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STRIKE: Resume on Monday or be sacked, govt tells civil servants Anenih, other PDP chiefs pressure Tambuwal on House decision

Boko Haram: Security agencies raise panel to Page 3 quiz governor, top northern politicians

Page 6 Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

VOL.05 N0. 2004

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

N150.00

Subsidy war

Expect ‘mother of all strikes’ Monday -Labour Page 2

NLC, TUC take final decision today THE GREAT SHUTDOWN Police arrest 130 protesters over bonfires on Lagos highways Pg.7 OPS urges Labour Pg.3 to embrace dialogue Aregbesola urges military to be loyal to constitution Pg.6 Bakare, Falana, Pg.4 Utomi: we reject economic fallacies How Labour-led subsidy strike paralysed cities 15-Page package begins on Page 11

Muslim faithful praying against removal of fuel subsidy at the One Million-man Jumat Service at Ojota, Lagos ...yesterday PHOTO: Tajudeen ADEBANJO


2 NEWS

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE BIG PROTEST (DAY FIVE) NEW YEAR MESSAGES

Subsidy war: Expect mother of all strikes from Monday –– Labour N

IGERIANS should brace up, from Monday, for what the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday called the “Mother of all strikes”. The President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said yesterday that Nigerians should prepare for a prolonged strike from Monday if the government does not reverse the pump price to N65 per litre. The NLC boss did not elaborate on what he meant by “Mother of all strikes”. However, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Thursday threatened to shut down operations in the upstream and downstream sectors, including export terminals, if by Sunday the Federal Government refuses to revert the pump price of petrol to N65 per litre. At a briefing in Lagos, PENGASSAN President, Babatunde Ogun, said, among other implications, Nigeria would default in its contractual obligations to the international community as there would be no crude and gas supplies. According to him, it would cripple telecommunications, power and healthcare delivery to Nigerians and the country will not meet its crude production quota for the next six months. His words: “PENGASSAN remains committed to the ongoing popular and nationwide protests, and will continue to work with all concerned groups to sustain the struggle, until the Federal Government respects the will of Nigerians. “The resolution of the House of Representatives and the Senate has said it all. “All branches of PENGASSAN in the downstream, refineries and upstream sectors have been and shall remain fully mobilised in the actualisation of NLC/TUC directives on the on-going strike.” The Federal Government on Thursday night at a meeting with Labour insisted on full deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry. But the Labour insisted on the mandate from workers that government must reverse the pump price to N65 per litre. Apart from the reversal to N65 per litre, Labour is also asking for a 90-day moratorium to allow a window for discussion between the government and stakeholders. The stakeholders will look at the challenges of subsidy withdrawal, pump price and ways for appropriate pricing for the PMS. Both the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC), led by Comrade Peter Esele, are scheduled to take a final decision today on whether to continue with the ongoing nationwide strike action or suspend it. A labour leader, who spoke with our correspondents, said: "Saturday's session will define the next stage of the strike. The NECs of the NLC and the TUC will meet to take a final decision on the negotiation offers from the government. "After the NEC session, the labour leaders will also meet with the government on the same day. So, the strike might either be called off or continue." The General Secretary of the NLC, Comrade Owei Lakemfa, said: "Labour is giving Nigerians an opportunity on Saturday and Sunday to refresh and stock their homes with foodstuffs in readiness for a prolonged strike action from

•NLC, TUC take final decision today •People's will must prevail Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

Monday." Notwithstanding, the Labour yesterday held a three-hour rally at Julius Berger Roundabout in Abuja. At the rally, the NLC President insisted that the people's will must prevail and "there is no retreat, no surrender on the demand for N65 pump price." He also asked Nigerians to prepare for the “Mother of all strikes” from Monday should government fail to reverse the pump price to N65 per litre. Omar said: "They say in the definition of democracy, there are three sides. They say it is government of the people for the people and by the people. This word is true, no be so? Na so! But do you know the largest group of the people? No! That is the people. This means if you run government, it is people who will run government that is by the people. But if it is run for the people, therefore it is among the people that you choose another small number of people to go and do government. "But when the large number says this is how it will be, is it justifiable for the small group that is working for this large number to say No? No! Therefore, the people’s will must prevail. I want to talk today very briefly but let me start, comrades, by telling you about where we are today. "We have a committee that plans everything we do everyday. That is why we take different routes everyday. Today, in consideration of so many factors, our planners said the only way we can get relaxed is during the weekend so that by Monday, if government is yet to change the cost of fuel from N145 per litre to N65, we are going to come out on Monday very strong. "Please, those who have never come here before, inform them, maybe they are your brothers, sisters or your friends or even your parents

because in Lagos , all ladies came out to the streets and protested. So, tell everybody that we should start coming in such a way that we must be noticed. If Nigerian government will not notice us, we would be so large that the international communities will notice us and they will begin to talk to them”. Omar added: "We want to make sure that people will get refreshed by the weekend, but Monday morning, it is going to be the ‘mother of all crowds’. Do we agree? Yes, do you agree? Yes. I must say again on behalf of my colleagues that we are grateful. "Several agencies of government attempted hired crowds, where they will say they will give them N5, 000 each and get 1, 000 people. The 1, 000 would disappear in less than 1, 000 seconds. As soon as they have taken the money, they will go away. Nobody is giving you anything but you are here because you are patriotic, because you love Nigeria and you want your welfare to improve. "Therefore, this is something we must continue to do. I want to assure you to relax tomorrow and Sunday. We will get ready for a greater struggle beginning from Monday." The NLC President debunked the insinuations that labour leaders have compromised. The NLC President said: "Yesterday or day before yesterday, I swore to you that we are people of honour and integrity. I swore to you that we will do that which we are asked to do by the people. "If anybody is practising true democracy, we are the people practising true democracy. We are saying that because people put us here, they have given us mandate. We must have to carry out the mandate of the people and do you remember the mandate people gave us? What is the mandate? N65 or nothing! I tell you comrades, this is exactly the message we have sent

across to the government. "We are aware that there are a lot of rumours going round. Some people will say labour has compromised. They have given them money, given them this and that. I don't know, comrades, who will have the courage after taking somebody's food, you will still look at him in the face and abuse him, is it possible? No! "We went and told them that the mandate we have from Nigerian people is that you have to revert back to N65. And when government insisted and they keep saying they are not ready to come down and reduce the price, we told them that we have principals but because we have a system, it is just by calling the people who gave us the mandate. We said the highest thing we can do is to go back to our principals. "We will give them the message and it is up to them to give us either a new message or say what are you talking? Go back and maintain our position. By the night, we could not agree yesterday with the government. Despite all their pleas and what they told us that our economy will collapse, we told them we have a mandate and our standing mandate is: reverse back to N65. "If anybody is sending a text message to you, saying whatever, I want to assure you that as far as we are concerned, it is just blatant lies and nobody will intimidate us with those text messages. If anybody has given any money to anybody, let that person come us and say I have given a particular sum of money and we shall pray with everybody to say that whoever has done this, Holy Ghost fire!” He added: "And to our Muslim brothers, we will also ask them to do Alqunut. That is to tell you that, as far as we are concerned, it is not about money. If it is about money, I tell you by now, we would have been exceedingly rich and we would also become part of the cabal but that is not our will. We have undertaken for ourselves that we must always stand by the masses and by the grace of the Almighty, so shall it be. Continued on Page 4

• The Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, handing over his nomination form for the state governorship election to the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Organising Secretary, Chief Uche Secondus, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.... Thursday

•From left: Missioner, Nawair-Ud-Deen Society of Sheikh Dhikrullahi Shafi’ I; National Missioner, F Gawat, at ‘a Million-Man Special Jumat Service’ ov

Petrol tanker

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ETROL tankers are unable to deliver supplies to Nigeria as strikes which entered their fifth day yesterday have forced ports to close, trade and shipping according to sources. Workers have been on strike over the lifting of fuel subsidy that has led to prices more than doubling at the pump.

OPS urges Labou

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HE organised private sector and some youth groups across the country have deplored the wanton loss of lives and property in the first week of the anti- fuel subsidy removal strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and the Civil society organisations. Besides, they want the organisers of the strike to call it off immediately and save the country from sliding into anarchy. The Director General of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf, lamented the dangerous shape the strike appears to be taking and urged immediate steps be taken by both Labour and the government to arrest the situation before it degenerates into a state of irredeemable chaos. “It is a dangerous trend and it is a reflection of a gradual degeneration into anarchy. So, there is urgent need to resolve the problem quickly because the law enforcement agencies are gradually becoming overstressed and the longer this lasts the more overstressed they become and that portends grave danger to all Nigerians, no matter the social or economic status, “Mr. Yusuf said. According to him, businesses have recorded huge losses on account of the strike while workers who were willing to come to work were molested and manhandled by hoodlums. Speaking on the issue, the President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mines and Agriculture (ABUCCIMA), Dr Solomon Iyangba, noted the concern of the chamber about the seeming hijack of the protests across the coun-


NEWS 3

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE BIG PROTEST (DAY FIVE) THEHaram: BIG PROTEST (DAY FOUR) Boko security agencies

raise panel to probe governor, northern politicians Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

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air-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Lagos chapter, Alhaji Sheu AbdulMajeed; Mufti of Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO), ; National Missioner, Fatiu Quareeb Society of Nigeria, Sheikh AbdurRahman Adangba, and ace TV presenter, Alhaji Rasak pecial Jumat Service’ over the removal of fuel subsidy at Ojota, Lagos.

tankers unable to deliver to Nigeria •Five days of strikes have forced ports to shut • Shipping delays costing charterers $18,000 a day •Crude swaps account for around half of petrol imports “The ports are shut, yes, it is affecting things. Nothing in or out at the moment,” said a petrol dealer. Tankers are being held outside ports at the expense of charterers,

who are paying demurrage costs of around $18,000 a day. “People waiting there have a huge issue on their hands... around 1 mln tonnes of gasoline waiting to

ges Labour to embrace dialogue try by miscreants who are now going about harassing and intimidating innocent Nigerians and even genuine protesters. He said: “Various incidents of robberies, mobbing and vandalisation have been reported by our members and their relatives across the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja, and in cases where they were not harmed they were dispossessed of their valuables and their vehicles smashed and damaged.” He said these criminals and hoodlums that have now subverted and diluted the integrity of the Labour protests appear likely to be sponsored by anti democratic elements and disenfranchised politicians who are taking advantage of the protest to unleash mayhem on Nigerians. Also commenting, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), Mr. Ken Ukaoha said while they identify with the right of Labour and other Nigerians to express their disagreement over any government policy using peaceful means, they are unhappy at the hijack of the protest by criminals. “Some of our members and their relatives have been victims of the activities of criminals in the course of the labour protest and many of them have ended up mobbed and robbed. Others were manhandled and harassed. We do not think these illegal actions were carried out by genuine protesters but by mobs mobilized by unscrupulous elements in society to cause wide spread panic in the country,”he said. Similarly,the Northern Youth League for Development, led by Mallam Babagana Ciroma, said the

blocking of highways and the ongoing criminal extortions of innocent Nigerians by hoodlums-turnprotesters cannot be called features of a civilised and peaceful protest as it is in other parts of the world. Another group, the South-South Youth Initiative under the leadership Mr. Roland Odih, said the leadership of the protesters aside Labour comprises people who have a long standing history of anti-democratic activities. Another civil society coalition from the New Nigeria Youth Transformation Coalition, Abdulmumini Tijjani, said those who failed in the last general elections and sponsoring violence protest should learn to imbibe the sportsmanship spirit if the nation must move forward, reminding that ‘we do not have another country but Nigeria.’ The labour unions in the country, the collation said, should maintain political neutrality, expressing fears that labour unions seem to have been politicised by their recent action. This is coming as sources said that the Federal Government is ready to yield ground and to allow for a twophase kick-off of a full-scale deregulation of the oil sector. The Director-General of Youth Leadership Forum Khalita Bello Adamu, chided Labour, saying it has thrown Nigeria into a state of stagnation and insecurity. It said the strike should be called off to allow for a peaceful talk to end the seeming impasse. Government had said that the subsidy was removed to curb corruption and to free the market so as to allow for private investment in the refinery and other sectors of the country.

offload,” said a dealer, adding that he had cancelled plans to deliver two cargoes to the country Nigeria this week. Demurrage costs are payable to a ship owner by a charterer for a delay for which the owner is not responsible. Shippers say these costs have not increased despite the current strike. “They (Nigerian shipments) are fairly prone to delays anyway but even more than usual now with the strike. So far it’s fairly flat,” a shipping source said regarding demurrage costs. The OPEC member’s biggest oil union said it was ready to halt oil output if the government did not reinstate the subsidy, piling pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to reach a compromise. So far, strikes have not hit oil exports, according to traders and oil officials, partly as some processes are automated or dependent on nonunionised workers operating platforms offshore. Nigeria exports over two million barrels of crude oil per day and is a major supplier to the United States and Europe, providing Africa’s second-largest economy with over 90 percent of foreign exchange revenues. The threat of a cut in oil output was a deciding factor in prompting the government to start negotiations with union leaders, sources said. Worries over Nigerian oil supplies have helped push up global oil prices in the last two days. Nigeria has typically relied on crude oil exports for around half of its gasoline needs through swap exchanges. Industry sources have said a number of key deals were renewed for 2012, including a 60,000 barrel a day deal with Swiss-based trading house Trafigura. The other half is imported via regular tenders. In December, Nigeria was seeking to buy around 1.35 million tonnes of petrol in the first three months of the year. Trade unions said strikes would be suspended today and tomorrow to allow leaders to travel for negotiations with the government, and it was not clear whether the suspension would enable vessels to discharge over the weekend.

SERVING governor in one of the northern states is under investigation over alleged sponsorship of the Islamic sect,Boko Haram. Security agencies have already raised a panel to quiz him on the allegation. But he is not the only one under such scrutiny.Security operatives are on the trail of several other politicians from the North to come and say what they have in common with the sect. Several of the suspects have reportedly fled to Niger Republic and Chad,according to sources in Abuja yesterday. Following fears of jailbreak and invasion, security was beefed up yesterday around the 17 Boko Haram members in detention in Abuja.They were arrested in Damaturu,Yobe State, and flown to the Federal Capital. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that security reports have indicted the governor for having a 'deep' relationship with Boko Haram. Although the governor has immunity, it was gathered that security agencies want to "interact" with him and lay the facts bare before him. The governor, according to sources,has been evasive by hiding under one official engagement or the other. A reliable source said: "A serving northern governor has been indicted by security reports as having intimate connection with Boko Haram. Security agencies have been directed to interact with him with the facts at their disposal. "The essence of the coming interaction is to unmask those sponsoring the sect. The said governor is already aware and he has been moving here and there, including some trips to Niger Republic and Chad . "As a result of the immunity he enjoys, he cannot be directly arrested. But all the details are being assembled and a security committee has been constituted to confront him with such details. "Once the evidence is confirmed as incontrovertible, further steps can then be taken to ensure prosecution in line with treason and such charges." Responding to a question, the source added: "The government has decided to bring sanity to this whole issue of insecurity. Some security agencies which have been on the trail of those concerned in recent times have reports indicting a number of persons, including government officials." As at press time however, it was also learnt that the inter-agency security committee might also interrogate some northern politicians, leaders and government officials over alleged romance with Boko Haram. The source said: "A list of government officials and those to be quizzed from the North has been compiled by security agencies. There are intelligence reports that some of them are planning to flee abroad. "But there is no hiding place for them. Security agencies have been placed on the alert in all airports and seaports,” a sources said. The source added: "At the appropriate time, the government may also ask the security agencies to release the list to the public. "Some of the suspects are said to be on the run to Niger Republic and Chad too." But following fears of jailbreak and invasion, security was beefed up yesterday around the 17 Boko Haram members flown from Damaturu to Abuja . Apart from the beef up, some of the detained members have also been relocated to other detention facilities to "avoid security breach." Another source said: "By strengthening security where Boko Haram members are detained, we are only being cautious."

Bayelsa PDP chair denies blaming INEC

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HE confusion over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Bayelsa State governorship election took a new turn yesterday with the State Chairman, Deacon James Dugo, denying media reports that he flayed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the candidates’ list released by the commission. In apparent reference to the ongoing litigation about the party’s governorship ticket, INEC had in the list released on Thursday refused to name any particular candidate for the PDP, saying the slot is “subject to litigation.” Bayelsa Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, had gone to court, asking that he be declared the party’s candidate on the basis of the January 2011 primaries or be allowed to participate in any new primaries of the party. The Federal High Court in Abuja ordered PDP to show cause why the governor’s pleas should not be granted and cautioned the party against any action that will affect the status of the case. The party ignored the court and went ahead with a new primary election on November 19, 2011, and followed it up by moving the case to the Appeal Court. Sylva won the Appeal but PDP has again moved to the Supreme Court, a move which the governor has cross-appealed. Following the release of the list, which exempted the name of the winner of the controversial primary, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, Sylva praised INEC, saying the electoral body has taken the “right decision as an impartial umpire.” But the media reported Dugo to have at a press briefing condemned

INEC for not including Dickson’s name, and that a protest letter has been sent to the agency to reverse its decision. However, a source close to Dugo denied that the chairman ever addressed the press on the matter, nor did he send any statement to condemn INEC. “There was no press briefing, let them tell you the location or show you the photo or video of the so-called press briefing. I also want to tell you that our chairman did not send any statement to media houses”, the source said. The source further hinted that Dugo was aware that he has no such powers to interface between INEC headquarters and the party, “It is the responsibility of the national secretariat.” Dugo, we also learnt, has told party elders in the state that what is paramount now is to ensure that a candidate emerges to carry the party’s flag at the election. “Whatever happens, we are one big family. We need to get a candidate to contest and whatever differences we may have had, we will resolve like a family,” Dugo was quoted to have said. Similarly, the source said no protest letter was sent to INEC, saying: “ask them to show you a copy.” Another source close to the PDP national secretariat also informed us that the party’s national leaders are already reaching out to Sylva “to work out an acceptable solution to the issue of who flies the party’s flag in Bayelsa”. The source maintained that “in the next coming days, you will see more of coming together and realignment, just wait and see, PDP will bounce back in Bayelsa”.


