Page 1

Pastor, kids, others held for printing naira notes NEWS Page 2

Newspaper of the Year

News Budget: Lawmakers shun Mimiko P7 Sports Mikel hopeful of CAF award P17 Business NLC urges debate on refineries P64

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2715 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014





•CHEERS: Indian sports players from the Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium light candles during an event to welcome the New Year in Allahabad…yesterday.



Jonathan plans 18-hr power supply as APC seeks change Govt to focus on peace, jobs Opposition ready for ‘final battle to rescue Nigeria’


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan gave yesterday an insight into his focus this year. Consolidation on peace, unity and democratic governance, special focus on job creation and an inclusive growth in the economy, will take the centre stage, he said. Dr. Jonathan said his administration was working to make Nigerians enjoy a minimum of 18 hours electric-

We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly... distributed ...We have mobilised an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond —Jonathan

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

ity supply daily. The President unfolded his agenda in his New Year’s message to Nigerians. According to him, his administration is boosting power transmission with $1.5 billion. More measures are being put in place to fight corruption, he said, adding that the government saved N126

Our compatriots, who have lost faith in our dear country because of inefficient and corrupt leadership, can count on us, because we represent committed, transparent and focused leader—APC ship

billion from leaked funds. He did not, however, state the measures. The government has been under pressure to curb corruption, which many critics insist the administration is, in fact, encouraging. “I assure you that our administration remains FULL SPEECH fully committo the proON PAGE 4 ted gressive devel-

opment of our country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance in our fatherland. Despite several continuing domestic and global challenges, for us in Nigeria, the year 2013 witnessed many positive developments, which we will strive to build upon in 2014,” he said. “We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused impleContinued on page 2

WHO SAID WHAT I crave for a country where every citizen is a stakeholder, where there is justice, peace, equal opportunities and where no one is oppressed or marginalised —Mark It should not be lost on all of us that when all hands are on deck, and with sincerity of purpose, we can achieve success together —Tambuwal If put in the hands of enlightened progressive leaders, this nation can become a fertile land of prosperity, lawfulness, peace and dignity for us all —Tinubu




NEWS Pastor, kids, others, held for printing naira notes


From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

SELF-STYLED pastor was yesterday paraded along with 15 others for allegedly printing and circulating fake naira notes. Kogi State Director of State Security Service (SSS) Mike Fubara, who paraded the suspects, said six of them are Pastor Godson Akubuiro’s children. Akubuiro, 49, is the General Overseer of The Mountain of Breakthrough Deliverance Ministry, also known as Land of Solution, located at Plot 7, Koya Estate, Igbo Olomu, Agric, Ikorodu, Lagos from where he and other suspects were arrested. The “pastor” hails from Imo State. Fubara said the SSS began investigation four months ago to trace the source of the “‘worrisome fake naira currency in circulation in Kogi state to uncover those behind the act’’. ‘’This operation took the service close to four months before a breakthrough resulting in the arrest of the 16-man syndicate led by Rev. Godson O. Akubuiro,” he said Items recovered from the suspects include equipment and materials used in printing fake currencies, a large quantity of printed fake notes, cut to size blank currency notes and N1.3 million fake •The suspects and the seized items...yesterday. (Inset) top right is Pastor Akubuiro naira notes. There were also photocopier machines and different colours of oil paints. Akubuiro, admitted the crime before reporters, saying he was “an ordained man of God” until the devil overwhelmed him. He admitted that he had been involved in the criminal activity since November 2012 in his house, along with his family members. Akubuiro said he was not using the money for himself but in support of the less-privileged and the needy in his congregation. He pleaded for leniency, saying men of God were often tempted like King David in the Bible, who though a man after God’s heart, fell many times yet was pardoned by God. Fubara urged the public to be wary of the fake naira notes in circulation and report suspects to security agents. •Fake notes printed by the suspects •Chemicals used to produce the fake notes

Tukur’s fate shaky as PDP NEC meets Jan. 8


ORRIED by the degenerating crisis in its fold, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has summoned a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC). On the agenda are National Chairman Bamanga Tukur’s fate and report on the talks between President Goodluck Jonathan and some aggrieved governors whose number has reduced from seven to two in the last three weeks. The meeting is scheduled for January 8. But while the party is prepar-

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

ing for an epic NEC session, about seven of the remaining 18 PDP governors have reached out to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for direction on the party’s future and the 2015 poll. The NEC is expected to deliberate on issues bordering on the crisis in the party, the defection of five governors to the All Progressives Congress(APC), whether or not it is expedient for Tukur to step aside, and how to reposition the party for the 2015 elections. It was gathered that the agitation for and against Tukur’s exit

might take the centre stage. There had been disagreement between the Presidency and some PDP governors who have been calling for Tukur’s removal. The governors about two weeks ago, recommended a choice ambassadorial posting as an exit package for Tukur. But some governors, the strategists of the President and First Lady Patience Jonathan were said to have kicked against Tukur’s removal. They said those calling for Tukur’s ouster were setting booby traps for the President to deny him a second term ticket

on the platform of the PDP. A top member of the party, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “We have received the notice of the January 8 NEC meeting. This will be preceded by a meeting of the Board of Trustees on January 7. “This meeting is crucial because of events of the past four months, which led to the defection of five governors and some members of the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly. “The NEC will consider a report or brief from Jonathan and Continued on page 65

2015: Tambuwal urges INEC to emulate Yobe SIEC


OUSE of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal yesterday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to get ready for the 2015 polls. Tambuwal gave the advice in his New Year message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam. He praised Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission for conducting a peaceful and credible election worthy of emulation.

“The lesson in what happened in Yobe should not be lost on all of us in spite of the security situation in the state and operating under the State of Emergency,” he said. He appreciated the role played by the government and people of the state as well as security agencies to ensure that the election witnessed massive turn out and was concluded peacefully. “The determination of the government and people of Yobe State to have democratic strucContinued on page 65

Jonathan plans 18-hr power supply as APC seeks change Continued from page 1

mentation of our agenda for national transformation in priority areas, such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation. “Our national budget for 2014, which is now before the National Assembly, is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth. We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.” On the economy, the President said the country had moved from a country that produced two million metric tonnes of cement in 2002, to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes. “For the first time in our history, we have moved from be-

APC to Nigerians: be prepared for coming change


HE All Progressives Congress has assured Nigerians that the party is determined to make sacrifices to reverse the prevailing situation in the country. In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Nigerians should go into the New Year with an unyielding commitment to be part of ongoing efforts to set the country on the path of growth and development. “While wishing all Nigerians a great 2014, we hereby solicit their unalloyed support for our efforts to reshape the country’s political landscape, shake off the heavy yoke imposed on them by their selfish, self-serving and clueless leaders and make the country a source of pride not only to its citizens but to all black people in the world,” it said. ing a net importer of cement to a net exporter. Foreign direct investment into Nigeria has also been strong,” Jonathan said, adding: “We are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector

The APC said the first step in what will be a “tough but final battle to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of rapacious leaders will be to bring the citizenry on board the train of change that is barelling through the country,” and to ensure that elections are free, fair and credible. The party said: “As we wrote in the preamble to our manifesto, ‘democracy, to be stable and meaningful, must be anchored on the principle that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed….This means that governments are instituted on the basis of free, fair and credible elections, and are maintained through responsiveness to public opinion. “’In addition, the exercise of political authority is rooted in the rule of law. The APC believes in the doctrine of social contract between the leaders and the led;

and the results are evident. We have tackled corruption in the input distribution system as many farmers now obtain their fertilisers and seeds directly through an e-wallet system. In 2013, 4.2 million farmers re-

which means that the public office holder is a trustee of the people and that power must be used in the interest of the people rather than in the interest of the public office holder’.” It said in order to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible were brought aboard the APC train of change, the party would begin its membership registration drive early this year, targeting in particular the youth, who are indispensable in any effort to bring about change. “We ask all those who are yearning for genuine change to seize the moment and embrace the engine of change, which the APC represents Our compatriots, who have lost faith in our dear country because of inefficient and corrupt leadership, can count on us, because we represent committed, transparent and focused leadership,” the APC said.

ceived subsidised inputs via this programme. This scheme has restored dignity to our farmers. “Last year, we produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food; and this year, in-

flation fell to its lowest level since 2008, partly due to higher domestic food production. Our food import bill has also reduced from N1.1 trillion in 2011, to N648 billion in 2012, placing Nigeria firmly on the path to

food self-sufficiency.” “In 2014, we will continue to prioritise investments in key sectors, such as infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation. In the past year, the Federal Government completed the privatisation of four power generation companies and 10 power distribution companies. We are also in the process of privatising 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).” On power, the President said: “We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, Continued on page 65

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 08099365644, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678






‘Time for re-dedication is now’ Dear Compatriots, greet and felicitate with you all as we enter the year 2014 which prom ises to be a momentous one for our country for several reasons, including the fact that it is also the year of our great nation’s centenary celebrations. I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for guiding us and our beloved nation safely through all the challenges of the outgoing year to the beginning of 2014. Exactly 100 years ago today, on January 1, 1914, the British Colonial authorities amalgamated what was then the separate Protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria, giving birth to the single geopolitical entity known as Nigeria. For us therefore, today is not just the beginning of a new year, but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another. It is a moment for sober reflection and for pride in all that is great about Nigeria. Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength. We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today. As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing. As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater. I assure you that our administration remains fully committed to the progressive development of our country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance in our fatherland. Despite several continuing domestic and global challenges, for us in Nigeria, the year 2013 witnessed many positive developments which we will strive to build upon in 2014. We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused implementation of our agenda for national transformation in priority areas such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation. You may recall that our 2013 Budget was on the theme, “Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth”, and I emphasized the need for us to “remain prudent with our fiscal resources and also ensure that the Nigerian economy keeps growing and creating jobs”. I am pleased to report that we have stayed focused on this goal. Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth. We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy. In 2013, we commenced implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals. We have also negotiated a strong Common External Tariff (CET) agreement with our ECOWAS partners which would enable us to protect our strategic industries where necessary. I am pleased to note that as a result of our backward integration policies, Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002, to a country


that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes. For the first time in our history, we have moved from being a net importer of cement to a net exporter. Foreign direct investment into Nigeria has also been strong. In fact, for the second year running, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has named Nigeria as the number 1 destination for investments in Africa. We are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector and the results are evident. We have tackled corruption in the input distribution system as many farmers now obtain their fertilizers and seeds directly through an e-wallet system. In 2013, 4.2 million farmers received subsidized inputs via this programme. This scheme has restored dignity to our farmers. Last year we produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food; and this year, inflation fell to its lowest level since 2008 partly due to higher domestic food production. Our food import bill has also reduced from N1.1 trillion in 2011, to N648 billion in 2012, placing Nigeria firmly on the path to food self-sufficiency. The sector is also supporting more jobs. Last year, we produced 1.1 million metric tonnes of dry season rice across 10 Northern states; and over 250,000 farmers and youths in these States are now profitably engaged in farming even during the dry season. This Administration is also developing our water resources which are key for both our food production and job creation goals. In 2013, we completed the construction of nine dams which increased the volume of our water reservoirs by 422 million cubic metres. Through our irrigation and drainage programme, we have increased the total irrigated area by over 31,000 hectares creating jobs for over 75,000 farming families while increasing production of over 400,000 metric tons of assorted irrigated food products. Fellow Compatriots, I have always believed that the single greatest thing we can do to ensure all Nigerians realize their potential and play a full part in our nation’s future, is to invest in education. The education of our young people is a key priority for this Government. We take this responsibility very seriously and I urge all other stakeholders in the sector to recognize the national importance of their work, and to help advance the cause of education in our nation. Between 2007 and 2013, we have almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion – and we will continue to vigorously support the sector. We have improved access to education in the country with the construction of 125 Almajiri schools, and the establishment of three additional Federal Universities in the North, bringing to twelve, the number of universities established by this administration. In 2013, we rehabilitated 352 laboratories and constructed 72 new libraries in the Federal Unity Schools; and also rehabilitated laboratories of all the 51 Federal and State polytechnics across the country. In the Health sector, we are building strong safety nets and improving access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme. In 2013, we recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country. Over 400,000 lives have been saved through our various interventions. We have reached over 10,000 women and children with conditional cash transfer programmes across 8 States and the FCT and we intend to scale up this successful initiative. Our national immunization coverage has exceeded 80%. And for the first time in the history of the country


Text of President Goodluck Jonathan’s New Year message to the nation

In keeping with our avowed commitment to progressively enhancing the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process by consistently upholding the principle of one man, one vote, our Administration will also ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) receives all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the next general elections


there has not been any transmission of the Type-3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year. We have also eradicated the guinea worm that previously affected the lives of over 800,000 Nigerians yearly. In tertiary health care, we upgraded medical facilities across the country. Two of our teaching hospitals – the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and the University College Hospital in Ibadan – commenced open heart surgeries this year after the installation of new facilities. Fellow Nigerians, I have dwelt on some of our administration’s achievements in 2013 to reassure you that we are working and results are being achieved on the ground. As we enter our Centennial year, there is still much work ahead. We are determined to sustain our strong macroeconomic fundamentals, to strengthen our domestic institutions, and to invest in priority sectors. These investments will create more jobs for our youth. Government will at the same time, continue to scale-up investments in safety nets and the MDGs to take care of the poor and the vulnerable so that they too can share in our growth and prosperity. In 2014, we will continue to prioritize investments in key sectors such as infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation. In the past year, the Federal Government completed the privatization of four power generation companies and 10 power distribution companies. We are also in the process of privatizing 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP). e shall boost investments in transmission to ensure pow er generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, we have already mobilized an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond. Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatization of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy. Our administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced. We will also take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages. We have worked hard to curb fraud in the administration of the pension system and the implementation of the petroleum subsidy scheme. We have introduced a Pensions Transition Arrangement Department under a new Director-General. This department will now ensure that those of our pensioners still under the old scheme receive their pensions and gratuities, and are not subjected to fraud. Prosecution of all those involved in robbing our retired people will continue. The Petroleum


sector in most developed economies. When the housing sector booms, it creates additional jobs for architects and masons, for electricians and plumbers, for painters and interior decorators, and for those in the cement and furniture industries. Today, I am pleased to inform you that this Administration is reinvigorating our housing and construction sector. We have established the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which will increase liquidity in the housing sector, provide a secondary market for mortgages, and thereby increase the number of people able to purchase or build homes at an affordable price in the country. n 2014, we will work in a number of pilot states where the State Gov ernors have agreed to provide fasttrack land titles, foreclosure arrangements, and serviced plots. This new institution will enable us to create over 200,000 mortgages over the next five years at affordable interest rates. In addition, those at the lower end of the economic ladder will not be left behind as this new initiative will expand mass housing schemes through a re-structured Federal Mortgage Bank and other institutions to provide rent-to-own and lease-to-own options. I am confident that very soon, many more hardworking Nigerian families will be able to realize their dream of owning a home. In this our centenary year, we will continue our efforts, through the Saving One Million Lives initiative to strengthen primary health care services. We will scale up interventions in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, routine immunization, HIV/AIDS, malaria elimination, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases. We will pay greater attention to the provision of universal health coverage. Besides the implementation of new initiatives such as my comprehensive response plan for HIV/AIDS, we shall continue to collaborate with global health partners to deliver our health sector transformation agenda. I am glad that the issues responsible for the long-drawn ASUU strike have been resolved and our children are returning to their campuses. We are committed to making our tertiary institutions true centers of learning for our young people. We will therefore focus on upgrading hostels, laboratories, classrooms, and halls. As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, we will continue to expand access to basic education for all Nigerian children. Working with State Governments, we shall decisively tackle the problem of the large numbers of outof-school children in this country. We will also invest in technical and vocational education to promote skills development for our youth across the country. igerian entrepreneurs still lack access to affordable financing, with medium-to-long-term tenors. To address this gap, a new wholesale development finance institution will be established in 2014 to provide medium-to long-term financing for Nigerian businesses. We are working with partners such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank, the BNDES Bank in Brazil, and KfW in Germany, to realize this project. Our existing Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry will be restructured as specialized institutions to retail financing from this new wholesale development bank. In addition to the foregoing, our administration will also do all within its powers to ensure the success of the forthcoming National Conference. The report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Conference is undergoing urgent review and the approved structure, guidelines and modalities for the conference will soon be published as a prelude to its commencement and expeditious conclusion. It remains our sincere hope and expectation that the success of the na

I •Dr Jonathan

Subsidy Scheme is also now being operated under new strict guidelines to tackle previous leakages in the scheme and prevent fraud. Foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed. This directive shall apply to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government. Our strategy to curb leakages will increasingly rely on introducing the right technologies such as biometrics and digitizing government payments. am therefore pleased to inform you that we shall complete the deploy ment of the three electronic platforms in 2014 – namely, the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) – which are all geared towards improving efficiency and transparency in our public finances. Through these reforms, we have already saved about N126 billion in leaked funds and intend to save more. To sustain Nigeria’s ongoing agricultural transformation, we have planned further investments in the sector. We will provide input subsidies to five million farmers nationwide using the e-wallet system. This Administration recently launched a self-employment initiative under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), called the Nagropreneur programme. This scheme would encourage our youth to go into commercial agriculture as entrepreneurs and we plan to develop over 750,000 young Nagropreneurs by 2015. We will also establish new agroindustrial clusters to complement the staple crop processing zones being developed across the country. In 2014, this Administration will continue to work with the private sector to improve financing in the agricultural sector. For example, we will launch the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) which will serve as a private equity fund to invest in agribusinesses across the country. Our Small and Medium scale enterprises (SMEs) will be the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization. We have about 17 million registered SMEs, and they employ over 32 million Nigerians. When our SMEs grow, more jobs will be created for our youth. Therefore, in 2014, this Administration will focus strongly on implementing the Nigeria Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) to address the needs of small businesses. Our interventions will include helping SMEs with access to affordable finance, business development services, and youth training. In addition, our new CET policies will enable us to support our emerging industries. We will also intensify our investment promotion efforts abroad, to ensure we bring the biggest and best companies from around the world to invest in Nigeria. Dear Compatriots, the housing and construction industry is a critical



Continued on page 5




‘We must be part of change’ Text of National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s New Year message jaws of national disaster. We must resist this ugly fate by substituting it with a renewed faith that we can improve our nation. I feel the storm of change building up. If you listen closely, you hear a faint and distant sound. This distance sound means us well, and, I tell you, this sound will not always be distant or soft. Inevitably, it approaches. The closer it gets, the louder and stronger it will become until no other sound will be heard in the public square. This happy noise has been held from us far too long. Pray for its timely arrival; it is the din of political and economic change. This is why we formed the APC. The APC is a vehicle to generate and accelerate the process of change towards the most beneficial end for the greatest number of our people. We are not here to mimic the PDP. Why would a living being mimic a ghost or water mimic mud? We may not be perfect but we are dedicated to wellbeing of something far greater and more important than ourselves. We seek a better Nigeria for all Nigerians. Thus, we are no more like the PDP than a broom is like the dirt it sweeps away. We do not copy the deafness of the ruling party. We shall orchestrate a new music of enlightenment, progress and hope for this country. As it moves nearer, the sound of imminent change will become music to the many. Those in power will dread it because the tune they want to hear comes not of the people’s happiness but from their misery. This is why the strange government that resides in Abuja can applaud itself for economic growth when the majority of people suffer caustic poverty. The growth they commend is restricted to them and their cronies. The rest of the nation stagnates. Children’s bellies swell not from feast but from near famine. Schools close. Businesses are shuttered. Jobs evaporate. The streets fill with the frustration of the unemployed and hopeless. Homes, stores and factories are dark. There is no light. Yet, these people

•Asiwaju Tinubu



IGERIANS must enter the New Year determined to succeed although much around us signals failure. As a nation, we are destined to be better than we now are. Today, we slump in a low place but that is only for now. Our nation is crippled but not broken, confused but not lost. Given into the hands of enlightened progressive leadership, this nation can become a fertile land of prosperity, of law, of peace and dignity for us all. The coming year shall be one of decision. To be for change or against change? To want more of the same or to join the team that desires change? Shall we continue as we now are? If so, failure will be our sole destination and darkness our only compass. As for me, I reject this end as well as the means that lead to it. We have gone far enough down the unlit road. We want no further part of it. The advent of a new year is time for people and nations to resolve themselves to a greater future. As a people, let us resolve no longer to live in a land that functions as its inferior self. Let us resolve that we no longer dwell in a society of unfair advantage, excessive poverty and parochial divisions that threaten to distract us from the common goal of our common good. Let us resolve that we shall no longer tolerate a government more interested in its longevity and welfare than in yours. Let us resolve to create a Nigeria based on justice, democracy, fair opportunity and decent living conditions for all regardless of ethnic origin, religion, region or social station. Let us devote our hands to reshaping Nigeria into a place where no one is excluded and all are seated at the national table. Let us turn Nigeria from its present condition of a plantation owned by the few and worked by the many into a humane community of shared responsibility and shared benefit. 2013 proved we cannot pretend nothing is wrong when most things are wrong. If we allow things to continue in this shoddy way, we shall find ourselves walking toward the open

2014 also will be the year of an even greater change foretold. For it shall set the stage for year after. May 2015 be the fateful year when we affirm and empower into the actual governance of this land the change Nigeria so deservedly needs


commend themselves for steering the economy to pleasant waters. They are mean captains who care not for the conditions of the workmen below deck. n effect, they think they have done their job by making themselves richer at the expense of the rest of the people. Then, they have the nerve to ask that we applaud this misdeed. They believe they have already taken Nigeria to the promise land. This means they intend to keep things as they now are. They believe the economy should be permanently structured in a way the vast majority of Nigerians squirm under the boot of poverty while they relax in the nectar of luxury. This is an unfair, crooked deal. We reject it and, as the drumbeat of change marches closer, it will


drown out their lame excuses to make way for a fairer economy. Two recent events demonstrate how low we have sunk and why 2014 must be the year of change. Recently the media published reports of a letter from the CBN governor alleging a $50 billion dollar shortfall in revenues NNPC deposited into the federation account. After a frenzied dash to reconcile the irreconcilable accounting books keep by this government, it was reported that only approximately $11 billion was unaccounted! We have dropped so far that somehow losing $11 billion is now a sign of fiscal rectitude! This is tragic. In an atmosphere of good governance, this amount would never grow legs and walk away unnoticed. If it did, senior officials would have been duly escorted to the police station for criminal investigation. Under this administration, the matter is swept aside as if a minor thing, like a broken tea cup on the floor. If this government can treat a missing 11 billion dollars like a minor accounting infraction, much more than a teacup needs to be swept away. This robber government needs to feel the broom and the sweep of change as well. Regarding Boko Haram and our challenges of domestic security, President Jonathan gave a recent statement that showed no urgency or initiative. Instead, he told Nigerians to be happy because things could be worse. At least, we are not like Syria or other war-ravaged lands, he said. In the face of the nation’s greatest security challenge since the Civil War, this is the presidential policy: to lay low and measure your failure relative to the failure of other nations. As long as other nations suffer conditions worse than ours, we should accept our fate and commend government for allowing only one of our legs to be amputated and not both. Jonathan’s hands-off, laissez faire approach to civil insurrect does not commend itself to national greatness or wise statecraft. It is a lazy and dangerous policy he promotes. This nation will not improve simply by being content that we are not as bad as other nations. That is not way of improvement. It is the excuse of a leader grown too comfortable with failure. The coming year will present Nigerians a stark choice. The APC is a new party. It offers a chance to return Nigeria to her best path. We realize the Nigerian public has been stung so many times by false promises that the people will not give their trust quickly. Given our political history, this is only wise and prudent. Beginning this new year, the APC

will show the people the vast difference between us and the PDP. They are a conservative and elite network of under-the-table deals and backroom governance. We are its open and progressive alternative. We mean the people well and do not work to keep them in the dark. We will show the comparative differences in several ways. First, we shall demonstrate our commitment to democracy by exercising internal democracy and transparence on our party deliberations. Second, we shall communicate to the people at the grassroots level as well as the national level. You will see and hear from APC members and leaders at the local, state and national levels. We will create venues and platforms that you may communicate your concerns to us as well. Third, and most importantly, we will highlight the ideological and substantive policy differences between the progressive us and the elitist them. Where the PDP has imposed trickle-down economics reminiscent of a 1980’s Reagan-Thatcher-IMF road show, we seek an economy of genuine and broadly shared growth where the laboring wage earner and small businessperson benefits proportionally to the powerful financier and big corporate power. We will draw clear distinctions between how this administration conducts itself and what we see as the correct national government stance on fiscal and monetary policy, agriculture, national security, human rights, jobs and labor, housing, infrastructure, education and health. By the end of the year, you will know the APC stands in a different place than the PDP. The PDP is selfish; thus, it stands by itself. The APC stands with and for the people. hus, we look forward to the ap proaching year. It will be a turn ing point in Nigeria’s political history. The people will be given a clear choice between the types of politics and policies they can follow. The people will be given two competing visions for the nation: The PDP’s vision of stumbling along as we are or a progressive vision where the people have greater input in their own governance and, thus, derive more benefit from that governance. The choice will be yours. 2014 also will be the year of an even greater change foretold. For it shall set the stage for year after. May 2015 be the fateful year when we affirm and empower into the actual governance of this land the change Nigeria so deservedly needs. Too all Nigerians, I pray for God’s blessing and a most productive and historic New Year.


‘Time for re-dedication is now’ Continued from page 4

tional conference will further enhance national unity, peace and cohesion as we move ahead to the 2015 general elections. In keeping with our avowed commitment to progressively enhancing the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process by consistently upholding the principle of one man, one vote, our Administration will also ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) receives all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the next general elections. s peace and security remain prerequisite conditions for the full realization of our objectives, we will also do more in 2014 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria. The allocation of over N600 Billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment. Fellow compatriots, the task of making our dear nation a much better place for present and future generations cannot be left to government alone. I therefore urge you all to be ready and willing to do more this year to support the implementation of the Federal Government’s Agenda for National Transformation in every possible way. Let us all therefore resolve as we celebrate the new year, and Nigeria’s Centenary, to place the higher interests of national unity, peace, stability and progress above all other considerations and work harder in our particular fields of human endeavour to contribute more significantly to the attainment of our collective aspirations. I urge all Nigerians, no matter their stations in life, to rededicate themselves to contributing meaningfully to further enrich our national heritage. The time for that re-dedication is now, not tomorrow. I wish you all a happy and rewarding 2014. God bless Nigeria. Happy New Year.


•Niger State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (middle) signing the 2014 Budget into law in Minna... yesterday. With him are his Deputy Ahmed Musa Ibeto (right), Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adamu Usman and members of the State Executive Council.




Ikuforiji congratulates Nigerians


AGOS State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji has congratulated Nigerians for seeing the dawn of 2014. In his New Year message by his Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Adebayo, the Speaker said: “It is a great privilege and joy for me, on behalf of my family, fellow legislators at the Seventh Lagos Assembly and the management and staff of the Lagos State House of Assembly, to rejoice with all Lagosians (and indeed all Nigerians, who are represented in our megacity), for

By Oziegbe Okoeki

being kept alive by God to witness yet another New Year, 2014. “Considering the enormous challenges and pains that we have faced since our return to democratic rule in 1999, Nigerians deserve special commendations for keeping faith with governments at all levels. “It is indeed amazing that Nigerians have been gallant in their resolve to see the country through to the Promised Land.”

Oshiomhole: expect better things in 2014


From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin

DO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has urged the residents to expect brighter days and better things in the New Year than they experienced last year. In a New Year message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, the governor said last year was peaceful, stable and progressive in the socio-economic life of the state, adding that 2014 would be better. Oshiomhole said: “I congratulate the good people of Edo State and indeed the entire people of Nigeria for seeing yet another year. For us in Edo State, the outgoing year was generally peaceful and marked by growth in all sectors of the economic life of the state. “As we enter a New Year, I urge the people of Edo State to look forward to brighter days ahead. In addition to sustaining our efforts at developing and renewing infrastructure in the state, government has also beamed its focus on expanding the economy of the state, increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creating wealth. We expect our efforts to start yielding positive fruits in the New Year...”

Let's be tolerant, Suswam pleads


ENUE State Governor Gabriel Suswam has called for tolerance and mutual coexistence amopng Nigerians in the New Year. The governor urged the people of Benue State to imbibe positive attitudes in the New Year to put the pains of the past behind them and embrace the New Year with an abiding faith in God. He said the beginning of a

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

New Year symbolises the opening of new chapters in the lives of the people as they encounter daily life challenges. According to him, the recognition of life’s shortcomings can be redeemed with a new resolve and commitment to excellence.

Chime urges more commitment


NUGU State Governor Sullivan Chime has urged Nigerians to redouble their efforts at building a stable, secure and prosperous nation. The governor, in his New Year message, said Nigerians should learn from the mistakes of the previous years and ensure improvements in all facets of the nation's socio-economic and political life. He urged Nigerians to eschew any act that may impede the progress of the nation. Chime urged Nigerians to be prayerful and seek the will and guidance of God in their endeavours in the New Year. He thanked the people of Enugu State, security agencies and various organisations for supporting and cooperating with his administration last year.

‘4,000 policemen on peace missions’


NSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar has said over 4,000 police officers are serving in various peacekeeping missions worldwide. The police chief spoke yesterday in Abuja when he addressed 450 police officers deployed for peace operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone. He said the officers were serving in missions of the United Nations (UN), Africa Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and many others.

Abubakar said the police had upgraded their training level and achieved 85 per cent of contingent-owned equipment all over the missions. “We have replaced all the equipment that were not working because you cannot take officers and men and send them to a mission area that is very challenging security wise. “Without equipment, that means you are telling them to go and die and that is why you have minimal number of accidents in terms of those who are performing outside,” he said.

Ashafa urges selfless service


HE Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, 'Gbenga Ashafa, has urged Nigerians to be more committed to the development and growth of the nation in the New Year. The senator representing Lagos East noted that if all could rededicate themselves to the growth of the nation, Nigeria would soon become one of the best countries in the world. He said: "As we enter the New Year, selfless service should be our watchword. We must jettison laziness, selfishness and indolence in our daily activities. The New Year has a lot of new opportunities for those who are sensitive enough to tap them.”

•Pastor Bulugbe flanked by Pastor Omotunde (right) and the Pastor’s personal assistant, Olufemi Adeyemi at the thanksgiving...yesterday. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

The Nation thanks God for ‘special year’


EMBERS of the staff of Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation and Sporting Life, were ecstatic yesterday as the management held a special end-of-year interdenominational thanksgiving service. The quadrangle at the company’s premises was saturated with “anointing” from respectable clerics, who joined the the employees to give thanks to God for “a special year.” The thanksgiving followed the resounding achievements of the company last year. The Nation and Sporting Life shone at the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME), Sports Business/ Media Award, Nigerian Media Merit Awards (NMMA) and PEARL Awards among others.


By Tajudeen Adebanjo

The Nation is the Newspaper of the Year at the NMMA. It won five others, including Editor of the Year, Editorial writing of the Year and three individual awards. The service began with the a praise and worship session led by Olawale Olugbayibi, a store keeper and Moses Emorinken, the Personal Assistant to the Managing Director. The duo anchored the over two-hour spiritual-filled service, which featured special prayers, various hymns and a sermon. Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni led the opening prayer. General Manager, Training and Development Pastor Soji Omotunde delivered the welcome address. Pastor Omotunde

described the year as “special” for the company. He said: “It is great to witness this moment. Within seven years of its creation, our newspaper claimed Newspaper of the Year prize. Some newspapers are now envious of us because of our achievements.” He urged workers to put in more efforts to sustain the position. “God has placed us in the number one position. We should not go back; we are working towards sustaining that position,” he said. Urging the staff to be godly, Omotunde prayed that the company and its workers will “overflow” to 2014 by God’s grace. Deputy Chairman Editorial Board Tunji Adegboyega, who said a special prayer, thanked God for the compa-

ny’s achievements. Pastor Steve Bulugbe, who ministered, said God had been wonderful in the last seven years. Quoting several lines from the Bible, the cleric said there was need for gratitude for whatever God had done. According to him, if an organisation deems it fit to thank God, He would bless it the more. Prophesying that the level of everyone present will change, his prayer received a thunderous “Amen”. Thanksgiving, Pastor Bulugbe said, is commanded by God. “Thanksgiving is the will of God to man; it is better to do God’s will . Every obstacle in front of The Nation shall be divided,” Pastor Bulugbe said and the gathering yelled ‘Amen’.

Ekweremadu seeks prayers, patriotism

EPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday urged Nigerians to pray for the nation and demonstrate a deep sense of patriotism in the New Year. In a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, the Deputy Senate President said the nation's future was bright,

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

despite the present challenges. Ekweremadu noted that prayers and patriotism were essential ingredients in the nation's efforts to strengthen democracy and entrench peace and development. He said: “2014 is going to be

an important year as the nation prepares for the 2015 general elections, which is one significant event in the nation's life, especially the efforts to consolidate our democracy. “It, therefore, behoves the nation to pray for smooth preparations and also show patriotism in every step of the journey. “While democracy does not

necessarily translate to homogeneity of ideology, opinion and interest, the political players, in particular, need to disagree and play politics responsibly with decorum. “Nigerian leaders should place the common good and national interest above every personal, ethno-religious and sectional interest to avoid overheating the polity.”

Olawumi is NYSC's DG as Orhii is reappointed NAFDAC chief


RIG.-GEN. Johnson Olawumi was yesterday appointed the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). A statement in Abuja by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim said Gen. Olawumi's appointment took effect from December 23. The Army officer, who hails from Iyin Ekiti, Ekiti State, attended the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army on September 23, 1989. He has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florin. Gen. Olawumi, who also has a Master's degree in Defence Studies from the Kings College, London, is married and has children. Mr Ibrahim Waziri was ap-

pointed the Chairman of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). His appointment took effect from December 24. President Goodluck Jonathan has also approved the re-appointment of Dr Paul Orhii as the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) with effect from January 13, 2014.


A statement yesterday in Abuja by Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), confirmed the re-appointment. It said Jonathan also approved the re-appointment of Prof. Francis Idachaba, as the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Merit Award, with effect from December 29, last year. The statement said the Presi-

dent approved the appointment of three new members and renewed the appointment of four members of the board. The new members are: Prof. Tola Olufunla (Ondo State), Prof. Andrew Nok (Kaduna State) and Prof, Laz Ekueme (Anambra), while those whose appointments were renewed are Prof. Etim Etim (Akwa Ibom), Prof. John Enaohwo (Delta), Prof. Ben Onaji (Benue) and Prof. Garba Goja (Jigawa).

Fashola calls for unity

AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has advocated unity of purpose among Nigerians to solve the nation's problems. In a goodwill message to the residents, the governor said the problems bedevilling the country were mainly man-made and would be collectively solved with the people’s unity. He said when the people agree to remove any impediment to the nation's progress, the myriad problems facing the country would be thus be surmounted. Fashola noted that the country's problems, whether economic, social or political, were

rooted in ethnic and religious intolerance. The governor said the solution to the nation's challenges was in the people's belief in the Nigerian Project and their resolve to work for the country of their collective dreams. He said: “Looking back at all that we went through in the past year, perhaps, the time has come for us all to take an introspective look at ourselves in an attempt to get to the root of our problems and challenges. The truth of the matter is that whether it is the downturn in the economy or our worsening security situation, the challenges are traceable to ourselves.”





Lawmakers shun Mimiko’s budget presentation

T was meant to be a symbolic and colourful ceremony. But Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s budget presentation was anything but colourful. Of the 26 members of the Assembly, 17 shunned the presentation. Only nine lawmakers were present; 12 stayed around the premises of the Assembly Complex as Mimiko presented the N162 billion 2014 budget. The Assembly is made up of 25 Labour Party (LP) members and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member. It was gathered that the lawmakers who shunned the presentation were aggrieved over “non-consultation with the Assembly on the budget presentation and poor implementation of the 2013 budget”. The presentation was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Dare Emiola. The Speaker, Samuel Adesina, is ill. The Majority Leader, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, was present. Other principal officers, including the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Fidelis Akinwolemiwa (Ondo East); his Vice, Akin-


Osun plans to spend N216b

SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola yesterday presented a proposed N216,745,213,260 2014 budget to the House of Assembly. He was represented by his Special Adviser on Budget, Mr. Bade Adesina. The Appropriation Bill, christened “Budget of Growth Enhancement and Development”, is smaller than last year’s N234,269,308,820 budget. From Damisi Ojo and Leke Akeredolu, Akure

dele Adeniyi (Akure South); Chairman, House Committee on Information, Oyebo Aladetan (Ilaje I) and Minority Leader Akpoebi Lubi, were absent. Though Akinsoyinu blamed the poor turnout on official assignments, those absent said they were not on any official assignment. They said they shunned the sitting because they were not properly informed of the presentation. One of them, who pleaded for

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

Aregbesola said the short fall in the price of crude oil, as well as oil theft, were responsible for the smaller budget. Recurrent expenditure got N97,608,280,660 and capital expenditure, N119,136,932,600. Aregbesola urged the Assembly to speedily go through the bill and pass it into law. The Speaker, Najeem Salaam, said the House will urgently attend to the bill.

anonymity, said: “We are not happy with the level of development in Ondo State. Projects have been moving at a snail’s pace and the governor has failed this year.” Speaking with The Nation over the phone, Lubi said the lawmakers were not happy with the “poor” implementation of the 2013 budget, which “recorded 30 per cent performance”. He said on December 24, the lawmakers rejected a re-ordering budget of N1.5 billion sent to the House by the governor. Describing the budget pres-

entation as “illegal”, Lubi said the governor needs two-third majority of the House before he can present a budget. A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Ade Adetimehin, praised the lawmakers for “standing against illegality” and for being alive to their duties. Adetimehin alleged that Mimiko had been mismanaging the state’s funds and urged the lawmakers to impeach him. Former Secretary of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Mr. Adegboyega Ad-

edipe challenged Mimiko to tell the people what he achieved with last year’s budget, adding: “We are not surprised that the implementation of the 2013 budget was scored 30 per cent by the lawmakers because we are aware that Mimiko had been mismanaging the state’s funds. “People in the riverside areas are crying because they have not enjoyed the dividends of democracy, even though President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, are their kinsmen. It is well known that Mimiko is very close to Jonathan, so we urge the President to visit the riverside areas of Ondo State and see how the people are suffering.” In the proposed budget, tagged: “Caring Heart Phase Five”, N69.681 billion was earmarked for recurrent expenditure and N92.319 billion for capital expenditure. Mimiko said the budget would be financed with the N43 billion Statutory Allocation; N15 billion Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR); N10 billion Value Added Tax (VAT); N7 billion roll over fund; N20 billion Mineral Derivation Fund and N5 billion from the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), among others.

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (second right); his deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu (left); Ekiti State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Wale Fapounda (second left) and the Managing Director of Greenwich Trust Ltd., Kayode Falowo, at the completion meeting for the Tranche II of the N25 billion Ekiti State Bond in Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN.


All hope is not lost, Tinubu tells Nigerians

ATIONAL leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the country’s future. He said the progressives are poised to transform it into a fertile land of prosperity, when they take over power in 2015. In his New Year message, the former Lagos State governor said Nigeria is destined to be better than it is today. Tinubu said: “If put in the hands of enlightened progressive leaders, this nation can become a fertile land of prosperi-

By Leke Salaudeen

ty, lawfullness, peace and dignity for us all. “This is why we formed the APC, a vehicle to generate and accelerate the process of change towards the most beneficial end for the greatest number of our people. “We may not be perfect, but we are dedicated to the wellbeing of something far greater and more important than ourselves. “Beginning this New Year, the APC will show the people

the vast difference between it and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We shall demonstrate our commitment to democracy by exercising internal democracy and transparency in our party deliberations. “We shall communicate with the people at the grassroots as well as at the national level. You will see and hear from APC members and leaders at the local, state and national levels. “We will highlight the ideological and substantive policy differences between the progressive us and the elitist them.

Where the PDP has imposed trickle-down economics reminiscent of 1980’s Reagan – Thatcher-IMF road show, we seek an economy of genuine and broadly-shared growth, where the labouring wage earner and small business person benefit proportionally to the powerful financier and big corporate power “2014 will be the year of an even greater change foretold, for it shall set the stage for year after. May, 2015, will be the fateful year when we affirm into governance the change Nigeria needs.”

Mark, Fayemi, Ajimobi, Amaechi condole with Soyinka


ENATE President David Mark; Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) yesterday condoled with Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka and his family on the death of his daughter, Dr. Iyetade Soyinka (48). In a statement, Mark said: “I received the news of Dr. Soyinka’s exit with shock. I earnestly share in this pain. Please accept my sincere condolences. I did not meet Dr. Soyinka personally, but her record of

From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

professionalism and excellent services during her short but eventful sojourn on earth gives eloquent testimony of a patriotic and committed Nigerian.” Mark urged the Soyinka family, the government and people of Ogun State to be consoled by the late Dr. Soyinka’s achievements. Fayemi, in a statement, said: “On behalf of the government and people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with the Soyinka fam-

ily on the death of this precious jewel, who was snatched by the cold hands of death. “Although her death is painful, we take solace in the good work she did during her short but eventful life. I pray to God to console the bereaved and heal the wound inflicted on their hearts by the death of our vivacious sister, Iyetade, who was taken away in her prime.” Ajimobi, in a statement, said: “It was with shock and disbelief that I received the news of Dr. Soyinka’s death at the unripe age of 48. It is natural that

her death at the prime of her life will be very painful to Prof. Soyinka. It is even more painful that she was snatched by the cold hands of death when she was most needed by the country.” Amaechi, in a statement, said: “The death of a young person like Dr. Soyinka is a shock. On behalf of my family and the Rivers State government and people, I commiserate with the Soyinka family. I pray they find solace and strength in God as they go through this difficult time.”

Court remands Bamidele’s ‘aides’ in prison From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

A MAGISTRATE’s Court, sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, yesterday remanded two “aides” of House of Representatives member Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) in prison custody. Afolabi Oyediran and Oluwafemi Sunday were arrested at the home of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Internal Security, Mr. Deji Adesokan, on December 20 after allegedly scaling the fence. A pistol, loaded with live ammunition, was found on one of the suspects. They suspects pleaded “not guilty” to the two charges of conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms. Defence counsel Chris Omokhafe urged the court to grant his clients bail on the grounds that they were first time offenders. Police prosecutor Bankole Olasunkanmi said the court reserved the prerogative to grant the accused bail and requested an adjournment to allow him study the case file. The Chief Magistrate, Simon Ojo, said: “Granting the suspects bail at this stage might not be appropriate because the charges are serious and the issue of security cannot be taken lightly. So, the application is hereby refused.” The case was adjourned till January 20. The suspects are said to be Bamidele’s aides, but the lawmaker disowned them.

Court upholds seven-year jail term for My Pikin producers


By Joseph Jibueze

HE Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, yesterday upheld the judgment of a Federal High Court, which sentenced manufacturers of My Pikin Baby Teething Mixture to a sevenyear jail term. It reversed the lower court’s order that the company be shut and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government. On May 17, last year, Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, sentenced each of the convicts to seven years imprisonment for conspiracy to sell the killer infant syrup. He sentenced them to another seven years for selling the medicine and ordered that the sentences should run concurrently. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) charged the firm, Barewa Pharmaceutical Company; its Production Manager, Adeyemo Abiodun; and Quality Assurance Manager Egbele Eromosele with production of the dangerous medicine, which was said to have killed about 80 babies in 2008. On June 26, the defendants, through their lawyer, Osaro Eghobamien (SAN), appealed the judgment on the grounds that it lacked merit, but the Appeal Court upheld it. Justice Dauda Bage said the prosecution proved its case beyond doubt by providing scientific evidence that showed that the syrup was hazardous. He said the order that the company’s assets be forfeited to the Federal Government was outside the provision of the law, adding that the Federal High Court can only make orders for forfeiture of finished goods. Justice Bage said: “It is hereby ordered that batch 02008 of the product, be forfeited to the Federal Government.” Reacting to the judgment, NAFDAC Director-General Dr. Paul Orhii said the agency had been vindicated, adding: “We assure Nigerians that NAFDAC will continue to prosecute those involved in the production and sale of unregistered and adulterated drugs and food products.”




Borno to spend N178.5b THE Borno State government plans to spend N178.5billion this year. Governor Kashim Shettima broke the news to the House of Assembly in Maiduguri. Shettima, presenting this year’s budget, said N121.7 billion was set aside for Capital Expenditure and N56.7 billion for Recurrent Expenditure. He said the budget would be financed from a statutory allocation of N139.9 billion and Internally Generated Revenue of N30.8billion. Shettima added that capital receipts for the year were estimated at N121.8billion. “This Budget of Consolidation and Progress will make positive impact on the lives of our people. As a rule, all ministries and parastatals are to create jobs. “Citizens in benefiting communities are to be first point of consideration for local sourcing of labour, technology and raw materials,'' he said.

PDP leaders in Sambo’s local govt join APC


HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has suffered another defeat, following the defection of 1,200 of its members from Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Vice President Namadi Sambo is from Kaduna North Local Government. The new members were received by the APC Interim Chairman, Dr. Hakeem BabaAhmed, at the party’s secretariat on Ali Akilu Road. Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Baba-Ahmed said the defectors asked for forgiveness for stealing the party’s mandate during elections. “We have forgiven them


It’s cheap propaganda, says PDP

HE Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kaduna North Local Government chapter, A A Babawo denied the report, saying it’s cheap propaganda. In a statement he said: “Our attention has been drawn to a story making the rounds that some 1200 members of the PDP have defected to APC in Kaduna North Local Government and wish to categorically state that it is cheap propraganda aimed at scoring some measured political point. “I have met with all my ward chairmen From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

and hope that we shall work to defeat the PDP in 2015 “The PDP is finished if its members can leave from the

today and we just finished the meeting. It is a malicious fabrication delibrately executed to coincide with the visit of the VP to the state and diminish whatever he came to do. “I assure you that the APC is no desperate for attention and publicly to showcase it as a large party. The APC is still a non issue in the local government and will suffer monumental defeat in future elections by the PDP. “Let me add that we are challenging them to show a vido clipwhere such an event happened for all to see. It will expose their mischief and blatant lies.”

vice president’s local government. “As of today, the APC members and the defected PDP members are one and the same,” Baba-Ahmed said.

Kaduna budgets N198b From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

KADUNA State Governor Mukthar Yero has presented a budget estimate of N198.7 billion to the House of Assembly, with water supply taking the lion share of N24 billion. Yero said the state would generate about N29 billion internally, while internal and external loans would amount to about N60 billion. Education and health were allocated N14 billion and N10 billion in the budget, tagged: “Budget of peace and continuity.” The governor said: “Recurrent Expenditure is pegged at N74,263,005,298. This represents N37.76 per cent. “Our Capital Expenditure is put at N124,415,887,120. , representing 62.24 per cent.’’

50 schools closed in Kano From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

KANO State Task Force Committee on Education has shut 50 private schools, which failed to return forms given to them by the Committee for Data Collection. At a briefing, Chairman of the Task Force Committee on Private Schools, Baba Abubakar Umar, said the data would be used for planning. The chairman lamented that of 3,000 private schools in the state, the committee only registered 1,294, of which 646 returned their forms.


•Yero (left) with the Speaker, Usman Tahir, during the presentation in Kaduna... yesterday.

The PDP has called for a stakeholders’ meeting to stop further defection of its members. It met with stakeholders yesterday in the zone at the General Hassan Usman Katsina House with the vice president and National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh. Also at the meeting were former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba and General Sani Abacha’s son, Mohammed Sani Abacha. Former PDP Chairman Yaro Audi Makama led some former commissioners to the APC last week. It was gathered that more prominent members of the party in the zone would join the APC this month. The vice president was reported to have met with stakeholders at the same venue on Monday to find ways of halting further defections. Sources at the meeting told The Nation that it was meant also to review the challenges and prospects of PDP and how to win Kano, Sokoto and Zam-

Tension over moves to declare Suntai incapacitated


ARABA State Governor Danbaba Suntai may be declared incapacitated, it was learnt yesterday. Some godfathers and Suntai’s loyalists, who were jolted by the plans, are making moves to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ask the Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, to stop the exercise. They fear the move may cause ethno-religious violence in the state. It was gathered that stakeholders, who were fed up with the hide-and-seek game on Suntai’s health, were prevailing on the State Executive Council and the House of Assembly to declare Suntai incapacitated. The stakeholders, it was learnt, were angered by the photograph of Suntai allegedly posing with a Christmas cake, which he purportedly cut. They said since incapacitation of a president or a governor was a constitutional matter, the Executive Council and the House of Assembly should follow the law. A medical panel may be raised later in the month to give its verdict on the governor’s health. A source said: “The constitutional process to declare Governor Danbaba Suntai incapacitated may start early this month. If all goes well with the plan, Suntai would be impeached by early next year and Acting Governor Garba Umar sworn in. “I think a memo to kick-start the process is in its draft stage. The memo may ask that a medical team be established as allowed by the 1999 Constitution.” The medical team is to be made up of five doctors, one of which would be the governor’s physician. According to the 1999 Constitution, the House is saddled with the responsibility of constituting the team.

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

An earlier move to set up the team was frustrated when the former Secretary to the State Government, Emmanuel Njiwah, declined to raise such a memo. It reportedly led to a frosty relationship between Njiwah and the Acting Governor, Garba Umar. Njiwah, who was relieved of his appointment based on alleged corrupt practices, is challenging his sack in court. A source added: “I think the moves to remove Suntai might have been as a result of the situation in the state which does not enable the acting governor to be in charge. “Now that the acting governor has constituted his own exco and with a simple majority in the House, Suntai may be thrown out. “There are fears that the Speaker, Josiah Kente, is a proUmar member, which may make Suntai’s fate a fait accompli.” But the governor’s loyalists said they had not been pretending on the recovery of the governor. A source in the camp said raising a medical team would be prejudicial to the matter before the Court of Appeal where the governor is awaiting a ruling on his letter of resumption, which the Assembly rejected. “If they believe in the rule of law, they should allow the Court of Appeal to decide. Resort to self-help will not help those behind this plot,”the source said. Responding to a question, the source added: “We are not pretending that the governor is recovering. Even former Governor Jolly Nyame testified to it last week. “We are in Abuja to draw the attention of the Presidency and the PDP to a political decision that can plunge the state into a crisis.”

Gaidam presents budget of reconstruction and consolidation

OBE State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam yesterday presented anAppropriation Bill of N102.99 billion to the House of Assembly. The figure represents an increase of 15.78 per cent over last year’s N86.7 billion. Capital Expenditure will take N67.43 billion or 66 per cent and Recurrent Expenditure N35.46 billion. Tagged: “Budget of Reconstruction and Consolidating

From Duku Joel, Damaturu

the Socio-Economic Transformation”, the budget would be financed “with a treasury opening balance of N6.1 billion, Statutory Allocation of N52.9 billion, Excess Crude Oil of N9.9 billion, Value Added Tax of N10.01 billion, Ecological Fund of a billion naira, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N3.63 billion and external and internal loans of over N12.7 billion.

•Govt to spend N102.99b •’Jonathan afraid of opposition’ Gaidam said: “To achieve the six-point objectives of this Appropriation Bill, Capital Expenditure has been increased by over seven per cent to accelerate the execution and completion of projects that . “The Ministry of Works took the lion share of N16.58 billion for its recurrent and capital expenditures, Educa-

tion got over N12 billion, with that higher education getting N7.2 billion.” The Health sector was earmarked N11.63 billion, while Transport and Energy would spend N7.4billion. The Speaker, Adamu Dala Dogo, praised the governor for his presence. Dogo said the fear of the

opposition prevented President Goodluck Jonathan from presenting the Appropriation Bill. He called on the President to hand over to an APC elected president on May 29, next year at the Eagle Square or send his Vice President. “Nigerians will not accept any hand over from Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the same way she was sent to present the budget.” The House adopted the budget.

fara in 2015. However, details of the meeting, which lasted for three and half hours, were unknown. But Aminu Wali, who led other stakeholders, said the party was discussing with former Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau. Wali said: “The delegation felicitated with the vice president on New Year and briefed him on the political situation in Kano. “The stakeholders expressed their willingness to develop more strategies and tactics to forge a common front to ensure peaceful political activities and compliance to due process.” Metuh said he was in Kaduna on the directive of the national secretariat to assess the situation in Kaduna and other northwestern states. He said: “APC is not a party that will take over Nigeria in 2015 and even beyond because the party is built along ethnic, religious lines. “It will be impossible for it to win any elections. PDP remains the party for Nigerians, a truly national party.”

Don’t muzzle legislature, Aliyu warns From Jide Orintunsin, Minna


IGER State Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu has urged the Executive not to muzzle the legislative arm of government, saying such an act will breed dictatorship. Aliyu spoke when he signed into law the Appropriation Bill of N98.8 billion. The governor said all arms must have freedom to perform their roles. He urged lawmakers to perform their duties, adding that they should not wait till end of year before carrying out their constitutional duties. The governor said it is the responsibility of legislators and the public to monitor the budget and ask questions where the budget is not being implemented.

