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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

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NEWS Page 6


VOL. 7, NO. 1993 MONDAY, JANUARY 2, 2012


•An Oshodi, Lagos petrol station queue ... yesterday. INSET: Emworld Filling Station at Utako District, Abuja shutdown ... yesterday PHOTOS: OMOSEHIN MOSES AND ABAYOMI FAYESE

Subsidy chaos: Petrol likely to sell for N141 Marketers shut stations as govt stops subsidy


IGERIANS got a shocking New Year gift from the Federal Government yesterday. They found long queues at the filling stations where petrol was sold at N140 per litre. Gone was fuel subsidy, which gave way to deregulation. Many stations shut down their

PPPRA TEMPLATE FOR DECEMBER 29 •Maximum indicative benchmark – N131.66 per litre for depot price: •Maximum indicative benchmark – N141 price for open market: From Yusuf Alli, John Ofikhenua Abuja and Emeka Ugwuanyi, Lagos

machines. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced the removal of govern-


– N20-N30, (reduced to N22 after strike) •Jan. 1, 2002 – N26 •Sept. 2004 – N48 •April 7, 2005 – N52 •May 28, 2007 – N75 (reduced to N65 after strike)

ment subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). The announcement was made following an emergency meeting of the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Reginald Stanley and other top officials of the agency at

the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) office. It was gathered that after the parley between the NNPC management and the PPPRA, the government withdrew the fuel subsidy on which it claims to have spent N1.3

trillion in less than one year. Although the PPPRA statement did not specify how much petrol will now sell per litre, it was learnt that marketers will not be allowed to sell it for more than N141 per litre, for now. A source from the agency, who pleaded not to be named because he is not officially permitted to speak, said the marketers should continue to work with the PPPRA template of December 29, 2011, published on the agency’s website. Based on the Platts pricing, the template has the Continued on page 2





Subsidy chaos: Petrol likely to sell for N141 Continued from page 1

maximum indicative benchmark of N131.66 per litre for depot price and maximum indicative benchmark price of N141 for open market price. But there was confusion at the filling stations yesterday after the announcement of the withdrawal of subsidy. Petrol sold for N138 at the NNPC mega station in Kabba, Kogi State. However, at the NNPC mega station in Abuja, it was sold for N65. Also at the NNPC station in Mushin, Lagos, petrol was being sold for N65 yesterday afternoon. In Ile Ife, Osun State, petrol was sold for N140 in some of the filling stations. But most of the filling stations across the country closed down. They were, apparently, weighing the options on what price to fix. It could not be immediately ascertained why the Federal Government shelved its plan to withdraw the subsidy in April, but a source in government said: “The Presidency felt this is the auspicious time to do it. I think latest indices available to the government have shown that the government cannot wait till April. The government is also convinced that it has concluded consultations on the removal of the fuel subsidy.” The PPPRA statement noted that the decision to stop subsidy was taken by the agency based on powers conferred on it by the Act establishing it. The Agency noted that marketers would sell petrol according to benchmark price, which it would release today or tomorrow. It will be updated biweekly. The benchmark is to be worked out from the daily Platts’ price of crude in the international market. The aim of the benchmark price, according to the agency, is to protect consumers from exploitation by oil marketers through over-pricing and profiteering. The statement said: “Following extensive consulta-

tion with stakeholders across the nation, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) wishes to inform all stakeholders of the commencement of formal removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), in accordance with the powers conferred on the agency by the law establishing it, in compliance with Section 7 of PPPRA Act, 2004. “By this announcement, the downstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry is hereby deregulated for PMS. Service providers in the sector are now to procure products and sell same in accordance with the indicative benchmark price to be published fortnightly and posted on the PPPRA website. “Petroleum products marketers are to note that no one will be paid subsidy on PMS discharges after 1st January 2012. “Consumers are assured of adequate supply of quality products at prices that are competitive and non-exploitative and so there is no need for anyone to engage in panic buying or product hoarding. “The PPPRA in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will ensure that consumers are not taken advantage of in any form or in any way. “The DPR will ensure that the interest of the consumer in terms of quality of products is guaranteed at all times and in line with international best practice. “In the coming weeks, the PPPRA will engage stakeholders in further consultation to ensure the continuation of this exercise in a hitchfree manner.” Reacting to the development, the Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Chief Obafemi Olawore, said it would be difficult to determine the pump price of petrol by their members because there wouldn’t be uniform pricing any longer. Members, he said, would sell “according to their costs and margins”.

•The machine at the NNPC mega station in Kabba, Kogi State where petrol was sold at N138 per litre ... last night PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

Subsidy removal: Tougher times ahead in 2012


HE campaign for the removal the subsidy on petroleum products through the deregulation of the downstream sector of the industry has finally been consummated. The Federal Government first gave a hint that it would not accept any further delay of the plan when, last month, President Goodluck Jonathan presented the 2012 budget to the National Assembly. The usually huge subsidy provision was missing. It was clear to all that the government had no intention of carrying the burden in the New Year. Yesterday, the agency responsible for taking the decision, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), told a largely unprepared and bewildered nation that no fuel importer should expect to be paid for supplying the products henceforth. The response was spontaneous. While studying the situation, the fuel stations shut down. The public panicked. What is to follow is also fairly predictable. First, fuel, in the interim, would be sold in the black market and prices would reach the roof. This would provoke hyper inflation of prices in the consumer products marMinister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala recently gave hints on what the pump price might look like, if the subsidy is removed. She said: “Under the current downstream sector structure, prices are not determined by demand and

By Bolade Omonijo, Group Political Editor

ket and thus compound poverty. There could also be increase in fire incidents nationwide as people are likely to store Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at home. Thus, lives and properties could be lost. The government argued that the prices would only rise in the interim. Comparing the situation to the development in the telecommunications industry, the government argued that the only way to arrest and correct the structural distortions in the sector is liberalisation that would encourage businessmen to invest in building refineries and importing products to sell at prices dictated by the market. However, this is an argument not supported by empirical evidence. Diesel and engine oil prices have been deregulated for years. Yet, unlike the situation in the telecommunications sector, the prices have been going up. The cost of doing business will respond to the trend. Businesses in the past few years have been relocating to neighbouring countries, with Ghana as

supply. Pump price of PMS is fixed at N65 per litre by the government. The landing cost of a litre of PMS is about N123 per litre, based on an average crude oil price of US$113.98pb. To this, add the cost of distributing, bridging

NLC,TUC reject subsidy withdrawal


ABOUR and civil society groups yesterday rejected the removal of petrol subsidy by the government. The Joint Action Force, the Pro Labour Civil Society Partner in the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) has slated its protest against the decision for tomorrow. The action, it said, will take off from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Secretariat in Yaba, Lagos. The JAF President, Dr Dipo Fashina and Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Aremu, said JAF’s position is that all the four refineries must be made to function optimally before removal of subsidy. Fashina said “JAF wishes to restate that its kick-off of Mass action slated for January 3, 2012, at 8a.m., at the Nigeria Labour Congress, Yaba, Lagos office is in force”. The group also urged the public to boycott and shut down any filling station selling petrol, kerosene and diesel above N65, N50 and N70. Aremu said the decision to

By By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu and Wale Adepoju

increase the prices is antipeople, adding: “We must not allow profiteers and looters to enslave us again. Freedom is not given; it is fought for and won.” NLC Vice President Comrade Isa Aremu said the subsidy removal is unacceptable to labour because the announcement came from PPPRA, which is also part of the nation’s problems. He called on Nigerians to stand firm against the action while they await directives from Labour on collective rejection of the policy. He described that the action is a gross distortion of the on going policy dialogue on the issue. His words: “Price regime change of over 100 per cent, coming from a discredited organisation like the PPPRA is unacceptable to Nigerians. Issue that assumed local and national dimension with the President reading the Policy Dialogue issued by the coordinating Minister cannot be

withdrawn by the PPPRA. Nigerian people must reject it holistically.” He added: “Nigerians must reject this new price imposition because it is a gross distortion of the current policy dialogue that was on-going. There is an existing agreement between the NLC and the Federal Government, which states that price of PMS is N65 per litre. Any price outside this is unacceptable. This shows that this is one government that cannot be trusted. Nigerians must make sure they uphold the price regime of N65. “The Federal Government must be held responsible for any chaos at the filling stations because Nigerians will ensure the N65 price regime stays.” Secretary-General of the TUC, Chief John Kolawole, said, “We reject it on behalf of Nigerians. We are consulting. Nigerians should get ready for action. The TUC organs will meet at a time to be announced later. I can assure you that our position has not changed because government has not met any of the conditions we gave before with-

drawing the subsidy. In NLC’s New Year message, by President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar entitled: “Roll up Your Sleeves in 2012”, it said, labour will resist the removal with rallies and sensitisation. It said: “While government claims to be “consulting” on the fuel subsidy removal, its Commissioners of Police in a number of states are boasting that they are armed and battle ready to smash Nigerians who may publicly protest their feelings against the removal. “Since the concept of ‘consultations’ is nebulous, and there are no objective criteria to determine its outcome, the NLC challenges the Government to conduct a referendum on the issue to determine the WILL of the Nigerian people. If it does not, but rather elects to impose its will on the citizenry, the Nigerian people have the fundamental right to resist. Since the fuel subsidy removal is a war foretold, Nigerians must begin preparations to meet this challenge in the New Year.

the major beneficiary. Since many companies have official cars that they have to be fueled for their senior officers, the operating environment may be more stultifying in 2012. The middle class that is just about bouncing back to life is likely to be at the receiving end from the new policy. While low-income earners can only be indirectly hit by the policy, the upper class can easily absorb the effect as their employers will bear the cost. But, for the middle class that has no access to alternative transport, an increase of more than 100 per cent rise in price can only make life more difficult. Artisans and technicians who rely on PMS to power generators to earn their daily meal will be forced to pass the cost to customers where this is feasible. Otherwise, they will be forced to close shop, with the consequent implication for unemployment – one of the evils the government says subsidy removal will fight. Most households now rely on power generators to make life more comfortable for them and cool the environment. In all, life will be more difficult for the general populace in 2012 – as previous increases have shown.

and profit margins of N15.72 per litre. This results in effective cost of N139/litre. “In 2012, the landing cost of a litre of PMS is estimated at N104/litre based on a crude oil price of US$90pb. To this, add the cost of distributing, bridging and profit margins of N15.72/litre. This results in effective cost of N120 per litre. “Fuel subsidy is what is paid by government to keep prices below free market. The subsidy causes distortions that result in huge economic costs, such as rent-seeking behaviour and smuggling. “The amount of subsidy

equals to the difference between the consumer pump price of fuel versus the total cost of producing or importing. The price of petrol is N65 per litre, but actual cost of supply is N139 per litre. And projected at N120 per litre in 2012. “This means that currently for every one litre of petrol purchased at the official price of N65, government contributes N73. Presently, only petrol and kerosene enjoy government subsidy. Diesel has already successfully been deregulated.”

•Vehicles queuing to buy fuel at the NNPC Mege Station in



NEWS CD: it’s callous New Year’s gift

Labour insists on N65 per litre


HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) yesterday issued a strongly-worded statement condemning subsidy withdrawal. The statement titled: “Enforce N65 per litre price,” and signed by NLC acting Genera; Secretary Owei Lakemfa and TUC Secretary General John Kolawole said: “As Nigerians mourn the victims of the bomb blasts in the last few days and grapple with insecurity, the Jonathan Administration decided to utilise this period to impose astronomical fuel price increases on the populace. “This New Year “gift” by the Presidency is callous, insensitive and is intended to cause anarchy in the country. It is tragic that the Jonathan Government has become the greatest source of insecurity in the country and the spring of danger to the Nigerian nation. “In the last few days, Jonathan’s administration told Nigerians that it was consulting us on the issue of fuel subsidy removal and that if any was contemplated, it

From Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu John Ofikhenna, Abuja and Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

would be with effect from April 1, 2012. The NLC and TUC warned Nigerians that this government thrives on falsehood and can therefore not be trusted. “The Presidency’s New Year Day action of removing the fuel subsidy and imposing new fuel prices on the populace is a clear demonstration of the fact that the Jonathan administration cannot be trusted. We also have information that it intends to make a litre of PMS N150.00 and then ask the NNPC to reduce the price at its fuel stations by a few Naira. Nigerians must defeat whatever are the schemes of this government. “The NLC, TUC, the propeople Civil Society Organisations and patriotic Professional organisations reject these new fuel prices and direct Nigerians to resist their imposition. We direct our state councils and unions to take steps to resist any price above N65 litre of PMS, and await a date for the commencement of general strikes and mass protests across the country.

“Similarly, we alert the populace to begin immediate mobilisation towards the Dday for the commencement of the strikes, street demonstrations and mass protests across the country. “With the decision of the Jonathan administration to create chaos in the country, we Nigerians have the duty and responsibility to restore the country to normalcy and reclaim our birthright. “This promises to be a long drawn battle; we know its beginning, but we do not know its end or when it will end. But we are confident that the Nigerian people will triumph over the cabal in Aso Rock. “We call on the National Assembly and the governors to side with the people and stand by them in this struggle. “The Labour Movement also calls on the police, armed forces and other security personnel not to accept any order to shoot Nigerians or attack them for publicly resisting these evil hikes in fuel prices. We warn that any officer who does so will be brought to justice, and a claim that he was obeying orders, will not be an excuse for committing such


•NLC president Omar

crimes. “We also put the Jonathan Presidency and its surrogates on notice that we shall ensure that they are prosecuted up to the International Criminal Court if they, by acts of commission or omission spill the blood of any Nigerian over the protests that follow their inhuman acts against the people. “In the next few days, the leadership of the NLC and TUC will jointly issue directives on the date organised national strikes, street demonstrations and mass protests will commence. We shall neither surrender nor retreat.

We ‘ll protest subsidy withdrawal, says CNPP


HE Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday in Abuja described as illegal the sudden announcement of the removal of petroleum subsidy. It warned that President Goodluck Jonathan risks street protests. The CNPP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Osita Okechukwu said the PPPRA violated the act

setting it up as such a decision should have been approved by its board which had not met on the matter. Describing the move as “null, void and of no effect”, the CNPP called on Nigerians to get ready for a mass revolt if the people are pushed to the limits. The statement reads: “Regrettably, the announcement by the spokesman of the

PPPRA to the effect that they had removed the so, called fuel subsidy is meant to cause confusion; the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties {CNPP} wishes to reaffirm our Seven-Point Charter and state as follows:- That the statement emanating from the spokesman of PPPRA to the effect that they had removed the fuel subsidy did not follow the due process, the rule

of law, is unfortunately contrary to the PPPRA Act and therefore illegal, null, void and of no effect. “That the Board of the PPPRA has not met and any decision of such magnitude taken without the Board is illegal, ultra vires and meant only to satisfy President Goodluck Jonathan and his Food is Ready cohorts. •continued on page 58

Action is illegal, says Falana

•Dr. Jonathan


AGOS lawyer Femi Falana yesterday described the removal of subsidy on petrol as “illegal and unconstitutional”. In a statement last night, he

said: “The decision to increase the pump price of petrol can only be taken by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Board but the Board whose members include representatives of the media, the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), never met to deliberate and take a decision on the matter. Therefore, the deregulation policy announced by the PPPRA is illegal, as it contravenes section 7 of the PPPRA act. “To the extent that the NNPC is allowed to continue to import 50 per cent of petroleum products, there can

be no deregulation in the circumstance. “Owing to the oligopolistic control of AGO or diesel by NNPC, its pump price has jumped from N70 to N180 per litre. Even though the price of kerosene is N50 per litre it is sold for N140. “However, the National Assembly should not hesitate to reject the illegal decision of the PPPRA and proceed to allocate N240 billion for fuel subsidy in the 2012 Appropriation Act. Whereas, fuel subsidy of N240b was provided for in the 2011 appropriation bill signed into law by President Jonathan, the amount was illegally increased to N1.4 trillion by

PPPRA in collusion with the so-called cabal. “It is pertinent to point out without any fear of contradiction that until the 2012 budget is passed into law, the budget of 2011 including the N240b voted for fuel subsidy remains valid and binding on all authorities in Nigeria including the presidency and the PPPRA. “Senator Magnus Abe committee should speed up its investigation of the fraud that has characterised the importation of petroleum. “The report of the committee will assist the National Assembly in taking an informed decision in the national interest.”

HE Campaign for Democracy (CD) is alarmed that the Jonathan regime “has again packaged a callous New Year ‘gift’ to Nigerians by the removal of “subsidy” on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).” In a statement yesterday by its President Dr. Joe OkeiOdumakin, the CD said: “We see the action as wicked,insensitive, and a clear demonstration of deep contempt for the plight of Nigerians’, majority of whom are presently at the lowest ebb. “Unfortunately, it is the ordinary people that are being made to bear the brunt of irresponsible governance. Which responsible government in the world would preside over the sixth largest

producer of crude oil in the world and would depend on imported refined fuel at a price it cannot control for its domestic consumption just as it cannot determine the price of its crude.” we call on all mass and democratic bodies in Nigeria to join forces with Labour and civil society to reject the removal of “subsidy”. There should be total strike and street protests to let the government know that enough is enough. “The battle line has been drawn. Nigerians should be ready to defend themselves against this punitive regime. To fold our arms in the face of this onslaught is to sign away our humanity, since it will be assumed that we are a conquered people.”

No decision yet, says Senate


HE Senate yesterday could not say whether it opposes or support the removal of petrol subsidy by government. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, said the Senate believes consultations were still ongoing. Abaribe, in a statement in Abuja last night, said the Senate has not taken a conclusive decision on the matter because it had not arrived at a consensus. He said the Senate: “will always support every effort of the President and Commander in Chief to make life better for the Nigerian people so long as such efforts would be in the interest of the vast majority of the people.” Abaribe said: “The Senate heard of the commencement of full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by the express and immediate removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the PPPRA.

From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

“The Senate is yet to take a final decision on the issue. “While it is true that there was no provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget proposal, the senate still believes that consultation is still going on, which means the senate is yet to reach a consensus on the matter. “This can only be done when the budget bill is considered and final decision taken on it. “You will recall that senators held different positions when the issue came on the floor. “So, the prevailing situation will not vitiate the ongoing consultation, which must take full cognisance of the general mood and also of utmost economic benefit to the country. “However, the Senate will always support every effort of the President and Commander in Chief to make life better for the Nigerian people so long as such efforts would be in the interest of the vast majority of the people.”

While it is true that there was no provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget proposal, the senate still believes that consultation is still going on, which means the senate is yet to reach a consensus on the matter.

Fuel queues in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt


Abuja ... yesterday


HE reaction to government’s removal of petroleum subsidy was swift at the pump yesterday. Filling stations shut down as soon as news spread that government had withdrawn subsidy. They sold at the N65 per litre pump price before shutting down their operations, investigations by our reporters in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan and other major cities revealed. The closure of filling station created artificial scarcity. Only the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega stations were selling. They sold at N65 per litre. In Lagos, virtually all the sta-

From John Ofikhenua (Abuja), Bisi Oladele (Ibadan) and Bisi Olaniyi (Port Harcourt)

tions were shut down in the afternoon. In Abuja, motorists who trooped to the stations soon after the announcement of the withdrawal of subsidy were disappointed. A surging queue at the NNPC mega station stretched about a kilometer. In Kuje, a suburb in the FCT, all petrol stations were under lock and key. In Kubwa, a satellite town in Bwari Area Council, all petrol stations closed down. One motorists, who identified himself as Mr. Ellams Umogane in Kuje said: “Everywhere is now under lock and

key. No petrol station is opened in Kuje because I have checked on all the stations.” A Kubwa, a resident, who rushed to the mega station, said: “I tried to catch the dealers in Kubwa unaware, but they closed the station before I got there.” Motorists who visited most petrol stations in the city as early as 8:00 am yesterday were disappointed. Gates of the filling stations were closed to customers. Though a few stations were still selling products to motorists as at pres time, most dealers were waiting for official confirmation of the price. •continued on page 58




Jonathan: it’ll be tough, but not too painful


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan told Nigerians to brace up for a tough year. The President spoke at the First Baptist Church, Garki, where he attended the New Year service with members of his family and some of his aides. He said: “The journey will be tough, but it is not going to be too painful. Anyway I know that leaders who inflicted pain on the people always end up badly. Leaders who think they are so powerful always end up badly and no leader will want to be reckoned with as one who inflicted pain on the people. We are all writing our history; whatever you sow as a leader, even if you are dead and gone, the story will be told how you brought pain on the people. So, nobody will bring pains on Nigerians.” Jonathan added: “When I’m challenged, I think more. I don’t rush to take decisions, I listen more to people. That is why it looks as if I’m slow. I also know that when people rush to take decisions, they also make a lot of mistakes. A lot of people only celebrate their successes and not their mistakes.” The President, who sought for more prayers to enable the country overcome its challenges in 2012, assured that the new year “is the year of turning point in Nigeria’s history.” He regretted that Nigeria is still grappling with developmental issues, 51 years after independence, saying:”Collectively, we will change history. When you compare Nigeria to other nations Nigeria is not moving fast enough. I promise we will work with all Nigerians to see how things can be done differently. We have our challenges and that is where the devil comes in and put road blocks. Jonathan said: “I assure this con-

The journey will be tough, it is not going to be too painful anyways because I also know that leaders who bring pain on the people always end up badly. Leaders who think they are so powerful always end up badly and no leader will want to be reckoned with as one who brings pain to the people

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

gregation that we will work with all Nigerians in 2012 because this is a new government, not completely new because I was the Vice-President of the former government before I took over to complete the four years. But the government under which I contested an election really promised Nigerians a lot of things and in 2012, we are going to start with a fresh budget. The budget I took over from in 2011 was a transitional budget. This is the first budget that will be built on our vision and commitment for this country and God

willing, we will follow it to the letter and with your cooperation and prayers this country will begin to witness things differently. “So, our commitment is that by May 29, 2015, Nigerians will look back and say we made the right choice by voting for people who have done well for us. Because we have also looked at the elections, our court processes have affirmed that it was an election all of you worked for, first time we will conduct election with minimal controversies. Of course, there were crises but we knew why they came up; it was not because of the elections. The day the Supreme Court was to deliver judgment in the 2007 elections, when I was the Vice-President, that day I didn’t go to work; I sat and watched the proceeding because four of the judges were for us; three were against us; it was too close for comfort or like some people will say, too close to call. But in this case, all the judges were for us, right from the Appeal Court to the Supreme Court. They said our opponent had no case. That shows clearlyNigerians voted for us. The people put us there and in the next three years we must satisfy the people; there will be no excuse not tosatisfy the people.” The Senior Pastor of the church, Revd. Israel Adelani Akanji, who doubles as the Chairman ofthe Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Abuja chapter, read from Isaiah 43:18-19, asking Nigerians to prepare for new things in their lives. Noting that God’s power is made manifest in difficult situations, Rev. Akanji said God is set to dislodge all the forces that stand against the progress of Nigerians. “Those who out-match our nation are no match for God. God willoutmatch and dislodge them before our very eyes,” he said.

Better days ahead, says Sylva


AYELSA State Governor Timipre Sylva has promised the people better days ahead. The governor, in a New Year message by his Chief Press Secretary, Doifie Ola, said the interest of the majority would always come first. The statement reads: "It is time again to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the New Year. At a time like this, people often desire to peer into the future. Some resolve to improve their lifestyles for the benefit of themselves and their loved ones. But it is also a time to look back into the past and into the future of our state. "Last year, 2011 was a great year for our state. In this last year, Bayelsa State turned 15, and we produced the first elected Nigerian president of Niger Delta origin. "But during the past year also, the image of Bayelsa State was in the spotlight both in Nigeria and abroad. It was the eve of elections and as is only natural, there were disagreements in the process of agreeing on who should lead us. Some players took the political bickering too far, often jettisoning decency and the rule of law. In so doing, they created tension and anxiety in the polity. For me, there is a sense in which the crisis we are dealing with is normal in our kind of society. In this connection, the thing that matters is not the disagreements, but how as a people we view our state and the direction we want it to go in the future.

My people ‘ll have better deals, says Orji From Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia



"Dear Bayelsans, it is not the fact of the crisis we have witnessed in the last few months that matters. What matters is how the crisis is resolved - whether it is resolved progressively for the betterment and progress of our people, or it is resolved - God forbid - in the interest of the forces of reaction. At this point, I must thank you, the good people of Bayelsa State, for your tolerance and understanding in the face of all the anxiety. "But I would like to re-emphasise the point that the people of Bayelsa

BIA State Governor Theodore Orji has said his administration would ensure better life for the people. In a New Year message, Orji said the year would usher in transformation. He said there are plans to create thousands of jobs through agricultural reforms and other activities. The governor urged all Abians to renew their faith in the governance of the state by embracing his administration's policies.

State need to realise that they alone can choose their own leaders. Nobody, however big or wellplaced, can foist a leader on the people. That is the beauty and power of democracy. This year is an election year for us in Bayelsa State, and the opportunity to exercise that power and to experience and witness that beauty will offer itself again on February 11. We see that day as a major turning point in the history of the state. We expect the elections to usher in a leadership that will consolidate the gains of

•His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Olubumi Okogie (middle) at the New Year briefing at left) Monsignor Paschal Nwazukpo, Monsignor Gabriel Osu, Director Social Communicati Millanze and Sir Ster Omojeafo.

•From left: RT Rev. Dapo Asaju, Bishop Adebayo Akinde, Bishop Diocese of Lagos Mainl Mr. Lanre Idowu at the Cathedral of St. Jude Ebute Metta, Yaba .... yesterday

these past four years. There are strong reasons to believe that 2012 presents us a new zeal to build on the foundation which this administration has laid. “Over the past four years, we have done a lot in the areas of health, education, agriculture, power, commerce and industry. What remains is for us to tie up all these into a coordinative whole that would usher in the modern state of our dream so that the work of the administration in the past four years will be manifest. This work of coordination and consolidation will be our focus in the New Year. “Generally, we will ensure that all the major infrastructural details about Yenagoa are completed in the year. "I thank you, my people of Bayelsa State, for being steadfast and patriotic, despite provocation from some of our brothers and sisters, who do not even live in Bayelsa State, and other forces of reaction. I enjoin you to remain dedicated and not allow yourselves to be used by anybody for their selfish interests. "My fellow Bayelsans, I must tell you that there is no reason to waiver or hesitate. Those who oppose us are not opposing us on any programmes or principle. They have not come out with any programmes as an alternative to the ones that we have pursued resolutely in the past four years. They are only interested in

capturing power for their selfaggrandisement. And they are only committed to the weapon of impunity, in blatant contempt for our traditional high regard for the values of justice, freedom, and equity. "Politics is about choices, choices that would spur action on the issues that bother a people most. “The economy of our state needs to grow on a strong institutional and political foundation. For business to thrive in our state, it must be guaranteed a secure, stable, and peaceful operating environment. Sustainable economic development requires a stable polity to yield the democratic fruits that we need so much, such as jobs, education, and health care. "Achievement of those democratic dividends requires our collective effort and determination. As we march through 2012 and into February, we should be determined to make informed and rational choices, choices that would guarantee us socio-economic stability and continuity. We should choose to reject distabilisation and impunity. We should elect to reject the forces of illegality that landed suddenly on our state of harmony to endanger our liberty and paint a grim picture of our society and personhood before civilised humanity."




he New Year briefing at the Holy Cross Cathedral. With him are: (from ctor Social Communication, Catholic Secretariat, Revd. Father Hyginius

•New year service at Methodist Trinity Church, Tinubu, Lagos. From left: Rt. Rev. Sunday Oluwayemisi Ogunlere , Prelate Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde and Very Rev. Rufus Olanrewaju Babalola

Diocese of Lagos Mainland, Mr. and Mrs. Laotan, Ajose Adeogun and .... yesterday

•From right: Vice Lay President, Lagos Diocese of the African Bethel Church Broad Street Lagos, Chief Mrs. Obayomi Balogun , Primate of the African Church, Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia and Lay President, Chief Ebenezer Olubukola Okunlowo at the New Year service ...yesterday PHOTOS: ADEOLA SOLOMON, ABIODUN WILLIAMS AND BADE DARAMOLA

Wike: 2012 will be year of breakthrough By Wale Ajetunmobi



INISTER of State for Education Nyesom Wike has said this year would be Nigeria's year of developmental breakthrough. In a New Year message to Nigerians by his Special Assistant (Media), Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike urged Nigerians to sustain their support for the Goodluck

Jonathan administration. The minister said: "From the depth of my heart, I wish all Nigerians a happy New Year and assure them that 2012 will be a year of the manifestation of several government policies for the benefit of all. President Jonathan and his team are determined to effect the breath of fresh air he promised the people as things will definitely change for the better. "This year, 2012 is a year where political issues will no longer occupy the front burner of national development because of the determination of the Presidential Election Petition by the Supreme Court. Therefore, Nigerians should expect more from all sectors of governance because of the confirmation of the President's and vice president's mandate." On the education sector, Wike said: "Education is critical to the attainment of the government's transformation agenda and all hands are on deck to address vi-

tal challenges in the sector. At present, results have started trickling in as exemplified in the last few weeks. However, we expect major positive changes in 2012, which Nigerians will be proud locally and internationally". He said modalities are in place to create access to quality education among the less privileged Nigerians and build a framework for the emergence of world class teachers to drive education at that level. Wike added that all stakeholders in the education sector would be involved to ensure that the turn around in the sector is total and sustainable. "I am very optimistic that 2012 will signal the commencement of Nigeria's march to the desired transformation in all sectors. All challenges facing the nation will be comprehensively tackled, including the security challenges. Nigerians should stand up and work with President Jonathan and his team for genuine progress to be made", he said.

'Religious leaders should not incite followers'


HE Spiritual Leader of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide (Ayo Ni O), Revd Samuel Abidoye, has cautioned religious leaders in the country against making utterances capable of setting the country ablaze. Revd. Abidoye urged President Goodluck Jonathan to overhaul the intelligence unit of the nation's security agencies and adopt more practical means of tackling the Boko Haram menace in the country. He spoke with reporters at the National Headquarters of the church in Kaduna. The clergyman said religious leaders should come together and pray for an end to the worsening security situation in the country rather than engage in a war of words. Revd Abidoye said Jonathan needs to focus on repositioning the nation's security in 2012. He decried the exchange of words among religious leaders over the Christmas day bombing at Madalla and appealed to them to join hands with the government to fish out the perpetrators of violence in the

country rather than engage in a war of words in order not to inflame the already charged atmosphere.He noted that the overhauling of the intelligence unit of the security agencies was long overdue, saying the Federal Government should seek the assistance of international security experts and agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the various bomb blasts in some states in the North. Abidoye added that it was time the Federal Government put its security and intelligence machinery in order by ensuring that they became proactive and preventive rather than reactive. He also said the government should be firmer in dealing with individuals and groups perpetrating violence in Nigeria, saying "the Federal Government on its part should now know that its security agencies and their intelligence units are overdue for overhauling. "They should be proactive so that they can always nip these bombings and violence in the bud. The government should not shy away from seeking the assistance of international security and intelligence experts.”




FCT to build N2.5b houses for VP, National Assembly officers


HE Federal Government will spend N2.5 billion this year to design and build the homes of the Vice-President and presiding officers of the National Assembly. The beneficiaries among the National Assembly are Senate President, Deputy Senate President, the House of Representatives Speaker and his deputy. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has earmarked another N2.5 billion for the “construction of cultural centre and a millennium tow-

From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor), Abuja

er”. This is contained in this year’s budgetary breakdown for the FCT ministry’s capital expenditure. The proposal shows that the designing and construction of the VicePresident’s home will cost N1 billion while the “designing and construction of National Assembly’s presiding officers residence” will cost the nation N1.5 billion. The FCT is proposing the con-

struction of “National Assembly complex, Phase III, Parts II and III, Abuja N500,000,000 and for the “construction of federal ministry’s building Plot 08 for N250,000,000". The FCT ministry also plans to spend N316,000,000 for the “completion of federal ministry’s building Plot 04, phase II”. Besides, the FCT administration has said it would spend N895,818,621 for the “construction and equipping of a 220-bed Utako district hospital”. In this year’s 2012 budget, the

Ministry of Special Duties has proposed the procurement of office furniture and equipment (photocopying machine at N2million; two giant photocopying machines at N500,000 each and the procurement of office furniture and fittings for the “…Minister’s office, permanent secretary’s office, directorate officers and other staff as well as rugging the offices of the ministry at N9.7million”. The ministry will spend N20,000,000 on this exercise. It has also proposed the “purchase of computers and accessories

(2gb) vandixk; five printer (2015) at N50,000 each; a colour printer (hp lj3380) at N1.2million; a digital scanner (8290) at N1million; two xp operating system at N400,000 each; and internet-based anti-virus at N1.5million”. The total is put at N35,000,000. The budget breakdown also shows that the ministry plans to procure specialised e-library, books, equipment, ICT (upgrading and equipping with necessary modern software and hardware for N45,000,000.

How to end Nigeria’s crisis, by Kumuyi


HE General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, yesterday suggested how to end violence in the country. He urged the Federal Government to rally “dispassionate and detached stakeholders” together to resolve the growing insecurity in Nigeria. Addressing reporters in Lagos, Kumuyi said: “I believe such stakeholders are still available in the country. We must identify the causative factors of the unending violence: the elements involved and how security agencies can be rallied to truly and effectively address the scourge. “Perhaps, the time has finally come to address the loose ends of our political environment and produce an enduring solution on how we all can peacefully co-exist, our diverse backgrounds notwithstanding. “I want to urge our leaders to find ways of seeing how to arrest this

‘Community participation crucial to crime prevention’ From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


HE Ekiti State Police Command has said communities have to play a crucial role in exposing anything that can cause dangers to residents. Addressing reporters at the weekend in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, police spokesman Muhammed Jimoh noted that it is important for residents to partner the police to curb criminality. He said: “These elements (criminals) live among the people and within the communities; the people know them. They are like time bombs waiting to explode and should be before they unleash mayhem. “People should furnish the police with details on suspicious characters anytime and anywhere. By doing this, they are assisting the police to assist them. “Armed robbers, kidnappers, suicide bombers and terrorists generally don’t live in the moon. They are a part of the community of people. Exposing them is an assignment that should be equally shared among all concerned. “Most of the people don’t have the telephone number of the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in their areas. It is good to have them as they enable residents to call anytime they see suspicious persons. They should have the telephone numbers of the police officers in the areas. Calls to the police could save us all a lot of agony.” The police spokesperson assured that the police would provide tighter security to protect life and property.

•Kumuyi... yesterday By Eric Ikhilae, Joseph Jibueze, Nneka Nwaneri and Adeola Ogunlade

situation. The culture of rivalry, hatred and bloodletting must be checked.” The cleric noted that the any name could be given the gathering of stakeholders so long the objectives and focus are based on resolving the

•Members of the congregation during the service... yesterday


against any retaliatory attack. He noted that the resort to selfhelp could worsen the already bad situation. The cleric hailed the Federal Government for imposing a state of emergency in states with protracted insecurity, saying: “This is why I commend the immediate efforts of the Federal Government in coming

to terms with the sad trend so that the spectre of killing of innocent souls will not continue.” Kumuyi urged the government to be more proactive in governance so that some unscrupulous people would not hide under the guise of protesting government’s failure to wreak havoc on innocent citizens.

ANPP to Nigerians: let’s put our hope in God

resources available to them. There are no security gadgets to check bombs and other IEDs. Whoever is removed will be replaced with someone else within the system. “Some people are feeding fat from the misdeeds of the perpetrators of the violence, even among the security agents. But we want to see the result of the security votes to the states and even the Federal Government. Let Mr. President work with other stakeholders, free himself from the cocoon surrounding him, to see things for himself and assess the situation and take full control.” He noted that Dr Jonathan’s visit to St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State, the scene of the Christmas Day bombing, was capable of being misconstrued by other Nigerians. He said the President did not do the same when a similar incident occurred in Jos, Plateau State, during the last Sallah day. Saying the security challenges in the country were enormous, the lawmaker said Dr Jonathan should rise up to the occasion without any sentiment. Sumaila said: “I am urging Mr. President to reassure Nigerians that he is the President of all, irrespective of religion, tribe, region and political affiliations, in accordance with the oath of office which he took, to protect and promote the peace and integrity of all Nigerians.”

nation’s diverse challenges. According to him, names such as sovereign national conference or conference of ethnic nationalities, or any other appellation could be chosen for the gathering. Kumuyi, who regretted the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State, urged Christians

‘Jonathan’s incompetence caused Nigeria’s crisis’


HE Deputy Minority Leader and the Leader of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Suleiman Kawu Sumaila, yesterday in Kaduna said President Goodluck Jonathan lacks the competence to lead Nigeria properly. He noted that the alleged President’s incompetence was responsible for the present insecurity confronting the nation. Sumaila, who represents Sumaila/Takai Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, said the President has shown a high degree of incompetence in handling the affairs of the country. According to him, Jonathan’s inability to handle the current insecurity in the country is a sign of weak leadership. Urging the President to prove his critics wrong by showing the capacity to steer the ship of the nation to safe waters, the lawmaker said: “The President is weak. I don’t think he has the capacity to lead Nigeria. “It goes beyond having a PhD. What (the late) Mallam Aminu Kano and Sir Ahmadu Bello had was Grade Two Teachers’ Certificate, but they led very well. Mr. President has not really been acquainted with the country enough to understand its problems before coming into the highest office in the land. “See how Christian and Muslim leaders talk anyhow. The Christian

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja


ESPITE the Christmas Day bombing, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) at the weekend urged Nigerians to place their hope and belief in God for a positive change. A statement in Abuja by the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, reads: “As our beloved country men and women join the rest of the global family to anticipate a more fulfilling New Year, we of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, urge them to do so with a sober disposition and deeper reflection on the manifest destiny of our dear country. “We believe and strongly too, that the gains of democracy and the benefits of development should go hand in hand. It is also our conviction that neither of these can be achieved in circumstances which remove the people either as the crucial element in the development process or the decisive factor for popular vote. “We enjoin our leaders to seize the opportunity offered by the New Year, to rededicate themselves to a more conscientious pursuit of those cherished attributes that will enable Nigeria’s democracy and its development to flourish and endure. “To achieve these, we urge that we think more of how Nigerians can go to sleep with both eyes closed; how we can eat three nourishing meals a day; how healthcare can be within the affordable reach of many, whether rich or poor; how our children can attend schools with trained teachers and good facilities; our brothers and sisters can shelter their families and indeed how we can return greater meaning to the lives of the many poor and deprived people among us who desire and deserve a better life...” From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

Association of Nigeria (CAN) President told Dr Jonathan to his face that his government is incompetent, but the President did not respond. I have said it times without number that I don’t think Mr. President has the capacity to lead Nigeria. I doubt his capability because he is incapacitated to lead the country. “The President is there because we

all believe he is the leader; but Mr. President is incapacitated to lead Nigeria. The problem of Nigeria is not Muslims or Christians but the government. He’s not dancing to the tune of the majority but to the tune of a clique around him. “It is not good for the President to announce imminent changes in the leadership of the security agencies. They are doing their best with the

Muslim group calls for religious tolerance


N Islamic group, the Assembly of Muslims in Nigeria (AMIN), has condemned the bombings in parts of the country and called for religious tolerance based on justice and fairness. In a statement by its Chairman, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, the group condemned the attacks on places

of worship or Nigerians under any guise. The statement reads: “The Assembly of Muslims in Nigeria hereby wishes to call the attention of the Federal Government, religious leaders of both Islam and Christianity to deal with the issue at hand with caution and maturity.”

Quoting portions of the Qur’an, AMIN denounced the Christmas Day bombings and killing of innocent people. It said: “Islam has prohibited any assault on souls, organs and bloodshed. Islam also ordains the protection of the brain, one’s dignity, lineage, property as well as the environment where

all creatures live together. “The recent bloody bombardments are unacceptable in all religions and faiths. There is no compulsion in religion.” AMIN urged Nigerians to fear Allah in everything they do, adding that Allah would punish people for their bad intentions.



NEWS Aregbesola pledges good governance •UNIOSUN VC hails governor on fee reduction From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has assured residents of good governance. In his New Year’s message, the governor said many projects would be executed this year. He said: “With a budget of N19.1 billion for rural and urban transportation before the House of Assembly, the state’s roads are in for a major transformation. “Our administration will invest massively in food production, security and agriculture. The state’s poultry production will grow bigger. “About N340 million has been disbursed out of the N1 billion loans obtained under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme. A large number of poultry farmers, who benefited from the scheme last year, will also be opportune, through the scheme, to expand their poultries under a well guaranteed market.” Also yesterday, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) thanked the people for supporting the government last year. Its State Chairman, Elder Adelowo Adebiyi, said better days lie ahead. He said: “This year’s estimated budget will reinforce the Six-Point Integral Action Plan of the Aregbesola administration and Osun will soon become a model for other states. Our people will now begin to see the reality of the revolution Aregbesola started a year ago.” At the weekend, the Vice-Chancellor of the Osun State University, Prof. Sola Akinrinade, praised the governor for reducing tuition fee at the institution by 50 per cent. He said this has made education affordable for the poor. Akinrinade spoke during the matriculation of new intakes of the university. Aregbesola reduced fees in two colleges of education, two polytechnics and the university, all owned by the state government, last year. Akinrinade said: “The abolition of discriminatory tuition fees by the current administration is a major statement in favour of treating all citizens of the country alike. “The university has enshrined in its laws a non-discriminatory policy in its various activities and we will continue to implement this. We will continue to strive for high standards in our teaching, learning and other activities.”

13 policemen dismissed in Ekiti HIRTEEN police-


men were dismissed in Ekiti State last year for various offences. In a statement at the weekend, Commissioner of Police Mr. Balogun Olayinka said 1,363 officers and men were promoted during the same period. The command’s spokesman, Jimoh Mohammed, was one of those promoted. He rose from the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). Olayinka said about 105 robbery suspects were ar-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

rested last year; while 30 murder cases were handled. He thanked the state government for donating two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and other equipment to the command. Olayinka thanked politicians, unions, traditional rulers and residents for not breaching the peace in the state. He also thanked other security agencies for supporting the police to fight crime.