4 NEWS

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE BIG PROTEST (DAY FIVE)

Bakare, Falana, Utomi: We reject economic fallacies •Lagos protesters warn against compromise

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ROTESTERS intensified their campaign against the removal of fuel subsidy on Day Five in Lagos yesterday, warning the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC)to shun the temptation of compromising the position of the masses at the negotiation table. Save Nigeria Group (SNG) Convener, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Lagos lawyer Femi Falana and Prof. Pat Utomi, who addressed the crowd at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom park, Ojota, advised labour to insist on N65 per litre. They declared that if the strike is called off without reverting the pump price, the protest would continue indefinitely on the streets. Protesters trekked several kilometers from the five divisions of Ikeja, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, Badagry and Epe to the Ojota park, carrying placards with different inscriptions and singing anti-government songs. A team of doctors from the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) maintained a mobile clinic for first aidto protesters. Although policemen kept watch the rally was orderly for the four hours it lasted. A minute of silence was observed for all the martyrs of past struggles, including Chief Moshood Abiola, Dr. Beko Ransom-Kuti and Chuma Ubani, and victims of the on-going protest in Abuja, Ilorin, Ibadan, Lagos and other cities. Bakare said SNG and its allies decided to end yesterday’s rally at noon to enable Muslims attend the Friday Jumat Service.Muslims at the rally later moved to the Abiola Gardens, opposite the venue of the rally to pray for the resolution of the logjam in favour of the masses. The SNG Convener said protests would not hold today and tomorrow, to enable protesters rest ahead of the resumption of the protest on Monday, if the federal government refuses to revert the price to N65 per litre. He said banks would operate to-

Emmanuel OLADESU Deputy Political Editor day (Saturday) to enable people withdraw money to take them through next week, adding that Christians would also have opportunity to worship in their various churches on Sunday. Bakare read the names of 10 top marketers allegedly benefiting from fuel subsidy , pointing out that the Senate was appalled by their nefarious activities, following an audit. He blamed the federal government for the leakages, stressing that the N1.3 trillion subsidy is a joke. He said: “The President is using ringworm medicine to cure epilepsy. We will fight the error with truth. “There are multiple and conflicting roles of NNPC as agent and customer of the federal government. N1.6 trillion paid as subsidy between 2007 and 2011 when oil price was on the increase, representing N60.6 billion annually. In 2011, it became N1.3 trillion”. Falana commended the crowd for its sacrifice, resilience and determination. He objected to what he described as government’s economic fallacies, saying that the economy would not collapse, if subsidy is sustained. He added: “They are talking about 96 billion dollars, which is N16 trillion. The total budget is N4.7 trillion. What happens to the rest? The government has depleted our foreign reserves. This country cannot be run on the dictates of a cartel or cabal. “When I went to school, I did not pay tuition. Now, students are to pay N350,000 a year. We reject it. We must not allow a situation whereby only children of the rich would go to school. Urging protesters not to give up, Utomi said“Nigerians have not gathered together like this before. This struggle is a struggle against corruption, autocratic government and bad policies”.

Mohammed, son of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, hailed the perseverance of the crowd, saying that power belongs to the people. He urged them to insist on their right to good life. Campaign For Democracy (CD) leader, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin said the protesters are determined to fight on, until victory is achieved. She said: “I see people that are angry. We should not let anyone push us to the wall. Dialogue is on, but it is N65 or nothing. There is unemployment. No road. No electricity. Yet, they say they will use one billion naira for food annually. Be vigilant”. Fuji maestro Ayinla Kollington described the President as a pretender who cannot be trusted again, lamenting that he has turned round to oppress Nigerians who voted for him. He queried: “Subsidy on kerosene and diesel has been removed, where is the money?”. Femi, son of Fela Anikulaop-Kuti warned labour against making unnecessary promises, adding: “it is N65 per litre or nothing. No increment in April. If NLC comes back with more than N65, we will dismiss NLC. This is the Movement of Nigeria”. An actress, Ronke Oshodi-Oke frowned at the statement credited to the Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that protesters in Lagos went for entertainment jamboree. She also denied rumours that actors and actresses were paid to join the protest. She said: “These people go abroad three or four times a year. Is this how it is done over there? What does Jonathan need one billion naira for in a year, just to eat? We are serving them now, would our children also serve their children in future? Would our grandchildren also serve their grandchildren? No way. Jonathan has stepped on toes. Lola Alao, said: “The first lady should appeal to her husband, the President, to revert to N65 and avert trouble”.

• Day 5: protesters at Ojota, Lagos... yesterday

‘Nigeria has no business with poverty’

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MASSIVE crowd of Muslims yesterday turned the Gani Fawehinmi Park otherwise called Freedom Park, Ojota in Lagos to Tahrir Square, a major public square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, where the Egyptian revolution protest was held. Various Islamic associations under the banner of the Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO) mobilised their members for the special Jumat prayer. It was tagged ‘a million-man special support for the Nigerians masses against the removal of fuel subsidy. Under the scorching sun, the huge crowd chanted the various names of Allah and offered special prayers for the nation to be peaceful. According to the CIO coordinator Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, the millionman special Jumat service was also aimed at denouncing the claim that Boko Haram is an Islamic sect.

Tajudeen ADEBANJO Shuaib said the objective of the people behind Boko Haram is to set Christians against Muslims in a war of attrition. The large congregation was led by the National Missioner, Ansar-UdDeen Society of Nigeria (ADS) Sheikh AbdurRahman Ahmad; Mufti of Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO) Sheikh Dhikrullahi Shafi’I; Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Dr Is-haq Akintola; National Missioner Fatiu Quareeb Society of Nigeria, Sheikh AbdurRahman Adangba and Missioner, Nawair-UdDeen Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Sheu AbdulMajeed. Also in attendance were Amir The Muslim Congress (TMC) Luqman AbdurRaheem; former Executive Secretary, NASFAT Alhaji Dhikrullahi

Hassan; Amir Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit, Alhaji Qasim Badrudeen; Amir The Companion Alhaji Wale Sonaike; Sheikh Imran Eleha; Chief Imam, Lekki Muslim Community, Alhaji Abdurraheem Sayi; Alhaji Ishaq Adeshina; ace Television presenter, Alhaji Rasak Gawat; Shekh Muhammad Jamiu Trimidhi; Alhaji Ishaq Tejidini; Alhaji AbdulGaniy Atitebi; Chairman Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation Prince Sulayman Olagunju; Cordinator Al-Mu’minaat Social Advocacy Programme Hajia Sherifah Ajibade-Yusuf; Amirah, Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWAN) Lagos State chapter Alhaja Fatimat Gawat; National Amirah, Al-Mu’minaat Hajia Munirat Salith and Amirah The Criterion, Hajia Shareefah Yusuf.

Embrace dialogue, Akpabio tells NLC

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OVERNOR Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embrace dialogue with the Federal Government in resolving the nation-wide strike caused by the removal of fuel subsidy. Akpabio made the call yesterday at Government House, Uyo, during a meeting with stakeholders in the transport sector.

Kazeem IBRAHYM, Uyo His words: ‘’The fuel subsidy removal has brought a lot of tension in the country. I wish the people would understand President Goodluck Jonathan. We have to sit down and dialogue for no leader wants to inflict pains on his people. What we should now discuss is to ensuring that subsidy or no subsidy, things would move on well in the country.

‘’If we subsidize our own petroleum product by building our refinery, our children would be employed. We need to do something differently to improve our present situation. The subsidy we have today is the source of corruption and such must be removed.” The Governor pledged to assist them by providing more buses to ply the various routes in the state for the benefit of the people.

• Some of the protesters at Ojota... yesterday

Expect mother o Continued from Page 2

"Comrades, we have discussed here and I told you time without number that some government agencies have been trying all they could to destabilise us in Abuja . And the only way they think they can do that is by sending people to create certain problem, then government will now make a broadcast that because of the security threat in Abuja, there is going to be 24 hours’ curfew from dusk to dawn so that they will not allow us to come out to meet again. "But we believe our strength always lies in our unity and collectivity. We must continue to come out. We are very grateful to you that you are not getting tired. In fact, more and more people are coming and we will continue to come but, comrades please, you must also bear with us. As

your leaders, we will never lead you astray by the grace of God but please, take it that all plans to create problem, we must avoid them." On his part, the President of the TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, said: "I want to say a very big thank you for all your support. The other people give them money. Did we give you any money? If they give you money, collect it because that money is your money that they have stolen. That money means the education of your children. That money means good roads, that money is your healthcare. "One thing you must know, it is time for change. We must always seek good governance. What do we want? Good governance. It is only good governance that will change this country. The reason we are here is that we love Nigeria. If we love Nigeria we must love one another. It


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE BIG PROTEST (DAY FIVE)

Anenih, other PDP chiefs pressure Tambuwal on House decision •Speaker holds crucial meeting with labour leaders Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

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HE leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not prepared to let go last Sunday’s decision of the House of Representatives that called for the reversal of the withdrawal of the petrol subsidy by the Federal Government. A former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih,yesterday led a delegation of top leaders of the party to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal. Their mission: to prevail on him to convince the House to rescind the resolution asking President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse the fuel pump price to N65 from N141 per litre. The meeting was held behind closed doors. It was learnt that the PDP delegation arrived the Speaker’s residence in Maitama District of Abuja unscheduled apparently to pre-empt a meeting between Tambuwal and the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar. Also on the PDP delegation,according to investigation ,were the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, and members of the National Working Committee of the party. A source said: “Anenih and the PDP leaders met between 3pm and 4pm with the Speaker. The visit was impromptu and it looked like a pre-emptive one having got wind of a scheduled meeting between the Speaker and the NLC President. “The PDP delegation said the party was uncomfortable with the resolution of the House last Sunday which ordered the President and his cabinet to reverse the pump price to N65 per litre. ‘They said they came to explore how the House could rescind its resolution. They asked Tambuwal to be a loyal party man by respecting the position of the PDP to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. “But the Speaker said the resolution cut across all the political parties in the House. He said it was bi-partisan and there was nothing he could do. “The meeting could not achieve anything as the PDP delegation was unconvinced by the response of the Speaker.” The Speaker later launched into a meeting with labour including the NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar. Contacted, the Special Adviser on Media to the Speaker, Alhaji Imam Imam, said: “The Speaker is a stakeholder in the Nigerian Project; it is not surprising if prominent Nigerians from all walks of life visit him to confer with him on issues affecting the country. “There is nothing extra-ordinary about the visit to the Speaker by some highlyplaced Nigerians.”

PHOTO: Isacc AYODELE

Chime sues for peace, explains ban on public protest

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PHOTOS: Tajudeen ADEBANJO

OVERNOR Sullivan Chime of Enugu State has urged Nigerians see the removal of oil subsidy as an action taken by the Federal Government in their best interest and that of the national economy. He also explained that the ban he placed on public processions in the state was not targeted at striking workers but is a security measure "taken in the larger interest of our people to avert the dreadful possibility of hoodlums taking over the protest to cause mayhem". The Governor told Catholic Priests of the Enugu Diocese during their first meeting of the year at the Sacred Heart Seminary, Nsude, that the removal of subsidy on oil was to stop the monumental fraud in the oil sector and check the activities of a cabal that held the nation hostage in that sector of the economy for a very long time.

of all strikes from Monday –– Labour is for the love we have for Nigeria that is why we are here." The Vice-President of the NLC, Comrade Issa Aremu, said: "As the President of NLC has said, without your struggle, without your sacrifice, the Federal Government of Nigeria could not have met with the NLC and TUC yesterday. "And for the first time in recent times, our President, the Vice President, the Senate Government and ministers have to meet to address the plights of Nigerians. It is due to the struggle, which you have put up in Abuja , Lagos , in Kano , in PortHarcourt and virtually in all the 36 states of the Ffederation. Let's give them a hand of applause. "We should not give up in this struggle. The struggle is not over until it is over. As Comrade Omar has said, please don't let us lose our

focus. We have to be organised, we have to be focused and we have to be purposeful. And we should not forget what is our demand. We don't want other forces to add other agenda that are not our own. "Government itself is also spreading propaganda so that they can divide our ranks. This propaganda is what the NLC president has said that your leaders are being compromised. And I am happy he has addressed that”. He added: "There are also some forces who are not in government, who have different professions and they want to have a different agenda. I don't want to mention names because now we have emergency comrades. Don't you know what we call emergency comrades? Those who used to be in government and even oppressed workers. They are now identifying with us. I don't want to

mention names but you know them. "So we must be focused about our agenda. Now the second thing I want to raise is that there are those that are against the masses. Please, let us give one special Gbosa! to the House of Representatives Speaker for being with the masses and convening a meeting on a Sunday to address the plights of Nigeria and they passed a resolution to revert to N65. And they also called on Labour so that we can suspend the strike. I think we need to commend them on that. "So, let also give the Senate President applause. That is Senator David Mark. I also want to say that there are some of the governors but there are some terrible governors. And I want to say the governor of Enugu State, we need to give a special boo to the Governor of Enugu State, Governor Sullivan Chime. He was

not just pushing for the removal of subsidy but he was also attacking those that are protesting. He has a mobile court. This is a governor we will not only take to the judicial process in Nigeria. "So today we want to reaffirm solidarity to the people of Enugu State . I want to declare that we are fully in solidarity with them. And we call on President Jonathan that what he cannot do to Nigeria is that we have our right of freedom of assembly. This is because no governor has the power of a president. Yet, we are peacefully protesting in Abuja . "So I want to say, comrades, forward ever and backward never. Stay with your leaders and your leaders will stay with you. Together with you, we are going to achieve victory. We have decided to save Nigeria and there is no going back."

Describing the current situation in the country as sad, he advised the people not to be sentimental in their assessment and appraisal of the government position but should rather carry out independent investigations before jumping to conclusions on the issue. He pleaded with Christians and their leaders in the state to pray for divine intervention and control of affairs over the present situation in the country stressing that church leaders have a major role to play in providing their congregations with accurate information about the situation and any other issue affecting the nation. The Governor said, "My appeal is that Nigerians should support President Jonathan on this deregulation drive which will ultimately benefit our people at the end of the day. The initial pains will give way to the obvious benefits inherent in the deregulation exercise that will transfer what a few people have been taking, to the use of all citizens. In their separate responses the priests including Monsignors Augustine Akubue, Anthony Aso, Charles Ikeme Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and Chinedu Anieke said that the removal of the subsidy was ill timed. They also complained about what they described as lack of information on the matter from government and advised that it will not augur well for any country to engage in crisis in so many quarters. They requested the President to fish out and fight the cabals in all other sectors including rail transport, cement manufacturing stressing that the war should not be selectively prosecuted. The Chairman of the meeting and the Bishop of Enugu t Dr. C.O.C Onaga, thanked Governor Chime for visiting and taking the time and to address them on the true position of the situation in the state and Nigeria.


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THE BIG PROTEST (DAY FIVE)

Left & right: Protesters at a rally in Abuja ...yesterday

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OVERNOR Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has said the only noble role for Nigerian Armed Forces is to defend the nation’s territory and its constitution. Speaking against the backdrop of the security situation in the country, the governor said total allegiance to the constitution of the Federal Republic and its people is the responsibility of men in uniform. He spoke in Osogbo yesterday during the launching of the 2012 Armed Forces Remembrance Emblem Reminding Nigerians that even the advanced countries of the world have had their fair share of socio-political and economic dislocations, the governor, however, said what was happening in the country was not enough for the military to truncate democracy. The governor had, three weeks ago, called on Nigerians never to see military incursion back into the Nigeria’s political space as an option despite the festering religious, ethnic and economic crises staring the coun-

Aregbesola urges military to be loyal to constitution

try in the face. He cited the USA as an example and said: ”It is simply not possible for anybody that does not have the mandate of the people to govern America. “In spite of the crisis of the American state, and that crisis has not just begun. They have had all sorts of crises. They had a secessionist crisis. There was a time the entire country was in turmoil. You had the confederates fighting the entire nation for

secession. Yet, there was no threat. “That nation recovered and life continued up until now. I want, therefore, to emphasise that the best role, and it’s a noble role, for the men of the Armed Forces of the state is to be loyal to their oath to defend the sovereignty, integrity, safety and security of the country. Any-

for Finance in Ondo State , Mr Segun Ojo ,believes whatever is realised from the removal of fuel subsidy will be embezzled by a few people. Ojo, an Action Congress of Nigeria (A C N) gubernatorial aspirant, says the decision of the Federal Government is devilish. “No responsible government will withdraw subsidy without putting in place the needed infrastructure that will help cushion the backlash of such substantial increment in pump price,” he said in a statement in Akure. He argued that the decision of Governor Olusegun Mimiko to support the removal is at variance with the position of the majority of the people of Ondo State. He said: “The state governors support the removal of the subsidy simply because it will increase allocations that will be coming to their respective purses. “In their usual habit, a dint of consideration was not given to the hardship Nigerians will face for such an action. Where they are supposed to represent, defend and protect us, they have remained selfish and selfcentred as they have always been. “As a citizen of Ondo State, I

any way to interfere in the administration of the people.” Regretting past military incursions in the Nigerian politics, Aregbesola stated that because of the background of the men of the military, “they overdo whatever they do anytime they have opportunity to administer the affairs of the people.”

Resume on Monday or be sacked, govt tells civil servants D

ISCIPLINARY action awaits federal civil ser vants who fail to report for work on Monday and it is official. Workers across the country have been on strike in the last one week in conformity with the directive of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that Nigerians should protest the withdrawal of petrol subsidy by the federal government.

Yusuf ALLI

An earlier threat by the Federal Government to invoke the principle of no-work-no- pay was ignored by the civil servants. That first threat was issued by the Attorney Generalof the Federation and Justice Minister,Mr.Mohammed

‘Proceeds of removed oil subsidy ‘ll go into private pockets’ ORMER Commissioner

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thing short of that is treachery. May we not have treachery in our land.” Praying to God to limit the intervention of the military in the affairs of what he called civilised societies, the governor said his position was informed by the fact that “the most reasonable responsibility of the military is to defend the people. It is not in

Damisi OJO, Akure hold the view that the support of Mr. Governor in favour of the removal of the fuel subsidy and his leading role in this direction in the South West are contrary to the position of the people of Ondo State. “While we are fighting for

our right for decent treatment and living conditions, we must demand for optimal utilisation of our resources and also kick against the excessive debt profile that the governor is erecting for the state through the N27 billion loan stock and N10 billion internal loan encumbrance that the state has been dragged into.

Adoke. But yesterday, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, in a statement through the Deputy Director (Press & Public Relations), Tope Ajakaiye, said protesting workers would be guilty of absence from duty without leave. He spoke as the NLC vowed that it would be launching the mother of protests on Monday should government fail to reach agreement with it today on the fuel subsidy issue. The first week of the strike was a massive success. The HOS’s statement reads: “The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, has observed that many civil servants have not taken advantage of the directive to Permanent Secretaries to provide staff buses to convey officers from their places

of abode to the office during the period of the strike action embarked upon by the Trade Unions. “The Head of Service wishes to bring to the notice of all Federal Civil Servants that following the injunction obtained by the Federal Government from the National Industrial Court against the strike action by the Trade Unions, the failure of any civil servant to report to his duty post amounts to ‘absence from duty without leave’ which is a serious misconduct that carries severe penalty under the Public Service Rules. “In view of this, the Head of Service has advised all civil servants to immediately resume duties as Permanent Secretaries have been directed to commence disciplinary measures against those who continue to be absent from their duty posts.”

