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Newspaper of the Year

Insecurity, funding News Ex-students’ leader Okeowo is dead P9 threaten 2015 polls, Sports Keshi: Eagles won’t disappoint P24 says Jega Business CBN takes reserves to Yuan P63 NEWS Page 4

•Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL. 9, NO. 2743 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014




Why insurgents breach security, by Jonathan


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday blamed “security lapses” for Islamic sect Boko Haram’s invasion of a Air Force Base in Borno State last December. Inaugurating the Air Force Comprehensive School in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, he said there was unnecessary rivalry among the security agencies, adding that this will no longer be tolerated. The President also spoke on why he picked Air Marshal Alex Badeh as Chief of Defence Staff, describing him as “a good manager of resources”.

From Augustine Ehikioya, Yola

Noting that Boko Haram “successfully attacked” five helicopters, Jonathan warned the new Service chiefs against unnecessary rivalry, urging them to complement one another in the nation’s interest. He said: “We will work with them to make sure that we overcome these challenges. One of the reasons that made me to uplift the present Chief of Defence Staff from the Chief of Air Staff is that I noted very carefully that in terms of managing resources, he tried. “And I believe that with him now taking charge as the Continued on page 4

•From left: United States Consul General in Lagos Jeffrey Hawkins; National Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; United States Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle; APC Interim National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande and Interim National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed during Entwistle’s visit to Tinubu’s office, Freedom House, on Victoria Island, Lagos…yesterday


Boko Haram: Death toll in Borno, Adamawa hits 138 President: battle against sect ‘ll be more forceful Borno promises to help victims


Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri and Barnabas Manyam, Yola

OURS after Boko Haram struck in Borno and Adamawa states, grim details of the attacks emerged yesterday. The death toll rose from 74, which was reported yesterday, to 138. Eighty-five died in Kawuri village in Borno State, and 53 in Chakawa, Adamawa State. No fewer than 16 others are believed to be missing in Borno, it was learnt. Emerging details of the attacks indicated that the insurgents issued three warning letters to Kawuri community before they struck last Sunday, a survivor, Mallam Mohammed Tukur, said. Tukur said the assailants also destroyed houses, mosques and a market square, adding that they operated for six hours before troops arrived. Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima was in Kawuri yesterday, amid tight security, for on-the-spot assessment. He saw the over 200 destroyed homes that Continued on page 4

•Shettima sympathising with a victim at the hospital…yesterday






•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun (right) welcoming Mr. Giovani Caprio of the World Bank to the Ogun State 2014 Retreat for top government officials in Ota... yesterday. With them is another World Bank official, Mr Gboyega Aiyemomi.

•Divisional Manager, East, Fidson Healthcare Plc, Mr Olugbenga Olayemi (left) receiving the ACE for Leadership Excellence from Managing Director, Quest Limited, Dr Ahmed Hassan (right) during the ACE award ceremony.

•Regional Director Africa, Chartered Institute of Managemant Accountants, Samantha Louis (left), speaking at a news conference on the activities of the institute and the institute’s president visit to Nigeria in Lagos...yesterday. With her are President of the institute, Malcolm Furber and the institute’s Country Manager Ijeoma Anadozie. PHOTO BOLA OMILABU

•Representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. J O Aikhomu (left) decorating the Deputy Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Dr Emmanuel Ifeadi, in Abuja...yesterday. He is assisted by Ifeadi's wife, Phiebean.

Annually, agriculture is said to contribute N348.7 billion to the economy. It can be more if over 50 per cent of agricultural produce, especially perishables are not wasted and unfit for the market. Air freight has the potential to reduce this wastage and boost foreign exchange earnings, writes OLUKOREDE YISHAU


GRICULTURE Minister Akinwunmi Adesina is never out of the news. If the minister is not talking about rice farming, he is talking about cocoa farming. He is upbeat about the agriculture sector, which he sees as the next oil sector. The sector absorbed $5 billion last year. But in all these, the minister has also been concerned about food wastage, which the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP)says has both financial and environmental implications. Environmentally, food waste leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides; more fuel used for transportation; and more rotting food, creating more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that fuels to climate change. A report said: “Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of subSaharan Africa (230 million tonnes).The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010). Nigeria contributes a great deal to this situation. Food waste and losses occur at early stages of the food value chain. Farmers daily lose so much during planting and harvest seasons due to the problem of storage and freight challenges. They have grappled with their losses over the years. The poor transport system means their produce cannot get to the market before the perishable ones become spoilt. Adesina, at the World Economic Forum (WEF), said: “The issue of global food security is very important. Nine billion people need to be fed by 2050 and there is no doubt in my mind that that requires that we significantly increase agricultural productivity. But if you look at where the land really is, most of the land is not in the United States, it is not in South Asia or anywhere in the world. It is in Africa and a bulk of it is in Nigeria. We have 84 million hectares of land.” He said he would continue to push for the optimisation of the level of land in Nigeria to enable the country


raise productivity with modern technology, saying Africa is where the compass is for food production that will save the world. “Africa and in particular, Nigeria, is going to be part of the major solution to global food problem and that requires that we change our approach to Agriculture not just as a development activity, but agriculture as a business,” he said. A solution is being found to food wastage. Adesina and Aviation Minister Stella Oduah are working to protect perishable cargoes through designated cargo airports. Countries, such as Kenya, South Africa, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt long adopted this strategy. Through their perishable cargo airports, they are reaping internally and externally. Perishable air freight export out of Africa in 2010 was approximately $1.6 billion. Nigeria is nowhere to be found despite being the largest sub-Saharan African country producing perishables. This has dawned on government and on Monday, the Federal Government designated the Akure Airport as a perishable cargo terminal. 13 of the 22 remodelled airports have been designated as cargo airports. Additional facilities are being provided at these airports to make them function effectively as cargo airports. “We understand how farmers feel when their products can’t get to the market. We know how it hurts when you invest and there is no return on investment; we know that colleagues in the Agriculture sector are striving to return the country to the path of sustainable agriculture and we on this part are working to ensure those mangoes, oranges and even fish do not rotten somewhere inside the farm. We are creating cargo airports and encouraging farm to market idea, where farmers can freight their produce without trouble and get reward for their efforts,” said Oduah. The aviation minister said it is the priority of her ministry to help farmers out of poverty through the new cargo airports. “By making distribution easier for farmers who usually have to compete with the challenge of moving their perishable goods, we are also pumping money back into the local economy. And beyond the direct economic benefits, connecting eaters with local growers helps cultivate a




quest for more foreign exchange ‘ Africa and in particular, Nigeria, is going to be part of the major solution to global food problem and that requires that we change our approach to Agriculture not just as a development activity, but agriculture as a business,

•The Managing Director, Federal Airort Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), George Uriesi, speaking during the inspection of the Perishable Cargo Terminal at the Akure Airport …on Monday. With him are Ms Oduah (right), Dati (second left) , Akure Airport Manager Mrs Sheeba Victoria and members of staff of the firm handling the project .


‘870 million tonnes of food wasted annually’ The Project Co-ordinator of Food Bank Nigeria, a non -governmental organisation, Mr Paul Achem, has said 870 million tonnes of food produced annually were being wasted the world over. Achem told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos yesterday that the statistics for the wastage was quoted from the Food and Agricultural Information as well as the World Food Programme. “The issue of food waste is becoming a global phenomenon. About 879 million tonnes of food are wasted every year, and about the same number of people go to bed hungry every night. The statistic is from the Food and Agricultural information. Then, there is World Food Programme. They have the same statistics there. “If you go there you will see different information about this. There is no land in Nigeria that we cannot cultivate. So, the Global Food Banking Network has put together this food banking system with food pantries in about 26 countries now and Nigeria is just joining this group. Our attention is being channelled towards food production areas, food manufacturers. “We mop up excess food produced and then give to people for free as a charity work and based on this we want to reduce the incidents of hunger in Nigeria.” Achem expressed the hope that the agency’s gesture would help to reduce hunger in the country. sense of national pride and solidarity. We have a real attachment to making sure our country continues to have its rural, agricultural heritage by supporting and creating this channel called perishable cargo airports,” says Yakubu Dati, the spokesman for aviation parastatals. The Director of Air Cargo, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Uchenna Ofulue, is expected to spearhead the drive for the development of the air cargo sector. The Chairman, Domestic Airport Cargo Agent Association (DACAA), Emmanuel Odia, said the creation of cargo department by the FAAN will enhance cargo business in the airports. The determination of FAAN to construct cargo terminal would boost the activities of the cargo agents, and ensure sanity in the cargo business at the airports, he said. "I think it is one of the best things that could happen to the aviation industry. It means that there is no cargo terminal in Nigeria that will not have a cargo department and this will enhance our business as cargo agents. "The moment the directorate picks up, and there is a section for cargo spinning, it will boost our business, "Odia said. The DACAA boss explained that this would also help to curb disorder and touting. Odia appealed to the management of the FAAN to create a cargo section under the directorate where all cargo activities would be carried out.

He, however, expressed displeasure over the decline of domestic airlines which, he said, had negatively affected DACCA business and had forced most cargo owners to transport their goods by road. The Chinese government is building five new airport terminals which have been designed with facilities for air cargo as well. The deal includes five international terminals for commercial flights and six for perishable cargo. The airports being undertaken with concessionary loan from China Exim Bank will be situated in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu. Speaking at the inauguration of the international terminal of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi Lamido, said the cargo airports would end the era of farmers losing their yields and can even earn foreign exchange by exporting their perishables. Interestingly, the global perishables market is worth over $5billion or about N1trillion annually. With the cargo airports, farmers will be able to participate in this market. They can now earn money from their fresh tropical fruits, such as oranges, pineapples, mangoes, tangerine, paw paw, grapes, cashew, bananas and vegetables. An Agricultural economist, Sule Dantiye, said: “If government follows this through, the farmers and the country will gain a lot. For me, it is a poverty alleviation strategy, which

$348b The amount agriculture contributed to the economy in 2012

30 The number of years China and India have ended food importation and rely on local production to feed its populace.

$1.4b The amount spent on importing food in the first quater of 2102 because of problems related to food shortage

3.97% The percentage of the increase of the contribution of the agric sector to the economy between 2011 and 2012.

makes more sense than distributing motorcycle and stuffs like that to people. I understand that they will also provide cold storage containers, specialised transportation for these perishables and so on. This will really change a lot of things.” The ministries are urging Nigerians to believe them on the workability of this initiative, saying it is no empty promise. That was the gospel Adesina preached at Davos last week. Oduah said: “It means that our aunties, our cousins, our relations living in rural communities will have access to international market. We would have developed some rural economies that would be independent of allocations from the Federal Government and independent from oil resources. It would be one of the greatest platforms for government to stop rural, urban migration. It will grow employment opportunity; it will have all the value chain properly ad completely developed. It will encourage the growth of new middle class.” Dati said the new Port Harcourt Airport terminal was different from the old one because it has room for cargo. He said the economic importance of Port Harcourt in efforts to develop agriculture in the country motivated the Federal Government to build an international cargo terminal in the area. ``We are starting a new terminal, which will be built from scratch, in addition to what we have. This



The amount spent on importing food in the first quarter of 2011 because of problems related to food shortage


The percentage of perishable food items that the country loses every year due to lack of storage and cargo facilities


What agriculture contributed to the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2012, which will increase with the new initiative

shows the importance of Port Harcourt in the Federal Government's plans and it also complements the fact that we want to open up an entry point for commerce and industry internationally. ``Although the Port Harcourt airport facilitates oil and gas exports, it is also strategic for the exportation of agricultural produce because of its location," he said. Dati said the Port Harcourt airport was important to the Federal Government's transformation agenda, saying that the first phase of the terminal's remodelling project would be inaugurated soon. He said the cargo terminal would enable Nigeria to effectively export oil palm and other agricultural produce for wealth creation. Significantly, the National Planning Commission (NPC) yesterday said agriculture contributed N348.7 billion to the nation's economy in 2012, as against N335.18 billion recorded in 2011. The figure is contained in the 2012 Performance Report on the nation's economy issued in Abuja by the commission. The report noted that the sector's value added stood at N348.7 billion in 2012, compared with N335.18 billion recorded in 2011, indicating a growth rate of 3.97 per cent as against 5.64 per cent in 2011. It added that ``the contribution of agriculture to overall real Gross Domestic Product Growth was 24.25 per cent in 2012, compared

What agriculture contributed to the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2011, which will increase with the new initiative.

with 31.04 per cent in 2011. ``Growth was led by crop production, which accounted for 20.46 per cent of the overall economic growth in 2012, compared with 27.41 per cent in 2011.'' It stated that the slowdown in the sub-sector's contribution to growth in 2012 was due to security issues in some parts of the north that adversely affected agricultural production and marketing. Flooding had also affected the productivity of the sector in 2012, it added. The report showed that the Federal Government's initiatives to improve agriculture and investments had not been significantly felt due to security challenges and that food imports were taking huge amounts of the country's foreign exchange earnings. ”In the first quarter of 2012 alone, more than 1.4 billion U.S. dollars (N221.2 billion) was spent on food imports, compared with 1.11 billion U.S. dollars ((N168.75 billion) in the first quarter of 2011, indicating a growth of 26.6 per cent,'' it said The commission stressed the need for the nation to learn from the success stories of China and India that exited from being food importers to exporters in the last 30 years. The sector will contribute more if the cargo airports initiatives fully take off and with time, the era of over 50 per cent of perishables being wasted may soon be over.



NEWS Insecurity, funding threaten 2015 elections, says Jega


HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday listed the challenges before the 2015 elections. It promised not to use the Addendum Voter Register (AVR) for the poll. The AVR contains the names of those not captured in the Electronic Voter Register (EVR) because of late registration. Their names, according to INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, who spoke in the United States (US), will be transferred to the EVR before the elections to avoid what happened during the Anambra State governorship poll in which the AVR was used. In a keynote address at the inauguration session of the CSIS Nigeria Forum in Washington DC, Jega listed the challenges as insecurity; funding; attitude of the political class; apathetic and inactive citizenry; delay in amendment to the legal framework; completion of the review of electoral constituencies and

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

polling units and prosecution of election offenders. He said since Nigeria was still a country in transition to democracy, its electoral system is “therefore work in progress.” In his powerpoint presentation sent to reporters by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kayode Idowu, Jega said: “Plans have been finalised to roll out a programme of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) nationwide. The CVR offers fresh opportunity to get more citizens onto the electronic register ahead of the 2015 general elections as we have stopped using the Addendum Register for elections. “Our experience in the recent governorship election in Anambra State showed that we have much work to do in convincing the public of the integrity of the register of voters. “The consolidation and deduplication of the biometric of register of voters has been

completed, as a result of which the register of voters now has tremendous integrity, much better than the one with which the 2011 elections were conducted. Indeed, it compares favourably with any register of voters on the African continent. “Plans have also been concluded to issue all duly registered voters with chip-based permanent voter cards (PVCs) which will be swiped with card readers in the 2015 elections to ensure 100 percent verification and authentication of voters.” Jega assured the Civil Society Forum in the US that the 2015 polls would be successful, saying: ”From the foregoing, we are convinced that the prospects of having remarkably much better elections in 2015 are very bright. But we harbour no illusion that we have accounted for all the issues that could pose challenges for the elections. In fact, there are still a number of key challenges ”As far as INEC is con-

cerned, the 2015 general elections will see Nigeria take its rightful place in the global comity of nations where electoral democracy is being consolidated “There are, however, still a number of constraints and challenges facing the Commission, as outlined. These challenges are not insurmountable and we will spare no effort to ensure that the aspirations of Nigerians for free, fair, credible and peaceful elections are actualised in 2015. “However, bringing this about and ensuring free, fair, credible and peaceful elections is not a task that INEC alone can deliver “All stakeholders have important roles to play. We must change attitudes and mindsets, as well as strengthen partnerships; and collaborative endeavours, to bring this about. “We give assurance that preparations by INEC for the 2015 general elections are proContinued on page 66

Why insurgents breach security, by Jonathan Continued from page 1

Chief of Defence Staff, working with other men that have been properly briefed about how they conduct their work, I know that the Nigerian Armed Forces will be a different Armed Forces. “I urge you to cooperate. Sometimes we hear about some kind of mutual and individual competition among Service Chiefs and security personnel. But this time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that will bring retrogression to this country. “We charge you to work together because our country is exposed to cancer and I told the former chief of defence staff when I came back from a meeting in France, that was the time they attacked our five helicopters, and a journalist asked me, Mr. President is it not shameful? And I asked him, If you were me, how would you have felt? And I believe we will no longer experience that kind of situation.

That happened because of some obvious lapses. “We will make sure we work with the National Assembly, we will work with the Service Chiefs and other senior military personnel, we will work with our traditional rulers and governors and senior citizens to see that we move our country to the next level.” Air Marshal Badeh said the fight against insurgency was surmountable. He urged the security agencies to remain focused. He pledged to defend the nation’s territorial integrity in line with the provisions of the Constitution. According to him, the Air Force Comprehensive School project, which he described as the brainchild of the Air Force, was built on five hectares of land within seven months through direct labour. Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako said the insecurity in the state did not allow for a befitting reception Continued on page 66

Anxiety over Mu’azu’s emergence


HERE was anxiety yesterday over the emergence of Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There were fears that his emergency did not comply with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) . According to a source in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the party requires a mini-national convention to conduct election into the office its National Chairman. Also, it was learnt that if Muazu remains in office without a proper election, he might not be able to sign the list of party nominees for the 2015

•A destroyed part of Kawuri...yesterday


From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

elections. But PDP National Publicity Olisa Metuh said the appointment was constitutional. He said the party complied with both the 1999 Constitution and the PDP Constitution. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the PDP did not follow the provision of the Electoral Act in choosing its National Chairman. It was gathered that the party ought to give INEC a 21-day notice to fill vacant positions. A source in the commission, said: “We feel that the PDP ought to comply with the ElecContinued on page 66

CORRECTION Hon. Zakari Mohammed is the spokesman of the House of Representatives contrary to the erroneous impression created in our story on page 7 of yesterday’s edition.

Boko Haram: Death toll in Borno, Adamawa hits 138 Continued on page 4

were and promised to rebuild them. He also made financial pledge to the victims. Shettima, who visited the village with a high-powered delegation, took with him a large amount of relief materials and foodstuff which he distributed to affected residents. Addressing residents at the palace of the village head, he said the rebuilding of the destroyed village would be a priority. He announced that each family member of the slain residents, would get N250,000 each, bringing the total cash donation to N21.25 million. Shettima said about 1,500 units of food items and other relief materials would be distributed to the victims to alleviate the devastating effect of the attacks. The relief materials include 600 bags of rice, 30 bags of beans, 300 bags of maize, and 200 of blankets, mats and cartons of Maggie cubes, drugs and hospital essentials for the community health centre. The governor said: “All the 200 burnt houses, mosques and market are to be rebuilt.” The rebuilding of the demol-


Jonathan: Battle against Boko Haram ‘ll be more forceful

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday spoke of a change in the tempo of the battle against Boko Haram, following the emergence of new Service chiefs. The excesses of Boko Haram will be reduced with the police working with the Armed Forces, the President said when he visited the Lamido Adamawa, Alhaji Barkindo Mustapha, in his palace in Yola. Jonathan was in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, for the inauguration of some Air Force projects. The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, is from the state, where a Boko Haram attack left no fewer than 53 persons dead on Sunday. Jonathan commiserated with the Lamido over the incident and congratulated him on Air Marshal Badeh’s appointment. The President said: “ Let me also congratulate you for producing the current Chief of Defence Staff for the country. He is somebody I have worked with before and I believe with him and the other Service chiefs, definitely, the security equation will change. They have not been cleared by the National Assembly, which ished houses, he said, began yesterday. “I am also going to compensate for all the destroyed property in this village, but not the lives of 85 people destroyed by

From Augustine Ehikioya, Yola I believe will be done this week. “I believe that by next week, we will have our first Security Council meeting and I believe that the tempo will change. With the police working with the Armed Forces, the excesses of Boko Haram will be reduced. “Let me, on behalf of my delegation, sincerely thank you for your reception and again for me and members of my Cabinet, we have to thank you very sincerely for your commitment in ensuring that as a nation we live in unity and peace. “It is quite a challenging period for our traditional rulers and religious leaders and opinion leaders because of the security challenges we have especially in the North eastern part of this country. Let me on behalf of the government express our condolences to the families of the various people that have died in this unnecessary Boko Haram insurgency over this period. Only three days ago, on Sunday, people were killed carelessly, some while worshiping.

these insurgents. They are not true Muslims; They continue to destroy people’s lives and property, without any genuine cause. As long as the insurgents continue to destroy your

“These things were never part of our country before this time. These things are very alien to us or because these days they say the world is a global village so the bad habit travels faster than the good ones. Nigeria is getting its share of the terror. God willing, Nigeria will overcome these challenges. We express our condolences to you, members of the Emirate Council and indeed all the people of Adamawa State.” Responding to the monarch’s request, Jonathan said his administration would continue to work with the state government to better the people’s lives. Saying the emergency in the state was not intended to punish anybody, he said the relaxation of curfew on the state is under the governor’s control. The Lamido told the President that the curfew was adversely affecting commercial life in the state. He appealed to the Federal Government to assist in rehabilitating roads. “Cattle roads have been turned to farmlands and this has always caused fighting and loss of lives among various groups,” he said.

houses and other property, the state government will also continue to rebuild them, as you have no other place to go; and live in this state. “Security will be intensified

in this village. We will deploy more troops and policemen, so that your lives and property are adequately protected from the insurgents.” An official, Dala Lawan, put

•Dr. Jonathan

the death toll at 85. Lawan said 53 bodies were given mass burial. He said more bodies were still being found, adding that some of the Continued on page 66

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EADERSHIP publisher Sam Nda-Isaiah said yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan is lukewarm in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency. He said this is because the insurgents are operating in an area (the Northeast) where “he thinks he cannot win election.” Nda-Isaiah spoke during a visit to The Nation headquarters in Lagos. A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Niger State-born publisher has been linked with the 2015 presidential race. But he said yesterday it was not yet time to speak on his ambition. Nda was received by the newspaper’s management team at the boardroom where he also fielded some questions. He said: “Jonathan does not want to fight Boko Haram because it is not in an area he thinks he can win election. “Fighting Boko Haram is simple. There are equipment that can show where the elements are and we can afford them and track these peoples’ hideouts. “Why have they not been able to jail a single person? Tell me one known name they have caught? It is obvious these persons are not Nigerians because no Nigerian will want to go and bomb a market when he is not


Jonathan isn’t serious about Boko Haram war, says Nda-Isaiah •Leadership publisher at The Nation

•Nda-Isaiah...yesterday. By Precious Igbonwelundu

sure if his relative will be there. “So, if many of them are from Chad and Niger Republic, how come they so easily operate in Nigeria? It is clear that they do not want to stop it,” he said. Nda-Isaiah hopedthat the


APC will win the 2015 Presidential election adding: “it is time for big dreams.” He decried the amount of money the country has spent on the power sector without commensurate generation of electricity. “The amount spent on power is enough to give us 20,000

megawatts. We are still talking about 4,000 megawatts, when South Africa is improving on its 40,000 megawatts. “Nigeria is too divided and this division is caused by the leadership. Good leadership is achievable and possible and it depends on whether we want it or not.”

Abaribe: no defection letter before Senate From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja


HE Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Enyinnaya Abaribe, yesterday denied the presentation of a defection letter by to the Senate. It was learnt that 22 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators are planning to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Abaribe told reporters in Abuja that the process for defection in the Senate was clear. He said any letter exchanged between the Senate president and any senator was considered a private affair. The senator said since lawmakers were elected on individual basis, any of them who wanted to defect writes to the Senate personally. Abaribe said: “The Senate, officially, is not aware of any letter about senators defecting because any letter that comes to the Senate will be read on the floor. “So, if some senators write personal letters to the Senate President, that is strictly personal between them and the Senate President. They have not written letters for reading on the floor of the Senate. “The same way you are aware of what is going on is the same manner we are aware of it through the newspapers. I have had cause to say this before that the process for anybody to move from one party to another is in the Constitution. The process is open and clear. It’s not something that can be misunderstood. “Don’t forget that every senator did an election on his own. There wasn’t a joint election. “Therefore, senators can’t write a joint letter to the Senate President about defection. It must be individual, and every person who has to leave, for whatever reason, will have to state his reason and do it personally. Until we see that, we assume that nobody is ready to go anywhere else.”

Kudos, knocks as Senate begins budget debate

HE Senate yesterday began the clause-byclause consideration of the 2014 budget. Though some lawmakers hailed the fiscal estimates, others saw it as the nation’s worst. Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba described the budget proposal as well structured to improve and address critical areas of the economy. But Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) described it as the “worst deal for Nigerians”. Ndoma-Egba said the Appropriation Bill sought to authorise the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation with N4.642 trillion as against last year’s N4.9 trillion. The Senate Leader outlined the budget breakdown as follows: Statuary transfers = N399,687,801,891; Debt Service = N712,000,000,000; Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure = N2,430,665,361,597 and Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure = N1,100,606,836,512. Ndoma-Egba noted that the capital expenditure outlay of the budget was deliberately structured to address critical areas of the economy. He said: “Some of the sectoral allocations that are meant to galvanise and reduce the infrastructure deficit as well as enhance inclusive condo mic growth are: SURE-P = N268.37 billion; Power = N99.05 billion; Works = N128.65 billion; Defence = N34.33 billion; Police = N6.7 billion; Education = N725.94 billion; Agriculture/ Rural Development = N66.64 billion; Health = N262.74 billion and INEC = N45 billion.” The Senate Leader insisted that the drop in the 2014 budget estimates, notwithstanding, “the proposal is a framework that will certainly consolidate and add impetus to the transformation agenda of this administration and promote economic growth, wealth creation, pov-

Lawmakers avoid consideration of 2014 budget THE House of Representatives did not include the consideration of the 2014 budget in its Order Paper yesterday. Instead, the constitution review report was laid and mock electronic voting procedure was conducted. The consideration of the report is slated for tomorrow. The omission of the consideration of the budget was thought to be a strategy by the House leadership to diffuse tension on the floor following the directive by the interim National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that its members should block the consideration of the 2014 budget, among other Executive bills. The APC, yesterday, went into a short meeting before the beginning of plenary. Such meetings have become regular, particularly on the heels of Tuesday’s statement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members that the APC was in the minority. It was learnt that APC members decided that the directive of

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

the party “will be implemented with wisdom and in the best interest of the country”. A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The omission of the budget consideration may not be unconnected with the decision of the APC members to tread with caution because they know that whatever steps they take would have grave implications on the country. “I have no doubt that they are in good position to turn things around, but they want to be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians; they don’t want to blow hot and cold ,like the PDP is doing with its gang-up with other parties. “I can assure you that by next week, the House will have settled down to tackle the document in the interest of the country.”

•Northeast rejects N2billion development fund From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

erty reduction and service delivery to Nigerians”. Ndoma-Egba called for equity in the distribution of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds since it is a “contribution being made by all Nigerians.” He decried the dwindling allocation to the Judiciary since 2011, saying inadequate funding would stifle its statutory duties. Senate President David Mark urged the senators to examine the proposal from the national perspective. He said: “We should see the budget with national and not party periscope. We should not reduce it to party issue.” Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said the budget was the most important bill before the Senate. He urged the Executive to ensure that it is sincerely implemented after its passage by the National Assembly. He said: “As a parliament, we will not want any project to be abandoned.”

Senate Minority Leader George Akume (APC, Benue) regretted that though the budget represents the engine room of growth and development in any economy, the Minister of Finance had not presented relevant documents to the Senate to enable the legislators make meaningful contributions. The senator faulted the use of SURE-P funds for too many things, instead of concentrating them on specific sectors of the economy. He wondered why the Federal Government was making allocation for the Joint Venture Cash Call when other Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member-states had stopped the practice. Akume noted that though N268 billion was voted for SURE-P, Nigerians were still running abroad for medical treatment. He said the SURE-P funds were being expended on areas where the rich and the privileged in the country lived. According to him, though there are several guest houses in the Presidency, N700 million has been voted for another VIP lodge in the Vil-

la while a teaching hospital is allocated a paltry N300 million. Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) said: “I will describe this budget as the worst deal for Nigerians.” Majority of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators shouted him down for the comment. The intervention of the Senate President saved the situation from degenerating into a shouting match. Mark warned that lawmakers should be allowed to make their contributions, whether positive or negative, without interference. Lawan said while budgets in other countries help the poor and vulnerable in any society, Nigeria’s budgets are used to feather the nests of the rich and powerful. The senator regretted that though the 2013 recurrent expenditure was fully implemented with other extrabudgetary spending, the capital budget only had about 50 per cent performance. According to him, while five million Nigerians get 74 per cent of the budget - which represents the recurrent expenditure - the remaining 165 million people are left with

26 per cent - which is for capital expenditure. Lawan said of the 26 per cent capital expenditure, the government might end up implementing only half of it. This, the senator said, would translate to 13 per cent for Nigerians. He insisted that the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had failed in her job because the recurrent expenditure had increased to the detriment of the capital expenditure. Lawan said: When Dr Okonjo-Iweala took office in 2011, the recurrent and capital expenditure were 74 and 26 per cent; 71.5 and 29.5 per cent recurrent and capital expenditure for 2012; while the recurrent and capital expenditure in 2013 were 68 per cent and 31 per cent. The 2014 budget has reverted to 74 and 26 per cent recurrent and capital expenditure. “I want to call on the Minister of Finance to throw in the towel because she has not been able to achieve what the administration wanted her to achieve. This is because there are no safety nets for the citizens.”

He regretted that while the amnesty programme and money voted for the reintegration of former militants gulped N59 billion, the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence got N34 billion. He rejected the government’s N2 billion proposed for the Northeast Development Initiative when the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) got N61 billion; the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs got N41 billion and N22 billion for the EastWest Road. Lawan said: “We must fund the development of the Northeast. We cannot be pushed out of Nigeria. While we are losing revenue as a result of oil theft and we are supposed to turn to other sources of revenue for the country, it is lamentable that N1.4 trillion is provided for waivers and concessions this year. “I want to clarify that I have nothing against the Southsouth or the Niger Delta. In fact, I have been a supporter of the Niger Delta from my House of Representatives days to this day. But what I said is that the funds proposed for the Defence, that is for the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and the Ministry of Defence headquarters is far low, compared to what is earmarked for 30,000 militants and the amnesty programme. “The amnesty programme and the 30,000 militants will have N52 billion while Defence will have just about N34 billion. What we are saying is that we have a state of emergency in the Northeast and that security agents should be well funded. “Our state carries the burden of funding security agencies in our place. Why don’t we fund these security agencies better when you are taking so much money for what, in my opinion, is not more important than the security of our people...”




APC: our senators didn’t flout directive T

HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has said its senators did not flout the directive not to cooperate with the Executive until the Presidency restores order in Rivers State. The opposition said yesterday’s reports by the media were misleading. APC was reacting to insinuations that the participation of its senators in the screening of the Service chiefs was against its directive. In a statement yesterday in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the reports were borne out of the “misunderstanding of filibustering as a veritable democratic tool to impede legislation by obstructive tactics.” It noted that the reports, which implied that the partipation of its senators in the screening of the military chiefs on Monday represented a rejection of the directive, was wrong, because “non-cooperation does not mean nonparticipation.” APC said: “We never directed our members in the National Assembly to boycott the chambers’ sessions, whether it is screening of appointees or plenary. What we said is that they should block Executive Bills. In any case, a senator or a House of Representatives member can only filibuster when he is in attendance. Filibuster does not equate to boycott or non-attendance.” The party said it was aware that its members in the Senate would attend the screening, “just as we are sure they will be part of any debate on the issue, and we have no problems with that.” It added: “After all, they were elected to attend the National Assembly sessions and participate in its activities. But

By Kelvin Osa Okunbor


We didn’t breach party’s order, says Ojudu A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Senate, Babafemi Ojudu, has said the party’s senators did not flout their party’s directive to block legislative matters from the Executive. He said APC senators’ participation in the screening of the Service chiefs was not tantamount to flouting their party’s directive. In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Ojudu explained that the party did not say its members in the National Assembly should not attend the screening but to protest, if things were not done constitutionally. The senator quoted the APC Interim PublicBy Olamilekan Andu

their contributions will help swing things one way or the other. That is the crux of the matter.” APC reiterated the propriety of its directive, which it described as pro-people, democratic and aimed at saving Nigeria. The party said the directive had succeeded in dousing the tension in Rivers State, “where those who have been subjected to harassment by hoodlums aided by the police now stage their rallies in peace.” It also said its directive would benefit the people and institutions, including the National Assembly, “which the President has tried to undermine by ignoring its resolutions calling for the redeployment of Rivers Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu. APC said: “It was the National Assembly that passed the resolutions on the redeployment of Mbu. Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labour Party (LP) and the Accord, who are now playing to the gallery just to feather their nests and place personal inter-

ity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in yesterday’s edition of a newspaper, saying: “People don’t seem to understand our directive. It is not for them to boycott but to frustrate the process, if the right things are not done. If they don’t attend, how will our voice be heard?” Ojudu said the APC leadership in the Senate also directed the legislators to push the issue of neutrality of the military in the coming elections. The senator said the discipline in the APC would not allow its lawmakers to flout the party’s directives. He added that APC would always act in the interest of Nigerians.

est above national interest, were part of efforts that culminated in passing the resolutions. But the Presidency ignored the resolutions, a dangerous trend undermining the principle of check and balance in our democratic system. “In this respect, the National Assembly should commend our directive, instead of a few exhibitionist legislators rushing to the media to make uninformed comments. “As far as we are concerned, we acted rightly in issuing our directive, which is meant to end impunity in Rivers State, save our democracy from descending into anarchy and protect national institutions.” Lagos State branch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday berated the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for condemning the party’s directive to its National Assembly members. The party noted that by its condemnation, the Lagos PDP confirmed its ignorance of legislative functions as an accessory to the impunity against Rivers State. In a statement yesterday by its Interim Publicity Secretary Joe Igbokwe, the party said: “We are surprised that the PDP

and its minions, who have acculturated the arts of lawlessness, corruption and impunity, feel the APC should be obliged to support its criminal acts by condoning its sordid acts. “Is the PDP under any impression that APC is bound to support its wilful acts of impunity, corruption and recklessness? Is the PDP under the impression that the APC is under its loins, to drag around as it feels? Is the PDP under the impression that APC is obliged to support its brigandage and wreckage? “We must educate PDP members and their enablers that withholding support for presidential bills is the prerogative of our legislators. The legislators can deploy such legislative rights as they deem fit. Our party feels that we can use our legislative prerogative in the most legal and responsible way by stopping impunity, anarchy and lawlessness. “We used legal means to target illegal and corrupt acts, and we know that the perpetrators and beneficiaries of corruption and impunity will react the way the PDP and its


lickspittles are doing. We know that being a prime beneficiary of lawlessness and impunity, which has been launched in Nigeria since 1999, the Lagos PDP will naturally buy into the scare mongering tactics of the national PDP. The purpose is to protect impunity and illegality and provide a base for the continuation of the ruination of Nigeria. “Curiously, we observe that the Lagos PDP and its cache of commissioned PDP agents now crying hoarse at the APC directive, have been throwing sadistic parties and orgies since the sponsored violence started in Rivers. They have been grinning in conspiratorial complicity since the Rivers police commissioner, with support from the Presidency, decided to visit mayhem on the government because Governor Chibuike Amaechi refused to adhere to their dictates. “We never recalled any of the wolf criers, who have invaded town because APC decided to use its legislative strength to stop this impunity. What a deliberate hypocrisy!”

‘Army committed to welfare’ From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Nigerian Army has promised to create a hospitable atmosphere for its officers, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division, Maj.Gen. Ahmed Jibrin, said yesterday. Jibrin spoke at the inauguration of projects at 2 Division Garrison, Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Ojoo, Ibadan, Oyo State. The projects include a 315KVA transformer, an industrial capacity borehole, Bajaj motorcycles, a car park and an arms’ store. The GOC said the projects would create a more conducive environment for officers. He said the aim of the Army was to turn the force into an institution that could prove its essence any time. Jibrin noted that in pursuance of the objective, the garrison reequipped the services and enhanced the welfare of its officers and men. The GOC hailed the commandant in-charge of the garrison, Maj.Gen Laz Ilo, urging the officers to maintain the facilities. Ilo said he started the projects six months ago when he realised that his officers did not have electricity and water. He said: “We have been using generators and buying water. Life has not been easy for our officers. That’s why we embarked on this project. It will transform our garrison for an effective performance.”

US pledges to assist Nigeria in anti-terrorism

•From left: Commercial Comptroller, Coates Lorilleux, Mr Lanre Fadiji; Managing Director, Coates Lordrilleux, Mr K Ram Nair; Managing Director, Sun Chemical, South Africa, Mr Gerrie Odendaal and Africa Export Director, Sun Chemical, Mr John Ruiters, during a visit to The Nation in Lagos...yesterday PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

HE United States government has promised to support Nigeria in its fight against narcotics, money laundering, terrorism and other transnational crimes. U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle spoke in Ikoyi, Lagos, at the national headquarters of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). Entwistle, his wife, Pamela; the U.S Consul General Jeffery Hawkins and other embassy officials were received by NDLEA’s Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer Ahmadu Giade. The envoy said he embarked on the visit because crime control was a priority. He said: “This is my first official visit, after presenting my letter of credence to President Goodluck Jonathan. I am delighted to be here because of the need for partnership against transnational crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. “Our attitude is to share experience and provide military assistance through training on drug control and counter-terrorism.” Giade thanked Entwistle for the U.S support in the fight against narcotics. He said: “Our partnership with the U.S has broadened our frontiers of drug control. “The impressive operational results recorded from training, sponsored by your government as well as the donation of drug detection equipment, has made our entry and exit points more impregnable to drug trafficking cartels.” The NDLEA chief promised to deepen the working relationship with the U.S.

Agency needs $9.6m to double solar capacity From John Ofikhenua, Abuja


HE National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) needs $96 million (N15.36 billion) to double the 7.5 megawatts (MW)/annum production capacity, Executive Vice Chairman Mohammed Haruna has said. He said NASENI could produce about 20MW yearly, adding that the agency’s constraint was funding. Haruna addressed reporters on Monday at NESENI’s solar panel manufacturing plant in Karshi, Abuja. NASENI, Haruna said, had been dependent on paltry annual budgetary allocation. He said: “We always go capin-hand and we always get the least in the envelop budget. That is what is happening. Our statutory funding has never been realised. To expand and double the capacity of this (7.5MW), for example, to 15MW, we will need about $96 million.” The agency chief said to produce the solar set, NASENI neeeds partners.

PDP chair Mu’azu can reunite party, says Tambuwal


OUSE of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu will resolve the crisis rocking the party and reunite its dissenting members. Tambuwal spoke after inaugurating an empowerment

programme by the member representing Biase/Akamkpa in Cross River State, Daniel Effiong Asuquo. He said: “I am sure the new chairman has the capacity to stabilise everything going wrong in the party. “Despite the crisis rocking PDP, I remain a staunch member of the party. Even

with the lawmakers in the House defecting to the opposition party, I still remain resolute.” The speaker rued losing five governors of the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said: “For a party to lose in five states is challenging. But I am sure the new chairman has

the capacity to stabilise PDP.” Tambuwal said he had no intention to declare on 2015 until “the time is ripe.” He added: “But I have committed all to the Almighty God to guide my footsteps.” The speaker hailed Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke for stabilising the par-

ty in the state. He also praisedAsuquo, deputy chair of the Committee on Interior, for reducing poverty in his constituency. Tambuwal urged the electorate to support their representatives, saying they would continue to get effective representation from them.




Enugu deputy governor decries raid on residence


NUGU State Deputy Governor Sunday Onyebuchi described yesterday the evacuation of his poultry by officials of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) and the Ministry of Environment, as a wicked act of impunity. He said the action was shocking, adding that it was intended to humiliate him. Reacting to the evacuation of 3,000 birds from his official residence and the statement by Governor Sullivan Chime’s Press Secretary, Mr. Chukwudi Achife, that the poultry farm constituted a health hazard, Onyebuchi said those behind the act were hiding their motive.

From Chris Oji, Enugu

He said he was surprised that the statement did not mention the alleged violation of the Purpose Clause in the Certificate of Occupancy for the deputy governor’s lodge as claimed in the two letters earlier sent to him from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor. “Violation of Purpose Clause, which they claimed was the basis for their action, was not mentioned in the statement. “In the two letters on December 24 and 27, which I replied, they mentioned the environmen-

tal or health hazard emanating from the poultry farm. In their statement, they claimed they had asked me to clean up the place and I refused. Let them produce a letter asking me to do that. It is not true,” Onyebuchi said. He said in his reply, “I told them that the poultry farm was designated Agriculture Unit and I want them to deny that the structure had been used as a poultry farm before I became deputy governor. “Let them also deny that I have not operated the poultry farm since 2008. That was why I put in my Assets Declaration at the

end of my first term and at the beginning of this term that I have operated the poultry farm and this was verified by the Code of Conduct Bureau. How suddenly my poultry farm became a health hazard when it has been in existence since 2008. “Let them also deny that there is no bigger poultry farm, piggery and cattle ranch in the Governor’s Lodge. My poultry farm was properly run and cleaned because it was run with the technical support from the state Ministry of Agriculture.” Asking the perpetrators of the act not to justify “an evil and

wicked deed by feeding the public with falsehood”, Onyebuchi said: “If they succeed in deceiving the public, they can never deceive God.” “As I am talking to you, the over 3,000 chickens confiscated yesterday and their whereabouts are unknown. They also removed bags of feeds and feeders and other materials,” he added. Asked of his next action, the deputy governor said: “For now, I am presenting the matter to God, because the person behind it is powerful and my challenging him will be like using a vehicle to collide with a moving train.”

My plans for NBA, by Akintola By Adekunle Yusuf


SENIOR Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and contender for the Presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), Chief Adeniyi Akintola, has unveiled a five-point agenda to rebrand the umbrella body of lawyers. Akintola spoke with reporters in Lagos. He identified poor legal education, unemployment/underemployment among lawyers, and absence of proper mentoring as some of the problems his agenda would address. The Ibadan, Oyo State born lawyer said one of his top priorities is to improve the quality of legal education, adding that “there is absolutely no reason our universities cannot bring in experienced lawyers as adjunct professors to teach as it is done in other climes.” Decrying the poor and shabby prosecution system in the country, which he described as the root cause of problem of prison congestion, Akintola promised to galvanise his colleagues and other relevant stakeholders towards ensuring that the practice whereby prosecution of offenders is handled by the police, which often leads to unnecessary delays in the administration of justice and attendant prison congestion, is eradicated. He said: “If you look at prosecution system in Nigeria and our criminal justice system, you will see that the bane of our criminal system is at the level of poor prosecution, even in EFCC. That is the immediate and remote cause of prison congestion. Part of my own programme to solve the issue of prison congestion is to ensure that only lawyers prosecute people in all the courts across the country; not the police. “When you look at the preparation and the proof of evidence by the prosecution, you will be wondering ask whether the people handling the prosecution are serious. With the collaboration of my colleagues, the IG and other stakeholders, I am going to sell that idea. Once we are able to amend the law in that regard with the collaboration of the National Assembly, it is like killing three birds with just one stone. We will have tackled the issue of prison congestion, human rights abuses and unemployment/underemployment among lawyers.” He also explained that his leadership will help young lawyers achieve their dream, adding that a situation whereby lawyers are unemployed or underemployed is unacceptable. To redress this, he said he will work with his colleagues to ensure that each of the country’s 774 local government councils has a legal department.