Lagos Speaker urges Nigerians to be vigilant By Oziegbe Okoeki AGOS State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji has urged Nigerians to be security conscious. In his New Year’s message, Ikuforiji said: “Nigerians, whether Muslims or Christians, should be security conscious. They should be vigilant and supply law enforcement agencies with information whenever they notice any suspicious movement. That would assist law enforcement officers to be efficient.” He urged members of the Boko Haram sect to state their grievances and dialogue with the government. Ikuforiji said: “It is very unfortunate that our nation is witnessing bombings and the loss of innocent lives caused by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect. “Honestly, enough is enough. Rather than continuing with these dastardly acts, I advise members of the sect to stop their unpatriotic act and embrace peace. “I also urge security agencies to leave no stone unturned in checkmating the activities of those endangering the lives of others. “I congratulate Nigerians for being alive to see the New Year, notwithstanding the worsening insecurity. It is a privilege. Many Nigerians alive today may be tempted to become despondent about the hardship prevailing in our country. “I urge Nigerians to keep praying and be hopeful that our nation shall overcome its present state. “ The speaker thanked God for the peace in Lagos State.


•Sympathisers at the scene of the collapsed the weekend

Three killed in Lagos building collapse


HREE persons were killed on Saturday, when an uncompleted building collapsed at Ileshomi Street, off Bobayanju Ewutuntun, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos. Several others were injured. It was gathered that the building had been uncompleted for years and its ownership had changed three times. It was undergoing repairs when it caved in. Men of the Lagos State Emergency Authority (LASEMA), State Physical Planning and Development Authority (LASPPDA), National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Civil Defence, Police, Red Cross, Boys Scout, Lo-

By Muritala Omikunle

cal Government Medical Personnel, Fire Fighters and Boys Brigade were at the scene to rescue victims. The Training Adviser, Red Cross Society, Oshodi/Isolo, Daniel Blessing, said three bodies and five persons had been evacuated. They were searching the rubble for more, he said. The dead are Andrew, Felix and Yusuf. A survivor, Toju, was injured in the hand. Another, Musa, said he crawled out of the rubble on his back, adding that there were dead bodies all around him. Another victim was unconscious when he was evacuated.

ACN slams Ondo Assembly, ODSIEC over Boroffice


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State yesterday condemned the call by the Ondo State House of Assembly that the seat of Professor Ajayi Boroffice at the Senate should be declared vacant. Boroffice dumped the Labour Party (LP) for ACN last week. He said he left the LP because of crisis within the party. The ACN also accused the State Independent Electoral Commission (ODSIEC) of bias. It was gathered that the Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mr. Akin Orebiyi, at the weekend made a statement that there is no crisis in the LP. The ACN wondered when Orebiyi became a spokesman for LP. ACN Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Gbenga Akinmoyo, said: “It is surprising that the House of Assembly, which has been inactive since its inception last April, responded so quickly to Boroffice’s defection. “It has behaved in a manner similar to a Fire Fighting Brigade responding to a hoax call, and on arrival, discharging extinguishers where no fire exists. “The 1999 Constitution, as

Factional LP chair accuses REC of bias From Damisi Ojo, Akure FORMER lawmaker in Ondo State, Mr. Kunle Odidi, at the weekend ac- monitor the selection of Ogidan, who is loyal cused the Resident Electoral Commis- to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, after the case sion (REC), Mr. Akin Orebiyi, of partisan- was instituted. ship. “It is very obvious that the prejudicial acHe urged the Chairman of the Independ- tion of the REC is intended to favour the LP ent National Electoral Commission (INEC), faction loyal to the state government. He inProf. Attahiru Jega, to remove Orebiyi. tentionally neglected his constitutional role Odidi, who heads a parallel executive of the as intermediary or mediator. Labour Party (LP), accused Orebiyi of “On the other hand, he hurriedly made a supporting the rival party executive, led by statement, which was allegedly authored in Mr. Olu Ogidan. According to reports moni- the Government House, immediately after LP tored on Ondo and Lagos states Television lost Senator Ajayi Boroffice to the Action Constations, the REC claimed that there are no gress of Nigeria (ACN), due to the division in factions in the LP. the party. Odidi said there is a suit pending before the “Since the REC has descended into the realm Federal High Court in Akure on the matter of partisan politics and is prepared for self and Orebiyi should not have taken sides. aggrandizement from the government, he He said: “The State REC soiled the integrity should be removed immediately.” of INEC, because there is a rapprochement The REC could not be reached for comments, between him and agents of the governor. but a source at INEC office in Akure alleged “Despite the court case, which was to his that Odidi is trying to blackmail the electoral knowledge, the REC ordered his privy to body.


From Damisi Ojo, Akure

amended, sets the procedure for the recall of a serving senator, but they probably had not considered it when they made their call to the Senate President to declare Boroffice’s seat vacant. “More astonishing is the fact that the principal officers of the State Assembly were members of another party before they defected to their

current party, at some stage in the not too distant past.” Akinmoyo said ODSIEC met with stakeholders and the REC allegedly stated that there is no division in the LP. He said ACN was not invited to the meeting and this raises a lot of questions. Akinmoyo said: “We are wondering when ODSIEC, which is supposed to be independent and impartial, be-

Fayemi, Mimiko free prisoners


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday freed 10 inmates of the Nigerian Prisons Service in Ado-Ekiti. They included two expectant mothers, Bose Joseph and Omotosho Yetunde. The others had been awaiting trial in prison custody for between 12 and 14 years. They are Bayo Aguda, Ige Adu, Kayode Ojo, Tolani Ogunyemi, Toyin Ogunsanya and Rashidi Lasisi, who had been in custody since June 2, 1997.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti, Ojo Damisi, Akure

The rest are Kolapo Oluwadare and Joseph Jegede, who had been held since September 2, 1999. Also yesterday, Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko freed an inmate of the Akure Prisons, Banjo Wiliki. Wiliki was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in November, 2007, for child stealing and was due for discharge in June.

came the mouthpiece of the LP and got embroiled in its internal wrangling. “This development questions its impartial status and the extent to which it can perform its duties satisfactorily. The fact of the internal crisis which consumed LP in the last six months and led to the resignation of many of its chieftains is well documented. “Borroffice has chosen wisely and is now an ACN senator. LP needs to come to terms with the reality that it is no longer a force in Ondo State and is on the way out of the Government House.”


I, formerly known and addressed as Mr. Otuaga Akpobome Sowho, now wish to be known and addressed as Mr. Otuaga Akpobome Otuaga. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.



NEWS Bomb threat: Churches adopt security measures

Death toll hits 67 as 10 more bodies are found in Ebonyi

By Eric Ikhilae


HURCHES in Lagos adopted new security measures to ward off any possible threats as they held their end-of year and New Year sevices at the weekend. Some had armed riot policemen at their entrances. Others simply equipped their security officials with steel and bomb detectors. It was gathered that the measure was to avert a repeat of the Christmas Day attack at St.Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State. This followed a directive by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that Christians should protect themselves. Checks at the gate of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries created a gridlock on the LagosIbadan Expressway . Members of the congregation were asked to park their vehicles outside the church. Also at the Daystar Christian Centre, worshippers were frisked with metal detectors before being allowed into the church. At the Redeemed Christian of Church (RCCG), Ike Anobi Bus Stop, Baruwa Inside, (a suburb of Lagos), two riot policemen were on guard while the church’s end- of-year service lasted. One of the policemen said they were deployed to the church by their superiors. Also at the Christ Tabernacle Arena on Ojota Road, Ogudu, policemen kept vigil all night. At the International Bible Training Centre (IBTC) of the Deeper Christian Life Ministery at Ayobo, on the outskirts of Lagos, plainclothes security personnel worked with church security officers to ensure that every vehicle was screened. This resultted in a slight traffic jam. An official of the church said: “You know it is for us to protect our members. “Although we believe that God provides the ultimate security, we must take steps to help ourselves first.”


HE death toll from the weekend attack by unknown gunmen on indigenes of Ezillo community in Ishielu Local Government of Ebonyi State has risen to 67. This followed the discovery of 10 more bodies in bushes. It was gathered that youths who combed bushes, burnt houses and other places within the community found the bodies. A youth leader, Monday Eze, said the youths worked through out the weekend in search of more bodies, adding that so many families are yet to see some of their members. He said: “We didn’t rest the whole of Saturday and Sunday because we had to comb all the bushes, paths, burnt houses, vehicles to ensure that all the bodies were recovered. “As at Saturday night after Governor Martin Elechi and his entourage left, 10 more bodies were recovered from the bushes.” Eze noted that the youths continued the search because so many families

•AIG visits • Elechi condemns attack Victims undergo operations


OME victims of the Ezillo attack, especially children who were shot, were yesterday operated on at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. Some of the doctors at the children’s ward told our correspondent that they were battling to resuscitate some of the victims, who were macheted and shot. A doctor, who pleaded for anonymity, said one of the victims received serious machete cut at the back. Another was cut on the neck. From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki

were complaining that they are yet to see some of their members. “When we get such information, we comb nearby bushes around the house because it is expected that the people must have entered any nearby bush in their compound and whenever we engage in such search, we always recover one or two bodies.” He said some of the families have buried their dead, in compliance with the di-

From Ogbonnaya Obinna, Abakaliki

He noted that they are no longer on the danger list. A victim, Mrs. Chinasa Okoro, thanked God for saving her life and called on the authorities to find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis in Ezillo. The Commissioner for Health, Sunday Nwangele, said the government would ensure that proper medical care is given to the victims.

rective of the governor, adding that the death toll was high and keeping the bodies in the mortuary would hurt the more. The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 6, Calabar, Saidy Daya, yesterday visited the scene of the attack. The AIG called on the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, to establish a mobile police unit in the troubled area. Daya said the team of mobile policemen from Cross River, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states deployed in the

area has arrived on the scene. He said the police would ensure that no indigene of the state is posted to the area to forestall investigation. The AIG said detectives would also be sent from the Force Headquarters to join in the investigation. Daya urged the people to remain calm, noting that the policemen deployed in the area would ensure the security of life and property. In a broadcast yesterday, Elechi said the attack was a

LP debunks alliance From Osagie Otabor,


•Anambra State Governor Peter Obi (second right); his wife, Margaret (second left); Bishop Hilary Okeke; Obi’s son, Eloka and daughter, Amaka at the New Year mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Onitsha...yesterday

Minimum wage: Akwa Ibom worker begin strike tomorrow ORKERS in Akwa Ibom State yesterday vowed not to return to work tomorrow, if the government fails to address some grey areas in its salary structure table. It was gathered that members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have started mobilising workers for a strike, which beginning from tomorrow. The unions have sent text messages to the workers. The Nation received one of such messages, which read: “Happy New Year. Ignore government propaganda. Minimum wage/CONHESS/ CONJUSS strike starts January 3. Forward SMS to your members. Aluta Continua.” The unions had earlier given the government till December 31 to correct what it described as “the defective”

resurgence of the EzzaEzillo communal crisis. The governor said the incident was a phase in the cycle of destruction and bloodletting which has been the lot of Ezillo since May 10, 2008, when the crisis started. “The shock of the latest incident is not only because of the destruction, but also it came at a time when Ebonyi people and other Nigerians thought that peace had returned to Ezillo. “As Ezillo burns and Ebonyi people mourn, I want to assure our people and all Nigerians that the government will stop at nothing to fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act. “Neither shall we shirk our responsibility to protect life and property everywhere in the state. We all feel the pains of the bereaved families and we all share their grief,” he said. The governor assured residents that security agencies will clear the Abakaliki-Enugu Road of any blockade to ensure the normal flow of traffic. The Abakaliki-Enugu Road cuts through Ezillo Community. The road is always closed each time the recurrent communal conflict starts. Elechi said he has directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to assess the conditions in the area for immediate state intervention.

•We’re still negotiating, says govt


Labour condemns colleague’s sack


HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday criticised the Akwa Ibom State Government over the removal of the governor’s Special Adviser on Labour and Productivity, Ime Umoh. The union, in a statement by its Chairman, Unyime Usoro, said Umoh’s “shameful” exit was as a result of his advice to the government to pay Labour appropriate wages. The union explained that Umoh was nominated to serve in the Executive CounFrom Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

minimum wage table in the interest of workers.” In a communiqué by chairmen of the NLC and TUC, Unyime Usoro and Ifreke Akpan at the end of their

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

cil by the NLC. The NLC leadership said Governor Godswill Akpabio should have taken labour into confidence before dropping the New Year “gift” to workers. Commissioner for Information Aniekan Umanah confirmed the sack. Umanah said: “It is true he has been sacked. He could be a victim of circumstances. He wasn’t accused of any wrong doing.”

meeting, the unions said they expect the government to address the upward review of the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) and Consolidated Judiciary Salary Structure (CONJUSS). Also, labour said the government should implement

the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS), and Consolidated Polytechnic/College of Education Salary Structure (CONPCASS) on or before December 31.

They said if the government fails to meet their demands, workers would go on strike. The Commissioner for Information, Aniekan Umanah, said government is still negotiating with the unions. Umanah said the state was the first to announce the payment of the N18, 000 minimum wage. He added that what the workers were fighting for bothers on relativity as it affects the salary structure table and not minimum wage. Umanah said: “Akwa Ibom State, as you may all recall, was the first to embrace the clamour for N18, 000 minimum wage. “In all, the administration is committed to the welfare of workers . “There is no cause for alarm because the government is labour’s friendly and it is still negotiating with labour.”


HE Labour Party (LP) in Edo State has debunked a supposed alliance with the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). It said it never authorised the alliance carried out by a faction headed by Dr. John Ogbeide. Its Publicity Secretary, Austin Odigie, in a statement yesterday, said the alliance with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that saw the emergence of Governor Adams Oshiomhole still stands. The LP, under the leadership of Dr. Ogbeide, had an alliance with the CPC, ANPP and PPP that led to the formation of Coalition for Progressive Political Parties (CPPP). It produced a consensus candidate, Solomon Edebiri. Odigie said the LP is a disciplined, focused and reputable party that has no room for pettiness, showmanship and political prostitution. He said: “We urge the people of Edo State to be weary of the antics of failed politicians seeking financial rehabilitation and political relevance, who arrogate political offices to themselves without being registered members of such parties.”



NEWS ACN to Jonathan: emergency not solution to security challenges


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday warned the Federal Government on the imposition of emergency in some parts of the North, saying it can only address the symptoms rather than the root causes of the current security crisis facing the nation. But, the party said it welcomed whatever reasonable measures President Goodluck Jonathan takes to stop the needless loss of lives and the overheating of the polity. Reacting to the President’s weekend’s declaration, the party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos said that a more fundamental solution must be found to the crisis to ensure lasting peace. It said with the gravity of the crisis, it is now clear that it

would be futile to leave the search for the solution to the President and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), both of whom have proved that they lack the wherewithal to end the crisis on their own. ‘’All stakeholders, including religious, political and traditional leaders as well as civil society organisations must come together to help fashion out a lasting solution. Our party, on its part, is ever ready to contribute its quota in this regard, if and when called upon. ‘’We also believe that our elder statesmen, the past heads of state, have a great role to play. Though they may have acted individually on this, it is imperative that they work in unison to help end the crisis, which is threatening our democracy and indeed the very survival of our nation. If we

all fail to act now, no one will be spared of the consequences, irrespective of their party affiliation or religious leaning,’’ ACN said. The party said while the imposition of a State of Emergency may seem to be a natural cause of action to take at this time, it must be followed by a robust engagement, wider consultations, dialogue and measures to address the grievances of those perpetrating the violence. It went on: ‘’As we have said in our earlier statements, this process can start with the convening of a national stakeholders security summit that will involve the major stakeholders. The summit will help fashion out a road-map for ending the crisis, which we don’t have to live with anyway, no matter the thinking

Lagos council renames road after Awo’s daughter By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Political Editor


•Alhaji Mohammed

at the highest echelon of government,’’ it said. ACN said the State of Emergency has its limitations, in that it will simply result in more militarisation of the affected areas, more road blocks and the constriction of the civil liberties of the people, adding that unless more far-reaching measures are adopted, the perpetrators of the crisis will simply leave the affected areas and move to other areas to continue their dastardly act.

RONTLINE lawyer and community leader, the late Otunba Ayodele Soyode, daughter of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (SAN) was at the weekend immortalised by Apapa Local Government in Lagos State. At a brief ceremony organised by the council Chairman, Mr Ayodeji Joseph, at noon, the famous Park Lane, Apapa, the street where the former Leader of opposition lived, was renamed “Otunba Ayodele Soyode Lane”. The unveiling was performed by the deceased’s granddaughter, little Ayodele Soyode amid applause by other members of Awolowo family, including Chief Segun Awolowo (jr), Ladi Soyode and Mrs. Yemi Osinbajo. Pa Tayo Soyode, husband of the deceased, his in-law and former Lagos State Attorney-General and Justice Commissioner, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, his successor, Mr. Supo Sasore (SAN), and former chairman of Surulere council, Dr. Rasak Folami were also at the ceremony. Joseph paid tribute to the memory of Mrs. Soyode, saying that she led honourable life. He described her as a community leader and good mother, who took deep interest in the development of the local government. The chairman added: “Her son contested against me in 2008, but when I won, she supported my administration. During the monthly sanitation, she would cook food for people and participate in the exercise. She was a mother, not only to her biological children, but also to many others in Apapa”.




•First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan (right) receiving the first baby of the year from her mother Angela Ane at Maitama Hospital, Abuja... yesterday.

•Lagos State Governor’s wife Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola (left) with the first baby at Ibeju Lekki General Hospital...yesterday With her are Health Commissioner Dr Jide Idris (right), wife of Head of Service, Mrs. Adenike Ogunlewe and the baby’s mother Mrs Omowale Ona-Adigun

•British Deputy High Commissioner Giles Lever presenting gift to Mrs Ane

•Osun State Governor’s wife Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola (second right) being assisted by the Matron in charge of the maternity, State Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, Mrs Folake Amusan, to present a gift to the mother of the first baby, Mrs Isola Dorcas. With them is the Commissioner for Health, Mrs Temitope Ilori

•Ekiti State Governor’s wife Mrs Bisi Fayemi (right) addressing the parents of the first baby Mr and Mrs Kayode Omolade after presenting gift to them at the Ekiti State University •Baby Omolade Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti...yesterday

FRSC rescues 1,300 road crash victims, says Chidoka


O fewer than 1,300 victims of road traffic crashes were rescued by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) during its on-going nationwide operation zero tolerance special operation. The operation is aimed at reducing road crashes during the yuletide. FRSC Chief Executive Osita Chidoka stated this while on patrol on the Asaba- Onitsha highway. According to him, the massive deployment of the Corps’ personnel and logistics such as ambulances, tow trucks, motor bikes, patrol vehicles, extricating machines, along designated routes of the highways and unprecedented support from other relevant agencies through aerial surveillance, provided an effective platform for the Corps to raise the level of its routine patrols and rescue activities during the festive season.

•Chidoka (middle) with his officials






The 14-man committee is to determine the extent of metering, the factors which delay the procurement and installation of meters in accordance with rules and regulations. - Dr Sam Amadi, NERC Chairman

Naira closes at 4.46% down


HE naira closed for the year at a five-week high last Friday, but it was 4.46 per cent down on its opening level at the start of 2011, as months of dollar demand pressure took its toll on the local currency, traders said. The naira closed at N159.10 to the dollar on Friday, its strongest since November 25, traders said, up from N163.15 to the dollar at Thursday’s close. But that was down 4.46 per cent on the N152 to the dollar on which it opened the year. Dealers said the naira closed stronger on the interbank on market Friday because of increased dollar supply from direct Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sales and sales by a local unit of Royal Dutch Shell to some lenders. They said the market closed early at 1100 GMT on Friday to enable banks prepare their books for the year end, but increased dollar supply provided support for the local currency and signaled hope the CBN may be willing to defend the naira in the new year. “The central bank direct dollar sale to some banks at the last minute is seen as a signal of its intention to defend the naira within its trading band in the coming year,” one dealer said. The CBN moved its target trading band for the naira on Nov. 28 to +/-3 per cent around N155, from +/-3 per cent around N150, owing to prolonged naira weakness and high dollar demand. At one point in the year the naira weakened to as low as N168 to the dollar on the interbank market, as some importers brought forward their obligations to hedge against future depreciation of the currency. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the currency is overvalued in February and seek greater flexibility in the exchange rate management, spooking the markets.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N6.503 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -10.5% Treasury Bills -7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending -15.87% Savings rate -2% 91-day NTB -15% Time Deposit -5.49% MPR -12% Foreign Reserve $33.01b CFA EUR £ $ ¥ SDR RIYAL



0.2958 206.9 242.1 156 1.9179 238 40.472

• From left: Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, FinBank Plc, Mrs. Suzanne Iroche; Chairman of the bank, Dr. John Udofa and Acting Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Mr Tony Ibekwe, at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Bank in Lagos.

DMO mulls sovereign guarantee product for infrastructure T HE Debt Manage ment Office (DMO) has said it is developing a sovereign guarantee product to assist in the funding of critical sectors of the economy. The product would ensure that DMO serves as a guarantor for projects that are of significant value to the government. The Director, Market Development Department, DMO, Mrs. Patience Oniha, told The Nation that the product is meant for selective projects that the private sector would embark upon. She explained that it is not meant to guarantee projects that do not have huge developmental implications for the government. She said: “The Debt Management Office is developing a product around sovereign guarantee. The product can only guarantee real critical projects, as against projects that are of less importance to government. You know that private-public partnership


‘DMO has issued bonds of several tenors to buy government’s spending and further finance various infrastructural projects. It has issued bonds with tenors ranging from five to 20 years’ By Akinola Ajibade

(PPP) activities are taking place all over the world to foster economic growth. So,the projects must fall along that line before it can be guaranteed by DMO.” She said the product would not guarantee small projects, because they are not going to have huge macro economic implications for the government. She cited the ongoing construction of the 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway as one of the projects that could be

guaranteed by the product. “The Lagos-Badagry Expressway project is a big one in all ramifications. You know the terrain is water logged, and this implies that they need to borrow capital to construct the project,” Mrs Oniha, stated. She said projects that would benefit under the scheme, are not going to be advertised, like is the case with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds and Treasury Bills (TBs), among other fixed-income secu-

rities. “It is not like FGN Bonds that are issued publicly to finance infrastructure, but the product is something that would be presented to the public,” she added. DMO has issued bonds of several tenors to buy government’s spending and further finance various infrastructural projects. It has issued bonds with tenors ranging from five to 20 years. Recently, the agency organised a workshop for the owners of Small and Medium Scale (SMEs) enterprises to enable them to explore the opportunities in the bonds’market for growth. The workshop was to assist SME owners source for short-term funds by investing in bonds, as against a situation whereby they depend solely on banks for facilities.

Stock index in worst fall since 2009

TOCKS fell the most in the country last year since 2009 on delays in implementing banking reforms, increased instability, and Europe’s debt crisis combined to sap demand for emerging-market assets. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index, according to Bloomberg News, fell as much as 0.9 per cent before paring its losses to 0.3 per cent at 20,729.42 by the end of trading in Lagos. Nigeria’s benchmark measure gained 19 per cent in 2010, making it the best performer in sub-Saharan Africa after Kenya’s gauge, which rallied 34 per cent. Since then, there have been several bombing attacks in the country, including one on Christmas Day that killed at least 43 people near the capital, Abuja.

‘Increasing security issues in Nigeria, delays in the conclusion of banking reforms begun in 2009 and the prolonged sovereigndebt crises in Europe whittled investors’ appetite for the country’s assets, leading to the decline this year’ Increasing security issues in Nigeria, delays in the conclusion of banking reforms begun in 2009 and the prolonged sovereign-debt crises in Europe whittled in-

vestors’ appetite for the country’s assets, leading to the decline this year, Abiola Razaq, an analyst with Lagos-based Vetiva, said on phone. The decline “is contrary to our expectations for the year,” he said. Vetiva expected a passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, which seeks to reform the country’s oil and gas industry and attract foreign investment into the nation, but this is yet to happen, he said. Vetiva expects “a positive 2012,” driven by low valuations, Razaq said. The Bloomberg Banking Index, which tracks the performance of the 10 most capitalised banks, fell 32 per cent last year. “Foreign investors will appreciate that the risks in emerging markets are not as

Kingdom Holding invests $50m in Nigerian firm


HAIRMAN of King dom Holding Com pany (KHC), Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has announced a $50 million investment in First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Limited (FHN). The transaction was through the second Kingdom Zephyr fund, PAIP II. Prince Alwaleed said: “We invest in the gas and oil sector based on a strategic investment approach.” PAIP II’s investor base includes KHC, African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, European Investment Bank, and Netherlands Development Finance Company. Since its inception in 2008, PAIP II has invested around $100 million in three ventures: Thunnus Overseas Group, a seafood canning and processing business based in Cote d’Ivoire and other African countries.

Construction firm targets N150m turnover From Bukola Amusan, Abuja


• SEC DG Aruma Oteh

bad as is being thought,” he said. In 2012, there will be a repricing of risks in emerging markets, including Nigeria, he said.

N Abuja-based con struction firm, Mash Construction, has said apart from venturing into the manufacturing of building materials this year, it is also targeting a turnover of N150million. The Chairman of the firm, Moshood Shittu, who spoke in Abuja, at a dinner organised for their partners, at the weekend, said the company was able to generate a turnover of N100 million last year. He said the company hopes to open new frontiers in the construction industry, by building cultural bridges across the globe with the aim of enhancing business relationship that will translate to the overall development of the country. “It is through sincere business relationships that we can cross-breed positive ideas that will take the country to the next level,” he said.



ISSUES Since the purported sack of its general secretary, John Odah, in March, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has known no peace. It has been one crisis after the other, leading to the withdrawal of some of its affiliates sympathetic to Odah’s cause. These affiliates under the aegis of the Integrity Group are squaring up with NLC over its campaign against subsidy removal. The group believes that NLC is not doing enough to stop the government plan. DUPE OLAOYE- OSINKOLU reports


T a time it should be united for the battle against subsidy removal, there is disharmony in the House of Labour. The infighting, observers believe, will affect the way the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) mobilises the people against subsidy withdrawal. The crisis in NLC, which was triggered by the purported sack of its general secretary, John Odah, a few months ago is deepening by the day. NLC affiliates, which are against Odah’s removal, have started campaigning against the congress and its anti-subsidy removal strategy. The Integrity Group of Labour Union feels that NLC is going about the anti-subsidy removal campaign the wrong way. The Integrity Group has since Odah’s removal in March been tackling NLC over what it perceives as the unjustness of the action. After trying to get the congress to reverse the decision without success, it pulled out to stand on its own. With the planned subsidy removal by the government, analysts thought they would close rank to prevent the withdrawal. But for all intents and purposes, NLC and the Integrity Group may not work as one confront government on subsidy removal. Faulting NLC on its opposition to subsidy withdrawal, the group said: “Invariably, we are convinced that Nigerians will demand explanations from the leadership of the NLC as to what has happened to the struggle it has championed since 1987. It is now on the fringe and periphery of the same struggle at a time the government is determined to engage in the mother-of-all-subsidy withdrawal. “ Is it not rather ironic that it has become the responsibility of others, to now spear-head the struggle against subsidy withdrawal? How come that Obasanjo, whom we fought fiercely throughout his eight-year rule, when he increased fuel prices, a record 11 times, is now in the forefront of the campaign against fuel subsidy withdrawal, and our NLC that is steeled in the furnace of that struggle in the last quarter of a century, is today a footnote in that campaign?” Responding, NLC Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Owei Lakemfa, Trade Union Congress (TUC) President-General Peter Esele, accused the Integrity Group members of being government agents. But Esele added that his reaction was in the interest of Labour and not in support of either the feuding parties. He told The Nation he reacted because the (TUC) is part of the movement. He urged the aggrieved former NLC affiliates not to drag him into NLC’s crisis. His words: “The Integrity Group should not drag me into NLC crisis. I responded to their statement because they said ‘labour movement’. If they had said, NLC, I wouldn’t have said anything. I have nothing against them. Let us not cast aspersions. It is not good for our collective interest, theirs inclusive.” It advised Esele to be properly informed on issues before commenting on them. “Even by his reaction, he admitted that those who issued the communiqué are seasoned labour leaders, who have been in the movement before his emergence. They have consistently fought on this issue and other unfriendly policies on the side of Nigerian workers and people, long before he joined the movement. He, therefore, lacks the credential or the pedigree to make such derogatory remarks on his seniors in the movement.” The group added: “Our attention has been drawn to the reaction of Owei Lakemfa, Acting General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the communiqué issued by the Integrity Group of Labour Unions after its meeting




NLC’s unfinest hour in Lagos. In his reaction to the report, Lakemfa tagged members of the group as ‘agents of the government’. Ordinarily, we would not have bothered to respond to this name-calling, which has, unfortunately, become the hallmark of actions in the Labour House since the scattering of the Secretariat of the NLC after its March 2011 Delegates’ Conference. Rather than policy pronouncements of the NLC being based on deep thought, logic and analyses, we now have name-calling as the centrepiece of Congress, reaction to serious national issues.” The group, despite the many documents and procedures on what should be done on subsidy withdrawal or deregulation, the labour movement at the moment seems to lack clear direction on the matter, even in the face of government’s aggressive campaigns and mobilisation to force the policy on the people. Reviewing fuel subsidy debate, the group said: “The issue of withdrawal of fuel subsidy or deregulation is one major policy which has preoccupied the attention of the labour movement over the past decades right from the military era up to the current democratic dispensation. The fallout of this protracted struggle against

this policy as well as other government neo-liberal policies had availed it the opportunity to exhaustively debate and carry out intensive studies on such policies, especially as they negatively affect the working class or the poor in the society. The session, specifically, noted that one such document was the Report of the 10-man Committee on Deregulation set up by the NLC in 2009 which was published and widely circulated. The NLC 10-man Deregulation Committee after making some findings on the proposed total deregulation of the downstream oil sector, states in its report that even if the existing four refineries are working at optimal capacity, they can only produce 60 per cent of the nation’s fuel requirement. The document, therefore, urges the Federal Government to repair the existing refineries and provide the remaining 40 per cent refined fuel by either building more refineries, or make the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) partner with oil companies to build more refineries. It also suggests that in the alternative, Government can provide an enabling environment for the private sector to establish refineries to cover the remaining 40

per cent. The document says that under no condition must Nigeria import refined petroleum products. The report says that the government should not remove oil subsidy until it meets all the conditions it suggests. Other conditions include ensuring rehabilitation of bad roads, rehabilitation of railway service. The government should provide adequate power supply for industries to function properly. “The session noted that the traditional argument of the labour movement against the policy of subsidy withdrawal has not changed due to the lack of political will on the part of leadership of the country to tackle headlong, the inherent problems in the downstream sector of the oil industry. The session, therefore, concludes that subsidy withdrawal will visit untold hardship on the already impoverished masses. The session calls on President Goodluck Jonathan to have a rethink on this policy since the government does not exist for the basis of revenue generation or resources, but purely for the welfare and security of its citizens,” the group added.

The Integrity Group should not drag me into NLC crisis. I responded to their statement because they said ‘labour movement’. If they had said, NLC, I wouldn’t have said anything. I have nothing against them. Let us not cast aspersion. It is not good for our collective interest, theirs inclusive









• Microfinance banks’ staff at a workshop.

Sharing IT platform to survive For information and technology (IT) experts, it is a concept that best suits a workplace and they are not shy to introduce it. Their belief is that a shared platform will boost a company’s growth. Under the concept, firms allow their IT infrastructure to be shared by various departments/workers to reduce operational cost. The method will improve work and foster growth, writes AKINOLA AJIBADE.


HARED platform is a concept that is gaining acceptance among companies globally. The idea ensures that an information and technology (IT) platform is shared by various departments and workers in a company. The aim is to reduce the cost of operations, engender competition and promote efficiency.

Developed in Europe and the United States in the 90s, it has become the most sought after concept. It has assisted companies in keeping and managing the flow of information or data among various departments and workers. Also, it enables organisations to co-ordinate the activities of various units through the use of IT infrastructure, such as comput-

ers and servers, among others. In bigger corporations, heads of department are linked electronically to speed up operations. There, they store information or data in a server, from where they are picked and distributed when the need arises, with minimal stress. The concept has helped companies in increasing the work-rate of certain categories

of workers to stimulate growth. Before this period, companies adopted measures to improve the performance of their workers, and bring about the muchneeded growth. They organised human development workshops, exposed their • Continued on page 16




Sharing IT platform to survive •Continued from page 15

workers to latest information and technology communication (ICT) facilities, and provided offshore training to enhance their workers skills. Though the measures have succeeded in boosting performance, they have not been able to address the cost of operation. No wonder companies are eager to adopt the idea of a ‘shared platform’ to speed up activities and further engender growth. They include banks, insurance firms, maritime agencies, manufacturing companies, oil and gas firms, among others. For instance, banks in 2005 acquired a Flexcube software to ensure seamless integration of their activities. Through this, they have been coordinating their programmes to ensure good profitability. One major benefit is that the software allows banks to manage their branches, as well as provide workers with the opportunity to distribute data among themselves. Recently, the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Lagos Chapter, embraced the shared platform to stimulate growth. The association partnered with Encore International Limited to provide a single platform for the over 200 microfinance banks operating in Lagos. Encore International is an IT firm based in India. The firm produces software that integrates the activities of companies for growth. NAMB Chairman, Mr Olufemi Babajide said the adoption of a shared platform for the banks was meant to stimulate the growth of the workers and the banks. Babajide said the banks would be able to reduce the cost of production, when they share a single IT platform together. He said the banks spent a lot of money to install IT facilities for their operations, adding that the idea of a shared platform would improve the performance of the workers. He said: “What we do is to install IT equip-

• Akano

• Babajide

ment individually. On the average, it costs each microfinance bank a minimum of N5 million to put in place robust information and technology software for operations. By robust software, I’ m talking about a software that would help the banks to render returns, and reduce the mental and physical stress that accompanied manual rendition of accounts. Before now, each of the banks spent N15 million to install robust software for operations. What we are saying now is

that we want all the banks to share a single platform and improve efficiency.” He said Encore International would, henceforth, provide a single platform to coordinate the activities of the banks. He said with a single platform in place, the banks would be able to concentrate on their core businesses, and further stimulate growth. “There is no economic sense in a bank installing software for as much as N10 million, in addition to annual subscription of

‘An average employer is interested in cutting cost as much as possible. He is interested in service delivery. He wants the best from his workers. It is a case of the fewer the merrier. Many companies have been able to increase their work process, by embracing the concept of a shared platform’

N2 million. But with the adoption of a shared platform concept, it would be easier for the banks to have a centralised and improved method of coordinating their activities. Also, the banks will no longer pay heavily for such facilities. May be each bank will now be paying N100,000 per annum to the IT firm. This will bring about uniformity in our reporting patterns,” he added. According to him, the idea will bring about an efficient workforce and subsequently reduce the cost of operations to rock -bottom level. The concept, he said, is market driven, arguing that it would create jobs for marketers in the long run. Chairman, Gold Microfinance Bank Limited, Mr Lanre Abiola, said the banks are bearing the huge cost of installing and maintaining the IT facilities together. He said poor power supply has affected the operations of the facilities, adding that the banks sometimes battle with network problems. He said it is either the servers are down or the facilities are not working well. The development, he said, has affected the performance of the workers, and the banks in particular. The Chief Executive Officer, New Horizons Computer Training Centre, Mr Tim Akano, said shared platform is gaining prominence in the country. Akano said the need to maximise profits made companies to embrace the idea. “An average employer is interested in cutting cost as much as possible. He is interested in service delivery. He wants the best from his workers. It is a case of the fewer the merrier. Many companies have been able to increase their work process, by embracing the concept of a shared platform,” he said. He said companies achieve a lot by training their workers on how to exchange data through electronic means. Akano urged companies to acquaint themselves with IT facilities to get the best from them, adding that the idea of a shared platform is crucial to the growth of an organisation. “Remember, we are in an IT age. The world has gone digital. Individuals and companies are not ready to waste time. I think this informed the decision of many organisations to embrace the idea of a shared platform. Through this, they are carrying out a lot of activities together at a reduced cost,” he said.



HE interview is one of the most important elements in the job search process. When an employer invites you to an interview, he/she is indicating an interest in bringing you on board. The interview gives both of you the opportunity to exchange enough information to determine if you are a good “fit” for each other. Think of an interview as a highly focused professional conversation. You should use the limited amount of time you have to learn about an employer’s needs and discuss the ways you can meet these needs. In many cases, you will interview at least twice before being hired for a position. Once in a brief screening interview and at least once again in a more serious meeting when you may also speak with many of your potential coworkers. The job interview is a strategic conversation with a purpose. Your goal is to show the employer that you have the skills, background, and ability to do the job and that you can successfully fit into the organization and its culture. The interview is also your opportunity to gather information about the job, the organization, and future career opportunities to figure out if the position and work environment are right for you. Most employers do not hire people based on merit alone. Personality, confidence, enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills count heavily in the selection process. After your cover letter and résumé, the interview is your best opportunity to wow the employer-regardless of your background and experience. To do this, use every possible strategy to develop effective interviewing skills. The best way is to prepare a selective presentation of your background, thoughtful answers to potential interview questions, well-researched questions about the organisation, and an effective strategy to market yourself. Also consider your career goals and what the available job offers so that you can discuss both of these topics with employers. Interview-

Making a success of job interview By Olu Oyeniran

ing is a skill that improves and becomes easier with practice. Check with your school career center or your local Employment Service office to see if it offers workshops and individual videotaped mock interviews for practice.

Research It is to your advantage to carefully research the job and the organisation. There are many ways to do this. You can request printed materials from the employer, such as annual reports and job descriptions. This is an entirely appropriate request, so don’t hesitate to make it. Use your library and career center resources. Ask colleagues, friends, and faculty about the organization, and about any personal contacts at the organization they might have. Look at the organisation’s home page. Knowing about the job will help you prepare a list of your qualifications so that you can show, point by point, why you are the best candidate.

Practice, practice, practice Prepare a succinct, clear answer to each of the questions in the interview questions section. Practice answering questions with a friend, or in front of a mirror. Ask your friend to give you constructive criticism on your speaking style, mannerisms, and poise. As you practice, avoid colloquialisms, such as “like” and “you know.” Make sure you don’t script all your answers-you’ll sound as though you’re reading cue cards! It’s important to prepare yourself for talking with complete strangers.

Find out the logistics of the interview The more you know, the more focused your

answers will be. Find out when the interview is scheduled, what to expect during it, and how long you will be there. Also find out if you will be talking to just one person, or to several.

Be prompt and professional Always arrive early. If you don’t know where the organization is located, call for exact directions in advance. Leave some extra time for any traffic, parking, or unpredictable events. If you are running late, call right away and let someone know. The best time to arrive is approximately five10 minutes early. Give yourself the time to read your résumé one more time, to catch your breath, and to be ready for the interview. Once you’re at the office, treat everyone you encounter with respect. Be pleasant to everyone as soon as you walk in the door.

Dress for success Wear a professional business suit. This point cannot be emphasized enough. First impressions are extremely important in the interview process. Women should avoid wearing too much jewelry or make up. Men should avoid flashy suits or wearing too much cologne. It is also important that you feel comfortable. While a suit is the standard interview attire in a business environment, if you think it is an informal environment, call before and ask. Regardless, you can never be overdressed if you are wearing a tailored suit.

Be organised Carry a portfolio notepad or at the very least a manila file folder labeled with the employer’s name. Bring extra résumés and have the names, addresses and phone numbers of references, in

case the employer asks. Also, bring a list of questions for the employer. You may refer to your list of questions to be sure you’ve gathered the information you need to make a decision. Do not be preoccupied with taking notes during the interview.

Know yourself You will make the interview process easier for the employer if you volunteer relevant information about yourself. Think about how you want to present your strengths, experiences, education, work style, skills, and goals. Be prepared to supplement all your answers with examples that support the statements you make. It is also a good idea to review your résumé with a critical eye and identify areas that an employer might see as limitations or want further information. Think about how you can answer difficult questions accurately and positively, while keeping each answer brief.

Be honest An interview gives the employer a chance to get to know you. While you do want to market yourself to the employer, answer each question with an honest response.

Be positive Never say anything negative about past experiences, employers, or courses and professors. Always think of something positive about an experience and talk about that. You should also be enthusiastic. If you are genuinely interested in the job, let the interviewer know that. Olu Oyeniran is the Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Assoiciates. Website: E-mail: Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).



THE CEO Over the years, Insurance operators have been accused of under-performing, despite the opportunities open to them. President, Lagos Area Committee of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr Tunde Oguntade, in this interview with CHUKS UDO OKONTA, speaks on what insurers are doing to reverse the trend and boost their operations.