Canada names Boko Haram terror group


ANADA has designated Boko Haram and the Caucasus Emirate as terrorist organisations under the country’s Criminal Code. Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney spoke in a statement on Monday in Ottawa and posted on the ministry’s website. “Boko Haram is an organisation responsible for over 300 attacks in northern Nigeria, resulting in the death of over 1,000 people. “The Caucasus Emirate has carried out terrorist activities in Russia, resulting in the death and injury of many Russian civilians and security personnel,” the statement said. It quoted Blaney as saying that listing these organisations as terrorist entities sends a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated. The statement added that listing terrorist entities would facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, as well as countering terrorist financing.




CITYBEATS LINE: 08078425391

OAU Prof yet to be found


S universities across the nation get set to reopen after the fivemonth-old face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government, Prof James Bolarinwa Olomo may not return to work with his colleagues at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State. For over two months now, his whereabouts have been a cause for concern for his colleagues, family and indeed, the university’s authorities. They have remained persistent in their appeal to the public to provide any information that could lead to his recovery. Olomo, a Professor of Nu-


By Adegunle Olugbamila

clear and Medical Physics at the OAU, was said to have left Lagos on Thursday, October 17 by flight for Calabar and later, by road for Eket near Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, supposedly to an oil & gas company, where he is a Radiation Safety Adviser (RSA). A statement jointly signed by the school’s chapter of ASUU, Search Committee (Department of Physics); OAU Administration, Otan Aiyegbaju Progressive Union; and the Olomo family, said Olomo was last reached on phone by a colleague from the institution and his secretary on October 19.

The statement said the matter had since been reported to the police, State Security Service (SSS), Osun and Kwara states government, and major hospitals in Eket, among others. The statement urged any Nigerian with useful information to contact OAU’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Bamitale Omole, or representatives of the Olomo family on 08033580020. The statement added: “A Yoruba adage says: ‘The demise of a child is more tolerated than his or her disappearance.’ The disappearance of Prof James Bolarinwa Olomo is still a mystery and shock and has dealt a deadly blow to his colleagues, stu-

FRSC warns traffic offenders

HE Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has warned motorists to adhere to driving regulations to checkmate road accidents, adding that the corps would no longer tolerate indiscipline among the drivers. Its Ogun State Sector Commander, Mr Adegoke Adetunji, made the plea at the mobile court programme of the command, which was held both at the Magistrate Court 2, Isabo, Abeokuta and the Sagamu Unit Command office, Sagamu, Ogun State. Adetunji said utmost discipline is expected of drivers, adding that compliance with traffic rules can only

By Olalekan Ayeni

reduce crashes on the roads. He warned motorists to ensure proper maintenance of their vehicles, stressing that violators of traffic rules would henceforth be prosecuted in the mobile courts established by the corps at strategic areas on the highways. The Sector Command’s Legal Officer, Mr Uzoma Enwereuzo, said 55 traffic offenders had been prosecuted for various offences during the mobile court exercise for offences ranging from Overloading Violation (OVL), Driver’s Licence Violation (DLV), driving with worn-out tyres, Seat belt Use

Violation (SUV), Vehicle Windshield Violation (VWV) driving with expired tyres and many others. Enwereuzo said some of the offenders were convicted and sentenced to various jail terms with options of fine, while others were cautioned. The Sagamu Unit Commander, Mr Ben Akunne, also admonished drivers to drive safely and ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy before setting out for journeys. He also cautioned that they must avoid phone calls while driving and driving under influence of alcohol etc.

‘We’ll end touting at airport’



dents, friends and relations. “The search must continue until he is found and therefore, we need to double our efforts. It is exactly two months and one week now since he disappeared mysteriously.”


IGERIANS have been advised not to see their personal problems and the political/socioeconomic calamities besetting the nation as insurmountable. The clerics, who gave the advice at the 4th Annual Convention of the Evergreen Christian Church of God (ECCG), which was held at its auditorium (Home Touch Building), Obanikoro in Lagos, assured that better days lay ahead. The guest speaker at the convention with the theme, “Joy has come,” Rev Charles Achonwa, who gave a soulsearching sermon to the thick congregation, prophesied that the difficulties being faced by Nigerians and Nigeria would sooner than expected, be over. “….Weeping may endure

HE Chairman, Muritala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Aloysius Igwe, has said it would curtail touting at the airport. Igwe, who spoke at the commissioning of the association’s secretariat in the airport area of Lagos, said the association would team up with relevant authorities to eliminate touting at the airport. He explained: “This secretariat has lots of advantages. An average agent will have a place to transact his business for the day. It will now ensure some form of sanity in the agency unlike when they loitered around

the airport.” The ANCLA chief said members would be accommodated at its new secretariat instead of being at the airport when their services were not needed. He maintained that those who loiter at the airport without proper identification would be easily fished out unlike in the past where genuine agents and fake ones used to cluster at the airport even when they had nothing to do. “We want the government to legitimise this place for the agency. It will offer us and the government lots of advantages because whoever loiters within the airport without proper identification will be arrested, he said.”

Your future is bright, Nigerians told By Dada Aladelokun

for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” he said, quoting from Psalm 30: 5. He added: “What is happening to Nigerians and Nigeria today and the good news that will follow have biblical precedent; this is why we must keep our hopes alive with unwavering faith in God, The Omnipotent.” The host pastor, Philip Babalola, a lawyer, echoed Achonwa’s sermon, ascertaining that after darkness comes a re-assuring dawn, with the admonition that Christians must remain faithful to God “because He is unchanging and everfaithful to us only if we hon-

estly believe in Him and follow His Commandments to the letter.” Thunderous noise of joy erupted in the gathering when Achonwa, armed with his guitar, spiced up the outing with soul-stirring melodious gospel tunes as Babalola led others in spirited dancing. Famous Funmi Sax, Healas Acappella and the church’s choir, Spirit Lifters, later took turns to entertain all, thus leading to a dance contest of sorts. Babalola said the church’s journey so far, though initially tasking, had offered everyone enough reason to appreciate God for His boundless mercies.


STAR hosts revellers to crossover toast

CALFEST: 2face, Davido, Iyanya others excite



AST night, premium brand of Nigerian Breweries Plc, STAR, hosted what is considered the largest celebratory toast in Africa, with thousands of guests raising their glasses for an auspicious event and celebrations into the New Year. The toast, which held at the grand finale of the Lagos Countdown at the Eko Atlantic, attracted thousands of revelers eager to countdown with their favourite brand into the New Year. Amiable host, Gbenga Adeyinka, entertained guests with a flurry of jokes and urged the audience to raise their glasses just a few minutes to midnight with thousands joining in the ceremony. The special toast was done with a purpose-designed Star Magnum bottle which popped as the clock ticked midnight. Hundreds of thousands of Lagosians, tourists, music fans and celebs clicked glasses and sipped on STAR, as happy new year wishes took over the venue. Senior Brand Manager, STAR, Ita Bassey, expressed appreciation to the thousands who had turned up en masse to countdown with the brand right from the flag off of the Beer Village on December 8th, to the Grand Finale. “This has been a special season for us, made even more so because we were able to share it with our consumers. It’s a very inspiring time for us. We are thrilled that so many could take part in the

•Gbenga Adeyinka Stories by Victor Akande

special toast – the very first of its kind in Africa- and celebrate the new year with us.” “From all of us here at STAR and by extension, Nigerian Breweries Plc, we are wishing Nigerians a very prosperous year ahead. 2014 will definitely be a year to ‘shine on,” Added Kufre Ekanem, Corporate Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc. The Lagos Countdown, in just two years, has become one of the most highly anticipated moments of the year, attracting thousands of Nigerians and foreigners to the Eko Atlantic venue. This year, STAR Beer Village was once again one of the most exciting focal points of the Countdown. In less than three weeks, it became a melting spot for thousands of Nigerians and foreigners alike eagerly engaging in the exhilarating lineup of activities such as Karaoke Night, Freestyle Wednesday and Friday, among others. Consumers were generously rewarded with lots of fantastic prizes, such as generators, TVs, bags of rice and other gift items.

NE would have thought that following the boisterous carnival activities of last Friday, the tempo of fanfare would subside. But Calabar, the ancient city of Cross River State, rose again, with renewed vigour, featuring top Nigerian artistes in a postCalabar carnival concert. 2face Idibia, Iyanya, Davido and Sound Sultan were an irresistible lineup for revelers, who thronged the main bowl of the U.J Esuene Stadium on Saturday night. Tagged “Calabar Rocks”, the 16,000 capacity stadium, at 8.00p.m., was literally bursting at the seams, as hordes of spectators got thrilled by the best of Nigeria’s musical gladiators. After what seemed like an endless wait by the music buffs, whose appetite had been whet by local acts, the crowd suddenly went haywire with the appearance of Sound. The act stood the most unwilling from their seat. If anyone thought the crowd was jaded by fatigue of the previous day jamz and the gyration on display on this sweaty Saturday night by the old, the young men and women offered no such hint. Nato C dished out some of his rap tunes much to the excitement of the music throngs who wound and wriggled while the act did his thing. The stadium erupted in ecstasy when the ‘Skelewu’ and ‘Omo Baba Lowo’ crooner, Davido, mounted the stage and got the crowd crooning and yelling along to his rave tunes. It was a moment they sure would live to remember in a long while to come. In what could be regarded as



home-coming, it was the turn of Iyanya who was given a hero’s welcome by the crowd as he took to the stage. With his ‘Kukere’ and ‘Your Waist’ anthems, the singer, expectedly, wowed the crowd into a wild moment, singing and dancing to his native ‘Etighi’ dance steps. And then it was the turn of 2face to thrill the crowd. Tunes after

tunes, the Nigerian multi-award winning music sensation got the crowd rocking back and forth, as the night wore on into the early hours of Sunday. It was not just a night of music alone, one of Nigeria’s finest comedians, Julius Agwu, thrilled the crowd with his rib-cracking jokes. It was obvious the fun- seekers wished the show didn’t end.




•BOK O HARAM MEN ACE: Despite claims that Boko Haram leade Abubakar Shekau is dead, videos of him claiming to be alive keep •BOKO MENA surfacing

•SWEET VICT OR Y: Super Eagles savouring their victory at the Nations Cup in South Africa VICTOR ORY

•GIVE US OUR RIGHTS: Women protesting against being denied the right to vote during the Anambra Governorshp poll.

•END OF AN ERA: Former Chief of General Staff Ohai Mike Akhigbe also departed

•DO WN AND OUT •DOWN OUT:: Carcass of the plane in which many excorting the body of th late Dr. Sagun Agagu died.

•WE NO GO GREE O: Chris Ngige (middle) addressing a news conference with his campaign chiefs on the conduct of the 2013 Anambra governorship polls.




•DOUBLE WAHALA: Emergency officials with the casket bearing the body of the late Dr. Segun Agagu after the plane carrying it to Akure, the Ondo State capital for burial crashed in Lagos.

•UNITED IN GRIEF : Widows of the late Nelson Mandela, Winnie and Graca

•OPERA TION KILL PDP: All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, Chief Bisi Akande, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and •OPERATION Aminu Masari visited Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (middle) in their quest to strenghen the party.




PENGASSAN, NUPENG defer strikes over refinery sales


IGERIA’S two main oil unions, Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) deferred plans to start an indefinite national strike on January one until they meet with government officials to discuss proposals to privatise the nation’s four state-owned oil refineries. The manager-level PENGASSAN, with 15,000 members has scheduled talks with the Petroleum and Labour ministry officials for January seven, said its President, Babatunde Ogun. The blue-collar NUPENG, hasn’t set a date for discussions, though it will “engage” with government before deciding on a

• Oil workers insist on strike after Jan 7 if... From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

strike action, Elijah Okougbo, Secretary-General for the union representing over 30,000 workers, said yesterday by phone, according to Bloomberg. “If the government does not back down,” PENGASSAN may call strike action which will start by halting the loading of crude cargoes and a gradual shutdown of oil and gas production, Ogun said by telephone yesterday in Lagos. Nigeria, while ranking as Africa’s largest oil producer, relies on fuel imports to meet more than 70

per cent of its needs, as its 445,000 barrels a day of refining capacity operates at minimal rates because of poor maintenance and aging equipment. Petroleum Minister, Diezani AlisonMadueke said in an interview last month that the government will pursue its plan to begin selling the refineries before the end of the first quarter. The plan to sell the refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, is “against the overall national interest and in the interest of a few,” PENGASSAN and NUPENG said in a December 18 joint statement. The government’s plan will

“transfer government monopoly to cartels that will dictate the market,” the unions argued. A presidential audit of the plants last year recommended their sale, citing inadequate state funding and what it described as “sub-optimal performance.” Nigeria exchanges 60,000 barrels a day of crude for products with Trafigura Beheer BV and a similar amount with Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage’s refinery in Ivory Coast, according to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The government’s privatisation plans is coming on

the heels of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote’s decision to construct a $9 billion oil refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer complex in Ogun State by 2016. He said the plant will red u c e Ni g er i a ’ s f u el i m ports. Should the Federal Government insist on privatizing the nations four refineries after its January 7 meeting oil workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association and (PENGASSAN), the workers will proceed on strike, it was learnt yesterday. Speaking with The Nation, the President of the a ssoc i a t i on, C om r a d e Babatunde Ogun, revealed that the Federal Govern-

ment has invited the leaders of the oil workers to a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu on January 7. According to him, PENGASSAN planned the industrial action with a human face, hence, it refused to disrupt or disorganise the New Year jamboree with a strike. He however noted that: “We will definitely go on strike if the Federal Government insists in selling the four refineries after the January 7 meeting with the Minister of Labour.” Speaking specifically for PENGASSAN, Ogun said that “I am speaking specifically for PENGASSAN, I don’t know about NUPENG.”




The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Text only: 08023058761

‘Art is dear to my heart’

•Mrs Mbanefo



For a slavery-free world

– Page 14

Roadmap for tourism in Ekiti 58



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

•NACTAL members, others standing against human trafficking

Thousands of lives are lost to human trafficking and smuggling of persons (SOM) daily, according to experts. At a seminar in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, women activists teamed up to kick against the practice, reports EVELYN OSAGIE.

For a slaveryfree world


LOSE your eyes and think of being raped 100 times,” began award-winning child protection and antitrafficking advocate Dr Sunitha Krishnan. Beholding her audience without showing the pain in her eyes, she said: “Think of your legs and anus wide open with over 100 thrusts per day.” Dr Krishnan was addressing members of the audience in the hall of the SEV-VA Foundation in Makurdi, the Benue State capital. It was the closing ceremony for the fourweek certificate training for advocates and persons working to fight human trafficking and Smuggling of migrants (SOM). Dr Krishnan, who is the Secretary-General, PRAJWALA, a shelter housing over 1200 victims of trafficking in India, was one of the lecturers at the training. Her remarks shocked the audience, provoking reactions. “Outrageous!” “Unbelievable!” “God forbid, it is not my portion!” some said. Then there was silence as Dr Krishnan continued: “If you close your eyes and imagine it, you would begin to see the torture and horror that thousands of young girls who are victims of human trafficking also known as trafficking in persons (TIP) are going through every day. And let it move you to become a partner in creating change and solution-based advocacy.” Thus began the 15-minute speech calling attention to the consequences of TIP and social and cultural practices fuelling the illicit

• Jedy-Agba and Dr Krishnan.

ADVOCACY trade. But she was not alone in her campaign. Over 60 women and men from across the country, including the wife of Benue State


Governor, Mrs Yemisi Suswam; Benue State University (BSU) Vice Chancellor Prof Charity Angya; the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Project Manager, Mmunbi Njau; rescuers, care-givers, shelter owners/managers and officials of

‘If thousands of Nigerians are being trafficked, it also means that there are millions of traffickers around. They do these things with impunity. They think the law would never catch up with them. Today, let us all pledge together to make life miserable for them and strive to make our world slavery-free’

Network of Civil Society Organisation against Child Trafficking Abuse and Labour (NACTAL) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Person and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) were part of the campaign. The women looked resplendent in their beautiful attires as they raised their voices and red-coloured cards against the crime. Some were in suits, skirts, wrappers and blouses; others in tee-shirts with the inscription: I am Priceless: Kick out trafficking in persons (TIP) and Smuggling of migrants (SOM) on the front and rear. Their attires, they said, were deliberately chosen as part of the campaign against TIP. They also dressed Dr Krishnan in the Tiv traditional attire in a symbolic gesture. “We have tied our scarfs and wrappers against human trafficking,” they said. Seeking collective efforts and stricter measures to combat the crime, they sang a theme song by NACTAL: “We say No to human trafficking, child labour…abuses… say no…no…join us and fight to end gender abuse and human trafficking all over Nigeria, Africa and the whole world…!” Dr Krishnan cited culture of tolerance and complacency, and lack of people-friendly support system for victims as some of the factors encouraging trafficking, noting that society must address them to curb the trend. Instead of discriminating against the perpetrators, she said, victims are being discriminated against, asking that perpetrators be brought to book. “If thousands of Nigerians are being trafficked, it also means that there are millions of traffickers around. They do these things with impunity. They think the law would never catch up with them. Today, let us all pledge together to make life miserable for them and strive to make our world slaveryfree. They have to know that this business would not be tolerated by Nigerians again,” she said. Even though Nigeria has been rated as recruitment, transit and destination country, Dr Krishnan praised its effort at fighting the crime. She, however, noted that a slaveryfree world would be a reality only when the support systems necessary to make NAPTIP work are in place. She said: “I congratulate Nigeria. You have taken the bold step not only to acknowledge and confront but has established a national agency to fight the problem. It is a great achievement and an indicator of hope, even India has not established an agency. But if we have to make our dream a reality, we have to put some concrete measures on ground. “It has to be in the spirit of protection and preventive mechanism ( involving the strengthening of the border and sensitising •Continued on page 15



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Tope Alabi thrills fans at Christmas Carol

The Breath of Life holds carol By Olatunde Odebiyi



EMALE gospel singer Evangelist Tope Alabi was toast of everyone as she rendered soul-inspiring songs at the second annual ‘Christmas carol and nine lessons’ organised by the Otto-Awori Local Council Development Area. The event, which was organised in partnership with Wrightedge and Craftman Communications, was led by the council Chairman, Mr. Bolaji Kayode Roberts, his wife Ganiat and members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Though the gospel singer was not the only performer at the carol night, her presence attracted hundreds of her fans from within and outside the council area. She thrilled the enthusiastic crowd that filled the premises of the council with some of her popular numbers such “E gbega e gbega, and Mo yin Oluwa among others. Performers at the occasion included Christ Authority & Power Evangelical Ministry Ilemba-Awori, Cherubim & Seraphim Church (City of Miracle) Ilemba Awori, Celestial Church of Christ (Oluwa ni imole parish) Oto-Awori, and the Christ Apostolic Church (Oke-Ayo) Oto-Awopri. Other performers were Christ’s Winning Love Gospel Church, Oto-Awori, Bibiire Musical Group, Christ Adoption Church, and Christ Adoption Churchnboth in Ijanikin, Bibiire Women Forum. There were also poetry renditions by Amulegbajo and others.

•Council Chairman Roberts and wife Ganiat on the dance floor By Adegunle Olugbamila

CELEBRATION Roberts said the occasion which was second of its kind, was meant to praise God for the landslide the council recorded in the outgoing year while asking God for more in 2014. He said: “Today is not for long speeches as we are here to give thanks to God for protecting our lives all through this year. We are also using this opportunity to celebrate His birth. For the outgoing year,

god has been faithful to this Councilor our modest achievements. It is not our own making but God’s. We hope to surpass these achievements in the coming years and we are therefore also using this event to commit our plans to God.” He thanked the workers, the traditional rulers and spiritual leaders in attendance for their support in making the council progress and ensured peace prevails. Roberts called on his lieutenants to move closer to God in the coming year as He alone is the answer to all problems facing mankind.

‘The season is a time to pray for Nigeria’


HIS year’s Christmas concert of the Emmanuel Chapel was a gathering of people from all spheres of life. The high and the mighty were present. The guests, who filled the venue of the event, included the young and the old. It was a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The venue was decorated in the Christmas colours of green and red and there were Christmas trees all over. Guests were dressed in choice outfits but some of them were on uniform. The ushers wore white T-shirts, which had the Church’s name printed at the back and its logo in the front. The choir and the Priests were on their white rope while a British Imperial Military Band which had a performance during the event wore their uniform of black trouser with red coats and white hats. Everyone was all joy at the celebration of the day as Segun Oluwayomi music ministry entertained guests with praise songs which many stood up dancing before the event kicked off. The event stated with the Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Mrs Shola Oworu welcoming guests. She anchored the event. It continued with an organ recital by Paul Leddington Wright. Professional fanfare by the British Imperial Military Band, Eangland

By Olatunde Odebiyi

she saidCELEBRATION followed. They are fanfare trumpeters and bass band. Their performances entertained guests who gave them shouts and claps after the performance. The opening prayer was said after which the first Bible reading was taking from Genesis chapter 3 verses 8 to 19. The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire held the second Bible reading which was taken from St Luke Chapter 2 verses 8 to 16. The congregational hymn – ‘A great and mighty wonder’ - was taken. It was led by the church choir. Other songs the choir sang include; People need the Lord, O come divine Messiah, There is a song in the air and O come o ye faithful. Guests took to their dancing shoes when Ayo Bankole led the Yoruba song – Keresimesi tun ma de o and Amuworo anyi oru nwa led by Sam Ojukwu. The Christmas tree was lighted after which Segun Oluwayomi music ministry did a piece. Solo renditions by Caccini followed. She sang a song titled – Awe Maria while Adolf Adam sang O holy night. The church choir continued with other Christmas songs including; God rest you merry gentle-

men, The holy and the Ivy, See amid the winter’s snow, In dulci jubilo and Hark the herald. The event continued with singing of the popular Christmas song – ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ with guests eating and drinking amid taking of photographs. The concert featured fund raising for the church’s building project. Speaking to The Nation The Chaplain of the Church, Rev Konyin Ajayi (SAN), said the essence of today’s propgramme was to make everybody happy. “It is a season and an avenue for different people to come together to share in the joy of the season. A time to settle quarrel, love, forgive and reconcile with one another. It is also a time to come together as a nation, moving forward to attain the height that the Lord God almighty has set out for us. Mrs Orelope-Adefulire said Christmas is a season to pray for Nigeria and to show love to others, a time to share what you have with the needy and reconcile with one another. She added that the festive season is a time to remind believers about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to save the world; his cructification, death and resurrection. “This is a season for us to ask God for the forgiveness of sin; a time to move closer to God, rededicate your hearts and love God dearly,” she said.

HIS year’s Christmas carol for the Breath of Life Ministry was unique. The church hall was filled to capacity and guests cut across all ages. Dressed in their beautiful Christmas clothings, they all looked gorgeous that evening. The church Choir popularly called Ruach Levites and the church’s ushers wore traditional attires. The hall sparkled in its blue and white decoration. Diverse musical instruments in their numbers, including the drum set, key board, base and lead guitar, sax and talking drum were orderly set on the stage. There were lights of different colours centered on the stage. The white chairs were set in rows as the ushers with all smiles and gesture welcomed guests from the entrance and took them to comfortable seats. The artists for the day were taken to the first row in front. It was the first time in the church’s history to hold its Christmas concert on a Christmas day. The event was tagged, Mega Praise Christmas Concert. It was a day to dance, sing, pray and celebrate Jesus. The event stated earlier in the day with a Christmas service held in the same venue. Virtually all those who graced the morning service were on their native attire. It was a time where different people from the congregation were called to share their views on what Christmas was to them. The event also featured prayers for the coming year 2014 after which there was a little get together where guests dined and drank with taking of photographs following. The Christmas concert in the evening stated with the projection of the church’s past concert that has held both in the church and outside the church including those held at the MUSON Centre and Ikorodu town hall in Lagos. It was followed by the opening prayer after which different comedians including C.Y. Akan and Forever took to the stage in turns. Their comedy’s caught all guests in laughter. The church choir took to the stage. It had Mr Franklin Chude as the vocal coach and Mr Akinwumi Odutola as the music director. The choir was composed of four ladies and two men on the voice. It also had one man each on the guitars, drum set, keyboard and talking drum. They sang various Christmas and other worship songs to the admiration of guests who joined them in singing most of the songs as it was being projected on the screen. At the praise session, guests danced out their hearts. Shouts claps and screams followed. The Choir ministered and also entertained guests with their excellent voices and professional skills displayed on the instruments. Some of the songs they sang includes; ‘Halleluyah chorus’ by Handel Messiah, ‘The prayer’ By Donnie Mcclurkin and ‘Yolanda Adam’ and ‘Moving forward’ by Hezekiah Walker. The host, Pastor Samson Jedafe took to the stage. He said Jesus is the reason for the celebration of today noting that the year can never end without celebrating him. “If you are not where you were last year Christmas then your life is better. 2014 is a year to preach the gospel”.

Women rally forces for a slavery-free world •Continued from page 14

communities) and dealing with certain cultures, such as girl-child marriage and child labour, among others that have become the reasons for trafficking. We have to put the preventive mechanism in place that would conquered cultures that are against women and children, while ensuring the ones that protect their dignity and chastity are promoted.” “Nigeria is determined and doing a lot to curb the trend,”NAPTIP Executive Secretary, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba said. According to her, since its inception, the agency has successfully rescued 7000 victims of internal trafficking, adding that of this number about 3000 were children between the ages to 17.

She added that in renewed efforts at combating the crime, the agency organised the four-week workshop to provide tools and training to those on the field that would aid their activities in identifying, protecting and providing assistance to victims. “One of the mandates of NAPTIP in coordinating national response in trafficking of persons is to improve our ability to respond to the need of trafficked persons. The training of 40 NAPTIP officials, other law enforcement organisations and civil societies working in the field of human trafficking, of which this ceremony marks its end, is part of a deliberate strategy to strengthen capacity. “Together with the 30 officials trained in Ibadan, we have given them the essential skills to help them support the work that

we are doing. I would like to assure of our agency’s commitment to working acidulously with various partners to protect vulnerable members of our society,” Jedy-Agba said. NAPTIP Head of Publicity, Mr Arinze Orakwue warned against what he calls a form of trafficking known also as cybersex, adding: “Parents should watched and monitor their children, especially the use of the internet and mobile phones.” On her part, Njau said, human trafficking is a global war that the United Nations is determined to conquer, adding that it is one war whose victory requires the support of every citizen. UNODC Officer, James Ayodele said trafficking increases a person's vulnerability to HIV infection, adding: “Forty-90 per cent

of trafficked persons are infected with HIV”. UNODC, Communication’s Officer, Sylvester Atere urged government to improve the standard of living in the country, adding that they should provide basic amenities and social welfare for the citizenry. On his part, Dr Greg Egbadon of the Galilee Foundation said his 19-year experience in the fight against TIP and rehabilitating victims pales into insignificant when compared to the knowledge and exposure hereceived during the programme. “We were not only taught some legal frameworks that would backup our work, but also better approach to what we have been doing. These was further complemented by the practical aspect that Dr Sunitha brought in that showed us the minimum standard with which to run a rehabilitation programme and shelter care,” he said.



The Midweek Magazine


• Some of her art works

‘Art is dear to my heart’ The Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corportation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, is a lawyer, banker and self-taught artist. She speaks on her passion for art and why she will retire to art in this interview with Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME


LARGE-SIZED photograph of the Virgin Mary with other Roman Catholic insignia stands at the door post. The collections reveal only a part of the host, a devout Roman Catholic. But, her other parts, unknown to many, are tucked behind her door. As the door opens, the guest is faced with the big picture: collection of colourful paintings hanging on the walls of the living room and study/studio, thus creating a picturesque many guests can’t ignore. Apart from paintings and drawings, some reference books on art grace her shelves. They include the biographies of Michelangelo, Klimt (Life and Work), Fabian Perez, Jack Vettriano, Frederick Hart, Rene Magritte, Auguste Rodin (Master Sculptor), The Work, The Man, The Big Picture-paintings in Paris, and four of her father’s (Chief Raph Uwechue) publications: Africa’s Who Is Who, Africa Today, Makers of Modern Africa, and Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War (Facing the future). All these books are inspirational to her. Welcome to the Ikoyi, Lagos residence of the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mrs Sally Mbanefo. It is like a mini art gallery of sorts. Confronted with such collections, not many guests will walk into the flat untouched by the themes of the paintings and drawings adorning the walls. In fact, the paintings are arranged in series and sections. From realism to abstract, surreal, portraiture and expressionism they of-

fer a rich bouquet of expressions that dwells on nature, mask, nudity and horses among others. In one of the paintings on nudity, she explained that nudity reflects the true state of man, while mask tell of man’s pretence and deceit. Mrs Mbanefo, a former banker and top staffer of Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria Plc, is a lawyer, but with a passion for art. Despite studying Law, she never allowed her talent in art to suffer. At an early age, she discovered her talent in art and followed it up but she did not attend any art school to learn the basics of painting and drawing. The self-taught artist said she studied Law not because she was not interested in Fine Art but because that (Law) was her choice. Her first painting on environment was done 31 years ago. “Art comes to me naturally because I always love to be alone, and that allows me to focus on art. In fact, I prefer to detach myself when I am annoyed as it helps me to express myself. My first painting was done in 1982 and I had my first group exhibition during a talent hunt competition organised by IMB Plc in 1990. Interestingly, I won the most talented staff from the competition,” she recalled. She noted that if she had not studied Law, Fine Art would have been the next option, saying she would still go to art school to study sculpture, especially raisonne. Her preferred choice medium is acrylic as against the popular oil. “These days, I am very busy so acrylic will meet my desire in terms of time. Sometime, I am so desperate to paint but time con-

straint will not permit me. Since I got the new job at NTDC, I have not painted. So, acrylic is ideal as it dries faster than oil,” she said noting that it also allows her to manipulate figures and forms easily. Interestingly, she is at her best while on sick bed. Apart from nature and environment, one common trace in her paintings is the presentation of human anatomy. “I love human body, form and outlines. And I have produced hundreds of paintings all in my private collections except those I gave out as gifts. I don’t paint for commercial interest. Art is my soul and my heart,” she added. When asked of her favourite Nigerian master artist, she named the founder of Niger Delta Cultural Centre, Agbarha-Otor and initiator of Harmattan Workshop, Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya, saying his works and techniques are very intense. “He tells story of our past in his works as he makes the viewers to think deep. Other artists I cherish their works are Tola Wewe, Joe Musa and Rom Isichie,” she added. On tourism promotion in line with her threefold strategic imperative for moving the sector forward, she identified the Osun, Ekiti and Ondo tourism corridors as her top priority states in the Southwest. She said that following the authentication of sites across some states in the past six months, the Southwest has a wide range of sites that would interest tourists. These, she said, included medical tourism in Ondo State’s Mother and Child Hospital, Ekiti State’s rolling hills, Ikogosi warm spring and waterfalls,

•Mrs Mbanefo and Osun State’s Osun Osogbo Festival among others. She said that next year, NTDC would play a prominent role in the Osun Osogbo Festival, especially on how best to repackage the festival and give it international exposure. “Tourism is beyond festivals and carnivals as the core thing is how to make the sites appealing and attractive to both domestic tourists and foreigners. And the posturing and packaging must be done excellently. There are thousands of strategies, what differentiate each one is the culture of implementation: sharing common goal or vision”.

Pg. 18

Pg. 55


Pg. 18







Jonathan’s 11th jet


•This is squandermania in the face of limited resources

OR President Goodluck Jonathan, we must add one to the 10 commandments: ‘thou shalt purchase an 11th presidential jet’. This ‘11th commandment’ was contained in the budget estimates submitted to the National Assembly by the Presidency. If the National Assembly approves the purchase, the government is expected to make an initial deposit of N1, 520,000,000 for the aircraft next year. Presently, the aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) are two Falcon 7X jets, two Falcon 900 jets, a Gulfstream 550, one Boeing 737 BBJ (Nigerian Air Force 001 or Eagle One), and a Gulfstream IVSP, one Gulfstream V, Cessna Citation 2 aircraft and Hawker Siddley 125-800 jet. Each of the Falcon 7X jets purchased in 2010 is said to cost about $51.1 million, while the Gulfstream 550 was purchased for $53.3 million. As we have always said, the Goodluck Jonathan presidency is not giving the impression that the country is facing any economic challenges, given its proclivity for frivolous expenses. Many of these have already been condemned at various fora. Honestly, we do not know how those preparing the budget for the Presidency reason. What does the President need an 11th presidential jet for? Jets are money guzzlers, whether on air or on ground. This is clear from the planned expenses on the items to be purchased by the PAF. Expectedly, there is a long list of fresh

items in the budget for the fleet, including completion of hanger project for N405,500,000; tyre bay tools and equipment - N106,000,000, Towberless tow tractor for aircraft towing - N58,740,000, hanger sweeper - N31,870,000, luggage conveyor belt truck - N28,898,000 and harlan tow tug for aircraft equipment towing - N27,590,000. President Jonathan has something to learn from British Prime Minister David Cameron who slummed it out in business class on a flight from London for scheduled talks in Washington in 2010. This was unusual as British PMs usually travel on their own planes, use a Boeing 747 or 767, or use military jets. In this particular instance, Cameron did not even fly first class. He wanted to prove a point. As one British official put it then, “When we are asking the country to tighten their belts as much as we are, it’s very hard to justify hiring big jets to swan around the world. It may make his travel a little harder, but the Prime Minister believes it’s up to him to set an example.” Cameron’s point was that if government said it was broke, this should reflect even in the First Citizen’s actions and travels. What the government saved by his taking commercial flight was no more than $300,000, but that was beside the point. The real issue was in the huge gesture. We know it will be difficult to ask President Jonathan to travel by commercial flights, as he would readily cite security reasons; but then, he can set the tone by at least reducing the number of jets in the

presidential fleet. Leaders should learn to cut their coats according to their country’s purse. It is not only the citizens that should make sacrifices in times of economic adversities. A gesture like that of Cameron in 2010 would have gone a long way in convincing the Britons. As we have said in previous editorials on the frivolous expenditures of the presidency, the National Assembly has a lot of work to do on the Federal Government’s 2014 budget. In 2010, Britain, like much of Europe, was in the midst of making drastic cuts to many government programmes in order to keep its economy afloat. Downturn in government’s finances would be a hard sell in a situation where the presidency is competing with individuals for private jets.

‘President Jonathan has something to learn from British Prime Minister David Cameron who slummed it out in business class on a flight from London for scheduled talks in Washington in 2010 ... As one British official put it then, “When we are asking the country to tighten their belts as much as we are, it’s very hard to justify hiring big jets to swan around the world. It may make his travel a little harder, but the Prime Minister believes it’s up to him to set an example’

Vindicating Obasanjo? •The attacks on a judge and Rivers State deputy governor happen days after ex-president’s killer squad allegations


HE unfurling theatre of the absurd in Rivers State is avoidable but for the deplorable politics of bigotry that is regrettably gaining ground in that area. Every passing day, the state is transgressing into anarchy arising ostensibly from political distrust between the Presidency and Governor Rotimi Amaechi, over President Goodluck Jonathan’s bid to secure the state in preparation for his strictly guarded re-election bid in 2015. In quick succession, the office of Tele Ikuru, the state’s deputy governor was bombed by yet-to-be identified persons. This was drearily followed by the despicable bombing of Justice Charles Wali’s office on Omoku Road, Ahoada. Part of the administrative block of the judge’s

‘The response of the president to the thought-provoking letter was tepid as it could not fully allay public fears over such a weighty allegation from an expresident who is in a vantage position to have such privileged information. And barely two weeks after the letter, it is curious that some faceless unscrupulous elements are beginning to set Rivers State on fire for selfish reasons’

office and some cars were destroyed by the bomb. What could be responsible for this last dastardly act? We recollect that the judge, in one of his most recent rulings, gave an order stopping Evans Bipi, a legislator, from parading himself as Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly when a de jure speaker is still in place. Could this despicable act of bombing be a stern but repugnant way of stopping judges in the state from valiantly dispensing justice? We could see a regime of palpable fear evolving in the state because inhabitants now worry over when and where the next bomb will explode, since their safety can no longer be guaranteed by the state. And this is due largely to no fault of the governor as chief security officer but the disruptive activities of some people who are misbehaving because they feel they are covered by the federal might. Sadly, the criminal elements that the Amaechi administration had chased away from the state are currently staging a shameful comeback, in their bid to make the state ungovernable; with the police always looking the other way. What is happening in Rivers State is condemnable, especially coming at a time when former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently wrote an incisive letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, in which he accused the federal administration of training snipers and putting over 1,000 persons

under a watch list. The response of the president to the thought-provoking letter was tepid as it could not fully allay public fears over such a weighty allegation from an ex-president who is in a vantage position to have such privileged information. And barely two weeks after the letter, it is curious that some faceless unscrupulous elements are beginning to set Rivers State on fire for selfish reasons. To make the matter worse, the agents of darkness in that state are gradually making the Temple of Justice and its officers their object of target in their bid to gain political power at all cost. We can decipher a gradual relapse of the country into the better forgotten tyrannical military era, particularly the reign of despotic Gen Sani Abacha when snipers mauled down a lot of notable Nigerians, mostly in their prime. While we are beginning to feel that such distasteful era belonged to the past, it is sad that President Jonathan is hopelessly watching as Rivers, which is one of the most important states in the country, is being put on fire for parochial political reasons. The only way the presidency can convince deeply concerned Nigerians that it is not stoking this ember of discord is to ensure that those responsible for the bombings and other satanic acts in the state and indeed other parts of the country are apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.

The remarkable figure of Pope Francis • The leader of the Catholic Church is challenging the status quo


N the course of 2013, no figure has caught the imagination of people across the world more than Pope Francis. When he was appointed as the 266th successor to St Peter on March 13, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church appeared to be in dire trouble. The Vatican was engulfed in the scandal over sexual abuse involving the priesthood. Catholics in the US and Europe were leaving the Church in droves. The sudden resignation of Benedict XVI the previous month – the first time a pontiff had resigned on his own initiative since 1294 – crystallised the impression of a Church in crisis. In the nine months since his appointment, Pope Francis has initiated a remarkable overhaul in the direction and management of the papacy. It is too early to judge whether he will end up assuaging widespread public anger over sexual abuse in the priesthood; or whether he will meet the concerns of Catholics worried by the Vatican’s rigid moral orthodoxy. Yet there are three ways in which he has been a figure of immense appeal this year to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. First, there is his personal modesty. In an age when many are deeply concerned by the vanity of celebrities and the wealth of plutocrats, the Pope has swiftly become the leading global symbol of compassion and humility. He has opted to live in a tworoom house rather than an apostolic palace. He has surrendered the papal Mercedes for a Ford Focus. His determination on numerous occasions to be physically and visibly close to the sick and destitute testifies to a deeply felt egalitarianism. A second area where he has impressed is on questions of sex and marriage. Pope Francis’s immediate predecessors – John Paul II and Benedict – were robust defenders of moral orthodoxy. While the current pontiff has not yet pushed through any doctrinal changes, he has radically changed the tone and language in which these issues are discussed. Asked this year by a journalist how he viewed the status of gay priests in the Church, he replied: “Who am I to judge?” To another interviewer, he said the Church had become “obsessed” with issues such as abortion, gay marriage and contraception. Third, he has introduced a string of management reforms in the Holy See that allow him to implement change. The Pope has appointed a group of eight like-minded bishops to address difficult problems, thereby sidelining the highly conservative Synod of Bishops. He has named a new commission to investigate issues of sexual abuse and identify ways to better protect children. Particularly striking is the way he has prepared for a Synod to convene next year to discuss issues relating to divorce, birth control and gay marriage. In advance of that meeting, the Pope has instructed dioceses to distribute a questionnaire to all Catholic parishioners soliciting their views on these issues. This may signal an intention to discuss these matters without being bound by longstanding taboos. Those who urgently seek reform of the Catholic Church should not get ahead of themselves. There are big tests ahead. It is far from certain that the commission looking into sexual abuse will examine the past culpability of the Vatican or parts of the priesthood. And on many issues, such as the ordination of female priests, the new pontiff is a doctrinal conservative. But what is striking about Pope Francis is how rapidly he has become an authentic figurehead for those who are concerned by what he calls “the idol called money” and the way “we have fallen into globalised indifference in this globalised world”. Many on the right of politics will disagree with his critique of “unbridled capitalism”. But he conveys his concerns and anxieties with a sincerity and authenticity that no world leader can match. Financial Times

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

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

• Executive Director (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina

• Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde •General Manager (Abuja Press) Kehinde Olowu •AGM (PH Press) Tunde Olasogba

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness •Deputy Editor (Nation’s Capital) •Press Manager Yomi Odunuga Udensi Chikaodi •Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu •Legal Counsel John Unachukwu •Dep. Business Editor Simeon Ebulu • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye •Group Sports Editor Ade Ojeikere •Acting Manager (sales) •Editorial Page Editor Olaribigbe Bello Sanya Oni





IR: Animals appear to have gained more recognition and attention from the Presidency in the 2014 Appropration Bill, even as the breakdown of the budget shows the wastefulness and insensitive nature of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led regime towards the populace. The provisions of the budget have once more exposed the government non-readiness and lack of foresight in terms of positioning the country’s economy to meet the standard of the developed countries. It is, indeed, appalling that while ordinary Nigerians could barely afford a three square meal a day, our big man in the Villa is busy thinking of how to feed his pets in 2014 with the taxpayers’ money. The N4.6trn budget estimate presented before the National Assembly by President Jonathan through the Minister of Finance and the Cordinating Minister of the




Budget without human face Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, shows that the Federal Goverment will be spending 73 per cent of the proposed budget on recurrent expenditure, while a meagre 27 per would be spent on capital projects. The impication of this is that Nigerians are not likely going to witness any improvement on our dilapidated roads or see any change in the education sector, health and other critical sectors of the nation’s economy. A glance at the budget shows that a whooping N2.4bn has been allo-

cated for the President and his deputy’s foreign and local trips in 2014, while another N1.6bn is earmaked for a new presidential jet and yet another N362m for meals and refreshment. And to further show that the government lacks confidence on her so-called transformation in the power sector, it plans to spend N836.6m on fuelling of generators in the Presidency, its ministries and agencies. These frivolous allocations clearly show that the federal government is not keen at pursuing developmental policies that

would drive our economy and put food on the average Nigerian’s table. The most outrageous is the proposed N38m for Aso Villa’s zoo. The money would be used to buy more “wild animals” and feed some other animals in the zoo. All this is aimed at satisfying the pleasures of the president and his co-travellers in the Villa amidst the growing poverty and pangs of hardship in the country. Sincerely, one does not know how the maintenance of this private zoo will add to the produc-

Haba! If you Sanjo me, I will Ebele you!

IR: When Gerald Ford was President of the United States, an incident occurred that is of particular relevance in this instance of the present imbroglio between Presidents Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. President Ford’s 18-yearold daughter was quoted‘ as having said, with reference to an issue that was the talk of the nation then, that “the president was stupid.” Excitedly, journalists rushed to the White House where a cornered President Ford was asked bluntly by a reporter; “Mr. President, your daughter said you are stupid. Any comments?” President Ford’s response, paraphrased, went something like this. “You know what you just said is not true. I have seen the clip of my daughter’s comments. What she said was “the president was stupid,” and I am very proud of the fact that by saying that she has exercised her rights as an American citizen to criticize the American president not minding the fact that the president is her father. How many

18 year-old American citizens say worse things about the president daily around the country without remorse? If she had said “my father was stupid,” then, I will do what I need to do as her father.” Americans responded to his answer with acclamations and kudos. He was hailed for upholding the tenets of the oath he took at his inauguration; to defend and uphold the American Constitution and the rights of American citizens! I am sure that President Jonathan took an oath that is similar, in intent if not practice, to the oath taken by any American president, even any president, at inauguration. So, why the pugilistic exchange of” blows” and “counter-blows” between an incumbent president and a former one, who, for all intents and purposes, was, in my estimation, simply exercising his rights as an ordinary Nigerian? Does Mr. President read the newspapers daily where allegations worse than President Obasanjo’s comments and allega-

tions feature regularly? Fellow Nigerians, writing scathing criticisms of a president, calling presidents names unfit for dogs and pets, and peddling innuendoes about a president’s penchant for doing the incredible, and so on, are issues of fundamental rights of citizens around the world; the much ballyhooed and acclaimed “dividends of democracy.” Both Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan know this for a fact. No one would deny or prevent President Obasanjo from his opportunity to enjoy his rights as a Nigerian citizen. Donald Trump writes full page letters to the American president regularly. Former American presidents also communicate with the incumbent president on regular basis through the pages of newspapers. Incumbent presidents never respond. So, why is the presidency in Abuja so bent out of shape? In the wisdom of African folklore, when two elephants make love, the

ground suffers. When they fight, the ground suffers too! So, it does not matter what two elephants do to one another; it is the ground that will suffer. Unfortunately, the ground that is suffering is Nigeria! When, in 2011, at the Eagle Square PDP Convention, President Obasanjo stood at the head of the chorus of PDP’s members, urging them to follow him as Jonathan was anointed PDP presidential flag bearer in the 2011 elections, Nigerians suffered. Today, in 2013, as arrangements are being put in place for the selection of PDP’s flag bearer for the 2015 elections, Nigeria is still suffering! The country’s issues and sufferings would never be addressed by the kinds of political ping-pong being played by its present and/or former leaders.” If you Sanjo me, I will Ebele you,” is definitely not the way to go. • Angelicus-M. Onasanya Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

tivity of the president towards delivering on his promised transformation agenda. Similarly, the Nigeria Police is to spend N125.6m on its dogs in 2014, even as the government plans to spend a huge sum of N7bn on the proposed jamboree called “National Dialogue”, an exercise which outcome is bound to gather dust on the presidential archive like other ones. The impact of the World Economic Forum which would be hosted in Abuja in 2014 at the expense of the country’s budget estimate of N4bn remains to be seen. It is instructive that while these frivolities received huge allocations in the proposed budget, key sectors of the economy like education, health, judiciary among others are left with meagre allocations. For instance, under the proposed budget, the judiciary received a paltry N4.7bn which is a sharp decline when compared with the N5.5bn it was budgeted for in the 2013 Appropriation Act. A serious government interested in exterminating corruption and quick dispensation of justice in the country ought to have equipped this sector and empower the fund strapped anti-corruption agencies. The federal government should borrow a leaf from the Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, whose 2014 budget of N219.2bn would see the capital project receiving a large chunk of N148bn representing the 68 per cent of the budget, while the recurrent expenditure would only receive N70.6bn, that is the 32 per cent of the proposed Appropriation Bill. The National Assembly would be doing a great injustice and diservice to the fatherland and the people of this country if it goes ahead to approve these outlandish reckless, anti-peopleallocations. The lawmakers should, therefore, teach the president the principle of frugality and prudent management of our commonwealth by rejecting or altering some of these frivilous estimates. • Barrister Okoro Gabriel, Lagos.




Christmas Corruption; Stop ‘selective’ charity; ‘A 2014 Cellphone Anticorruption Drive?’


ELCOME to 2014. Can we have a list of the bonuses presents, and cost, given and received this Christmas by all Nigeria’s top 5000 Tony government employees Marinho –in the Presidency, NASS, State, LGAs, Directors in each ministry and agency. Even the private sector is involved. Christ’s name is now being used for a new massive corruption –‘Christmas Corruption’– the siphoning of funds for ‘Christmas Cheer’. The proportion of gifts for the poor nationwide is not up to one percent of this total. For every N1 spent on publicised photo-op children’s parties and visits by dignitaries, probably N1,000 is spent on ‘oga on top’ Christmas parties and presents. Remember that less than one percent of the needy homes are visited. Next Christmas governments at federal and state level should listen to Christ and consult their register of all ‘Needy Homes‘ and allocate funds in December in the budget for food, presents and activities. No, we did not have much power for most of Christmas Day and none on Boxing Day in 2013 and probably none today. Government should apologise to the millions of children and mothers, disappointed, disillusioned and depressed and distressed by serial failure of governance. Think of the billions in losses due to extra costs, changing plans, and the distress of darkness in the 21st Century. Shamefully it was too much for the N4trillion federal government after being in power since 1999 i.e. 14 years and their appointed power companies to give us power supply on Christmas Day 2013. If 14 years ago the electioneering campaign of the government in power had said ‘sorry we have no plan or commitment to get power to you in 14 years but vote for us anyway’, would anyone have voted for them? Of course we must remember the corruption of the ‘election’ process. But the federal government officials had power at home paid for by the powerless Nigerians. Government has budgeted over N100b for “Many are landlords in the CEMETERY; many are tenants in the MORTUARY; many are candidates of OBITUARY. But we are here, still worshiping in His SANCTUARY. He has been keeping us since January; His good news filled up our DIARY; He’s doing all these without collecting SALARY. He’s indeed an awesome God! If you know he is truly an awesome GOD and you are alive today, He is the reason I am testifying …. Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.” HE words above encapsulated the text of a message sent to me on Christmas day, exactly eight days ago today. The message came from a former civilian Governor of a state in the South-south geo-political zone of the country. The theme of this message is the definition of God as the Supreme Being. It describes the ephemeral nature of life which ultimately reduces man to “tenants in the mortuary” and eventually as “landlords in the cemetery”. He says the world is God’s vineyard which he describes as “His sanctuary”, where we all worship, that is, carry out our daily activities under the guidance and supervision of God even though we do not as much pay Him a dime as “salary”. He reminded us that He is an awesome God and the reason why we are alive today. The message here is that we owe a duty to God Almighty our creator. Whether we call Him Allah, Yaweh, Olodumare, Oselobua or Chineke, we are most certainly referring to only one Supreme Being which we all owe allegiance to either as Christians, Muslims, pagans or even animists. Today, we are all exchanging banters that we have witnessed the dawn of a new year –


fuelling its home and office generators in 2014. If I had political power for one year, I would ban generators in all government and official residences and those of private managers in the power sector. ‘Operation Switch Off’. We pray that power-filled days will come as they have in Ghana, Congo, South Africa, Togo. But the powerlessness did not hinder the electricity workers reporting to greet Nigerians for ‘Christmas Gift’. Is there a threat of further disconnection for no gift? Blackmail! No one can convince me that it is not possible to provide uninterrupted power for all Nigerians. The excuse of lack of gas is a lame excuse as countries without gas manage. Is this incompetence or corruption? Nigeria will not have 24-hour power until all politicians are forced to use only the grid and come down to our level and remove generators and fuelling costs from the budgets of Federal and State government and National and State Assemblies. The rewards of power failures are too high to be abandoned without a fight. It is only then that solar will be taken as a serious alternative source energy in this sunstroked land where we hide form the sun instead of harnessing it as in countries with 10% of the sunshine days we have. Government should institute tax breaks and reduced customs tariffs in a new Solar Power Policy. Instead it allocates billions for fuelling generators with imported diesel and petrol in the offices and homes of tens of thousands of ‘big shot’ politicians and civil servants nationwide. The ‘I fine pass my neighbour’ generator palaver is alive and well but has moved up to ‘my government paid generators is bigger than you generator because I am a Perm Sec and you are a Director and ‘mumu’ citizens in darkness are paying for it’. Who is the loser and who pays? We know most Nigerians are hard-working. O Nigeria, where is your salvation? Message or no message, not with Obasanjo, he lost the opportunity and could not give us electric power when he was in power and 14 years after his continuous PDP government took power -a political power failure? Not Jonathan, has he performed adequately to deserve a second term? However he has 2014 and 2015 to perform a miracle of ‘good governance’. He can cripple mafias

in the ministries, customs corruption, 25-75% contract kickbacks and pilfering from the poor. Nigeria will collapse unless all government employees take the ‘Keep Clean Hands Oath’ and stop cheating citizens visiting their secretariats and ministries. It will be a miracle for Nigeria but ‘good governance’ is the normal in most countries. We have African ‘hope but not much expectation’. In 2014, we want no more rudeness to Nigerians invited to National Assembly (NASS) meetings or the police station. How many NASS members were honestly elected? Many Nigerians are proud to be Nigerian but Nigerian governments are successively not proud of us allowing government agents and government ‘uniforms’ to treat us like undeserving servants. Have you ever been to a ministry for your right? Did you go back 100 times or 400 times? I did. That is the lot of Nigerian citizens in 2013 -To suffer needlessly and then smile and vote foolishly. Nigeria’s politicians and civil servants are mostly abusers of power and not servants of the people. Can they change in 2014? The fear of the citizen camera can help beat corruption in a ‘2014 Cellphone Anticorruption Drive’. Upload to Channels etc.