NASFAT supports Nigerians on fuel protest

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ASRUL Lahi L Fatih Society (NASFAT) is solidarising with Nigerians on the on going protest against the increase in the pump price of petrol. It is, however, against what it calls the misuse of the protest by miscreants and some unruly activists to perpetrate coercion, thuggery, extortion and other crimes against innocent fellow citizens. The Islamic group, in a statement yesterday by its National President,Alhaji Sheriff Yusuf, said:”The crust of the struggle should not be narrowed on just petrol price increase, but on the more critical issue of non judicious use of the wealth of this country by governments at all levels. “We call on the federal government to lead the way in winning back the trust of the

people (which appears to be grossly eroded at the moment) in the competence and credibility of government to manage the collective wealth of the people. The resources of the country belong to the people and the government is placed in trust to apply the resources for the collective benefit of the greatest number of the populace. “At the moment, it is clear that the trust of the people is being openly and flagrantly abused through ostentatious lifestyles of elected public officers, mindless self-gratification by the same public officers who award obscene quantum of personal benefits and perks of office to themselves, institutionalization of mediocrity and parochialism which in turn promotes unproductive

proliferation of agencies and personnel in government, lack of transparency and accountability by government officials, endemic corruption through inflated contracts and other avenues of siphoning government resources illegally.

“ The government at the centre must rise at this time to wage serious, resolute and relentless war against these ills that have eroded the most important gesture, which is trust, it requires from the people to be able to serve them well”.

Don challenges Okonjo-Iweala, Jonathan to debate

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former lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University Institute of Education, Centre for Distance Learning, Badagry Study Centre, Mr. Wole Oyenusi, has challenged the Minister of Finance, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, and President Goodluck Jonathan to an open television debate to be moderated by the Nigerian press on the state of the Nigerian economy and the dynamics of fuel subsidy. Oyenusi said this in a statement .He accused the minister and the president of spouting what he described as “irredeemably exploitative neo-imperialist demagoguery capable of precipitating a spinal dislocation of the Nigerian socio-psy chological framework. “He affirmed that by swallowing the bait of the world’s financial sharks, the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) and the World Bank, hook line and sinker the duo have sold the well-being of Nigerians.

Group denounces hijack of protest

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coalition of youth or ganizations in Kaduna State yesterday decried alleged hijack of the protest against the removal of subsidy on petrol in the state and attack on public institutions which led to the imposition of curfew in Kaduna metropolis. The position of the youths came as life began to return to normal in the city. The youth organizations include Zazzau Youth Forum, Northern Youth Democratic Union, South-South Youth Congress, Ndigbo Youth Forum, Yoruba Youth Association and Joint Northern and Southern Kaduna Youth Forum.

Kano death toll rises to five

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WO more casualties have been reported in the pro test in Kano over the withdrawal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. Three had died in earlier clashes. The victims died in separate clashes between the police and protesters in Kano. The latest violent incident took place at Kurna Asabe quarters of the metropolis on Thursday night , where police

Kolade ADEYEMI, Kano reportedly shot two protesters, one of whom later gave up the ghost on Thursday night. One of the victims of last Monday’s shooting has also been confirmed dead.He was shot in a fracas at the entrance of the state Government House. The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who confirmed the death of

one of the victims, commiserated with his family. Idris, who had ordered the arrest of the police officer who allegedly shot the two protesters, described their deaths as unfortunate, adding that the police would work harder to prevent the loss of lives in future protests. Meanwhile, the ancient city remained calm and peaceful, as Muslims observed yesterday’s Juma’at prayers amidst tight security.


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THE BIG PROTEST (DAY FIVE)

Police arrest 130 protesters over bonfires T HE Police in Lagos have arrested one hundred and thirty (130) suspects for their alleged involvement in making bonfires with which they barricaded major highways and streets. Police spokesman, Mr Samuel Jinadu, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP), who confirmed the arrest, said that the suspects were arrested in different parts of the metropolis yesterday. He said some of the suspects were arrested for allegedly harassing, intimidating and extorting unsuspecting passersby and law-

Jude ISIGUZO

ful protesters. Jinadu noted that the suspects who are currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba would soon be charged to

court. The police spokesman called on parents to advise their wards to stay at home during this Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and civil society groups protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in

order not to get into trouble. On Thursday, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), in charge of Administration, Mr Azubuko Udah, who is coordinating police operation in the south-west, had threatened that the police would start arresting all those who set

up bonfires as such act could cause destruction of existing public facilities. Udah had also warned all criminal minded elements who wants to hijack the protest for their selfish interest to desist as the police will not take it lightly with them.

Ohanaeze urges parties to shift grounds Adimike GEORGE, Onitsha

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HE Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday urged the federal government and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to shift grounds with a view to resolving the impasse over the removal of fuel subsidy. The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, said the devastating effects of the protests were beginning to tell on the masses. He said the continued strike would, among other things, further impoverish the country by reducing its economic viability and maintained that total reaching of truce by both sides would lead to final and amicable resolution of the impasse. “It is, therefore, clear that both the federal government, supported by a majority of governors on one hand, and the embattled labour union leaders ,on the other, are targeting the same objective, namely the interest of the Nigerian citizens. However, the continued stalemate and the disruptive effect of the ongoing strike have caught the populace whose interest is at stake for both in unintended but dangerous crossfire” he said. The President General also appealed to the protesters to remain calm and desist from damaging both individual and government property in the name of protest and urged them to be civil as their demands would be met soon. •Continued from Back Page patronise sports and inadvertently recruit the locals as coaches, athletes, grounds men, drivers, cleaners, security personal, doctors and other institutional staff in their sports outfits. If each of the 774 local governments employ 50 people for each of the mandatory four mini-sports centres in the proposed pilot scheme, it would help reduce the employment rate in the hinterlands. Perhaps we need to reintroduce the zonal sports offices in the six geo-political zones and equip them with quality coaches and office personnel who should be monitored just as the coaches must be retrained. Those who are not productive should be eased out of the system.

•Children protesting the removal of fuel subsidy in Mushin, Lagos... yesterday

PHOTO: Dupe OLAOYE-OSINKOLU

Abia NLC abandons protest march

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HE twice shifted rally by the Abia State wing of the Nigeria Labour Congress [NLC] to protest the removal of petrol subsidy may never hold again after it failed to take place ysterday. The first attempt to hold the rally on Wednesday ended with the beating up

Ugochukwu EKE, Umuahia of the NLC chairman, Silvanus Eyeh , by irate workers who were displeased with his statement that the protest be called off on the strength of information that hooldums were lurking around to hi-

jack it and use the opportunity to destroy government property. They said his position tallied with that of Governor Theodore Orji who did not want the rally to take place. Workers had also gathered yesterday for the rescheduled rally only to be informed that it was no longer taking place.

The way forward These rebuilding processes would produce incontrovertible data base for the talents discovered. And it would help sports develop since athletes won’t be able forge ages to play for the junior teams. But how did we get to this pitiable situation? Greed and the selfishness of those who administer sports put us in this inglorious path. They refused to build on the gains of the past. They introduced quota system. Sports facilities were left to decay. Nepotism formed the fulcrum for picking coaches, officials and athletes. That would have been okay, if they performed. But these people failed us woefully. Competitions, which used to expose the poor state of our facilities, dried up largely because our administrators were not

transparent in their handling of funds for such tourneys, especially the few sponsored by the blue-chip companies. The government’s insistence on footing the bills of sports compelled its officials to ignore the corporate firms for sponsorship. Our coaches were left untrained. Those picked for assignments were ill-equipped and this affected the quality of athletes representing the country. One only hopes that the sports minister will challenge his men to start the season now. They shouldn’t wait until the last minute to open the country’s camp for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Adepoju’s integrity

This is a clarion call on Barrister Leye Adepoju to submit the investigative panel’s report on last season’s match fixing scam. He needs to take decisions that would restore confidence in our domestic game. FIFA and CAF eggheads are waiting for his panel’s report to see if we can redeem ourselves from the shame. Lobi Stars’ chairman Dominic Iorfa’s allegations did not include any telephone conversations between the referees and other club officials. Iorfa produced pictures, which he took with referees who were billed to handle his game. He also felt strongly that the referees had infringed on the rules of the game and insisted that they must be punished. Adepoju, a lawyer, needs

Scores of policemen were on hand to keep the peace. The Abia NLC chairman was saved by some of his personal aides who whisked him away after which he went to the government house in Umuahia to hold a meeting with Orji who pleaded with the labour to call off the strike. Eyeh left for Abuja yesterday to attend a meeting of the national leadership of the NLC on the fuel subsidy issue. to tells us if indeed the referees were found in the vehicle belonging to Iorfa’s opponents. If they were, they should be punished now. Delaying the report on grounds of having difficulties in getting any telecommunication firm to supply the telephone details involving the referees and any club official is nebulous. If any referee dragged any official into the mess, it only helps the panel to decide the case. Nigerian referees have been humiliated by their exclusion from major competitions. Our best chance to convince FIFA and CAF chieftains that they are not corrupt is now. I trust Leye Adepoju to begin the process of ridding our league of corrupt officials. Leye, this your life.

APGA, civil groups tell Jonathan to revert to N65 Ogbonnaya OBINNA, Abakaliki

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HE All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Ebonyi State Chapter has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately revert to N65 per litre of petrol to avert civil unrest in the country. The also called for the immediate sack of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Prof. Okonjo Iweala for her alleged role in the removal of the fuel subsidy. Similarly, civil society groups in the state yesterday dissociated themselves from the pro-subsidy rally in the state, describing it as the handiwork of the People’s Democratic Party -led government in the state. The state APGA chairman, Chief Jerry Obasi ,assessing the situation in the country, urged the organized labour to remain resolute on the strike until the government reverts to the old pump price. Obasi said: “This is the worst situation in the history of the country, from N65 to over N140.President Jonathan should have a second look at subsidy because every country has what it subsidises and most countries subsidise what they produce, so he should revert back to the old pump price of N65 . “We don’t have refineries on ground. and if we don’t have refineries on ground, then I tell you the issue of subsidy removal will worsen the entire situation of the country in the long run”. The Coordinator, Campaign for Democracy and Human Right Justice and Peace Foundation, Comrade Onu Visions, dismissed the brains behind the pro-subsidy rally in Abakaliki yesterday as agents of the People’s Democratic Party. He said: “Campaign for Democracy and the Human Right Justice and Peace Foundation distance themselves from the alleged pro-subsidy march in Abakaliki. Some people suspected to be agents of PDP marched the streets of Abakaliki.They are not members of the civil society groups. “The protest in support of the subsidy removal in the state was stagemanaged as no true civil society members was seen there. We want to make our stand clear. We are not in support of the subsidy removal and the PDP should stop deceiving people. “We will soon mobilize the whole of Ebonyi State to join the rest of the country to protest the removal of the subsidy. We further decry the inability of the government to address the Boko Haram upsurge in the country which has become a major threat to the continued existence of Nigeria as an entity. “We urge labour not to be deterred from its objective. The government of Ebonyi State has posed itself as a threat to the people, but their threat would never deter us. We will continue to fight for the right of the people,” he said.


Delta Police parade sixteen suspects The Delta State Police Command, yesterday, paraded 16 suspects for involvent in alleged kidnap, and armed robbery. The State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mamman Tsafe,told reporters in Asaba that the Police anti-kidnap squad swooped on a six man gang while attempting to collect N2 million being part of a N40 million ransom for an octogenarian, Mrs. Beatrice Okwebi. The victim was abducted on December 16, 2011 in Kwale, Ndokwa West L.G.A and kept for three weeks in their hideout in Amai forest. Luck however ran out on the kidnappers after one of them identified asCharles Odili was arrested while trying to collect the ransom. Tsafe said Odili confessed to his involvement in the crime and led the police to Ogbese Amai were the victim was rescued unhurt. Other gang members Henry Ogwuolie and Fidelis Enoteju were also arrested while one Kenneth Otuya described as a notious member of the gang was gunned down while trying to flee. Two million naira cash was recovered from them. Two robbery suspects named Mohammed Namadi and Garuba Isah were arrested after allegedly attacking Usman Abubakar, a cattle dealer at Erho Abraka and tried to rob him of money and cows. Tsafe said the duo has terrorized Abraka and its environs for long.The police recovered one pump action gun, one cut to size locally made gun,

Okungbowa Aiwerie,Asaba 8 live cartridges, charms and a long rope. A separate four man kidnap gang involved in the kidnap of Mrs. Fine Keredei,

wife of the Decca Keredei of Amantu Kingdom, Bayelsa State was similarly smashed. They were arrested at a hideout in Effurun, Uwvie L.G.A. The victim was also rescued unhurt. Items recovered from the suspects include One AK 47

rifle with No. 30367, two magazines. Two others armed robbery suspects, Abubakar Mohammed and Ibrahim Umar, who were apprehended by the Joint Patrol Team along Ubiaruku and Abraka axis. Tsafe blamed several rob-

bery incidents on this gang. He said some victims of their robbery escapades have identified them. Items recovered includes two cut to size locally made guns,2 live cartridges ,2 Nokia handsets, Necklaces and bag containg clothes. Tsafe said all the suspects are due in court soon.

88-yr-old traditional ruler alleges threat to life The 88 year old traditional ruler of Bende Autonomous community in Bende Local Government area of Abia state, Eze Ariwodo Kalunta ,has alleged threat to his life . Those of his family members are also being threatened ,he said in a Save our Soul message to the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim. He pleaded with the police authority to protect him and his family from those he called enemies who want them dead. Some people,he alleged,invaded his compound last Monday with scores of armed policemen and plain cloth security operatives and buried “an unknown corpse” there.

UGOCHUKWU EKE, UMUAHIA He said he was also held hostage in his room where he was recuperating from an illness while his wife and other members of the family were held in another part of the building for hours while the said burial lasted. Eze Ariwodo,a medical doctor and the first psychiatric doctor in the defunct Eastern Region, alleged that the invaders were led by two of his children and accompanied by other people he described as “thugs” and some police men from Bende. Our correspondent gathered that the “unknown

corpse” was the remains of his estranged 52 year old medical doctor son, Lawrence Kalunta, who had engaged him in a long standing legal dispute. He said:”They gave the cabal money to harass and hold us hostage. Our lives are threatened. I was not briefed before the burial. I was not even informed of the death of my estranged son. My house is not a cemetery. “They were held hostage for hours. Two plain cloth security operatives who led the operation claimed that they had orders from above. “We were not shown any warrant. The way they came we took them to be kidnappers. That is not how security operatives work; they oper-

ated like criminals. “I am therefore calling on the Inspector General of police to protect us. They even threatened to come back to deal with me and my family. So we appeal to the Inspector General of police to protect us from these evil people”. When contacted on telephone, the Abia state police commissioner, Bala Hassan said he was not aware of the incident. Hassan, however, explained that the police are usually informed about controversial burials to avoid break down of law and order, saying that if the police were there,it was to maintain peace and order.

Soldiers arrest cow thieves in Edo Osagie Otabor, Benin Some hoodlums who participated in the stealing, slaughtering and sharing of several cows in Benin City during the antisubsidy removal protests have been arrested by soldiers. The hoodlums who hid under the fuel subsidy removal protest to perpetrate the act stole several cattle after overpowering their owners.The animals were thereafter slaughtered and shared by the hoodlums. Worst hit were Aduwawa, St Saviour, Upper Uwa, Upper Sakponba roads and NNPC depot area on the Benin-Agbor road. The attack on the cattle ranch in Benin City has led to the scarcity of beef in the market and subsequently an astronomical increase in the prices of fish and chickens. The suspects were arrested after a Fulani herdsman tipped off military men patrolling the area The military officers saw where the slaughtering was carried out and after inquiry from neighbours, they arrested 12 suspects. A woman, described as wife of one of the brains behind the stealing,was alleged to have used part of the beef to prepare food at her restaurant. Two of the suspects who gave their names as Bashiru Adigun and Peter Oguche denied involvement in the act but could not explain how they came about the large quantity of beef found in their their houses. The police after receiving the suspects from the Army said they would charge them to court soon.


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 2012

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EOPLE power is the latest phenomenon in global politics nowadays. In simple parlance people power is the mass attempt by non -violent protesters to overthrow despots or you can call it a movement for a peaceful regime change. According to records and history, people power has been around for sometime even though most of such protests have not succeeded in effecting regime change but they have invariably proved seminal in having planted the seeds of change. Definitely with the protests in Nigeria that started last Monday with strikes over the removal of fuel subsidy and the increase of the price of petrol from 65 naira to 140 naira by government from New Year's day, people power made a grand debut in the usually docile and agitationindifferent Nigerian political environment. It is quite easy to identify the source of the people power infection of the Nigerian political system as the street revolution in North Africa that has ended disgracefully, the tyrannical regimes of former despots Ben Ali in Tunisia; Housni Mubarak in Egypt; and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. In Egypt Housni Mubarak is alive but unwell and being taken to court on his hospital bed as the prosecutor is asking the trial judge to sentence him to death for ordering the shooting of protesters asking him to leave office peacefully. In Yemen the outgoing president who has ordered the shooting of thousands of protesters asking him to leave has just this week secured an immunity bill from prosecution through negotiations brokered from far and near so that he can release power and hopefully live without the fear of prosecution for killing protesters like his Egyptian counterpart. The identity bond of all these despots is that that they have been in office for so long, indeed decades, and have been so used to not listening to the demands of their people for a better life, that they never took their complaints seriously that they should end the corrupt and inept regimes that they and their families have entrenched as a way of life on their suffering citizenry. At the end however people power prevailed and the will of the street protesters triumphed over the long- run tyranny and oppression of these leaders. As indispensable as they thought they were to the security and progress of their nations, their people survived them without an earthquake or eclipse of the sun-and new leaders have kept the torch of governance burning and blowing in the direction of the masses' interests and welfare ever since. As at the beginning of this week however and judging from the intensity of global news two nations and their leadership have shown clearly that they have not learnt anything from the experiences of the despots vanquished by people power in the nations mentioned before.

“YES... INFLATION,HUNGER,POVERTY and of course,HYPERTENSION!