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (third left, front row) greeting the Team Leader, Deputy Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, (AFCSC), Jaji, Rear Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, when the team visited the governor in Ado -Ekiti ...on Monday With them are Team Coordinator, Group Capt. Kehinde Adebayo (second left)and some participants of Course 36,

Reps to probe arrest of 320 BokoHaram suspects in Rivers T HE House of Representatives has directed its Police and Human Rights Committee to investigate the arrest of 320 suspected Boko Haram members in Rivers State. The resolution followed the passage of a motion by Deputy Minority Leader Abdularahman Kawu. He said on January 26, the Rivers State Police Command arrested 320 persons on the suspicion that they were Boko Haram members. Kawu said: “The arrest of the alleged Boko Haram members has raised serious tension in the security circle and the polity, besides raising several issues that require immediate attention of well-meaning Nigerians for the security, economy and political well-being of the country and its citizens. “The arrested persons were in Rivers for legitimate businesses, as most of them were petty traders and menial job seekers in search of their means of livelihood. “Such manner of arrests and injustice portends obvious danger that is capable of breeding political instability to the already overheated polity. This is because the suspects were known to be law-abiding citizens. The lawmaker quoted Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution, saying this guarantees that every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria. Kawu said: “This is not the first the ‘suspects’ were in Rivers State. They had been there severally in search of legitimate means of livelihood.” The lawmaker accused the Rivers State Police Command of jettisoning its pri-

•Immigration, police screen suspects Members of the Hausa community have identified some of the suspects. They are now being screened by the police and Immigration Services to separate the wheat from the chaff. From Victor Oluwasegun, Dele Anofi, Abuja and Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

mary responsibility of protecting the citizenry from harassment. He said: “If no urgent step is taken, such arrests by the Rivers State Police Command may bring about political instability, insecurity, and may as well lead to the breakdown of law and order, thereby posing a threat to the country’s existence.” The motion received overwhelmingly support when it was put to voice vote by Speaker Aminu Tambuwal. Also, the Speaker raised a delegation, led by Majority Whip Ishaka Bawa, to visit victims of January 14 Boko Haram attack in Maiduguri. Fifty persons died in the attack. All 10 lawmakers from Borno State, Nkoyo Toyo and seven others are in the delegation. They will commiserate with victims of the January 14 attack. Men of the Rivers State Police Command and the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) are collaborating to screen/ investigate Boko Haram suspects who were arrested in the state last Sunday, it was

learnt yesterday. Three hundred and twenty suspected insurgents were reportedly arrested at various locations last Sunday in 17 buses from Jigawa State. They were reportedly arrested between the borders of Imo and Rivers states on the suspicion that they were members of the Boko Haram sect. It was learnt that elders and executives of Hausa community in the state have identified some of the suspects as traders. They urged the police to release the suspects. The police command and the NIS said they were probing the suspects to ascertain their nationality and genuineness before they could be released. A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Members of the Hausa community have identified some of the suspects. They are now being screened by the police and Immigration Services to separate the wheat from the chaff. “I think they are not just being screened for suspected Boko Haram activities but the nationality of some of them is in doubt. That suggests the involvement of the Immigration in the investigation.

“You are aware that most of these persons, who parade themselves here as Hausa, are actually from the neighbouring Niger Republic. This exercise will fish them out.” The screening began on Monday afternoon on the premises of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID). Also, members of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the Southsouth/Southeast zone, on Monday, described the arrest of the suspects as mistaken identity. Their Coordinator Alhaji Musa Saidu said the suspects were erroneously tagged Boko Haram members. According to him, those arrested are traders returning to Port Harcourt after buying some goods to sell in the North. Saidu said some of the suspects had been residents in the city for a long time, adding that prominent northern leaders in Rivers State, including the Sarakin Hausawa (Hausa leader), had identified them. He urged the police to ensure a thorough investigation on the matter to know the truth. “The people arrested are not members of the Boko Haram. They are traders who do business here in Rivers State. They all travelled to the North to buy wares and they were returning to Rivers State when they were arrested by the police. “The news in the major dailies, on Monday, that 320 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested by the police in Rivers State, is false. Those arrested are northern traders who have lived in Port Harcourt for over 30 years...”

Jonathan approves board for four Aviation agencies From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has approved the composition of the governing boards of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET). A statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, said that the dates for the board of director’s inauguration will be announced in due course by the Minister of Aviation. The details of the non-institutional and relevant institutional members of the Boards, according to the statement, include Olusola Oke as Chairman of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency while members are C. J. Udeh, Captain Kuti, Okwudili Uzoka, Jerry Ugokwe, H.Z. Abubakar, Lucky Umoru, Captain Megason, A. Chukwuma and Group Captain John Yekorogha (Rtd). For the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Dr. Dan Kure is the Chairman. Members include Onuora Chinwe Leticia, Hon. Halima Hassan Tukur, Ngozi Lavender, Mr Farouk Gumel, Amobi Nwokafor, Clement Adegoke Dosunmu, Iboro Edaba Ige, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, Dr. Al Amin, Mrs. Patricia Ntofon, Captain Shaifi, Niyi Agbola and Group Captain Henry Unaeze (Rtd). Abdullahi Waziri Tambuwal is the Chairman of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and members include Col. Tony Igbanoi, Capt. Sabo Sambo, Chief Frank Edonkumor, Captain Alkali, Alhaji Buba, Chief Emeka Akabueze, Captain Edward Bayo, Sokie Amakree, an engineer Captain Ruma Mohammed and Bola Odugbesan. Nigerian Meteorological Agency has Chief Yomi Akintola as its Chairman. Members are Capt. Toju Ogisi, Chief Tunde Taiwo, Jim Ogbolu, Mr. Peter Momodu, Mrs Omikunle, Mr. Ralph Ogar, Mrs. Aletche Bimbo, C.C Nwuba, and Tony Odita.

Oyo denies order stopping fiesta


HE Oyo State government through its Ministry of Culture and Tourism has debunked the story published in a National daily on the 27th January, 2014 with the headline firm asks court to stop Oyo’s “Samodun fiesta”. In a release issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr Bunmi Babalola described the story as a total mix up and complete misconception about the “Samodun fiesta”. “The claim which was made by the firm was in regard to Oyo festival in 2009 and since then OYO FESTIVAL has never been held again. The “Samodun fiesta” with the theme “Asaparapo” is a new concept entirely and has nothing to do with Oyo festival of 2009.” He said the “Samodun fiesta” is coming up between 14th – 15th February, 2014 and there is no court order restraining the Ministry from holding the Festival. According to Babalola, participating States are therefore enjoined to disregard the misconception and go ahead with the preparation to ensure a hitch free and successful Cultural Festival.




2,210 PDP, Accord members defect to Oyo APC

Osun employs 4,330 teachers •To spend N400m on WAEC fees



BOUT 2,210 members of the P e o p l e s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Accord in Ibadan North East Local Government Area of Oyo State defected yesterday to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The defectors from the PDP were 1,290 and the Accord 920. Those from the PDP were led by Mr. Ibrahim Arulogun. Alhaji Gani Sanusi led those from the Accord. They were received into the APC by the Caretaker Chairman of Ibadan North East, Alhaji Abiodun Alatise; and party chieftains, including Dr. Busari Adebisi and Alhaji B.A.O. Oladeji, in Oja-Igbo, Ibadan. Alatise said the defection was proof that the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration was “performing.” He assured the defectors that they would not regret joining the APC. Alatise urged APC mem-

•The defectors...yesterday. From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

bers to be united, adding that the defectors should be given a level-playing field.

Urging the people to support Ajimobi, he said: “The governor has performed above expectation and we should support him next

year to ensure continuity.” Adebisi and Oladeji warned members against forming factions, saying: “The party is one. There

should be no splinter group because this will not promote unity. We should hold the party together so that it can be stronger.”

Abiara hails Jonathan, lawmakers on anti-gay law


HE General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Worldwide, Prophet Samuel Abiara, has hailed President Goodluck Jonathan and lawmakers on the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Law. Speaking at an annual programme of the CAC in Lagos, Prophet Abiara praised lawmakers for rejecting same sex marriage. He said: “We thank God for President Jonathan and his cabinet. His stand on same sex marriage is com-

mendable. Our President was the first to reject the same sex marriage law and I thank God that he did not follow the way of destruction as other countries. I want you to know that the God, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, is the same today. God is going to destroy those who practise same sex marriage.” Prophet Abiara said God would provide for Nigeria, if the Western world fulfills its threat to withdraw its assistance. Describing same sex mar-

Amosun: training enhances productivity

for people who will obey God’s commandments, he warned that it will be a year of disaster for those who reject the voice of God and swim in sin. Prophet Abiara said: “In this year, our governments must be careful about the coming elections. The reason God put you in that position is to help the masses, so listen to the voice of the people who voted you into power. Politics is not a d o - o r - d i e af f ai r . Y o u should not make life miserable for the people be-

cause, whether you like it or not, you will leave that position one day. You should do things that will speak for you after your tenure and when you are dead.” Urging the wealthy to assist the less privileged, he said: “You must help and comfort people around you. Do not eat your food alone. This year, do not spend your money alone. Remember that you brought nothing into the world and you will go back to your maker with nothing.”

Ekiti schools get instructional aids



GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has identified regular training of government officials and civil servants as a tool for excellent service delivery. He spoke at the opening of a three-day retreat for government officials in Ota, with the theme: “Consolidation: Present Gains and Charting the Way Forward.” Amosun said the regular training of officials was the best way to keep them abreast of international best practices. He said the retreat was an avenue for participants to share experiences and improve in developing the state. Amosun said: “We want to keep the enviable status and rich heritage of our state and the best way to go is through retreats.” The governor urged par-

riage as “rubbish”, he said Nigerians should thank God considering happenings around the world. The cleric said: “Last year was like Egypt and the Red Sea, but God spared our lives as he did the Israelites. We need to thank God. If you regularly read national and foreign prints and follow the electronic media, you will know that God is good to you and your family.” Describing 2014 as a year of happiness, peace, joy, victory and achievements


ticipants to share ideas, saying: “Our people’s expectations are high.” Former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Dele Alake, who gave a lecture, said the Amosun administration had performed well. He urged the administration to enhance its feedback gathering system to consolidate on its achievements. The retreat is for members of the Executive Council, permanent secretaries and general managers of corporations, among others.

HE Ekiti State government yesterday distributed textbooks and instructional materials to primary and junior secondary schools. The colourful event was held on the premises of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) on Okeesa Street in Ado-Ekiti. Governor Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Modupe Fayemi, described the gesture as a demonstration of the commitment to qualitative education. He said: “The distribution of these textbooks, library resource materials and other materials, jointly provided by the state government and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), is meant to strengthen Agenda 4 of the 8-Point Agenda of this administration.” Fayemi said his administration considered the provision of reading materials and libraries as important.

He listed the provision of a conducive environment for teaching and learning as well as the motivation of the workers as some of the administration’s efforts to boost education. “Now that our teachers are motivated and the Professional/Rural Teachers’ Allowance has been approved to boost morale, these instructional materials will be put to maximum use by the pupils with the full cooperation and supervision of the teachers.” Prof. Adelabu, who chairs SUBEB, urged officials of the board and the Ministry of Education to distribute the materials equitably. Mr. Sunday Arema, who spoke for UBEC, said the passion with which the administration was pursuing its education agenda was commendable. State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Mr. Kayode Akosile said the intervention of the

Fayemi administration had restored the glory of education in the state. He said posterity would never forget the administration’s efforts to give Ekiti children a better future. A pupil of AUD Pilot School in Ajilosun, Yusuf Rabiu, thanked the governor and assured him that the pupils would make the best use of the materials. Also at the event were Commissioner for Education, Science & Technology Kehinde Ojo; representative of the SchoolBased Management Committee (SMBC) Chief Sylvester Adeyanju; Chairman of the State Teaching Service Commission Bayo Adeniran; representative of the Association of Primary School Headteachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON) Ola Akintoye; Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Affairs Aderemi Ajayi and former Commissioner for Education Chief Bisi Egbeyemi.

HE Osun State government has employed 4,330 teachers to fill vacancies in public schools. Chairman of the State Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Felix Awofisayo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that 2,330 teachers were recruited by SUBEB for elementary and middle schools and 2,000 for secondary schools by the Teachers Establishment and Pensions Office. Awofisayo said letters had been issued to the teachers and warned them against rejecting postings to rural areas. He said Governor Rauf Aregbesola had increased the grants to elementary and middle schools, adding: “Salaries and allowances, including Teachers Special Allowance, are promptly paid as directed by the governor. The state is partnering agencies of the Federal Government to improve education. “The state has paid its counterpart fund to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) till 2012 and received its matching grant from UBEC till 2012.” Also yesterday, the Permanent Secretary, Lawrence Oyeniran, said the government budgeted N400 million for the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) fees of 32,075 pupils. He spoke in Osogbo while defending the ministry’s 2014 budget before the Committee on Finance and Appropriation. Oyeniran said N350 million was budgeted for bursary to final year students of higher institutions and N100 million for scholarships to Master’s students.

Oyo Assembly confirms seven commissioners From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan


HE Oyo State House of Assembly has confirmed seven commissioners nominated by Governor Abiola Ajimobi. They are Mrs. Tinuke Oshikoya, Mr. Tayo Koleosho, Chief Fatai Abimbola, Alhaji Abideen Oladimeji, Mr. Fatai Ahmed, Mr. Fatai Buhari and Mr. Bonuola Oyinlade. After they were screened yesterday, the House went on a five minutes break to review their performances. After the break, the Speaker, Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu, announced that the nominees performed creditably and possessed the relevant qualifications. She urged the commissioners to justify the confidence reposed in them and support the governor’s efforts to improve the state. With the new appointees, Oyo now has 19 commissioners. Twelve commissioners were sworn-in recently. One nominee is yet to be screened.




•Traditional rulers and the people...yesterday.

Monarchs endorse Aregbesola for second term T

RADITIONAL rulers in Isokan, Ayedaade and Irewole local government areas of Osun State yesterday endorsed Governor Rauf Aregbesola for a second term. They spoke at the seventh edition of an interactive forum between the governor and the people, tagged: “Gbangbadekun”, at Ayedade Grammar School in Ikire. The monarchs said the Aregbesola administration had performed beyond expectations and deserved to “continue with its good work”. Their spokesman, Oba Olatunde Talabi, who is the Akire of Ikire, said: “This is the

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

first time the state is blessed with a governor that has listening ears. Aregbesola’s continuity in office will benefit the people and the state in no small measure. That is why we endorsed him for a second term. “Aregbesola has raised the bar of good governance. He is here to restore the lost glory of the Yoruba race.” The governor said his administration would continue to focus on the people, adding:

“We have done what most people claimed had never been done in the state’s history. We are so people-centered that it will be difficult for us to abandon the people mid-stream. The best way to pursue our objectives about governance is to run the whole hog of the mandate provided by the constitution. That will give us enough time to meet all our aspirations for the people. It is in the interest of the people that we are seeking re-election.” Commissioner for Information and Strategy Sunday Akere

•Aregbesola (right); his wife, Sherifat (second right) and others...yesterday.

hailed the people for coming out en masse for the programme. He said the programme has the government to understand the people’s needs. At the event were Deputy

Ex-students’ leader Okeowo dies at 73


FORMER students’ union leader, Mr. Segun Okeowo, is

dead. He was 73. The former Chairman of the Ogun State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) died yesterday morning at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital in Sagamu, his home town. He is widely remembered for leading the students’ protest against the then Minister of Education, Ahmadu Ali, and the anti-students policy of the General Olusegun Obasanjo Military Government in 1978, popularly known as the “Ali Must Go” campaign. The late Okeowo was an undergraduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) at the time and President of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS), now National

Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). Governor Ibikunle Amosun described Okeowo’s death as shocking. Addressing reporters on the incident, Amosun described the deceased as “a hero” and urged youths to emulate his “exemplary struggle for a just cause”. He commiserated with the late Okeowo’s family and prayed to God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss. Former Governor Gbenga Daniel described the late Okeowo as “a legendary fighter and true democrat”. In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Ayo Giwa, Daniel said: “He was a legendary freedom fighter, who offered himself as a sacrifice


HE crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

in the struggle for the emancipation of Nigerian students, youths and the voiceless masses. “I feel saddened by the death of Chief Okeowo, a man of superior courage and principle. He was a leading light in the fight for the liberation of oppressed Nigerian students. He is, indeed, the Mandela of students’ unionism in Nigeria. We have lost a true servant of the people and a great liberator. He will also be remembered as a peacemaker and an advocate of true democracy, as he made up with those he crossed path with during the 1978 struggle before his death. “The late Okeowo, who led Nigerian students, including me, in 1978 in what became known as ‘Operation Consultation, Consolidation

and Confrontation’, measured up in leadership, perception, activity and responses.” Senator Adegbenga Kaka (Ogun East) said: “The late Okeowo was a vanguard of the democratisation of education, which culminated in the Alli-Must-Go episode.” The governorship candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) in the 2011 election, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, described the late Okeowo as “an inspirational Nigerian, who advocated social democracy”.

in Oyo State is yet to be resolved. A stakeholders’ meeting scheduled for today at the Bodija home of former Governor Adebayo AlaoAkala in Ibadan was cancelled yesterday. There have been disagreements among party leaders over how to share the N15 million Christmas gift allegedly given to them by President Goodluck Jonathan. Former PDP Deputy National Chairman Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, who is the party’s leader in the state, announced the cancellation of the meeting. The meeting was sup-

bly Speaker Oluwasegunota Bolarinwa were beaten up. It was learnt that the security men were armed with cutlasses. It was gathered that the university authority said the lecturers did not obtain a permit before holding the meeting. Titiloye decried what he called the gradual erosion of

freedom in the nation’s universities and asked if there was a law mandating lecturers to obtain permits to hold meetings. He said: “The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed in our constitution. It is shameful that peace loving lecturers were assaulted for holding a meeting in Ondo State. Let it be known that we shall resist any at-

tempt to import to Ondo State the Rivers State confusion. No police permit is required under our constitution to hold public meetings.” The activist urged Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who happens to be the VC’s brother, to set up a committee to probe the attack and suspend the VC pending the findings of the committee.

•The late Okeowo

Probe Ondo Varsity attack on ASUU members, lawyer urges governor


CTIVIST lawyer Charles Titiloye has called for the suspension of the Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State, Prof. Femi Mimiko, over the attack on a delegation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the institution.

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

Titiloye accused Mimiko of directing the university’s internal security men to attack the lecturers and disrupt the union’s zonal meeting. During the attack on the lecturers, the tyres of their vehicles were deflated. AAUA-ASUU Chairman Dr. Busuyi Mekusi and former Ondo State House of Assem-

Representatives; Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Moshood Adeoti; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola; and Head of Service Sunday Owoeye, among others.

Oyo PDP crisis deepens

•Amosun, others mourn

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

Governor Mrs. Titi LaoyeTomori; House of Assembly Speaker Najeem Salaam; the governor’s wife, Mrs. Serifat Aregbesola; Mrs. Ayo Omidiran, who represents the constituency in the House of

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

posed to focus on how to consolidate on the gains of a parley held in Abuja three months ago and the sharing formula for the Xmas largesse. But Adeojo, in an SMS, said the meeting had been cancelled. It was learnt that the largesse was meant to be handed over to the State PDP Chairman, Alhaji Yinka Taiwo, but was given to another party leader (names withheld) because Taiwo was not available. Indications that the money would be shared today calmed fraying nerves in the party. A statement credited to Alhaji Rasheed Olopoenia yesterday is another indication that all is not well with the party. Olopoenia accused the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, of promoting a faction at the expense of the larger interest of the PDP.



NEWS Ekiti RTEAN faction rejects interim committee

Oyo APC gets committees


From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE embattled Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Ekiti State, Mr. Rotimi Olanbiwonninu (a.k.a. Mentilo), is to head the seven-man Interim Committee that will pilot the association’s affairs until election holds in July. Speaking with The Nation over the telephone yesterday, RTEAN National President Alhaji Shehu Musa said the constitution of the committee and selection of its membership followed due process. About a month ago, a faction of the association rose in violent opposition against Olanbiwonninu’s leadership style, describing it as “highhanded and exploitative”. Dangerous objects were employed by the aggrieved members to dislodge Olanbiwonninu and his supporters from office. Many people were injured. The union’s National Executive Council (NEC) deployed a fact finding committee in the state to probe the cause of the violence. The committee’s report led to the setting up of the seven-man committee, but those opposed to Olanbiwonninu’s leadership are contesting the legitimacy of the panel. It was earlier announced that a nine-man committee would assume office on Monday, so the drivers were surprised by the creation of the seven-man panel. Tension rose at the union’s secretariat at Okeyinmi in AdoEkiti, the state capital, factional RTEAN members assembled there as early as 7am, wearing stern looks. One of them said: “We will wait and see who will enter this office today. We have said Mentilo is gone and he remains gone.” Policemen patrolled the area. Residents walked away hurriedly. Taxi drivers, commercial tricyclists and motorcyclists deserted the area. The association’s Secretary, Mr. Segun Ogunlade, who belongs to the opposing faction, said: “They told us they were going to raise a nine-man caretaker committee, but they raised a seven-man committee. This is a back door attempt to reinstall Mentilo. It is an open attempt to bring him back as chairman. How can you make the leader of a faction the head of a committee meant to resolve a problem that was caused by that same leader? “We were in Abuja where both parties met with the NEC and it was resolved that a ninemember committee would be in place for three months. After series of meetings, we left Abuja on Sunday, hoping to see the committee, but we were disappointed that a committee headed by the rejected Mentilo was raised. “This is unconstitutional. We know our rights and we will never accept this. A letter containing the names of the committee members was sent to the governor at midnight on Monday. We were not even copied. This is against the normal process. I saw the letter this morning. It is against our constitution. Mentilo should not head any committee.” The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, who stopped to find out what was happening at the union’s secretariat, called for calm.

•Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson (middle); his wife, Rachael (second right); Deputy Governor Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah rtd, (right); first civilian governor Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (second left); Matron, Glory Land Children’s Home, Mrs.Gladys Trust (left); and a cross section of the governor’s entourage with orphans at the Home, during the governor’s 48th birthday celebration at Opolo in Yenagoa. PHOTO: LUCKY FRANCIS

2015: Okorocha faults Ohanaeze ‘ban’


MO State Governor Rochas Okorocha has faulted the ban on prominent Igbo from contesting the 2015 presidential election by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo. He described the decision as faulty and taken in a hurry. The group’s president, Mr. Gary Nnachi Enwo-Igariwey, announced the ban when he visited former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. But Okorocha, in a reaction through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said: “While we do not intend to disagree with the Ohanaeze president, we wish to aver that he talked in a hurry. Since he said he was consulting, he would not

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

have ended the consultation in the home of Kalu.” He added: “In banning prominent Igbo from running for president next year, the Ohaneze president should have told them the reasons for stopping a major ethnic group from pursuing its ambition. He should have explained what Ndigbo have got to warrant such a decision and what they intend to gain for also doing so. “The Ohaneze president should have stated the appropriate time for Ndigbo to pursue their legitimate ambition. He and others should ask themselves whether this is helpful to Ndigbo and Igbo

land, or whether such action would further push Ndigbo downward. “What Ohanaeze should have done before making the ban public was to hold consultations with groups in Igbo land and consult political leaders, including likely presidential aspirants, to know how the majority feel about the issue. Ohanaeze leaders should also think deeply whether or not it pays to be fanning the ember of ethnic politics at this stage considering what Ndigbo have gone through. It is important to point out that Ohanaeze or the Igbo could also support President Goodluck Jonathan or any other presidential candidate next year without ban-

ning their people.” The governor noted that “since there are a lot of parties in the country, the Ohanaeze president should do us a favour by telling us what happens if any of the parties picks its presidential candidate from the Igbo, whether the person will reject the offer on the grounds of the ban. “Ohanaeze should know that Igbo has remained one of the major ethnic groups and should not, either by commission or omission, be made a toothless bulldog. This will be too dangerous for the zone and its people. The Ohanaeze ban definitely cannot be a popular one because it seems to have been done in a hurry.”

Southeast stakeholders back Atiku


SSOCIATES and supporters of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar have backed him on the possible defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The support followed the conclusion of the consultative meeting the former vicepresident had with stakeholders at Ikengh Hotel in Enugu. A poll conducted at the end of the meeting showed that 64 per cent of those present backed his defection to the APC, 31 per cent favoured

the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), while five per cent asked him to remain in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The former vice-president said “this is the most difficult political decision I will be taking.” He assured them that his decision would be in the interest of the country. “I take your advice and support seriously. But my decision will be in the interest of the nation.” Atiku recalled how he was shut out from the PDP, not-

ing that he was kept away from the Board of Trustees (BoT) and caucus meetings. “This is the only zone I have seen many women active in politics. I cannot take any decision without consulting you, because you are the source of my support in the Southeast. “I intend to conclude this consultation before the end of the month, so that we can begin the task of salvaging Nigeria,” he said. Atiku said he was in the vanguard of alliance of parties because he supports a


two-party system. He hailed the success recorded by the promoters of the APC in building a viable opposition party.

PDP Reps demand automatic tickets


•Mimiko, Obi in solidarity appearance at party’s meeting

EOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) members in the House of Representatives have demanded automatic tickets for next year’s elections. They spoke at a meeting of the House Caucus, governors and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party last night at the National Assembly complex. House Leader Mulikat Akande-Adeola urged the party to fulfil its promise to the members. She said: “Members of this party in the House would want to be assured of automatic tickets in the forthcoming elections and the opportunity to nominate membership of various committees in their constituencies as the need arises.” She said the meeting, the first of its kind, “signposts the beginning of the process of continuous dialogue”. The meeting, which began at 9pm, was chaired by National Chairman Adamu Muazu. Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State was ac-

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

companied by Governors Peter Obi (Anambra) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo). Obi, of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Mimiko, of the Labour Party (LP), said they merely accompanied Akpabio to the event. Muazu said the meeting signalled the dawn of a new era. He said: “It is a pity that things have gone the way they have gone; the disconnect between the party and the members of the House will be a thing of the past. “If the party gave you a platform, you owe it a responsibility to remain in the party.” He assured the members that the party would resolve issues troubling their minds. “I can read the body language and I can hear what Mulikat (House Leader) is saying,” Mu’azu said.

HE Harmonisation Committee and Interim Executive Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State were inaugurated yesterday by the National Vice-Chairman, Southwest, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, at the party’s Zonal Secretariat in Ibadan. Members of the Interim Executive Council are Chief Akin Oke, chairman; Mr. Mojeed Olaoye, secretary; Mr. Razaq Folorunso, treasurer; Mr. Sunday Adepoju, publicity secretary, and Mr. Luqman Tijani, organising secretary. The ceremony was attended by Governor Abiola Ajimobi; Senator Ayo Adeseun; former Deputy Governor Iyiola Oladokun and Chief Michael Koleoso, among other party chieftains. Ajimobi urged members to resolve their differences, adding: “There is no organisation that does not experience one form of misunderstanding or the other, but the beauty of it is that in Oyo State, we fight like brothers and settle because we want to ensure the unity and progress of our party and the people” Assuring zones that are yet to get political appointments that they would be taken care of soon, he said: “We are aware that some of our people, especially in Ibarapa Zone, have been expressing their displeasure with the government for not giving them a commissioner. I assure you that very soon, the appointment will be made.” Oke pledged to resolve the party’s challenges amicably.

Parties endorse Oshiomhole From, Oswemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


HE Chairman of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties (CRPP) in Edo State, Dr. Samson Isibor, has said Governor Adams Oshiomhole is qualified to run for presidency next year . Isibor, who spoke in Benin yesterday, hailed the suggestion by Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola that the Edo governor should run for the presidency. He said Oshiomhole would make a better President than Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. “The development agenda of Oshiomhole has ensured that every part of the state has benefited from his programmmes, ranging from education to health, roads, potable water and others,” Isibor added. According to him, “the achievements of Oshiomhole are being celebrated everywhere. I’m sure this is why Fashola suggested him for presidency and I am convinced that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will pick him and he will defeat Jonathan.” The CRPP leader said while waiting for Oshiomhole to make up his mind, soon parties would embark on a road walk to ask him to run for president. He said of all the presidential aspirants in the APC, he is the most qualified.




Fire destroys N50m warehouse in Kwara


ROPERTY worth N50 million were destroyed by fire at a warehouse in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State. Sources said the fire started at 4.15 pm and raged on for more than three hours before it was put out by fire fighters from Ilorin. An eyewitness said the warehouse was behind a filling station and stocked with foam and building materials. No life was lost. Policemen from Omu-Aran, assisted by military personnel, were around to maintain law and order. Assistant Chief Superintendent of Fire Mustapha Ibrahim, who led his men to the scene, said he received a call at 5.30 pm. He said the materials in the warehouse fuelled the fire, accounting for the huge losses incurred. Ibrahim suspected an electrical spark, adding that the non-availability of fire extinguishers and other equipment made the fire rage on for long. He said: “We have always highlighted the importance of fire-fighting equipment, especially when dealing with inflammable items.



•The fire scene From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

“You can never tell when there would be an outbreak of fire; so it is ideal for of-

fices, companies and organisations to take precautions to minimise losses.” The warehouse owner, Rasak Jimoh, said he does not have an insurance cover.

“I had just finished praying when somebody called to notify me of the fire and I rushed to the warehouse.” Jimoh appealed to the government for assistance.

ing governance difficult. The governor spoke at a retreat for members of the Executive Council, permanent secretaries and principal officers. Yero said there was a gap in the structure of the public service, with the gradual phasing out of some categories of civil servants. “There are lapses in the state civil service, which may collapse in few years. That is why we are having problems of documentation. “Indiscipline and impunity are adversely affecting

the process of governance and service delivery. “We must stop this impunity. It is true that the service has been eroded, but we must begin to revive it through discipline,” the governor said. Yero warned that no one should approach him with issues based on sentiment. “Under my leadership, I want everybody to be fair and just. I want us to reduce sentiment. I don’t care if I have 10 people from the same local government. “We allow sentiment and it’s not good for our development. I don’t like to hear

any issue based on sentiment.” He urged civil servants to be dedicated to service delivery and eschew indiscipline. “If you don’t like somebody’s face and you maltreat him, it’s against your oath of office and if you like somebody and favour him it’s also against your oath. We should remember that we shall give account before God.” He said the retreat was organised as part of efforts to improve the relationship between the political class and the public service.

Internal security in danger, says minister


INISTER of Interior Abba Moro yesterday decried the insecurity in the country, especially in the North. Moro said: “Today, the internal security of this country is in great danger. Today, it is no longer news that aliens, unauthorised persons who have found their way through various borders of this country constitute a very vital component of the masterminds and perpetrators of violence in recent times.” He said the nation’s porous borders had further worsened the situation. Moro spoke in Abuja at the decoration of seven assistant comptroller generals (ACGs) of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), who were elevated to the rank of deputy comptroller general (DCG). The newly appointed DCGs are: Malgwi Henry Yasika, Olaitan Joseph Olasunkami and Adike Chibueze John. Others are: Ifeadi Emmanuel Udochukwu, Abeshi Martins Kure, Babandede Mohammed and Oredipe Ayotunde Gbenga. His words: “Lots of re-

Ex-Plateau SSG for burial By Kelvin Osa Okunbor

Plateau, Jos. A funeral service will hold the next day at the same church. The body will be interred at the family compound, Tuwan in Kanke Local Government Area. He is survived by children and others.

SUBEB trains teachers in Nasarawa

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

ADUNA State Governor Mukthar Ramalan Yero yesterday said the state’s public service may collapse. He said impunity is mak-


From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

SSISTANT Inspector General of Police (AIG) (Zone 1) Tambari Muhammad Yabo yesterday warned politicians to play by the rules. Yabo, who organised a workshop for party executives of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states, warned that the police would not condone any act capable of breaching peace during the election. According to him, political meetings and rallies in the Zone would be approved by police commissioners in the three states. “Any breach by any party would attract sanction. “Avoid sponsoring and indulging in illicit drugs. Avoid snatching of ballot papers and boxes, rigging. “Avoid the use and sponsorship of under-aged persons during elections. Avoid politics of tribalism, nepotism, regionalism and sectarian antagonism.”

HE remains of former Secretary to the Plateau State government, Nde Samuel Shitu Gofwen will be buried this weekend. Gofwen died on January 23. He was 75. A statement by his family said there would be a service of songs tomorrow at the Church of St. Piran on the

Civil service may collapse, says Yero


AIG warns parties

Why Boko Haram is still killing, by Oritsejafor


HE President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor yesterday said Boko Haram insurgence has continued to increase because some Nigerians do not tell the truth. Oritsejafor spoke in Abuja during a forum of Christian/Muslim interactive conference. He noted that Nigeria would be a better place, if people could eschew bitterness and eschew sacrificing truth on the altar of politics. His words: “It is my firm belief that Nigeria can be great if the over 160million of us resolve to be one another’s keeper and ready at all times to tell one another the truth. “In my opinion, this is the single ingredient mostly lacking in our national life. Because everyone wants to be politically correct, we constantly sacrifice truth.” The CAN President explained that the situation in the country had reached an alarming state because the people who are in position to say things as they are often fail to do so because they love to be apFrom Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

sponsibilities have been placed on the shoulder of the NIS. “And I do believe that the

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

plauded. He said: “Because we want people to applaud us, be acceptable, we run away from saying the truth even though we are convinced in the recess of our minds that it is the way to go. “At the end of the day, we are all the losers. Lies will never exalt a nation. If Nigeria must be on the path of greatness again, truth must be the foundation.” According to Oritsejafor, the MuslimChristian dialogue was coming at the right time as “its fruits have the capacity to set an agenda for achieving the desired unity, peaceful and mutual respect for one another.” One of the facilitators, Alhaji Abdul Ahmed, said the onus lies with the religious leaders to end the loss of lives and wanton disruption of property in some parts of Northern states. He said at the centre of the festering crisis was the failure of the people to freely interact and find a common ground on some of the issues threatening the country.

onus is on you now to deliver professional quality service that is expected of you. “Today, we are all aware of the challenges before Ni-

gerians. The task ahead is serious but I know that you have vowed to discharge your responsibilities and face the challenges squarely.”


From Jonny Danjuma, Lafia

VER 1,500 primary school teachers in Nasarawa State are being trained in classroom management. The State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) distributed seven motorcycles to nomadic school coordinators and supervisors of the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) for effective monitoring and supervision. Board Chairman Abdulkarim Abdullahi said the distribution would boost teachers’ morale. Abdullahi, who was represented by the Secretary, Yakubu Ahmed Ubangari, said: “Coordinators and supervisors are to ensure that they use the motorcycles to inspect primary schools in their locality. “I want to thank the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja and the Nasarawa State government for their efforts to ensure that the standard of education improves in the country.”

CAN protests Fulani attacks in Benue


CTIVITIES were disrupted yesterday in Makurdi, Benue State, following a protest by the youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The youths were protesting the incessant killing of farmers by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Over 150 protesters marched on the streets, carrying placards which read: “Fulani have killed our families”; “Fulani have set our houses ablaze”; “Fulani have rendered us homeless”. They presented a letter at the Government House. Receiving the letter on behalf of Governor Gabriel Suswam, Chief of Staff, Government House, Prof Saint Gbilekaa, praised the youths for their peaceful conduct. He said government

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

would find a solution to the crisis. Gbilekaa said a meeting with the acting governor, commissioner of police and security agencies showed that most of the attackers come through the Nasarawa State boundary. “Soon the issue would be addressed,” he said. Speaking for the protesters, Daniel Danayali said residents were being killed with impunity. He said: “Nothing is being done by the government or security agencies. ‘’If Fulani herdsmen can easily attack a Makurdi suburb, nobody in the state capital should think he is safe. “We call on the government to take steps to protect the people.”

Ahmed submits 16 names


From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

WARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed yesterday forwarded the names of 16 commissioner-nominees to the House of Assembly for confirmation. Former Chairman of Offa Local Government Area under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Prince Saheed Popoola is one of the nominees. The Speaker, Razak Atunwa, said this in Ilorin while reading the governor’s message in the House. Other nominees include Sulyman Atolagbe Alege; Amos Segun Aboyeji ; Aliyu Wahab Opakunle; Abdullahi Shaaba Umoru; Abubakar Mora Kaiama; Bode Ogunleye; Abdullahi Lade; Tunji Morofoye; Bode Olayemi Ifelodun; Abubakar Garba Amuda Kannike and Idris Abubakar Garba. Others are Mallam Issa Abdul Kayode, Hajia Ramat Abaya, Anthony Kayode Towoyu and Saka Onimago. Atunwa directed the nominees to complete all necessary documentation by Friday.



CITYBEATS Fashola for church conference Alleged $1.69m fraud: New judge for Ajudua's case T

CITYBEATS LINE: 08023247888

By Wale Ajetunmobi

LAGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola is expected at the Cherubim and Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria tomorrow at the flag-off of its week-long 2014 General Conference, its Supreme Head, His Eminence Amos Akinsanya, told reporters yesterday. He said the conference with the theme: "I will make them one nation", would focus on the development of the church's Ecumenical Centre and proposed Moses Orimolade University in Omu Aran, Kwara State. "There will also be seminars and human capital development programmes for the youths. The event will be declared open tomorrow by the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola," he said. At the conference were members of the National Executive Council of the church and presiding clerics, including Babaladura Olorunfunmi Basorun, Babaladura Lekan Akintayo and Baba Alakoso Solomon Alao among others.

HE trial of a Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, over a $1.69 million fraud, could not proceed at a Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday. Reason: His case was reassigned to a new judge, Justice Kudirat Jose. He could also not be rearraigned because counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Wemimo Ogunde (SAN) was absent in court. Ajudua's last court appearance was in September, last year, when he argued his bail application before a vacation judge, Justice Ganiyu Safari. When the matter came up before Justice Jose yesterday, Ajudua looked pale and tired as he was assisted into the court by a prison official. While the matter lasted, Ajudua lay on the bench reserved for defendants. Justice Jose adjourned his re-arraignment till February 5 to enable her update herself with the case. Ajudua and his associ-


By Adebisi Onanuga

ate, Charles Orie, were charged before Justice Olubunmi Oyewole in 2003 for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Messrs Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of the money between July 1999 and September 2000. The transfer of the case to Justice Jose was necessitated by Justice Oyewole's withdrawal. His with-


drawal was said to be in connection with a petition written to the EFCC by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd), alleging that Ajudua used the names of the judge and others to defraud him of about $8.39 million. During yesterday's proceedings, Ajudua's counsel, Mr Richard Ahonaruogho, was also in court. Ajudua’s and Orie’s

cases were truncated in 2005 after Ajudua travelled abroad for treatment. On June 11, 2013, Ajudua appeared before the court after an almost eight-year absence. His efforts at obtaining bail failed as Justice Oyewole ordered him to be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison. He was later granted N50 million bail by Justice Safari on health grounds.

• Ajudua

How two ex-bankers 'stole' N28.81m

CHIEF Magistrate Court, Ikeja heard yesterday how two former employees of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc) 'stole' N28.81 million belonging to the bank. The defendants, Olanrewaju Shittu, 26, and Babatunde Salami, 25, are standing trial before Chief Magistrate Mrs A. OshodiMakanju. The prosecutor, Police Superintendent J. Onilegbale, told the court that the money, which was meant for Automated Teller Machines (ATMs),

By Adebisi Onanuga

was stolen in bits by the defendants between February and September 2009, until it accumulated to N28.81 million. They are facing a sevencount charge of conspiracy, fraud and stealing. The prosecutor told the court that Shittu and Salami conspired to defraud the bank of the said sum contrary to the law. He further alleged that Salami received N700,000 from Shittu, knowing same to have been stolen from the money meant for

ATMs, thereby committing an offence. He claimed that Shittu opened different accounts with First Bank of Nigeria Plc with the intent to defraud the defunct Intercontinental Bank. The prosecutor also alleged that Salami received the various sums of money from Shittu, knowing well that the money was meant for ATMs. He alleged that Shittu also stole N110,000 from the Lawanson, Surulere Branch of the defunct bank on September 4, 2009 at about 09. 07 am, adding

This is to notify the general public that the above named club has applied for registration to the Corporate Affairs Commission under the Part “C” of Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: John C. Egenti Chairman Innocent Nnorom Treasurer John Sunday P.R.O. Ugochukwu Agwamba Secretary AIMS/OBJECTIVE: Helping members financially and seeing to the welfare of members Help the less privileged in the society Any objection(s) to this registration should be forwarded to the RegistrarGeneral, Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris Crescent, Maitama, Abuja within 28 days of this publication. Signed: JOHN C. EGENTI (Chairman)

that the money was, recovered by Mr Akinshola Akinshina, then Acting Operation Officer of the branch. The offences, he said , were punishable under Sections 390, 422, 427,469, and 516 of the Criminal Code Cap 17 Vol 2 Law of Lagos State, 2003. The defendants pleaded not guilty. Chief Magistrate Oshodi-Makanju adjourned the matter till March 12 for continuation of hearing. The defendants will remain on the N1million bail each earlier granted them. •L-R: Mrs Adetoun Adeniran, Woman Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State; Dr Muiz Banire, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Oba Abdulfatai Aromire, Ojora of Ijoraland and Hon. Shuaib Fatai Ajidagba, Chairman, Ifelodun Local Council Development Area … at the commissioning of the council-sponsored 17+1 Prototype of block of classrooms at the Sari Iganmu Primary School


Expectant mother, three others die in cult clash

O fewer than four persons, including an expectant mother, were feared killed on Monday night when suspected cultists clashed on Amodu Street in Idi Oro near Mushin, Lagos State. Passersby were caught in the crossfire as rival cult groups exchanged gunfire. Many were injured in the ensuing melee.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Uba Gift Onyinyechi, now wish to be known as Mrs. Inyama, Gift Onyinyechi. All former documents remain valid. Tai Solarin University of Education,Ogun State Teaching Service Commission and general public please take note.


I formerly known and addressed as Miss Lawal Zainab, now wish to be known as Mrs. Mamudu Zainab Blessing. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

By jude Isiguzo and Wale Ajetunmobi

For more than 30 minutes, residents were terrified by sound of gunshots before policemen from the Alakara Police Station in Mushin arrived. The Nation learnt that the cultists opened fire on the policemen, who returned fire. Eyewitnesses said the victims were residents of the area, hit by stray bullets. The Nation gathered that the clash started when some cultists from Fadeyi near Palmgrove, known as Toba boys, invaded the area to revenge the killing of one of them, identified as Segun Obama, on January 3. The hoodlums, our correspondent gathered, initially visited the area, at the weekend, to kill a member of the rival group. But their target left before their arrival at a game house, where he was said to be playing with his friend.

Disappointed, the gun-wielding hoodlums allegedly killed the friend to send a message to their target. On Monday, the hoodlums returned, searching for their target, who reportedly alerted his gang members to attack the invaders. Residents, who did not want their names mentioned, said the boys shot at one another for several minutes before the police arrival. The Nation gathered that there was no casualty from both groups, but the victims were residents who were either relaxing at the front of their houses or returning from work. The identities of the victims could not be confirmed at press time but some residents said they were not members of the cult groups. An eyewitness, who simply identified himself as Kabiru, said the expectant mother was hit by stray bullet as she

•The late Segun attempted to rescue her son, who was playing outside the house. A senior police officer that does not want his name in print said the police would soon arrest those behind the killing. Hoodlums, who were just released from the prisons, he said, had been fingered as brains behind it. He said: “When the hoodlums were still in the prisons, absolute peace returned to the Mushin community. But as soon as they were released, they resumed their violent activities.”