‘90% of motorists carry fake insurance papers’ H

OW has the insurance industry fared? The industry has fared well. Given the financial statements of some operators, it has been wonderful; the claims experience has been high. That notwithstanding, it also reflected in the gross premium income collected by most underwriters. Awareness is rising; the NCRIB and Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) are at the forefront and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is also augmenting through its media campaigns on Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI) across the country. By and large, we want to see improvement in the new year, given the income and awareness that has been created. Did the operators meet their projections? Given the state of the economy, I will say yes. The operators have done well given the economy was slow because a greater part of the year was devoted to campaigns and elections. The operators have really tried; election years are, indeed, generally slow. Does the 2012 budget have any benefit for the industry? I have not really looked at the budget, but I have heard that security, education and information technology got larger chunks. One was expecting that science and technology, infrastructural developments which are basically capital projects should have taken larger part of the budget. Nonetheless, we look forward to a better year, although it is going to be tough, as the government is trying to withdraw fuel subsidy, there is going to be hyper-inflation in the short and long run. If the economy and the subsidy withdrawal are well managed, the industry will benefit, because there will be some measure of savings and people will have new assets to insure. As we look forward to the new year we hope insurance will have its fair share of growth. Have operators started reaping the benefits of MDRI? Retail wise, no! This is because the level of patronage has been micro so far. The economy really determines what happens when it comes to insurance penetration. But next year, as brokers particularly at the NCRIB Lagos Area, we are looking at talking to chairmen of local government areas, in the area of compulsory insurance, for public liabilities for public buildings, fire insurance for tenanted buildings and the likes. We hope that with that, we will enhance patronage. Ideally, when the purse is lean people should take insurance as an avenue to mitigate possible losses. But you find out that people do not take advantage of insurance. They have losses and they get poorer,

• Oguntade because they did not take steps to mitigate such losses. We will continue to go to public places and create awareness. We are sure that next year, no matter how bad it is, we shall have benefits of awareness in terms of in-

surance patronage. We hope to talk to treasurers at the local governments to see insurance policy procurement as one of the requirements for obtaining tenement rates and the likes. We are going to talk with the Fire

Brigade too. What are the likely variables that will drive the industry next year? • Continued on page 18




‘90% of motorists carry fake insurance papers’ • Continued from page 17

The first thing is awareness campaign. And another thing is if we have a budget that alleviates poverty. There is so much poverty in the land, we await the implementation of the budget. That will help us analyse the position of insurance. But as it is, we are only waiting and watching. Will the industry achieve its N1trillion premium target by next year? The industry as a group may be able to hit the mark given the fact that operators are benefiting from insurance of oil and gas, aviation and the likes. Now, the local content allows much money to flow into the industry locally instead of the capital flight experience we used to have. With the inflow of foreign exchange (forex) and new accounts in oil and gas as a result of the Cabotage Act, we might meet the target. Also, because of the MDRI, we might be able to have much more money flowing into our purses, especially now that micro insurance is developing and many people are beginning to appreciate insurance, even though very slow, we should be able to meet the target. Even if we meet the target, we will still be less than seven per cent of the expected penetration. Will the proposed electronic vehicle licence curb the menace of quacks? The proposed electronic licence is truly a wonderful development. This is because with it you will no longer get a fake certificate. The device will help to develop the volume of patronage, ensure that people get valid insurance cover and when people get valid insurance cover and claims arise, they get prompt settlement. This will encourage them to look at other areas outside the statutory requirement. If people get settlement in third party, it would encourage them to look at luxury covers such as life, assets protection, fire and burglaries and the likes. It goes beyond the ordinary statutory cover – third party. What is the present level of brokers’participation in oil and gas business? After signing the Local Content Act last year, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) appointed 34 brokers to handle their businesses. This was welcomed by the operators. At least, the 34 brokers would learn some new things and developments in the market and we are hoping that next year, many more brokers will benefit. This will boost our capacity and growth. Underwriters locally too, now have a very good share of the market. We are looking at 70 per cent as stated in the law – that means that the 70 per cent premium that used to go outside the country in the past, now have to be with local underwriters. This will enable the underwriters to improve their capacity, train, source good rate and do corporate social responsibilities. In the past you hardly hear of corporate social responsibilities within the insurance industry; we only hear of banks doing that because they have extra. Now, underwriters will start doing corporate social responsibilities. Recently, some insurance companies did training and they brought people from America to train businessmen and they even extended it to banks. That is a good

development, for when you have money you train people, build capacity and keep moving to the next level. Are 34 brokers out of over 700 adequate for the large risk in oil and gas industry? This is the beginning and do not forget that the oil industry has its standard and most brokers could not meet the requirement last year. This year, given the publicity for the bid, a lot of brokers were able to run around to put their papers in place and we are seriously hoping that the numbers would increase. Note that it is not every body that is licensed to do oil and gas, but we believe that with time the number would increase as the expatriate increases the volume of businesses would also increase. The brokering fraternity would earn more from the oil and gas industry. What are brokers doing to boost capacity to meet requirement in oil and gas business? Brokers have been attending trainings. A number of brokers were in Dubai last month for oil and gas seminar. This year within Nigeria we had about four local trainings/seminars and individuals have been partnering with foreign firms to learn and facilitate their knowledge of the oil and gas industry. People are taking personal development drives and they are also using the industrial opportunities such as seminars organised by National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), NCRIB, HSBC and other avenues. Brokers are learning the roles and I am sure that in the next one or two years, we are going to have quite a number of brokers in that business. How positioned are underwriters and brokers for emerging markets? The basic problem operators have in Nigeria is lack of data and information. When you talk of climatic changes, the meteorological services department is there to give information. The last time we had avian flu issues, the metrological services department provided information in good time that resulted in very low losses of poultry lives. I want to say that if the operators take advantage of all the information that are available to them, they would be in a position to project and prepare for emerging risks. Agricultural insurance should be seen as emerging market in Africa. Basically, in Africa, we are farmers before all these inventions and the rest. Veterinary medicine has improved so much that livestock do not die easily like they used to. There is improvement

• Oguntade in the area of livestock and the likes. The fear of catastrophe in livestock has reduced and I think operators should position themselves and take advantage of agricultural insurance and move on to the next level. This is because truly there is enormous income to be obtained from that area. How is your partnership with security agencies in deepening awareness? In our last Annual General Meeting (AGM), we had discussions, with the Assistant Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), who sent a representative. It was our initiative to create rapport with the agency. We wanted to know the position of brokers and underwriters in the new licensing scheme and the benefits. We started on a good note; we have seen that insurers are now properly placed in the licensing scheme. Now, you cannot have your vehicle licence renewed with-

out a valid insurance cover. It is a good step in the right direction. Now that they have brought in the underwriters, the issue of agency will also be sorted out. It is a good step as it will lead to almost 80 per cent motorists buying insurance, even if it is just third party. We welcome it and will collaborate with them and at the same time, we are looking at a way of ensuring that brokers are properly located in the scheme of things. What is the percentage of fake vehicle certificates? About 90 per cent of third party cover carried by motorists are fake, so you can imagine the figure. Let us assume that we have two million motorists in Lagos and only 200,000 have valid insurance cover; that is how bad it is. But it is not going to be like that any more. Obviously, you cannot drive your vehicle without a vehicle licence unless you want to drive at night,

‘About 90 per cent of third party cover carried by motorists are fake, so you can imagine the figure. Let us assume that we have two million motorists in Lagos and only 200,000 have valid insurance cover; that is how bad it is. But it is not going to be like that any more. Obviously, you cannot drive your vehicle without a vehicle licence unless you want to drive at night, and when you do, there would be police out there for you’

and, when you do, there would be police out there for you. With the new system that FRSC is bringing, they do not need to stop you before they know that you have valid cover or not. So the initiative will bring lot of gains for the industry next year. Are underwriters living up to their responsibilities on prompt claims settlement? At this point, let me give kudos to the Commissioner for Insurance Mr Fola Daniel. I think in the last four years, claims settlement has greatly improved. We do not longer have people dodging claims as they used to do. Now people are aware that once you give a discharge voucher, within 30 days maximum, you must release the claims cheque. Also, I must tell you that the excuse for liquidating liability is becoming few by the day. I think claims settlement is on the top priority of serious underwriters, for that is the real test for efficiency of a valid cover. I think claims settlement has improved over the last four years. How can the operators really raise the confidence of the insuring public? I think the first thing is engaging in corporate social responsibilities. The operators should be seen and heard through such scheme. They should be involved in the lives of the ordinary people on the streets. Just as the banks go to the market place giving gifts to woo customers, we should also do so. We should also give scholarships to let people know that insurers have come to town. Aside that, claims should be settled promptly and there should be better cohesion and collaboration among the operators. We should give a better face to insurance practice.





To whom much is given

N THURSDAY, Egypt’s military regime undertook an act of repression that even former strongman Hosni Mubarak never dared to try. Police and troops raided 17 nongovernmental organization offices involved in promoting democracy and human rights — including those of the Washington-based Freedom House and U.S.-funded International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI). According to statements by the American groups, police confiscated their equipment and documents, sealed their offices and provided no warrants. The Egyptian MENA news agency subsequently reported that the raids were ordered by the state prosecutor as part of “the foreign funding case.” For some time, the regime has been claiming that it is illegal for NGOs to receive foreign monies unless they are registered with the government, which would then control the cash flow. But the law mandating this was passed by the Mubarak regime in 2002; the former president never ventured to enforce it. Until this week, IRI and NDI operated freely; they were training Egyptian political parties on how to participate in elections and were invited by the current government to observe the ongoing parliamentary voting. Thursday’s raid consequently represents a frontal provocation by the ruling military council to the Obama administration, which has waffled between supporting a transition to democratic civilian rule in Egypt and appeasing the generals. The military is attempting to rally waning domestic support by blaming domestic disorder on sinister “foreign hands”; it is also seeking to destroy liberal, pro-democracy groups that have resisted its attempts to perpetuate its power indefinitely. The campaign against foreign funding is a startling example of the military’s illogic and breathtaking arrogance. The premise is that civilian groups that receive a few million dollars in U.S. or European funding are traitorous — while the military is justified in accepting $1.3 billion in annual U.S. subsidies. Also unquestioned is the substantial funding that reportedly flows from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Arab states to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups, which mounted by far the best-organized campaigns in this month’s elections. The Obama administration may have inadvertently encouraged the military council to believe it could get away with this repression by stoutly resisting initiatives in Congress to link U.S. military aid to a democratic transition. On Thursday, the State Department protested the raids, saying that they were “inconsistent” with U.S.-Egyptian relations; a statement called on the regime “to immediately end the harassment of NGO staff, return all property and resolve this issue.” That may or may not produce a retreat by the generals. Either way, it is past time for the administration — and Congress — to stop treating aid to the Egyptian military as inviolate and related only to peace with Israel. The military must get the message that continued funding will depend on whether a full transition to civilian democratic rule takes place in the coming year. That means, among other things, an immediate end to the harassment of pro-democracy and human rights groups. – Washington Post

A provocation in Egypt

•The Federal Govt should make do its word on cement


RDINARILY, we would have no hesitation in welcoming the Federal Government’s plan to ban cement importation by the first quarter of the New Year, which President Goodluck Jonathan hinted at on the occasion of the commissioning of the 2.3 million tonnes Lafarge plant at Ewekoro in Ogun State. All things considered, the exponential growth recorded in the cement manufacturing sub-sector in the last four years renders it an imperative. Without any iota of doubt, the cement sub-sector has certainly proven itself as a unique exception to the familiar Nigerian story of shrinking industrial and manufacturing capacity. The unprecedented inflow of investments into the sector in the last decade is proof enough. From an indigenous output of 6.2 million tonnes in 2008 out of the estimated 13.4 million tonnes national requirement, the cement manufacturers are said to be poised to surpass domestic requirement, now estimated at 18 million tonnes, with

‘But the greatest expectations of Nigerians relate to cement availability and price affordability. Will the so-called self-sufficiency translate into lower cement prices in the short run or in the near future? This is the pertinent question’

production forecast to hit 20 million tonnes before the end of the year. Coming from an environment in which manufacturing has known nothing but decline in the last few years, these are no doubt cheering news. While there are immeasurable merits in the proposed ban, the question at this time is whether it is realistic or rather well considered, given the other variables in our environment. In the first place, cement importation, a necessary evil, came about as a result of the yawning gap between local capacity (supply) and effective demand. Right from 2001 when the Olusegun Obasanjo administration restricted the importation of bulk cement to companies that had invested in local manufacture of cement up till now, the determining local requirements have remained at best a matter of guesstimates. If there are any lessons to take from the regime of limited restrictions on cement importation, it is one of either overstating the capacity of the domestic producers, or, as it is increasingly proving to be the case, of understating national consumption figures. We hope this time that the nation has truly arrived at the threshold of domestic self-sufficiency, otherwise the proposed ban in imports would be a nonevent. We say this, mindful of our experience in which such bans presaged supply gaps, with inevitable price hikes following. All things being equal, there are clearly innumerable benefits from the proposed ban. One immediate benefit is the conservation of scarce foreign exchange. Sec-

ond is the quantum promises of backward integration –the multiplication of ancillary industries as capacity continues to grow. But the greatest expectations of Nigerians relate to cement availability and price affordability. Will the so-called self-sufficiency translate into lower cement prices in the short run or in the near future? This is the pertinent question. Of course, the current situation of high cement prices seems easy enough to explain: high input costs, driven by the dearth of infrastructure have persisted – a measure of how far the promises by government to help manufacturers drive down costs are yet to materialise. There are other reasons that have kept cement prices very high. One such is the nearstranglehold of the cartel on the business. The manufacturers readily admitted that they have no power over them. Asides, there is the structure of the industry itself – in the situation that one player alone accounts for 70 percent of the market share. It is hard for us to see true competition driving down prices in the near term. Yet, the Nigerian cement consumer cannot but expect that the gains from capacity expansion would bring down prices. As beneficiaries of discriminatory economic policies, it is only wise and pragmatic for the manufacturers to reciprocate the positive gestures of government by flooding the market with cement to force down prices. It is hardly out of a sense of charity. Rather, it should be driven by common sense.

Ghana’s giant strides •It is shameful that our smaller neighbour wants to supply us with power HANA’s Vice President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has made public the ambition of his country to begin the export of power to Nigeria and other West African countries by 2015. He made the disclosure at a summit on Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Compact Two that took place in Accra, Ghana, where ideas were bandied on how to consolidate Ghana’s existing energy infrastructure, including exploration of alternative sources of power supply such as solar power and biomass resources in other to ensure that the target of selling power to other West African countries within the next four years comes to fruition. The Ghanaian government is reportedly motivated to pursue this project because it believes that it presently has competitive advantage in the area of power supply over other neighbouring countries, including Nigeria that is still grappling with massive power deficit for its estimated 150 million citizens. Ghana is reportedly undergoing today, extensive expansion of power infrastructure. This makes sense, especially as it applies to Nigeria. That country’s government is partnering with the United States government to realise the dream that is also geared towards creating wealth and equally see to the alleviation of poverty among Ghanaians. The country intends to increase her current 2,000 megawatts of electricity to 5,000 megawatts so as to be able to sell surpluses to needy countries in the West African sub-region. The


country requires about $1.7billion to achieve this goal and has already received about $966.55million from bilateral and multilateral institutions. Fortunately, Ghana’s Akosombo Dam is one of the largest dams in the world. The dam was built by late President Kwame Nkrumah and has the potential of supplying the entire West Africa with electricity if fully utilised. No wonder, the country celebrated her 10 years of uninterrupted power supply as far back as 2009. It is a shame that Nigeria in over 51 years of independence still battles with epileptic power supply, despite her deployment of trillions of naira on motion without movement power reform in nearly a decade. We are aware of the Energy Agreement signed among West African countries to the effect that excess power that is generated in any of these countries should be diverted to needy nations in the subregion. Notwithstanding, we believe that with its endowed natural resources and enormous human capital base, Nigeria should have been the least of countries in the West African sub-region to be in need of stable power supply. It is a shame that Ghana, a less endowed country than Nigeria has enough electricity and is now projecting to sell power to the nation and others from 2015. We consider this move to be a serious indictment on the entire leadership of Nigeria that is now internationally perceived to be inept. What the Ghanaian authorities are insinuating, or the deduc-

ible innuendo is that the nation, no matter the level of power reform that might have been put in place by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, cannot attain stable power supply by 2015. But for largely reasons of corruption and misplaced policy focus and or abandonment, we do not understand why Ghana should be able to meet her power needs, not to talk of selling same to needy African countries, while Nigeria continues to languish under epileptic supply. The Ghana statement of intent on power has shown that several serious minded countries see Nigeria as incapable of providing stable power supply to its citizenry. In other words, the country is now a laughing stock in the comity of civilised nations.

‘But for largely reasons of corruption and misplaced policy focus and or abandonment, we do not understand why Ghana should be able to meet her power needs, not to talk of selling same to needy African countries, while Nigeria continues to languish under epileptic supply. The Ghana statement of intent on power has shown that several serious minded countries see Nigeria as incapable of providing stable power supply to its citizenry’


TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi •Editor, Online Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli •Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

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IR: Perhaps more than ever before in Nigerian history, we live in a society which is aware of its vulnerability, and is deeply worried about it. That is to say, on top of the worries that Nigerians would ordinarily have, our generation seems to worry in a particularly intense way about how things are out of control. The sources of this worry are what novelist David Malouf calls the “two big Es” – the Environment and the Economy. Every year and perhaps every day in the history of our nation brings a new test. Sometimes our strength as a people is tested and in recent times it has been our security. Not just security of life but of food, jobs and good leadership. Those human rights that are commonly referred to as fundamental are no longer sacrosanct. The right to worship has become fearful and dreadful as worshipers now attend religious gatherings with their hearts in their mouths. The inability of the government to crush the menace of Boko Haram confirms how disconnected it is to the yearn-


Between the worries of 2011 and the fears of 2012 ings of the people. The effects of inept leadership have hit people so hard in the past year such that Nigerians have nothing good to remember about the present government. Since the nation’s independence and through 2011, we worried so much as nation about the state of infrastructure such that we got used to eating, reading and sleeping in the dark as a result of continued underperformance of PHCN or NEPA as I still call them. The roads are still death traps while education is degenerating. We worried about our continued existence as a nation during the last general election when zoning almost caused ‘war’ within the ruling party. The

attendant killings and maiming were heights of insecurity in the land. The worries were too many to live with and they might be the fears of coming years. As we opened our eyes to see 2012, there is no shortage of things to be genuinely worried about: we worry about livelihood; whether we will be able to meet our daily expenses in a country where there is no social support from the government. We think so much about our health considering the status of the public hospitals and the influx of improperly regulated private hospitals. Young men and women of marriage age do not only worry about, but fear relationships. The number of single women

who desire marriage is alarming because of lack of wherewithal on the part of the male counterparts to enter wedlock. Married couples and single parents worry about children – and still fear whether they will be able to keep them safe and how they will turn out in life because government, at all tiers, keeps depriving them of the instruments of leadership such as access to quality education. Parents, whose children have graduated, fear that they would not get jobs because of cronyism. Many young children roam the streets and hawk when they ought to be in school. As it is, apart from the astronomical hike in the prices of petroleum products, we have no idea of ex-

Sanusi’s unpardonable oversights


IR: It is noteworthy that our valiant CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has done what he thinks is well for Nigerian citizens. He might have tried in bringing some balance to the financial and banking sector, but he should not have allowed what, I call, his unknown pride to overshadow his deeds. He’s an intellectual, no doubt; but some decisions he has taken gives him away as someone who uses a tiny glass to look at the widespread problems of Nigeria. First, is the issue of ‘cashless’ economy which has already kicked off in Lagos. Even with the little transactions made with the socalled enforcement, people have begun to complain concerning efrauds and associated crimes. The situation sugests that Nigerians are still unprepared to take the flight to that conceptual platform of banking.

Second is his support of the fuel subsidy removal, along with the so-called technocrats - in government led by Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Petroleum Minister Deziani Madueke. It is evident that whatever they are aiming at on the fuel-subsidy re-

moval issue is simply not achievable. They should save their efforts to convince people that the expected funds could realise the inflated dreams they lay on a platform for us. Nigerians know what is good for them and will unrestrainedly accept if the idea is to their benefit.

These two primary decisions that affect the majority of Nigerians have prompted me to ‘bring-to-book’ the errors- or I should say, oversights - of our hardworking CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi. • Nebeolisa Okwudili Kaduna.

actly what we will experience in 2012. Whatever we think we will experience is only a projection from the awful past experience foisted on us without justification. And for the worries of 2011 not to constitute the fears of 2012, there is an urgent need to bring back the tested and trusted security chiefs who had contained similar security threats in the past because the old broom knows the corners and in my mind will sweep cleaner. Should the government delay, the casualty will be colossal should this mindless sect attack public places like markets, schools and larger religious assemblies. A stitch in time saves nine! The government should fasttrack job creation for the teeming unemployed in order to forestall crisis. The elderly should be supported to live the remaining part of their lives in dignity. National Assembly should enact law to enable local councils establish old people care trust. The lingering crises in education sector at all levels should be meaningfully and purposefully addressed with a view to bringing back the schools to life and relevance. If the worries and fears would reduce, government must act fast and create an enabling environment that will give people a better lease of life as against the present the-rich—have –it-all system of government. • Tola Osunnuga, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State Email:

Before we support fuel subsidy removal


IR: I write on behalf of myself and my family. We may not be as large as the Masaba family, but I believe we also deserve a voice. Before we can support theremoval of fuel subsidy, we need the following: First, government should carry out the repair and resuscitation of our ailing refineries. We believe with these refineries working, we can refine our fuel locally such that all the money we pay in refining

fuel abroad can be used for better things and more people will be employed. Money paid to Nigeria Ports Authority and demurrage can be channeled into other sector. Who knows maybe the fuel price may not even be up to N140 a litre when we refine locally. Secondly, the cabal or cartel that has been enjoying the fuel subsidy should be prosecuted. They must be treated as criminals. A minority cannot continue enjoying some-

thing meant for the majority. They should go to jail if found guilty no matter who they are. If Erastus Akingbola, Cecelia Ibru et al., can be tried, they should also be tried. Third, all arms of government must realize that until they lead by example, we will not follow them. It would not be a sin if they all cut their salaries in the name of helping the nation at least they are the highest paid in the world. They should give us their security vote

and use it for securing our lives other than the one Mr president presented in his budget. Finally, the government should not say that if we continue with the fuel subsidy, our economy will crash. Maybe it would be better if it crashed so that we can start all over again. Hopefully, we may be able to get it right by then. • Balogun Wasiu Gbolahan Lagos




Imo guber appeal and the looming mayhem


ERTAINLY, this cannot be the best of times for the peace–loving people of Imo State. Each time they hear of a bomb explosion in far away Maiduguri, Abuja, Damaturu Jos etc, their hearts, like that of every other well meaning Nigerian, misses some beats. For the typical Imo fellow, the trauma is not just the human passion for the pains and sorrow being experienced by their fellow human beings, possibly close relations, in those far places but the grim realization that their own state may sooner or later become home of another form of Boko Haramism. How did we know? A visit to the state today will reveal a palpable tension that arises from the fear that the yet–to-be-resolved dispute between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) over the April 2011 governorship election in the state may lead to mayhem. Pointers to this were seen on December 22, 2011, when the panel assigned to hear the appeal by the PDP over the November 12, 2011 ruling of the governorship election tribunal, was to sit. To the surprise of all, placard–carrying youths, numbering over 20, lined the entrance to the Appeal Court premises in Owerri protesting against a female member of the panel as well as the immediate past governor of the state and the PDP candidate in the disputed election, Chief Ikedi Ohakim. From the ‘tone’ of the inscriptions on the placards, the suspicion is that the youths were hired by the APGA–led government of Chief Rochas Okorocha. In fact, a national daily captured it thus “Okorocha’s men protest in Court” Up till now, neither the party nor Governor Okorocha has denied that the youths were hired by them. Naturally, that incident has elicited a lot criticism for Governor Okorocha and his party. As far as many observers are concerned, this open hostility against the Appeal Panel is uncalled for. Apart from portraying APGA and Okorocha as panicky; the action is capable of precipitating crisis in the state. This is to say nothing of the outright condemnation of the use of youths for what some commentators have described as “dirty jobs” One major theory that emerged after that incident was that Governor Okorocha wants to discredit the entire panel so as to have a fresh one constituted. The theory further states that the governor is probably not comfortable with the membership of one or more of fellows in the panel. As a matter of fact, one of the placards accused the female member as being “…anti our rescue mission”. To be sure, it is not uncommon to see parties express reservations over the involvement of a judicial officer in a case. But the worry here is that the tactics of openly casting aspersions on a judge paints a very bad image of the people of Imo State. It is not in their character. Did Governor Okorocha or his agents not know that there are laid down procedures for expressing their discomfiture over any or all the members of the panel?


OVERNOR Obi of Anambra State and his administration deserves unequivocal applaud on transferring 1,040 schools back to the original owners. It is important to highlight such an important and affirmative move by Obi’s administration to show that we are all committed to the truth and a better Anambra state. When the government of Governor Obi misplaced its steps in governance, it should not be neglected or left uncriticized. But at same time when it puts up a sound policy it should also be acknowledged and commended. All of us who care for Anambra’s development and wellbeing must be consistent and committed to truth and justice. And we will not hesitate to call it the way we saw it and let the chips fall where they may. This time around Governor Peter Obi got it right. The constructive criticism of the government of Obi cannot be perceived by his administration as bitterness towards the governor. When mishaps, bad policy and poor workings of the government are shaded from the light of the day, everyone becomes complicit to the process. And that is not healthy for the emerging democracy in the state and in Nigeria. That is why it is necessary to give kudos to the governor on his recent move to restore the schools to the original owners. Vanguard newspaper reported that, “The N6 billion will be shared among the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and remaining government schools in four installments.

‘As those schools became government owned, the teaching and upholding of Christian mores, values and customs were abandoned. The saturation of student’s minds with worldly and mundane values subsequently brought about the total breakdown of the requisites values needed to sustain decent and law abiding societies’

By Mike Nwachukwu As a matter of fact, what the people witnessed that day was the beginning of an entirely new and different approach to politics in the state. It is strange to the typical Imo citizen to see a High Court Judge, let alone an Appeal Court Judge, being openly abused. But even the December 22, 2011 incident was just one of such similarly sponsored pretests by youths against a good number of senior citizens in the state. Before the last incident, there was no day that youths from the hinterlands did not storm the capital, Owerri, to protest against one top politician, traditional ruler or the other; evidently people whom the governor sees as his political enemies. In early December, some youths from Obinugwu Autonomous Community in Orlu Local Government Area stormed the State House of Assembly, purporting to be protesting against the continued reign of their traditional ruler, no less a fellow than His Royal Highness, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, the chairman of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers. Incidentally, Eze Ilomuanya was also the Chairman of the Imo State Traditional Rulers Council but was removed from that office by Okorocha as soon as he assumed office. A few days after that demonstration, the State House of Assembly set up a committee to look into the matter but before the committee could meet, the House summoned Eze Ilomuanya to appear before it. The same day, the House issued a statement to the effect that it had recommended to the governor to depose the Eze. And this action by the House was in spite of the fact that the town union of Obinugwu, led by its President-General, had come to inform it that those who brought the petition were not indigenes of the autonomous community! Almost the same week, there were media reports that the governor had recruited youths from Isiala Mbano Local Government Area to go to Abuja to demonstrate before President Jonathan that they were satisfied with the administration of Governor Okorocha and as such he should be allowed to continue in office. Isiala Mbano is home of Ohakim, the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the PDP in the disputed election. The youths, according to the reports, were to also tell the president that they did not want Ohakim back to office as governor, the fact that he is their “brother” notwithstanding. What sense does it make to send a representative to the president? Was governor Okorocha appointed by the president? Further, why does a sitting governor send people to protest against people who are not in office? Where has it happened that a government organizes protests against the opposition. As it is, the stage is being set for an imminent implosion of the state. And if the rumour making the rounds in the state is

Obi’s good policy By Emeka Chiakwelu In the first installment, the Catholic Church, which owns a lion’s share of 453 schools, will receive over N762 milion, while its Anglican counterpart will get over N498 million. The remaining public schools not taken from the churches will share over N489 million out of a total of N1.75 billion. The second and third installments will gulp N1.25 billion each, while the fourth and last installment will cost the government N1.75 billion.” Majority of the schools were owned by religious institutions notably the Catholic and Anglican churches. The remaining schools were owned by non-profit organization and private organizations. At the end of Nigerian civil war, the then government of East Central State in the cloak of the implementation of the Universal Free Education took over schools owned by private and religious institutions. Since the takeover of the schools by the government, the management was below the standard benchmark. The high benchmark quality set by the Christian owners and management was relegated. The worst of the all is the emergence of social breakdown and social ills epitomized by gangs, criminality and nefarious activities. The former schools of notably high morality, decency and uprightness later decomposed and metamorphosed to den of robbers, prostitutions and moral delinquency. As those schools became government owned, the teaching and upholding of Christian mores, values and customs were abandoned. The saturation of student’s minds with worldly and mundane values subsequently brought about the total breakdown of the requisites values needed to sustain decent and law abiding societies. The government was not interested in improving the moral integrity of the pupils and students and the large segment of the student body became wayward and criminals. In religious settings, the study of Christology was richly emphasized that became the basis to build an orderly society. Comrade Micheal Alogba Olukoya, President of National Executive Council, National Union of Teachers (NUT) criticized the handover and said: “It is a parody and travesty of governance that as the world moves progressively

anything to go by, it will not be long before that will take place. On the streets of Owerri, the story is that the orchestrated protest against the female member of the appeal panel is just a tip as the ice berg. It is said that there exists a grand plan to disrupt the January 5, sitting of the panel as scheduled, using hoodlums and their instruments of violence. The calculation of the party, according to the story going round, is to prevent the panel from sitting so that by the time it fixes another date, the case might have become time barred, going by the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 which stipulated that the case must be heard within 60 days. January 12 will be exactly 60 days since the tribunal gave its ruling that is currently being challenged. But again, there are also indications that the PDP is mobilizing against the APGA offensive. What it intends to do is not precisely known but there can be no doubt that any attempt by APGA to hatch its plans will be met with stiff resistance by the PDP followers. The outcome is anybody’s guess. Poor Imolites, that they have came to this sorry pass is quite unfortunate. This is a people known for being very peaceful. What an irony of fate. The tension right now in the state is of such a dimension that there are street jokes of an imminent Boko Haram in Imo State. In fact, any youth that is improperly dressed or seen walking about aimlessly is referred to as “Boko Haram”. Is that what the otherwise good people of Imo State want, Certainly, the fault is not theirs but that of a few members of the elite who want power by all means. Differently put, how can the rest of the Nigerian society help the sate from witnessing this imminent cataclysm? One sure way is to ensure that the on-going case between the PDP and APGA is not used to unleash mayhem on the innocent in the state. If there are indeed plans by APGA and its government to disrupt the court processes, then that portends a lot of danger. The security agencies and other relevant authorities should be able to prevent that. •Nwachukwu writes from Owerri, Imo State

‘A visit to the state today will reveal a palpable tension that arises from the fear that the yet–to-be-resolved dispute between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) over the April 2011 governorship election in the state may lead to mayhem’ toward mass education through public funding, the Governor of Anambra State is all out to returning education to elitist project, undeserving for the children of the poor masses.” But that is not necessarily the prevailing case. It must be noted that Christian schools had a history of taking care of the poor and will not abandon the children of poor masses but rather help to direct them in better direction for successful lives. Also, there were naysayers and cynical individuals that believed Governor Obi did not turn over the schools for benevolent reasons. They were adamant that the Governor Obi could not pay the new lawful approved minimum wages; therefore he transferred the responsibilities to the private sector. But in supposedly federal system of government, decentralization enables the state government to make the best possible decisions without interference from outside. Anambra State has decided to give back schools to the original owners and that is their prerogative and that’s how federalism works. The government has been in the control of these schools for over 40 years and has not improved the moral integrity and wellbeing of the poor masses. Let’s give the private sector the chance to try something new and creatively original that may have better answers to the societal problems. Governor Obi’s turning over the schools is justifiable in a democratic society that needs the growth and development of a strong private sector. The reality is that he handed the schools to the original owners and he deserved the kudos for his thoughtful act. • Emeka Chiakwelu is policy strategist.

‘The government has been in the control of these schools for over 40 years and has not improved the moral integrity and wellbeing of the poor masses. Let’s give the private sector the chance to try something new and creatively original that may have better answers to the societal problems’



EDITORIAL/OPINION HE outrage that followed the bombings by the Boko Haram religious sect of some churches on Christmas day is to be expected. On that fateful day when Christians all over the world were celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, some evil ones amongst us were busy perfecting plans to bring sorrow to many families. As worshippers were filing out of the church in Madalla in Niger State, the evil men struck. A car loaded with bombs rammed into them triggering off explosives that left 34 dead and many others with various degrees of injuries. On the same day, there were other attacks on churches in Jos, Plateau State and Damaturu in Yobe State. The chilling pictures of burnt and decapitated bodies of children, women and elderly people who went to church to worship the Supreme Being are too fresh in our minds as many of them are still there groaning in pains at the various hospitals. And what is their offence: a fundamentalist Islamic religious group had vowed that people of other faith would not be allowed to co-exist in this country. They had vowed that they were going to attack a number of churches and other public places in the northern part of the country. So the offence of those innocent children was nothing but that they happened to be in one of the churches targeted by the devious terror group. The gory tales of that fateful Christmas day which left many families wiped out of the surface of this earth without any provocation is nothing but the waging of a religious war on Christians in this country. Expectedly, many including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have expressed serious displeasure on the matter. They told President Goodluck Jonathan that if this unprovoked orgy of violence continues, Christians would have no other


Emeka OMEIHE 08121971199 email:

Boko Haram’s Christmas gift option than to resort to self help. They have also warned that this constant targeting of churches by the Boko Haram sect is increasingly indicating that the group and whoever their sponsors are appear to be fast acting out a script to precipitate a religious war in this country. Those who chose the Catholic Church in Madallah for attack on that Christmas day had their reasons. They were aware of those who have a majority in the Catholic Church. They knew the population they were targeting and that population can easily be eliminated by attacking a catholic church. So when they struck, most of the victims were people from that section of the country that are predominantly Catholics. The names of families that suffered the greatest devastation in that bomb attack will bear this out. Incidentally, they are the same people that have over the years been the greatest victims of these senseless and unprovoked religious attacks. For how long will this section continue in this vicious cycle of hate and possible annihilation? Why must this Islamist sect attack the religious sensibilities of other people even when they kill at the slightest infraction on their religious sensibilities? Why do we acquiesce to the impression that is fast gaining ground that one religion is more im-

portant than others in this country or that that religion has the monopoly of the means of violence? The way things stand, the peoples patience is fast running out in the face of the inability of the government to get a serious handle to the Boko Haram menace. It is not enough for President Jonathan to admit that terrorism such as is posed by this dreaded fundamentalist group is a problem we may have to live with for quite some time. The dimension it has assumed is not only senseless but about to threaten the very foundation of this country. Human lives are involved and families are being sent into extinction on a regular basis for no just cause. In the face of this, government has not shown any serious bite in apprehending the masterminds of this devious activity. The fact that the group warned of the attacks and succeeded in pushing them through should be a serious challenge for the nation’s security system. Much has been said on the need to overhaul the nation’s security apparatus. It is obvious that the way our national security was handled in the past has given undue advantage to a section of this country. Thus, at any time that section is aggrieved either rightly or wrongly, they put their security knowledge of this country to

sectional advantage. It is fast being realized that those behind these deadly attacks are very well groomed in guerilla warfare. This may account for why the government is yet to apprehend the masterminds and sponsors of these deadly attacks. There is the need to dilute this sectional stranglehold on the nation’s security. Our envisaged security model should be one that is all inclusive such that no section of this country is allowed to have absolute control of it. Before now, some sections were hiding under the events of the last civil war to give the impression that they constitute the conscience of the country and that the burden of its preservation is their exclusive preserve. All these have come to naught in the face of events of recent years. It is all pretences that are in the main, guided and propelled by the economic advantages which their monopoly of the nation’s power apparatus confers on them. As soon as that advantage is threatened, all those pontifications disappear. That is the real issue. That is Boko Haram for you. Jonathan must quickly rise to this challenge or risk the danger of a religious war in this country. Christians are not likely to fold their hands any longer and face this systematic elimination by Islamic terrorists. They are unlikely to continue to tolerate this insult on their religious sensibilities such as represented by the Christmas day bomb gifts.

‘Jonathan must quickly rise to this challenge or risk the danger of a religious war in this country. Christians are not likely to fold their hands any longer and face this systematic elimination by Islamic terrorists’



IVIL Service Commission is considered as the most important commission either at the federal or state level. The commission is saddled with many important responsibilities. For example, it handles the employment and promotion of core civil servants either at federal or state level. It is empowered to land disciplinary hammer on any erring worker who runs foul of the civil service rules and regulations. Even promotion in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs could not be carried out without the approval of the commission. The commission has the responsibility of training and retraining its employees through conferences, seminars and approval of study leaves and so on. These important responsibilities have put the commission regarded as mother of all commissions at an advantage over other commissions. For its strategic importance, the civil service commission is usually given adequate attention by every government. The case was however contrary in Ekiti State until the arrival of Dr. Kayode Fayemi administration. Prior to his emergence as governor of the state, the state civil service commission had suffered glaring neglect in the hands of successive governments in the state. The commission was poorly funded. Most necessary office furniture and equipment were not provided. Office buildings were dilapidated and the few furniture items were medieval and could best be described as collection of antiquities. Other items required for the smooth operation of an office like computer and photocopiers were not available. Strangely, the commission has no conference centre where interviews and seminars could take place. In short, it was a far cry from what a modern civil service commission ought to be. Workers in the commission were dispirited and weary because of the unfriendly working environment. Every civil servant in the state dreaded being posted to the commission as they viewed such

Ekiti’s mother of all commissions By Bode Ajayi posting as tantamount to punishment. This was the scary picture of the state civil service commission when Governor Fayemi inaugurated the board of the commission with Alhaji Afolabi Suleiman Ogunlayi as its chairman. Alhaji Ogunlayi, a seasoned administrator, former Administrative Manager of African Newspapers PLC, (publishers of the Tribune titles), a former commissioner for finance in old Ondo State and a pioneer finance commissioner in Ekiti State knew he had an herculean task of restructuring the place to give it a human- face. Ogunlayi thus brought in his wealth of experience to start turning things round in the hitherto neglected commission. The chairman knew well that no meaningful development could take place in such a dirty and unfriendly environment. Pronto, he went into action to give the commission’s infrastructure a face-lift. Today, the commission’s buildings are wearing new looks. There are no more potholes on the offices’ floors while the medieval furniture items have given to modern arts and the commission now has necessary computer items. Expectedly, this first step has made the environment attractive with a corresponding increase in workers’ productivity. Weariness has suddenly given way to enthusiasm and hope On assumption of office, Ogunlayi observed that workers in the state had developed the habit of loitering around the commission’s premises and offices ostensibly to monitor application or request placed before the commission for consideration. It was discovered that the workers developed this unwholesome habit because issues affecting them were hitherto delayed and were not being treated on merit by the commission. The chair-

man frowned at the habit and assured the workers that all matters brought before the commission for consideration would be treated on merit and with dispatch. True to his words, files are no longer allowed to lie idle on the tables as all issues are being treated purely on merit and expeditiously. Alhaji Ogunlayi like his boss Fayemi, has zero-tolerance for corruption. Prior to his assumption of office, it was alleged that money usually exchanged hands for promotion in the commission. For Ogunlayi, this practice was a bête noire that must be done away with insisting that promotion in the service must be based purely on merit and not on gratification. He immediately ordered the state workers to stay away from the commission’s premises saying that they would only be allowed in on the invitation of the commission. He warned the staff of the commission to desist from any act capable of giving the commission bad image as those caught giving or receiving money for promotion would be treated as culprits alike. It was an open secret that many of state civil servants were denied promotion for several years. As a matter of fact many of them had stagnated on the same post for years before the Fayemi administration came on board. But Fayemi as an activist who will never do anything to denigrate the existence of the state work force but would rather work assiduously to transform the standard of the workers gave approval for the promotion of the affected officers. Thus, about 1,847 workers previously denied promotion since 2009 were promoted less than four months of Ogunlayi’s assumption of office. Besides, the commission had also inter-

viewed all those who were due for the 2010 promotion. Ogunlayi has assured the state workforce that the practice of notional promotion in the state would be put behind under the Fayemi administration as all workers would be promoted as and at when due.To achieve this lofty objective, the chairman appealed to MDAs in the state not to delay the promotion exercise of their workers by sending names of officers due for promotion to the commission in earnest Alhaji Ogunlayi had in company of the governor paid advocacy visits to the Federal Civil Service Commission and the Federal Character Service Commission. This was done with a view to ensuring that Ekiti State fill its quotas in the federal civil service. Expectedly, these visits had started yielding positive results. Judging from the transformation which has taken place in the commission less than six months of Ogunlayi’s assumption of office, the state civil service would soon become a cynosure of all eyes. Luckily for Ogunlayi, he has a governor who is determined to build a highly motivated and productive workforce in the state. • Bode Ajayi is Special Assistant (Media) to Chairman, Ekiti State Civil Service Commission.

‘It is fair game for the Police to carry out raids on neighborhoods, bundle young men into a cramped van and compel them to “bail” themselves. Not too long ago the Police raided a strippers den, parading, half- naked women in what somebody described as a gross act of barbarism’


Pg. 24

Yakubu’s form gives Kean hope

Benin Monarch honours Keshi, Dokpesi, others

Pg. 24

Nation Monday, January 2, 2012

CSKA Moscow joins race for Ahmed Musa







Kano poised to reposition Pillars for success


ANO state government has announced its resolve to continue to provide financial, moral and logistic support for Kano Pillars Football Club, as the pyramid team prepares of the next football season. The state commissioner in charge of Sports, Prof Umar Farouk Jibrin, told sportswriters in Kano yesterday that the state government is pleased with the performance of the team in the last season, and was therefore determined to propel the soccer team to future glory. Jibril noted with delight the fourth position of the club in the last Nigeria Premier league table, which he said was an indication that the club can be successful, even against all odds. “The players, the technical crew and

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano the manager of the team did very well considering the situation they were in, unpaid salaries, sign on fees, yet the managers and the team carried on their success story, this is what is required of a good team. “We on our part will continue to support their efforts to achieve our collective goal,” Jibril declared. The Sports Commissioner further hinted that to show the commitment of the present administration in the state, a high powered State Council committee had been constituted by the state government to explore ways of improving the finances of the club. The Commissioner also charged the players to redouble their commitment as they would be richly rewarded if they excel in future competitions.


Kwara Utd defeats Shooting Stars


WARA UNITED of Ilorin pipped fellow NPL club 3SC 1-0 in a pre-season game in Ijebu-Ode on Saturday. Bolaji Shakin fired the match winner for Kwara in the 48th minute. He fired home a cross from the left flank past Kola Ige in Shooting Stars goal. It was a fierce contest in which 3SC’s defender Alaba Balogun and Kwara defender Isiaka Oladuntoye were sent off after they each received two bookings. “We are giving our new signings a run to see how they cope. They have listened to our instructions and we are hopeful going into the new season,” Kwara coach Tunde Sanni told after the bruising clash. Shooting Stars major signing and Olympic international Dele Ajiboye

started this test game and pulled off several saves, but had to be replaced in the 35th minute by youngster Abiodun Akande when he suffered a shoulder injury. Among the other new signings lined up by 3SC for this encounter were Sope Ahmed, Thomas Adesina, Aaron Samuel and Isiaka Abdullahi, who wasted several chances. The Ibadan club dominated the first half but poor finishing denied them of any goal. Former Gateway star Alaba Ogunaike shone in midfield for ‘The Oluyole Warriors’, while Philip Asuquo, Vincent Ogah and Prince Amaka impressed for new club Kwara United. On Sunday, Kwara host Ocean Boys, while 3SC will be home to Sharks on the opening week of the 2011/12 season.