People power, democracy and negotiations

The two nations are Syria and most unfortunately my own nation Nigeria. Yet the two nations do not have anything in common until quite very recently. I will therefore discuss recent events and issues in these two countries to show that leaders should learn to respect the wishes of the governed and always leave an exit door for negotiations to resolve difficult political and human issues. Syria's President Basshar Assad is man born into power who succeeded his father Haffez Assad-[1970 2000 ] twelve years ago as president of Syria .Since he is a product of dynastic succession he too has turned nasty against the street protests asking him to leave power peacefully in Syria. He has mowed down 5000 protesters since the revolt against him started but he is still blood thirsty and believes he was born to rule. Early this week he told off delegates from the Arab League-who went to Syria to monitor events at his invitation-that the Arab League has always been a traitor to the Arab cause including his own meaning Syria. Indeed more protesters have been killed since the Arab League got into Syria since December 26 about 400 - than before their entry. But then Assad has a short memory or would have learnt from recent history in

his environment at least involving Syria's neighbor, Lebanon. In March 2005 Lebanon's puppet government propped up by Assad faced one million demonstrators in Beirut who defied a ban on protests against the presence of Syrian soldiers in Lebanon. By April 2005 Syrian troops were out and Syria's 29 year old military involvement in Lebanon was over. I foresee a similar fate for Assad and his army in Syria even as he fumed early this week that he would not shirk his responsibility and give in to the demands of his people to go. His birds of the same feather said far worse in Tripoli and Cairo before their disgraceful exit. Time and history are definitely not on the side of this stubborn but murderous sit - tight ruler in Damascus. On Nigeria like I said before the two nations do not have any thing in common until recently. The two presidents are equally dissimilar. The president of Nigeria was recently elected on a clear mandate while Syria has an old dictatorship spanning decades involving father and son. Religion however seem to have brought the two into the same class. Syria fanned the embers of religious strife in Lebanon for 29 years until it was booed out successfully

by Lebanese demonstrators in 2005. In Syria however the Assad family belongs to the Alawite Moslem sect that is a minority but has been able to rule because of the trust of the majority Sunni Muslims, and minority Christians and Druze as well as the mutual distrust of the three for each other. In a similar mode the Nigerian president got elected by the rest of the country especially in the south because he comes from the area that laid the golden goose of oil that has been used to develop the whole nation while that area stagnated in backwardness, oil pollution and environmental degradation. Another recent similarity is in the rising menace of religious strife in which Nigerian Christians have been asked to leave the north by Boko Haram which has been bombing churches in the north while some mosques have been burnt in the south supposedly in retaliation. In addition in a video clipping reminiscent of that of Bin Laden after 9/11 the Boko Haram leader has been shown threatening the government of Nigeria that his forces are stronger than the combined strength of the security forces of Nigeria. A major similarity again is the stubborn streak in the

leadership of the two nations. That of Assad is well known and may well be his undoing. That of the Nigerian president are manifest on three issues. The first is the way he has refused to patch up his quarrel with the governor of his own state even though they are in the same party. The second is in the way he has treated the Boko Haram issue through his utterances. When the police headquarters was bombed in Abuja he said that Boko Haram could have bombed anyone including the IG or himself . Of recent he reportedly said Boko Haram has infiltrated his government at several levels. These are utterances that give the terrorists a psychological advantage of achievement and recognition while diminishing the confidence of the Nigerian security forces and the Nigerian people in terms of security. The third is the issue of removal of fuel subsidy on which the government has decided that there is no going back and for which it has deployed a massive and expensive media campaign to make Nigerians see reason and agree to buy fuel at 140 naira per liter. In all honesty the president should have a rethink on all these issues in the national interest. An elected president is a father of all his people and should rise above personal interest in dealing with the people who elected him. It is apparent the fuel subsidy removal is to please the IMF and World Bank that Nigeria is ahead in market reforms. But the strategies of the two global financial institutions are in shambles in terms of economic results in the developing nations that took their loans and accepted their loan conditions. They ask developing nations to democratize and marketize at the same time and have in

the process created very rich few at the expense of the democratic majority and these have created resentment, anger, ethnic and religious hatred as we are seeing in the protests in Nigeria over the removal of the fuel subsidy. It is a fact of history that no developed nation grew by marketizing and democratizing at the same time. One came after the other. For now the experts have said it is better to have the infrastructure and development in place first to sustain any democracy or market reform and Nigeria cannot be an exception. Really no developing nation practiced unrestrained democratic mass adult suffrage in developing alongside lassez faire capitalism being forced on the developing nations of the world like Nigeria. Even the US which set up the two institutions at the end of the second world war pumped money into its economy in terms massive bail out by the Obama administration in the last global economic melt down that started in 2008-and the results are beginning to show positively in the election year that 2012 is, to Obama's favor in the coming presidential elections .Nigeria is a democracy too and should respect the feelings of its electorate and not market forces alone. Nobody mentioned removal of subsidy to balance the books and keep the economy afloat in the US because they know they are accountable to the people at the next elections. The protests in Nigeria are one week old now and the government should just revert to 65 naira as demanded by Labor and face squarely the more important task of eliminating Boko Haram and save Nigeria from another civil war arising from religious strife and persecution. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


10 COMMENTARY

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

As the fuel subsidy farce continues… Knucklehead

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HEN, on November 5, 2011, Knucklehead added its voice to the controversial and vexatious fuel subsidy issue, the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration was cautioned to, first, earn the trust of the people before taking the suicidal step to hike the price of petrol. Second, the government was advised against setting aglow “the fire of controversy before thinking about how to extinguish it.” It was also pointed out, in clear terms, that the government simply has too much crises to grapple with already and that it would amount to double jeopardy for it to now concern itself with those things that can further worsen the historic lethargic spasms in governance. The piece did not, in the main, set out to question the authenticity of the conjured figure of N1.3 trillion being peddled as funds that go into the pockets of the powerful cartel in the oil sector. It merely questioned the seeming impotence of government to deal with those responsible for the grand larceny. Parts of the piece titled ‘The farce called fuel subsidy’, read: “To show that no lesson has been learnt in the administration’s spasmodic approach to matters of urgent national importance, the Presidency woke up one day and decided to, as they put in my part of the world, do something crazy, by intimating the National Assembly of its firm resolve to withdraw the honey pot called fuel subsidy on petroleum products. To ward off any shade of doubt about government’s seriousness, Jonathan, in the 2012-2015 Medium Term Fiscal Framework and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, stated that: ‘A major component of the policy of fiscal consolidation is the government’s intent to phase out the fuel subsidy beginning from the 2012 fiscal year. This will free up about N1.2 trillion in savings, part of which can be deployed into providing safety nets for poor segments of the society to ameliorate the effects of subsidy removal.’ “Now, this vexatious phantom of subsidy has been in existence for ages. What is cloaked in the informal but Official Secrecy Act is how much had gone into the private pockets of the powerful cabal that manages this fund, which has failed to achieve its objective of etching a simple plastic laughter on the faces of the poorest of the poor in the society. Instead, those who ordinarily should rein in the economic saboteurs told us that these elements are too hot for anyone to handle. Therefore, under the Jonathan Presidency, over N1tr was being creamed off annually by these ghostly forces. In order to halt the drift and rekindle a flicker of hope in the tragic trajectory that has become the lot of the forgotten poor, the wise men and women converged on Aso Rock, went into a frenzied brain wave and decided to save us from eternal misery. Thus came the wackiest idea of total withdrawal of subsidy from petroleum products. ‘Save the money and deploy it for the general wellbeing of the masses,’ they say. What a wonderful idea! “But then, that is just one part of the story. Those who know one or two things about the body language of the bureaucrats in government will tell you that there is more to that flowery façade of the urge to help the poor than meets the eye. For one, you do not help the poor who presumably voted you into power without consulting them. In a democracy, decisionmaking may be at the discretion of the President, it is definitely not a one-way traffic. That is the first mistake Jonathan made when he took the solitary, dangerous dive without checking whether the concrete pool had been refilled with water. In that haste, he gives himself off as someone who is more interested in ‘fiscal consolidation’ than the more important matter of addressing the crying poverty in the land. Why give a definitive date of implementation to a matter that requires the support of varied interests and stakeholders?

•We can’t trust the President. GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) is an offshoot of the traitors who betrayed our forefathers into slavery in the 14th Century. We thought he had native sense, but he joined the international conspirators to aggravate the new enslavement of our people. He must go. Oloye Adeniji, SW CNPP Sec. Gen. •It is doubtful if President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could again be trusted. That subsidy should not even be removed at all had been our slogan, not knowing that ‘they must be dreaming’ had been the thinking of President GEJ and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The January 1, 2012 bombshell was the most wicked •Nnaji we have got from any of our leaders. Lanre Oseni, Lagos •Vincent, I had made another national daily my favourite newspaper, not knowing that highly talented articles like yours exist in Nigeria, particularly in The Nation newspaper. As I was driving in from my site, I wanted to pick my usual newspaper from my vendor but he gave me The Nation. Grudgingly, I took it and went home without even opening it. I dropped it beside the dining table until I opened it this afternoon and began to gulp wonders, wisdom and facts that came out of your pen. My dear, keep it up. Engr Omire, Orlu, Imo State. •Vincent, please help me tell Nigerians that most labour leaders lift fuel and they don’t have filling stations. You can confirm this from the NNPC records. They collect subsidy from government and divert the product. The strike is

“If the opposition against the move has been overwhelmingly anti-government, it is not because some Nigerians would not like to see an end to the farcical drama that has lasted for an eternity. The growing discontent in the land is borne out of the general feeling that, on this matter, the government’s insincerity smells to high heavens. We, the people know them more than they will ever assume. People have asked simple questions that the government seems not to have answers to. What is so sacrosanct about the January date such that the government had to put the cart before the horse? Moreover, who exactly are the leeches of the presumed subsidy that Jonathan and his men are scared of naming? Why can’t the government itemize what the savings would be spent on; set up the committee of wise men to manage the funds; reach an agreement with organized Labour; sensitize the populace that it would be beneficial to them before withdrawing the questionable subsidy? Is this not one other reason to conclude that this government is adept at pushing out illconceived, ill-thought policies that set the nation light years back?” Sadly, two months after, the country is under the siege of an angry populace, labour unions and a coalition of civil society groups. In a whimsical show of power, the government announced an immediate withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit on January 1, 2012. It was a New Year package that shocked many, especially those who were made to sell their personal belongings to make up for transport fares from wherever they had gone to celebrate with loved ones. Prices of foodstuff blow out of hand as motorists groan under the weight of paying more than 100 per cent hike per litre of PMS. It was a devastating blow that caught many napping, including those who placed much value on the government’s assurances that the new price regime would commence in April, 2012 when the year’s budget is expected to take off. It was a misplaced trust. Therefore, it didn’t take long for the leadership of the organized labour to call for a nationwide strike as the government vowed to stick to its guns! Today, as I write this, the country is in turmoil. Lives have been lost. Properties have been damaged. The nation continues to count its losses in billions of naira. The Nigerian Police insist most of the persons killed were hoodlums. However, they fail to tell us if the law empowers them to kill the citizens they are paid to protect extra-judicially and at the slightest provocation. Would it be right to ascribe the ‘hoodlum’ tag to all those young men whose lives were cut short by the straying bullets of these trigger happy men in black? If there was no intent to kill and maim, why would those drafted to keep the peace at a legitimate gathering of unarmed protesters arm themselves with live bullets? Are the

It was a New Year package that shocked many, especially those who were made to sell their personal belongings to make up for transport fares from wherever they had gone to celebrate with loved ones. Prices of foodstuff blow out of hand as motorists groan under the weight of paying more than 100 per cent hike per litre of PMS

With

Yomi Odunuga E-mail:yomi.odunuga @thenationonlineng.net SMS only: 07028006913 police really anyone’s friend in Nigeria? Yet, in the midst of the self-inflicted crisis, vital questions are being asked about the real amount being spent on subsidy and whose pockets the money goes into. It is still befuddling that the government thinks the people would not see through the dummy it sold to them as ‘palliatives’ after hitting them below the belt. What sense does it make to hastily release keys of 110 buses, out of a possible 1,600, to the fat cats in the transportation industry when an efficient rail system would have been more appropriate? Pray, what percentage of these buses gets to the villages that house over 70 per cent of the nation’s over 150 million people groaning under the weight of the Satanic fuel subsidy cut? If the policy had been well thought through and consultations had been concluded, there would not have been any need for that presidential address where the President announced a cosmetic reduction in the salaries of political appointees and a cut in foreign travels by government officials. In Nigeria, even illiterates know that those in government feed fat on the lucre in high places rather than depend on legitimate salaries. Because the Presidency opted to stand aloof, no one is ready to be on the same page with it except its paid lapdogs who are frantically beating the drums of weak, effete propaganda. Unfortunately, they are not winning in this battle of wits with the people. Perhaps, it is a price the government has to pay for underestimating the intelligence of the people. When all this is over, it is hoped that the government would have learnt one lesson—that dire consequences await those who take the people for granted. For the avoidance of doubt, there is a consensus of opinion that the leeches in the system must be cut off so that the poor do not continue to subsidize the decadent tastes and insensitive proclivities of the fat cats who throng the corridors of power. The Senate has spoken eloquently on this. The House of Representatives leaves no one in doubt about its allegiance with the people. For once, they are kicking against a system that puts the cart before the horse. In a democracy, you cannot place additional burdens on an impoverished people and expect them to absorb the heat without fighting back. That is why protesters have taken over the cities, challenging the government to walk its talk by reducing the excessive wastes in the system. History has shown that such agitations are never quelled by hot bullets. Second, that no propaganda, no matter how forceful, can obliterate the truth. Like I wrote in November, trust, like respect, is earned, not bought. Respect or trust can be likened to a bridge; it does just go from here to there, it also faces backwards. It is not an item on display in Otuoke village square market. For now, this government has simply failed to earn the trust of the people by continuing to play hide and seek with a matter that touches on the life of every Nigerian. By unilaterally removing subsidy on PMS on New Year’s Day followed by a frantic search for ‘palliatives’, the government’s infamous credibility crisis may well be on the verge of receiving the deadliest knockout punches ever. Good luck to all!

Reactions to Saturday Flakes Re: Should we trust this President? for their selfish ends. In China, they would have been executed. Help tell Nigerians that with deregulation, fuel will soon be less than N60 per litre. 080284674.. Your piece has highlighted virtually all the reasons why we should beware of Jonathan. For a man and his cabinet to deceive Nigerians on several occasions and for him to have deceptively knelt before God and man (Pastor Adeboye) before his election only to turn around to make ungodly policies shows he cannot be trusted. Adey Corsim, Oshodi, Lagos •The President, the state governors who supported the removal of fuel subsidy as a condition for the payment of minimum wage and even the labour union which should have declared a strike a week earlier than it did cannot be trusted. My brother, expect the usual scenario: Labour declares strike, after some days, they call off the strike after “meeting” with the Federal Government. If we are lucky or unlucky, the price will be reduced to N100 or N120. Then we will start cursing Labour that they betrayed us. The only way we can call our leaders to order is for Nigerian people and and the civil society to remain focused in the battle against the oppressors. On the issue of security, we now pray with both eyes open. May God help us. Kola Alao, Surulere, Lagos. •Flakes, I believe you miss the point by try-

ing to allude that no sooner had Jonathan than these maltreated animals called Boko Haram emerged (to spoil the rule of a southern president. Sir, do understand that these creatures were there during Yar’Adua, causing chaos. But such are our regional columnists! 080795366.. •Should we trust this President? The answer is capital no. It is a waste of time thinking that he can change from his devlish ways of administration. He is worse than known world dictators. He must be tackled from all fronts. He has murdered sleep, hence he should be sent packing. He is a wicked president. Pastor Odunmbaku •For he who innovates will have for his enemies all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new. This lukewarm temper arises partly from the dear of adversaries who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of mankind who will never admit the merit of anything new until they have seen it proved by the event— Machiavelli (1469-1527) 080231972.. •A President that spends one million naira per day, rides on N200 million worth of bullet proof car all paid for by Nigerians cannot be trusted. A President who wants to deregulate those those he swore to protect cannot be trusted. A President who wants his country-

men to subsidise his government functionaries’ voracious appetite and sedentary lifestyle cannot be trusted. Finally, over-reliance by somebody or a people on goodluck is always counter-productive. Enough said. Kayode A., Abeokuta. •Your relentless condemnation of government policies may be fueling the violence by sectarian groups in the country. You need to take another look at your write-ups. All your pages are filled with anti-government sentiments. Why? 080371004.. •For as long as this country has to import nearly 80 per cent of her required refined products fro domestic consumption, the urgent need to provide adequate refineries should be foremost. Withdrawal of subsidy before this is a callous way of government telling the people ‘you are on your own; pay whatever their anointed importers ask for as their landing cost per litre. So, Nigerians, rise up stoutly and say no to removal of oil subsidy. Sola Oyesanwo, Ilisan, Ogun State •Vincent, you could not have hit the nail on the head better than you did in your column. But those the gods would destroy they first make mad. Nigeria is too big and civilised to exist at the whims and caprices of an insensitive government. We brought them in, we will send them out! For you and your colleagues, more ink to your pen. 080380022..


