 2014. Making this disclosure at a media parley recently was Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, Chairman, Board of Directors, GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc. "I want to thank Mr. Chidi Okoro for his leadership of our business. Chidi has been instrumental to the success of GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc. He has doubled our sales growth over the past four years while improving the way we run the business. He oversaw the launch of Sendodyne, Horlicks and other products. I am proud that he is the first Nigerian managing director of GSK Consumer Nigeria and I wish him the best in his future endeavours, "said an elated Osunkeye. Okoro would be relieved by Justin Korte as acting Managing Director and General Manager, pending the time a substantive MD would be formally an-

nounced. Okoro who joined GSK some seven years ago, sat atop as the first Nigerian CEO of the company for four years. "It has been a fulfilling four years serving as MD of GSK Consumer Nigeria plc. I believe the time is right for me to move on to other challenges. GSK Nigeria has a great future and it is an opportunity for someone new to make their mark on this great business and lead the company into the future. I believe I have played my part in the evolution of our company. It has been an immense learning experience as well as an opportunity to work with some of the best people in the corporate world." Continuing, he said working at GSK would go down in his career trajectory as probably one of his best experience ever. "I have worked at a couple of companies in the past but I can say for a fact that working at GSK was an awesome experience for me because I really enjoyed every moment of my time, especially with the people I worked with. It would go down as probably the best place I have worked all my life." The outgoing CEO who was noncommittal when asked what his future plans were, said his plans are un-

der wraps for now. Osunkeye said of the interim boss of GSK Nigeria, "Justin has a track record of high growth, successful leadership and extensive expertise designing effective route-to-market strategies in complex trade environments, adding significant value to the Nigerian business. I am pleased Justin will be able to lead the business during the transition period." Mr. Jonathan Girling, Vice President, Africa, GSK Consumer healthcare, said: "GlaxoSmithKline consumer is committed to Nigeria for the long term and has confidence in the continuing growth prospects of


the business." Reiterating GSK's desire to maintain its business growth, Osunkeye said: "the GSK Nigeria Board will focus on selecting a suitable successor that shares the great values of GSK and is committed to maintaining the growth of our business." Korte joined GSK from Gillette in early 2005, and has progressed through national accounts and national sales roles. After running his own business in 2008, Justin returned to head GSK's Southern Africa business as Group Country Manager. He was promoted in 2011 to Sales Director, Africa. GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc manufactures, markets and distributes a wide range of consumer healthcare brands including Panadol, Sensodyne, Horlicks and Lucozade. Over the past four years, GSK Nigeria has won several awards including the Pearl Award in the healthcare category in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, which was capped with the Pearl Award for All Time Greats. In 2013, GSK Nigeria was a recipient of two major awards - the Pearl Sectoral Award in the healthcare category and the Most Outstanding CEO of the Year Award.

OBO Food and Beverages, makers of Bobo branded milk drink, has expanded her dominance of the milk drink segment with two new additions to her product line. The new additions are; Bobo Vanilla flavour in the fruit milk category and Boyic Strawberry Yoghurt in the yoghurt category. Speaking to select stakeholders at the unveiling that took place in the company premises, Lawrence Chimezie, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, explained some salient features on the new package. According to him, "This new introduction is to further maintain our market leadership position. The Boyic yoghurt has three variants - plain, orange and strawberry. It is consumed not just by kids. It is for all age groups. On our pack we also brought in some changes. We have also taken into consideration our consumers in Benin Republic and other French- speaking areas of West Africa, so the information on the bottle has been translated into French."

By Lanre Williams The company did not take this new decision on a whim. It was based on well articulated feedback received from consumers who are finicky about what they ingest and who also desire healthy and natural living. Commenting on the research efforts of the organisation, Mr. Eric Birhiray, Marketing Manager of the company said, "This bid is to satisfy consumers' yearnings as revealed in a research carried out by our company's research team. We conducted a research which showed that the consumers wanted a vanilla variant in addition to the other variants that exist. We have orange, strawberry, apple, pineapple. What came out of the research shows that many consumers were also looking for our product with vanilla. And you know vanilla is common in the milk market, especially with ice cream and, we realised that we don't have a product with the vanilla and that is why we are introducing the vanilla variant."

Interswitch Smartgov to boost revenues for Cross River State


ENATOR Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State, has announced that his government will continue to expand ways the Smartgov platform, the identity management and e-payment infrastructure for state governments first deployed in Cross River State, can be used to raise new revenues. The announcement was made during the presentation of the 2014 budget to the state assembly. Smartgov was developed by Interswitch and deployed in 2011 in partnership with the Cross River State Government (CRSG). The move reflected CRSG's determination to improve governance, accountability and access to social services for citizens, and Interswitch's position as the leading provider of epayment technologies in Nigeria. The initiative was delivered through the joint venture company Smartgov.CRSG Limited. By using Smartgov, state governments are able to automate ministries, departments and agencies, identify all citizens and residents, track and monitor usage of social services, enhance internally generated revenue and automate disbursements and payments by government.




Agro-processing as frontier for economic transformation T

HE politics of global development ensures that national self-sufficiency in basic food items is not taken as an important indicator of development. But as a development banker, I understand that there is not a great country that is not able to feed itself or prioritise ability to do so. Of course there are countries which will remain netimporters of food, for whatever reason. Such countries will however remain vulnerable to external food shocks. This can be devastating, as was seen (and thankfully it was to some extent attenuated) during the last global food crisis in 2008, which coincided with the financial market crisis. Indeed the ascension of biblical Joseph as Prime Minister of Egypt was facilitated by his perceived acumen in the design of the ancient Egyptian food policy to ensure internal food security in his host country. It is therefore instructive that the economic transformation policies of President Goodluck Jonathan duly incorporate national self-sufficiency strategies in some basic food items, which will be achieved in a transition through increased production, elimination of post-harvest waste, improved storage facilities and food processing. The success of the policy initiatives is so far wellexpressed in the contribution food prices have made in bringing down the inflation rate. At current 7.9% according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian inflation is at the lowest level we have seen in decades. Trade in primary produce Before export of crude oil started to generate about 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings for the government, the profile of the Nigerian economy was such that it was agrarian even as proceeds from export of agricultural produce helped to fund the first wave of development in the country after her independence in 1960. The groundnut pyramid profiled the economic strength of the north. Cocoa and palm oil were produced in commercial quantity in regions of the south. I remember cotton from Nigeria was something of a national flag in the international commodity market, underlining the quality of agricultural produce that was grown in Nigeria's vast arable land. We can only assume that the country would have transited from export of primary agricultural produce to adding value to the commodities through processing and packaging before we export the products, had we not happened on oil. Therefore, it would have been conjectural that our economy would be on the trajectory oil has taken it. However, unlike high level corruption that is associated with the oil industry, there was no significant evidence that proceeds from export of the agricultural produce were misappropriated in those heydays when the groundnut pyramids greeted the skylines in northern Nigeria and bagged cocoa was ubiquitous in the southern parts of the country. This is a unique


To optimise the foreign exchange income from our agricultural production, we will have to process and package, and sell excess outputs abroad once local consumption demand for a particular produce has been met •Jonathan By Roberts Orya

differentiation of agriculture from extractive industry commodities which fuels not only corruption but conflicts also in developing countries of the world. Nevertheless, the country could not have fully achieved her revenue potentials from export of raw agricultural produce; just as it is the case with major oil economies which fail to diversify into industrial activities. Agroprocessing should become a significant part of industrial activities in Nigeria. To optimise the foreign exchange income from our agricultural production, we will have to process and package, and sell excess outputs abroad once local consumption demand for a particular produce has been met. The "A" in NEXIM's MASS Agenda Agro-processing is the "A" in the "MASS" Agenda of Nigerian Export - Import Bank. As early as 2009 when the executive management of the Bank, which I lead, came into office, efforts to reposition the Bank to meet the trade objectives of the Federal Government started in earnest. Accordingly, we identified agroprocessing as one of the sectors to refocus the Bank's lending and advisory support. One of the many reasons for which we set this sectoral priority is the undoubted comparative advantage Nigeria has in agriculture. It is because of its vast land, with large portions of it arable,

that Nigeria is not one of the most densely populated countries of the world in spite of the huge population that is now estimated to be over 170 million. Nigeria's largely fertile soil, complimented by favourable climatic conditions, supports good yields for a large number of variegated and different food and cash crops. The country is home to traditional farmers. Although they operate at subsistence level, their produce nevertheless accounts for 40 per cent of the GDP. The implication is that the key resource inputs for a vibrant agro-processing industry are readily available in the country, perhaps safe technology. Secondly, agro-processing is an important frontier of economic transformation in Nigeria. The potential results of good policies to support the sector are multidimensional. The immediate gain would be saving of foreign exchange that is expended on importation of food items yearly. We already know that, including sugar and fish, we spend over $10 billion annually on importation of rice and other grains which either grow locally or can be substituted with local alternatives. The local alternatives are less appealing because of poor processing, notably, Ofada rice. Where that is not the issue, we have supply shortfall because of post-harvest yield losses to inadequate storage facility, poor transportation and handling practices, and for some produce, especially fruits and vegetables, harsh weather conditions.


Therefore, the low entry barrier for agro-processing, granted that modern packaging is very important, can reduce post-harvest losses and accelerate industrial production in Nigeria. This is important to NEXIM Bank. Part of our aid to the trade policies of the government is to invest in businesses that can help conserve foreign exchange. There is hardly any other sector that can do this better than agro-processing, particularly the food segment. NEXIM Bank has been investing in this sector. Some of the investee businesses have gained capacity to distribute their food products internationally, especially within the West African trading bloc. This is helping to realise the other part of our twin objectives which is facilitation of export revenue growth outside of the hydrocarbon industry. The other very important impact of a vibrant agro-processing sector is employment generation. The jobs in this sector are not necessarily salaried, although, we have seen the emergence of some businesses (co-financed by NEXIM) which collectively employ several thousands of Nigerians directly, and tens of thousands indirectly. However, a lot of the jobs to be created in this sector are for micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs (MSMEs). Specific Interventions and Outcomes Between 1991 and 2003, Nigerian Export- Import Bank funded the agric sector (mainly

agro- processing) to the tune of N27.2 billion. This represents 28.6% of our total credit portfolio. However, there has been acceleration in the pace of the interventions since the inception of the current executive management. From August 2009 till date, NEXIM Bank's intervention in the sector is total N7.4 billion, representing 21.2% of portfolio size contributed in less than five years in total 22 years of the Bank's sectoral intervention. The modest pace of growth will be leveraged in the immediate future, as my leadership of the Bank initially prioritised audit of preceding lending practices, and we have had to put in place a robust risk management framework to ensure portfolio performance. Coupled with this, the successful businesses we have funded in less than five years provide practical knowledge of how and where we can scale up our interventions. As I had alluded to the jobcreation potentials of the sector, our intervention has created and supported 16,338 direct jobs since 1991. Since 2009, direct 4,452 jobs have been created and supported. Our facilities have mediated the generation of $219 million. In accordance with the recent growth trend, $62.3 million has been earned in foreign exchange by the businesses we facilitated. New National Policy Fillip Under the current Administration, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has boosted the agric sector. One aspect of the programme entails the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones which will utilise private sector approach in engaging commercially-oriented rural women, youth and farmers in developing commodity value chains and in engendering broadbased growth. I see that this programme can help in incubating the cottage and SME food processing businesses, with some of them growing to attract growth capital in the coming years. The ATA also embodies investment in infrastructure to reduce loss of produce in transit from rural, peri-urban and urban cities to markets. In line with this, some states are already coordinating plans to establish agricultural infrastructure corridors to boost transfer of produce. Here again, I see opportunities for growth of infrastructure-linked portfolio for financiers in the country. But in terms of boosting food security, conserving foreign exchange and indeed generating non-oil export income over the medium- to longterm, the Cassava flour milling programme will yield dramatic results. NEXIM Bank is ready to continue to provide the requisite support to this and other national programmes that will help save the government foreign exchange revenue and boost local food selfsufficiency. - Roberts Orya is Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export - Import Bank




South Africa rhino poaching rose 50% last year


•General view of the Norway stand of the Gruene Woche International Agriculture Fair in Berlin at the weekend. The International Green Week ends next week. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL

Iraq to punish Turkey, Kurds over ‘smuggled’ oil -- minister


RAQ will take legal and other measures to punish Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as foreign companies, for any involvement in Kurdish exports of ``smuggled'' oil without Baghdad's consent, oil minister said on Friday. Abdul Kareem Luaibi told reporters the government was preparing legal action against Ankara and would blacklist any companies dealing with oil piped to Turkey from Iraq's

autonomous northern region without permission from Baghdad. The Kurdistan Regional Government said last week that crude had begun to flow through the pipeline, and exports were on track to start at the end of January, inviting bidders to register with the Kurdistan Oil Marketing Organisation. Luaibi said it was not in Turkey's interest to jeopardise bilateral trade worth 12 billion dollars a

year. And that Baghdad would consider boycotting all Turkish companies and cancelling contracts with Turkish firms if the oil exports went ahead. He also said the Finance Ministry had been told to calculate how much should be deducted from Iraqi Kurdistan's 17 per cent share of the federal budget if the region failed to meet a government-set export target for this year of 400,000 barrels per day via the State

Oil Marketing Organisation. Preparations were under way, Luaibi said, ``to raise a lawsuit against the Turkish government for allowing Kurdistan to pump oil through the export pipeline without the approval of the Iraqi central government. ``This which represents a clear violation of the agreement signed between the two countries governing the export of Iraqi oil through Turkey.'' Source: Reuters/NAN

Thailand offers rice at a loss, struggles to pay farmers


HAILAND'S embattled government over the weekend in Bangkok offered to sell rice at a huge loss, to shore up Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's support among farmers. Thailand was having a massive rice stockpile of over 17 million tonnes. Reuters reports that this has become necessary as Thai government has to rely on domestic sales to pay the mounting bills it owes rice farmers in Yingluck's provincial strongholds It said Thai government offered rice at around 30

per cent below cost on the export market. Surasak Riangkrul, Director-General, Foreign Trade Department, which oversees sales of the government's rice stocks said the adjustment has become imperative for survival. "We need to adjust ourselves in order to sell rice at appropriate prices to get liquidity to run the rice-buying scheme," said. Riangkrul declined to disclose the exact price Thailand was offering. An official who preferred anonymity said government quoted 475 dollars

a tone. He said this was almost a third below the estimated cost of 669 dollars per tone that government incurred on buying paddy from farmers, milling and storage. Reuters said the exercise, which has cost the government billions of dollars, has fuelled the political crisis being played out on the streets of Bangkok. It said protesters are seeking to topple the government, which swept to power in 2011 with support from rural voters. It said many of the rice

farmers had welcomed the generous intervention scheme but city dwellers are angered that their taxes are paying for the subsidy. It said hundreds of farmers, some unpaid since October, have also joined the demonstrations against Yingluck, disillusioned by the government's inability to reliably fund the controversial programme. It said farmers who have not been paid by the state for rice bought under the scheme threatened to block roads in 26 provinces last month.

Zambia land policy reform efforts gather steam OAN Kagwanja, Head, Land Policy Initiative (LPI), said over the weekend in Lusaka that the Zambia's efforts in land policy reform had gathered steam with the support of many stakeholders. He said the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), a joint undertaking of the African Union Commission, African Development Bank (AfDB) are giving needed support to the reform. Kagwanja said to reach a common understanding


of the land policy reform process, government would host a stakeholders meeting on Jan. 24 in Lusaka, in partnership with the stakeholders. PANA reports that Zambian government has identified priority areas of reform or improvements, which include computerisation of land records and land information systems. The head said the meeting would be attended by representatives of the government, private sector, civil society and research and academia as well as

development partners. He said LPI would facilitate the participation of land policy experts to support Zambia's efforts to review its land policy, drawing lessons and best practice from other African countries which experienced success in this regard. Kagwanja said that there would be multistakeholder consultations and engagement throughout the policy development process, in accordance with the AU framework. He said it would also

include guidelines on land policy in Africa, and consider views and roles of all stakeholders in the land sector and, in particular, indigenous institutions, the land using public and civil society organisations. Kagwanja said government wished to see a new land policy developed and finalised soon, to provide an appropriate framework for governing and managing land, especially customary land that constituted almost 90 percent of Zambia's land.