AKWA IBOM POLITICS Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU writes on the succession battle in Akwa Ibom State and the contenders and pretenders in the 2015 governorship race.


Politics of succession in Akwa Ibom

ATURE was kind and the weather was benevolent in Awa-Iman, the heart of Ibiobioland. The gathering was huge and it was not a rented crowd. Party faithful, government officials, traditional rulers, women, and youths were on their seats as early as 8 am. The thanksgiving service organised for the new Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, at the Qua Iboe Church became another platform for political mobilisation. A succession battle unfolded in the oil-rich state. After the ceremony, which was witnessed by big wigs in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it was evident that another contender to the governorship in the next year’s election has emerged. Many stakeholders could read Governor Godswill Akpabio’s body language as he reiterated his determination to hand over to a successor from the Eket Senatorial District in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice. The beneficiary, if the governor succeeds in his plan, may be the financial expert and former Zenit Bank executive, Emmanuel. He hails from Eket Senatorial District, which has been agitating for the number one seat since 1999. The clamour for the zoning of the slot to the zone enjoys the governor’s support. “Should the next governor come from Uyo?”, Akpabio asked? The crowd chorused no. Then, he asked again: “Should the next governor come from Ikot-Ekpene?” The people gave the same answer. Then, the governor said: “Since Obong Attah, an Ibibio from the Uyo Senatorial District, has ruled for eight years, and I, an Ibibio from Ikot-Ekpene would have also ruled for eight years in 2015, it is now the turn of the Ibibio from Eket District to produce the next governor. It is the turn of Ibibio of Eket Senatorial District, not Uyo and IkotEkpene districts. There will be no rigging in 2015. The votes will be protected. In 2015, you people of Eket District should find a young man or woman to take over from me.” The service was officiated by the National Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Apostle Emmanuel Kure, who predicted that the Secretary to Government will play more active political roles in the future. The cleric recalled the biblical story of David, who was forgotten on the farm, when the first king of Israel was to be anointed by Prophet Samuel. Kure said that the man of God was carried away when he saw the first son of Jesse. But, God did not pick him. Instead, David was brought from the farm and crowned. Kure emphasised that Emmanuel has taken after David, who rose to prominence by divine grace.”God has pulled him out of the private sector to be part of the healing process in Nigeria. When others go to herbalist to turn the heart of the governor, when others kill people to get to positions, the young man was in his office as a professional and he was called to serve,” said the priest. The preacher described Emmanuel’s appointment as the SSG as an act of God, warning desperate elements to desist from planning evil in the state in this period of decisive decision on the political front. Urging Emmanuel not to fear, Kure added: “Whatever that will happen,

•Governor Akpabio (centre), Deacon Emmanuel (left) and his wife, Martha, at the event

there is a visitation and an appointment with the future; an appointment for destiny for your life”. The SSG showcased himself as a man that is not driven by opulence. He was decked in a conservative white agbada, accompanied by his wife, Martha, who adorned the Ibibio costume, and his former boss, Mr. Godwin Emesele, the Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank. Emesele described Emmanuel as a brand, saying that he is marketable. “You made the best choice as the SSG. In Udom you find a professional, a diligent person”, Emesele told Akpabio. PDP chieftains at the event acknowledged that eyes are on the banker-turned politician, ahead of the 2015 polls. Hinting about this political calculation, the PDP Chairman and close associate of the governor, Mr. Paul Ekpo, who described Emmanuel as a dependable man, said that “the event and the prophesies are noted by the party”. Another chieftain, who craved for anonymity, said: “This man is a promising banker and I don’t think that the SSG has much attraction to him, if it will not clear the path for the future. I sincerely believe that he is in strong contention as we move towards 2015,” he said. The historic event, which was the first phase of the succession endorsement, was witnessed by the deputy governor, Mrs. Valedy Ebe, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Elder Sam Ikon, former Secretary to the Federal Government Chief Ufot Ekaete, Senator Helen Esuene, former Minister of Science and Technology Ndueso Essien, former Governor Idongesit Nkanga, Air Vice Marshall Nbikak Eduok, the Chief Judge, Mrs. Item Isua, Works Commissioner Don Etim, the Managing

PDP aspirants •Prof. Richard King •Senator Helen Esuene •Michael Onofiok •Effiong Abia •Ekpenyoing Ntekim •Bassey Akpan •Okpolupm Etteh •Bishop Sam Akpan •Assam Assam •Lary Esin •Udom Gabriel Emmanuel Director of Zenith Bank, Godwin Emesele, and a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Okoro. To observers, the SSG has crossed the bridge from banking to politics. As he addressed the gathering, he employed oratory prowess and drew applause. It was evident that he has started honing his political skills. In his speech, he requested the governor to further confirm his fitness for the job. On the slippery political field, he emerged as the underdog and a crowd puller. A PDP chieftain, who spoke with our correspondent, described him as the potential inheritor of the Akpabio structure. Emmanuel may have also confided in his kinsmen his future ambition. Thus, when Apostle Kure requested four Ibibio elders from Awa-Iman to pray for him, their prayers reflected the Eket District’s push for power shift. “May you fulfill your destiny for Ibibio, Eket District and Akwa Ibom next year”, one of them prayed. But, the Awa Village Chairman hit the nail on the head. “We hope that, in 2015, you (governor), will return

to this community for another thanksgiving service”, he said. For the Emmanuel, the ceremony marked the beginning of a turbulent journey to the top. In the unfolding succession battle, feathers will be ruffled and ego will be bruised. That the members of the State Executive Council, monarchs, and other party chieftains are in one accord over the governor’s succession project is debatable. Even, at the ceremony, the governor acknowledged the presence of detractors. Envy and jealousy were bold on prominent chieftains who now take the back seat, following the emergence of Emmanuel as Akpabio’s de facto deputy. Some big wigs responded to gestures from the governor and the SSG with mechanical smiles. The governor’s rivals in the party were firing salvos at him from Uyo, the state capital, while he was addressing the crowd at Awa-Iman. Two former deputy governors, two senators and a former SSG rejected what they described as an attempt to impose a candidate on the party and vowed to resist it. They accused the governor of personalising power and marginalising a section of the party, stressing that he was behaving like the lord of manor. However, the Information Commissioner, Mr Umana, said that critics will not succeeded in inciting the masses against the governor because of his “uncommon transformation programmes”. The governor has come under attack for shoving aside his ally in the 2007 and 2011 elections, Umana Umana, as the SSG. The former SSG was a strong contender for the governorship before his removal. Many thought that the governor had the intention of handing over to him as

‘It is the turn of Ibibio of Eket Senatorial District, not Uyo and Ikot-Ekpene districts. There will be no rigging in 2015. The votes will be protected. In 2015, you people of Eket District should find a young man or woman to take over from me’

he moves to the Senate, if the PDP retains the state. Akapabio reflected on the sack of Umana, saying that he has no regret replacing him with another Ibibio from the same district. Describing Emmanuel as God’s choice for the job, the governor hinted that the event will herald more good tidings for him. Apart from obtaining the party’s membership card at his ward, Emmanuel has erected a mansion in his rustic town. But, the governor admonished him to remember his roots by pushing for more road construction in his area. He said he is in a vantage position to attract more amenities to his area as the Chairman of the Finance Committee. In response to Emmanuel’s request to confirm his fitness for the job, Akpabio said: “Udom Emmanuel is qualified to be the SSG. It is God who qualifies you. Verily verily I answer you today. By thy fruit you shall be known. By your word, you are qualified. When God chooses, he qualifies. Who am I to qualify God’s choice? A word is enough for the wise”. The SSG, who thanked God for the appointment, applauded the governor for giving him the job. He also thanked his former boss, Mr. Jim Ovia, who he described as a mentor.Emmanuel described the governor as a goal getter, urging him not to be deterred by the acts of jealousy by his detractors. Apparently firing salvos at critics who had described him as a neophyte, the SSG, who quoted a passage from Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s new year message, said: “God does not choose those that qualify. He qualifies those he chooses. I thank God for choosing me”. Emmanuel faces a future pregnant with possibilities. The road to the State House is laced with thorns. Apostle Kure alerted him to the challenges ahead.”People are planning to take this state by force and scatter everything”, he warned. To survive, he advised him to be humble and shun hypocrisy. “Fear the Lord, do justice and uphold righteousness”, he admonished. A PDP chieftain from the Eket Zone said that the SSG has a lot to do to gain the confidence of his colleagues in the State Executive Council, the party and the traditional institution. He said, in spite of the governor’s tacit endorsement, the SSG must try to court the stakeholders on his own. A source said that Emmanuel may declare for the governorship in the next quarter, if the coast is clear. His opponents are formidable, although leaning on the power of incumbency wielded by the governor is an added advantage. In 2007, that incumbency collapsed when Governor Victor Attah could not abort Akpabio’s dream to succeed him. Can the same scenario play itself out in 2015, if aspirants not endorsed by the governor join the race? Apart from Emmanuel, other contenders in the race include Prof. Richard King, Senator Helen Esuene, a maritime expert, Michael Onofiok, Commissioner for Rural Development Effiong Abia, former Deputy Governor Ekpenyoing Ntekim, Finance Commissioner Bassey Akpan, House of Assembly Majority Leader Okpolupm Etteh, former PDP Deputy Chairman Bishop Sam Akpan, Ambassador Assam Assam and Lary Esin.



POLITICS Bornu State All Progressives Congress APC) chieftain Alhaji Kadiri Rahis spoke on the challenge of building the party, ahead of the 2015 general elections. MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE met him.

‘Kashim deserves second term’


HAT is the situation in the Bornu State APC? It is very unfortunate that a former governor of Borno State, who has benefitted so much from Borno politically with people voting for him on three occasions as senator and governor for eight years will choose to just destabilise the peace of the party. It is very unfortunate Senator Ali Sheriff was the governor for eight years. He handed over to his own son, Kashim Shettima, and whether we like it or not, he also handed over a very big crisis to Kashim Shettima. In 2011 when Kashim was sworn in, there was a bomb blast in Maiduguri and all the major towns. Small boys were carrying guns on the streets and everyone was in perpetual fear. Everybody under -estimated Kashim. Nobody believed he has the intellect and immense intelligence that he later came the former governor didn’t know he would turn out to be so intelligent and independent minded. Maybe, he would never have anointed him in 2011. But it is Allah that gives power. We cannot say SAS didn’t help Kashim in the governorship eldction, but SAS did not win his senatorial election. Allah deliberated brought Shettima to solve the problems of Borno because, if another person had been the governor, there will not be Borno today. The governorhas been able to unite the people of Borno beyond political affinities and party differences. Kashim is like our own small Mandela in Borno. He has embraced everyone, including those that openly opposed him within the ANPP and in the PDP. He is just 47, but Kashim has the wisdom of a 70 or 80 years old. He has a very large heart and he is extremely courageous. Some people mistake his compassion and simplicity for weakness. Kashim was always everywhere, including dangerous spots, sometimes when smoke was still billowing after attacks, risking his life. He was inspecting projects everywhere when people feared that he would be attacked. He is courageous. He is the leader of the APC in Borno. How has the APC fared under his leadership? Allah gave us a courageous man, who was able to manage the crisis he inherited, who brought stability to Maiduguri, Bama, Biu, all the major towns and many villages; someone who gave security unfettered access, someone who is always on top of situations that he didn’t create, someone whose passion for Borno has never been doubted by even the PDP. But, the former governor is not supporting him. But, why are the two politicians


quarreling? It is about is 2015, the leadership of the APC and lack of sincerity. SAS was the governor twice. He is the only governor that has been reelected. But, Kashim has performed well too. That is why he will be reelected. Even, the PDP loves his leadership style. That is why they are coming to the APC. But, SAS is trying to block that re-election plan. For God sake. Borno has a lot of challenges. There are killings. Why should a person who enjoyed a second term now attempt to block the chance of his successor? what kind of thinking is that?What the people want is peace and they believe Kashim is giving them that. So, anyone that goes against Kashim is seen as the enemy of Borno people. This is the mind of the people. I have been in politics for many years in Borno and I know when a leader is popular and when he is not. If Kashim is not popular, he will not be moving freely in Borno, despite the security apparatus around him. When the late Mala Kachallah was not popular, we all rallied round SAS to unseat him. We fought that war for SAS, but today, we have seen a bigger war of Boko Haram and we don’t want it repeated. We want peace and Kashim is working for peace. We are feeling it. SAS and Mohammed Imam were able to come to Borno for a rally three weeks ago because Kashim worked and brought peace to Maiduguri. Mohammed Imam was a friend of Kashim. There was nothing Kashim didn’t do to support him when SAS was fighting him, but today, because of hypocrisy, he is the one fighting Kashim, thinking he will be the governor. In 2011, he lost the House of Representatives election.Who will vote for him in Borno? Could you shed light on this leadership tussle in Borno?

The Kashim Shettima I know doesn’t give a damn about leadership. He is a very humble man. He is not power hungry at all. The APC in its guideline says governors are leaders of the APC in their respective states. Even, Umar Duhu, the Special Assistant to SAS and Interim National Vice Chairman, Northeast, said it last week that governors are leaders of the APC in their states. They are the people on ground. Even in the PDP, governors are leaders in their states and ministers are leaders in states where the PDP doesn’t control the government. Why should Borno be different? Why should the same Duhu want SAS to be the leader of the APC in Borno? Why is Fashola the leader in Lagos, even with Asiwaju around? We all expect SAS to be playing national politics; to help in setting up a Federal Government to make this country better. Ordinarily, Kashim Shettima wouldn’t mind conceding the leadership of the APC to SAS, but the problem with SAS is that there is no sincerity with him when it comes to politics. If two people know SAS better politically in Borno, I am one of them. I was one of his fo, if he is the leader of the APC, he will humiliate Kashim Shettima. There is no form of respect that Kashim doesn’t accord him. Even, his own son cannot respect him as Kashim is doing, if the son becomes the governor. Allah Kashim will be re-elected. But, if Allah allows SAS to bring in someone else, Allah just wants to punish him because whoever he brings will fight him within the first one month of his administration. Maybe, Allah wants Kashim Shettima get a second term without SAS to demystify SAS and remind him, once again, that he is not God. Only Allah has the kind of powers and permanence that SAS wants to ascribe to himself. Kashim Shettima is highly popular. Wheoever wants to find out should ask sincere journalists on ground or they should go to the streets of Maiduguri, Biu, Bama, Monguno and all the local government areas to ask people what they think of Kashim Shettima. I am telling you as a politician that Kashim Shettima will win Borno, even as the APGA candidate. I know what I am saying. I know when a politician is popular. I have always been a youth leader. I work with the youths who are the main political actors and I can tell where the majority of them swing at every point in time in Borno State. I have seen some people showing documentaries to show their popularity. when SAS was popular in those days, he never showed documentaries to argue that he was popular. He should be a statesman.

‘Clark not laying good example’


PARTIAN group, ‘Total Loyalty’ yesterday advised the Ijaw leader, Senator Edwin Clark, to lay a good example of statesmanship, instead of heating up the polity. The group said in a statement by its leader, Alhaji Oluwatoyin Balogun, that a wise man should engage in acts that unite the country at the twilight of life. Flaying the elderstatesman for his uncharitable remarks about Senator Bola Tinubu, the group also correct the impression that noise making is the hallmark of leadership in the Niger Delta. According to ‘Total Loyalty’, Yoruba have leaders of impeccable character, adding that Asiwaju Tinubu is one of them. Balogun said: “Old age should connote wisdom. But, reasoning and judgment can be called to test when a leader is not constructive in his criticisms. Old age demands that the aged should be more careful before making a statement. “Also, as an elderstateman is expected to give priority to the general interest of the country against the interest of his ethnic group. When Chief Edwin Clark said that the Yoruba nation has no leader, he was being malicious. He made an offensive and provocative remark. “We have a leader and the one we are proud of. Tinubu’s leadership acumen is evident in the development of his region. It also reflects in the activities of his followers who are governors in five states. In the Southwest, good governance is a priority.” Balogun described Tinubu as a dependable leade worthy of emulation, adding that his legacies are evergreen in Lagos State which he served as the governor between 1999 and 2007. He recalled that the former governor fought for democracy at a time some elders supported the military regimes. Balogun said that Clark is on the prowl because reality has dawned on him that President Goodluck Jonathan will be voted out of power in 2015. He added: “Chief Edwin Clark undoubtedly lacks the moral justification to mock the antecedent of this


outstanding Yoruba son. Making a derogatory remark against the Yoruba further portrays the Ijaws as ingrate. Chief Edwin Clark should rather confess his fear, which is that his son, Dr. Jonathan, who has not lived up to expectation, will not be re-elected as the Preident in 2015.” Balogun challenged the Ijaw leader to list the achievements of the President that will make Nigerians to vote for him at the presidential poll. He queried: “ What has the country benefited from his advice to his kinsman in the Aso Villa? In his sincere judgment, is the country fair better under the headship of Dr. Jonathan?” Balogun described Clark as an ungrateful politician who has suddenly forgotten the past. He reminded the Ijaw leader that a Yoruba man engineered the emergence of a Nigerian from the minority tribe as the President. Balogun added: “The Ijaw chief is a beneficiary of that power shift. His region is a beneficiary. They now have a sense of belonging. When his kinsman was unconstitutionally denied the right to leadership, Yoruba leaders rose in defense of Dr. Jonathan. Yoruba spoke above the whispers, staged a protest, supported the doctrine of necessity and voted for him in 2011. But, problem started when the President failed to perform.”

Groups back NSITF boss for Delta governorship


OMEN and youth groups have endorsed the governorship ambtion of the Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, in Delta State. The groups urged the technocrat to declare his aspiration before the end of the quarter, promising to mobilise support for his candidature. Former Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development Mr. Raymos Guanah, who spoke on be-

•Members of the Southwest All Progressives Congress (APC) Harmonisation Committee: Oyo State Governor Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi (second right), former Ekiti State Governor and also National Vice-Chairman All Progressives Congress (APC) Otunba Niyi Adebayo (right); Mr Yemi Sanusi; Deputy Governor Oyo State Hon. Moses Alake Adeyemo; Interim APC Chairman, Oyo State Chief Akin Oke, at the Southwest APC Secretariat, Alakia, Ibadan PHOTO: BY FEMI ILESANMI

half of the ‘Elders’ Forum’, described her as the best governorship material. He said: “She appears more charismatic and more composed to raise Delta State to the next level of development.” Guanah, who spoke with reporters in Asaba, the state capital, expressed optimism that Olejeme would be the next governor of the state. He added: “Taking into consideration the public opinion prevailing among Deltans concerning the 2015 governorship election, Olejeme is the frontrunner. She will break the jinx in 2015 and become the first elected female governor in Nigeria.” The politician dismised the insinuation that Delta State is not ripe for a female governor. He said: “The best person for the job is Olejeme. Apart from her capability and intimidating political structure, she also commands large grassroots followership because of her love for the poor and the lowly people in the society,” Guanah said that the majority of Delta political leaders resolved to support Olejeme because they believed in her ability to do the job. He said she will build upon the developmental programmes of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Guanah said: “For Delta North to produce the governor, the leaders need to adopt a more holistic approach. They need to work together for the common goal of ensuring that she becomes the next governor of the State” he advised.









Action, not talk


We hope that the defence chief will end Boko Haram menace by April

IGERIANS must be hoping that the inaugural statement by the newly-appointed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshall Alex Badeh, on the country’s precarious security situation, particularly relating to terrorist activities of Boko Haram, will not prove to be mere bluster. Hopefully, it was not just the excitement of his new status that prompted Badeh’s dramatic words when he said, “The security situation in the North-East must be brought to a complete stop before April 2014. So please if there are any of them around, send words to your colleagues that they are in trouble; we are coming after them.” However, perhaps unwittingly, he indicated the complexity of the task by his rhetorical flourish which suggested that members of the Islamist group could possibly be present at the ceremony. It is noteworthy that his remark, beyond the exaggerated colour, was reminiscent of President Goodluck Jonathan’s controversial comment sometime ago that Boko Haram had successfully infiltrated the government. In addition to the obvious developmental arrest resulting from terrorism, Badeh elaborated on factors that determined his deadline, saying, “I was telling my colleagues that we must bring it to a stop by April 2014 so that we do not have constitutional problems in our hands.” According to him, “We do not want to go back to the Senate and start begging and lobbying. If we do our work cohesively, I can say that General Minimah will finish that thing in no

time.” What informed his confidence is certainly unclear, but it is plain that his reasoning was based on the need to avoid legislative endorsement of a further extension of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states , after the first round which started in May 2013, and the current six-month addition from November. In other words, administrative reasons, rather than any solid grounds for optimism were responsible for his dream of crushing the insurgency by the April date. Without doubt, this non-combat basis cannot be sufficient justification for buoyancy, considering the worrying fact that since 2009 the rebels have continued to perpetrate stunning acts of destruction without any significant pause. It remains to be seen whether Badeh’s tenure will indeed make a difference to the presidency’s counter-terrorism campaign. It is disturbing that, perhaps in his enthusiasm to sound prepared for the function, he allowed his emotion to take over. He possibly started on a wrong note by making such a definite declaration. It is a well-known fact that surprise is a key element in warfare, which Badeh did not seem to appreciate as his publicised words were capable of alerting the terrorists to the possibility of danger. Was it necessary for him to announce, as he did, that his battle plan is to end the conflict by a specific time? What advantage, if any, did he hope to get from such openness? With such approach to intelligence issues, does he expect the terrorists to wait to be defeated by April?

It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time a high-profile security figure, or even a political bigwig, would make such a politically correct statement on ending the fighting within the time frame of the emergency. Tragically, the advertised intention is far from materialisation, and the immediate targets of the rebels as well as the larger society continue to experience the pains of insecurity. Regrettably, the Boko Haram challenge remains potent, in spite of the government’s efforts. This reality calls for greater creativity and firmness of purpose on the side of the political authorities. The government must not allow the chilling carnage carried out remorselessly by the group to drag on. Action, not talk, is the solution.

‘It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time a highprofile security figure, or even a political bigwig, would make such a politically correct statement on ending the fighting within the time frame of the emergency. Tragically, the advertised intention is far from materialisation, and the immediate targets of the rebels as well as the larger society continue to experience the pains of insecurity’

Looming anarchy


•Responsibility for restoring order in Rivers State rests on President Jonathan

HE drama in Rivers State has turned absurd and is threatening to consume the country. In all this, the refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan to give leadership is confounding. He has kept silent as the state is boiling. Already, lives have been lost, protests have gone awry and confidence is lost in the police force. Even the judiciary is not spared as two courts were nearly razed. Yet, the President seems not bothered by these developments. This has fuelled the speculation that President Jonathan is behind the mayhem in the state. The Grassroots Democratic Initiative, an initiative of the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, seems to be get-

‘We call on President Jonathan to play his role as the country’s leader and as father of the nation. It behoves him to call all the parties to order. The constitution is clear on the place and role of the governor as Chief Security Officer of his state. He should not be undermined by a commissioner of police who should take orders from him. When that happens, mayhem may result and Nigerians are the ultimate losers’

ting cover from the police. There have also been suggestions that the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, who was once engaged in a public showdown with the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, might be behind the antiAmaechi orchestrations in the state. These are serious enough suggestions. A President, as leader of the country, would have been expected to rise immediately to the occasion, distance his office from such acts that could lead to anarchy and call the head of the police force to order. Every move made so far by institutions of state to bring sanity to the state has been frustrated by the federal executive. Last July, the Senate passed a resolution to take over the legislative activities of the state as provided in the constitution. The move was frustrated by the courts. The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu ordered the chambers of the House of Assembly sealed off. Unless the President steps in decisively, gives effect to the resolution of the two Houses of the National Assembly that the commissioner of police should be removed and assures the people that he has no interest other than the higher interest of ensuring that the Rule of Law and peace reign in the state, the situation is likely to degenerate and the result unpredictable. At the moment, Mr. Mbu is seen by a section of the state as a participant in the crisis. The inability of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to act is equally perceived to be based

on ‘order from above’. The logical consequence of this is a resort to selfhelp. The directive of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to its members in the National Assembly to block all executive bills already presented or that may be sent to the assembly now is instructive that the general good is being threatened. The party has said, if the federal ruling party could use its control of the federal apparatus to support Wike and his men in Rivers State, the APC would do all within its power to protect the governor; one of its own. The reality today is that Nigeria is gradually sliding into a fractured state. The country is being set on fire in one corner - one of the 36 states and the President, like Nero, is fiddling in Abuja. He has time to play the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) politics, fly around the world and pretend that all is well. Nigeria’s history indicates that cauldrons start small. We call on President Jonathan to play his role as the country’s leader and as father of the nation. It behoves him to call all the parties to order. The constitution is clear on the place and role of the governor as Chief Security Officer of his state. He should not be undermined by a commissioner of police who should take orders from him. When that happens, mayhem may result and Nigerians are the ultimate losers.

Wide gap gets wider


HE debate over income inequality is becoming a major issue in American politics as a Gallup poll released Monday showed that twothirds of adults are somewhat or very dissatisfied with income and wealth distribution in the country. It comes on the heels of numerous studies examining the recent phenomenon. According to various studies, the top 1 percent of income earners (those making over $349,000) took in about 24 percent of all pre-tax income in the country last year, up almost two-thirds from 9 percent in 1976. And the gap is getting wider. From 2009 to 2012, income for the top 1 percent grew by 31.4 percent while the bottom 99 percent saw their incomes rise by only 0.4 percent. President Obama has been speaking out against the trend, calling it a “fundamental threat” to the American dream. Obama has urged Washington to adopt policies to address the economic divide, including a higher minimum wage, stronger labor laws and a budget which promotes both education and social safety programs. Joining Obama Tuesday was Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. In a press conference, Casey called for Congress to focus on closing the income gap in the new year by raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and investing in early education. “Income inequality is a problem that impacts all facets of our state’s economy, from middle class families to small businesses who depend on customers to thrive,” Casey said. To back up his claims, Casey, a Democrat, unveiled a county-by-county look at the problems of income inequality across Pennsylvania as of 2012. The numbers did show some stark contrasts. While the state’s poverty rate was 13.7 percent, it ranged from 26.7 percent in Philadelphia County to 5.8 percent in Bucks County, an affluent suburban county outside Philadelphia. Beaver County’s rate was 12. It was tied with two other counties for the 33rd rate among the state’s 67 counties. Lawrence County’s rate 14.6. It was tied with two other counties for the 40th highest rate Allegheny County’s rate was 12,7 percent, the 39th highest rate in the state. The average median household income was $51,225, ranging from a high of $82,456 in Chester County to a low of $34,693 in Forest County. Beaver County’s income was $46,933, the 29st highest in the state. Lawrence and Allegheny counties’ income were $43,346 and $50,831, respectively. They had the 40th and 26th highest incomes respectively. The average percentage of the population with less than a high school diploma for the state was 11.7 percent, ranging from a lot of 6.8 percent in Montgomery County to a high of 19.7 percent in Forest County. Beaver County had a percentage of 9.6, tied for the ninth lowest percentage in the state. Lawrence and Allegheny counties had rates of 7.4 and 11.7 percent respectively. They had the fifth and 21st lowest percentages in the state. Without a doubt, there definitely are some very rich people in Pennsylvania and some very poor people. But how to try and even things out is the tricky part. While Obama and Casey’s proposals might help do something to help alleviate the problem, all are opposed by Republicans so they stand little chance of ever becoming law. Republicans admit there’s a gap, but they blame Obama and his policies for the problem. And the margin has definitely increased since Obama became president. Is there anything the two sides can agree on, to at least start dealing with the problem? Well, the Gallup poll could open up the eyes of politicians on both sides of the aisles. With the American people definitely dissatisfied with the status quo, it behooves both sides to come up with some much needed changes. – Timesonline

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IR: The once flourishing Rivers State, known as the 'Treasure Base of the Nation' has suddenly become the 'Violence Base of the Nation'. Regrettably, a state that breathes life into most states and Aso Rock is currently bruised, battered, shattered, and suffocated, waiting for its obituary announcement to be published. While trouble drizzles in other states, it pours in Rivers. Rivers State has lost its relative calmness, charm, serenity and allure to bad and uncouth politics. Everything with the semblance of governance has fallen apart in the state. The thread of unity that once bound the people of Rivers has since been severed by petty politics, greed and narrow interest Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi's beautiful dreams, people-based economic blueprint and hope of a better Rivers have all gone with the winds. His transformation train code named 'The New Rivers State' has joined the list of halted or failed projects. Not for Governor Amaechi's incompetence, but for the evil machinations of a higher authority and personalities. Peace departed Rivers ever since the self-acclaimed Mama Peace Patience Jonathan swore never to allow it a place in the state. True to her words, hardly a day passes that both local and international media are not awash with unpalatable occurrences spewing out of the state. Tension has become a permanent feature of the state. Having lost Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to Boko Haram insurgency, Rivers is undoubtedly gearing hard to increase the number of states taken over by troublemakers. What we read about in the papers on the happenings in Rivers state is not any different from what is obtained in the north east. The Rivers state legislature is more or less on break. No serious legislative activity has been reported in


recent times. The House, mainly of legislators loyal to Amaechi had to convene within the Rivers state Government House to enable the Amaechi led government present the state's 2014 budget estimate. While the anti-Amaechi camp gets its backing, funding and support from Aso Rock, its foot soldiers, led by President Goodluck Jonathan's political godson, who

doubles as the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike have vowed to make Rivers State ungovernable. On the security front, Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu is doing more harm to the already battered image of the Nigerian Police Force through his brazen unprofessional conducts. We have lost Rivers state to troublemakers. It appears those respon-

sible for the raging political crisis in the state are not bothered. President Jonathan, the number one Chief Security Officer of the nation, on whose shoulders the security of lives and property of all Nigerians rest is busy globe-trotting, junketing, oiling his political machinery ahead of 2015 and fiddling while Rivers burns. All that matters to him and his foot soldiers is for Amaechi

to be completely out of the way. Thanks to the media, civil rights groups and other respected opinion leaders who have constantly opposed plans to bundle Amaechi out of power, either by hook or by crook. It seems the Jonathan government isn't aware of the negative impression the war in Rivers state could have on the nation and his government. I know he's a man who hardly gives a 'damn' or attach seriousness to germane issues. Why is he so interested in seeing the premature end of Amaechi's political career? Is Amaechi the political Wall of Jericho he has to pull down to return to Aso Rock in 2015? • Abdullahi Yunusa Imane, Kogi State


tion or a call to arms? It appears the PDP and the President’s men have concluded that the only way to keep the APC at bay is by demonizing it either as a religious or a separatist party or portraying it as anti-people, even when these are not the case. They probably think that by doing so, they will succeed in swaying some voters from a particular section of the country to their side. Similarly unfortunate is the decision of these critics to take the APC statement out of context. The impression being created is that APC has chosen to stall the wheel of governance by abusing its numerical strength in the House of Representatives to fight the PDPled Executive. This cannot be farther from the truth. The party clearly established a basis for its decision, which is that after exhausting all avenues to make the President do the right thing in Rivers State without success, it has no other option than to ask its members in the National

Assembly to use legitimate and democratic means to force the Executive to do the right thing. To the enlightened and objective mind, what APC has done is perfectly in line with legislative practice. In the United States of America, it is common place for either the Republicans or the Democrats to oppose Executive Bills including budgets and appointments of key officers of State, including military chiefs. Recent examples are the Obamacare and the shutdown of government for weeks last October over spending limits by the Federal Government. Political parties are expected to take a position on any matter that is before the legislature for consideration. That is why there are party caucuses in the legislature. APC could have given the directive to its caucuses in both Chambers of the National Assembly if it had any ulterior motives. By making the directive public, the surprise element has been removed.

Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion is to see the directive as a means of getting the President to see the danger in allowing the Rivers debacle to fester. Already, this directive has started to yield results. I watched, with satisfaction, on Channel Television on Saturday night how members of the Save Rivers Movement were able to stage a peaceful rally, after the Inspector General of Police apparently directed the police in the state to provide protection for the rally. A similar rally by the SRM in the past would have been broken up by hired goons armed with guns and machetes, and protected by Mbu's police. Who says the APC's tactic has not worked? What I expect now is for the friends of President Jonathan to advise him to call Messrs. Mbu and Wike to order and restore normalcy to Rivers State. I don’t see what is difficult in doing so. •Williams Adeleye Ikeja, Lagos


The anomie in Rivers State

APC's directive on executive bills in order

IR: I am amused by the rash of reactions that have greeted the decision of the National Executive Committee of the APC directing its members in the National Assembly to block Executive Bills or the confirmation of presidential appointees if the impunity in Rivers State is not addressed by the President. I am particularly miffed at the emotional outbursts of some politicians and social activists who are carrying on as if the APC had committed blasphemy against the gods. No doubt, most of these negative comments came from PDP members and other apologists of President Jonathan, who are uncomfortable that for the first time since 1999, we have a political party that can be genuinely referred to as a government-in-waiting and one that is strong enough to challenge the dying behemoth called the PDP. How else can one explain the attempt of these critics to equate a simple, routine, and universallyaccepted legislative tactic to sedi-




S Tony Marinho

How not to save the Railways; Wanted: A Housing President

O Bamanga Tukur of Chairman PDP and NPA ‘infamy’ or fame in the 1970s is back in transport, as chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation. Is this a blessing for Tukur and

Nigeria or a blessing for him and a curse for Nigeria? Did his record in NPA including an investigation into his involvement in a $5m private purchase of a ship, recommend him for the job? Did he open the state branch of the CBN for a party spraying event? Chairmanship of the railway corporation is a national moral assignment requiring integrity. To fully recover from the 40+ years deliberate destruction of Nigeria’s railway system in favour of road trailer and tanker transport, Nigeria needs a strong modern, vibrant nationwide, all inclusive, non-politically or ethnically biased railway and railway policy. It is difficult to see how and what Bamanga Tukur brings to the railway table that will justify his appointment. Yes, the railway corporation is suddenly juicy with many new contracts, but is it Bamanga Tukur’s task to bleed the railways and contractors in order to raise funds of the party in power towards the 2015 ‘s-elections’? I think not. Is he there to rest, after the hypertension of the PDP chairmanship? I hope not. He should better rest at home. Is he in the railways because of his tremendous knowledge and expertise in transport, modern engineering and 400km/h fast trains? Definitely no! Is his job for personal compensation and financial gain as chairman after a job well done in his party? Who knows? Whatever the truth, Bamanga Tukur may have a conscience especially at his age of 80+ now that God is close at hand. His party is fond of floating 80+ year olds as if the 40-60-year olds are incompetent, though they are presidents in other countries. After all President Jonathan saw other leaders in banks, business and politics in Davos. How many were


ATURDAY, January 25, was a day that put all Nigerians on edge. That evening, Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles had taken on their Moroccan counterpart in the third edition of CAF African Nations Championships quarter-final football match at Cape Town Stadium in South Africa. The game witnessed a shower of goals. It was exactly 40 minutes on the clock when a Moroccan attacker put the third goal in Nigeria’s net. Chigozie Agbim, the Nigerian goalkeeper, like the rest of his team, seemed to be flailing in vain, inexorably towards an ignominious exit from the tournament. A thrashing, whitewash, spanking or mauling, if you will, as they say in sporting parlance, was firmly on the cards in this encounter. Here were Nigeria’s hopefuls starring at an even more embarrassing defeat at the tournament designed for the participation of only those players who ply their trade in their countries. In fairness, the Eagles had started the match well enough. There wasn’t really that much difference between them and the Moroccans before the Moroccans first goal in the 33rd minute. And in truth, anybody who saw how naively, especially defensively, the team handled that crazy sevenminute period between the 33rd minute and the 40th minute, would have been well-justified to feel sorry for Nigeria for what was still to come. But how did things come to this sorry pass? There were several questions, and there seemed to be few more logical answers than to admit that the Eagles had been shambolic while the North Africans had been clinical in those frenetic seven first half minutes. As the horror show unfolded, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, the coach of the Nigerian

80+? Nigeria must once again endure Tukur as chairman of railways and the consequences of Tukur, if the railways staff do not strike in protest, and if Civil Society does not protest adequately. Tukur has probably supported the destruction of the railways in the past or support the benign neglect of the railways under all governments till this one. Why would Jonathan send Tukur, not known for success, to head one of his more successful projects? After all, who objected to the railway evacuation of goods from the NPA harbours throughout Nigeria during these last 40 years? Has he had a change of heart? Can a camel lose its hump? If not Nigerians should demand his redeployment to be chairman of prison commission or ask him to retire. I was invited to a television programme on the housing shortage last week. My contribution was brief as I did not say what was expected. So I will say my piece here. The reason Nigeria has a housing problem is totally political. There is no great ‘Housing President’. We have a lot of lip service from presidents but little practical action. What little is done often benefits a fraction of the civil service class with special housing and land allocations. Though Dangote is the 25th richest man in the world, not including silent shy Nigerians and retired generals, the poor housing situation is compounded by the high price of cement under his cement ownership, the land policy in Nigeria with the politics of the Certificate of Occupancy, the high cost of land and building materials and the almost absence of genuine mortgage loans and decent outright or long-term purchase terms. The great nations of the world built mass housing through politics- government programmes and policy decisions of the leadership- some mired in corruption with corrupt construction companies frequently in court. In spite of this corruption, the housing gets built and the loans are given. The post-war building programme that gave most Americans a home was a presidential directive to give work to the returning soldiers and the people a lift out of post-war depression. In the UK, it was the building policies of the Labour

Party which provided council housing for the masses. In Lagos and most of Nigeria, most of the official housing was for government workers, taken over from the colonialists GRAs and police barracks. Awolowo’s AG and successors did build estates, some of which fell into private hands. It was during the time of Jakande of Lagos State that massive attention was paid to housing. He can rightly be called ‘Jakande the Builder’ as his policies and actions gave many Lagosians a chance to own a home even though 40 years later most of them are crumbling. The federal government has attempted to build token estates in every state but political squabbles made some of them to be located in insalubrious areas and being federal government contracts, the quality was often less than standard. The private sector has also tried to intervene but the resultant efforts are usually high end multimillion housing scams, I mean schemes. The result of these efforts is a massive under-supply of common man and middle class housing, estimated to be between 14 and 17million homes or apartments. Nigeria knows it cannot build high-rises, as our poor maintenance culture will make the upper floors uninhabitable with security risks of gangs running estates as happens worldwide. Nigerian needs a ‘Housing President’.