Rising Stars players get bumper Xmas, New Year bash


HE players and officials of newly promoted Nigeria Premier League side were not home sick at their pre-season tournament going on in Ilaro, during this festive period as the club supervisor on the board of the Ondo State Football Agency (OSFA), Oluwafisayo Akinkuade bought a cow, bag of rice, yams and assorted drinks for the players and officials to celebrate the yuletide. Fisayo who’s the chairman of Quantity Surveyors, Abuja chapter while speaking with Nationsport said doing that for the team became necessary to show his love for the team and keep the players and officials focused so as to concentrate on how they will perform credibly well when the new season begins next weekend. “The celebration of Christmas

preaches we should live like one big family, the players and coaches are in Ilaro and I believe they would have been missing their families most especially this festive period, and instead of them to get distracted if given break, so I deem it fit to make available what they would have eaten and drunk in their respective homes.” “We all need to celebrate the festive period together as one big family so that we can achieve our common goal, we are preparing and getting ready for the new season, and I will urge our fans not to entertain any fear whatsoever but look up to good football display from our lads.” The players and officials have been in Ilaro for the past two weeks for pre-season tournament tagged Mock Nations Cup.

Emenike voted Spartak Moscow’s third Best


• Emenike

ANS of Russian club Spartak Moscow have officially voted for their Player of the Season. In a poll conducted by the the official website, Nigerian striker Emmanuel Emenike was chosen in third place with 10.62 % of the votes. By a clear majority, Ukrainian goalkeeper of the red and white Andrei Dikan finished in first position. He gained 50.95 % of the votes. Midfielder Dmitri Kombarov finished in second place (11.30%). Emenike joined Spartak Moscow from Fenerbahce for a transfer fee of ten million euros. He played 11 games in total, scoring 8 goals. Five of those goals were against bitter rivals Locomotiv Moscow.


Yakubu’s form gives Kean hope B

LACKBURN Rovers’ manager Steve Kean has stressed that the consistent goal harvest of veteran striker Ayegbeni Yakubu can help steer his side to Premier League safety. Despite being forced to play a lone attacking role for a team that has been battling against relegation for most of the season, the mercurial Nigerian striker has managed to notch an impressive 13 goals this season, 12 of them in the league. Yakubu added another two during Blackburn’s stunning 3-2 win at Manchester United on Saturday. It leaves him fifth in the Premier League scoring chart with 12 goals, and only five adrift of Golden Boot favourite, Robin van Persie, whose performances at Arsenal has attracted such attention this term. van Persie’s importance to the Gunners cannot be understated and the same is also true of Yakubu, a bargain £1.5 million arrival from Everton on transfer deadline day.

“It is fairly obvious,’’ said Kean. “When you see the amount of goals he has got now, we are desperate to keep him fit. “We look after him. He is in as good a physical condition as he has been in his career and we manage him during the week. “There are times when we need to give him an extra recovery day because of the amount of mileage he is doing. “We don’t ask him to run to the channels. We just ask him to play the width of the box. We know if we can give him good service, he can get himself some goals.’’ And history suggests that could give Blackburn a valuable edge in their battle for survival. For the clubs who end up sliding into the Championship are usually the ones who struggle to score. “We don’t have a problem scoring goals,’’ said Kean. “We always score. We have scored in every single away game this season.

Eucharia set to upgrade Benin Monarch honours credentials for Falcons’ job Keshi, Dokpesi, others F From Osagie Otabor, Benin

• Keshi


HE Benin Monarch, Omon N’Oba Erediauwa has honoured Chief Coach of the Nigeria Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, Chairman DAAR Communications Ltd, Chief Raymond Dokpesi and 11 other indigenes of Edo State. Others honoured by the Benin Monarch included Edo State


IGERIAN midfielder, Rabiu Ibrahim is reportedly on the radar of English Premier League side, Sunderland. The 20-year-old playmaker, who parted ways mutually with PSV Eindhoven, is a transfer target of Sunderland manager, Martin O’Neill. But Sunderland face a stiff battle from another EPL side, Liverpool, who have



• Anichebe

“My desire is to get to the top of my profession so as to be able to compete better in the world and among the world’s elite coaches in future. “Hence the need to keep studying and updating myself with the current development.” The FIFA instructor informed that she is hopeful of returning to her duty post whenever NFF names the coaches for Falcons. “I am hopeful of being named the Super Falcons’ coach. “People may have their views about me and my performance as Falcons’ coach but nobody will deny me the honour of having led the team to win gold in South Africa 2010 African Women Championship, among others,” she said.

Sunderland targets Rabiu Ibrahim also listed the former Gateway FC midfielder as a target in the winter transfer window. O’Neill’s has seen his side rake up just seven points from four games and the Sunderland manager wish to strengthen the side this January. Rabiu’s agent, Tony Harris, told that no decision has been made on the transfer talk linking his

Anichebe returns from injury to nail West Brom

2011: A year to remember for Sammy Ameobi AMMY Ameobi ended 2010 as a substitute for Newcastle United Reserves in front of 357 people. The youngster was turning out at Moss Lane, Altrincham, against Manchester United’s second string, and Ameobi was a second half replacement in a 5-1 defeat. Turn the clock forward 12 months and the forward’s life has changed dramatically. A first team debut away at Chelsea in May was built on with some impressive pre-season showings, and he scored his first goal in the black and white stripes with the winner against Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup in August. Three months later Ameobi made his England Under 21 bow, signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract on Tyneside and was handed his first Newcastle start away at Manchester City. He signed off 2011 with a cameo at Anfield, making his 14th first team appearance in what has been a remarkable year for the former Academy star. But despite everything he has achieved already, Ameobi is determined to not rest on his laurels and make even more of an impact in 2012. “It’s been a very good year for me. The progress has been amazing - so quick,” he told “I was probably playing for the Reserves somewhere this time last year. At the beginning of 2011 I never thought I would be where I am today. “To finish the year playing at Anfield against Liverpool is a big step for me and I loved every minute of it. “To get an opportunity is fantastic, and you have to take them when they come along, so hopefully I can keep building from here. “With everything that’s happened to me, it doesn’t sink in. Sometimes I sit there and just think ‘wow’. I’m so grateful for that and will never take it for granted. “Getting a regular spot in the starting line-up - that’s my goal for 2012. Hopefully I will be able to achieve that.”

Head of Service, Princess (Mrs) Ekiuwa Ineh, Chairman Federal Inland Revenue, (FIRS) and Joint Task Board (JTB), Mrs. Ifueko Okauro, Chief Executive Officer of Channels television, John Momoh, Kolawole Okeaya Ineh, SAN, Prof. Milton Iyoha, Omoruyi Omonuwa, SAN, Pedro Osaro Obaseki and Acting Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching hospital, (UBTH) Dr. Ogbemudia Oghogho. Oba Erediauwa said the award was in recognition of their meritorious service to humankind and the society at large. He said it was his own way to acknowledge Edo-born citizens who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession. Coach Stephen Keshi described the award as an indication that the Benin Monarch was behind sports promotion, especially the

Super Eagles in achieving their target. He said his ‘expectation in 2012 is to try and win every game until we get to the final game, and described the honour as a spiritual turnaround from Nigerians praying for the team. Coach Keshi promised to groom quality players from the local league to showcase their gift alongside Nigeria professionals in Europe. ‘I pray that I will have enough local players to join the professionals coming from Europe’, he said.

ORMER Super Falcons’ coach, Eucharia Uche on Thursday travelled to America for her US Soccer Federation ‘A’ licence coaching course. Uche holds the US Soccer Federation license ‘B’ and is expected back home later in January. The former Nigerian striker was relieved of her Falcons’ job after she failed to qualify Nigeria for the 2012 London Olympic Games. She hopes to return to her post when the NFF announces coaches for the women national team. Uche told that she wants to be atop of her chosen profession hence the need to upgrade herself with latest information in the sector.

UBSTITUTE Victor Anichebe returned from a four-month injury layoff Sunday to give Everton a first away win this season in the English Premier League. The Nigeria international striker returned to action in fine style when he came off the bench in the second half before he fired home the match winner against West Bromwich Albion from inside the box five minutes from time. It was his first goal in 43 appearances in the EPL as he last scored in March 2010. In September, Anichebe suffered a groin injury while in action for Nigeria in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on a very bad pitch in Madagascar. Compatriot Osaze Odemwingie had to good chances in either half to also hit target for West Brom, but he failed to add to the four goals he has scored in the league thus. The win has propelled Everton to ninth on the table with 24 points, while

West Brom suffered their sixth home defeat this season. Yakubu Aiyegbeni set the ball rolling for Nigerians in the EPL during the holiday football action in the EPL when he netted a brace for Blackburn Rovers to shock champions Manchester United at Old Trafford. Victor Moses was also on song for Wigan Athletic Saturday.

client to both EPL clubs. The English agent said Rabiu’s talent keeps catching the attention of top European clubs in spite of setbacks he has suffered in his career. He also explained to that the decision to terminate the contract with the Eredivisie side, PSV was “purely hierarchy and perspective driven.” Harris pointed out that there were a number of other clubs keen on signing Rabiu but he explained he did not want the player to face difficulty in breaking into the first-team of any side he joins. He added that building the player’s confidence remains paramount. “Rabiu has played for the national team Under17, Under20, Under23 and he is a real number 10 materials and has been exceptional for these teams. I believe Nigeria would benefit from assisting a clearly gifted player like Rabiu to gain more confidence, experience and subsequently the duly deserved recognition in the same way Ghana assisted Dede Ayew,” Harris said.


IGERIA Premier League (NPL) side, Enugu Rangers have placed 14 players on transfer ahead of the 2011/2012 season. has been informed that the clear-out affected three of the sides top players. Ebele Obi, older brother of Super Eagles’ and Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi was affected by the clear-out at the Flying Antelopes. The duo of John Nnam and Uwadiegwu Ugwu completes the


FTER 17 matches played in the Turkey Super Lig, Nigeria skipper Joseph Yobo was rated the most consistent player for league champions Fenerbahçe, according to the statisticians. The 31-year old centre back lasted the entire duration of the game in 16 out of 17 matches, or 1440 minutes. Yobo only missed the Week 11 round of games, against Eskisehirspor, after failing to recover from influenza. In second position is another player on loan, Reto Ziegler. The Swiss player has a total of 1376 minutes played. Yobo is spending his second consecutive season with Fenerbahçe. Primarily an Everton player, he is under contract with the British team until June 2014.

big trio that Rangers have been shipped out. has also learned that full-back Nnam is heading to Aba to join six-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba. “John Nnam, who is one of the key players released by Rangers is likely going to join Enyimba for the coming season,” a club source said. Rangers will play host to Warri Wolves in a matchday one game of next season on January 8, 2012

Quadri participates in Hungary Open


Yobo is Fenerbahce’s most consistent player

Rangers place 14 players on transfer

AHEAD LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES ET to make an appreciable impact at the London 2012 Olympics Games, Nigeria’s table tennis star, Aruna Quadri will on the 17 th of this month in Budapest, Hungary, be participating in the first International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-sanctioned first Pro Tour of the year, Hungary Open. Quadri, who plies his trade in Portugal stressed that adequate preparation is key if he intends to have a good outing at the quadrennial games, adding that he is one of the 237 players across the globe taking part in the championship holding at Syma Hall in Budapest. NationSport was reliably inform that Quadri’s participation was made possible following the new two-year deal he got with Joola, a Germanybased kits manufacturing company. The Nigeria Civil Defence Corps officer, ranks 237 in the world was also adjudged the best player in the Portuguese Premier League after the Nigerian helped his team - GDSR Os Toledos to top the league with 21 points from seven matches. Quadri was considered the best player of the

• Yobo

By Innocent Amomoh Portuguese League in the first half of the season after his unbeaten streak this season. He told journalists from his base in Portugal that taking part in the Hungary Open would help him to be in top shape for the Olympics, while clamouring for more tournaments for Team Nigeria. “I am happy with the new contract handed me by Joola and this will indeed afford me the opportunity to do more better in the next two years and improve on my ranking. I am confident that I will surely get more better offer in future from the company,” he said. Reminiscing on the outgone year, he said: In 2011, my performances was in the 60 per cent range. I did great in my first season in the Portuguese league by helping my former team to come second in the league for the first time. Also, my performance was not also bad during the Africa Singles Cup in Morocco, where I finished third. At the 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique, I did well by matching my words with action, which earned

me the qualification for the 2012 London Olympic Games.” In the New year, he said: “I am looking forward to regain my Africa Singles title, improve my world ranking and also perform beyond people’s expectations at the London Olympics. I also want to win the Portuguese league title, which I narrowly lost last season.”

• Quadri

• Ikechukwu

Ikechukwu Uche close to Granada exit


ILLARREAL are saddled with one of the worst attacks in the La Liga. After 16 games, only 13 goals have been scored by the team. Only Racing Santander have scored fewer goals. One reason for the poor scoring form of Villarreal is the absence due to injury of star striker Guiseppe Rossi. The Yellow Submarines are operating on a tight budget. To bridge that gap, the club hierarchy have decided to recall the Nigeria international forward Ikechukwu Uche, who is on loan at Granada. Should Granada allow Uche leave the Los Cármenes, the name being touted in the Spanish media to replace the Nigerian is the Argentine striker Javier Saviola of Benfica. Ikechukwu Uche could be the first player to play for three different clubs in a single season which is the maximum allowed by FIFA. In the last hours of the summer market, Uche joined Villarreal from Real Zaragoza for a transfer fee of three million euros.





2011 was a mixed grill of varied accomplishments and dashed hopes, especially in politics. Across the country, there were promises of good governance. Some were kept; many half-fulfilled and many unfulfilled. Another year is here. Will 2012 just inherit the ugly parts of 2011? Are Nigerians likely to heave a sigh of relief? Our correspondents in Rivers and Kaduna states project into the new year in the light of the peoples’ expectations.

2012 and fresh political strategies in Rivers

• Sambo


HE COMPETING political parties in Rivers State are already gazing at 2015. Governorship election will hold in the oil-rich state again, following the completion of two-terms by Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Eyes are on the deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, an engineer, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, who represents Southeast District in the National Assembly. Ikuru, a former Commissioner for Agriculture and later ,Housing and Urban Development in the Peter Odili-led administration, emerged as the deputy to Governor Celestine Omehia, who was in office for barely five months. Omehia was sacked by the Supreme Court on October 25, 2007, with his cousin, Amaechi, inaugurated as governor the following day. Omehia and Amaechi hail from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers state. Amaechi decided to retain Ikuru, an indigene of Ikuru in Andoni LGA of the state,as his deputy. Before the 2011 elections, Abe, who is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), was Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG),. Then, Ikuru showed interest in representing the Rivers Southeast Senatorial District. Abe, a former Rivers Commissioner for Information in Odili Administration, wanted to be at the Senate in 2011. But when he was confronted in an interview, hedenied having interest. A few weeks later, Abe’s campaign posters were all over the senatorial district, making Ikuru to shelve his ambition. Ikuru would prefer to take over from Amaechi in 2015, since his boss will be completing his eight-year tenure that year. It is believed that Amaechi is favourably disposed to supporting Abe, a lawyer, to succeed him, in view of his intellect, loyalty, hard-work, trustworthiness and brilliant performance in the Senate. There is the likelihood of Ikuru replacing Abe in the Senate, in view of their closeness, in order not to completely lose out. Just like what many senators had done in the past, Abe, born in 1965, just like Amaechi, will prefer to be Rivers governor, than retain his senatorial seat. Observers think that, with the experiences he has acquired as a lawmaker, the senator stands a better chance of being governor, in order to continue with Amaechi’s transformation agenda. Abe was the Minority Leader of the Rivers House of Assembly (1999-2003) on the platform of the All Peoples Party (APP), later the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), before defecting to the PDP, where Odili, a medical doctor-turned-politician made him Information Commissioner. The youthful senator was in the Rivers Assembly when Amaechi was Speaker (1999-2007) and made useful contributions towards the progress and development of the state, mak-

• Yakowa

• Makarfi From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

ing him to stand out of the crowd. Amaechi, after the infamous ‘K-leg’ saga of President Olusegun Obasanjo and some PDP leaders, said most of his trusted friends, who would enter his bedroom to pray with him, later betrayed him, but a few, including Abe, stood by him, in spite of the intimidation and harassment. It is time to compensate loyalty and commitment to a just cause. Abe is the easy-going type, who will not like to be blowing his trumpet, but prefers to be strategising quietly. Even if he has interest in 2015 governorship, he will not show it, until it is close to the primaries of the ruling party. Another major event in Rivers state is the rerun election fixed for January 5, 2012 and ordered by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, for the Rivers East Senatorial District. The Justice Mohammed Dattijo-led tribunal of the appellate court, on December 7, 2011, sacked the representative of Rivers East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator George Thompson Sekibo, of the ruling PDP. The three-man appeal tribunal upheld the October 24 nullification of Sekibo’s election by the Justice Veronica Umeh-led Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting at the Rivers State High Court Complex, Port Harcourt. Dissatisfied with the election petitions tribunal’s judgment, the second term senator approached the appellate court to upturn the decision of the tribunal. The appeal court granted an accelerated hearing of the appeal and delivered its judgment, barely three days after it started sitting. In a unanimous decision, the appeal court dismissed Sekibo’s appeal for lacking merit. Dattijo, who read the judgment that lasted barely one hour, upheld Sekibo’s sack and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election within ninety days. The three-member election petitions tribunal, on October 24, unanimously nullified the returning senator’s election, after

‘INEC and police were paid by PDP to rig for its candidates during the April elections. The INEC’s REC in Rivers State, Aniedi Ikoiwak, should stop working for the PDP. He should be fair to all political parties’

three weeks of hearing the petition, filed by Mr. Leslie Chizi Michaels-Atata and his political party, the Action Alliance (AA), with rerun ordered within ninety days. Michaels-Atata and AA filed the petition at the election petitions tribunal, against their exclusion by INEC during the April 9, 2011 election, in spite of the order of the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja. The sacked senator, in his reaction, said he was not bothered about the nullification, while expressing confidence of winning the rerun election. Michaels-Atata, a legal practitioner and a senior Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in his reaction, lauded the judiciary for the judgment and expressed optimism of winning the election. Michaels-Atata, who hails from Emohua, headquarters of Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers state, added that the judgment clearly showed that there is hope for the common man and that the era of doing things with impunity had ended. The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Rivers state, Mr.Aniedi Ikoiwak, earlier told journalists that preparations for the rerun had begun, while urging registered voters in the senatorial district to be prepared to exercise their civic responsibility. The rerun will hold in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Emohua, Ogu/Bolo, Okrika, Etche, and Omuma LGAs of the state. All the political parties that fielded candidates during the April election are also strategising and vigorously campaigning to win. The Action Congress of Nigeria’s (ACN’s) candidate for Rivers East Senatorial District, Lasbery Amadi, an engineer, expressed optimism of emerging victorious at the poll. The Rivers ACN’s Publicity Secretary, Jerry Needam, also said: “We are ready for the election. We shall win. We have commenced campaigns. We urge INEC and law enforcement agencies, particularly the police, to be fair to all the political parties. They should not be PDP’s agents, as witnessed in the last elections. “INEC and police were paid by PDP to rig for its candidates during the April elections. The INEC’s REC in Rivers State (Aniedi Ikoiwak) should stop working for the PDP. He should be fair to all political parties. ACN is on the ground. We will win.” ACN had earlier stated that the Nigerian judiciary had once more asserted its constitutional rights to defend the laws of the land and persons whose rights have been flagrantly violated, by sacking the PDP’s senator. It described Sekibo’s sack by the appellate court as a step in the • Continued on page 26




Kaduna hopes for new direction under Yakowa T

HERE is no gainsaying the fact that the political terrain in Kaduna State in the year 2011 has been tense for politicians. It was one election year in the history of the country that residents and friends of the state will live to remember. The year witnessed a bloody political crisis that has kept the state on edge. Kaduna has known no peace since the post-election violence that followed the conduct of the presidential elections in April. The Christian-dominated southern part of the state has been at the receiving end of constant attacks on villages and residents with at least eight different attacks since the election. Kaduna metropolis has also received its fair share of the political violence since the April elections. The violence that trailed the April elections and the insecurity in the state have no doubt punctured the successes recorded during the April elections. However, the emergence of Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa as the substantive governor of the state received wide applause. Yakowa is from the minority group in the southern part of the state. Though a sitting governor, the odds were much against him and there were serious fear even from his trusted aides about the possibility of him winning the election even with a block vote from his southern Kaduna area of the state. The fact that his closest rival and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate, Haruna Saeed Kajuru, was also a southern Kaduna Muslim was a big disadvantage to him, but he managed to weather the storm and emerged victorious. Principal actors in the political game in the state included the Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, former governor, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Senator Isaiah Balat among others who ensured that the PDP emerged victorious in the election. There is no doubt that 2011 was an eventful year for Kaduna state and the fact that the year 2012 will witness a lot of political horse trading. Even though the Court of Appeal upheld the election of the governor during the year, the fact that Kajuru has headed for the Supreme Court means that the tussle for the Sir Kashim Ibrahim seat of power is not yet over. However, one basic issue that may shape the political atmosphere of the state in the coming months is the disposition of the opposition parties in the state as regards their attitude to the Yakowa government. Ironically, most of the opposition parties have always remained in the cooler, appearing only during the election and disappearing thereafter. The only parties whose impacts have been felt in the state have been the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the CPC. Unfortunately, it is only the CPC that has representation alongside the ruling PDP at the State Assembly. However, nothing was heard from the party since the April elections that

• Esele From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

ushered in the present government. Even when its candidate lost out at the lower election tribunal and the Court of Appeal, the party kept sealed lips. They have also seen nothing wrong in government policies and actions. The ACN has always been on the neck of the government although it failed to make much impact during the April elections. It remains the only party that has kept the government on its toes, but internal fighting that has created two different factions in the party has cast doubt over the credibility of the party in the state. The long silence of the National Secretariat of the party about the leadership crisis in the party in Kaduna State is no doubt affecting the party as the government is quick to dismiss the Barrister Mohammed Soba-led faction that has been the most vocal as dissidents who should not be taken seriously. A quick resolution of the problem in the party in the coming months will go a long way to helping the fortunes of the party during the local government election which is likely to take place during the year. Otherwise, the party may have to forget about contesting the local government elections in 2012. The ANPP has been the most disappointing of all the opposition parties, losing out in all elections and drifting into the oblivion. The

• Sekibo

party appeared to disappearing fast from the state even though efforts are being made to revamp the party at the national level. Its governorship candidate, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Aruwa withdrew his petition against the current governor midway and since then, nothing has been heard from them. It was not clear as at the time of this report what the party has been up to in recent times. There is, however, no gainsaying the fact that the emergence of the CPC affected the fortunes of the party in the state. With the local government election around the corners in the state, it is not clear what efforts they are making to ensure that their impact is felt again. It was learnt that the Yakowa government is still battling to settle all those who played one role or the other in his elections. Those who played key role in the election of the governor and are likely to play key roles in the political terrain in the state in the coming months include Isaiah Balat, Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, Charity Shekari and Hamisu Yusuf Abubakar among others. However, another major issue that will likely play a critical role in governance in the coming year is the issue of state creation and local government elections. Besides, there will be the issue of the implementation the recommendation of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the April 2011 post-election violence in the state and the committee on the reformation of the state Civil Service. The implementation or oth-

• Omehia

erwise of the national minimum wage will also play a major role in governance in the state as the Yakowa government may be compelled to introduce a new tax regime in the state in order to raise enough money for the execution of government projects which are likely to suffer as a result of the implementation of the new minimum wage in the state. Yakowa gave indication about this during his 2012 budget presentation to the state assembly when he said that the state intended to look inwards to raise money through its IGR to finance its projects in 2012. The government is believed to be studying the Lagos and Edo model of improved IGR for possible implementation in the state. Whatever the option the government chooses in the coming year, a strong opposition will no doubt strengthen government machineries and oil the wheel of development. Also, the ability of the government to prevent unnecessary strikes during the year will also impact positively on governance in the state. Also, the composition of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) to conduct the local government election is long overdue. It is one area that most politicians in the state are anxiously looking forward to, especially the fact that a Kaduna High Court has already declared the Interim Management Committees set up for the 23 local government areas illegal. In all, 2012 holds a lot in stake for the state in all its ramifications.

New political calculations in Rivers • Continued from page 25

right direction. The opposition party (ACN) stated that the foresight of the appellate court had confirmed the alarm raised by the opposition party, over the unprecedented massive rigging of the April 2011 elections in Rivers state. It said: “The rigging is not confined to the senatorial election. Other categories of the election should be dispassionately looked into, to expose the monumental rascality displayed by the ruling PDP, during the April 2011 general elections. “Cancelling a fraudulent election and calling for a fresh one is one thing and ensuring that the ordered rerun election is fairly conducted is another. We urge the relevant authorities to prevail on INEC and the powers that be, to observe decorum, and ensure that other political parties and persons eligible for the rerun election are given equal opportunities and a level playing ground to exercise their civil rights of voting and be voted for.” Given equal opportunities, the ACN expressed optimism that its candidate (Lasbery Amadi) would defeat candidates of all other political parties in any election in Rivers State, claiming to parade more credible candidates, with grassroots touch. It stated that the rerun election should be devoid of rascality, for which other political parties, especially the PDP, were known. ACN also urged all the members and supporters of the party in Rivers State to come out en masse and ensure that its candidate (Lasbery

Amadi) emerge as the next representative of the Rivers East Senatorial District. The REC of INEC in Rivers (Aniedi Ikoiwak), however, insisted that the April elections in the state were free, fair and credible. Amaechi insisted that the Rivers electorate massively voted for the ruling PDP, in view of the impressive performance. Hearing on the petition by Michaels-Atata at the election petitions tribunal began on October 4, 2011, with judgment delivered on October 24. The respondents in the petition were: INEC (1st); the REC of INEC in Rivers state (2nd); the Electoral Officer on INEC, Rivers East Senatorial District (3rd); the Returning Officer of INEC, Rivers East Senatorial District (4th); PDP (5th) and Sekibo (6th). The FHC, Abuja’s order of April 7 was duly served on INEC, directing the electoral commission to include the legal practitioner’s (Michaels-Atata) name and his party’s symbol and logo on the ballot papers, but was ignored. The petition of April 27, 2011 was filed at the tribunal the following day. Delivering the judgment, Umeh said: “Ignoring the April 7 order of the Federal High Court, Abuja by INEC, is an abuse of court process. Nothing can be more devastating than to exclude a candidate, duly nominated by his political party, from an election. “The petitioner has cause to complain of unlawful exclusion from the April 9 election. The order of the Federal High Court, Abuja was served on INEC on April 8. There is no evi-

dence of appeal. So, the order is yet to be vacated. INEC is under obligation to comply with the order. “This is a case of barbaric conduct and glaring disrespect of court order. This must be condemned, if we are not to say goodbye to the rule of law. Ignoring orders of courts with ignominy is condemnable. The disobedience by INEC, of the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, gave the petitioners (Michaels-Atata and AA) the locus standi. The wrong must be remedied. The conduct of the officials of INEC in this matter leaves little to be desired. “INEC was duty bound to have obeyed the court order and to postpone the election or appeal the judgment and get the order vacated, which the electoral commission did not do. Excluding a candidate is very sensitive and volatile and can lead to a breach of the peace. “The petitioner has proved his valid nomination by his party and unlawful exclusion by INEC. The return of the 6th respondent (Sekibo) as the duly-elected candidate for the Rivers East senatorial district on April 9, 2011 is hereby nullified, in the interest of justice and a rerun election is hereby ordered. “INEC is hereby ordered to include in the rerun election, the names, symbol and logo of the petitioners (Michaels-Atata and AA) respectively.” Another major event in 2012 is the petition of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the April election in Rivers state, Sir Celestine

Omehia, against Amaechi and PDP. Both Omehia and the standard bearer of the ACN, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, filed petitions against Amaechi and the PDP at the tribunal, alleging massive rigging, ballot boxes’ snatching, multiple thumb-printing, thuggery and intimidation of voters, among other irregularities. Sekibo later withdrew his petition, citing frustration from INEC and top officials of Rivers government in accessing vital documents to prosecute the case. The tribunal struck out Omehia’s petition on technical grounds, but he proceeded to the appellate court in Port Harcourt, which ordered retrial of the petition by another tribunal. On January 10, 2012, ruling will be given by the three-member reconstituted tribunal, led by Justice A. M. Liman, in a motion filed by Amaechi’s lead counsel, A. Adedipe, to strike out the APGA candidate’s petition. Quashing the petition, according to Rivers governor’s counsel, is on the grounds that the 180 days allowed for the hearing of an election petition had lapsed. According to Adedipe, Section 285 of the Supreme Court provision stated that every election petition must be determined within 180 days from the date of filing, without extension, stressing that Omehia’s petition was filed on May 17, 2011. Omehia’s lead counsel, Mr. James Ezike, while relying on Section 287 (2) of the same provision, in his objection, urged the tribunal to set aside the position of Amaechi and his counsel, insisting that the order for retrial was given by the appellate court and must be obeyed.




Community Day marked

Residents urge school rehab

Ajimobi prioritises agric revival



Akwa Ibom 36




Page 27


NDLEA holds seminar for medicine dealers


•Mr Mohammed

FOURTH Maternal and Child Care Centre (MCC) has been inaugurated in Lagos State, emphasising its determination to stem the death of mothers and children in the state. The MCC is located inside Ajeromi General Hospital, Ajeromi area of the state. A school was actually relocated to accommodate the facility. Three of such care centres had earlier been set up in different parts of the state. The residents including market men and women, the hospital community, the baale or local chief, his council and other members of the community trooped out to witness the inauguration of the facility. Across the world, maternal mortality ratio is 400 per 100,000 women. In Nigeria, the overall figure is 800 per 100, 000 women, meaning one in every 13 expectant mothers dies. In other words, a woman dies approximately every 10 minutes from pregnancy-related causes in Nigeria. In some places in the country, this figure is as bad as one death every three minutes. A study covering 20 years done by World Health Organisation (WHO), the Save the Children and London School of Tropical Medicine released in August this year, said Nigeria ranked second, next to India, in neo-natal deaths. In 1990, it occupied the fifth position. No less than 10 per cent of all maternal deaths occurs in Nigeria; one woman dies every 10 minutes from pregnancy-related issues. In the same vein, with every maternal death, there are more child deaths. Nationwide, at least 21 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday. Thus, 16 under-fives die every 10 minutes. Death of newborns accounts for more than a quarter of these casualties, especially within the first week of life due to pregnancy and delivery-related complications. The facility is expected to

GUN State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has urged patent medicine dealers in the state to maintain the ethical standards of their profession. They were advised to take public health and safety seriously while going about their business of selling and distributing medicine to members of the public. The state Commander of the

From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

agency, Mr. Mohammed Mohammed, said a good number of cases of drugs and substance abuse among the people particularly the youths, come through the channel of the patent medicine dealers in the state. Mohammed gave the advice at a workshop organised by the agency for the National Associa-

tion of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) in Sango Ota, Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode and Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The theme of the workshop was: ‘The Role Of Patent Medicine Dealers In Curbing the Distribution and Abuse Of Psychotropic Substances In Ogun.’ The NDLEA boss in the state counselled parents and guardians to pay close attention to the

behaviour of their children and wards, and curtail any unwholesome traits found in them. Mohammed said, “The youths are more susceptible to abuse of drugs” in the society. He explained that the workshop would further sensitise the parents on the dangers of drug abuse among youths so that •Continued on Page 28


•The Maternal and Child Care Centre. Inset: patients in a ward

Lagos steps up fight against maternal mortality By Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha

boost the state’s campaign to provide much more care for mother and child. At its inauguration, Governor Babatunde Fashola said he has approved the construction of two more MCCs. The two will be lo-

Care centre inaugurated cated in Badagry and Epe areas of the state. The states’ MCCs have been specially designed to respond to issues relating to maternal and child health in the state’s growing populace by providing qual-

ity service for the restoration, improvement and promotion of the health and well being of women, babies and children. Fashola explained that the construction and equipping of the Maternal and Child Care Centres

are being undertaken in phases. “The maternal and child care centre is a 100-bed specially designed hospital for women and children. It’s a decisive response to the problem of transportation and distance in a way to compound the indices of maternal and child mortality in the state. The first of this type of facility was delivered in Ikorodu, the second one was delivered in Isolo and the third ones in Ifako-Ijaiye, and this is the fourth,” stated Fashola. The governor noted that prior to the provision of these facili•Continued on Page 28



Lagos steps up fight against maternal mortality •Continued from Page 27

ties, women in labour who required special attention and Caesarean section have to travel from Ikorodu, Isolo and IfakoIjaiye, all heading in one direction: the Ayinke House in Ikeja. He stressed that sometimes during these travels, complication in labour occurs and death happens which could be of the child, the mother or sometimes both. “Since we started building these centres,” he said, “the story has changed; the incidence of death has reduced and this is because the facilities in Ikorodu, Isolo and Ifako Ijaiye are serving their purpose. For us, this is taxpayer’s money very well spent. Also, the Ayinke House; the flagship is now undergoing a major rehabilitation.” He pointed out that the Maternal and Child Care Centres in Ikorodu, Isolo and Ifako-Ijaiye in their first 21 months of operations, recorded 89,255 antenatal clinic attendances, 15,091 gynaecologic clinic attendances and 121,549 paediatric clinic attendances out of which 5,335 children representing 4.4 per cent required hospitalisation. “The Ajeromi Maternal and Child Centre was completed and handed over in July 2011. Operations commenced on July 25, 2011 and as at November 27, 2011, the records reflected antenatal clinic attendance of 2116, gynaecology clinic attendance of 783 and paediatric clinic attendance of 4,423, out of which 254 paediatric clientele required hos-


FORMER House of Representatives member, Hon. Joseph Ajatta has urged traditional rulers in the country to impress it on the Federal Government not to remove oil subsidy He also urged the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to overhaul the four refineries in the country. Ajatta spoke while meeting with all Akoko monarchs during the “2011 Pelupelu,” a yearly traditional meeting in the Ikare Akoko area of Ondo state. The former lawmaker said he was surprised that members of the National Assembly were divided over the issue of oil subsidy removal, noting that lawmakers who are expected to fight

•Participants at the MCC inauguration

pitalisation. This facility has since performed 254 deliveries inclusive of 94 Caesarean sections and 31 gynaecological surgeries. He opined that the maternal and child care centres will complement other maternal and child strategy in the state to provide expected succour to mothers and children, stressing that the construction underscores not only government’s capacity to reduce infant and maternal mor-

tality but also brought to the fore government’s imagination and determination to deliver strong healthcare for children and mothers. The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris said the concept of the maternal and child health centres was mooted with the conviction that intervention provided at the centres would impact positively on the health indices of mothers and children. He said the completion of the

are health facilities for pregnant women and their children which incorporates preventive and first contact care- primary health care and intermediate level curative or hospital care- secondary health care under one roof. “Women can attend these centres from time when they get pregnant until delivery and during the post delivery period, and continue to attend after their children are delivered till they become adults,” he added.

Ex-lawmaker seeks monarchs’ intervention on subsidy removal From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

for the people should have supported the poor masses against the apparent plan of the government to remove the subsidy. Ajatta who represented Oshodi/Isolo federal constituency, and is now an Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) aspirant in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo state, described President Jonathan’s insistence as inhuman in the face of the economic hardship. He said: “Though I’m no more

in the House of Representatives, but if I were opportuned to be among the lawmakers, I would have led the protest against the President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to remove the oil subsidy. “But, I commend the ACN senators and federal lawmakers who stood against the president’s decision; their action displays the ideology of the party. ACN is the only party that can make Nigerians smile. “Nigerians should now know the reasons why they should have voted for ACN presidential candidate, not the Peoples Demo-

NDLEA holds seminar for medicine dealers •Continued from Page 27

they could prevent or rescue their children from the wrong path and re-direct them to be useful to themselves and the society. Responding, the President of NAPPMED, Ogun State chapter, Mr. D. R. Kuyoro, said the workshop and lectures delivered by the resource persons did not only remind them once again of the need to put public health and safety first, but also the signs to look out for to know if a youth is abusing drugs and how to seek help when such signs are identified in an individual.

maternal and child health centre at Ajeromi General Hospital will provide additional referral facilities for functional primary health clinics in the Ajeromi Ifelodun local government area of the state. The project Director of Deux Project Limited, the firm responsible for the design, construction and equipping the centres, Dr Walter Olatunde, explained that as part of an integrated maternal and child strategy, these centres

•Assistant Commander, Administration and Logistics, Mr Augustine Nwagu ACN and Assistant Commander, Operations & Intelligence, M. Issac Aloye ACN, at NAPPMED workshop in Abeokuta

cratic Party (PDP) candidate. That is why we are telling our people in Ondo State the reason they must vote against Labour Party (LP) because LP and PDP are the same.” He stated. Also, an ACN chieftain, Dr. Paul Akintelure urged Nigerians particularly traditional rulers, stakeholders to kick against federal government decision to remove oil subsidy, adding that Jonathan’s decision may cause havoc in the economy.

Akintelure who was a senatorial candidate for ACN in Ondo State, criticised the present PDPled national government, saying their programmes are always against the interest of the poor masses. The ACN chieftain also urged Ondo state citizenry to support the party in the forthcoming governorship election. He decribed ACN as the only party that can bring rapid development to the people.

Though I’m no more in the House of Representatives, but if I were opportuned to be among the lawmakers, I would have led the protest against the President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to remove the oil subsidy




Lifting the poor through giving


OR residents of Ajamimogha and other communities in Warri, Delta State, memories of Monday, December 26, 2011 will linger for a very long time. It was a day when one man with a passion to empower the less privileged lit up the entire community and put smiles on the faces of many people. It was the day when the sixth edition of Word of Life Bible Church Poverty Alleviation Initiative held. The day which began like any other ended on a cheerful note for those who attended the event. But it was historic for some lucky fellows who left the venue with cars, tricycles, grinding machines, bags of rice and other consolatory prizes. Although the event has always been well attended, this year’s edition proved to be the best in all ramifications. Aside the large crowd of people who ensured that the security men and other officials had a tough time, the long list of dignitaries from various walks of life added glamour to the event. Notable among them were the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Professor Amos Utuama, The Ashara of Warri Kingdom, Chief Walter Odeli, The Chief of Staff of the Delta State Government, Dr. Festus Okubo, Commissioners, members of the State House of Assembly, clergymen, captains of Industries, amongst others. It was not just the number of guests and dignitaries that increased; there was also a significant improvement


HOUSANDS of grassroots men and women, Community Development Associations, (CDAs), other community based organisations, transport unions across the various local government and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) gathered at the Police College, Lagos to mark this year’s Community Day. The event organised by the state Ministry of Rural Development featured an array of dignitaries including the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola. It also provided the right platform for the community people to showcase their achievements in the passing year. They were all dressed in the same ash-coloured Ankara, a local fabric, which accentuated the occasion. Each CDA exhibited different products and crafts to demonstrate their contributions to the economic development of the state. Governor Babatunde Fashola, in

By Vincent Nzemeke

in the prizes that were given out. There were six brand new Hyundai cars, ten tricycles, 100 grinding machines and 500 bags of rice and other consolatory prizes. Explaining the significance of the event, the compere, Pastor John Onojeharo, said the scheme is aimed at empowering the active poor in the society. According to him the ‘active poor’ refers to men and women who are willing to work but are deprived the opportunity to do so because of poverty. In his address, the Deputy Governor Prof. Amos Utuama lauded the church for coming up with such a worthy initiative. He added that the initiative complements government’s efforts of reducing poverty by empowering people. “I commend the leaders of this church for this wonderful initiative. What they are doing today complements the efforts and desires of governments to eradicate poverty and make lives better for our people by empowering them”. When the dignitaries were done with the speeches, it was time to announce the winners who were to be chosen at a raffle draw conducted at the venue. Everyone listened and watched in anticipation as some children who had been selected from the church’s children class took turns to pick winners from the pool of names.

• Some of the tricycles and grinding machines given out The arena came alive when Rita Okuku a petty trader in Warri was announced as the first winner of a grinding machine. Okuku who is presently nursing a child was lost for words as she made her way to the front. “I’m very happy to be a winner today. I applied last year but I didn’t win that was why I decided to try again this year. I pray that God

will reward Papa Oritsejafor for what he is doing for poor people like me”. Amutwe Victoria, Josiah Comfort and Ewverido Florence were also part of the hundred people who went home with grinding machines. As more winners were announced, the excitement intensified. The crowd responded with thunderous applause and shouts while some

winners danced to the stage accompanied by their friends and relatives. As soon as all the winners of the grinding machines had been announced, it was time for the winners of the ten tricycles to be called. Like it was with the first winner of the grinding machine, all eyes were on •Continued on Page 36

Lagos marks Community Day By Miriam Ndikanwu

his remark, assured residents of his administration’s commitment to developing rural communities. He commended them for their large turnout during the last election, saying it was the votes of the grassroots that brought him to power for a second term. “CDAs are critical to our development,” he said. “We will need the community to stop dumping refuse in drainage channels; we will need them to contribute to the commonwealth by paying their taxes. All our aspirations for water, electricity are possible if we utilize the power the community brings. “In the last 12 years in Lagos State, there have been no empty promises.

This government, in every way, has been trying to make life better for all. I will continue to deal with you truthfully. Some of the decisions we take may not be popular to all but beneficial,” he stated. The governor sought the collaboration of all to deliver the dividends of democratic governance to the people, saying that the coming year would be of immense benefits to the people at the grassroots. Fashola hinted that several projects that would impact on the grassroots people were ongoing. He said one of them included the proposed Beach Estate to be built at Ilashe, Lekki. In his welcome address, Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi said the government had been creating and devel-

•Fashola, presenting the key of an 18-seater bus to a representative of Omole Phase II Community Development Association in Lagos

oping programmes that were community-driven through the CDAs and Community Development Councils (CDCs) and also harnessed resources within its disposal towards improving the standard of life in rural communities and stemming rural-urban drift. He said the state government had several solar powered modified type ‘A’ water schemes for communities spread across the state. The governor added that the government also procured and distributed 100 transformers to various communities in the three senatorial districts of the state as well as provided several rural electrification to grassroots communities. “The state government provided full rural electrification for Oko-Oba Abattoir to improve the security of life and properties in the abattoir and also provide power for their needs. Full rural electrification of Okunmopo Ijebu in Eti-Osa and Oke Ogbe in Olorunda was also done. All these were done to enhance the social economic development of our people by replacing costly energy sources such as kerosene for domestic use, diesel for generators and also save our environment from drastic climate change, which is caused by felling of trees, among others, for domestic use,” he said. Ojelabi further disclosed that 4,000 uniforms were provided for neighbourhood watchers while training kits and first aid items were also provided for watchers in all the councils. “I must sound a note of warning to our watchers that after the state government has done this much for

them, they must rise up to their responsibilities by monitoring their environment very well and pass information on any crime to other security agencies for quick action. “In our efforts to open up the rural areas, we embarked on the construction of Itoga Road in Badagry LCDA, while construction of Iwerekun and Igbogun roads are almost completed to improve the socio-economic life of the people within that area,” he said. The commissioner implored the CDAs to partner with the state government in developing the rural areas by prioritizing their needs. “You are to monitor, maintain and protect government properties in your domain so that it can serve the purpose it is meant for,” he said. “It is, however, worrisome to note that up till now, some CDAs are not yet registered with the state government while some are not paying their annual dues regularly.” Special Adviser to the Governor on Rural Development, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe presided over the distribution of grant-in-aid to CDAs as well as the presentation of certificates to them. Other highpoint of the day was the emergence of Omole Phase II CDA, Ikosi Isheri LCDA as the best CDA. They achieved the development by engaging in self-help projects worth over N10m and was rewarded with an 18-seater bus. Riverside CDA in Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA came second and got a van while Ishakan CDA, Olorunda LCDA came third and was rewarded with two tricycles. The awards were presented to them by Fashola.