‘We know most Nigerians are hardworking. O Nigeria, where is your salvation? Message or no message, not with Obasanjo, he lost the opportunity and could not give us electric power when he was in power and 14 years after his continuous PDP government took power -a political power failure? Not Jonathan, has he performed adequately to deserve a second term? However he has 2014 and 2015 to perform a miracle of ‘good governance’’

This New Year 2014

2014. Many people did the same thing this time last year, but today, they are no more. They are either still tenants in the mortuary or have since taken up permanent residency as landlords in the cemeteries all over the place. For us in Nigeria, it is a mix bag of celebration to witness a day which signals the beginning of what may look a tempestuous year ahead of the coming 2015 general elections. Going by all the happenings in the country in the last few months, especially on the political firmament, I don’t think we need a soothsayer to tell us that this year promises to be more exciting and exhilarating as we move closer to the general elections scheduled for next year. In some states, the elections will be held this year and the politicians across various political divides are already girding their loins for the epic battle which many see as do or die. However, President Goodluck Jonathan is not unaware of the turbulence that is lurking around the political horizon. Perhaps, that is why he has devised a ploy to diffuse the political temperature by introducing a National Conference which may get on stream anytime soon. If properly managed, it is expected that such a forum will afford all the contending groups, tribes and ethnic nationalities in the country an opportunity to ventilate their opinions on the way forward if we are to remain as one homogeneous political entity. At the end of the talk, there could possibly be a change of attitudes in our politi-

‘If we don’t take steps to strengthen the economy, diversify our economic base from oil earnings and tackle corruption headlong, all this talk about 2015 and which person, party or tribe will take over the mantle of leadership in the country will amount to mere balderdash’

cians. This is because for so many years, the average politician has always played and preyed on the intelligence of the voting public. The voters are brainwashed, cajoled or even coerced to vote only to be abandoned the day after by these politicians who then choose to run after their personal gains rather than what will benefit the majority of the people who voted them into power in the first instance. At any rate, politics is going to take centre stage in the affairs of this country this year. We have witnessed a lot of political alignments and realignments in the past few months. The gulf between those hitherto considered to be conservative and the so-called progressives appears to be disappearing. In the ongoing political reengineering, strange bedfellows have decided to cohabit and stay together for good or for ill. The enemies of yesteryear are fast abandoning their hardline postures and are coming together to forge a common front. This is because, as it is, the country appears to be inching gradually towards the precipice if recent events are anything to go by. As the day progresses, there is this inclination that dictatorship and totalitarianism are gradually creeping into our political lexicon. For quite some time, Africa has variously been described as a continent where the best of the news emanating from the continent is replete with wars, disasters, famine, disease and poverty of unimaginable proportion and other things associated with the vicissitudes of life. Those who hold on tenaciously to this belief may be right after all. Take a look at the ongoing debauchery, genocide and pogrom that is going on in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, where people sharing the same umbilical cord have suddenly become sworn enemies. A lot of

destruction is taking place and so much blood is shed on the altar of ignorance, poverty and bondage. Back home in Nigeria, we are all living witnesses to the enormity of destruction being wrought on the corporate existence of Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorist group. Apart from the high incidence of terrorism in the country, there is also a serious security threat occasioned by rampant cases of kidnapping and violent robberies in many parts of the country. This has almost stretched the elasticity of our security agents beyond the limit and a drain pipe to our dwindling financial fortunes. This situation is further exacerbated by the uncontrolled massive theft of oil, the nation’s cash cow, which has led to significant drop in oil revenue in the last few years. This has reduced the financial muscle of the government as oil theft persists thereby drastically infringing on national revenue earning. Due to some financial recklessness by our leaders, it is no longer news that the nation is broke. In the last six months, this situation has resulted in many states not being able to pay salaries of workers and honour other financial obligations because of the shortfall from their shares from the federation account, which is a monthly ritual where states are given financial handouts from a common till to meet their financial expenditures. This month, almost all the nation’s federal universities will be throwing their doors open for their students to resume school. This is coming after six months of closure due to a national strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the umbrella union of Nigerian university lecturers, seeking improvement in funding of university education. Unfortunately, while the lecturers are returning to classes, the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA,

Dele Agekameh which suspended a five-day warning strike by its members a few days to Christmas, is gearing up for a more devastating strike action if its demands which include payment of allowances and consolidation of appointments are not met. With the sensitive nature of the health sector, if the NMA is allowed to go on its planned strike, it may be the mother of all strikes with devastating consequences on health care delivery in the country. And the body has threatened that the strike will be total, that is, it will involve both the public and private practitioners. If that happens, where does that leave the country? There are so many things to talk about, but we should bear it in mind that the economy of the country is like blood that flows in the body – if it dries up, then the person is gone. If we don’t take steps to strengthen the economy, diversify our economic base from oil earnings and tackle corruption headlong, all this talk about 2015 and which person, party or tribe will take over the mantle of leadership in the country will amount to mere balderdash. I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year in good health! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



COMMENTS ‘It is really unfortunate that the president is being attacked from all fronts, particularly by a few Yoruba renegade, Hausa Fulani stock despite the fact that this president has come to navigate or tread a path never navigated by any past president. Not even the one who … his tribesman, a sitting minister just because he wanted to be a regional leader. And this myopic Tunji is talking about money budgeted for two animals in Aso rock Villa. You wait for it; we will tell what is spent now by purported progressive governors on reptiles in their states. Anonymous’


For Olatunji Dare I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Mandela Files”. Please give us a book on it. From Gbenga Demola-Ojo Please sir, I want a prompt reply however short it may be. Is it true that the Nigeria’s position against apartheid was one of the reasons Murtala Muhammed was killed? Anonymous Buhari, you are the Mandela of our time, save our nation, we love our country Nigeria, our country is greater than any of her citizen, do your best. Lord will support you with good health, long life and all you need to get there. Long live Buhari! Anonymous All these problems encountering in our ‘Great Country’ will not do us any good, especially our great and bright future. Anonymous Re: The Mandela files (3): Encounters. All the moments in your three series showed late Mandela to be unruffled not even when freedom plan was not in De Klerk’s plan, five years after the Eminent Persons Group as at 1990. Mandela is a troubadour-traverse taught us one thing ‘COURAGE’ in whatever hard, tough and or harsh circumstance(s) one finds oneself. May his soul rest in peace. From Lanre Oseni For Gbenga Omotoso Letter writing should not be the focus but the issues in the letters. Anonymous Take it or leave it, Obasanjo is a master, Jonathan has been floored. He will keep sprawling and staggering in confusion, making more mistakes. That punch sure hit target. From Henny, Awka Sir, corruption was more rife under Obasanjo than it is now. If you want me to text to you some corrupt practices under Obasanjo as reported by newspaper headlines, I will do so and you see that they are mind boggling. Some past news headlines reported: 1. EFCC begins probe of Obasanjo 2. Quiet probe of OBJ begins 3. Obasanjo spent 1.2 trillion naira excess crude oil money on power sector 4. OBJ’s rail project-35 billion dollars, 250 million dollars paid with nothing to show for it 5. Ajaokuta privatization scam, 5.6 billion dollars spent and it was sold at 500 million dollars, etc. Anonymous Dear Sir, a good leader ought to address very weighty and salient issues and allegations raised in the Obasanjo’s letter for the benefit of the nation. Anonymous Letters are the instruments of expressing one’s feelings. Our leaders who are writing letters are expresing their concern concerning the happenings in the country. The president should not take those letters as a fun rather he should take them

as an opportunity re-ajust his stand. The president should consider the writer of any letter to him as his best friend not his enemy. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Apapa, Lagos Al Mustapha lacks all manner of military ethics to be inviting Gen. Obasanjo to a public debate. From Sqn Ldr Olufemi Francis, Marina, Lagos Mr President is talking and acting like a baby politician. I wonder how he became the President in the first instance! I blame all those pastors that turn their pulpit to political rally podium. Jonathan should stop dividing Nigeria in line of religion and tribe. Please tell him to listen to Obasanjo before it is too late. Thank you sir, I read this piece and I was a bit dissapointed in the President’s jibe at Obasanjo in a church before the people of God. Obasanjo should not reply him, we the electorate are watching and patiently waiting for him at the polls in 2015. APC will rule Nigeria. Anonymous The President is right, the country belongs to us not the greedy politcians like Obasanjo. Let Nigerians decide their future through the national confab. Anonymous Sir, your power of letters is an interesting piece, it is indeed a season of letter writing. All the bobajiro of jibitiland and ogbologbo of jandukuland will tremble on reading this article. I was reeling with laughter on reading the article. Keep it up. Happy Chrismas and prosperous new year in advance. Anonymous Your note Dec 26th refers: To say Obasanjo has his own flaws is to say the least; he is constantly displaying his crisis everywhere. However, all good thinking Nigerians are sure that ninety per cent of Obasanjo’s comments are obviously true of our beloved country’s leadership under Jonathan - corruption, ethnicism, greed, ineptitude, abuse, to mention a few of Jonathasn’s characteristics . The altercation between them is a reflection of our ‘leaders’. Anonymous The President’s comment on politicians at the cathedral church of the advent, Lifecamp, Abuja was very normal and in order because the President has all the constitutional right to make any comment in any place in his country. So it was not any fury. From Hon. Ubong Gbenga my brother, compliments. God bless you for making my day with your comment: The President’s fury. You reflected my exact mood as I listened to the President on NTA Network News last night. I felt relieved after reading the well crafted two paragraphs. Thank you. Regards! From Ayo Akinyemi This is season of letters revolution over leadership control. It is the beauty of democracy but let not feud truncate our democracy, let presidency and Obasanjo embrace peace in the interest of 160 million Nigerians. Where there is crisis in leadership, development is always set back. We believe all these letters should be an eye opener for Nigerians against the backdrop of where our leaders are taking Nigerians to. Well, time will tell. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia Let Jonathan stop the sermon, heed advice, respect elders, work on those tips,

tackle corruption, remain focused on state challenges. Tell him to stop abusing his father’s age mate Obasanjo as any river that dares its origin will surely dry up. Let Baba too ‘Sidon De look and stop advising Almighty sitting President.’ Anonymous Jonathan is attacking political opponents in church to attract affection and sympathy of Christians as he did before and to escalate religious dishamony. He always plays divisive politics. From Adam Descky, Abia state I agree with President Jonathan that Nigeria does not belong to any politician he himself inclusive. He however left out one thing: politicians who think they own Nigeria ought not to do which is imposition of incompetent leaders on us particularly as Vice-Presidents for they may by goodluck become presidents. Anonymous All we expect from our President is to deliver on his mandate and see if we the masses will not vote for him irrespective of religion, ethnic or regional inclination. Afterall, poverty does not know zoning or progressive. From Mangs P., Jos I think the President is wiser than his teachers. He should keep it up. From Nnabuko, Suleja Re: The President’s fury. The church has been turned to platform to settle political issues, because church leaders are after money and appointment. From Osa Uwanomhen The President is neither whinning nor whimpering, but he is rather admonishing and advising as the true mature leader he is. We have not yet come to terms with the exceptional qualities of the President we currently have. History will vindicate him, and history will also indicate on which side of the Jonathan era we stood; whether as patriots or villains. Anonymous To describe Mr President Jonathan Goodluck as “whining and whimpering” is too much for any news paper to publish. Everybody, high and low should think and write responsibly. For a former head to be writing a letter to “his boy president” is infradignitata. The content of the letters from the “father and son” will nail the political coffin of the guilty. Truth is no respecter of persons. From Dele Oluwatade I was expecting such letter but not from the former President like Olusegun Obasanjo because he was “the kingmaker”. To the best of my knowlege all the allegations written in that letter were true picture of what is going on in the country. The President’s reply did not exonerate him unless he allows all concerned security agencies to conduct details investigation and make their “finding” public. Look at what is going on in the ruling party now you will come to the conclusion that he is the cause; he could not manage human being. My appeal to eligible voters in year 2015 is to vote wisely. From, Prince O.Y.O. Ayodele, Social Commentator, Akure, Ondo State For Tunji Adegboyega A church that ought to be an hospital for sinners has now become a museum for the saint. Anonymous

• Mandela

Tunji, Baba o! Your “The President’s pets” was the only soothing relief to end the year. E see sir (thank you). From Akpan, Calabar. Sir, your comment is another wonderful satire if I am right. You always make my Sundays enjoyable. May God bless your mind and hand to continue to enlighten us the more. Happy New Year in advance. Anonymous. For our government to propose N34m for feeding animals only in 2014 is a clear indication that our leaders don’t have regard for the citizens. Anonymous. I have read “the President’s pets” (Nation December 29). Totally trite. Anonymous. Tunji, I was going to church when I stopped to flip through the papers just to see your humorous, creatively crafted write-up. I laughed till I didn’t go to church again. Anonymous. It is sheer waste of resources to feed animals with tax-payers money when there is necessity for money to invest in meaningful projects that could create jobs and change the lives of citizens for good. It is very unfortunate and unacceptable venture. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State. It is really unfortunate that the president is being attacked from all fronts, particularly by a few Yoruba renegade, Hausa Fulani stock despite the fact that this president has come to navigate or tread a path never navigated by any past president. Not even the one who … his tribesman, a sitting minister just because he wanted to be a regional leader. And this myopic Tunji is talking about money budgeted for two animals in Aso rock Villa. You wait for it; we will tell what is spent now by purported progressive governors on reptiles in their states. Anonymous. Nigerians should not be bothered about the activities of the president because, to him, opportunity comes but once. So, his idea is, let me use it as I want. He has forgotten if he does not use the opportunity wisely, the opportunity will dump him for a better opportunist. The president now values beasts more than humans. He should cast his mind back to when he had no shoes. History is on the side of the oppressed. From Hamza Ozi Momoh, Apapa, Lagos. Tunji, what other evidence do you need to believe that those ruling this country are (?) Nigerians are in for some testy times. Lord have mercy! From Simon O. Tunji, I just re-read your October 27 article titled “Cars Stella may still ride”. Events have proved you right. Kudos. Merry Christmas and happy 2014. From Valentine Ojo, Maitama, Abuja.





Newspaper of the Year



No room for criminals

HRISTMAS and New Year period is often associated with a rise in crime wave as criminals and the criminally minded look for ways to make money to enjoy this yuletide season even if it means bringing sorrow to others. But the Nigeria Police Commands in



the South west States backed by the various state governments seem to have moved a step ahead of the criminals as there were fewer cases of crimes reported across the region. Save for a few isolated cases of serious crime, like the killing of Mr Sesan Ogunro of Eminent Communications in

Lagos, shortly before Christmas and the kidnapping of a former Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Dr Jasper Peter Akinola in Abeokuta Ogun State, the region was relatively crime free according to records from the Nigeria Police and other crime fighting agencies.


•Continued on Page 26

‘Reinstate our son-in-law as Deji of Akure •PAGE 30

‘Let’s revisit Ibadan conference •PAGE 32

Teenagers shine as Ekiti rewards excellence •PAGE 44




•Dr Peter Akinola

Ogun witness drop in crime rate

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Joawo then urged the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to “sustain the effort” while the Bankers’ Committee conferred an Award of

Excellence on the Commissioner of Police in Ogun, Mr Ikemefuna Okoye, for efficient policing of the state. Explaining the reduction or drop in crime rate in the state in the last one year, particularly during the yuletide, the Police Public Rela-

tions Officer in Ogun, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, ascribed the development to the commitment of the Police leadership and the management in the state coupled with the help of the state government in providing logistics support. Adejobi said: “Crime rate usually goes up every December but what we have in Ogun State now is far better off than what we had last year. It is far, far better off and it is what people can see because save petty crimes such assault and stealing which one cannot ordinarily eradicate in its entirety, there is no record violent crime either bank robbery, robbery, even the ATM robbery attempt at the premises of Crescent University was foiled, one person was arrested, the only major one was the kidnapping of the Rev.(Dr) Jasper Peter Akinola but he was later rescued along with his daughter and driver. That is another example to let you know that the crime rate had not gone up here. “Things that have helped us to keep the crime rate quite low is the leadership of the police in the state - the Commissioner, Ikemefuna Okoye and the management team, are accessible, intelligent and full of initiatives, they think of things and make sure we have adequate security arrangement in the state. “The leadership qualities they have, they have been able to penetrate all strata of the society starting from other security agencies. “The CP heads the monthly security forum including the state’s traffic agency where they brainstorm on effective policing of the state. He relates well with members of the society, the CP believes in community policing, he goes to the grassroots to meet the village heads and by this, people have come to •Continued on Page 27

All went well in Osun, but Aregbesola wants FG to activate emergency control centre


SUN in the South West geopolitical zone of the country remains a very peaceful and secured state. In 2013 there were no significant crime related events. However, there were a few cases of armed robbery, rape, arson and violent community clashes across the state. The state carved out of old Oyo State under the military administration of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida on August 27, 1991, is reputed to be among the most secured and peaceful states in the country. Over the years, Osun had not recorded calamitous event strong enough to be put it negatively on the national or world map. Early this year, the state government distributed 100 patrol pick vans to all the security agencies in the state, including the state Police Command, State Security Service, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Nigerian Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service to beef up security in the state. Before the distribution of these vans, the state government had procured about seven Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) and a helicopter for surveillance of the hide out of the criminals from the top. Possibly, all these provision could have reduced the criminal activities of the men of the underworld. The previous year, 2012, there were series of armed robbery attacks on banks in Osogbo, Ejigbo, Iwo, Ilesa, Ile-Ife and Ikirun as well as armed attack on a bureau de change at Sabo area of Osogbo, the state capital. There were also kidnappings of notable residents of the state, including a major beer distributor, Alhaji Raufu Olaiya, who spent about two weeks with his captors and later re-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo.

leased after paying a huge ransom. So also was another major liquour distributor, Mr. Idowu Obembe, who was unlucky to have died even after his family had paid the ransom. During a robbery attack on a new generation bank at Osogbo, a police man was killed when the robbers, who had earlier successfully robbed a bureau de change at Sabo area were charting a way out of town ran into a bullion van and staff of the bank doing a cash movement in front of the bank. The wife of the state House of Assembly Speaker, Muibat Salaam, in 2012 was kidnapped in Ejigbo, her husband home town while returning from her shop. She was found a week in the bush somewhere in a village in Ogun State when she was discovered in the midst of the kidnappers by a curious palm wine tapper. Also in 2012 there was an attack on bank at Gbongan, where the son of the Olufi of Gbongan narrowly escaped being killed by the robbers. But in 2013, all the robbery incidents recorded were mostly low profile. There were many incidents of reported and unreported burglaries, rape of minors, suicide, arsons and kidnaps. Prominent among these was the abduction of the 80 year old Ilesa-based industrialist, Chief Mrs. Yinka Obaleye, popularly known as Yinka Oba Foam. Her driver was killed while trying to beat the kidnappers. The industrialist spent about one week in the den of the kidnappers before she eventually regained freedom. In 2013, there were a number of communal clashes. There was one between Ido-Osun in Egbedore Local Government and Ede, where two persons reportedly lost their lives. The two communities were fighting over the land where the multi billion naira ultra

•Governor Aregbesola commissioning Police patrol vans

modern proposed M.K.O. Abiola International Airport is being sited by the Rauf Arergbesola administration. Also, Oba Oke and Oba Ile are still fighting over boundary matter. No fewer than five people have been reported killed while a chief in one of the communities is still missing. In Ilase Ijesa in Obokun Local Government Area, palace of Onilase, Oba Adesina Alobijuwon, was burnt and the 80 year old blind monarch strangled and left to die helplessly in the inferno. The paramount ruler of Ijesaland, Owa Adimula, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, at a point cried out about the security situation in his domain. He disclosed that no fewer than 70 motorcycles known as Okada are being snatched on a monthly and in some cases owners killed in the area. Governor Rauf Aregbesola is crying to the Federal Government to activate an Emergency Control Centre it has built in the state. He said he had

tried to no avail to make the FG do something positive about the centre no avail, saying it has refused to activate it in of spite all the appeals by the state government. He stated that though, the state government has its own Security Code, but without the Federal Government Security Code (112) working, that of the state cannot be made to work. He said: “We have appealed to the Federal Government to let us work together to activate the short code 112, so that our people can easily contact us in time of need, but this has proved fruitless. We are ready to take over all the financial requirements to get the centre operational but the Federal Government should come to the aid of the people of Osun to guarantee full security of our people. We have our own security code, but without the Federal Government’s functioning, we cannot get our own to work.”

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○


N Ogun State crime rate has dropped palpably. In the last quarter of the year, particularly in the month of December, there were no reports of violent crimes bank robbery, murder, car snatching, shoplifting burglary, highway robbery among others. And save pocket of cases of assault and stealing and kidnapping of former Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Dr Jasper Peter Akinola, Ogun State may be said to have enjoyed crime - free December. Akinola who is the immediate past Head of the Anglican Church and also ex - President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was kidnapped along with his daughter and driver last December 24 opposite the entrance of the Peter Akinola Foundation Centre for Youth Industrial Training at kilometer 10 near Obada - Oko along Abeokuta-Lagos Expressway around 3pm but the Police rescued them unscathed seven hours later . Even the Bankers’ Committee in the state acknowledged that the waves of crimes have subsided significantly during their end-of-year Dinner and Awards’ night in Abeokuta compared to what obtained in previous years where banks operating in Ijebuland, Sagamu and Ilaro area of the state literary closed shops for weeks while GTBank locked its Ijebu - Ode branch for almost a year. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) branch Controller, Abeokuta, Mr Adewale Joawo, who acknowledged this, said the resolve of the State government and the security agencies regarding provision of adequate security within the state and the “resultant reduction in the crime rate,” had afforded the banks the enabling environment to carry out their mandate uninterrupted.

Peaceful celebrations in Ondo From Damisi Ojo, Akure


HE security situation in Ondo State during the last Christmas and new year festivities was peaceful. Prior to the celebrations,the Police and other security agencies had beefed up security across the State. For example, the commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ondo state command, Alhaji Popoola Waheed Bamidele had assured the people of the state of adequate security before, during and after the yuletide. More than 1,600 personnel of the corps were deployed to strategic areas of the state to protect lives, government infrastructures and gather intelligence report that helped in forestalling mishap and criminal activities during the festive season. The corps collaborated with other security agencies in the state to ensure hitch free Christmas and new year celebrations. People in the state readily furnished the corps and other security agencies with timely information about any criminal activities in any part of the state. This development helped in thwarting any breakdown of law and order during the yuletide. Apart from the incidence where robbers who operated at a bank in Ikere-Ekiti escaped through Ijare in Ifedore local government, and in the process killed the Divisional Crime Officer(DCO),Iheme Wilfred, an Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP) there was no record of security threat across the state. The Police Spokesman, Wole Ogodo said all security operatives worked in unison to ensure hitchfree yuletide. According to him, it is in the same spirit they would work during this new year festivities, urging people to report any criminal tendency to the police. He said his men were up to the task, warning criminals to steer clear of the State.

All is calm


BADAN the Oyo State capital is usually the barometre with which to measure what is happening in the State especially I terms of security situation Many residents of the ancient capital of Oyo state had been groaning under the grievous yoke of oppressive regime and self made political titans in the state between 2003 and 2011 and the approach of Christmas and New Year brought apprehension to the people as the period was associated with crime of all sorts. It was also common during the same period to record factional fighting between rival groups within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) which inevitably affected innocent members of the public and brought anarchy and insecurity to the city. During this period, Ibadan was the topic of major news headlines. The reign of terror became more worrisome to the extent that visitors to the city were weary of visiting. A final year medical student of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was murdered in cold blood at the then dreaded Iwo Road Garage, while returning from a meeting at Obafemi Awolowo University ( OAU), Ile-Ife en-route Ibadan to Zaria. Security of lives and property became a serious problem as governance and socio -economic development were stifled and stagnated. The economic base of Ibadan city




Police winning the war in Lagos?


HE Lagos State Police Command at the 7th Town Hall meeting of the State Security Trust Fund said it killed 146 armed robbers between November 2012 and October, 2013. Though the statistics showed that more armed robbers were killed in 2013 as against 140 the year before, but the police cannot be said to be winning the war against crime as they lost 39 of its men last year as against 32 in 2012 to armed robbers in a bid to secure the state. The police reported that 1,130 vehicles were stolen in Lagos in the last one year while 322 murder cases were recorded under the same period. The report also showed that 472 armed robbers were arrested by the police in the same period while 390 arms and 16,034ammunition were recovered from the men of the underworld. Within the same period the police claim that 919 vehicles were recovered from armed robbers, while 54 armed robbery cases were also recorded. However, 2012, 270 people were murdered in different parts of the state while a total of 32 policemen lost their lives in gun duels with armed robbers in the nation’s commercial capital. About 140 robbers were killed by the police in the process. At the 6th Annual Town Hall meeting on security at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Umar Manko, explained that the 32 policemen killed represents an increase of 13 over the 19 killed in gun battle with robbers in the previous year. Manko also disclosed that 123 robbery incidents were recorded in the last 11 months as against 61 recorded the previous year, thus showing an increase in robbery cases. The police arrested 569 robbery suspects between November

By Jude Isiguzo

2011 and October 2012 as against 522 recorded in the previous year. No fewerthan 371 arms and 26,058 ammunition have been recovered this year while 328 arms and 3,553 ammunition were recovered last year. While 1,187 vehicles were recovered in 2012, only 954 vehicles were recovered last year. A total of 1,448 vehicles were stolen in Lagos the year before the last while 1, 263 vehicles were stolen in 2013. The police said that they foiled 426 cases of robbery two years ago and last year alone they foiled 418 robbery cases. Executive Secretary, Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Fola ArthurWorrey disclosed that the trust fund received N257.2 million from donors this year to fight crime in the state as well as security equipments valued at N174.6 million. He stated that N260 million was expended in fighting crime in Lagos, as against the N467.9 million spent last year. Manko said the police had been working assiduous towards a crime-free Lagos. He said some of the strategies put in place by the police to ensure a secured environment include high visibility of police officers on the roads, intensive vehicular and border patrol, purposeful and strategic raids of criminal hideouts and helicopter aerial patrols using the two multi-purpose helicopters acquired for the command by the Lagos State Government. However, Lagosians say that policemen were more visible during the festive periods last year than in 2013. A resident who pleaded anonymity said on Christmas day last year, he closed from work about 1am and that as he was driving home, some Rapid Response Policemen on motorcycles followed

•Umar Manko him through all the black spot and when they got to a safe part of the area he was heading to, they bade him farewell. He said he has been looking out for them but they are nowhere to be found. “Last year, you would feel and see police presence but I don’t know what happened this year. They are hardly seen patrolling within neighbourhoods. I can say there is an increase in crime rate because of these ban on commercial motorcyclists. Be that as it may, the ban is healthy because it really reduced robberies at banks. “Before the ban, if you withdraw money from any bank branch your mind will not be at rest when you are coming out. Robbers who hith-

erto station their motorcycles around the bank may rob you of the money”, the source said. But Manko had told reporters before Christmas that officers and men were deployed to major routes and event Centres to discourage criminals. With the killing of the Managing Director of Eminent Communication Mr Sesan Ogunro after a Christmas Carol service at Alusa area of the state, the command recorded a major setback in its efforts to fight crime. The CEO of the communication outfit was killed in the presence of his wife, children and grandchildren by unknown gunmen. His wife’s car was also taken away by the hoodlums.

in Oyo as police smash criminals’ hideouts From Oseheye Okwuofu

rest on human activities, but this was substantially suppressed due to growing insecurity. Between 2011 and 2013, under the administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, a lot have been achieved in the area of massive transformation of Ibadan and other parts of the state into a haven of peace and security . From Molete to Iwo road, Sango to Olomi , Mokola to Challenge and Bere to Gate ,there is a fresh air of peace and security blowing across the ancient city of Ibadan. Aside, the security of lives and property the areas which used to be dens of criminals and miscreants have put on a new look following the untiring effort of the state governor and his avowed stand to rid the state of enemies of peace and security. There is massive urban renewal and environmental sanitation and beautification of the state that have brought Ibadan city to global attention. It is widely acknowledged that peace and security of lives and property may not be totally guaranteed if left to any single government to provide. Hence, in November, 2011, governor Abiola Ajimobi solicited private support and participation in the task of maintaining peace and order in the state while inaugurating the board of trustees of the Oyo state Security Trust Fund ( OYSTF) .

The governor added that vision of his administration is to turn things around for the better in the interest of the generality of the people and to evolve a consistent socio-economic development system that is free of apprehension. OYSTF was established as a partnership between the state government and key stakeholders in the private sector to provide the funding to equip the security services in the state such as the state security outfit code named “Operation Burst” which has continued to burst crime in the state since it was inaugurated. No doubt Operation Burst has con-

tributed immensely in resolving a key challenge to effective management of security challenges in the state. With the operation of the security outfit the residents of Ibadan can today sleep at night with their two eyes closed without fear of harassment, assault, maiming and killings . The security trust fund has created an enabling environment for sustained funding of the security services in return for credible management of all security apparatus in the state and served as an intervention agency for the mobilisation and provision of funds for sustained and adequate operation of security services.

OYSTF was established as a partnership between the state government and key stakeholders in the private sector to provide the funding to equip the security services in the state such as the state security outfit code named “Operation Burst” which has continued to burst crime in the state since it was inaugurated

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○



Speaking on the success recorded in the sustenance of peace and security since 2011 in the state, the Oyo state Police Command spokesperson, DSP Olabisi Ilobanafor attributed existing peace in the state to the exemplary leadership qualities of the governor , Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the state Commissioner of Police. Her words” security situation in Oyo state has never been this quiet during Xmas and new year celebration. And this is as a result of the exemplary leadership qualities of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the state Commissioner of Police in the sense that the Commissioner is always showing how best to police the state and making careful planning ahead. Due to our virile intelligence system, criminal hideouts were carefully detected. As early as September, he has finalised preparations for December. Operational order is followed to the letter and assistance of the members of the public contributed a lot to the security of the state. The issue of gender sensitivity in the posting of Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and community policing helped in achieving low crime rate. “ Frankly, DSP Ilobanafor acknowledged the fact that in the last four years, Oyo state used to have rampant cases of security problems ranging from NURTW politically motivated crisis, banks robbery, and all sorts of criminal activities, but now the state is calm and bubbling.

Ogun witness drop in crime rate •Continued from Page 26 see the police as accessible people. “It has corrected the erroneous impression that the police are hostile people, people feel more comfortable relating with the Police. This is boosting our robust intelligence driven policing. People now see giving police vital information as part of their civic responsibility. It is this information giving by the public that helped the rescue efforts on Dr Akinola. “Police relate with the state government for effective use of equipment and facilities, deploy and supervise men to man strategic places for desired result. The Police Public Relations department programmes sensitizing and educating the public on the right step to take to either prevent crime or fight it are also working.” On the kidnapped and rescued former Primate of the Anglican Church, Adejobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), told The Nation that passers-by alerted the police few minutes after the kidnapping act was carried out, adding that the police are still searching for the suspects and the vehicle belonging to Akinola. Adejobi said:” Passersby alerted us about five minutes after the crime, the caller said Baba has been kidnapped now, now. In fact I may say I was the first to be contacted. It is not up to five minutes the Baba and the vehicle were taken away that a call came. The information started spreading, everybody including the Commissioner of police moved to ensure that Baba is rescued alive. “ I know that the target of the suspects will be the border so, I quickly informed the people at the border, I told Federal SARS, I told the state SARS, I notified the FIIB at the border, DPO in Idi Iroko, DPO in Imeko and Area Commander in Ilaro. “These are the places where you have border towns, I told them what was happening. A man on his own came and gave us information about the details of the vehicle. “Fortunately for the Police, when they (suspects) got to a point they started firing, the police now concluded that they were the suspects but the police were mindful of the fact that Baba might be inside the vehicle and should the police fire, it could turn out to be fatal and useless rescue operation. “Maybe the suspects thought the road was not safe and of course, their informants on bike they planted along the way had notified them the Police were everywhere, that was how they decided to abandon Baba between one police point and another, we knew they were moving towards the border, they abandoned the driver and daughter in another location. “We believed they may not have crossed the vehicle to neighbouring country of Republic of Benin because of the tight security mounted around the area. Whatever be the case we are still looking for the vehicle. Our operation discovered Baba and picked him. They started moving and later another team discovered. Baba’s daughter and the driver and brought them to Abeokuta.”





TOIKIN is a town in Ijebu, Ogun State, like many other Yoruba towns. Its people are believed to have been established by some early settlers from the descendants of Oduduwa. According to the traditional ruler, the Alade-Ebute of Itoikin, Chief John Bamitale Ogunnoiki, one man named Digbe, believed to be one of the many sons of Oduduwa, had journeyed from Ile-Ife and after passing many towns finally settled in the place that is today known as Itoikin, with his wives and children and all the other people that travelled with him. Later, other people journeyed to Itoikin and settled down there with him. Digbe became the head of the settlement and since then, his descendants have been ruling the town with other chiefs. The current council of chiefs presiding over the affairs of the town along with their Kabiyesi, Chief Ogunnoiki includes OloriItun Adugbo, Isale-Ijebu, Chief Muibi Ajayi, Olori-Itun of AgoEkiti, Chief Duro Isaac Odusanya and the Community Development Association (CDA) Chairman, Mr. Francis Adeoye among others. At the early time, the people of Itoikin were predominantly farmers, hunters and fishermen. With development, they took up commerce and are believed to be doing well in their businesses. Prior to the construction of the Lagos/Ibadan/Benin expressway, the road that passed through Itoikin, from Lagos through Ikorodu, Ijebu-Ode, Ore to Benin and the far East, used to be very busy. Trailer drivers and passengers travelling to Benin and the east would stop over in Itoikin to refuel, eat and rest or pass the night, before continuing their journey. But today the expressway and that of Lekki/Epe have taken the shine off Itoikin as vehicular and passenger’s traffic have been drastically reduced. What is not known to many people is the fact that Itoikin, has its mystics, tourist potentials. The presence of goats is a common sight in most Yoruba towns, particularly the villages. But the same cannot be said of Itoikin. Itoikin is one town in Yorubaland where keeping of goats as domestic animal is a taboo. According to the traditional ruler of the town, in the olden days, the people of the town, like other Yoruba towns, were keeping goats. Kabiyesi Ogunnoki said that their fore-fathers came back from the farm much earlier than they normally do, to find the goats walking about on their hind legs like human beings. He said the people were so terrified as such happenings have never been heard of nor seen anywhere before then. He said that the reigning Kabiyesi, after divinations, ordered all goats in the town to be killed. The Kabiyesi also outlawed keeping goats in the homes. He said that since then, it has become a taboo for anyone to keep goats as domestic animals and nobody today dared to go against what has become a tradition in the town. Chief Ogunnoiki also said that the main river in the town, River Itoikin, over which a bridge is constructed to link Ajegunle to the town, is not an ordinary river. In the early days, the only way of crossing to the other side is the river to the other side. He said, it is also a taboo for anyone who is

•River Itoikin

Itoikin: A town where it’s a taboo to keep goats as domestic animal

What is not known to many people is the fact that Itoikin, has its mystics, tourist potentials. The presence of goats is a common sight in most Yoruba towns, particularly the villages. But the same cannot be said of Itoikin •Ogunnoiki

By Adebisi Onanuga

not a true son of the town to attempt to swim to and fro across the river as such a person would drown in the middle of the river. According to him, the god in the river does not frown at people swimming by its bank or those on a trip to swim across in order to continue with their journey. He said that it is an affront to the god for any body to swim defiantly to and fro the river. He said that in the early days, a lot of people had lost their lives in an attempt to test the potency of the god. Kabiyesi Ogunnoiki said that the myth of the river is a household story, particularly across Ijebuland and that in the resent day nobody dared to come to test the potency of the river again. He further disclosed that no-

body has ever been known to throw a stone across the river. Such stones, according to him, always drop in the middle of the river. “Even if a catapult is used, the stone will still come back to drop in the middle of the river without crossing to the other side”, he insisted, stressing that the myth is also well known in the land. He said that the deity, Aaye lives in the river, while its shrine is situated by the riverside. The deity, Aaye is revered by every son and daughter of Itoikin, including the non-indigenes. Chief Ogunnoikin said that the deity. Aaye, has been the protector of the town and is known to have ward off a lot of evil things from the town and its people. He said that before any bad thing happens to the town, the deity would come out of the wa-

ter and take any human form that pleases her, sometimes with a baby strapped behind her back and mingle with the people. Chief Ogunnoiki said that from amongst the people the deity comes across, she would chose somebody and send that person to the head of the town to inform him about the looming danger and what precipitations to be made and what is to be used to make the sacrifice in other to ward off the evil thing from the town. He said that woes would fall upon anybody given such message to deliver but failed to deliver it to the traditional ruler of the town. He said that similar thing awaits any traditional head that fails to offer sacrifices to ward off any looming bad thing as directed by Aaye. Aaye, according to Chief Ogunnoiki, is worshipped every

second day after the Christmas by the people of the town. On that day, there will be cooking and eating and drinking and merry making in every home in Itoikin. He said that the Agemo cult would bring out the masquerade who would dance round the town three times, making precipitation and offering prayers around the town for the prosperity of the town. Chief Ogunoiki, lamented the unconcerned attitude of the leadership of the council area for not seeing the tourist potential in the town “except when it is me to collect taxes from the market men and women”. He challenged the leadership of the LCDA to take up the task of promoting the celebration of the deity so that the tourist potentials of the town could be exposed to the world, thereby bringing prosperity and development to the town.



Okada operators in Surulere ask government for alternative job


By Oziegbe Okoeki

ESIDENTS of Surulere 2 constituency in Lagos have appealed to the state government to take a second look at the routes commercial motorcycle operators are prevented from operating in the area. The residents made the appeal at a town hall meeting organised by their representative at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun. It was held at the Aguda praying ground in Surulere. The state traffic law especially as it affects the operation of commercial motor cyclists was a major contentious issue at the town hall meeting with the operators calling on government to provide them alternative jobs as they have been denied their only source of livelihood. Balogun, who is the Chief Whip in the House, reminded the people that it was a state-wide law and does not apply only to the constituency but that like all laws it is subject to review. While advising them to maintain law and order he assured the Okada riders that the government was working at providing them with alternative jobs urging them to be patient. According to him, the town hall meeting was to get feedback from constituents on their needs and expectations from government and to hear from them how well they think the government has performed. The meeting focused generally on activities of government, legislations passed in the state and how they have impacted on the people. Residents stressed the need for development of infrastructure like roads, drainage, water, schools etc in the constituency. In his keynote address, Balogun said that Lagos State is a symbol of good governance, “painstakingly meeting up with the demands of a mega city”, pointing out that “even with the minimal financial allocations from the Federal Government in relation to her population, the state has continued to render excellent services due to the astuteness and sincerity of our public office holders who have managed the state resources adequately”. In view of the special position and needs of the state, Balogun reiterated the call for a special grant allocation from the Federal Government to Lagos State based on her status as a former capital and the commercial hub of Nigeria. Core participants at the meeting were non-partisan members in the constituency including: CDCs, CDAs, landlord associations, NURTW, traders and artisans. Executive committee members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), leaders and other party members were also in attendance. Showering encomium on Balogun for a “wonderful job” he has been doing in the legislative House over the years, Chief D. O. Adenekan, an APC leader in Itire/ Ikate, in his welcome address said the lawmaker “has been an icon of success since his foray into politics, pointing out that he has always enjoyed the privilege of leadership role right from his first term in the House. “Balogun’s actions and how he discharges his duties speak volume of his tenacity for prudence and accountability in relation to public affairs and I can say he has been representing his constituency very well”, Adenekan said.

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○


NGO lifts women group in Ondo


ETTER days are ahead for womenfolk in Ondo State as a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Nigeria Women Empowerment and Poverty Eradication Initiative (NIWEPEI) has empowered women groups in the state with the disbursement of a loan totaling N17.5 million. NIWEPEI is an organisation dedicated to assisting women groups in the country in the area of self-reliance, economic integration, cooperation and growth. At the ceremony, the group’s coordinator, Olasupo Olakunori said the NGO has taken it as a responsibility to partner with Nigerian women particularly in Ondo State in the area of economic empowerment for poverty eradication and self-reliance. He said the decision to collaborate has yielded a fruitful result with the disbursement of the fund. Besides, he said the Ondo State Cooperative Women Alliance (ONCOWA) has disbursed about N13 million to about 60 women

•Mr Olakunri flanked by the women NIWEPEI officials From Damisi Ojo, Akure

groups in Akure. He commended some beneficiaries of the phase one of the programme for their impressive performance on a similar loan

disbursed on September 14 this year. The Coordinator also commended the Oredegbe Micro-finance Bank for assisting in creation of jobs, small scale business and development of human resources. Olakunori thanked the state president of NIWEPEI, Mrs.

Bosede Oyewole and the government for providing enabling environment for the project to succeed. He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the office of the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) to oversee NGOs across the country.

Administrative stalemate in Ondo local govts


OCAL government, the third tier of government after Federal and State governments is going through trying time in Ondo State. As the government closest to the grassroots where the bulk of the populace reside, the constitution designed the local government to be independent of the other tiers but that has regrettably not been the case for some time now in the Sunshine state as the councils administration are more or less being run by the state government through state appointed caretaker chairmen. Not too long ago, the State House of Assembly again extended the tenure of caretaker chairmen in all the 18 local government areas of the state for another six months. The lawmakers gave the directive at their plenary sitting in Akure, the state capital. This is the fourth time the tenure of the caretaker chairmen would be extended by the assembly since the inception of the Dr Olusegun Mimiko administration. The Labour Party (LP) administration in the state has not conducted local government election in the almost five years due to protracted legal battle. The decision of Governor Mimiko on the legal tussle attracted scathing criticisms from observers who have roundly condemned the extension that has completely stalled developments in the councils. During the administration of late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, there was complete autonomy for local government chairmen to develop at their own pace as there was no interference from any quarters. The local government councils had executive chairmen,

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

unlike in the past five years when council administrators have remained figure heads taking order from above. Gone are the days when council chairmen executed laudable projects even to the extent of tarring some kilometers of roads and met up with many other obligations with their meagre monthly allocations. Local Government elections have been on hold in the state following the suit filed in 2009 by the Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON) then headed by the former Chairman, Akure South Local Government Chairman, Mr Adedayo Omolafe against the state government. Mimiko dissolved the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) structure in the local government shortly after his victory at the Appeal Court, Benin, Edo State on February 23, 2009 which forced the council chairmen to seek legal redress which is still pending more than four years after. The present caretaker chairmen in the 18 local governments are

mere stooges in the local councils, as they cannot take decisions on their own because they are tied to the apron of the State Executive Council hence the slow pace of development in the towns and villages. Apart from this, there is no peace among the workers of the local government councils under the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE). The problem was the fall-out of its recent election won by Mr Bunmi Eniayewun who has not been allowed to resume work since, thereby paralysing all activities in NULGE and the local government councils. It was alleged that the state government was interested in the said election, but failed to have its candidate emerge, hence the crack in the rank of the local government workers. This led to the formation of a splinter group ‘Association of Local Government Workers (AOLW) led by Mr Isaac Fasina that eventually pulled out of its parent Union, NULGE. All the aggrieved members who were against the emergence of the new NULGE boss refused to pay

The present caretaker chairmen in the 18 local governments are mere stooges in the local councils, as they cannot take decisions on their own because they are tied to the apron of the State Executive Council

their check off dues being used to run the affairs of the association. Unfortunately, Eniayewu and some top officials at the local government councils are on interdiction for about seven months now instead of the constitutional three months over allegation of fraud in the local government councils. This according to sources was the fall out of the screening exercise conducted in the local councils by the state government which eventually led to the disengagement of over 10,000 described as ‘ghost workers’ When The Nation visited NULGE secretariat, opposite Ilesa Garage, Akure, the whole building was desolate, tables and chairs were dusty, an indication of long holidays. The embattled chairman, Eniayewu in a chat urged the appropriate body to come out with its findings on the probe to bail him out of his present predicament stressing that he was not guilty of the allegation leveled against him. He denied committing any fraud, lamenting that the interdiction placed on him should not be more than three months, but now going to seven months when he has been placed on half month salary without committing any offence. Many observers who spoke with our reporter decried the situation at the local government councils in the state, stressing that reasonable number of local government have not received their salaries in the past three or four months. According to them, the on-going Christmas and New Year festive period will be bleak for majority of council workers in the state.




‘Reinstate our son in-law as Deji of Akure’


HE family of Olori Bolanle, the late wife of the deposed Deji of Akure, Oluwadare Adepoju Adesina has urged the Ondo State government and the Akure Council of Chiefs to consider the reinstatement appeal of the deposed monarch. Olori Bolanle was alleged to have been battered by the deposed monarch on May 30, 2010. The action was said to have infuriated the public and led the state government to remove him from the throne on June 10, 2010. He was subsequently banished to the neighbouring kingdom of Owo and he later left the country for the United Kingdom where he has been residing since. Adesina had last week written a letter to the state government and the town’s Council of Chiefs pleading for reinstatement following the death of the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida on December 1. Already, the new Regent of Akure, Princess Adetutu Adesida-Dike has been installed to occupy the stool vacated by his father, late Oba Adesida. The family of High Chief Ojumu Fadeyi of Owo, where the late Olori Bolanle hailed from in a statement in Akure, the state capital at the weekend said both families have since reconciled and viewed the incident of 2010 as having been blown out of proportion. According to the statement, signed by the Head of the family, Chief Akinola Fadeyi and its secretary, Mr. Olanrewaju Fadeyi, the family said it was aware of the letter written to the state government by Adesina and agreed with the content pleading for his reinstatement as the Deji of Akure. It reads:”We have read the said letter from the print media and we have also heard the comments on the letter from the public domain, particularly media discourse on same. We are particularly touched by the frank, honest and humble content of the said letter. We are more touched by the gestures of forgiveness, godliness and love extended to our daughter even in her death and the dignity with which her memory has been treated by her husband.

From Damisi Ojo,Akure


It is our belief that reinstating our in-law to his position as the Deji of Akure will be a rare honour done to our family and the memory of our late daughter

•Adesina, deposed Deji of Akure

From Damisi Ojo,Akure

“Our family has considered all the issues that ensued before, during and after the deposition and banishment of our in-law, Oba Oluwadare Adepoju Adesina, and we, by this forum (as we had done on many occasions before), appeal to Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the people of Akure to please consider the appeal of our in-law”. The family also recounted the efforts made by Bolanle to prevent the punishment given to her husband

over the incident by making frantic pleas to the government over the issue in 2010. “We have since reconciled our differences and it is our belief that rescinding the orders of deposition and banishment would be more in tandem with the wishes of our late daughter, Olori Bolanle Adesina (nee Fadeyi), who practically went about pleading with all that mattered for her husband’s reinstatement before her death. “It is our belief that reinstating our in-law to his position as the Deji of Akure will be a rare honour done to our family and the memory of our

late daughter. “While we appreciate all those who stood by us throughout our season of challenges, we however call on all those seeking to benefit from this apparent matrimonial disagreement to remember that they too have families and children. “As a result of our commitment to the content of this document, our family has resolved to further write to His Excellency, the Governor of Ondo State, Akure Council of Chiefs, Akure Community Leaders and all other stakeholders and, where necessary, visit them to further buttress our points”, the statement read.

Kingmakers flee Ondo community over attempt to install new monarch


OMMERCIAL activities at Idoani community in Ose Local Government of Ondo State was paralysed last weekend following an alleged attack on traders by some suspected hoodlums. Shops and stalls were forcefully locked at the main ‘Oja Oba’ market in attempt to install a new monarch which is being ruled by a regent since three years ago. Besides, majority of the kingmakers have fled the town following alleged attacks on their houses by these suspected hoodlums. The kingmakers accused some honourary chiefs led by one Chief Timothy Akinbode and a former Regent who is also a former member Ondo State House Assembly, Princess Asake Olubitan (nee Falade) as those behind the attacks. They alleged that the duo wanted to force them to install one of the candidates jostling for the stool, Prince Agunloye Falade, who is from Sadibo lineage and also an elder brother to the former lawmaker as the new Alani of Idoani. It will be recalled that the battle for the stool have been persisting since 2010 between three lineages; Ologbosere, Sadibo and Owusi all from Obasunloye ruling house. Already, six candidates are battling for the stool and they are Prince (Major-General) Olufemi Olutoye (rtd), from Ologbosere Lineage, Prince Adeniran Adebiyi, Prince Agunloye Falade and Prince Ademola Falade from Sadibo lineage. Others are

NDDC warns contractors against shoddy jobs

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

Prince Ademola Atewogboye and Prince Samuel Aladesunkanmi from Owusi lineage. It was gathered that it took the intervention of some military personnel who are indigenes of the community who came home for Christmas and New Year celebration before normalcy was returned. A kingmaker who spoke from hiding with The Nation, High Chief Gideon Adelana, the Ashewa of Idoani alleged that they wanted to kidnap him but he escaped from his abductors’ hands. Adelana, who revealed his ordeal, said, “they wanted to kidnap me so that I will be forced to crown their candidate, who is Prince Agunloye

Falade as the new Alani of Idoani. I saw some five men led by one Akinremi Obado popularly known as Uri ordering me that Chief Akinbode, who is a honourary chief wanted my presence in a meeting. Immediately, I responded that I will not attend a meeting that I did not receive its circular. “When I detected that their plans was to kidnap me, I told them that I have agreed to follow them to the meeting but they should allow me to take my bath. I escaped through another door in my house. When they could not find me, they mobilised themselves and destroyed my house. My wife reported this to the police but up till now, the police have not come to our rescue. “What we are demanding from the

When I detected that their plans was to kidnap me, I told them that I have agreed to follow them to the meeting but they should allow me to take my bath. I escaped through another door in my house. When they could not find me, they mobilised themselves and destroyed my house

Sadibo lineage is that they should allow us to follow the due process. We are still waiting for the council chairman to fix a date for the selection, we have written a letter to him. They can’t impose an Oba on us when we have six candidates jostling for the seat from the three lineages. They were even saying there is nothing like Kingmakers in Idoani and if there is nothing of such, why are they after us? Another kingmaker, High Chief Sunday Oludosi said the hoodlums have prevented him from entering his house by dropping some leaves in the front of his house which according to him was against the custom of their land. Akinbode when contacted denied the allegation that he was behind the violent attacks. According to him: “it was the princes that met last Friday and made a decision that a new king must be installed. It was during that meeting they ordered that the market should be closed. It was the youths who trooped out to stop the traders from operating. “The fact is that General Olutoye is behind the delay of the selection of new Alani of Idoani. Majority of the kingmakers have compromised. They are backing Olutoye and also delaying the selection of the new king. We are meeting on this issue without delay”. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO)at the state Police Command, Akure, Wole Ogodo said he has not been briefed on the crisis.

HE commissioner representing Ondo State on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Amuwa Benson has pledged the determination of the interventionist agency to complete all on-going projects in the state. Benson made the pledge at a reception organised by his friends and political associates in Ilaje Local Government to mark his appointment by the Federal Government. Benson said all projects embarked upon by his predecessors would be given attention to for the benefit of the communities. The commissioner promised to operate an open door administration and execute projects that would enhance the social and economic lives of the people in the region. Benson explained that 90 per cent of the projects of the commission that would come to the state would be cited in the mandate area during his tenure. He called on stakeholders to always remember him in prayer and make useful suggestions that would aid his performance. Benson said the era in which contractors disappear after collecting mobilisation fees for the jobs awarded to them had gone forever, warning that any contractor who does so will be dealt with accordingly. He also warned contractors handling the commission’s projects to avoid shoddy jobs. The former chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Okitipupa who was full of praises at the occasion, promised to review cases of abandoned projects and address them accordingly. He said he would soon embark on familiarisation tour of the coastal area of the state particularly the oil producing communities in other to identify their problems. While thanking Governor Olusegun Mimiko and President Goodluck Jonathan for his appointment, Amuwa, however promised to justify the confidence reposed in him by the state government. He said: “I am here to serve you all. I am here to work for the development of this region. I want to leave NDDC in the state and the coastal area better than I met them through life impacting programmes and projects. “ I want to make my impact felt by all of you and that is why I am soliciting for your support. A tree cannot make a forest. I will operate an open door policy and make the completion of all ongoing projects of the commission in this state as directed by President Goodluck Jonathan, my priority”. The Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Frederick Akinruntan, the Olubo of Obenla, Oba Kolawole Ikuesan, the Odoka of Ogbaro, Oba Olufemi Ogbaro, Primate Samuel Ayodele of Zion Church, Igbokoda and other dignitaries who spoke at the occasion described Benson’s appointment as divine. They advised him to learn from the mistakes of some of his predecessors and make the welfare of his peoples priority as promised.




Ondo lawmaker offers scholarship to indigent boy

The lawmaker explained that he was moved to help Timilehin, who he saw walking the street of Oluwatuyi in Akure one day seemingly with nowhere to go and when he asked why he was not in school, the boy explained he had no parents again

•Sitting on a chair, Timilehin’s grandmother, Mrs. Adeku Folorunso and Hon. Dairo holding the hand of Timilehin


PPARENTLY worried by the plights of many indigent children, a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Olatunji Dairo has stressed the need for well-meaning Nigerians to always assist the less-privileged. This, he said would rid the society of social vices being perpetrated by indigent youths. Dairo spoke with reporters in Akure, the state capital while offer-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

ing scholarship to Master Timilehin Folorunsho, a 12 year-old apprentice generator repairer with no formal basic education The lawmaker explained that he was moved to help Timilehin, who he saw walking the street of Oluwatuyi in Akure one day seemingly with nowhere to go and when

he asked why he was not in school, the boy explained he had no parents again. He accompanied him to where he lives with his grandmother and from there the story that would change his life for good began. Dairo, who is also the chief whip of the House of the Assembly, explained that “I told him (Timilehin) it is possible he would be one of the greatest engineers the country will produce in the future and he agreed.