Weekend

PEOPLE THE NATION, Saturday, JANUARY 14, 2011

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N W O D T U H S T A E R s e G i t i c E d e H s y T l a r a p e k i r t s y d i s b u s d e l s t s e t o r How Labour p s k r a m l l a h y t i l Police bruta


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT

•A man carrying a placard •Protesters at Ojota, Lagos during the week

The ding-dong that has been playing out between the Federal Government and organised Labour over the sudden removal of subsidy on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) eventually snowballed into a strike last Monday. And up till press time on Thusday, major cities remained virtually paralysed as major business premises, private and public, were put under lock and key. Major streets were deserted as most Nigerians, heeding the advice of the organised Labour, stayed indoors. While Labour and civil society groups organised colourful rallies to press home their demand on government to revert the price of fuel to N65, youths, mostly between the ages of 15 and 25, enforced total compliance to the strike by mounting road blocks on major roads. Some places like Lagos, Oyo, Kano, Edo, Niger, Ogun and Kwara became theatres of war, as the Police battled to contain the protesters, who grew manacing in some instances, leading to casualties. Here are the reports:

•Protesters around a bonfire in Lagos

LAGOS: Bonfires, colourful ‘carnivals’, violence signpost strike T HE handwriting was bold on the wall. The people were primed for it; the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were all ready. Monday, January 9 marked the commencement of the nationwide strike against the removal of subsidy on fuel. In Lagos, it kicked off with a bang. For long, the former capital city and commercial nerve centre has always played the lead role in national struggles against unpopular government policies. Early in the morning, the usually effervescent and boisterous swagger on major roads and streets in the sprawling metropolis were conspicuously absent. But that was momentary. By mid morning, the city had revved into life to observe the national protest. The major roads were

Augustine AVWODE, Assistant Editor deserted and adjoining streets blocked by youths, some playing football, while others enforced compliance. Labour leaders, human rights activists, civil society groups, artisans, musicians, actors and actresses, traders, drivers, men and women, street urchins, popularly called ‘area boys’, all made good the threat to go on strike. The crowd was massive. Lagos has never witnessed this sort of popular ‘revolt’ before. From all nooks and crannies of the metropolis, they came in droves and converged at the Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Park, Ojota, a popular intersection in the state. The protesters ensured that strategic markets in the sprawling city remained completely shut, offices (government and private), factories and banks were all shut. Health

institutions like government-owned hospitals, recorded very poor patronage. In Ikoyi and Victoria Island, roads were deserted. The protests did not spare the aviation industry as it also took its toll on it. The Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) and the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), which handle domestic air travellers, were shut. Roads leading to the airport were empty. The interesting thing about the strike in Lagos is that it is being championed largely by different groups. There is the Save Nigeria Group, led by Pastor Tunde Bakare and the Occupy Nigeria group operating in the Lekki axis. Lawyers were not left out, children and the widow of renowned activists stormed the Gani Fawehinmi Park with full force and great solidarity fashion. Speaker after speaker poured invectives on

the government and the shoddy way it has handled the affairs of the country. Convener of the Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said it was time for Nigerians to call for the resignation of the President and the entire cabinet. He also warned that Nigerians should not bring religious or political sentiments into the issue because, according him, God knows those who are really serving Him. The protest was said to have been coordinated from five zones in Lagos. They are: the NLC Secretariat, Yaba; TUC Secretariat, Idi-Iroko; Office of the Agric and Allied Workers Union at the Iyana-Ipaja; the Textile Union Secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba and the Lagos State University Campus in Ojo. Yet, other Nigerians and groups independently carried their protests and mass rallies across the state. At the Yaba office of the NLC, the protesters moved through Ojuelegba into the Ikorodu Road. Other aggrieved protesters moved along Fadeyi, Anthony, Maryland and Ojota chanting anti-government slogans. Dr. Dipo Fasina, the Chairman of Joint Action Front, JAF and Joint Chairman of LASCO, who also addressed the protesters at


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

SHUTDOWN

•Policemen manhandling a protester

•Protesters carrying placards

•Seun Kuti, son of late music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

•An injured victim in Lagos the Fawehinmi Park, said the struggle for the liberation of Nigerians from bad leadership had just begun and called on Nigerians to insist that President Jonathan listens to the voice of the people and reverts the hike in pump price of petrol. He called on Nigerians to rise up and revolt against any government that sought to deprive them of their rights, stressing that labour would continue to “fight within the framework of revolutionary strategy that only guarantees total freedom”. The protest, however, turned violent and recorded a number of causalities. Two persons were killed in Lagos when a Divisional Police Officer attached to the Pen Cinema Police Station allegedly shot at some youths who took opportunity of the absence of traffic to play football along the road. One of the protesters killed in Lagos was identified as Ademola Aderitan, but the identity of the second who was said to have died later at the hospital from gunshot wounds, was not known. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Yakubu Alkali, then ordered the immediate arrest of the DPO, identified as Segun Olubunmi, Chief Superintendent of Police. It

was gathered that the visibly angry Alkali personally disarmed the DPO when he was brought to the command headquarters, Ikeja, before directing men of the State Criminal Investigation Department to whisk him to Panti for further investigation. An eye-witness account had it that the DPO was driving in a pick-up patrol van with plate number RRS 101 LA and on getting to Yaya Abatan Cresent in Ifako Ijaye Local Government Area, the road was reportedly blocked with tyres by youths who were playing football. The DPO alleged that one of the players attempted to disarm him, necessitating his firing some shots. The bullets allegedly hit four of the players, one of whom died before reaching the hospital, while the second one died later at the hospital. The killer cop, however, fled the scene after the incident. Aggrieved youths in their hundreds carried the lifeless body of Mr Aderitan in a wheel barrow to Pen Cinema protesting the killing. Also, two people were feared killed and several others injured in Ibafo along Lagos/ Ibadan Expressway in Ogun State when security forces clashed with protesters. The protesters who allegedly blocked the

expressway were said to be harassing innocent people and extorting money from motorists. But a source told The Nation that the number of those who died might be about five and that the protesters engaged the Police in a running battle for over two hours. The Lagos protest was also marked by bonfires in almost all the major roads in the state such as Ikorodu, Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Badagry Expressway, Abeokuta Expressway, among others. The protesters not only displayed various anti-government and subsidy placards, they also added some comic relief. Some of the placards read: “Give us our votes back”, “Jonathan resign now, you are incapable of governing”, “Jonathan must go now”, Fuel subsidy is a scam”, No amount of black market injunction can stop us”, Lawyers reject fuel hike”, “Boko Haram throws physical bomb, President Jonathan throws economic bomb”, “Remove corruption not subsidy.” The Lagos protest also has a novel angle to it as many celebrities, including musicians, Nollywood actors and other media personalities joined the protesters. Some of them, including Femi Kuti, Funmi Iyanda, Dele Momodu, Fela Durotoye, Seun Kuti, KWAM 1, Tee A, 9ice, Ruggedman, thrilled the mammoth crowd, thus making the

protest very lively and no single dull moment. Others are: Sound Sultan, Baba Dee, Terry Tha Rapman, Vector, Omo Baba, W4, Omoni Oboli, Femi Sowoolu, Normoreloss, eLDee, Muri Thunder, Ras Kimono, Jahbless and many others. They all spoke out against the removal of fuel subsidy, as thousands thronged the park, chanting anti-government slogans and dancing to Fela’s songs from the loud speakers. Interestingly too, many medical doctors were on ground in Lagos at the Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Park to provide immediate medical attention to protesters who sustained injuries during the mass action to protest the removal of fuel subsidy. The doctors, under the auspices of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State branch, were dressed in their ward coat and stethoscope. They explained that the rationale behind their full participation was based on the fact that the action of the Federal Government would make it more difficult for over 70 per cent of Nigerians to have access to healthcare services. All through the week, Lagos has shown the way and taken the lead, with each breaking day recording more protesters than the previous day.


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N spite of the sentiment that the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience, is from Okrika in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State (both of them are Ijaw, but the President is from Otuoke in Ogbia LGA of Rivers State), thousands of protesters in Rivers State trooped out to protest the sudden removal of fuel subsidy. The indefinite nationwide strike took off in Port Harcourt on Monday, January 9, just like in other parts of Nigeria, but the first day of the strike was dedicated to the civil society groups, thereby shutting down the Garden City, with the roads and streets becoming deserted. The protests by the civil society groups, comprising the United Action for Democracy (UAD) and Ogoni Solidarity Forum (OSF), among others, made banks, courts, schools, markets, filling stations, shopping malls, local government council offices, Rivers state secretariat, Federal secretariat, seaports, offices and the Port Harcourt International Airport, among others, to be shut, with no aircraft taking off or landing. One person that stood out during the Monday’s protest by the civil society groups and also joined the Rivers chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in their protest in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, was the immediate past Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Dr. Andrew Efemini. Efemini, who is a lecturer in UNIPORT’s Department of Philosophy, is an Urhobo from Delta State. The former ASUU chairman was the only protester with torn clothes, in spite of his status in the society, an indication that Nigerians are suffering over the fuel subsidy removal, at a time of Boko Haram madness. The long sleeve shirt that Efemini worn on Monday was deliberately torn on the right hand, from the shoulder to the wrist, without bothering about comments of onlookers, while marching unperturbed round the Rivers state capital, from the popular Isaac Boro on Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway. Also on Tuesday, the radical UNIPORT lecturer wore a T-shirt that was torn on the right side, from the armpit to the waist, while joining the labour unions’ protesters from Isaac Boro Park, through Azikiwe Road, to the Brick House (Rivers Government House), where Governor Rotimi Amaechi addressed them at the main gate. Efemini, who did not feel ashamed of his torn clothes, said: “President Goodluck Jonathan must reverse petrol price to N65 per litre. Nigerians are seriously suffering and yet to enjoy the President’s fresh air, promised during electioneering. “Nigeria’s four refineries must work at installed capacities. The cabal must be tackled by President Jonathan. Nigerians are protesting to resist the Federal Government’s falsehood. The leaders’ primitive accumulation of wealth should no longer be allowed. President Jonathan must be ready to serve and not be punishing Nigerians.” The main and back gates of the Rivers State secretariat complex were shut, while the strike lasted, thereby paralysing activities. At the main gate of the Rivers State secretariat, a senior civil servant, Mr. Tony Ochiagha, who is also a union leader, declared that the price of petrol must be returned to N65 per litre, in the interest of peace. Ochiagha stated that the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government on January 1, exactly a week after the Boko Haram suicide bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla near Suleja, Niger State and other churches in the North on Christmas Day, where many worshippers were killed and valuable property destroyed, was ill-timed, since most Nigerians were still mourning the death of their loved ones. The United Action for Democracy (UAD), Ogoni Solidarity Forum (OSF) and other members of civil society groups, in their thousands, during Monday’s protest, were chanting anti-government songs and armed with placards and banners, bearing various inscriptions and calling on the Federal Government to revert to N65 per litre of petrol, in order to move Nigeria forward. Some of the placards read: “N65 per litre of petrol or nothing more”, “Cut government’s wastes”, “Fuel subsidy removal is evil”, “Remove corruption, not fuel subsidy”, “Provide security not hardship” and “Reform NNPC, PPPRA, fight sleaze, cabal.” Others were: “Where are the benefits of

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

•Protesters on Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway on day one of the strike

Bisi OLANIYI, Port Harcourt diesel subsidy removal?”, “Jonathan, fight corruption, not Nigerians”, “1,600 buses, insult to Nigerians”, “Remove corruption, not fuel subsidy”, “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala must go now” and “Remove political subsidy, not fuel subsidy.” Spokesman of the protesting civil society groups, Mr. Celestine Akpobari, told reporters in Port Harcourt that President Goodluck Jonathan must first fix the nation’s four refineries, build new ones and tackle the cabal in the oil industry. Akpobari declared that the President had not demonstrated the capacity to manage the resources of Nigeria effectively and not sincere. The human rights activist said President Jonathan is playing into the hands of persons who never wanted him to be President, stressing that the Boko Haram madness and suicide bombings in the North should be of paramount importance to him and not the removal of fuel subsidy. On the second day of the indefinite nationwide strike, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Chris Oruge, and his counterpart of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Chika Onuegbu, also insisted that the Federal Government must reverse petrol price to N65 per litre. The labour protesters were also armed with placards and banners with various inscriptions and chanting: “Sanusi Ole (thief), PDP Ole”, “Wayo (deceit) PDP”, “Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong.” Some of the placards read: “Subsidy removal, another act of terrorism”, “Jonathan, is this the fresh air you promised?”, “Prosecute subsidy cabal now”, “Revert to N65 per litre or resign”, “No to fuel subsidy removal”, “Kill corruption, not Nigerians”, “Jonathan, listen to the people, it is the voice of God.” Others included: “Revive our refineries, not subsidy removal”, “There are other alternatives to fuel subsidy removal”, “Revamp our refineries”, “Subsidy removal is suicidal” and “The timing of fuel subsidy removal will impoverish the masses.” Rivers NLC chairman (Oruge) said: “The Federal Government should reverse fuel price to N65 per litre. It is an insult for the President to say that the resolution of the

•Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, addressing members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the main gate of the Government House, Port Harcourt, on the second day of the strike

PORT HARCOURT: Angry outbursts, array of placards mark protests House of Representatives is mere advisory. No fresh air in Rivers state and other parts of Nigeria, as promised by President Jonathan. The Rivers TUC chairman (Onuegbu) described the 1,600 buses, launched in Abuja on Sunday by President Jonathan as a fraud. Onuegbu said: “The message from Nigerians is that they are saying no to the removal of fuel subsidy. President Jonathan should listen to Nigerians. After reversing the price of petrol to N65 per litre, we can then dialogue. “The cost of governance in Nigeria is the highest in the world. President Jonathan

should reduce corruption and inefficiency. It will be pathetic to abandon the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that will ensure transparency in the oil industry and give Niger Delta communities 10 per cent of crude oil and gas from their areas. The Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, while addressing the protesting members of the NLC and TUC, stated that President Goodluck Jonathan is on a rescue mission and that the economy should not collapse, while admonishing Nigerians to give their leaders, especially the President, the benefit of the doubt. Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

•The members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Rivers State, protesting on Azikiwe Road and moving towards Government House, Port Harcourt, on the second day

•Rivers State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Chika Onuegbu, addressing protesters at Isaac Boro Park on Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway

•Locked back gate of the Rivers State Secretariat, Port Harcourt on the first day. PHOTOS: Bisi OLANIYI

KADUNA: Daring youths’ melodrama, partially observed curfew hallmark strike

U •The Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Chris Oruge (left) and his counterpart of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Rivers State, Mr. Chika Onuegbu (right), at the Isaac Boro Park, on Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway, on the second day of the strike President is on a rescue mission. If we do Nigerian Governors’ Forum not support the President to remove fuel (NGF), at the main gate of the Government subsidy, you will not be able to buy clothes. House, Port Harcourt, pleaded that President The dollar will escalate. There is danger if Jonathan should be supported on the the fuel subsidy is not removed now. removal of fuel subsidy, while assuring that “I cried when I addressed leaders and before the end of this year; things would members of PENGASSAN and NUPENG begin to change for the better. recently. I know what the people are passing The Rivers Police Commissioner, Suleiman through. Few persons are gathering subsidy Abba, disclosed that 10,000 policemen were monies in their pockets, to the people’s deployed to ensure security of lives and detriment. property, while soldiers in many patrol vans “I am pleading with labour to bear with and other security operatives were moving the President and call off the strike. The poor behind the protesters to avoid violence and people are suffering. We do not have any for hoodlums not to hijack the peaceful other country. Give us the benefit of the protest. doubt and support the President. Before the Amaechi, in company with his deputy, Tele end of this year, things will begin to change.” Ikuru, an engineer; the Rivers Chairman of Amaechi, in a broadcast to Rivers people the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief on Tuesday, declared that filling stations of Godspower Ake; commissioners and other marketers who sell petrol above N137 per top government officials, promised to take litre in the state, would be sealed off and the the protesters’ message to the President. stations acquired by the Rivers government. The Rivers governor said: “I know poverty The Rivers Commissioner for Information and I know what you are suffering. President and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, Jonathan too is aware of the suffering of the later in an interactive session with reporters masses. We know there are challenges in the in Port Harcourt, said the state government’s society and we cannot continue the way we intervention was not subsidy, but bridging are going. Boko Haram threat is also there. finance, which is a loan to be paid back, “Our economy should not collapse. The without interest.

SMAN Aliyu Mohammed, a Kaduna based hotelier, got more than he bargained for on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 when he left his house. Driving along the Ali Akilu Road, Mohammed saw a man with his entire family lying on the middle of the road with a mat as part of their protest against the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government. He stopped to take shots of them with his handset. At that time, a military patrol team came along and insisted that the old man and his family leave the road to pave way for them to pass. As an alternative, they threatened to run over them. But Mohammed stood a few metres away taking shots of the scene and then, the soldiers noticed him and ordered him to stop. But he refused, insisting that it was his right to take the shots and so, nobody can stop him. According to him, the soldiers, made up of a Lieutenant and Captain, made for him and before they could get to him, he pocketed his phone, but they held him on the shirt and pushed him into their van and in the process, his shirt got torn. Mohammed is among several other Nigerians who took part in the protest against the fuel subsidy removal in Kaduna, who had a brush with security agents drafted to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order during the second day of the protest. But an unidentified man was not as lucky as Mohammed as he had to be rushed to the hospital after he was hit by a canister of teargas when some of them allegedly attempted to snatch a rifle from a policeman. The Nation could, however, not confirm this assertion, but another report had it that a young man who was later conveyed to an unknown hospital by some of his friends in a Volkswagen Golf was actually shot at the old Panteka market apparently on their way to

Tony AKOWE, Kaduna the Government House which was cordoned off by security operatives. However, the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in the state, Samuel Atung, said that he had directed the human rights committee of the association to take up the case of all those who were harassed by security agents during the protest in line with their promise to provide free legal services to all those supporting the protest. Unlike expectations of many who had feared a possible breakdown of law and order during the first day of the protest, protesters who responded to the call by organised labour and civil society groups matched peacefully along major roads within the metropolis and in Zaria without throwing a stone at anybody. Some of the protesting youths made a caricature of the situation in the country by saying in Hausa that they were leaving for Niger Republic because they were tired of the situation in Nigeria. The under-aged boys, who wore attires representing the three major tribes in the country, were telling their colleagues that they were leaving Nigeria, while others shouted ka yi hakuri (be patient). However, while the protest was thick in most parts of the metropolis, it was mild in others, especially in the southern part of the town where business went on as if nothing was happening. At night, all drinking joints in the metropolis opened for business. However, former governors of the state, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Col. Hameed Ali, who joined the protesters, addressed them at the Lugard Hall roundabout which has been renamed Unity and Freedom Square by the protesters and asked them to return to their houses and await further directive. But rather than go home, the Continued on Page 50


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

•Mr. Monday Chepke

•Mr. Fiedlis Egugbo

•Mr. Emmanuel Madubuachukwu

•The deserted Oyemekun Road over looking a bank premises in Akure

•Ever-busy Ilesa-Akure-Owo Road during the protest

ASABA: Deltans count losses

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LTHOUGH the Nigeria Labour Congress-organised strike in Delta State was largely peaceful and devoid of the violence that characterised the protest in some states, many protesters lamented losses occasioned by the near total collapse of socio-economic activities. Among this group are artisans, shop owners, traders and other self-employed Deltans. Yet another group, which participated in the mass protest, are upbeat despite suffering from the deleterious physical effects of their “endurance trek”. These diehards have vowed that they would return to the streets if called upon to do so again. Mr. Fidelis Egugbo, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Pointer Chapter, who spoke with The Nation, said: “The removal of the fuel subsidy is very bad; at a time like this when civil servants were expecting the 13th month salary after the festive period, you are rewarded with the removal of fuel subsidy. The removal of fuel subsidy is not in good faith especially when palliative measures have not been put in place to cushion the effects”. On how he coped with the gruelling trek that took protesters across the Asaba metropolis, Mr. Egugbo responded: “That trek was worth it. For one, it was a big exercise for those of us used to driving regularly. It was tedious I must confess, trekking from Traffic Light junction to Government House and from there to the House of Assembly and ending it at the Labour House. Ordinarily no one can take on such a journey, but the large crowd helped. I did not feel the impact so much but in the evening, my muscles were sore and I tell you, I’m yet to recover. I was completely fagged out, even this morning,

Okungbowa AIWERIE, Asaba I woke up very late.” According to the unionist, he never at any point during the trek considered abandoning it, stressing that the trek could have been better organised with water points and light snacks for protesters. His words: “Because of the nature of the strike, those selling petty items were unable to sell. Some sellers who braved it sold their wares before it got those protesters behind. This was an endurance trek; there was no water, no food. If another trek is called against an unpopular decision, definitely I will come out”. On whether he performed his domestic responsibility at home after the trek, Mr. Egugbo said: “Everyone at home had to understand that Daddy was coming back from a very long journey”. But a sign-writer, Mr. Emmanuel Okocha Maduabuchukwu, Managing Director Omega Arts, lamented the losses suffered by his business due to the strike and how the hike in fuel price has impacted on patronage. His words: “My brother, the fuel subsidy removal has affected every part of my business so much so that the materials I use for my business have increased in cost threefold. My customers are already complaining of the high cost of my products, but I have to pay my bills,” he said, adding: “You can see that my computer has been shut down, this is indicative of a slack in business. This is because clients have stayed away due to the effect of the strike.” He wants government to reduce the hardship on Nigerians by not removing the subsidy wholly and putting palliative measures in place. Mr. Monday Chekpe , an air conditioner

•AP Filling Station, Cathedral Junction, Akure under lock

and refrigerator technician, said the effect was near-total as customers did not come to his shop , but he supports the fuel subsidy removal, stressing that if the Jonathan administration reinvests the proceeds of the fuel subsidy removal, all will be well for Nigerians. On the impact of the price hike on his business, Mr. Chekpe said: “Prices have gone up; a compressor which sold for N4, 000 has gone up to N7,000. And this is

the singular item for my business. The price of refrigerators has skyrocketed. My customers have started complaining. Even transportation cost has increased. I pay more to come to my shop from home. On whether the strike affected his revenue? His words: “ We did not make anything because nobody came to my shop .I did not earn a kobo yesterday and even one day after the strike business is still sluggish”.