100 benefit from Bola Tinubu Foundation

HE train of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Foundation Christmas outreach made a stop over at the Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area last week , where no fewer than 100 persons including widows, the needy, the poor and peasants received bags of rice and other items. Handing the items over to the beneficiaries the council chief,Mr Oloruntoba Oke, described the initiative as another feather on the crowded cap of the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), to reach the needy in the society. Oke, who described Bola Tinubu as a humanist who is always seeking the good of the greatest number of people,said the foundation was established to help the astute politician and elderstatesman reach the downtrodden especially at a season like this.


Lagos By Yinka Aderibigbe

He said: “The foundation is meant to further cement the good works of this erudite politician who has carved a place for himself in the political firmament of this country. He intends by this initiative to reach the masses of the people at the grassroots who are outside of politics in the knowledge that his interventions in the past have always been short circuited by politicians.” Oke noted that the foundation is without any ethnic colouration, party or religious bias, as the founders Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu are noted as people who are concerned with the welfare of the people irrespective of race,

‘African culture, religions have no place for homosexuality’


HE Chief Imam, Lagos State Police Command and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Imam Omikunle Wahid has described the same sex bill controversy as an insult on African culture and religions. Omikunle who supported the Senate in throwing the bill into the trashcan, said the practice is capable of heating up the polity. He spoke in his Lagos home on his arrival from Ibadan where he had delivered an annual lecture organised by an Islamic organisation, Khaeru Hummah Islamic Society of Nigeria. The lecture was entitled: “Dwindling religious trend: the way forward”. According to him, homosexuality is not new in the history of man. He cited example from the days of Prophet Lut when his people were destroyed. “Same sex marriage is not new in the history of man. It is a practice which is devastating and detrimental to religious life and health of man. What is the benefit of a man that labours in futility? This is the

Lagos By Muritala Omikunle

similitude of he that marries same sex. Besides, God is not happy at this practice for the people of Lut [AS] were destroyed in this sleazy practice. May God save us from this wrath” he said. He highlighted the position of African culture and religions, saying there are numbers of superb areas in which they relate. He brought out the instance of immorality as the bane of most religions which is in comformity with African culture. Speaking further, he described African culture as superb, highly rich and full of norms which are in conformity with religions. He, however, said he foresees a total breakdown of African culture in the nearest future if Africans are not careful. Religion on its own side, he said will remain only if the followers remain firm on the teachings of their religions.

Oyo to help the physically challenged YO State Governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi says his administration will give special attention to all physically challenged people in the state. The governor made this remark at the Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan during a special Christmas tour of some historical sites organised for a group of physically challenged adults by the Tourism Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter. Senator Ajimobi, who was represented by the chairman Oyo State Tourism board, Engineer Benedict Ogunwusi, said the programme which enables the physically


colour or creed. He added that the list of beneficiaries of the food items were compiled by the community leaders as well as leaders of the different churches and mosques and markets and passed to the council for onward submission to the foundation. “No politician would be given any of these items as they have ways of getting their own dues from the party or the government,” Oke said. He recalled that the initiative is also in line with the mandate he received from the political leader who upon his nomination by the party, had called him and given him a mandate to remake the dented image of the party in the council.

Police warn vehicle owners THE Ogun State Police Command has urged the general public especially those who lost their vehicles and motorcycles to thieves or abandoned same, to report at Agbado Division for identification and claims. Vehicles and motorcycles not claimed within two weeks of this notice be sold in public auctions. 1. Audi car - CY941 PHC 2.BMW car - DS547FST 3. Mazda car -DR 154LSD 4.Toyota Corolla car - CE178AAA Motorcycles 1.BAJAJ Motorcycle -QU700KRD 2.BAJAJ Motorcycles - QU 552KRD 3.BAJAJ Motorcycle -QW722EKY 4.BAJAJ Motorcycles -QW722EKY 5.BAJAJ Motorcycles -QV418MUS 6.JINCHENG Motorcycle QH305KSF 7.JINCHENG Motorcycle QK540LND

NEMA renders account •From left: Chairman, Mainland Independent Group (MIG), Mr Kayode Aransiola; Vice-Chairman Hon. Joseph Ojo; Mrs Folashade Moronkeji and Nollywood actor Mr Kayode Odumosu a.k.a Pa Kakunmu, during the end of year party and distribution of empowerment materials by MIG at Sabo, Lagos

Ondo spends N10 billion on road projects G OVERNOR Segun Mimiko’s administration in Ondo State has paid not less than N10 billion in settling outstanding contract bills for road projects inherited from the previous administration. Mr Debo Ajimuda, the Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Akure. Ajimuda said that the commission had settled most of the outstanding road contracts bills and had started fresh projects. According to him, the commission has awarded and executed “life-impacting projects’’. He said that the projects were water, road, electricity, new town development and capacity building programmes, adding that N3 billion had been spent on electricity projects in the oil-bearing areas from December 2010 to date. The electricity projects, he stated, included the “national grid network extension from Alape

Communities protest eviction


HREE communities under Olorunda Local Council Development Area last week staged a peaceful protest to the Lagos State House of Assembly to prevent their eviction from their places. Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Unim Samuel, said that they protesting because certain persons claimed that theyhad bought their land and wanted to use it in constructing houses for members of the Nigeria Police Force. He said: “We just woke up in 2008 saw some caterpillars and started destroying our land. When we inquired to know why, they said our land has been bought and we should vacate it. This is a land we have been occupiing since 1806.” Apparently worried about the threat to their lands, the communities made up of Mowo Phase 11, Atinporomeh and Araromi sought court injunction on the matter at the Badagry Judicial Division and was subsequently transferred to the Ikeja High Court Lagos. The protesters, who chanted solidarity songs, asked the assembly to prevail on the interlopers to let them have their peace and wait for the outcome of the decision of the court instead of the harassment and intimidation, a situation that made life more difficult for them. Attending to the protesters on behalf of the Speaker,Hon. Bisi Yusuf praised the people for protesting peacefully without recource to

• Protesters both old and young

By Musa Odoshimokhe

violence. He said: “Let me assure you on behalf of the Speaker of the House, Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, that your matter will receive the immediate attention it deserves and would be properly investigated. You have demonstrated that you are law abiding people by taking the matter to court and now you have come to the assembly to register your protest.” The Speaker told them to go back to their houses and should not allow hoodlums to hijack the protest. For the threat and constant intimidation by the police, he assured that it would end. The women leader of the group, Mrs Daniju Onyema said that the protest would not have been necessary if those threatening them had followed the rule of law by waiting for the court decision. She said: “I have to come here because if we sit back, our houses will be pulled down. This is because despite a court injunction on the matter, they stormed our communities and marked the houses for immediate demolition. “We did not celebrate the Christmas like others because they asked us to vacate the place immediately and unfortunately we lost three kids who fell into ditch because of the brazen manner the police applied.”


Junction to Araromi-Olokola, national grid extension from Government Reservation Area in Igbokoda to Ipinle and rural electrification of Araromi Seaside. He disclosed that the commission had awarded contracts for building projects in excess of N4 billion, including construction of 180 housing units at the cost of N996 million. Ajimuda said that other projects awarded by the commission were four basic health centres at the cost of N370 million, Mother and Child Hospital at Ugbonla at N187 million and General Hospital on raft foundation at Agadagba Obon, estimated to gulp N236.5 million. He said OSOPADEC had spent N165 million on support for the aged; scholarship/bursary awards, N263 million and micro-credit scheme, N350 million. “Others are support for the physically challenged which cost the commission N10 million; sports development, N2 million and Entrepreneurial Development, N540 million. “The commission also awarded contracts for model schools at the cost of N946 million in various communities as well as N401 million contract for the Omuro International market, N200.6 million, skill acquisition centre and N150.7 million sports centre, both at Ugbonla,’’ he added. Ajimuda said that the projects, which are at different stages of completion, would transform the socio-economic life of the oil producing areas when completed.


•Chairman, Coker-Aguda Local Council Development Area, Hon. Omobolanle AkinyemiObe, presenting scholarship form to one of the beneficiaries at the council secretariat, Aguda. With them is the Vice-Chairman Hon Ismail Bello (in red shirt)

Govt urged to establish institute for public accountants


HE Federal Government has been enjoined to establish the Nigerian Institute for Public Accountants, to help professionalise the practice of public sector accountancy and financial management in the country. Professor A.A. Okwoli (FCNA), the Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Jos, Plateau State, gave this advice last Friday at the 5th Annual Dinner and Award Night of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Ikeja branch, Lagos. He said the establishment of the Nigerian Institute for Public Accountants would also help to enhance the image and boost the confidence of accountants in the public sector. “It may be a worthwhile exercise for the Nigerian public sector to emulate the Canadian example where there is a system of exchange of accounting and auditing personnel between the public and private sectors. “The public sector organisations should be bold enough to invite partners from the standard firms of chartered/certified accountants to set up their accounting


systems. In addition, accounting and auditing personnel in the public sector should be constantly sent to such firms for training and re-training,” Prof. Okwoli further said. The Chairman of ANAN Ikeja branch, Mr. S.O. Oladimeji (FCNA), said the award night was organized to honour individuals and corporate bodies for their contributions to the development of the accounting profession in Nigeria. Recipients of the awards are Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr. Jenfa Idowu, former Director General, Nigerian College of Accountancy, Jos, Lagos State Television (LTV8) and Nigerian Civil Service Aviation Authority.

Church holds annual prayer HE Melototah Church of Zion, 18/20 Ikale Street Mushin, Lagos, begins it’s annual prayer today. The seven-day programme features teachings, healing, prayer sessions and counseling. Many anointed men of God are expected and the public is invited.


Community seeks help By Emmanuel Oladesu

INDIGENES of Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State have appealed to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to construct the Okeoyi/Lanwa road, which links the council to Ilorin, the state capital. Their spokesman, Alhaji Yusuf Orilowo, complained that the road has become a death trap, adding that armed robbery, ritual activities and road accidents have become features of the abandoned road. He said farmers in the area suffer during the harvest season, owing to transportation problems. He said the lack of passable road had drastically affected the economy of the area, pleading with the governor to construct the road to ease transportation. In the 1970s, the 28km path was opened up opened up by the communities along the corridor with hoe and cutlasses, before it was contracted out to the Sona Bonel Construction Company by the community leader and philanthropist, Alhaji Orilowo in 1982. The community leader said: “The major inhabitants and settlers are Yoruba and Fulani. Their main occupations are farming and animal husbandry, precisely cow rearing. The bulk of the farm produce from the state come largely from Moro, yet, no presence of government is felt in the area. Okeoyi/Lanwa road is the only road that links the communities to Ilorin. That is why we are appealing to the government to help us tar the road”.


HE Southwest zonal office of the National Emergency Management Agency said that it stepped up operations in the area in the last quarter of the year. “The month of November began with presentation of last batch of relief materials to the victims of flood disasters in Lagos State”.These facts were offered at a press briefing organised by the agency. The event took place at the premises of the Ifako Ijaye Local Government secretariat The assistant zonal coordinator, Mr B Adebiyi led the NEMA team that went for the programme while the Ifako Ijaye Local government chairman and the General Manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Osoyintolu, received the relief materials which included food items, house hold items and building materials on behalf of the victims some of whom were present. On November 5, another team led by the Zonal Coordinator Mr 1. Akande was in Ekiti State to present relief materials to victims of disasters which affected seven local government areas in the state. After the rainstorms on May11and 12, 2011, NEMA officials visited the affected locations in conjunction with other relief materials to Oyo State government as an intervention from the agency to help out the victims of the flood disasters that ravaged Ibadan and its environs.

Oyo challenged adults to visit some historical sites within Ibadan, was packaged to give them a true sense of belonging in line with the mood of the season. He noted that they equally deserve the best treatment because in his words “physical disability is not mental disability”. The governor implored them to be patient while urging them to contribute their quota to the development of Oyo State. Earlier, two of the officers of Tourism Association of Nigeria, Messrs Freeman Okosun and Moses Ogunleye listed some problems facing the physically challenged people in the state that need urgent attention. Among these are having access to easy means of transportation as well as tourist and recreation centres. The Chairman of Oyo State Tourism Board, Engr Ogunwusi accompanied by some officials

•_Ajimobi of the board Iater paid unscheduled visit to Agodi Gardens and Bowers Towers Oke-Are, Ibadan, to assess the facilities on ground at those sites.

•From right: Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu; Mr. Koffi Awity and Robert Phiri at the annual African CSO consultation on the implementation of the Africa-Europe Partnership in Accra, Ghana

Rep to empower the needy with N15m


N Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftain and member of House Representatives, Dr. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge representing Ikere / Ekiti South West and Ise/Orun Federal Constituency in the Ekiti State, has disclosed that he had budgeted N15 million for the empowerment of the people of his constituency He made this disclosure when he visited the people of the 32 wards in his constituency consisting of Ogotun, Igbara-Odo, Ilawe, Ise/Orun and Ikere Ekiti for the Christmas celebrations as part of his campaign promises. Arowosoge, who also used the opportunity to give his people Christmas gifts including money and rice in all the wards, declared that the welfare of his people is very paramount to him, adding that he is a promise keeper and would not behave like some selfish politicians who would neglect the people after getting to the position. He declared that he intended to start with N15millon to go round the three local governments in his constituency

By Dada Aladelokun

with N5million for each to form a cooperative society where the money could be used by beneficiaries to trade and profit. Arowosoge, who said the N15million empowerment initiative is to teach his people how to catch fish and not to give them fish, said he would not be like some who would buy 10 motorcycles and two grinding machines for a whole constituency of about a million people. According to him, “I want all of you that have worked to eat from the fruit of your labour, whether young or old. Men or women, executive or non-executive members of the party who have contributed in one way


Club fetes children

IT was another joyous moment for the members of the Lagos State Civil Service Club last when they gathered to fete members and their children. It was Boxing Day and everyone came in their numbers, young and old. The relaxing ambience of the scenery was inviting. It was the annual children’s party to

•Children of club members enjoying themselves on the occasion

or the other to my success during the election deserve the benefit and not a few members.” Aside this, he promised to start giving each ward in his constituency N10,000 each at every of their monthly meetings beginning from January 2012, saying his interest is to ensure that the party is more harmonised and stronger, adding that this could be achieved through a constant meeting of the party members The high point of the event was the distribution of 10 bags of rice for each of the 32 wards and cash for the people of his constituency as part of the fulfillment of his electioneering campaign promises.

Lagos By Nneka Nwaneri

host the children of its club members to dancing games, train ride and bouncing castles. The club, which was established in 1979 by the then Lateef Jakande administration has come to be a second home for virtually every member of the Alausa staff; a home away from home and a meeting point for colleagues and associates. The Christmas party was equally attended by Christians and Muslims alike, they were more like a family. The children couldn’t hide their joy, dressed in their best and featured their favourite cartoon characters like Barney, Teletubbies, Ben-Ten, and there was never a dull moment. The parents took to their relaxation centre, drinking and enjoying music supplied by the club band. The General Secretary of the club, Mr Olushola Tomo, who told Newsextra that the day’s activity was enlarged to involve not just the children, but the parents and teenagers. He gave a rundown of the 33- year- old club. “The club as you know is a welfare package for civil servants in Lagos State as a sports based. And every year, it grows in leaps and bound”.





Review for 2011

Lagos in retrospect T

WO thousand and eleven (2011) was a challenging year for Lagos State. It was an election year, which tasked the government to combine governance with electioneering. The state was the first to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage, which led to the jacking up of its overhead cost to about N2 billion. Activities for the year began with the signing into law of the appropriation bill of N450, 775,000,000, by the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola. He described it as the budget to consolidate on the gains of the administration’s past achievements. The budget breakdown, initially N198,182,158,515 recurrent expenditure and N252,593,316,868 capital, was later reordered to enable the government meet the challenges of governance and provide democratic dividends to the people. One area, which the budget addressed well is road rehabilitation by the Public Works Corporation (LSPWC). The corporation officials worked on over 1,000 dam- Victory at aged roads across poll the local govern- confirmed ment area and local council devel- that Lagos opment areas is working

•Fashola delivering new equipment to the Nigeria Police

By Miriam Ndikanwu

(LCDAs). Construction also continued on the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Badagry Expressway, Lagos Light Rail Project and others. Fashola, while presenting the 2012 budget to the House of Assembly, said the implementation of the 2011 budget led to the overwhelming victory of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the April polls, which returned him to office and the victory of the party in the local government election. According to him, “the successful implementation of the budget was evident in the number of projects that have been completed and handed over, such as the two- million gallons per day mini-water works at Ajegunle, Ikorodu, Badore and Ojokoro; the 12 classroom blocks each in Gbara Community Junior Secondary School, Gbara Community Senior Secondary School, Olowon Community Secondary School, Ajah, Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Complex, provision of 250 taxis, the Skill Acquisition Centre in Mushin, the house and clinic for physicallychallenged children in OwodoElede, Ketu, the Lagos Digital Map-


•Public Works men fixing a road


Council boss holds stakeholders' forum

Real estate agents induct new members

Financial succour sought for Boys Brigade

CHAIRMAN of Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area Hon Morenike Adesina-Williams has sought the cooperation of the residents in the council to move it to an enviable height. Speaking at the Stakeholders' Forum organised by the council's budget department, Hon Adesina-Williams hailed the community leaders, artisans, marketers and youths for coming out to voice their demands from the council. She promised to provide social amenities in all wards according to their requests. The occasion also provided an avenue for the council boss to inaugurate the executive of Community Development Committee (CDC).

THE President of the Institute of Real Estate Agents and Auctioneers of Nigeria (IREAAN), Dr Olusegun Lawal, has urged members of the association to bring positive change to the real estate business. Lawal, who performed the induction of the new members of the institute, at its corporate headquarters in Ikeja, said members should preserve their professional integrity and protect the name of the institute. He said: "It is our hope that your induction into the fold of the institute will bring positive change, expertise and unique innovation needed for the advancement of the institute."

THE Chairman, Boys Brigade Nigeria, Wale Olakulehin, has appealed to the government and churches to give incentives and support to the corps. Olakulehin said this at the workshop organised for Brigade Officers in Basic 1-1V at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Ipaja, Lagos. The event tagged: The Gift of Love, had over 200 participants with training sessions on prayers, evangelism, discipleship, Boys Brigade history and ethics, leadership, Christian citizenship education and others. He said today's children need to be trained in godly virtues that would help them to become responsible adults.






CITYBEATS Lagos in retrospect •Continued from page 31

ping and Geographic Information System, the provision of 100 new waste compactor trucks for refuse management, 60 high power motor cycles, 50 patrol vehicles, 10 armoured personnel carriers, 200 bullet proof vests to the police for crime prevention and control.” In education, concerted efforts were geared towards the renovation and rehabilitation of 314 primary and secondary schools in Yaba, Ipaja, Alimosho, Ejigbo, Badagry, Lekki, Ikorodu, Aguda and Ojo, among others. The crisis rocking the state university (LASU), however, remains a nut for the government to crack. Fashola said the government embarked on massive infrastructural development at LASU to redeem its image following the disaccreditation of some of its courses by the National Universities Commission (NUC). This included the completion of the first block of classrooms for the University Staff School, the completion of the Law Library and School Auditorium, the completion of the Science Laboratory. He also spoke on the take off of the Information Communication Techonology (ICT) Centre at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of

•Housing units delivered last year

Education, Ijanikin. Although the restoration of peace to the crisis-ridden institution was applauded, it was shortlived following the hike in tuition fees. This sparked protests by students despite the government’s explanation that the new regime was for fresh students only. The housing sector witnessed further improvement, following the criticism of the administration by the opposition during the electioneering campaign. Living up to its promise, the government


unveiled housing schemes at Ikorodu, Epe, Lekki, Apapa, among others. Although the assessment of this facility is still hinged on the commencement of the homes scheme earlier launched by the governor. The challenge of the July 10 downpour that resulted into flooding across the metropolis, destroying lives and property was also another key issue last year. The problem caught the attention of the Federal and state government.

Lagos opens more skill centres


HE LAGOS State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has taken the gospel of skill acquisition to churches across the state. The short term training, which is targetted at training 3,000 persons would take place in four churches among them, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Gbagada; RCCG, Festac

Town, RCCG, Victoria Island and Bola Memorial Anglican Church, Maryland. This training, which would run for four weeks, is the second phase of the ministry’s short term programme. Various vocations , such as balloons decorations, cake baking, pomade/soap making, beads stringing, weaving and

hair dressing, stove tread and insecticide production, tie and dye are among skills to be taught at the centres. The short term programme is part of the ministry’s poverty reduction strategy and is aimed at empowering youths and women with vocations that will make them economically independent as well as reduce poverty stock in the the state.

After an assessment, the government adopted measures like revamping and expanding drainage channels as well as reconstruction of new ones to channel water into the lagoon and make the state flood free. Governor Fashola also appealed to residents to stop the dumping of refuse in drainages, stressing that combating flooding requires the collaboration and cooperation of the citizenry. According to him, “How could somebody just jump in a place known to be a canal and think it is the place to build. Nobody should build near any of our canals. It is a reservoir of water for flooding; they are God’s natural protection for holding water during massive flood and it is not a place for anybody to build a house. “Anybody who purports to sell a land to you there for the purpose of building a house doesn’t like you. The canal is no place at all for anybody to build a house,” he said. Although the health sector witnessed its own challenges, with industrial actions embarked upon by the health workers, the government fulfilled its promise of delivering maternal and child centres in various local governments to tackle the challenges of maternal mortality. Fashola noted that the government’s determination to improve security at


1. Fire and Safety Services Control Room Phone Nos: 01-7944929; 080-33235892; 080-33235890; 08023321770; 080-56374036.

EMERGENCY LINES 2. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos Zonal Command Phone No: 080-77690200; 01-7742771 Sector Commander Phone No: 080-776909201; 01-2881304 FRSC Emergency No: 070-022553772

3. LASTMA Emergency Numbers: 080-75005411; 080-60152462 080-23111742; 080-29728371 080-23909364; 080-77551000, 01-7904983 4. KAI Brigade Phone Nos: 080-23036632; 0805-5284914 Head office Phone Nos: 01-4703325; 01-7743026

Nobody should build near any of our canals. It is a reservoir of water for flooding; they are God’s natural protection meant to hold water during massive flood and it is not a place for anybody to build a house

night saw to the completion of the street lighting of Eko Bridge to Costain and the section from Ijora to Apapa, and the take off of the Ikorodu Road street light. The public also assisted the Security Trust Fund with provision of equipment that enabled the police to fight crime.

‘Exert energy on positive IGERIAN youths have endeavours’ been encouraged to exert

their energies on positive endeavours that could add value to the nation. Chairman of Green Hope Youth Empowerment Initiative, Mrs Adaeze Udom, gave the charge, while rewarding 13 youths with the award of excellence for their contributions to the society. According to her, the organisation deemed it necessary to honour the youth following their positive steps towards putting smiles on the faces of Nigerian youths through the organisation of seminars and workshops among others. She added that identifying with the youth, who have recorded outstanding feats in their chosen endeavours, would encourage others to work harder. Udom, who said the Federal Gov-

•Students at a soap making session

5. Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Phone Nos: 070-55350249; 070-35068242 080-79279349; 080-63299264 070-55462708; 080-65154338 767 or email:

By David Onyeka David

ernment cannot shoulder the responsibilities of youths alone, argued that it should create an enabling environment for them to thrive. She said: "Thousands of Nigerian youths have laudable ideas that are wasting away for lack of encouragement. These ideas if harnessed could add value to the nation. “That is what the Green Hope Youth Empowerment Initiative has come to address. Since our inception in 2010, we have assisted numerous youths to actualise their potentials." She said the outfit would embark on a full consultative programme next year with the financial backing of some governors.

6. Health Services – LASAMBUS Ambulance Services Phone Nos: 01-4979844; 01-4979866; 01-4979899; 01-4979888; 01-2637853-4; 080-33057916; 080-33051918-9; 080-29000003-5.



•St. Paul’s Lutheran School


HE People of Ikot Ibiok group of villages in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have called on the state government to come to their aid by rehabilitating the collapsed school buildings at St Paul’s Lutheran School, Ikot Ibiok, built in 1950. They made the plea on December 26, 2011 during the annual congress of Ikot Ibiok Group of Villages Development Union held at the primary school ground, Ikot Ibiok. In an address, the President of the Union, Mr. Ebitu E. Ebitu called on indigenous people of the area who are in government to assist the community by drawing the attention of the government to the pathetic situation of the school. The community has therefore appealed to the government to come to their aid and restore the only primary school in the com-

Community urges rehabilitation of school From Ibrahym Kazeem, Uyo

munity to its former glory in order to give meaning to free, qualitative and compulsory education of the present administration. The congress also totally condemned the recent bomb blast witnessed in some northern parts of the country on Christmas Day, and called on youths and law enforcement agents especially in Ikot Ibiok Group of Villages to be vigilant about the activities of strangers in their midst. Such vigilance helps in guarding against unpleasnat eventualities. Chief Stephen Etukudo who brought up the insecurity issue canvassed for urgent collective

vigilance by all in the communities, and sued for pragmatic action by government to forestall a breakdown of law and order in the country. The highlight of this year’s annual congress of Ikot Ibiok group of villages featured, among others, the presentation of an award to an

indigene of the area who is a former National Assembly member and immediate past Minister of Lands and Housing, Chief Nduese Essien for his contributions to the development of the community, the state and Nigeria as a whole. The meeting afforded indigenes

The community appealed to the government to come to its aid and restore the only primary school in the area to its former glory

Lifting the poor through giving •Continued from Page 27 the compere as he made to announce the first winner. Michael Ekeator, a 24 year old student of Auchi Polytechnic raced to the front as his name was called out. Another winner Okereghe Samson created a scene when as he barged into a female usher while running to the front when his name was called. Okereghe who could not hide his emotions said he had been jobless for almost a year. “I have been jobless for almost a year now that is why I’m very excited. I thank Papa and Mama Oritsejafor for this opportunity and I promise to make the best of it”. With the all the winners of the tricycles announced, the exhilaration in the arena reached fever pitch. The moment many people eagerly awaited had finally come. It was time to announce the lucky winners of the six Hyundai cars. As soon as the first name was picked, silence descended on the arena. Everyone including those who showed no interest in the other draws adjusted their seats and focused on compere. The tension was palpable. Amidst the deafening applause of men, screams of women and a standing ovation from all the dignitaries present, Nicholas Onwulakwe, a 61year-old electrician from Aniocha

of the area an opportunity to contribute their ideas in charting the way forward for the community in the years ahead as they deliberated on issues and challenges that affect their collective existence. Among those who spoke were Elder Ekefre Etukudo, Chief Edemekong, the youth leader, Obong Bassey Bob, and the Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Essien Ndueso among others. Earlier, the Chairman on the Occasion, Chief Nathaniel Udo, thanked indigenes of the area for coming out to attend the annual congress and sued for greater cooperation among the people towards the development of Ikot Ibiok villages.

I am a poor man with no job but see what God has done for me. My wife has been taking care of the family since I was sacked from the company where I used to work two years ago. I am very grateful to our papa for this good thing he has done for me

•More of the distributed items North local government dashed to the front when his name was called. Although he struggled to rein in his emotions, Onwulakwe brought tears of joy to many eyes when he fell on his knees and lifted up his hands. “I am a poor man with no job but see what God has done for me. My wife has been taking care of the fam-

ily since I was sacked from the company where I used to work two years ago. I am very grateful to our papa for this good thing he has done for me”. It was another drama when Loveth Metete, a second-year student of Public Administration at Ambrose Alli University, was called out as another car winner.

“I was not expecting to win,” she said. “I will use the car to support my family and help other people too.” Eboye Stella, Ogbevire Goddey and Esedagho Tetsoma and Arukoke Peter were other winners of the Hyundai cars. In a chat with reporters after the event, the founder and president of

the Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said he is passionate about helping the poor because he has been in such situations before. “I give because I have been in this kind of situation before and I know how hard it is. Any normal person who had the kind of background I had and doesn’t take care of people must be crazy and I am not crazy. Anytime I touch people, I am reminded of those days when I had no food and shelter. When I see poor people I’m reminded of when I was really poor. Government alone cannot eradicate poverty. Churches, individuals and organizations must join hands together to eradicate it”.





INISTRY of Establishments, Training and Pensions in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Association for Eradication of Corruption in Nigerians (ASSERCORN) organised a one-day workshop for senior management staff of the Lagos State civil service. The workshop took place at Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC), Magodo Estate, Lagos State. The president of ASSERCORN, Dr. Oyindamola Anjorin who was represented by her vice, Sambiat Agbalayobi, said the workshop is to create a society in which every Nigerian, young or old, sees corruption as an enemy of progress and development. She noted that after the success of its first workshop on March 14, 2007 under the chairmanship of retired Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, the first military governor of Lagos State, the NGO was determined to raise the bar by sensitise civil servants on how to focus on their duties and avoid corrupt practices. “Greed, poverty, indiscipline, ignorance, illiteracy, get rich quick syndrome, lack of knowledge of one’s rights as a citizen or human being, lack of social welfare policies for the populace leading to sense of insecurity, non-fulfillment of political manifestoes on the part of government and lack of fear of God are the major factors leading to corrupt practices among us,” Sambiat explained. The chairman of the occasion, Professor Lateef Salako said corruption, like cancer, will not go away until the operating system ladder is cleaned up. One of the speakers, Mr Chris Akiri corroborated him when he said non-application of ethical principles to organisations and public service would impair corporate governance. “In a pluralist society such as Nigeria, a disparate congeries of ethnic nationalities, where corruption in terms of nonfeasance, misfeasance, malfeasance, moneylaundering, brazen-faced theft of public funds and property, unblushing nepotism, favoritism

•The workshop participants

Civil servants for anti-corruption seminar By Osas Robert

and cronyism are endemic and systematic, the non-application of ethical principles in the forms of code of conduct to organisations and public services would mortally impair corporate governance in those sectors,” he said. However, Professor Yemi Osibajo speaking on the topic “Staying out of Trouble” said the N18, 000 minimum wage is barely

enough for civil servants to pay the tuition fee of their children in states universities. He urged them to shun corruption and other vices which might be thrown at them as conferment of awards, gifts or contracts in their various sectors. He added that just like Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and related vices Commission (ICPC) are working in our local dimension, U.S International anti-corruption network is now in

place. “Financial Action Task Force” which is a method of detecting and tracking down corrupt persons has signed extradition with many countries even Dubai and as such, there is no more hiding place for fraudulent Nigerians” he announced. Olufemi Nofiu of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes Commission (ICPC), Lagos State, expressed joy over the seminar and workshop which corroborated their aim.

NUJ holds end of year dinner

Let’s rally round our leaders to tackle our most obvious challenges. Let us jointly address the issue of reinforcing material and value corruption; let’s jointly confront our security challenges


HE apex body of journalists in the country, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has held its end-of-the-year dinner at the prestigious Sheraton Hotel, Abuja. The event was held amid funfair with awards in honour of the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdullahi Dikko Inde. While Mimiko was named the Governor of the Year 2011, the NUJ honoured Dikko with an Award of Excellence in service delivery. Speaking at the event, graced by eminent personalities, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Ayim Pius; Minister of Information, Labaran Maku and former NTA DG, the President of the NUJ, Mohammed Garba, said Mimiko excelled in the area of public projects implementation. Garba noted that Mimiko was selected on the basis of his transformational track records evident in Ondo State since he came into office. He said that the NUJ is aware that Mimiko is helping to build the people’s interest in democratic rule. Garba also praised the resilience of Dikko in ensuring a better Service since he came on board. While accepting the award, Mimiko dedicated it to the “resilience, sense of pride and dignity” of the people of Ondo people. He said that his government was proud to be so honoured by the NUJ which has correctly assessed the administration’s modest achievements.

He urged other NGOs like ASSERCORN to be allies in eradicating corruption from Nigerians. “We are determined to employ all available legal means to rid Nigerians of all forms of corruption and thus promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the public and private life of all Nigerians. Our doors are opened to NGOs who are passionate about eradicating corruption in Nigerians and wants to be allies with us in this drive,” he said.

•Nigeria Union of Journalist President, Garba Muhammed (left); SGF Anyim Pius Anyim and Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko who works for the people will be ground of an orchestrated campaign By Olalekan T. Osiade rewarded by the electorate. to present a contrary picture is most In his speech, Mimiko said that his welcome and gloriously uplifting. On his part, the CGS of Customs government had predicated its transIt is to our administration like fire thanked the NUJ for the recognition formation agenda on Human Capiin an ember in the ashes of lethargy; and said his achievements could be tal Development with the major pillike providing the much needed encredited to the support he is receivlars spanning education, Agriculergy to a listless campaign.” ing from President Goodluck ture, Health, Urban renewal and ru“I, however, considered this parJonathan. ral transformation. ticular award special. For one the Dikko noted that Jonathan has He insisted that his administration Nigeria Union of Journalists is one supported the Customs to tackle the has made life more meaningful for of the most critical sections of the menace of smuggling and enhance the people of Ondo State with the society – by virtue of the very naits revenue profile. execution of over 250 life changing ture of the profession. Also speaking, Labaran Maku, said projects in the last three years. “In a way therefore I see this award that Nigerians are happy to see some “I thank the Nigerian Union of as a national endorsement of our efstate governors pulling off excellent Journalists for this inspiring award. forts in transforming our state and performances. Although our administration is resocontributing positively to the devel“I know that when we were in lutely committed to the present opment possibilities in Nigeria’s Ondo during the Presidential camcourse of governance, this award, political and socio-economic space.” paign, we saw that Ondo was workcoming as it were, against the back“What a great nation we have! Yes, ing,” adding that any public officer

we have challenges. Which nation doesn’t? We should not continue to wallow in self-pity. “Let’s rally round our leaders to tackle our most obvious challenges. Let us jointly address the issue of reinforcing material and value corruption; let’s jointly confront our security challenges. “The power sector reforms, the agric transformation agenda, other job and wealth creation initiatives of this government must be helped to work. Let us also continue to clean up our electoral system. “Let’s caution and even constructively chastise our leaders when we have to, but the prevailing culture of cynicism must give room to cautious optimism. Our manifest destiny as a leader of nations and a global player of reckoning can be achieved even in this generation”, he said. • Osiade is a Lagos-based journalist



There is a lot of opportunities not only in agricultural produce but much more in value chain addition to agriculture. That is why the present administration has come up with the school agric programme

Oyo prioritises agric revival


HE Oyo State government has started to reap the fruits of its School Agriculture Project. It is harvesting fish and other farm produce in some selected secondary schools in the state. The pilot project, which was set up to testrun the programme, helped the state translate its dream of engaging citizens and particularly attracting youths into agriculture and agro-allied business to reality. One of the strategies Governor Abiola Ajimobi promised to drive the state economy and create jobs is agriculture as practiced by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo who stands out in history as the best Nigerian leader to use non-oil resources to drive the economy during his administration of the Western Region. The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Liberty Stadium, Ibadan; Nigerian Television Authority, Ibadan; and Cocoa House are a few of what the political leader accomplished with revenue from cocoa and other farm produce. But agriculture has since suffered neglect since the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta. Ajimobi had pledged to revive farm settlements and bridge the age gap in the agriculture industry by embarking on projects that would attract the youths to the practice of agriculture and agro-allied business ventures. The governor added that value addition to farm produce would be a major focus of his efforts to renew the sector which he considered as the strength of the state. Aside working on the revival of the farm settlements located in communities across the state and working on providing loans for farmers, Ajimobi re-introduced the School Farm Project four months ago as a pilot scheme in some selected schools. The School of Science, Pade, Ibadan was one of the schools. The large school was chosen for fishery. A fishpond was dug


IFE of the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Mrs. Ebere Iwelu has won a cooking competition organised by Golden Penny Pasta in Port-Harcourt, the state capital. The CSO’s wife emerged top ahead of other seven competitors comprising three males and four ladies. The eight contestants were assessed on self conduct, cleanli-

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

and 7,500 fingerlings were supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture. The Head of the Department of Agricultural Science and other teachers in the department were asked to oversee the pond while it served as practical teaching aid to pupils. When the first cropping was carried out last week, pupils showed an amazing level of interest based on the enormous amount of knowledge gathered through daily learning at the pond. The commissioner, Mr Kolade, explained the project in simple terms: “We call this project school agricultural programme of Oyo State. The objective is to bring back the interest of young people to agriculture. We also want to bring into them enterprise in agriculture. Our people have seen agriculture as a family lifestyle because none of them is into full time commercial farming. But why agriculture seems to be unattractive to many people is the fact that everybody sees it as a poor man business. But there is a lot of opportunity not only in agricultural produce but much more in value chain addition to agriculture. This is why we want to address the problem of the old age bracket that we have in agriculture. That is why the present administration has come up with the school agric programme to bring it back to life so that young people can be introduced early into the business of agriculture and agricultural enterprise.” Kolade added that more investors were approaching the state, adding that most of them were interested in investing in agriculture. He pointed out that the government would not force anyone into agriculture but that it would encourage all that are interested in many ways including provision of infrastructural facilities, land and loans. The commissioner disclosed

•The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Bimbola Kolade, (middle) with the Principal, School of Science, Pade, Ibadan (right), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Kunle Adeduntan (left) and pupils while cropping fish at the school

that provisions for such have been made in the 2012 budget. The principal of the school, Mr James Oladele, described the project as an answered prayer having waited for so long to have a governor who would make agriculture a priority. He recalled his experience in Israel where even less fertile land is used to produce abundant food for both local consumption and exportation.

The Head of Department, Agricultural Science, Mr Taiwo Olayemi explained that the pupils participated mainly in the feeding of the fish as well as draining of the pond. He said: “It has helped students deepen their knowledge as it helps bridge the gap between theory and practice.” Students spend about half an hour to a full hour at the pond daily.

Amaechi’s CSO’s wife wins cooking contest By Miriam Ndikanwu

ness, proper cooking, creativity, taste of food and presentation, according to head of the judges and Manager, Harmony Hotel and Resort, Elelenwo, near Port Harcourt Mrs. Iwelu smiled home with a giant gas cooker, a carton of

Golden Penny Pasta and a Golden Penny hamper while Roseline Cletus and Ngonade Ebere who emerged first and second runners-up respectively went home with a carton of Golden Penny Pasta, Microwave oven and Golden Penny hamper a piece. Speaking at the event, the Mar-

keting Manager Golden Pasta Company Ltd, Mrs. Modupeola Babalola, explained that the reason for the competition was to show members of the public that food is beyond cooking, but how it is prepared. She said, “ Food is not just about eating; it is about taste, the way it is being prepared and presented,” adding that Golden Penny products are highly nutritious for children and adults. Babalola expressed satisfaction at the level of participation competition adding that more than one thousand entries were received, while eleven persons were selected for the competition by a team of judges. She however noted that eleven persons were shortlisted among which eight turned up early to participate in the contest. “The yearly cook-and-win competition was to appreciate our customers; they are the reason we are in business,” she said. Reacting to the caliber of the win-

ner of the competition, Babalola explained that the CSO’s wife is the new face of ‘Golden Penny Pasta brand’ in Rivers State, adding that the competition was also aimed at training people, especially mothers to be conscious of hygiene, while giving good nutrition to their children. Speaking with newsmen, winner of the competition and the new face of Golden Penny Pasta in Rivers State, Mrs. Iwelu who stated that she is a business woman said cooking has been her hobby. She said, “I am a business woman and a mother of three. I came into this competition for the fun of it and joy to be singled out among the lot. I hardly cook for ceremonies, but cooking is my hobby.” Meanwhile, the two establishments, Golden Pasta Company and Park ‘n’ Shop, have assured members of the public that they would continue to contribute to the healthy living of Nigerians.

I came into this competition for the fun of it and joy to be singled out among the lot. I hardly cook for ceremonies, but cooking is my hobby •Wife of Ikeja Local Government chairman, Mrs Sade Odunlami presenting Christmas gifts to a beneficiary in Lagos on behalf of the initiator of Bola Tinubu Foundation, Senator Oluremi Tinubu








The 2012 Kia Soul has some notable upgrades, which include more powerful and fuel-efficient engines, new six-speed transmission and revised steering. Styling has been updated in and out, and there are some new technology options, writes TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO with agency reports.

•The Kia Soul

New Kia Soul: blend of style, practicality HERE are a lot of adjectives we could use to describe the 2012 Kia Soul, but “boring” isn’t one of them. In fact, this quirkylooking compact hatchback gets even more interesting this year, with some upgrades that start with refreshed exterior styling. The general look remains, but there are new details , such as flashy LED running lights on the model. The interior gets similarly subtle updates, most of which bolster the Soul’s already impressive line-up of available features. The steering wheel now telescopes, the materials are a bit nicer, the optional seat heaters get an additional setting and a navigation system is offered for the first time. As always, these items benefit from Kia’s user-friendly controls. More noteworthy are the Soul’s mechanical upgrades, including a direct-injection 1.6-litre engine that is both more powerful and more fuelefficient. The two-litre four-cylinder has also been given a 22-horsepower shot in the arm, and both engines benefit from new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The result is significantly better fuel economy, though it still falls short of some other compact hatchbacks. Still, a new Eco package available on automatic-equipped models should help in the fuel-saving endeavour, featuring stop-start technology that automatically shuts down the engine when you come to a stoplight and restarts it as soon as you lift your foot off the (now firmer and more reassuring) brake pedal. Another change concerns the steering, which is now electrically assisted. Before the second quarter of the year, Nigerian auto lovers would be able to lay hands on the car that is a blend of style and practicality


Powertrains and performance The front-wheel-drive Kia Soul is offered with two different engines. The base Soul gets a new

1.6-litre four-cylinder that produces 138 hp and 123 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard (includes a hill holder) and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA mileage estimates are significantly better than those of last year’s Soul, with the 1.6-litre engine returning 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined regardless of transmission choice. All of the Soul’s fuel economy estimates are better than other funky hatchbacks but fall just a tad short of more conventional hatchbacks.