“Because of this development, he was taken to the Nursery and Primary School to start his education. I am happy that the boy is doing well academically. I have been responsible for the boy school fees, feeding and other necessities”. He pointed out that if well-meaning Nigerians could emulate such gesture, the society would be better off. Timilehim is now in primary one

at Height Nursery and Primary School, Akure, with the lawmaker promising to sponsor his education to university level. The proprietress of the school, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Adewumi affirmed that the boy is doing well as he concentrates more on his studies. The kid, Timilehin expressed gratitude to the lawmaker while his grandmother, Mrs. Aduke Folorunsho said she could not afford to send the boy to school as his father died when he was an infant. The Septuagenarian woman thanked the lawmaker for the good gesture.

Commissioner challenges resource persons on impact assessment


NDO State Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperative Services, Mr. Clement Faboyede has challenged over 90 resource persons who are to carry out impact assessment on the projects executed by the state government through the ministry to be proactive and carry out the job with high sense of responsibility. Faboyede, who gave the charge while addressing the resource persons during a seminar organised for them on impact assessment of the projects of the ministry in the last four years said the assessment was in the interest of sustainable development of state. He pointed out that data collected during the assignment will be useful in the task of transforming the entire state, as it will enable the government to know the challenges facing the projects and proffer solution to them before executing more of such developmental projects that will improve the living status of the residents of the state. His words: “Thank God, some of our change agents are here, Ministry’s Supervising Officials and the other external experts to measure the level of impact of our projects on the people especially in the grassroots where our projects were built based on the demand of the people. After their findings, they will come up with recommendations and advice on

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

how it has affected the community either generally or individually. “We want to use this medium to encourage all of you to carry out your duties diligently so as to get the accurate results. I hereby appeal to the residents of the communities to cooperate with our people to get the correct feedback and data that would help in taking Ondo State to the next level of development. “Data collection and assessment is the work of the technocrat but we the politicians make use of these assessments for the progress of the state, the more Mr. Governor has this information the more he will develop the state to attract more developmental partner”. Faboyede enumerated the achievements of Dr Olusegun Mimiko through the Ministry of Community Development and Cooperative Services and appreciated God for the remarkable achievements recorded over a period of four years in about 600 communities spread across the state. While educating the participants on the 3 ‘Is’ initiative of the ministry, the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Funmilayo Osundolire said the state government has done greatly in the area of infrastructure and institution adding that industry which the third ‘I’ stood for will be

•Clement Faboyede discussing with his Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Funmilayo Osundolire embarked on soon. According to her, Change agents will move round to ask question on the homogeneous raw materials in those community where micro industry which is the third ‘I’ would be established to make the state the commercial hub of South West and Nigeria. “Before now, developmental projects were being imposed on the people. Often times, what they needed was different from what was being given to them. But today, the reverse is the case. The Mimiko-led administration brought in new innovation whereby change agents were engaged by the ministry to

interact with the people and carry out need assessment thereby knowing their project priorities before government execute it for them,” she said. Mrs.Osundolire said impact assessment is important to have interface with the grassroots people and consolidate on the good works of government in those areas which she said will go a long way to check rural-urban drift. Some of the consultants to the project drawn from different organisations include, Mr. Dele Akinyemi, Mr. Justin Okwuofu from Programme Coordinator PRO-NATURA Int’l (Nigeria).

Some of them who spoke at the occasion pointed out that impact assessment is one of the aspects of development that government needed to pay quality attention to for sustainable development and all encompassing participation for the purpose of considerable progress in the society. One of the resource persons Taiwo Omojola said that the training had opened his eyes to proper data collection and filling of questionnaires by their potential target audience and that they would help those who did not know how to read and write for the purpose of precision.






S a historian with deep interest in Nigerian history, what do you think of the activities lined up by the Federal Government for the centenary celebration of the country? That is the same question I have been asking myself every morning. The first point is that those who are making so much noise about the centenary know little about the amalgamation itself. They do not ask questions about why the different protectorates were amalgamated, what made the amalgamation expedient. Why did we have to merge three different units which have very little to show for being a country? When the amalgamation was done it was done in England in the Court of Windsor Castle. There was no black man there let alone a Nigerian. It was just a joint decision of Sir Harcourt who was then the Secretary of Economy and Lord Luggard who found out that the Northern protectorate was a hot potato to him and was trying to drop it on somebody that will absorb it. So, the main reason for the amalgamation was just to pass on a burden from the British to Southern Nigeria. What was the burden in your own view? It was the burden of running the Northern Protectorate at a loss. All the supporting documents are at the National Archives in Ibadan. The North was being run at a loss while the South was been run at a profit. The profit from the South was being taken to England while England was running the North with a subvention of £3,000 per annum. So, that was how Lord Luggard came up with the idea of amalgamation. When you look at Luggard’s history he was a soldier who came to serve a company that was running in the North around 1894. When he got here, he went to all the Emirs and promised to protect their interest. When the time came, Luggard was appointed the first commissioner, which is the Chief Executive of the North. As far back as 1902, Luggard had asked the British to join the three protectorates together Northern, Southern and Eastern regions, but was not taken seriously until 1907 when he was taken to Hong Kong where he was being groomed for a special assignment between 1907 and 1912. In 1912, he was brought back to Nigeria, and on October 19, 1912, he was made the Governor of Southern Nigeria. The following day he was made the Governor of Northern Nigeria which means he became the Governor of Nigeria. By that arrangement, Nigeria became unified under one Governor. So what he did was to send a paper to Lagos in May, 1913, seeking the joining of the regions, and that paper was put before the Queen. On November 22, 1913, the Queen put her seal and proclaimed the colony of Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria and that was how Nigeria was formed. But then, between that period and 1960, Nigeria was run as two countries. The governor was responsible for the running of the North while there was a quasi legislative group running Southern Nigeria. It was in 1922 under Arthur Richard that he asked for three regions when the Clifford constitution did not work. And that was when the NCNC went to London

As the Federal Government prepares to inaugurate a national conference early this year in the midst of the country’s centenary celebration, Prince Adetowo Aderemi, a son of the former Governor of Western Region and late Ooni of Ife,Sir Adesoji Aderemi has called for a return to regionalism first adopted at the national conference held in Ibadan in 1950, in this interview with BISI OLADELE and TAYO JOHNSON

•Prince Aderemi to protest that they did not want it and that it was not the wish of Nigerians. So Clifford was taken away in 1948 and Macpherson came and asked for the views of the different regions. So, on January 9, 1950, they met in Ibadan and it was the first time the North, East and the West met as a body. It was called the Ibadan Conference and that was where they drafted a constitution which Macpherson put together. But the bad aspect of it was that on any issue which the North said no, they adopted the North’s position. I remember that my father was there and he said let the River Niger be the boundary between Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria with most parts of Kwara and Kogi states as part of Southern region. But on anything of such, the North would say no because they were always treating them as wanting to break. But the British knew that the North could not survive on its own. Are you saying that at that Ibadan Conference the unofficial position of the North was that it is either Southern part of Nigeria took their opinion or they pull out of the country? Yes! In fact, at a point in time, they were about to break away. So, my father now called a meeting with Yoruba Obas and Northern Emirs. The British had respect

‘Let’s revisit Ibadan conference’ for the Northern Emirs to the extent that if they were calling for any meeting they would invite at least five Emirs because Luggard had assured them that he would continue to protect their interest. Why would Luggard give such a promise when he knew that two different sets of people were coming together to discuss their future? By this time, Luggard had left Nigeria but he handed the promise to his successor‘. But the truth of the matter was that Luggard never liked the Southern Protectorate. That was why he was at loggerheads with Herbert Macaulay throughout his stay here. It was because we had education but the North had no education. We would argue with them what they would not. As far back as 1880, a Yoruba man has become a medical doctor the first lawyer from the North qualified in 1948. Now, compare 1880 to 1948. In fact, Luggard even promised never to allow the Christians to pollute their children. Hence, churches were not allowed there. It was Clifford that said if we continued this way the gap would get wider. He then formed the Katsina Teachers College in 1932 as compared to 1859 when CMS Grammar School was formed. So the disparity was so much. What was the outcome of that Ibadan Conference in 1950 on

Nigeria as a country? The outcome was that Nigeria would have three regions and each region would be headed by a governor with a House of Assembly. Each region would have its own executive which would run the regions. There would be a Federal Government in Lagos. There would be what we call the Federal Government territory, which will overlook the affairs of all these three regions. And after that, we would begin to discuss

and allow Nigerians to participate in governance. In August and September 1951, elections were held in the three regions. In the North it was by some arrangements. In the West it was by adult suffrage. In the East it was by those who can pay tax. When the 1950 conference finished, that was when political activities started. Chief Obafemi Awolowo called all his friends Dosumu, Rewane, Shonibare etc and he launched the Action

The outcome was that Nigeria would have three regions and each region would be headed by a governor with a House of Assembly. Each region would have its own executive which would run the regions. There would be a Federal Government in Lagos. There would be what we call the Federal Government territory, which will overlook the affairs of all these three regions

Group in March, 1950. The mistake most people make is thinking that the party started in Owo. It was the first party convention that was held in April in Owo for the people that did not attend the Ibadan meeting, having heard that the party had been formed. So, they met in Owo and started the party. When Macpherson started the district contribution to constitution, Dikko, the first medical doctor from the North who qualified in 1948 was sent to the Katsina Teachers College to form Northern Peoples Congress (NPC). But in 1951, civil servants were not allowed to contest. Because Dr Dikko was a civil servant, he had to give up the leadership of the group to Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Aliu Bida, and Shettima. By the end of 1951, it was clear that the Action Group has won in the West, the NCNC in the East and NPC in the North. When the NPC was being formed, Aminu Kano did not like the idea of the colonial leadership. So, he broke off and formed Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU). So, the colonials did not allow the party to see the light of the day. They rigged just to ensure that the status quo in the north was maintained and that was how we got into 1952. Part of the agreement at the 1950 conference was that there would be a House of Representatives in Lagos where each region would send a representative. They also formed the House of Chiefs in the West in 1951 but the North has had it since 1947 and in the East there was none. So, the rule was that from the House of Chiefs in the West and North, members should be sent to Lagos. But the East also had one in 1958. Judging by this rich history, what is your opinion on the centenary celebration and the activities that are going on the anniversary? What government should have done other than ordering gold plated mobile phone which will cost N6 million per piece and others which they are now denying is that they should publish a magazine and let Nigerians know their history. That is what the Americans, Indians and the Chinese have done. If you do not know where you are coming from how will you know where you are going? I was ashamed when a service of commendation was held for Mrs Tejumade Alakija at St James Cathedral (Oke Bola, Ibadan) just about three weeks ago. The clergy man who officiated did not know the name of the Governor of Osun State. Many Nigerians do not know anything about Nigeria. When I was doing a project for one of the telecommunications companies I got to places where you will not believe are part of Nigeria. When you get to Abuja also you will not believe what you are seeing. The original plan for Abuja was to be a civil servant town but today no decision can be taken without getting to Abuja. The best contract is also there. What I would have suggested instead of all these elaborate dinners and lectures and all that is for Nigerians to know the truth. For once, let Nigerians know exactly why there was an amalgamation. Many people go into marriage without knowing the reason why they are getting married but they can keep their marriage if they are honest to themselves and adjust. Each time I hear them talk about the centenary celebration I marvel because most of them do not

know anything about amalgamation and the independence in 1960, they are all just trying to make quick money and to deceive us by saying that it will be funded by corporate bodies. No corporate body knows the truth about amalgamation. When Chief Obasanjo was launching his private library in Ota, one oil firm said it would not participate because it was not their headache but it was being threatened by Kupolokun and others that they would withdraw its licence. Everybody was dropping money for a private project. You will see the people that will become very rich at the end of this centenary celebration which the government said will run for one year. It is sickening. Let people know that the amalgamation was done without the consent of the people, and we have done it for 100 years. For us to map out another 100 years, let us know why we should continue as one single entity. Do you think the national conference is significant, coming at this time? The whole thing is being manipulated. Why Okurounmu? It’s just for it to look like your son is there. The president set up a committee in Abuja and handpicked half of those that will be present there. The end of Okunronmu panel will be a waste. Let us go back to the 1950 Ibadan Conference discussions. Let us adopt a proper federation. Let us have a weak centre not to break. Let the regions contribute to their development. What was the relationship between your father and Chief Awolowo? It was a father and son relationship. In 1983, I went to see Chief Awolowo at Ikenne and he said my father was the person that saved the Yorubas because he single handedly financed the Egbe Omo Oduduwa from which the Action Group took the bulk of its members. At one time when he had a disagreement with Action Group in 1959 when Fani Kayode was running (on the party’s ticket) for the Federal House of Representatives, and Fani Kayode insulted my father’s chiefs, my father told Chief Awolowo to remove Fani Kayode and put another person but Chief Awolowo told my father that it is democracy and we have already chosen him to represent us. My father brought in Omisade, just about four months to the election. Omisade defeated Fani Kayode with 6000 votes. But what we heard was that Fani Kayode opposed your father then on an issue of benefit to the people of Ile-Ife and that was the reason the Kabiyesi did not like him again? That is not true. Fani Kayode’s father came to Ife as an Evangelist. He was from Ekiti. Let them point to the family they came from in Ile-Ife? I do not want to start a fresh crisis but Fani Kayode insulted my father’s chiefs over some local government issues. It was not a confrontation between my father and Fani Kayode but he was insulting his chiefs, and he said if he can insult his chiefs, that means he was insulting him too. When Fani Kayode was defeated then, he went through the back door to get to the western House of Assembly in 1951 with the pretence that he was back with the Ooni. My father did not have anything against Fani Kayode. He saw him as his son because Fani Kayode and my father’s eldest


‘ The end of Okurounmu panel will be a waste. Let us go back to the 1950 Ibadan Conference discussions. Let us adopt a proper federation. Let us have a weak centre not to break. Let the regions contribute to their development

‘ son were best of friends and they were both lawyers. So he saw him as his son. My father was one person you can never offend. If he wanted to cause problem after the May 27 judgment by the Privy Council, he could have done that. Chief Akintola came to meet him and said: “Kabiyesi. I want to make you a Minister.” But he declined. He said he had been Minister in 1952, Chairman of Chiefs and was governor. He saw it as an insult. That was how he left him in the sitting room. When he (Akintola) found out that Ooni was no longer coming down he left the palace. If your father was alive today what advice do you think he will give Jonathan concerning this centenary? He will just tell him to go and do things right first. They are not doing things right. With due respect to Mr President there is this culture of impunity, otherwise why is Stella Oduah still a minister? In a civilised society Oduah will be on suspension, whether she has said the fault is with the Managing Director of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority or Ngozi-Iweala who authorized the N10 million waiver or not. This case is sickening. Go and count the number of vehicles she is having. Once upon a time when Nigeria Airways had only one

•Prince Aderemi flying plane, they have over 120 cars for its officials. Today we don’t even have a national airline and somebody who is a minister there is buying a bulletproof car instead of thinking about getting an airline for the country. What we are saying is that if things are to be done right let us go back to the basics. How do you think Nigeria can achieve true federalism? By those in authority being honest, let us be truthful with ourselves. How can we correct the failure of the present system of government? Let us go back to the regional government. What I am saying is that we should go back to the basics and see how we can strengthen our society. In 1930, when my father became the Ooni he told me a story that in the following year that he was crowned the Ooni he looked at the town and discovered that there was no change. There was one Rev. Cole who was going to Ilesa to establish Ilesa Grammar School. My father’s friend, Rev Adejumo, now said let us go and greet the Ooni. That was how my father stopped him and asked him to establish Oduduwa College which was established January 22, 1932. The British made it to

look like Agrey Memorial School, which was established on April 4, 1932. My father said so soon he found out that there was a relative peace in the town because all the children had to go to school by force even after they have completed their Standard six. It was this same Rev Cole that told my father that some people were planting something that is called Cocoa which was brought from Brazil and it is a money-making seed. That was how my father directed all the people in the land to find a farm and he provided the seeds. That was how Ife became the biggest producer of Cocoa after five years. So, in the morning the children went to school and before dawn the parents were in the farm and there was a relatively peace in the land. If you were given an opportunity to attend this national conference, what would you advocate for? Let us have true federalism, growth and development. There can’t be growth without development. If we are able to puncture corruption, you will find everybody saying this government will have zero tolerance for corruption, but corruption has not ceased. We cannot completely eradicate it but let it be at a minimal level.




E-mail:- Stories by Taofik Salako

Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

33 NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

CBN paysN48b pension fund trapped in CDL


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has paid N48 billion, out of the N60 billion invested by Pension Fund Administrators in the troubled Consolidated Discount Limited (CDL), The Nation has learnt. The funds belonging to pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) were invested in CDL by PFAs but got trapped owing to alleged financial recklessness in the company. It was also learnt that PenCom is working with CBN, Securaities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria Deposit

By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and other players to forestall future occurrence. An insider in PenCom, who spoke anonymously, said: “CBN has paid the money trapped in CDL. A total of N48 billion has been paid. “We are working with CBN and other players to forestall future occurrence. We cannot do much alone because we cannot stop the PFAs from investing in the money market. All that can be done is for CBN to ensure that such mistakes do not happen again. Managing Director, ARM

Pension Managers, Mr Sadiq Mohammed confirmed that payments have been made by CBN to the PFAs. Sadiq who said he cannot say as press time, the total amount that has been paid, said the CBN Governor,Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has promised that all depositors will be paid. He assured that no fund trapped in other discount house. “To curtail future occurrence, I believe we will engage the relevant bodies who are the regulators like CBN so that you are forewarned before such things happen in the future,”

he added. CBN discovered financial recklessness in CDL during a recent probe of the books and accounts of the company. Based on the discovery, a meeting was held between the CBN, NDIC, PenCom and PeNop, the umbrella body of Pension managers in the country. In a letter to CDL Interim Administrator obtained by The Nation, CBN Director of Banking Supervision, Tokunbo Martins, informed lenders and unsecured depositors of the discount house of the probe. She said: “This is to intimate all lenders and unsecured

depositors of CDL of on-going investigation into the books and accounts of the discount house by the CBN. “We assure such lenders/unsecured depositors that the CBN shall, without prejudice, pay the principal sums constituting the deposit liabilities of CDL to such lenders/ unsecured depositors after the verification expected to be concluded soon. We advise lenders not to panic as no funds deposited with the discount house would be lost.”

‘Expand rail to improve agro shipments’


•Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State in a handshake with Speaker, state House of Assembly, Sir Udeh Okochukwu after the presentation of the 2014 budget proposal to the House in Umuahia. PHOTO: IBEABUCHI ABARIKWU

SEC introduces electronic filing system


ECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) will commence implementation of an electronic filing system for all capital market operators as from the first quarter of 2014. Under the e-filing system, market operators are expected to file their quarterly returns to the apex capital market’s regulator electronically starting from the threemonth period ending March 31, 2014. In a circular to all capital market operators obtained by The Nation, SEC indicated that under the new system, market operators will essentially be required to complete an excel-based template which will be submitted alongside relevant schedules and documentary evidence to dedicated email addresses. Market operators include

Banks get marching orders on money laundering - P 35

By Taofik Salako

stockbroking firms, issuing houses, fund managers, custodians, trustees, and investment advisory firms, share registration companies, corporate secretaries, depository, securities exchange, venture capital, receiving bankers and underwriters among others. According to the directive, SEC will enforce strict compliance with the e-filing system as the apex capital market regulator will not receive hard copies of quarterly returns from market operators by the end of first quarter 0f 2014. The circular noted that the SEC’s quarterly return forms have been re-engineered to make it amenable to the new electronic system. All capital market operators that have provided their official email addresses to the

Commission will be sent an information update form by December 31, 2013, which they are expected to complete and submit before January 31, 2014. The circular indicated that the new quarterly returns template would be available for download from the SEC’s website from February 1, 2014, with an instruction manual to guide users through the e-filing process. The Commission will also provide telephone helpline to assist operators in adapting to the new system. The apex capital market regulator however noted that the stipulated guidelines on submission of quarterly returns will still apply, thus market operators are expected to submit their returns within the stipulated deadline under SEC’s Rule 51, subsection 1, part a and b. Also, there are indications

IPOs hit $190b as investors hunt for returns

- P36

that the apex capital market regulator may finally launch its much-awaited new comprehensive dispute resolution and enforcement framework in 2014. The draft of the new dispute management framework had undergone the consultative process with inputs from key stakeholders and was expected to have been approved and included in the rules and regulations in 2013. However, the apex regulator was unable to complete the rule-making process. The new framework underlined fundamental shifts in scale of preference for dispute resolution, constitution of adjudicatory committee and the enforcement actions. SEC will have to make necessary amendments to existing rules and regulations to accommodate the changes.

By Daniel Essiet

HE Federal Government has been urged to expand storage and rail capacity to improve the efficiency of rail shipments of agro produce. Speaking with The Nation,the Programme Coordinator,Farmers Development Union(FADU),Mr Victor Olowe said farmers unique challenges in the market, and require a dependable and affordable means of transportation for their products. Weather and marketconditions,he explained, have impacted the rail transportation industry causing losses, and that farmers,sometimes operate on exceedingly low profit margins–this paired with dramatic fluctuations in that places them in a financially precarious environment. He said reliability and efficiency of the transportation system would be a significant advantage for farmers. He said the transportation infrastructure requires total overhaul and maintenance as demand and domestic production continue to increase. He said expansion of the railway system makes it possible for agro produce to be moved efficiently to shipping hubs. Failing infrastructure, he stressed,was a serious emerging issue for growers as improving the transportation systems underpin modern agriculture, from rural roads and bridges, to railroads, and especially inland waterways. He said farmers are leaving crops in uncovered mounds amid a shortage of silage bags and a lack of space at grain storage area and export depots. According to him, grain shipments have become almost a “just-in-time-delivery” business and keeping the pipeline is absolutely critical to ensuring that there is consistent delivery.

‘28 states yet to fully embrace CPS’

- P38







Unending reforms as banks step up deposit drive In August, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took a decision that changed banks’ deposit drive. CBN raised the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) for public sector funds from 12 per cent to 50 per cent. It also slammed a 48-hour limit on the use of foreign exchange (FOREX) bought from the Retail Dutch Auction System (RDAS). These were key policies that defined the financial services sector, writes COLLINS NWEZE.


N the past 12 months, policy changes under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, have been regular, swift and sudden. The CBN’s target is to keep the naira stable, reduce cost of banking operations and shift banks’ interest from public sector deposits to private sector funds. During the year, banks’ Net-Open Position Limit (NOPL) was also reduced to one per cent, and a 48-hour limit placed on the use of forex bought from the Retail Dutch Auction System (RDAS). On September 16, the Central Bank said it would, by December 2016, stop playing the implicit role of “banker of last resort” for the Real-Time Gross Settlement System in banking. The biggest policy within the year was the CRR hike, which on August 7, took away N1.3 trillion from the financial system. The CRR is the portion expressed as a percentage of banks’ deposit balances, which they must have as reserve in cash with the central bank. Sanusi said the policy was ignited by worries over the rise in liquidity from banks purchasing short-term government securities using public sector deposits. He was afraid that strong liquidity growth could trigger a rise in inflation, which was at 8.2 per cent in August. Olakunle Ezun, Currencies Analyst at Ecobank Nigeria, said the policies remained positive as long as they support the naira and reveal the health and soundness of the banking system. He sees them as indirect tightening of loanable funds to banks.

Agent Banking/ Mobile Money

Besides these policy changes, the CBN also within the year made case for improved financial inclusion. The regulator consistently advised banks on the need to provide access to affordable financial services and products for every Nigerian. Agent banking and mobile money were part of the policies taken by the regulator to get the message across to the unbanked. Subsequently, the CBN within the year issued Agent Banking Guidelines to reach the people in the grassroots where bank branches are scarce. Sanusi said financial inclusion had been defined in different ways around the world but the essence of inclusion is tied to economic development and providing a better way of life for all Nigerians. The CBN, he said, had over the years recognised certain barriers to achieving inclusion some of which include; distance to bank branches, cumbersome account opening requirements, lack of awareness of financial products and services amongst others. “As a regulator, we also recognise the challenges deposit money banks face in trying to reach the underserved communities which include; the cost incurred by the banks in catering to lower valued accounts and the cost of expanding their branch networks to excluded communities,” he said. He said the apex bank has taken a stand therefore to ensure that these barriers are broken down and several steps to address these constraints have been taken. Some of these include agent banking. The guidelines for agent banking have been developed and approved by the CBN. The guidelines are to ensure increased agent activity in the delivery of banking services outside traditional brick and Mortar bank branches, through additional financial access points such as existing retail stores, petrol stations, post offices or via technology such as ‘Point of Sale’ (POS) devices and mobile phones. The Financial Industry along with other stakeholders decided to make financial inclusion a top priority and launched a National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The strategy has targets to help reduce the number of adult Nigerians who are excluded from formal fi-

• Sanusi

• Ibrahim

nancial services from 46.3 per cent in 2012 to 20 per cent in 2020 with specific targets for payments, savings, credit and Insurance. Sanusi said sustaining Nigeria’s development hinges on ensuring that at least 80 per cent of all adult Nigerians have access to affordable financial services as well as the right environment within which to flourish economically.

payment platform. He said that though there was a lot that telecoms companies could contribute in a cash-less economy, their current mandate was limiting.

Mobile Money

Acting Chief Executive Officer Etisalat Nigeria Matthew Willsher explained that mobile money remained a convenient, secure and affordable way to send money to friends and family using mobile phone also played dominant role in financial inclusion. He said that regulators like the CBN and National Communication Commission (NCC) need to work together to make mobile money a success. Telecommunication companies (Telcos) and banks which are expected to jointly drive the process are working at crossroads. The telcos insist that they should be in charge, and not the banks. They have been advocating for operator-led model instead of bank-led model being implemented by the CBN. The bank-led model requires that a bank deploys mobile payment applications or devices to customers and ensures merchants have the required point-of-sale (PoS) acceptance capability to carry out the transaction. Here, mobile network operators’ network merely serves as vehicle through which transactions take place. The model was based on the regulatory framework for mobile payment services issued by the CBN in 2009, which disenfranchised telcos from operating mobile money except through strategic partnerships with licensed operators. The Telcos, have consistently advised the CBN to allow them participate in the regulation of the subsector, but nothing has come out of the demand. The apex bank, which solely regulates the business, has given the Telcos little or no opportunity for control. This model has deprived the business the needed technological and infrastructural backing critical to its success. Globacom’s Director, Telebanking Unit, Tunde Kuponiyi. He insisted that the current regime of mobile money regulation, which is being bank-driven, is not friendly to telecoms companies who provide the mobile

Banks approach

Some of the banks that embraced agent banking are FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, Sterling Bank, among others. Sterling Bank said it has decided to take the agent banking approach to include the millions of the unbanked Nigerians in the financial system and by so doing, empowering them to become economically viable. Sanusi, who launched the bank’s agent banking platform in Lagos, said the lender engages pre-qualified individuals in different locations that are predominantly financiallyexcluded to serve as agents to the Bank under the CBN approved agent banking model.

How Agent Banking works

The use of biometrics-enabled POS with a well-tested application that has been successful in India that shares some similarities with Nigeria; agents that are carefully selected are then authorised to carry Out certain transactions, among others for customers under the scheme Such as the enrolment of new customers in line with the CBN Level KYC requirements, deposits, withdrawals, airtime top-up and bill payment and funds transfer.


However, this cannot be done with the unbalanced distribution of bank branches in the country. According to the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), out of the 869 licensed micro finance banks in the country, 346 or 39.8 per cent are located in the southwest geopolitical zone, 162 or 18.64 per cent in the south east, 158 or 18.8 per cent in the north central while only 63 or 7.2per cent and 32 or 3.6 per cent are located in the north west and north east. Lagos, Anambra and Abuja have the highest number of MFBs. Agent banking is part of efforts to increase the level of financial inclusion of the country, according to the Managing Director of the NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim. Agent banks operate in simple ways such

‘The biggest policy within the year was the CRR hike which on August 7, took away N1.3 trillion from the financial system. The CRR is the portion expressed as a percentage of banks’ deposit balances, which they must have as reserve in cash with the Central Bank’

• Willsher

that they can be operated by supermarkets, gas stations, stores and the likes as they are not full-fledged banks. The Kenyan model of agent banks are usually equipped with a combination of point-of-sale (POS) card reader, mobile phone, barcode scanner to scan bills for bill payment transactions, Personal Identification Number (PIN) pads, and sometimes personal computers (PCs) that connect with the bank’s server using a personal dial-up or other data connection. Clients that transact at the agent use a magstripe bank card or their mobile phone to access their bank account or e-wallet respectively. Identification of customers is normally done through a Personal Identification Number, but could also involve biometrics. With regard to the transaction verification, authorisation, and settlement platform, banking agents are similar to any other remote bank channel. According to the NDIC chief, agency banking would go a long way in reaching out to the largely unbanked population by creating banking representations where banks ordinarily do not have enough resources to establish branches. Ibrahim explained that agent banks is a complimentary policy that is worthy of emulation as it would provide simple banking services to a variety of people on behalf of various banks. “Agent banking has the potentials to grow access to banking facilities in the country especially uneducated and those in rural areas. Another area where agents could be meaningfully deployed is in the mobile payment system as successfully done in Kenya and some other countries,” analysts said. Agent banking, however, comes with its own risks as banks and their customers would be faced with agent fraud, unauthorised fees, loss of customer assets and records, data entry errors, system failures as well as a host of others. These, they noted would have negative impact on the image of the banks affected customers’ confidence in them would water down, lowering their customer and profit base.

Cash-less banking

The year also ended without the CBN being able to fully resolve the connectivity challenge facing cash-less banking. CBN Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo said the CBN has licensed 21 mobile money operators but the challenge remains how to link mobile money to the PoS among other issues. “That is a challenge that we are also working on. If mobile phones can serve as a touch point, our transactions would go up rapidly. So these are some of the things we are looking at, hoping that by next year, as we roll out more PoS machines, we have to see how we integrate the mobile phones into the network because in the hinterlands, the challenges would be more. We hope to roll-out to all the state capitals by the second quarter of next year,” he said.




Chike-Obi: AMCON won’t invest N500b Sinking Fund T

HE Banking Sector Resolution Cost Fund (Sinking Fund) standing at about N500 billion is being kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Mustafa Chike-Obi has said. He told The Nation that there is no possibility of investing the fund because it was established solely to pay down AMCON bonds. Banks contribute 0.5 per cent of their total assets to the Sinking Fund, in line with the regulatory requirement setting up the corporation. Last year, the fee was increased from 0.3 per cent to 0.5 per cent. Chike-Obi, who faulted shareholders and stakeholders for querying the contribution, said banks had benefited so much from it since it was set up. “Let me say this to you, show me any bank in Nigeria that made more money in 2009 to 2010 than they are making now, even with the 50 basis points. If there is no AMCON, most of those banks will not be in existence today. So any shareholder that is complaining, it’s almost like somebody goes to the hospital and you cure him, and the doctor said, here is your bill, and he says, why are you asking me to pay now that I am healthy? “These banks, most of them would have died, the sharehold-

• ‘Cash in CBN’

Stories by Collins Nweze

ers would have lost everything. We have banks making over N100 billion profits today, no bank ever dreamt of it before AMCON was created,” he said. Chike-Obi said he doubted if any bank would complain about the fee. “I don’t even think the banks are complaining. I think it is fringe people, shareholder activists that want to eat their cake and have it. Banks today are better off because of AMCON, even with this fee,” he said, arguing that the alternative was to let the banks fail, and the same shareholders will complain that we let the banks fail. “I am not sympathetic to any bank that says the 50 basis point is too much. I want to see the bank that says it was making more money in 2009/2010 than it is making today. Tell me that bank,” he added. He said it was important to ensure that the banks that created the problems solve them through their contributions to the Sinking Fund. “What we are doing is giving them time to pay over a long

period of time, instead of asking that they pay immediately and create another bigger problem.” Chike-Obi said: “As soon as AMCON bonds are fully repaid, there will no longer be a Sinking Fund. It is not there to build bridges or anything else. It is designed for AMCON bonds, only,” adding that the Corporation plans to improve on its pace of loan recovery in 2014 as well as ensure that it retires another N1 trillion bonds within the year. On Monday, AMCON retired N1 trillion, out of the N5.7 trillion of its bonds held by investors. About N3.6 trillion of the bonds are being held by the CBN. The bonds were issued to defray the cost of long years of insider loan abuses, bad loans and declaration of false profits by banks which took the average non-performing loans (NPLs) for the industry to as high as 35 per cent. However, analysts have insisted that the AMCON bonds related liquidity increase could undermine the naira and add pressure on the CBN to raise Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) this year.

• From left: President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Kabir Mohammed; past President and Special Guest of Honour Mrs Catherine Okpareke and Vice President Chidi Ajaegbu at the 39th Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) induction in Lagos.

Banks get marching orders on money laundering T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reviewed its AntiMoney Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) plans. In a letter to all banks and other financial institutions, CBN directed that money laundering issues be reported to its AML/CFT Division in its Banking Supervision and Other Financial Institutions Supervision Departments. This, it said, followed the establishment of the AML/CFT division in those departments. The letter titled: ‘Re: Rendition of AML/CFT Returns to CBN’ was signed by Duniya Y.B., on behalf of the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN. “Following the establishment of AML/CFT Division in Banking

Supervision Department (BSD) and Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department (OFISD) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the AML/CFT off-site activities (hitherto carried out by its Financial Policy Regulation Department –FPRD) will now be undertaken by these departments. With effect from January 31, 2014, all deposit money banks, merchant banks and discount houses are required to render their AML/CFT returns to BSD while other financial institutions should render same to OFISD,” it said. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had in October, last year, removed Nigeria from the list of

countries identified as jurisdictions with significant deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes. The body said Nigeria had taken the right steps including the establishment of legal and regulatory framework that will assist it meet its anti-money laundering initiatives. “The FATF welcomes Nigeria’s significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime and notes that Nigeria has established the legal and regulatory framework to meet its commitments in its Action Plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in February 2010. Nigeria is, therefore, no longer subject to FATF’s monitoring process under its on-going global AML/CFT compliance process,” it said.

CurrencyAnalyst at Ecobank Nigeria, Olakunle Ezun, said the MPR needed to rise to counter higher spending that would stoke inflation in the lead up to 2015 election. MPR is the benchmark rate by which the CBN determines interest rate, while Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) is a portion of banks’ deposits kept by banks with the apex bank. The CBN has kept its benchmark rate unchanged since October 2011 to help stabilise the naira and keep inflation under control. But Chike-Obi said the bonds will not have adverse impact on the economy. “I think one, the money has been sitting with AMCON for a while, so, I don’t think we will use it to buy treasury bills, and I expect that the recipients of this money will invest it. I don’t think there will be much of monetary impact,” he said. He, however, said that redeeming the bonds has boosted people’s confidence on the Corporation. “I think it sent a very posi-


• Chike-Obi

tive message to Nigerians and other people across the world that we are serious with what we are doing, and that any money we get will be used to retire our liabilities, and will not be diverted. This is probably the first time, a Nigerian institution, has returned this amount of money, and reduces its liabilities, voluntarily and willingly,” he said.

‘World Bank’s survey enhances equity value’

HIEF Economist, Renaissance Capital (RenCap), Charles Robertson, has listed the benefits countries derive by improving their Ease of Doing Business rankings. In an emailed report, he said the 2014 survey, which saw Nigeria dropping nine points to 147, is important for equity valuations as many factors drive market price earnings ratios. Also, Kenya fell seven positions to 129 and Ghana, five places to 67. However, South Africa maintains its position at 41. Rwanda continues on its ‘Singapore of Africa’ path, rising 22 places to 32. The World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business survey for 2014, ranks 189 countries, providing a simple benchmarking of the business environment across developed, emerging and frontier markets; and importantly, acts a guide as to the direction and pace of reform in different countries. Robertson said the figures are important because despite the survey’s drawbacks some countries specifically target metrics examined by the survey. He said the survey provides a useful global barometer of which countries are pushing forward on reform, and progress to date. He explained in a report that within a relatively wide dispersion, countries with higher rankings tend to support higher equity valuations. “The correla-

tion suggests that a 10-position move in the Ease of Doing Business ranking could support a 0.4 times increase in a market’s price earnings, all else remaining equal,” he said. The survey measures 11 factors, including ease of enforcement of contracts, connection to electricity, access to credit, tax payments and cross-border trade, among others. Russia climbs 19 places to 92 in the 2014 survey, and is now the leading BRIC country. The country’s ambitious target is to reach a top-20 position by 2018. Elsewhere in the CIS, Ukraine showed the biggest improvement of all countries in ranking, up 28 places to 112. Georgia stays in the top 10, rising one place to eight. In Emerging Europe, Turkey and Poland both rise three positions, to 45 and 69 respectively; while the Czech Republic slips seven positions to 75, and Hungary slips two places, to 54. He said 11 areas benchmarked by the Ease of Doing Business survey Complexity and cost of regulatory processes include starting a business. Here issues relating to procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirement dealing with construction permits Procedures, time and cost are considered. Another factor also considered is getting electricity, paying taxes, protecting investors and resolving insolvency.

Standard Bank to dispose assets outside Africa


TANDARD Bank Group, Africa’s largest lender, is to sell a controlling stake in its global markets business outside the continent. “The principal legal entity that would form part of a transaction is Standard Bank Plc, the group’s London banking operation,” the Johannesburg-based lender said in a statement to Bloomberg. The bank said it would retain a minority stake to ensure access to the business for its African network and clients. Standard Bank said in July it was exploring closer cooperation with its biggest shareholder Industrial & Commer-

cial Bank of China on its global markets and commodities businesses. Standard Bank’s renewed focus on Africa and withdrawal from other emerging markets weakens the case for keeping some of the investment banking operations it runs from London, where it has been cutting jobs to reduce costs. Standard Bank needs to “finally wrap up the process of exiting non-core regions and repatriating the capital,” Neville Chester, who helps oversee the equivalent of $44 billion at Coronation Fund Managers Ltd in Cape Town, said.




Nigeria to get new sovereign rating in March


TANDARDS & Poor’s Rating Services (S & P), the global rating agency, will issue a new sovereign rating for Nigeria in March 2014, according to the schedule of ratings publication obtained by The Nation yesterday. S & P rates Nigeria BB-. Nigeria is also rated BB- by Fitch Ratings while Moody’s Investors Services rates Nigeria Ba3. The calendar of sovereign ratings for European Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for 2014 indicated that S & P will publish two sovereign credit rating reports on Nigeria in March and September 2014. The notification of the publication dates for the sovereign ratings was signed by Managing Director and Head of Sovereign Ratings, EMEA, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, Myriam Fernandez De Heredia, who also doubles as a primary credit analysts on sovereign ratings. According to the calendar, Nigeria’s new sovereign rating report will be published in the first instance on March 21, 2014 and subsequently on September 19, 2014. Subsequently, the global rating agency will issue new sub-national rating on Rivers State in April 11 and October 10, 2014. The release of the credit ratings schedule for sovereign, regional and local government authorities in EMEA was sequel to the European Union (EU) Regulation on Credit Rating Agencies (EU CRA Regulation), which requires credit rating agencies that are registered in the EU to publish an annual calendar, from 2014, setting out dates for publication of sovereign ratings and related rating outlooks. The EU CRA Regulation variously

Stories by Taofik Salako

defines a “sovereign rating” as a credit rating where the entity rated is a state (nation) or a regional or local authority of a state or where the issuer of the debt or financial obligation, debt security or other financial instrument is a state or a regional or local authority of a state, or a special purpose vehicle of a state or of a regional or local authority or where the issuer is an international financial institution established by two or more states, which has the purpose of mobilizing funding and providing financial assistance for the benefit of the members of that international financial institution, which are experiencing or threatened by severe financing problems. The EU CRA Regulation applies where the primary analyst is located in European office or a branch of European office, whether or not the rated entity is a member state or located in the EU. Standard & Poor’s EU-registered offices and their branches are London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Stockholm, Dubai, and Johannesburg. However, while the scheduled sovereign ratings of Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Swiss Confederations, Turkey, Italy and United Kingdom were unsolicited, Nigeria’s rating, like other several African, European and Middle East countries, was solicited rating. Solicited rating, as the name implies, means that the country or benefiting authority is paying for the conduct of the rating exercise. Fernandez De Heredia indicated that S & P intends to update its cal-

endar quarterly to include new sovereign ratings that have been assigned as well as remove sovereign ratings that have been withdrawn during the preceding quarter. The EU CRA regulation requires that publication dates for the ratings should be set on Fridays and publication must take place outside regulated European market hours. Deviation from the published calendar is only permitted in exceptional circumstances, to meet regulatory obligations, and would need to be accompanied by a detailed explanation. In its latest ‘Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA)’ which focused on Nigeria, S & P classified Nigerian economic and banking industry risks as ‘very high’ in a report that underlined fears about Nigeria’s lop-sided economic growth and wealth distribution and the changes in the banking industry. The global rating agency rated Nigeria’s overall economic risk as eight and banking industry risk as seven on a scale of one to 10. In a breakdown of the risk assessment, S & P scored Nigeria as ‘very high risk’ in terms of economic resilience, ‘intermediate risk’ in terms of economic imbalances and ‘extremely high risk’ in terms of credit risk in the economy. The report scored Nigeria’s banking industry’s institutional framework and competitive dynamics as ‘very high risk’ while the industry’s system-wide funding was adjudged to be of ‘intermediate risk’. The report however noted government’s support for the banking industry. According to the report obtained by The Nation, Nigeria’s economic

risk was a balance between the country’s considerable natural resources and improving economic diversification and low wealth levels, persistent political risks, and large infrastructure deficiencies. “The economy depends, however, on oil revenues, and we consider that there is a strong potential for future asset and equity price bubbles. The main source of economic risk stems from Nigeria’s very weak payment culture and rule of law, poor underwriting standards, and high credit concentrations and foreign currency lending,” the report stated. It explained that the economic risk score for Nigeria was based on economic resilience, economic imbalances, and credit risk in the economy. The report noted that Nigeria’s strong economic growth and improving diversification were being held in check by oil dependence, low wealth and infrastructure deficiencies pointing out that dependence on oil has been a major catalyst for corruption. According to the report, Nigerian economy is expected to expand by about 6.4 per cent per year through 2013-2014, which is strong in a global context. Considerable natural resources support the economy, but the non-oil economy has largely fueled growth for the past few years. Key non-oil growth sectors include agriculture, trade, and services. Positively, this should broaden economic diversification and create opportunities for the banking sector. “Nevertheless, we expect the economy, exports, and government revenues to continuing depending


IGER Brands Limited, a leading South African fast moving consumer goods company, will adopt tender offer as the means to acquire minority shares and raise its majority core investor’s stake in Dangote Flour Mills (DFM) to 70 per cent. An impeccable capital market source said Tiger Brands will adopt the optional tender offer in the scheme of acquisition, leaving the minority shareholders to individually decide whether to sell or hold their shares. The source noted that the South African firm, which had been on acquisition sprees in Nigeria including substantial stakes within Nigeria’s largest conglomerate-the UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc, was favourably dispose to tender offer to stave off shareholders’ discontent and protest that may trail other methods with strong element of compulsion. A similar bid by GlaxoSmithKline United Kingdom (GSK UK) to acquire additional shares in its Nigerian subsidiary-GlaxoSmithKline Consumer

on oil in the near term, which exposes domestic economic stability to oil prices. The reliance on oil is also, in our opinion, a catalyst for corruption, political interference, and internal security problems, while the majority of the population has yet to receive any real benefit. Nigeria remains a low income country, with per capita GDP that we estimate will remain below $2,000 over the next two years. Furthermore, there are significant shortcomings in physical, commercial, and legal infrastructure,” the report stated. S & P stated that ahead of the 2015 elections, political risk will likely increase and could stymied the reform process in the power, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors. “We remain more skeptical about real reform in the natural resource sector due to entrenched interests. Generally, we believe the country’s weak rule of law, along with corruption, will act to restrain growth and pose a continuing risk to the banking sector,” S & P stated. It pointed out that Nigeria’s restrained expansion understates the potential for high growth and large imbalances. “In our opinion, Nigeria could be exposed over the longer term to inherently high economic imbalances, including periods of credit volatility. This is because its wealth—supported by the country’s immense natural resources—is overly concentrated geographically, industrially, and among its population. In our opinion, this leaves asset prices vulnerable to systemic shocks, such as heightened political risk or a sharp drop in oil prices,” the report concluded. While the report noted that regulation and supervision under the Sanusi Lamido-led administration at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have been far more effective than in the previous regime, it, however, expressed apprehension that there could be a lapse when the CBN Governor steps down. “We view the trend for industry risks in Nigeria’s banking system as negative. In our opinion, mounting competition could push up the appetite for credit risk, particularly among the sector’s lower- and middle-tier banks. This in turn could lead to loosening underwriting standards. The change in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s leadership could in our view alter the positive regulatory developments of recent years, as well as the guarantees and support for lending in preferred (as defined by the Central Bank of Nigeria) sectors. This may further threaten the business models of lower-tier banks,” the report noted.

Tiger Brand mulls N3.16b takeover bid for Dangote Flour Nigeria (GSK Nigeria)by pro rata acquisition of shares from all Nigerian shareholders was widely rejected by Nigerian shareholders because of the compulsory surrender of shares implied by the pro-rata method in addition to complaints on the offer price. GSK UK was forced to indefinitely suspend the bid. Pro rata implies that every shareholder will have to surrender certain number of shares based on a predetermined equality percentage factor. Under tender offer, Tiger Brands will only elucidate the merits of its acquisition bid and present the terms of the acquisition-price, units and period, leaving the investors to decide on the acceptability or otherwise of the buy offer. Already, the book of members of DFM was closed yesterday following the cut-off date of Monday December 30, 2013 for qualification for participation in the takeover transaction. This implies that only shareholders

•Eyes 70% stake in the register of DFM as at the close of business on Monday December 30, 2013 would be entitled to participate in takeover bid. Tiger Brands is seeking to take-over up to 332.5 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at a price of N9.50 per share from minority shareholders of DFM. A market source indicated that the equilibrium of the tender price of N9.50 and the stock market price might however detract from the attractiveness of the tender, forcing Tiger Brands to reconsider its offer price. DFM’s share price opened yesterday at N9.50 per share. The takeover transaction, which has already secured provisional approval of the NSE, will add 6.65 per cent equity stake to the majority equity stake of Tiger Brands, raising the majority controlling equity stake of the South

African firm to 70 per cent. DFM currently has 5.0 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each outstanding share capital. Under the extant rule, a 70 per cent controlling equity stake would enable Tiger Brands to pursue strategic changes with little supports from minority shareholders. Extant Nigerian laws require 75 per cent shareholdings to approve such major changes. Dangote Group’s Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) had sold 63.35 of its equity stake in DFM to Tiger Brands in a $181.9 million. The deal saw transfer of3.17 billion ordinary shares out of Dangote Group’s 3.67 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each in DFM to the Tigers Brand. The transaction however still provided for Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Group to retain his chairmanship of the board of the flour

mills. The executed Share Sales Purchase Agreement (SSPA), which articulated the terms under which the Sale was consummated with Tiger Brands, provided that DIL will retain a strategic interest of 10 per cent of the total issued ordinary share capital of DFM for a minimum period of five years after implementation of the transaction during which the Group will have the right to appoint two directors to the board of DFM, with Alhaji Aliko Dangote continuing as chairman of the company. DFM has struggled with declining bottom-line over the years. It lost N3.8 billion during the first half of this year. Interim report and accounts for the six-month period ended June 30, 2013 showed that turnover inched up by 1.7 per cent, the company witnessed top-down cost pressures, which shaved 39.3 per cent off the gross profit and pushed the company to its worst loss over the years.




Dangote to reduce Dancem’s stake by October A

LHAJI Aliko Dangote, the core investor in Dangote Cement (Dancem) Plc, will have to reduce his majority shareholding in Dancem by October 2014 in compliance with listing regulations at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and earlier proposal made by the cement company. A report on compliance due date for companies in free float deficiencies on the NSE obtained by The Nation indicated that Dangote Industries Limited, the holding company of Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and core investor in Dancem has up till October 26, 2014 to sell down or dilute its shareholdings in the cement company. The reduction in shareholding is to enable Dancem to comply with the free float rule at the NSE. Companies listed on the NSE are required to maintain a minimum free float of 20 per cent and 15 per cent for companies on the main board and second tier board respectively. Dancem is quoted on the main board. It is NSE’s most capitalized stock. Free float, otherwise known as public float, refers to the number of shares of a quoted company held by ordinary shareholders other than those directly or indirectly held by its parent, subsidiary or associate companies or any subsidiaries or associates of its parent company; its directors who are holding office as directors of the entity and their close family members and any single individual or institutional shareholder holding a statutorily significant stake, which is 5.0 per cent and above in Nigeria. Thus, free float’s shares do not include shares held directly or indirectly by any officer, director, controlling shareholder or other concentrated, affiliated or family holdings. Stock markets maintain minimum public float to prevent undue concentration of securities in the hands of the core investors and related interests, a situation


LOOMBERG data has showed that about $190 billion have been raised globally through initial public offerings (IPOS) in 2013. These included maiden issues by real estate investment trusts, specialpurpose acquisition companies and closed-end funds. Companies will raise as much as $225 billion through IPOs globally next year, with about $75 billion in the United States of America (USA), according to estimates by Joe Castle, global head of equity syndicate at Barclays Plc in New York. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, companies raised about $22 billion in United States of America (USA)’s initial public offerings (IPOs) in the fourth quarter, bringing the total for the year to $56 billion, the most since 2007. Twitter Inc and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc helped lead the best year for US initial public offerings since the financial crisis, with strong trading debuts likely to stoke investor demand for new shares in 2014. Sales in Europe and Asia also rose sharply, with global deals tripling from the prior three months, Bloomberg data show. Stock-market gains that lifted US benchmarks to records pushed investors to seek new opportunities, fueling demand for IPOs, according to Sica Wealth Management LLC. The success of new listings — with stocks from New York to Tokyo jumping an average of 28 per cent in their trading debuts is luring

Stories by Taofik Salako

that can make the stock to be susceptible to price manipulation. Besides, it provides the general investing public with opportunity to reasonably partake in the wealth creation by private enterprises. According to the NSE, the free float rule helps to ensure that there is an orderly and liquid market in the securities of quoted companies. The updated free float record of the NSE indicated that Dancem has a free float of 4.93 per cent, 15.07 percentage points below the minimum required 20 per cent. The management of Dancem had applied and presented compliance plan based on which the NSE approved compliance deadline of Oc-

tober 2014 for the company. However, Dancem is required to provide quarterly disclosure reports to the NSE on the efforts being made to fully comply by the deadlines. By the expiration of the deadlines, Dancem is mandatorily required to have completed partial divestments or dilution of the core investor’s shareholdings to free 20 per cent equity stake for public holding, unless the management of the NSE grants fresh waivers and extensions for the companies. In the extreme instance, a company with deficient public float may opt to delist its shares. The Nation’s checks indicated that Dangote Industries may have

to divest more than 2.3 billion ordinary shares in free float transactions valued at more than N500 billion, based on current issued shares and market consideration. Dangote Industries currently holds some 93 per cent majority equity stake in Dancem, which has total outstanding paid up share capital of 17.04 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Dancem opened yesterday at N212.8 per share. It should be recalled that the South African government had in June 2013 emerged the second, largest equity investor in Dancem with the purchase of 1.5 per cent equity stake in the Nigeria’s most capitalised quoted company. The deal, totaling N45.75 billion, saw the South Africa’s gov-

ernment, through its wholly owned investment company, Public Investment Corporation of South Africa (PIC), acquiring 255.61 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of Dangote Cement at N179 per share. The transaction made the South African government the second largest institutional shareholder, after Dangote Industries Limited (DIL). It remains the only known public entity with significant shareholding in the company. The transaction price of N179 then represented 30day volume weighted-averageprice of Dangote Cement. Dangote Industries, which held about 94.9 per cent majority equity stake in Dangote Cement prior to the sale.

From left: Special Adviser, Governor’s Office, Ekiti State, Mr. Biodun Akin-Fasae; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; and Managing Director, BJEG Engineering Nigeria Limited, Mr. Bankole Jegede, during the inspection of new street light electrification at the Fajuyi-Police HeadquartersIyin Road.