AKURE: Strike peaceful, colourful, carnival-like

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N Ondo State, the strike spearheaded by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) over oil subsidy removal was peaceful. There was no record of police brutality against the protesters; security men were on hand fully to ensure that people maintained peace. The police spokesman, Aremu Adeniran (DSP), even appreciated the protesters for

Damisi OJO,Akure comporting themselves well. The protest particularly on the second day was more of a carnival as the protesters danced round some areas in Akure. They danced to the beat of late afro beat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, in excitement. From Adegbemile Cultural Centre where


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

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ADO-EKITI: Traders, 'mature singles' lament closure of shops, eateries

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5 •1-5: Different scenes during the strike

the protest took off, the atmosphere was more of a celebration as there was no dull moment. Security agents, including policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), were at alert to prevent breakdown of law and order. A Catholic priest, Rev. Father Patrick Omoge of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), led members of his group to participate in the protest. Members of the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) were also fully on hand to protest against what they saw as the callous act. Father Patrick Omoge said he led the members of his group to join the protest because the removal of the oil subsidy is “satanic”. Also, the immediate past Chairman of the Ondo NUJ, Dele Atunbi, said the people would continue to protest until government reverts to the old price of N65

per litre. A students leader at Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA), Lawal Abiodun, said it was inhuman for President Goodluck Jonathan to remove the oil subsidy, stressing that posterity would judge him as the first person in that position to humiliate the citizens that voted him in. Even kids of between four and six years joined the protesters to express their disgust over President Goodluck Jonathan’s action. All those who suffered losses because of the strike, which paralysed their businesses, said it was a sacrifice they have to make to correct the wrong step taken by the Federal Government. They contended that it would be better to let those at the corridors of power know what the masses are going through, especially with the outrageous N141 per litre.

ADAM Ayo sells bread and fruits at Okeyinmi area of Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State. Being a single mother with grown-up children, she normally opens for business early each day and closes late. The protest, which started Monday, however, meant that she must not open her shop until the latter part of the day when protests might have witnessed considerable subsision and fears of possible harassment by miscreants removed; a time when most potential buyers would have returned home. She complained to The Nation: “I am tired and confused. I cannot say I hate this protest because they are doing it for us. But it has been causing me losses as sales have been very low. I cannot open early and when I open in the evening, there is no market again.” Generally, businesses have been paralysed while people’s private economies have nosedived. Nutritionally, mature singles have been feeling the pinch as most eateries, local and fast food joints have closed shops while the alternative of local market was equally absent. Sola, a commercial motorcycle operator, is one of the mature singles who have not been having the best of times. He had attempted cutting some businesses but fell into the hands of protesters who drained the fuel in his motorcycle and gave him the beating of his life. He withdrew from the roads to rue his fate. With no money and no opportunity to make money, Sola cannot understand the essence of the struggle. He said: “Why will they deny people the chance to work? Can you protest if you are hungry?” In-patients and out-patients in the State Teaching Hospital also have stories to tell as only a few doctors were available to

Sulaiman SALAWUDEEN, Ado-Ekiti attend to them. The Nation met Dr. Olusa Samuel of the Adult Emergency Department who confessed that they were rendering only skeletal services for only dire and severe emergencies. Other sections at the Teaching Hospital like male/female surgical wards, the pharmacy; the Dialysis Section were also entirely bare. Mrs. Atabor Ramat came an expectant mother visited the Maternity Complex of the University Teaching Hospital for her routine antenatal care but was disappointed to meet the entire buiding under lock and key with no medical personnel in sight. She spoke: “I came from Okesha for my antenatal care but there was no doctor on hand to attend to me. I am going back now but there is no movement. The protest, spearheaded by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress and a coalition of other trade and civil groups, which started Monday, had, however, by press time on Thursday not produced any casualty either dead or injured. The protes,t which entered its third day on Wednesday, had been mainly peaceful with the police intervening only when it became necessary to safe situations and deny miscreants from converting opportunities to foist trouble. The streets were almost entirely deserted as business premises, including fast and local food joints and eateries, have remained shut, while markets have been deserted by local traders. Protesters were touring all major streets, including FajuyiAdebayo road, Fajuyi-Ojumoshe-ijigboAjilosun road, mounting roadblocks and singing solidarity songs.


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN MAKURDI: Protesters defy intimidation tactics M AKURDI, the Benue State capital, was the target of high profile intimidation tactics ever before the date set by the Labour for the commencement of the anti-fuel subsidy removal protests. Of course, this was to be expected. The state governor, Gabriel Suswam, like his colleagues, sympathiser of the policy that has been roundly condemned. He has used every forum and opportunity to defend and promote the fuel subsidy removal policy. As a way of browbeating the protesters, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and anti-riot policemen completely took over the capital, Makurdi. Almost all strategic locations in the town, from Makurdi Wurukum, High Level, Wadata as well as the Modern Market area were flooded with fierce-ooking policemen. In fact, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO in the state, ASP Alaribe Ejike, was quoted as saying that the move was a “proactive measures to forestall break down of law and order, since it was not proper to wait until crisis erupts before going into action”. But the protesters, made up of various youth groups, civil society organisations, students and other sundry groups in the state, defied the massive intimidation machinery. They marched through the streets of Makurdi carrying placards, some of which read; “Benue, Say No to This Wicked Decision”; “GEJ, Your Policy is Anti People” and “Nigerians Cannot be Slaves in their Country”. Later at the Makurdi Woodland Park, one of the group leaders and renowned anticorruption crusader, Comrade Frank Utoo, regretted that the decision of the Federal Government to remove subsidy on petrol was in total negation of the promises made to the people by the administration during electioneering. Utoo said the decision would subject Nigerians to immense hardship and

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Augustine AVWODE, Assistant Editor

suffering, advising that the decision be reverted in the interest of Nigerians who have already started suffering from the consequences of the action. On day three of the protest on Wednesday, a prominent member of the Benue State House of Assembly, joined the protest to express solidarity for what he termed a fight for the cause of the common man. As a consequence of the protest in the capital city, shops, filling stations, government offices, motor parks, etc, remained closed and those who attempted opening were forced to close by the monitoring team of the organised labour unions. The lawmaker, who is the Minority Whip of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Terkimbi Kyange, in his address during the rally, noted that Benue legislators were solidly behind the Nigerian people in the fight against the removal of fuel subsidy. Hon. Ikyange stated that members of the Benue State Assembly, especially those elected under the platform of the ACN, were not comfortable with the deregulation of the oil sector, which has affected negatively the welfare of the people. Addressing the protesters, Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Benue State Chapter, Comrade Simon Achaver, who appealed to protesters to remain peaceful, said the protest would continue until fuel pump price is reversed to N65. Benue youths added colour and verve to the protests. They carried placards calling for the resignation President Goodluck Jonathan, demanded the re-injection of the subsidy, and others which branded the decision as evil and anti-people. They marched round the streets of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, and converged at the Wurukum roundabout where they decried the hardships occasioned by the subsidy removal.

ENUGU: How labour

HE situation in Enugu regarding the removal of fuel subsidy strike could be likened to being more catholic than the pope. To all intent and purposes, the strike can be said to have been largely infective owing to the intimidating tactics of the state government. On the eve of the strike action, labour leaders met with the Governor Sullivan Chime at the Government House, Enugu, where they were intimidated against joining the strike. They were coerced into signing an agreement that Enugu workers would not join the strike. At least, the Police confirmed this when labour woke up from slumber later to join the nationwide strike. The agreement was flashed by the Police on the face of the labour leaders. And that

Chris OJI, Enugu

took care of the first attempt by labour to join in the state. And all this while, workers were seen sneaking into their various offices to render services. As for the public offices and government parastatals in the state, the strike was almost a failure. Even commercial banks were rendering skeletal services. Most fuel stations were opened. There was no restriction of vehicular movement. It was the belief of workers in Enugu State that their leadership might have compromised. The question on the lips of most workers in Enugu is: why did the leadership of labour honour the nocturnal meet-


THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN IBADAN: Business icons bemoan losses as hoodlums invade premises

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T all started like a dream. But today, the strike and protest against the removal of fuel subsidy, particularly on January,1 has been made real, conveying the fact that Nigerians, irrespective of tongue, creed, religion and location, can speak with one voice, at least against a national policy considered oppressive. From the North to East, and from the West to the South of Nigeria, Nigerians paralysed economic activities and sustained it for one week. Offices, shops, schools, hospitals and other business organisations had their doors closed to customers throughout the period. Though, citizens are enjoying the mass action, entrepreneurs are enduring sleepless nights over losses being incurred as days roll by. In Ibadan, Oyo State capital, the plight of entrepreneurs was worsened by the invasion of their business premises by hoodlums who exploited the situation to vent anger on the system. Various entrepreneurs, who spoke to The Nation, lamented the huge losses being incurred in the nationwide action. A bakery owner, Evangelist Peter Ola Aremu, whose bakery located along Old Ife Road, was invaded by hoodlums, lamented his plight. He runs Alaafia People’s Bakery. The hoodlums moved from a nearby roadblock where they also extorted motorists. Narrating his experience, he said he has suffered during the protest as the hoodlums carted away over 500 loaves of sliced bread during the two invasions. The entrepreneur said: “ They first came around 6:00am on Tuesday. I was at the bakery the. They forced their way into the bakery and started shouting but I addressed them and calmed them down. Then, they left without violence. “But they returned again in large number around 3:00pm. Numbering over 100, they jumped over the fence and went for the loaves of bread we kept in the store. We had baked a lot of bread before the strike started, but

Bisi OLADELE , Ibadan were unable to distribute due to the strike. We only went to the bakery to call our customers that could come and pick their stock when we were attacked. “They seized about 20 dozens of sliced bread. They also requested cash and other items but there was none to give them. They overpowered us. They searched for telephones but did not get any to snatch. It was like a dream.” He also stated that they visited again on Wednesday and stole even more loaves of bread than the previous day. He added that his workers ran away to escape being hurt. He also accused the hoodlums of attempting to rape the female staff but that they did not succeed. Also lamenting huge loss in the crisis, the Manager of a UAC-owned UPDC Motel, Mr Adeyemi Ayinla, explained that the strike and protest dealt a huge blow on the hospitality industry. He noted that customers stopped patronising hotels few days before the strike began as many people were only running round to prepare for the protest. He said: “There is no gainsaying that the strike paralysed everything economic. For the mere fact that hotel business is not really thriving in Ibadan, this strike has added more injury to our battering. For the past one week now, we have not recorded any sale. You know what that means. Members of staff will expect salaries at the end of the month. We still maintain our facilities in spite of the strike. That is zero profit. If the strike continues like this, the entire economy will be in trouble. It is my opinion that the government should listen to Nigerians.” Also speaking with The Nation, the Vice Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Ibadan, Mr Adeola Adeleke, put the loss incurred by its 646 registered members at over N50 million.

leaders were coerced ing with the governor on the eve of the strike? And on the third day of the strike, one of the labour leaders, Comrade Festus Ozoeze, who apparently did not like the lukewarm attitude of his colleagues in the state, moved to picket offices, but he was arrested, arraigned before a magistrate court and remanded in prison. The labour leaders could not do anything to save him. He is uptill now languishing in Enugu prisons. The Enugu State government came out with a public prohibition order to jeopardise the strike in the state on the eve of the strike. This actually scared the leadership of labour in the state. The prohibition order, dated January 8

•Different scenes during the strike

and signed by Governor Sullivan Chime, states: “I, Sullivan Iheanacho Chime, Governor of Enugu State of Nigeria; being of the opinion that the holding of any public assembly, meeting or public procession in any part of Enugu State of Nigeria would lead to the breakdown of law and order; and that it is therefore expedient to prohibit the holding of any public assembly, meeting or public procession; “Accordingly, in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by law and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, hereby issue the following proclamation: “The holding of any public assembly, meeting or public procession in Enugu State of Nigeria is hereby prohibited until further notice.”

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THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

•The late Demola

We’ll mourn Demola for a long time, says friend of 26-yr-old allegedly shot dead by Lagos DPO •How he was killed, by eye-witness

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GBA, a suburb of Lagos, went down as the first face of the tragic and the ugly in the nationwide protest against fuel subsidy which started on Monday. It happened rather too quickly. The boys, report had it, were not protesters per see. They were those boys who, perhaps, for want of what to do on a day of a nationwide strike, chose to show off some of their skills in football. And the empty Yaya Abatan Street provided an artificial stadium for them. That was where they were when death went calling. And it did not only snatch one of them, Ademola Abiodun (not Aderinto as earlier been reported), in a most vicious and gruelling manner, it left in its wake, four others critically injured. One of the youths at scene of the incident, Tope Lawani, explained the circumstrances leading to Demola’s death. Giving a graphic first hand information on how the unfortunate incident happened, Tope told The Nation on Thursday afternoon: “ Ademola was a street soccer lover and he was part of the youths who

Stories: Kunle AKINRINADE usually played the game in the neighborhood. On the day of the incident, he had just returned home when he learnt that some youths were playing football at Yaya Abatan junction, so he hurriedly joined them in the game. “A few minutes into the game, a police team, led by the Divisional Police Officer of Pen Cinema Division, identified as Segun Olubunmi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, nicknamed in the neighbourhood as Chinese Rob, arrived the scene to scare away the youths.The DPO allegedly fired sporadically into the air but the youths were not moved apparently because they were not engaged in any street protest. “Their indifference angered the errant DPO who then fired directly at the youths, killing the deceased while three others sustained gun shot injuries.” On Wednesday, a peaceful rally to mourn the late Ademola was held. There was an outpouring of emotions at a rally •Continued on Page 51

•Top & bottom: Sympathisers at the rally held for the late Demola on Thursday

...my life with the deceased —Girlfriend Demola’s girlfriend, Lola Oso, 22, also spoke with The Nation in a telephone conversation

H

OW long was your relationship with him? We started dating about five years ago and he was such a honest,caring,unassuming and hardworking

man.He never had any bad habit and everything about him was perfect.We met through a friend while I was a Senior Secondary School(SSS 1) student at Keke High School,Agege,Lagos State.He was so tolerant of me when I didn’t give in easily to his advances. But later on when I accpeted to date him, I found out he was such a straight-forward man. He supported my education despite the fact that he was an artisan. He did not even object to my university education dream when I told him of my plan to go to univer-

sity because we had plans to settle down as husband and wife. How did you receive the news of his death? It was actually one of my friends whom I had seen for a long time that broke the news of his death to me on the telephone.She asked me to put myself together before she could tell me what the news was all about.But by the time she broke the news, I became completely devastated. When last did you see him before the day he was killed?

It was on Thursday January 4,2012.He had just returned from a trip to Ilesha where he had gone to celebrate the New Year with his parents. He called me as soon as he returned that very day in the afternonon and I was with him till 6.30pm when I left his residence.I never knew I wouldn’t see him again. Was there any thing he was planning to do before his death? He told me he would move into his own appartment before the end of January. In fact, he had purcahsed some electronics in preparation for that and I was very happy when he share his plan with me.