ORE THAN 1,000 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa last year, an increase of 50% on the previous year, official figures have shown. The South African Department of Environmental Affairs showed that 1,004 rhinos were poached in the country in 2013, up from 668 rhinos killed for their horn in 2012. Top safari destination Kruger National Park, which borders Mozambique, bore the brunt of the poaching, with 606 rhino deaths. Some 37 rhinos have already been killed this year, 34 of them killed in Kruger. South African officials said the number of rhino poachers arrested during 2013 has also increased, with 343 being arrested, 133 of them in Kruger National Park, up from 267 alleged poachers arrested in 2012. Six poachers have been arrested so far this year. The increase in poaching brings South Africa's white rhino population ever closer to the "tipping point" where deaths will outnumber births and the population will go into serious decline, conservation experts warned. The number of rhinos poached in South Africa has increased year on year in recent years to meet rising demand for rhino horn in China and particularly Vietnam, where it is used as a status symbol and health tonic for disease and even hangovers. Experts warn there are links between criminal gangs responsible for smuggling the rhino horns out of Africa and to Asia and other forms of organised crime including people trafficking, drug smuggling and illegal arms trade. Mozambique is a transit point for rhino smuggling activities and a base for poachers who cross the border to kill rhinos, wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic said. Tom Milliken, Traffic's rhino expert, said: "South Africa and Mozambique must decisively up their game if they hope to stop this blatant robbery of South Africa's natural heritage. "2014 must mark the turning point where the world, collectively, says 'enough is enough' and brings these criminal networks down. "Rhino horn trafficking and consumption are not simply environmental issues, they represent threats to the very fabric of society." Dr Jo Shaw, rhino programme manager for WWF-South Africa said: "These criminal networks are threatening our national security and damaging our economy by frightening away tourists." She said agreements between South Africa and Vietnam and China on tackling wildlife trafficking had to translate into action on the ground. And she said: "It would be encouraging to see more significant arrests higher up the trade chain, and to see current arrests resulting in convictions with strong sentences which will effectively deter this criminal activity. "More significant action to root out corruption would also be welcome." Source:


IBM invests $1.2b on 15 new data centres


NTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. (IBM) announced a $1.2 billion commitment on Friday to build 15 data centers in key financial and geographic hubs as it initiates its first major cloud expansion since acquiring SoftLayer in June for $2 billion. The cloud expansion will cover 15 countries in five continents (all but Africa and Antarctica), including new data centers in China, Hong Kong, London, Japan, India, Washington D.C., Canada, Mexico City and Dallas, as well as a number of local "cloud hubs." That will bring IBM's total global toll to 40 data centers, including 13 pre-existing ones from cloud provider SoftLayer and 12 from IBM with plans to expand into the Middle East and Africa in 2015. "IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services. The expansion, which adds to the $7 billion IBM has spent since 2007 building its cloud portfolio through acquisitions, data centers and patents, will provide enterprise clients improved flexibility, transparency and control over how they manage data, run their business and deploy IT. Big Blue says it processes more than 5.5 million client transactions a day through its public cloud, a number it hopes will balloon and help it reach $7 billion in cloud revenues by 2015. The cloud is becoming an attractive feature for business owners, enabling them to run operations from anywhere in the world and at faster speeds. Just last week IBM pledged $1 billion to commercialize its Watson supercomputer, including $100 million that will fund a recently launched startup ecosystem to incubate new businesses that run on Watson's cloudbased cognitive intelligence and SoftLayer. The idea is that it fosters innovation by enabling startups to get off the ground more quickly. "Cloud represents a growing area for venture capitalist investment," notes Ann Winblad, co-founder and Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Shares of IBM were up 0.55% to $189.84 in recent trade. SOURCE:


Shoring up MSMEs Page 64 & 65



N an economy where jobs are hard to come by, it is a remarkable feat to see young people who are looking inwards to create businesses where they are not only gainfully employed but also create a pathway for others to earn a living. Ademola Ajayi is one of such. The graduate of Mechanical Engineering turns business man recalls his business history with enthusiasm. "I started business in Nov 2008, during the long vacation between my 200Level to 300Level in the University," he said, "but by February 2009, I started operating under the name Thrillhouse." True to his words, the name which became Thrillhouse limited in 2010 is synonymous with offering computer services and sells within the Obafemi Awolowo University Campus, Ile-Ife. Ajayi who started with N16, 000, selling computer accessories such as Mp3 players and Earphones can now boast of a business worth over N10m with two offices in Ile-Ife and also a service-based office at Computer Village Lagos. The firm also enjoys a thriving online platform where online services are accessible to the nation as a whole. Apart from majoring in Computer sales, Maintenance and Training, Thrillhouse group also deals with bulk sms services and corporate branding items such as lapel pins, wrist bands, cufflinks, metal and silicon tags. There is also the aspect of importation consultancy. Great minds always have to burn midnight candles; and Ajayi found himself doing that in order to ensure a balance as a businessman, a church goer and a highflying student in the early days of founding his business. Reminiscing, he said; "I remember as an undergraduate having to wake up 3am every day to catch up with about two to three hours of study before the day's activity. It was quite a stretch but rewarding in that I usually had an average of 5 A's per semester. I rarely watched movies neither was I given to entertainment, but besides building a viable business, God gave me the privilege of serving in the executive of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship OAU, and also graduating among the top 7 in my class of 60". Asked of his unique selling point, he said; "I had always had a principle that if I needed to raise N100, I would need to look for 100 people to get N1 from, rather than 10 people to get N10 from. Price quality-correlation has always worked for us; we have always supported that with dynamic forms of advertisement." With full-time staff strength of 8 people, contract staffs and agents aside a long chain of resellers coupled with the dynamic ideas of a young and brilliant CEO, it didn't come as a surprise that there are big plans in the pipeline for expansion. "I have a goal to create a franchise system that would take Thrillhouse services to all the tertiary institutions in Nigeria. For me, that would mean being represented in every state without

Shell, Diamond Bank, others float $30m fund for SMEs



'Entrepreneurs need to build new skills set’ Ademola Ajayi, a young entrepreneur who owns Thrillhouse Limited, a company which majors in computer sales and services as well as bulk sms and corporate branding items, in this interview conducted online with Hannah Ojo, talks about his humble business beginning and his plans for expansion in the future. losing the uniqueness of our business dynamics and maximum customer satisfaction." Looking back on his trajectory in business Ajayi said he could have done better and confessed that he should have been more seriously with every fund that came his way. Ajayi also wished he had acquired accounting skills and financial policy early enough. But his advice to wouldbe entrepreneurs is to be consistent in season and out of season, to constantly learn, and develop while working with the right team.

While many people believe that running one's own business allows for flexibility, in Ajayi's case, that flexibility only breeds room for more work. According to him; "Business is interesting and could be quite rewarding, but don't think it would be in anyway less demanding from a normal office job because as for me I have no closing time and I rarely can take vacations. I usually close from office to resume another office. Once you start you realise there's always more to do."

HELL Petroleum Development Company, Diamond Bank Plc and GroFin of South Africa have partnered to float a $30m fund branded ASPIRE NIGERIA to serve as a catalyst for the development and growth of Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). All agreements establishing the fund under a Private Trust have just been signed. The fund - ASPIRE NIGERIA - is expected to enhance the operations of indigenous small and medium enterprises through the provision of much needed business development assistance and appropriate finance. The objective of the pilot scheme is two folds, and characterises the business vision of its co-promoters. In the first instance, it would demonstrate their interest in contributing to the development of SMEs as a means of enhancing wealth creation in the economy; and secondly, the unique approach of the business model introduced by GroFin ensures that SMEs are not just given funds, but also business development assistance. ASPIRE NIGERIA is an innovative and important step towards creating sustainable growth of the Nigerian SME sector. Historically, businesses in this sector have not only lacked access to capital, but also skill development. This combination has limited their ability to grow and achieve their potential. By integrating the provision of business development assistance and appropriate finance, ASPIRE NIGERIA will support the growth and expansion of SMEs in all sectors of the Nigerian economy. It is important to note that the ASPIRE NIGERIA Fund is a joint step in a deliberate effort to address the funding and developmental problems of small and medium scale Nigerian entrepreneurs. The Fund will enable credible SME operators to access medium-term, competitively priced financing and business development assistance, ranging between N6 million and N125 million and would hopefully enable them to achieve their growth aspirations. Preference will be given to Nigerian enterprises that have limited capability for meeting collateral requirements, and who typically employ fewer than 50 employees, with an annual turnover not exceeding N600 million or gross assets not exceeding N400 million. This new and unique service

envisioned by ASPIRE NIGERIA would thus help to overcome the barriers faced during start-up and early stage growth of enterprises. GroFin, an African specialist business developer and financier, has established GroFin Nigeria to manage the fund on behalf of the Trustees. Grofin Nigeria\'s service delivery is based on an innovative business model, which was jointly developed by GroFin and the Shell Foundation, and has been implemented successfully in other African countries. It has the potential for unlocking the entrepreneurial talent in Nigeria and would also help to address the many challenges faced by SME operators in the country. Economic development across Africa requires a focus on assisting local enterprises with the potential for growth and expansion. Many enterprises, however, lack the business skills, collateral and documented trading history necessary to access local finance for their start-up / early growth. The Aspire Fund model will address this challenge. Shell Foundation (SF), SPDC, and Diamond Bank have different but complementary reasons for supporting this project. For Shell Foundation, the project represents a unique opportunity to pursue its current global strategy of assisting SMEs. For SPDC, the project is part of its continuous efforts to demonstrate commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy and support government initiative to develop SMEs in particular. By providing local entrepreneurs with access to medium-term, competitively-priced credit, SPDC expects the project to act as a force in the development of the local enterprise sector, thereby generate wealth, employment, economic growth and social development. For Diamond Bank, it is an opportunity to give back to the community and also apply the expected five per cent of its\' annual profit to the growth and development of the SMEs in the country. The fund will be made up of the following respective contributions:- Shell - US$10 million; Diamond Bank, US$20 million; and GroFin US$0.6 million



Small and medium Enterprises all over the world have been a panacea to economic growth. Bukola Afolabi takes a look at their crucial position in the economy and strategies to make them more relevant

Shoring up M


The achievement of financial inclusion goals requires the ‘participation of an array of institutions which service large scale, medium, small and micro enterprises. In many countries, commercial and investment banks provide financial services for industries and large scale enterprises


LOBALLY, they are the drivers of many economies and this pivotal role has been recognised in many countries. In Nigeria, despite tottering steps, their impact has been felt. But it can be felt more. Under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (MSMED Act) the meaning of the terms Micro, Small and Medium enterprise is understood with respect to the investment made in the plant and machinery/ equipment. The investment limit for each enterprise is as follows: According to Bank of Industry, the source of finance for many SMEs, Micro enterprises mean a business with a capital investment of not more than one million naira only which includes a working capital but excluding cost of land and or a labour size of between one and ten workers. Small enterprises are industries with capital investment of over N1.5m only but not exceeding. While Medium Enterprise are industries with a capital investment of over N50m only but not more than N200m including working capital but excluding cost of land or a labour size of between 101 and 300 workers. The central bank of Nigeria defines Small and Medium Enterprise in Nigeria according to asset base and number of staff employed. However, it is important to understand the classification and to avail the benefits accordingly, as some of the sectors are specifically reserved for to avail loans relatively easily and at lower interest rates. MSMEs' Contribution to the Economy MSMEs contribute to the creation of wealth, employment, and income generation, both in rural and urban areas, thus, ensuring a more equitable income distribution. They also provide the economy with a continuous supply of ideas, skills, and innovations necessary to promote competition and the efficient allocation of scarce resources. In the last five years, the MSME sector accounted for about 99.6% of the registered businesses in the country by which 63% of the labour force earn a living. Around 35.7% of the total sales and value added in the manufacturing come from MSMEs as well. But the object of MSMED Act 2006 is to facilitate the promotion and development and enhancing the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises and for matters connected therewith or incidental. Under this Act, a micro

or small enterprise or a medium enterprise engaged in providing or rendering of services may file the memorandum to the authority at discretion. Financial inclusion While some state governments in certain areas declared certain benefits and tax concessions on certain grounds to some SMEs, because of the Federal government policy on SME, the central bank introduced micro finance bank to make financial inclusion to come to pass. "There is pressing need to

address these constraints as a first step towards achieving inclusive finance, particularly among the poor and low income segments of the population," Paul Eluhaiwe, director, Development Finance department of the CBN said. "The aim is to empower millions of the unbanked Nigerians in the financial system to become viable economic actors. The role in economic development, measures being adopted to forge financial inclusion by selected countries and the attempt being made by Nigeria to follow suit.

"The achievement of financial inclusion goals requires the participation of an array of institutions which service large scale, medium, small and micro enterprises. In many countries, commercial and investment banks provide financial services for industries and large scale enterprises." Eluhaiwe noted that as financial inclusion programmes continue to attract increasing attention of stakeholders, promoters are becoming concerned about critical factors that will

ensure effectiveness and efficiency in services delivery. One of these factors is financial identity. Financial identity is being highlighted as a key risk management strategy in financial inclusion programmes. Given the low literacy levels of poor people in developing countries, and absolute lack of methods for registration of subjects, financial identity presents a serious hurdle to financial inclusion. While large transaction clients might be able to provide means for their identification such as identity cards, driving licenses and international





NAMB to establish microfinance training institute


R Kabir Yar'Adua, the Executive Secretary, National Association of Micro-finance Banks (NAMB), at the weekend in Abuja said the association would establish a world-class Micro-finance Training Institute this year. Yar'Adua told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the establishment of the institute would enhance capacity-building in the banking sub-sector. He said many members of the association often confused micro-finance banking with commercial banking, adding that the initiative would provide an opportunity for the adequate training of micro-finance banks' staff. ``We have the plan to train our members, especially on micro-finance banking, because we realised that a lot of our members are confusing micro-finance banking with commercial banking. ``The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is currently training the management

cadre staff and members of the board. ``But, we want to augment the effort by targeting the staff in the middle-level and junior cadre, because microfinance banking is totally different from commercial banking. ``This year will see the establishment of the institute because we have booked the name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and we have also obtained a letter of no-objection from the Ministry of Education," Yar'Adua said. He said the association was also advocating for the creation of courses related to micro-finance banking by Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions in the country. The NAMB executive secretary said the initiative would help the sub-sector to deliver professional micro-finance banking services to the teeming populace. ``We will consult with our universities and tertiary institutions to provide courses

relating to micro-finance banking. ``We are poised to give Nigerians quality and professional micro-finance services by enhancing our products and simplifying our operations," he said. Yar'Ă dua urged the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to cover micro-finance banks also, instead of commercial banks only. He said AMCON was established with taxpayers' money to bail out commercial banks when in trouble, adding that the same vehicle should also be used to bail out micro-finance banks. ``We also want AMCON to cover micro-finance banks. Why is it that it is only the banks for the rich that AMCON goes to rescue if they have bad debt? ``In the alternative, if the law of AMCON does not allow that, then, why not set up similar institution for microfinance banks," Yar'Adua said.

Expert advises entrepreneurs on usage of online platform


R Emeka Mordi, the Managing Director of Buyam, an e-commerce platform, at the weekend advised Nigerian entrepreneurs to adopt online platform to grow their businesses. Mordi gave the advice during a media tour of facilities, adding that there were opportunities to explore in the online retail space. He said that leveraging on the Internet platform to grow one's business would eventually grow the coun-

try's economy. According to him, even with the growing population and rising Internet penetration, the e-commerce space is still under-utilised. ``A sign of e-commerce acceptance is that many Nigerian banks offer Internet banking services, allowing customers to managing their money online. ``The growth in the use of credit/debit cards and ATMs is further evidence of an expanding e-commerce market. ``This space is still un-

der-utilised, presenting an opportunity for Nigerian businesses to create a safe and dynamic online retail service,'' he said. Mordi said that was an online e-commerce platform for both Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Commerce (B2C) customers. He said that the aim of the platform was to create a web-based global market place where a variety of products could be bought and sold.

By Lanre Williams

communication with customers and site visitors very easy," Rustagi said. To access the mobile website, SMEs are advised to log on to The Mobiz mobile website helps SMEs to generate more leads, inquiries and sales for their business while building a stable followership network, he explained further. He assured that the opportunities available for SMEs business as a result of the Mobiz mobile site were numerous going by the large number of mobile internet users in Nigeria. Mobile site regularly priced at N1999, he said is being offered at a 50 per cent discount of N999. SMEs can own a mobile website with their own domain name. He said the site would enable SMEs an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of templates by inserting their business images and videos, connect with customers via social networks such as twitter, facebook, and integrate M-commerce payment, thereby enabling customers pay for their products or services directly into the vendor's bank account.

Firm launches mobile portal for SMEs

I passports, this does not apply to the poor people. Financial literacy, Eluhaiwe said, was an important component of inclusion that would support better delivery of financial services by educating the targeted excluded sects, ultimately creating informed financial service providers and better informed users. "The combined effect of these provides for better credit and better portfolios, all of which will support institutional viability safety and soundness. Increased economic activities particularly from the MSME subsector would boost exports, increase foreign exchange earnings, stability of exchange rate and ability to manage foreign reserves. Increased use of mobile payments system will reduce expenditure of currency issues and management and

this could free resources for other development of important sectors such as infrastructure, health, education and public utilities. Also speaking on Measurement of Financial Inclusion in Nigeria, Professor Olu Ajakaiye, from University of Ibadan stated that the operations of financial system are crucial to people's savings, credit, payment and risk management needs. More importantly, the inclusiveness of this system tends to benefit the poor and other disadvantaged groups in the society. The heightened interest in Financial Inclusion (FI) by developing economies can be traced to the literature on the effect of financial development on economic growth. For instance, many studies have established that financial development

tends to increase economic growth and reduce inequality and poverty. Increased savings can be engendered by including the poor and disadvantaged groups in the formal financial system. Given their large numbers, this small saving group represents a means of financial diversification which can enhance financial stability and economic growth of a country. However, when financial development is not being entirely inclusive; especially when it tilts heavily towards the wealthy, it may dampen economic growth. This perhaps explains why financial developments experienced by some countries have not effectively translated to their growths. But, for Nigeria to grow, the MSMEs must be encouraged to soar.