IPOs hit $190b as investors hunt for returns

investors and companies into the market for next year, said Deutsche Bank AG’s Mark Hantho. “We’ve had a renaissance of the IPO market,” Hantho, the global head of equity capital markets at the German bank, said by phone from New York. “Getting successful transactions more often than not has created a circular confidence for more companies looking to go public.” Companies raised $15.8 billion through IPOs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the past three months, up almost fivefold from $3.3 billion in the third quarter, the data show. Royal Mail Plc, Britain’s 360-year-old postal service, sold $3.2 billion worth of shares during its October IPO including an overallotment, the largest in Europe this year. In Asia, four companies had IPOs of more than $1 billion each, led by China Cinda Asset Management Co’s $2.5 billion offering this month. “It’s been a good period to do capital raising,” said Alan Richardson, a Hong Kong-based money manager at Samsung Asset Management. “The environment in general has been improving, led by the US stock market, and this in turn has contributed to more risk appetite in developed Asia.” The Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep borrowing costs low and boost economic growth have sent

the Standard & Poor’s 500 index up 27 percent this year, the biggest increase since 1997. This in turn increased investors’ willingness to take on the risk of investing in new — untested — shares, according to Jeff Sica, president of Sica Wealth Management. “Investors were so caught up in the broad equity market and desperate to take risks in order to seek massive returns,” Sica said. “They viewed IPOs as easy money and jumped on the bandwagon in an effort to make a quick dollar.” The clamoring for IPOs is evident in the early performance of newly listed shares: Companies raising more than $100 million jumped an average of 21 per cent on their first day of trading in the U.S. this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest pop since the dot-com bubble in 2000, when shares rose 65 per cent, on average, the data show. In Asia, first-day gains were more than 6 percent on average, while in Europe they were more than 7 percent, the data show. Still, continued success will depend upon how the global economic recovery continues, and whether that affects inflation, according to Samsung’s Richardson. “The biggest risk would be that as the global economy recovers, inflation may start to rise beyond central banks’ target

levels, which could be detrimental to corporate earnings growth,” Richardson said. “If inflation expectations start accelerating, that would be detrimental to stock markets.” Some emerging markets didn’t fare as well in initial share sales this year. Brazil’s initial public offerings dried up after the best start of a year since 2007 as investors fled volatility in the world’s worst-performing major stock market. In India, the volume of IPOs hit a more than 10year low as political gridlock fueled stock-market volatility. Emerging markets “may not fully benefit from the start of a global economic recovery because they have to face the headwinds of monetary tightening,” Samsung’s Richardson said. “Historically, rising real interest rates has been negative to the performance of emerging markets, which have been more dependent on easy liquidity.” Emerging-market stocks posted their longest weekly slump since June on Dec. 20 as a cut in U.S. stimulus spurred capital outflows. The Federal Reserve said Dec. 18 it will reduce a record bond buying program by $10 billion, while pledging to keep interest rates near zero. Its monetary stimulus program had been helping to prop up global growth by supporting inflows into emerging markets. Investor appetite for shares in developed markets fueled a jump in inflows for equities globally to

about $252 billion this year, compared with $31 billion in 2012, said Richard Cormack, co-head of equity capital markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Goldman Sachs Group Inc “The strong levels of demand we have seen for IPOs has led to deals getting covered early.” Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. picked bankers to manage an IPO of its retail arm AS Watson & Co in Asia with a possible secondary listing in London, people with knowledge of the matter said. General Electric Co plans to spin off its unit that makes store credit cards in a US IPO next year, and China’s Alibaba Group Holding Limited may approach public markets, though the company hasn’t detailed any plans for a listing. China’s decision to end a 15month freeze on IPOs could unleash $11 billion in share sales through the middle of next year, as more than 760 mainland companies have been waiting to go public, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. In Europe, there are already more than 30 IPOs slated for the first half of 2014, according to Martin Thorneycroft, head of equity syndicate for EMEA at Morgan Stanley in London. “We’ve seen a sturdy comeback of the IPO market and a remarkable resurgence of investor appetite,” Thorneycroft said. “There will continue to be a broad spread of activity, with a number of billion-dollar type transactions.”






‘28 states yet to fully embrace CPS’

WENTY-EIGHT states are yet to fully adopt the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), the Managing Director, AIICO Pension Managers Limited, Longe Eguarekhide has said. He told The Nation in Lagos that the benefits of the new scheme over the old one are enormous to both the states and the economy. He advised state governments in to comply with the scheme to solve the problem of ghost workers. He said there is a huge market yet to be tapped in the states that have not complied with the CPS. Eguarekhide reiterated that by subscribing to the CPS, both the states and retirees will enjoy some benefits, adding that it is an incentive for serious states to end ghost workers in civil service. He said: “Firstly, if they do their calculations properly, they will find out that they are short-changing their workers for not subscribing.

By Omobola Tolu-Kushimo

This is because their pension liabilities will continue to grow graduallyand if they don’t fund their pension liabilities, they will continue to face problems with their retirees. “Secondly, while they are trying to make provision for their workers’pension, they will solve the problem of ghost workers. This is because a worker has to register under the CPS to collect his or her pension and the process will cut off any ghost worker in the system. The payroll is organised in such a way that you make payments to people who have registered. “With this, a lot of people who are not registered on the payroll would have been streamlined, thereby reducing the liabilities of ghost workers just by subscribing to the CPS. If you ask some of the states where the CPS have been

embraced, you find out that that is an added benefit they have been able to get. At present, we have about eight states that have subscribed fully to the CPS while the remaining 28 have not subscribed to it.” The AIICO Pension boss further described the CPS under the Pension Reform Act, 2004 has a revolution when compared with the old pension scheme, the Defined Benefit Scheme. He said under the old scheme, government retirees or pensioners were paid based on a specific calculation after retirement and even though some pensioners knowhow much they will be paid, the scheme was not properly funded by the government and the private sector. “This led to pensioners’meeting in long queues and, sometimes, there is no record of their pension is or it’s difficult for them to access the pensionbecause there is no


of rallies over the weekend. The graft investigation prompted him to replace ministers in his cabinet about three months before local elections on March 30. “There were expectations of some bad news over the weekend on the political side,” Arda Kocaman, the head of treasury at Finans Invest in Istanbul, said by phone. “It didn’t happen. So there’s a relief rally or some short covering. It’s just a no-news-isgood-news bounce.” Discount retail chain BIM Birlesik Magazalar AS surged 74 percent after Chairman Mustafa Latif Topbas said in an e-mail Dec. 28 that he has never broken the law and that he is ready for the scrutiny of all personal and company ties.

• Acting DG, PenCom, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu

vised investment management, adequate regulation and an organised process of the contributor accessing their benefit at the time the benefit becomes due.

U.K. considers raising pension age to 68 by Mid-2030s

Emerging market stocks rise

MERGING-market stocks advanced, led by the biggest rally in Turkey’s benchmark index in more than three months, amid speculation political tension in the country may ease. The lira strengthened, while Russia’s ruble declined. Bloomberg said Turkish stocks climbed 5.7 per cent, rebounding from a 14 per cent slide the previous two weeks spurred by a corruption probe embroiling Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. The Ibovespa climbed, paring the worst yearly drop among the world’s 20 biggest stock indexes, as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to keep up the fight against inflation. The ruble slipped after suicide bombers killed at least 30 in the southern city of Volgograd. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.4 percent to 1,001.95 as of 10:01 a.m. in New York. The gauge is valued at 10.5 times projected earnings for the next 12 months, a 29 percent discount versus the MSCI World Index, the biggest gap in five years. Investors are betting on a “calmer period” in Turkish politics, according to Emre Balkeser, the head of sales and trading at Garanti Yatirim Menkul Kiymetler AS. “With emerging-market equities having had a very weak year, in particular compared to developed-market equities, I would assess the price movement over the last couple of days as picking up cheap paper, and Turkey in particular, buying into bombed-out equity,” Michael Ganske, head of emerging markets at Rogge Global Partners Plc in London, said. Nine of the 10 industry groups in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose. The measure has lost 5 percent this year, compared with a gain of 24 percent for the MSCI World Index. Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul National 100 Index (XU100) rebounded from the lowest level since August 2012, increasing the most among 94 global equity gauges tracked by Bloomberg. Erdogan, facing allegations of corruption within his government, accused a “gang” within the police and judiciary of treason as he addressed supporters in a series

money to pay. “But the arrangement is contributory by both the employer and employee.There is a contribution that happens every month and that contribution goes to the Pension Fund Administration (PFA) which AIICO is one. The PFA does not actually receive the money. It goes to a Pension Fund Custodian (PFC), who then informs the pension administrator that money has been contributed for its management by its contributor, and then the pension fund goes and invests the money in approved investment areas or sectors. This further shows that there is a separation of rules in the scheme.” Eguarekhide added that the regulator, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has been working since the inception of the PRA2004. He said there is structured contribution management, well super-


• Cameron

RIME Minister David Cameron’s government may bring forward an increase in the age at which Britons take their pensions by a decade as life expectancy rises. The government said in a statement that the planned age increase to 68, originally estimated to be introduced in 2046, may be brought forward to the mid-2030s, and the pension age could rise to 69 by the late 2040s. The changes will affect people currently in their 40s or younger and will save about 400 billion pounds, it said. According to the announcement issued before Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s

Autumn Statement to Parliament, the government will use the principle that people should spend, on average, up to one third of their adult lives in retirement to inform future changes in the state pension age. This is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to secure a responsible recovery. Proposals to raise the age at which Britons are eligible for a state pension were first brought in last year. The Pensions Bill, currently being debated in the House of Lords, is likely to become law early next year. It will also introduce a single-tier pension to replace the current basic means-tested allowance.

British Airways launches legal action against its pension trustees


RITISH Airways has launched a legal action to try to block the trustees of its deficitladen pension scheme increasing the amount the airline must pay into the scheme. The airline is attempting to prevent a rise in the cost of the scheme, in a dispute that traces its history back to BA’s privatisation in the 1980s. BA’s Airways Pension Scheme (APS), which accounts for some


29,000 former and current staff, had its inflation-linked annual increase to payments changed in 2011. Instead of using the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation, the scheme is now linked to the consumer price index (CPI), which generally rises by a smaller amount. CPI in September 2012 – the month the rise in pensions is linked to – was 2.2pc, against 2.6pc for RPI. The change to CPI was introduced by the Government for state pensions,

but the APS, which was phased out in 1984 as the formerly state-owned airline prepared for privatisation, follows the same index. The move was met with anger by BA pensioners on the scheme, who claim they had been promised increases at RPI in 1984, when they rejected offers of a one-off payment of around a year’s salary to join a new scheme. In response to the change, the APS’s trustees added 0.2pc on to the

FAQs on transition from old to new pension scheme

HAT happens to the retirement benefits of an employee who is already under a pension scheme existing beforethe commencement of the new pension scheme? Employee’s right to accrued retirement benefits for the previous years he/she has been in employment is guaranteed by the Pension Reform Act 2004. In the case of the public service of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, where pension scheme was unfunded, the right would be acknowledged through the issuance of a “Federal Government Retirement Bond” to such employee. The bond will be redeemable upon retirement of the employee. How will the Federal Government fund the redemption bonds? The Federal Government has es-

tablished a Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption Fund Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Federal Government is already making a monthly payment into the Fund of an amount equal to 5 percent of the total monthly wage bill payable to all employees of the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory. How will the accrued benefits under existing funded defined benefits schemes be handled? In the case of funded pension schemes in the public service of the Federation and the private sector, employers shall undertake actuarial valuation of the employee’s accrued benefits and credit the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) of its employees with such funds and in the event of any deficiency, the shortfall shall become a debt and shall be

treated with same priority as salaries owed. The employer shall also issue a written acknowledgement of the debt and take steps to meet the shortfall. What will happen to existing pensioners in the private sector? Pension Boards in the private sector existing before the coming into force of the pensionReform Act 2004 will continue to administer the pensions of the existing pensioners andthe National Pension Commission will supervise such boards. What will happen to existing pensioners in the public sector? In the public service, Pension Departments have been created to carry out the functions of the relevant pension boards or offices in the public service of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory with a view to making regular and prompt payment of pension to existing pensioners.

annual rise. BA claims the trustees do not have the authority to implement the rise, given the APS’s £680million deficit. The airline filed papers in the High Court on Friday. It says that raising the pension above CPI puts the scheme at risk. “British Airways is concerned to ensure that its company pension schemes should act in the best long-term interests of scheme members,” the airline said. “The deficit means that the existing benefits of APS members are some way off being fully funded, even before the trustees’ decision to increase those benefits above the level promised under the scheme rules.” BA says the cost of the trustees’ additional increase amounts to £12m. While this is relatively insignificant compared to the total pension deficit, the airline claims that allowing the increase could set a precedent for future rises above the CPI rate. “We do not believe the long-term security of members’ benefits should be put at risk for the advantage of retirees who already enjoy more generous pensions than the vast majority of current employees can look forward to,” the airline said. “In these circumstances, we are left with no alternative but to pursue legal action with the objective of preventing the additional increase going ahead.”



SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP A Lagos-based entrepreneur, Miss Efe Imiren, shares her thoughts on mini-import business, and how networking can assist small business owners and entrepreneurs, writes, DANIEL ESSIET.


My success secrets, by entrepreneur

ISS Efe Imiren,Chief Executive, Service Forts, went into business at an early age. With little capital, she went into information marketing and later veered into imortation, supplying and buying. To Imiren, importing is a way to rejuvenate a poor local economy. Her first year in the business was challenging. But today, returns are growing because she took the time to learn about the business. For her success in business is underpinned by trust, responsibility

and ethics. She has participated in importation training which helped her to the leads and learn about import procedures. She said importing from China is a lucrative business. Her strategy is ensuring that the companies she deals with don’t take shortcuts, and when the consignment arrives, it meets the original specifications which has been agreed to. She makes sure that the supplier truly understands the specification. She patronises Chinese companies which recognise quality and

integrity. On the Internet there are many scams and dubious traders. One of the biggest mistakes aspirant importers make is to assume that just because a product works in one country, it means it will work in another. According to her, the first step is to research the local market thoroughly. If there is already a similar product being sold in here, one has to determine how one is going to differentiate the product one imports. She advises importers to

•From left: Director-General, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) Dr Gloria Elemo; Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Ajayi Borofice; member, Senator Chris Ngige and Senator Ibrahim Gobir; during the panel’s visit to FIIRO in Lagos.

Interswitch boss advises entrepreneurs


ITCHELL Elegbe, founder and group managing director of Nigeria’s Interswitch Limited, a pan-African integrated payment and transaction processing company, has some advice for entrepreneurs that not everyone agrees with. He believes entrepreneurs should consider giving up the ownership of their companies when first starting out. “This is a very controversial advice because every time I have mentioned it to entrepreneurs they don’t take it seriously. I don’t know if you are aware, but when I started Interswitch, I did not have a single share in the business ... and I gave up 100 per cent ownership,” Elegbe told How we made it in Africa. He added that the fact that the founder of a company can be fired by new owners “is something I think a lot of entrepreneurs must strive for”. Why? Because this is one way to ensure objectivity when making important business decisions. “The man who runs a business cannot distinguish between the business and his private assets. The line is usually blurred,” explained Elegbe. “So my advice to entrepreneurs is to deliberately put yourself in the position where you can be fired for wrong decisions. Overall, it helps you.” This raises questions about the decision many entrepreneurs must make when seeking to fund the expansion of their companies through private equity investment, at the expense of losing control and ownership. “What I find with a lot of entrepreneurs today is that they want control. So my question is, why do you need control? I believe that every entrepreneur must be under authority, otherwise you will make the wrong decisions,” continued Elegbe. “By putting yourself under the authority of other people who are


wiser, who can guide you, and (through), you recognising that you could lose your job if you do not do the right thing, is pressure that every entrepreneur should deliberately seek to put themselves under because in the end you end up becoming a better entrepreneur.”

Interswitch’s success Interswitch started operations in Nigeria in 2002 and was initially financed with N200million (about US$1.2million) from a number of Nigerian banks, not through a loan but through equity. The second round of capital came through private equity investment. Eight years on, in 2010, Interswitch was valued at N26billion ($163million), according to Elegbe. The company has become a leader in providing technology integration, advisory support, transaction processing and payment infrastructure services to governments, banks and various corporate organisations in Nigeria. Three years ago, it expanded into Uganda and last year, Interswitch made a

move into The Gambia. Furthermore, Elegbe told How we made it in Africa that they are looking into expanding further into Africa. Considering Interswitch’s success, Elegbe still has no regrets about giving up the ownership of his company and, in fact, believes that Interswitch would not be where it is today if he hadn’t. Three years after giving up ownership, the chairman of Interswitch rewarded Elegbe with shares for his hard work and contribution to the company’s growth. “To me, (owning) one per cent of a very big and successful organisation is more important than 100 per cent of an organisation that is going nowhere,” he said. Elegbe has won a number of business leadership and managerial awards. Most recently, he was awarded the Transformational Business Award by the African Leadership Network at the 2013 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship. The award is in recognition of a notable business leader who has created significant socio-economic impact in Africa by building a business with revenues greater than $50million. • C u l l e d f r o m

familiarise themselves with market trends in different products categories. She helps new importers conduct market research to determine whether the products one requires or is supplying are competitive in


terms of quality, packaging, presentation and price. Imiren helps small business owners attend trade shows or conferences that will enable them to meet the right people and talk to them about their ideas.

‘Empower MSMEs to reduce unemployment’

RESIDEN, Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN), Prince Saviour Iche, has attributed the high rate of unemployment in the country to poor funding of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). He said promoting micro and small scale enterprises (SMES) have the potential of generating employment and boosting rural development. Addressing the association at a forum in Lagos, Iche noted that SMEs’ ability to absorb a large portion of the country’s workforce has become its main advantage in driving the economy forward. He urged the government to pay more attention to SMEs and provide several policies to support its development. According to him, if the industry is doing well, unemployment will reduce. He said: “If government can encourage MSMEs, the likes of

Dangotes will spring up in large numbers. “Let the government raise money for us to industrialise Nigeria, if Nigeria must achieve Vision 20: 2020, the micro sectors must not be neglected or the vision will be a mirage. On the association’s one-million man- march, he said it was a huge success. He said the problem of micro enterpreneurs was finance. He mooted the idea of establishing ‘incubation centres’ to encourage youths to set up their own firms. He said about 70 per cent, of businesses in Nigeria are micro businesses and informal sector businesses. Iche urged the government to coordinate its efforts to create infrastructure towards enhancing trade and building a strong domestic business environment to encourage more SMEs to participate in the economy.

SMEDAN to create five million jobs, says DG


HE Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Alhaji Bature Masari, has reiterated its readiness to generate five million jobs by 2015. This is contained in a statement by Masari and made available to newsmen in Abuja. He spoke at the inauguration of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) in Bauchi State, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. He said the plan will be achieved through NEDEP, which was initiated by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga. He said NEDEP is being implemented under three pillars, namely, technical/vocational skills acquisition, business development services (BDS) entrepreneur training and access to finance. Masari, who inaugurated the MSMEs in the state, said: “The entrepreneurs training components of NEDEP is being anchored under the Local Government One Product (OLOP) Programme, adding that the aim is to revitalise the rural economy and alleviate poverty in rural areas in Nigeria. “This will be done through the

establishment of sustainable MSMEs in the 774 local government areas based on comparative and competitive advantages.’’ He listed the benefits of OLOP to include: the entrenchment of entrepreneurial culture, economic development, industrialisation of rural areas, industrial cluster development and increased MSMEs contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He listed others as increased export potential, crime reduction, wealth creation and political stability. “As you may be aware, the pilot project of the OLOP was conducted in Kano and Niger States between September 2010 and July 2011. “Baseline surveys and value-chain analysis were carried out and BDSs were delivered to approximately 50 selected enterprises that had six products. “These products are rice, groundnut oil and leather products for Kano State and yam, groundnut oil and shea nut for Niger State.’’ He said the number of MSMEs dealing with the selected products and the size of businesses in Kano and Niger states were estimated in order to find out the scale of public investment. This, he said, would be needed to implement the action plan effectively.

Ahmed promises artisans in Kwara N200m loan


WARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has promised a N200 million soft loan to artisans this year. He spoke at the first anniversary of the establishment of state Joint Association of Commercial Motorcycle Riders in Ilorin. The governor assured members of the association that they would benefit from the revolving loan to be enjoyed by all small-business owners. “Today, as we celebrate the first anniversary of the Kwara State Joint Association of Commercial Motorcycle Riders, I am pleased to note s

wrong,’’ he said. He said reports reaching him indicated that there were fewer accidents involving commercial motorcyclists. The governor also noted that the association’s vigilance and enforcement had reduced the level of crimes involving motorcycle riders in the state. “These accomplishments are traceable to the leadership of the association and members’ determination and willingness to sanitise your trade and ensure a safer society. “More importantly, you have demonstrated that given the right incen-

tives and conditions, we, Nigerians, are capable of achieving success in everything we do,” Ahmed added. He said the state government gave out N100 million in soft loan to members of Kwara Artisans Congress, and had so far disbursed N520 million to tradesmen and women in the state. “In our determined effort to create prosperity for all, no part of our population will be left out,’’ the governor promised. “We will ensure that everyone benefits directly and indirectly from the new empowerment programmes that my administration will make available from next year.’’




Making your team committed through listening Relevance



AVE you ever taken time to find out the level of commitment of your team as a manager or leader? If you have, what is the result of your findings - low or high? If the result shows their commitment level is low, this may be due to many reasons. One of them may be your failure to listen to your team. Superior leadership involves listening to your subordinates to get their valuable input, and it is rewarded with their trust in you and their commitment to the job. This boosts your productivity and profitability as a firm. There are two types of listening: listening with the intention of replying; and listening with the intention to understand. Listening to understand must always be our target because without real understanding of another person’s point of view, differences of understanding cannot be resolved amicably while communication breaks down.

Gaining employees’ commitment is far more important than solving individual workplace problems, especially that committed employees will on their own solve many, many more problems than you can. Problems occur in any work team with a predetermined regularity dictated by the difficulty of the work and the extent to which employees are committed to the work. The higher the difficulty and the lower the extent of commitment, the greater the number of problems and the longer each remains before resolution. Highly committed workers continually strive for excellence.

Gateway to employee commitment

Bennet Simonton, author of “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed,” says astute executives and managers know that giving orders is putting the cart before the horse. In other words, it is only by encouraging subordinates to participate in the give-and-take of decision-making that they can be motivated not to leave their brainpower at the door before entering the workplace. Employees’ brainpower is the source of their creativity, productivity, motivation and commitment. For managers and leaders, the skill of listening is the gateway to employee commitment. It is saddening that many bosses are so busy giving orders that they fail to listen, and subordinates decide to leave their

brainpower at the door as they enter the workplace. In this type of work environment, people with suggestions are too often viewed as troublemakers or complainers and employees are regarded as mere numbers. Though orders may be necessary in an emergency, the irony of it all is that orders are probably the weakest action a boss can take because employees consider orders to be disrespectful, clear evidence that the boss does not consider them valued team members.

Ownership culture and sins

Institution of ownership culture or true concept of intrapreneurship is one the strategies that can get employees committed these days. That is, to be committed to work, one must psychologically have ownership of the work, and to have ownership of the work, one must be able to influence what goes on in the workplace. And to influence the workplace, one must be heard and reasonably answered by the boss. So when management listens, subordinates will develop a sense of ownership in their workplace. Dan Bobinski, co-author of “Living Toad Free: Overcoming Resistance to Motivation” reveals that millions of dollars go down the drain simply due to poor listening. Because listening is so vital to workplace success, let us look at “sins” that get in the way of good verbal communication. These sins are: filtering, second guessing, discounting, relating, rehearsing, forecasting and placating.

Let us explain them.


Filtering occurs when a person’s mind is sifting through another’s words and tuning in only when he or she hears agreement. Second guessing refers to a situation where someone usually misses important details because he or she is too busy (a) imagining someone has hidden motives for saying what he is saying, and (b) trying to figure out what those hidden motives might be. Discounting is a ‘sin’ that occurs when a listener lacks respect for a speaker. Relating refers to a situation where someone who continually finds references from his or her own background and compares them to what the speaker is saying. Rehearsing is the ‘sin’ that blocks much listening as it is simply about waiting for the other speaker to finish what he or she is saying so that one can start talking again. Forecasting refers to a situation where someone takes an idea from the speaker and runs light years ahead of the topic at hand. Forecasting can stem from being bored with the subject matter, or simply because one’s mind automatically thinks ahead. Placating happens when someone agrees with everything anyone else says, just to avoid conflict.

Listening process and tips

You can develop your listening skills by developing the desire to listen; always letting the other person do most of the talking; not interrupting; learning active lis-

tening; asking for clarification if needed; and getting used to ‘listening’ for nonverbal messages body language. Listening requires a lot of practice and concentration. As a boss, you need to listen to your people and since they are the ones who do your work, they are very important people. So listen with total attention and take notes to record what has been said. Pay particular attention to tone of voice and body language since these may send signals more important than the words spoken. Ed Brodow, a motivational speaker and author of “Negotiate with Confidence,” says you must ensure that your own body language and tone of voice clearly send the message that you really care about what your subordinates are saying. When they stop talking, start asking questions to flesh out what you have heard. It is very normal for people to give you less than half of what they know about the problem, so your questions are essential to getting the detail. Then ask them if they might have a suggested solution or know someone who might.


As a manager, make it a habit to elicit your employees’ commitment by attentively listening to them all the time. Listen with the intention to understand, not to hastily reply. PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.



Addressing workplace group conflict effectively

NLY very few workplace situations are as annoying as belonging to a team experiencing conflict. Conflict disrupts productivity and leads to frustration. It is noteworthy that there are no quick fixes for this. There are typically many reasons for team conflict. The desire to make one’s feelings known is the first step towards solutions. Gary Harper, author of “The Joy of Conflict Resolution: Transforming Victims, Villains, and Heroes in the Workplace and at Home”, says in conflict, each person has his or her story and people tend to see themselves as either the innocent victim or perhaps the righteous hero.

Dealing with conflict

Irrespective of the level of the conflict, the first step in conflict management is simply to deal with it. Dianna Booher, author of “Get a Life without Sacrificing Your Career,” educates that there are two key concepts here: sensitivity and willingness to resolve the situation. Those who have their eyes, ears, and minds open will see what others do not. Having a good sense of your surroundings and associates is the best way to recognise when and how conflicts arise. The willingness to act intelligently and decisively is equally important. While many are contented to watch, wait, and wonder, effective professionals get involved. They solve problems rather than let them simmer.

Action teams

By Goke Ilesanmi

When companies first encounter a problem they need to solve it in order to grow, they have to find out how to get the right information on the problem, how to come up with solution options, and how to implement the selected solution. According to John Mautner, a profit-improvement expert, author and founder of Cycle of Success Institute, action teams can perform this task because they are well-structured groups meant to address business management problems. If you truly want to change your company, then adopt the action team concept. The team will normally meet for four to six weeks, concentrating on just a single problem. Meetings should be held once a week and limited to one hour. At the end of each meeting, if needed, assignments are given to team members to complete before the next meeting. This keeps everyone actively involved in solving the problem.


The action team normally consists of four to six people, and each member should have some stake in the assigned problem, but it can be peripheral. Mautner says if the problem happens to deal with inventory, you may have people from shipping, manufacturing, inventory management, purchasing and accounting since they each deal with inventory in one way or the other. What you do not want is a

team made up entirely of the responsible department, in this case, inventory management. Also, team members should come from a variety of levels, not just from management. During team activities, all team members should be considered to be on the same level, rather than on their level in the company outside the team. In an action team, each member is equal—there is no rank in the team.


When it comes to the roles that employees will hold in the team, the first one to fill is that of the team leader. This is the person who must keep the meetings moving forward and ensure that all members are involved. The focus should be to look forwards to solutions rather than rehashing problems once they have been clearly identified. The team leader must also be prepared to hold members accountable for their performance when necessary. When choosing a team leader, select someone who has emotional intelligence and reputation for high performance. Another critical position in the team is that of the secretary. This person is responsible for capturing the meeting proceedings. These written minutes and assignments should be distributed to every person in the team not later than 24 hours after the meeting so that everyone knows his or her tasks for that week. The secretary can be selected by the leader at the first team meeting.


To start the problem-solving process with an action team, choose a problem. Ensure that you carefully word your “problem to be solved” so that there is a clear understanding of the expected results of your action team. Then send out an e-mail to all selected members of the team, requesting their participation in the team. At the first meeting, you should brief team members on the importance of their assistance in the team, noting that it is just as important, if not even more than their normal responsibilities. Ensure that you hold the meetings during working hours so that members can understand that you are indirectly paying them to work on this important task. Each action team project should be scheduled as a standard fourweek process, although some flexibility may be required which is why about a period of six weeks is allowed.


You can easily solve the problem by having a schedule. Mautner suggests that the process should typically follow this outline: Week one involves clearly defining the problem and researching the issues and related data. This may include figuring out cost items and looking at different, possible solutions. Week two is used to review the issues and the data, identifying new or modified procedures, and to identify updates or changes required to reporting systems. You want to

track how the changes are affecting the business, so you need to establish some kind of measure to monitor. Week three is used to finalise the new procedures through group interaction. In other words, the team is starting to establish written procedures on new, required actions. Week four culminates with the final draft of all new procedures and an implementation of the plan. The result should be a new standard operating procedure and training on how to use the new process that is being created.

Final note

There are problems keeping organisations from reaching their goals. Relentlessly keeping a solution-oriented mindset is therefore essential to succeed in the corporate environment. Building a management team for your business

•GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425 Email: Website:



SOUTHWEST REPORT •A full text of the order sealing the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates to become Nigeria on November 22, 1913


NE hundred years ago, on 1st January 1914, the country, Nigeria, was born, but the order sealing the amalgamation of the then Southern and Northern protectorates to become the country of Nigeria was signed on November 22, 1913. The document was signed in London by the trio of King’s most Excellent Majesty Earl Spencer, Lord Stamfordham and Lord Emmott on behalf of the government of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland.. Obviously, no Nigerian was part of the deal. This, perhaps, accounts for the various agitations for national conferences by the various ethnic nationalities and other stakeholders within the country since shortly after it was born. Rather than abate, agitations for redefinition of terms of engagement get hotter by the day. As the nation basks in the ecstasy of the centennial celebration, The Nation reproduces the full text of the document that gave legal birth to Nigeria. NIGERIA PROTECTORATE ORDER IN COUNCIL, 1913 AT THE COURT AT WINDSOR CASTLE, THE 22ND DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1913. PRESENT, THE KING’ MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY EARL SPENCER, LORD STAMFORDHAM, LORD EMMOTT Whereas by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890, it is amongst other things, enacted that it shall be lawful for his Majesty, the king of hold, exercise, and has, or may at any time hereafter, have within a foreign country in the same and as an ample a manner as if His Majesty has led acquired that jurisdiction by the cession or conquest of territory. And whereas by an Order-in-Council bearing date: the Twenty-seventy day of December, 1889, and known as the Northern Nigeria Order-inCouncil, 1889, provision was made for the administration of the Government of the Territories known as Northern Nigeria. And whereas by further Order-in-Council bearing date, March, 1908, and October, 11, 1912, and known respectively as the Nigeria Northern Order-in-Council, 1908 and the Northern Nigeria Order-in-Council, 1912: the Northern Nigeria Order-in-Council, 1899, has been amended. And whereas by an Order-in-Council bearing date the Fourth day of February, 1911, and known as the Southern Nigeria Protectorate Order-in-Council, 1911, provision was made for the administration of the Government of the territories known as the protectorate of Southern Nigeria. And whereas by further Order-inCouncil bearing date, the Twentyeight day of March, 1912 and known as the Southern Nigeria protectorate Order-in-Council, 1912, the Southern Protectorate Order in Council, 1911, has been amended. And whereas by certain Letters Patent passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland bearing date at Westminister the Twenty-eight day of February, 1906, His late Majesty King Edward the Seventh did constitute the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of Southern Nigeria and provide for the Government thereof. And whereas his Majesty has this

How Nigeria came From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

day, by and with the advice of the Privy Council, been pleased to direct that letters patent be passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the purpose of providing, amongst other thing that the colony of Southern Nigeria, as in the said Letters Patent more fully appears and the draft of the said Letters Patent has this day been approved by His Majesty in Council. And whereas, it is expedient to make further and other provision for the peace, order, and good government of the territories, known as the Protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria. NOW THEREFORE, His Majesty, by virtue and in exercise of the power by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890, or otherwise in His Majesty vested, is pleased, by and with the advice of His Privy Council, to Order, and it is hereby Ordered, as follows: (i) The Order may be cited as the Nigeria Protectorate Order in Council, 1913. (ii) This Order shall apply to the territories of African which are bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west, north and north-east by the line of the frontier between the British and French territories, and on the east by the frontier between the British and Provided always that such part of the territories so bounded are within that portion of His Majesty’s Dominion which is known as the Colony of Nigeria, shall not be included within the limits of this Order. The order shall be known and described as the protectorate of Nigeria (iii) In this Order unless the subject or context otherwise requires. His Majesty includes His Majesty’s heir and successors. Secretary of State means one of His Majesty’s principal secretaries of state. Treaty include any treaty, convention, agreement or arrangement, made by or on behalf of her Majesty, with any civilised power, or with any native tribe, appended to any such treaty convention, agreement, or arrangement. Governor means the Governor and commander-in-chief for the time being of the colony of Nigeria and includes every person for the time being administering the Government of the said colony. ‘Colony’ means the colony of Nigeria. ‘Nigeria’ used without qualification means the colony and protectorate of Nigeria. (iv) The Governor and Commander-in-chief for the time being of the colony of Nigeria (hereinafter called the Governor) shall be the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the protectorate of Nigeria and he is hereby authorised, empowered


South East

•Map of Nigeria

and commanded to exercise on His Majesty’s behalf, all such powers and jurisdiction as His Majesty at any time before or after the passing of this order had or may have within the said territories, and to that end to make or cause to be taken all such measures and to do or cause to be done, all matters and things therein as are lawful and as in the interest of His Majesty’s service he may think expedient, subject to such instruction as he may from time to time receive from His Majesty or through a Secretary of State. (v) The Protectorate shall be divided into two or more portions, each under the immediate administration of a Lieutenant-Governor appointed by His Majesty. Provided that every Lieutenant-Governor shall be under control and authority of the Governor and subject to such instruction as he may from time receive from him. And provided further that it shall be within the discretion of the Governor, subject always to the approval of a secretary of State, to transfer a Lieutenant-Governor from the administration of one portion of the protectorate to another portion, and to vary the limits of the area admin-

It is expedient to make further and other provision for the peace, order, and good government of the territories, known as the Protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria

istered by a Lieutenant-Governor. (vi) Every person appointed to fill the office of Governor shall with all due solemnity, before entering on any of the duties of his office, cause the commission appointing him to be read and publish at such place in the protectorate as he may deem expedient, in the presence of the Chief Justice or some other Judge of Supreme Court, and of such members of the Executive Council to the colony and Protectorate as can conveniently attend, which being done, he shall then and there take before them the Oath of Allegiance in the form provided by an Act passed in the Session Holden in the Thirty-first and Thirtysecond years of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, intuited ‘An act to amend the Law relating to promissory Oaths, and likewise the usual Oath of Governor and for the due and impartial administration of Justice, which Oaths the said Chief Justice, or, if he be unavoidably absent, the senior member of the Executive Council then present, is hereby required to administer. (vii) The Executive council of the colony of Nigeria shall be and deemed to be the Executive Council of the Protectorate. (viii) It shall be lawful for the Governor, from time to time, by ordinance, to provide for the administration of justice, the raising of revenue, and generally for the peace, order and good government of the Protectorate, and of all persons therein, including the prohibition and punishment of acts tending to disturb the public peace. Provided as follows: 1. That nothing in any such ordinance or ordinances contained shall take away or affect any rights secured to any natives in the said territories by any treaties or agreement made on behalf or with the sanction of her Majesty, Queen Victoria. His Late Majesty King Edward the Seventh, or shall be and remain operative and in force, and all pledge and undertaking therein contained shall remain mutually binding on all parties to the same.

2. That all laws, Ordinances, Proclamations, bylaws and regulations of whatsoever nature in force at the date of the commencement of this force until repealed or revoked by or in pursuance of any Law or Ordinance passed by the Governor. 3. That the Governor in making Ordinances shall respect any native laws by which the civil relation of any native chiefs, tribes, or populations under His Majesty’s protection are now regulated, except so far as the same may be incompatible with the due exercises of His Majesty’s power and jurisdiction, or clearly injures the welfare of the said natives. 4. That every suit, action, complaint, matter, or things which shall be pending in any Court within the said territories at the commencement of this Order shall and may be proceeded within such court in like manner as if Order had not been passed. (ix) The right is hereby reserved to His Majesty to disallow any such Ordinance as aforesaid. Such disallowance shall be signified to the Governor through a Secretary of State, and shall take effect from time when the same shall be promulgated by the Governor. The right is also hereby reserved to His Majesty, with the advice of His Privy Council, from time to time to make all such laws or Ordinances as may appear to him necessary for the peace, order, and good government of the protectorate as fully as’ if this Order had not been made. (x) In the making and establishing of all such Ordinance the Governor shall conform to and observe all rules, regulations and directions in that behalf continued in any instruction under His Majesty’s Sign Manual and Signet. (xi) Whenever and so often as the Governor is absent from the seat of Government, or is absent in the colony, and any place in the protectorate of Nigeria in the exercise or discharge of any powers or duties conferred or imposed upon him by His Majesty or having obtained leave from His Majesty under His sign Manual and Signet or through a Sec-






into being in 1914

•Sir Ahmadu Bello

•Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

•Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe

•Chief Obafemi Awolowo

retary of State, is absent from the said passage as aforesaid, he may continue to exercise and shall be deemed to be capable of exercising all and every powers invested in him by this order in councilor by any instructions from His majesty and may be an instrument under the public seal appoint any person or person to be his Deputy or Deputies within and part the protectorate during such absence, and in that capacity to exercise, perform and execute for and on behalf of the Governor during such absence but no longer, all such powers and authorities by this order in councilor otherwise vested in the Governor as shall in any by such instrument be specified and limited, but no others. Every such Deputy

shall conform to and observe all such instructions as the Governor shall from time to time address to him for his guidance, provided nevertheless that by the appointment of a Deputy or Deputies as aforesaid the power and authority of the Governor shall not be abridged, altered or in any way affected otherwise than his majesty may at anytime hereafter think proper to direct. (xii) Whenever the office of Governor is vacant, or if the Governor is vacant, or if the Governor becomes incapable or is from any cause prevented from acting the duties of his office, then such person may be appointed under the royal sign manual and signed or if there be no such person so appointed, or if such person

be absent from Nigeria or unable to act, then the senior member of the Executive council present for the time being in Nigeria shall, during his Majesty’s pleasure, administer the government of the protectorate, first taking the oaths herein before directed to be taken by the Governor, and in the manner herein prescribed which being done, the acting Governor his hereby authorized, empowered and commanded to do and execute, during his Majesty’s pleasure, all things that belong to the office of Governor according to his majesty’s order and according to his Majesty’s instructions and law of the protectorate. (xiii) Whenever the office of the lieutenant Governor becomes vacant

or if a lieutenant-Government is administering the Government of the colony and protectorate or is absent from Nigeria or otherwise becomes incapable of or is for any cause prevented from performing the duties of his office, the Governor may, by an instrument under the public seal of the protectorate appoint another officer to act provisionally as lieutenant-Governor. Such officer shall cease to act as lieutenant-Governor as soon as either his majesty shall have appointed another officer to the office shall again be capable of performing the duties of the office,or the Governor shall appoint another officer to act provisionally as lieutenant-Governor. Such officer shall cease to act as lieu-

tenant-Governor as soon as either His Majesty shall have appointed another officer to the office shall again be capable of performing the duties of the office, or the Governor shall appoint another officer to act provisionally as lieutenant-Governor. (xiv) The Governor may constitute and appoint all such judges commissioners justices of the peace and other necessary officers as may be lawfully constituted and appointed by his Majesty, all of whom unless otherwise provided by law shall hold their officers during pleasure. (xv) The Governor may upon sufficient cause to him appearing, dismiss any public officer not appointed by virtue of a warrant from His Majesty whose pensionable emoluments do not exceed one hundred and fifty pounds of intended dismissal are definitely stead in writing, and communicated to the officer in order that he may have full opportunity of exculpating himself, and the matter is investigated by the governor with the aid of the head for the time being of the department in which the officer is serving. The Governor may, upon sufficient cause to him appearing, suspend from the exercise of his office, any person holding any office within the Protectorate whether appointed by virtue of any commission of Warrant from His Majesty, or in His Majesty’s name, or by any other mode of appointment. Such suspension shall continue and have effect only until His Majesty’s pleasure therein shall be signified to the Governor. If the suspension is confirmed by a Secretary of State, the Governor shall forthwith cause the officer to be so informed, and there upon his office shall became vacant. In proceeding to any such suspension, the Governor is strictly to observe the direction in the behalf given to him by any instruction from His Majesty signified through a Secretary of State. (xvi) When any crime or offence has been committed within the Protectorate, or for which the offender may be tried therein, the Governor may, as he shall see occasion, in His Majesty’s behalf, grant a pardon to any accomplice in such crime or often, who shall give such information as shall lead to the conviction of the principal offender, or of anyone of such offenders if more than one, and, further, may grant to any offender convicted in any court, or before any judge, justice, magistrate, or other officer within the Protectorate, a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions or any remission of the sentence passed on such offender, or any respite of the execution of such sentence, for such period as the Governor think fit, and may remit any fines, penalties, or forfeitures due or accrued to His Majesty. (xvii) The seal now or hereafter in use as the Public Seal of the Colony of Nigeria shall be and be deemed to be also the Public Seal of the Protectorate of Nigeria, and shall be used for sealing all things whatsoever that shall pass the said Seal. (xviii) This order shall come into operation of the First Day of January 1914, and shall be published in the Government Gazette; and the Governor shall give directions for the publication of this Order as such time or times as he thinks proper for giving due publicity thereto within the protectorate of Nigeria. (xix) The above-recited Order to Council of the Twenty-seventh day of December 1899, the Nineteenth day of March 1908, the fourth day of February 1911, the Twenty-eight day of March 1912 and the Eleventh day of October 1912,shall from the commencement of this Order be revoked, without prejudice to anything lawfully done thereunder. (xx) His Majesty may from time to time revoke, after, add to, or amend this Order. And the Right Honourable Lewies Harcourt, one of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, is to give the necessary directions herein accordingly.



SOUTHWEST REPORT Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, recently honoured 16 distinguished indigenes of the state at a colourful ceremony in Ado-Ekiti writes SULAIMAN SALAWUDEEN


HEY would be looked at twice, perhaps even thrice or more. At their ages, some other children had remained a subject of nagging comments and ceaseless worries of parents who must brood over unmet needs regarding unbecoming conducts. Master Joshua Olamiju and Miss Olayemi Elizabeth Ajayi are not such kind as they are clearly the two enfant freaks of this evening of awards and accolades. Fragile but not frail, their slim gaits and innocent visages easily gave them off as teenagers. They actually are, having just turned 17 years. Their attainments at such an early age made them the subject of ceaseless admiration and perhaps silent envy among the audience and dignitaries who had gathered at Lady Jibowu Hall, Governor’s Office Complex, Ado-Ekiti, state capital for the 2013 Merit Awards ceremony. Joshua booked a place as an Award recipient for having the best result in the last West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) with nine distinctions while Olayemi did, being one of the four who won a recent National Robotic Space Competition in Lagos and would consequently be representing Nigeria in Denmark at next year’s Space Competition. The two were among the sixteen eminent indigenes of the state that were selected from a fairly long list of 60 nominees. Another heavyweight on the awardees list was Professor Niyi Osundare, poet laureate and ebullient raconteur who, being unavoidably absent, was represented by his younger sibling, Dr. Foluso Osundare. The 13 others included late Professor Daniel Funmilayo Ojo, also known as Ojo Ugbole, a foremost educationist and first professor of Physics in Africa; and Professor. Olufunke Egunjobi, first female Plant Nematologist in Africa. Others included a radio presenter, Chief Akinlade Ojo also known as Erugale; late Chief Ojo Ajibola; an indigenous interior decorator, late Chief James Kolawole, renowned Ekiti music exponent; former scribe of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr Kunle Olajide; former president of the All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS), Elder Enoch Dare and a renowned medical practitioner, Dr Sanya Olurotimi. Also, on the list were retired Anglican Bishop of Lagos West, Reverend. Peter Adebiyi; elder statesman and reputed banker, Chief Bandele Falegan;business mogul, Chief Daniel Okoli and presenter and custodian of Ekiti dialect, Mrs Christian Ademulegun. Government Science College, Emure-Ekiti was also recognised as the best school in the last WASSCE while Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti bagged the most improved school with an upward movement in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) result from 9% in 2012 to 99.9% in 2013. It was an event not just of rousing claps and standing ovations for feats either long or recently attainment, it was also one of a union of classes: scholarship, culture and business as apparent from the line up of awardees.

•Master Olamiju flanked by parents

•Miss Olayemi Ajayi with parents

Teenagers shine as Ekiti rewards excellence At the colourful event were Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; his deputy, Professor Modupe Adelabu; Governor’s wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Secretary to the State Govbernment, Alhaji Ganiyu Owolabi; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Wale Omirin and the Head of Service, Mr. Olubunmi Famosanya. Also, present were the interim state chairman, All Progressives Congress, Chief Jide Awe; Commissioners, Special Advisers and Assistants, Permanent Secretaries and other ranking functionaries of the state. Speaking at the occasion, Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi stated that the awardees had done the state proud in their respective fields despite the moral decay which now characterises the society. Noting that the event would encourage coming generations to redouble efforts to propagate the good name of the state and project her image, the governor maintained that Ekiti people are honourable men and women, adding that it was time conscious efforts were made to project this positive image everywhere. Fayemi noted that the people of the state could redeem their lost heritage only by admitting that they have wandered a long way from who they were in the quest to admit cultures which were alien to the Ekiti values. According to him, the State Merit award was institutionalised not just

to celebrate the high achieving Ekiti indigenes but also as one of the means of restoring the primacy of values in the society. He said: “It is sad indeed to observe the sharp decline that our once highly revered culture and tradition has suffered in recent times. Our psyche has been so badly damaged by decades of misrule and the monetisation of our value system with our youth being most affected. It is on this note

that as one of the means of restoring the primacy of values in our society, we decided to institutionalise this Annual Awards”. The governor added that the award idea was relevant being one of several channels for advancing the efforts to rebuild a wholesome society upon the quintessential ideals which typify and ennoble Ekiti people. Congratulating the winners, the governor also commended Chief

Okoli, a non-indigene who had been resident in the state for over five decades and who got the award for making Ekiti his home. He emphasised that Ekiti had indeed become home to whole legion others like Okoli who, in the spirit of federalism, had equal rights and privileges as indigenes and had consequently supported the vibrancy and cosmopolitan outlook of the state. Also, in his remarks, the Commissioner for Special Duties and chairman of the Award committee, Chief Apalara Wole-Adewumi stated that the committee carried out adequate publicity for the nomination of the awardees and got 60 recommendations but pruned down the list to 27 which was forwarded to the governor for approval. The 16 finalists, according to WoleAdewumi, were drawn from different walks of life including academics/scholarship, research, profession, philanthropy, commerce, trade and industries, culture, arts and tradition, youth, sports/music and entertainment, governance and community development. Responding on behalf of other award recipients, Professor Egunjobi clarified that none of the awardees lobbied for the recognition, adding that their selection was a result of a painstaking process of recognising those who genuinely deserve awards. Egunjobi stated that most of those being awarded had earlier won similar awards from other entities in the past, noting that the one from the state of their birth however remained the best of them. She spoke: “I also look forward to a day that our country, Nigeria, will one day honour someone for his sacrifices for this country. That person who I expect that Nigeria will honour one day is our son, Kayode Fayemi. She assured that they would not let the state down but lives as true ambassadors. Prof Osundare’s representative, Foluso, stated that the award was significant to the recipient as it would put to bed possible opinions that as a social critic, he would not ordinarily be considered worthy and fitting. He said: “Many, indeed feel he does not deserve this kind of award as he, just like many others, had been swimming against the currents. Besides, my brother is not the type who accepts all kinds of awards especially when it comes from praise singers who do not believe in good governance and care for the masses. To have accepted the award is an implicit confidence in this government”. Olamiju Joshua explained that the journey had been anything but smooth, adding but “with God, all things are possible.” My advice to young ones is to take life easy and serious. After God, the next is their studies. Olayemi Ajayi, who expressed her delight on the accomplishment, said she dreamt of becoming one of the best female Obstetrics and Gynaecologists which would allow her advance the health of women and children.

Councillor floats free health mission,


SUPERVISORY Councilor for Health in IrepodunIfelodun Local Government area of Ekiti State, Alhaji Awolokun Akinsola Azeez has organised a one-day free health mission in Igede-Ekiti for residents across the council. The programme, which attracted scores of beneficiaries held at Ilamoye Health Centre in IgedeEkiti equally witnessed an empowerment programme, including cash gifts for some needy ones across the 12 towns making up the council. According to him, the purpose was to create awareness among the people that “health is wealth and people should be more interested in their health condition.”

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

Awolokun clarified that the state Governor Kayode Fayemi has sponsored a number of free health missions across the 16 councils of the state, an idea he said needed to be complemented at the council level by well-meaning individuals. He said: “Today, we are here to support Governor Kayode Fayemi in furthering the health is wealth programme which is contained in his free health missions. “Having been following the governor’s various health missions one would know that people at the grassroots have consistently turned out well for the programmes, meaning that they value their health.

“Further, as the council’s Supervisory Councilor for Health, I feel those I represent should have something to benefit directly from me. People are being treated for common ailments like Diabetes, Onchocerciasis called Narun in Yoruba and fever while there is also free testing and councelling for HIV and AIDS. Given what we have here, we can conveniently accommodate 1,000. “But there is an observation I have been making with our people. Without the health mission, people don’t patronise the hospitals. They don’t even deliver in the hospitals. They prefer religious and traditional homes. As a way out, the current administration in the council has now come up with some sort of





•Fayemi being welcomed to Ikere-Ekiti during the Town Hall meeting in Ikere Local Government Area

Excitement as Fayemi takes governance round Ekiti


T was an eye-opening trip. Major towns in Ekiti State were not spared. But more importantly, its outcome was roundly adjudged an exemplary lesson in people-centred governance. With infectious glee, the host residents were profuse in accolades, especially head-swelling panegyrics, for their “Action Governor” – Dr Kayode Fayemi. Reason: For sharing leadership baton with them. The foundation of the inspiring development was laid when, weeks back, the governor shared a whopping N300 million among over 82 towns for various developmental projects voluntarily initiated by each of the communities. It took place ceremoniously at Oye-Ekiti. Shortly after, a huge money was again distributed to the communities to consolidate the initiative. “This is a rare occurrence in the annals of governance. Rather than government dictating to the communities, it allowed them to think out projects that they felt would be of benefit to them and gave them funds to execute them under good supervision. It is a positive novelty that must be emulated,” said Hon Femi Ajibare, an Ikere-born executive assistant to the governor. The tumultuous welcome accorded Fayemi and his entourage at Ikere and other neighbouring towns, including Ise and Emure, which benefitted from the gesture, perhaps spoke volumes for its popularity. At Ikere, Commissioner for Inte-

By Dada Aladelokun

gration and Intergovernmental Affairs, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, a “son of the soil,” played the dual role of a co-host and co-visitor. Fayemi inaugurated some projects, including 10 units of lock-up shops at Afao–Ikere; two new health centres at Kajola, two new halls at the palace of the town’s monarch and a newly constructed skills acquisition centre at the School for the Blind. Fayemi visited the Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Adegoke Adegboye, who presented the community’s pains. But he praised Fayemi for the various projects in the town, adding that his people wanted the Ikere-Akure Road dualised. He also wants Ikere-Ilawe, Ikere-Ijan, and Ikere-Ijare roads rehabilitated, among other demands. In each of the communities, num-

bering over six scores, traditional rulers led their subjects – young and old – to receive him in what passed for carnivals. Market men and women, including farmers and artisans, were not left out of the revelry. As in the other towns, he visited with top officials in his administration, who defied the biting sun of the day, Fayemi took all the towns in Oye Local Government Area by pleasant storm. He stepped his feet on the 14 communities that make up the council area - Ayegbaju, Isan, Ilemesho, Ayede, Itaji, Oloje, Imojo, Oye, Ire, Ilupeju, Itapa, Osin, Omu and Ijelu. Orisunmibare, a rustic settlement that is bereft of notable elements of civilisation like electricity and good road was not left out. The residents beamed with hope at the sight of their governor who, before departing, vowed to turn their fortunes around before long.