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

•Vehicles set ablaze in Kano

We didn’t know our son joined the strike

•Top & bottom: The two victims allegedly shot dead by the Police

—Parents of 23-yr-old protester killed in Kano •Quranic teacher bemoans death of his ward in the city

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IGERIANS have already begun to count their losses, occasioned by the protests that greeted the oil subsidy removal. Some families are either mourning the death of dear ones or nursing the wounds sustained in clashes with security agencies at the Government house roundabout and the Silver Jubilee Square in the ancient city of Kano. At least two of the miscreants, who hijacked the protest on day one of the strike, were feared dead, leaving their families in sorrow and tears. For the bereaved, the oil subsidy removal and the protest rallies it triggered, would leave a black scar that would be extremely difficult if not impossible to obliterate. And as for the 24 injured persons, the unpopular policy has left a tale of bitterness. The three-hour madness began at about 10.30 in the morning at the entrance to the Government House, precisely the roundabout nearest to the seat of power in Kano State. The irate youths, who infiltrated the protesting organised labour and civil organisations, went berserk and descended heavily on the security manning the gate, in an attempt to force their way into the premises. But the security agents resisted, having earlier referred the mobs to join labour at the race course, the scheduled venue of the protest rally. Despite several appeals by the security to assuage the rampaging youths, the situation continued to degenerate, as the

Kolade ADEYEMI, Kano irate mobs remained undaunted, pushing forward to gain access into the Government House. In the process, they tore down a large portion of the perimeter fence of the seat of power along the Wudil Road axis. Some of the thugs hauled stones at the security personnel, who demonstrated a great deal of maturity. A nine-year-old boy would have been trampled upon by the miscreants, but for the timely intervention of security agents attached to the residence of Gen. Haliru Akilu (Rtd.), who rescued the hapless minor. Trouble would have been averted if the hoodlums had left peacefully after being sprayed with tear gas. Instead they remained poised to actualise their desire to occupy the seat of power in Kano State. They also displayed placards of various inscriptions, reading “Oil Subsidy Removal is not what Nigerians want”, “Jonathan has failed the people”, “Okonjo Iweala ‘Chuwachuwa’””, “Sanusi Jonathan Ebele” among others, expressing their opposition to the withdrawal of oil subsidy by the Federal Government. A van belonging to the Vigilance Group was also burnt down by the angry mob. The miscreants took their assault on the security operatives to another dimension, attacking the law enforcement personnel, including a mobile police officer, whose chin

•A man arrested in a fake military uniform was slashed by yet to be identified hoodlum. The last straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was the burning and destruction of at least 24 vehicles packed at the premises of the Office of the Secretary to the Kano State Government. It was at this point that the security agents ran out of patience. A reinforcement of security, comprising officers and men of the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Mobile Police Unit and other allied security agencies, was immediately drafted in, to bring the dicey situation under control. The security agencies began first by firing canisters of tear gas at the protesting hoodlums, who remained adamant, insisting that they would in their words ‘abduct the governor’. In order to prevent the hoodlums from actualising their ulterior motive, and in the process, violate the sanctity and dignity of the Government House, the security agencies had no option than to fire gun shots into the air to disperse the unrelenting youths. The security agents responded by shooting sporadically into the air to scare the ferocious youths. In the melee that ensued, some of the youths were either hit by strayed bullets or cans of tear gas, injuring about 24 persons, two of whom are now believed to have died. The Secretary of the Red

Cross in Kano, Musa Abdullahi confirmed the casualty figure, saying that the Red Cross was working hard to bring some succour to protesters, who sustained injuries in the protest rallies. This was how some of the youths met their fate in a protest that was intended to be peaceful and orderly by the organised labour and civil society organisations, which were holding their protest rally at designated routes in a peaceful and orderly manner, with security escort. The ugly situation served as an enormous impetus in compelling the State Governor, Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, to impose a dusk to dawn curfew. The State Commissioner of Information, Prof. Faruk Umar Jibril, who announced the curfew, said the move was to prevent miscreants from hijacking the protest to cause mayhem. Jibril said the curfew, which begins from 6pm to 8am, was based on intelligence report. Day one of the industrial action practically shut down the ancient commercial city of Kano, as businesses and government establishments were under lock and key. The death of Suleiman Buba and Basiru Ahmad on the first day of the protest against the removal of fuel subsidy, has thrown •Continued on Page 51


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN

Furore over slain Ilorin protester T

HE anger, furore and controversy over the murder of Muyideen Mustapha Opobiyi, a protester in Ilorin, Kwara State, are yet to subside. The late Muyideen, aged 23, was a casualty of the protest against fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government. The protest took place January 2, this year, before the general strike called by the organised labour. The deceased, a product of the Army Day Secondary School, Maitama, Abuja, hailed from the Agbaji family of Ilorin. He was allegedly felled by the police bullet. But the police command had denied the allegation, claiming that the deceased was stabbed by one of the protesters for not joining the fray. In between bulk passing between the police and the deceased family, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Peter Gana, absolved the command of culpability. His words: “I’m aware that some media houses have given reports that two or three protesters were killed, that is not true. One person was killed and it was not from police bullet. Police had no cause to fire any bullet into the crowd and did not fire any bullet into the crowd. “We are aware that the hoodlums who hijacked the protests were armed with cutlasses, locally made pistols and other offensive weapons. We are being careful about it and it is our responsibility to see that Kwarans are protected from the activities of hoodlums.” On his part, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) later raised the ante by claiming that the 23-year-old youth was allegedly killed by butchers in the state. Shortly after the incident, Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed ordered a probe into the into the killing, describing it as unacceptable.He expressed regrets over the unfortunate incident and assured people of the state that adequate security measures were being taken to avoid a recurrence. He urged the people to go about their normal businesses, assuring that security agents were on guard across the state to forestall any likely breakdown of law and order. But National Vice President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Taiwo Otitolaye, described the IGP’s utterance as unreasonable. He said CDHR “wishes to re-affirm that Muyideen Mustapha of the Opobiyi family Ilorin was murdered by the Nigeria Police against the inconsistent lies by the Police. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) was quoted this morning on the network news that he was murdered by butchers, twisting the earlier version of the Kwara State Police Command that Muyideen was killed by protesters. “The question a reasonable mind would now ask is: what would butchers be doing among protesters at the front of the post office while the abattoir, their abode of operation, is in far away Olooje, Ipata Market? This is a mockery of the Police and a toga of ignoble exigencies from the

•His half brother, Rafiu

•The late Mustapha Opobiyi

Adekunle JIMOH, Ilorin

government organ saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property. The CDHR is waiting for the next line of twist and inconsistency from the Police over her primitive display of naked force against defenceless citizens as witnessed in the Ilorin killing. “The CDHR, having investigated the ugly incident, found that the deceased was shot by men of the Special AntiRobbery Squad (SARS) of the Kwara State Police Command. The series of twists and inconsistencies in this case expose the deceit and cacophony of lies of the Nigeria Police. Rather than shameless cover up, we expect the Police to fully investigate and bring the killers of Muyideen to face the law”. The deceased came to Ilorin for a- three month computer training course which he completed penultimate Saturday before he met his death. On the fateful day, Muyideen was said to have gone to Challenge Computer shops to get a GSM handset for himself before he met his fate. The father of late Muyideen, Alhaji Mustapha Oke-Odo, said, he has accepted it as the will of God, but that wants perpetrators of such evil act to be brought

to justice so as to serve as a lesson to others who think they are ‘Lords of the Manor’ when in uniform. The half brother of the deceased, Rafiu, said the news of his death on the said date came as a rude shock to the family, adding that the Police had thrown the entire family into mourning. Rafiu, who works with one of the new generation banks in the metropolis, said: “We feel very sad. In fact, it is and an ugly and unfortunate incident. They have thrown us into mourning but as Muslems. we take it as an act of God. We believe that God gives and takes life. We are not interested in suing the government. But we want the whole nation and the entire world to know that the picture the Police has painted is false. “The news said the Police shot him but the Police are claiming that he was stabbed by one of the protesters. It is not true at all because eye witnesses at the scene of the incident told us that he was felled by the Police bullet. When we went to the mortuary to take his corpse for burial, the Police came, went in with the doctors and chased our brother out when the autopsy was being carried out. “I know that the Police had ulterior motive. It was clear to us that the wounds

showed to us that it was gunshot. The Police should be cautioned to be civil in handling protests. People are angry against a policy government is trying to implement. The protest was peaceful. All the Police needed to do on that day was to guide them from vandalising people’s property. I watched the Abuja and Lagos protests on television, Police didn’t shoot at people, they didn’t kill anybody. They only shot teargas canisters to scare people away. I don’t know what came over the Police in Kwara”. The immediate past chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state described Opobiyi’s death as a confrontation of the establishment against the citizens, saying “it is the most wicked act.” His words: “People should be allowed to hold their views in a democracy. But surprisingly yesterday, while some people were protesting this increment in the prices of PMS, the Police came out and murdered one of us. We see it as deliberate attack on civilians who have nothing except the power of expression. What is worrisome is that it is the people’s money that is used to buy these guns, but ironically they are turning the guns to maim and murder us. “We condemn, in very strong terms, the wicked murder of Opobiyi. We want to assure the authorities that this action can in no way intimidate us, but rather it will strengthen us. The minimum the state government could do is to constitute a probe panel into the death of Opoboyi to determine the remote and immediate causes of the slain protester and whoever is involved must be brought to book. “But more importantly, I want to assure the security agencies that killing Nigerians is not the solution to the problem at hand. Even if they like, they can go and import bomb, I want to remind them that events in the Arab world where some leaders have chosen to kill, maim and assassinate the those who are protesting have in no way stalled the protests in the Arab world”. Also, the Ilorin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) condemned the gruesome murder of Muyideen by an overzealous policeman during a peaceful protest. In a statement signed by the branch’s chairman, Rafiu Balogun said: “We were totally puzzled, bewildered, flabbergasted and worried by the ugly situation whereby an innocent Nigerian will be killed simply because he is expressing his disapproval of the obnoxious policy of the Federal Government. It is disheartening that the Police will kill innocent Nigerians they are paid with taxpayers’ money to protect”.

MORE STORIES ON SUBSIDY STRIKE ON PAGES 49-51


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

LOCATION

BACKSTAGE

SNAPSHOT

REEL NEWS

MUSIC

SCREEN

Edited by: VICTOR AKANDE

Tel: 08077408676

E-mail: victor_akande@yahoo.com

ntertainment

Fuel subsidy

Acting, singing for protesters Protest is a push for good governance —Nneka Egbuna We don't buy government’s argument —Foluke Daramola

Jonathan should fight corruption not Nigerians —Gbenga Adeyinka Boko Haram is not Islam —Funky Mallam


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THINK

nt part of An importa s of any the succes is its civilisation late the mu ability to e t led to the a th factors ther success of o Eric .— s civilisation rt Reine

STANDh BY! Wit

VICTOR AKANDE E-mail: victor_akande@yahoo.com Tel: 08077408676 (SMS only)

SNAPSHOTS Uche Elendu joins the ‘I do’ club

So what if it’s a new year? L

S

O much reaction to my piece of last week that I thought those who felt offended would do a rejoinder. But since that didn't come, let us look at other areas where the responsibility of the motion picture industry in Nigeria rests and see whether or not it has filled the gap effectively. Looking back at the happenstances in the movie industry in the year 2011, one is tempted to ask, perhaps with a slight frown; 'so what if it's a new year?' That is not to say that some practitioners have not done well, but if there is the need to knock ourselves so hard, let's do so to enable us catch up with the rest of the world in a business that I know we can do better at. Indeed, 2011 has aroused a sober reflection in the movie industry such that, gradually, the boys are being separated from the men. At least, we can take indices from the conscious efforts of a few filmmakers to measure up to cinema standard. But beyond this, there is a general problem of whether we can still say we have met the status of an industry after about 20 years of the evolution of what is called Nollywood. So, I ask, what if it's a new year? There appears to be so much pretence, so much attachment to ceremonies and apparent idolization of dates, seasons, and anniversaries without significant change in our individual and collective ideals as a nation. From far and near come the drumming and singing of a new dawn; the splendour of Xmas, the glamour of January 1 and the momentary sober-engendered New Year Resolutions. This is somewhat an annual psychological ritual and thus, sooner than we expect, our enduring sorrows and pains return in vicious circles, hitting us perhaps harder, as the drumming and singing and dancing subside. This year, the reality of our ugly existence came when the icing fell off the burnt cake in form of the removal of oil subsidy for which Nigerians took to a week-long protest against the government of Goodluck Jonathan. During this experience, we witnessed the different positions taken by stakeholders in the film industry, and can only record the fact that unlike other professional groups in the country, it is only the film industry that is divided over the issue of the removal of fuel subsidy. The reason is not far fetched; hypocrisy and selfish interest abound in the industry. I once said on this page that ours is indeed a

dilemma; the irony of a number two industry that works like elephants, but eats like ants. I had stated this following the jubilation that met the announcement by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO that the Nigerian motion picture industry (Nollywood) which used to occupy the number three position in the world is now number two. “I found it particularly funny, the aspect of the report which says Nigeria has 'edged' out the United States from the second position. And you know what; I remember my everyday travel to work, driving along the Ikotun-Isolo way, a road notorious for traffic jam, and how in our usual style, every motorist tries to edge out the other, in other to gain a leap to the next pole. I recall, how many times my bumper had been bashed, trying to outsmart the other motorist. Then, one day, a man driving in a better car asked to let go at a narrow point, I declined. As soon as I leapt forward, he followed suit, only to navigate to the right; he had reached his destination. But my journey was just beginning. What a folly.” What is the use of quantum without excellence? What is the pride of a farmer who sweats to sow, but harvests with ease; or why would a man work like an elephant and eat like an ant? Because we are still lacking in proper structures, it is difficult to see ourselves as an industry and if we must tell ourselves the truth. An economy that is not embedded in the basic industrialization principles cannot stand the test of time. It is like erecting a structure on a weak foundation. Yes, Nollywood happened by accident, but now that we have discovered how much the industry (sorry, trade or craft) can benefit the national treasury; how much employment it can create; how much foreign recognition it can give as a tool for cultural exportation and international diplomacy, we have refused to take advantage of transforming this trade into a viable industry. Why? The culture of individualism and quick bucks has overtaken our sense of communality and national pride. And this is the only reason there cannot be a consensus on ordinary removal of fuel subsidy let alone a common ground of protest for the institutionalisation of the 'age-long' MOPPICON bill. Without the basic principles that the successful industrial nations of the world have applied, our number two position as a film producing nation remains an illusion.

Nollywood happened by accident, but now that we have discovered how much the industry (sorry, trade or craft) can benefit the national treasury, we have refused to take advantage of transforming this trade into a viable industry

WRITE TO US! Do you watch Nollywood movies? What do you think of the Nigerian motion picture industry? Send your review of any movie or short essay on any topic of your choice about the film industry in not more than 200 words. Send entries by e-mail to: victor_akande@yahoo.com or SMS your short comments to 08077408676

ry 7, the AST Saturday, Janua ve with ali s wa City of Owerri they turned Nollywood stars as Maria the at er out in large numb h, Owerri, ris Pa al dr the Ca ta Assump ger, Uchechi where actress cum sin ged marital an Nneoma Elendu exch Walter é, vows with her fianc iba. Ogochukwu Igweany the bride rode s, ort rep to ing Accord al chariot, led by to the church in a roy conveys the t a stretch hummer tha ing ceremony dd bride's maid. The we bly Speaker, had the State's Assem who equally , gu mo aje Uw Hon Ben the wedding, with was the sponsor of aries in other notable dignit attendance. ent include Rita Celebrities at the ev hidi Chikere, Tc ia ph So , he Tony Edoc oye, Emeka Francis Duru, Oge OkMaureen k, Etu ot Ob a, Enyioch rah Ukoh among Solomon, and Adao others.

•Uche Elendu

Mr. Ibu turns marriage counselor

F

•Mr. Ibu

ROM the look of things, comic actor, John Okafor, has turned to a marriage counselor. AKA Mr. Ibu, the actor/comedian in a recent interview had this to say to married people; “Stay off social media if you want your marriage to succeed. Social media is killing a lot of marriages. The amount of unwanted solicitations people receive via Blackberry, Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis is crazy. Even though we need these tools, they are very destructive. The envelope on morality has been pushed and it is affecting the fabric of marriages,” he said.

On Susan Peters and her website

W

HEN will our celebrities get it right? What is the essence of having a website when your fans do not have access to it? This actress just unveiled her website and some new photos, but when logged onto the website, what you see are just the thumb nailed photos scrolling. Visitors to the site cannot get any other information from the website and when she was asked the reason behind the website, she stated “A lot of people write a lot of things about me and I came to realise that it's important for people to have a place on the internet where they can go to get reliable

information and to see quality pictures.” On the design she explained that she set out to do something understated but stylish and elegant. “I had to wait for the right technical team to come my way. I have enjoyed directing every detail from the initial ideas to each and every image. I wanted people to see another creative side of Susan Peters. What you will see when you come to my site are my works, my selfexpression and if you visit regularly, you will find out that I will be constantly adding new ideas and images,” she said. •Susan


Dalgish praises Aiyegbeni keen on Carroll’s work-rate Blackburn’s survival

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Osaze eyes another

Win Win Pg. 32


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2011

NATION SPORT

NATION SPORT

W

HAT does the recent Protocol Agreement signed between Lagos State and

NSC mean to you? Well, they are two things. Legally the agreement set out the tasks that are to be imposed upon the state hosting the National Sports Festival (NSF) as well as the work being done by the National Sports Commission (NSC) with regards to the festival. More importantly, what it does now is that it tells us where our preparation needs to go. We have to double up our efforts with regards to our venues and accommodation for the athletes even training for our own athletes.

This year is a very important month with regards to kick off. I have said that we will use six months to settle down to plan and we have done this. His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has been supportive in all our works. Now, it is time for the work to show. Lagos will not leave on its past glory; we are setting out new glory this year. We have a massive crop of young athletes and it is time now to harness those athletes and get them develop for the future. How do you intend to achieve this? Like the governor had said, winning the festival is not the main aim but the important thing about us hosting the festival is that we will host fairly for the first time in a long

• Misbau Ogunniyi of Lagos State, The Male Most Valuable Player of the Korean Ambassador Taekwondo Championship

time, there will not be allegation of cheating, defection and we will ensure along with NSC giving us the assurance, we will ensure that this will be a free and fair festival. Like I said, we have discovered some young athletes from the schools that when we unveil them you will indeed agree with us. More importantly what you know with Lagos is that the fan base is massive. I keep on saying that every state has a massive fan base here in Lagos and it is our job to bring them to the stadium and halls to support their states. What we intend to do is to put up a great show. Everybody talks about the Rivers State opening and closing ceremonies. These were good opening and closing ceremonies but there were one or two problems, as we all know during the festival itself. We must commend Rivers State but we must now try to improve upon what they did especially in the areas of organization, transportation and accommodation. We have to improve upon these things festival to festival. Like I keep on saying that the Director General of NSC, Patrick Ekeji has been so supportive so far and we expect their support throughout. The festival belongs to all of Nigeria. We will be hosting and we will show off the best of Lagos. What are you putting in place to ensure that the state has a successful hosting of the NSF ? The 2009 U-19 World Cup has come and gone and everybody remembered how fantastic that was and it is history now. We are looking forward to the future. We will deliver full stadium and this is something that has never really happened at the National Sports Festival. Our intention is to deliver full stadium at every event because what motivates the athletes is the support. We will ensure that the stadiums are full to capacity. Our private sector partners will get the best of publicity. The brands that had supported us in the past, we know they will be on board again. So, Lagos is now hosting not by choice but by the fact that it is the Centre of Excellence in Nigeria. We have to also replicate this in sports as well. The National Sports Festival at the end of 2012, we pray and we will work hard, I think will be a time for us to say ‘Lagos you have done it again’. Since assuming this position in the last seven months, how will you assess your performance? When I came on board, I told my friends in the media that we would need some time to settle down. They said to me, you have been in sports for a very long time, why do you still need to settle down? I said it is a different seat and we found out that it is a different seat entirely. It is easier when you are chairman of an association or member of the sports council even as private sector supporter of sports, it is much easier. But here, when you are on this seat now, there are lots of decisions that have to be taken especially going into festival year. It is an Olympic year, all the states have to support NSC as well and there are lots of works involved. What has been your major challenge as Commissioner for Sports in the state? In Lagos, you are not just a commissioner for your ministry, we are a team and it is a team effort. We support one another and thankfully my colleagues have been very supportive. Sports is what I was brought in to work on and this is my constituency and with the support I have received from the media so far, I think it has lessened the impact of the problem that we have. But we are working on those problems and we have set out plans to deal with most of the problems, as we have to continue to develop

BRIEFS...BRIEFS

18TH N ATION AL SPOR TS FESTIV AL NA TIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL

Ubido doffs hat for Eagles

Lagos State set to raise bar—Oshodi

R

• Oshodi

In a couple of months from now the 18th National Sports Festival (NSF) will get underway in Lagos State. The Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN)-led administration recently signed a Protocol of Agreement with the National Sports Commission (NSC), which kick-started preparation for the biennial event. Coming in the wake of a spectacular show by the last host, Rivers State, the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, has also put his job on line to ensure that the state set the standard for others to follow in terms of hosting major sporting events. In this interview with INNOCENT AMOMOH, Oshodi reiterates the state’s determination to set the precedent for others and other issues. Excerpts. our infrastructure. We have to develop school sports, which I believe is the main focus of this administration. We go back to the schools because Nigeria was a successful nation when school sports was strong. In Lagos, we have to set the pace again. The ministry of education is partnering

with us and we are bringing back the school games and events as well as getting equipment into the schools where talents will emerge. The most difficult part is trying to get load of schools in Lagos involved but we have to get to all of them because we don’t know where talents are hidden.