N its quest to deepen online business in Nigeria Mobiz has launched a new mobile website where Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) could trade their goods and services at reduced hosting cost. The Co-founder of the online portal, Mr. Deepankar Rustagi, explained that the mobile site would be fully optimised for all features and smart phones. When deployed, the mobile website is expected to support SME businesses that have over time been limited to the areas they are located. Rustagi who observed that SMEs operators that have cash constraints to launch advert campaigns would find the site useful and economical to do business that would give them more visibility. With over 60 per cent of Internet users on mobile devices and 88 per cent of internet traffic in Nigeria originating from mobile devices, Rustagi said having a mobile site would engender an increase in SMEs customer base. "It gives business an identity, a face that goes beyond just a business name, it becomes an entity customers

should relate with. You can communicate with customers and site visitors via videos and images uploaded on the site," Rustagi said. He explained that the newly launched site was a special promotion to develop easy to operate mobile websites for SMEs at a giveaway price of N999. According to him, Mobiz mobile site would help SMEs acquire customer information, enabling them to know their customers and their needs and how to tailor their services to suit their purpose. The mobile site gives SMEs nationwide visibility as it is linked with various social media. It enables video marketing, promotes contextual advertising and would be linked to one of the most visited sites in Nigeria, he said. "With Mobiz solution, your website will receive regular traffic with numerous users searching for various goods and services constantly. Products, services and price information can also be placed on the mobile website making



Seven quick tips for reducing stress

Globally, smoking is being seen as 'uncool' and has attracted frowns in many circles. In this report, Godwin Simon writes on the harmful effects of tobacco smoking.



ccording to the Nigerian report of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) for 2013 which was presented last July by the Minister of Health, Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu, about 50 per cent of Nigerians are exposed to passive smoking, otherwise known as second-hand smoking- a situation whereby non-smokers are exposed to and made to inhale the smoke from tobacco directly exhaled by smokers (active smokers). In a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, globally, tobacco causes about 5.4 million deaths yearly compared to 3 million, 2 million and 1 million attributed to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria respectively. By 2020, WHO estimates that global death toll from smoking would hit 10 million. A recent research by Cancer Research UK reveals that passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children because their bodies are still developing. It explains that smoking when one is with them increase s the risk of childhood deaths and other respiratory illnesses such as asthma, chest infections and possibly cancer later in life. They may also become smokers when they grow older. In Nigeria today, everyone can be exposed to passive smoking in restaurants, market places, government buildings, shopping centres, public transportation parks, among other places. How tobacco smoke endangers the body In an interview with a medical practitioner, Dr. Labiyi Olutayo, he noted that both active and passive smoking have become issues of concern to the health of Nigerians. He said anybody can be exposed to passive smoking anywhere as long as a smoker is in the vicinity. He explained that the body needs oxygen, and the substances that the passive smokers are inhaling constitute dangers to the body in the sense that they are actually waste products. He noted that these substances could lead to some problems or worsen some existing medical conditions in the body. According to him, “Tobacco itself contains some chemicals that have been analysed to be toxic to the body. It is not the chemicals themselves that make people want to smoke. It is just because it contains some psycho-active agents that affect their behaviours. When people that are passing by inhale the chemicals, they get into the lungs. Not all of them are exhaled. Some are retained in the lungs. When such thing happens, many of the

, o c c a b o t , h t l a e H d n a e k o sm s r o t c a f risk chem icals could lead to serious health conditions. “ It's not only cancer that one could get from active and passive smoking, there are other serious conditions that one could contract. Lung cancer is actually at the lower end of the spectrum when we are talking about dangers that could come as a result of passive smoking. There are other chronic medical conditions associated with tobacco smoke. These include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases (COLD) and Chronic Inflammatory Lungs Diseases. The continuous presence of these leads to degenerating lung tissues and this begins to manifest as cough - coughs that don't subside for about three months and associated with bringing forth of sputum and difficulty in breathing. Such conditions do not usually improve with time. They actually get worse over time until the lungs are eventually damaged. There are other cases like asthma. Inhaling tobacco smoke could trigger the effects of asthma and subject the patient to respiratory distress that accompanies it. In these cases, it is not cancer, but another dimension to the degenerating effects of tobacco smoke.” Why smokers smoke Explaining why many people choose to smoke, he said tobacco contains nicotine, a psycho-active agent that tends to give a form of increased euphoria, making smokers 'high' or feel good about themselves. Some people, he said, believe that it improves their memory and makes them more mentally alert. These, according to him, are the temporal effects

•Dr. Olutayo

of cigarette smoking. But the effects wear out with time leaving the smoker with the hunger to sustain the effect, thereby leading to habitual smoking. The medical expert identified stoppage of smoking as the best escape route for salvaging smokers and innocent passers-by from the debilitating effects of tobacco smoke. He noted that stopping depends on the stage the smokers have reached. Some people, he said, have smoked for 10-15 years while some are just two years. The probability of each of the groups to stop differs. Respite for repentant smokers He said: “When smokers want to stop, it is not always easy because the brain has become used to the effects of these substances and there will be cravings. Some become jittery, some get tremor while some lose concentration and become disorientated. Most of the time, for those who have not been smoking for long, stopping may just involve some counselling and the conscious effort of the smoker, and over time, these people would be able to live normal lives again. However, for the chronic smokers, it is always difficult and it's always advised that they seek the help of medical experts who can help them with therapies. There is also something we call nicotine patch. It's like a plaster put on the body of the smoker. When the craving for nicotine (the psychoactive agent in tobacco) becomes much for the brain, the pad diffuses the substance through the skin and the effect of the cravings on the brain reduces because the nicotine is released to the body through the skin to create in them the effect of a person who has smoked.” He appealed to the government to rise up against the ubiquity of public smoking. He said whenever the habit of an individual begins to constitute health risk to the populace, it becomes imperative for the government to find a way of protecting the other people. This, he said, could be done through increase in taxes on tobacco and making laws that prohibit smoking in public places with strong implementation. He bemoaned the state of the Nigerian health sector and called for an upgrade of equipment and facilities as this would foster easy diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

ealth is about so much more than just eating well! You also need to take care of other things in your life that nourish you. 1. Practice deep conscious breathing throughout the day. You'll be amazed at the immediate calming effect it has on your body. The “one-breath” meditation is a powerful, straightforward relaxation technique that can be practiced anytime, anywhere from your office to the subway! Try it whenever you feel fatigued or out of whack: sit in a comfortable chair, straighten your back, relax your shoulders and take a deep breath. Let the air open your chest, and imagine that it is revitalizing every cell in your body. Hold your breath for a count of 3, then exhale releasing every bit of tension. Repeat 8 times for a quick pick-me-up! 2. We lead very sedentary lives today, so it's important to exercise and be as active as you can throughout your day. Add movement in your day by taking the stairs instead of the lift, walk over to see your colleagues instead of using the phone… every step counts! Outside of work experiment with an exercise style that works for you: yoga, Pilates, martial arts, walking, running, cycling, rollerblading, swimming, dancing or competitive sports... anything that will get you moving, and that's fun! 3. Take a 30-minute appointment with yourself every day, and treat yourself to regular quiet time. Turn your phone off, let everyone know that you don't want to be disturbed, listen to music, study, pray, meditate… recharge yourself… whatever works, so you can relax! 4. Cultivate gratitude: First thing in the morning and right before going to bed at night, think of three things you're grateful for in your life. 5. Foster a sense of humor; hum or sing a happy song every day and smile! 6. Keep your home in good order: You are your home! 7. Finally, do your best to be on good terms with people, especially your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends and co-workers. Good relationships are vital for our well-being!

Free breast and cervical screening for women


non-governmental organization, The Patriotic Association of Surulere (PAS) in collaboration with the Optimal Care Cancer foundation is organising a free breast cancer and cervical screening for women in Surulere Local Government area. The screening is billed to hold from 10 am to 5 pm on 24th and 31st of January at 118, Bode Thomas Street, Surulere, Lagos. The spokesperson of PAS, Mr. Megbon Martins who spoke with The Nation said the initiative is geared towards ensuring women at the grass root level are enlightened on the need to be conscious of the necessity of early detection as key to preventing cancer.



LOBALLY, brand building and successful marketing is coming down to relationship building and management, real hard, for brands. Consumer brand experience now come down with direct impact on sales graphs and figures in quantifiable terms, more than ever before. It is gradually catching on with discerning brand managers, especially with banks, airlines telecom companies, hotels and leisure. In developed economies, loyalty program as sale tool has even moved from accumulating gain-points on consumer engagement or experience to becoming very important element of an over-all customer strategy based on total experience including dialogue, insight and personalized offers. For example, hotels are now using information gleaned from loyalty program to customize the consumer experience by adding personal touches to rooms. Banks now practice customer reward system based on intimacy and value of engagement in form of customized personal service delivery, by tying together several products into points-based loyalty programs. What markets stated above do, is reward different customers differently. Given that loyalty program as a marketing tool, its effectiveness depends on a given brand’s program so as will attract or entice the right customers to remain loyal. At the end of the day, it all comes down to cost computation, therefore, as in other strategic tools, customer loyalty program must be designed to attract plus return on investment. The most basic kind of loyalty program is based purely on transactions. Customers accumulate points redeemable for free goods or discounts on related products. It’s a tactical or promotional marketing initiative, also capable of stimulating revenue in the short term. So the trend is tasking on creativity and strategic planning on the basis of experiential marketing support. It basically engages customers in form of appreciation for experiencing or engaging the brand, such that connects brand and customer at a point of friendship way beyond the brand’s core value essence. It is about personalizing the relationship between brand and customer; it’s about consumer experience. I once had a very exciting loyalty program experience with Emirate airline in one of my travels from Dubai to Lagos. Going by their program design, the lot fell on me to be rewarded as a frequent flyer, in form of class upgrade. The experience of flying on Business Class from my Economy Class went a long way to establish the loyalty I developed for the brand (unfortunately that friendship was compromised when I lost one of my bags in a subsequent trip). Such is brands’ gains from a well-executed loyalty program, and the developed market is driving further in the use of such programs to drive customer loyalty, competitive advantage and total consumer satisfaction. Unfortunately, brands in our local market are yet to connect with this unique global trend. Instead, the population of unhappy customers keeps growing. Across segments in our local market, the overriding marketing objective is rather brutal, unfriendly and selfish. Most of the brands in almost all of the market segments are primarily concerned with meeting market target in volume and value terms, not minding


Brands & loyalty program

the consumer experience not even with franchises of global brands in this market. They all gain from the huge size of this market, being the largest market in Africa, and compromise the consumers because of the largely unregulated nature of the market. How else would one look at the consumer experience of a brand like MultiChoice/DSTV in Nigeria? In the first place, subscribers have to go through a lot of deprivation in terms of time and resources to be connected, and then continue with the exorbitant subscription paid through an equally tedious process. To add to it all, they broadcast stale contents / programs repeatedly, totally disregarding decency and respect for viewers’ money. Now, all that happens and continue to happen because the system does not have effective and efficient checks to regulate trade and practice of brands such as MultiChoice/DSTV. The situation is even made worse by the character of consumers in this market. To a great extent, lack of options really leaves the average consumer without choice. As in the case of the cable television market, what choice is there to enable the average consumer make rational decision, even in the face of compromises? In fact, it is so bad, corporate customers and some very high net-worth subscribers pay

two years on ahead on account, for uninterrupted experience because there are no options. The good thing, however, is that the economy is opening up to foreign influences. They may not be obviously purposeful with exposing the Nigerian customer to the luxurious customer treatment in their home markets (cost consideration), but the vestiges will manifest in the long run. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Woolworth and Shoprite are all going to change the face of brands management in this market in the long run. The telecom market is peculiar in influence as a tool for socio-economic development, no doubt, but it remains the one market requiring of improved customer experience management. As in the retail and fast food markets, change is coming the way brands in these markets are managed, considering that with time, consumer appreciation will grow, resulting in a more purposeful brands management. The most manifest of brands support today is product campaigns. Because advertising is most often not based on challenging consumer expectation, such initiatives are not deep in concept, creativity and strategy. In fact if it were possible to be absolutely quiet, the few brands that still invest in advertising would have ceased to bother. So, the main objective for

most brands communication is consumer mind presence not even top of mind awareness. It is enough for the brand’s showing on advert media, just so that it is seen to be advertising. For reasons of pseudo-competition, brands in telecom and drinks market (especially the alcoholic drinks segment finds it very easy to hold promotions, promising all sorts of prizes to be won. The interesting about some of the promotions is that they are not primarily consumer rewarding. At best, they heighten consumer awareness and brand consideration because of the exciting prices promised. But we have also gathered that consumers are beginning to doubt the authenticity of some of paraded winners and their prices. So much is done with computer graphics and structured photography to gain in authenticity. But the consumer is getting wiser. In developed markets, loyalty program as a tactical sales promotion tool has even been taken far beyond basic points gathering, to a more effective engagement that now see brands deliberately investing to learn more about their customers by tracking not just their purchases but also their attitudes and needs. A loyalty program can serve as a platform to facilitate richer, more frequent dialogues with customers, to learn things about them that might not be revealed by their transactions.



2015: Intrigues and battle for soul of T Akwa Ibom

HESE are indeed interesting times as far as the struggle for and control of the oil rich Akwa Ibom State is concerned. It may be safe to say that, unlike many other states, the competition for political power and offices in 2015 may have begun shortly before the 2011 elections or immediately after the elections of 2011. Many remember that even before the choice of candidates in the 2011 gubernatorial elections were announced, it was already public knowledge that the then deputy governor, Mr Patrick Ekpo Otu, had been singled out as the man to be dropped from the Akpabio ticket. In a town where rumours are as rife as air, those who took the kite as just a kite, where soon to learn that this was no joke. For reasons perhaps only clear to Akpabio and his kitchen cabinet, Ekpo Otu was sacrificed. Nsima Ekere, the man who replaced him as deputy governorship candidate had already begun duties even before the first ballot in the General elections was in. again, the rumor mill then had intimated that Ekere, an indigene of Ikot Abasi, in the Eket Senatorial zone, was poised to take over from Akpabio, come 2015. The idea was that Ekere who had contested the 2007 PDP gubernatorial primaries with Akpabio, had entered into an agreement of sorts immediately after a good show at the then primaries. But whether or not he did, the rumors gained strength, seeing that Ekere, before his nomination to the ticket, had been in charge of the major investment parastatal of the state that reported directly to the governor. Add that to his then visible closeness to Akpabio, and what you got was a potent, believable gossip. But there was a snag. It is not immediately known when the then, Secretary to Government, Umana Okon Umana became interested in the plum office, but many are wont to posit, that the man may have so decided, immediately on appointment as the Secretary to Government. Often described as one of the most, if not the most powerful SSG to patrol the corridors, the view that Umana started nursing his ambition so early on, was easily gleamed from the way and manner he positioned his loyalists all over strategic offices and even the legislature from the word go. It was an open secret then that the fear of

Umana was the beginning of wisdom. He had a say in what became of whom and who became what, from Local council chairmen, councilors or what have you. Even when Ekere came on board and the rumors of his succeeding Akpabio became rife, many were at a loss on what would become of this powerful servant of state. But they did not have to wait long as Ekere was in a short while shown the red card. Even though the issue of who removed Ekere or through what instrumentation or person, Ekere was forced out, remain in contention till today, the fact remains that Ekere was forced to resign his appointment. Even though media reports have it that Akpabio owes Ekere's ouster to pressure from Umana, we must maintain that Akpabio forced Ekere out, for to do otherwise would be massaging Umana's ego, while reprimanding the governor for not taking responsibility for actions in his time, good or bad. But with Ekere's ouster from government, the fame and near supernatural political powers of Umana was accentuated. At that point it became political suicide not to bow to and join the Umana bandwagon. What better proof would one need to understand where the power pendulum swings? But then things happened in supersonic speed. Umana the powerful was soon bitten by the tiger. No matter what his supporters would have us believe, umana's travail was much more than a public deflation of a myth. It represented the best example of the ephemeral nature and transient attributes of power. Not long, indeed immediately post Umana, the mills now have it that the new Secretary to government, Emmanuel Udom, a trained and highly respected banker, has been anointed by Akpabio for the 2015 polls. Please pardon the long treatise above. It is in my opinion, a necessary background to understanding the politics of 2015 gubernatorial race in Akwa Ibom state. The background notwithstanding, it bears mention that Akpabio soon went home and abroad to canvass for and support the zoning of the governorship to Eket Senatorial district. It is also instructive to state that Udom, the present Secretary to government and Ekere,

Akpabio By Etop Umoette

the former deputy governor are from this zone. Umana is from the Uyo senatorial zone, which had held office in the time of Obong Victor Attah. By zoning the office to Eket Senatorial zone, Uyo and Ikot Ekpene are effectively shut out. Even though the Oron ethnic group resides in Eket zone, they feel shortchanged and hold that Akpabio should have in zoning the office to Eket, allowed for the Oron nation, as they prefer to be called to have a right of first refusal. Her position is borne of the fact that Akwa Ibom is made of three major ethnic groups, the Ibibios, Annangs and the Oro peoples. Since the other two ethnic groups have tasted power, the Orons has not. That zoning to Eket zone without a caveat that favors the Orons is a ruse to play them out, seeing that in the zone they suffer a surfeit of numbers alongside the Ibibios who are predominant in the area. The above captures the situation on ground today. Without much ado, the opposition, for want of a better name had long begun a massive assault on the minds of the people. The agent of attack is bulk messages, paid advertisements, and syndicated interviews and columnists. This strategy proceeds from an understanding that since it may not be possible, even though not impossible to snatch the PDP ticket from those in control of the mainstream PDP in the state, an assault on

the mindset of the larger electorate from now till the general elections may create sufficient disgust, anger and revolt within the electorate, enough to transform into voter sympathy in the general election. The belief being that they may very well start preparing to contest on the ticket on the next viable political party. So bulk messages of different groups are now the order of the day in Akwa Ibom. The underlying motive as evidenced in a content analysis would show that these messages are thematically preoccupied with casting aspersions on Akpabio or abusing Udom. The strategy is to make Akpabio, Udom's baggage should udom pick the PDP ticket. If Akpabio is tarred then his candidate is so condemned the campaign seems to maintain. So attacking Akpabio on the issue of zoning, while also attacking Udom's suitability and near zero political experience has become the order of bulk short messages. It has become so prevalent that at various times, Akpabio had come out to tell the people to discard messages that seem to destroy rather than build. At the centre of the intrigues is also the strategy of attacking and or stimulating the consciousness of the Oron people. As it is, the next phase of the campaign has begun, with special interviews and columnist. Hear Bar. Victor Iyanam, an oron son and past commissioner for Justice, in interview of the Nation on Sunday, last week ; "The clamor that gover-

norship should be zoned to Eket Senatorial district now is suspicious. Now, let me tell you how it is today. My father before me was part of an arrangement which ought to have been followed till now. We used to have an arrangement of the Ibibio, Annang and Oron. Nobody ever discussed senatorial district. The discussion was always about tripod. The tripod of Ibibio, annang and oron‌" In the same interview under discussion, Iyanam goes on to say;"I am looking at all the candidates. Since I am an oro person, I feel that in the circumstance, my people will be better served by a candidate from uyo senatorial district. I am looking at possibilities and I hope that we can manage to persuade former SSG, umana Umana to enter the race. There are so many politicians in history, including Shehu Shagari and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, they were all persuaded to participate. We hope we can persuade somebody like Umana Umana to show interest and actually contest in the election. I think such a person will be better for oro nation" Let us examine Iyanams words above before returning to the issue of bulk sms on Akpabio and Udom. Iyanam conveniently forgets to mention the fact that it is not only oro that has a distinct language or dialect within the Eket Senatorial district. There is also the Ekid speaking people, who like oro have the attributes and nuances of a nation. They are commonly referred to as Ibibios, as indeed all other ethnic groups, including the annangs and oros in times gone. Going by the 2006 cencus igures the oros had a population figure of 87,461 people, including 46,408 males and 41, 053 females. The Ekid nation had a population figure of 63,701, including 33,942 males and 29,759 females. So quite clearly, any talk of tripod, must also take into consideration the Ekid speaking people. This people, like the oro people speak a dialect distinct from Ibibio. The oro nation also exists in Bakkassi local government area of Cross River State. Should it not also agitate for spoils in Cross River State? It is my submission that the Oron people should beware of people like Iyanam. His stand on the issue of senatorial district is less than ingenious. It is noteworthy to mention here that