‘Though Dangote is the 25th richest man in the world, not including silent shy Nigerians and retired generals, the poor housing situation is compounded by the high price of cement under his cement ownership, the land policy in Nigeria with the politics of the Certificate of Occupancy, the high cost of land and building materials and the almost absence of genuine mortgage loans and decent outright or long-term purchase terms’

‘Nigeria’ in Cape Town side, largely remained his usual inscrutable self, giving little away emotionally. But how dare he remain so stoic, so calm amidst the debris that his team was quickly becoming in this game? Perhaps, he was convinced, like many followers of football know too-well, that even the most one-sided football matches can rapidly become a game of two halves. In this case, a team which seems to be struggling badly in one half suddenly finds enough verve to turn the table in every sense in another half. After trailing behind by three goals to nil, the Eagles simply had to get back to reckoning, meaning that something had to give tactically and personnel-wise. The Eagles’ first goal came four minutes into the second half, a minute before the first Nigerian substitution was made. It was evident that ‘The Big Boss’, as Keshi is fondly called, gave two or so key instructions to his boys during the half-time rest: “press harder and higher up the pitch and; get the ball to the feet of Ejike Uzoenyi, an artist of a footballer, who, barring some rotten luck, should be packing his luggage to board the plane to the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Such has been the manner the young man has held this tournament by the scruff of its neck. And for the trick with Uzoenyi to work, he was further instructed to stay on the right side of attack, of course with some licence to roam, even though he is more comfortably left-footed. This position gave him a similar role to that being increasingly given to naturally-gifted left footed players like Lionel Messi who can frequently cut in from the

‘Whatever the interpretation, the victory of the Super Eagles certainly boils down to team character and the will to fight, even against seemingly insurmountable odds’

right to devastating effect. This, coupled with the faster movement of the ball by the Nigerians in attack as well as better organisation across the pitch, gave the Moroccans too many different questions to answer, completely different from what they faced in the first 45 minutes. As the game wore on, the legs were gone from under the Moroccans even though they still managed a few flitting chances. The equaliser may have been too long in coming after which the match went into extra time, but there was no stopping the Eagles from soaring. The raw strength of the Nigerians, their never-say-die attitude and extra class both on the bench especially with ex-internationals as the coaching crew, as well as the finesse, purpose and vision of Uzoenyi, saw them to victory. At the very top level of organised football, it only happens once in a long while that a team is able to come back and level the scores in a match where it is already losing by three goals or more after the first 45 minutes. Arguably, the most famous contemporary example of such three-goal comebacks by a top-level football team and one of the most referenced ones was recorded by the English club, Liverpool, when they came back to beat Italian outfit AC Milan on penalties in the final of the UEFA Champions League in Istanbul, Turkey in 2005. Nigeria, of course, had a couple of similar ‘previouses’ in this regard. There was the gutsy come-from-behind 4-3 victory against Brazil in the semi-final at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics during which the Kanu Nwankwo-led “Dream Team” rallied from 3-1 down to prevail. But by far the most remarkable of such feats by a Nigerian team was the match against the then-USSR, where Mutiu Adepoju, Christopher Ohenhen and Samson Siasia and co won on penalties after a 4-4 draw having been 4-0 down (2-0 down in

the first half) at a point during the match. That match is romantically referred to as the Miracle of Darman in Nigerian sports speak. So the onus was on this selection of players to perform their 21st Century version of the Darman Miracle. Fittingly, what followed was not the Miracle of Darman. It was simply the Miracle of Cape Town. I tried to apply my best body-language reading skills to interpret the scenes that followed between Keshi and his coaching staff as well as some of the players after the match. Following the final whistle, the coaching staff all, together with the players on the substitutes’ bench, first made a bee-line towards the pitch and then as if by prodding, all, one after the other, turned back to Keshi. The triumphant coach was still calm on the bench whereas other coaches would have been beside themselves with joy after such a hard-fought victory. They all then seemed to whisper words that seemed to say to the coach that he was spot on with certain decisions or conclusions he had come to even when his team were losing. I guess Keshi, in his characteristic confident manner, had calmly told the players and coaches that even at 3-0 down, Nigeria would still win the match if they approached it with certain catalysts. Those catalysts, it appears, were duly applied and the rest is history. Whatever the interpretation, the victory of the Super Eagles certainly boils down to team character and the will to fight, even against seemingly insurmountable odds. It is much like the Nigerian spirit which enables the people to always weather all storms, man-made or natural. Although it had seemed – pretty much like many aspects of our national life – as though the players would once again, throw away an opportunity after doing the hard part of getting through a tricky

Dele Agekameh qualifying group, in the end, a sheer force of character and togetherness saw them safely through. It was indeed a performance with a lot of ‘Nigerianness’ in it. Players of different religious persuasion, sociocultural backgrounds and ethnic identity came together to serenade the spectators with Skelewu, Azonto, Etigi or Kukere in the joy of a football match. It makes one wonder why the rest of the Nigerian society keeps ignoring the lessons of sport, especially football, in acts of unity and togetherness for the ultimate peace and prosperity of the country. Again, bear in mind that the current renaissance in Nigerian national football, especially at the senior national team level, has come mostly because the coaching of the teams has been handed over to exfootball players who have played at the highest level of the game. Now, why can’t we always try and put people who have the know-how in other public positions in our national life rather than dead woods and spent bullets? Remember, when you ask a carpenter to do the job of a tailor, you are likely to get an upholstering at the very best! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)



COMMENTS ‘It is very unfortunate that good governance is not in Nigerian leaders’ dictionary. We are the laughing stock of the international community due to bad governance. Corruption and social vices have become ‘untouchable’ issues. How can we move forward? Let us pray now. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State’

•Jonathan For Olatunji Dare Unceremonial exit of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is unfortunate despite his personality. PDP does not have respecter of elders, why must this insult happene to him. From Chika Dare, your text captioned “Retirement of the lexical kind” sounds very interesting but just note one thing. Babangida, a Northerner ruled the country for eight years. Obasanjo, a Yoruba man also ruled the country for eight years. Remember that there is no oil-well in Mina neither is there any at Abeokuta. Jonathan is of the hen that lay the Golden egg but you people did not know his value. These past leaders did not paint any old building not to talk of errecting any new one yet they remained honoured. Do not forget that the entire south-south and south-east look upon Jonathan as their candidate. You wish to see a united Nigeria but you seem to overlook the bane of the unity. I speak secretly to you that Jonathan’s neglect ends Nigeria coesive bond. Not a threat but of a whole truth. Anonymous Sir, I want more light into this amalgamation of a thing. From Ayodele Joseph Akao, Edo State You favoured the word ‘dismiss’ against the word ‘retire’ with respect to the disengagement of the service chiefs. There are number of valid reasons to justify the disengagement of a service chief and from newspaper reports that I read the presidency gave at least two of such reasons. There may be reasons to suspect every move our president makes but I do not think you were fair to him this time around. From Col. Peter Ulu (rtd). I read with worry the comment of Femi FaniKayode. I saw him as a religious and sectional bigot whose sense of social decency has badly deranged. Or how else can a man who was a minister and was alleged to have left office with poor records turn round to preach a poorly worded sermon - the gutless eunoch... He can only deceive the teens! His insult on our President is sad and Femi is an ingrate! If


F anybody is thinking that the exit of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur will bring an end to the crisis in PDP, that person deceives himself. The problem facing the ruling party PDP is multi-pronged, multi-faceted, enormous and deep. When I saw President Goodluck Jonathan grinning from ear to ear, holding Tukur’s resignation letter with his left hand, and addressing PDP chieftains in Abuja as if he has won a great battle, I really pitied the commanderin-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces of Nigeria. Oh no, my president, the problem of Nigeria’s PDP is beyond the resignation of one man, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. The problem of PDP is monumental. It is huge and to put it in another way, PDP has become the biggest problem facing Nigeria. PDP’s greatest undoing in Nigeria is failure of governance. Given the resources Nigeria has earned in the last 14 years, Nigeria would have taken a great leap forward to become a preferred destination in the world but PDP chieftains do not know how to deploy resources to drive growth. Nigeria has earned more money in the last 14 years from 1999 than what this country earned from 1960 to 1999 (39 years) and yet there is nothing tangible to show for it. It is simply a case of hope betrayed and dashed, opportunities frittered away, respect and dignity lost. PDP’s Nigeria may have succeeded in everything except in the department of leadership. Oh God, PDP did not allow the centre to hold in Nigeria for us to witness progress. Instead of using the God-given resources to

he feels he can whip up cheap sentiments, he is a joker! Anonymous Olatunji, so what terminology are you suggesting instead of amalgamation? Should we use cohabitation of the southern and northen protectorate as a terminology? Anonymous Mr. Dare, your article was a true direction of my thought how then do Nigerian council of elders think in this direction or Mr president? Another article for the young generation to claim their destiny. Thanks! From Peter, Abuja Re: Retirements of the lexical kind. Bamanga Tukur had bowed out after the forced exit. Who knows tomorrow regarding this occurrence. However one injustice committed against Bamanga tukur was that, he came in democratically but removed undemocratically. That however is a lesson for us all that ‘No condition is permanent’! From Lanre Oseni. For Segun Gbadegesin The ouster of the former PDP national chairman, Bamangar Tukur, may be a stepping stone to something better for the party, who knows? But Nigerians, I think, are more concerned with how the PDP and its ruling government could be reformed to give the people a sense of belonging in their much touted transfomational agenda, or give way for a viable alternative than who goes out of the party and was replaced by who. We are by no means interested in the strategy at using party politics to divert our attention from more important and urgent national problem - our economic reform. From Emmanuel Egwu Why is our ones objective ‘The Nation’ gradualy turning to an APC bulleting? Objectivity has been thrown into the trashcan. From Gabriel, Jos. For Gbenga Omotoso “The power of dream” is knowledge based and well researched. Nigerian politicians should put the interest of the nation on their priority list and avoid corruption and rancour. From Sunday Fiola esq, Sango Ota, Ogun State Unlike Biblical Joseph ‘The Dreamer’ which is spiritual and eventually came to pass, I agree with you 100 per cent on your analysis of day dreamers. Do not forget to include others like Buhari to balance your beautiful

and bitter truth write-up. So far, I commend APC for what they have done in Lagos. However, APC and PDP should also not be in another mid summer night dream come. From J. Williams, Lagos. It is good to dream uncle Ggenga, as I am dreaming to be the governor of my state (Imo) so that my family members will get their own share of the cake. Anonymous Re: The power of dream. The power of dream you believe are oftentimes unrealistic could be 50-50. For some, dreams could be a reality. Fayose, Ladoja, Akala and Omisore may not be in your loved camp, at least one of them in the supposed dream, will prove your conclusion wrong. I hope tribunal will not bail you out as usual! Tukur had learnt that Nigerian politics is not the ‘truth’ one bares in totality afterall all those five defected PDP governors that were acclaimed ‘bad products’ while in PDP are being worshipped by ACN-CPC/APC today. When Suntai is ready to listen to the truth, he will succumb. From Lanre. My dear Gbenga, your piece on “The power of dreams” is not only interesting but amazingly fascinating. In each of the instances you took up, you examined with the precision of soothsayer and prophetic icing. I suggest that you do those concerned a favour by extracting a memo from your labour for their purpose. Anonymous Dreams power the world without it there will be no meaninful progress. Kudos to those who dream. Although ambition and vanity do not help matters. From Peter Nwakpa For Tunji Adegboyega The piece is interesting. The truth is that unemployment is synonymous with capitalist economy and ours is a peripheral capitalist order. Why? Because it is based on private profit. The whole thing will change when the toiling masses conquer political power and organise a humane society. From Amos Ejimonye. It is very unfortunate that good governance is not in Nigerian leaders’ dictionary. We are the laughing stock of the international community due to bad governance. Corruption and social vices have become ‘untouchable’ issues. How can we move forward? Let us pray now. From Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State. Thanks for publishing my ‘musing’ in your

• Bamangar Tukur column last Sunday. This is the abridged biography of the average Nigerian. From pregnancy, his or her mother works at least 10-12 hours a day to support the father whose income is not sufficient to take care of the family (that is if he has any income). From birth he/ she begins to live with hunger and every other form of deprivation. Have you noticed that one of the very first thing an average Nigerian child knows is “Up NEPA”!. Then, after wangling through school, he/she is forced into the labour market where all kinds of jackals are waiting to exploit him/her. Tell you what, there are many graduates out there who will sacrifice almost anything to secure a 15-hour a day job to earn N30,000 monthly. Believe me, there are graduates in this country today who work 8-10 hours a day and earn less than N15,000 naira monthly. Yet, our legislators are the highest paid in the world; they are even earning more than Obama and Angela merkel of Germany and our ‘coordinating minister’ keeps telling us that the economy is improving. My brother, anyone who says he/ she is ready to die for this county should be told upfront: only those politicians deserve to pay whatever price Nigeria requires to experience peace and have a shot at progress. God bless you for your insightful write-ups. National Assembly has indirectly become the National Directorate of Employment. To get a good job in any government establishment in Abuja these days, you must have a link to a federal lawmaker. That is why 2015 is going to be hot. All of us must become lawmakers and political office holders in order to survive! From Okwudiri, Abuja. I am embarrassed that your piece in the January 26 edition of The Nation on Sunday almost suggests it’s wrong to bat an eyelid if a man or boy is underpaid or treated poorly on the job … Yes, you did mention the London educated guy but there is no parity in your presentation as far as male/female disenfranchisement is concerned. I guess speaking out for males equally would have made you lose what’s left of your manhood. From Mike, Port Harcourt.

Why Tukur’s Exit May Not help PDP By Joe Igbokwe transform the fatherland, PDP chose another route called corruption. This is the reason why NNPC can muster the temerity and the audacity to tell the world that they used US$10.8 billion to service oil subsidy bills, service vandalized oil pipelines and other sundry expenses without authorization. This is the reason why Stella Oduah will purchase bulletproof BMW cars worth over a million of dollars without caring a hoot. Another name for Nigeria’s PDP is arrogance in the face of abysmal failure of governance. Having frittered and squandered our huge resources on nothing for 14 years, one would have thought that PDP will show some remorse and be sober. Not Nigeria’s PDP. They tell us they will rule Nigeria for 60 years. They tell us that all the political parties in Nigeria put together cannot defeat PDP. They tell us that they are the biggest party in Africa. They have refused to reform our electoral process. They have almost merged with INEC, the police, and all the security agencies to continue to decimate Nigeria. PDP lack capacity and ideas to bring good governance in Nigeria. Give PDP all the money in the world, give PDP another 50 years and I will tell you that the party cannot deliver. They cannot get it. You cannot give what you do not have. For someone to be great you just have to prepare for it and in the

same vein, for a nation to move forward, the leaders must be prepared for it. In actions and deeds, leaders of PDP have not shown that they are prepared for governance in Nigeria. They have not shown that power goes with responsibility. They have not convinced anybody that they can be trusted. They have not shown that they know where they are going. They have not shown that they care for Nigerians. They have not shown that they are dependable. PDP sets rules and break the rules with reckless abandon. PDP is power-drunk, greedy and cares about nothing. When President Yar’Adua of the blessed memory died, we know all the struggles to get President Jonathan to take up leadership as stipulated in the constitution. Eventually President Jonathan got there. He would have completed the two years left by the death of Yar’Adua, and by PDP’s rules Jonathan would have stepped aside for the North to complete their two terms but PDP does not follow rules. President Jonathan got another four years in 2011. In 2015, the same PDP is preparing the ground for President Jonathan to contest again. This is the reason why the North is angry with Jonathan. If President Jonathan succeeds in 2015, he would have ruled for 10 years by 2019. Our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious nature do not support this in a democracy. PDP makes rules and break them!

Nigeria needs new hands, new approach, new ideas, new plans, new thinking, and new dreams. Unfortunately PDP is deficit in honour, respect, integrity and character to provide these for now. PDP has reached its peak in miserable and inept governance in Nigeria and there is no other place to go than to go down. Nigerians must help to take this bull (PDP) out of the China’s shop to forestall further colossal damage to the project Nigeria. The exit of Tukur as national chairman is not the end of the party’s problems in Nigeria. I just hope that few sensible men and women in PDP (if any) will have the courage to tell those celebrating this that it is not yet Uhuru for the ruling party. • Igbokwe writes from Lagos

‘Nigeria needs new hands, new approach, new ideas, new plans, new thinking, and new dreams. Unfortunately PDP is deficit in honour, respect, integrity and character to provide these for now’



Newspaper of the Year



UCH breaks new grounds in open heart surgery The many female ‘kings’ of Ekiti •PAGE 28

Pope installs archbishop for Ibadan •PAGE 32



•Kazeem Ojo and his mother

The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, the first teaching hospital in Nigeria, has scored another first in medicine, with its open heart surgery, a feat which attracted wide accolades. OSEHEYE OKWUOFU writes. •Continued on Page 26

Varsity student stab colleague to death •PAGE 44





HE University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier teaching hospital has recorded a major breakthrough in medicine in the country when it successfully carried out a “bloodless” open-heart surgery on a patient. The operation known as Coronary Artery By-pass Gland (CABG) was carried out on 19-year-old Kazeem Ojo by a team of surgeon from the hospital lead by Chief Medical Director, Professor Temitope Alonge. The patient was expectedly happy at the feat performed by the hospital which has drawn commendation from health professionals. The cheery news on the successful CABG was broken last week by Alonge who said the surgery was carried out without complication. This indeed was a major breakthrough for UCH and the Nigerian Medical practitioners. An elated Alonge, said with the feat, Nigerians would no longer need to travel abroad for such tertiary treatment as more Nigerian doctors are currently being trained to offer such medical care in the hospital. The orthopaedic and trauma surgeon said, “following acquisition of the Cardiac capitalisation machine by Toshiba in 2011, it was installed and put to use in 2013, UCH is able to resuscitate its open heart surgery. That allows us to evaluate the state of the arteries supplied by the heart muscles and if for any reasons there is any blockage, the blood vessels can be opened up with the balloon, but if the damage is extensive such that we cannot do the so called balloon and geoplasty, then we resolve to open heart surgery. “This technically means that the chest will be split into two, the heart is exposed and then, the blood that is entering and leaving the heart is diverted into a machine called the heart-lung machine and we stop the heart. “So, technically the person is dead and the blood is going through the machine and going back into the patient and then repair work are carried out on the heart and after that we wake the heart up again.” Professor Alonge was not alone in the euphoria of the celebration of the great achievement. Members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals also came to savour in the joy of the medical breakthrough. The national President, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Dr. Felix Olukayode Faniran, described the feat as a great breakthrough. According to him, “the essence of our being here is to examine health care practices in the country, one of them is

UCH breaks new grounds

•UCH Ibadan what you heard Professor Alonge said that they just had a breakthrough in open heart surgery being carried out at UCH.” Speaking further on the successful bloodless open heart surgery, Professor Alonge said that issue of open heart surgery was not new in Nigeria, the ability to resuscitate the procedure started last year at UCH. He explained further that the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu was actually the first institution to have embarked on open heart surgery but the challenges have always been that of equipment, manpower and ability to sustain it. To offer its services to others in the country, the management of the insti-

‘I want to play for Nigeria’


AZEEM Ojo, a 19-year old native of Kogi State, like most Nigerians of his age enjoy playing football and had a dream of one day being a professional footballer after leaving secondary school and representing Nigeria at full international level. Though his body and perhaps soul was willing to go through the rigours, tough training sessions and physical discipline and was indeed on course to achieving his dream when suddenly he developed a heart problem. Like celebrated ex-Nigerian international Nwakwo Kanu, Kazeem was diagnosed as having a weak heart and faced the likelihood of his dream career in football not being realized. But that was before last week, now Kazeem could still look forward to a career in football following a successful open heart surgery carried out on his weak heart by surgeons at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. As could be seen in our cover photograph, the teenager and his mother look particularly happy at the feat performed by the team of surgeons at the UCH that has repaired his heart. On the sick bed at the hospital, young Ojo who just finished second-

ary school education in Lagos state where his parents lived, was said to have told one of the doctors who operated on him that when he fully recovered he would like to be a footballer in the national team. Who knows, he could go on like Kanu and become a successful international for Nigeria and a world acclaimed superstar.Kanu, arguably Nigeria’s most decorated footballer made headlines when he was diagnosed with a heart problem while on the books of Inter Milan Football Club in Italy after he had won the EUFA Champions League with Dutch giant, Ajax Amsterdam.After undergoing a successful heart surgery in the United States, Kanu, who Inter had thought would never be able to play football at the highest level again was sold to Arsenal Football Club in the English Premiership by the Milanese club.He went on to win many laurels with Arsenal before he moved to West Bromwich Albion and later Portsmouth Football Clubs all in England.With Nigeria, Kanu won the FIFA under-16, now under-17 world cup, Olympic gold in football and was part of the Super eagles team to three world cup competitions.To Kazeem Ojo, the world beckons, thanks to the surgeons at UCH who have put his heart back in order.

tution last week invited well-meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies to support an endowment which it launched to further assist patients needing open heart surgery but could not afford the high cost of treatment. He invited all Nigerians to support the good cause by assisting in raising the standard of medical care been offered in the hospital. According to him, the population of Nigerians seeking medical treatment for cardiac surgeries such as open-heart surgeries, hole in the heart conditions in foreign countries would take a downturn, as patients would now be able to access these advanced surgeries at the state-of-art Cardiac Catheter Resuscitation Centre (CATH LAB) in UCH. He added: “There is no better place to have a cardiac surgery than in the country you reside. Proximity of care is important for recovery because follow up treatment is needed for some cardiac cases. “This facility is comparable to what obtains in India, United States and the United Kingdom. Nigeria would now be the place to come to for cardiac surgeries in Africa. That would be our medical tourism.” The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan was established in November 1952, in response to the dire need for the training of medical per-

sonnel and other healthcare professionals for the country and the West African sub-region, remains the tertiary hospital with the highest number of patients on its list annually. The oldest teaching hospital in Nigeria, has evolved over the years, with the finest tradition of infrastructure renewal to keep abreast with modern technology, to be able to offer the best medical care obtainable anywhere in the modern world. The management of the hospital, comprising of renowned medical practitioners, has in addition to Federal Government efforts in refurbishing the teaching hospital, taken steps to widen the scope of services provided with the resuscitation of the open heart surgical procedure of the hospital Since its inception, the hospital, which is strategically located in heart of the city of Ibadan, has recorded so many feats in medical care, training and human development. In the area of training and human development, UCH, according to Professor Alonge, has trained over 6,051 doctors, 501 dentists, 4,513 nurses, 2,307 midwives, 471 peri-operative nurses, 1,062 laboratory scientists, 576 environmental health officers tutors, 326 primary health care tutors, 590 community health officers, 640 physiotherapists and 551 health information manage-

To offer its services to others in the country, the management of the institution last week invited well-meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies to support an endowment which it launched to further assist patients needing open heart surgery but could not afford the high cost of treatment

ment personnel. The patients turn out in the accident and emergency (A&E) Department of the hospital alone averages 6,000 annually and about 160,000 new patients are seen in the various out-patient clinics every year. In May 2006, a surgical team successfully performed open-heart surgery on three paediatric patients, an important landmark in medicine in Nigeria. Over the years, UCH has also produced many core professionals for the nation’s health sector, and more of its products have continued to excel overseas. What is open heart surgery? An open heart bypass surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which requires that the patient be on a ventilator during surgery. Surgery begins with harvesting the blood vessels that will become the grafts. The saphenous vein in the leg is commonly used because it is long enough to create multiple grafts. If the saphenous vein cannot be used, vessels from the arm can be used instead. The left internal mammary artery is used for a single graft and is taken once the chest is opened for surgery. Once the saphenous vein has been recovered, the chest is opened by making an incision along the sternum, or breastbone. The surgeon then cuts the sternum, allowing the chest cavity to be opened, giving the surgeon access to the heart. In the traditional CABG procedure, the heart is stopped with a potassium solution so the surgeon is not attempting to work on a moving vessel, and the blood is circulated by a heart-lung machine. At this time the heart-lung machine does the work of the heart and the lungs and the ventilator is not used. The surgeon places the grafts, either rerouting blood around the blockage, or removing and replacing the blocked vessel. The amount of time on the heartlung bypass machine is determined by the speed at which the surgeon is able to work, primarily, how many grafts are needed. Once the grafts are complete, the heart is started and provides blood and oxygen to the body. The sternum is returned to its original position and closed using surgical wire, to provide strength the bone needs to heal, and the incision is closed.




in open-heart surgery

•The UCH CMD, Professor Temitope Alonge addressing the press after the surgery

Ololade needs N8.1m for kidney transplant Miss Ololade Aina is battling chronic life-threatening kidney ailment and needs N8.1 million for a transplant abroad to remain alive, writes CHINAKA OKORO


N September 5, 1985, jubilation and joy enveloped the family of Mr and Mrs Aina who were residents of Lagos but indigenous to Abeokuta North Local Government Area of Ogun State. That was at the birth of their beautiful daughter Ololade who is now 28 years old. She is the second out of three children of Mrs Abioye Aina. She enrolled into the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta to further her education. Incidentally, she had to combine her academic activities with business due to some unsavoury family circumstances in order to help her mother, Mrs Abioye Aina to cater for her and three other siblings. She was employed by Integrated Corporate Services Limited (ICSL) in Lagos as a contract staff. Ololade was bubbling with life and was doing well in her job until two years ago when the unexpected happened. She took ill. Since 2012, Ololade has been battling a life-threatening renal problem. When she took ill, she was taken to Dialyzer Specialist Medical Centre at 60, Arowojobe Street, Oshodi Lagos for treatment. There, she was diagnosed with CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE and is currently undergoing dialysis twice weekly. She urgently and desperately needs help, for the biweekly dialysis sessions and for big one, the kidney transplant in India. Since then, Ololade has neither been herself again nor able to re-

turn to school at least to actualise her dream of becoming one of Nigeria’s female intellectuals that would contribute to her socio-economic and political advancement. Again, her parents, especially her mother who has been both man and wife for the family and those who know Ololade have been in shock as they watch her wither away gradually as her condition deteriorates. Her mother and relations had already spent millions of Naira, thus stretching the family’s resources beyond its malleable limits, even as it has plunged them into massive debts. Those who have an idea about Dialyzer Specialist Medical Centre would appreciate the financial implications of what Ololade, her mother, friends and relations have gone through in terms of money already expended on her being on admission there for some time now. No doubt, Ololade is still alive by divine providence. She should have gone to India since last year as advised by her doctors on a very urgent note, for proper medical treatment. This has not been possible due to the paucity of her mother’s purse. The inability of her mother and relations to raise N8.1 million has prevented Ololade from enjoying her normal life again. Ensuing from this seedy situation, Ololade has remained in Nigeria experiencing excruciating pains. N8.1 million has stood between this once bubbly, lovely and hard working girl and normal life. Consequent to non-availability of

•Ololade on her hospital bed the needed fund, she has been a guest to several hospitals in Nigeria in spirited efforts by her distraught mother and relations to sustain her until they are able to raise such whopping amount of money to send her to India for the kidney transplant. Ololade, the once beautiful creature full of life is now a pathetic sight to behold. Her voice and appetite have also been affected. She has shrunk so dangerously and her skin colour and texture have undergone dramatic change. She could hardly speak audibly and seldom eats. Recently, her condition became worse, a development that made her doctors to warn seriously this time round that she can no longer afford to delay her trip to India to have the required and necessary medical treatment. A medical report issued and signed by Dr E.K. Asomugha on behalf of the Medical Director of Dialyzer Specialist Medical Centre on December 27, 2013 indicates that Miss Ololade Aina was assessed and it was discovered that she had chronic kidney disease secondary to chronic glomerulonephritis and was commenced on haemodialysis. She is placed cur-

rently placed on two times-weekly schedule. Miss Aina has been advised on Renal Transplant as a mode of her renal replacement therapy and she is currently making effort towards finding a suitable donor for the transplant operation. Afraid that she and her family may lose their precious daughter and sister should they continue to save money on their own to ferry their daughter to India for the kidney transplant, Ololade’s mother and friends, forced by the degeneration and the piercingly agonising misery which Ololade has been in for some time now, have decided to appeal to their fellow Nigerians for financial assistance. They are appealing to kind-hearted Nigerians to help them raise N8.1 million required to finance her medical trip abroad. To this end, a Save-Ololade-Aina dedicated account number GTB 0004258886 (205/133092/1590 OLAWUNMI BELLO) has been opened to enable benevolent individuals who wish to help Ololade get well and live her normal life again to make their donations. Those who are parents would bet-

ter appreciate a situation where they watch a dear son or daughter in such a very distressing condition and lack the wherewithal to do anything to halt the heart-rending situation. What a scary thought it would be! Nigerians are noted for their large-heartedness. Those who are moved by Ololade’s optimism that, she would not die but live to testify the goodness of the Almighty and the benevolence of fellow Nigerians in the land of the living should not delay or hesitate to come to her rescue. Imagine that Ololade is your daughter or your sister. Right now, the most consuming desire of this girl’s heart is to be alive and well again to resume her academic career. Nigerians, known for their eagerness to compassionately respond to distress call like this would not let Ololade down and allow the unrelenting disease to waste her young life. Every kobo donated towards making Ololade to come back to her normal life goes a long way to retrieve her from the cold grip of death. Ololade’s heartfelt appeal goes to governments at all levels, philanthropic organisations, corporate bodies, professional bodies, women groups, parents who understand the pangs of labour and other distinguished Nigerians who, we are sure, cannot sit by and watch this ailment waste Ololade. The earlier she travels to India for the kidney transplant, the more sure we are that Ololade will live to become one of Nigeria’s famous female contributor to her development. Please, help her as God Almighty whose other name is Mercy, would watch over you and your entire household, even as He takes care of your needs. For more information and verification, you may wish to contact her mother Mrs. Aina on 08027120175 or her Auntie Olawunmi Bello on 08027714488.



SOUTHWEST REPORT Yoruba tradition precludes a princess from becoming a king, but many of them have been installed regents or stop-gap kings in many towns and cities across the Southwest. SULAIMAN SALAW-UDEEN writes on the unusually large number of such regents in Ekiti State and the challenges they face.


IKE the conventional monarchs, they often come decked in traditional Agbada, Buba and Sokoto and wear round-headed caps festooned in attractive designs. They wield the familiar royal horsetail and are normally graced with obeisance by humble and adoring subjects who call them ‘Kabiyesi’, a Yoruba word for ‘Unquestionable’. But their often rotund faces and other feminine features do always set them apart from the male world which their looks and their relations with male chiefs gave them away as. They are females and are fleeting occupiers of the exalted throne of a traditional ruler or Oba across towns and communities in Ekiti. They carry the common title of regents. From Igbona-Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area to Erio-Ekiti in Ekiti west and Awo-Ekiti, in Irepodun-Ifelodun Local Government Area, regents currently hold the fort, even if temporarily, as kings on the thrones of their fathers, occasionally giving orders, settling disputes, attending community and state functions and filling other spaces within the communities as needs often compel. While some communities are said to choose males as regents, the more common and familiar are the females who are the direct daughters of recently deceased monarchs. Findings showed that males are seldom made regents because of the possibilities of a refusal to vacate the throne when a substantive monarch is installed, causing a situation in which two monarchs lay claim to one royal stool. Further findings reveal that the regents, who are sometimes known even before the demise of a sitting monarch, are there mainly for titular purposes and for a short time till another monarch is selected and installed. It was also found out that in actual fact, the administrative running of the towns still solely rests with the chiefs as a regent might have one personal reason or the other to be away. According to Yoruba tradition, the moment a princess ascends the throne and as long as she remains the regent, she is no longer regarded as a woman and she is expected to appear always like a man, but she is only allowed to wear the round beaded crowns, unlike the male kings who have various crowns designed and decorated with beads which may fall over their faces. The faces of the regents must not be covered and the beads on the neck, falling on their chest must not be more than three and graduated in three layers, although this varies in some communities. But, the beads of the Obas, though of the same length could be more than three. Taboos for regents Speaking with The Nation, the Regent of Igbona Ekiti in Ikole Local Government area of the state who is also the protem Chairman of the no fewer than twelve regents presently on the throne of their ancestors across Ekiti State, Princess (Dr) Adebunmi Osadahun, regents are regarded as miniature Obas who

are barred by tradition from doing menial jobs. Married regents can also not engage in sexual relationship with their husbands while in the palaces, and should not be pregnant during the period they occupy the throne because, according to findings, if the regent delivers a male child, such a child may wish to aspire to the throne in future And apparently to avoid the temptation of getting pregnant while on the throne “the regent in those days”, according Princess Osadahun “was either a virgin or an aged woman. But these days, regents do have babies on the throne. The risk is that in future, such babies could demand to be installed kings. If there is a long period of inter-regnum and those who know the history of the community are no longer alive, history might be distorted for the child to lay claim to the throne.” Further, the regents must not carry loads on their heads for whatever reasons, or engage in such other menial engagements, including domestic chores like making pounded yam. They must not expose their heads and must dress in reflection of the position they occupy all the time. But it is not all don’ts as according to the Regents’ chairman, a regent is entitled to full social rites of an Oba with some exceptions on some traditional rights which include not attending what she called the ‘Pelupelu’ meeting which is the statutory council of Obas meetings. She added: “She cannot also undertake during the regency any installation of chieftaincy titles, removal of erring chiefs on any excuse and registration of chieftaincy declarations.” While noting that in earlier times, a regent was expected to be either a virgin or an aged woman to ease the tasks assigned to her by tradition, Princess Osadahun explained that things have since changed “as majority of us belong to monogamous marriages.” She spoke further: “If you are married and from such a monogamous house, and if in three years a new Oba had not been chosen then you have problem. In any town, after 21 days of the demise of the late Oba, the community is free to install their Oba. In earlier times, after twenty four months, the regents should go as she would be denied all financial claims but government has seen that some communities cannot meet up with the target as they always take more time to arrive at who would be the next Oba.” “Regents must also regard themselves and must be regarded as men so far as she was in the palace. In actual fact, a regent is traditionally seen as a man and should appear like one. She is, however, to wear the round-top beaded crowns and not the male types with high gears decorated with beads. “The face of the regent must not be covered with the headgears and also the neck beads of the regent must be three and graduated in three layers. But the beads of the substantive Obas though of the same length can however be more than three,” she said.

The many female

The list of other regents across the state, according to sources, included Princess Adejoke Adetoyinbo, (Erio Ekiti); Princess Adesina Adefunke, (Awo-Ekiti); Princess Ademide George, (AyedeEkiti); Princess Arowosegbe Adefunke (Erijiyan-Ekiti) and Princess Yewande Dada (Ilogun-Ekiti). Others are Princess Adenike Olabode (Araromi Oke-Ekiti); Princess Adedoyin Ayeoba, (IjurinEkiti); Princess Olufunlola Ademidun, (Temidire-Ekiti); Princess Olawumi Adeola, (Iluomoba Ekiti) and Princess Tinuade Ogunbiyi, (Oke-Ako-Ekiti). However, according to findings, Ilasa-Ekiti should also have a regent but the state government had nullified the town’s regency as two women were laying claim to the stool. Regency periods for communities Although, regency period is relatively peaceful in most communities, it might be turbulent in some others as the selection of the next monarch might attract bitter, at times deadly rivalries between various ruling houses laying claim to the throne. As affirmed by the Princess Osadahun, while there are clear guidelines about the selection of a monarch which the kingmakers must follow, there are elements in communities who revel in foisting discord in such periods when a new monarch is to be chosen. According to her, such elements cook stories up to distort histories with intents to pervert the selection processes, noting “and such individuals are the vocal ones who court friendships within and outside the communities to sway unsuspecting kingmakers. They even expect you as a regent to take sides which is clearly outside your own briefs. Osadaun said: “In such situations, regents who are expected to spend a maximum of between 21 days and twenty four months, all things being equal, spend far more and above that. Where the prince and the princesses or

•Regent of Erio-Ekiti, Princess Adejoke Adetoyinbo and Princess Arowoseg

•Princess Osadaun Regent Igbona-Ekiti where the male children from the ruling houses could not agree, they resort to litigations. Sometimes they get justice, sometimes, it is perverted and so the installation may be delayed. “Even sometimes, the kingmakers have a way of playing their own tricks too. But the ones who fear God among them would insist on doing the right thing,” she added. Challenges for the regents Besides communities’ based

challenges, regents also do face personal and economic challenges. This was admitted by some of the regents and was confirmed by the Princess Osadaun. One of such challenges according to her is their remuneration which she said is not commensurate with their roles in their communities. “The regents do have challenges in terms of not being economically able to cope with the demands of the communities. Based




‘kings’ of Ekiti

wosegbe Adefunke of Erijiyan-Ekiti

The regents do have challenges in terms of not being economically able to cope with the demands of the communities. Based on their roles, they get invitations to naming ceremonies, doing media relations when and if need be, and settling bills for some of their subjects on occasion

on their roles, they get invitations to naming ceremonies, doing media relations when and if need be, and settling bills for some of their subjects on occasion. “We often have to settle quarrels between families using money. We have to maintain the palaces, fuel the cars, feed the wives of the monarchs, and even foot hospital bills of the ailing ones among the subjects. “The communities ascribe a

•Princess Adedoyin Ayeoba, Regent Ijurin-Ekiti level of riches to you simply because you are seen as the Oba and not as a miniature (regent) which you actually are. This has imposed a lot of responsibilities on the regents that seem not to be factored into their current remuneration pattern. “The challenges also include coping with the home front especially those who did not marry from their communities. If a regent is not careful, she could lose her home as more than the normal time is often spent during regency (outside the marital home),” she said. Princess Osadaun, however, commended Governor Kayode Fayemi for extending to all the regencies in the state certain privileges like the recently concluded ‘Ilera Laafin’ (health in the palaces), adding that the state supported Community Self Help Projects were not made to exclude communities where regents hold sway. She said: “The governor has also promised us that the vehicles already given to the Obas would also be given to our towns when our Obas are selected and installed.” More demands on government Arising mainly from their allegedly small remuneration, the regents are making certain demands on the state government which, according to their forum’s chairman, bother mainly on augmenting their monthly packages. She added “even when we conclude our regency, we can no longer do menial jobs as we can no longer carry loads on our heads.” They pleaded that their salaries be augmented in appreciation of their roles, arguing that their positions as regents are sacred and often compel them to make a lot of sacrifices and commitments in their communities. Osadaun said: “Our current remuneration which is half the last earning of our fathers needs to be improved upon. We have also made representations to govern-

ment that the severance allowance which is constitutionally put at our salary for six months be made to be the whole six-month salaries of our fathers.” She explained further that, although regents are traditionally barred from traditional council meetings, they can be briefed on decisions which affect their communities, noting “if decisions are made which affect us or our communities, we can be made aware for us to pass such important messages across to our people. We believe the regencies should not be made to lose completely. “If some of us get out of the stools, they may be forced to retire to their normal lives which could detract from the sacredness of the institution. “It is not honourable for any of us to go back to poverty having been Obas which will make a mockery of the traditional institutions. We have requested to have a meeting with the Governor, the Deputy and Her Excellency (wife of the governor) on all these issues.” Official opposition to regents on demands The demands of the regents do not seem to have found favour with the officials of the state government who contend that the female monarchs are asking for the impossible. The Nation learnt that the regents have actually been told that they were demanding the impossible by requesting for increases in their monthly payments. A source who craved anonymity stated: “Looking at all their arguments you will notice that they are faulty. They talk of not carrying loads on their heads, but who in our world of today carry loads on the head. ‘They also talk of increment in their remuneration but the system does not even encourage that the positions should be juicy or attractive in any way. It must be so, so that regency does not turn to another tussle in which parties plot each other’s fall.

2,240 accident victims saved by O’Ambulance in seven months T HE Osun Ambulance Service Agency, otherwise known as O’Ambulance has saved the lives of no fewer than 2,240 accident victims across the state in the last seven months, its General Manager Dr. Olusoji Akinloye has said. Akinloye who made the disclosure at the opening of a twoday training workshop for paramedics working with the agency said: “The services we render cannot be quantified in terms of monetary value because we have saved many lives and prevented untimely deaths in many homes. The O’Ambulance was inaugurated about seven months ago and on the average, we rescue 320 victims per month. Our paramedics have been effective but this training was organised to make them more effective. They have been providing prompt and excellent services to victims and patients and we have to encourage them to do more by equipping them with training.” He advised the residents to call 07080601212 any time there was an emergency situation around them, saying that the Aregbesola administration laid premium on human life. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Temitope Ilori, ad-

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

vised the paramedics to ensure that they live up to international standard in carrying out their statutory duties. She said, Governor Rauf Aregbesola was very passionate about the service the O’Ambullance render and therefore, urged the paramedics to be diligent. The commissioner urged the participants to show interest in the workshop, which she said would improve their operations. She, however, sounded the note of warning that whoever failed to score above the average in the test which they are expected write at the end of the workshop will not be awarded a certificate. A United Kingdom-based expert, Dr. Ademola Onifade, who maintained that paramedics must know how to drive to make their services better, said that knowing how to drive would shorten the time victims would take to get to hospitals for treatment. Also, another UK-based paramedic, Mr. Malcom Finn, advised the participants to add value to their services, saying they must strive to satisfy patients and victims. Many of the paramedics agreed that the workshop would add value to them in various ways.

The services we render cannot be quantified in terms of monetary value because we have saved many lives and prevented untimely deaths in many homes

•Participants at the workshop at the Lesiure Spring Hotels, Osogbo





N a couple of weeks from now, specifically on February 12, two days to Valentine, sons and daughters - as well as residents of the ancient town of Ijebu-Igbo in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State, would know their fate - whether genuine love, unity, progress and trust that had eluded the populous town would once again reign supreme. On that day, the entire people of the town would literally focus their gaze on the Supreme Court in Abuja where the controversy over who should be the right person to ascend the exalted stool of the Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo among candidates vying for the throne of the town’s traditional ruler would be put to rest. For over two decades, Ijebu-Igbo and its people had been contending with acrimony, mutual mistrust, stunted development, dashed hopes, tortuous litigation and routine youth violence in their long quest for a new Oba. In June 14, 2012, a ray of hope swept through the faces of the residents and they thought the long wait was over when the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan upheld the judgment of an Ijebu-Igbo High Court which had earlier favoured Prince Saliu Adebisi Sadiku as the person to mount the throne of their forebears. While those that went to Appeal Court in Ibadan in 2012 for the judgment were yet to return, the town erupted into spontaneous jubilation, hoping that in a matter of days from the date of that verdict, a new Oba would formally be put in place, but the joy and victory songs were rather short-lived as one of the parties in the legal battle over Orimolusi stool approached the Supreme for another round of Appeal. And for the litigation - weary indigenes, some of them began to blame the relatively new government of Governor Ibikunle Amosun. In their estimation, had the government not dilly-dallied a new Oba would have been installed with the backing of the Appeal Court verdict and there would have been no opportunity for the case going to the Supreme Court on Appeal but the government cleverly pushed the blame back to them. Amosun, who visited the town shortly after the birth of his administration, told the townsfolk demanding for Oba to tell contenders to the throne to resolve their differences amicably and to also withdraw all pending court cases in respect of the Orimolusi stool as the state government would neither impose an Oba on the town nor install one in defiance of pending legal dispute over the throne. Also, giving insight into the government’s position, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Basorun Muyiwa Oladipo, said the pending appeal on the matter tied the hands of the Amosun’s administration which would not take any step in contravention of the Rules of Law. Oladipo said: “There was a judgment at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan that favoured one of the contestants sometime last year (2012). But that judgment had been appealed against at the Supreme Court and until after the determination of the case, we can’t do anything about the installation of the new Orimolusi. “We have no any other interest but that of the rule of law; I can boldly assure you that we will not waste any time after the Supreme Court judgment. No one should blame a government that had spent less than two years in office for a stool that has been vacant for over 18 years.” But with the Supreme Court being the final temple to seek justice, it is expected that the forthcoming verdict of the highest court in the land whichever way it tilts to, the town would accept it and move on. Ijebu-Igbo has been without a central traditional ruler for 20 years now following the demise of Oba Samuel Adetayo (Ikupakude 1V) in 1994 and

Home to prominent Nigerians that have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours including business and politics, Ijebu-Igbo has been without a monarch for 20 years following the death of Oba Samuel Adetayo, Ikupakude IV, the Orimolusi, in 1994. The unusual interregnum which could end in a matter of weeks from now is causing unease in the agrarian community, writes ERNEST NWOKOLO

Ijebu–Igbo: Long wait for Orimolusi

•Dilapidating and abandoned palace of Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

attempt by the town’s kingmakers to fill the vacant stool has seared the once mutual love, brotherly feelings and unity that characterised members of the two prescribed Ruling Houses - Ojuromi and Ikupakude. Rivalry and suspicion are now common place among them. Two weeks ago, the youth in their hundreds took to the streets and roads that criss-crossed Ijebu-Igbo, the administrative headquarters of Ijebu North Local Government of Ogun State, peacefully demanding the installation of an Oba for the stool of Orimolusi with a call on the feuding royal families to sheath their daggers. They said a central Oba is needed to provide the leadership and drive required to wake the ancient town up from its socio-economic doldrums and position her on the path of peace, unity and progress given its human and natural potentials. Ijebu-Igbo is classified into five clans. The Olori-Ebi of the Ojuromi Ruling House, Mr Sefiu Shittu, who is popularly called Jawesola in the town, gave the names of the clans/ quarters as Oke-Sopen, Oke-Agbo, Ojowo, Atikori, and Japara. The Nation gathered that on the advice the Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland, the prescribing authority, an Oba is enthroned to govern each of these clans to maintain peace in their respective quarters and they are typically seen as lesser monarchs who can’t speak for the whole Ijebu-Igbo town as they all submit to the authority of the Orimolusi. The Orimolusi of Ijebu–Igbo is a first-class Oba in Ogun State and also the supreme head of Ijebu-Igbo and the last Orimolusi was late Oba Samuel Adetayo (Ikupakude IV), who joined his forebears in 1994 and in the absence of a Regent, coupled with the rivalry over who become the next Orimolusi, the people rarely

A central Oba is needed to provide the leadership and drive required to wake the ancient town up from its socio-economic doldrums and position her on the path of peace, unity and progress given its human and natural potentials

had achieved unanimity on important issues affecting them. On why there has not been a Regent all this while to stand in the gab and coordinate the affairs of the town pending the emergence of the next Orimolusi, a reticent indigene who would loved to be left out in the matter told The Nation that there is no known history or culture of Regency in Ijebu-Igbo and said this informed why everyone appeared to be on his own on issues that affect the town generally. Also, Shittu said successive govern-

•Sefiu Shittu ments in the state have capitalised on the prevailing discordant tunes among the people to deny the town of the much needed government attention despite its contributions to the economic development of Ogun State. He said Ijebu-Igbo perhaps has the largest land mass in Ijebuland and shares three important boundary points with Ibadan (Oyo State), Ikire (Osun) and Ondo (Ondo) and also

boasts of mineral resources like Iron ore, diamonds and silver underneath her soil. It is home to many saw mills, Apoje Farms established by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Cassava Farms, Cocoa and abattoir that are revenue sources to the state and local governments. It is equally home to Molusi College where the late social critic, •Continued on Page 31




Ijebu–Igbo: Long wait for Orimolusi •Continued from Page 30 Dr Tai Solarin, once taught before leaving to found the Mayflower School, Ikenne. Legend has it that the founder of the town Onayelu was a prince in Ijebu-Ode. A great hunter, Onayelu migrated from Ijebu-Ode to found what is today known as Ijebu–Igbo following his annoyance over the way his younger brother Prince Ofiranoye ascended the throne in Ijebu-Ode following the sudden death of their father while he, Onayelu was away on hunting expedition. When The Nation visited Ijebu-Igbo at the weekend, it observed a community developing at a snail speed even though the town has all the potentials for greatness; having sired great sons like late Afenifere Leader, Senator Abraham Adesanya, Senator Biyi Durojaiye, the owner of Globacom, Dr Mike Adenuga, Senator Lekan Mustapha, serving Senator Gbenga Kaka (a one-time deputy governor of the state), billionaire hotelier, Prince Buruji Kashamu, the Kazeem brothers (of Shokas and Ibukun Orisun Iye fame) among others. The level of mistrust, suspicion and animosity is so palpable that some of the people the reporter met were unwilling to talk about the Orimolusi stool apparently for fear of being attacked or scorned for taking a position either in support or against any of the parties in the rivalry over the stool. Nothing better depicts the division, gloom and apathy in the town than the hitherto magnificent palace of the Orimolusi that was abandoned and left to the elements. It has now become a huge eye sore. The over 70 years old palace that once drew the envy of other Ijebu towns look forlorn, bland and deserted and harbours reptiles, rodents, wild birds that roost there even as weed covered a section of the surrounding. In place of its once beautiful wall

•Senator Amosun are creeping weeds and wild plants that grow unchallenged on it while the passages have almost turned to an animal pen where all sundry animals - goats and dogs, go to sleep at night. A peep into the halls, rooms and chambers revealed decrepit chairs, tables, clutter of old and faded papers, animals’ droppings and a maze of cobwebs while the walls inside remain scene of bizarre political graffiti. The doors and window panes are all broken, underneath the staircase

leading to the one storey palace serves as refuse dump and the massive gate leading to it has fallen apart, thus giving people of all hues unrestrained access to its hitherto hallowed chambers. The Nation sighted some youths in the afternoon loafing inside one of the unkempt halls, and a guide that led reporter to the decaying edifice rue that it has become a meeting point for commercial motorcycle riders and miscreants. Shittu ascribed the town’s stunted development to lack of a central fig-

ure head to unite the people in the last 20 years coupled with the intrigues and crises that had continued to plague all efforts towards installing the next Orimolusi. Shittu said: ”There is no peace in the town, no development. Criminals abound among the youth, robbery, thuggery and Indian hemp smoking go on here and people behave the way they deemed fit because there is no central Oba who could put measures in place to check youth vices. ”We suffered a lot of setbacks since this period of interregnum on the vacant stool. The last time we felt government attention was in the era of the first civilian governor of the state, late Olabisi Onabanjo. Since 1994, we have been struggling and grappling with things and not allowed to take our fair share or benefits from the government. No Oba to interact with the government on behalf of the town that is why we have been losing a lot.” On how Ijebu-Igbo ran into a culde-sac over Orimolusi stool, Shittu said someone who hails from a female Royal line was chosen to become the Oba contrary to established custom and tradition of the town, a development that compelled one of the contenders to throne to approach the court for redress and thus the tortuous legal battle began. The Nation gathered that about two years after the demise of the last monarch, late Oba Adetayo, a meeting of the two Ruling Houses Ojuromi and Ikupakude, was held where it was resolved that Ojuromi Ruling House should produce the next Orimolusi since the last two Obas (Adeboye - who died in a plane crash in Tripoli, Libya many decades ago, and Adetayo) hailed from Ikupakude Royal House. So, the Ojuromi family then met apparently in search of a successor Oba. A total of eight persons including Saliu Adebisi Sadiku, Wale Kazeem and Lawrence Adebajo expressed their interest in the vacant stool.