In each of the communities, numbering over six scores, traditional rulers led their subjects – young and old – to receive him in what passed for carnivals. Market men and women, including farmers and artisans, were not left out of the revelry

‘ empowerment programme for constituents

enlightenment campaigns across the 12 towns in the council”, he said. Awolokun noted the reason for the empowerment was to support families whose businesses had wound up, adding that “whatever anyone can muster to remedy and repair lives, we should learn to do them within the shortest time”. One of the beneficiaries of the portable generators given out, Akanni Babatunde, explained it would support his barbing business, adding “however good you are, you have to have a generator to be taken as serious. I thank Alhaji for this great gift. May Allah continue to help him.” Another beneficiary, Iyabo Agbaje, maintained that the cash

gift would enable her return to her trade of frying yam by the roadside. I finished up my fund when one of my children took ill and needed care. By the time he became well again, I had spent all the money I used for my business.” Awolokun said further: “We will still give people empowerment today as well. I will present portable generator that can serve them at the Ilamoye Health Centre. Also, there are old people who are currently not receiving the Social Security Benefits. Thirty of such elders across communities in the council have been selected. “While about 200 primary school pupils will get free exercise books and pens, some youths and executive council members in Ward C in

Ilamoye will equally benefit a sum of a N100,000.” Meanwhile, Chief Akinwumi Michael Kola, Onchocerciasis Control Manager in IrepodunIfelodun council explained that Onchocerciasis is an ailment in which people should be more interested as it causes blindness in bits but very steadily. “This is a common affliction in the tropics which our people should show more interest in, saying “the disease is very dangerous. This is why we have decided to treat people afflicted with it as well. Those who are not able to get the drugs today can always come to the council. The drug which we are also giving here today is ever available and it is given free.”

After the interactions kicked-off at Ilasa in Ekiti East Local Government Area on November 1, they were rounded off in Ado Local Government Area with the refrain: “Fayemi carries the people along in the governance of the state.” The governor made it clear that he had put his hands on the plough “to do development for and with the people.” He added that his administration was committed without measure, to spreading development to every nook and cranny of the state, explaining that he decided to meet the people in their own communities to see how much impact his administration has made on them so far, inspect ongoing projects and find out from the people, their other needs. In Ekiti East Local Government Area, he visited Ilasa, Ikun-Oba, Araromi-Oke, Eda-Ile, Kota-Ekiti, Omuo-Oke, Ayegunle-Ahan, Isinbode and Omuo-Ekiti. Each of the communities presented their priority needs for inclusion in the 2014 Budget. As usual, the governor inaugurated many projects and commissioned some. He commissioned a civic centre at Ikun-Oba, a block of quarters at Eda-Ile and opened a viewing centre at Araromi-Oke, where he inspected some self-help projects under construction. At Omuo-Oke, his hosts demanded why the trailer park promised them was still in the pipeline. But the governor informed that the ongoing review of the design for the park caused the delay and assured that the contractor handling the project would soon make them smile, even as he would give the community more roads. It was also a carnival at the towns and villages in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area. Fayemi was praised for his administration’s developmental strides. It was the same encouraging outing at Igbemo, Orun, Afao, Are, Obo, Iworoko, Esure, Iropora, Awo, Eyio, Igede and Iyin. The Onigede of Igede, 80-year-old Oba Emmanuel Aladesuru, was full of prayers for Fayemi and other members of his cabinet. The Alare of Are, Oba Boluwade Adebiyi, said “there is no single town, village or community that can claim not to have been touched by Fayemi’s government.” Praise songs welcomed the governor to Afao. Chief Deji Fasuan, who

spoke for his people, said the town had reaped the fruits of the Fayemiled administration’s community empowerment initiatives. At Awo-Ekiti, the National President of Awo Development Union, Mr. Yemi Odetayo, was profound in appreciation for Fayemi for his accomplishments in the town as including the 16kilometre Awo-Iyin Road, construction of information centre, a block of classrooms and the payment of social security allowances to elderly members of the community, among others. So it was at Iyin, another major town. Radiating humility and awe as he sank into a seat amidst the town’s rulers in the presence of ecstatic residents, Fayemi watched as he was being praised for his landmark imprints on the life of Osin community. The town’s hall, which his administration recently renovated was the venue of the meeting. It was filled to capacity – songs, songs everywhere! Oba Philip Oyediran, who led his subjects in profuse encomiums on the governor, likened his administration’s services to the people to those witnessed in the days of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. However, the community played the proverbial Oliver Twist, demanding potable water and urgent rehabilitation of the road linking the town to Ire, a neighbouring community. It was the same story in Itapa. Fayemi got resounding commendation for the “radical reconstruction” of the town’s decrepit health centre, and his readiness to give its monarch’s palace a new look. Its traditional ruler, the Owatapa, Oba David Makanjuola, said Fayemi achievements so far did not surprise him. The monarch, who holds a Ph.D in International Relations, recalled that Fayemi was implacably neckdeep in political activism outside the shores of Nigeria during the late Abacha’s inglorious era. He noted amid nods of affirmation by his teeming subjects that the governor’s people-oriented programmes had brightened people’s faces. “Governor Fayemi won’t vacate the Government House until October 16, 2018!” An impressed resident thundered from the crowd that received the governor with hearty songs. But they gave the governor a challenge: He must waste no time to complete the reconstruction of Itapa-Ijelu Road. Fayemi’s stop-over at Isan, his hometown, seemingly took the grain off the saying that a prophet does not enjoy much reverence in his home. It was songs galore at the premises of St. Martin’s Catholic Nursery and Primary School, where he was hosted. The traditional ruler of the town, Oba Sunday Ajiboye, a legal practitioner with impressive academic qualifications, might have looked forward to that day. He was the cynosure of all eyes in his royal element. He donned his Sunday best. For him, it was a moment to express how much he cherishes the responsible son he has in Fayemi with an outpour of royal blessings on him in local dialect. “The very day the Shea butter encounters the sun, that same day it melts. Whoever hurls ashes would have same float back to him. Anyone born of a woman that thinks ill of you (Fayemi) won’t hatch his ploy before meeting his waterloo. You have done so much for Ekiti and we must protect you. Like God did to those rebellious children at Babel, confusion will hit the camp of all your enemies. On our part, we will keep protecting you as we are solidly behind you,” Oba Ajiboye, who likened the governor to the unshakable Rock of Gibraltar, affirmed amid rousing chant of “amen.” In all the communities, the governor thanked the people for playing their parts in the governance of the state through the communal initiatives because according to him, the people are the focal point of his ad•Continued on Page 40




Osun Farmers’ Festival reflecting govt’s

•Aregbesola and his deputy, Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori at the event

•Osun State Commissioner for Information, Sunday Akere (fourth right) a


OUNDING off the year 2013, in a grand style in Osogbo, farmers in Osun State have held their annual festival and food fair tagged farmers’ show. The ceremony held at the sprawling football field of the Technical College in Osogbo, the state capital last week was huge success. Farmers across the state came with their farm produce, raw and in processed form. The governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, his deputy, Otunba Grace Titi Laoye-Tomori, the Chief of Staff to the governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and the Head of Service, Mr. Sunday Olayinka Owoeye, and the chief host, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Wale Adedoyin among others were in attendance. According to the Coordinator, Quick Intervention Programme (QIIP), Mr. Dele Ogundipe, the farmers’ show was a reflection of the Aregbesola administration’s success in agriculture. He said: “Governor Rauf Aregbesola has assisted farmers a lot. His administration had used many platforms like Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (OREAP), Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP), Osun State Agricultural Development Corporation (OSSADEP) and many others to make farming attractive and lucrative. If we look at the number of participants at this year farmers’ show we can say without a contradiction that things have significantly improved in agriculture in the state. People were not forced or dragged to participate; they came of their own volition. For instance, rice would be grown twice a year unlike when it was once a year.” Enjoining more people, particularly youths to participate in farming, he said the state government’s resources are more focused than ever before on en-

•A pavilion at the Osun Farmers' festival From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

suring that farmers and the state are better off. By 2014 I can confidently say that there will be increase in agricultural produc-

tion.” To achieve optimum result in supporting farmers, the state government has encouraged framers to form cooperative groups. Under QIIP, no fewer than 77 of such cooperative groups known

as cluster farmers are in existence. In Ife Odan, 28 of such groups plant yam which are later processed into elubo (yam flour.) In Onilapa/Songbe, Egbedore Local Government Area, 22 cooperative groups of farmers plant

rice. In Kuta, Ayedire Local Government, farmers in 20 cooperative groups plant vegetable and in Oyan, Odo-Otin Local Government, 20 cooperative groups of farmers plant sweet potatoes. When the governor, Ogbeni




success in agric

•The demolished structures

Illegal demolition threatens peace in Akure


Akere (fourth right) at the Boluwaduro Local Government pavilion at the event

Governor Rauf Aregbesola has assisted farmers a lot. His administration had used many platforms like Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (OREAP), Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP), Osun State Agricultural Development Corporation (OSSADEP) and many others to make farming attractive and lucrative

‘ Rauf Aregbesola with his entourage was going round the pavilions to inspect product on exhibition, farmers interacted with him and some of them, apart from hailing him brought their challenges before him. Farmers in Iwo Local Government, who speacilaise in planting and exporting foreign vegetables like cucumber, water mellon, marrow, tonquer, candle, golden melon, sweet pepper and so on demanded marketing and financial support from the governor. Their leader, Mr. Kehinde Amuda, told Ogbeni Aregbesola to empower them because their products bring quick returns that youths are attracted to. In Ife East Local Government,

farmers, who mainly specialise on cocoa production, told the governor that there was increase in their yield in the last two years, attributing the development to government’s favourable policies, availability of farm inputs like fertilisers and herbicide. However, an agricultural extension worker, who preferred not to be mentioned complained that there are lots of “political farmers,” who deprived the real farmers access to inputs and consequently reduce the farmers’ productivity. He advised that when the government is giving out loans and other inputs the agricultural extension workers should always be involved because they are the ones who could identify the real farmers.

HE relative peace in Akure, the Ondo State is being threatened following illegal demolition of structures in the outskirts of the state capital. Last Saturday, residents of Onigari area, along Irese road woke up to see a bull dozer pulling down their buildings on a purported Court order allegedly obtained by one Dr. Olumide Abiola. As the earth-moving equipment commenced the mass destruction of the buildings, the aggrieved residents trooped out in thousands to protect their rights which were being trampled upon by Abiola. The buildings in question were built on a disputed family land. Owners of the buildings were said to have purchased their plots of land several years ago from the original owner, Late Madam Oluwamarin Famese, with some of her children also involved in the sale. It was learnt that the problem started when Late Famese died and her death paved way for one of the children Dr Abiola to institute a legal action against the other children among whom is Mr Ojo Omojowo, who is presently residing in the area and also owning several buildings there. At the end of the protracted crisis, the Court gave judgment that since the land had not been demarcated for everyone (in the family) to have his

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

or her own share, the entire land according to the presiding Judge Justice Yemi Akintan-Osadebe must be vested on the family with its head, Chief Moses Ogundulu as the person who has the prescribed authority to dispose any part of the land. Though, it was gathered that the said litigant is not the head of the family, he was said to have gone to Court without the knowledge of the owners of the existing structures on the land to obtain court order to take possession of the land. The court it was learnt was misled into believing that the owners of the buildings were duly served. It was a rude shock to the house owners when Policemen in large number led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Okuta Elerinla accompanied Dr Abiola to serve the Court Order to the people in order to take possession of their land. After few hours, some hefty men armed with dangerous weapons reportedly stormed the disputed area to ensure that some houses were pulled down. However, the timely intervention of Policemen from Okuta Elerinla, Ijapo Police Station and the Area Commander’s Office saved the situation from degenerating into bloody

skirmishes. No fewer than eight residents were allegedly macheted by the hoodlums and were rushed to nearby private hospital. However, calm was eventually restored on the orders of the Area Commander, Edward Ajegun, who promised that his office would write a comprehensive report with the advice of the Police Commissioner and Commissioner for Justice, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN). The affected residents have appealed to Governor Olusegun Mimiko to save their souls and urged him to investigate the true position on the issue for justice to prevail. They said the demolition of their buildings under any circumstance would bring untold hardship to them, particularly as most of the affected landlords are Public Servants who had obtained loans to provide shelter for themselves. The Legal Adviser to the Petitioners, Mr Dapo Agbede described the development as unfortunate, stressing that he has filed relevant papers to counter the action in Court and protest the injustice meted to his clients. He affirmed his trust in the Judiciary as the last hope of the common people. Agbede advised the affected people to maintain peace on the issue, promising that the issue would be resolve.

Former Speaker urges Nigerians to assist orphans, fetes 1,000 needy


ORMER Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), Basorun Muyiwa Oladipo, has urged wealthy Nigerians to emulate the giving spirit of an American donor, Bill Gate, and give towards the support of the needy members of the society. Oladipo who is a serving Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state, said when a needy and less-privileged Nigerian is lifted up from deprivation or lack, the society and the country are lifted up as well. According to him, the Government should not be left to bear the burden of helping the needy hence the propriety of individuals and corporate organisations lending a supportive hand. Speaking in Sagamu while launching Kokumo Oladipo Memorial Foundation in memory of his

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

late father, he recalled that if a well meaning individual had not taken up the responsibility of catering for him when he was orphaned at a tender age, his life would have been sharply differently from the success story it is today. The Foundation, he said, was initiated in remembrance of his late father Papa Kokumo who died in a fatal motor accident four years after the death of his mother, leaving him and four other of his siblings as orphans at a very tender age when parental love and guidance were most needed. Oladipo said: ”Bill Gate did not empower but he believed he could put his money in some places that can reduce maternal - child mortality and also fight malaria. If you

pull a life up, you have saved a generation.” At the event which also featured empowerment for adults as well as end of year party for 1,000 lessprivileged children and school pupils, he also noted that the Foundation would provide “healthcare and welfare services” to the needy indigenes and residents of Ogun State. According to Oladipo, in spite of the demise of his parents, God stood and supported him through the benevolence of kind hearted family members throughout the tough time. He noted that there were lots of less privileged children and orphans who may be going through similar ordeal but urged them to have courage, trust in God and have the determination to succeed irrespective of their challenges.





BDUL Ganiyu has been a rice farmer for a considerable number of years in the grassy area of Ise community, near Epe in Lagos State. He is considered by many local farmers around Ise to be an expert in rice production. Earnings from this occupation help him to take care of his family, especially in training his children in school. Through passion and dedication, Ganiyu has become successful in his farming venture. He has discovered that rice farming is more economically viable than other forms of occupation. But what processes does Ganiyu go through in the business of rice production? As if he was giving a lecture in a seminar he said: “The process is simple. Just prepare a nursery bed and plant the seeds. After three weeks, the seedlings are ready for transplanting. Note that it is better to plant them in a swampy area. The distance between the plants is one foot. “After three months, the rice matures and will be ready for harvesting. From the rice farm, you will harvest bags of unprocessed rice, after which you dry them and then pack them in sacks.” Ganiyu told The Nation that rice production could help Nigeria wriggle out of the squeezing poverty level. He opined that if everybody shows commitment to farming, there would be no unemployment or food shortage in Nigeria. According to him, he never had interest in farming, let alone rice farming until he lost his job as a professional accountant. He then met a farmer who introduced him to farming. He is one of the farmers involved in Commercial Agriculture Development Programme (CADP) and a product of the Rice for Job Initiative of the Lagos State government. His involvement in this gave him good exposure on agriculture, with emphasis on rice farming. He specializes in making ofada rice which has received wide acclaim. His farm produces rice which is processed and packaged into different kilograms ranging from 1kg, 2kg, 5kg and 10kg. The rice is properly par-boiled, milled, destoned and winnowed before packaging. Under the project, farmers receive seeds, fertiliser and other farm inputs. They are trained by extension officers who help in monitoring the progress of their project. The intervention of the Lagos State government through the Commercial Agriculture Development Project has really helped people. Rice is currently one of the country’s biggest imports. Government spends $450m annually to import 70 per cent of the rice is citizens consume. Observers have expressed the hope that the intervention could mark a turnaround in the country’s rice fortunes. Farmers such as Abdul Ganiyu are trained on how to save and re-invest in the business. Investigation reveals that residents of Lagos buy an average of 10,000 bags of rice monthly.

•Governor Fashola and Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan lawal at the commissioning of Imota Rice mill

The success story of Imota rice processing factory In order to boost rice production, farm settlements are springing up, thereby catering for the needs of Lagosians. The Lagos State government has inaugurated a rice processing factory at Imota in Ikorodu Local Government Area of the state. The factory has a capacity to produce 20,000 metric tons of rice per year. Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has said the rice mill which is first of its kind in South-west Nigeria, was built with the standard based on Korean technology to process 20,000 tons of paddy rice per year, with additional 10,000 ton storage facility and 45,000 tons capacity storage for finished rice. “We have completed the test-run of the factory and are pleased to report that the main product (well-polished rice) compares with the best quality rice from any part of the world. Operating optimally, the rice mill is estimated to produce between 350,000 and 400,000 bags of rice per year,” he said. Built by a team of experts from South Korea, the Imota integrated rice mill

Excitement as Fayemi takes governance round Ekiti •Continued from Page 37 ministration. Not a few, especially in the opposing political camps, were of the insinuation that he might have begun his re-election strategies under the canopy of the visit. But the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Olayinka Oyebode laughed it off, stating that Fayemi had developed a habit of holding meetings with the communities to feel their pulse. Oyebode explained: “The tour is to enable the governor inspect ongoing projects, commission completed projects and get the input of the various communities into the 2014 Budget. At such meetings, the communities would present their lists of priority projects for inclusion in the 2014 Budget. The tour of communities and the town hall

meetings have become an annual event for the governor since the maiden edition in November 2011. He is running an open administration. “Oftentimes, the governor has reiterated that his plans are to “do government with the people, not do government to the people.” To him, it is inappropriate for a governor to just sit down in his cozy office in state capital and assume that he knows all the needs of the people even when the people’s needs actually differ from his perception. The governor, Oyebode quoted, once said: “This reason for the annual town hall meetings is to enable the communities have direct input in the budget preparations, so that the budget would in reality be owned by the people and serve their needs.”

Rice production in Lagos has witnessed a significant increase in the last four years as a result of the introduction of technologies which have changed the processes involved in the cultivation and management of rice. DANIEL ESSIET reports. was completed in January 2012. A study conducted in August 2007 where it was found out that Lagos State population of over 20 million as at then consumes 600,000 metric tons of per boiled milled rice. This translates to 12 million bags of 50 kg rice. Also of significant was that the consumption per head in Lagos was put at 34 kg per person per year, which was the highest in Nigeria. In 2008 when the cost of imported rice jumped in the international market from $5,000 to $1,000 per ton, domestic price of bag of rice jumped from N7, 000 to N16, 000. As expected, Lagosians were most affected. All these support the fact that Lagos is a megacity with predominantly urban population and the consumers’ preferred staple food is rice. It has been assumed that half of all imported rice is sold in Lagos and that all rice brought in legally and illegally through the land borders are consumed in Lagos. Going by these assumptions, it can be said that current consumption of rice in Lagos State can be as much as 1million metric tons per year considering the state’s current population estimate of 20 million. The Project Officer, Rice for Jobs Project, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Mr. Bola Akinola said the mill processes 2.5 tons of paddy rice per hour which consists of huller, de-stoner polisher, grader, colour sorter and automated bagging and weighing bridge. The following are inclusive in the package: 10-ton-soaking tank, a set of per-boiler and steamer, 15- ton capacity drier and 60-ton silo attached to the factory. The factory was built with two other structures for paddy rice storage of 10,000 tons capacity and finished rice store cum office space. The complex has 600KVA generator, an industrial borehole and two sets of water tanks; a steel over-head tank of 55,000 litres capacity and sets of ground plastic tanks with a total capacity of

45,000 litres. The mill, with optimum operating capacity can process up to 20,000 tons of rice per year and was estimated to generate at least 50,000 different employment opportunities. Apart from the whole grain table rice, the following by products are equally money earners; broken rice used for rice pudding, tuwo, ground rice and rice flour. Rice ban; highly sought after for livestock feeds, oil extra and the cosmetic industry, rice husk used as energy for power generation (with appropriate technology), used in the livestock industry and for briquettes or fuel stock in furnace. In view of the land constraint confronting agricultural development in the state, he said the government has acquired lands in other states for the supply of paddy. The improved road to the mill has been a boon to the project. The improvement means that an asphaltpaved highway route is needed between Ketu and Ikorodu roads in the future. Speaking with our correspondent, the State Project Coordinator, (CADP), Mr. Kehinde Ogunyinka said the project will support the rice mill to improve on its finished products. With this, investors will be able to create more warehouse storage facilities, buying industrial driers and promoting a brand that stands for quality. He reiterated that it was the vision of the Lagos State government to become a leading hub for excellent, highyielding rice varieties that also have good grain quality. Farmers in Lagos are harvesting at least 3,000 tons of high quality of rice monthly. The benefits of the state government’s interventions are visible as truckloads of rice leave the various farming locations across the state to the market place on daily basis. Within the farming settlements, the farmers are becoming self-reliant and accepting the responsibilities and rights of land ownership. The govern-

ment supports the establishment of selfmanaged, autonomous producer cooperatives. Farmers are being empowered on how to grow rice and where to sell them. A team member, Staple Crops Processing Zones, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Adamu Ibrahim said Lagos is strategically located, providing foreign investors with an ideal platform to invest in Africa. He said Lagos is one of the states the government has chosen to site a Staple Crops Processing Zones for rice to enable processors to establish their processing plants. He assured that the Federal Government would prioritise basic infrastructure in the rice zone. He further said the Federal Government is prepared to support the Lagos State Government to turn its rice capacity up a notch to improve food security by establishing a regional rice development hub. He said the Federal Government will support the Lagos State government to improve rice production and support the fight against food insecurity. He said Federal Government shares the same vision to provide sustainable methods of growing rice to improve the well-being of rice producers and consumers. He was optimistic the regional hub will emerge from Imota to substantially contribute to the development of the rice sector. He said the government chose to invest in Lagos as a result of multiple factors. The state is socially and politically stable and it has an excellent infrastructure which allows investors to set up operations rapidly. Ibrahim said the Federal Government wants to support an expansion project within the proposed industrial free zone including Imota rice processing mill to attract private investors to establish improved facilities, collective marketing and high quality machines to process rice. Watchers of agricultural development, cultivation, processing and commercialisation of the high grade and nutritious rice in Lagos have said that the project has been a success, even as they agreed that the project has changed the landscape of the agro-industry and it is contributing to food security.








The next general election is a year away. But, the country is already enveloped in tension. The scramble for power is heating up the polity. The political class is swimming in a pool of controversy and crises. Elected officials are dissipating more energy on conflict resolution, instead of governance. Some circumstances may transform second term governors into lame duck administrators, with the succession battle engaging their time and attention. Dominant political parties are glued to the drawing board, scheming and orchestrating defections. The language of the ruling party is continuity. But the opposition is also loud in its persistent struggle for power shift. It is a year of ego war and media battle. Already, the umpire has alerted the country to the imminence of fractional elections, owing to the growing insecurity in the Northeast geo-political zone. Many state functions are now platforms for political mobilisation. Ambitious politicians are saving for the rainy day, fortifying personal political structures and gathering civilian armies. The polity may be suffocated by the stiff competition for political control. The fragility of political morality on the part of significant actors locked in the protracted battle for power and supremacy may become the nation’s albatross. In all these permutations, where lies the interest of the common man? Will these political activities enhance democratic consolidation and foster political stability or serve as the tonic for centrifugal forces bent on capitalising on the weakness of the lopsided federal arrangement to plot disintegration as predicted by foreign agencies? In this projections into 2014, Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU and Assistant Editor LEKE SALAUDEEN highlight important political events that will have far-reaching impact on governance, electoral democracy and socio-economic and political wellbeing of the people.


ANY critical issues and events will shape politics this year. Indisputably, the unresolved conflicts and logjams of 2013 will be carried over to the year. 2014 is a prelude to the election year, 2015, when 31 states will elect governors and federal and state legislators at the general elections. The staggered polls attested to the antecedents of an anxious polity eluded by the sanctity of the ballot box. Political crises may create more economic hullabaloos, particularly in an atmosphere of national insecurity. The unresolved national question will remain a trigger for passion. The centenary celebrations may only remind Nigerians about the mistake of 1914 and status of Nigeria as an amalgam of incompatible social formations lacking in national outlook and clamouring for autonomy and identities, instead of exploring the opportunities for national renewal, cohesion and unity. The way and manner these issues and crises of development and nation-building are strategically handled by the competing blocs or managed by the institutions of democracy in the national interest will either make or mar the political process. What is required to navigate the ship of state and prevent it from hitting the rock by the controlling power bloc is courage, patriotism, hard work, creative ingenuity and statesmanship on the party of the Commander-in-Chief. In 2013 and beyond, Nigeria will need a transformational leader in the true sense of the word. The major issues and events that will shape the response of stakeholders to the political milieu include the on-going political realignments, Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections, the national conference, the appointment of new ministers, the registration of more political parties, the constitution review, local government elections, the release of election time-table by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the release of nomination guidelines by parties, party conventions and electioneering campaigns.

Political realignment Ahead of the general elections, there will be more political alignments, defections or cross-carpeting. Already, five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives have defected to the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the new year, the tremor may hit the Senate, where many senators have openly identified with the opposition. Parliamentary sources have hinted that 22 senators have resolved to dump the ruling party. Besides, some mushroom political parties are likely to merge with either the PDP

• Dr Jonathan

• Sambo

• Gen. Buhari

Obi is an ally of President Goodluck Jonathan. There are speculations that that he will be drafted into the President’s campaign for second term, when he declares his ambition for a second term. The new governor will battle with legitimacy crisis. Already, the PDP candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye, and his APC counterpart, Senator Chris Ngige, are challenging his victory in the court. Domestic and foreign observers did not give the INEC a pas mark over the controversial Anambra State governorship election. It was severely flawed. The INEC boss, Prof. Attahiru Jega, handed an electoral officer to the police for prosecution. Although a supplementary election was conducted, it could not provide an adequate remedy for the electoral disaster. It is ironical that Obi, who fought protracted legal battles to reclaim his stolen mandate is handing over to a governor largely perceived as a product of a poll marred by irregularities. The poll in the Southeast state has shaken the confidence of the people about INEC’s competence and capacity to conduct free and fair elections in the future.

Ekiti, Osun governorship polls

• Chief Akande

• Asiwaju Tinubu

• Prof. Jega

Will there be governance this year?

or the APC. Others may also explore the opportunities for alliances or accord. The fusion or merger of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) into the APC has changed the face of politics. Today, the presence of other light weight parties notwithstanding, Nigeria is on the fast lane to twoparty system. The two-party system does not mean that smaller parties will not warm the INEC register. But they will lack the strength and basis for seeking federal power. For instance, the Labour Party (LP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) are not showing interest in the presidential contest, except as appendages of the ruling PDP. The PDP is in a turmoil. It is likely to lose more states as more governors may defect to the APC. Henceforth,

‘What is required to navigate the ship of state and prevent it from hitting the rock by the controlling power bloc is courage, patriotism, hard work, creative ingenuity and statesmanship on the party of the Commander-in-Chief. In 2013 and beyond, Nigeria will need a transformational leader in the true sense of the word’ the Presidency may face heat from the National Assembly because the PDP may lose its majority status in

the Senate. OWEVER, the year posses challenges to the APC. In Sokoto, Adamawa, Rivers, Kano and Kwara states, the party is expected to reconcile political foes, who now cohabit in the same progressive camp. There are interim executive committees in place at the federal, state, local government and ward levels. But, during the proposed congress, the new leadership should reflect the vested interests. The only way to do that is to prevent politics of exclusion in intraparty politics.


Obi out, Obiano in In March, Anambra State Governor Peter Obi’s two-term tenure will expire. He will be succeeded by the banker-turned politician and governor-elect, Dr. Willy Obiano.

The governorship election in Ekiti and Osun states is expected to hold between June and July. The election will offer the INEC the opportunity to redeem its battered image, following the bungling of the Anambra exercise and its shoddy performance in the Delta Central senatorial by-election. The elections will put to test the strength and the popularity of the APC in both states. The alliance between the PDP and LP will manifest during the election. Already, the LP in Osun State has indicated its readiness to team up with the PDP to confront the APC at the poll. Currently, APC has a firm grip of the Southwest. It is its stronghold. Thus, the party will do everything possible retain power in the region. But the PDP is also not relenting. In Osun, Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been endorsed for the governorship poll by the party and other stakeholders. The party members have been mobilising support for his second term, based on his performance in office. However, when the party releases the guidelines, some chieftains may also join the race in the Osun APC, with the motive of using it for political bargaining. Aregbesola’s major challenger will come from the PDP. The party is bitter over its deposition from power in 2010. The aspirants on the field in the party include former Deputy Governor Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Olasunkanmi •Continued on page 51




•Mark •Continued from page 50

Akinlabi, former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Mr. Niyi Owolade, Mr. former Secretary to Government Fatai Akinbade and former House of Representatives member Hon. Oluwole Oke. N Ekiti, the popularity of Governor Kayode Fayemi is soaring. His people-friendly and developmental programmes have endeared the administration to the people from the 16 local governments. Fayemi has been endorsed for a second term on merit by the party, traditional rulers, women groups and youths across the state. However, cracks have appeared on the wall of the APC in Ekitiland. Recently, his compatriot and House of Representatives member, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, has defected from the camp to the LP to contest the governorship. Historically, whenever there is a split in the progressive camp in the Southwest, the next election may become hectic or violent. Following the split in the defunct Action Group in 1962, the 1964 federal election and 1965 regional polls were chaotic. Following the parting of ways by the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin and his deputy, the late Chief Akin Omoboriowo in 1982 the 1983 election in Ondo State became a war of sorts. In 2007, when some notable governorship aspirants defected from the AC to the PDP in Ekiti, the election was rigged. Apart from Bamidele, a former disciple of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the governor of Ekiti also has the PDP flag bearer to contend with. PDP aspirants include former Governor Ayo Fayose, Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, former Afenifere National Publicity Secretary prince Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Ayo Arise, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Chief Abiodun Aluko, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni and Mrs. Biodun Olujimi.


•Dr Fayemi

The national conference will hold in the first quarter of the year as announced by President Jonathan. The venue will be Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference chaired by Senator Femi Okurounmu has been submitted. The white paper on it is not yet out. Analysts have continued to raise puzzles: What will be the time frame? How many delegates? How will they be selected? Will delegates come from the ethnic nationalities? How many ethnic nationalities are identifiable? How will they be selected? Will government have nominees? Will there be no-go areas? Will it be sovereign or a mere talk show or a jamboree? Will the outcome be subjected to a referendum or the National Assembly as disclosed by the President? Will the conference be guided to rail road the country into a six or seven-year single term? Can the conference


Will there be governance this year? ‘The centenary celebrations may only remind Nigerians about the mistake of 1914 and status of Nigeria as an amalgam of incompatible social formations lacking in national outlook and clamouring for autonomy and identities, instead of exploring the opportunities for national renewal, cohesion and unity’


National conference



produce a peoples’ constitution? The opposition will reiterate its objection to the proposed dialogue in the new year. It is believed that the President turned around to support a national conference, based on his belief that it will shore up the image of its administration. However, despite the fact that the nation has witnessed many national conferences, their reports have ended up in a dustbin. Will this dialogue make a difference? Time will tell.

Constitution review The review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly is an unfinished business. It started two years ago. The exercise will continue this year. The two chambers of the National Assembly will set up a joint committee to harmonise different positions taken on different issues by the Senate and House of Representatives. These include the six-year tenure single term for President and governors and creation of new states, which the House rejected. The report of the joint committee will be subjected to ratification by two-third of the 36 States House of Assembly before the constitution is amended. But, what will be the relationship between the National Assembly, which is amending the constitution, and the national conference, which is also working towards a new constitution? Analysts have opined that the constitution review may turn out to be an exercise in futility.

Appointment of new ministers President Goodluck Jonathan will appoint new ministers to fill the existing vacancies in the Federal Executive Council. The President sacked seven ministers in September, last year. One of the ministers resigned to take up an international


appointment. Observers say the sack of the ministers was a fall-out of the split in the PDP. The affected ministers were those sponsored by the governors and party leaders that were locked in political battle with the President and the leadership of the PDP. The new ministers are expected to come from Jigawa, Osun, Kano, Sokoto, Kwara, Adamawa, Niger and Adamawa states. The reconstitution of the cabinet is likely to give states like Lagos the opportunity of having an indigene in the Federal Executive Council.

Registration of new political parties


HE 1999 Constitution provides for a multi-party system. With the 2015 elections lurking around, new political parties may come on board, if they meet the INEC requirements for registration. Already, 30 political parties are on the register. Only five have representatives in the National Assembly. In 2012, the electoral commission deregistered 35 political parties. Their offence was that they were not assets, but liabilities, since they could not win any elective positions at federal and state levels. Last year, If the words of Jega are anything to go by, the agency may deregister more political parties. According to a school of thought, some people have registered parties, not because they wanted to vie for positions or win power, but because they coveted the grant paid political parties by the INEC before and after elections.

INEC guidelines on 2015 elections

election, at least, six months before the exercise. These include the timeframe for party congresses and conventions, primaries for elective positions, and submission of names of candidates. The INEC has to screen the candidates, give clearance to those that meet the criteria and give room for parties to provide substitutes for those disqualified. The Commission is expected to release the election time-table in the third quarter of the year.

Political campaigns The electoral commission is expected to lift the ban on the electioneering by August, that is, six months before the commencement of the elections. The agency is also expected to issue guidelines and monitor campaign activities, particularly the use of language while canvassing for votes, the maximum amount a candidate should spend on campaign, the accessibility of opposition parties to government owned-media and sanctions for electoral violence.

Succession battles The stage is set for the succession battle, especially in states where the governor’s second term will expire in 2015. There will be an upsurge in political activities, clash of interest, scheming and back stabbing. Many ministers and commissioners will resign to contest for the governorship and parliamentary elections. Out-going governors, including Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Theodore Orji (Abia), and Gabriel Suswan (Benue) are believed to be warming up for the Senate.

Battle for Presidency The 2015 general elections may hold between January and FebruThere are indications that Presiary. The electoral umpire is expected to release guidelines on the dent Jonathan will soon declare his

interest in a second term, the crisis rocking his party notwithstanding. This year, the North will intensify its agitation for power shift. The battle for the Presidency will polarise the ruling party and the polity, with some people appealing to ethnic and religious sentiments. There will also be pockets of agitations for the exalted office by some politicians from the Southeast for the fun of it. Their argument has always been that, except when the late Dr Nnamdi Azikwe served as the ceremonial President for six months after independence and the late Gen. Thomas AguiyiIronsi for another six months, the zone has not produced an executive President.

Council elections The agitation for council elections will continue. In the last eight years, many states have avoided the grassroots polls. For example, Anambra State has been postponing the election, since Obi came to power. He has promised to hold the election this month. Oyo State may also hold it, if the court order restricting the state government from reconstituting the state electoral commission is vacated. Members of the commission appointed by former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala had sued the state government over its dissolution. There are also agitations for the polls in Osun and Ekiti states. Ekiti would have conducted the election, if the PDP had not sued the government over the composition of the state electoral agency.

APC National Convention The major opposition party, the APC, will hold its inaugural national convention in Abuja this year. The convention will trail the ward, council, and state congresses. The new leadership that will be elected or selected at the convention will replace the interim leadership.

Election and security The security situation may shape politics in troubled spots, especially in the North. Last year, there was tension over the spate of killings, bombings and kidnappings in many parts of the country. In the North, the fear of the dreadful sect, Boko Haram, became the beginning of wisdom. In the South, kidnapping has become a lucrative business. Some political gladiators in the South also faced the wrath of kidnappers. The Federal government is expected to review its security strategy and introduce new measures aimed at reducing terrorism. The safety of the environment will determine the political atmosphere of the country.



POLITICS In this piece, former Minister of Aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode contends that Nigeria will achieve greatness, if its diverse people have faith in God, develop the institutions of democracy and thread the path of the rule of law.

Hope springs eternal T

HERE is so much death in this country. So many tears. So much evil. So much betrayal. So much sadness and so many tragedies. So much corruption and deceit. So many shattered dreams, broken hearts and wounded souls. So much injustice and insensitivity. So much greed and want. So much bloodshed, blood-letting and blood-spilling. Welcome to Nigeria- the Federal Republic of Shattered Dreams. A country in which sadism, failure, iniquity, injustice, wickedness, persecution, cover-ups, lies and abuse of power are enthroned. A land in which “men of God” do not pray but instead sell the anointing and buy private jets. A country where common decency, kindness and human compassion has no place. A nation in which the rulers pay homage to the baphomet and make open sacrifices to Satan. A country where ignorance and mediocrity is exalted and in which excellence and knowledge is scorned. A nation in which truth has no place and in which those that tell it are hated and treated with contempt. I weep for my country and each day I pray that God delivers her from the blood-sucking and relentless demons that plague and afflict her. Yet, despite all, hope springs eternal. Today, our nation stands at a crossroad and it is left for us to decide which path we choose to take. Do we take the path of despair and dishonour and give up on our country? Or do we rise above it all and latch on to the promises of God for our land and for our people? With biting poverty, mounting hopelessness, a bleeding economy, youth restiveness, unprecedented violence, brazen acts of terrorism and all manner of vices and evil thriving in the land one wonders how things got so bad. The foundation for our current situation was laid many years ago and since that time we have seen so much suffering and failure at virtually all levels. We were plagued with leaders who lacked vision, who lacked intellect, who lacked sincerity of purpose and who were antagonistic to those that dared to challenge their visionless and purposeless policies. Our country is currently bedevilled with so much negativity that it is easy to look around and just give up. Yet I say that we must never give up because “hope springs eternal”. The bible says though the night may be dark yet “joy comes in the morning”. The wise ones say you cannot have a message without a mess. You cannot have a testimony without a test. You cannot get to the top of the mountain without first going to the bottom of the valley. This is true. And out of Nigeria’s “mess” shall surely come her “message”. Out of Nigeria’s “test” shall surely come her “testimony”. We have been to the “bottom of the valley” and therefore we shall get to the “top of the mountain”. Our dream for a better Nigeria shall never die and neither can our collective prayers

be in vain. I refuse to give up because I know that the God that I serve never fails. He alone rules in the affairs of men. He alone forges the destiny of nations. Out of a deep void and formlessness He ordered the creation of the world. He established it by the power of His word and He gave us dominion over it. In the same way He created Nigeria for His purpose and for His glory and that purpose and glory shall surely be established. It shall come to pass and it will be manifest to the entire world. We shall see it and we shall be established in it as a nation and as a people. If God can do it for others, He can do it for us too. We can be great and, by the grace of God, we shall be great. This is my dream and this is what I see. And believe me when I tell you that it is prophetic. A Nigeria where every man and woman, regardless of faith, ethnicity, status or political persuasion finds a common cause and relishes in our collective humanity. A Nigeria where the rich have a conscience and the poor have hope. A Nigeria where joy and peace reign supreme and where bombings and killings are a thing of the past. A Nigeria where the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac and the adherents of the two great Abrahamic faiths of Islam and Christianity live together in peace, harmony and mutual respect. A Nigeria where the secularity of the state is respected yet where God is revered and honoured by all. A Nigeria where the knowledge and fear of the Living God reigns in the hearts and minds of the people. A Nigeria where every man is his brother’s keeper, where leaders show compassion to those that they lead, where justice is done to all and where political persecution has no place. A Nigeria where decency is rewarded, where dissent is tolerated, where non-conformity is encouraged and where equity is enthroned. That is the Nigeria of my dream. A Nigeria where youth unemployment is low and where every individual, no matter how high or low, can aspire to any position and live his or her dream. That is the Nigeria of my dream. A Nigeria where human life and human dignity is sacrosanct and where fairness is the watchword of every soul. That is the Nigeria of my dream. I have no fears about the future of this great nation because the God that I serve never fails.

• Fani-Kayode

The bible says the nations are “as a drop of water before Him”. He sits above the circles of the earth and He counts the earth as His footstool. Yet despite His sheer awesomeness and majesty, with Him lies great compassion and mercy. Once we return to Him, acknowledge Him, honour Him and are led and guided by Him, He will restore us and shower us with His blessings. The Lord awaits us to make the right choice. We either continue to wallow in selfdelusion, wickedness, greed, murder, the persecution of perceived enemies, the abuse of power, evil and insensitivity or we desist from our wicked ways and turn to Him. I am persuaded that once we make the right choice our date with destiny, as a people and as a nation, will come far sooner than we can possibly imagine. In his book titled “The Wretched of the Earth” Frantz Fanon said the following“each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover it’s mission and fulfill it or betray it.” Past generations in Nigeria have not lived up to expectation. This is the bitter truth. Yet there is still hope as long as we have faith. That hope and faith is our blessed assurance and it lives in our minds and hearts. We know that the Lord will fix it. We know that He is “more than able”. We know that He is a man of war whom none can resist and we know that He restores, redeems and rebuilds even the most broken and wretched walls. Dr. Martin Luther King jnr., after delivering his celebrated and inspiring “I have a dream” speech, was felled by an assassin’s bullet on April 4 1968. To those that killed him, his dream

‘I have a dream for Nigeria. I have a dream that one day Nigerians will see themselves as Nigerians before anything else and they will not regard their country and its people as a collection of strange bedfellows that do not love or trust one another’

died with him. Yet they were wrong. They did not know that great dreams, once birthed, never die. That is why the Word of God said “if the princes of this world had known they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory”. If those that murdered Jesus, and the devil that inspired them to do it, had known that He would honour His word and rise up three days later they would not have crucified him. They persecuted Him, they humiliated Him, they beat Him, they tortured Him, they spat on Him and they killed Him yet they could not kill His dream or abort His mission. His dream lived on and became a reality for all mankind to see. It was the same with Martin Luther King. They killed him but his mission had already been achieved and his vision came to pass 45 years after his sacrificial and selfless death. This is indeed the stuff of which dreams are made. Great things are birthed in great dreams and if you dare to dream nothing is impossible. I have a dream for Nigeria. I have a dream that one day Nigerians will see themselves as Nigerians before anything else and they will not regard their country and its people as a collection of strange bed-fellows that do not love, or trust one another. Yet this dream can only be fulfilled when those amongst us that call ourselves leaders preach, practice and display discipline, temperance, holiness, morality, restraint, tolerance, mercy and the fear of God in the conduct of our affairs. It can only be made manifest when we stand up and fight against evil, tyranny, injustice, indecency bad governance, the abuse of power , political persecution and sheer wickedness. Our dream can only be brought to reality when love is the motivating factor in all that we do. The Lord commands us to love our neighbour as we do ourselves. That is the cornerstone and the foundation of our faith and it is in that faith and that resolve that our hope for a better and greater Nigeria lies. I have a dream that Nigeria will be what God wants her to be, a great and powerful nation that is dedicated to the Living God and that will act as a shining example and a beacon of light for all to see. I assure you that despite the dashed hopes and unbearable suffering of millions of our people over the last 52 years, our dream still lives and the Lord shall not forsake us. Our land and our people may seem blighted, in despair, depressed, repressed and confused. It may appear as if there is no hope for a better tomorrow and that nothing will ever change. It may seem as if the Lord has forgotten us and it may appear that our story is one of recurrent failure and shattered dreams. Yet this is not so. I have come here today to tell you that, despite all we see and hear, it is not over for us as a people and as a nation. I have come here today to tell you that we as a people have a date with destiny. I have come here today to tell you that Nigeria and the Nigerian dream lives on and that it shall be made manifest for all to see in the fullness of time. I therefore urge you to be strong, to hold your heads up high, to be proud of who and what you are and to stand firm. The vision is for an appointed time. Though it may tarry it shall not prove false. Just hold on and always remember that, despite all, ‘’hope springs eternal’. God bless you and God bless Nigeria. Merry christmas and happy new year.

Why we endorsed Fayemi, by legislator By Musa Odoshimokhe

• Erinle


MEMBER of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Segun Erinle, has applauded Governor Kayode Fayemi, saying that he was endorsed for a second term because of his performance. The Chairman of the House Committee on Legal and Judiciary said that the governor is

sensitive to the yearnings of the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs). Erinle, who represents Ilejemeje Constituency, said that Fayemi has also redressed the injustice of the past, noting that those illegally sacked by the previous administration have been reinstated. He spoke recently in Lagos, when he was honoured by the Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration in Nigeria as a fellow. Erinle said: “Some people that were sacked unjustly without reasons by the previous government have been returned to their jobs. “They petitioned the House and we looked into it. We believe those who were unjustly sacked should be reinstated. Those whose sack was in order, we told them they have no case”. Erinle stressed that the adherence to the rule of law is the hallmark of the administration. He added: “The Committee on Justice is to enhance the judicial process in the state. It is to bring in what we have learned overseas. An accused is presumed innocent, until he is found guilty by a competent law court. “So, an accused person has the right to le-

gal aids. We are bringing the legal aids system to Ekiti State. You cannot just arrest somebody and put him behind bars, except he has been convicted by a competent court.” The legislator explained that the Fayemi Administration has performed exceptionally, stressing that the governor deserves a second term. He said that the governor had already been endorsed at the grassroots, urging the people to support the push for continuity. Erinle said the governor has transformed Ekiti State through the implementation of his eight-point. He stressed:“The way this man has transformed Ekiti State is exceptionally outstanding. And because you want Ekiti to develop, what we are talking about is that we should give him a second term in office. That is why I am an ardent supporter of his continuation in office. “We will support this man and stand by him. We will ensure that Ekiti State continues to grow because we know how we met it. He came on board to transform the state; so we shall support him and ensure he gets a second term.” Erinle said that Fayemi is popular because he has lived to expectation. He said: “Even,

before the man said he wants to run for a second term, those at the grassroots have given him a clean bill. We have 16 local governments in Ekiti State. We have 16 party chairmen and their secretaries. “The party is different from the government and, if all the 16 local governments, with the people at the grassroots, say he should continue, why are we wasting our time to go for primaries? “It is a waste of time and resources. The constitution gives a party the right to choose its candidate. If all of them have endorsed him, why are we going for primaries again? Erinle also praised the leadership of the House, saying that the Speaker, Dr. Wale Omirin, has exhibited the qualities of a democratic leader. He said: “As I speak to you now, we have passed 68 bills into law. All the bills touch on the lives of the people. “They touch on how to move Ekiti forward. They touch on how the ordinary man in the street will triumph. So, these are the bills we have passed. And that is why I am saying we have done the best we can do. “The House will not relent in its efforts to ensure that the people of the state live under the rule of law as being projected by the APC administration in the state.”




Kompany expecting tough title race this season

Alonso joins Sunderland


IORENTINA defender Marcos Alonso will join Sunderland on loan for the rest of the season on January 1. The former Bolton full-back has completed a medical on Wearside and will officially join the Black Cats' squad when the winter transfer window opens. Manager Gus Poyet said: "I can confirm Marcos is going to be with us for the rest of the season on loan from Fiorentina, which is something very important. "I was looking for a player in that position on the left side and I hope he will help us and everybody will like him. "I am delighted that everything is agreed."


INCENT Kompany is not taking anything for granted despite Manchester City ending 2013 a point off top spot in the Premier League. Victories over Liverpool and Crystal Palace have seen Manuel Pellegrini’s side climb into second place at the halfway stage of the season, just behind leaders Arsenal. City has won 10 of their last 11 games in all competitions, but skipper Kompany knows they must remain focussed in order to challenge for the league title. “Being top is important but in a way it doesn’t mean too much yet,” he told the club’s official website. “We’ve put ourselves in a nice position for the second half of the season. Ultimately it feels like we’ve played so many games but we arrive in January and there’s actually still not much between all the teams. “I still think the league is as tough as it’s ever been. I think that’s reflected in the strength in depth of all of the teams.” The 2011-12 champions begin the new year with a trip to Swansea City before facing Blackburn Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup.


Terry fires warning to contenders


OHN Terry has fired out a warning to the rest of the Premier League by insisting Chelsea have rediscovered their true identity under Jose Mourinho. The Blues have finished way behind the leaders in the previous two title races but moved within two points of table-toppers Arsenal after beating Liverpool on Sunday. Mourinho, who led Chelsea to their league title in 50 years in his first stint as manager, returned to SW6 in the summer after leaving Spanish giants Real Madrid. The Special One appears to have brought his midas touch back with him to west London as the

Liverpool triumph maintained his astonishing unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge. It is that incredible streak that has helped put the fear factor back into the minds of visitors to SW6 and Terry reckons it is an important part of Chelsea’s character. "The last couple of years we've lost our identity a little bit," Terry told Chelsea TV. "There's some good teams in the league and when you go 3-2 up (for example) it's important you get men behind the ball and dig in deep and not give them opportunities to really feed on. I think we're doing that really well at the moment. "At times when we're looking

really solid, getting the wide men in and then when we do break it's important for them to then go again and show their fresh legs going forward." Sunday’s win over Liverpool saw Terry make his 600th appearance for his beloved Chelsea in a career that has stretched back to his debut in October 1998. "I'm really honoured to have played so many games for such a top team,” he added. "When I came through here we were buying players and it was difficult to come through. I had to work hard to get where I am today. "To still be fighting and playing and being involved is really special to me."

sustaining a hamstring problem in a 4-1 Premier League win over West Ham at Anfield on December 7. Asked on Monday if the England skipper might be fit to play in Wednesday's top-flight encounter with Hull, Rodgers said: "We will assess that over the next 24 hours. "Steven has rejoined training so we'll see how he is for Hull." Rodgers also revealed that midfielder Joe Allen, who came off in the second half of Sunday's 2-1 loss at Chelsea, is set to be sidelined for "a few weeks" with an abductor strain, and that he is awaiting news on how long defender Mamadou Sakho's hamstring strain is likely to sideline him for following his withdrawal towards the end of the Stamford Bridge contest. Rodgers said: "Joe will probably be a few weeks and with Sakho we are just awaiting confirmation.

"Glen Johnson came off but that was tactical, not injury-enforced, and there are one or two other niggles that we have to assess.

Gerrard in line for Reds return



IVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers has indicated club captain Steven Gerrard could return to action in the New Year's Day home clash with Hull. Gerrard has not played in the Reds' last four games after

Moyes sets Welbeck 20-goal target this term


ANCHESTER United manager David Moyes has challenged Danny Welbeck to “step up” and score 20 goals this season. Welbeck only found the back of



the net twice last season but has already claimed seven in all competitions during the current campaign - making him United’s third top scorer behind Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. The 23-year-old came off the bench to score the winner against Norwich City on Saturday and Moyes has been impressed with the England international, but wants to see more from him in the second half of the season. “We have said to him we are trying to keep his finishing up,” the Scot said. “I think he can keep his efforts up, his levels up, even better. “He got one (league) goal last year and now he is on seven for this season. It could be better, but you have got to say it is going in the right direction. “With the second half of the season to go, he should be certainly looking to score 20 goals. “We need him to do that because when you don’t have Wayne and you don’t have Robin, then you need people to step up to the mark. “In quite a few of the games recently he has done that for us.”



Carroll ‘making good progress’


WEST HAM assistant manager Neil McDonald is pleased with the progress being made by injured striker Andy Carroll but insists he will not be rushed back into first team action. Carroll has not played this season due to a foot problem but McDonald stressed: “Andy did a training session which is very encouraging. “It’s early stages but is a work in progress with him. Work one day on the training pitch, massage and rehab the next day and let’s see how it goes from there. “It’s a positive he is in training but it is a slow process. “When you are out for seven months I don’t think you can rush anybody back. “Obviously, we are all desperate for him to come back and get into the team as quickly as possible but we have to be sensible and he is getting closer.” As for Wednesday’s trip to Craven Cottage, McDonald said James Collins, Winston Reid and James Tomkins are likely absentees. He said: “It looks as though all three (Collins, Reid and Tomkins) are not going to be fit for the Fulham game. “We will assess them ahead of the Forest game (FA Cup) but it is more likely they will be involved in the Cardiff game (January 11).” Regarding January’s transfer bubble, he added: “We have a few defensive problems and with the window coming up Sam is working non-stop.

Wenger plays down chances

RSENE Wenger has played down Arsenal's title chances despite reaching the halfway stage with his side top of the Premier League. The Gunners reclaimed first place after a 1-0 victory at Newcastle which was secured by Olivier Giroud's lone strike. However, while Wenger is intent on remaining there, he admits it is too early to start thinking about the big prize. "We believe in ourselves and we are determined to give our best, absolutely, and to turn back on the season at the end

and think we have given our best," said Wenger. "I hope it will be enough, of course, but it's a long way to go. It's too early to say that." Arsenal had to scrap their way back above Manchester City in the table by winning a hard-fought encounter at St James' Park. Giroud proved to be the match-winner with a glancing 65th-minute header from Theo Walcott's free-kick after he briefly lost marker Mike Williamson. Wenger was delighted with the

resilience shown by his side, a trait he believes they have strengthened during the last calendar year. He added: "We have come out of very difficult games - we have played Everton, we have played Manchester City, Chelsea, at West Ham and Newcastle. "We have dropped some points, but I felt it was more down to the heavy schedule and the short recovery time we have had than to the difficulty of the games. "But we have to show it on the pitch, and that's what we try to do."