Iyanam's younger brother, the celebrated trail blazer in telecoms marketing, Okon Iyanam has since declared and begun consultations state wide on his ambition to take over from Akpabio. Instead of supporting his brother or indeed instigating state wide appeal for any oro son worthy to throw his hat in the ring, Iyanam is busy sowing seeds of discord a. At a time when Oron people should be networking and negotiating for the plum job, jobbers like Iyanam are busy suggesting people from other districts that he believes would better serve Oron. It is confounding that he would pretend to attempt to persuade Umana to contest. True Oron sons should know better than Iyanam. He should equate his thesis to the real demands of the Oron people. If Oron people want to rule they should come out and show the people the stuff they are made off. The likes of Iyanam only understand the promise of deputy governorship. That may very well be the reason his blood brother and other Oron sons can go to hell. So much for my people! For Akpabio, if indeed he has anointed Udom to succeed him, he has the not so enviable task of explaining to the people, why men and women that he worked closely with do not qualify to succeed him. There may be things he knows that we are not privy to. He should share. Many would remember that at the twilight of his tenure, then Lagos state governor, Bola Tinubu opted to throw up his then Chief of Staff, Babatunde Fashola as his successor against Tokumbo Afikuyomi, whom many had expected to stroll into office on account of his closeness to Tinubu. Tinubu, knowing the character and make-up of government that would surpass his, opted for a Fashola with no known political experience. Afikuyomi opted to contest on another platform and the rest like they say is history. Akpabio should tell us if Udom is the Fashola of Akwa Ibom state come 2015. But beyond that, the battle for control of power should transcend money politics and politics of division. The question, very pertinent question is; what type of and character of governance does akwa Ibom State need, going forward? * Umoette, a political commentator wrote from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

'I don't care what people think of me' Contd. from page 55

ainstream but by no means outlandish. "It would not be a hard argument to make that this country is the most violent country in the world today," he says. "This country was built on violence. The enslavement of black people and the genocide of the Native Americans were the two things on which this country was founded. Where are the Native Americans today? They're not on reservations. They're more like concentration camps. We never hear anything about Native Americans except John Wayne and John Ford movies where they're treated as savages." Braggadocious, brazen, playful, cocky and combative,

the one adjective that doesn't fit him, even as a difficult interviewee, is the one with which he is most commonly associated: angry. For all the stand-offs he has been associated with, he has rarely provided chum for the tabloids. There have been no temper tantrums on YouTube, accounts of drunken brawling or humiliating waiters. As such, the showmanship in these apparently fearlessness, forthright outspoken episodes owe more to the temperament of Muhammad Ali than Russell Crowe. One person who has known him for a long time says these scrapes have always been very calculated. "His first film was low budget and put out by a small distributor. So it was really down to him to

publicise it and he did so, aggressively, through himself. And he's very good at it. He loves publicity. He loves being a rascal. It's very calculated even when what he says genuinely reflects how he feels about something. Whenever he has a new film coming out, my friend and I joke: 'That means Spike's going to say something crazy.' Lee is a oneman brand." When Lee first became a national figure he was not yet 30 and living in Brooklyn. Born Shelton Jackson Lee to middle-class parents (his father is a jazz musician; his mother was a teacher) he was raised in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, one of the most prestigious, historically black colleges, which counts

Martin Luther King and Samuel Jackson among its alumni. He raised money for his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It, by writing to friends and relatives and even collecting bottles and cans for cash. "We were doing Kickstarter before there was Kickstarter," he says. "We actually put pen on paper and then we licked stamps," he smiled. Much of his early work draws heavily on his knowledge of and experience in Brooklyn, bringing the New York borough alive in film in the same manner that Paul Auster was doing in print. Today, he's 56, married to a former corporate lawyer, lives in a townhouse on the Upper East Side that was featured in Homes & Gardens, has two children who at-

tended an elite private school and a holiday home in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard the holiday destination of choice for well-to-do African Americans. including the Obamas. In 2004, his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, co-wrote a novel, Gotham Diaries, about intrigue within New York's black bourgeoisie, into which she was born her father was the most senior black executive at Phillip Morris and into which Lee married. "Not my world," Lee told New York Magazine, which makes you wonder which world he does live in if not the same one as his wife. While touring his office I asked him how he managed to remain grounded while receiving plaudits from the likes of Fellini and Kazan in his early

30s. "You get married. That's how." He insists that neither the advance of years nor the elevation of his circumstances has had any impact on his work. "It has no effect. It's only time and a number," he says. "And those numbers don't bother me. Kurosawa was still making films when he was in his 80s." So he's learned nothing as he's aged? "Well as you get older you learn more things and you mature," he concedes. And his departure from Brooklyn? "We're still here," he says casting an arm around the office. "And we're still going to be here." C o u r t e s y :



‘We didn’t invest a kobo in Sunborn Yacht’ The first part of this interview was published last Sunday. Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State spoke with Sam Omatseye, Mobolaji Sanusi and Femi Macaulay on a wide range of issues:


HOPE you can provide clarification concerning the controversial Sunborn Yacht Hotel. I think in March, it suddenly disappeared and nobody seems to know anything about its whereabouts. I remember that when the project was announced, it was said to have involved about N4.5 billion; with an investment of that scale, I think somebody should be able to explain what happened to the yacht. There was no investment by me or by Lagos state government, I have made that clarification. I know that Sen Afikuyomi who was the commissioner for tourism then, strongly associated with the project? The mandate that Sen. Afikunyomi had as a Commissioner for Tourism here was to supervised the implementation for the proposal. At that time, there were not enough hotel rooms in Lagos, that was what we responded to. People must understand why we act. We were a Mega city, we wanted to compete with other Mega cities, we must have visitors. Where are they going to stay? Not in government house! We looked at our hotels and we saw that we were underprovided for. When some people now came with the idea that there was this yacht, they wanted to bring it, can we find space for them to put it, we said pronto, that gives

us more rooms before other hotels start springing up. we knew that The Radison was coming, we knew that the Eko hotel was planning to expand. We knew that the Oriental was under construction but they hadn't matured and Ghana is my competitor. So I said let's look for land for them. The deal was that we would provide a ….place which we did and we would provide land close to it where they can build a reception. No sooner had we provided that and we are going to the next phase after identifying the site to say let's sign agreement, are you going to give us equity for this land, we heard that they were in courts. The financiers of the projects and the proposal of the projects, bankers and the owners of the projects had started fighting. The mandate that Sen. Afikunyomi had from this government contained in our council minutes was go and implement that proposal to this extent. One kobo of Lagos state money was never put there, if we put any money at all, it was the time we spent (because time is money) to debate it. So if the boat has disappeared, Lagos state money is not lost. I am not the owner of the boat, so why should I be looking for something that doesn't belong to me. I think it was Diamond bank who financed it; they should be able to tell you where the

boat is. I have no reason to look for it. How you have handled destitution in in Lagos after the Anambra destitution? What would you like me to address there? How has it affected your handling of people of such challenge in Lagos in the aftermath of what happened, have you done some kind of administrative checks? As I have said, the Anambra issue was a political issue. As I have said during this interview, the focus of our responsibility is people of different strata. As I have said, we had a Maji….camp, built in the early 19, in fact the history of that camp was Festac. We were hosting the world and the military said we have to clear all the destitutes out of this place and they quickly built that place. What we are doing first is to understand how we have progressed. Lagos state has no state owned mental institution; the only one in Lagos is federal at Yaba so we decided that that would be our model mental institution. That is what is behind our livability conference that we just had. People who are destitute are people who are also vulnerable living with disabilities, they levels of people who are also vulnerable across board. Many of them that we dealt with were people who either who either got to unto a bus, they were victims or something. They have been either sex slaves, human trafficking who probably escaped, people with mental diseases that you and I don't want to associate with on the street but it is our responsibility to take them off the street. Oftentimes what has happened is that when they recover they begin to say I wished I had money to go home. Where is home? Those who said they were from Anambra, we wrote to the government, they replied. We wrote back and then nothing happened. We were torn between being faced with the allegation of illegal detention and oftentimes we also saw that we have tried many policies, so we will continue to innovate, that's my answer. We tried policies like, okay let's give them money to go, they don't go. We pick them back. The money only fuels the next purchase of drugs and this is not a problem unique to us. As I have said, Akwa-Ibom sent people here, Anamabra itself has sent people away, so have Imo and even in the city of London, in Canada, in Mexico so it is a human problem. Governance is getting more complex for leaders and my disposition to it is that we can't stop trying new things; if they don't work we would start again, but we would find solutions, we won't give up. The financing in Lagos in a shrinking economy, looking at it in the context of what we are hearing from NNPC where the CBN governor .writes a letter president saying about 15 billion has not been accounted for and states are not getting their allocation, how do you think all of these impacts on the pressures to really implement projects especially when you have so many things fighting for your attention? When I look at our efforts, when I look at our roles, I look at the choices we had made to make trailers and tankers a preferred model for evacuating hundreds of millions of tons out of our ports instead of rebuilding the rail, and then when I hear all this sloganizing about transformation that the rail is now working. I wonder to myself whether we are talking about the same economy. Truth be told, whoever is right in this $49 billion thing, the truth is that Nigeria has not gained. If the CBN governor is right, it means that we have that much money unaccounted for. If as they

say, he does not know how they account for oil proceeds, we have an even greater problem that the banker to the federation does not know how the biggest resource of the state is accounted for. When I listen to these responses, I just ask myself are we dealing with people who understand what the issue is. If a CBN governor says money is missing, the simple answer is that we sold this much, we received this much, we paid into ABCDE accounts and that if you look at A-D, you will see this number. It is only after that is done that the issue of who authorized payments can start. Did you have appropriation? For the first answer it is that no, the money is not lost, it is with sanusi, it is with Akeem Belllo, that must be the answer before we now asked them how did you give it to them(laughter). When you look at our infrastructure deficits; you know we are six hours away from Europe, from South Africa, South America-Brazil. We are 7 hours away from Dubai and five hours away for most part of the Middle East and we are not their measure up. of What did it take to build Dubai airport? We don't have to invent, just try and get somebody to do the design and pay and build. If some people want to go abroad, they fly from Lagos to Dubai to go to London and not on a Nigerian carrier. Whether it is 40 billion or 1 billion, what did we do with the money? What has brought Dubai to our consciousness? Dubai has not anything; they just build very defining architecture using the same oil money. Dubai has not invented a telephone; they have just bought service. So why can't we just buy service with our money? Why are we not aspirational? We built the Lekki link bridge, saved money29 billion naira and in that same economy, we frittered away almost 3 trillion naira. If you do the maths, how many 29 million will you find in 3 trillion naira? Almost a million. So it meant that if we sat down and decided that we wanted to give each state of the federation a bridge, each state would have collected two- 72 bridges out of that 3 trillion naira. Now I don't know how many trillion this $47billion dollar is. I can't even calculate it. When you look at it that way, that's what we threw away and then we are still promising that we will build second Niger Bridge. I ask myself are we on the same page because I don't know how long the second Niger bridge is but that Lekki bridge is 1.3 kilometers. We don't have rail, we again borrowing, we are spending, we have built 8 kilometers of rail inside the city. That was supposed to be launched since July? I never said it would be launched in July, I said that section would be completed in July. There is still a lot of work to do: we still have to build signals, we have to electrify. We can't bring diesel engines again. You can't electrify in sections, it is possible but it is not cost effective. It is a work in progress, at least we have started, again we have showed that we dare to talk difficult decisions. The day we started, somebody told me, 'we can't do it'. I said go and tell somebody else, not me, I am going to start. When we started, it was estimated to cost about $2 billion dollars. All the money we had was about 3 billion naira so I called the contractor go and start. We would build it inch by inch. They said the money is not complete, the finance is not complete, I said I know. The longer we wait, the more it will not be complete. What is there in brick and mortal is an asset for Lagos. CONCLUDED




MALGAMATION was a contingency of history. Nigeria was, and still is, a contraption of the incompatibles. Frederick Lugard was the lord of the confusion. The likes of Prof. Richard Olaniyan and Dr. Kayode Fayemi who are theorizing on amalgamation and the national question, are constructionists engineering a change that may appear complex. Aside from his major crime-converging or amalgamating ‘the strange assorted’ into the Nigerian state, Lord Lugard’s other offence was to commit a historical sin, the kind of sin that will be difficult to forgive and forget. Nay, his sin was to fall into the trap of history and historians whose major preoccupation is the persecution and over-reporting of historical offenders. Men of evil and errors like Hitler and Lugard can hardly rest in peace because historians like Profs Olaniyan and Akin Alao will keep reminding them in their graves, of their past evil and blunders. What blunder did Lord Lugard commit? Let’s hear Olaniyan and Alao in their re-packaged book: The Amalgamation and Its Enemies: “As the first governor of Northern protectorate of Nigeria, Sir Frederick Lugard failed in the development of the economic potentials of the North. He became too excited, fascinated and obsessed with the means (indirect rule and power) at the expense of the end (an economically viable Northern Nigeria). When he therefore proposed the amalgamation of the two protectorates, he probably wanted to conceal his failure and inadequacies…” Olaniyan and Alao’s imperial judgement must have been influenced by what Antrobus wrote about Lugard: “Sir F. Lugard has many good qualities. He has plenty of goals, he is full of ideas and he is not afraid of taking responsibility. But he is not a prudent or farseeing administrator, his schemes are not well thought out and he has more than once involved us in heavier expenditure than contemplated.” I know that the historian’s main responsibility is to commence his investigation from reasons for an action and causes of an event, I submit humbly that Olaniyan’s generalist approach to the Lugardian blunder was conceptually inappropriate. Accusing a man, a dead man for that matter, of covering up his “failure and inadequacies” with an idea he thought was in the best interest of his colonial office, and the people of Nigeria, without taking into cognizance some “vast impersonal forces” that might have compelled his action, was incorrect. This is why I am inclined to agree with Prof. Segun Gbadegesin’s argument when he wrote that “there are three possible approaches to the evaluation of the act of amalgamation.” He submits: “First, it is not self-contradictory for one person to hold both verdicts. One may renounce the act of colonization and amalgamation as a morally reprehensible deed because it violates the principle of justice. On the other hand, one may look at the outcome of the amalgamation in terms of the overall good it supposedly produces, from a utilitarian perspective, and consider it an act of GOD.” Second, one may see amalgamation as well as its outcome as an act of GOD. From a fatalistic point of view (what will be will be), if GOD did not want it, Lugard and his British constabulary would not overpower the forces of resistance in the north and south. Whatever GOD allows to happen is good, no matter our human understanding. Therefore, the amalgamation was not only an act of GOD, it was also good. This is the spirit of theodicy. But it may also be argued that the outcome of the amalgamation was good for the peoples of the north and south. And since GOD is the author of whatever is good, it was an act of GOD. This is his third approach. One may see first, the amalgamation in itself as a morally heinous deed for the reason stated above, and second, its consequences for the people of the north and the south as terribly bad. In this case, the motivation for and the outcome of amalgamation is morally obnoxious, whatever small mercies proceed therefrom. I maintain that the issue of amalgamation transcends what history alone can explain except it is willing to extend the frontiers of its search and discourse to the philosophical realm. Agreed Lugard was the actor of the amalgamation and should be made to carry the responsibility of its “unworkability”, what role do we assign the “vast impersonal forces” that possibly influenced Lugard’s action? It must be understood that important as the role of the great man is in the historical process, this role

Amalgamation: When will Lugard rest in peace?