Safety Standard safety equipment for all the Soul models includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Hill-start assist is also now standard across the line-up. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Soul its highest score of “Good” in its frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior design and special features Just because the 2012 Kia Soul is long on style does not mean it is short on practicality. With its modern look and pronounced centre stack, the passenger cabin offers a nice balance between form and function. Upgraded materials and additional sound deadening for 2012 give the interior a higherquality feel, while details like the available twotone houndstooth upholstery give the Soul more flair than similarly priced competitors. Gauges and controls are well-placed and intuitive to use, even when fitted with new high-tech options like the voice-controlled Uvo infotainment system that allows you to control your cell phone, iPod and more with voice commands. The op-

•Interior of the car

tional Infinity audio system’s lighted speaker trim rings that flash to the beat of the music are admittedly a gimmick, but they are still kind of fun. One of the side benefits of the Soul’s boxy design is the abundant head- and legroom, even in the backseat. Behind those rear seatbacks are 19 cubic feet of cargo room, which grows to 53 cubic feet with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down.

Driving impressions With significantly more power on tap, driving the Kia Soul gets more enjoyable and less anxious when merging onto a freeway. However, while engineers managed to extract some extra oomph

out of the 1.6-litre engine, most buyers will be happier with the gutsy 164-hp 2.0-litre, especially since the difference in fuel economy is so small. Both the new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are a noticeable improvement over the units they replace. In terms of handling, its new steering is also more responsive than before and lighter in parking lots, while its brake pedal has a firmer, more reassuring feel. Minor tweaks to the suspension have improved ride quality somewhat, though models fitted with the admittedly sharp-looking 18-inch alloy wheels still feel harsh over bad pavement.




Monday, January 2, 2012


New PSG coach, Carlo Ancelotti expressing optimism at working with the French Club after he signed a twogear contract




c u r r e n t campaign.




With ekpoita / 08022664898




1. Hunk (4) 3. Border on (4) 5. Fiend (3) 6. Standard (4) 9. Recedes (4) 12. Age (3) 14. Cereal (4) 15. Informal Course (7) 18. Hermaphrodite (2) 19. Consumed (3) 20. About (2) 22. Employs (4) 24. Part of Feather (4) 26. Wandered (5) 27. Examine (4) 28. Path (4)

1.Remit (4) 2.Lusterless (3) 3.Imitate (3) 4.Trial (4) 7. Green Area (5) 8. Edible Grass (3) 10. Snake (3) 11. Nobleman (5) 13. Illuminated (3) 16. Bricklayer (5) 17. At No Time (5) 18. Youths (4) 21. Ward off (4) 23. Period (3) 25. Fuss (3)


Fill in the blank spaces in the grid such that every column, row and 2 by 3 box contains the numbers 1-6.


Eddie Murphy May Host 2012 Oscars

POETRY Always there for you You are friendly, kind and caring Sensitive, loyal and understanding Humorous, fun, secure and true Always there... yes that’s you. Special, accepting, exciting and wise Truthful and helpful, with honest eyes Confiding, forgiving, cheerful and bright Yes that’s you... not one bit of spite.

The decision will be announced soon after a meeting of producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer and Academy of Motion Pictures President Tom Sherak, the Los Angeles Times reported. Rumors of Murphy’s nomination surfaced on a Web site that covers black comedians and entertainment. The reasoning behind Murphy as host is to return to the more popular single-comedian host format. The recent two-actor or two-comedian duos haven’t been as successful with viewers. However, Murphy has not been featured live on stage in about 25 years and his film career hasn’t been on fire as of late, aside from voice work in the “Shrek” series. Other names being considered for the role include Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld.

Pep Talk

Jack decided to go skiing with his buddy, Bob. They loaded up Jack’s station-wagonand headed north. After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard. They pulled into a nearby farmhouse and asked the attractive lady of the house if they could spend the night. “I’m recently widowed,” she explained, “and I’m afraidthe neighbors will talk if I let you stay in my house.” “Not to worry,” Jack said, “we’ll be happy to sleep in the barn.”

You’re one of a kind, different from others Generous, charming, but not one that smothers Optimistic, thoughtful, happy and game But not just another... in the long chain.

Nine months later, Jack got a letter from the widow’s attorney. He called up his friend Bob and said, “Bob, do you remember thatgood-looking widow at the farm we stayed at?”

Appreciative, warm and precious like gold Our friendship won’t tarnish or ever grow old You’ll always be there, I know that is true I’ll always be here... always for you. - Angela Lee Hillsley

“Yes, I do.”

Do you know.... 1.Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner. What’s her famous name? 2.In the wake of the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1990, a classic U.S. motion picture made its debut in the Soviet Union under the title, “Unesennye Vetrom.” What is the English title of the film? 3.In April 1989, student demonstrations in Beijing were brutally suppressed and lead to hundreds of deaths. What were students protesting at the rallies that resulted in the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 3 to 4? 4.In 1984, two bodyguards assassinated this prime minister who they were assigned to protect.


1.Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia 2.The English title is “Gone With the Wind.” 3.They were mourning the death of Hu Yaobang. Yaobang had been ousted as the Communist’s secretary two years earlier. 4.India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1917-84) was assassinated by her bodyguards. In 1991, Mrs. Gandhi’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, suffered a similar fate, albeit not at the hands of his bodyguards

Eddie Murphy has emerged as a top candidate to be the master of ceremonies for the 2012 Academy Awards in Hollywood, event officials say.


“Did you happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and visit with her?” “Yes, I have to admit that I did.” “Did you happen to use my name instead of telling her your name?” Bob’s face turns red and he said, “Yeah, I’m afraid I did.” “Well, thanks! She just died and left me everything

Man on Deathbed As he lay on his deathbed, the man confided to his wife, “I cannot die without telling you the truth. I cheated on you throughout our whole marriage. All those nights when I told you I was working late, I was with other women. And not just one woman either, but I’ve slept with dozens of them.” His wife looked at him calmly and said, “Why do you think I gave you the poison?”

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than before. - Polybius











Investor’s Worth

End-of-Year Special

Believing in the stock

Guide to choosing securities for 2012


ENNEDY Uzoka is a well-rounded financial engineer and a professional banker of more than two decades. Beside his active professional banking career, Uzoka is also a keen-sighted investor. Uzoka is one of the largest shareholders of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and he stands tall as the director with the largest shareholding. UBA, one of Africa’s leading financial services groups with more than 7.2 million customers across 750 branches in 19 African countries, is owned by more than 281,000 individual and institutional Nigerian and foreign shareholders. But in actual fact, the controlling equity stake lies in the hand of a group of about 1,100 shareholders, who collectively hold about 82 per cent equity stake. Majority of the shareholders, numbering more than 238,000 shareholders, hold between 1,000 shares and 50,000 shares. Although they represent about 85 per cent of total number of shareholders, they collectively hold less than 7.2 per cent equity stake. The shareholding structure of UBA reflects its six decades reputation as one of Nigeria’s iconic banks and its mass appeal as store of values for small, medium to large investors. Some 24,000 shareholders hold between one and 1,000 shares while another group of 985 shareholders hold between 500,001 shares to 1.0 million shares. But Uzoka stands out not only in his professional con-

tributions to the bank but also as an avid believer in the inherent values in UBA stock. With an eight-digit shareholding, he holds the largest direct shareholding among the directors of the N1 trillion-asset bank. Uzoka represents the quintessential spirit of the UBA staff- investing both knowledge and hard-earned monies into the bank. Beside individual member of staff investments, UBA Staff Share Investment Trust Scheme holds 8.04 per cent equity stake in the bank, a significant equity stake according to the statutory disclosure requirements. A multiple awards winner, Uzoka has traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria and management cadres working to sustain UBA as a leading bank irrespective of the changing landscape. Before his appointment as executive director, resources in 2010 and designation as deputy managing director in 2011, he was head, strategy and business transformation of UBA Group. He was later appointed regional bank head, south bank covering over 17 states in southern part of Nigeria. An alumnus of Harvard Business School in Boston, United States of America (USA), International Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland and the London Business School, United Kingdom, Uzoka holds a B.Sc. Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin. He also holds MBA (Fi-


nance) from the University of Lagos. With the transformation of UBA into an international financial services holding company, Uzoka’s equities in the bank automatically qualified him as a proportionate major shareholder in three other companies to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Beside UBA, he becomes a bona fide shareholder of UBA Holdings Plc, Africa Prudential Registrars Plcwhich assumes UBA’s share registration business and Afriland Properties Plc, which takes over the bank’s real estate assets. For Uzoka, while the transformation of the UBA into a financial services group represents a major professional accomplishment, the unlocked values derived from the buy-one-get-three free transaction vindicate his foresights as an investor.

Ask a Broker


IGHTS issue statutorily entitles every shareholder to benefit from the supplementary offer. As such, rights, or shares being offered under rights issue, are pre-allotted to shareholders on the basis of their shareholdings. But with the understanding that not all shareholders may be interested or be in position to take up their allotted shares, the company making

What is renunciation? the issue provides shareholders with a window to reject their allocations. This is technically called renunciation, simply meaning that the shareholder renounces his entitlement for other to take up. A letter of renunciation is usually attached to rights document for partial or full renunciation. Partial renunciation occurs

where the shareholder picks up a part of his allotment while full renunciation gives up the entire allotment. With the window of opportunity provided by trading in rights on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), shareholders can trade their rights, which are usually priced at discount, at premium on the secondary market.

Ways and Means

How to protect electronic cards


ITH the take-off tomorrow of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s new policy on cash-based transactions which stipulates a cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals or cash deposits that exceed N150,000 for Individuals and N1 million corporate bodies, more Nigerians are expected to depend more on e-payment channels. Already, latest report by the apex bank showed that many Nigerians are fast adopting electronic payment systems, especially card-based payment systems. According to the 2011 first half report of the apex bank, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) remained the most patronized of the various e-channels accounting for 98.09 per cent and 91.37 per cent of the volume and value of the transactions respectively. The volume and value of electronic card (e-card) transactions rose from 106.74 million deals valued at N610.22 billion in second half of 2010 to 167.96 million deals worth N764.14 bil-

lion in first half of 2011. Although the apex bank and financial institutions have instituted commendable rules, processes, systems and technologies to forestall card fraud, the primary responsibility for safety of e-card rests with the cardholder. The following tips will assist cardholders in safeguarding their cards: 1. E-card is a personalized item; never let your credit card out of your sight whenever possible and do not let another party privy to your Personal Identification Number (PIN). 2. Be wary when using an open-air ATM; insist on a safe distance between you and the next person on a queue. 3. Do not give out your account number over the phone unless you initiate the call or respond to any email or letter requesting for your card details. 4. Do not use your card to transact through an unsecured website, be sure to confirm the security of the website.

5. Do not safe your credit card number or PIN on your handset or write the card details on your wallet should in case any of these gets stolen or lost. 6. Carry only card that you absolutely need, do not carry around other cards that you rarely use. 7. Destroy anything with your credit card number written on it. 8. It is recommended to carry e-cards separately in a small pouch or a zippered compartment, away from the normal wallets. 9. Periodically change your PIN to code or contraption known to you alone. 10. Notify the card issuer and other relevant agencies of the lost of your card or in the event of any suspicion of card fraud. 11. In relation to the tip 10 above, keep handy the contacts relevant to your card including the emergency alert number of the card issuer, CBN and other agencies.

HE immediate past year was an eventful year for investors, albeit one overweighed by negative than positive. From the reversal of share prices to nationalisation of quoted banks, shares reconstruction and dilution, take-or-die business combinations, double-digit inflation amidst rooftop double-digit interest rate and ominous silence of the national budget on the capital market recovery package, investors had a mouthful of bitter pills. In the end, the stock market closed with a negative return of 16.31 per cent. With inflation rate at 10.5 per cent, the benchmark interest rate at 12 per cent and effective interest rate as high as 30 per cent, adjusted real return on investment for average investor might be as high as -50 per cent. The negative performance for 2011 overshadowed the appreciable recovery made in 2010 when the equity market closed with a double-digit positive return. But with impressive fundamental performances by most quoted companies, the price depreciation in 2011 has further enhanced the attractiveness of the stock market in the New Year 2012. Several equities now hold out prospects of double-digit dividend yields and as shown by recent rally, a steady rally could result in large-stake capital gains to several investors. While the fixed-income markets had served as a safe haven against the downers in 2011, relative yield on fixedincome securities appeared lower than most earnings yields of quoted equities, indicating that discerning investors stand better chance of higher returns. But navigating the securities market in 2012 requires conceptual and practical understanding of the dynamics of the market, personal financial profile and macroeconomic influences that might shape the course of investment decisions during the year. The basic underline for investor is to develop ability to develop a flexible and dynamic portfolio mix that attracts values irrespective of the shifts between fixed-income securities and equities. A good portfolio mix enhances the profitability and liquidity of the portfolio as well as reduces relative risks. Given the fact that past growth pattern may not be an absolute projection of success in the future, a good spread across some viable companies confers longetivity on an investment plan as well as reduces sudden failure that could occur should a so-called blue-chip floundered. To mix the odds to his advantage, an investor needs to understand the portfolio mix process. The process of portfolio mix starts with under-


Stories by Taofik Salako

standing the sectoral categorisation of companies quoted on the stock exchange, fiscal and monetary policies that impact on each sector, distinct qualities of each sub-group, growth pattern and market behaviour of each stock as well as sub-groups. The recent experience in the Nigerian capital market has showed that overdependence on a particular sector or stock can be catastrophic in the event of unusual trends. On the heels of the global and national financial crises, banking stocks, and other financial stocks like insurance, which had been traditionally the toasts of investors in terms of bonus issues, cash dividends and capital appreciation, have been the worst-hit. Most financial stocks have been unable to declare any dividend while they have also been trading at around nominal values, putting majority of investors that concentrated on financial stocks in a sort of double jeopardy. Many manufacturing companies, hitherto the underdogs of the market, have braced the recession, piling up appreciable capital gains while sustaining dividend payments. Portfolio mix also relates with the investment objectives of an individual. Personal lifestyle and stage in life influence the choice of securities. The degree and immediacy of cash requirement may mediate between choice of fixed-income securities and equities as well as real estate investments. However, it must also be noted that the extent of startup capital and subsequent investable funds may influence the degree of portfolio mix. One of the frequently asked questions by new investors is: with how much can I start? On the face of it, this is a simple question with also a simple answer: just as little as you can afford. But adequate advice requires explanation of the ups and downs in the stock market and the necessity of pooling substantial resources, when available, to mitigate the level of risks and increase the average chance of success. Although the point must primarily be emphasised that every person with as little as he gets can play profitably in the stock market and it is important to start now, the fact that portfolio mix, or the spread of investment across stocks or sub-groups, constitutes a critical factor in the attainment of overall investment objectives must not be understated. A relatively little fund comes with the task of blending the needs for profitability, good spread of investments and lesser risks. A safer option for many starters with little funds and low risks appetites is to stake on the established stocks, otherwise known as blue chips, but

this in itself represents a flaw in investments planning as many low-priced stocks have proven to be high returnyielding investments, especially in recent period. Deciding on the portfolio mix for a small capital is usually a tough decision. For instance, should one stake his entire fund on a few hundreds of shares of a certain bluechip or spread it among thousands of shares of hopeful low-priced and emerging stocks? The option depends on the investor and his adviser. However, it is advisable to place emphasis on good spread across sectors and stock categories- emerging stocks, middle range and blue chips. Even where the initial start-up capital does not allow wide spread, subsequent build-up investments should be aimed at widening the scope of investment and reduce the risks of overdependence on a stock or sector. Also, investors need to embrace fundamental and technical analyses to minimize the risk of failure. Many research firms provide valuable reports on macro economic analysis, industry analysis, company analysis, corporate social analysis and industrial relations review among others. It is the synchronization of the many views from theses often-divergent but related analyses, previews and reviews that form the counterbalance that minimizes risk and enhances probability of return. Corporate analysis, at its full extent, reflects the riskreturn probability of a company in relation to various macro and micro economic and socio-political variables. The importance of comprehensive corporate analysis lies not only in it centrality to the realisation of the investment objective of investors, but also in its usefulness to other stakeholders including government; in terms of taxes and employment, employees; in the area of stable job and commensurate wages, immediate and extended communities; in the area of corporate social responsibility and community development, creditors; in the assurance of safety of their facilities, debtors; for safety of debt schedules and agreements and many other cyclical relationships in the economic chain. The roles of companies in any polity are pervasive and far-reaching while their relationships extend through the system. Any of these stakeholders could serve as a whistleblower, such as the tax authority closure of a company for failure to pay taxes. Portfolio mix also dovetails into personal budget since the steadiness of an investment programme depends on the effectiveness of the personal financial budget. So, it’s important to build investment plan on a sound personal budget.

‘But adequate advice requires explanation of the ups and downs in the stock market and the necessity of pooling substantial resources, when available, to mitigate the level of risks and increase the average chance of success’




All Share Index heightens by 1.73%


FTER resuming from the long Christmas vacation, the All share index rises by 1.73 per cent to close the weekly activities on a bullish stand, this follows the path of a fortnight ago as market also act in a positive way. Market capitalisation increased by 1.39 per cent last week to close the week at N6.49 trillion. The braIndex® also increased by 2.55 per cent supporting the bullish trend observed in the market last week. All Share Index (ALSI) rose by 1.73 per cent in support of the previous week performance of 3.99 per cent the index which shows appreciable gain against what is observed in the penultimate week. The bullish trend in our analysis is much expected in the coming week. To recap, overall market performance instruments i.e. the Market Capitalisation, All share Index and the braIndex® rose by 1.39 per cent, 1.73 per cent and 2.55 per cent respectively. The Market capitalisation, which measures the share price movement, rose from N6.45 trillion a fortnight ago to N6.49 trillion last week; the All Share Index also increased to 20,617.23 from 20,604.48 representing a 1.73 per cent rise on weekly assessment. Apparently, the braIndex® also rise by 2.55 per cent. The stocks of the Banking sector claimed 77 per cent of the total volume of transaction that exchanged hands at the stock market last week. A lingering situation which had been in existence couple of months back, the weekly observation shows that banking stocks was active compare to the figure recorded a fortnight ago which stood at 70 per cent. Contribution shows that traders exchanged 0.82 billion units worth N6.07 billion in 6,922 deals as against 0.42 billion units valued at N2.63 billion in 5,392 deals a fortnight ago. This affirms that the banking stocks were actively traded at the exchange compared to 74 per cent accustomed to the sector in the two weeks ago, returns on banking volume rose by 0.51 per cent and the value of money spent on banking stocks stood at 63.91 per cent. Shares of Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Access Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and First City Monument Bank Plc were the toast of investors as they were actively traded in terms of volume and total investment. The Insurance sector occupied the first runner-up with 69.48 million units worth N39.72 million in 310 deals. On average evaluation, the Insurance subsector accounted for 6.59 per cent of the total activity and 0.41 per cent of the total funds invested at the Exchange during the week under review. Transactional volume shows that Conglomerates sub-sector’s performance decrease by 0.51 per cent last week. The total weekly value of stocks in this sub-sector stood at N212 million. All the three market indicators increased last week showing that overall activities in terms of volume and fund invested also increased. The direction in returns on both benchmarks was greater than two per cent. On a year-to-date basis, both benchmarks - the NSE All-Share Index and the braIndex® - showed losses of 8.55 per cent and 8.92 per cent. Stock Market Sectoral Performance Investors in the stocks of Zenith Bank Plc exchanged 353.87 million units in 1,040 deals worth N 4.10 billion. The average number of deals remained well over 208 deals per day during the week. United Bank for Africa Plc was second with 212.50 million shares worth N 0.47 billion. In the Insurance sub-sector, Hallmark Insurance Plc led with 24.75 million shares worth N12.37 million. The sectoral volume amounted to almost 69.48 million units and constituted

Table 1: A Five-Day Moving Average Data of the Market Indices Change(%)

Market Capitalisation (%)


Average Weekly Depth




Year To Date (YTD)




Month To Date (MTD) Week To Date(WTD)

(4.25) 1.39

(4.72) 1.73

(5.69) 2.55


Market Cap(trillion Naira)

All-Share Index


As of closing on December 29, 2011




Source: NSE & bra Limited Table 2: Stock Market Summary Statistics for the week ending Dec. 29, 2011. Period Market Capitalisation (Trillion) 20/12/2011 6.36 21/12/2011 6.45 22/12/2011 6.51 23/12/2011 6.54 28/12/2011 6.55 29/12/2011 6.49 Source: NSE & Bra Limited

All-Share Index (Base Points) 20,122.80 20,420.23 20,604.48 20,763.26 20,773.98 20,617.23

braIndex® (Base Points) 12.87 13.33 13.34 13.79 13.70 13.67

Table 3: Statistics on Weekly Sectoral Contribution Sectors Banking Telecommunications Insurance Food, Beverages and Tobacco Mortgage Source: bra Limited

% of Total Trading Net Worth 63.91% 1.42% 0.41% 15.42% 0.23%

Trading Net Worth(in Naira Millions ) 6,075.41 230.88 39.72 1,465.99 22.00

Figure 1a: The All Share Index and braIndex® Performance at a Glance

Source: BRA Computation

Source: BRA Computation

over 6.59 per cent of the sector’s trading volume. Companies Appraisal Zenith Bank Plc is the most active company in the Banking sub-sector with 353.87 million units; United Bank for Africa Plc is the first runner up in the sector. United Bank for Africa Plc closed the week with N0.47 billion in 614 deals. Among the most active companies in the Insurance sub-sector were Hallmark Insurance Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc, Mutual Benefit Insurance Plc, Guinea Insurance Plc, Goldlink Insurance Plc, UNIC Insurance Plc and Custodian Insurance Plc. In the Insurance

Industry, Hallmark Insurance Plc claimed to be the most active company in the sector. In the Food, Beverages and Tobacco Industry, share of the industry were actively traded in terms of the market volume. Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Flour Plc and Dangote Flour Mills Plc were some of the most active stocks in the sub-sector. Last week, shareholders of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Okomu Oil Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Presco Plc and Ecobank Transnational Plc saw the value of their investments earning profit less than six per cent while investors in Nigerian Breweries Plc, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Seven Up Bottling Company Plc and

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc made less than five per cent loss on a daily basis. Points to note: The weekly stock market analysis reports the current position of the outlook of the stock of the companies listed on the Exchange and the aggregate market. The NSE closed the 52nd trading week on a bullish note on weekly assessment. Historical analysis of trading volume shows that in the new week, the Banking, Insurance and Food, Beverages and Tobacco stocks are likely to continue to be the toast of investors.

Disclaimer This report has been prepared for information purposes only and for private use. Whilst reasonable care had been taken in its production, bra Limited does not guarantee the correctness of its contents nor does the company accept liability for any loss arising from a reliance on its contents. Kindly note that our suggested recommendations and other tactical actions are based on bra Limited best estimates which are guided by generally available information and our Proprietary Tools. This is not an invitation or a solicitation to deal in any stocks and we do not guarantee the future outcome of such recommendation.



CAPITAL MARKET Bond and Money Market Review


OLUME of market transaction decreased from N1.769 trillion to N1.760 trillion, while the index on the other side close at 1,450.23 points, as it started the week with 1,458.10 points. Market capitalisation closed with N1.760 trillion to end last week transaction as against N1.769 trillion witnessed in the penultimate week, the daily changes also swings in different direction as it increases by 0.02 per cent. The bond segment of the money market last week declined by 0.53 per cent on weekly assessment while the daily evaluation increased by 0.02 per cent. The capitalisation decreased by 0.51 per cent in support of the bearish recorded a fortnight ago. The Federal Government Nigeria (FGN) bond index fell by 0.53 per cent to stand at 1450.23 points. Capitalisation also swings in the same direction as it decreased to close market activities last week. Bond prices dropped to close the weekly trading stand and price of trade short and long term instruments decreased slightly, the bearish returns is expected next week as investors appetite is directed towards the year end celebrations and much is not expected in the side of investment returns. A fortnight ago, market index decreased by 0.19 per cent and capitalisation also fell by 0.56 per cent to stand at N1.769 trillion. The market declined by 0.36 per cent in value on daily evaluation. The FGN bond Index began the week at 1,457.88 and closed at 1,450.23 points, declining by 765 basis points in support of the decline of 276 basis points a fortnight ago. It ended the week at 1,450.23 points. Average index stayed at 1,452.79 points, compared to 1,462.20 points the previous week. The 30-day, 60day and 90-day indices decrease by 0.29 per cent, 0.33 per cent and 0.33 per cent to claim 15.45 per cent, 15.75 per cent and 16.04 per cent as at December 29, 2011. The FGN bond Index movement represents a decline in the weekly performance of the bond market segment this is supported by the changes on daily examination as it also decreased due to fall in the price of some short and long term instruments, these price changes in cited instruments are the major drivers of the market performance in recent times. Among the 15 traded bonds, almost all of the traded bonds have their price decrease while few of the instruments have their price declined throughout the last week trading activities. Surprisingly, the prices of short term instruments witnessed depreciation throughout the trading week. The top price loser was the 20-year bond, 15 per cent FGN Nov 2028, which depreciated by N2.75 to close at N108.50. More so, the five-year bond, 10.50 per cent FGN Mar 2018 increased by N0.59 to end the week at N91.81. Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold foreign exchange worth $200 million to authorised dealers at the Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) window as against $200 million a fortnight ago. The dealers had demanded $218.08 million before the auction while the actual amount offered stood at $200 million. At the foreign exchange market, the naira depreciates by N0.01 as the lowest bid rate stood at N156.70. Figure 1 illustrates the year-to-date change in the bra FGN bond Index. The bra FGN bond index is a market value weighted index and is designed to measure the performance of the Nigerian investment-grade fixed income market. Although the index stabilised during most of January and February as shown, it recorded a sharp drop in March as investor outlook turned negative in the bond market in anticipation of elections.

Capitalisation hits N1.76t Table 4: Key Statistics of Market’s Stock Performance as of Dec. 28, 2011 S/N

Company Name

Share Price Gain (‘N)

% of Shares’ Gain by Investors


Guinness Nigeria Plc




Unilever Nigeria Plc




Okomu Oil Plc




Ecobank Transnational Plc




Presco Plc



Nigerian Breweries Plc




Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc




7-Up Plc




Union Bank of Nigeria Plc




Julius Berger Plc




Source: NSE and bra Limited Indicator Turnover Value Deals FGN Bond Index Market Capitalization Index Weekly Returns (%) Index Year-to-Date Returns (%) 1-Month Returns (%) 3-Month Returns (%) 12-Month Returns (%)

CurrentWeek 197.8 million N160.43 billion 1,301 1,450.23 N1.760 trillion 2.78 5.48 0.72 4.53 3.57

PreviousWeek 192.8 million N157.84 billion 1,296 1,458.10 N1.769 trillion 2.82 5.44 0.79 4.59 3.50

% Change 2.59 1.64 (0.53) (0.51) (0.04) 0.04 (0.07) (0.06) 0.07

Source: BRA Figure 1: FGN Bond Index

Source: FMDA

Figure 2: Nigerian T-bill Primary Market Auctions

Primary Market Auction

Source: Financial Markets Dealers Association The FGN index recorded its biggest decline (108 points) in March losing roughly seven per cent of its value. We observe the stabilisation of the declining trend in April and a gradual recovery in May and June. The month of July follows this recovery trend with index values reaching their March levels. The index stabilised in August closing at 1,512 points on August 26 compared to 1,517 points on July 30. Besides the sharp drop witnessed in August 23 to about 1504.4 points, the index sustained its up rise which peaked at 1525.26 points at Sept 22 to end the month low at 1497.69 points. Noticeably, the index recorded a consistent decline in the month of October but later closed high at 1,434.34. Further, the index peaked at 1,479.05 in November to close low

at 1,467.58 points. The over-the-counter bond market notched up by 2.59 per cent last week, yielding N160.43 billion with a turnover of 197.8 million units in 1,301 deals. The amount compared favourably with the N157.84 billion invested on 192.8 million units in 1,296 deals a fortnight ago. The activity was boosted by the 20-year bond, due in July 2030 with 10.0 per cent coupon rate. It traded 41.95 million units valued at N31.30 billion in 316 deals. This was followed by the three-year bond, 5.5 per cent FGN February 2013 which traded 33.55 million units valued at N30.04 billion in 281 deals. Sixteen of the available 34 FGN bonds were traded during the week, compared with 12 the previous week. In the NTB Primary Market, there were six new issues of NTBs with two

364 days tenor, two 182 days and also two 91 days maturities with annual yields 19.53, 17.62 and 15.58 for the first issue of 364, 182 and 91 days (on November 10) and 18.32, 16.33 and 14.40 for the second issues (on November 24). Noticeably, the yield on the Treasury bill for the first three tenors was higher than the second issue of the same tenor. Hence, on month on change comparison, the yield closed the month of November slightly below the previous month’s Treasury bill Auction with yields of 19.35, 17.39 and 15.58 for 364, 182 and 91 days tenor. Nigerian Yield Curves Generally, we observed that the increase in NITTY yields on some short term Treasuries observed since July

is still being retained. However, relative to last month, there was a slight drop in some NITTY yield in November. This suggests that investors are relatively selling their stake in long and high risk investments to favour short term Treasury bills. Hence, investors currently prefer short term instruments to other alternative investments. In terms of FGN bonds, there were two issues in the month with negative yields of -53.37 and -211.13 for 2896 and 2,385 tenor. More explicitly, the volume of NTB primary Auctions issued in November increased by 88 per cent from the total auction in October. However, in terms of FGN bonds, there were no issues at all in the month of October but the amount issued in November declined by about seven per cent from the total issue in September.




Boko Haram: TUC urges police to curtail sect’s onslaught T HE Inspector-General of Police Hafiz Ringim, has been urged to initiate strategies to check the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram sect. The leadership of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), told the Police boss, in reaction to the Christmas Day bombings, that he should direct his men to engage in effective policing of the entire country instead of allowing his men to be toll collectors on the highways. In a statement co-signed by its President-General and Secretary – General, Comrades Peter Esele and John Kolawole, TUC said the Police should act before the Islamist militant group, “ignites sectarian civil war that may split the country and consume even Boko Haram and their sponsors.” It stated that the group that claims to be fighting for God, has actually “become an affront to God and whatever religion they claim to represent, as they have no rights whatever to attack, bomb and kill fellow citizens in the house of God.” The statement reads in part: “ The five bombs, which exploded on Christmas Day at churches in Nigeria, including St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala, an Abuja satellite town, killing 27

Stories by Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

people, have further raised fears that the Islamist militant group Boko Haram - which claimed responsibility, is trying to ignite sectarian civil war that may split the country and consume even Boko Haram and their sponsors. “TUC pleads with all Christian leaders and their followers never to be drawn into an era of senseless religious wars that will do us no good, as countries that have been enmeshed in these cowardly acts have not survived it. Churches and other organisations should henceforth devise means of protecting and defending worshippers by having bomb detectors installed in strategic places and as well, screen all visitors. “We have at several times in the recent past demanded a total overhaul of the nation’s security forces and appoint the heads on competence and commitment not on seniority of quota basis. “The huge amount appropriated to security in 2012 budget cannot alone solve problems posed by Boko Haram and others they may arise in retaliation.Rather more attention should be on how best to identify and defray all actors connected in this madness. If all the security chiefs cannot come up with

• Esele

• Ringim

solutions to arrest their sponsors and nip-in-the bud this faceless group, then they should be sacked immediately. ‘’We call on the Inspector general of Police to drive the process that

will result in effective policing of the entire country, instead of the current scenario where men of the Nigerian Police have constituted themselves as “toll collectors” on the nation highway.”

Minimum Wage: NUJ seeks compliance by govts


HE Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has reaffirmed its position on compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act by all employers. In a communiqué issued at its recent National Executive Council (NEC), in Awka, and presided over by the National President, Malam Mohammed Garba, the NUJ said state governments are duty bound to implement the new wage regime in compliance with the relevant laws. The communiqué, signed by the National Secretary, Chief Shu’aibu Usman Leman, the union wondered why a whopping N920 billion was budgeted for security, while the agricultural sector got a paltryN50 billion in the 2012 Budget proposal. It urged the Federal Government to have its priorities well spelt out. “On the 2012 Budget proposal sent to the National Assembly, NEC is worried over the N920 billion budgeted for security. NEC believes that since Nigeria is not at war with any nation, it will be incomprehensible that such a huge sum would be appropriated for security while other critical sectors lik agriculture, got a paltry sum of N50 billion. NEC, therefore, calls on the Federal Government to have a rethink over the issue, so as not to give an impression of misplaced priority.”

• From left: Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi; Garba and NUJ Deputy President Rotimi Obamuwagun.

On fuel subsidy, the body urged the government to keep the proposed fuel subsidy removal in abeyance and listen to the voice of reasoning as removing the subsidy, would cause untold hardship to Nigerians, it argued. NEC also expressed dismay over the spate of insecurity of life and

property in the country. It therefore, urging that government should uphold the provision of the Nigerian Constitution, which stipulates that the responsibility of government is to protect the life and property of its citizens. Counting the gains of his administration, NUJ commended the

leadership of Mohammad Garba, and unanimously adopted him for a second term. The election is due to hold in May this year. The leadership of the Union was also encouraged to go ahead and erect the permanent site of the National Secretariat, instead of temporary structure.

Labour okays Senate’s probe of privatised firms


• Senate President, David Mark

HE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has endorsed the report of the Senate Adhoc Committee that probed the privatisation of public enterprises. In a statement by its Head of Information, Chris Uyot, NLC said it noted some of the recommendations of the Committee. “We strongly back the Senate’s debate,” NLC said, adding that it hopes the patriotic spirit displayed so far will lead to positive outcomes in the interest of the people. The Congress said: “We commend the Senate on its decisive position on the issue. Particularly, we back the Senate indictment of all past and present director-generals of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).”

It said the summary of the debate in the Senate tallies with the position of the NLC that the privatisation lacks transparency and was built on fraud, criminality and bare-faced theft of the country’s wealth. A few examples of such alleged criminality and connivance were aptly reflected in the sale of NITEL Plc and Transcorp Hilton Hotel to a group in the government and the private sector masquerading as Corporate Nigeria. “The failure of the privatisation gambit can be seen in the fact that over 90 per cent of the companies privatised have either collapsed or are in worse conditions than they were before being privatised. Obviously, the privatisation pro-

gramme has been characterised by asset striping and sometimes complete closure of privatised companies, like what obtains in the iron and steel industry. “What we consider to be more criminal is that the funds realised from the privatisation over the years have not been accounted for. “Nigerians do not know how much has been realised so far from the privatisation programme or what the funds have been used for. Also, workers in these privatised companies were severely shortchanged with many of them not being paid their statutory severance benefits. This has been the case in NITEL, Daily Times, among others.”

Integrity Group pulls out of NLC over Odah’s sack


HE Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has pulled out of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The union is one of the eight that make up the Integrity Group. The first step taken by these unions to correct alleged wrongdoing by the NLC leadership was to stop the payment of their check-off dues. Some of NLC’s major affiliates have not been paying their check-off dues, leaving the congress cash strapped. At its recent two-day delegate conference, which saw the NASU President, Comrade Ladi Iliya, returned as president, the union severed relationship with the NLC. The theme for this year’s conference was NASU Beyond 2011 – Setting an agenda for consolidation and progress. It was the first time that all the unions, which had been embittered in the way the last NLC election held in March was handled, declared their plan to pull out of the NLC and probably team up to form another labour group. Since the crisis-ridden election, which has rocked the Nigerian first labour group to its foundation, the members of Integrity Group comprising NASU, National Union of Hotel and Personal Service Workers (NUHPSW), National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFIE), National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), National Union of Postal and Telecommunication Employees (NUPTE), Radio and Television Workers Union (RATTAWU), have waited for the leadership of the NLC to make an attempt to reconcile the aggrieved party. After waiting for almost nine months without success, which has hitherto been the hallmark of NLC, the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peter Adeyemi, said his union had no choice but to take an action. According to him, this has so far impressed it upon the congress leadership of its dissatisfaction and that it was stopping the remittance of the check-off dues to the NLC. “Our members have also reviewed our membership at NLC and felt that we have been unfairly treated and if one is being treated like an outcast in an organisation that you made a contribution towards its progress, then one has to reconsider its membership. “The NLC has never done anything positive for our union. We handled our negotiation by ourselves, while the congress collects our money without any value added service. Hence our members at the congress said it will not be out of place if we pull out of the congress,” he stated. The NASU scribe said NLC has the responsibility to operate effectively as a defender of workers, working family and the working people. He stressed that as an authentic working people’s organisation, it must necessarily be capable of addressing the full diversity of interest, rights and concerns of the working people. The National President of Hotel Union, Comrade Leke Success, who is also the leader of the Integrity Group, confirmed his union has ceased remitting check-off dues to the NLC. He said his union would back NASU’s position to pull out of the congress and, possibly, form another labour centre to cater for the interest of the group. “We have contributed enormously to the NLC, but only be treated with disdain. The Integrity Group in our last meeting has already taken a position to stand by the truth. If NASU decides to leave NLC, Hotels will follow. NASU is not standing alone,” he said. Comrade Success said the aim of coming together under NLC umbrella was to overcome any opposition as a team, lamenting that such has been defeated by the present crop of NLC leadership.




NUPENG, Shell disagree over N3m monthly levy


HE National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has disagreed with the management of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the deduction of over N3 million montly from workers’ salaries. NUPENG claims that the deduction is “illegal.” The union said it learnt the “illegal” deduction runs into over N3million monthly. “The deduction is not union dues, and we don’t know the project that it is earmarked for,” it said in a letter to the Managing Director of the company. The union also alleged connivance by the NUPENG branch officers of SPDC with the management, in the sale of some oil blocks expelled the Chairman, Fidelis Okandeji, at an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the body. In the letter entitled: NUPENG’s case against Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) and signed by the General Secretary, Comrade Elijah Okougbo, NUPENG said in SPDC, outsourcing and contract staffing have become the order of the day, and these workers have no condition of service or severance benefits. NUPENG insisted that the contractors pay whatever they like and most times owed salaries for upward of six months. The letter reads in part: “They (contractors) make all manners of deductions from their salaries, which are not remitted to the appropriate government agencies and the union protests are ignored. “All efforts to make service contractors and Shell Management see reason to negotiate terminal benefits for the workers whose appointments were terminated since 2008 have failed to yield positive result. SPDC is engaged in modern day slavery and NUPENG will continue to resist it. “NUPENG will not continue to


HE Industrial Court has restrained the acting president of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) led by Comrade Peter Okafor from parading himself as the union’s helmsman. Also restrained are the Second Deputy President, Otunba Kamson Olaniyi; Deputy General Secretary and M. A. Adesanya, Deputy National Treasurer. They should not parade themselves as leaders of the union, pending the determination of the motion on notice, the court presided over by judge, Justice J. T. AgbaduFishim, said.

NDE trains 582


• NUPENG General Secretary, Elijah Okougbo and President, Igwe Achese. Stories by Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu

fold its arms on the evil acts being perpetrated by SDPC on Nigerian workers.” The union threatened to go on strike if SPDC does not “remit illegal levies collected from the workers back to them, and stop Fidelis Okandeji from parading himself as NUPENG SPDC Branch chairman by signing documents on workers’ behalf. SPDC however, refuted NUPENG’s llegation, saying it never shortchanged the workers but tried to assist them on request. Its spokesman, Precious

Okolobo, said there was a request from Shell’s branch of NUPENG for a one-off nominal special levy of N10,000 from members, salaries.” This was effected by Shell Management following receipt of resolutions made by the union’s congress with appropriate signatures of majority of union members at the congress. The total sum deducted came to N3 million which was promptly remitted to the NUPENG national headquarters,” Okolobo said. Shell described NUPENG’s allegation of sales of oil blocks without due process as misleading and untrue.

Okolobo said: “The fact of the is that The NUPENG president insists that asset sales in Shell’s Western operations be cancelled and that a new committee including the NUPENG president should be set up to re-negotiate the sales with potential buyers. “To this end, the national NUPENG expelled the Shell branch chairman for holding meetings with Shell management on the issue. We are aware that the branch chairman has challenged his expulsion in court. Following legal advice, Shell has opted to maintain the status quo pending the court’s resolution of the issue.”

Workers decry declining state of public healthcare


EALTH workers have decried the inadequate funding for health services in the country, saying this is responsible for the declining state of public health care delivery in the country. The workers, under the aegis of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), regretted that Nigeria which hosted African Ministers of Health in 2000, where the Abuja declaration, which among other things, recommended that 15 per cent of National Budgetary provisions be set aside for healthcare, could still make budgetary provisions for health in single digits. In the communiqué, issued after their recent 36th session of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held in Owerri, Imo State, the body called for ‘improved funding for health in line with the Abuja declaration for the improvement of public healthcare delivery, in the interest of the common people. The communiqué was signed by the union’s President and General Secretary, Comrades Ayuba Wabba and Markus Omokhaule, respectively. The NEC-in-session, realising the critical need for policy engagement on health issues and

Court restrains union leaders

for the purpose of raising members awareness and inspiring work ethics that would spur enhanced productivity of health workers, resolved on commencing an annual week long campaign that would be known as the Medical and Health Workers’ Week with effect from the last week in March, this year. The MHWUN Week project is expected to include health walk, rallies, symposium, and advocacy visits at local branches and state councils’ levels. It would also have a yearly Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria dinner and Awards night for recognition of MHWUN state councils, as well as members and personalities in the health sector that have distinguished themselves. To meet the health target of the Millennium Development Goals, by 2015, MHWUN demands a re-engineering and transformation of the health system to make it process driven through concerted series of actions by government at all tiers of the federation as well as other non-state actors, such as health sector trade unions. The union identified lack of political will on the part of the Government as reason for its indifference to effective healthcare

delivery. MHWUN noted that its earlier campaign agenda for the establishment of a National Primary Health Commission, States Primary Health Boards and Local Primary Healthcare Authorities has yielded fruits to the benefit of the common people who utilized PHC facilities the most, with the on-going establishment of PHC authorities in states across the country. EC – in – session thus resolved that all MHWUN state councils should engage actively with the legislative processes for establishing such authorities where they are in the process of being established. In states where legislations have been passed establishing these authorities, the MHWUN members shall strive to provide apt leadership as the Union whose cadres are most involved in Primary Health care delivery services. Other areas of interest discussed by the union include National Health Bill passed by the 6th National Assembly and institutionalization of Occupational Health and Safety in healthcare facilities. On National Health Bill, passed by the sixth National Assembly, the NEC wants the interest of health workers to be pro-

tected. “ NEC-in-session thus calls for the expunging of these provisions and the re-formulation of the National Health Bill that the interest of health workers and beneficiaries as a whole towards the passage of a National Health Bill that will promote better health for an ever expanding number of citizens and promote the Joint Work that is peculiar to the health sector and critical for harmonious labour relations in the sector ”The NEC-in-Session was bothered by the poor level of institutionalisation of Occupational Health and Safety in healthcare facilities especially as the consequences of such in health work could easily be fatal. NEC noted that Nigeria is one of the few countries in West Africa where health workers are not routinely treated and/or vaccinated against Hepatitis B. NEC-in-Session demands that all tiers of government that employ health workers as well as private health institutions must henceforth give OHS the concern it requires and particularly the inoculation of health workers whose schedule of work could bring them into close contact with blood or body fluids, against hepatitis B infection.”