Welbeck: My mind is set on United

F were invited to the Aon Training Complex at Carrington recently to speak to England forward Danny Welbeck about his education with Manchester United, his season so far and his thoughts on the upcoming FIFA World Cup. The 23-year-old, who represented his country at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Korea Republic back in 2007, also revealed his biggest influence at United and what David Moyes has brought to the dressing room. You’ve had a great footballing education here at Carrington. In terms of the players you’ve played with since you’ve been here, who has been your biggest role model? It’d have to be Ryan Giggs. Ever since I was a young kid growing up watching Manchester United, there have been so many inspirational players at this club. I have always looked up to Ryan Giggs and I thankfully got the chance to be training with him every single day. And then there have been players who have really looked after me as I was coming through like Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher who were always talking me through games and through training sessions. Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov…there have been so many great players I’ve learned from. What’s that first experience like when you’re on the pitch alongside a role model such as Ryan Giggs? It must be quite surreal. Yes it is. Obviously growing up as a young kid in Manchester supporting Manchester United and then actually getting a chance to be on the pitch with him - and on the training pitch as well - that’s where you learn most of your football education. To see how hard he works, knowing how much he wants it, it’s that determination and motivation to keep going on. It’s that Manchester United spirit to never settle for where you are, to keep on improving and win as much as you can. One of United’s strengths time

after time has been winning league after league after league. Is it difficult to find that motivation to keep winning? No, it’s not difficult at all. You see Ryan Giggs every single day at the training ground and you see his determination to win every single training game, never mind the first team competitive games! We see that drive and that desire to keep pushing on, which is a daily reminder of why we’re here. Being at a club like Manchester United, such a massive club, the pressure is there to win the games and to win trophies. That’s what we’re here to do. You’re managed by David Moyes now. What do you see so far as his major strengths? I think he knows what he wants his team to do. We go through the games in meetings. We know our jobs on the pitch but I think at the moment the games have been quite unpredictable and it’s something we need to sit down together as a group and get right. We need to make sure we’re winning as many games as possible because we’re Manchester United and that’s what we’re here to do. It’s been an unpredictable season in the English Premier League. Do you think that will continue this season? I think football is always an unpredictable game. This season lots of teams have been losing games that they might have been backed to win. It’s difficult because every single team in the Premier League now have the ability to beat each other so no matter who is on the bottom of the table playing

whoever is on the top of the table it’s always going to be difficult. There are no easy games in this league. You have been versatile during your time at United but which position do you think you’re at your most effective? I like to be a striker getting in behind defences. That’s where I’d really like to be playing. Growing up at Manchester United we’ve had the right upbringing and I think more or less any forward who comes through at United from the academy ranks can play in any forward positions across the front. That’s a benefit for me, and it can be a hindrance because you’re getting moved about, you don’t get your games in the position you want to be playing in but I think you have got to look at it as a positive and take it in your stride. Further down the line you might get your chance in that preferred position. You’ve already scored more goals this season then you did last season. Is that a conscious effort to be a little bit more selfish in that positive sense? Definitely. I look back at last season when we won the league. It was one of the best seasons of my life. I was playing regularly and I felt my performance was much better than the previous season. I was playing as a left-winger. It’s not a position I really want to be playing in but I’m happy to be playing there for the team no matter what. It is difficult sometimes you say, “I’d love to come into the season and I really

want to score more goals no matter where I’m playing.” I started off scoring more goals, but I picked up an injury and I’m just coming back into the swing of things now. I really want to score more goals this season. Looking ahead to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, is this something you dream about? To play football at a World Cup at the spiritual home of football in Brazil? Of course. Growing up watching World Cups, it’s something where the whole world sits down and watches the occasion. I remember being home as a little kid watching the World Cup matches, every single game. Do any matches or tournaments spring to mind? 2002. I was 11 years of age, I had been at United for a couple of years as a young boy and I sat down to watch the games with my family, and I remember the Brazil-England game very well. Watching Brazil in that tournament was great to see. It’s something that you really want to push yourself to be involved in and hopefully that chance will come. Is it something as a professional footballer you think about frequently? Or are you in the mindset of tackling one game at a time? I’m not really thinking about the World Cup at the moment. My mind is set on club football and nothing else. It’s the next game and I’m not thinking too far ahead because anything can happen within a day and you never know

what’s coming next. Who do you think will win the FIFA Ballon d’Or? I think it’ll be Cristiano Ronaldo. To produce what he’s produced every single game since he’s moved to Real Madrid I think he’s been unbelievable. Even when he was here at Manchester United, watching him in training, watching him play his games, he’s got to be the best in the world. It’s difficult to say because of Messi. Messi’s been unbelievable as well.

"It’s difficult because every single team in the Premier League now have the ability to beat each other no matter who is on the bottom of the table."


Wednesday, January 1, 2014



The Midweek Magazine Deputy governor praises NTDC chief


EPUTY GOVERNOR of Ondo State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, has described the Director-General (DG) Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo as a light in the dark corridors of the nation’s tourism sector. The deputy governor spoke in Akure when the DG was guest of the state at the last Mare Festival in Idanre. He stated that considering the three-pronged strategic imperatives embarked upon by the corporation in the last six months; the DG has commenced the transformation of the sector in earnest. “You are a light planted by the President Dr Goodluck Jonathan to light up the dark corridor of the tourism sector and you have commenced this vision in earnest. Your coming to Ondo state at this point in time is a sign of good things to come to the tourism sector in the state and in Nigeria. We welcome you with all our hearts and we assure you of a splendid time with us,” he said. Mrs. Mbanefo toured some tourism sites, such as the Medical Tourism Village in Laje, Ondo (that houses the Trauma Centre), the Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre and the Mother and Child Hospital to authenticate the state of tourism sites in the state. Impressed by what she saw of the sites, she pledged to support and facilitate cultural festivals and programmes organised by Ondo State that emphasise unity, stability and peaceful co–existence of Nigerians to grow domestic tourism. She said such partnership is part of her initiatives at rebuilding and growing the nation’s tourism value chain, especially domestic tourism. The NTDC boss described Idanre Hill as a uniquely blessed city of rocks, saying: “When I went to Abeokuta, I thought it was the best of a city on a hill until I entered Idanre. This is the real city, which should be called Abeokuta.” She also toured the Dome Village, which is the biggest Conference Tourism Event Centre in Nigeria being built by the Ondo state government. She commended Governor Segun Mimiko for ‘preparing Ondo state as a preferred tourism city in Nigeria.’ She also commended the late Deji Falae for his efforts at promoting tourism and culture in the state, and identified Mare Festival as one


Save youths from cyber crimes

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)


DON, Prof Jerome Okonkwo of the Centre for Igbo Studies, Imo State University, Owerri, has advocated strategies to focus on values and appropriate language education, to be adopted as tools in transforming the youth into an ideal citizen with good character and morals. He spoke at a seminar organised by the Southeast Zonal office of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) for selected secondary schools in Imo State, with the theme, Cyber-world, culture and the youth. Okonkwo examined the pros and cons of the cyber world and the challenges that today’s children face in striking a balance between being good children to their parents and being products of addiction to the internet. NICO Southeast Zonal Head, Mrs. Chioma Duru stressed that the institute’s focus on youth orientation was a pointer to its recognition of their strategic position as a potent force for change with a crucial role in harnessing culture for national development, adding that it was also in fulfilment of one of the cardinal objectives of NICO to promote and develop relevant curricular aimed at integrating Nigeria’s culture into the educational system at all levels. She decried the enslavement of the youth and their misplaced attention to it, making reference to the mischief they engaged in through unbridled access to the internet. The event, which featured schools debate, reading of texts in Igbo language, cultural dances from the participating schools, News Flash by students, questions and answers, and award of prizes, was the second edition of the zone’s orientation for the youth and would be the last of the formal activities that had been mapped out for 2013 in the Southeast zone. In attendance were over 40 teachers from different schools, a representative of the Ministry of Education, Mr. N. N. Amaechi, the new Curator of National Museum, Owerri, Dr Carol Okeke, Dr. G. Nwakonobi of the Imo State University and Chief V. Arisiukwu, among others.

TOURISM of the vibrant pillars of domestic tourism. Her commitment and dedication to grow the tourism sector was further reaffirmed by one of the guest speakers at the opening ceremony of Mare Festival when she described her as ‘an extremely beautiful and intelligent lady who has a firm grip and understanding of the tourist industry. We are happy you are here and you dancing with the local and proving to all that you are a real African woman, willing and serving the nation with all your breath and beauty.’ Mrs Mbanefo, who was thrilled by the cultural wealth in Ondo State as demonstrated by the exciting cultural performances of the state troupe could not hold back her feelings as she joined the group in dancing. She described Idanre Hill as an exciting arrangement of rocks, which dwarf those in Switzerland. Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade led the state delegation that included Ondo State Commissioner for Housing Dr. A Omoloja and Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Akinroye Modupe to receive Mrs. Mbanefo. Akinmade commended Mrs. Mbanefo for honouring the state’s invitation to be special guest at the Mare Festival hosted in the honour of the former Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, the late Deji Falae. “The government and the people of Ondo State are happy to welcome you to the state where the sun shines for all. We are grateful for honouring our invitation to Mare Festival. We are also happy because you are the first director-general of NTDC not only to visit the state but deemed it fit to honour our invitation to Mare. We assure you of an evergreen memory of your visit to Ondo State,” he said. NTDC boss has since assumption of office over six months ago, commenced the phased overhauling of the tourism sector with a threepronged strategy that includes rebuilding the NTDC, growing the tourism value chain and re-inventing Nigeria’s tourism industry.

•Mrs Mbanefo

Hurray, Arrow of God is 50


RROW of God is 50. And the world is set to celebrate the epic novel by the late literary icon, Chinua Achebe. Set in Eastern Nigeria in the early 20th century, the novel captures the clash of two cultures and their inability to contend peaceably with their differences. Published in 1964, the novel, which is his third after Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease (the three books are sometimes called The African Trilogy, as they share similar settings and themes), centres on Ezeulu, the chief priest of several villages in South Eastern Nigeria, who confronts adversaries to his office, colonial powers and Christian missionaries in the 1920s. As the publication turns 50, it will be celebrated across more than 70 countries with diverse activities throughout the year, it was learnt. India will set the ball of celebration rolling with a conference sometime this month at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, which will be focusing on Achebe’s entire works. More focused conferences on Arrow of God at 50 are planned in other parts of India later in the year. The celebrations’ train will move to Washington DC area next month and, in other parts of Asia, multiple events will hold in commemoration of the book’s 50th anniversary. Will Nigeria be left out? “Nigeria will be on top of the celebrations”, the National Organising Committee Chairman, Arrow of God @ 50 Celebrations, Dr Wale Okediran, has said. The official logo and banner was unveiled

By Evelyn Osagie last month in Lagos. In his view, the celebrations, which will feature the recasting of the experience that Achebe presented in the book “could forge a new path for formalising and expanding our existing democratic and leadership apparatus while creating new ones throughout the country”. The anniversary, he said, will be marked with an international colloquium tagged: Arrow of God @ 50 International Colloquium and other literary activities, ranging from symposia to children’s carnival, writing competition, stage presentations and a night of tributes, among others. The events are billed for April to May across seven cities (Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Awka, Sokoto, Ogidi and Otuoke). With the proposed theme for the celebrations and colloquium, Arrow of God@50: Literature,Leadership, and National Unity, Okediran said, the committee will be partnering with Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and other organisations, including the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) - that it has donated N1 million for the event. He added that the committee is open to other partnerships and sponsorship. Okediran said: “It will be very auspicious to use the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication to re-examine the concepts of power, leadership, responsibility and good governance in Nigeria and Africa as derivable from the vagaries of Ezeulu and his confederating commu-

•From left: Okediran, Prof Ezeigbo and Abdullahi

nities in The Arrow of God. “Amidst the seemingly obdurate challenges of globalisation, the conference will present an appropriate foray to use the story in Arrow Of God for an inward search and necessary projections on the past, present and the future of our shared community experiences especially in the areas of leadership, democracy and nationbuilding. It will also re-invigorate our cultural activities, including cultural events, sports, learning opportunities and shared celebrations, as well as social activism in response to political disillusionment and dictatorship in the nation’s body polity.”

According to him, scholars are free to submit papers for the coloquium on the sub-themes: Conflict Generation and Resolution in Achebe’s Arrow of God; Ezeulu in Achebe’s Arrow of God and the Post-Independence African Leadership Styles; Literature and the Quest for National Unity: Achebe’s Arrow of God as a Paradigm.; Managing Changes and Transitions in a Pluralised Society: Achebe’s Arrow of God in Reference and Africa at the Crossroads of Development and Good Governance: What Has Literature Got To Do With It?, among others. Interested scholars can visit the website for more

details. The Vice President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Denja Abdullahi, who is a member of the committee, said giving his contribution to the development of literature across the globe, Achebe and all his works are worth celebrating. Award-winning author, Prof Akachi Ezeigbo praised the move, saying the work deserves to be celebrated, especially because its preoccupation is still relevant to the Nigerian political landscape 50 years after it was written.



The Midweek Magazine


Roadmap for tourism in Ekiti How can Ekiti State explore the socio-economic benefits of heritage sites such as Olosunta, Ikogosi warm springs and Ipole Iloro water-falls? The DirectorGeneral of CBAAC, PROF TUNDE BABAWALE provided the answer at the last Ekiti Festival of Culture and Art Expo.


T is a great honour to be invited to deliver a paper on his important subject geared towards finding means of generating capital from our cultural resources; festivals and heritage sites. This revenue drive has become necessary in order to cushion the effects of dwindling earnings from the conventional sources of income; federation accounts and income taxes. Among other unpleasant effects of the diminishing and unstable revenue accruing from these sources and the attendant economic crises are youth unemployment and restiveness. It is against the backdrop of efforts geared towards complementing Ekiti State public sector financing capacity as well as the expansion of the frontiers of employment generation capacity of government and the private sector that this intervention must be seen as a right step in the right direction. It is a well established fact attested to by scholars, anthropologists, ethnographers, archeologists and other cultural workers and enthusiasts that when world culture is considered, art and heritage have undoubtedly been Nigeria’s most important assets, for it is through her art and other elements of her cultural endowment that Nigeria’s culture first became internationally recognized and famous. These elements have not only served to show that Nigeria has a cultural heritage that can compare favourably with that of any other country of the world, but dating back several hundreds of years as many of them do, they also reveal vital aspects of her history. When we talk of festivals and heritage sites in Ekiti state within this context, we imply those action-packed occasions of celebration of cultural legacies; commemorative monuments and natural endowments in the state. In specific terms, these include festivals such as Udiroko in Ado, Olosunta in Ikere, Egungun and Ijesu (New yam) festivals in most towns in the state, Ogun in Ire, Ladunwo in Okemesi, Okiti agba, Iyo, Okoya and Ina Olua festivals in Ayedun Ekiti, Aeregbe in Afao, Okorobo in Ifaki among others and monuments such as the Adekunle Fajuyi and Funmi Olayinka parks in Ado, Ule Alayegbe: first iron roofed and glass house in Ekiti, built in 1924 and heritage sites such as the ubiquitous rolling hills (Okiti) from which Ekiti derived its collective cognomen, the Ikogosi warm springs, Ipole Iloro waterfalls, Ogun Onire groove, Okuta gbokuta leri in Ado, Gbonyin/Ise Emure forest reserves, among numerous others. All these are capable of attracting visitors and investors to Ekiti as envisioned and pursued by the Ekiti State government to make the state “a most attractive destination for relaxation and holidays by building a heliport, world class hotel and accommodation facilities; developing Efon, Okemesi, Ikogosi, Ipole Iloro tourism corridor…” Public–Private Partnership (PPP) is a venture jointly funded and operated by government and the private sector’s companies, institutions and or individuals. It involves a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service or project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project. PPP confers a number of advantages on governance and administrative processes. Such benefits include: •Speedy, efficient and cost effective delivery of projects. •Value for money for the taxpayer through optimal risk transfer and risk management. •Efficiency from integrating design and construction of public infrastructure with financing, operation and maintenance/upgrading. •Creation of added value through synergies

•Governor Fayemi and his wife Erelu Bisi, Deputy Governor Prof Modupe Adelabu and Speaker of State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Wale Omirin

challenges. This brings us to the theme of this lecture; Branding and Promotion of Festivals and Heritage Sites through Public-Private Partnership. In other words, how can we market (brand) and encourage (promote) the cultural products of Ekiti State via public private partnership for the benefit of the people? In answering this question, it may be more enlightening to take a holistic view and examine the impediments militating against deriving maximum benefits from cultural endowments in Nigeria before the recent interventions as seen in the Argungu festival in Kebbi State, the annual Cross River State’s carnival, Ojude Oba festival in Ogun State, The Osun Osogbo festival in Oshogbo, Eyo and the Black Heritage Festivals in Lagos and the Ekiti State Festival of Culture and Arts, among other initiatives.

Promotion and branding of festivals and heritage sites: Limitations and possibilities

•Prof Babawale

TOURISM between public authorities and the private sector on the one hand and through the integration and cross transfer of public and private sector skills, knowledge and expertise on the other hand. •Alleviation of capacity constraints and bottlenecks in the economy through higher productivity of labour and capital resources in the delivery of projects. •Competition and greater construction capacity (including the participation of overseas firms, especially in joint ventures and partnering arrangements.) •Accountability in the provision and delivery of quality public services through enhanced performance incentive management/ regulatory regime. •Innovation and diversity in the provision of public services. •Effective utilisation of state resources to the benefit of all users of public services. •Opportunity for government to effectively prioritise its limited resources and focus on critical infrastructural development. These are the benefits that are derivable generally from most Public–Private Partnerships. Despite these advantages, PPP are fraught with

First on my list is the undermining stance of Christianity and Islam. There is no gainsaying the fact that these two imported religions have caused more damage to our traditional arts, culture and religions than can be imagined. “To conquer a people, says Karl Marx, you just have to block the transfer of values, morals and beliefs between generations.” This is exactly what Christianity and Islam have done. On conversion to any of these two religions, one of the things expected of a convert is to renounce his or her link with traditional religions, arts and culture. Some converts even go to the extreme of destroying icons of these traditional religions and what are these icons? Sculptural pieces such as we are presently trying to generate money from. By this practice, many valuable sculptural pieces in wood, stone, ivory etc which could be yielding revenue to the people have been ignorantly destroyed. That more people are presently advocating a return to certain traditional religious and social practices like oath – taking for public office holders in order to curb corruption and bring sanity and accountability to the polity is a testimony to the efficacy of some aspects of our long abandoned heritage. Closely related to the above is the double standard of the West. To get Christianity entrenched in Nigeria/Africa, the West disparaged African sculptural pieces as; heathen, fetish and primitive amongst others, this they did to make Africans discard the pieces, but it is amazing that many of these same “heathen”

‘Tourism globally is not an isolated venture that can be pursued just on its own and for its own sake. The tourism industry usually has multiplying benefits for all. Everybody, from the Okada or taxi drivers in the community, to the pure or bottled water sellers, the restaurant owners, hoteliers, artists, farmers etc enjoy increased patronage which will eventually translate to more employment, improved earnings and standard of living for the people in the state’

and “fetish” pieces have been stolen by these same Westerners with new “shrines” now built for them in their various museums and homes. Another factor militating against public-private partnership for cultural development is complacency, both on the side of successive governments and the people. The spirit of enterprise is at the lowest ebb. Nigerians are a people spoilt by the discovery and exploitation of oil. Nigerians before the discovery of oil were resourceful people. We can still recollect the groundnut pyramids, cocoa dome, rubber, coffee, palm oil, cotton and other agricultural products which provided Nigeria with funds long before the discovery of oil. But all of a sudden, everything disappeared with the discovery of oil, we depended so much on oil that if oil price crashed today in the world market we catch cold and lose our sleep here in Nigeria whereas there are other viable alternative sources of income such as the cultural festivals, the monuments, the natural endowments and others. So how do we exploit this resource? There are so many ways of promoting tourism to generate funds. Tourism is a worldwide veritable source of income. There are countries whose main source of income is tourism and some of these countries do not have half of what we have but take for granted in Nigeria. Generally, the first condition for a thriving tourism industry is peace, by this I mean the absence of war, violent conflicts, bloodshed etc. And to the best of my knowledge and the glory of God, Ekiti State particularly is peaceful and conducive for the flourishing of tourism. So the first condition is present in Ekiti State. The second condition is availability of a good product or products to sell to the world, by this I mean something appealing, of great interest and very attractive. Good enough Ekiti State has a number of world class products in the hills, mountains, vegetation and general topography of the state. The attractiveness of some of these natural endowments is heightened by the fact of their mysterious origin, for example, the Ikogosi warm springs. These endowments can be repackaged through publicprivate partnership to attract greater national and international interest and patronage. How? It is important that relevant agencies of the state government, community associations, traditional institutions and the media should organise and promote cultural festivals and foster cultural expressions at the local level on regular basis. This will go a long way in promoting cultural practices of the people. There must be conscious effort at disabusing the minds of the people that entrenchment of cultural practices is not the same thing as paganism. Many people as a result of the preaching of Christianity and Islam are wont to confuse traditional cultural practices with paganism, which is erroneous. It is important to enlighten the populace that indigenous festivals are not heathen practices but celebration of the people’s heritage which are also capable of fetching them some income. Closely related to the above is the need to ensure that indigenous cultural practices and languages are taught in schools; primary, secondary and tertiary. This is an investment that will go a long way in preserving traditional cultural practices as many more people will become cultural enthusiasts, activists, patrons and ambassadors from the local to global level. As a step towards enhancing public-private partnership, I am also proposing the institution of the element of trust in government. By this, I mean, putting in place structures that the generality of the people could relate to on a sustainable basis. This would require that the government becomes business like by instituting mechanisms for guaranteeing an atmosphere for good returns on investments. Also essential is constant engagement between the government and the people for cultural rebirth in Ekiti and environs. Fortunately, some of Nigeria’s best cultural icons are from Ekiti State. They could be constantly engaged in drawing up action plan and modalities for effective partnership. They can also help in repackaging some of the existing traditional festivals to engender public confidence, trust and goodwill. Festivals by their nature are loved by people because they are periods of reunion, great merriments, appraisal and renewal of strength. The Eyo festival in Lagos, the Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu Ode, the Oshun Oshogbo Festival and many more, yearly attract corporate sponsors, indigenes, their friends and tourists from all over the world. Future festivals in Ekiti should be publicized to attract indigenes, friends, tourists and possibly corporate spon•Continued on page 59



The Midweek Magazine


Strategies for winning


ONTEMPORARY biographical writing seems to have gone beyond the conventional mode of story presentation. What appears to have taken the central stage is the evolution of a new biographical genre known as alternative history. Instead of the usual linear and almost predictable style of narrating the life story of an individual, what the biographer now does is a mixture of history, poetry, story and drama, all rolled into a complete whole in a manner characteristic of an aesthetic reconstruction of history. In other words, facts are made to blend with fiction in such a creative way as to elicit artistic beauty for a total message. Prof Emmanuel Emenyonu’s Winning by His Grace: The Biography of Felix Ohiwerei is a classical example of a biography written within the literary and sociological context and flavour of alternative history. The stories are so woven together in an intricate and fluid manner that one cannot but wonder at the philosophical and literary thread that tie all the episodes and events together. Structurally, the 296-page book is divided into five parts and 19 chapters. The first part is made up of four chapters. While the first chapter problemitises the idea of a biography and situates it in context, the second, third and fourth X-ray the birth, family background and the different levels of education of the subject matter. Career and relationship choices, marriage and initial international exposure constitute three of the four chapters in part two.




Winning by His Grace: The Biography of Felix Ohiwerei

Author: Reviewer: Publisher:

Emmanuel Emenyonu Mark Osama Ighile The Washington Nigerian Times, Washington, D C

Readers who truly wish to be great in life should pause and consider these chapters

•Continued from page 58

sors, and should be given incentives to include more exhibitors in different categories. These have the potentials of attracting people to the state. These festivals, like every great venture that must start small, must be sustained to attain the envisioned greatness. This is where the State government, local government, organisations, foundations and public spirited individuals should be contacted to form a partnership around these festivals as being done elsewhere. Existing monuments and sites across the state should be given a facelift to meet contemporary standards. A publicity drive should be embarked upon by respective agencies of government part of which may include printing of handbills with briefs about the facilities, which should be distributed far and wide, particularly in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. This may be done state by state, according to availability of resources, so that the schools can visit and a token as decided charged per school or student. Also the hand bills should be taken to multinational compa-

management and leadership principles, tributes and testimonials, awards and recognition and conclusion. It is instructive to add at this juncture that the leadership principles discussed in this part of the biography are feasible and applicable in any management position and setting in the world. They include vision, effective communication, listening ability, gift of a discerning spirit, understanding and motivating people, proper delegation, networking, teamwork skills, ability to produce successors, hard work and humility. It, therefore, becomes very glaring; the factors that make this WORK stand out as a resource material for the intelligentsia, public functionaries, gospel ministers and executives. This is not just a biographical work; it is a multi-dimensional text appropriate for all sectors of life and business. The stylistic flexibility, the thematic packaging, the authorial perspective and creative interventions and the universality of the principles of greatness embedded in Ohiwerei all combine to make the book a treasure for all times. For all my colleagues who teach Christian Biographical Literature at the university level, this book is a necessity, the various schools of business studies will find the success principles in this work invaluable, for the pastors, ministers and potential leaders, this text is a testimony manual, and for the general reading public, it is an indisputable compendium for total greatness. •Dr. Ighile, a literary and biblical critic, is Co-ordinator, Department of Christian Religious Studies, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State.

•Local Government contingent at EKIFEST 2013

•Oloris’ special dance (AGERE)

Roadmap for tourism in Ekiti

critically because they present the foundational base for ultimate success in every endeavour. For as the saying goes, choices determine destinies. But then, equally central to the overall discourse is chapter eight which has 37 pages, and presents the graphic rise of the subject to the apex of his career. What is germane in this section is not as much of the prominent positions that Ohiwerei occupies as the underlying principles that sustain him at the top. And the golden rule is operational here: Opportunities may come, but character enhances them. This segment is a training manual for character and manpower development. Part three which is styled Retirement is the focus the next four chapters. Here the biographer captures the preparation for retirement moments, the various scorecards, the call to national service and the transformation of the University of Ibadan in his capacity as Pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council. The fourth part of the biographical text beams searchlight on the home front of the subject. The chapters that make up this section address family and parenting, Mrs Janet Ohiwerei as a personality that is far above rubies and children of the union. The significance of this aspect of the work lies in the internal empowerment, moral strength and rounded value of Ohewerei who is not only a giant on the exterior, but also a great pillar at the family platform. This is an instruction for business executives and indeed all public figures. Perhaps, because of my background as a leadership minister and consultant, I consider as the most fascinating aspect of the entire work, the concluding part of the book which in itself has five chapters. The sub sections focus on a life of faith,

nies to draw the attention of the staff mainly the expatriates to the state. Art and culture agencies of the state in collaboration with the respective communities can also feature on local and network Television and radio programmes periodically to enlighten the people not only about the cultural sites and festivals, but also of the new government development plans in this direction. The print media should also be considered. All these will certainly draw attention to Ekiti State. However, the point should be explicitly made that the yearly festivals are not in the service of any deity but a celebration of the artistic sophistication and cultural heritage of the Ekiti people and a means of opening up the locality. This is to make the initiative attractive to Christian and Muslim brothers who may erroneously confuse it with fetishism. Also, this scheme should take advantage of global technological breakthroughs in information dissemination such as the internet. It is advised that a website should be created for the state cultural products detailing the history, features and attractions. Internet advert spaces can also be procured to give the initiative the widest reach possible. In addition to this, postcards with pictures of selected sites and other cultural items of attraction in Ekiti can be printed as memen-

toes. These will be available for sale to be sent to loved ones by indigenes and tourists. This will go far and wide to publicise the state and the country. As a first step towards realising all these lofty goals, a fundraising dinner should be organised to generate funds for the initiative. This is a call to all stakeholders to come together to pool resources to ensure the realisation of this dream.


Tourism globally is not an isolated venture that can be pursued just on its own and for its own sake. It is operated as a composite package. We have mentioned peace as a requisite; other necessities for the smooth running of a tourism industry apart from the major attraction include having good restaurants, rest houses, fun spots, hotels and security to ensure the safety of tourists. The tourism industry usually has multiplying benefits for all. Everybody, from the Okada or taxi drivers in the community, to the pure or bottled water sellers, the restaurant owners, hoteliers, artists, farmers etc enjoy increased patronage which will eventually translate to more employment, improved earnings and standard of living for the people in the state. I am happy that the popular Ikogosi Warm Springs resort has been given a new lease of life. I am also aware that the budgetary allocation to

the sector has improved considerably and a Tourism Development Fund has been instituted. These are signs of commitment to breathing life into the sector. Despite these commendable efforts, more needs to be done to get tourism to the Promised Land. As a stakeholder, I must acknowledge the myriad of challenges we need to face before a robust tourism industry in Ekiti State and even in Nigeria as a whole can be attained. May I seize this opportunity to appeal to the Ekiti State government ably led by Dr Kayode Fayemi, to sustain the tempo of infrastructure development in the state (roads, schools, health centers, electricity, potable water, security etc) to make the lofty dreams possible. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, what I have attempted to do in this paper is not to give a complete, faultless blueprint for the realisation of this lofty dream of realising greater benefits from the public-private partnership, but to set the tone for the cross fertilistion of ideas. Two good heads, it is said, are better than one. There are other areas which I have definitely not mentioned but which are relevant to the realization of this dream. As we forge ahead in our interaction, we will be able to harness and accommodate more good ideas in this direction that could facilitate a total package which we will implement and sell to the world to boost tourism in Ekiti State and Nigeria as a whole.



The Midweek Magazine


Creating alternative space for art viewing


NE of the most important and obvious considerations for any visual artist is to get his or her work exhibited. The numerous advantages of this to both the artists and the public cannot be overemphasised. Apart from the financial rewards to all concerned in the stream (artists, curators, technical crew, art critics, gallery managers, artists representative, the press, framers, material suppliers, etc), expositions create room for vertical and horizontal developments. A greater degree of objectivity and constructive criticism comes to the arts through exposition. Artists most times see exhibitions of their works on whatever scale as an act of faith, communication, information, education and entertainment. Exhibition or gallery spaces are where a collection of things such as works of art are shown to the public or simply put is a room, hall or building specially assigned or made for the display of works of art ranging from paintings, sculptures, textile arts, prints, fashion, furniture, to graphic works, crafts, etc. Traditionally, the idea of an exhibition space starts from the home and some other dwelling places such as courtyards, parks and gardens, corridors, lobbies, living rooms, bedrooms, verandas and offices. Long ago in Africa, the chiefs, kings and leaders of communities displayed craft works, woven mats, special embroidered cloths, decorated calabash gourds, carved wood, decorated and handmade fans, special cane furniture, carved or metal stools and even decorated walls at their reception areas or courtyards. The purpose of this varies from education, documentation, information and entertainment to visitors on the culture and traditions of their people. These displays could be occupational, environmental, social, historical, political or religious in outlay. From 1950 to 1973, the display in most homes in Nigeria changed from wall hangings of craft works to black and white framed photographs of family members, individual portraits o notable politicians. According to Peter Obe (:14), “The art of photography became popular in the pictorial visual landscape of Nigeria from 1950 to its peak in 1973.” Spaces were created at homes particularly in the living rooms and bedrooms for display of pictorial or photographic wall hangings. Photographic display at spaces in homes during this period in Nigeria placed an extra value on the owner of such homes aside from the aesthetic, documentary entertainment purposes and therapeutic pleasures of both the homes and the guests. These places are in themselves private exhibition spaces, even though they are neither professional nor open to the larger public. Today, exhibition spaces (public or private) are a lot more professional in essence and presentation, they are also open to the general public (Ikpakronyi: 1). In Nigeria, private modern galleries or exhibition spaces for art came into fore with the existence of modern art. As Ikpakronyi puts it: ‘Before the introduction of any gallery of art in Nigeria, Aina Onabolu and his group were exhibiting their art works in public and private halls that were not purpose- built for exhibiting art works. One of such halls was Glover Memorial Hall in Lagos where Onabolu exhibited his art works with those of his students in 1925.’ lkpakronyi further states that this was the first major recorded public presentation or exhibition of modern art works in Nigeria. According to him, a similar public place that was used from then on was Tom Jones Hall in Victoria Street, now Nnamdi Azikwe Street, Lagos. There was no specially designed exhibition space until 1946 when the first space, designated the “Exhibition Centre”, was established at Marina in Lagos under the Ministry of Information. He goes further to note that one major art exhibition amongst many that were held at the “Exhibition Centre” was the inaugural exhibition of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) held in January 1964. Ikpakronyi buttressed Irabor’s assertion above when he states that the first designed exhibition space by the colonial government came in 1946 and the place was called the “Exhibition Centre” at Marina in Lagos; under the ministry of information. This section later metamorphosed into a parastatal of the culture ministry named National Gallery of Art in 1993 with the full backing of Decree No 86 of 1993 with a primary duty “to serve as a repository for artistic creations since the birth of Nigeria as a nation. Aside from Aina Onabolu who built an art gallery space as part of his residence at 15, Osholake Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos in 1954, Felix Idubor equally established the “Idubor Gallery for Arts and Culture,” now “Idubor Arts Gallery” at 2, Sakpoba Street, Benin City in 1958. Also, Ikpakronyi (:2) notes that Uche Okeke established a cultural centre in Kafanchan near Jos, Northern Nigeria. This he did while he was a student of Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria now Ahmadu Bello University; Zaria. Very much later, according to Bruce Onobrakpeya in an interview, the Bruce Onobrakpeya Studio now Ovuomaroro Gallery came up late 1962 at 56, Iseyin Street, Palmgrove, Lagos much after De Idehen Studio located near Moshalashi Junction and Keffi Street, Obalende, Lagos. In Nigeria today, few contemporary art galleries abound. They include those of individuals, families, communities, corporate organizations, states and the federal government. Some individuals who are interested in creative works of art engage in the collection of work’s for aesthetic and historical purpose. Notable examples of these Nigerians are: Mr Sam Olagbaju, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi and Engineer Yemisi Shyllon. All these patrons are based in Lagos, Nigeria. Galleries or exhibition display centres and private studios that came up subsequently in Nigeria from 1960 to 2010 are: Idubor Gallery,






From Dr. Kunle Adeyemi

VISAUL ART Kakawa, Lagos; Gallery LABAC; Abayomi Barber Workshop, Lagos; Asele Art Gallery and Studio, Nsukka Campus, Asele Institute, Nnimo; Mbari Mbayo Gallery; 23, Ikorodu Road, Lagos; Gong Gallery, Lagos; Bronze Gallery; Lagos and Calabar; Quintessence Gallery; Falomo, Lagos; Keke Elemu Gallery; Ede Road, Osogbô; Heritage Gallery, Osogbo; New Culture Studios and Gallery; Ibadan; Nike Art Galleries in Lagos, Osogbo, Ogidi Ijumu and Abuja- to mention just a few.

Exhibition Space Problems

In Nigeria, the major towns and cities such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Zaria, Ibadan, Enugu, Warn, Benin, Oriitsha, Akure, Osogbo, to mention just a few, despite being noted for their sophistication, mega and metropolitan essence, can boast of very limited number of both official and unofficial exhibition spaces. For instance, Lagos, a major city in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa with about 18 million inhabitants; a commercial nerve centre of Nigeria’s economy, and former federal capital of the country can only boast of about 50 (fifty) galleries or exhibition spaces according to the records of the National Gallery of Art (2008 : 90-92). Some of these other spaces aside from those mentioned earlier are National Museums and Monuments, Onikan; National Gallery of Art, Aina Onabolu Studio, Iganmu; National Theatre Complex, Iganmu; Lagos State Council for Art and Culture display centre, Alausa, Ikeja; Yaba College of Technology Art Gallery; University of Lagos Art Gallery. Others are: Omenka Gallery; Nimbus Gallery; Miii Mma Gallery, Didi Museum and African Arts Foundation Gallery, Lagos. Abuja, which is presently the capital of Nigeria and the seat of the government of the federation, has not fared better in housing exhibition display infrastructures. The few physically designated exhibition spaces in Abuja are: Abuja Council for Arts and Culture; CHOGM Arts and Craft Village; Nicon Hilton Hotel (Craft Village); Abuja Sheraton and Towers (Craft Village); International Conference Centre; Jeff Gallery; Colours in Africa Shop; and Signature Gallery. Neither the National Gallery of Art nor the National Commission for Museums and Monuments can presently boast of an exhibition display centre in Abuja (the seat of the government of the federation), Port Harcourt, Enugu, Ibadan, Benin and some of the other major towns in Nigeria can equally boast of few art exhibition display places largely because of low awareness of art exposition. Aside from the major hotels, foreign cultural institutions, such as: the United States Information Service (USIS), Goethe, Alliance Francaise and Italian Cultural Institute’s presence in these towns and cities, only few schools of art, National Museums and The National Gallery outstations provide exhibition spaces. The situ-

ation has put the human capital development in visual arts in this city in a pathetic state. From the above analysis of exhibition spaces in some major cities and towns, it seems that not much is happening in infrastructural development, marketing and promotion aspects of visual arts in these fast developing cities and towns For close to two decades (1990-2010), Abuja city has been witnessing growth in both human and structural capital development in other areas of endeavour. In an interview with Sam Ovraiti, an accomplished artist, former art teacher and art workshop facilitator, on the issue of slow growth in arts’ structural facility development in Abuja and other’ major Nigerian towns in the past twenty years (19902010), he berated the country’s past visual arts and culture administrators and policy makers for lack of vision for the subsector as money voted and spent over the years was not properly utilized for structural development such as building of exhibition or display centres, studios, art villages and other facilities that would make the practice, promotion and propagation of visual arts conducive. In a related statement, Olu Ajayi, a master painter corroborates Ovraiti’s assertion. He notes that: The growth in the visual arts subsector as it relates to physical structures for exhibition spaces and other facilities has been sluggish and slow. This in effect has caused a perpetual retarded growth in the human capital development of the visual arts subsector. According to a report by (Denvir and Gray: 25), there are more than 2000 commercial galleries in Britain and the top fifty (or thereabout) are situated in London, clustered around the Cork/Bond street area. Though there is no basis for comparison on the growth and development of visual arts on all facets between Nigeria and Britain when one takes cognizance of the age and history of gallery development in the two countries. However, the successes recorded in exhibition spaces and facility development in Britain is a lesson for all art stakeholders in Nigeria. The British success records above as Denvir and Gray (:26) put it are devoid of galleries and exhibition spaces in government-controlled art institutions like the National Museums and state-controlled art councils. Judged from the British standard, the Nigerian experience is a no start at all when compared with her British counterpart. We at the Open Studio see Nigeria’s slow and stunted growth in this sector as an unacceptable problem which must be addressed and the right solution prescribed. It is therefore evident in the analysis above that there exists stagnation and slow growth in this most vital area of visual arts development in Nigeria. Production in visual arts, be it painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, etc, is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Patronage is equally the bedrock of practice. The inadequacies and almost non-availability of art exhibition spaces, art display centres and facility developments in Nigeria’s visual arts sub-sector has created a gap in the structure of the profession which has made it dysfunctional.




Wheat importation to reduce by 20%, says Adesina


HE Federal Govern ment plans to reduce its N635billion import bill on wheat by N127billion, or equivalent of 20 per cent next year, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said. Adesina, who made this known yesterday in Lokoja at a two-day training workshop on cassava bread organised for Master Bakers from the North Central zone, said that government has finalised arrangement to implement its policy of 20 per cent substitution of wheat with cassava flour in bread production, to reduce the bill. Represented by his Technical Adviser on Cassava Value Chain, Mrs Toyin Adetunji, he said the policy

was expected to save Nigeria over N127 billion, adding that the Master Bakers’ training was part of measures aimed at developing the cassava industry, as well as create jobs and boost the income of the people. Adesina said the policy is also aimed at diversifying the country’s economic base from oil to non-oil sectors, stating that with a production capacity of 40 million metric tonnes per annum, Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, with Brazil, Thailand and Indonesia trailing. “The challenge to us as a nation is that Thailand, which is the third largest producer of cassava, controls over 80 per cent of the world market of cassava

starch, hence there is need for us to play our role as a leading producer nation.’’ The Minister said President Goodluck Jonathan has approved N10 billion as Cassava Bread Development Fund. He said the training which currently has a total of 770 master bakers across the six geo-political zones, is expected to churn out a minimum of six bakers from each local government area of the country. In their separate remarks, the Ministry’s Coordinator of Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) in Kogi, Dare Arotiba, and Chairman, Master Bakers in the state, Simeon Abanilo, commended the initiative of the government.

BoI releases N4.3b for cassava bread


HE Bank of Industry, BOI yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to create a N4.3billion facility to support master bakers, SMEs and large industrial cassava flour millers. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, and the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Ms. Evelyn Oputu, signed the MoU in Abuja on behalf of the Federal Government. Adesina said: “Today marks another milestone in our journey. Out of the N4.3billion, N1.05billion will be used to upgrade the capacity of 35 existing small cassava flourmills. This support will be provided as 50 per cent loan and 50 per cent grant. The BoI will provide working capital of N425billion as loans to the SME cassava flour processors at single digit interest rate. “The facility will provide

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

the sum of N468million as working capital loans, at single interest rates to medium and large cassava flour millers. The facility will make available N2.2billion to support master bakers and industrial bakers, as 50 per cent loans and grants for them to acquire new machinery. He said President Goodluck Jonathan has established a cassava bread fund, explaining that the fund is to provide support for thousands of cassava farmers to grow cassava in commercial quantities and to thousands of master bakers to move into use of cassava wheat composite flour in bread and confectioneries. The fund will also support SMEs and large industrial mills that will produce cassava flour. He said a total of 5000 master bakers would be trained and supported to acquire new baking equipment, such as rotary ovens, chillers and mixers for baking cassava bread.

We expect that within the next twelve months, 5000 bakers across the country will be producing cassava bread, while the production of high quality cassava flour will have expanded significantly, he said. “We are partnering with BoI because of its expertise, experience and successes in helping to build first class SMEs. I am convinced that with dedication of my staff and leadership of the bank especially the passion commitment of Ms. Oputu Nigerians will soon share in the great experience of tasty cassava wheat flour bread across the nation. Speaking, the MD BOI, Ms Evelyn Oputu urges stakeholders in the baking industry to demonstrate resilience and commitment to the job, Nigerian are counting on them to make the cassava bread production a total success. Warning that the money given must be accounted for and the bank will not let them be if the money is not judiciously used.

Why we launched GEM, by Etisalat chief


CTING Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Ni geria, Matthew Willsher, has said the telco launched the Going Extra Mile (GEM) programme to reward customers that have stayed with the firm over the last five years. According to him, going the extra mile in terms of services, innovation and value offerings, are things strategists

By Collins Nweze

at Etisalat, adding that it would help the company compete with older market players. “If customers are consistently spending with us, we give them extra value to extend their relationship,” he said. He said the company would be going the extra mile in ar-

eas like personal health of subscribers, by offering deserving customers a free medical checkup in a choice hospital in Germany, free incoming calls while roaming, free calls and SMSs on subscribers’ birthdays as well as free Smartphones and dongles. All these GEM offerings are for customers that meet specified threshold spend on the network.

Japan gets spot cargo from NLNG


APAN, the world’s largest buyer of liquefied natural gas, received a spot cargo from Nigeria on December 29, according to Ship-tracking Data. The Stena Blue Sky, with a capacity of about 143,000 cubic meters, sailed to a terminal facing the Sea of Japan, transmissions captured by IHS Fairplay

on Bloomberg showed. The data doesn’t show the vessel’s final destination. It loaded the supercooled gas at Nigeria LNG Limited.’s Bonny Island facility and departed December, one. Japan’s two terminals at Niigata and Joetsu have a combined annual capacity of 19.23 million metric tons, and receive

term shipments from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Qatar and Russia, data compiled by Bloomberg have shown. Asian LNG buyers typically import spot cargoes from December to March to meet peak heating and power demand during winter in the northern hemisphere.

SON MANCAP certification for oil firm


HE Standards Organi zation of Nigeria (SON), as part of its mandate of ensuring that manufacturers of goods and services adhere to quality and dependable standard of production for consumable products, has screened, certified and awarded the mandatory conformity assess-

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

ment programme MANCAP certificate to Amipego Groundnut oil. The Niger State Zonal Coordinator, SON, Adamu Bayo Olufadi, who stated this, said that SON is committed to ensuring that consumers of manufactured

products buy quality and not substandard products. He said Nigerians should endevour to patronise made- in-Nigeria, as SON is doing everything possible for consumers to get the best quality. Amipego groundnut oil is new and ready for the local and global market.




Nigerian equities close 2013 with N4.25tr gains


IGERIAN stock market closed the 2013 business year in style; investors, capital market operators and regulators closed the year dancing away with more than N4.25 trillion in their pockets while famous pop singer, Innocent Idibia, better known by his stage name- 2face Idibia, sang and rang the closing bell for the year. The 2013 business year set the stock market on a new high with average full-year return of 47.19 per cent, its best performance since 2007. 2face Idibia sang the ‘African Queen’ and the market rocked to a cheery close with several equities staging lastminute rally to close at their


•Average return hits six-year high at 47.19 % Stories by Taofik Salako

best prices in recent years. Aggregate market capitalization of all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed 2013 at N13.226 trillion as against its opening value of N8.974 trillion for the year. This represented a whooping increase of N4.252 trillion. The main index at the NSE, the All Share Index (ASI)-a common value-based index that tracks all quoted equities, recorded full-year return of 47.19 per cent rising from its opening index for the year of 28,078.81 points to

close the year at 41,329.19 points. The performance in 2013 significantly surpassed the much applauded return in 2012 when equities posted average return of 35.45 per cent, equivalent to capital gains of N2.44 trillion. The stock market had closed the first half of 2013 with average return of about 28.8 per cent, equivalent to N2.45 trillion in capital gains. Aggregate market value of all equities on the NSE had closed the first half at N11.426 trillion while the ASI had closed the first half at 36,164.31 points.

SEC makes case for new capital base

ECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday said the increase in capital base of capital market operators has been long overdue as one of the planks for the reforms in the industry. SEC recently announced new minimum capital requirements for market operators. Under the new regime which takes effect by January 1, 2015, broker/ dealer is to raise its capital base to N300 million from the current N70 million, a broker to N200 million from N40 million while a dealer’s capital base was increased to N100 million from N30 million. In a statement made available yesterday, SEC stated that the

new capital regime is the outcome of a process which commenced in 2010 and included inputs from representatives of the capital market industry trade groups such as the Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) and the Chartered Institute of Stock brokers (CIS). According to the Commission, the new minimum capital regime which was recently announced on the basis of a September 2013 SEC board decision was a finalisation of the work of that industry-wide committee. “It bears reiterating that an enhanced capital base for CMOs in the Nigerian capital markets is long overdue. It is an

inevitable logical step in the industry reform effort being led by the SEC and which has the buy- in of all industry stakeholders,” SEC stated. The apex capital market regulator stated that the recovery process in the market can only be sustained with the strengthening of market operators through enhanced capital, better technological infrastructure, and qualitative human capital among others. It noted that the new capital requirement is inspired by current international best practice which requires that operators hold capital which is commensurate with the size of risk which they bear in the market place. It pointed out that the significant erosion of capital which reduced many operators to hollow shell entities was a vital factor in the flight of investor’s confidence from the Nigerian market which, in turn, frustrated the market’s recovery for a long time.





Nigeria’s foreign reserves end year at $43.6b


OREIGN reserves yesterday stood at $43.6 billion, indicat ing an average annual decline of $200 million as against $43.8 billion recorded in January1, 2013. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its November 18, 2013 meeting expressed disappointment at the low rate of reserve accretion in spite of strong oil prices; which is a result of the absence of fiscal savings. It however, noted the increase in external reserves to $45.37 billion as at November 15, representing an increase of $1.26 billion or 2.85 per cent above the level of $44.11 billion at end- September. Also, external reserves increased by $0.95 billion or 2.14 per cent on a year-on-year basis over the $44.47 billion at end-November 2012. The reserves have lost $1 billion

Stories by Collins Nweze

in five weeks ended December 23. The reserves were at to $44.9 billion on November11, but dropped to $43.9 billion as at December 23, data obtained from the CBN website showed. Further analysis of the reserves showed that they stood at $44.8 billion on November 18 but have maintained steady fall in the last three months. They were at $44.6 billion as at November 27, contrary to $45 billion recorded on October 14. Other figures showed that the reserves were at $47.7 billion on July 1, and dropped to $47 billion on July 15. They also entered August 1 at $47 billion. The reserves had five years ago, in August 2008, peaked at $68 billion before the global financial crises impacted negatively on it. Chief Operating Officer, Citi

Bank Nigeria, Akin Dawodu said the reserves are assets held by the CBN and monetary authorities, mostly in dollar to back their liabilities, such as the naira. He explained that manipulating reserves levels can enable CBN intervene against volatile fluctuations in currency by affecting the exchange rate and increasing the demand for the naira. “Reserves act as shock absorber against factors that can negatively affect a country’s exchange rates and, therefore the CBN uses the reserves to maintain a steady rate,” he explained during training for financial journalists in Lagos. Analysis of foreign exchange utilised by sectors revealed that $7.83 billion was expended on the importation of visible goods into the country in the second quarter as against $6.63 billion and $7.74 billion in first quarter and second quarter of 2012, respectively.

Euro falls against dollar


CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido

Enterprise Bank seeks face of God


N appreciation of God’s favours especially during the 2013 finan cial year, Enterprise Bank Limited in Lagos, during the week, held its annual end of the year Family Fellowship. The event was held at the bank’s corporate Head Office in Victoria Island Lagos. In a statement, the lender said the gathering was an interdenominational Christian Fellowship, which is organised yearly by members of staff of the bank to thank God for His mercies through the year. The theme for this year’s edition was “Celebrating the Goodness of God.” Addressing a large gathering

staff at the event, Niyi Adebayo, the bank’s Executive Director, South Bank, who spoke on behalf of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Ahmed Kuru said every staff of the bank who made it to the last month of the year, customers as well as all stakeholders have every reason to appreciate the goodness of the Almighty God who is the beginning and end of everything we achieved this year both collectively and individually. Adebayo added that he was convinced that God will grant everybody the mercy of seeing the New Year, which he stated would even

be better than the receding year. He however called for caution even as we celebrate given the security situation in the country. He said, “Looking at the theme for this year’s Enterprise Bank Family Fellowship and annual thanksgiving, which is ‘Celebrating the Goodness of God,’ I feel highly delighted and satisfied standing here to assure you that you have nothing to fear as long as we have God on our side. We are looking at the hand writing on the wall and I can assure you that the bank is destined for greater glory in the New Year. So irrespective of the tough times we passed through in 2013, I



Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

can tell you that we have every reason to thank God.” Earlier in the programme, Reverend Wale Alaka, the former Managing Director of Assemblies of God Savings & Loans and Senior Pastor, Four Square Gospel Church, Ifako 1, Gbagada while delivering the sermon assured management and staff of the bank that the bank will break barriers in the new financial year. However, he admonished all not to relent in believing in the powers of the Almighty God because that is the only guaranteed way to growth and stability.

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Offered ($) 350m 350m 350m

MANAGED FUNDS Initial Quotation Price N8250.00 N1000.00


OBB Rate Call Rate

Current Market 5495.33 N552.20

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m



Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 31-12-13



0.63 4.15 17.64 2.65 4.00 3.30 1.04 9.98 0.66 65.62

C/PRICE 2013-12-24

0.69 4.48 19.00 2.83 4.25 3.48 1.09 10.45 0.69 68.50

%CHANGE 9.52 7.95 7.71 6.79 6.25 5.45 4.81 4.71 4.55 4.39

LOSERS AS AT 31-12-13 2013-12-23




17.79 29.00 4.40 2.09 4.21 0.51 165.00 11.50 16.47 112.30


C/PRICE 16.91 27.71 4.21 2.00 4.08 0.50 161.85 11.30 16.25 111.15

Year Start Offer

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

Current Before

Current After

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

Date 2-7-12 27-6-12 22-6-12

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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


CUV Start %

%CHANGE -4.95 -4.45 -4.32 -4.31 -3.09 -1.96 -1.91 -1.74 -1.34 -1.02

Amount Demanded ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

HE euro fell for the first time in five days versus the dollar amid bets the region’s economy will trail that of the United States, spurring the European Central Bank to keep interest rates low as the Federal Reserve slows stimulus. The shared currency dropped versus most of its 16 major peers. The yen rose against the dollar, paring its biggest annual decline since 1979, on speculation that an increase in Japan’s sales tax will crimp economic expansion and boost demand for the currency as a haven. The pound strengthened to a three-week high versus the euro before U.K. data this week analysts said will show house prices climbed and mortgage approvals rose. “There’s some downside for the euro-dollar from here,” Robert Sinche, global strategist at Pierpont Securities Holdings LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a phone interview. “We expect it to head lower, particularly in the second half of the year, as the pace of U.S. asset purchases dwindles to almost zero.” The euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.3775, after climbing to a two-year high of $1.3893 on December 27. The common currency fell 0.4 per cent to 144.51 yen. Japan’s currency gained 0.2 percent to 104.92 per dollar, trimming its drop this year to 17.3 per cent. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed at 1,019.72. The gauge, which tracks the greenback against 10 major counterparts, has risen 3.4 percent this year, the most since an 8.9 percent advance in 2008. Latvia will become the 18th member of the euro area tomorrow, even as opponents of the currency switch outnumber proponents two-to-one as public expectations for accelerating inflation mount, opinion polls show.