•Lugard By Dapo Thomas

is just one of the several factors facilitating historical process. And any attempt to interprete the historical process exclusively on the basis of the declared motives or intentions of the principal historical actors or on the basis of options made by these actors, or from the actors, deriving from these actions, is doomed to futility. Again, Lugard is morally permitted to justify or defend his action by blaming it on “determinism” which imposes limitations on man and his actions. If we assume, rightly or wrongly, that actors’ choices and therefore, actions, are pre-determined and therefore such actors are exonerated from their actions, why do we still haunt Lugard in his grave for a mistake that was “pre-determined”? Trying to look at determinism and other possibilities that compelled Lugard’s action is not to automatically exclude him, as a historical actor, from the consequences of his action, but to explain that, with determinism, events that happened as they have happened could not have happened differently unless something in the cause or causes have also been different. This is why some writers believe that amalgamation was a contingency of history that has placed a moral and patriotic burden on us all in ensuring that we do not negate it. The challenge we have as a nation and as a people, is to accept our present predicament as a condition deserving of a clinical resolution. The discourse on national question which is one of the burdens imposed on us by amalgamation is one way of creating the energy and mental capacity for an enduring resolution. The beautiful thing about Olaniyan’s book is that it attempts a comprehensive recording of the debate on national question, capturing both the sensible and the ridiculous, with a view to reflecting the totality of the arguments from north to south. This forms the concluding chapter of this must-have book which contains a heavy dose of intellectual capsules. If Olaniyan’s narratives and investigation of amalgamation are tangentially theoretical, Kayode Fayemi’s treatment of the National Question in his book, Regaining the Legacy, is understandably technical. Exhibiting his expertise in theoretical constructs, Fayemi

called for a collective reflection on the future of the nation and how we can evolve the institutional mechanisms to manage our diversity and difference. He posits: “Since the dawn of independence, Nigeria has been driven by numerous dissensions and crises that have exacerbated the fault-lines of our plural, multiethnic society where diverse groups were yoked together by our erstwhile colonial warlords, the British, for their own administrative and pecuniary interests.” This is the big difference between the historian and the political scientist. While Olaniyan was talking about “Lugard’s failure and inadequacies” and how the mistake was made, Fayemi was talking about “reflecting on the future”. But Fayemi’s reflection on the future was made easy because the historian, Olaniyan, was able to provide him the “historical cause(s)” for our diversity and difference. To reinforce this, Fayemi explains: “…the status of the National Question and which troubles the national consciousness is traceable to the structural deficits and imbalances evolving from the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria to from a unified colony by colonial Governor-general, Lord Lugard in 1914.” Another historian Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, the ubiquitous intellectual of histo-politico vocation, is contemplating using his birthday to do a “reflection” on the illusions and the realities of the amalgamation. The intervention, which is his own contribution to nation-building, is to generate additional materials for the literature on amalgamation and raise the bar of national discourse especially on the national question. Oyeweso’s intervention captivates me for certain reasons. First, it will be stimulating to know the interpretive context in which “illusions” and “realities” will be enclosured. Is the discourse going to adopt a traditional approach to interpreting illusion as “a historical mishap or a failed vision,” in which case, Lord Lugard will be persecuted as usual? Or is it going to look at “illusion” as a philosophical concept which becomes paralysed after a head-on collision with geographical and political realities? Then what are these realities? Fayemi attempts a political description: “These imbalances have deepened and become entrenched to the point of enabling certain groups within the

emergent state to persistently thrive and hoard benefits to the exclusion of others from what ought to be a national communion. This has transpired, even when the privileged groups did not necessarily possess the material base or the merit to justify the privileged advantage.” I have deliberately labeled Fayemi’s description “political” because his articulation of “realities” seems at variance with another reality; which is that the phrase “certain groups” contains some ambiguities. Is he talking about the political class and its subsidiaries or is he talking about ethnic nationalities and their militias or is he talking about the social stratification whereby the decadent discontents feel excluded from the nation’s Commonwealth by the privileged groups? Whatever it is, the reality of our political situation is that every group, every ethnic nationality and every social group can justify abandonment, exclusion, marginalization and neglect. The way our political system is structured provides justification for perpetual complaint, acrimony and agitation. This position is also supported by Fayemi when he attributes the reasons for the national question to the “faulty political architecture of the country passed down from colonial rule and deepened by a self-serving and rapacious postcolonial elite, which not only privatized the state for personal gains, perpetrated bad governance and played up divisions to sustain its base, but promoted an authoritarian ethos that enabled poverty, violence and crime.” I am not too sure if this paper was written before or after Fayemi had regained the ‘Ekiti’ legacy, but I want to believe that now that he too has joined the league of “postcolonial elite” or “postcolonial ruling class”, he may have a rethink on this statement which looks more like an indictment of the elite and the ruling class which he belongs. Though Prof. Olaniyan has never held any political office nor has he ever been the governor of any State like Fayemi, this does not exclude him from sharing in the blame for the failure of the elite to rectify “the mistake of 1914”. I agree that he is playing his role in nationbuilding by his active participation in the development of the human mind as a university teacher and judging by the quality of books he churns out. But he may reduce the level of his frustration about the nonchalance of the political class to nation-building if he considers active political involvement especially in the backroom where he can operationalise what he has been theorizing. The political space no longer condones intellectual enterprise that lacks palpable practicality. My final appeal to our egg-heads is that in the course of showing ourselves as thorough professionals, we must refrain from judgements that tend to excoriate the dead, for the simple reason that they are handicapped by eternal silence which prevents them from justifying their actions or explaining their inaction. The advantage the living have over the dead should not be abused to the point of “flogging a dead man” who has no right of reply. Nothing could be more wicked than this. As a historian myself, I know history deals with the past actions of historical actors but must we lose our sense of decency and morality because we want to report the past? We can avoid judgements in reporting the past especially when there is no evidence to vilify the dead. Unlike Hitler whose actions led to the deaths of millions of people, Lugard was a man whose “mistake” led to the birth of a great nation with potential for global prominence. The elite, or the political class, should be held responsible for failing to rectify this “mistake” because it was, and still is, convenient for them to keep exploiting it to achieve both political and economic expediency. Nigerians should allow Lugard to rest in peace. The mistake he made was rectifiable and correctable. If our leaders lack the political will to correct “the mistake of 1914” we the people can force them to come up with “the correction of 2014” if we are not comfortable co-existing together as a nation and as a people. This can be the national answer to the national question. Why keep blaming the dead for what the living can correct?



‘Going to Holy Land deepens one’s faith in God’

The Senior Pastor of Shepherdhill Baptist Church Obanikoro Lagos, Rev. Israel Kristilere, has been leading pilgrims to Jerusalem for over five years. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on how the trip deepens faith and walking with God. Excerpts:


HEN was the first time you visited the Holy Land? The first time was in April 2007 and I was to go with the Kogi State contingent with my wife through my father-in-law, who was then the Commissioner of Police in the state. But I couldn’t follow them because I had so much to do when they were leaving. When I made it eventually, I saw many things missing. I was shocked to see many of the delegates drinking beer at the airport. Many of them were not willing to experience the Lord. They just wanted to travel and be pilgrims. I had to improvise as a pastor to get something out of the experience. I had to create avenues for myself to pray. I came back and told the Lord that if I would ever have the opportunity of going back, I’d only go with people of like-minds. I said I’d go with people bent on having spiritual experiences, not given to frivolities. I came back and shared with my members. Many of them were willing to go with me and in February 2008, I left with the first set of pilgrims from Shepherdhill Baptist Church and others. We were 23. In September, I took another set with me and there have been deep spiritual experiences. Can we have a picture of what those who go with you experience? The first thing to note is that it is not a pilgrimage; it is a spiritual revival. I have gone over 15 times and have never written Jerusalem Pilgrim (JP) after my name. I know you can encounter God everywhere just as we can pray everywhere but we still choose to go to church for


HE National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has called on Christians to pray more aggressively for peace, unity and progress of the nation. He spoke ahead of a national prayer conference billed for January 20- 26 at

something special. In the same vein, going to Jerusalem opens one up to deep, special encounters with God. So, we set their expectations from the beginning. We operate like a family, group and church from the first day. We fellowship together and share burdens. I use the opportunity to minister to them collectively and individually. So, we see places that Jesus walked and behold where He performed miracles during his earthly ministry. This deepens one’s faith and brings the Bible stories alive. We also baptise people at the River Jordan. These include those who have never been baptised before, those who were baptised when they were not born again and those who just want to be baptised where Jesus was baptised. For couples who travel with us, we have a marriage renewal service at Cana of Galilee. It is always wonderful to see old people looking like young couples again. We enjoy a cruise on the Sea of Galilee for some 40-45 minutes. We dance, praise God and it’s always wonderful. When we get to the Dead Sea, which is called the sea of life, we allow people to swim. It is believed that there are over 26 minerals for healing in the Sea. People come from all over the world to receive healing. So, it is always a wonderful experience for us. It is not about tourism and I tell people who travel with us that they are not on tour or vacation. The exercise is rigorous and you must be willing to experience God. So, you have gone with hundreds of Nigerians? Sure. We have had like 14 sets. After the seventh set, God spoke to me that all those who travel with us should meet once in a year for spiritual re-

newal and prayers. We meet on May 14, which is my birthday and the independence day of Israel, under the auspices of Friends of Israel to pray. We meet then or the Saturday following that date. We pray for Israel as a nation because the truth is though it is a Holy Land, a majority of Israelis practise Judaism. They are yet to know Jesus Christ. That is how the scriptures come alive. So many Israelis are not Christians? I will say that Christians in Israel are less than ten percent. That is the truth. Their belief in Jesus is not as Lord and Saviour. He is just like any other prophet to them. There are good Christians in Israel but they are not many. That is why we pray for their salvation. Must every Christian go to the Holy Land? Not at all. It is not one of the pillars of Christianity. Nevertheless, it is a mighty way to encounter God. Those who go seeking God never return the same. You get the opportunity of seeing things and places you have been reading in the Bible for years. It convinces one the Bible is complete and deepens one’s faith in God and His words. It is possible to read the Bible in an imaginary manner but when you see those places, they become real. You see realities. One’s understanding of the scripture becomes deeper and clearer. In the Holy Land today, you find Islam, Christianity and Judaism struggling to gain prominence. So, you are wont to wonder what it is about that place that everybody wants it. So, it is a privilege to go there. If there is no money, no need to borrow or do anything nasty to go. But if God blesses one, it is



good to go and see places and things for oneself. I am sure the cost will be throat-cutting. Isn’t it? Well, you will be shocked it is not because this is not a business but a spiritual voyage. For less than N500, 000, people can go with all their bills covered. The trip is for ten days and they will stay in 3 or 4-star hotels, depending on the country we go. Then, their visa fee is covered with return ticket as well as three-square meal for those days. Then, we have dedicated cameras from day one that captures all of the activities for pilgrims to get to view them later. Then, there will be picture files. All of these are already covered in the overall payment. What will be unique with the forthcoming trip? We will be visiting the nation of Jordan. This is the first time we are adding that to the trip. We will get to Amman and visit places like Bethany as well as other holy sites in the coun-


Oritsejafor seeks more prayers the International Gospel Centre of Word of Life Bible Church in Warri. The conference with the theme: “Grace-powered and mercy-saturated life” will feature speakers like the National Director of Nigeria

Pray, Dr. Moses Aransiola, Oritsejafor and his wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Helen Oritsejafor. In a statement by his secretary, Pastor Sam Dottie, the CAN helmsman said Nigeria needs more prayers as it hits the 100th anniversary of the

amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates this year. The statement added that there will be morning and afternoon sessions while the service kicks off by 8am on Sunday.


How have you been dealing with cases of abscondment? To the glory of God, we have never had anybody absconding. Even when there was no Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC)

screening, everybody returned. That is because we see a desire for you to seek God. We thoroughly see to that. But if your desire is to see something else, then you better forget it because no amount of money will make us put you on the list.

READ T S U M 50 AN NIGERI AN I CHRIST R S AUTHO Are you a Christian author? Are you bothered about poor exposure at bookshops and limited patronage? The Nation is offering you an unbeatable opportunity to showcase your books and talk about your passion. The 2-in-1 project involves an advert supplement backed with a profile story on each participant. Kindly contact Sunday Oguntola on 08034309265 or for advert details and participation. You will be glad you did!





Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo

Commanding supernatural has to be there before the victory! (3) Faith profits can be delivered (He-

L •L-R:Pastor Adega Olatunji;Pastor Samuel Okomolehin;Ifeoluwa Odayemi;Prophet Peter Abiola Adebisi,President Christ Miracle Church MissionWorldwideand his wife, Pastor (Mrs.)Folashade at the 51th birthday ceremony of Adebisi in Lagos... last week

2014 will define the future of Nigeria, says Adeboye


WO thousand and fourteen is the defining year for Nigeria, not 2015 as many think, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has declared. He charged Nigerians to pray and expect several divine happenings in the New Year. Adeboye spoke last Sun-

By Adeola Ogunlade

day at the thanksgiving and prayer service of the RCCG National Headquarters, Throne of Grace, Ebutte-Metta, Lagos. The respected preacher said: “The Lord says that the future of Nigeria will be determined this year, not in 2015 as some think. 2015 will be

mere formalities.” He warned Nigerians not to jump into conclusion on any matter as the equations at the beginning of the year will be different at the end of the year. God, he claimed, told him that divine promise of more than a decade ago will begin to find fulfilment among those who truly trust in Him.

Cleric bemoans commercial gospel


HE General Superintendent & Supreme Head of the Sacred Cherubim and Seraphim Church of Nigeria and Overseas, His Eminence (Prof) Dr. Solomon Alao, has decried the commercialisation of the gospel by some “dubious characters” in the country. Those characters, he alleged, have been enriching themselves at the expense of the gullible public. Alao spoke with reporters in Lagos on the eve of the 84th annual General Conference of the church, which started in Lagos.

By Sunday Oguntola

“To these groups, the ends justify the means and their weapon of deceit is the emphasis on prosperity. “They have conveniently neglected preaching about the kingdom of God. We intend to attack frontally the obvious evils in the seeming rise of the commercialisation of the pulpits which tends to paint some of us black,” he said. He called on the mass media to help in spreading the message and rescue many from the paws of mercenaries in God’s gardens.

On the insecurity and political crisis bedevilling the country, Alao blamed the situation on unemployment, saying the country requires prayers to survive. Alao added: “Our priorities are wrong; we must prioritise our needs as a nation and things are going wrong because we invest wrongly. “The government needs to make it illegal for political office holders to send their wards to school abroad, ditto for health and other areas. If this law is enforced, our own institutions too will be developed.”

Ademuyiwa of the Reconciliation Chapel of Christ, Abeokuta, led the session. The monarch, whose efforts at providing scholarship for indigent students, was hailed by worshipers at the event.

He urged worshippers to always pray for the peace of the nation and the continent as a whole. This, he said, will ensure faster pace of growth and development of the continent.

Oba Tejuoso prays for peace


HE Osile of Oke Ona in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, has led other anointed men of God to pray for peace in Africa. Pastor Abiodun

Cleric harps on the importance of God’s voice


EMBERS of the Redemption Glory Assembly, Alagbado, Lagos ended 2013 on a high. They smiled as seasoned ministers, choristers and gospel singers blessed their lives. It was at the 8th annual Prophetic People’s Gathering of the church. The four-day conference had the theme “Voice of the Lord”. The general overseer of the church, Pastor Abiodun Emmanuel, stated that hear-

By Daniel Adeleye

ing and walking in the voice of God is vital to making it big in life. He assured that the voice of God that created heaven and earth still speaks mercy, favour and unlimited possibilities into the lives of his children all over the world. “Our reality today is a product of the voice that we are hearing and responding to and if those realities are unpleasant, it is time to retune our antennae to hear some-

thing else,” he explained. His wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Bosede Emmanuel, said hearing God saves one from heartaches and disasters. “God wants to deliver us from evil and he has sent his Spirit to lead us through this life so that we will not make tragic mistakes.” The high point was the cutting of the convention cake by Bishop Mike Tomomewo of the People of Power Christian Centre, Alakuko, Lagos.

AST week, I told you the devil is not only after your physical and mental wellbeing to corrupt it; he is also after your spirit. Socially, too the devil is after you. From Job 1:14-18, we see how he devastated Job’s social life – he killed his sons and daughters, his sheep, oxen and servants, his business, etc. Therefore, spiritually, mentally, physically and socially, the devil is all out for you! Also, we looked at the Word of God as what it takes, to subdue the enemy, devil. This week, I will be teaching on how to process the Word of God to lay hold on your desired victory this new year. The first thing is to discover the appropriate Word of God relevant to your situation. Let God know that you’re really in touch with the actual truth that will guarantee your deliverance. I’m not talking of just one scripture, as it is out of the mouth of two or three witnesses that the truth is established. Until the truth is established, God will not move. You establish the truth by scriptural integration – you locate the appropriate Words, weave them together to present to God, as you are presenting your case. He tells us in Isaiah 41:21 to produce our cause, and bring forth our strong reasons. Settle down, take your Bible, listen to anointed tapes that address the issue of concern, take anointed books also, to find what is missing, and in no time, you’ll walk into your freedom! The next step is to believe God’s Word. It is your faith that converts God’s Word into power. The Word of God is not power until you believe it, because like Paul said: It is the power of God unto salvation for them that believe (Romans 1:16).

brews 4:2). Discovery is not the end, it’s just the beginning of the processing. You discover the Word, then you believe it to convert it to power, which compels its profit to be released to you. Having found God’s Word and believing it, the next thing to do is to pray it.You then say in prayer: “It is written: You took my infirmities, so it cannot be there. I lay hold on my freedom from this sickness and affliction today, in the name of Jesus!” This is how to pray with the discovery you have made in accordance with your faith. When we ask anything in accordance with what we have discovered in God’s Word, He hears us, and then we know that we have received our petition (1 John 5:14). He that asks receives (Matthew 7:8). After you have prayed, believe that you have received what you asked for. Then go with that mentality to confront the situation. Mark 11:23 says: If you shall say to this mountain… Not, “If God shall say to this mountain…” Return to the situation and address it, with an overcomer’s mentality. Why? You have sorted it out with God, you have the backing of heaven, and you are operating in the realm of the supernatural. Many people are waiting for God to talk to the mountain for them. When you pray, what God does is to justify you so you can have your victory the way you want it. Then you go to the mountain and address it by yourself. You have to say it first before you can see the victory, for life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Victory and defeat are in the power of the tongue. You must mind what you say. If all you are saying is victory,

all you will see is victory. Next, begin to act like you have the victory already. Look like you have the victory already and talk victory. Let everything around you begin to reflect that your victory is here. Ensure that your actions are in line with your declarations. Don’t look like nothing has happened, look like something has happened! Your actions either buttress your faith or betray your unbelief. Therefore, don’t only declare it, also demonstrate it. Let your actions fall in line with your declarations. Then, you’re set for supernatural victory. The final step is to refuse to quit. The Bible says: Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward (Hebrews 10:35). These are the seven scriptural strategies for supernatural victory: Discover it, Believe it, Pray it, Confront the Opposition, Declare your victory, Demonstrate your victory, and then Refuse to Quit. This is how to process the Word for the victory you desire. Friend, don’t disappoint destiny; accept responsibility, and it will enhance your dignity in life. Stop looking for who can do it for you! If you refuse responsibility, you’ll die a liability. Victory is the birthright of children of God. You become a child of God by accepting and confessing Jesus as Lord. If you are not yet a child of God, you can do so by saying this prayer:”Lord Jesus, I come to You today. Forgive me my sins. Wash me with Your blood. From today, I accept You as my Saviour and Lord. Thank You for saving me. Now I know I am born again!” I will conclude this teaching next week. Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, you can get my books: Walking In The Miraculous, Exploring The Secrets Of Success and Releasing The Supernatural. I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. We have four services on Sundays, holding at 6:00 a.m., 7:35 a.m., 9:10 a.m. and 10.45 a.m. respectively. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail:


Same-sex law: Methodist prelate praises Jonathan


HE Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Uche, has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for taking the bull by the horn in signing the anti-gay marriage bill into law. In a media release by the Church’s Director of Media and Public Relations, Rev. Oladapo Daramola, Uche insisted that gay marriage, homosexuality and lesbianism are “‘Un-African, ungodly, unethical and iniquitous.” He also praised the National Assembly for coming up with the bill, saying their action has shown that Nigeria has come of age and cannot be cajoled into supporting practices against its values. Uche said Jonathan should ignore the many criticisms that have

greeted the law and see to its enforcement to the letter. “Now that the law is in place, we must enforce it to make sure we don’t condone such practices that can invoke the wrath of God on us as Nigerians,” he stressed. He called on Western

forces and powers backing same-sex relations under the guise of fundamental human rights to have a change of heart. Disclosing that God loves them, Uche appealed to those practicing same-sex to give God a chance and avoid the perversion of this age.