HE NDE in Gombe State has trained over 582 youths in various skills since January, the state Co-ordinator, Mr Abdulkadir Mabudi, disclosed in Gombe. He said 168 other youths were receiving training in various skills in the vocational institutions in the state. Mabudi said the directorate, in collaboration with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Office in the state, established a training centre in each of the three senatorial zones where the beneficiaries received their training. According to the co-ordinator, the youth were trained in technical skils and agricultural production.

Strike paralyses firm


CTIVITIES at the Septa Gas Plant under construction in Edo Community, Esit Eket in Akwa Ibom State have been grounded by an industrial dispute. The crisis, according to sources at the Uquo Marginal Oil Fields, followed the sack of a construction worker, which was resisted by his colleagues. When the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) visited the site of Ekid Gas Plant constructed by ALCON Ltd, the striking workers were seen outside the gates discussing the incident. They were, however, unwilling to discuss the incident with reporters, directing enquiries to officials of the firm. The Construction Manager of ALCON, Mr Flavio Grosso, also declined to speak with reporters on the issue. One of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the crisis was as a result of agitation by indigenes of the host community to protest the non-implementation of operational areas employment quota. He explained that the youth, who w e r e a s s u r e d t h a t u n skilled and semi-skilled labour would be sourced from the communities hosting the gas plant, were protesting the influx of workers from other places. NAN gathered that officials of the contracting firm, ALCON were holding talks with the aggrieved youths and workers at an undisclosed location to resolve the face-off. Uquo Marginal Oil field was awarded to Frontier Oil Limited, an indigenous oil firm, but that the firm failed to loc a t e c r u d e o i l in commercial quantities from the oil block. The development prompted Frontier, the marginal oil field operator to enter into a funding partnership with Septa Energy to develop the gas reserves found in the field.






Dangote Cement leads equities with N1.72tr capitalisation


No of Deals 12 4 6 22

Quotation(N) 0.72 23.10 8.67

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 1,902,500 1,369,200.00 61,000 1,409,400.00 203,500 1,662,700.00 2,167,000 4,441,300.00


No of Deals 1 11 12

Quotation(N) 2.17 5.14

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 106,223 230,503.91 306,025 1,567,222.50 412,248 1,797,726.41

Quotation(N) 1.22

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 137,440 167,713.80 137,440 167,713.80

Quotation(N) 4.80 1.92 1.98 4.18 1.46 8.90 14.25 8.30 3.84 1.01 2.59 10.60 0.55 0.57 12.18

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 7,739,855 37,244,863.77 608,418 1,185,414.84 206,000 407,880.00 464,000 1,891,102.86 105,003,610 152,180,284.40 826,095,316 7,511,927,381.37 4,495,785 63,362,194.75 122,500 1,004,987.40 1,673,798 6,040,798.97 2,015,351 2,069,719.50 55,598,319 142,963,767.50 6,963 70,117.41 2,223,540 1,208,587.00 111,058 62,486.09 8,166,998 99,088,829.15 1,014,531,511 8,020,708,415.01

Quotation(N) 250.00 94.42

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 46,436 11,049,437.14 1,574,420 148,976,382.85 1,620,856 160,025,819.99


No of Deals 4 4 BANKING


No of Deals 51 38 5 20 46 363 232 14 50 23 122 4 15 17 146 1,146 BREWERIES


No of Deals 16 116 132


No of Deals 30 13 14 8 65

Quotation(N) 11.30 4.35 110.77 43.25

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 601,408 6,519,510.17 181,296 821,498.32 24,524 2,811,649.70 146,762 6,348,352.98 953,990 16,501,011.17

Quotation(N) 8.47 14.50 5.11

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 89,911 743,849.35 17,091 259,025.02 360,000 1,749,600.00 467,002 2,752,474.37


No of Deals 6 5 9 20


No of Deals 11 11

Quotation(N) 2.39

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 264,200 608,135.00 264,200 608,135.00


No of Deals 4 4

Quotation(N) 9.31

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 8,817 80,817.21 8,817 80,817.21

Quotation(N) 1.38 28.00 0.57 31.18 29.00

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 200,000 276,000.00 89,699 2,592,802.22 1,960,000 1,101,000.00 307,345 9,411,928.33 333,386 9,641,436.09 2,890,430 23,023,166.64


No of Deals 1 20 14 34 36 105 CONSTRUCTION


No of Deals 7 1 8

Quotation(N) 31.60 8.69

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 31,300 1,034,594.00 567 5,171.04 31,867 1,039,765.04


No of Deals 1 2 3

Quotation(N) 1.55 0.50

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 2,000 3,240.00 10,000 5,000.00 12,000 8,240.00

No of Deals 2 17 34 50 49 12 16 15 1 196

Quotation(N) 46.47 11.40 5.00 4.70 65.45 2.31 4.01 445.66 0.50

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 6,300 292,761.00 82,759 931,750.48 264,679 1,334,687.16 1,864,463 8,877,581.95 717,141 44,878,030.35 104,700 241,587.00 475,054 1,901,116.00 55,086 23,322,310.68 100 50.00 3,570,282 81,779,874.62


No of Deals 1 12 15 8 10 46

Quotation(N) 0.67 0.79 23.00 1.99 1.08

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 150 100.50 314,600 243,663.00 312,144 7,103,497.30 145,450 289,235.50 116,000 119,480.00 888,344 7,755,976.30

Quotation(N) 1.70

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 326,000 554,200.00 326,000 554,200.00

HOTEL & TOURISM Company Name IKEJA HOTEL PLC Sector Totals

No of Deals 13 13


No of Deals 2 14 16

Quotation(N) 6.85 5.06

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 2,000 13,360.00 136,448 673,499.60 138,448 686,859.60


Quotation(N) 0.50 0.84 0.50 2.28 0.50 0.67 1.42 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.54 0.50 0.94 0.50

By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

Nigeria followed with N353.26 billion. Market analysts said they expected Dangote Cement to consolidate its leading position in 2012 given the prospects coming from the Ibeshe new cement plant, which is expected to boost its earnings and returns to shareholders. There are indications already that the company might surpass the N65.84 billion paid out in 2010 as cash dividends to shareholders for the 2010 business year. Shareholders had received a total dividend per share of N4.25 for the year ended December 31, 2010, comprising N2 interim and N2.25 final dividend. The third quarter results ended September 30, 2011, has already raised investors’ hope for improved returns. In the result, Dangote Cement posted turnover of N173 billion, showing an increase of 18.6 per cent above the N146.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2010. Profit after tax rose by 22 per cent to hit N92.8 billion. Commenting on the results, analysts at Afrivest West Africa Limited, a leading investment bank, said the performance of the Cement Company was broadly in line with their expectations. ”Profitability margins improved over the period as profit before tax and profit after tax margins stood at 54 per cent and 53.4 per cent from 52.5 per cent and 51.4 per cent in 2010. On a quarterly basis, the improvement

Quantity TradedValue 775,936 1,384,550 1,467,188 65,066 1,028,000 17,080,453 198,195 329 1,000,000 6,000 20,000 2,051,351 795,000 5,100 50,000

of Shares (N) 391,719.00 1,178,162.00 733,594.00 148,190.48 514,000.00 11,373,753.51 281,436.90 164.50 500,000.00 3,120.00 10,000.00 1,045,995.08 397,500.00 4,595.97 25,000.00

see margins appear more pronounced, with quarterly margins of 57.8 per cent and 57.5 per cent for the period from 52.7 per cent and 51.9 per cent for pre and post-tax margins respectively,” Afrinvest stated. The stock market closed 2011 with a week-on-week decline of 0.15 per cent as the benchmark index, the All Share Index dropped from its opening index of 20,763.26 points to close at 20,730.63. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities dropped marginally from N6.543 trillion to N6.533 trillion. Nigerian Breweries Plc led 28 other stocks on the losers’ list with a loss of N15.68 to close at N94.42 per share. Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc followed with a loss of N2.44 to close at N46.47 per share. Total turnover during the three-day trading session spiraled to 1.72 billion shares worth N11.9 billion in 7,309 deals as against a total of 1.55 billion shares valued at N7.993 billion traded in 15,494 deals in previous week. Banking subsector was the most attractive with a turnover of 1.35 billion shares worth N10.035 billion in 3,766 deals. Insurance subsector followed on the activity chart with a turnover of 192.7 million shares valued at N108.75 million in 507 deals. Top of Form Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form


1 1 109

0.50 0.50

1,200,000 73,171,787 100,298,955

600,000.00 36,585,893.50 53,793,124.94

Quotation(N) 0.63

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 87,065 53,938.98 87,065 53,938.98

Quotation(N) 0.90

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 798,200 704,678.00 798,200 704,678.00

LEASING Company Name C&I LEASING PLC Sector Totals

No of Deals 3 3 MARITIME




ANGOTE Cement Plc rallied from a low of about N1.47 trillion to close 2011 with a market capitalisation of N1.72 trillion as the leading cement company staged a strong comeback on the back of improved earnings and investors’ appetite. In spite of the overall negative position that closed the year, Dangote Cement led 32 other stocks on the gainers’ list last week with a gain of N5.27 to close at N110.77 per share. Guinness Nigeria Plc followed with a gain of N5 to close at N250 per share. With the market capitalisation of N1.72 trillion, Dangote Cement accounted for 26.34 per cent of the total market capitalisation of all quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), signposting the influential role of the stock as a marketdirecting stock. Market analysts said improved performance by Dangote Cement would impact positively on the overall market position, which oftentimes dictates investment appetite and country ranking. Dangote Cement leads the equity market as the most capitalised stock and largely determines the direction of the NSE 30 Index, a valuebased index that tracks prices of the 30 most capitalised stocks. Nigerian Breweries ranked as the second most capitalised stock with N714.1 billion. Guaranty Trust Bank placed third with N419.39 billion. Zenith Bank occupied the fourth position with N382.4 billion. Guinness Nigeria ranked fifth with N368.7 billion while Nestle

No of Deals 23 23


No of Deals 1 5 6

Quotation(N) 0.50 1.12

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 200 100.00 155,000 168,100.00 155,200 168,200.00

Quotation(N) 1.70

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 277,470 470,814.90 277,470 470,814.90


No of Deals 19 19


No of Deals 7 10 18 15 7 150 7 214

Quotation(N) 59.00 31.50 2.96 11.60 133.91 22.00 188.10

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 276,297 16,297,413.00 5,291 168,868.88 310,176 898,196.22 14,596,775 161,211,733.02 9,351 1,312,278.10 3,235,319 68,305,305.53 18,371 3,455,485.10 18,451,580 251,649,279.85


No of Deals 4 4

Quotation(N) 3.40

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 17,428 58,845.68 17,428 58,845.68

Quotation(N) 12.00

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 500 6,300.00 500 6,300.00


No of Deals 1 1


No of Deals 2 2

Quotation(N) 0.50

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 114,228 57,114.00 114,228 57,114.00


No of Deals 27 27

Quotation(N) 10.50

Quantity TradedValue of Shares (N) 4,734,159 48,924,031.82 4,734,159 48,924,031.82







Union Bank’s rights issue gives shareholders 40% discount


HE ongoing rights issue of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc gives 40 per cent discount to shareholders to lock into their shareholdings by picking up their rights or monetise immediately by trading their rights at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). UBN is offering about 1.41 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N6.81 per share in the ratio of five new ordinary shares for every nine ordinary shares held as at the September 30, 2011. The application list for the rights issue will remain open till January 20, 2012. Speaking at a media interactive session on the rights issue at the weekend, managing director, Union Capital Markets Limited, Mr. Tunde Yamah, said the Union Bank’s rights issue is the most attractive offer in the financial markets now with inherent value to yield above money market instruments and other equities. According to him, the deliberate discount of 40 per cent built into the rights issue provides shareholders with a win-win situation where they can immediately trade any renounced shares when the rights issue opens for trading on the NSE or build substantial gain into their portfolios for future value accretion. “It’s the biggest discount you can get in the market, the 40 per cent is the minimum you can get, and this is better than other instruments including those in the money market,” Yamah said. While urging shareholders to pick up their rights, he said shareholders should not allow the opportunity to elude them by not doing anything with their rights document. He noted that the trading on the rights will open in the last week of the offer period, pointing out that investors who were not earlier qualified for the rights have been making enquiries on the rights tradFGN BONDS

By Taofik Salako

ing. Executive Director, Corporate and International Banking, Investment Banking, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Philip Ikeazor, restated the commitment of the bank to ensuring that all shareholders have opportunity to pick their rights. He pointed out that the rights issue is the last phase of the bank’s recapitalisation programme as the

sue has started well and the bank has now firmly been placed on the path towards reclaiming its leadership position. Ikeazor however said the bank might request for extension of offer period to ensure that all shareholders are given opportunity to pick up their rights given the huge cash expenditure associated with yuletide and New Year celebrations. In his remarks, managing director, Union Registrars Limited, Mr.

lender has completed other steps including the reconstruction of its shares. “We are desirous and eager to redeem our earlier pledge of giving opportunities to the existing shareholders to take up their rights in line with their clamour to do so during the recapitalisation process,” Ikeazor said. Citing the initial reports that showed a high enthusiasm among shareholders, he said the rights is-

CBN commences e-payment of suppliers, pensions, others


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has commenced elec tronic payment to suppliers, taxes, salaries and pensions nationwide today. The action was taken to save cost for government, promote transparency and accountability in governance and increase internally generated revenue (IGR) for the country. The e-payment is also expected to ensure confidentiality of information of e-payment of taxes, salary, pension and suppliers. In a statement issued at the weekend, the the CBN, said there is need to further enlighten and carry-along public sector stakeholders on the implementation of end-to-end electronic payment of suppliers, taxes, salaries and pensions. Such campaign is ex-

By Collins Nweze

tem before commencing use of the ePayment system. Once the process is completed, the beneficiaries would stop manual cheques, mandates, schedules for payment of suppliers, taxes, salary and pension. They are also to endorse compliance charter and send copy to the Central Bank. The CBN said the progress made by the Federal Government in the electronic payments of salaries and contractors/suppliers, the growing acceptance among the citizens of innovations such as the ATM and mobile telephony and commitment by the banking community to improve the supporting infrastructure for seamless electronic payments were encouraging factors in the economy. Other e-services being fine-tuned in

pected to create the needed awareness that will enable government reap the desired dividend from the project. To make the exercise a success, the apex bank has, in collaboration with key stakeholders in the Nigerian payments community, developed the National Payments Systems Vision 2020 (NPSV 2020). The NPSV 2020 is a subset of the Financial Systems Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020). Part of the rule is that beneficiaries open bank account or e-purse , verify bank account details of tax agencies, employees, pensioners and suppliers at the request of the employers and other banks. They are also expected to acquire basic e-Payment infrastructure, activate selected e-Payment solution, train relevant staff on use of new sys-


HAREHOLDERS of Access Bank Plc and Intercontinental Bank Plc have endorsed the merger plans of both financial institutions at their Court-Ordered Meetings held in Lagos, on Friday. By this approval, the entire share capital of Intercontinental Bank has been cancelled and the bank dissolved without being wound up. Also, all assets, liabilities and undertakings of Intercontinental Bank,

will be subject to the subsequent approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria to the sanction of the court,” the shareholders said in a statement. Addressing shareholders, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Group Managing Director, Access Bank, said Access Bank is committed to sustainable banking practice and would continue to conduct its business in ethical and

including its real properties and intellectual property rights have been transferred to Access Bank. The shareholders also approved that the certificate of incorporation of Access Bank shall be the certificate of incorporation of the resultant company from the merger. “The certificate of incorporation of Access Bank shall be the certificate of incorporation of the resultant company. However, the scheme of merger

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


Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011


O/PRICE 62.34 29.70 21.00 28.50 8.26 8.07 11.00 8.00 14,00 4.90

C/PRICE 65.45 31.18 22.00 29.00 8.67 8.47 11.40 8.30 14.25 5.14

CHANGE 3.11 1.48 1.00 0.50 0.41 0.40 0.40 0.30 0.25 0.24


C/PRICE 94.42 43.25 59.00 23.00 12.18 4.70 1.70 0.84 1.01 1.92


Offered ($) Demanded ($)

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

transparent manner with due consideration for stakeholders interest. He said the merger would lead to cost savings for the merged entity and would take critical steps to upgrade its Information Technology platform for effective services. He added that the merger will position the bank for business opportunities that will present themselves in the power and agric sectors as well as in e-payment to boost returns on investment.


Amount N

OBB Rate Call Rate

the country is the e-dividend. It was sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and allows dividends to be paid simultaneously to shareholders through the Nigerian Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) bulk services. With that, shareholders do not need any dividend warrant. It was introduced because many shareholders especially the small ones are not collecting their dividends. Already, the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) said that 16 Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have already keyed into the service, while 18 are at the point of bridging the infrastructural gap and securing needed funds to commence the project that would allow them pay staff salaries and settle contractors online.

Shareholders approve Access, Intercontinental’s merger



Tunde Ayeni, said the rights circulars have been distributed across the federation and these have been confirmed to have been delivered to all the states. He however, called on shareholders who have any issue to visit any of the branches of the bank or Union Registrars nationwide, noting that the extensive networks of the bank and the Registrars provide access to the 500,000 shareholders of the bank



Sold ($)

Rate (N)


















Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %




















Bureau de Change 152.0000 (S/N)




Parallel Market






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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%





July ’11

Aug ’11





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% 9.4%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 118.85 98.43 0.76 1.04 0.88 1,642.73 8.24 1.39 1.87 7,351.90 193.00

9.08 1.00 118.69 97.65 0.73 1.04 0.87 1,635.25 7.84 1.33 1.80 7,149.37 191.08


CHANGE 4.95 1.75 1.67 0.90 0.22 0.10 0.08 0.04 0.04 0.02


NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

Rate (Previous) 24 Aug, 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 26, Aug, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%




04 July, 2011

07, Aug, 2011












NEWS I’ll develop Rivers, says Amaechi



IVERS State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has reiterated his commitment to develop the state by completing ongoing projects and initiating new ones. The governor spoke yesterday at a New Year service at the Abundant Life Evangel Mission (ALEM) in Port Harcourt. Amaechi assured that all ongoing projects would be completed. “I assure you that we will complete all ongoing projects in the state”, he said. On the administration’s current accomplishments in education and health, he said: “By the end of next month to early March, we will start a programme where we will inuagurate 200 primary schools in 200 communities across the state in 200 days. “Each day in 200 days, one primary school will be inuagurated in one community in the state. “We already have completed 100 primary healthcare centres in the state and between this year and the next, we will complete the remaining 60 primary healthcare centres to fulfil our promise of 160 primary healthcare centres to Rivers people. “We have also completed a world class hospital at Emenike Street in the Diobu area, where doctors will handle referral cases.” On roads,Amaechi said his administration would complete the ongoing work on the Ada George and Chief G. U. Ake roads and instal streetlights on them as well as the Elekahia road. He also assured that his target to provide to uninterrupted power supply in the state by December is on course.

Anambra bishop begs NUT


HE Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Most Rev. Hilary Okeke, has appealed to the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) not to turn Anambra State into Iraq. Speaking during the New Year mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Onitsha, Okeke said the handover of schools to their missionaries was a courageous decision that would restore the fallen values in the society. He commended the decision of the government to continue to pay the salaries and other benefits of the teachers starting with N6 billion he has promised to make available in 15 months for the rehabilitation of the schools.

• Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Amina Yakowa (left) presenting gifts to the mother of the baby of the year, Mrs. Tina Donatus, in Kaduna …yesterday

Baby Ona-Adigun is Lagos baby of the year B ABY Omolola OnaAdigun is the Lagos State baby of the year. She was delivered through

By Wale Adepoju

Caesarian Section (CS) at 12:01am yesterday at the General Hospital, Ibeju Lekki. The baby weighed 3.5 killogrammes (kg) and had length and head circumference of 51 and 36 centimetres. Baby Ona-Adigun was


closely followed by Baby Gladys Ekanem and Baby Ayoola Olayinka who were born at 12:02am and 12:07am at Lagos Island Maternity and General Hospital, Ifako Ijaiye. The former weighed 2.9kg; the latter 3.8kg. Mrs. Ona-Adigun, a teacher, praised God for a safe delivery.

She said: “This is my second child. My baby and I are in stable condition.” Wife of the Lagos State Governor Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, who visited some public hospitals, congratulated the babies and their parents. Mrs Fashola thanked doctors and other health workers for their commitment to service, urging them to be more dedicated to their jobs to prevent infant and maternal deaths.

Fayemi’s wife welcomes Ekiti first baby

IFE of the Ekiti State governor Mrs. Bisi Fayemi has presented gifts to the mother of the state’s first baby of the year. The baby was born at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti. She was delivered at 12.01am and weighed 2.8kg. Presenting the gifts to the baby’s parents , Mr and Mrs Kayode Akinwumi, Mrs. Fayemi prayed that the child would be a source of joy and pride to the parents. Special gifts were also presented to the last baby of

•Offsets triplets’ hospital bill 2011 delivered by Mrs. Blessing Aribalusi at 10.58pm on December 31. The governor’s wife also visited the Mother and Child Specialists’ Clinics, a private hospital in AdoEkiti, where Mrs Florence Oluwasola, was delivered of a set of triplets on December 25. The mother, who is a member of staff of Ikere Local Government, could not conceal her joy when the governor’s wife offered

to offset the bill incurred at the clinic during the delivery of the babies. The First Lady promised that the parents would be supported for the upkeep of the triplets under the Multiple Birth Trust Fund. Two of the triplets, who weighed 1.85kg and 1.8kg, were said to be in good condition. The third baby, who weighed 1.45kg, is in the incubator. Mrs. Oluwasola has two older male children.

Aregbesola’s wife advises mums to breastfeed babies


IFE of Osun State governor Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola has called on nursing mothers to breast feed their babies regularly. She stressed that regular breast feeding would immune their children against diseases and enhance their intelligence. The governor’s wife said this after presenting gifts to the first six children of the year at three public hospitals. The hospitals include State Hospital Asubiaro, Maternity Centres Atelewo and Kolawole all in Osogbo. The first baby of the year is a boy, delivered at 12:25am to Mrs Isola Dorcas of Olude street of Islahudeen area of the state capital.

Other mothers are Mrs Loveth Adefioye; Sakirat Ayandokun; Mufuliat Busari and Waliyat Tijjani. The governor’s wife urged the women and other nursing mothers to make their children available for immunisation. She encouraged them to patronise government clinic as the quality services available across the public health institutions in the state are provided free. The governor’s wife urged parents to give their children quality education by sending them to school. She said her crusade against child abuse would soon gather momentum with the inauguration of her pet project.



NEWS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE NORTH NSCDC to deploy 35,000 to strengthen security

Fed Govt seeks Nigerians’ cooperation to tackle insecurity

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja and Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

HE CommandantGeneral of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ade Abolurin, at the weekend restated the commitment of the Corps to the protection of Nigerians, irrespective of their religious beliefs, ethnic and racial divide. Security agencies, he said, are on top of the situation to curb the activities of the Boko Haram sect. The NSCDC chief addressed State Commandants and Zonal Commanders at the Corps National Headquarters in Abuja after an emergency meeting on how to tackle security challenges facing the country. Abolurin ordered the deployment of 35,000 members of the Corps as well as sniffer dogs to churches, mosques and other strategic places that are likely to be used by suspected terrorists. His order is coming on heels of a call by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for security agencies to be deployed in churches and mosques, among other strategic places.


Arewa, CLO, others hail Jonathan over state of emergency HE Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) and the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) yesterday praised President Goodluck Jonathan for declaring a state of emergency on Saturday on some parts of the North. The African Renaissance Party (ARP) said it supported the President’s action, which it noted was meant to tackle the violent Boko Haram sect. Dr Jonathan declared a state of emergency on Saturday in parts of Nigeria plagued by the Boko Haram insurgency, and shut the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the affected areas, mostly the North-East. “The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges, and will be resumed as soon as normalcy is restored,” he said. In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, AYCF President, Alhaji Yerimma Shetima said: “Jonathan did well as the Number One citizen, and must stand his ground on the issue. “The President has our support and should continue to declare emergencies in any part of the country where the nation’s security is threatened, until terrorism is uprooted from Nigeria.” Yerimma noted that the nation’s security should not be compromised on the altar of sentiments and urged Nigerians to join hands with the President and the security operatives in tackling the menace of terrorism.


•Orji backs govt’s order •Shettima, Rep call for calm


HE Federal Government is seeking the cooperation of Nigerians to tackle the insecurity threatening the nation’s peaceful co-existence. In a statement yesterday in Abuja by his Press Secretary, Joseph Mutah, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, noted that for the nation to get over its security challenges, Nigerians must cooperate with security agencies. The minister spoke at a church service in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, for the New Year. Maku, who noted that there were some drawbacks in the past year, said the April 2011 elections were free and fair. He articulated the plans for the development of the country through the Transformation Agenda of the Goodluck

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja and Marie-Therese Peter, Jos

Jonathan administration. The minister said the New Year presents an opportunity for Nigerians to unite, irrespective of their tribal or religious differences, and ensure the peace and security of the country. Abia State Governor Chief Theodore Orji has declared his support for the state of emergency in some local governments in Borno, Niger, Yobe and Plateau states to curb the activities of the Boko Haram sect. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Ugochukwu Emezue, the governor said President Jonathan has taken the bull by the horn, after exercising restraint over the matter. Orji said the actions of Boko

Haram have caused havoc and embarrassment to Nigeria. He noted that human lives and property lost to the bombings by this sect cannot be justified. Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday called for calm over the declaration of state of emergency in parts of the state. President Jonathan had, on Saturday, declared a state of emergency on areas frequently threatened by violence through the activities of the Boko Haram religious sect. Shettima said: “The measure does not in any way affect the democratic structure and functions of government. It is pertinent, therefore, to point out to fellow citizens that the Borno State Government is determined

more than ever before to partner the Federal Government in all areas, especially security. “However, the residents must be vigilant as the measures that may be introduced, especially in the affected areas, are temporary and people should not panic in the event that extra security steps are taken.” The member representing Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Bitrus Kaze, has urged President Jonathan to give details to the state of emergency he declared on 15 local government areas at the weekend. Kaze’s constituency is affected by the Presidential order. The lawmaker urged the residents to remain calm until the details are made known.

Obasanjo, Mark celebrate New Year at bombed church From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo and Senate President David Mark yesterday celebrated their New Year service at the bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State. They inspected the wreckage of the church premises damaged by the Christmas Day bombing, led by the priests. A statement yesterday in Abuja by Mark’s media aide, Paul Mumeh, said Obasanjo led a prayer session for the victims of the blast, urging the bereaved families to remain steadfast in prayers. Mark noted that the security challenge confronting the nation has reinforced the need to implement the war on terrorism without fear or favor. According to the Senate President, Nigerians cannot be intimidated from freely going about their legitimate businesses. He noted that it is incumbent on Christians to forgive, according to the Holy book, saying the government would fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Jonathan approves appointment of new Prisons chief From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Zakakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim as the new Controller General (CG) of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS). The appointment takes effect from January 1, 2012. Prior to his appointment, Zakari was the Deputy Controller-General of Prisons in charge of Administration at • Archbishop of Lagos Diocese (Anglican Communion), Right Rev. Ephraim Ademowo (middle); Lagos State Deputy Governor the Headquarters. Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulure; and her husband Mr. Abiodun Adefulure (left), after the New Year church service at the A statement at the weekend Anglican Church, Marina, Lagos...yesterday PHOTO: ISAAC JIMOH AYODELE in Abuja by the Director/ Secretary, Civil Defense, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Service Board (CDFIPB), Nanven Nimfel, said the new OLDIERS yesterday ties, then, he would have sin- CGP succeeds Ogundipe, flooded hard-hit cities gled out Jos North LGA, not whose voluntary retirement of Maiduguri and Jos, the other three included. after 34 years of service was From Yusufu Aminu ernments out of which four Idegu, Jos “These are the two areas I will approved by the President. the capitals of embattled has been affected by this state The new Prisons chief was need clarification on when Borno and Plateau states, in a of emergency. after bomb attacks. born on January 1, 1955, in the memo is presented on the bid to end spiralling violence The affected local governBut it has countered with floor of the senate. The over- Kuru village, Toto Local following weekend’s declaments in the northern zone claims that some residents Government Area of all intent is ration of state of emergency of Plateau are Jos North, Jos connived with the Boko okay but some local gov- Nasarawa State. in some local government South, Riyom and Barkin Haram sect. He attended St. Luke’s ernments should have been areas. Ladi. “The declaration of a state Primary School in 1967 and spared so as not to think all Residents of Maiduguri reDantong, who spoke on the of emergency by the federal the affected local govern- Baptist High School, Jos, ported a sharp increase in phone last night said: “I m in government will not stop or ment in my zone harbour Plateau State, in 1972. patrols and checkpoints, with support of any move to bring reduce the spate of violence Boko Haram. Apart from that, Ibrahim also attended the soldiers in pickup trucks and peace to any part of Nigeria across the affected areas, but I m in full support of the state Advance Teachers’ College, armed with rifles stopping and my state in particular will simply be a blank of emergency if that will re- Zaria, Kaduna State, where he vehicles and forcing drivers because we ‘ve tried in vain cheque for human rights vioobtained the Nigerian Certifistore peace” to exit while also questionto solve this protracted crilations by security agents,” Dr. Dantong also said, cate in Education (NCE) in ing them. ses especially in Riyom and said northern-based rights “This state of emergency does 1978. In Jos, security agents took Barkin Ladi local governactivist Shehu Sani. In 1982, he obtained the not require the suspension of over local government headments. “Civilians will continue to Bachelors of Education degree democratic structures of the quarters and two helicopters “But my grudges are two, be at the mercy of the miliaffected local government, all at Ahamadu Bello University hovered overhead. There were the kind of insecurity in all tary and the militants. DiaI want to tell my people is (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State. intense patrols on the ground. the affected local governlogue still remains the valid He holds a Masters degree in they should cooperate with President Goodluck ments across the country difoption to end this the order of Mr. President Public Administration (MPA). Jonathan’s declaration gives fers, that of my zone has been bloodletting,” he added. After his National Youth and remain law abiding. security agencies more powsporadic attacks, especially in Senator Gyang Dantong, “I encourage my people not Service Corps (NYSC) in ers to search and arrest, seals Barkin Ladi and Riyom. representing Plateau North to panic and to understand 1979, he worked with the off borders in hard-hit areas Meanwhile Jos South has Senatorial District, which is that this state of emergency Plateau State Ministry of and establish a military counbeen peaceful and should not among the affected areas in will not require the suspen- Education as a teacher and ter-terrorism force. be mentioned in this state of the state of emergency, said sion of democratic activities rose to the position of a A military task force in emergency. he needed clarification on in the affected local govern- principal. He joined the Borno State has been accused “If Mr. President is declarwhat informed the decision. ment but requires that every- Nigerian Prisons Service as a in recent months of killing ing the state of emergency The Plateau Northern zone one should maintain peace.” Chief Superintendent of civilians and burning homes based on Boko Haram activicomprises of six local govPrisons in November, 1989.

Soldiers take over Maiduguri, Jos


•Senator: I need clarification



NEWS We ‘ll protest subsidy withdrawal, says CNPP Continued from page 3

“ To the best of our knowledge, the PPPRA Act has not been amended and consequently, we reaffirm our seven-Point-Charter; that President Jonathan should build new refineries; for if you don’t have confidence that Nigerians can manage refineries, we don’t have confidence that you can manage the withdrawal proceeds! “That the President should stop the rampant corruption in fuel importation; for the actual cost of production of a litre of PMS is he N39! That he should stop rampant corruption in Fuel Importation; for if cannot probe the corruption, you cannot Guarantee the Proceeds to be withdrawn! The CNPP also noted that the “removal of fuel subsidy is a road Nigerians had passed severally since 1978; the serial promises made to Nigerians were broken and the pains of serial removal of fuel subsidy have remained permanent!” The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) also described the removal of subsidy on petrol as an invitation to anarchy.

In a statement by its Chairman, Moshood Erubami and Publicity Secretary, Mus Rafsanjani, the TMG said the removal marked the beginning of the end for citizens’ support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. It added that the development is a step aimed at meeting the aspiration of very few cabals in government who have seized the oil sector. The statement reads: “The removal of petroleum subsidy by government through the PPRA mark the beginning of the end to the citizen support for the President Good luck Jonathan Administration in Nigeria, obviously an invitation to anarchy. “The removal is a painstaking step calculated to meet the aspiration of very few Cabals in Government who have seized the oil sector and the thought processes of the President for their own benefits. “The removal is against the clamour of majority of Nigerians, a vivid testament of the disdain that the government have for the people who go into the ritual

of voting during elections to elect political leaders whom they expect would turn around their lives. “In fact section 14 a, b, c, have been made irrelevant in the 1999 constitution in regards to what primary obligation is in government and to the people. “Section 14 of the constitution proclaims and made it mandatory that our Country shall be a state based on principles of democracy and social justice. “It is an affront to the sovereignty of the People whom the constitution refers to as the sovereign from whom the power and authority of those in government should be derived. “The President by this guided removal with immediate effect and its timing , when the nation is mourning the death of hundreds of Nigerians killed in the multiple bombings across the country, is a demonstration of the insensitivity of those we elected into power against the pains being unleashed on the people through their actions and inactions The TMG urged petroleum marketers to maintain the current pump price.


•President Goodluck Jonathan (right) reading the first lesson at the First Baptist Church, Garki , Abuja...yesterday. With him is the Minister in Charge, Revd. Isreal Adelani Akanji

Fuel queues in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt Continued from page 3 But a petroleum dealer, who spoke in confidence, argued that some dealers may just want to create an artificial scarcity in order to make huge profit. The sudden implementation of removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government on New Year Day has made filling stations with petroleum products in Port

Harcourt, the Rivers State capital not to sell, to prevent their stations from being vandalised by protesters. Some filling stations on the outskirts of the city were selling petrol at N140 per litre. Motorists queued to buy, while black market operators sold at N150 per litre. A senior Rivers civil servant, who preferred anonymity and bought petrol at the filling station

of an independent marketer, in one of the Ogoni villages near Port Harcourt, on the East-West Road, said it was sold for N140. A filling station attendant of a major marketer on Aba Road, Port Harcourt, said it was necessary to apply wisdom, by watching the residents reactions, before selling the remaining petroleum products at the station.

•Chaplain, Aso Rock Rev. Obioma Onwuzurumba (left), Rev. Akanji, his wife, Victoria and others at the service

President not sidelining governors, says spokesman


HE Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, yesterday said President Goodluck Jonathan is not sidelining the governors in finding solutions to the threats posed to the nation’s security by Boko Haram. Abati said: “The President is not sidelining the governors. All the governors have direct access to the President through which they can make input into steps being taken to address the Boko Haram menace. “As members of the National Council of State and Chief Security Officers in their states, they share responsibility with the President to tackle security challenges facing the nation. “They do not need to be invited before reaching out to the President on how they think the Boko Haram could be managed. “Each one of the governors is, therefore, not in a position to criticise the President. “It is an act of cowardice for anybody to be complaining from hiding. If any governor is sure of himself,

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Abuja

let him come out to identify with what he has said.” A governor, who pleaded not to be named, said: “I can tell you that some of my colleagues, if not most, are not too happy with the approach of the President, who is sidelining governors. “Up till now, the President has not opened up discussions with us on how we can address the Boko Haram menace. He has forgotten that whatever affects the nation is a collective burden we need to bear. Yet, this is a challenge that we should urgently put heads together to address. “We are in the boat together; we will swim and sink together. There is the tendency to see the Boko Haram thing as political, but the threats the sect is posing to our democracy demands that the President should carry all of us along. “If governors are supposedly Chief Security Officers in their states, it presup-

poses that they must be part of solutions to the spate of violence in the country. “Unfortunately, the Boko Haram is being seen from the prism of ruling and opposition parties. That is not too good.”

•Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa (second left), his wife, Amina and other parishioners listening to the Parish Priest of St. John’s Catholic Church, Kaduna, Rev. Fr. Peter Bapkwap’s sermon...yesterday

•The choir of First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja singing during the service...yesterday





Lagos to punish violators of unpainted vehicles T HE Lagos State government has reiterated its directive that all intra–state commercial buses must be painted in the approved state colour of yellow with black stripes. The state warned that no inscriptions should be written on the buses. Commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa said any intra – state commercial bus operator who violates the directive given by the government since September 15, 2011 would undergo drivers’ training at the Badagry or Epe centre of the Lagos State Drivers’ Institute with effect from January 1, 2012. It is disheartening, Opeifa noted,


HE Delta State government has presented three operational vehicles to the state command of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). Presenting the vehicles, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan said the vehicles were in fulfilment of the government’s promise to assist the FRSC. Uduaghan, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Mr Ovuozuorie Macauley, also said that the gesture was an indication of government’s policy of cooperation with the Federal Government agencies. He explained that the government was aware of the traffic challenge in the state, adding that much as road crashes could not be avoided, it could be reduced. “We want a situation, where the FRSC can respond to calls about accidents within the shortest possible time, because in Delta we don’t want to lose lives. “We are giving them these vehicles to improve their activities in the state so that in the shortest possible time the state can be counted as one of the states with the least number of road crashes.

By Tajudeen Adebanjo

that in spite of the government’s directive and enlightenment of the drivers on the need to ensure sanity on the roads, some of the intra – state commercial bus operators still defied government’s directive and as such have inscriptions such as LASUSU, POWA, NANS, GALLANT MOPOL, DISABLED SPORT, COMPETENT HANDICAP, AWUA, AHUA, AWOL, BEBETO 777, FISH, EAGLE, AKALA, JATTO, PONPAWLY, KK, MOB, HOTWATER, SAIL NAVY, ADE, KEN 1, LAW, SUPER, AGBALAYA, ODCA, DE, NANS, ACTION

MOBILISATION, STUDENT UNION, LASPOTECH and SUG to mention just a few on their vehicles. He reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure the safety of lives and property of Lagosians and is thereby determined to enforce the directive on unpainted vehicles and inscriptions on vehicles to the letter. Opeifa said the government will not relent in its efforts in curbing the nefarious criminal activities been committed with the use of unpainted commercial vehicles, and ensure the

protection of lives and property of the citizenry in order to make Lagos State a safe place for all. He urged commercial bus drivers to comply with the directive in their own interest as any unpainted commercial vehicle impounded by officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) would not be released unless such vehicle has been painted in the state’s approved colour and the driver of such vehicle had successfully undergone training at the Drivers’ Institute. He implored motorists to drive with care, be safety conscious, ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy, avoid drinking while


driving, obey LASTMA and VIO officers who will be on the roads to give traffic instructions, especially during the festive season.

Delta presents vehicles to FRSC ‘We want a situation, where the FRSC can respond to calls about accidents within the shortest possible time, because in Delta we don’t want to lose lives’

lenge on vehicular movement along the Onitsha-Asaba expressway was from the Delta axis, as most of the vehicles on that road

were articulated vehicles. He said that there was the need to control the inflow and movements of such vehicles at the Niger

Bridge Head, adding that the collapse of the bridge would affect the state socially, economically and politically.

Responding, Mr Luka Ikpi, Sector Commander of the FRSC in Delta, said the gesture had challenged the command to do more in terms of traffic control and ensuring reduced road crashes in the state. Ikpi urged the state government not to hesitate in calling the FRSC to order if found lacking in their designated responsibilities. He promised that the commission would not relent in its efforts to provide good services. Ikpi also said that the major chal-

Road accidents claim 280 lives in Kano


HE Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has disclosed that 280 people were killed and 2,433 others injured in road traffic accidents in Kano State between January and December. The Sector Commander, Mr Ahmed Kogari, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano that the figures resulted from 770 accidents during the period under review. Kogari said that there was a reduction in the accident figure this year compared with last year’s figure,

which he did not give. “We are able to achieve this through intensive public enlightenment campaigns, enforcement of traffic rules and regulations as well as continuous surveillance, monitoring and patrol activities.” Kogari blamed most of the accidents on wrong overtaking, overspeeding, overloading and reckless driving, and advised motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations to reduce the carnage on the highways.

•Auto consultant, Dr Oscar Odiboh (right) presenting Tyre of the Year award to Marketing Head of Infinity Tyres, Mr Vikas Bahl



RIVING is a very complex activity which requires physical and mental fitness for the safety of lives and properties. Sometimes ago, a manager in one of the new generation banks got angry with his driver and called him a “common and useless driver”. The Driver politely told his boss (the bank manager) that though he is being reffered to as a common driver, apart from God, the life of the manager is in his hands. He went ahead to say that if he likes, he can crash the car with his boss whenever he (his boss) is fast asleep in the car. Hearing this, his boss became afraid and apologised. Drivers are much more important in the safety chart of any man or woman no matter his or her status in life. About a year ago, our organisation (Professional Driving and Safety Academy) packaged a flyer tagged “ROAD MADNESS” in which we listed sev-

Drivers and safety eral unsafe driving acts which we equated with a demonstration of madness on the road. We shared these flyers in a state government programme on road safety. Few hours after, a top government official called my number and abused me for saying violators of road traffic rules and regulations are insane. I tried to explain what we meant but he did not listen to me. I am, however, happy now that we have been vindicated with the recent launch of “operation sanity” by the Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC). The new crusade says anyone that violates any of the road traffic rules and regulations is insane (mad). If every Nigerian sees road safety from this angle we will all join hands together in

the Crusade as we did for the wellrooted “War Against Indiscipline” (WAI) in the time of Buhari / Idiagbon Military regime. In this writeup, I want to briefly analyse the major factors that can influence the performance of a driver. •Driver’s maturity level – This has to do principally with the age and experience of the driver. Based on my recent research on the articulated vehicles (trailers and tankers), there is an increased rate of crashes and fatalities among their drivers because many of them are very young in age and experience. The recent war against underage drivers in the “Operation sanity is a right step in the right direction which will address the problem of immaturity among drivers.