It was equally gathered that during time of late Oba Adetayo, it was documented as matter of tradition that a prince from a female Royal line could ascend the throne of Orimolusi provided no eligible person was found among the princes from the male Royal family. At the time the search for the successor to the late Oba Adetayo began around 1996, there were about 13 kingmakers alive then and out of the eight contestants, two - Sadiku and Lawrence Adebajo came from male Royal line while the rest sprang from the female lineage. The contest was then left for the duo of Sadiku and Adebajo to slug it out, but Adebajo voluntarily stepped down for Sadiku and just as the townsfolk were deliberating on the process that would lead to the crowning of Prince Sadiku, others from the female line rekindled their interest in the stool and by curious twist of fate, nine of the town’s 13 kingmakers sat down, deliberated and chose Prince Wale Kazeem from the female lineage instead of a prince from the male lineage in accordance with the tradition of Ijebu–Igbo. So, Sadiku from the male lineage went to court and the decision of the kingmakers was nullified at the state High Court Ijebu-Igbo. The other party went on appeal at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan but lost. Dissatisfied, they headed to the Supreme Court in Abuja on yet another appeal which is now to be decided on February 12, 2014. And during the long period of the legal battle and the attendant adjournments, all the kingmakers died one after the other. Today, there is none living but the case lingers at the Supreme Court. It is hoped that when the highest court delivers its verdict in a matter of weeks from now, it would bring lasting solution and peace to the 20 years interregnum over Orimolusi vacant stool. Would that also bring genuine unity and progress that have become elusive in Ijebu-Igbo? Only time will tell.

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Women urged to be agents of change


HE Awesome Treasures Foundation, a non-governmental organisation held its first summit of the year at the weekend. The event featured women from across the country who gathered at the Shell Hall of the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, to get inspiration from each other and also to pray their way into the New Year. They were women from all over the Southsouth and Southwest regions of the country, who were encouraged to have the courage to pursue their dreams, even while raising transformational leaders. The quarterly event, which began six-years ago, has been one of the numerous gatherings of women, with a bid to have positive impacts on their families and society. The meeting is now a platform for women to contribute their quota to the the development of the country. It was an avenue for them to join other people of faith in prayer to secure new heights of greatness in the year. The theme for the January summit was “Metamorphosis II: Becoming all you are born to

By Nneka Nwaneri

be.” It was done in partnership with cosmetics giant L’Oreal West Africa. Convener/founder of the foundation, Mrs Jumoke Adenowo admonished women to always profitably apply knowledge, which has been known to always be the secret of victory. The women were told that they are the only ones who can either make or break the year. To her, being female is not a disease, thus the need to rise about the disadvantage, focus on what we want to do and see ourselves as agents of change. “We must take personal responsibility for our own successes and for ourselves; that is the message for the beginning of this year. Awesome treasures have over the years supported initiatives by empowering women who are abused or less privileged in the society. “There is so much, things are going the way we want it to go finally. The women are taken initiative and doing things themselves. More and more, it is in-

From left: Omoni Oboli (Actress); Founder of Awesome Treasures Foundation, Mrs Olujumoke Adenowo; Mrs Stephanie Linus Okereke and Pastor Mrs Kemi Ajumobi at the event

forming of vivid leaders who are doing something on their own individual platform to make things happen. The things we do are just to set examples to our women to go and do likewise in communities around them. Present were the General Manager of the Consumer Products Division of L’Oreal West Africa, Mr Sekou Coulibaly. Other promi-

nent Nigerians who have graced the foundation’s meetings are Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; First Lady of Lagos Dame Abimbola Fashola and former Deputy Governor Princess Sarah Sosan among other women from all walks of life. Awesome Treasures also partners with women in Nollywood and popular figures in the soci-

ety to reach to those in the grassroots. The foundation has employed tools of advocacy and intervention to help Nigerians achieve their Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by assisting in the socio-economic growth of the people. The next summit will hold on April 5.





T was the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in Ibadan that an Archbishop was being installed on home soil and not a few faithful turned up at the SS Peter and Paul Seminary at Bodija in the ancient city to witness the ceremony. “By the mandate given to me by the Apostolic See, I hereby invite Most Rev. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin to be installed as the Archbishop of Ibadan.” The representative of the Pope, Archbishop Gabriel Kasujja, announced to the large crowd of Catholic faithful who gathered at the expansive premises of the seminary last Friday. Most of them had never witnessed an event like it before, at least not in Ibadan, as the first and immediate past archbishop, Felix Alaba Job was installed by the Pope in Rome 1994. The announcement was followed by the blast of the trumpet, the bell rang, balloons released and the choir rendered Zadok the priest. In this traditional tumultuous but organised sound, with leaders and members reeling in ecstasy, Gabriel Abegunrin was handed over the crosier or staff of office, becoming the latest His Grace, the archbishop of Ibadan. With the installation, he took over the role of overseeing the affairs of the Ibadan and five other dioceses. It was a major event heralding a new era in the history of the Catholic Church in Nigeria. So was it an epoch event that all old and young priests in the archdiocese looked forward to as a once-in-a-lifetime experience because the retiring archbishop, Felix Alaba Job, mounted the saddle as Auxiliary Bishop in 1971. He was appointed Bishop in 1974 and became an archbishop in 1994 when the diocese became so large that it was elevated to an archdiocese. Job went to receive his crosier from the Pope in Rome in 1994. Hence, the normal elaborate installation ceremony such as the one held on Friday was not done. The Ibadan Archdiocese comprises six diocese - Ibadan, Osogbo, Ondo, Ilorin, Oyo and Ekiti. For the Catholic Church in Nigeria, priests and members of the Ibadan Archdiocese, the installation of the new archbishop, Gabriel Abegunrin, was an experience none among them desired to miss. The representative of the Pope in Nigeria, Archbishop Gabriel Kasujji, who performed the installation, had arrived in Ibadan on Friday for the ceremony. He led a team of five archbishops and 14 bishops to Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on a courtesy visit. He commended the governor for improving the state. “We thank you for what you have done for the state and we urge you to continue.” Kasujji said in his speech to the governor and members of his cabinet. Emphasising the reason the Pope performs installation of Archbishops, Kasujji said, the installation of archbishops is so important in the Catholic Church because an archbishop shoulders the responsibilities of overseeing a group of dioceses. He also described the installation as a very important occasion which is different from others adding that the archbishop installs bishops in the province. He commended the retiring archbishop Job, stressing that he has done “a wonderful job” over the years. “Archbishop Alaba Job told us you have a good collaboration with the Catholic community. The church will continue to give its contribution to the development of the state,” Kasujji promised on behalf of the Pope. Governor Ajimobi while pledging the continued support of his administration to the Church in general also pledged to improve on the work done so far by the government, promising that the Church leaders would see a better Oyo State when next they visit the state. By sunrise last Friday, the expansive compound of the SS Peter & Paul Seminary had started receiving guests. The premises had been well decorated the previous day in preparation for the programme. By 8:00 am, groups started streaming into the compound with members of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and private security guards directing motorists for effective vehicular movements. On the field where the ceremony was held, ushers were on ground to ensure that sitting arrangements, parking and related plans were not disrupted. Male and female groups in the dioceses from Osogbo, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo and Ilorin, who appeared in different uniform started taking their seat as from 8:30am. The choir and other church workers also took their seats before 9:00am. Dignitaries including, Ekiti State Governor,

•The poccession of Fathers at the event


Leadership is not an easy task. It requires sacrifice. Be a good shepherd. Anyone who wants to be the greatest must be a servant, according to Matt 20:26-28 Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Christ-like approach to sinners, make us oppose death penalty. Power and position are not ends but a means to show kindness and bring good tidings to the led

•The poccession of Bishops at the event

Pope installs archbishop for Ibadan as Alaba Job bows out after 43 years The crème de la crème of the Catholic Church in Nigeria converged on Ibadan for the installation of a new archbishop for Ibadan Metropolitan Archdiocese. It was an experience of a life time for most faithful. BISI OLADELE writes on the thrills and frills of the epoch event. Dr Kayode Fayemi, traditional rulers and politicians came after the programme had started at 10:00am. All the tents were filled to capacity with hymns and other praise songs filling the air. The procession of priests was led by the cup bearers. They were followed by altar servers, priests, monsignors, about 40 bishops and about 10 archbishops as well as Kasujji and Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie. After the introductory rite of the mass by the celebrant, Archbishop Emeritus of Ibadan, Alaba Job, was called for his farewell address. Job, in his address entitled: “Feeding the Flock of God - The Journey of My Life,” took his audience through the lane of history on his servanthood to Christ. He thanked God for choosing him, as the youngest Nigerian bishop ever and the longest serving bishop. He became a bishop five years after he became a priest. He described the journey of 48 years of his service in the Lord’s vineyard as long but fruitful, tedious but rewarding. According to him, “The journey has been long but fruitful; tedious but rewarding. I

marvel at what The Lord has done, the wonders He has accomplished through me, an unworthy servant! Like David, the youngest ‘son’ of Archbishop J.K.A. Aggrey; the youngest Nigerian ever to be appointed a Bishop; it has pleased Him to make of me the longest serving bishop.” Job prayed God to grant his successor the Wisdom of Solomon “to build our God a temple that David could not build.” He recalled that he rejected the offer of appointment as bishop 43 years ago but that God had His way in his life. “After one and a half months, I finally succumbed to the Lord’s call to feed His flock, and this I have done with all my heart and strength for the past 43 years,” he said. Job expressed his gratitude to his predecessor, the late Bishop Richard Finn who he said, started the diocese on a good foundation in 1953. He said: “He began the task I have tried to develop over the past four decades. Today, as I look back, I remember with nostalgia taking over with just two diocesan priests and now leaving behind 87, apart from the five who have gone before us marked with

•From left: Representative of Pope in Nigeria, Archbishop Rev. Augustine Kasujji, ArchBishop Catholic Arch Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin and Out-going ArchBishop Catholic Arch Diocese, Rt.-Rev. Felix Alaba Job at the event

the sign of faith. “We have tried to keep pace with the physical expansion of Ibadan, so that from about 15 parishes, the archdiocese now has 43 parishes, countless outstations with numerous religious houses offering our Catholics opportunities to attend mass regularly.” He spoke on various apostates (departments) under his leadership including the health, education, social development programmes youth and other lay apostates and pastoral initiatives and the successes recorded as well as the yet-to-be-archived goals for them. Having worked for 47 years without a holiday, Job indicated his intention to proceed on a long holiday and return to become “a Curate to the Parish Priest of St Joseph, OkeAdo and an unofficial Auxiliary to Archbishop Abegunrin,” expressing hope that his services would be granted. The newly installed archbishop performed his first assignment in a prayer: “O God, shepherd and ruler of all the faithful, look favourably on me, your servant, whom you have set at the head of your church as her

shepherd; grant, we pray, that by word and example I may be of service to those over whom I preside, so that, together with the flock entrusted to my care, I may come to everlasting life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.” In his address, Abegunrin adopted the words of St Augustine, which he said applied to him in truth: “With you I am a Christian. For you I am a bishop.” He said he took over as the archbishop after serving in Osogbo Diocese for 18 years. He stressed that the common identity as Christian matters more than any position in relationship with Christ. He acknowledged that coming to Ibadan would be a different experience and a new challenge but he quipped: ”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Abegunrin called on members of the archdiocese to cooperate with him to work for the building of the kingdom of God in Ibadan. “As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told the laity on August 12, 2012, you are co-responsible for the building up of the church of


God.” There is a lot of work to be done surely. With all of you, in this common journey, I would like to reach the heart of everyone in this archdiocese, not just Catholics, but everyone. Together, let us sow the seed of faith in our neighbours so that Ibadan may truly become another city of God.” The archbishop promised to anchor his leadership and service on love because love conquers all things. He also pledged to build on the successes of his predecessor. He described Archbishop Job as “a great man who has accomplished a lot for God and the church,” and thanked him immensely for his service. The Pope, in his message to the retiring archbishop expressed “sincere gratitude and appreciation of the wonderful and faithful long pastoral witness and service you have rendered,” adding: “It is not only as priest but especially as pastor of his large territory of Ibadan which now counts more than six million people of whom about 350,000 are Catholic Christians. In the words of the prefect of the congregation for the evangelisation of peoples, Your Grace, your

contribution has been immense.” To the new archbishop, the Pope said: “In the decree of your transfer from Osogbo to Ibadan after the resignation of Archbishop Felix Alaba Job, I am convinced that endowed with necessary qualities and highly experienced in pastoral matters, you are worthy to take over the care of this metropolitan archdiocese which is a prestigious and historical centre of education and formation. It is here that you find the first federal university of Nigeria. Ibadan has also a large number of different religious congregations. We, bishops should understand that consecrated people are not just material, but are gifts that enrich the dioceses. “With efforts of cooperation and constructive dialogue at all levels, in this era of new evangelisation with your assiduous pastoral care, the light of faith will surely continue to shine even brighter in Ibadan. As we have had in the decree of Archbishop Abegunrin’s appointment I exhort all the faithful of Ibadan to remain joyfully united with their new pastor.” In his sermon, the retired Bishop of Ekiti

Diocese, Michael Fagun, likened Abegunrin’s acceptance of the elevation to Angel Gabriel’s declaration to Mary which she accepted and believed. He urged Abegunrin to face the new task of the entire archdiocese and evangelise Ibadan. He advised him to make the archdiocese a model to Lagos. He also advised him not to use leadership for dominance but to truly serve Christ and His flock. “Leadership is not an easy task. It requires sacrifice. Be a good shepherd. Anyone who wants to be the greatest must be a servant, according to Matt 20:26-28 Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Christ-like approach to sinners, make us oppose death penalty. Power and position are not ends but a means to show kindness and bring good tidings to the led,” he said. A young priest, Rev. Father Anthony Omodunbi of the Osogbo Diocese, said he felt so elated that for the first time, he would witness installation of an archbishop. “I felt so elated, so happy because this is one of the great things we always look forward to in our lifetime. I am so glad for witnessing it. Going through the planning and execution, it is a great joy that I am alive to see this. Maybe, if God wills we can see some more.” He said young priests do not aim to become an archbishop because it is what happens to one person in perhaps a generation. “Once you are privileged enough to be ordained a priest, that is the utmost that is needed. To be minister of God is enough. Any other thing is additional. It is not something one is ambitious to become. Being a priest is sufficient for every young priest. Work hard and be fulfilled in what God has called you to.” A 43-year-old faithful from Ekiti Diocese, Mr Sam Nwaoko, expressed fulfillment at witnessing the ceremony. I have never heard of any other bishop in Ibadan Archdiocese except Alaba Job. So, for 43 years, all my life, I have known Felix. This is a new thing: something that has never happened in our lifetime. I am witnessing, in my 43 years of existence, the installation of an archbishop in Ibadan which many of us have never seen. Many of us were not yet born or did not know the time Felix became bishop. Now, we came to see what it is like. That is why some of us came.” At the ceremony were Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, his Ekiti State counterpart Dr Kayode Fayemi, Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, Senator Iyiola Omisore, traditional rulers and other dignitaries.




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

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

SEC to probe N5.2b shares fraud at MTI

soon as the funds were re- salaries. Payment of the sevECURITIES and Exleased to the board and man- erance pay was illegal as it change Commission agement, they immediately ran contrary to the provi(SEC) is set to investipaid themselves what they sions of the law and the progate allegations of massive tagged “severance pay.” cedure stipulated,” the pefinancial and securities fraud They alleged that each of titioners stated. at Mass Telecommunication •Investors allege directors fritter N275m as severance pay the five directors took N55 They also alleged that the Innovation (MTI) following million amounting to a total directors might have the petition by investors in By Taofiki Salako information technology in- of N275 million but all the fraudulently misdirected the company, alleging that frastructure, staff develop- directors, including the non- the Gaetino Marcon, former exinvesting public former directors of the telement and working capital as executive directors, still re- through overstatements ecutive director for engicommunication infrastrucstated in the offer document. mained on the board after and understatements of the ture company engaged in neering and technical serAccording to the petition- collecting the severance pay. financial conditions of the fraudulent practices and mis- vices. The petition stated that ers, N5.2 billion was raised They alleged that just one company during the issue managed the finances of the through private placement year after the proceeds of the period. MTI, a company incorporated company. and the firm was converted According to the petitionThe petition dated January in December 2001, had be- to a public limited liability private placement were retween March and April 2008, ceived, the company was un- ers, the financial details in 6 was acknowledged by the company and its shares were office of the director-general after obtaining the consent of listed on the floor of the Ni- able to pay salaries and pay the prospectus for the priof SEC on January 22, 2014. the SEC, undertaken a pri- gerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for the execution of existing vate placement were manipulated to deceive the inA source at the apex capital vate placement to raise funds after a successful private contracts. “All the directors contin- vesting public as the commarket regulator indicated for the purpose of imple- placement. ued to collect salaries and pany has had to write off over that the Commission will menting its business develHowever, the aggrieved investigate the claims by the opment and expansion investors alleged that as allowances. Non-executive N1 billion of overstated directors were not entitled to debts. petitioners in line with its programme, improvement in avowed commitment to market integrity. The source indicated that SEC will give fair hearing to all parties and will also make its final findings available to the public as it has done in recent cases. The petition, submitted on behalf of the aggrieved shareholders by the law firm of Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors was titled “Petition Against Five Former Directors Of Mass Telecommunication Innovation Plc (MTI Plc) Unlawful Distribution and Utilisation of the Company’s Funds Raised from the Capital Market”. According to the petitioners, the five former directors of the company misappropriated funds raised through the private placement and made erroneous and misleading statements to hoodwink the public. The former directors were Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, former chairman; Frank Kartitie, former executive vice chairman; Glen Daley, former managing director; Amunel Araya, former ex- • Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information, Mr Aniekan Umanah (left), presenting a laptop to the state’s NUJ Chairman, ecutive director for Finance Mr Patrick Albert, on behalf of Exxonmobil, during the donation of 75 Laptops to NUJ members in Uyo by Mobil Producing. and Administration and With them is Manager, Government and Public Affairs, Mobil Qit, Mr Akaninyene Esiere.


Six banks lead on deposits, asset concentration, says CBN


IX of the 23 Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) dominate the banking industry in terms of deposits and asset concentration, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. According to a report by the CBN, the sector is dominated by a few banks as the average market share of assets and deposits of the six largest banks (concentration ratio– CR6) stood at 56.8 per cent and 59 per cent. The figure, which is for the second quarter of last year, also showed that the market share of the largest bank on assets and deposits, stood at 13.57 per cent and 15.17 per cent. This, it said, compared with

CBN gives finance houses 18 months to recapitalise - P 34

By Collins Nweze

14.99 per cent and 13.47 per cent, at the end of the preceding period of 2012. However, it said the industry remained competitive in both deposits and assets even as the sector continued to record improvements in key performance indicators. For instance, capital adequacy and Tier I capital-to risk-weighted assets ratios increased to 19.2 per cent and 17.2 per cent, from 18.1 per cent and 16.1 per cent, at end-December 2012. The improvement in the ratios was due mainly to retained profits and the raising of additional Tier II capital by some banks. Furthermore, it said total

loans increased to N8.8 trillion, of N664 billion or 8.1 per cent while Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) to total loans deteriorated to 3.7 per cent, from 3.5 per cent. The NPL ratio, however, remained within the five per cent threshold while the NPL coverage ratio improved to 71.2 per cent, from 68.7 per cent, indicating a reduction in the risk exposure of the sector. Total deposits increased to N15.1 trillion from N14.3 trillion, reflecting an increase of N771 billion or 5.35 per cent. Un-audited total profits of the banking industry for the first half of 2013 stood at N300.5 billion, a 22.95 per cent increase over the N244.4 bil-

NSE mulls massive shake up in market operators - P36

lion achieved in the second half of 2012. Interest income, which increased by 13.47 per cent, largely accounted for the higher profit level. The industry liquidity ratio stood at 67.8 per cent compared with 68.0 per cent even as all banks met the 30 per cent minimum regulatory liquidity ratio throughout the review period. Commenting on the Financial Satbility Report, CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said the efforts of the regulatory and fiscal authorities in addressing the challenges of the global economic and financial crises to achieve higher growth and employment were evident in the first half of last year.

He said the projected weaker global demand, slower growth in key emerging markets and slow recovery of the Eurozone would require the monetary authorities to sustain the implementation of monetary and macro-prudential policies to achieve financial system stability. He said the economy recorded some impressive macroeconomic achievements in the first half of last year despite some challenges. In specific terms, the country recorded strong Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, single digit inflation, exchange rate stability, capital market recovery and growth in external reserves.

Start small with geese farming - P39






CBN gives finance houses 18 months to recapitalise T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given finance houses 18 months to raise their capitals to a yet-to-be disclosed amount. This is contained in a guideline released by the bank, which was obtained by The Nation, at the weekend. The CBN and operators have been bickering over the issue. An insider at the Finance Houses Association of Nigeria (FHAN), who asked not to be named, said operators want the capital base raised from N20 million to N100 million, but the CBN prefers N200 million. The source said investors were interested in knowing the capital base before putting in money. In 2012, CBN reviewed finance houses’ operations, resulting in the closure of 47 “inactive” firms. Fifty-five were found to be active and four undergoing restructuring. The CBN, in statement, said it recognised only the 59 finance companies with CBN licenses. The affected Finance Houses included Asset Management Group; Cal Finance Investment Limited, Capri Martins Finance Limited; Corporate Finance Group Limited; Equator Capital Assets Management Limited; Eston Funds Limited; First Bond Finance Limited; First Spring Finance and Investment Limited; Grand Bond Finance & Se-

• Rift over minimum capital base persists Stories by Collins Nweze

curities Limited; Intel Trust Limited and Leo Investment Limited among others. The CBN, therefore, commenced comprehensive reforms of the Finance Houses subsector. The regulator said the sector, still wallowing in neglect and lacking clearly defined operational structure, has been relegated to the background in recent years. It said it now wants to see Finance Houses that are strong, efficient and able to perform their constitutional roles in the economy. Achieving this requires comprehensive reforms of the subsector that would enable it carve a niche for itself in the financial services sector. Finance companies provide services to consumers, industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises. They give consumers, individuals and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) credit and loans.They also manage funds for customers/clients on agreed tenor

and rate. They assist customers to finance infrastructure/industrial projects through a loan structure that relies primarily on the project’s cash flow for repayment. But they do not accept deposits. They can only source funds from shareholders, private equity companies, development finance institutions (DFIs) and other institutional investors. He said there are several investors, who have carried out due diligence on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the finance houses, but could move in funds because the regulation in the subsector remains unclear. The on-going reform in the subsector is expected to look at the regulatory framework that will govern finance lease practice; institutionalise a funding pool to stimulate lending activities and structure programmes to address the reputation and poor visibility challenges, among other issues.

According to the guidelines, finance companies can access SME funds subject to compliance with minimum prudential norms, as defined by the CBN and may assist clients access SME funds. This can be done through vehicles such as the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, MSME Development Fund and the Nigerian IncentiveBased Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) funds for clients in the Agric value-chain business. It also said that in addition to the

specific requirements defined for the SME funds, these funds may only be accessed for asset finance, working capital and export finance transactions. It said compliance with the provisions of the Code of Corporate Governance and the Approved Persons Regime Finance Companies must demonstrate compliance with the CBN Code of Corporate Governance and show evidence of a competent, independent, unimpaired and uncompromised Board. The CBN had in March 2012 given a 30-day notice to 47 finance houses closed or inactive, to submit evidence of their existence and/or operations, or lose their operating licences. The order expired on Tuesday, April 18, 2012 and the banking watchdog is yet to conclude decision on the matter.

MasterCard promotes financial literacy


ASTERCARD and Child & Youth Finance Interna tional (CYFI) have entered a global strategic partnership aimed at advancing the financial capabilities of children and youth. In a statement, it said of the 2.2 billion children in the world, less than one per cent has access to any form of financial education, often exposing them to potential exploitation. “MasterCard and CYFI share the belief that enabling financial inclusion and education is critical for promoting the economic and social livelihood of children and youth around the globe,” it said. According to the global payment firm, as one of their first actions, MasterCard and CYFI have joined forces to develop guidelines for responsible financial products for children and youth. These guidelines build on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles adopted by UNICEF and are meant to provide practical orientation for banks that want to serve a younger demographic. MasterCard President and Chief Executive Officer, Ajay Banga said:

“We share CYFI’s vision that every child and youth has a right to safe, accessible financial services and are honored to bring our expertise and experience to this partnership, empowering the young generation to grow into productive economic citizens.” Also, CYFI Managing Director, Jeroo Billimoria said: “Roughly half of the world’s population is under the age of 25– and it takes a broad effort to building up their financial capabilities. We are delighted that MasterCard, a trail-blazer for financial inclusion, is supporting us in our goal to reach 100 million children and youth in 100 countries by 2015.” It said apart from raising general awareness for the specific needs of children and youth, MasterCard and CYFI will partner to define and execute concrete strategies that advance financial inclusion and education. Both MasterCard and CYFI acknowledge the key role that public-privatepartnerships can play in furthering this goal and are committed to working together with businesses, governments and NGOs.

Standard Bank’s confab targets power sector funding


•President Goodluck Jonathan exchanging pleasantries with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi during ‘Nigeria Night’ at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Drop in FDI depletes reserves to $43b


HE gross external reserves which stood $44.6 billion on December 5, has declined to $43 billion as at January 23, due mainly to a drop in portfolio and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. In a report to stakeholders, the apex bank said the reserves which stood at $42.85 billion as at December 31, 2013, as against $43.83 billion recorded in end-December 2012, represented a decrease of $0.98 billion or 2.23 per cent. The CBN said the decrease in the reserves level resulted largely from a slowdown in portfolio and FDI flows in the fourth quarter of 2013 resulting in increased funding of the foreign exchange market by the CBN to stabilise the cur-

rency. It expressed concern over the continued depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) which balance stood at less than $2.5 billion as at January 17, 2014 compared with about $11.5 billion in December 2012. According to the CBN, the absence of fiscal buffers increased its reliance on portfolio flows, thus constituting the principal risk to the exchange rate stability, especially with uncertainties around capital flows and oil price. On the depletion of fiscal buffers, it decried the continuous fall in revenue from oil despite stable price of oil and production last year. Although it acknowledged output losses due to theft and vandalism, it nevertheless remarked that such could not wholly explain the mag-

nitude of the shortfall in revenue. It said accretion to external reserves remained low while much of the previous savings have been depleted, thereby undermining its ability to sustain exchange rate stability. The Committee therefore, urged the fiscal authorities to block revenue leakages and rebuild fiscal savings needed to sustain confidence and preserve the value of the naira. It said the reduction of the United States stimulus especially, could in addition, trigger capital flow reversals and put greater pressure on the naira exchange rate. It also expressed concern about the widening gap between the official and the Bureau De Change exchange rates, noting that this could precipitate speculation and round-tripping.

EY issues on Nigeria’s economic development and securing adequate funding for power sector projects, will be discussed at the fifth Standard Bank West African Investors Conference, holding in Lagos, next month. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos to announce the event billed for February 4 to 6, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Mrs Sola DavidBorha, said the Standard Bank Group has an obligation to help rebuild confidence in the Nigerian economy by highlighting opportunities in power, energy and the food value chain, that investors could explore to derive optimal value for their investments. She said this year’s conference, titled: “Nigeria: Time to deliver”, presents opportunity to deepen discourse on quickening the development of the country’s growth sectors and to further highlight the opportunities therein in order to sustain the attractiveness of Nigeria as a preferred investment destination in Africa. She said: “The rationale for selecting this year’s theme is that the economic reforms are critical le-

vers for economic development and it is time for all stakeholders to support the government in accelerating growth. In summary, it is time to execute.” Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited, Mr. Oladele Sotubo, stated that the conference aims to facilitate direct information exchange between institutional investors and the executive management of companies listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange, as well as non-listed companies, to facilitate the inflow of capital into Nigeria by fund managers with keen interest in investing in Africa. “Besides the direct impact which these exchanges will make on the Nigerian capital market, the conference will provide both local and international investors with opportunities to meet with some of the companies they have investments in, or in which they hope to make investments. It will also serve as a bridge to connect these investors to opportunities inherent in Africa’s growth sectors, for example Nigeria’s power sector which was recently opened up for private sector participation” he stated.



MONEY The battle for the control of the mobile money market seems to be stalling the project’s progress. Instead of banks and telecommunication companies (telcos) squabbling over customers, they should resort to working together. COLLINS NWEZE reports.

Banks, telcos fight for mobile money customers F

OR the mobile money market, these are not the best of times. The platform which allows mobile phones to be used to send and receive money, buy recharge cards, pay bills, use Point of Sale (PoS) terminals to pay for goods and services, among others, is under threat. The telecoms companies (telcos) and banks which are expected to jointly drive the process are working at cross purpose. In other countries, the process could be operator-led model, bank-led model, collaboration model and peer-topeer model. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) chose the bank-led model in which case a bank deploys mobile payment applications or devices to customers and ensures merchants have the required PoS acceptance capability to carry out the transaction. Mobile network operators’ network merely serves as vehicle through which transactions take place. This is based on the regulatory framework for mobile payment services issued by the apex bank 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. The disagreement has adversely impacted on implementation process of the mobile money platform in the country. General Manager, IBM Africa, Taiwo Otiti, said strategy being adopted by the key stakeholders is stifling the success of mobile money operation in the country. Speaking during an interview with The Nation, he said: “The approach we have taken in mobile money is the challenge. We have over 30 million unbanked, compared with over 100 million mobile phone users, the guys who are unbanked, they may have mobile phones, but how would you get them into the financial system. You must be able to get into his lifestyle for you to be able to get him subscribe to mobile money scheme. But many of the stakeholders are doing that”. Otiti said the getting the mobile money scheme running requires both the payment and supply chain properly defined and implemented by the stakeholders. He said there is need for a paradigm shift that sees all the stakeholders working together. “The telcos can’t also do without the banks, so also are the banks. It is only by collaboration, will the mobile money project begin the deliver the needed results,” he said. He said the stakeholders should not think of who owns the customer, but focus on products and

services that can attract more customers into the scheme because nobody owns the customer. “Nobody owns the customer. What is important is collaboration that ensures that end-user gets what he wants. We need to see mobile money in terms of what the customer can get and use in improving his lifestyles,” he said. CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said regulation of the telecom sector is not within the apex bank’s control, making it difficult for it to guide mobile money operations under the telco-led model being advocated by the operators. Sanusi, who spoke at the 2013 risk management conference in Lagos, said the risk involved in mobile money operations are so high that regulation has to be closely implemented. He said the CBN does not control what the telcos are doing, unlike in the existing bank-led model where it provides the operating guidelines. He said mobile money operators are being encouraged to increase access to financial services through mobile phones that are either directly linked to a bank account or use of mobile wallets as intermediary virtual money accounts. Experts insist that the current regime of mobile money regulation, which is being bank-driven, is not friendly to telecoms companies who provide the mobile payment platform. They said that though there was a lot that telecoms companies could contribute in a cashless economy, their current mandate was limiting. The thinking is that since the mobile payments business is 90 per cent dependent on the mobile industry, it was unfair that the mobile networks are prevented from advertising their various mobile payment products which are the foundation on which the bank products operate. From the customer’s mobile phone, to the mobile payments system and feedback to the mobile phone, the mobile payment transaction utilises mostly mobile resources, makes use of mobile time and is supported largely by mobile engineers, but unfortunately the CBN has restricted telecom companies from advertising in the mobile payments space. Analysts also think that telecom companies should be allowed to speak about the capabilities of their networks, the quality of user experience and the choice of mobile payment services available on their networks. It is now roughly two years since

•CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

• MD Airtel Ogunsanya



the first mobile money went live and approaching a year since cashless economy came into operation. Meanwhile, none of the individual players can boast of having more than 10,000 active subscribers. The CBN said over the next few years, the focus of the regulator will be to strengthen the institutional and regulatory frameworks to achieve improved financial inclusion. The application of mobile technology for financial services especially in rural areas will ensure that a large percentage of the population outside the formal banking system would have access to financial services using one of the three models of card-based, account-based and virtual account. CBN statistics showed that only 26 million Nigerians own a bank account out of a population of 167 million populations. With telecoms subscriber base put at about 120 million by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there are indeed limitless opportunities for the country to achieve financial inclusion by bringing the large numbers of the unbanked to the banking sector through mobile money,” he said. The Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Eugene Juwah, said critical success factors for mobile payment in the country are the integrity and security of the end-to-end transition during a payment transaction process. He said the chain of trans-

• Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Eugene Juwah

•Acting Chief Executive Officer Etisalat Nigeria Matthew Willsher

action must be secured from initiation to authentication. Therefore, confidentiality and integrity of the data transition are critical factors in mobile payment. Razak Olaegbe, a mobile money analyst said Telcos are licensed to offer telecoms services and not banking services. According to him, the decision was made because the CBN does not regulate telcos and if the telcos are allowed to lead mobile money, it will mean putting two critical segments of Nigeria’s economy in the hands of a few companies. This, they believe, portends great risk for the country. World Bank said the global remittance market has grown rapidly over the past decade. In 2010, remittances through official channels amounted to $440 billion, of which, developing countries received an estimated $325 billion. The majority of these transactions are still cash-to-cash transactions, but the share of digital transactions is steadily increasing. Driven by the development of mobile money systems in emerging markets, experts estimate that $16 billion worth of international money transfers will be received with mobile phones in 2015. In Nigeria, the scheme is however, confronted with many problems but the CBN said the draft National Payments System Bill, which is undergoing legislative

‘Mobile payments have taken a new turn in Nigeria and being inconvenienced or excluded from participating in the digital economy is a result of one’s inability to produce credit or debit card details for online payments’

passage, is expected to address the legal barriers to electronic payments such as the admissibility of electronic evidence in the law courts. Managing Director, Mobile Money Africa, Mr Emmanuel Okogwale, agrees that there are still challenges. According to him, most of the companies licensed to do mobile payment are yet to have accredited agents who will reside in urban, semi-urban and rural areas. He argued that without well trained mobile money agents, the implementation would not be seamless as agents with the requisite tools and handsets are the infrastructure needed to deliver the money to the customers. Despite the inherent challenges, banks have been launching mobile money products to support their operations. FirstBank of Nigeria launched FirstMonie, its mobile money service positioned to assist the lender’s commitment to financial inclusion. “With the launch of this service, the stage is now set for the bank’s customers and anyone in Nigeria with a mobile phone to enjoy financial services, using their mobile phones to send money, pay bills, top up their phone airtime, do shopping, deposit and withdraw cash, without the need to visit a bank branch,” the First Bank Managing Director, Bisi Onasnaya said. Also, Stanbic IBTC Bank has reiterated its commitment to financial inclusion by empowering its mobile money customers. The bank said in a statement that it has partnered with Mobile Media InfoTech Limited (MMIT), a mobile software development company, to assist the youths and small business owners who do not have credit cards, to pay for goods through their mobile money wallets online. The bank said its mobile money wallets customers will be able to shop on foreign online sites like Amazon, Android store, Playstation and other gaming sites. “They will be given the option of making cardless payments through their mobile money wallets; and with this option, any customer with a smart phone will be able to make purchases on these online sites regardless of where they reside in Nigeria,” it said. Head of E-Business at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Thabo Makoko, described the partnership as another step towards financial inclusion for persons who are usually not able to shop online because they do not have credit cards. He said: “Mobile payments have taken a new turn in Nigeria and being inconvenienced or excluded from participating in the digital economy is a result of one’s inability to produce credit or debit card details for online payments. “We want to provide more opportunities for the under-banked in every part of Nigeria, especially the small business owners; and we want to be known as the financial service partner that opens doors for our customers; empowering them to grow their businesses and lives. “Removing the barriers to participating in the digital economy, the online shopping process for small business owners, youths and the under banked will greatly reduce barriers to success in acquiring tools to improve lives.” Analysts said the African mobile money market has the potential to grow to a money-making market, but operators, banks and regulators need to work toward developing an enabling environment for business models that meet service providers’ revenue demands.




New listing rules take off as NSE gets SEC’s approval


NEW set of listing rules for companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), paving the way for the NSE to implement mandatory online submission of market-related information and data for all quoted companies. The approved “Rules Governing the use of Issuers Portal” obtained by The Nation indicated that companies which violate main rules governing the online information-disclosure portal would be liable to a fine of 50 per cent of their annual listing fees. Companies would also be required to indemnify the NSE for all damages or loss it may suffer as a result of any inaccurate, misleading, false or deceptive statement contained in the information they submit to the NSE through the issuers’ portal. The issuers’ portal was launched on March 26, last year. It aims at enhancing transparency, trading activities, information dissemination and fair play for all stakeholders to build and grow their businesses. The council of the NSE had approved draft rules on the portal on March 28, which were subsequently subjected to stakehold-

•To sanction firms for breach of online disclosures •Online submissions is mandatory •Firms to retain earnings, other data on website for three years By Taofik Salako Capital Market Editor

ers’ review and correction between April 5 and May 30. The draft rules were submitted to SEC for approval on June 4, 2013. The notation on the approved rules indicated NSE received SEC approval on January 16, this year. Rule 10 of the “Rules Governing the use of Issuers Portal” stipulates that the rules become effective immediately upon publication on the website of the NSE, following approval by the Commission. However, Rule 9b and 9c, which deal with sanctions relating to earnings reports, forecasts and other disclosures, will only become effective on the 1st day of January following approval of the issuers’ portal rules by SEC, implying January 1, 2015. According to the new rules, it’s compulsory for all quoted companies to use the issuers’ portal for submission of information to the Exchange

in compliance with the listings rules, unless such information falls within an excluded category as the Exchange may in its sole discretion prescribe from time to time. The rules designate the issuers’ portal as the single gateway for filing all periodic and structured and continuous disclosures. The draft described periodic and structured disclosures to include audited and unaudited financial statements, earnings forecast and corporate actions. Continuous disclosures were described as notifications of material information including notice of annual general meeting, notice of board meeting, notice of change of auditors, notice of change of company secretary, notice of change of name and registered address, notice of change of registrars, notice of completion board meeting, notice of court ordered meeting, notice of directors dealings, notice of extra-ordinary general meeting and notice of resignation and appointment of directors.

Rule 8 of the draft requires companies to publish the same information on interim and audited earnings report, forecasts and corporate actions that it submitted to the issuers’ portal on its corporate website not later than the close of business on the day after the company submits such information to the online portal. Besides, the rule mandates companies to ensure that such information remains on their corporate websites for a period of three years from the date it is posted thereon. Any company that fails to comply with rule 8 would be liable to a fine of 50 per cent of its annual listing fee. Also, any company that fails to submit its periodic and structured information as well as continuous disclosures through the issuers’ portal would be liable to pay a fine of 50 per cent of its annual listing fee. According to the rule 2 on accounting standard, all periodic and structured disclosures to be submitted through the issuers’ portal “shall be

prepared using the accounting policies and methods that comply with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and other accounting standards set forth by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and contain the information required by the Exchange.” The rules require every company to appoint and duly notify the NSE of a designated user, who will be the sole authorized user for posting of information to the issuers’ portal. Every company or issuer is required to exercise all reasonable care to ensure that any information it submits through the issuers’ portal is accurate, not misleading, false or deceptive and does not omit any material facts likely to affect the import of such information. The rules also specify the formats for information disclosures and require all companies or issuing entities to comply with such formats. In the event of any misleading, false or deceptive disclosure or omission of any material fact as well as dereliction in terms of rules governing designated user and failure to comply with stipulated format, the company or issuer shall be liable to pay 50 per cent of its annual listing fee as a fine.