‘How to move forward’


HE Senior Pastor of Union Baptist Church, Rev. (Dr) Victor Dada, has identified divine connection as the surest path to progress in life. He spoke last Sunday on “moving forward with divine visitation” during the church service. Dada admitted that some people could succeed in life through their educational qualifica-

tions, closeness to the politicians and human links but stressed that divine connection remains the best way out. He pointed at the difficulties encountered by the Israelites in thw wilderness as indications of what await those who cannot depend on God. To prevent stagnation, he urged the Christians to pray and seek the face of God for direction.




N the past one year, young Nigerian writers have been dominating world literary firmament with their brilliant prose fictions and poetry. These writers seem to be in tune with the observation of Ray Bradbury, a renowned critic and author who once said that “if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must then write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next…” This observation by Bradbury sounded right in the thinking of Tope Folarin who last year became the 14th author to win the prestigious Caine Prize for African writing. Folarin, a Nigerian resident in the United States of America was one of the four Nigerians who made the shortlist for the 2013 edition. His short story – Miracle, was considered the best in this 10,000 pounds literary prize. Gus Casely-Hayford, chair of the judges, described Miracle as another superb Caine Prize winner – a delightful and beautifully-paced narrative that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling.” He also described the works of three other Nigerian shortlisted authors, namely El-Nathan John, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Chinelo Okparanta as truly compelling, transcending boundaries and barriers.” Miracale is the story of life; the story of a pastor and his congregation who took the story of the wonders of God from Africa to America. Chibundo Onuzo, a Nigerian resident in England, was born in 1991. Before she graduated in History at King’s College, London, last year, she had already made name as the youngest African writer to make the shortlist of the prestigious Dylan Thomas Literature Prize. Her novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, was adjudged a wonderful tale hovering between the rich and the poor and set in Nigeria’s most populous city of Lagos. Last year too, Onuzo won the Betty Task Book Award. Besides that, she made the Commonwealth Book prize list and was also longlisted for the Desmond Eliot prize for young writers. The story, in the reckoning of critics, depicts the pretentious lifestyle of most rich people in Nigeria; a place where affluence and poverty exist hand-in-hand to belie the true condition of most people. Onuzo raised several salient issues where the gap between the rich and poor keeps widening and corruption has taken the centre-stage in all facets of people’s lives. Onuzo is among the new generation Nigerian writers who have refused to lose grip with their primary sources. She believes that the story that catches world attention comes from the writer’s cradle. “This is where we come from and we need to keep telling the world who we are and what we stand for. Our stories have to be told by us to show the way we feel and see things.” Taiye Selasi who wrote the book Ghana Must Go was born in London to Nigerian and Ghanaian parents. Apart from being a photographer, a screen-writer and television presenter, she has chosen to be a fulltime fiction writer. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University. Ghana Must Go, her first novel, is a book that has been rated one of the best in 2013 by the Washington Post and other literary journals across the globe. Selasi whose title is named after


• Ipadeola

• Selasi



• Omotosho

Telling their own stories Edozie Udeze writes on a new generation of Nigerian writers who have been winning laurels and telling the stories of their people in ways that keep astounding the literary world the Nigerian phrase directed at fleeing Ghanaian refugees during the political and economic crisis of the 1980s, was also voted a promising young writer by the Magazine of New writing Editor. She has told the story of a family torn apart with glittering poetic command. It is the story of Kwesi Sai, a Ghanaian surgeon who suddenly falls dead. As a renowned surgeon, he couldn’t succeed as a husband and a breadwinner. Even though his sudden death stunned his people, the story opened up more cans of worms. In reacting to some of the sentiments trailing her work, Selasi said: “Oh yes, I’m very willing to follow my imagination.” Told to reflect two different societies and cultures, the book has familiar elements of both

Nigerian and Ghanaian peoples. Using flashbacks to remind readers that people are basically the same all over the world, Selasi succeeds in dissecting the two worlds. There is a lot of crying in the book because the author writes with deep emotional outburst and conviction. The novel is full of ironies of life where one can safely conclude that even in the household of the rich, lack of wisdom can easily cause misery and agony. Another Nigerian writer making waves in the literary world is Yewande Omotosho whose novel, Bomboy, has received wide range reviews in literary circles since last year. Yewande, daughter of Nigeria’s literary guru and novelist, Professor Kole Omotosho, is an Archi-

tect by training but says she prefers writing because it gives her the kind of bliss and fulfillment no other career can give her. She also says she loves writing about multicultural characters and issues because they portray most the images and messages she has for her readers. A naturalised South African, and born in 1989, Omotosho is in constant touch with her roots from where she gets some of her sources. Once, she confessed that to be an artist is like being a hustler. For her, a writer is ever restless, sitting all day penning down his critical observations of what the world does and what the people commit themselves to day-in-day-out. A South African critic took a critical look at the book and described it

as a “well-crafted and complex narrative written with a sensitive understanding of both the smallness and magnitude of a single life.” It is a book meant to re-examine salient family issues that tend to tear the people to pieces. Omotosho has been traversing the world with her book, doing public readings and sensitising the public on the cogent issues she raised in the book. In her work entitled Daughters Who Walk This Path, Canada-based Nigerian novelist, Yejide Kilanko, has been able to open new frontiers about the coming of age of certain traditions in Ibadan land. When the book was released last year, Toronto Star, one of Canada’s most respected newspapers, quickly drew world attention to it through its expository and remarkable review. Part of that review says: “This is a book that will make you laugh and cry, while you travel along with the author to her cradle.” Also the National Post, another Canadian daily with critical literary eye for the best described it as “a sophisticated and beautiful work. It is indeed a story that is universal and many women around the world can relate to it.” Kilanko, who lives with her family in Ontario, Canada, tells the story of Murayo in modern day Ibadan. Murayo has just come of age in a society where child abuse is rampant and where no one seems to be interested in the girl-child’s welfare. Kilanko draws people into this alcove; into this abuse and then she uses profound narrative writing skill to point out ways where government and individuals can come in to save the situation. A moving story, the primary thrust is a web of oppression in which Murayo is deeply and intricately involved. It is a deliberate tale to draw attention to what young women suffer in a male-dominated society. Tade Ipadeola, a lawyer and poet who won the NLNG Nigeria Literature prize last year, was born at Fiditi, Oyo State, in 1970. His winning work, The Sahara Testament, beat other 201 entries to clinch the coveted prize. The Nigeria Literature prize is one of the most prestigious in the world today. With the prize money now as high as 100,000 dollars, Nigerian writers have been made to raise their writing acumen and standard in order to be good enough for the prize. No doubt, his collection of poetry is remarkable in its blending of elements from two traditions of the epic. It is broad and sweep of the narrative and the intellectual rigour of the philosophical, with the haunting immediacy of the personal lyric. It is a work that transcends all corners of Africa, telling the poetic stories of its peoples from Cairo, to Cape Town, from Lagos to Dakar. There are other writers who are constantly in the news. They include Chuma Nwokolo, A. Igoni Barrett, Chimeka Garik and many more. Above all, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has made the most strides among her peers. Currently, she is the most sung Nigerian writer whose works have continued to generate world attention. Having been voted one of the best ten authors for 2013 with her book, Americanah, both by the New York Times and the BBC, Adichie’s moment of glory is obviously here. As the world moves on in all spheres, more Nigerian writers keep doing the best they can to move with the tide of time. The stories, like Adichie often says, “have to be told in such a way that the world will see us as who we are.”




‘I got inspired by Occupy Nigeria’


RCHITECTURE, sculpture, and painting are linked together when it comes to creativity. The only difference, however, is that Architecture is more detailed supported by building permits, budgets and other technical details. As we scroll back into the ancient cultures of East and West, and in the European Gothic you find that they were admirably intertwined at various points in history. With the rise of the merchant class to power in the 19th century, the plastic arts began to lose their interdependency and to separate. Part of this was due to the general fragmentation of society into competing social units. Part was the fragmentation of knowledge into various specialized fields, of which architecture, sculpture, and painting were, in the arts, prime examples. Interestingly, their separation enabled them to influence each other in ways they never did before. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that we find examples of paintings and sculptures having a direct influence on architectural design. It is as though their independence from each other gave them an intellectual and artistic parity, and allowed architects and painters to learn from each other’s works. Patrick Rhodes Vivour is an Architect who is passionate about the arts. “It started out initially as an expression of ideas that were political. Then gradually it graduated to designs which I call wearable arts. They make statements and there is a message on every piece that you find in our collection.’ Vivour continued: “The first one here is called Hopeful Nigeria and the message is the need to be united as well as play up things that can unite us as a people. The second piece is the mask and it depicts the things that we do not want in the Nation. This includes corruption that has eaten deeply into the fabric of the society. We also have greed, war, tribalism and injustice, once all this are eliminated, and then we are going to have a better country.” The energetic CEO of Literati clothing goes


S the country prepares to celebrate her centenary in 2014, a museum where the nation’s history is told purely with pictures has been established. The pictures were assembled and used to tell the nation’s history from the 18th century till date. Located at Idimu, in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, the museum is fast becoming a melting pot where Nigerians throng to learn the history of the country and see the pictures of the people that shaped it. The museum was put in place by James Raphael a media aid to former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu during his first term tenure. He spoke about the benefits of the museum to the country especially as it celebrates its centenary next year. “The museum, as many people have acknowledged has photographs that would tell you the story of Nigeria better than what many people have read anywhere. It will help many people especially the young ones at this point that we are planning to celebrate our centenary to enrich their knowledge about the country’s history. It will also enable many to match what they have read in books with real life pictures. There are some pictures here that will make you discard what you have read and believe to be correct. For example, under the place where we have the pictures of heads of state and presidents, we have the photographs of Senator Nwafor Orizu . We all know and recognise him as a senate president but then we fail to realise that he was also an acting president. He was at a point a full time president because the prime minister was killed, the president, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, was not in the country, so the total power was vested in him then. It baffles me why we don’t put him where he is supposed to be. “I am not just assembling photographs , I am trying to look at the history of Nigeria and document it in such a way that when the younger ones come, they can see something they can gain knowledge from. The Federal Government, individuals, students in particular, have a lot to gain from the museum. We have had many schools coming for excursion and they have all been



By Yetunde Oladeinde

onto talk about some of the master pieces in his collection stressing that this is his own way of feeling the pulse of the nation as well as finding solutions to some of these problems. “I got inspiration when we had the Occupy Nigeria protest and one of this works that I celebrate in the collection. You would also find another interesting piece that celebrates presidents. Interestingly, we have Fela in the pack because he presided over Kalakuta Republic as well as Nelson Mandela and he journey to freedom in South Africa.” He adds that: “We call them the new Literati Collection and it is the product of several years of exploration into the very essence of materiality and design driven by the desire to create collectible pieces. From simply designed but politically charged “Literati Tees”; some embellished with glow in the dark ink, gold foil and crystal studs, to the more edgy “LitBlack” where cotton is inter played with leather and spiked with studs for the fashion rebel at heart; the high street fashion brand is here to


stay.” In the pack, you also find what Vivour tags Literati Leather. “Here you will find genuine leather accessories of all types - ranging from calf hide and crocodile skin to cobra skin which are fused to create exotic shoes, bags, belts and slippers. For the urban gentleman, Egyptian linen trousers and shorts are available with uniquely designed polo shirts. A literati collection is incomplete without food for the mind.” This new season’s collection has “Literati Art” pieces designed as posters to increase their accessibility to the targets. “With this new collection, the Literati brand continues to live up to its ethos. Which is “political philosophy that meets urban fashion on the upper end of the high street.” The discussion moves on to Architect, which is his first love and he answers this way. “I studied Architecture at MIT in America and moved back to Nigeria about four years ago. The dream is to grow a big Nigerian brand that would be reckoned with. Architects are doing well and there are lots of great build-

ings springing up on a daily basis. As an Architect if you are passionate about what you are doing, then you do not need to go abroad. The opportunities are here and you would be an architect to reckon with and not just be building buildings”. He however stressed that professionals need to be patient and understand that this is big investment. “There are so many opportunities but it takes time to reap the benefits. Builders are different from Architects; it is not the same thing. Life as an architect is almost spiritual and you can transform so many things in the process. As an architect you play God and determine how people live their lives. You determine how the bathroom would face a particular place and this can actually affect how your emotions shifts. If you have your kitchen that pours into the dining area this can create a wonderful link between husband and wife and it makes the bond solid”. Challenges?”The truth of the matter is that working with Nigerians can be a great challenge. It is difficult to get people who are hardworking dedicated and loyal. For example, if you agree that you would give us something on Friday and you don’t pick your calls when we need you then there would be a big problem. Electricity is not a major issue for us because we have alternatives and perhaps this is because of the scale at which we are operating now. If your design is good you would definitely get funds for that building”. Happily he goes down memory lane to recount how he discovered a future in Architecture. “As a student, I was very good in the sciences and also wrote poems and paint. I then prayed to God to let me have direction. The Rhodes Vivour family that I come from is a family of lawyers but I decided to do something different. My father, Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour, my father’s younger brother and his sister Teju Nwogu are all lawyers.”

Telling Nigeria’s history without words By Innocent Duru

thrilled. I want both the Federal Government and the Lagos State government to visit the museum and see the stories we tell with pictures. We have over 10, 000 photographs as I am talking to you now that are telling stories that many of us have either not heard of or cannot remember. “The Biafran handing over speech was signed on the booth of a Mercedes Benz. The Registration number is MA116. I have a photograph of the Benz in my museum. These are unique historical materials that the Federal Government should assemble in a place even for tourism. If we succeed in doing what we are planning to do, it is going to be the largest tourist centre in this country. We went for an exhibition recently and Professor Wole Soyinka and Governor Rotimi Amechi of Rivers State were thrilled when they saw our materials.” The chief executive officer of Centre for Research Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD), said he birthed the idea after he lost his job as a media aid to the former governor. He recalled how it began thus: “ I took excuse from the government house in Umuahia to be with my wife who was going to have her first baby. While I was in Lagos I heard over the radio that the cabinet had been dissolved and that I was one of the people affected. At that point I stayed back with my family and tried to look for another job. I went to a popular newspaper house here in Lagos for a job. They interviewed me for the position of a business development manager but along the line I didn’t get the job. At that point, I asked myself that if I was willing to be employed as business development manager of another company, why not start my own company and work as the business development manager of my own organization. “Then my wife was running a fashion outfit. I convinced her to stay at home and take care of the baby while I managed the shop. So I took over her shop and started a research centre. The initial name was Centre

•Nigerian history in pictures

for Research and Information Management (CRIM). After the first year of running the organisation, nobody approached me to ask me what I was doing. I didn’t get any research contract to do. I ended up running a business centre. It was in the course of running that business centre that I realised that students were coming with another person’s certificate, tipex the name on it and type their own name on it. They would make photocopy and would go and present such certificate somewhere for employment.” Continuing, he said: “At that point, I felt it would be better to get people into the habit of reading and understanding what they have read rather than just going to school to get a certificate. Instead of me to make a noise that we don’t read, I thought of creating an avenue for people to have access to what they want to read. That was how the concept of starting a free reading library came up. I started with a few books I had at home rented a bigger place and moved those books there. I started encouraging people to come and read

free. Although it took time to convince people but by the time people got used to it, I discovered that I have over 7000 registered members between the time I started to the time I moved to my new office complex. Today, I feel happy when I come across people who say thank you to me for using my library when they were preparing for one examination or the other.” He went further to explain how he sourced for the over 10, 000 photographs that dot every part of the museum. “Along the line, I discovered that the more I bought Nigerian history books, I kept seeing some photographs of people I didn’t know about. I started asking that if at my level as a researcher I didn’t know those people, what would happen to the generations that are coming up. If we have this poor reading habit, you will discover that the best way to read is by looking at photographs. Most of the time, the photographs you see leave a lasting impact on you as you grow older more than the things you read in the book. That was how the whole concept came in. but then, I didn’t have the fund because it is capital intensive. I started generating the photographs by going to the National Archives in Kaduna, and Enugu. I visited the former Eastern State Information Services in Umuahia, now known as Abia State Information Services. When I realised that I had about 5000 photographs we rented an office and the people that came when we started marvelled when they saw some of these pictures,” he stated.