There are, however, some drivers who are mature in age but immature in character. This will also influence their performance on the road. •Attention or alertness A driver who is significantly distracted when driving is a safety risk on the road. Drivers must avoid distractions such as operating the stereo, eating or drinking, making up or shaving, reading a newspaper or book, making phone call or texting, gazing at the opposite sex or looking out to watch a scene while driving. The case of a woman that caused a crash which led to the loss of about 30 lives on Ikorodu road through a phone call is still very fresh. Every wise driver must avoid any form of distraction while driving. The best driver is the one that goes out and returns safely. •Knowledge base The education and training that a

Jide Owatunmise driver is exposed to will go a long way in assisting him to take quality driving decisions particularly in emergency situations.



FOREIGN NEWS Pope Benedict calls for peace at New Year mass

2012: Europe leaders warn of difficulty


UROPEAN leaders have warned of a difficult year ahead, as many economists predict recession in 2012. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe was experiencing its “most severe test in decades” but that Europe was growing closer in the debt crisis. France’s President Sarkozy said the crisis was not finished, while Italy’s president called for more sacrifices. Growth in Europe has stalled as the debt crisis has forced governments to slash spending. The leaders’ new year messages came as leading economists polled by the BBC said they expected a return to recession in Europe in the first half of 2012. The cost of borrowing for some of the eurozone’s largest economies, including Italy and Spain, has shot up in


‘everyday life easier and our economy stronger... and protected from something worse’ recent months as lenders fear governments will not be able to pay back money they have already borrowed. With growth stalled, the pressure is on governments across Europe, not just ones using the single currency, to cut spending in order to meet debt obligations. Fears are now focusing on a potential second credit crunch, triggered by the exposure of banks across Europe to Italy’s huge debt. In her TV address, Chancellor Merkel said that despite Germany’s relatively good

economic situation, “next year will no doubt be more difficult than 2011”. The most likely outcome in pure economic terms is a moderately bad fiscal crisis, a survivable sovereign debt event and a sharp growth downturn, all in the first half of the year” “The road to overcome it [debt crisis] remains long and not without setbacks, but at the end of this path Europe will re-emerge stronger from the crisis than it was when it entered it.” She defended the euro, saying it had made “everyday life easier and our economy stronger... and protected from something worse” in the financial crisis of 2008. Heading into an election year trailing his Socialist rival Francois Hollande in the polls, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said structural changes to the economy were

needed in order to return to growth. “I know that the lives of many of you, already tested by two difficult years, have been put to the test once more,” he said in a televised address. French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces an uphill battle to be re-elected in April “You are ending the year more worried about yourselves and your children,” he said. But after having already pushed budget cuts in order to forestall a downgrade of France’s treasured AAA sovereign credit rating, he promised there would be no more budget cuts. “What was to be done was done by the government,” he said. Mr Sarkozy is due to meet Mrs Merkel in early January to push forward a European Union agreement in December for a new fiscal compact.

Iran ‘test-fires medium-range missile’ in Gulf

RAN has successfully testfired a medium-range surface-to-air missile during military exercises in the Gulf, the official Irna news agency reports. Iranian naval commander, Mahmoud Mousavi, was quoted as saying the missile was equipped with the “latest technology” and “intelligent systems”. The test comes a day after

he denied earlier state media reports that Iran had test-fired long-range missiles. He said on Saturday missile launches would take place “in the coming days”. Iran’s 10 days of naval exercises began last week and are taking place in international waters to the east of the strategic Strait of Hormuz. They come at a time of increased tensions between the

West and Iran over its nuclear ambitions. Tehran reacted angrily last week to reports that Western nations were planning to impose further sanctions targeting Iran’s oil and financial sectors. Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Gulf - and its oil-producing states - to the Indian Ocean. About 20% of the world’s oil

passes through the narrow strait. The United States and its allies believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes. Iran has maintained that it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity to meet growing domestic demand.

US prepares for first presidential contest


N the run up to 2012’s first presidential contest in Iowa, Channel 4 News looks at the Republican party nominees in what has been a volatile election race. The first day of America’s election year - and the first contest is just days away. As ever, the first-in-the-nation honour goes to Iowa, where Republicans will decide who is their current favourite in the unpredictable presidential race. With many voters still undecided, the candidates have

been making their final pitch for support, in a contest where almost everyone has taken a turn as front runner. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney [pictured], who likes to pitch himself as the presumptive nominee, has been particularly buoyed up by the latest Des Moines Register poll, putting him a few points ahead of Texas congressman Ron Paul. Although all the momentum seems to be swinging behind a man who was all but

written off until now - former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. He appealed to party activists to rally behind him, scoffing at the deep pockets of his rivals: “You can’t buy Iowa”, he declared, “You’ve got to go out and work for Iowa votes”. The poll was rather less welcome news for the one-time favourite in Iowa, Newt Gingrich, whose sudden surge has now totally melted away - and bad news too, for Michelle Bachmann, who’s been left trailing in her home

state where she was once tipped to win. Despite the dwindling crowds at her events, she’s been insisting she won’t be pulling out - telling those few that did turn up - “I’m the lady for winning!” But this has been such a volatile race, where anyone who’s basically not Mitt Romney has at one stage or another, enjoyed a brief heady moment on top of the polls. Brief, because the intense glare of media scrutiny plus a slew of negative ads from their rivals has turned a surge into a rout.

•Pope Benedict


N his New Year’s Angelus, the Pontiff paid special attention to the young, many of who are struggling to build a future for themselves in a time of financial crisis. The 84-year-old pope, marking the seventh Christmas and New Year holiday season of his pontificate, celebrated

Mass for several thousand people in St Peter’s Basilica on the day the Roman Catholic Church marks its annual World Day of Peace. As has become customary at papal events since October, the pope, who is believed to be suffering from arthritis in the legs, was wheeled up the central aisle of St Peter’s Basilica standing on a mobile platform. The Vatican says it is to conserve his strength, allow more people to see him and guard against attacks such as one on Christmas Eve, 2009, when a woman lunged at him and knocked him to the ground. After the mass, the pope appeared at his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square to deliver his Sunday noon message. He called for reconciliation and forgiveness in conflict areas.

Argentine governor Carlos Soria killed by gunshot


OLICE say the Rio Negro governor, Carlos Soria, was at home when the incident happened, shortly before 05:00 local time (08:00GMT). His vice-governor, Alberto Weretilneck, who will succeed Mr Soria, described it as a “domestic accident”. Mr Soria’s wife, Susana Freidos, is being questioned by police, say local media reports. The governor was only a few weeks into his tenure, having been sworn in on 10 December 2011. He was a member of Argentina’s governing Peronist party and had been elected in Rio Negro by a wide margin. Emergency workers called to the house found him bleeding in bed and rushed him to hospital, where he died a short time later.

Woman tried to smuggle gun on plane in NYC


UTHORITIES say a college student from China was arrested trying to carry a combination stun gun and flashlight onto a plane in New York City. Sihui “Hannah” Xie said by phone Sunday that she pleaded not guilty and believes her weapons-possession case is on track to be resolved with a fine. Court records were not immediately available. The Transportation Securi-

ty Administration says a checkpoint screener spotted the item in Xie’s carry-on luggage as she headed for an Orlando, Florida-bound flight at Kennedy Airport. The TSA says the device initially just appeared to be a flashlight, but the screener looked more closely and saw it also was a stun gun. Xie was then arrested. She’s a student at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.



FOREIGN NEWS Libyan militia thwarts New Year’s Eve bomb plot

Moderate Islamist party pulls out of Algerian govt


MODERATE Islamist party pulled out of Algeria’s governing coalition yesterday, saying that 2012 is the year of competition — not alliances. The announcement by the Movement for a Peaceful Society, or MSP, to leave the socalled presidential alliance comes ahead of April legislative elections. The MSP’s decision to enter the opposition should allow it to try to capitalize on the wave of Islamist victories in other Arab countries, although it is unclear how well the party can prosper after years inside the power structure. The party had already reached out to Algeria’s Islamist ranks ahead of the elections, and differences with its partners, the powerful National Liberation Front and the National Democratic Rally, were well known.

The decision to leave the governing coalition, which it joined in 2004, was announced at the end of a gathering of the party’s Consultative Council focused on the upcoming elections and the party’s role in the alliance behind President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. MSP leader Abou Djara Soltani put the accent on disagreement over how to implement an array of reforms announced April 15 by Bouteflika to placate the restless Algerian population as uprisings now known as the Arab Spring have toppled leaders of other Arab nations. He accused coalition partners of “emptying the political reforms of their substance in the name of partisan interests” rather than ensuring reforms worked in the interest of the people. The year 2012, Soltani said, will be “the year of political competition ... and not that of

the alliance,” synonymous with “political mediocrity which serves neither the country nor its citizens.” Alliance partners, the powerful FLN and RCD, have rejected the MSP’s criticism that the planned reforms are tactical. The MSP founder, Mahfoud Nahnah, who died in 2003, changed the party’s name from Hamas — not linked to the Palestinian movement — in 1999 to conform with a law banning references to Islam in party names. That law grew out of Algeria’s effort to block the return of Islamic fundamentalism to the political scene after a nowbanned Islamic party nearly won the nation’s first multiparty elections in 1991 — aborted by the army to stop a likely victory. The move triggered an insurgency that left an estimated 200,000 Algerians dead.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad condemns US banking sanctions


RANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has hit back at the United States, after Washington introduced new sanctions against Iran’s central bank. Mr Ahmadinejad said the bank was strong enough to defeat “enemy plans”. The sanctions - which cut off from the US financial system foreign firms that do business with the central bank - are part of a defence bill signed by President Barack Obama on Saturday.

They will take hold after a warning period of up to six months. According to a statement quoted by the state-run Irna news agency, Mr Ahmadinejad said the central bank was “the backbone” of the country in facing outside pressure should have the strength and confidence “to thwart enemy plans”. The new US sanctions come at a times of heightened tension over the Iranian nuclear programme.

Western powers say Tehran is seeking to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, but Iran insists the programme is purely for energy and medical purposes. There have been concerns that the sanctions against the Iranian central bank could force up the price of oil. The bill, which was passed by wide majorities in both houses of Congress, gives the president the power to grant a six-month grace period to give oil markets time to factor them in.

explosions in the capital, state media reported, quoting a statement from Libya’s electricity and renewable energy authority. Libya’s interim government set a deadline that expired on Dec. 20 for militias to leave Tripoli, and most withdrew

•Abdel jalil


LIBYAN militia chief said yesterday his fighters had captured nine supporters of overthrown leader Muammar Gaddhafi who had been plotting to blow up Tripoli’s power grid on New Year’s Eve. “We captured explosives with them that they bought from the black market and now we’re interrogating them,” the commander of Tripoli’s Revolutionist Council Abdullah Naker told Reuters. Militia groups who helped oust Gaddhafi last year still hold considerable power in Libya, and have taken the law into their hands in several areas, setting up road blocks and arresting suspects despite the presence of an official police force. Naker said the nine Gaddhafi supporters had been funded by a group of businessmen affiliated to the former leader, who was killed in October after militias overran his home town of Sirte. Naker also accused the nine and their supporters of trying to relaunch the former leader’s official television station Al Jamahiriya. The men had been planning to set off a number of

Israeli tourist family defends Chile fire suspect


HE family of an Israeli tourist accused of starting a massive forest fire in a Chilean national park says the authorities are making him a scapegoat. Twenty-three-year-old Rotem Singer’s relatives in Israel say he could not have caused the blaze. A 110 sq km (27,000 acre) expanse of pristine forest has already burned in the Torres del Paine national park in southern Chile. Hundreds of firefighters are still tackling the blaze. Mr Singer was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of causing the fire through negligence, by failing to properly extinguish a toilet roll he had been burning.

Chilean prosecutor Juan Melendez said the Israeli had acknowledged his role in allowing the fire to start. However, Mr Singer’s family say he is innocent. “He could not have caused this disaster. He was a kilometre away from the fire when his friends woke him up,” Hezi Singer, the tourist’s father, told Israeli radio. “The Chilean authorities are looking for a scapegoat,” he added. Rotem Singer’s grandfather, Gilad Harel, told an Israeli newspaper that the allegations were bizarre. He is “a responsible person, who served in a combat unit in the army”, Mr Harel told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot news-

paper. Torres del Paine in Patagonia is one of Chile’s most popular national parks, visited by more than 100,000 people a year. Four hundred tourists were evacuated from the area on Thursday as firefighters were unable to control the blaze. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said it could take weeks to bring the fire under control. The head of Chile’s national emergency service, Vicente Nunez, called the situation “an extreme scenario, mainly due to topography, strong winds and highly combustible vegetation”. In 2005, a campfire started by a backpacker destroyed 160 sq km (40,000 acres) of the nature

preserve. President Pinera said the ministers of agriculture and the environment would travel to Patagonia to personally oversee the firefighting efforts. An environmental group, Ecological Action, had earlier criticised the government for what it said was a slow response to the fire. The group’s co-ordinator, Luis Mariano Rendon, said it was a “national shame” that on Thursday only 25 Chilean soldiers were fighting the fires, when neighbouring Argentina had sent 23. The fire started on Tuesday and spread quickly, fanned by high winds and fuelled by dry vegetation.

Tunisia says four guards kidnapped at Libya’s border


HE Tunisian news agency says a four-member border patrol was kidnapped by an armed Libyan group but three of the guards quickly escaped. It was the first such incident along the border, which has been well guarded since the violent uprising that left Moammar Gadhafi dead in October. The TAP agency cited the Interior Ministry on Sunday as

saying that the four were kidnapped a day earlier in the Ben Guerdane region and three quickly escaped. It did not confirm a Mosaique radio report that the fourth guard was freed Sunday morning and was to be treated at a Tunis hospital for a bullet wound. Ministry spokesman Hicham Meddeb says “certain parties” were trying to trouble ties ahead of a trip this week to Libya by Tunisia’s new president, Moncef Marzouki

South Sudan ‘sends more troops’ to strife-torn town


OUTH Sudan’s government says it is sending more troops and police to the town of Pibor, to deal with an outbreak of ethnic violence. On Saturday, members of the Lou Nuer group attacked

Pibor, home to the rival Murle group, in the latest of a series of reprisal attacks over cattle raids. Some 6,000 Lou Nuer fighters are chasing them, reportedly to take revenge for previous attacks and to rescue

dozens of abducted children. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has called on them to stop their advance. Charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says it is “extremely worried” after losing contact with some 130 staff in Pibor.

A hospital and other parts of the town were set alight on Saturday. The BBC has learnt that some of the displaced - mainly women, children and the elderly - have been killed although it has not been possible to verify how many.

their fighters and dismantled checkpoints last week. Naker said a number of bands returned to the capital on Saturday, in a show of strength to Gaddhafi supporters that he said were still at large, threatening the country.




No rift over Eagles’ friendlies –NFF •Angola, Liberia Ready For Jan 11, 14 matches


EPORTS that the national team Head Coach, Stephen Keshi and his employers; the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are at logger-heads over friendly games have been dispelled, with the NFF management boss, Dr Musa

Amadu, describing it as the figment of the imagination of those who reported it. Speaking in Abuja at the weekend, Dr Amadu, said the only issue that arose was whether Nigeria should play the full Senegalese national team, which is preparing for

the 2012 Nations Cup, with a full-fledged home-based squad. “But the Head Coach said the rivalry between both nations was too tight to fight with local stars. In fact, it was going to be a prestige friendly and he did not like the idea of playing a second team”. Amadu, said beyond that, there were no other issues between the national team handler and the NFF, as the harmonious camping experience has been wonderful so far and the team, going by reports reaching him has been jelling for the task ahead.

The NFF Scribe went further to confirm that the football ruling house has set out dates for the two international friendlies for the national team ahead of their clash with Amavuvbi of Rwanda by February 29. “We shall be facing Angola by January 11 and Liberia by January 14, venues for both encounters will be released in due course.” That declaration by the NFF Scribe, has now put paid to speculations making the rounds that Nigeria will not play any international friendly ahead of it s 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda.

Eagles’ CSO, Bolton warn mischief makers



HIEF Security Officer of the Super Eagles, ACP Gideon Akinsola, says there is no iota of truth in reports in a section of the media that the Eagles’ camp is populated by two truck load of anti-riot policemen as the country was not in a war situation. He also dispelled reports in a section of the media that the policemen posted to the national team’s camp are poorly fed, even with some suggesting that the police detachment feed on remnants of players’ food. Similarly, Apartment Manager of Bolton White Hotels and Apartment Chika Udeochu, has described such reports as baseless,

I didn't use football age, says Amokachi •As Eagles’ coach clocks 39


UPER Eagles’ Assistant Coach, Dan ‘the Bull’ Amokachi, turned 39 at the weekend, with a declaration that he never used football age, but his true age, saying at that time, it was only proper to tell your real age in international football. “I know that our boss, Stephen Keshi, also did the same”, he said. He was talking to home-based stars currently in camp after they sang a sonorous song of ‘happy birthday to you’, to him. The Big boss, was to speak later on his assistant’s birthday, saying that he’s happy that he knew him from day one and he has been very supportive and he will make a good manager in any area of life he chose to follow.

On whether he would want to challenge Amokachi, to redouble his efforts in the chase for a Nations Cup and World Cup ticket, Keshi said it was a special day of his assistant and he would not want to be-labour with the simple challenge of the technical crew of the national team. “We have taken a job and we have a common purpose to do the nation proud and rediscover the meaning of true Nigerian football, why should I bother Amokachi with qualifications for the Nations Cup and the World Cup, it’s his special day and he should enjoy it. We have a focus, we know where we’re going and we shall surely get there. I’ve already spoken to

him, but if there is need be, ‘happy birthday again Dan’.


APFON commends NFF on players’ welfare


HE Association of pr o fe ssi o nal footballers of Nigeria has commended the Nigeria Football Federation for enforcing the decisions of the Players Status and Arbitration Committee requesting debtor clubs to honour their contractual obligations to their players and coaches through the Nigeria Premier and National leagues before such clubs can be eligible to play in the 2012 football season. The players union Further applaud the decision of the Football Federation for considering the introduction of the National Transfer Certificate {NTC} through the State Football

Associations to put an end to the crisis of contractual instability in the leagues due to the abuse of the transfer system with the club clearance certificate issued by clubs. The union therefore advice professional footballers plying their trade in the domestic leagues to demand for a copy their contract of employment, as the players status and arbitration committee will no longer entertain disputes of contract of employment without such documents. players denied the right of to have a copies of their contract are advice to complain to the union who will present the matter to the appropriate

authority. Furthermore APFON request all players who have completed their contract with their clubs, but currently trade restrain due to non issuance of clearance by their clubs are advice to contact the union for appropriate intervention in accordance with football regulations. Finally APFON also wish to commend the NFF on the issue of the proposed TASK FORCE to provide a way forward for Nigeria football, as it looks forward to a new era of football development and players welfare which are key elements to high players performance.

unprofessional and capable of eroding the confidence that the establishment has built in its clientele over the years. Akinsola, who spoke first on the development, said the reports which was carried in a national daily was far from the truth as it was targeted at mischief. “The said reporter came to me and I spoke and said that we have at the most about 14 policemen, in two pick-up vans, how does that translate to two truck loads of policemen. On each occasion after training we ensure that at least 8 policemen are maintaining security, it beats my imagination, when people now say they see two trucks loaded with policemen, or can’t you see the camp for yourself. On her part, Chika, said the hotel took the decision to feed the policemen out of its own freewill and does not want to be dragged into any unnecessary argument over the issue. “The policemen here take lunch and dinner and on eachoccassion none of them has ever complained and at times they even go as far as our kitchen to get what they want, it’s shocking when we read some reports to the contrary in the media. Please let’s support the rebuilding of the national team”.

Eromoigbe returns to Bulgaria


ORMER Warri Wolves man Richard Eromoigbe has departed Cypriot first division club Anorthosis Famagusta FC. He is close to joining PFC Beroe, Bulgaria. Eromoigbe has been invited to train with the 1986 Bulgarian champions PFC Beroe by Coach Ilian Iliev . There is huge likelihood he could be signed on when the market opens next month, as the club is looking for reinforcements in the midfield department. The 27-year-old central midfielder spent six seasons at Levski Sofia. At the end of the 2007 season, he was sold to Russian team Khimki for a transfer fee of one million euros.

Osunwa, Sherif Sule make Sudan's AFCON squad


IGERIAN strikers Kelechi Osunwa and Sherif Sule were part of Sudan’s 25-man provisional squad who departed for Qatar ahead of this month’s Africa Cup of Nations. Two other Nigerians, Olympic team striker Francis Ikechukwu and Isaac Malik, did not make the squad as their Sudanese passports did not come through as hoped. “My dream to play for Sudan at this year’s Nations Cup won’t come true because there is delay in issuance of my passport,” Ahly Shaadi FC striker Ikechukwu told “In fact, I had resumed training with the team before we realised that the passport won’t be ready until later this year. So, I may not debut for Sudan till end of this year or next year.” He further informed: “Kelechi Osunwa and Sherif Sule made it, while I and Isaac Malik have to wait for our passports.” Osunwa, who has played for both of Sudan’s big rivals Al Hilal and Al Merriekh, featured for Nigeria at the 2001 Africa Junior championship in Seychelles and it is left to be seen if his

nationality switch has been endorsed by world football governing body FIFA. He also played a couple of friendly matches for Nigeria Olympic team in 2006 in South Africa. The former Dolphin striker’s career has lately been dogged by a serious knee injury which needed surgery and rehabilitation in England. Sule, who played youth football in Lagos, has yet to represent Nigeria at any level but has been in Sudan for the past seven years.


Home-based Eagles begin shooting lessons •Rising Star, Lobi friendly get dates


FTER managing to score only once in each of its last three local friendly games, the technical crew of the national team; Super Eagles at the weekend began shooting lessons for the team, in a bid to sharpen its scoring abilities. Assistant Coach, Dan Amokachi, took the players on the first trip towards accurate goals scoring, even as Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, says he has a special package for the team in terms of shooting when training resumes Monday morning at

the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium. In the same vein the Super Eagles will play Rising Stars of Akure on January 4, while it will be the turn of Makurddi giants; Lobi Stars, on January 5. “It’s part of the rebuilding process, we want to ensure that our team is in proper and strong shape before the internationals, including friendlies and qualifiers, that is why we want to test them against the best in Nigeria, before we step out”, declared Team Coordinator, Emmanuel Atta.

Sunderland stuns Man City


I DONG-WON scored a stoppage-time winner as Sunderland beat Manchester City 1-0 on Sunday to condemn the Premier League leaders to only their second defeat of the season. The South Korea striker ran on to Stephane Sessegnon's pass and rounded City goalkeeper Joe Hart to tap into an empty net in the third and final minute of injury time. City, which stays top on goal difference from Manchester United, will count itself unfortunate after dominating the match at the Stadium of Light, with Edin Dzeko wasting many of the visitors' chances. Substitute Micah Richards did find a way past inspired Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the 88th minute but the right back's downward header struck the bar and was cleared to safety. Victor Anichebe came off the bench to grab a late winner as Everton beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at the Hawthorns on Sunday to climb into the top half of the Premier League standings. Thrown on in the 65th

minute for his first appearance since August, the Nigeria striker pounced on a poor defensive header by Paul Scharner to score from close range three minutes from time for his first goal since March 2010. "I've been waiting patiently since the start of the season ... but unfortunately I went away with Nigeria (in September) and got injured," Anichebe said. "The manager said, 'Go on, you've worked hard to get back here, just go on and help the team,' which is what I did." The win lifted Everton three places to ninth, extending the team's unbeaten streak to four matches. "It's a good run, we have to carry on," Everton defender Sylvain Distin said. "We have to turn the draws into victories and that would be even better." West Brom, the league's lowest scorers at home with just seven goals in 10 matches, created more opportunities in a lacklustre game but failed to register a shot on target, with Peter Odemwingie wasting its best chance when he volleyed over the bar in the 47th minute.




Keshi restates plan to invite Yakubu N

IGERIA coach Stephen Keshi says he will recall Blackburn striker Yakubu Ayegbeni to the Super Eagles squad. The 29-year-old has not been called by Nigeria since his horror miss against South Korea at the 2010 World Cup. But with 12 goals in the Premier League so far this season, Keshi says he is prepared to bring Yakubu back. "I want the best players in my squad and if the fifth top scorer in England is a Nigerian, then I want him as part of my team." Keshi told BBC Sport. "Yakubu is in a fantastic form, he is scoring goals and creating them in one of the best leagues in the world. "If people want to live in the past with that one 'miss' at the

World Cup, then football and time is the winner - I don't even remember that anymore. "How do you blame a man for one mistake when his past and present record shows he is undoubtedly the best we have at the moment. "If the people in England and Europe respect his performance and we don't then there is a problem. "Nothing is automatic with me, I will give him a chance to prove he can deliver like he is presently doing at club level and we'll take it from there." Yakubu, 29, signed a threeyear deal for Blackburn on transfer deadline day in August, ending a nightmare final three years at Everton. A ruptured Achilles in 2008 put him out of the game for

almost a year and he was never able to work his way back into manager David Moyes' plans, ending last season on loan at Leicester. He made an immediate impact at Rovers, scoring twice on his debut in the 4-3 win against Arsenal, Blackburn's first win of the Premier League season. The burly striker scored twice on Saturday as Blackburn stunned title holder Manchester United 32 to move from the bottom of the table.

I want the best players in my squad and if the fifth top scorer in England is a Nigerian, then I want him as part of my team." Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi Nigeria's first competitive game in 2012 will be a Nations Cup qualifier in Kigali against Rwanda on February The Super Eagles begin their quest for a place at the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa. Meanwhile, a locally-based Super Eagles squad will face 2012 African Cup of Nations

bound Angola in a friendly at home on 11 January. According to the spokesman of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ademola Olajire, a venue will be announced soon. Coach Stephen Keshi told BBC Sport: "I want to give a chance to some of the players in the Nigerian league and this is a big chance for them," "I want a blend of foreign and local based players for the new look Super Eagles. Hopefully this will encourage healthy competition.

Marseille seeks to delay departure of Ayew brothers


RENCH side Marseille will approach the Ghana FA (GFA) this week to plead for Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew’s departure for the Africa Cup of Nations to be delayed. French side Marseille will approach the Ghana FA (GFA) this week to plead for Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew’s departure for the Africa Cup of Nations to be delayed. French side Marseille will approach the Ghana FA (GFA) this week to plead for Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew’s departure for the Africa Cup of Nations to be delayed. The two brothers must be released by Marseille on 7th January for the Africa Cup of Nations which starts on 21 January. According to FIFA regulations, players must be released two weeks before a major tournament starts which puts the Ghana FA in an advantageous position. Marseille have been struggling this season but the two Ghana internationals are very important players for them. Andre is the club’s second highest scorer with six goals

while Jordan has scored two times in the league for the former European champions. Sixth-placed Marseille will resume the winter break on 15 January when they take on champions Lille in a must-win game. They need the two players to ensure that they beat Lille to stay in the title race which means they must plead with the Ghana FA and coach Goran Stevanovic for the release of the players. The GFA has stated that all players must report to their South African camp by the stipulated 7 January date but Marseille are keen on trying. By the time Marseille’s game with Lille is played the Black Stars will be serious with their camping in Rustenburg. They will press for the two players to stay with the Marseille winter camp which starts on 3 January but if they are unsuccessful they could offer to fly the players by special jet in and out of the camp in South Africa. It is now known if the GFA will make a deal but with future relations with these clubs at stake, Ghana could be tempted to compromise.




However, he was categorical in expressing his belief that the tournament will be unaffected by Nigeria's absence. “We have to respect teams that qualified for the 2012 Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon because they are good to have made it to the last 16 in the continent,” the Bayern Munich legend said. “If Nigeria did not qualify, they have to accept it in good faith because from 1984 to1992, Ghana did not qualify for the Nations Cup. That countries like Nigeria, Cameroun and Egypt did not make it to the 2012 Nations Cup showed that other nations are working to demystify the super powers of the game in Africa,” he added. Kuffour expressed confidence that the Super Eagles could rediscover old form and even qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Hodgson blames Osaze, others


EST BROM boss, Roy Hodgson has blamed Nigeria forward Osaze Odemwingie and his teammates for the home loss to Everton yesterday. Though Hodgson admitted that his side does not deserve to loss the tie, he however also believed that the players did not do enough to secure the three points at stake. The manager was disappointed that his side could not continue their good recent form which has seen them claim victories at Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United and a well-earned point against Manchester City on Boxing Day. “I’m very disappointed that we couldn’t continue what has been quite a good run in the last three games. We’ve given three fairly big points to our rivals who must be feeling very grateful we gifted them the goal three minutes from the end. I don’t think [the busy schedule has caught up with us]. No more for us than the other teams,” he said. On the Osaze, Long partnership, Hodgson said: “ Peter [Odemwingie] couldn’t have anything like the effect he’s had on the game before. I thought it was a fairly quiet afternoon for the Everton back four. Shane Long of course is struggling with a back injury, having injections to get him on the field. I don’t think he was 100% but we needed him on the field. I don’t think we created that many chances, I don’t think it was anywhere near as good a performance attacking wise as we’ve had.” Nigeria's youngstar, Victor Anichebe scored the only goal of the game for Everton just three minutes from time to move above the hosts in the Premier League table. West Brom failed to register a single shot on target and Hodgson conceded that his strikers struggled against a solid Everton defence.

Murray names legend Lendl as new coach


Kuffour: Ghana will respect all teams at Nations Cup X - G H A N A international Samuel Osei Kuffour has advised countries playing in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to never underestimate the strength of any team. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, the former defender said qualifying to the 28th edition of the continental showpiece attests to the fact that every team is strong enough to clinch the trophy.


Chelsea pays tribute to Anelka


HELSEA have paid tribute to departing forward Nicolas Anelka, who leaves the club to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua. The 32-year-old had put in a transfer request to leave the Blues and had been linked with a move to Montreal Impact and West Ham United. But he eventually signed with the Asian side instead, amid reports that he would receive wages of about £200,000-a-week. A statement on Chelsea's official website reads: "Chelsea Football Club would like to express our thanks and best wishes to Nicolas Anelka who today leaves us to join Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua."

Chelsea was Anelka's fifth club in the Premier League having previously played for Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers. Anelka arrived and

Stamford Bridge as former boss Avram Grant's first signing in January 2008, and went on to make 184 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 59 goals in the process.

RITAIN's Andy Murray has ended his long search for a full time coach by appointing eight-times Grand Slam winner Ivan Lendl. Murray said that Lendl would begin work immediately before next month's Australian Open. "It was important to me that the new person joining my team was able to add fresh insight," the 24-year-old Scot said. "Ivan's impact on the game is unquestionable and he brings experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments."

Niger's FA seeks funding for 2012 AFCON


HE Niger national team has launched an appeal for donations to complete a •3 million budget meant for its participation at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) debuting January 21 in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Currently facing severe food crisis partly due to drought, Niger’s government says it will not be able to totally foot the Mena's bills at the showpiece,

hence the football federation’s call on supporters and companies for help. Local telephone networks have agreed on a deal with the FA and the government to impose a temporary tax of •0.015 on all outgoing calls from now till the end of the competition, which will be paid to the team. The Mena are camping on the outskirts on Niamey, the capital of the West African

nation, with coach Harouna Doull and his assistant, Frenchman Rolland Courbis, tying up a final list of 23 players due for publication next week. Niger will challenge co-hosts Gabon and North African giants Morocco and Tunisia in Group C ties played in Libreville. The Mena will begin their campaign against the Panthers on January 23 at the Stade de l'Amitié.



‘The perceived bogey of yesteryear to the North can no longer be blamed for the political and economic mistakes in the South soon to rear their ugly heads. The strong Siamese cord of the dissimilar twins had been separated by the clean scalpel of the people through the inviolability retained in the power of the ballot box’


VOL.7, NO. 1,994



AST year began on a halo of hope for President Goodluck Jonathan. He was the man with a charmed life, the quiet matador who survived the treachery and ululations of the wicked. He triumphed and became president again. But while the year started on a hoopla of good cheer for the former shoeless boy of hope, it ended in a harmattan of tears and trembling for those he was charged to watch: his fellow Nigerians. Boko Haram has become his nemesis. While he focused on less pressing matters, like subsidy, seven-year tenure, sovereign wealth fund, Bayelsa primary, the nation burned day after day. Throughout, he showed febrile and weak leadership skills. He was railroaded by the Christmas day imbroglio to manifest some grit. Before then, he saw it as routine tragedy, a burden we should come to live with because, in his wisdom, the violence would disappear “one day.” But too late for Mrs. Williams Dike, who lost her whole family, husband and five children. It was murder in the cathedral, where people were startled where they thought they were safest. The place of faith morphed into a fate of blood and death. The woman turned widow and childless within minutes. She shed tears, but tears are not miracles. They don’t bring back the dead. But what kind of grit did President Jonathan show? He declared partial emergency rule on four states. Some have said it was long overdue, and others said it was the right step. What does emergency rule mean? Deployment of soldiers, imposition of curfews, roadblocks, etc. How different were these from the situation in Jos when curfew was imposed? The bottom line is that the Boko Haram sect is being confronted without intelligence. Brute force, weaponry and hard men in uniform inundated the Jos area. But today, as well as in the Christmas season, blood splattered on the streets. This was because up till today, we cannot as a people put a finger on the masterminds. The president merely wanted to compensate for the barrage of criticisms over his inept handling of the carnage. But rather than develop an intelligence tragedy and overhaul his security team, he opted for the dramatic. Time, however, will tell if emergency rule will work. Was it not late last year after a house-to-house search that reports of explosions rocked the same city in the Northeast? Brawn without stealth cannot work. While we hope for improvement in security, it is important to note that the political elite brought this disaster on the nation. Right now, the blame is on northern leaders who have kept an ominous silence. It is becoming increasingly criminal that important virtuosos of the north have not jolted the terrorist sect with any condemnatory rhetoric or action. Only Buhari, Governor Babangida Aliyu and the Sultan of Sokoto have issued voices of umbrage at the attacks. Nothing demonstrated the spread of this elite complicity as the case of the northern judge who resigned after he was caught working with the sect. No one has arrested him or made a big show out of it.


IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) •Winner, Informed Commentary 2009& 2010 (D.A.M.E)

To avoid our Rwanda

•Dr. Jonathan

Yet, it is important to look a little backwards at how this happened and why. The reason is clearly a disrespect for agreements and rules by our politicians, a contempt for fairness by that breed of Nigerians. Let us trace it back to June 12 when the wound began to turn sore. When M.K.O Abiola was denied his right to become president, it was generally accepted as injustice against the Yorubas where he hailed from. The NADECO partisans and many democrats wanted justice for the man. But after his death, even the northern elite felt no wound would be healed unless the presidency went to a Yoruba. It was a point from which we should move forward. Even IBB made a show of a visit to Obasanjo’s place in Ota. But the Yoruba ended up as victims again. If the northern political elite and the elites of the east and Niger Delta wanted a true healing, they should have lined up behind the choice of the Yorubas. The Southwest wanted Olu Falae instead of Obasanjo, but they did not get who they wanted. The impression was given of a payback. The Southwest had been compensated for the injustice levied on Abiola and his people. But apart from that sore, the ruling party, the PDP, developed what became known as the zoning formula. It was on that basis the North conceded the presidency to Obasanjo. Important wheel

horses of the party, including President Goodluck Jonathan, signed on to this deal as it was enshrined in the party constitution. Obasanjo became the president of Nigeria, but he was not the leader of his own people: the Yorubas. That rankled him and he played the politics of guile and outwitted the opposition elite and planted his men as governors. They are now on the fringe of the Southwest power play today because they triumphed through electoral fraud. When Obasanjo was done, the zoning formula made Umar Yar’Adua president. When Yar’Adua took ill, a “cabal” of the north did not want then Vice-President Jonathan to step in as acting president. One reason was zoning. They believed that the position belonged to the North still. They were wrong because what was in contention was not a new term but the completion of a running one. I defended the stake of Jonathan on this column for months. The law allowed Jonathan to step in. But the truth of Yar’Adua’s health was shrouded in secrecy and lies, so the “doctrine of necessity” was invoked to make Jonathan Acting President. The insincerity of a section of the political elite compelled another section to invoke a law that the constitution did not provide for. The elite had fouled the pond. Eventually, Yar’Adua passed on and Jonathan became president. At this stage, some commentators urged Jonathan not to run, but to abide by the zoning formula. The North, from where Yar’Adua came, should provide the next president, which should be one term. It was a matter of honour. Jonathan did not honour the agreement but threw his hat in the ring, invoking his shoeless past as a school boy. He mobilised huge resources and the infrastructure of government to pursue his campaign. In the North, hopefuls like IBB, Atiku and Gusau, also kicked against Jonathan’s defiance of the zoning formula. They inaugurated their own shenanigan called northern consensus candidate. The candidate who emerged was Atiku, but the process was anything but consensus. They merely gathered some top northerners and the foremost wielder of influence won. So, in the PDP primary that followed, it was the product of one sort of fraud against another. The result was the Jonathan candidacy for PDP. The pond was further fouled.

Jonathan ran against Buhari of the CPC and Ribadu of ACN. Jonathan became a candidate of sentiment with lots of cash and government structure for support. Buhari became the default candidate of the North. Buhari’s campaign teemed with crowds worked up by a rhetoric sometimes evocative of the Arab Spring. In the end, Jonathan prevailed. Many hailed INEC boss Attahiru Jega while forgetting that the figures were questionable on both sides. In the Southeast and Southsouth, we witnessed impossible voting percentages, while in the North, we could not blind our eyes to the pictures of underage voters. Jonathan’s victory was hailed as a pan-Nigerian mandate. Riots erupted in parts of the North. There were no fervent efforts from Jonathan to assuage the bitterness of the North. As a leader, an election victory dictates the extending of an olive branch. It did not happen. The bitterness has festered, and how could we say that is not the explanation for the explosion of rage from the sect. We should not forget that elements of these groups worked in political groups for governors in the North. Religion has become the cover for frustration. It has been in human history since the beginning of time. Now and Nigeria are no different. We cannot see this as a religious matter alone. It is also political. That is why the failure to tackle this matter is the failure of leadership of the Jonathan presidency. But it is also sad that the North could quietly want Jonathan to fail by not tackling the matter head on. In the meeting of the northern elders, no one mentioned the sect. It was as if it was non-existent. If Jonathan fails, Nigeria fails. No one is immune. We should not allow Nigeria to collapse into a Kosovo or Rwanda. For Jonathan, this is the consequence of a rudderless president who saw the sore but decided to open new wounds in Bayelsa, subsidy, sovereign wealth fund and a whole lot of other tragedies.

For Peace in Imo


ECENTLY, there was a report that some people are plotting mayhem over the case between PDP and APGA in the court of appeal in the state. Elements loyal to APGA reportedly carried signs unleashing abuse on Justice Uwa and threatening fire and brimstones. The case concerns former Governor Ikedi Ohakim and sitting Governor Rochas Okorocha. It is important that we know that the law should prevail. If the threat of violence over an ongoing court process persists, I think it is time the matter is handled immediately with all sense of urgency. Next hearing on this matter will hold January 5 and youths with political violence should know that Boko haram is still a source of headache. They should not add anything to it. Politicians often play a role in fomenting trouble. This should not fester.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above


State of Emergency right step in right direction, but…


FTER what looked like complete paralysis for many months in the face of audacious terrorist strikes, President Goodluck Jonathan has finally taken some concrete steps to rein in the monster that the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, has become. He has declared a State of Emergency in 15 local governments spread over the four northern states of Niger, Borno, Yobe and Plateau. The emergency declaration, the presidency has clarified, will not tamper with democratic structures or abridge the work of the state governments and their legislatures. It is expected that the National Assembly will approve the emergency declaration, with many members already indicating that the initiative even came late. Added to this sweeping plan, the first ever such initiative in a democracy to be spread over many states at once, is the announcement that the govern-

ment has closed the borders with the neighbouring states of Cameroun, Chad and Niger and will also set up a counter terrorism force. But as the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency discovered when it imposed emergency rule in Plateau and Ekiti States, and the Tafawa Balewa government also found out when it took a similar step in the First Republic, it is easier to declare emergency than achieve the purpose for which it is declared. In fact it is always tempting for both the government declaring state of emergency and the security agents executing the order to exceed the letters and rules of the proclamation. The Jonathan presidency has appeared to take steps to avoid the sort of irritating unconstitutionality that plagued the Obasanjo emergency rule, but it has also introduced testy novelties of its own that are certain to challenge

the government’s good faith and ingenuity. Just as the Obasanjo emergency rule got entangled in the labyrinth where central authority clashed with state and local government powers, the Jonathan government will find itself struggling to balance a whole range constitutional, bureaucratic and security issues in an atmosphere of mistrust, despondency and alienation. State of emergency is a step in the right direction, but there is no assurance that it will solve the problem of Boko Haram. So far, the government has done little to show it has an expansive understanding of the origins of the sect and the dynamics that propel it. The group has splintered into many factions that in turn have spawned many dangerous autonomous cells. Closing a critical stretch of our borders will rightly deter the sort of free movement that feeds the brazenness of the sect, but it will be too optimistic to

think it will do more than constitute a temporary setback. If the Jonathan government has not already done a rigorous study of the sect and how it operates, it is urgent that it must commission one. Indeed, if the government had understood Boko Haram, it is unlikely the sect would have retained the capacity to wreak as much damage as it has managed in the past few years unchallenged. Jonathan must do more than Obasanjo in ensuring that it balances the demand of the constitution with the urgent requirement of peace, safety and stability. It is a highly nuanced situation which we hope will be well managed in such a way as not to reinforce the dangerous precedence Obasanjo set in his years in power. Security is vital; but sustaining democracy is also much more vital. We must not succumb to the temptation to think that one can be traded off for the other.

Published and printed by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025,Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor Daily:01-8962807, Marketing: 01-8155547 . Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Tel: 07028105302. E-mail: Editor: GBENGA OMOTOSO

The Nation January 02, 2012  

The Nation January 02, 2012

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