JP Morgan ranks UBA, GTBank as most attractive banking stocks


•From left: Chairman, Board of Trustees, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Chief Henry Njoku; Comptroller-General, Immigration, Mr David Paradan; Member, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Jerry Alagbaoso; Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs, Dr Manassah Jatau; representative of Comptroller-General of Customs, DCG John Atte, Commandant-General, NSCDC, Dr Ade Abolurin and Comptroller-General of Prisons, Mr Zakari Ibrahim, during the launch Naija Customs magazine on International Customs Day in Abuja

NSE mulls massive shake-up in market operators


HE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is reconsidering the structures and operations of stockbrokers and dealers at the Nigerian capital market and may in the next six months introduce changes that may prune the number of primary brokers and dealers in the market. Its Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology, Mr Ade Bajomo, said the Exchnage will set and enforce minimum operating standards that will redefine market operators and set the real active brokers and dealers apart from the motley of operators. There are 238 broker-dealers on the NSE but less than 15 per cent of the operators account for more than three-quarters of trading turnover at the market. According to him, the minimum standards will include minimum technological and capital requirements and only those with the requisite resources to operate competitively will be allowed to continue to operate as primary brokers and dealers. Bajomo, who spoke at investors’ forum organised by Investment One Financial Services Limited for select investors on market outlook for 2014, said the NSE will be introducing the concept of “introductory

brokers” to accommodate registered and certified operators who lack the resources to continue to operate mainly as brokers and dealers under the new dispensation. The restructuring may not be unconnected with NSE’s efforts to meet remaining criteria for transiting from a frontier market to emerging market status. Latest review shows that the competitiveness of stockbrokers and efficiency of framework are two of the three defaults for NSE out of the 10 criteria for frontier-emerging market classification. Under the criterion of “broker competition to ensure high quality services”, NSE is ranked “low” as a frontier market whereas emerging market requirement is “modest”. Also, under “efficiency of the operational framework”, NSE is ranked “modest” whereas emerging market requires “good and tested” rating. The latest move comes on the heels of the announcement of new minimum capital requirements for capital market operators by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC had announced major increases in minimum capital requirements for capital market functions under a new minimum capital structure that is expected to take

off by January 1, 2015. The apex capital market regulator increased minimum capital base for broker/dealer by 329 per cent from the existing N70 million to N300 million. Broker, which currently operates with capital base of N40 million, will now be required to have N200 million, representing an increase of 400 per cent. Minimum capital base for dealer increased by 233 per cent from N30 million to N100 million. Also, issuing houses, which facilitate new issues in the primary market, will now be required to have minimum capital base of N200 million as against the current capital base of N150 million. The capital requirement for underwriter also doubled from N100 million to N200 million. Trustees, rating agencies and portfolio and fund managers had their minimum capital base increased by 650 per cent each from N40 million, N20 million and N20 million to N300 million, N150 million and N150 million. A Registrar will have a minimum capital base of N150 million as against the requirement of N50 million. While the minimum capital base for corporate investment adviser remained unchanged at N5 million, individual invest-

ment advisers will have to increase their capital base by 300 per cent from N500,000 to N2 million. Market operators have, however, kicked against the new capital requirement structure - which retained the previous trend of fixed capital base for a designated function, arguing that it failed to sufficiently address the peculiarities of the various capital market functions. Stockbrokers under the auspices of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) said the new capital requirements did not reflect the underlying structures and feelings of the market. President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Ariyo Olushekun, said capital market operators have reservations about the new capital base structure because it does not sufficiently address the basis for capital requirements for the various market functions. According to him, market operators prefer a risk-based capital structure, which takes into consideration the level of risks and activities of each market operator. Chairman, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr Emeka Madubuike, expressed similar reservations.

NALYSTS at the global investment banking giant, JP Morgan, have identified Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc as the two most attractive banking stocks as banks and investment pundits continue to analyse the potential impact of the recent increase in cash reserve ratio (CRR) on public deposits on banks. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had last week increased the CRR on public deposits from 50 per cent to 75 per cent. All analysts agreed the increase will momentarily impact negatively on banks’ profits but there were difference of opinions on the impact on each bank and the medium-to-long-term impact on the industry. In its equity research for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) titled Nigerian Banks: thoughts around policy action on the CRR; the United States of America (USA)-based investment powerhouse stated that GTBank and UBA are under the current industry scenario the “favored banking shares” while Zenith Bank is the “least preferred”. JP Morgan’s analyses and conclusions were based on the potential earnings, return on equity, dividend yield, current market consideration and balance sheet items. For the system overall, the CRR action on public sector deposits mops up N1trn of liquidity (on N4.02trillion of public sector deposits as of November 13). As per our economist, the reduction in liquidity engineered by this CRR hike is likely to be supportive of the currency, especially as we move closer to a period of uncertainty caused by the expected change in CBN leadership in June and QE tapering. Our economist expects foreign divestments from Nigerian fixed income assets likely to pick up pace over the next couple of months that could put some pressure on the NGN, notwithstanding the fact that about half the holdings may be of GBI-EM benchmarked investors and gross FX reserves still provide a significant buffer ($43.3billion/10 months of import cover).




Seven-Up: On the double S

EVEN-UP Bottling Company (7-Up) Plc doubled pre and post tax profits in its latest operational earnings report, underlining strong top-down growth and efficient sales and financing cost management. Interim report and accounts of the nine-month period ended December 31, 2013 showed that the soft drink bottling company optimized appreciable increase in sales with efficient cost management to deliver its strongest growth in recent period. With nine-month earnings per share already 37.4 per cent above fullyear earnings per share in the immediate past year, Seven-Up significantly scaled up performance during the period. Turnover rose by 23 per cent while gross profit increased by 32 per cent. Pre and post tax profits jumped by 191 per cent and 180 per cent respectively. The nine-month report underlined improvement in the profitability of the company. Gross profit margin increased to 39.42 per cent in 2013 as against 36.65 per cent recorded in comparable period of 2012. Profit before tax margin more than doubled at 9.28 per cent in 2013 compared with 3.91 per cent recorded in 2012. The latest report showed considerable improvement on the last audited report and accounts of the company, which was also hailed as a turning point. Audited report and accounts of the softdrink company for the year ended March 31, 2013 showed that sales increased by 7.1 per cent but higher margins pushed profit before tax up by 27.5 per cent. Profit after tax rose by 70.3 per cent, underlining the increase in basic earnings per share from N2.62 in 2012 to N4.46 in 2013.The improved bottom-line performance enabled the company to increase cash payout by 10 per cent just as its net assets value rose by 22 per cent. The prospects for future dividend payment was stronger with a dividend cover of 2.0 times in 2013 as against 1.3 times in 2012. Both actual and underlying profit and loss indicators showed appreciable improvement in the profitability of the company. Seven-Up’s profit and loss performance was also congruent with improvement in its balance sheet. With larger equity funds, lower financial leverage and increased liquidity, the balance sheet was stronger in 2013 compared with the previous year. However, the company’s financFiscal Year Ended March 31 Nmillion Profit and Loss Statement Main Business Segment Total turnover Cost of sales Gross profit Operating expenses Interest and other incomes Finance expenses Pre-tax profit(loss) Post-tax profit (loss) Basic earnings per share(kobo) Gross dividend Cash dividend per share (kobo) Net Assets per share (kobo) Balance Sheet Assets: Fixed assets Total long term assets Trade debtors Current assets Total assets Liabilities: Trade creditors Bank loans Current liabilities Long-term liabilities Total liabilities Equity Funds Share capital Total Equity Funds

By Taofik Salako

per cent from N16.09 to N19.63.


Capital Market Editor

The latest operational report for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2013 showed a turnover of N54.95 billion, 22.7 per cent above N44.78 billion recorded in comparable period of 2012. Gross profit increased from N16.41 billion to N21.66 billion. Profit before tax rose from N1.75 billion by December 2012 to N5.10 billion in December 2013. Profit Financing structure after tax also leapt from N1.40 Seven-Up’s financing structure billion in 2012 to N3.92 billion. improved in 2013. While the paid Earnings per share for the nineup capital remained unchanged at month period thus stood at N6.13 N320 million, shareholders’ funds as against N2.19 recorded in comrose by 22 per cent from N10.31 parable period of 2012. billion to N12.58 billion. Total asThe nine-month report built on sets had inched up by 5.9 per cent the audited report and accounts from N48.49 billion to N51.37 bilfor the period ended March 31, lion. Current assets stood at 2013 which had shown general N15.50 billion, 3.3 per cent above improvements in actual and unN15.01 billion recorded in 2012. derlying profit and loss items and Long-term assets had increased indices. The audited report by 7.2 per cent from N33.48 bilshowed that group turnover rose lion to N35.87 billion. Total liby 7.1 per cent from N59.86 bilabilities closed almost flat at lion to N64.09 billion. Cost of sales N38.79 billion as against N38.18 moderated at N41.12 billion as billion. Bank loans dropped by against N38.54 billion. Gross profit about 15 per cent from N17.41 bilrose by 7.3 per cent from N21.333 lion to N14.82 billion. billion to N22.89 billion. Total operThe proportion of equity funds ating expenses stood at N17.41 bilto total assets improved from 21.3 lion, 5.0 per cent above N16.58 bilper cent in 2012 to 24.5 per cent in lion recorded in the previous year. 2013. The company’s debt-to-eqWhile non-core business income uity ratio also reduced from 168.9 rose by about 25 per cent from N57 per cent in 2012 to 117.8 per cent million to N72 million, interest exin 2013. Long-term liabilities/topense was almost flat at N2.29 biltal assets ratio improved from lion in 2013 as against N2.25 billion 17.5 per cent to 21.3 per cent while in 2012. With these, profit before tax the proportion of current liabiliincreased by 27.5 per cent from N2.56 ties to total assets stood at 54.2 billion to N3.26 billion. With about per cent in 2013 as against 61.2 per 54 per cent reduction in tax expenses, cent in 2012. profit after tax jumped by 70 per cent from N1.68 billion to N2.86 billion. Beyond the surface, the intrinsic Efficiency profit-making capacity of the comAverage number of employees pany improved in 2013. While gross increased to 3,701 persons in 2013 profit margin inched up from 35.6 as against 3,643 persons in 2012. per cent to 35.7 per cent, the improveTotal staff costs meanwhile inment was evident in pre-tax profit creased from N7.437 billion to margin which rose from 4.3 per cent N8.388 billion, implying an avto 5.1 per cent. Underlying returns erage cost per head of N2.27 bilwere also better with return on total lion in 2013 as against N2.04 bilassets of 6.4 per cent in 2013 as against lion in 2012. Average contribution 5.3 per cent in 2012. Return on equity of each employee to pre-tax profit also rose from 16.3 per cent to 22.7 improved from N0.70 million to per cent. N0.88 million. The wide disparOn Per share basis, basic earnings ity between average cost per head per share improved from N2.62 to and average pre-tax profit per N4.46. The board of the company has head underlined the top-heavy recommended increase in cash divinature of the staff costs structure, dends to N1.41 billion compared where nearly half of the employwith N1.28 billion distributed for the ees earn around N1 million per 2012 business year. This implies a annum. Total cost of business, dividend per share of N2.20 in 2013 excluding interest expense, imas against N2 in 2012. Notwithstandproved marginally to 91.3 per ing the increase in cash payout, divicent in 2013 as against 92.1 per dend cover increased from 1.3 times cent in 2012. to 2.0 times. Net assets per 2013 2012 share also in12 months % change 12 months creased by 22 ing structure and general balance sheet position remained susceptible. While the debt-to-equity ratio improved by 51 percentage points, it remains substantially high at about 118 per cent. The company still wriggles with negative working capital and vulnerable liquidity coverage.

64,089 64,089 41,120 22,889 17,408 72 2,290 3,263 2,857 446 1,409 220 1,963

7.1 7.1 6.7 7.3 5.0 24.9 1.9 27.5 70.3 70.2 10.0 10.0 22.0

59,864 59,864 38,538 21,326 16,578 57 2,248 2,559 1,678 262 1,281 200 1,609

35,452 35,874 341 15,496 51,370

7.1 7.2 29.2 3.3 5.9

33,108 33,480 264 15,005 48,486

3,832 14,823 27,862 10,930 38,792

-3.6 -14.9 -6.1 28.5 1.6

3,974 17,414 29,670 8,508 38,178

320 12,578

0.0 22.0

320 10,308

Liquidity The company’s liquidity position improved during the period, although it generally remained weak and susceptible. Current ratio, which relates current assets to current liabilities, improved from 0.51 times to 0.56 times. While working capital remained negative, the quantum improved during the period. The proportion of working capital to total sales stood at -19.3 per cent in 2013, as against -24.5 per cent in 2012. Debtor/creditor ratio closed 2013 at 8.9 per cent compared with 6.6 per •Sawhney cent in 2012. agement team as managing director Governance and structures and chief executive. The company A leading fast moving consumer broadly complies with extant codes good (FMCG) company, 7-Up is the of corporate governance and best manufacturer and Nigerian franchise practices. holder for several global soft drinks Analyst’s opinion including its flagship-7-Up brand, Pepsi and Mirinda. Its other popular The performance of 7-Up in 2013 brands include Teem Lemon, Moun- is commendable. Emerging retain Dew and aquafina. Incorporated ports indicate the company is on in 1959, its shares were listed on the track to achieving impressive perNigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in formance. With double-digit 1959. It stands alone as the only pub- growth in sales, it has managed licly quoted soft-drink company in its financing cost in more efficient Nigeria. Affelka S A is the majority way to unlock greater value for core investor in 7-Up with total eq- shareholders. However, the baluity stake of 72.97 per cent. ance sheet structure is still tenuThe board and management re- ous with significant gearing ramained unchanged. Faysal El-Khalil tio. Overall, the outlook for the still chairs the board while Mr Sunil company is reassuring. Sawhney leads the executive man-

Fiscal Year Ended March 31





Financing structure Equity funds/Total assets Long-term liabilities/Total assets Current liabilities/Total assets Debt/Equity ratio

24.5 21.3 54.2 117.8

21.3 17.5 61.2 168.9

Profitability Gross profit margin Pre-tax profit margin Return on total assets Return on equity Dividend cover (times)

35.7 5.1 6.4 22.7 2.0

35.6 4.3 5.3 16.3 1.3

Efficiency Pre-tax profit per employee (Nm) Staff cost per employee (Nm) Cost of sales, operating exp/Turnover

0.88 2.27 91.3

0.70 2.04 92.1

Liquidity Current ratio Working capital/Turnover Debtors/Creditors

0.56 -19.3 8.9

0.51 -24.5 6.6





Retirees urge Lagos on N4b pension arrears


AGOS State pensioners under the old scheme, ‘Pay As You Go’, have appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola to pay pensioners their outstanding pension arrears of about N4 billion accumulated since the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Chairman, Association of Retirees, Lagos, Chief Rasheed Olu-Ajayi, said the money accumulated following the 142 per cent increment was approved by 2000. Olu-Ajayi, however said Governor Fashola has paid 36 months, amounting to N5.6 million about

By Omobola Tolu-Kushimo

four years ago, adding that there has been an increase of 15 per cent, six per cent and 33 per cent after the Obasanjo’s administration. He said the retirees under the scheme include 12,000 local government employees, about 8,000 teachers from the teaching services, civil services and other parastatals. He lamented that pensioners are dying every day wondering con if the remaining pensioners will ever live to enjoy the benefits before they pass on. He commended the governor for

regular payment of monthly pension. He said: “Other state governors that came on board now have been settling some of their arrears although they have limited number of pensioners. I cannot just challenge without thanking the governor for the monthly pay-

ments because without the monthly payment over the years, things would have been worse for us. “We have made our pleas that our arrears be paid and we have even gone spiritual. We have threatened but what can we do? We cannot go on strike. It would

be the worst for us. We are just pleading with the state government and we are hoping that Governor Fashola will pay us as part of his parting gift to us. “There are some of us who are over 80 years old now. They are still attending meetings to see when they are going to get their fund.”

Premium Pension strategises


HAIRMAN, Premium Pension Limited, Mallam Aliyu Dikko has said the company grew its balance sheet from N52.3 billion in 2008 to N325.7 billion in 2013. Dikko, who made this known this in Abuja said competition in the pension industry was becoming stiffer and the environment throwing up tasking challenges. He said this had made it imperative for the company to consolidate on its zero tolerance for non-compliance and further sharpen the risk management policy and best practices in internal control processes and procedures. He added that the actual assets under management surpassed the 2008 strategic plan projections for four of the five years while performance over budget ranged from a low of N276 million to a high of N19.7 billion. He said: “The board and management of Premium Pension in the

country met last weekend to draw up strategies to consolidate gains and move the company in tandem with the anticipated growth in the industry in the next five years. “The company was established in July, 2005 to achieve superior customer satisfaction in active and retirement life through best practices defined and driven by our core values of care, integrity, transparency, ethics and professionalism. “Our performances to date when placed in juxtaposition with the strategy we developed in 2008 reveals a mixed bag of areas where the benchmark were not attained and areas where targets were exceeded. “This strategy defining exercise has the principal objective of leading us to our set vision and mission through defining ways of developing a strong investment management policy with state of the arts investment management tools that will produce superior returns for our clients.”

Pennsylvania pension-fix impasse punishes investors


ENNSYLVANIA, which shoulders one of the biggest pension burdens among United States, is bucking the wave of local governments trimming the benefits. Its bondholders are paying the price. Since 2011, seven of the 10 states with the nation’s largest retirement liabilities as measured by Moody’s Investors Service have cut the costs. Pennsylvania, ranked eighth, has made no progress in that span, after lawmakers last year failed to pass Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s proposal to curb the expense. In the $3.7 trillion local-debt market, the state may see its relative borrowing costs double within two years and its credit grade weaken without a fix, said Adam Mackey, head of munis at PNC Capital Advisors LLC. In 2013, Pennsylvania bonds fared worse than those of Massachusetts, which has credit grades one step higher, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Obligations of Illinois, which last month broke an impasse to bolster its pensions, outperformed both states last quarter. “We don’t want Band-Aids,” said Mackey, who helps oversee $6.5 billion in munis, including Pennsylvania debt, from Philadelphia. Pennsylvania “needs to legislatively get some stuff done” on pensions or it may see its AA credit grade drop three levels, he said. Growing hurdle Financing retiree benefits is a deepening challenge for localities nationwide as they recover from the 18month recession that ended in 2009. States’ median pension-funding ratio fell to 69 per cent in 2012, from about 83 per cent five years earlier, accord-

ing to data compiled by Bloomberg. The payments are taking money from needs such as schools, according to a January 14 report from a privately funded panel of budget analysts led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and ex-New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch. Pennsylvania’s unfunded liability is set to grow by 38 per cent to $65 billion in 2018, according to state estimates. It has the eighth-highest pension burden as a percentage of revenue, at 105 percent, compared with the U.S. state median of 45 per cent, according to Moody’s. Massachusetts placed ninth. In trading last year, the extra yield that investors demand to hold Pennsylvania obligations fell by 50 percent, to about 0.14 percentage point at yearend, Bloomberg data show. That trailed the 77 percent decline for the Massachusetts spread, to 0.08 percentage point. Mackey at PNC Capital said he compares Massachusetts and Pennsylvania debt for relative value. 2010 Changes Pennsylvania’s most recent pension changes, in 2010, extended the practice of paying less into the systems than actuarially required, according to Standard & Poor’s. Massachusetts in 2011 raised the retirement age for most workers to 60 from 55 and reduced benefits for new public-safety officers, according to data from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. Corbett, 64, who is running for reelection this year, plans to discuss the need for action in his February 4 budget address, said Charles Zogby, budget secretary for the sixth-most-populous state.

• From left: Mallam Dikko; Mr. Ideva and Mr. Akande during the Premium Pension Limited’s meeting.

Traders, artisans, others still averse to insurance

OME Nigerians’ attitude to insurance seems not to be changing. Some traders, artisans and organisations that spoke with The Nation said they do not understand what benefit taking an insurance policy will provide for them. A motor spare parts retailer, Benjamin Oladele, said he had no cover on his wares because it is a waste of money to buy insurance. He said: “Why would I buy insurance when they find it difficult to pay claims as at when due. They bring minor excuses to cover up and at the end, they all go free. I don’t think I want to risk that.” A banker, Mrs. Adeboyega, said initially, she had a comprehensive insurance cover on her car but did not renew it after


By Damilola Akinsola

paying premium several times and receiving nothing in return. Another businessman on Lagos Islandwho identified himself simply as Emeka, said he believes insurance is just a trick deplored to collect money from people. In spite of the negative opinions held by Emeka and others about insurance, some people still see insurance as a blessing. Mr. Goodness Johnson, who owns a furniture store, said insurance has been a blessing to him as he has benefitted from it. He urged Nigerians to embrace insurance through taking covers. “Insurance is no threat to us. It was established to serve us. It brings relief when something unexpected occurs. I can proudly tell anyone that all my properties are insured,” he said.

Oladimeji Babalola, an accountant, said Nigerians should see insurance as a priority. The industry has made things easier by organising micro-insurance for the low-income earners, he said. Mrs. Funmi Aderibigbe, a business woman, added that insurance has made positive impact in developed countries and Nigeria should not be an exception. She said: ”I have life insurance and other policies and I do not see why people should still claim ignorance of insurance. The insurance companies that I have had encounter with have improved over the years and so is the industry generally. It is no longer difficult to have access to genuine insurance. With a click on your mobile phone, you can easily get insured.”

Tesco Pension Fund hires Aerion’s Brickman for credit portfolio


ESCO Pension Investment Ltd., which manages the pension fund of the biggest United Kingdom’s retailer, said it hired David Brickman as senior credit portfolio manager. Brickman, who joined the unit in December, was previously head of credit at Aerion Fund Management Ltd. Jon Cunliffe heads the fixed income team at Tesco Pension Investment and Steven Daniels is chief investment officer. Tesco said in May 2012 that it

was creating an investment team to manage the company’s pension fund, which has more than six billion pounds ($9.9 billion) in assets, to reduce costs and increase net returns. The retailer manages one of the U.K.’s largest defined benefit pension plans, covering more than 170,000 of its 416,000 employees, according to the Cheshunt, England-based company. Tesco’s pension deficit increased to 2.4 billion pounds from 1.8 billion pounds at the

end of 2012 because of falling corporate bond yields, the company said in its interim management statement published in October. It said the shortfall was “partly offset” by higher-thanexpected asset returns over the period. Brickman was head of European credit strategy at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. until May 2008. The bank collapsed in September that year, triggering a global financial crisis. • Culled from Bloomberg



SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP Ever thought you can make profit from geese farming? Prince Arinze Onebunne, Chief Executive Officer, Jovanna Farms, is smiling to the bank doing the business, DANIEL ESSIET reports.

Start small with geese farming


RINCE Arinze Onebunne, Chief Executive Officer, Jovanna Farms, Lagos, has been producing minilivestock for more than five years. He encourages farmers to add mini-livestock to their integrated production system to meet increasing demand for food and nutritious meats. One money spinner he has discovered is geese farming. This is because they are among the fastest-growing avian species commonly raised for meat. Geese raising, he noted, can be incorporated into existing farming system to utilise farm waste products efficiently, hence providing small-scale farmers with a source of extra income and the much needed animal protein source for the family. Describing geese farming as a trendy kind of "agribusiness", Onebunne said intending farmers can start small with two males and three females while still holding down a full-time job elsewhere. He said the birds have a large market with many end-products and uses. Generally, the birds supply nutritious meat, huge eggs and rich fat for cooking, as well as feathers for bedding and clothing, which makes them particularly appropriate for providing farmers with a supplementary income. The meat is fatter than

other poultry meats. He said geese seem to be more resistant to diseases than other avian species. Onebunne said he is making waves because of his will to innovate in the livestock industry by rearing different breeds. At Jovana Farms, breeding animals for therapy, such as geese, peacock, grasscutter and antelope is a wonderful way to explore this possibility, he added. Geese are, however, the most rapid growing, having the longest commercial life. They are good foragers, reaching a marketable weight with little supplementary feeding and can practically raise themselves. Onebunne said geese possess terrific eyesight, good memories, and raucous voices; attributes that make for excellent sentinels. "What most Nigerians don't know is that geese are very cheap and easy to maintain and they provide animal protein as well as cash income. Your geese probably won't make you affluent by laying about 60 eggs a year, but they can earn their keep through derived products that will surely bring in millions of naira." He advised young entrepreneurs to start with purebreds, crossbreds or rare breeds, which he sells at his Jovana Farms. Onebunne said geese farming is a promising business for small

•Feeding young geese

farmers because they are very good layers. Geese, he explained, are independent, larger than other poultry species and thus less vulnerable to predators. When kept in small flocks and allowed to roam the farmyard or field, they are adept scavengers, requiring less attention than any other domestic bird. Geese adapt easily to captivity, and if small quantities of supplementary feed are provided in the

evening they will even return home by themselves. They can be raised on very small acreage, either as an independent operation or as an integrated piece with other farming ventures, such as a market garden or grazing ruminants. The size of operation, efficiencies, and time put into marketing are the primary things that will distinguish a successful commercial poultry. For him, almost anyone can

Palm oil refining is a lucrative, creating opportunities for those in oil palm farming. DANIEL ESSIET writes.

Oil palm refining as money spinner


ALM oil refining and production has in the past, and in recent times become lucrative business in Nigeria.This has created opportunities for entrepreneurs. Tony Effiong is a young farmer from Akwa Ibom State. The young farmer owns a piece of land in Edo State on which he grows palm seedlings. He is raising Tenera specie, which bears fruits in three years. He started the venture with N300, 000, savings from his salary. On realising the pay back is good, he plans to expand his enterprise by adding other things. He is already a millionaire by projected sales of harvest. But, why agric business? He said he became interested in farming out of the desire to provide solution to food insecurity that remains a thorn in the flesh of the nation. “This is what I have been dreaming of doing, because there is money in agriculture when you are focused and serious. I am not a graduate, but when I get something from this, I will go back to school. I had 15,000 seedlings here and I have sold 2500 and 12,500 seedlings left. I got seeds and bags and started raising the seedlings left. Some are eight months while some are nine months now.” He intends to expand on a very big land and he is planning to make it a 50,000-capacity seedling raising unit. The estimate of the remaining 12,500 seedlings is about N1,850,000 at the rate of N150 per seedling. Effiong got his seeds from Okomu Oil, so they are reliable. He sells the pro-

duce to vendors in the local market and the produce market has been good and expanding. Oil palm has a high demand in Edo and its environs. Therefore the market is good and expanding he added. Effiong also noted that the business is not expensive. He also said that he ploughed back his proceeds into the business for expansion. “It is not expensive because if you take them to farm now, after two years they will begin to produce palm fruits,” he said. “I didn’t want to squander the cash. I always believe in rolling money to make more money,” he explains. The oil palm business has improved his welfare gradually. He has been exposed to the dos and don’ts of running an oil palm plantation. That helped him ensure he reaped quality oil palm fruit which, in turn, helped to generate a large customer base. He sees himself as a great inspiration to get other youths in-

terested in farming. He envisions a time when young people will visit his farm and learn practical agribusiness. He is currently preparing business plans to pursue expansion. He desires to buy more land with a goal of expanding the agribusiness for better profits, inspiring the youths to get involved in farming for employment creation and livelihood improvement. Effiong plans to generate income and inspire the young people to choose agriculture for employment creation. The young farmer envisions the youth, school children, agriculture entrepreneurs, and small scale farmers visiting his farm. The main challenges include funding, high cost of farm pest and disease control. Effiong is doing a booming business. He has always dreamt of being his own boss someday and he opted to hasten the process. He has turned into a beacon of success for many young men who seek advice on small business opportunities.

Right now, he is seen as an exemplary individual who, despite not having an impressive academic background, is set to climb to the pinnacle of success through sheer determination and hard work. Most young boys leave Edo in search of something better in Lagos and other major states. But he stayed because he could see potential in the agricultural business. He grabbed the opportunity that people left for him and made something out of it. According to him, agriculture can really generate money, if one does it right.” Currently, he has employed two people. With a larger business operation, he will turn to the rural areas for manpower, creating job opportunities for more Nigerians. For him, oil palm provides the most revenue for him. People are currently enjoying his entrepreneurial skills and success. He hoping to tap into the Federal Government’s support through the Agricultural Transformation Agenda(ATA).

Expert calls for innovation fund


HE Manager, Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), Mrs Julie Momah, has urged the Edo State Government to establish an innovation fund to assist young entrepreneurs. She made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin, the state capital. Mrs Momah said such fund would go a long way in boosting innovation and commercialisationof re-

search findings. An innovation fund, she said, would also enable upcoming entrepreneurs to be more focused and resourceful. She noted that “lack of finance is a major challenge that confronts young entrepreneurs and innovative ventures. “But if the state government establishes a fund, it will encourage innovators in the state.

“Young people will then be able to develop their brains and put their ideas into positive use, which will ultimately divert their attention from crimes. “I know that in the next five years, our level of technological advancement in the state will be high if government can give attention to the right people and create favourable environment for the people to operate.”

raise geese. In general, there is a very low overhead to get started (it can be done without buildings or large mechanical equipment. Most successful farmers started small and grew their businesses. Key issues are bedding, space, heat, access to water and feed and predator control. Feed may be purchased as ready-made " starter" from the local farm store or mixed with a ration by local feed mill. A clean set-up is the key to keeping them healthy. Feed generally contains corn, soymeal, sometimes oats or wheat, another protein source such as fish or crab meal, calcium and minerals. Limiting factors for geese farming are that geese are not

fully mature until they are two years. Onebunne has a hatchery. He conducts farmer trainings. He also breeds other rarely bred birds such as ostriches, quails, ducks and guinea fowls. His aim in rearing birds other than hens is to show their viability as alternative sources of meat and eggs. When trained, he said, geese can serve as guards , protecting warehouses with their exceptional eyesight and wide field of vision. Combined with their strident voices, they make excellent guards against approaching strangers or predators since outsiders cannot calm them into silence. According to him, chicken and turkey farmers keep geese to ward off poultry-eating predators.




Understanding your boss BOOK REVIEW Author: Publisher: Reviewer:



T is a fact that most people get stuck on the ladder of career advancement just because they lack the skills of effectively managing their boss. For those experiencing retardation in their career despite having the skills required to succeed, they need to review their relationship with their boss. If they know it is not cordial, then they need to urgently do something about it. And the required solution is in this text christened “Is Your Boss Difficult?” It is authored by Richard Dare Ajiboye, General Secretary/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bible Society of Nigeria, human resource practitioner and motivational speaker. Note that the background information about the book is embedded in chapter one. This text is segmented into ten chapters. As already said, the introduction constitutes the chapter one of the text. In this chapter, the author, through a random survey carried out in mid-2006 in some Nigerian companies, offers aggregation of views of subordinates about whom a boss is, based on the relationship existing between them and their bosses. According to one of the respondents, “A boss is a person of authority in a workplace or situation. He or she is accountable for action taken in a department or an organisation. My relationship with my previous and present bosses has been cordial, and this has

Richard Dare Ajiboye Anchor Communications Ltd Goke Ilesanmi

helped in shaping my corporate life.” Another respondent said, “Typically, my current boss is an autocrat. He throws paper at me when I do the wrong thing, shouts, abuses and walks me out of his office. He likes to give queries even when he is expected to dialogue with me…The only option to get out of his pressure would be to seek transfer or change my job.” According to Ajiboye, it is quite obvious that if more people were allowed to express their views, they would still revolve around positive or negative comments about whom a boss is and the relationships that exist between them and their bosses. The author adds that the obvious is that individuals have described their relationships with their bosses and whom a boss is from their personal backgrounds. Ajiboye asks if any of the negative respondents’ view describes the relationship with your current boss, stressing that if it this is the case, all hope is not lost. The author says it is easy to manage subordinates by virtue of the power and authority a leader has. Ajiboye educates that the boss has the carrot he dangles for good performance and the stick he uses when the subordinates breach the organisational or work standards. He explains that most people are good at managing their subordinates even though there are problems at times in doing this because of human complexities. Managing the boss is usually more problematic because the influence in this case can only be persuasive and non-directive, asserts Ajiboye. Chapter two is based on the subject matter of types of bosses. According to the author here, as human beings are different in personality, so also are bosses different from one another. He explains that there are no two people with exactly the same personal-

ity traits. Such differences, no matter how slight, would make a great difference in relationship, perception, decision-making and problem-solving approaches, adds Ajiboye. The different types of bosses identified by Ajiboye are the achievement-oriented/autocratic boss; people-oriented boss; laissezfaire boss and situational boss. This author says an achievement-oriented/autocratic boss is the one driven by result and does not care how results are achieved especially that he has dictatorial inclination. As regards a people-oriented boss, Ajiboye educates that this type of boss though interested in getting results, is mainly concerned about staff welfare and is democratic in nature and conscious of collective commitment or team work. According the author, a laissez-faire boss is lackadaisical in his style of getting things done and often sees his subordinates as technocrats who should know what to do at any given time. As for a situational boss, Ajiboye

educates that this is a complete person in leading subordinates. The author stresses that a situational boss is a combination of the three types of bosses earlier mentioned and leads according to situation, person and time. In chapters three to six, Ajiboye analytically X-rays concepts such as functions of an executive; how to understand your boss; managing relationship with your boss and competences required to manage your boss. Chapter seven is titled: Tips on managing yourself. According the author here, it is quite obvious that managing your boss successfully starts with how well you are able to manage yourself. The author adds that it will be absolutely difficult for a person who lacks the right qualities to manage him- or herself to manage another person properly. He says most leadership problems that have been experienced are not unconnected with the fact that people who are not mature enough to manage themselves are for one wrong reason or another made to manage others. In chapters eight to 10, he discusses the tips of managing your boss; why your boss could be hard and conclusion on how to achieve effective relationship with people. Stylistically, this text is fantastic. The language is standard and embroidered with good word order and accurate diction. The concepts, too, reflect a high level of primary and secondary forms of research as well as logical presentation. To reinforce readers’ understanding and consistently remind them of the thematic direction of the text, Ajiboye employs a technique of paraphrasing to achieve conceptual restatement. What’s more, the interrogative mode of the title creates suspense, easily arouses and sustains readers’ interest while the outside front cover design reinforces the title. But a few errors of punctuation and interpretation are noticed in the text, e.g., “Executive Director Human Resources, Cadbury Nigeria Plc” (page 28), instead of “Executive Director, Human Resources, Cadbury Nigeria Plc”, etc. On the whole, this book is a brilliant combination of human resource management and motivational forms of discourse. It is a mustread for all employees, managers, chief executives, entrepreneurs and organisations have thirst for personal and organisational development.



ELLING makes a major contribution to the economy and it is a profession to be proud of. Like any profession, it requires certain disciplines. And two disciplines which can have a major impact on a company’s profitability are sales forecasting and targeting. One of the things central to successful selling is writing proposals. Julian Clay, author of Successful Selling Solutions says presenting your solution to a target account will confirm that it can meet the needs. This is a stage that a buyer will often need a more detailed confirmation of the financial investment in your product and service. Deciding when to put something in writing or in an email will depend on the price of your products, the type of relationship you have with a buyer and the length of your sales cycle. For low-cost, fast-turnover products you might need to send written confirmation after a first meeting. If you sell high-cost products, you will take longer to gain genuine commitment. This means that a detailed proposal will be needed to link your solution to the target account’s needs. To be successful in selling, you need to avoid some mistakes made in writing.

One mistake One of these avoidable mistakes is to open weak by beginning with a statement like, “Thank you for your time on the phone today.” Sue Hershkowitz-Coore, CSP, a dynamic speaker with a background in education, a graduate degree in counselling and a UC Berkley fellowship says, “You want to compel them to read! If you’re trying to grab their attention, go for the gusto! Start with strong, clear benefit statements like, ‘Your attendees will thank you! You’ll make their life easier by selecting a hotel right there—in the airport. Easy in, easy out. No hassle and immediate transport cost savings for you and them! Oh… and don’t forget to tell the bellman to bring their baggage right to their room!” Even if you discuss these ideas with your

Notable mistakes in sales writing By Goke Ilesanmi

prospect on the phone today, forget the standard “thank you” and focus on what he or she can enjoy because of your offer.

Additional mistakes Another mistake is to focus on the stuff that matters to you by using the first singular pronoun “I” word like that. Your sales letter is not your life story nor is it a narrative of everything you will like. It is easy to appear selfish when your message is filled with “I” words. A good rule of thumb is to use double the amount of “You” and “Your” words for every “I” or “We” in your message. Rambling by just writing for the sake of writing is another mistake in sales writing. Every effective sales letter has a purpose. Whether it is to close a sale, pique interest, get an appointment, motivate prospects to accept your phone call, whatever it is, if you do not clearly know what you want from your message, you will not get it. Before you write, pre-write. Ask yourself: Why am I writing? What do I want to accomplish? Scribble that answer down on a piece of paper. After you have written your sales letter, see if you have met your goal.

Failure to ask for action Another mistake is to fail to ask for action. Always ask yourself, when you are pre-writing, thinking through your purpose for writing, is a good time. What will the next step in this sales process be? How will I make it clear to my reader? Make this action step compelling, and you have made your job easy! Telling prospects you will call in a few days to see if they received the materials you sent is another mistake. HershkowitzCoore advises that you first, date the action. Tell prospects exactly what day you

will call to follow up. This will give you a great opener, however, and show your responsiveness and reliability when you call and say, ‘Good day Mr. Adeyinka. This is Adebola, and I promised to follow up with you today’.” Second, why should prospects talk with you to tell you they have received your mail? Give them a reason that matters to them to talk with you. In your email or sales letter, write: “I’ll call you on January 29, to talk more about your company’s training needs and see how we can offer your people the absolute most comprehensive and reliable training at the best cost possible.”

Use of multi-syllabic words Another mistake identified in sales writing is to use fancy, multi-syllabic words. Communication experts say you need to show prospects how well you have learnt to use the thesaurus so that you do not repeat the same word in a letter. It is better to impress people with what you know, not the fancy words you know. Anyone can consult a dictionary or thesaurus and find bigger words. To achieve success in your sales writing, use clear and concise, conversational words to connect with your prospects. And do not be intimidated by Mr. VIP’s title. Prefer specific words that make a point to express your point. It is okay to use the same words in the same paragraph, by the way. If your clients call the meeting, a meeting, why call it a conference, workshop, symposium, or convention? Use their words over and over!

Data dump Data dump is another notable mistake in sales writing. This is by telling your prospects about every feature of your product or service. You may be in love with your product, idea or service but your prospects are in love with making their businesses run more efficiently or more effectively.

Talk more about the benefits of your offer to your readers, not the facts and features of what you are selling. And only write about the benefits that matter to prospects. It is meaningless for instance, to tell a father of 60 years that you also do free training for your clients or prospects on how to choose a life partner for enduring marital success. Also ensure that you personalise every sales letter.

Unnecessary apology Another mistake is to apologise and put yourself into legal jeopardy. Even if there was a delay in getting the materials to your clients, avoid the temptation of beginning with the apologetic expression, “Sorry for the delay”. In fact, an apology in writing makes the writer feel better about a situation that he or she caused. But it is rarely helpful to the reader. When you write, always focus on the solution. If you want to apologise verbally, that is up to you. In writing, start strong and stay strong. Focus on solution and you will not be “sorry”! 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. Till we meet on Monday.

•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:





BADAN, the largest city in Africa south of the Sahara and the political capital of Southwest, Nigeria has perhaps the highest number of palaces of all the towns and cities in Yoruba land, no thanks to the absence of a central and befitting home for the city’s monarch-the Olubadan of Ibadan land. Until the early 1980’s Baales of Ibadan and later, those who ascended the throne of the Olubadan of Ibadan land used their residences as the palace. Even when the Olubadan palace was built later on Mapo Hills, only one monarch reigned from there and his successors had to revert to the tradition of ruling from their private home/palace. The incumbent, Oba Samuel Odulana, Odugade I, lives at his house at Monatan area of the city. The palace at Mapo was considered in adequate and unbefitting of the ruler of a kingdom of no fewer than four million subjects, especially as it was located within the precinct of the popular and riotous Oba’s market (Oja’ba). But that is about to change as prominent indigenes of the ancient city rose up at the weekend for the construction of a modern and befitting Olubadan palace, obviously to end the reign of multiple palaces for the same throne. The venue was the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba and champions and initiators of the project was the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), the umbrella body for indigenes of the city. In his opening address, the CCII President, Chief Bayo Oyero who also doubles as the Chairman, Olubadan Palace Fund Raising Committee explained that the launch was expected to give Ibadan a palace of good aesthetics and splendour that befits the status and stature of a monarch ruling over a city with the largest concentration of black people in the world. Although Oyero stated that the Olubadan once had a palace at Oja’ba he explained that the former palace on Mapo Hill is rather choky for present day usage and has no room for expansion, among others challenges. “The (new palace) project itself has been broken into three phases, the first phase consist of the living area for Olubadan, royal guest house, ceremonial pavilion, reception block, main gate house, festivities ground, car parks, palace transport pool, power house, police post, fire station, wood land, existing Ibadan house, Olubadan Market, future development, and the gate houses” Oyero said. He disclosed that the entire project would cost about N2.5 billion, but that the first phase would gulp about N850 million. Oyero appealed to all Ibadan and non-Ibadan indigenes to donate generously towards the quick completion of the project. In his speech, business mogul, Chief Bode Amoo, who was the Chairman of the occasion, recalled that in 1993 when a similar project was launched on behalf of the monarch, only N1 million was realized out of the budgeted N166 million. Amoo noted that there was need to build a world-class palace for the


RKED by the unbridled abysmal descent of the country’s culture in general and that of Lagos State in particular, Ominitiwa Club (Eko Forum), a socio-cultural group has advocated drastic measures aimed at halting the trend. President of the group, Mr. Babatunde Ali-Balogun, who spoke during the annual general meeting (AGM) of the organisation, noted that total revamping of the cultures and traditions of the Nigerian people is the only antidote to the unsavoury situation. He also added that giving a facelift to the mores of the land is a sure way to secure the future of the young ones and generations yet unborn. Mr Ali-Balogun stated that the cul-

Ibadan indigenes rise for a befitting palace for Olubadan From Bisi Oladele and Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

Olubadan and urged all and sundry to support the project. In his welcome address, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade 1, tasked the Oyo State Governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi and all the eleven local government Councils that make up of Ibadanland to contribute to the proposed building of a permanent Olubadan Palace. The monarch, who was represented by the Otun Olubadan Chief Omowale Kuye, also urged the indigenes, non-indigenes and well-wishers alike to support the project in order to protect the traditional heritage of Ibadan. “I will be 100 years on years on Monday, April 14, 2014. Today is therefore a momentous and unique occasion for me to witness the whole world gathering here, raising funds for Olubadan’s permanent palace, one of my dream projects in this land” he said The monarch called the attention of indigenes to the fact that the owner of a load ought to carry the load where it is heaviest. He recalled that when he was installed as the Olubadan seven years

ago he pledged to ensure the building of a new permanent and befitting palace for the throne as well as the creation of Ibadan state. To this end, he said the need for a new palace was recognised over a decade ago when the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) approached the late Governor of Oyo State, Chief Kolapo Ishola who graciously allocated an extpansive parcel of land at the foot of the Agala forest for the development of the palace. Odulana stated that the palace belongs to every Ibadan indigene, stressing that Ibadan is a republican city of warriors and for which any of the sons could be the occupant of the palace in future. Responding to the challenge, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, an Ibadan indigene, said the building of the palace is what all the sons and daughters of Ibadan must contribute towards. Ajimobi noted that different people from different tribes have gained from the hospitable and accommodating spirit of Ibadanland, adding that all should support the gesture. “The urban beatification project of our government will not be completed without the building of a befitting modern palace for the revered Ibadan monarch.

“This is a reflection of the pride of place in which Ibadan represents in the History of this nation. Ibadan is the home of all the landmark projects of the first republic, therefore it is a quest that we must assist Ibadan to fulfill the goal of modernity” In his remark, the former governor of Lagos State and Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC),Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stated that Yoruba tradition and culture must be respected as it sets us apart from the world and has been earning us respect. Tinubu, who was represented by former Minister of Defence, Chief Ademola Seriki described Olubadan as a pride to the Yoruba and Nigeria as well as an achiever who marches on against all odds. He went further:” Those who have been claiming that Yoruba have no leaders are hypocrites, mischief makers and rabble rousers who know nothing about Yoruba land and Yoruba people. “Under Olubadan’s reign, your people have enjoyed peace and development, and your support for democratic governance and progressivism is highly commendable. We are proud of you and shall continue to support you.” During the launching of the project, Ajimobi donated N25 million on

Group calls for cultural revival By Amidu Arije

ture of the state is fading out gradually, a situation, he said needs urgent attention. He stressed that no country will experience progress without taking into consideration its cultural heritage. He said his association is working hard to revive the almost-forgotten cultures of the state. “To a large extent the cultures of the state are dying and may go into extinction. We are trying, to a large extent, to build what our forefathers passed down to us.