WORDSWORTH 08055001948

BRF’s hope restoration


ATIONAL MIRROR of January 16 circulated a few mistakes: “Delta State sets (set) to pioneer medical tourism” “He, in addition, assured that the NHIS would be improved to make it more productive.” (National Mirror Editorial, January 16) Who did he assure? “…as we use (used) to do every year.” “FG projects N1.4trn yearly from crop processing (crop-processing) zones” Let us welcome THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER, of January 12 for the first time this year starting with this school-boy faux pas: “The PPRO died in a ghastly (fatal) motor accident….” There is even no point for ‘fatality’ inclusion in the circumstance because of the fact that he died! That is one of the hallmarks of tight news reportage—for other illustrative, prose writings we can be explicitly demonstrative. “Nigerian banks’ cost to income (cost-to-income) ratio still the highest in emerging, frontier markets” “We got a marching order (We got marching orders) on N11.5bn Dutse Airport” “When jokes goes (what!) sour” “A new purpose-built gallery in (on) Victoria Island….” The last contribution from THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER under review: “The expectation of the people was that the deputy governor would have be (been) the first person to follow his boss to APC….” THE NATION ON SUNDAY of January 12 goofed right from its front page: “We have restored hope in (to) Lagos” From The Nation online come the next four infractions: “How 75 per cent of Nigeria (Nigerian) workers are stressed— study” “…for continents like Africa (for a continent like Africa) to attain a higher economic growth, the continent need (needs) to mixup” For the umpteenth time, phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation! “…revealed that economic volatility has increased pressure on Nigerian workers with 75 per cent reportedly seeing more stressed-related illness (illnesses) since the downturn.” “2003 was a beehive of

activities (a hive of activity) for the small and medium scale enterprises….” Lastly from THE NATION ON SUNDAY under review: “Former CAR president en route Benin Republic (en route to Benin Republic)” DAILY SUN of January 13 comes next with two improprieties: “ALGON passes confidence of vote in president” Fixed expression: vote of confidence/confidence vote The next three contributions are by Mr. Kola Danisa (08028233277): “Terrorists bury arms in Abuja cemetary (cemetery)” (Sunday Vanguard, December 29) “…he said the vehicles destroyed were the ones used during the attack and was (were) sited (sighted) through air surveillance….” (Source: as above) “A few weeks ago, there was some news report (a news report) about the involvement of….” “...all the major roads in the Eastern part of the country have become pure death traps and for challenging his (President’s) non-challant attitude and doing anything positive in Igboland (Igbo land).” Get it right: nonchalant. “...there have been series of polemical attacks of the commission and its activities by an obscure and often fictitious section of the public.” This way: a (take note) series of polemical attacks. “The president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces also addressed the nation same evening.” Get it right: the same evening. “The almost impassible (impassable) roads accentuate the usual hectic traffic of motorists, making business transactions in Lagos a herculean task.” “…robbers who held residents and commuters to ransome for hours….” Spell-check: ransom. “I doff my hat for.…” The right mix: I doff/take off my hat to (not for). “Out of lawyers’ population estimated at about 40,000, only 10 females have been opportuned (opportune) to adorn the silk.” “This is another scintillating edition for the matured (mature) mind.” “Preponderant of the views aired by the people centre (sic) around (upon, on) issues like corruption, unemployment.…” Running a true federation: preponderance...centres.

“Benue assures on abandoned project” Just tell readers who the state assured. Enough of nightmarish banners…. “A recent report on food related (a hyphen) ailments show (shows) that in many parts of the world….” “Besides, these storage facilities should be provided together with necessary agric inputs.” Taming hunger: ‘input’ is uncountable in British Standard English, but takes an inflexion in corruptive American English! Unnecessary input? “Unfortunately, however, I, and many other Nigerians, have been infuriated by our servants….” In pursuit of linguistic orderliness: many other Nigerians and I. The concept of the cart and the horse applies to language usage, too. “One can only hope that these peoples’ representatives would realise that the electorate is (are) patiently waiting for another chance.” “But all our future blessings would be achieved through waiting in the Lord.” If you are after God’s heart you wait on, not in, Him. “Before embarking on the strike action….” You can as well embark on ‘strike inaction’! “It was as though both informants were mischievous people who had an affinity in (for) discrediting the preachers.” “The vigilante group visited instant judgment on the thief and sent him to the great beyond.” In the name of excellence: The vigilance group. “Sixteen people were killed and two others seriously injured in a ghastly (fatal) accident which occurred along (on) the Bauchi-Auchi road on Saturday. The mishap did not drag along the road, but occurred at a spot on the road. “Some of the despotic regimes thrown up in (on) the continent did worse things than was (were) experienced under colonialism.” “A weekly magazine took a professional risk and charged the speaker for (with) forgery.” “By 1998, the figure has (had) increased positively.” Wrong: pomp and pageantry; right: pomp and ceremony or pomp and circumstance or just pomp.


‘Oba Ovoramwen was not buried in Calabar’ •Continued from page 39

Lugard needed a powerful king through who they can introduce the indirect rule in the south, they got to Lagos and precipitated problem between Dosunmu and Kosoko, the one that they met that the people actually put there, they instigated another set of people against him and consequently removed him and put another one but he didn't have authority over many areas in the south like the Sultan has in the north through the emirs. They heard of another one, King Jaja of Opobo, they thought he could be it, they got to the place, they were not satisfied with him, they removed him, now they had Nana of Itsekiri. Nana was not the traditional ruler, he was only an influential businessman and they thought they might be able to use him, they didn't succeed. To remove Nana, they have to go and build a military cantonment in Sapele and it was from that military cantonment that they invaded Ovonramwen in Benin, they knew he was the man that can fit the role like that of Sultan they wanted but he was also the man they hated because he has some high degree of independence, he was not very subservient as they would have liked. The Centenary celebration I believe people see it from different points of view. I believe government officials who proposed celebration of this event, they are thinking of corporate Nigeria, now we have a country, we are 100 years old, therefore it is worth celebrating but when you look at the so called amalgamation, I don't think it is anything for Nigeria to celebrate because it

wasn't done in the interest of Nigerians, it was done in the interest of the colonial masters. The British did the amalgamation so as to give themselves an easy way of administering their new acquisition. After the Berlin Conference which we are all familiar with, 14 European powers converged in Berlin where they shared out the continent of Africa so the areas that became known as Nigeria fell under their own sphere of influence and according to the agreement, whichever area fell on your sphere of influence, became your own so the British came all over to these parts. When they said they are celebrating the centenary of our amalgamation, one think that the amalgamation was our own achievement, something that we did ourselves, it wasn't our achievement, it wasn't done by us. If anybody is to celebrate that, to my mind, I think it is Lord Lugard and his descendants who should be celebrating because this is the country they named which is now 100 years. On the National Conference They amalgamated us 100 years ago and up-till now there has not been peace in this country, we are celebrating now, there is no unity in this country. Take another example, the Americans, they went from different parts of the world to go to that land and when they sat down to now write their own constitution, they made sure that all the evils, political ills that drove them away from their homes, what they ran away from home for, were eliminated from that constitution, that is why today, America is the freest country in the world.

There is no secret. I believe there are probably more ethnic groups in America than we have in Nigeria but in Nigeria, we were coerced together, we were forced together by the colonial masters not that we voluntarily, out of our own volition decided to come together, because that is the situation, we remained docile and quiet and peaceful all that period the British had their umbrella over us, the moment they left and we were supposed to be independent, we remembered our ancient traditions. We must do exactly what the early Americans did, we must sit down, all of us and talk about how we will want to relate to each other, talk about what we really are. Today they are making superficial peace. This group is fighting the other group; let us forget about what divides us, let us talk about what unites us, those are just platitudes. There are no two ways to it, we cannot pretend that there will be no need for us to talk; we have to talk, let us face it. We are different people just like the early Americans began we don't need the constitution the soldiers gave to us, we don't need the one the British gave to us because there is evidence that the British participated in rigging elections in our country if really we are talking seriously, we want to be a strong nation which we could have because God gave us everything more than he gave to others yet we can't feed ourselves, so many things are wrong, they are wrong because the so called founding fathers were only independence seekers. They sought for and got independence from the British and after getting that independence, they did not go down to make sure that this country emerges a strong country. I think for us to get on here, we need to have a conference, not the type of conference that governments design. Get all the ethic nationalities in this country, let them go to a hall, sit down and take every aspect of our living and let us see how we want it to be. If anybody is to celebrate that, to my mind I think it is Lord Lugard and his descendants who should be celebrating. It is like we want to be celebrating the Berlin Conference where Africa was partitioned among European countries



With Hannah Ojo 08062952262

Hello, Hello kids, it is a pleasure to host you again on this platform. As we start this year on a bright note, I want you all to join us on this platform by sending articles, poems and other creative stuffs that you think can enlighten young minds. You can send them via Wishing you pleasant tidings. Cheers!

•Children at a New Year organised by CEE-HOPE Nigeria for orphaned and poor kids in Igando area of Lagos, recently

Jomiloju the computer whiz kid


T age 9, Jomiloju Tunde-Oladipo proved a point that no one is too young to make a difference. In 2013, he made news as the youngest person in Nigeria to obtain the Microsoft Certified Professional certificate by coming tops among 21 pupils who sat for the professional exam in Lagos. Jomiloju, a pupil of Role Model School, Oregun, Ikeja scored 769 out of 1,000. We have often heard the saying that hard work pays, it is therefore not surprising to hear him attribute his success to persistence

and hardwork. According to the young chap; “it was not all easy because I had attempted the examination last year, I did not make it then. But I remained focused and I put in a lot o f hardwork”. I t would be recalled t h a t Jomiloju had also led his school to glory in June, 2013 when his school won an ICT quiz competition organized by United Global Resources Limited in Lagos where 15 students participated. Young boys and girls should emulate him by aspiring to do great things. If you believe in yourself, there are no limitations to what you can achieve.


My new friend Jane A VISIT to the village On Tuesday, Which happens to be New Year day. I couldn’t recognize any Face Then I met a friendly female, Her name is Jane. She took me to play in Different places, One, was the dogs cage We played with their tails. And ran through the old lake, Her mum made sweet cupcakes, With chocolate flakes, I was really happy to stay. My friend is a good girl and I like her ways. She said we would play again On Wednesday. By Habib Akewusola, Islamic Studies, University Of Ilorin.

•Children run to catch seats at a New Year organised by CEE-HOPE Nigeria, an NGO for orphaned and poor kids in Igando area of Lagos








HOW many words of three or more letters, each including the letter at centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram?

To play Sudoku: Fill the box with the numbers 1 to 9 in a way that •Each column must contain all of the numbers 1 through 9 •Each row must contain all of the numbers 1 through 9 •Each block must contain all of the numbers 1 through 9 •No two numbers in the same column, row, or block can be the same.

7 5 2


8 9

2 3


6 3 2 5 7 1 2 3

1 6

8 6

5 7 8 3

2 8 Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to

1 4



Echiejile gets tough brief at Monaco


JANUARY 19, 2014

Lazio coach raps Onazi, others


LDERSON Echiejile will not walk into the Monaco first team as he will have to fight for his place against France youth international Layvin Kurzawa. Nigeria defender Elderson, 26 on Monday, signed a four and a half year contract with the club from The Principality on Friday. However, Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said the 21-year Kurzawa remains his first-choice at left back, but he has bought Elderson as a cover for him. "We were missing a player on the left (of defence)," said coach Claudio Ranieri. "Kurzawa remains number one in that position and I have told him so. But I want to have a cover for all the positions. " Incidentally, Kurzawa has been in tremendous form lately and was picked as Monaco's best player for their last league game against Montpellier.


dy Reja, Ogenyi Onazi's manager at Lazio, has challenged the Super Eagles midfielder and some of his other team mates to become more productive for the side. Reja, who took over from Serbian coach, Vladimir Petkovic, was clear about those he expects to improve their performance. “ I'd like to see improvement in terms of football and character. We are a work in progress and above all there are many young players behind the old guard,” said Reja “I expect a lot more from them over the next six months, especially Eddy Onazi, Felipe Anderson and Keita Balde.” Onazi had made the breakthrough into the full Lazio side, after playing only in the Cup games early last season.

DSF fixes date for OKe Ogun , Yiguda , Lamido tournament

Mourinho rejects Napoli bid for Mikel


TALIAN Serie A club, Napoli have reportedly failed in their bid to sign John Obi Mikel from Chelsea. Rafael Benitez, the manager of the Italian team, reportedly made the approach following speculations about the future of the Nigerian midfielder, but was given a short and sharp response by Mourinho. Mikel has grown in stature in Chelsea's midfield, after he was repeatedly left on the bench by Mourinho on his return to Stamford Bridge. The Nigerian has now become a sort of 'go to' man for the Portuguese anytime Chelsea face a tough opponent, with Mikel being handed the job of steadying the midfield with his assured displays.

Seedorf gets Balotelli support


EW AC Milan Coach Clarence Seedorf has at least one less headache as 'controversial' striker Mario Balotelli has declared support for the Dutch man adding that he is happy with the choice of the former Milan great. In a chat with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Balotelli had nice words for his new manager even as he predicted that Seedorf will succeed regardless of whether he is a dark-horse in a managerial positions or not.


Keshi (r) with Amokachi

2014 CHAN

Keshi promises 'best Eagles' against Bafana


TEPHEN Keshi has made the promise that the best Nigerian team available will line out against South Africa when both countries clash in the must-win tie at Cape Town today , at the African Nations Championship. Keshi was reacting to pleas jokingly made by former Supersports presenter, Thomas Mlambo, on South African network channel SABC. Thomas Mlambo had said that Nigeria should at least leave the CHAN tourney for his home country to celebrate with. The celebrity broadcaster said Nigeria has caused Bafana Bafana too many heart aches and it was about time it ends. But Keshi had fired back, saying the better side should carry the day on Sunday but noted that the Eagles did not travel for seven hours on air to South Africa to be beaten on sentiments. “As always we hope to give out our best against Bafana because here is my second home, “Keshi had said. The Nigerian team has been struggling to find

defensive consistency, while the South African attack has looked sharp. Meanwhile, Super Eagles striker, Rabiu Ali is in the race for the Highest Scorer at the African Nations Championship in South Africa. The Kano Pillars ace scored twice as Nigeria battled to a 4-2 win over Mozambique in the second group game, scoring the first with a sweet long range

effort. Ahead of him is South African striker, Bernard Parker, who has netted thrice. The pair of Diogo Antonio Alberto of Mozambique and Junior Yunus Sentamu of Uganda, also have two goals each. Gbolahan Salami, Barnabas Imenger and Ifeayi Ede are the other Nigerians on the goals list, with a goal each to their names. In a related development,

Nigeria will be knocked out of the tournament if they lose to Bafana, but could still qualify with a draw, should Mozambique cause a major upset by beating Mali. The permutations, however, look far simpler for the Nigerians, who know they will be heading home if Igesund's troops beat them, making them a dangerous opponent to face in the final game of the group.

Bafana keeper disappointed to miss match


AFANA Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune has been ruled out of the African Nations Championship Group A clash against Nigeria today. “I was really looking forward to this match as it is one that will decide our fate in the tournament,” Khune said . “I am very sad and disappointed that I will not be playing. It is not nice missing such an important fixture for your country, but I believe Moeneeb Josephs and Siyabonga Mpontshane are capable of doing a great job. “These things happen injuries are part and parcel of

the game and hopefully I will be back in the side for the following match.” Khune suffered an ankle injury on Wednesday night and was taken for a scan the next day. He trained on the sidelines at Bafana Bafana's final training session at the Clyde Pinelands grounds but was ruled out of today's match at the Cape Town Stadium. Khune said he was confident of a win against the Super Eagles. “We stand a very good chance of getting victory over Nigeria. We just need to go out there and apply ourselves like we have been at training

and in the past matches,” he said.“I have been receiving messages of support for the team from all over the country, fans saying they will be at the stadium and that is what we need, it is a good morale booster to know the country is behind us.” Josephs has been capped 23 times for Bafana Bafana and last played for the national team in a friendly match against Mozambique in September 2012. In the other Group A match, Mali face Mozambique at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town. The match also kicks off at 7pm.

HE Discovery Sports Federation (DSF) has fixed dates for its first three soccer tournament of the year, the OKe ogun under 18 male soccer tournament billed for the OYSADEP stadium , Saki, yo state , the Governor Isa Yiguda under 18 soccer tournament, in Bauch , Bauch state and the Governor Sule Lamido under 14 male soccer tournament in Jigawa state Speaking in Ibadan , headquarters of the organization , President of the Discovery Sports federtion (DSF), Godwin Ngwu disclosed that DSF would start the year with competition for Oke Ogun youth in Oyo state who are obvious,y marginalized in terms of competition on January 24 through 31 , 2014 at the OYSADEP stadium , Saki , Oyo state following which it would proceed to Bauchi for the Governor Isa Yiguda under 18 male soccer tournament between January 2 to 9, 2014 from where it would proceed to Birnin Kudu local government in Jigawa state for the governor Sule Lamido under 14 male soccer tournament on February 10 through 18, 2014. The winners of the tournament will each go home with attracvive prizes and invitation to partake in trial cum playing tour of South Africa under the auspices of Mamelodi Sundown .