19-09-13 11.432.09 35,891.90

23-09-13 11.494.75 36,088.64

% Change -




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





NLC seeks national debate on privatisation of refineries


HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday urged the Federal Government to put the proposed privatisation of the nation’s four refineries to a national debate. The congress, in a message, titled: New Year Message to Nigerian Workers, sought full commercialisation of the refineries. NLC President Abdulwahed Omar said the congress was worried that the transaction was akin to the distribution of national assets to political cronies on the veneer of privatisation. Omar noted that privatising the refineries was not in the interest of Nigeria. He advised Nigerians to oppose any inimical government policy.

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

The NLC chief also said Nigerians needed to participate fully in the proposed National Conference, scheduled to begin early this year, to discuss crucial national issues for the management of the resources for the benefit of majority of Nigerians, instead of using them for the few members of the ruling class. Omar said: “A policy initiative, which the

government announced in 2013, is the plan to privatise the nation’s refineries. The poor state of the nation’s refineries is unfortunate. What we have canvassed all along is the promotion of competition in refining. The government needs to deploy a regime of incentives to attract private refiners to operate side by side with the public refineries, the operations of which should be fully commercialised. We

remain worried that privatisation is becoming a smokescreen for distribution of national assets to cronies and political hangers-on. “It is our view that the selling off of such vital assets, as the refineries, is a weighty enough issue which should not be embarked upon without an open national debate. Given that the country is in the process of embarking on a national dialogue, the issue should be apprehended as part of the agenda of the

dialogue. “We, therefore, emphatically restate the position of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the masses, which were aptly expressed during the June 2007 protest, that privatising the existing refineries is not in the interest of Nigerians as it will bring more hardship to the people. Nigerians are, therefore, bound to react against this bad policy, should it go ahead as contemplated by the government.”

Gunmen kill Ebonyi governor’s wife’s driver From Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki

I‘ll join APC, says Abe


HE Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, has said he would join the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said there was no provision in the constitution preventing him from doing so, especially with the turmoil in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The lawmaker spoke at Bori in Khana Local Government of Rivers State at his third annual interactive session with youths from the seven councils, which make up Rivers South East. He said: “I am going to defect to the APC. Even if it is only one senator, who will cross from the PDP to the APC, you can go and write it down. Magnus Abe will be that senator. I will cross. The constitution guarantees freedom of association. It says if there is division in your political association, you can cross.” Abe said the crisis rocking PDP, which led to a walkout by some aggrieved members and subsequent formation of a faction, justified the decision to dump the party. The Speaker of the Rivers State Youth Parliament, Mr. Ijok Emmanuel, hailed Senator Abe for all he did for students and youths. He said last year, over 50 per cent of the dividends of democracy brought to the senatorial district by the lawmaker were geared towards education and human capital development.

A DRIVER attached to the office of the wife of the Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Chika Umaha, has been killed by unknown gunmen at Mkpuma Akpoka village in Izzi Local Government. Police spokesman Chris Anyanwu confirmed the killing, saying the motive was yet to be ascertained. He said the incident, which was reported by the accountant to the governor’s wife, Enwenyi Fidelis, of Edebigwe village in Izzi Local Government, occurred about 7:30 pm on December 28 last year. Anyanwu, who stressed that the killing was not an assassination, said his vehicle •Delta State Police Commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba (fourth left) addressing reporters on arms and ammunition recovered PHOTO: NAN was riddled with bullets, but from January to December at a media briefing in Asaba, the state capital...yesterday. none of his belongings was stolen. The police spokesman said nobody had been arrested in connection with the murder, DELTA State Governor UNDS for constituency From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja before midnight of agencies that are on the adding: “We have begun a Emmanuel Uduaghan has projects were not among December 31. Treasury Single Account manhunt to arrest the said his administration’s those expected to be officials of the Office of the Otunla said: “Our people (TSA) and officials of the culprits.” ‘Delta beyond oil’ policy returned to the treasury by last Accountant-General of the are in the fields in the various OAGF do not need to leave will save the state from the night, it was learnt yesterday. Federation (OAGF) had ministries and, usually, their offices to mop up the over-dependence on oil Addressing reporters in begun the mop up of the officials from the Ministry of fund. money. Abuja, the Accountantfunds released under the 2013 Finance do not sleep on the He said this was done He said the policy would General of the Federation budget, which were not last day of the year. So, we electronically since the fund ensure that the economy was (AGF) Jonas Otunla said the spent by Ministries, will wait for them to come.” was in the Consolidated resuscitated and a conducive funds for constituency Department and Agencies Also not to be mopped up Revenue Fund. From Sunny Nwankwo, environment put in place for projects were exempted from (MDS) of government. by midnight, Otunla said, are However, from this year, Aba investments to thrive. the directive to remit all He said officials of the personnel cost. all agencies that are funded AN Abia State lawmaker Uduaghan spoke while unspent funds to the treasury Ministry of Finance and the “Usually, issues like by government would be on has donated money and responding to his choice by because of the strategic nature OAGF would ensure that personnel cost are not always the TSA to simplify the gifts worth over N25 three national newspapers of the projects. funds that had not been used mopped up,” he said. process of mopping up million to his constituents. as the ‘2013 Man of the Year’ Otunla admitted that by agencies were returned The AGF explained that unspent funds. The legislator, Nwogu and ‘2013 Governor of the Iheasimuo, representing Year.’ Aba South, made the He said emphasis was on again.” donation in his constituagriculture, culture and tourwhat our families are passing From Precious Dikewoha, Sir. Worluh said: “The widIDOWS at Rundele ency. ism, among others. through. “ Port Harcourt ows in this community in Emohua Local Items distributed The governor, in a A widow, Mrs. Joy should always support GovGovernment Area included 48 ministatement by his Chief Onyedika, said: “None of the ernor Amaechi. It was refrigerators, 22 electric Press Secretary, Mr. Sunny Thanking the initiator of the Wike supporters rememof Rivers State have warned through the opportunity he blenders, 16 deep chest Ogefere, hailed the manprogramme, Sir Lucky Worluh, bered us. Widows cannot the Supervising Minister for gave me to serve him that I freezers, 10 sewing agement of The Sun, Leadthe widows said Wike’s leave Governor Amaechi. We Education, Chief Nyesom got the little I am distributmachines, 50 standing ership and Nigerian Pilot for organisation in the community have been deceived in the Wike, to stop misleading ing to you today.” fans, seven counter-top ice the awards. did not do anything for widows past. We cannot be deceived women. makers and 100 electric during the Yuletide. They said any government irons. They accused GDI of or organisation, which has no Others are 18 minimobilising the widows and respect for widows, especially From Gbade Ogunwale, NSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police (IGP) water dispensers, over 200 women against Governor Assistant Editor, Abuja those in rural areas, is not worMohammed Abubakar has ordered tight pieces of George wrapChibuike Rotimi Amaechi. thy to be called a government security at the various places of worship The statement said: “The IGP is positive that the pers, two horsepower split Their leader, Mrs. Chioma or organisation, adding that nationwide. multifarious strategies adopted by the police and air conditioners, seven Worluh, said: “If Sir Worluh the Wike Grassroots DevelopIn a statement yesterday in Abuja by Force the renewed collaboration with the public are bound Volkswagen Passat cars and his foundation rememment Initiative (GDI) has no spokesman, Frank Mba, a Chief Superintendent of to yield more dividends for the country. and an L300 mini bus. bered this community at this plan for widows. Police (CSP), the IGP assured Nigerians of the “The police are making robust efforts at locking One widow received period and even brought docThe women spoke yesterreadiness of the police to provide tight security for up all channels of violent crimes in the country. N200,000. tors for free medical care, then day at St. John Anglican the country in the New Year. Preservation of public safety, fight against terrorism, The beneficiaries Wike and his group are jokChurch, Rundele, when reAbubakar directed zonal Assistant Inspectors- rape, violence against women and children, thanked the lawmaker ing. ceiving food items, cloths and General of Police (AIGs) and police commissioners challenges of communal clashes, capacity-building and promised their ‘’The widows cannot foltreatment from the Alice to ensure effective security in their areas, with special and general welfare of police personnel remain top continued support. low those who do not know Worluh Widows Foundation. attention to places of worship. priority for the Force in the New Year.”

Fed Govt stops remittance of constituency projects to treasury


Uduaghan explains Delta beyond oil

Abia lawmaker donates money, gift items

Widows to Wike: don’t deceive our women


New Year: IGP orders tight security at places of worship




NEWS Jonathan: From wasted expectation to heightened hope


YEAR ago, President Goodluck Jonathan unfolded his 2013 plan. Today, he has unfolded another plan for this year. But, what has happened between then and now? The challenge is marrying expectation with reality. Many agreed that it was increasingly difficult for the embattled Commander-In-Chief to live up to expectation. This year, will the transformation agenda bear good fruits? In his new year message last year, Dr. Jonathan raised the hope of Nigerians. He said that government will improve security and power supply, fight the infrastructure battle, upgrade the national rail network, create jobs and wealth and foster public confidence. Beaming a searchlight on the administration, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, described Dr. Jonathan as a kindergarten President. The remarks polarised the polity. Some agreed with the former Osun State governor, pointing out that the President lacked charm and carriage of a leader and the poor achievements of his dull government does not speak for him. But, government officials, including the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, painted a picture of a growing economy. She said the atmosphere is investment-driven. Her evidence is that inflation is kept at bay. Power supply has improved and roads are being rehabilitated. The “improved economic climate” projected by the minister has not heralded a high standard of living for citizens. They economic miracle is an achievement on paper without bearing on the

ANALYSIS By Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor life of the people. Two days ago, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) warned that political crises may create more economic hullabaloos. The President has not presided over a peaceful country. Despite the heavy investment, the security situation has not improved. The Boko Haram insurgency is insurmountable, although the state of emergency in the three Northeast states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno has been extended by another six months. There is panic. Terrorism has become a major threat to peaceful living and socio-economic activities. In regions where people are insulated from the menace of Boko Haram, kidnappers and armed robbers are on the prowl. In fact, kidnapping has become a lucrative business in the South. Peace also eluded the polity because of the activities of major actors. The crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) engulfed the nation. Attention shifted from governance to crisis management. The anti-graft war suffered during the year. There was a shallow commitment on the part of the administration. . Alarmed at the trend, House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal chided the President for encouraging graft. He lamented that the resolutions of the House on corruption were ignored by the Presidency. There was also a controversy over the handling of the SURE-P Programme. There were allegations that the money ended in the purse of party chieftains. The ordinary citizens were left in the cold. Job creation has been a mis-

sion impossible, although government claimed that it has facilitated the creation of employment through funding for some creative activities in the agricultural sector. But, experts have argued that the solution to unemployment lies in the activation of the power sector. The revitalisation of the critical sector would have aided the resuscitation of the moribund manufacturing sector. The sector is on its knees. The cost of production has made some of its operators to seek refuge in the neighbouring Ghana and Republic of Benin, where electricity is stable. Artisans, peasants and operators of small and medium scale enterprises suffer from power outage. They often resort to the noisy generating sets, spending huge sums on petrol and diesel. Many of them have been forced to close down. Thus, there may be a relationship with soaring unemployment and high crime rate, which the government may have ignored to national peril. How can government also create wealth without stable power supply and good roads. In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the improved rail network is being felt. Outside the choice city, transportation is still a nightmare. The East/West road may still take a long time to complete, despite reapeated assurances. The piecemeal rehabilitation of federal roads appears to be another cosmetic measure designed to make it appear that the Federal Ministry of Works cares . The Soutnhwest, which has complained of marginalisation with proofs, is unhappy that the Lagos/ Ibadan Expressway is still an abandoned construction site, despite the renewal of the road concessioning. For over five months last year,

Jonathan plans 18-hr power supply as APC seeks change Continued from page 2

we have already mobilised an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond. Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day.” Jonathan reassured Nigerians that his administration would do its all to ensure the success of the planned national conference, which he hoped will enhance national unity, peace and cohesion ahead of the 2015 general elections. “The report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the conference is undergoing urgent review and the approved structure, guidelines and modalities for the conference will soon be published as a prelude to its commencement and expeditious conclusion,” he said. To boost the operations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) towards the 2015 election, the President

said the agency would be well supported. Universities have just reopened after a five-month teachers’ strike over poor funding of the system. But, Jonathan, identifying education as a key priority for the government, said: “We take this responsibility very seriously and I urge all other stakeholders in the sector to recognise the national importance of their work, and to help advance the cause of education in our nation.” Besides, he defended his administration’s investment in education. He said: “Between 2007 and 2013, we have almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion – and we will continue to vigorously support the sector. We have improved access to education in the country with the construction of 125 Almajiri schools, and the establishment of three additional federal universities in the North, bringing to 12 the number of universities estab-

lished by this administration.” Jonathan spoke on security – a major challenge for Nigeria, considering the activities of Boko Haram, kidnapping and armed robbery, among others. He promised a more secured country, saying: “As peace and security remain prerequisite conditions for the full realisation of our objectives, we will also do more in 2014 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria. The allocation of over N600 billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment. “As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing. As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater.”

the Senate and House of Representatives to the opposition,” a source said, adding: “Yet, we cannot pretend that APC is not a threat, irrespective of our attempt to underplay the unfolding scenario. “We may also seek a working alliance with some parties in the National Assembly, like the defunct accord between the defunct National Party of Nigeria(NPN) and the Nigeria Peoples Party((NPP).” Ahead of the NEC meeting, seven of the remaining governors of the PDP have reached out to Obasanjo for direction on the future of the party and the 2015 poll. The governors are from the Southsouth, Southeast, Northcentral and Northwest. It was learnt that the gover-

nors discreetly opened talks with Obasanjo following the tough attitude of the Presidency on the crisis in PDP and the 2015 poll. One of the governors from the Southsouth was said to have resented the development in the country and tabled some issues for Obasanjo to address to guide him to decide on 2015. A source said: “Some of them, who endorsed the contents of Obasanjo’s letter, also explained why they could not come out early to state their position. “Obasanjo’s advice will guide them to make their mind on or before March 2014. You can see that not all the governors in the party are fixated on the situation in PDP or the senior prefect attitude of the Presidency.”

Tukur’s fate shaky as PDP NEC meets

Continued from page 2

his perspective on the way forward for PDP. It is on that day we will know his terms for peace with the aggrieved governors. “If the President is amenable to reconciliation, it may set a new tone for the party, but if otherwise, it may lead to more defections. “The President’s peace terms are likely to determine the position of Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger) who are yet to leave the PDP.” The NEC may also revisit the threats to its strength in the National Assembly because more lawmakers may defect to APC in March. “It is going to be a dangerous precedent to lose the control of

the universities were under lock and key, no thanks to the lecturers’ strike. A semester was lost to the industrial dispute. The polytechnic teachers were also on strike. But, they called it off without any agreement with the Federal Government. Now, medical doctors are on warning strike nationwide. Will this year be a clean break from the sordid past? The rhetoric is being repeated. President Jonathan has wished Nigerians a happy amalgamation anniversary. The mistake of 1914, in his opinion, is a blessing. He has called for unity in a country divided by the bitter struggle for the Presidency between the North and South. He made allusions to the 2013 budget, avoiding the judgment of failure passed by many federal legislators. He said his administration is focused. But he did not point to any proof. He said that 1.6 million jobs were created last year and that more will be created this year. This year, the President promised more funding for education and health sectors. He also promised to cut the cost of governance by reducing frivolous spending on unwarranted foreign trips. He promised housing through mortgage, support for the electoral commission to uphold the sanctity of the ballot box and commitment to the proposed national dialogue to enhance national unity. The President has made a lot of promises at a time many doubting Nigerians are weary. His performance this year is critical to the chance of his party at the next year’s poll. Already, the APC has described itself as the government-in-waiting. Will the Presidency and ruling party wake up from their slumber this year? Time will tell.

Mark urges politicians to avoid unguarded utterances


ENATE President David Mark yesterday urged politicians to guard against utterances and actions capable of overheating the polity. Mark made the plea in a New Year message in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan. He advised politicians to respect the rule of law at all times and uphold the fundamental rights of other citizens as enshrined in the Constitution. “For me, I crave for a country where every citizen is a stakeholder, where there is justice, peace, equal opportunities and where no one is oppressed or marginalised. ‘Since we got it right in 1999, we must not in any way do anything that would take the nation back to the dark days again. “After all, God did not make mistake in keeping us together,” the statement said. The Senate President praised Nigerians for their perseverance, resilience and total commitment to the ideals of nationhood in spite of the daunting challenges facing the nation. He also praised the “indomitable” spirit of the citizens and urged them to continue to work assiduously for the peace and unity of the country. “I do not know of any other

country that is so blessed with human and natural resources. “All we need do, therefore, is to honestly harness these resources for the good of all,” Mark said. He contended that the challenges facing the nation were surmountable because other developed nations at various times overcame similar difficulties to evolve into greatness. “The only difference is that the people resolved to identify the problem and proffered a common solution. “This is what we need in our own case, to reason together like one people and to solve our problems like one people’’, he added. He assured that the National Assembly would continue to focus on legislative actions geared toward promoting the welfare and interest of Nigerians. Mark pledged sustained cooperation of the legislature with other arms of government to ensure speedy passage of the 2014 Appropriation Act.


Tambuwal urges INEC Continued from page 2

tures at the grassroots played a huge part in ensuring the success of the exercise. “It should not be lost on all of us that when all hands are on deck, and with sincerity of purpose, we can achieve success together.

“I commend the security agencies, the government and people of Yobe State for setting an example worthy of emulation,” the Speaker said. He urged Nigerians to remain positive about the country, and prayed to God for a prosperous and peaceful 2014.




•An upturned truck disrupting traffic on the Ikorodu-Shagamu Expressway in Shagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State...yesterday.

Court declines jurisdiction on security vote suit


USTICE Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, has struck out a suit challenging the legitimacy of the Executive (the President and governors) to allocate funds for security, popularly called security vote. The practice allows a governor or the President to disburse funds at his discretion. The disbursement and allocation of the funds are mostly excempted from probe or inquiry by any agency or body. In his judgment yesterday, Justice Bello agreed that the plaintiff and rights activist, Nkereuwem Akpan, was legally entitled (had the locus standi) to initiate the suit. The judge, however, declined to determine the issues raised in the suit on the

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

grounds that his court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter. Incidentally, Justice Bello delivered the judgment on the day he formally stepped out of the Bench, as he attained the mandatory retirement age. The case had suffered series of adjournments and the judge had to direct lawyers to re-adopt their final written addresses, when the matter exceeded the mandatory 90 days before a ruling or judgment. Akpan sued 36 governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)

on the legality of the security vote deductions. Justice Bello held that the plaintiff had the locus standi to file the case because the case involved issues of public interest. He, however, held that his court lacked the jurisdiction to preside over cases involving state governments and the FCT, which were sued as the first to 37th defendants. The judge held that the Federal High Court could not adjudicate the cases involving the states. He also held that the inclusion of the EFCC and the ICPC (federal agencies) - as defendants - was insufficient to confer jurisdiction on his court, on the grounds that both agencies were mere ancillary parties in the case.

NEWS Sudan rivals meet for peace talks


ALKS between South Sudan’s government and rebels are due to start later on Tuesday in Ethiopia, mediators say. The two sides are expected to reach an agreement on the cessation of hostilities, they said. The talks are the first since conflict erupted two weeks ago between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. At least 1,000 people have died and more than 121,600 are believed to have fled their homes. East African leaders have been leading mediation efforts to end the crisis. On Monday, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni threatened the rebels with military action if they failed to agree to a ceasefire by the end of Tuesday, and begin talks. Representatives of Mr Kiir and Mr Machar would meet in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to defuse tensions in South Sudan, the Ethiopian government said in a statement. “The two sides are expected to reach an agreement on the cessation of hostilities and peaceful resolution of the current political crisis,” the statement added. Earlier, Mr Machar told the

BBC he would send a delegation to the talks, claiming his forces had captured the key town of Bor. But while he had agreed to negotiate, he said he would not order his troops to stop fighting. He had previously demanded 11 detainees accused of being co-conspirators in a coup plan be freed before negotiations. Mr Machar, who was dep-

uty president until he was sacked in July, denies there was a plot - alleged by Mr Kiir. The fighting initially broke out in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and has now spread to many parts of the country. The situation in Bor is fastmoving, but a government minister confirmed that the town had fallen to Mr Machar’s forces, reports the the BBC’s James Copnall from Juba.

Putin vows to fight terrorists


USSIAN President Vladimir Putin has vowed to fight “terrorists until their complete annihilation”, in his first comment on two suicide attacks in the southern city of Volgo-

grad. The attacks, on Sunday and Monday, claimed a total of 34 lives. Thousands of police are patrolling public transport and checking traffic in the city following the attacks, which injured some 60 people. The first victim has been buried - a policeman killed at the train station. No group has said it carried out the attacks, which Russian investigators believe are connected. They are similar to previous indiscriminate attacks by Islamist militants operating from the North Caucasus. Volgograd, a city of one million known as Stalingrad during World War II, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the battle of the same name this year, in an outpouring of Russian patriotic fervour. The bombing of the railway station on Sunday and the attack on a trolleybus on Monday came days before the New Year holiday - one of Russia’s biggest celebrations - and just over a month before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. In a New Year address in the eastern city of Khabarovsk, Mr Putin said: “We bow our heads in front of the victims of the terrible acts of terror.



A NEW YEAR MESSAGE Dear Akwa Ibom People, We all are here and so, must greet each other for having survived the pains and trials of the last year. We came into the New Year from the old year with a great moral burden; and thank God, His mercies have seen us all through. Having arrived in the New Year, we are urgently faced with the great task which demands a deep sense. It derives from the burden of history, especially, our democratic history, which has trailed us in the last one decade and four years of our attempts at building a virile democracy. It is for these reasons that we bring this New Year compliment alongside a duty to be shared with you, it behooves us to start the New Year with a deep and reflective thought. Interestingly, we as a people have just emerged into the New Year from a most trouble-ridden one – a year, where political upsets, social protests, ethnic rivalries, suspicions, blackmails and petty divisions registered very deep within our operational consciousness and polity. It was a time and period when our political space was squeezed into senatorial bickerings and clannish politics. A time, when provincialism rose by the day and malicious and self serving affronts dominated our political space and discourse, a year in which values were subverted, perverted and violated. There were back-stabbings, confrontations, revenge and all the sort of dirty intrigues that predicates a break-down in the social relations of the people. Economically, it was a year so to speak, when much capital flight was witnessed as a result of media wars waged by opposing forces and fueled by fifth-columnists, political jobbers and hatchet-men. In all, a series of damning and scathing publications from visible and faceless fronts of individuals and their spindoctors, tore our perceived unity to shreds. Propaganda and hate merchants took over the day and we were defiled and violated by those bent on defending or advancing one political position of the other. This has brought a huge moral burden on us in the New Year and the question is: Where do we start from here? Are we going back to the ways of Egypt before the Passover night or are we progressing to fantastic promises tucked away in our land of promise? To these questions, we must refresh ourselves with the new spirit of the New Year, look at all issues dispassionately with a view to affording ourselves and dear state the best of all possibilities. Fellow Akwa Ibom people, it is true that many may have underrated the situation we now find ourselves. Many decided to go about looking for a successor to Governor Godswill Akpabio, when the time was not ripe. In the process, they inadvertently had to devise peculiar attitudes and work out strange claims to titles and rights that as it were; were not entirely exclusive to them. They brought about a foreboding that overheated the polity and posted very wrong signals to the people. Others felt obligated to exploit the distending situation for selfish gains. But amid this ugly scenario, we must effectually bring relief to ourselves. The reality of conflict must be mellowed and replaced with a consensus of peace, togetherness and progress. True, in the fierce attempts to bring about a successor in 2015, many have adopted unthoughtful and clandestine approaches which have torn our close-knit existence apart. Whereas much disregard has been given to the issues that should address producing a worthy successor to Akpabio, every process and approach is now placed on charlatan interest and which is purely motivated by narrow interests. Now, every issue is seen from the emotive rather than the objective perspective. In the analyzed circumstance, dear Akwa Ibom people, have you given thought to all the puritan virtues that should define our walk to 2015? Have you equitably given thought to issues like equity, social justice, fairness, proficiency, integrity, truth, honesty, honour, trust and desirability in the character of those advancing arguments that presently seeks to divide our state? Have issues like experience, competence and patriotism come into view, or is it sheer blind loyalty and an ambition discovered to be very limited and reserved in scope and spread? It is this isolated degree of desperation and cut-throat com-

petition for 2015 which starkly reveals that there could be a disguised but ruthless thrust to power currently at play and which we must all resist and earnestly condemn with every breath in us. The level of naked and undisguised ambition, exhibited in the arrogance of those angling for power in 2015 only portray the level of unbridled notions of power, which if left unchecked by the people's power, will drift into a hopeless state of impunity. This explains why most stooges who are angling to succeed Chief Godswill Akpabio in 2015 are going about it in the spirit they best know. But how safe, will our democracy be if left in the hands of hired muscles whose present claims indicts the current system as facing what it faces and experiencing all it is experiencing because; it was founded on wrong foundations and needs proper cleansing? It is no hidden secret that the current rustlers and hustlers for Akwa Ibom political power are the ones rippling the state of peace and at the same time, impugning the character of her leader in the minds of her governed. But time is come; we put off sentiments for deep reasoning because, the dialectics for today's temper and logic of power is wrong, totally misplaced and wantonly insincere. And we can only find solutions in the truth. Now, in an attempt to examine the issues very critically, we must walk away from yesterdays' old meals of deceit and treachery and bring our conscience/consciousness to ask questions as to why the manipulation of our sensibilities is ongoing and driven by a few individuals in our midst? We need to desire and inspire a fresh consciousness and not yield ourselves, our conscience and our collective destiny to unfounded fate and it is why we should be more meaningful in our criticisms unlike the empty criticisms that we have thrived and been fed on before now. But, of course, the world of the critic is easy because it thrives on bringing on and highlighting the negatives of which shades, bears the truth. In many ways, it is the work of the critic to engage opposition views and seek explanations from some very preconceptions, which as it were, may have shaped and sharpened and rocked our perceptions to the core and this can only changed by asking some occasional but engaging questions. How did we arrive at these cross-roads of zoning and power rotation cry? Perhaps, a brief review of the year will suffice here. 2013 began on a smooth and very promising note until few events in July put it on a permanent slide. These include the ouster of the former SSG, Mr. Umana Okon Umana and his replacement with Mr. Udom Emmanuel. The disgrace and humiliation of one of the most powerful figures in the state political circles spinned the table of power in several directions. The fallout was to witness other calamitous chain of events, which no doubt; saw the falling and rising of many even as some commissioners in the state executive were consumed in the battle of loyalty between predecessor and successor. Such has eventually remained the scene which has poised the camps locked in fierce supremacy argument. Over time, many have deliberately ignored the real issues. But it is time for us to become objective. We can in 2014 redefine the future and create a new Akwa Ibom destiny. True, from the ashes of the dead and turbulent year, we must spring a positive political lesson. Of a truth, we weathered many storms from the said year and some of them very virulent and turbulent. But what were and still remains the causes of those storms? The simple answer is poor, selfish and narrow politics. A brand of politics fed by injustice. Let us consider some facts as factors of the ragging storm. ZONING/OTHER SOCIO-ECONOMIC VARIABLES: Zoning is obnoxious to Akwa Ibom politics. Forcing it on the people from any quarter by any individual or group of persons or interest, reeks of heinous enforcement of a doctrine of impunity. As has been historically evident, someone invented it into Akwa Ibom politics for purposes other than meeting and fostering the common interest of Akwa Ibom people. Its unpopular introduction has brought about all the trouble-shooting the state has been experiencing and since the birth and present attempt at consolidating its clamour through the power rotation argument, for so long had our worst nightmares at leadership change begun and remained. In the circumstance, it should naturally follow that were the advocates and proponents of zoning to be sincere, shouldn't the ladder of zoning, for both the senate and governorship

seats of Eket Senatorial District, merits the Oron Federal Constituency because of rotation and natural placing as a majority segment of the district without any current representation of note? Secondly, if zoning is argued to favour the Ekets, would it be just for Eket Federal Constituency to benefit with positions like Managing Directorship of NDDC, which annual vote equates the combined annual budgets of Cross River and Akwa Ibom States? More to this, was it just and politically justifiable that at the sack of the erstwhile SSG from the office, the office which should have been retained in Uyo Senatorial District for equitable balance of power be unilaterally transferred to Eket Senatorial District? Does the powers that be and with the rumoured preference of Mr. Udom Emmanuel, [whom a recent article in The Sun Newspaper of Thursday, December 12, 2013, page 43 described as “most qualified and most widely exposed” within the contending zone] to succeed the incumbent to the position, wouldn't it amount to an over concentration of political and economic power in a particular zone? On issues of being the most qualified and most exposed, what does it intone of the likes and qualities of the Ekpenyong Ntekims, Prof. Ita Ewa, Engr. Larry Esin, Barr. Effiong Abia, of the Oron extraction? What does it also imply on the qualities of Chief Assam Assam (SAN), Senator Helen Esuene, Bishop Samuel Akpan from Eket Federal Constituency. What of the rumored aspiration and qualities in Engr. Patrick Ekpotu, Nsima Ekere and Senator Udoma Udo Udoma from Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency. Are all these persons not qualified and exposed enough? Lastly, would zoning justify Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency to run for the Governorship having executed the office of the Deputy Governor for a clear Eight (8) years besides an earlier two term of eight years at the senate? How would the argument of zoning balance the issue of justice, equity and fairness across the various federal constituencies with the array of their own peculiarities which will clearly speak of one area dominating and lording over the other? To our minds, we must use the New Year to champion a new struggle. The battle for the return of justice and the egalitarian application of the principles of democracy to Akwa Ibom State. Of a truth, this must come without exclusion but all inclusiveness and without exemption but the participation of all. As we march on to the conduct of political party primaries that will definitely hold sometime this year, we should be determined to hold on to the preachments of justice and good conscience. That there should exist no form of discrimination or select preference of people or persons for the office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2015. It has always been: Who is qualified and not 'favoured' that determined the candidate while those interested in the race were never undermined. The race for the Akwa Ibom Government House in 2015 should be an open contest. It must be seen to be mass-oriented and we all must endure to inspire a new Akwa Ibom State, where merit and not might, justifies eligibility for public office. Finally, dear Akwa Ibom people, our political space last year was too hectic and full of strife, complaints and avoidable agitations. It bred rivalry and petty suspicions. And because of increasing ethnic and very malicious divisions, the whole polity was set on a fast and spiraling spin. Now, all that slide can be adequately arrested. We can initiate a fresh beginning in the New Year. Let's take a cue from the words of Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. According to Mr. President, from our political actions and talks, “some of us even think we are gods. We intimidate, we threaten, we show hate in our communication. These are definitely not the virtues of great men. They are shockingly the vices of tiny men.” Dear Akwa Ibom people, the time has come for us to reverse the attitudes of the 'tiny men' in our midst. And only by thinking big and expanding the frontiers of our hard won democracy can this come to be. It is time to protect the interest of Akwa Ibom State with good conscience. Let this year of our Lord offer us that opportunity. Let's free ourselves from our mental enslavement and sustain the collective interest of the people against those of a few. God bless you. Happy New Year and welcome to the year of the courageous and strong.









Paulinho out for a month with ankle injury T O T T E N H A M midfielder Paulinho faces at least a month on the sidelines after scans revealed “significant ligament damage” to his ankle. The Brazil international was forced off during his side’s 3-0 win over Stoke on Sunday after a strong challenge by Charlie Adam. A statement on

Tottenham’s official website read: “Following a MRI scan, the club can confirm that Paulinho has sustained significant ligament damage to his right ankle after a heavy challenge from Charlie Adam during Sunday’s win against Stoke City. “The Brazil international was forced off as a result of the injury and is expected to

be sidelined for at least four weeks.” The prognosis will see Paulinho sit out this weekend’s FA Cup derby with rivals Arsenal, as well as the New Year’s Day trip to Manchester United. He is also likely to miss Premier League fixtures against Crystal Palace, Swansea and Manchester City.


Given to stay at Middlesbrough


IDDLESBROUGH have reached an agreement with Aston Villa to extend goalkeeper Shay Given’s loan spell at the Riverside. The 37-year-old has played seven games for Boro since his arrival on Teesside a month ago. The Republic of Ireland international will now remain at the club until February 28. Middlesbrough’s Chief Executive Neil Bausor said: “We are extremely delighted to secure the extension of Shay’s loan until the end of February.”

Given spent 12 years at Newcastle United before moving to Manchester City in January 2009 and then onto Aston Villa in 2011. He also made 17 appearances for Sunderland during a loan spell in 1996. Everton’s Barkley ‘guarantee’ Roberto Martinez says he can “guarantee” that talented midfielder Ross Barkley will not leave Everton in January. Barkley has been linked with a £50m move to Manchester United after an eye-catching first season as a Goodison Park regular that has seen him rewarded with three

Title talk for Man United is too early—Evra


ATRICE Evra believes it is too early to talk about a Manchester United title tilt, but admits their hunger has returned.


United endured a poor start to the season, but on the back of four successive league wins they have moved back into the top-six. "The team is now playing better, we have that winning mentality and United spirit which was missing at the start of the season," said Evra in the Daily Mirror. "I can see that our hunger has come back, so I'm confident, but I don't want to talk about the title. I just want to talk about the next game, Tottenham at home. We need to make sure that we win, and that we keep the momentum going." Evra has started 18 of United's 19 leagues games this season but coming into the New Year - the Frenchman insists he is not looking for a break.

England caps. Martinez has repeatedly insisted the 20-year-old was not for sale, even claiming a Gareth Bale-style world record bid would not be enough to force the club’s hand, and struck a bullish tone again on the eve of the January transfer window. Asked if he was confident of resisting big-money bids for the likes of Barkley and fullback Leighton Baines - who was a summer target for David Moyes at Old Trafford Martinez said: “Yes. Absolutely. There is not even a doubt. “I have said it many times that in football you can’t fight the trend of the game but what you can dictate is the timing and everything you do should be for the good of the club. “We have done it (resist bids) before. Everything that happens needs to be to improve the squad, to give it a longer-term in relation to the strategy of the youth of the players and the blend you have with experience.”






UPER Eagles manager Stephen Keshi yesterday named Golden Eaglets safe-hands, Dele Alampasu among the 23-man squad for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa. Others named include the captain and first-choice goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim, Daniel Akpeyi, Ifeanyi Ede, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Solomon Kwambe, Benjamin Francis and Ejike Uzoenyi. gathered that the former Mali coach named the squad yesterday. But when contacted, Super Eagles’ media officer Ben Alaiya declined knowledge of the release of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) list. Though source confirmed that Kano

Keshi releases 23-man list for CHAN 2014 Pillars’ striker, Gambo Muhammad did not recover from his recurring injury on time to make the CHAN squad. Others dropped from the continent's biennial football showpiece include injured Adeyinka Adedeji, Ikechukwu Azubuike, former Akwa United now Enyimba goal merchant, Mfon Udoh and Ibrahim Pius. Yesterday, was the CAF deadline for submission of the final 23-man list for the championship, which kicksoff on January 11 ends on February 1, 2014. Debutants Eagles are in Group A with hosts, South Africa, Mali and

•Alampasu in, Gambo out

Mozambique. Eagles’ first game is against West African foes, Mali. FULL SQUARDS: GOALKEEPERS:


IGERIA will battle Ethiopia in a warm-up on January 4 in Abuja ahead of the 2014 CHAN in South Africa, officials have said. The Ethopian team also bound for CHAN, requested for the friendly and the Nigeria Football



HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has announced the selection of as the Official Travel and Tour Partner of the Federation for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals taking place in Brazil. In this regard, is officially licensed to arrange travel, accommodation and other logistics for Nigerian football family, fans and supporters willing to travel to Brazil for the finals. However, will be able to do this for anyone or group only on confirmation of match tickets purchased from the NFF/FIFA PAMAS platform.The list of persons or organisations who have confirmed match tickets purchased from the NFF/ PAMAS platform will be sent to for purchase of travel packages. Already, tickets for the opening ceremony/match and other group phase matches are on sale, on the NFF/FIFA

now co-operating to get visas to the UK for the Iheanachos so that they meet with Manchester City officials on the contract they have signed,” a top source informed “You could therefore say the transfer is back on track.” Issues to be discussed would include the January 2015 payments to the player, his father and the Taye Football Academy in Owerri. The Iheanachos recently

signed for City in Madrid, Spain, after Kelechi passed a medical attended by the EPL club’s chief scout Gary Worthington. However, when they discovered they would not be paid immediately, they explored the possibilities of reviving the interest of Portuguese champions FC Porto. There were unconfirmed reports too that Iheanacho’s US-based agent tried to sell the 17-year-old star to Spanish La Liga club Getafe.

year contract offered by my club,” the 31-year-old Etafia informed The former Plateau United star, who now holds South African citizenship, has been with Swallows since he moved to South Africa in 2003. He has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the South African top flight for

several years and his new deal further shows the confidence the club have in him. Etafia has won several Cup competitions with his club including the MTN 8 in 2012 with the Johannesburg-based club. He has been capped by Nigeria at U17, Olympic and full international levels.

Maidens to play Flamingoes in friendly

G •Etafia

HANA’S U17 girls team are scheduled to play Nigeria in a two-legged international friendly before 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals in Costa Rica. The Black Maidens will start preparations for the tournament next year. Ghana have been drawn in a tough group alongside

Mozambique, while Ethiopia is in Group C with Ghana, Congo and Libya. Interestingly, both countries slugged it out for a 2014 World Cup ticket in a final playoff in October and November. Coach Stephen

Keshi has demanded for a friendly against a national team before the team departs for South Africa on January 7. The CHAN Eagles have played several test games against local clubsides including league champions Kano Pillars.

NFF appoints Wakanow as Official Travel and Tour Partner

Etafia offered new 3-year deal

IGERIA goalkeeper Greg Etafia has been offered a new threeyear contract by South African club Moroka Swallows. “I am studying a new three-

Federation (NFF) has granted their wish, according to Brila FM Radio. The Ethiopians are therefore, expected to fly in on Friday, January 3 for the test game. Nigeria is drawn in Group A with hosts South Africa, Mali and

Hilary; Abdullahi Shehu; Joshua Obaje. FORWARDS: Ejike Uzoenyi; Gbolahan Salami; Banabas Imenger; Aliyu Ibrahim; Christian Obiozor; Ifeanyi Ede.


Iheanacho’s Man City move back on

ELECHI Iheanacho’s transfer to Manchester City is back on track after it looked like it had collapsed over a delayed payment. can specially reveal that agents working on the move to the EPL for the FIFA U17 World Cup MVP are now working on getting the player and father to England for a meeting to address “some vexed issues”. “Both the agents in the US and those in London are

Gabriel; Umar Zango; Bright Esieme; Erhun Obanor. MIDFIELDERS: Ugonna Uzochukwu; Rabiu Ali; Christian Pyagbara; Ikenna

Nigeria get Ethiopian test for CHAN



Chigozie Agbim, Daniel Akpeyi; Dele Alampasu. DEFENDERS: Solomom Kwambe; Francis Benjamin; Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kunle Odunlami; Ikechukwu

North Korea, Germany and Canada. Nigeria’s Flamingoes drew China, Mexico and Colombia in Group D. Ghana won bronze at the 2012 tournament in Azerbaijan. The 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup will be played between 15 March and 4 April.

PAMAS website, and interested parties are to contact the NFF directly on this as well as for purchase of hospitality suites. (Ticketing Officer: Tolu Abe +234-703-9003-476). The NFF has also cautioned that match tickets’ confirmation from FIFA, as well as travel and accommodation documents are pre-requisite for visa procurement from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Brazil in Nigeria. For easier and quicker visa application process, persons or organisations who have

CHAN 2014

Pillars draw a wakeup call for Eagles, declares Lawal


ORMER international and member of the Nigeria Football Federation’s Technical Committee, Garba Lawal reckons Monday’s 2-2 draw against Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars should be seen as a wake-up call and a pointer that 2014 CHAN will be tough. The super Eagles engage the “Sai Masu Gida” outfit in a first leg double header tune up matches in Abuja on Monday but managed a draw. It will be recalled that a 1-1 draw was also recorded by the team against an amateur side in Port-Harcourt last Saturday. Lawal who had most of his successful time at Roda JC in the Dutch Eredivisie stated “As a coach or a player, you want to win all games but I think in the context in which the team played a 2-2 draw with Kano Pillars is a strong test for the team” “I believe it’s a wakeup call to the player and the coaches that anything can happen but I also believe that these players will go to CHAN and make the country proud but they should not take chances but plat each game as a cup final” he added.

CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, MR. JOHNSON - CHUKWU OMUNNAKWE VICTOR and MR. ACHOR VICTOR WOGOZOR refers to one and the same person, now wish to be known and addressed as MR. JOHNSONCHUKWU OMUNNAKWE VICTOR. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note

purchased their match tickets from the NFF/PAMAS website and travel packages from are advised to seek the assistance of for their visas. NFF’s Director of Marketing, Adama Idris, said on Monday: “We have chosen as our Travel and Tour Partner for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 because we are convinced about their capacity to do a great job of it. This is a huge project and only an outfit with capacity, high competence and track record of service delivery

can cope well enough.” Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Products of, Mrs Stella Obinwa said: “We are elated as a company to have this opportunity to serve Nigerians willing to travel to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup finals. Our ability to deliver is not in question. As a company, we will put everything in place to ensure that Nigerians who travel to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup finals come back with memorable experience of a positive nature all-round.”


‘Not Jonathan, has he performed adequately to deserve a second term? However he has 2014 and 2015 to perform a miracle of ‘good governance’ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM


R Iyabo Obasanjo’s intervention in the rift between her father and President Goodluck Jonathan through her terrible letter to the old man is sadly a testimony to how thoroughly dysfunctional the Obasanjo family is. It also shows how equally guilty – possibly even more so – she is of some of the vices she’s accused her father of; vengeful, hypocritical, opportunistic, ungrateful, and much else besides. “We, your family,” she wrote in her letter, “have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity BUT GOT NONE OF THE BENEFITS OF YOUR SUCCESSES.” (Emphasis mine). As a vet doctor and a PhD in public health, Iyabo, no doubt, had the credentials to serve as a commissioner of health in her Ogun State and as senator. Surely, however, she should be the first to acknowledge that if she was not an Obasanjo her credentials alone would never have got her those jobs, especially since, as she herself said, she was away from the country from 1989 until the inauguration of her father as president in 1999, except for her brief visit in 1994. And she was not the only one from her mother, Olurenmi - her portrait of her husband in her 2008 book, Bitter-Sweet: My Life with Obasanjo, could hardly have been more unflattering – to have greatly benefitted from being an Obasanjo. Her brother, Gbenga, who had accused his father of sleeping with his wife, was also a great beneficiary of their father’s presidency. For example, he reportedly had an interest in an Indian company which snatched a multi-million dollar contract for the rehabilitation and expansion of the power plant of Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd from Power Works Ltd. PWL partly belonged to the late Mrs Kathryn Hoomkwap from Plateau State, one of those who worked hard to get Obasanjo elected in 1999 and who helped him draw up a blueprint for the transformation of Nigeria, a blueprint he promptly discarded as soon as he took over power. Kate, a friend and classmate from our university days, worked so hard under then President-Elect Obasanjo’s team headed by late Chief Sunday Awoniyi that Obasanjo reportedly told Chief Awoniyi he may appoint her secretary of his putative government. But not only did he not do so. He was at least complicit in the robbery of PWL’s contract after it has invested heavily in it and giving the job to a company Gbenga had an interest in. Kate died with the burden of the bank loan her company took for the contract. So for Iyabo to claim that her estranged wing of the Obasanjo family did not benefit one jot from her father’s name was a bit too rich. Her claim may not be the height of ingratitude, but it is close. Obviously Iyabo’s bitterness with her old man is not because she did not derive any benefit from being an Obasanjo. It seems it is more because she did not get more, given her failed second term senatorial bid and the open secret that she wanted to be a minister. Her father, she must have believed, did not commit himself enough to make those ambitions possible. Her bitterness is not just with her old man. She seems also bitter with her country. “I tried to contribute my part to the development of

VOL.9 NO.2,715


People and Politics By


Between OBJ and GEJ and others in-between (II)

•Ms Obasanjo •Chief Obasanjo my country,” she said in her letter, “but the country decided it didn’t need me.” Part of her bitterness with Nigeria was the scandal that surrounded the retreat in Ghana of the Senate committee on health she headed, a retreat which she herself said was paid for by the Ministry of Health and some international NGOs but which she and her colleagues still went ahead to collect estacodes for, something which was clearly wrong, if only because there is a conflict of interest in ministries paying for the oversight functions of legislators. Yet like her father who she blames for hypocrisy, she said she saw nothing wrong with what she did. “I did nothing wrong,” she said of the scandal. Instead, she saw everything wrong with a country which could not appreciate her sacrifice as someone who left the comfort of her residency abroad to return and serve her country. In thinking that the country did not appreciate her sacrifice, Iyabo is clearly one of those Nigerian technocrats in diaspora, genuine and fake alike, who think their expertise entitles them to special treatment in their country when in fact their record of performance has amply demonstrated that they have used their expertise more for self-aggrandisement than for the benefit of their country. Iyabo resembles her father too much for anyone to accuse her of being a bastard Obasanjo. But what she did to him and to her family is hard, if not impossible, to justify even for a bastard child. If, as she said, her father’s letter to President Jonathan was “vengeful”, hers to her father was worse, especially if, as is being speculated, she was put up to it for pecuniary considerations by the presidency. However, whatever motivated her letter, it is almost impossible to find a word awful enough to describe what she has done to herself, to her father and to her family.

As for President Jonathan’s reply to Obasanjo, his nearly 5,000-word letter has done little, if anything, to belie his estranged benefactor’s charges. As far as compositions go, the president’s reply would probably score much higher than Obasanjo’s 8,000-word or so letter, even though neither of the combatants will win any award for style and grammar. Beyond its superior style and grammar, however, the president’s letter contains little to belie the substance of Obasanjo’s letter. The summary of the president’s reply was simply to say Obasanjo had done worse during his eight-year presidency than what he has accused the president of. This thesis is highly debatable. It is debatable, for example, that the country is today more secure, more united and less corrupt than it was during Obasanjo’s time. And certainly the one thing no one can ever accuse Obasanjo of is cluelessness and lack of control over his lieutenants, relations and friends, vices which the president is widely seen to suffer from. However, even if it is true that Obasanjo was no better than the president in the vices he has accused the president of – and in several ways this is true – this is beside the point, namely the point that leaders should be judged more by the standard they set themselves than by the records of those before. When President Jonathan took over on his own steam in 2011, he promised to bring in “a breath of fresh air” and transform the country’s political economy. More than half way through his current term the stench oozing out of our country has only got stronger and stronger to the point of almost choking its people. Take, for example, the country’s state of insecurity. It was not enough for the president to have countered Obasanjo’s charge with the answer that kidnapping for ransom, oil theft and the Boko Haram insurgency predated his presidency. The question, which he did not answer satisfactorily, was what has he done since then to stem these and other forms of insecurities in the land? One of his answers is that the presidency has poured in billions into building schools for almajirai (so-called child destitutes) to address ignorance and poor education as two of



REDICTABLY, rice will be on the menu in many homes across the country this first day of the New Year. Generally regarded as food for celebratory occasions by a good number of Nigerians, it will be served in a variety of forms, particularly the popular Jollof rice and Fried rice. However, as rice eaters enjoy their food, it is pertinent to highlight the brewing storm related to the Federal Government’s recently announced plan to stop the importation of rice by 2015 as part of efforts to ensure sufficiency in local production. Remarkably, two concerned groups lately added their voices to protest from various quarters, urging the government to review the policy in the interest of the country’s economy. The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the Seaports Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN) in separate statements argued against the implementation of the policy, stressing that the authorities appeared to be too much in a hurry without adequate planning for its success. According to MWUN, the announcement of

Rice on the menu

the policy’s take-off time has increased smuggling, leading to high market penetration by uncontrolled poor-quality rice with negative health implications for the people. The group’s President General, Mr. Anthony Nted, and General Secretary, Mr. Aham Ubani, said in a December 27, 2013, letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, “The policy on importation of rice has made it difficult for genuine rice importers to bring in their products through our ports. The effect is that revenue accruing to the nation is lost to neighbouring countries and some Nigerians who genuinely work in the ports are also denied their livelihood.” On its part, STOAN spokesman, Mr. Bolaji Akinola claimed that the country was losing N1 billion daily to the subsisting policy on rice importation and the consequent high-level smuggling. “Before January 2013, rice importers paid 60 per cent duty, but when duty was increased to 110 per cent, importers shunned

Nigerian ports for neighbouring countries, “ he said, adding that smugglers brought the same rice into the country illegally. Of course, it is relevant to ask: Where is the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, who regularly boasts about “a revolution in rice production” and “the rice transformation strategy to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice by 2015”? Whatever may be the merits of the government’s plan to make the country less import-dependent, it is clear that there are inevitable issues arising from the idea, which just won’t go away and should be addressed with all sense of responsibility. It is one of the tragic wonders of Nigeria that, according to Adewunmi’s figures, it “has 84 million hectares of land of which no more than 40 per cent is cultivated.” Obviously, among the reasons for this agricultural under-development must be not only the wrong and wrong-headed priorities of successive


the factors he said are responsible for Boko Haram insurgency. He also said his government has established 12 more universities in the country, nine in the North and three in the South, as if the problems of our universities are their numbers rather than their quality. What this answer clearly betrays is a frame of mind which lacks a proper grasp of the complexity of almajirai and which thinks the solution to virtually every problem is simply to throw money at it when all that this has done in the past is to breed even more corruption. On corruption itself, to take another example, the president said he “will not shield any government official or private individual involved in corruption” but added the convenient caveat that he “must follow due process in all that I do.” Right now, the most glaring opportunity for the president to prove he will not shield any of his officials implicated in any corruption is the well publicised case of his Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, whose sack has been widely demanded for, for importing armoured cars, presumably for personal use, that were never budgeted for at highly inflated prices. The president is right to insist he would not sack any of his officials without due process. But when a president sets up a panel to investigate an official and then refuses to disclose the outcome of the investigation - never mind acting on it - weeks after he publicly announces to the world that the report is on his table, as is the case with his minister of aviation, he can only blame himself if his vows of zero tolerance of corruption rings hollow in the public ear. Still on corruption, the president says he is “amazed” that with all of Obasanjo’s knowledge, he still believed the “spurious allegation” made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, that $49.8 billion of recent oil receipts had been unaccounted for by the NNPC, presumably stolen. Now that Sanusi has recanted, the president said, Obasanjo should find it in his “heart to apologise for misleading unwary Nigerians and impugning the integrity of my administration on that score.” With due respect to the president, he is merely being clever by half. True, Sanusi clearly got his arithmetic grossly wrong. However, his point that NNPC had not accounted for all oil proceeds remains valid; the Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, has admitted that over $10 billion remains unaccounted for. This is only a fifth of Sanusi’s figure, but $10 billion is by no means peanuts by anyone’s standard. One can go on to show how the president did not satisfactorily debunk Obasanjo’s other charges - his handling of the economy, his antiparty activities and his use of ethnicity and religion to divide and rule this country, etc - but what is more important is that the president is seen to live by the standard he had set for himself. He has little time to make amends before the next presidential election which he is clearly determined to contest. He will spend this time more usefully trying to make these amends than in trying to divert the public’s attention to his erstwhile benefactor’s motives, whatever they are. •For comments, send SMS to 08059100107

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above administrations, but also their lop-sided and short-sighted focus on oil, the country’s main revenue earner. Ironically, perhaps oil is also the bane of the country. Certainly, it won’t be enough to ban rice importation only to encourage local production of rice that falls short of the quality of imported rice. The challenge of ensuring that locally produced rice meets consumer standards of acceptability is a major one, and it would amount to a denial of the people’s right to the best if the official restriction merely helps to impose undesirable sub-standard products in the name of homegrown rice. Furthermore, it is unclear whether local production, even where it enjoys consumer acceptance, would be adequate for consumer demand. In another apparent instance of grandstanding, Adesina asserted, “We have every natural endowment to be a major exporter of rice… At least, we should be exporting rice to all of West Africa after we have met our own self-sufficiency requirement.” Evidently, this is easier said than done.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790. WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation Jan 1, 2014  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you