“If you look around, you will see people playing gbedu drum and that is a drum for royalty. You will understand that it is different from the hip-hop thing we all know. This is pure tradition and we will continue to promote it,” he said. Also speaking, the chairman of the occasion, Mr Fatai Oluwole, a retired local government service administrator, said the culture of the state is eroding. He further stated that the Ominitiwa Club is working towards the promotion and revamping of the culture of the people. “The existence of Eko Forum is to

promote the culture and tradition of the people that is gradually eroding as a result of the influx of western tradition. But with the association which is now complementing the efforts of other socio-cultural groups in Lagos State, is doing enough to ensure that our culture and tradition do not disappear with the coming of the western culture,” he said. Mr Oluwole said if the influx of western culture is not checked, there is the possibility of total extinction of the culture. He praised the state government and traditional rulers in their efforts to sustain the culture of

behalf of the state government and N20 million from his personal purse, also Olubadan and his Council contributed N20 million. The Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) gave N10 million while the chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in Oyo State, Otunba Salimon Oladiti also donated N4million. Others are Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin who donated N5 million, the former governor of Oyo State, Chief Omololu Olunloyo who gave N1million, Splash FM Radio gave N1 million, the 11 local government traditional councils in Ibadan donated N11 million while Ambassador Olusola Saanu N500,000. At the end of the fund raising over N150 million was realized. Other dignitaries present at the event include Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe: Oloye Lekan Alabi; Oyo State Head of Service, Alhaji Tajudeen Aremu; Prof Akinwumi Ishola; Iyalode of Ibadanland, Chief Aminat Abiodun; Chief Adebayo Akande and Prof Adeniyi Osuntogun. Others include Chief Tunde Aboderin, Mr Areoye Oyebola, former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Alhaji Sarafadeen Alli, commissioners in Oyo State and the 11 local government chairmen in Ibadan. the state, even as he believes that more are still needs to be done. “The government is trying and the traditional rulers are also trying to restore the culture of our people. But the influx of different socio-cultural groups into Lagos results in the erosion of the cultural heritage of Lagos State. If care is not taken, the heritage may disappear,” he said. He said the traditions and cultures of the state should be in the forefront. We should make sure that they are not destroyed by the influence of western civilisation. “The government should fund cultural development which should be part of the curricula of primary and secondary schools in order to make sure the culture does not get extinct,” he added.



Reinstated Ondo lawmaker narrates ‘suspension’ ordeal

It takes the special grace of God for a widow like me to go through a torrential flow of emotional torture on a matter that was premised on falsehood and still came out strong and resolute

•I’ve been vindicated


FTER six months at home following her suspension by her colleagues in the Ondo State House of Assembly, the member representing Ose Constituency, Hon. (Mrs) Funmi Olaseinde Vincente, has returned to her legislative duties in the hallowed chambers. She was all smiles last Thursday unlike her pensive mood on June 18, 2013, when she was suspended by the leadership of the assembly over alleged misconduct Hon. Olaseinde-Vincente was accused of her keeping fetish objects in her rented apartment which she vehemently denied. The development led to the setting up of a fiveman panel headed by Mr. Fatai Olotu to probe into the matter and report back in two-weeks. However, when the time frame lapsed and the matter still had not been resolved but instead was dragging for too long, the lawmaker approached the Court to seek redress. An Akure High Court presided over by Justice Olaseinde Kumuyi after listening to both parties struck out her case for lack of merit. The lawmaker was dissatisfied and was in the process of going on appeal when her colleagues reconsidered her case and she was recalled by the leadership of the Assembly. The Nation investigations revealed that there was more to her suspension than the stated offence of keeping fetish objects. Sources said her ordeal had political undertone and might not be unconnected to her rumoured closeness to one of the governors in the Southwest which did not go down well with some powerful forces in the corridors of power in Ondo State. The forces collaborated to get her suspended for six months an action

From Damisi Ojo,Akure

that denied her constituents representation in the Assembly for that period. According to the Deputy Speaker of the House, Dare Emiola, the Assembly took the decision to reinstate her after the ad-hoc committee set up submitted its report and recommended that the suspension be lifted. He said: “Following the submission of the Committee’s report, the House has pardoned her all that should have been done concerning her recall has been done at parliamentary level. “She is back in the House to perform her duty and everything that transpired is within us.” The majority leader, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu said, the House recalled Olaseinde Vincente after she tendered an apology letter, adding that the lawmaker had also withdrawn the suit she instituted against the Assembly over the suspension. The reinstated lawmaker recalled that on June 18, 2013, a letter suspending her from the Ondo State House of Assembly was handed to her. The suspension she said was hinged on a trumped-up story that fetish objects were found in her apartment. This apartment, the legislator said she had vacated and handed over the keys to the owners long before the story which was well-dressed to paint her black in the eyes of the people of her constituency and the entire global audience In her speech, on the floor of the Assembly, Olaseinde-Vincente said, “despite denial to free and equitable hearing I was suspended as a law abiding citizen, lawyer and representative of the people of Ose


•Olaseinde Vincente constituency, I went to court to seek redress. “I approached the court because I have always believed in the potency of the rule of law to right the orchestrated politics of mudslinging that was targeted at my person. “While the court process continues, the leadership and members of the House of Assembly absolved me of the wicked story, lifted the suspension and reinstated me. “According to the letter of reinstatement authored by the leadership of the State House of Assembly, it took effect from December 1, 2013. “I am therefore glad to inform you that I have been vindicated by my colleagues with all my benefits attached. “I am grateful to God Almighty whose name is above every other name and under whose grace we the ordinary mortals enjoy the gift of free will and abundant life. “It takes the special grace of God for a widow like me to go through a torrential flow of emotional torture on a matter that was premised on falsehood and still came out strong and resolute.

“I thank my colleagues in the House for upholding the truth and speaking truth to the power that be. They searched for the truth, found and stuck to it. “Ours is indeed an Assembly of hope and truth in pursuit of the mandates of our people given to us legitimately. “Also, I humbly wish to thank the people of my constituency for the support given to me throughout the period. “I am aware of the poignant grief and denial of representation my suspension brought to you. The fortitude with which you sailed through the period is incredible. “I know God that we serve will continue to fight our course and bring that development that we all crave to Ose constituency.” She also appreciated the women who according to never ceased from interceding for her and offered penetrating words of encouragement which made her cut through the thick cloud of intrigues of politics and attempt to despise her family name. The lawmaker said: “I further thank my leaders who stood by me,

religious and opinion leaders of note for their prayers and words of wisdom, gentlemen of the press, print, electronic and social media for constant reportage of all sides. “I appreciate my friends who never compromised truth on the altars of propaganda and wicked politics designed to carve another image for a friend you have known for years. Those who know me right from my elementary school to University of Ife know who I am and what I stand for. “For those that conspired to bring me down, I leave you in the hand of God, for I take solace in the word of God that admonishes forgiveness. “I give glory to God Almighty and promise to serve humanity and continue to contribute to the growth and development of the state.” The lawyer noted that the last six months had been full of challenges, but said she was ready to continue to work for the people of Ose constituency despite that they were deprived the representation for six months.

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A budget for more I BA Local Council Development Area, Lagos, has passed a budget of over N2 billion, which council chairman, Hon Ramota Adeyeri Oseni said is aimed at providing more infrastructure and welfare for residents of the area. The Oseni administration has tackled pressing challenges, some of which are roads, health facilities and school infrastructure among others. The council leadership rehabilitated the once problematic Oba Ayoka Road in Iba town as well as the Iba Estate Road. Drainages and culverts have been built in water-logged places, just as flood plain areas have been landscaped for appropriate infrastructural remedies. The health profile of the area was also boosted with the completion of public health centres at Ijagemo and Kemberi in addition to the provision of first aid boxes in all public schools in the development area.

The administration equally moved to enhance sanitation and healthy living by building prototype public toilets in the area, with a borehole attached. Pupils are regularly assisted with free aids, including uniforms and classroom furniture in all 14 primary schools in the area. Every year, free GCE and JAMB forms are given to candidates who perform excellently in their school certificate exams. Also, four plots of land have been acquired for the building of a secondary school in the council. But, Hon. Oseni said that the “budget of consolidation”, as she called it, will be her financial instrument to further improve the living standards of the people in the LCDA in the 2014 fiscal year. Part of the expenditure estimates, she said, will be devoted to recruitment bills, overheads, personnel wages and school salaries, among others, but the LCDA chairman added that her administration is determined to do more for the people this year.

•Chairman, Hon. Ramota Oseni presents the budget document to Leader of the House, Hon. Olohunkemi Ismaila




•One of the photographs found on Owolabi’s phone by the police

•The Suspect, Mohood Owolabi

Varsity student stab colleague to death A

STUDENT of Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Moshood Owolabi has been remanded in prison on the orders of a Magistrate for his alleged stabbing to death of another student of the institution Mr. Kolade Oluwaseun. Oluwaseun woke up a healthy boy on Sunday, January 12, full of life as he donned his dress and made for a shopping complex near his school to make photocopies of some documents in preparation for the semester examination that was to begin later that week. At the shopping complex, Oluwaseun, a 400-level student of Mass Communication decided to join a group of students in a restaurant when he discovered that the business centre he wanted to use was yet to open, a decision that later turned tragic as he became a dead person a few minutes after joining his friend. He was engaged in a hot argument and later fracas with a 200level student of Physical and Health Education at the university, Moshood Owolabi a.k.a. Essential (28), who allegedly stabbed him to death with a broken bottle. The Nation investigation revealed that fracas broke out among a group of students, which included the duo, at the restaurant at Toll Gate area of Ibadan, at about 10:30am on the fateful day. The students were said to be taking soft drinks when the argument led into a brawl. Before anyone knew what was happening, Owolabi was said to have stabbed the deceased. Though he was rushed to Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, Oluwaseun was confirmed dead on arrival and his body deposited at the morgue. Owolabi was promptly arrested, but he denied stabbing Oluwaseun, alleging that it was his friends that hit him with bottles

•Remanded in prison

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

when they saw that the deceased had injured him with a broken bottle. Owolabi, whose face was also sutured by the side of his left eye following injuries he received, told The Nation that it was a slang uttered by Oluwaseun that brought about the fracas. Giving account of how it ensued, he said: “Kehinde Oladimeji, a 400level student of Accountancy, who is my friend came to me on Sunday morning that I should follow him to do photocopy of some documents and smoke jedi. We were joined by Emmanuel Harrison (400-level Mass Communication) and Obayomi Obabukoye Franklyn (100-level Business Administration). The photocopy shop was not yet opened so we went into a shop to take soft drinks. “While taking the drink, two guys joined us. Later, Seun came and said ‘you guys are enjoying, but you are inviting pile.’ He, however, said he would take the drink because it was cold. We asked him to pick a glass cup. “On his way back to the table, he started uttering slangs and shouting: ‘who dey suffocate?’ Franklyn

a.k.a. Da Grin then said: ‘Seun, you have come o. Before you came, everywhere was calm, why are you shouting? Don’t you have exams on Friday?’ Seun said he had papers and Franklyn asked him again ‘Then why are you shouting?’ Seun became angry with that and gave Franklyn a punch. “We all stood up and challenged him for doing that, asking him whether it was because he was in 400-level and Franklyn was in 100-level. He kept quiet. I stood up and also challenged him on why he punched Franklyn and he smashed the cup in his hand and started ‘jabbing’ me with it because he felt I was siding with Franklyn. “Others stood up when they saw blood gushing from my face and started beating him. By then, I was looking for water to clean my face. I eventually removed my shirt to clean the blood. By the time I went back inside the shop, I saw Seun on the floor; everybody had ran away. Some women started shouting that he should be rushed to the hospital. “I tried getting a cab but due to the blood running all over me, the driver refused to answer. The sales

Seun came and greeted everybody. He went to buy Pepsi and came to us, uttering some slangs. Franklyn now told him not to shout as he was not the only one in the shop. He turned to castigate Franklyn for talking to him and gave him a punch

girl also ran away but when she came back, she met only me. She was advised to hold me responsible since I was the only one left. I was not the one who stabbed Seun. Kenny, Franklyn, Harrison and others were the ones who descended on Seun when they saw my bloodied face. They picked bottles and started using it on him.” When asked why they should react to ‘who dey suffocate’, a phrase he claimed he didn’t know its meaning, Moshood said “that is the work of the devil.” Moshood admitted to the police that he used to smoke Indian hemp because it helped him to read very well had a strange picture of an axe, gun, hammer and other weapons in a box found on his phone. And when asked why he had such a picture he said he copied it from the display picture of a friend called Bobby, also a student of the same institution. Both Harrison and Kehinde, who were witnesses to what happened on that Sunday have, however, punctured Moshood’s argument in their explanations. Narrating his own side of the story, Harrison said: “Seun came and greeted everybody. He went to buy Pepsi and came to us, uttering some slangs. Franklyn now told him not to shout as he was not the only one in the shop. He turned to castigate Franklyn for talking to him and gave him a punch. The duo started fighting and Moshood joined in defending Franklyn. “While all these were happening, we ran outside and came back inside. I was even shouting and pulling Moshood off. Before we knew what was happening, we started hearing breaking of bottles. Moshood and Seun came outside

and Moshood stabbed Seun on the neck. “Kehinde and I ran to the school gate to alert the security there. I also ran back to the toll gate to get the ambulance there so that we could rush Seun to the hospital. By the time I came back, Seun was bleeding. Kehinde used his shirt to bind the neck. “Even, when Moshood was trying to get a cab, he beat up an old man; he was beating up everybody on his way. Blood was flowing all over him and everyone was scared seeing him like that. When we got to the hospital, we were told that Seun was B.I.D. (Brought In Dead).” The sales girl who spoke in confidence also confirmed that it was Moshood who stabbed Seun contrary to the acussed claim, stressing that Moshood was apprehended when he was about to escape on a motorcycle. In a telephone chat with the Director of Corporate Affairs of the Lead City University, Dr Ayobami Owolabi said the incident has thrown both the institution and the family of the deceased into mourning. He said being a police case the institution would take appropriate action against Moshood after the police must have concluded their investigation When contacted, the police spokesperson in Oyo State, Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, confirmed the incident and said that the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, for further investigations. Meanwhile, Moshood on Monday, January 20 appeared before Magistrates’ Court 2, Iyaganku, Ibadan, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder. The sitting magistrate, Alhaja Sefia Oyediran, remanded him in prison custody and adjourned the case till February 3, for further hearing.





HEN Mr Abiodun Adeniran a lecturer at The Polytechnic, Ibadan was returning home from work that fateful day, all he had in mind was to have a peaceful rest after a hard day’s work, but this was not to be. As he entered his compound at Akobo area of the city, little did he know that danger was lurking. He walked straight into the hands of a group of armed robbers who after disposing him and his wife of their precious wedding rings and other valuables also went away with his car.. The academia, while narrating his ordeals in the hands of three armed robbers said it was his first experience meeting men of the underworld face to face. According to him, he had returned from work into the living room not knowing that the armed robbers had been keeping vigil inside the uncompleted building behind his residence. Adeniran said his mother inlaw had gone out to pick some clothes hung to dry outside when she discovered that they had fallen to the other side of the fence. “As she was trying to look beyond the fence, suddenly three hefty men jumped the fence from their hideout and ordered her to lead them into the main building. “When they entered, they demanded for everything including money, handsets and other valuables in the house among which were our wedding rings. “They also demanded for the key of my car which was parked in the premises and they went away with it,” the lecturer recalled. Before the robbers left, he said his wife and himself were locked up in the bathroom while they gave the key to his mother in-law. Immediately they left, he said “people came to sympathise with us, and the incident was reported

Four robbers shot dead by police in Ibadan From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

at the police station”. The robbery victim said the police swung into action immediately, sending radio messages to all police formations and this led to the killing of the three robbers. While drumming support for the police, the victim who commended them for a job well done, urged government to give Nigeria Police the necessary support to do more. Parading the dead suspects at the Police Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, recently State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar

•As victim recount ordeal Indabawa, disclosed to journalists that four armed robbers, including the three that robbed the Adenirans were killed during a gun battle with the policemen in Ibadan. He said the robbers were killed on Friday, January 17, 2014. The fourth robber was killed along the Lagos/Ibadan road, Seko area near Dominion University while attempting to evade a police checkpoint, while three others ran away.

Indabawa also disclosed that a Honda Accord car with registration number TD 206 AAA, belonging to one Engineer Adeniran Ademola was reported stolen by robbers who also went away with some belongings of their victim. The police boss stated that the police manhunt for the robbers was helped by support from a popular hunter, Alhaji Kwara Azare, who joined the police in the search for the car which was

trailed to a point on Oyo road. “When the three occupants (suspected robbers) discovered that they were being trailed, they diverted to Alaaka road where they opened fire on the police patrol team pursuing them. In the process, the three suspected robbers were fatally wounded while the vehicle was recovered from them.” The CP noted Indabawa disclosed that when police conducted search on the Honda Accord car, items such as the vehicle document and other documents found in the car indicated that the vehicle belonged to Engineer Ademola. Other items recovered from the killed robbers included, an A-K 47 rifle, one double barrel locally made pistol, one single barrel locally made cut-to-size shot-gun, 101 rounds of live ammunition, nine rounds of live cartridges, eight assorted mobile phones, one laptop and the sum of N17,170.00. The Commissioner of Police said the robber who was killed at Seko area was trying to evade a police checkpoint. He revealed that the occupants of the car, a Toyota Camry, with registration number ST 57 AAA refused to stop at the check point prompting the policemen to pursue them. But the occupants of the car, in order to evade arrest opened fire on the policemen chasing them and an exchange of gun fire ensued. In thye process, one of the occupants of the car was killed while the three others escaped into the bush. Indabawa explained that the vehicle was immediately recovered while on the spot search led to the recovery of two shot guns, 12 rounds of live cartridges, one knife, four assorted handsets and one cutlass. The CP disclosed that some of the particulars recovered from the car revealed the owner as Omowunmi Abubakar of Yinusa Balogun bust stop, Okota palace, Lagos.

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WEMABOD Estates to deliver N4b Apapa Mall in June


EMABOD Estates Limited a member of Odu’a Group is set to deliver a N4 billion shopping mall dubbed, at Park lane, Apapa GRA Apapa on a 13,000 square metre land. Barring challenges from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over imported containers expected through the Wharf, the massive project named Apapa Mall is billed to be delivered in June according to the developer and current president of African Union of Architects (AUA), Chief Tokunbo Omisore. Omisore said no fewer than 28 containers are being expected from the wharf to kick-start the mall in 6 months. He said the major anchor tenants are Shoprite, Pep store, Mr. Price among other South African companies. He observed the avalanche of South African companies in Nigeria which he said was being helped by the massive support they receive from their home government in terms of funding which is in the region of 5¹/² per cent for the investors. Omisore said that it does not however negate the presence of some local brands such as Ruff & Tumble, Casabela, Medplus and others as the space is only 90 per cent taken. Earlier Managing Director of

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

WEMABOD estates Limited, Mr. Olumide Ologun said the development of the Apapa shopping mall was conceived to put into good use the derelict properties of the company in Park lane. He said the properties were not only underutilized with non paying tenants but the revenue base of the conglomerate was also dwindling. Ologun said the company took the decision on the mall to raise the bar in the shopping experience of Lagosians. He said: “90 per cent of the spaces have been taken up though regretting that the company still have funding challenges making us to partner with developers and other private sector partners to deliver on some of the planned projects in order to deliver good return to our owners.” Apart from the shopping mall WEMABOD estate has also delivered 200 units of 3 bedroom flats in Ibafo Ogun state and other luxury estates in Lagos, he added. Chairman of the company, Dr. Adebayo Adewusi while addressing the Board of Odu’a Group who visited them at their corporate head quarters in Western House, said apart from the challenge of investible fund-

•Apapa Mall under construction ing to execute projects and low level board approvals which is hampering their operations they have launched Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) to execute certain projects. He also revealed that they have embarked on projects in Ibadan in conjunction with some private sector investors. On some of the projects, Adewusi reeled them out as, the Builders Mart in Ondo state, 200 housing units in Ogun state, Shopping mall in Ekiti and yet to be finalized housing project in Osun state.

The Group Managing Director of Odu’a Investment Co. Limited, Dr Adebayo Jimoh commended the management of WEMABOD estates on their achievement so far in real estate development with all its challenges. He praised them on the launch of REIT which will help them raise fund to execute some of their projects. Finally the Chairman of Odu’a Group , Dr. Isaac Akintade encouraged the management to always put forward their request to the board, promising that they will always find ways of meeting their needs . He

commended the judicious use of the available finance by the management as discovered from their personal findings and visits and pledged more assistance to them to succeed. He urged them to see the whole of South west as one in the distribution of projects and amenities. According to him the idea is to grow the prosperity of the region to bequeath a lasting legacy for the younger generation like the founding fathers did in establishing the company in the first instance.




Fuel subsidy disaster: Octogenarian victims cry for compensation after two years S lofty as the strong will by Nigerians to fight against the removal of fuel subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2012, those who lost their loved ones and properties to the protest that rocked several parts of the country still rue the day the President made the ill-thought announcement. A one-storey building on 75, Owu/ NTA junction, Totoro-Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital jointly owned by Pa Lasisi Ademuyiwa and Pa Salisu Ademuyiwa, both octogenarian was razed due to a fire outbreak caused by the tear gas shot by the police to disperse the protesters. The octogenarian problem began with the expansion projects embarked upon by the state government that claimed part of the building before the subsidy crisis. During the protest, the police teargas went on top of the roof, leaving the building in flames. Two years after, the Ademuyiwas are crying out over the non-payment of any compensation to the family. The victims accused the Ogun State Police Command and the state government of neglect, noting that two years after their family house was burnt, they are yet to receive any form of compensation from government. They appealed to Governor


By Tajudeen Adebanjo

Ibikunle Amosun to look into their case. According to Pa Salisu Ademuyiwa, they lost all their personal effects to the inferno and since then they have been finding it difficult to make ends meet. He said all the victims including his elder brother, his wife, grandchildren and others have been squatting in rented houses since the incident. “It hurts us that some people who suffered just like us are getting compensation yet our case has never been addressed,” he said. According to him, one of the teargas canisters fired by the police strayed into the upper sitting room of the building via the window and caused the fire that gutted the entire property. “We are still keeping the police tear-gas canister till today; it was God that saved one of my brother’s life as he was deep in sleep in his bedroom when the fire started,” he said. Pa Ademuyiwa said after the fire outbreak, they filled for compensation and they are still waiting for government response, expressing surprise that two years after nothing has been heard in that regard.

“Few months ago, after so much stress and pestering, the state emergency management agency was reported to have given out some planks and roofing sheets; what do they want us to do with roofing sheets on a burnt building,” he queried His sentiments were echoed by his elder brother’s wife, Mrs Ademuyiwa. Recalling the incident, Mrs Ademuyiwa said: “I was busy washing my clothes in front of the house while my husband was taking his siesta in one of the rooms. We could not go out because of the nationwide strike/protest called by the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, and civil society groups. Before we knew what was going on, we saw that our building has been engulfed by fire. The fire emanated from the tear gas canister fired by members of the Nigeria Police Force to disperse the protesting crowd. No member of the family could take any material out of the building throughout the period the fire lasted” One of the neighbours who witnessed the incident, Mrs. Mary Owolabi testified that the Police teargas entered the upper sitting room of the building and ignited a fire which spread like a whirlwind for •Pa Salisu Ademuyiwa the number of hours it lasted

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Menace of land-grabbers will soon end, says lawmaker


EPUTY Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Rotimi Abiru has said that the atrocities and menace of land-grabbers popularly called ‘Ajugungbales’ or ‘Omoniles’ in the state will be a thing of the past once the bill to criminalise their activities currently before the House is passed into law. Abiru, who is the chairman of an ad-hoc committee set up by the House to look into the petition sent to the House by residents of house 3, 6, 7 and 15 on Adewunmi street, Ladi-Lak, Bariga in Bariga Local Council Development area, over unlawful and forceful attempts to steal their properties by some individuals in cohort with the court and the police stated this while responding to reporters question on the petition. The petition signed by Messrs. Ajayi Ogunrolu, Mobolaji Abass, Mutiyat Okeade and Olufemi Onagoruwa is titled, ‘Petition to the Lagos state House of Assembly against the unlawful and forceful attempts to steal our properties/ threat to our lives and causing of injurious damages to our properties by Madam Oluwatoyin Ali, Mr. Zacheous Alabi and the Lagos state police command (OP-MESA)’. According to Abiru, “The kind of treatment meted out to the occupants of house number 3,6,7 and 15 Adewumi Street, Ladi- Lak, Bariga, is most unfortunate. Firstly, those that enforced the judgment came by 7 am with men of OP MESA and policemen. Of course, the policemen claimed that they went there to enforce the judgment of the court but they cannot explain the presence of OP MESA at the site of the incident. “And when they came, they actu- landlords, tenants petition Assembly over forceful ejection By Oziegbe Okoeki

ally gave heavy injury to those occupants, who were helpless people and if not for the neighbours that actually called the press, I am sure, it would have degenerated greatly”, Abiru said. Abiru who is also the lawmaker representing Bariga in the House further stated that though the court would have given the judgment based on the evidences before it, it was clear that the judgment was fraudulently obtained. He said: “There is no doubt that the court must have given the judgment based on the evidences before it, but we can categorically say that the judgment was fraudulently obtained before the court and the court actually gave the judgment in error because all through the proceedings of the matter, none of the real owner was ever served with any notice by the court, neither were they joined in the suit. “And the man who claimed to own those houses does not have any link whatsoever with the people and what is amazing to us is how he was able to convince the court. “What we are particular about is for the House to look into the matter with a view to investigating the processes by which the judgment was given because the man claimed that he actually owns those houses and that he was owing one Toyin Ali and he wanted to use those houses to offset his debt, this is very ambiguous and very worrisome and this is one of the things that warranted the emergence of Ajagungbale Bill. “And again, we also want the Com-

missioner of Police to help fish out the policemen, possibly the OP MESA that were with the Sheriff when they came around to harass the residents.” The lawmaker also the assured the residents that with the House and Governor Fashola’s intervention on the matter, they would soon receive justice. According to him: “I want to thank the governor for sending the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed with Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Rotimi Pedro to assist the committee and especially the affected families because as we speak now, they have provided temporary accommodation for those whose houses have been totally destroyed and they are kept safely somewhere now. “The affected families have approached the court to set aside the judgment while we are hoping that the case would be heard at the court very soon. So, I just want to assure

the residents of these houses that they are not alone in this struggle because the House and the Governor are very keen to see that justice is done in this matter.” The petitioners are praying the Assembly to investigate the invasion of their properties by officials of Ikeja High Court and men of the Nigerian Police “chasing, beating and maiming residents indiscriminately, firing gun shots into the air, breaking down windows and doors and throwing out belongings, forcefully ejecting all residents and taking possession”. According to the petition the incident took place on Wednesday 15th January, 2014 “after Ali and Alabi fraudulently obtained a consent judgment in respect of our properties without our knowledge and also fraudulently used the police command (OP-MESA) to evict us from our houses and destroy our properties”. The petitioners said the court under Hon. Kayode Ogunmekun (Mrs.) erred by giving a ruling without

This is another attempt and system devised by land grabbers with the connivance of some bad eggs in the state judiciary to put the credibility of the ministry of justice into disrepute

proper verification of ownership claim of the properties by Ali and Alabi, adding that “the said judgment and order were arranged and bought with advice and connivance of the court directly or indirectly, or the court was lagging in its mandatory duties. “This is another attempt and system devised by land grabbers with the connivance of some bad eggs in the state judiciary to put the credibility of the ministry of justice into disrepute. “The Nigeria Police and state security operatives (OP-MESA) were bought and compromised against their statutory duties of protecting lives and properties, and maintenance of peace and order, with their brazen display of terror on hapless and helpless citizens, despite our continuous donations to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund towards the effective discharge of their duties”, they said. They therefore called on the Assembly to liaise with the commissioner of police to fish out and make public the identities of all players involved in this “land grabbing no matter how highly or lowly placed in the society and also the CP to investigate the unlawful involvement of the police in the case and mete out punishment accordingly as a deterrent to others”. They also want all players in the act to be prosecuted and made to pay damages while also urging the House “to devise policies, guidelines and educative interpretation of the laws geared towards stemming the rising tide of syndicated land-grabbing in Lagos State.”





HEN the Achievers University, the first private university in Ondo State, had its 7th matriculations, the joy of the new intakes knew no bounds. They successfully navigated the tortuous route of joint matriculation examination to gain admission into the institution. Scores of parents, guardians, friends and well-wishers converged on the university’s premises to the joyful day for the young men and women taking their oath of studentship. The vision of the university is to produce a total person morally sound, properly educated and entrepreneurially oriented who would be useful to himself and the society. Besides, the institution has the mission of providing enabling environment (physical and academic) for the production of competent and quality graduates with self-reliance, high productivity and global relevance in every sphere of human endeavour. According to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor J. A. Odebiyi, the story of the institution has been that of steady growth and development by all measurable indices. He said in December last year, at the second convocation of the University, the foundation stones of six major projects were laid. These according to him, were that of the Postgraduate School, the College of Law, the Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre, the University Health Centre, Students Centre and the first phase of the University Sports Complex, all at the permanent site. Prof. Odebiyi said in addition, the institution has now moved about 60 per cent of the students population to the newly constructed hostel at its permanent site with corresponding increase in water and electricity supply. He pointed out that on January 23, the foundation of a N50m Chapel of Grace and Glory, a nondenominational worship centre for the university was laid. The VC said: “I am therefore indeed excited by this year’s matriculation being the seventh. The number seven connotes perfection in the spiritual realm and as a Christian, all these signs of development have strongly reinforced my belief that this session is going to be a year of perfection in all things laudable for this university, the staff and the students both old and new in Jesus’s name.” At the event, a total of 305 students were admitted through the UTME and Direct Entry into the College of Natural and Applied Sciences (CONAS) and the College of Social and Management Sciences (COSMAS). The VC said a breakdown of the number shows 171 Students in CONAS and 134 in COSMAS and for the second year running, the admission conforms close to 40:60 per cent ratio in favour of Science as required by the National Universities Commission (NUC). Prof Odeleye said apart from new regular students, 238 professional Chartered Bankers, Accountants and HND holders were admitted through direct entry into the bridge programme at the 300 level in the Departments of Accountancy, Business Administration, Banking and Finance, Microbiology, as well as Computer and Information Science. He said “We will provide you with a serene and conducive environment to learn and develop your talents, quality education, dedicated staff and state of the art equipment to support your academic growth and development. “It is not going to be easy, but then you are not here for easy life, what I believe you are here for is to work for a life of fulfillment, joy and substance thereafter, if this is so, then welcome to Achievers University family, we will give you all the support you need to be who you

Achievers University celebrates freshers

•Students taking the matriculation oath

•From left: Professor Ibiyinka Solarin; Mr. Dokun Farinre, Bursar with other dignitaries

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

want to be. As part of Achievers University continued contribution to the rapid development of Science and technology for the economic and social emancipation of the nation,50 per cent tuition scholarship has been offered to students in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences admitted to Geology, Microbiology ,Industrial Chemistry and Biochemistry. This they could continue to enjoy till the end of their Course provided the GCPA at the end of the session does not fall below 2.5 and worthy in character. Also, in the College of Social and Management Sciences, students admitted for programmes in Banking and Finance would also enjoy 50 percent tuition scholarship”. The VC also hinted that beginning from the end of the present academic session, the University and College Scholarships for the brightest and the best across all levels irrespective of programme of study as well as sports scholarship for talented sportsmen and women

are being proposed. Prof Odeleye said “these are opportunities for you but they won’t come cheap, that is why you must indeed be found worthy in character along with your academic excellence. “Since our middle name is integrity, for falling short of this characteristic, students have been warned, reprimanded, suspended or dismissed depending on the gravity of the offence”. He advised that students’ code of conduct should be their “Bible” which they must meditate on day and night. Prof Odebiyi congratulated parents and guardians for taking bold and painful sacrifice to see these young men and women through academic career, urging them not to shy away from their responsibilities in matters of parental guidance. In his own remarks, the Pro-Chancellor, Dr Bode Ayorinde urged the students to make the University proud. He warned them to be more disciplined, stressing that the institution would not tolerate any lapses. Ayorinde urged them not to subject their parents to ridicule through various acts of misconduct.

• Dr. Bode Ayorinde




•Participants during the practical training session

Police train 60,000 ahead of Osun, Ekiti elections


O fewer than 60,000 mobile policemen are currently undergoing training at the Mobile Police Training College, Ila Oragun, Osun State ahead of the upcoming governorship elections later in the year in Osun and Ekiti States. The mobile policemen are expected to be part of a larger contingent of policemen to be deployed across the country during the 2015 general elections. The first batch of the 60,000 cops began their training Friday, last week at the college in IlaOragun where 7,000 participants were inaugurated. The commencement of the training coincided with the release of the time table for this year governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States as well as the 2015 general polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). According to the Commandant of the college, Mr. Jackson Olumuyiwa El-Ekoh, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), the aim of the training programme was to keep the officers and men of the police mobile force combat ready so as to checkmate likely hoodlums or miscreants before, during and after the 2015 general elections. The training which would come in series of three month duration for each batch of the participants was at the instance of Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji M.D. Abubakar. According to the Commandant, it was the idea of Abubakar and the IGP was passionate about the programme and he is being briefed on hourly basis about its

He reminded the participants of their pledge to make the country safe and secured, noting that the work of the police required discipline, intelligence, integrity and dedication to serve their fatherland

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

progress. Apart from a combat course for the participants, other aspect of the training would include specialised courses in Electoral Act, Fundamental Human

•Mr. jackson El-Ekoh, Commandant, the Nigeria Police Moblie Training College, Ila-Orangun

Rights, The Rule of Law, Democracy and Conflict Resolution, Crisis Management, Disaster Management and Operations, Bomb Awareness, Improvised Explosive Devices and Evacua-

tion among others. Reading a riot act to those who could not meet the standard of the training, DCP El-Ekoh warned that they would be demobilised and sent back to the conventional

arm of the Force. He reminded the participants of their pledge to make the country safe and secured, noting that the work of the police required discipline, intelligence, integrity and dedication to serve their fatherland. Corroborating the college commandant, his deputy, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr. Livingstone Orutugu, said the participants would be trained on how to be civil while discharging their statutory duties. He said resource persons are drawn from the universities and professional bodies to compliment the wellrounded and tested personnel of the college. The image maker of the college, Mr. Azeez Idowu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), also said the programme started early in 2014 to avoid crisis associated with security during elections. He said the college founded eight years ago had justified the fund expended on it with the marked improvement on the image of the police force. He said: “Officers and men are more civil, crime rate in many parts of the country is going down, there are no road blocks as directed by the Inspector-General of Police, there are no reports of police intimidation and harassment by members of the public. The college training has impacted positively and significantly on the performance of the police.” Two of the participants in the first batch of the training programme, a Deputy Superintendent of Ppolice (DSP), Abdul Majeed Issa, and a police corporal, Umoru Haruna, said they are looking forward to a robust experience during their training.




























Equities lose N147b as bears bite harder


•Champion Breweries in 513m shares cross deals

OR the third consecutive trading session, the Nigerian stock market continued in the red yesterday as the bearish trend at the equities market turned into a near bandwagon situation. For every stock that gained some few kobos, nearly three stocks lost greater values. The downtrend yesterday erased the year-to-date gain by equities and left investors with a negative average year-to-date return of -0.34 per cent. The main index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the All Share Index (ASI)-a valuebased index that tracks all quoted equities, slumped by 1.11 per cent from opening index of 41,650.14 points to 41,189.66 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities indicated a loss of N147 billion with a closing value of N13.204 trillion as against opening value of

By Taofik Salako

N13.351 trillion. While 31 out of the 44 declining stocks lost two or more digits, only two of the 16 advancing stocks recorded two-digit gains. Transactions yesterday also indicated voluminous deals as investors readjusted portfolios. Quoted equities are expected to start announcing their earnings and dividend recommendations for the 2013 business year within the next few days. Champion Breweries saw five cross deals for 513.0 million shares valued at N949.09 million, transactions that some analysts linked to probable increase in core investors’ stakes. Aggregate turnover yesterday thus rose above average to 921.14 million shares worth N5.92 billion in 6351 deals. Champion Breweries’ consumer goods sector was the most active with a turnover of

524.21 million shares valued at N1.95 billion in 844 deals. Financial services sector followed with a turnover of 334.56 million shares valued at N3.13 billion in 3,694 deals. Forte Oil led the decliners with a loss of N2.70 to close at N90.11. Nigerian Breweries followed with a drop of N2.20 to close at N162. Okomu Oil Palm placed third with a loss of N2.06 to close at N42.69. Oando slipped by N1.90 to close at N23.28. Nestle Nigeria dropped by N1 to close at N1, 165. UACN Property Development Company lost 99 kobo to close at N20.01. Dangote Cement dropped by 89 kobo to N235.01. Ashaka Cement dropped by 87 kobo to N18.05. Mobil Oil Nigeria and UAC of Nigeria lost 85 kobo each to close at N120.15 and N70.35 respectively while Ecobank Transnational Incorporated lost 83 kobo to close at N15.96 per share. On the other hand, Presco recorded the highest gain of N1.40 to close at N44. Costain West Africa rallied 18 kobo to close at N1.99 while Transnationwide Express added 9.0 kobo to close at N2.08 per share.





CBN to increase reserves holdings in Yuan to seven per cent T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to shift some of its reserves into Yuan from dollars as the Chinese currency takes a greater role in global trade, its Deputy Governor, Operations, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu has said. Moghalu who spoke to Bloomberg in London, yesterday, said the apex bank will increase the Yuan’s share of reserves to as much as seven per cent from two per cent. He did not give a timeline for the change. Nigeria currently holds about 85 per

cent of its reserves in dollars, he said. “It was clear to us that the future of international economics and trade will shift in large part to business with and by China. Ultimately the renminbi is likely to become a global convertible currency,” Moghalu said. The CBN started to diversify its

Direct Investment (FDI) flows in fourth quarter of last year resulting in increased funding of the foreign exchange market by the CBN to stabilise the currency. MPC expressed concern over the continued depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) which balance stood at less than $2.5 billion on January 17, 2014 compared with about $11.5 billion in December 2012.

reserves into Yuan in 2011 and is working with the People’s Bank of China to boost its holdings as soon as the relevant structures are in place, he added. The CBN had during the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting said the decrease in the reserves level resulted largely from a slowdown in portfolio and Foreign


RenCap tips Southwest candidate to succeed Sanusi


ENAISSANCE Capital (RenCap), an international investment and research firm, has said a Southwest candidate has greater chances of succeeding Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, than those from other parts of the country. In a report titled ‘Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014-Erosion of buffers raises risks’, the firm said immediate past CBN Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo; Group Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Bisi Onasanya and Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga have brighter chances of succeeding Sanusi. RenCap said given that national representation has to be considered when allocating positions among state-owned enterprises and regulators, a local investor believes that a candidate from the central region is unlikely, given that they are already well represented. “This implies that a Southwest candidate is more likely to get the position, given that the incumbent is from the north,” it said. The research firm said naturally, there is significant speculation on who President Goodluck Jonathan will select as the next CBN governor. Other potential candidates include

S part of the campaign for inclusive economic growth in Africa, ONE and The Tony Elumelu Foundation, yesterday, announced a strategic partnership to push political leaders in Nigeria to support public investments in agriculture, healthcare, and energy that will unlock substantial investments in these key sectors. In a statement, the partnership aims to leverage public-private partnerships to improve Africa’s progress against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and help create a more entrepreneurfriendly environment through advocacy. The Foundation said the partnership will initially begin with a grant to explore advocacy opportunities and allow ONE to bolster its work in Nigeria and will particularly focus on agriculture in Nigeria as part of ONE’s “Do Agric” campaign for the 2014 AU Year of Agriculture. ONE’s Africa Director, Dr. Sipho Moyo, said, “We are delighted to join forces with the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Nigeria. Together, we will be stronger than the sum of our parts as we work to tackle some of the continent’s most pressing challenges. The Tony Elumelu Foundation has championed African led philan-

• Lemo, Onasanya, Aganga favoured

Sanusi’s deputy governors – Sarah Alade and Kingsley Moghalu. Also, in the race is the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Bank, Aaigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama. “We would imagine that the internal candidates are more likely to be conservative and sustain a stable policy stance. We know little about the monetary policy views of the external potential candidates, with the exception of Aig-Imoukhude, who has responded to questions from the media on his policy views. “He thinks it is too early for rate cuts, despite the slowdown in inflation and suggested that he would sustain the CBN’s price stability goal,” the report said. It said that elections are likely to keep Sanusi’s successor cautious. “We think there are significant upside risks to inflation from fiscal laxity and a weaker external sector, falling foreign reserves and a smaller current account surplus, that may place pressure on the naira. For these reasons, we think the CBN will fail to contain inflation in

the six to nine per cent region and that we are likely to see it breach the upper band of this target,” it said. RenCap therefore advised Sanusi’s successor to be cautious and sustain a stable policy stance. “We believe there is a bigger risk of monetary policy being tightened, than loosened, because the latter would trigger naira weakness. This is something the government will want to avoid at a time import demand is rising on the back of the 2015 elections,” it said. It said the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) under the helms of the new government not to make any significant changes to policy until after the elections. “Lower yields on debt with shorter maturities. We believe yields on shorter-dated securities will decline in 2014, which is positive for equities. As uncertainty increases, with a change in leadership at the CBN and the elections approaching in 15 months, we expect investors to increasingly seek treasury instruments with shorter maturities,” it said.

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


OBB Rate Call Rate

Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

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



O/PRICE 1.81 0.64 1.52 1.99 0.59 0.59 2.37 2.08 42.60 1.00

C/PRICE 1.99 0.67 1.59 2.08 0.61 0.61 2.45 2.15 44.00 1.03

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

CHANGE 0.18 0.03 0.07 0.09 0.02 0.02 0.08 0.07 1.40 0.03

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

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

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%

O/PRICE 4.54 92.81 2.52 3.90 5.54 15.11 2.47 2.29 23.40 3.00

C/PRICE 4.40 90.11 2.45 3.80 5.42 14.79 2.42 2.25 23.00 2.95

CHANGE -0.14 -2.70 -0.07 -0.10 -0.12 -0.32 -0.05 -0.04 -0.40 -0.05

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%


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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



27-10-11 N6.5236tr 20,607.37

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 28-1-14


thropy, bringing unique insight in to how the African private sector can catalyse change across the continent. It’s fitting that we’re announcing the partnership this week, when ONE is launching a campaign to press African leaders to invest more and adopt better policies in agriculture during the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.” Chief Executive Officer, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Wiebe Boer said he believes the strategic partnership with ONE can lead to real change. “ONE has demonstrated over the years an ability to get things done,” he said. “I look forward to working with them to unlock billions of dollars for agriculture and other key sectors that will in turn drive entrepreneurship and job creation in a manner that pulls people permanently out of poverty.”


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

Elumelu Foundation partners group on investments




Offer Price

Bid Price


Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





Being gay is not a crime, says Shasha P


LMOST two weeks after the anti-gay bill was signed into law, notable female rapper and self-acclaimed first lady of hip hop in Nigeria Yetunde Alabi, has swelled the rank of people condemning the law. According to her, nobody should go to jail for being gay. Expressing her views on the social media, the beautiful singer, popularly called Sasha P, wrote: "Discrimination of any kind is discrimination. My Bible says we are not

to judge. From a religious angle, shall we then make adultery punishable under the law? "Sexual orientation is not a crime, so nobody should have to go to jail for that! Let us concentrate on matters that affect "the nation." I'm living my life and it's golden." With this outburst, the one-time Olympic torch bearer did not only shock her fans on the social media, but also created a misunderstanding. Many wondered what her intention was when she put up that message.