Arsenal, Man City march on in Premier League

Nadal, Federer storm through



AFAEL Nadal sent a message to his rivals with a clinical display to defeat dangerous Frenchman Gael Monfils in the third round of the Australian Open. Monfils, with his flashy shots and crowd-pleasing style, has caused a degree of trouble for Nadal in the past but not this time.The Frenchman managed just three games in the first two sets and, although he fared better in the third, it was Nadal who eased to a 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory. The only concern for Nadal came in the fourth game of the second set when he slightly rolled his ankle, but he did not require any treatment and a run of four straight games followed. Next up is a fourth-round meeting with Japan's Kei Nishikori, who won 17 of the last 18 games in beating Donald Young 7-5 6-1 6-0. Earlier, Roger Federer continued his serene progress by thrashing Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2 6-2 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena - but things are now about to get tough for the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Federer has cruised through three rounds, but now faces having to beat JoWilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Nadal and Novak Djokovic if he is to lift the trophy. Federer arrived in Melbourne radiating positivity, declaring himself free of the back problems that contributed to his 2013 struggles and happy with his new racquet.

Neville tips Man City for EPL title


URRENT England assistant coach and exManchester United defender Gary Neville has tipped bitter rivals Manchester City to emerge champions of the English premier league 2013/2014 season. Gary, believes that City are the most equipped of the all the title contenders to win the premier league and feels that only Chelsea can push close to them while Arsenal will fall by the way side as the season grows into the crucial stages even if the gunners are leading the table currently. “I feel City have a great squad and looks the strongest for the title but if Chelsea gets a striker this January perhaps they can challenge City for the title. Arsenal play some fantastic football at the moment but I feel they are not just there yet to win the title but I maybe wrong,” Gary told talksport.

De Bruyne moves to Wolfsburg


E L G I A N i n t e r n ational Kevin De B r u y n e h a s c o mpleted his move from Chelsea to German side Wolfsburg. The 22-year-old has penned a five-and-half-year deal with the Bundesliga outfit after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee reported to be around £16million. De Bruyne joined Chelsea in 2012 from Genk when they paid £7million for his signature, but he has spent most of his Blues career away from Stamford Bridge.



Mourinho sets sights on 100th Premier League win


OSE Mourinho can claim his 100th Premier League win as Chelsea manager against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge today. Only five men - Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, Rafael Benitez and Gerard Houllier - have previously overseen 100 wins with a single Premier League team. And Mourinho will achieve the feat from just 142 matches should his side claim three points. Chelsea head into the game unbeaten in six league games. United have also displayed fine league form in recent weeks, winning five of their last six, but began 2014 with three defeats in all competitions before recording victory

... As Chelsea host Manchester United over Swansea City last time out. The defending champions have recorded only one victory in seven games against top-six opposition this season and have failed to triumph in their five most recent meetings with Chelsea. Mourinho, meanwhile, has only overseen three defeats to United in his career - but expects a tough test from Moyes' men, who currently sit seventh in the table. "My 100th victory in the Premier League with Chelsea is going to happen; is it against United, West Ham or later? I don't know - what I know is that the number will arrive,"

said Mourinho."If I can do it in the next match it's better than doing it in three, four or five matches away. "We are going to try to do it against Man United because now we play two matches at home, after playing two matches away, and we have to try to go for the six points. "[But] United are United 11 points to the leader is quite a lot but I believe they will push all the way. "The way this league is at the moment, I think for all the big teams the first objective is to secure a place in the top four because it will be difficult to get it." Moyes revealed on Friday

that Wayne Rooney [groin] and Robin van Persie [thigh] will both miss the game, meaning Danny Welbeck, who has scored six goals in as many league games, will once again take on additional responsibility. Marouane Fellaini [wrist], Nani [hamstring] and Ashley Young [shoulder] are also sidelined for United and Fabio is suspended. Mourinho will have new signing Nemanja Matic available after his move back to Chelsea from Benfica, while Frank Lampard has trained all week and is set for a recall.Branislav Ivanovic and long-term absentee Marco van Ginkel [both knee] are out.

Martino tips Messi to shine


arcelona coach Gerardo Martino believes Lionel Messi has fully recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him out for two months and will soon be back to his best. Messi is expected to start as Barca travel to Levante in La Liga today after scoring twice in his first start of 2014 as Barca sealed their place in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals with a 2-0 win away to Getafe in midweek. The four-time World Player of the Year's second goal in particular was spectacular as he dashed past three Getafe defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing from a narrow angle.

Martino had been cautious not to rush his compatriot's return and he even left him on the bench for last weekend's top of the table clash away to Atletico Madrid. However, he believes the mini pre-season Messi did while he was out injured should prepare him well for the second half of the season. “From the point of his unfortunate injury, he has Ronaldo done different work from the rest of the squad. What the rest were doing in July and August, he is doing EAL Madrid moved now,” he said. level on points with Bar“A footballer like him, celona and Atletico with such talent and who is mentally strong, is ready to Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 5-0 hammering of botshow us his best form.” tom-placed Real Betis on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo continUnited made it clear in the sum- ued his fantastic week after liftmer they don't swap or sell ing the Ballon d'Or on Monday players to their direct rivals. with a thumping long-range "They were clear in the way drive to open the scoring they approached the Rooney before Gareth Bale silenced his situation. For them, it's pretty recent critics with a trademark clear. They don't swap. They free-kick to make it 2-0. don't sell. “I think maybe this Karim Benzema then summer they will try to sell to a notched his 100th goal for non-direct rival. But they were Madrid in first-half stoppage very clear." Moyes does not feel the time as he blasted home after Chelsea manager is correct in c l a s s y p l a y f r o m L u k a his assessment that Rooney Modric.Angel di Maria made could be on his way to an over- it four just after the hour mark seas club, but he refused to with another stunning effort resort to similar tactics regard- from distance and Alvaro ing Mourinho's players, Morata rounded off the scorincluding the unsettled Juan ing in stoppage time. Mata.

Moyes faults Mourinho over Rooney


avid Moyes has made light of Jose Mourinho's claim that Manchester United could sell Wayne Rooney this summer. Rooney is inside the final 18 months of his contract and was the subject of a failed Chelsea bid back in preseason. Mourinho now holds out little hope of landing last summer's number one target, but on the eve of United's trip to Stamford Bridge he suggested United could sell to a "nondomestic rival" in the coming months. Mourinho told national newspapers: "Man

Ronaldo, Bale fire Real joint top


All three leading clubs are now tied on 50 points, but Barca and Atletico can move back in front when then face Levante and Sevilla respectively today. Bale had struggled since his return from a calf injury at the beginning of the year with coach Carlo Ancelotti even admitting on Friday that the Welshman could do better. But the Italian praised the former Spurs man's display as his side produced their best display of the year to date. "Bale played well, as did the whole team. We played with great quality and concentration throughout the game," he said."Everything went well and therefore we have to be happy. "It was an important opportunity for us to go to the top of the table and we can sleep well tonight."

WO goals in five second-half minutes from Santi Cazorla ensured Arsenal retained their grip on top spot in the Barclays Premier League. Following a wobble in December, Arsene Wenger's side have won their last five league matches, with Fulham their latest victims as the Cottagers were beaten 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. In front of their own fans the Gunners typically dominated play, but had to wait until the 57th minute for Cazorla to sweep home the first of his brace with his right foot. Just past the hour mark and Spaniard Cazorla, with only two goals to his name ahead of this game, doubled his tally for the season, this time with a superb let-foot drive from outside the area. Manchester City remain hot on Arsenal's heels after another victory at the Etihad Stadium, this time despatching Cardiff 4-2. It took just 14 minutes for Edin Dzeko to open the scoring, a close-range left-foot shot making it 100 goals for Manuel Pellegrini's side in all competitions this season. Yet the hosts did not have it all their own way in the opening exchanges as Craig Noone hauled Cardiff level just before the half-hour mark. The visitors' joy, however, was shortlived as Jesus Navas fired the home side back in front in the 33rd minute.That was followed by a goal apiece from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero in under three minutes in the second half before Fraizer Campbell netted a late consolation.

3SC Shuns FA Pre-Season Seminar


S part of measure to adequately prepare all teams that would be participating in the 2014 soccer season from Oyo State, Oyo State Football Association over the weekend held a pre-season seminar where officials of all clubs that would be vying in different categories of league where taken through major required information. The officials of the leading club in state, 3SC were conspicuously missing in the workshop where a member of club's management, club's secretary, Team manager, Coach, team's captain and his assistant, Supporter's club chairman were invited to attend. Among the resource persons that delivered papers in a-day seminar was the FIFA/CAF Referee Instructor, Prof. Babatunde Asagba and NRA Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Sareh Jumoke Adebisi that educates the participants on the Interpretations of the Laws of the Game. RESULTS ENGLAND Sunderland 2 - 2 S’hampton Arsenal 2 - 0 Fulham C. Palace 1 - 0 Stoke Man. City 4 - 2 Cardiff West Ham 1 - 3 Newcastle Liverpool 2 - 2 Aston Villa SCOTLAND Aberdeen 0 - 1 Inverness Celtic 3 - 0 Motherwell Hibernian 2 - 3 St. Mirren P.Thistle 1 - 1 Kilmarnock Ross County 3 - 0 Dundee St.Johnstone 3 - 3 Hearts ITALY Roma 3 - 0 Livorno SPAIN Betis 0 - 5 Madrid Elche 2 - 0 Rayo


“If they are discussing that among themselves, it is a different matter, not about defected governors. Although I am not speaking for the defected governors, one thing that is sure is that, I will not go back to the PDP.”


- Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State reacting to the possibility of his return to the PDP due to the exit of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as chairman.


N the 1999 presidential election, the two leading contenders hailed from the Southwest, deliberately so because there was a general feeling of pacifying the zone for its loss caused by the annulment of the 1993 elections and the tragic death of the winner of that year’s presidential poll, MKO Abiola. The Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the All Peoples Party (APP) reached an understanding to field Olu Falae, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fielded Olusegun Obasanjo. Chief Obasanjo won, but the nature of his win and the timing of the victory hid the emerging trend in Nigerian politics. That trend, which began to mature in 2007 and reached full bloom in the 2011 elections, affected the Southwest in more incalculable ways than it exposed the North’s impotence in zonal (extrapolative) politics. Henceforth, no zone could singlehandedly determine who wins. The North had long ceased to be monolithic, especially politically. For its candidate to win, he would need a huge dose of inclusive politics that reaches out far and wide. The failure of the Gen Muhammadu Buhari campaign underscored this point. By accident rather than by design, or the factor of incumbency, the victory achieved by Candidate Goodluck Jonathan showed clearly what a candidate must be like to win. While it is important to examine the shifting trends in Nigeria’s presidential politics, my main concern today is the Southwest’s apparently surprising realisation (or new paradigm) of what Nigeria’s presidential politics has become and how the zone can best retain relevance. We are, of course, familiar with the Southwest’s long-standing approach to presidential politics. Between the 1950s and 2007, the zone repeatedly tried to produce a candidate that was deeply intellectual, principled, humanistic, ideological and popular. The candidate and the entire zone itself were projected in a way that made both to be anchored on solid left-of-centre, progressive ideology. The zone then reached out with that sacrosanct ideology to either like-minded progressives in other zones or opportunists masquerading as progressives. Because that ideology, now roughly cast as immutable, showed strong hues of Yoruba culture and history, it was often

Southwest’s new paradigm



difficult to attract popular and credible politicians from other zones. In a highly competitive political environment, they feared being dominated, humiliated or even obliterated. The Southwest, it now seems, has begun to realise that it must quietly mitigate its messianic orientation to politics, sugarcoat its dominant ideological orientation of progressivism to make it less offensive, and when necessary be prepared to sacrifice its ambitions for the larger good. This discovery is, in my opinion, largely fortuitous, even as the zone’s leaders as well as the previously dominant Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) appear to define the ‘larger good’ in broadly philosophical and abstract terms. I say fortuitous because when the ACN opted to support the candidacy of Aminu Tambuwal for the post of Speaker, House of Representatives, in 2011, that choice seemed less strategic than political. It

is unlikely the party already conceived at that time the grand coalition that has today metamorphosed into the All Progressives Congress (APC), nor imagined that the rainbow coalition, including the peaceful mass defections in the House, would be partly facilitated by the party’s inclusive politics, relationship with Hon Tambuwal, and a host of other factors. But even if the grand coalition was already conceived as far back as 2011, the scale of its success, not to say the structure of the coalition itself, must surprise those who inspired it. Part of the misunderstanding between the Southwest’s leading politicians and groups can be traced to this emergent trend. There are on one hand those who are still nostalgic about the Obafemi Awolowo days; and there are on the other hand those disillusioned by the impotence of the politics of the past. The first group, broadly speaking, is made up of the rump

APC, al-Mustapha and the politics of inclusiveness


ORE than six months after the Court of Appeal in Lagos acquitted the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State Gen Sani Abacha of the murder of Kudirat Abiola, the Lagos State Government has decided to challenge the judgement. According to a THISDAY newspaper report, however, that decision is raising ripples. Not only is the decision to appeal coming after the statutory time allowed for appeal, it is also happening at a time of major political realignments considered still too brittle to withstanding significant jolts. The governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, it will be recalled, recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the same party ruling Lagos. And al-Mustapha, who hails from Kano, was welcomed back home as a hero by the governor. Quoting sources, the paper revealed that some leading members of the party fear that the decision to appeal a judgement celebrated in Kano a few months ago could dampen the acceptability of the APC in the state and perhaps weaken its chances in future polls. Both Lagos and Kano have not officially reacted to the decision to appeal and the suppositions woven around it. They are unlikely to do so directly, for the matter is a double-edged

sword. If Lagos had decided not to appeal, and it emerged sometime in the future that the consideration behind it was political, it could damage both the state and the party in the estimation of the state’s sensitive and discriminating electorate. For the public would naturally presume that both the party and the state habitually and whimsically subordinate issues of justice to matters of politics. But it is also true that pursuing the case against al-Mustapha, who was received back home a hero, could send signals to the people of the state that their new party was either intrinsically inquisitorial or had just become so in reflection and reinforcement of the country’s ethnic and political dichotomies. However, the three parties to the alMustapha case – Lagos, Kano and APC – must determine by what standards they hope to be judged. Would they like to be seen as flexible, and therefore unprincipled, when pertinent issues of justice are being considered? Could they hope that such malleability would not endanger the principles their party stands for, and the values by which it hopes posterity would judge it? I think it is dangerous for the party to begin to entertain such expedient considerations. True, the case could cause a lot of problems for the party, and even create huge dissonance within the

ranks. But at the risk of undermining its popularity in key states, whether those with huge or small electoral votes, it is more rewarding for the party to build its foundations on sound and incontestable principles and values. The danger of following expediencies is how to determine when to embrace it and when not to. No party worth its salt would want to be associated with reprehensible political mores and tactics. If the APC hopes to be respected and be seen as a viable alternative to the highly protean Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it must be prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to establish an enduring foundation for its future. The time to make those sacrifices is now, at its infancy, when the stakes are still very high. If it loses the opportunity now, it may never regain it. Lagos wants to appeal the al-Mustapha case; let it do so resolutely, and let the Supreme Court finally determine the suspect’s guilt or innocence. Major alMustapha himself should relish that final vindication, should it come. Meanwhile, neither Lagos nor Kano must give the impression that al-Mustapha’s freedom is more important to his admirers and sympathisers than the catharsis, justice and closure Alhaja Kudirat’s family demand from Nigeria.

Afenifere and many opportunistic elements in the Labour Party (LP). They either describe themselves as the only truly progressive politicians in the zone on account of their association with the heirs of the Awolowo dynasty, or they sometimes see themselves as another progressive group outside the ACN component of the APC. This group still hugs the illusion that it could present a puristic and traditional form of Southwest progressivism around which a national coalition could be formed. The second group, now fully ensconced in the APC, believes that the puristic form of progressivism has over the past five decades proved either inadequate or at least problematic as a vehicle for winning the presidency. Like some leading political parties in the US and Britain, some of which had had to rediscover and remould themselves in order to achieve greater electoral appeal, this second Southwest group believes it must broaden its progressive ideological base by, if necessary, mitigating its form and structure to make it appeal to a wider swath of the country, especially to groups and zones not terribly averse to any leftof-centre ideology. It reasoned that if ethnic politics and divides were to be transcended, supporting Hon Tambuwal in 2011 was a good way to begin. It hoped that when it came to national politics, the Southwest electorate would understand why Hon Tambuwal was a better option to tear to pieces the iron curtain of distrust that had separated the North from the South for so long, and why supporting his Southwest opponent, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, was nothing but offensive and retrogressive ethnic politics. The Southwest’s new paradigm for national politics, and in particular, presidential politics, is based on very sound but evidently futuristic suppositions. Like anything new and radical, this paradigm will bring with it teething problems, especially because many of its leading lights simply lack the depth and perspective to appreciate the implications and benefits the major realignment being midwifed by the zone’s political iconoclasts will trigger. Already, it would seem the increasing fractiousness of the crowd in the APC is the logical antithesis to the grand coalition’s possibilities, stability and survival. But if coalition leaders at national and state levels could subordinate their ambitions to the common good, and grasp through their minds’ eyes the nirvana they seem at the threshold of midwiving, they might succeed in reinforcing the new trends Nigerian politics needs to survive as a nation, democratic, stable and free. In the new reality, the Southwest appears to be the zone making the hugest sacrifice for very little profit. In time, however, the zones in the North will realise quite clearly what they now suspect: that the only way to guarantee stability and eliminate bigotry and prejudice is to embrace politics of inclusiveness. In time they will also realise, just like the Southwest did when it favoured Hon Tambuwal over Hon Akande-Adeola, that what the country needs is not for politicians to seclude themselves in, and reinforce, their ethnic cocoons, but to embrace healthy politics even if it seems illogical and unrewarding in the short run. In time, too, the Southeast will recognise that it must open up quite courageously as the Southwest is doing, build politicians with crossover appeal, and begin to practice the politics of inclusiveness. It is unlikely that a time will come when by common agreement the presidency would be surrendered to a Southeast candidate. The zone will have to work for it by taking the new dynamics of zonal politics into cognisance or, like Dr Jonathan, hope to take the presidency by default, with all the accompanying uncertainties.

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The Nation Jan 19, 2014  
The Nation Jan 19, 2014