New series debut on Telemundo



Iyabo Ojo changes ‘name’

•Iyabo Ojo


T appears a new wind of 'rebranding' is sweeping through the Yoruba movie sector of Nollywood. First, it was actress Fathia Balogun, who reverted to her maiden name, Fathia Williams, after years of mari-

tal problems with her estranged husband Saidi Balogun. Surprisingly, just as fans of the Delta State-born actress were trying to come to terms with the name change, another top Yoruba actress, Iyabo Ojo, last Wednesday, shocked her fans and loved ones with her post on the Facebook. For many of her fans, it is as if the mother of two has also caught the bug of name change, which has crept into the Yoruba movie sector. The sexy actress, who opened a salon, FEPRIS World, on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, last year, announced that she would no longer use the name of her

production outfit, Iya Ojo Production, for her subsequent works. Her words: "I will not be using Iyabo Ojo Production as my movie production name. FESPRIS is my new production name henceforth, as I will be dropping the name soon." The star of Agogo Ide added that her forthcoming movies, Tenbelu and Silence, would be produced under the stable of FEPRIS Production. There have been speculations that she might remarry. So, against the backdrop of her disclosure, particularly on the fact that she would soon drop the name, Ojo, the question on the lips of many is: What is in a name?

HEAD of February 14, a date known worldwide as lovers' day, pay television, Gotv, is set to excite with three new series on Telemundo, the telenovela channel that has taken viewers through a roller coaster ride with love, romance and betrayal stories. The schedule, as advertised by the company, begins on Monday, February 3 with Cruel Love; a series that talks about relationships as a game, through the eyes of carefree cousins - and lovers - Camila and Antonio Brando. These guys live a life of adventure, conquests and bets and mock those who have any true feelings for another person. However, when Antonio finds he is falling for the beautiful, though humble, Sofia, who he first saw at his own wedding, it marks a change in the kissing cousins' duplicitous existence. Initially picking Sofia as his next victim, Antonio instead decides to pursue a genuine relationship, but when Camila finds out he has lost their 'game' by developing feelings for someone, she sets out to ruin things for him the only way she knows how. Coming on the heels of Cruel Love is Forbidden Passions, which premieres on Wednesday, February 17 and

• A scene in Forbidden Passions continues weekdays on GOtv Channel 13. The first chapter in this new telenovela, which promoters describe as a mustsee, introduces the viewer to the world of the beautiful Bianca Santillana, who blames her mother, Flavia, for the death of her father. Her father dies, following a heart attack after catching Flavia cheating and learning she only married him for his money. Determined to take revenge on her mother, Bianca seduces Flavia's love interest, Don Ariel Piamonte, to stop her getting the money she desperately seeks. However, when she meets Don

Ariel's handsome nephew, Bruno, Bianca falls madly in love. Can she and Bruno find a way to be together without hurting Don Ariel? This series stars Jencarlos Canela, who played Andres Santa Cruz cum Suarez in My Heart Beats for Lola, and definitely one to watch-out for. Also, Juan Manuel Cortés presents Confessions of Stars, a brand new show that takes a look at behind-the-scenes of all favourite telenovelas, revealing how the stars live. By interviewing the actors and actresses, Juan Manuel also brings viewers the best gossip and revelations from their personal lives.



NEWS Loyola Jesuit College PTA launches N500m fund


•Ekiti State Deputy Governor Prof Modupe Adelabu flanked by some pupils at the kick-off of the distribution of books to them in Ado-Ekiti...yesterday. With them, on the back row, are some government officials.

HE Abuja branch of the Loyola Jesuit College Parent Teacher Association (PTA) will tomorrow, hold a memorial symposium and launch a N500 million fund for the “60 Angels Memorial Staff Residence”, in memory of the 60 pupils of the school who died in the December 10, 2005 Sosoliso plane crash in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The project-a staff residence of 60 units two-bedroom flats comprising five blocks with 12 flats each-is expected to be completed for dedication on December 10, next year, the 10th anniversary of their passing, to commemorate the lives of the 60 pupils. The theme for the event is: “The Effects of Air Disasters

on National Development”. The keynote speaker is Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah. The chief launcher is Sir Emeka Offor, while President Goodluck Jonathan is the Special Guest of Honour.

Vehicle owners warned


HE Lagos State Police Command has warned owners of vehicles parked at Alapere Division to remove them or lose them to members of the public through auction, 14 days after this publication. The vehicles are Nissan Cabstar, registered number M416GAD; and Cabstar unregistered.

Court faults INEC, Jega over N34.5b DDC machines contracts


FEDERAL High Court in Abuja has criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Prof Atahiru Jega over the N34.5 billion contracts the Commission awarded in 2010 for the purchase of Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines for voters’ registration. Justice Ibrahim Auta yesterday, held that in the award and execution of the contracts, INEC, it’s Chairman and three companies involved in the transaction, infringed on a valid and subsisting patent right owned solely by a firm Bedding Holdings Limited (BHL). The judge held that from the totality of evidence provided


• Firm to pay N17.25b for right infringement From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

by parties in the case, it was clear that the plaintiff, BHL actually owned a subsisting patent right over the process, application and the use of DDC machines for voters’ registration. He ordered INEC, Jega and others to pay BHL N17.25billion as compensation for infringing on its valid and subsisting patent right. BHL, had in the suit filed by its lawyer, John Okoriko, alleged that INEC and Jega infringed on its patented right over “the process and application of DDC machines for the

compilation and collection of various bio-data,” by awarding contracts for the purchase and deployment of the DDC machines for the compilation of the Voters Register without the consent of BHL. Named with INEC and Jega as defendants were the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the companies to which INEC awarded the contracts - Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation Limited, Zinox Technologies Ltd and Avante International Technology. Justice Auta upheld Okoriko’s argument and evidence to the effect that the

plaintiff is the sole owner of the patent right over the process and that its right was infringed by the conduct of the defendants, except the AGF. He held that although the AGF was not a party to the transaction, as the nation’s chief law officer and a relevant officer in the execution of orders made against the government or its agents, he was a necessary party in the case. Justice Auta held that the nation’s Patent and Design Act preclude anybody from using a patented invention without the consent of the inventor. He added that Section 6 of the Act provides for the protection of

El-Rufai regains freedom

FORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, yesterday regained freedom from the State Security Service (SSS) after being grilled for more than 14 hours. But he was unrepentant by claiming that the SSS cannot continue to conflate invitations and arrests without due legal process. He insisted that “credible elections beget stable polities.” The former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister said he would keep alerting and encouraging those responsible for delivering credible elections to do so, to ensure that election results reflect actual voter preferences. According to a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai was released by the SSS at about 12.35am. The statement said: “Mallam Nasir El-Rufai on Monday complied with the warrant obtained by the SSS. Accompanied by his lawyer and some political associates, he arrived at the SSS HQ at about 8.57am. He left the SSS premises at 12.35am today. “The principle at stake for him when he received the “invitation” last week was whether the SSS can compel a citizen to honour it without a valid warrant. As El Rufai said on Sunday night: All they needed to compel my attendance was a warrant, not guns and invasions. “At issue has always been whether the SSS has the power

•Credible elections beget stable polities, says ex-Minister From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

under its enabling law to compel any citizen to honour its ‘invitation’ without showing probable cause to a Judge and obtaining a warrant. Another issue is whether the constitutional right to free speech can be threatened or abridged without any basis in law. Can an organisation pursue a citizen because he sued them to challenge an abridgement of his constitutional rights? “Under what authority can the SSS attempt entry into a citizen’s private property or threaten one’s liberty? These people are exercising coercive powers that they do not have, in violation of the Constitution and our laws.” The ex-Minister said his concerns in the alleged provocative statements were not about him but the nation. He said it was the duty of all Nigerians to ensure that elections are not rigged in 2015. The statement added: “These are some of the issues; it is not about El Rufai. It is a self-evident and historical fact that in 1964, 1983, 1993 and 2011, lives were lost and property destroyed in spontaneous responses to rigged elections. Should we not all be anxious to ensure that this never happens again? Should free and fair elections not be the goal of all actors in the political process? Or is it because the current government is bent on rigging the elections and is

therefore determined to intimidate us into silence and acceptance of their plans?” “The positive linkage between credible elections and stable democracy is as clear as the tragic connection between rigged elections and violence. “El-Rufai would keep alerting and encouraging those responsible for delivering credible elections to do so, to ensure that election results reflect actual voter preferences and that the governments that emerge from them are invested with the legitimacy that enables them to govern well, in peace and for the whole country.” He said he had demonstrated that invitation of any Nigerian by the SSS must follow due legal process. “El Rufai has eloquently made the point that the SSS cannot continue to conflate invitations and arrests. Invitations may be declined, but arrests must follow due process; otherwise our country will be no different from a police state. That may be the desire of some forces apparently bent on twisting the institutions that ought to uphold and support freedom for their fascist fantasies. “ But that is not acceptable to the majority of Nigerians who cherish the hard-earned democracy they achieved even when many of today’s power mongers were cosseting and enabling tyranny. “Freedom of speech is guar-

anteed by our Constitution as a universal right. It cannot be abridged or distorted into a privilege reserved for the sole enjoyment of those certified by or in the service of the rulers of the day.”

a patent right and that it was the duty of the court to ensure such protection. The Judge frowned at the decision by INEC and Jega to award the contracts without BHL’s consent, despite being aware it has the patent right over the invention. “INEC, like every other government agencies has the responsibility of obeying the law of the land. INEC as an electoral body should realise that the business of election is important. It touches on the life of the nation. “So, INEC should always play by the rule, so that it’s conduct does not affect the outcome of elections,” the judge said. Justice Auta held that from the preponderance of evidence before him, the plaintiff and its Chairman, Chief Sylvester Odigie do not appear as people, who wished to reap where they did not sow, more so when Odigie had been awarded national honours for productivity. The judge observed that the country’s President, in 1997 awarded Odigie the Nigeria’s

highest order of honour and dignity for productivity and order of merit for his remarkable contribution to national development as the most productive individual that year. Justice Auta declared that from the evidence before his court, BHL owns the patent right No: RP16642 and copyrights designs No: RD13841 over Electronic Collapsible Transparent Ballot Boxes (ECTBB) and Patent rights No: RP NG/P/2010/202 over Proof of Address System/ Scheme (PASS) embedded with the coded metal plate and the process and application of these products to produce voters’ register. Justice Auta also declared that BHL was entitled to 50 per cent of the contract sum of N34,517,640,000 (which is N17,258,820,000 “being the minimum reasonable royalty accruable to the plaintiff “ for the unauthorised use of its invention. The Judge ordered INEC and the other defendants to henceforth obtain the consent of the plaintiff before procuring and utilising the DDC machines for voters’ registration and related purposes.


NEWS Why insurgents breach security, by Jonathan Continued from page 4

for Jonathan. The President met with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in the state, who pledged their support for him towards the 2015 election. At the meeting were Deputy Governor James Ngiliri and Prof. Jubril Aminu, who took turns to thank the President for giving appointments to indigenes of the state. They pleaded for more at-

tention to the state because it is trailing states like Gombe and Taraba in terms of infrastructure. The president was presented with two members of the House of Representatives, who announced their defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to PDP. The President, who claimed he was instrumental to the success of Governor Nyako, who is now APC in the 2011 elections, said he was over-

whelmed by the turn out of partymen to receive him. He suggested the conduct of zonal rallies before aspirants and candidates emerge in order to reposition the party, noting: “We need to have zonal rallies before election. Before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) opens doors for people to start campaigns for offices, let us have neutral rallies now that we

From Bisi Olaniyi,

of the structure as the first of its kind in any part of Nigeria, which he said was in keeping with the antecedents of Amaechi as a great leader, whose patriotism is legendary and a true nationalist. The NGF chairman was also referred to as the hero and hope of the non-indigenes in Rivers State, if the ways he had carried the non-indigenes along in his administration were things to go by. The Rivers commissioner for commerce and industry said: “Governor Amaechi has a history of giving non-indigenes a sense of belonging, as reflected in the composition of the State Executive Council. “Apart from myself, many other non-indigenes such as Mr. Ade Adeogun from Ondo State, who mans the powerful Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority and Mr. David Iyofor, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, who is from Delta State, are holding key positions in the Amaechi’s administration.” The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, to the Interim Rivers Chairman of the APC, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, yesterday noted that at a keenly-contested election, held at the state secretariat of APC at Forces Avenue, old Government Reservation Area (GRA), Port Harcourt over the weekend, Chief Uchenna Okokoba defeated the duo of Alhaji Yusuf Tanko and Chief Williams Ubeka, to

don’t have aspirants and candidates. We will have zonal rallies, and we will encourage states to also have state rallies then we will also have the national convention. We need to do that to re-energise our party.” Also at the meeting were the immediate past National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, Women Affairs Minister Hajia Zainab Maina and some members of National Assembly.

Rivers govt, APC, PDP disagree over state’s financial status


HE Rivers State Government, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have disagreed over the financial status of the administration of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). The Rivers government, through the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, and the APC, through its Interim Rivers Chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, yesterday said the state was not broke. PDP’s Jerry Needam, the Special Adviser, Media to the Rivers Chairman of the party, Chief Felix Obuah, insisted that the state was broke. Semenitari and Ikanya urged Rivers people to ignore the PDP’s claims, which were described as misleading, frivolous and ridiculous. Rivers PDP, however, maintained that available evidence showed that the Amaechi’s administration could no longer meet its responsibilities. PDP said: “We wonder how the Rivers Commissioner for Information will deny this glaring fact, in the face of the failure and collapse of almost all the social and public agencies in the state. “The Commissioner’s brazen denial is laughable. We want Mrs. Semenitari to explain why the Rivers State Government still owes officers and men of the Rivers State Road

Port Harcourt

Transport Management Authority (TIMA-RIV) for about six months. “The newly-recruited 13,000 teachers are also owed six months’ salaries, roads and other infrastructural projects have been abandoned and there is delay in the release of the N300 million Christmas bonus meant for the civil servants in the state. “The PDP also demands explanation from the Rivers Information Commissioner to justify the reason for the denial of funds for the full implementation of the 2013 budget by the various ministries, if the state is not broke. “If the state is not broke, let the pensioners receive their full gratuities, rather than the piecemeal, a style of payment which has never happened in Rivers State, except now that the state is in financial distress.” The Rivers APC also stated that the leader of the party in the state (Amaechi) had created what the state’s Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Chuma Chinye, described as the 24th LGA of the state. The NIPPG, according to Chinye, the political leader of group, who hails from Delta State, was to protect the political interests of the over 1.5 million non-indigenes residing in Rivers State. Chinye described setting up


emerge the Interim Coordinator of the non-indigene group in Rivers APC. Inaugurating the group on behalf of the Rivers APC chairman (Ikanya), the Interim Secretary of the party, Chief Emeka Bekee, said: “This is another strong signal of the doom awaiting the PDP and other opposition parties during the 2015 elections. “I assure you of the support of Governor Amaechi and leadership of the APC. So, go out and mobilse your people to ensure that the APC becomes the party to beat come 2015, seeing that Governor Amaechi recognises and has made your people an integral part of his administration.” In a related development, the APC in Rivers State has concluded the harmonisation of the different groups that came together to form the party, the legacy party, comprising the defunct ANPP, ACN, CPC and NPDP, in the 23 LGAs of the state. The interim Rivers chairman of the APC also admonished members of the harmonised steering committee of each of the LGAs of the state to go and spread the gospel of the party in all the nooks and crannies of Rivers. The harmonized steering committee members were also urged to establish the wards’ steering committees and mobilise Rivers people to formally register with the APC from February 5, for the PDP, their common enemy, to be politically dealt with during the 2015 general elections.


Anxiety over Mu’azu’s emergence Continued from page 4

toral Act in choosing its new National Chairman. The Act specifies that it should be through election. “By the party’s decision, Muazu is more of an acting chairman than a substantive one. We hope the PDP will call a mini-national Convention to avoid its members or others from making any issue out of this lapse.” The source said Section 85 of the Electoral Act is explicit on the emergence of national officers of a political party. The section reads: “A registered political party shall give the Commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this Act “ The Commission may, with or without prior notice to the political party monitor and attend any convention, congress, conference or meeting which is convened by a political party for the purpose of (a)electing members of its executive committees or other governing bodies; (b)nominating candidates for an election at any level; and (c) approving a merger with any other registered political party. “The election of members of the executive committee or other governing body of a political party, including the election to fill a vacant position in

any of these bodies, shall be conducted in a democratic manner and allowing for all members of the party or duly elected delegates to vote in support of a candidate of their choice. “Notice of any congress, conference or meeting for the purpose of nominating candidates for Area Council elections shall be given to the Commission at least 21 days before such congress, conference or meeting.” A member of the NWC of the PDP, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Why are you interested in only our party. Why are you not writing about All Progressives Congress (APC) which has been having Interim National Executive Committee in the last eight months? “Do you expect us to be without a National Chairman? It is explicit in our constitution that the National Executive Committee (NEC) shall act on behalf of National Convention. That is exactly what the NEC did in choosing Muazu. “Of course, the National Convention may ratify NEC’s decision later whenever it holds its session. The issue at stake may just be procedural, no fuss about it.” Metuh, said: “We complied with the relevant provisions in the 1999 Constitution and PDP Constitution in appointing our National Chairman. “The PDP National Chairman emerged through due process of law and all the organs of the party endorsed him. There was no infraction.”

Boko Haram: Death toll in Borno, Adamawa hits 138 Continued from page 4

injured have died. He said no fewer than 40 people were injured. Many lay in the hospital in Konduga, the main town in the area, nursing bullet wounds and burns. Suspected Boko Haram members stormed the Kawuri village weekly market, Sunday night, setting off explosives, shooting people and razing homes. Kawuri is about 70 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The death toll of the attack on the Catholic Church in Chakawa village, has risen to 53, Chairman of Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Mr Maina Ularamu, said yesterday. Ularamu said local officials counted 47 bodies, including those of two policemen. Many injured people are in hospitals,

he added. The gunmen were armed with sophisticated weapons. They left after invading another border village, killing and maiming before fleeing to neighbouring Cameroun Republic. A resident, who spoke anonymously, said he counted about 53 bodies before they were evacuated to the morgue. Brigade Commander of the 23rd Armoured Brigade, Yola, Brig. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, said he was yet to ascertain the death toll. He said the impact of the attack was minimal, adding that the military is on top of things. Residents said they were living in fear because more attacks could be launched. The spokesman of the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Rev. Fr. Raymond Danbouye, also confirmed that dozens were killed and buried after a funeral on Monday.

‘Insecurity, funding threaten 2015 elections’ Continued from page 4

ceeding in earnest. “Learning from the experiences of 2011, especially regarding the need for early preparations, the Commission has undertaken the task of fundamental restructuring of its bureaucracy, established new policies to guide its work and embarked on far-reaching planning of its operations through a Strategic Plan, an Election Project Plan and an Election Management System. These are vigorously being implemented.” He said INEC had been trying to effect changes in the Electoral Act, adding: “Drawing from our experience in

2011, recommendations for improvement to the legal framework, especially the Constitution and the Electoral Act, have been submitted to the National Assembly. “A committee (COREC) was set up to review the role of the Commission in election-related litigations, and it has made far-reaching recommendations on improvements towards 2015. A programme for the review of electoral constituencies and creation of additional polling units has commenced. “All guidelines and regulations on the electoral process are being revised and discussion has commenced with le-

gal experts across the country on how to enact and gazette them.” Describing Nigeria as a country in transition to democracy, Jega said: “We are still nurturing a democratic political culture after many years of military rule and the anti-democratic tendencies it fostered. Our electoral system is therefore work in progress “The main task is to implement reform measures, aimed at incremental positive changes that are sustainable. Democratisation, in all societies, is neither swift nor smoothsailing. It is a long and tortuous process that takes place in incremental waves.”




Putin meets with EU leaders


USSIAN President Vladimir Putin and the European Union’s top two officials hold “clear the air” talks in Brussels yesterday after months of growing tension over Ukraine and trade and energy disputes. Instead of the normal twoday summit, the EU decided to cut out dinner with Putin on Monday night, sending a message to the Russian leader that it is no longer “business as usual”, with relations at their lowest point in years. The summit will now involve around three hours of face-to-face discussions between Putin, European Commission President of Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, over and after lunch. Ukraine is set to dominate the talks, after Moscow convinced Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to turn his back on a trade and political association agreement with the EU last November and forge closer ties

with Russia instead. Since then, Russia and the EU have accused each other of interfering in Ukrainian affairs, as protests against Yanukovich’s decision have gripped Kiev and other cities, the worst unrest since the Orange Revolution in 2004-2005. Senior EU officials have made repeated trips to Kiev to meet the protesters and Yanukovich, who has ordered a crackdown against the demonstrations in which at least three protesters have been killed. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton travels to Ukraine on Tuesday. In many respects, the showdown is about reordering power and influence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The EU’s enlargement process of the past decade has drawn in several former Soviet states and satellites. Moscow has pushed back, and is now trying to set up its own Eurasian customs union to rival the EU, preferably with Ukraine as a mem-


ber. While the EU never offered Kiev membership, it was keen for Ukraine and other states in the region to sign “association agreements”, offering enhanced trade and investment in return for adopting EU standards of law, justice and civil liberties. The strategy was left in tatters when Kiev spurned the EU after Moscow tightened checks on imports from Ukraine and threatened to cut off its gas supplies. Armenia had already opted to join the Moscow-led customs union. While the escalating crisis has caused alarm, Russia and the EU were not expected to issue a joint statement and no agreements were expected to be signed on Tuesday.

South African opposition groups merge


HEAD of elections this year, South Africa’s main opposition party merged with a smaller group yesterday to jointly challenge the ruling party whose popularity, long burnished by its close links to Nelson Mandela, has eroded amid corruption scandals and other problems. The presidential candidate of the new coalition is Mamphela Ramphele, a former anti-apartheid activist who was close to Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader who was tortured and died in police custody in 1977. Ramphele, who was also a doctor, academic and World Bank executive, formed her own party last year but struggled to gain political momentum and said the merger with the larger Democratic Alliance was in the country’s best interests. At a Cape Town announcement, Ramphele invoked the name of Mandela, the former prisoner under apartheid who became president in South Africa’s first all-race elections in 1994 and died Dec. 5 at the


age of 95. Some South Africans had questioned how his death would impact the country as political forces, dominated by the ruling African National

Congress, seek to harness a national identity forged in the struggle against white rule while addressing increasing worries about the future.

Egypt: Morsi defiant at jailbreak trial


GYPT's former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi has struck a defiant tone at the beginning of his trial over his escape from prison in 2011. Mr Morsi started shouting: "I am the president of the republic, how can I be kept in a dump for weeks?" Egypt's first freely elected president was deposed by the military in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule. He is now facing four separate criminal trials on various charges. Mr Morsi and other defendants in the case are appearing in a sound-proofed glass box during the trial. He will only be permitted to address the court after raising his hand. At one point, journalists were given the chance to hear what was going on in the glass cage, the BBC's Abdel Bassir Hassan reports from the courtroom. The defendants started shouting: "Down with military rule" and the judge cut off the sound. Later, Mr Morsi began shouting that he was still the legitimate president and demanded: "Who are you, who are you?" The defendants also made the four-finger "Rabaa" protest sign, referring to the clearing of the pro-Morsi Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in August. Yesterday was the third anniversary of the jailbreak at the centre of the case, during which police officers were killed.

Ukrainian president accepts PM’s resignation

N back-to-back moves aimed at defusing Ukraine’s political crisis, the prime minister resigned yesterday and parliament repealed antiprotest laws that had set off violent clashes between protesters and police. The twin moves were significant concessions to the protesters, who fought sporadically with police for the last 10 days after weeks of peaceful aroundthe-clock demonstrations. The departure of Mykola

Azarov as premier would remove one of the figures most disliked by opposition forces whose protests have gripped the Ukrainian capital for two months. Yanukovych accepted the prime minister’s resignation but asked him to stay on in an acting role until a new government is formed. The president did not say when the new government was expected to begin work. Azarov’s announcement came just before the opening of

a special parliament session that approved the repeal of anti-protest laws that had set off violent clashes between protesters and police. Peaceful protests against Yanukovych’s decision to turn toward Russia for a bailout loan instead of signing a deal with the European Union turned violent after the president pushed through new laws to crack down on protests and raise prison sentences for creating disorder.

UN praises Tunisia over new constitution, decries worsening CAR crisis


ITH a new constitution in place, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said yesterday political actors in Tunisia need to ensure transition is peaceful. Tunisian lawmakers during the weekend overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that replaces the documented drafted when Tunisia gained independence from France in 1956.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for Commissioner Navi Pillay, said yesterday the new constitution is a testament to Tunisia’s aspirations for social liberties. A protest suicide in Tunisia in late 2010 sparked the wave of demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa dubbed the Arab Spring. The new constitution is part of the transition enacted in the wake of

•Anti-Hollande protesters in Paris...yesterday.

demonstrations that led to the ouster of long-time leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Meanwhile, the security situation in the Central African Republic is getting even worse despite the inauguration of a new leader, the UN human rights chief says. France, the former colonial power, has 1,600 troops in CAR, working with some 4,000 from African countries.






Proceeds from non-oil exports hit $2.56b

IGERIA received $2.56billion from non-oil exports in 2012, representing an increase of over 50 per cent over the $1.707billion in got in 2009, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has said. Of this figure, the leather industry contributed more than half of the total proceeds, with the sector also providing employment op-

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

portunities, as well as boosting export activities in the country. The Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, who stated this in Kano, said Nigeria exports about 177 products to over 103 countries. Represented by its Kano Zonal Controller, Tijjani Zakari, Awolowo explained

that currently, the leather industry is gradually taking over from cocoa as the next foreign exchange earner after crude oil, adding that this has been supported with with the Export Expansion Grant (EEG). He said the increased revenue realised from the export of leather has not only remarkably improved on the nation’s foreign exchange earnings, but has equally

over 5000 indigenous workers. He said the biggest of the leather firms, Mahmud Leather, has also generated billions of dollars in incomes to the coffers of the Federal Government through export of finished leather products. Tijani explained that Mahmud Ternary has engaged in the production of leather wears which are been exported, adding that the

non-oil sector is also involved in the export of finished products, just as we imported other nation’s finished products. He expressed worry that one fundamental problem constraining the growth of the non-oil sector of the country is access to finance. He lamented that this remains a big challenge despite government’s intervention efforts through the EEG scheme to the sector.

Govt launches IPAS to protect intellectual property


• From left: Gbeleyi; Special Adviser on Budget & Economic Planning, Mrs Iyabowale Aluko; Akabueze and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba during the 2014 Budget Analysis forum of the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning held at the press centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES


Lagos 2014 budget to fix infrastructure, poverty

HE Lagos State Gov ernment has set prior ity targets for the 2014 budget. Speaking yesterday at the state’s budget analysis forum held in Lagos, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze said poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth through infrastructure renewal and development remain top priority for the state government. He said the state’s budget size for the year stands at N489.69 billion as against N507.1 billion budgeted in 2013, representing a 3.43 decline. However, total revenue is to rise from N416.32 billion last year to N466.50 billion this year, an increase of 12.05 per cent. Also, the recurrent expenditure rose from N214. 72 billion last year to N234.66 billion this year, representing 9.28 per cent increase. Akabueze said overall, the budget will record a zero per cent deficit, with recurrent expenditure standing at 48 per cent of the total budget, while capital expenditure


LAGOS High Court, Ikeja, has asked Airtel Nigeria to pay a telecom firm, Procomtel Limited, N1.17billion. The amount represents awards made by an arbitrator on June 27, 2007 and August 24, 2007, in a dispute between them. Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, said: “An order of specific performance be and is hereby made for the amounts contained in the final award dated 27th June, 2007 and additional award dated 24th August, 2007 made under the hand of Engr Olumuyiwa Ajibola in the matter of arbitration between Procomtel Limited and Celtel

• Total debt stock stands at N435b By Simeon Ebulu and Collins Nweze

accounts for 52 per cent. According to the analysis, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) constitutes the bulk of the state’s income. The state will generate N327.20 billion as IGR, with N265.86 billion coming from the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) while other agencies of government will account for N37.67 billion, among others. He said N139.3 billion of the state’s revenues will come from transfers from the Federal Government as revenue allocations. Akabueze said government’s targets for the year are to complete two Independent Power Projects (IPPs) as alternative energy, rehabilitate and maintain existing street light infrastructure, develop enterprise zone in Ikorodu and Yaba, com-

plete the construction and expansion of Mile 12 to Ikorodu Road among other projects. Commissioner for Finance, Ayodeji Gbeleyi said the state’s total debt stock currently stands at N435 billion. He said a total of N275 billion of the debt, are in bonds, and that N50 billion five-year bonds will be redeemed next month. Other bonds issued by the state include N57.5 billion seven-year bond issued in 2010 maturing in 2017; N80 billion seven-year bond maturing 2019 and N87.7 billion seven-year bond maturing in 2020. He said the full principal repayment for the N50 billion bonds will be provided by Sinking Fund currently managed by trustees. He said the state’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio stands at 2.98 per cent, which is far less than 20 per cent benchmark for developing economies. He said the state’s debt remains sustainable and responsible, and is well rated by global rating agencies.

HE Federal Govern ment, yesterday took concret steps at transforming the Nigerian industrial landscape with the launch of the first Intellectual Property Automated System (IPAS) in 100 years. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganaga who kicked off the IPAS at the Registry of Trademarks, Patents and Designs of Nigeria in Abuja, said it was commendable that after 100 years of manual service, Nigeria is rolling out the biggest IPAS in Africa. IPAS, which went live yesterday, is a world acclaimed automated system of processing applications for the registration of trademarks, patents and industrial designs. He said: “The inauguration of the IPAS today is a big milestone in the Transformation Agenda of this administration. This is even more significant because it is the first of its kind in 100 years and, as the representative of the World Intellectual Property Organisation has said, it will be the biggest in Africa. “With the implementation of the IPAS, Nigeria will join 16 countries, out of the 53 on the African continent, which have deployed the service. For investors, the services will be more efficient, quicker and cheaper and there will be transparency and accountability.” According to him, the introduction of the IPAS will further improve and uplift the integrity and standards of all applications that emanate from Nigeria, and will enhance the confidence of both local and international communities, adding that it will further encourage local and foreign direct investment in the country. “ IPAS will enhance the quality of examinations, decisions and services offered to applicants and the general public. The better services

will further improve the image of Nigeria, while encouraging investors, international companies and the international community to register their industrial property assets, in line with international best practice, in Nigeria.” The Director, Commercial Law, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ms. Salman Mann, noted that the Nigerian public would benefit from a more efficient system, which would create wealth and more jobs for the people. The Project Manager, WIPO, Mr. Hisham Fayed, corroborated the fact that the IPAS would be the biggest in Africa, adding that the computerisation programme would help in improving the speed of the application for patents trademarks and industrial designs. “This will reflect on the quality of the service that will be provided to the applicants. It will also enhance the image of the ministry and that of Nigeria and give investors more confidence to come and invest in Nigeria,” he noted. The Minister, however, added that the launch of the IPAS would complement the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan. He said, apart from focusing on developing sectors, where Nigeria had comparative and competitive advantage, the plan also targeted the creation of an enabling environment for industries by reducing the current major barriers to development. He identified the enablers targeted by the NIRP to include finance, skills development, innovation, infrastructure, business environment, enforcement of adherence to standards and increased local patronage. The IPAS, he noted, would be particularly useful in the area of linking innovation and skills development to industrial development.

had approached the court for the awards’ enforcement. It claimed the defendant’s failure to pay the awards had adversely affected and almost paralysed its business. The firm said the fact it had been unjustifiably deprived from using the money since 2007 entitles it to N95million damages and N25million as cost of the suit. Objecting the suit, Airtel, through its counsel Mr. Abiodun Olalere argued that enforcement of an arbitral award must be by way of an application to the court and not by writ of summons. The defendant also filed a motion seeking to set aside

the award, and did not pay the money because of the pending of the suit. Olalere further argued that the suit was statute-barred with regard to Section 8 (d) of the Limitation Law, Cap 118, Laws of Lagos State, 1994. But Justice Lawal-Akapo ordered enforcement of specific performance of the arbitral award in favour of Procomtel. He said: “Once parties have chosen and submitted themselves to arbitration, no one of such party is allowed to subsequently back out of the decision of the arbitrator. “He is estopped from objecting to the final decision of

By Simeon Ebulu

NNPC blames Lagos oil spill on sabotage By Emeka Ugwuanyi


HE Nigerian National Petroleum Corpora tion (NNPC) and its subsidiary the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) have said the oil spill reported in the Ijegun area of Lagos was caused by pipeline vandals who hacked a product pipeline. In a statement, Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said the Ijegun area has always been very notorious for the activities of oil thieves who have incessantly hacked into pipelines with the aim of stealing products. He said: “We wish to acknowledge oil spill from our pipeline at the Ijegun area in Lagos and to state that the unfortunate incident is a result of pipeline sabotage by people suspected to be oil thieves. Lately, we have been experiencing a rise in the incidents of pipeline vandalism on the Ijegun section of our pipeline and doing our best to fix them as soon as they are noticed. In this month alone, we have located and fixed 73 ruptured points on the Mosimi – Ijegun – Atlas Cove line.” He noted that the entire stretch of that pipeline was replaced in 2010, ruling out the possibility that the rupture may have been as a result of the old age of the pipeline. The NNPC spokesman assured that PPMC engineers have since been mobilised to the area to contain the spill, locate and fix the ruptured points. “Despite the difficult nature of the terrain, our engineers are working relentlessly to fix the damaged line. They are doing everything to contain the spill and stop it from spreading to cause more environmental damage. We therefore call on members of the public not to go near the area for safety reasons” he said. He called on members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement around pipelines to the law enforcement agencies and support NNPC in its fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism. “When incidents like this occur, they do not just lead to disruption in the petroleum products supply system and cause hardship for the ordinary hardworking citizens, they have long-lasting devastating effects on the environment which could affect future generations,” he added.

Court orders Airtel to pay telecom firm N1.17 billion By Joseph Jibueze

Nigeria Limited pursuant to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.” The judge also awarded N25million damages in the claimant’s favour “for breach occasioned by non-performance of the awards.” He held that the claimant is entitled to damages, having been deprived of the awards by the defendant. “I am of the view that the claimant is entitled to be compensated in damages which may be likened to award of interest. “Once there is a breach for the

performance of a contract, the injured party is entitled to compensation in damages,” the judge said. Procomtel and Airtel entered a contract for the construction of 28 cell sites in 2001, but the contract was terminated on March 5, 2003. The claimant said it successfully executed the contract, and that it expected additional payment from the defendant. However, a dispute arose as to whether or not the contract was properly executed, and parties agreed to use a sole arbitrator,, who made awards in the plaintiff’s favour. Procomtel, through its counsel, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN),

the arbitrator when the award is good on its face even if the award does not favour him. “Both parties attended the arbitration proceedings which made an original award and a further award in favour of the claimant and the same published on 27th day of June 2007 and 24th day of August 2007.” The judge, however, refused the claimant’s prayer for N25million as cost of action, saying there was no evidence as to the claim. On January 21, the court dismissed Airtel’s application for stay of execution of the judgment.








‘Whatever the interpretation, the victory of the Super Eagles certainly boils down to team character and the will to fight, even against seemingly insurmountable odds’



VOL.9 NO.2,743



AST weekend, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, spoke out against what has since become President Goodluck Jonathan’s penchant for turning the church pulpit into a political platform for playing politics and making policy statements. Politicians should, he said, instead go to meet people in their villages where they live in abject poverty. The archbishop spoke this bitter truth to power in an interview with the online newspaper, Premium Times. The warning, coming from a senior cleric who is also the president of the influential Nigerian Bishops Conference, couldn’t have been deader on target and timelier as we begin preparations for the next elections starting in February next year. As if to underscore Archbishop Kaigama’s concern about the gravity of playing dangerous politics with religion, The Guardian published an editorial last Monday which condemned what it said was “the increasing recourse to religion by both the Presidency and the main opposition party...” “The conversion of churches and mosques into the new political battlefield”, the newspaper said, was “a dangerous adventure that must stop immediately.” The Guardian, like the archbishop, is right to be worried about the way some of our politicians have been using religion to divide and rule us. It was, however, wrong to say this phenomenon was new. It was also wrong to accuse the main opposition party of doing the same thing. For, while the president has been going about from one pulpit to another talking policy and politics, there has not been any report of the leadership of the main opposition party - The Guardian named no name but we all know it meant the All Progressives Congress – going openly from mosque to mosque or from church to church trying to harvest votes. In any case, even if the main opposition party is guilty of the misuse of religion for political gain, the greater blame must still go to the president; as The Guardian itself said, even if this allegation against the main opposition party is true, the buck must stop on the president’s table as he is “expected to run the country and not ruin it.” The way he has used religion to try and rule the country, going all the way back to even before the day in 2011 he knelt publicly before the highly influential Pastor Enoch Adeboye at the Redemption Camp, Ogun State, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, for blessing in the run-up to the presidential election that year, the president may yet ruin this country. By now it should be obvious that the president and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party are determined to avoid a campaign based on the performance of his administration. This is obvious from the way his sidekicks, notably Professor Jerry Gana, who needs no introduction as, among other things, the

People and Politics By


Playing dangerous politics with religion

•Dr Jonathan

Mr Goodluck Jonathan owes himself and his country the duty to take religiosity, in contradiction to religious ethics, out of our politics. Otherwise he may yet prove the prophets of doom right who say he is the last president Nigeria will have

country’s longest serving minister of information, through the militant Asari Dokubo to Senator Smart Adeyemi, have been defining the basis of support for the president in terms of ethnicity, region and religion. Professor Gana, for example, said recently that the Middle Belt where he comes from will vote for the President, apparently regardless of the man’s record of performance which, in spite of the statistics of economic growth government officials like to bandy around, has been dismal as is pretty obvious from the pervasive poverty in the land. For Gana the Middle Belt will vote for the president because, in his own estimation, it is mainly Christian and peopled by minority tribes. Similarly Dokubo has said the Southsouth region where he and the president come from will vote solidly for their man simply because he is their man, and it does not matter that nothing has changed in the dismal and brutish life of the common South-Southerner in spite of all the region’s oil wealth and for all

these years that their man has been president. Again, Senator Adeyemi said in an interview in The Guardian of last Monday that the Yorubas in the North will support the president in spite of the alliance between the mainstream Southwest and Northwest politicians led by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor, and General Muhammadu Buhari, former military head of state and a perennial presidential candidate since 2003. “The gang-up,” as the senator called it, “seems more or less dominated by a section of Muslims from the Southwest who are in collaboration with some Northerners, who are also predominantly Muslims.” In what was clearly a gross misrepresentation of the Tinubu/Buhari “amalgam”, he said in the interview that those touting it as a possible winner should remember that what he said was a similar alliance between Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola as Western


Hmmn BETTER DAYS? I just hope it would come THIS CENTURY



DON beg me” or more appropriately, “I don beg am” or better still, “We don beg dem”, appears the

grand strategy of Adamu Mu’azu, new national chairman of the embattled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “E don beg me” was inimitable Fela, the late Afro Beat king — one of his many indelible contributions to the running tragi-comedies of Nigerian politics and governance. The military had gaoled Fela for alleged currency offences. The fiery singer had maintained his innocence but was serving his term. But all that changed when Fela met Justice Okoro Idogu, the trial judge, in a hospital ward. Justice Idogu said the meeting was accidental. Fela countered it was deliberate: by the gaoler to “beg” the gaoled, for a rigged sentence. “E don beg me” had entered Nigeria’s popular lexicon! To Fela and his dismissive crowd, begging was laconic and sardonic humour. But to Alhaji Mu’azu, the man with the mission to save PDP from self-ruin, begging is serious business.

E don beg me That was why, it appears, the former Bauchi governor trumpeted it loud and clear, his first declaration as PDP national chairman: he begged all the defected PDP governors to come back. Tukur was gone. The problem was ended. The house is warm, friendly and inviting. The umbrella remains wide and solid! After that declaration, Alhaji Mu’azu has begun a begging sortie, with his first call at Abeokuta, where he privately, had gone to beg former President Olusegun Obasanjo; he, of the famous hyena laugh, the very angry godfather at a very naughty godson. Now, what might Mu’azu have told Obasanjo? That his presidential godson had turned a new leaf, renounced his right to run for second term because Baba, who savoured but did not get a third term, said so? Or that the now penitent godson had decided to sacrifice Buruji Kashamu, the way he sacrificed old man, Bamanga Tukur? Unfortunately, it was secret “begging”, so

premier and Sir Ahmadu Bello as Northern premier only led to the disastrous Western regional crisis which, in turn, eventually led to the 1966 military coup. Chief Akintola had rebelled against the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whom he had succeeded as premier on the platform of the Action Group. Apparently the fact that Tinubu, unlike Akintola, represents mainstream politics in the South-West seems to have escaped the distinguished senator in his attempt to paint the opposition party in the false garb of an Islamic and Northern party. It is also obvious that the senator has ignored the fact that Tinubu’s wife is a staunch Christian and a pastor in her Church and that no one who knows the Asiwaju can accuse him of being a Muslim fundamentalist in the negative manner the West has portrayed such fundamentalism. Like Gana and Co., most of the president’s key supporters have strained themselves to create the impression that those opposed to their principal contesting next year’s election do so because he is a Christian and a minority and not because of his performance. And the president himself has hardly done anything to discourage this gross misrepresentation of the opposition. In this the president has merely been a good student of his erstwhile benefactor, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The reader may recall how the chief, with Gana as his minister of information, foisted the live telecast of the entire Sunday Service at the Villa Chapel on NTA’s audience, something which was unprecedented in our national live. It seems since then the student has surpassed his teacher in this cynical manipulation of religion for political gain. I believe it is naive to think religion should be separated from politics in so far as religion is about what is right and what is wrong in society. All religions tell us and basically agree on the right way and the wrong way to play politics and, for that matter, how to do almost anything. For me, therefore, what is wrong is not the mixing of politics and religion as such but using religion to cover up bad politics. And it is definitely bad politics to use religion – and for that matter ethnicity or region or anything else – to seek to manipulate and divide people, the easier to rule and exploit them. What Nigerians want are leaders prepared to serve the public interest regardless of where they come from or what deity they worship, not leaders too full of religiosity as our leaders have been. As president and commander-in-chief of our armed forces, Mr Goodluck Jonathan owes himself and his country the duty to take religiosity, in contradiction to religious ethics, out of our politics. Otherwise he may yet prove the prophets of doom right who say he is the last president Nigeria will have. •For comments, send SMS to 08059100107

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above Baba’s reaction was not public. But for all you know, Baba, with his hyena laugh, could still dey laugh ooooo! But the duo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso are not at all impressed; so, they are not in laughing mood. Alhaji Atiku declared flat: Mu’azu labours in vain. The stallion has escaped, so it is amusing folly securing the stable doors! Atiku should know: Baba could be so sardonically vengeful it would take more than begging — public or private — to placate him. Kwankwaso was no less dismissive. To him, PDP is a shell; or more appropriately, a mansion which pillars have crumbled. It is only a matter of time before the edifice comes crashing down. And from him, this golden advice: scram before you are buried under its rubble — and that includes the good, begging Mu’azu! But both Atiku and Kwankwaso could well suffer from sour grape complex. For all you know, the aggrieved — including the baleful Baba — could emerge and, like Fela, declare: E don beg me. PDP family, all is forgiven and forgotten.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:08099365644, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. Port Harcourt Office: 12/14, Njemanze Street, Mile 1, Diobu, PH. 08023595790. WEBSITE: E-mail: ISSN: 115-5302 Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation Jan 29, 2014  
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