• Lagos State boxer, Olaide Fijabi unleashes a right hand on his opponent

What will your ministry be doing to curb the dearth of qualified games masters in schools? You have raised a good point in that way. But the first step I think is that we have over a thousand schools in Lagos – Senior Secondary School, we cannot definitely lure a thousand coaches.

But what we can do is to train the Physical Education teachers so that they can give the students a basic foundation in sports. Once we do that, that is when you identify the talented athletes and we bring them to the districts and upward to the centre. You are right because we also require more coaches but again

I keep going back to His Excellency who has been supportive and he has assured us that we will have all the people we will need to do this work. We are hopeful that in 2012 the plans we have made will begin to show and we are really thankful to Ministry of Education because coordinating the children is a very difficult task but they have managed to do that. Everybody should remember that there are 20 million people in Lagos, which tells you the story of the schools. But we have had a few school events already and what we have seen has encouraged us greatly. We know we can do more and we shall be doing more in this year. Why did you put your job on the line to host a successful sports festival? It is a simple thing and this is something I believe in Nigeria we have to look out more critically. If you are a man of honour and you

set out to do a job properly and if at the end of the day, you fail completely. I think honour implies that you leave that job for somebody else to try. It does not necessarily mean you are a failure but it means that probably somebody else can do it better than you. So it is a discussion between His Excellency and I have had. His Excellency is fully in support of the sports festival but then he also look at it that in Lagos, we have other important issues to deal with and we are dealing with those issues. But at the same time, he recognizes the importance of physical well-being of the populace and he knows that the festival will encourage that. Not only will the festival encourage that, it will help in boosting our economy, develop our infrastructure and most importantly, it will bring our youth together in one big event. So how do you intend to save your job now? Like I said, I am very happy with my job and I don’t want to lose it and I am working hard to ensure that we succeed. But in Lagos, we don’t know failure. We plan properly, do our team work and pray to God that we succeed. I believe the next template of how event should be held in Lagos. It is not going to be a sporting event alone, it is an entertainment event and we are bringing the best of the state out on show. We are hopeful, 2012 is going to be a very busy year as the Olympics is coming. I am personally doing my work with Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) on the issue of sports arbitration. Something we feel will be very important and useful during the festival. Hopefully, the festival will be the first test of the sports arbitration. There is a lot of work to be done and we will continue seeking for the support of the media. Boxing seems to be your strongest point as a state. What are you doing to sustain the feat achieved at the last festival? I will want to commend the Chairman of the Lagos State Boxing Hall of Fame (LBHF), in the person of Olawale Edun for what he is doing for boxing. The Monthly Saturday Boxing Show staged every month, has helped boxing to grow in Lagos. Putting the boxers in competitive mood prior to the last sports festival, showed in their performance. Lagos led in the boxing events and that is what we intend to do with other sports. His Excellency has continually called for support from corporate bodies and individuals like Mr. Edun to save sports in the state. The competition like you can see is still on in the state and we hope boxing will boost our medal hall at this year’s event.

ECUPERATING home-based Super Eagles midfielder, Julius Ubido has awarded pass mark to his teammates in the barren draw against the Palancas Negras of Angola. The Eagles were forced to 0-0 draw by their Angolan foes at the Abuja National Stadium on Wednesday. The international friendly tie is one of the build-up matches for Nigeria's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali next month. Ubido told SuperSport.com that the home-based Eagles made every domestic league player proud with their five-star performance against the Angolans. "I am happy they held the Angolans to a barren draw. They made us all very proud. It was a big opportunity for us to prove our mettle, I am glad we used it very well. Whoever that is given a chance must make good use of it. This is our chance, we won't let it go off our hands," he said. The Heartland midfielder informed SuperSport.com that he is in a hurry to re-unite with his colleagues ahead of the Kigali battle on February 29. "I've started training with my club and in week's time I will be ready for match actions. I know the Eagles will be heading to Liberia for another friendly on Sunday and when they come back they will be given break, so I hope to rejoin them after the break. I'm positive and ready to fight for shirt in the team for the Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali," he said. Ubido was given leave by the Super Eagles' manager, Steve Keshi to attend to his injured leg.

Anya out for one month

N

IGERIAN striker Cadiz Ikechi Anya has been ruled out of action for at least one month. The 24-year-old suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right ankle. Anya missed the game against Poli Ejido on Sunday after he injured himself in training two days before the encounter. The injury is is a big blow to Coach Jose Gonzalez as Anya is very vital to the team at the left side of attack. So far, Anya has made 15 appearances for the Yellow Submarine, scoring three goals in the process. The former Sevilla man is eligible to play for Nigeria, England, Scotland and Romania.

Ogunsoto: Interests From Germany, Sweden

F

REE agent Patrick Ogunsoto (28 years) tested with Cypriot Club Apollon Limassol late December. The prolific forward could not agree terms with Apollon. So, he was not offered a contract, his agent, Ivo Chi has revealed to allnigeriasoccer.com. ''Ogunsoto and Apollon did not get to agree on the terms and conditions of a contract. You know Patrick has proven already in many occasions in the past that he is a top striker and we have to get the best for him,'' says Chi and adds: ''As I speak, I am awaiting feedbacks from clubs in Germany and Sweden. I am very optimistic that he will soon be on the field of play soon again.'' Chi manages many Nigerian players including the new kid on the block and Lierse SK forward, Jason Adesanya, who is eligible to play for Belgium and Nigeria. ''Jason (Adesanya, ed) is still at the start of a long great career in soccer and I think we should all give him time to establish himself before thinking for which country to play for. He is a tremendous talent that will bring more impulse in an International team he chooses to play for,'' Chi said.


THE NATION SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

31

NATION SPORT

Sports, the missing voice at the rallies NFOLDING events in the nation’s political firmament has lent some credence to the fear expressed in some quarters about the seriousness government attaches to sports as a tool for social and economic engineering. It has been said that 70% of the country’s population is made up of youths which in turn means that government planners must be focusing on projects that will address the needs of this segment of the society. Apart from education, the next big thing that attracts youths is sports and entertainment in form of music, movies and fashion. Beginning from Monday, huge segments of the youth population have been on the streets leading the expression of angst by the populace against a government policy that will impoverish majority of the population. From Lagos to Kano, Abuja to Benin, Ilorin to Kaduna, Minna to Lokoja, Asaba to Port Harcourt and from Enugu to Calabar, the situation has been a spontaneous out-pouring of pent-up anger against an insensitive group whose idea of governance is only measured by wanton despolia-

U

From Harry Iwuala

tion of the nation’s treasury. The rally in Lagos dubbed ‘Occupy Nigeria’ has witnessed a large turn-out of young professionals who are lending their names and intellect to the mass movement against the petroleum tax imposed by government at the start of the year. At the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park where I have maintained a daily presence, we have had the Musicians, the Actors/actresses from Nollywood, Lawyers, Clerics, the Comedians, the Media and the Politicians taking turns to speak up against the President Goodluck Jonathan’s oil policy. Whereas there have been a scanty number of us from the Sports Media such as Olukayode Thomas, Temisan Okomi, Segun Agbede and Biola Kazeem attending the daily rally at Ojota in Lagos, a friend asked me where are the sports personalities. Let me now amplify the question, ‘where are the past and present generation of sportsmen and women?” Our Sportsmen and women must show up and be counted on the side of the people at this uncertain time. We need to have

heard the voices of Christian Chukwu, Segun Odegbami, Felix Owolabi, Austin Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Mutiu Adepoju, Tijani Babangida, Yakubu Ayegbeni, Mikel Obi, Victor Igali, Brown Ebewele, Innocent Egbunike, Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Obisia Nwankpa, Bash Ali, Jeremiah Okorodudu, Henry Amike, Chika Chukwumerije and many others in Enugu, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Abuja. It will not help anyone to argue that sport is divorced from politics as this applies to partisan political support but not on a policy matter that has pitched the people against those in government. We have seen great sportsmen and women make statements in the political life of their countries with a telling effect and the easiest example remains Cassius Clay now Mohammed Ali who refused to serve in the US Army to avoid being drafted to war in Vietnam. A lot of our former sportsmen and women have stayed in the closet as the oil policy crises raged because they have sold

Joel Obi returns for Inter against Milan

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AVING missed out of Inter Milan's 5-0 drubbing of Parma last weekend due to minor injury, Nigeria midfielder Joel Obi will return

• Joel Obi

Chinese Club chases Utaka

P

ETER Utaka is 99% on his way out of OB Odense. As early as next week, after undergoing a medical, Utaka is expected to sign a contract with improved wages at Chinese Super League club Dalian Aerbin. ''We can on principle not comment on which club Peter Utaka deals with. But we can say that the negotiations seem to proceed, and the clubs agree. ''We will in any case reach into next week before a final clarification on the last details, and any medical check can be implemented. And until then, Utaka, of course, continue to have time off from training in the valley,'' sports director Poul Hansen said. The Nigeria international forward has scored 8 goals in 16 appearances for OB Odense in the league.

against AC Milan in derby della Madonnina at the San Siro tomorrow. The clash is expected to be a mouthwatering affair due to the fact that the rivals have been in unstoppable form in recent weeks. A few months ago Inter were on the verge of falling into the relegation zone, but the Nerazzurri have hit back with a vengeance and last weekend's 5-0 triumph over Parma was their seventh win in the last eight league games. Italian champions Milan have been in equally good form, having recently returned to the top of Serie A with 10 wins and 2 draws from their last twelve outings. Both clubs had started their 2011-12 Serie A campaigns in disastrous manner, but have

since turned things around due in great part to the fact that their key players have returned to top form. Milan have had the upper-hand over their rivals in recent encounters, with three straight victories, with the last coming in August when they beat Inter 2-1 in the Supercoppa Italiana in Beijing. Before Milan regained control of the derby, Inter had won four successive matches, including a 4-0 humiliation of Milan in 2009. It is important to note that there hasn't been a draw in the Derby della Madonnina in the past 17 encounters between the sides, with the last coming in 2004 when the sides fought out a goalless draw in a Serie A fixture. Since that result, Milan have a 9 to 8 advantage over their rivals.

IBEH gets Norway, Denmark, France's offers

A

LLNIGERIASOCCER.COM had earlier reported that the highly rated Nigerian midfielder John Ibeh (25 years) was leaving Otelul Galati, after he refused a contract extension. Highly respected Germany FA licensed agent Ivo Chi, who manages the player, has confirmed to the microphones of allnigeriasoccer.com that Ibeh could depart the Romanian Champions in the winter market, and that there are offers from clubs in Western Europe and Scandinavia. ''It is correct that we have an offer for prolongation of his contract with Otelul Galati for 2 more years, but we also have offers from other countries, premier league clubs in

France, Belgium Norway and Denmark. Please understand that to protect the interest of my player I cannot mention the names of the interested clubs. ''We have not made any decisions yet and be sure I am working very hard together with John to make the best decision for his future. I am in a good relation with the authorities of Otelul and the are also not out of topic,'' the FrenchCameroonian agent told allnigeriasoccer.com. Ibeh is an attractive player for any intending buyer, as he can play in several roles across the midfield. He aslo has UEFA Champions League experience. In 58 appearances for Otelul Galati, he scored 6 goals.

their conscience to lick drops from the corrupt plates of successive governments at both the state and federal levels. And because they have been chasing conmatch • Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo tracts at the d e corridors of spite government, t h e we now know widewhy governspread ment have failed killing to lift sports deo f velopment beyouths yond the toacross kenism of att h e tending comcountry petitions illincludprepared. ing a We now y o u n g know why a man who former conwas playing tinental football in the Handball Lagos sub-urpowerban area of house like Ogba. Has the Nigeria Federation issued could not afa statement comford the cost of miserating with the attending an family of the slain African Handball Chamyouth? It is not only pionship in Morocco. We now in the matters of reguknow why government cannot lating football events in four years provide or deploy that the NFF exercises funds to develop sports cenownership of the game tres across the country for in the country, it cuts talented Nigerian youths to across to even a football train and pursue a career in game in the village square. specific games. And of The slain young man could course, it has become obhave been tomorrow’s league vious why despite huge player that Keshi would have budgets for sports; footsought out to invite to his Domesball in Nigeria remains tic Eagles squad. Nothing can be a failed Parastatal like more repulsive than when people the NNPC. Yes, one who are expected to show empaday we would be thy display a crass insensitivity as told that it was has been done by the federal govbecause of subernment on the handling of the oil sidy in sports that tax and Stephen Keshi in lining the National Staup those young men on a day the dium in Lagos is Police across the country were killrotting away. ing more youths. Keshi’s InsensiKeshi must learn proper mantive Friendly ners on and off the field and this Match includes politically correct behavThe biggest disappointment of iours. The protesting Nigerians are the week has been the insensi- the same that will throng the varitivity exhibited by Stephen Keshi ous stadia across the country to and officials of the Nigeria Foot- watch matches of the Super Eagles ball Federation (NFF) who pre- when he gets the team going. What tended that all was well with the kind of reception will he be expectcountry to go ahead with an in- ing from the fans in Lagos whom consequential friendly match he failed to identify with while against Angola. Keshi should they were going through the pains have taken time aside to find out and pangs of the obnoxious New from his Angolan counterpart Year tax? I am happy with the turn how much they pay for fuel in out in Abuja for Keshi and his inthe country that recently ternational friendly match and I emerged from a long-drawn civil can only advise that he has to be war. careful where he chooses to go in The NFF went ahead with the these trying periods.


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NATIONSPORT SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

NATION SPORT

NATION SPORT

Spanish La liga Table - as at Jan 8

•Carroll

•Ibrahimovic

A

Ronaldo Madrid

21

Messi Barcelona

17

Higuaín Madrid

13

Soldado Valencia

11

Benzema Madrid

10

Fábregas Barcelona

9

Garcia Atlético

9

Barral Gijon

7

Cuesta Rayo

7

Barca going all out for maximum points

C MILAN’s Marco Amelia has confirmed t h a t Z l a t a n Ibrahimovic puts more fear into defences than Diego Milito, while saying his team feels no pressure from Inter. The much anticipated Derby della Madonnina is set to take place on Sunday evening, in which many critics are starting to feel that Milan’s cross city rivals, Inter, have a chance at winning the derby the fifth consecutive time. However, they still sit eight points adrift of the defending champions at the top of the log. It is the league position in which Amelia confirms that his team feels no pressure for their next arrivals.

“We cannot say we feel the pressure of Inter, because they are still eight points behind, even if it is true that the derby can trigger special things. They have been shown that they are in excellent condition, so it will be a beautiful game.” Before the weekend’s tie against Parma, many had written Milito off to return to scoring but the Argentine proved everyone wrong by bagging a brace, yet, Amelia still believes his teammate is better than Milito. “Milito and Zlatan Ibrahimovic? With all the respect I have for Diego, I believe that Ibra brings more fear to all defenses,” added Amelia.

Saturday Ibra Milan 12 Catania vs Roma Di Natale Udinese 12 Sunday Lazio vs Atalanta Denis Atalanta 12 Cesena vs Novara Cavani Napoli 10 Chievo vs Palermo Jovetic Fiorentina 9 Fiorentina vs Lecce Klose Lazio 8 Genoa vs Udinese Matri Juventus 7 Juventus vs Cagliari Giovinco Parma 7 Parma vs Siena Calaiò Siena 7 Milan vs Inter Osvaldo Roma 7 Monday Napoli vs Bologna Milito Inter 6

Table

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IVERPOOL manager Kenny Dalglish maintains he is happy with Andy Carroll's application and believes the striker is proving his commitment to the team ethos. The club's £35million record signing's performance in Wednesday night's 1-0 Carling Cup semi-final first-leg victory at Manchester City came in for some criticism because of his ineffectiveness. Carroll squandered a golden chance to put

his side ahead in the fifth minute and flashed a long-range header wide of the far post later on. To be fair to Carroll, towards the end of the game Liverpool dropped so deep when they did manage to get the ball up to him there were no teammates within 40 yards. And Dalglish said: "Andy worked fantastically hard for us and sacrificed himself for the sake of the team." He added: "If our players continue to work as hard as he did last night -

Spurs aims for win against Wolves

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AGLIARI will look to continue with their impressive form when they travel to the Juventus Arena to take on joint league leaders Juve. The Sardinians have had a troubled start to the season in which they have moved on

Italia Seria A league Table - as at Jan 8

•Romizzi

to their third coach of the campaign while being hit be an injury crisis, yet they still remain in the top 10 albeit equal on points with four other teams. Marco Romizzi is the new arrival to the squad as the 22-year-old signed for the club earlier in the week from Fiorentina and could make a debut appearance off the bench, while Davide Biondini will no longer feature for the club. There are three doubts coming into the match for the Isolani as Daniele Conti, Gabriele Perico and Fernando Rui Sampaio missed the previous match. For Juventus, new arrival Marco Borriello is set to make his debut as a Bianconero after joining the club from Roma, while Fabio Quagliarella should be fit after suffering a fracture to his cheekbone.

TOTTENHAM go in search of a second win in the space of 72 hours as they welcome Wolves at White Hart Lane as their title challenge starts to pick up speed. Harry Redknapp’s side won at Everton on Wednesday night to move just three points behind leaders Manchester City and level on points with second place United. Spurs made 19 consecutive games in

which they have scored in the Premier League this season – a record that shows no signs of abating. The return of captain Michael Dawson to the back four was a major boost for Redknapp who has lost a number of key defenders in recent weeks whilst the performance youngster Jake Livermore meant the absence of Scott Parker and Sandro wasn’t much of an issue for the North Londoners.

Barclays Premier league Table - as at Jan 8

B

ARCELONA will be in search of maximum points when they take on Real Betis in a La Liga game at the Camp Nou on Sunday night. The defending champions are currently trailing leaders Real Madrid by five points and cannot afford anymore slipups if they are to retain the league title.

every one of them - then if we want to move in the right direction that will be a great start for us." With his team holding on to the lead given to them by Steven Gerrard's 13th-minute penalty the 23-year-old became more and more isolated up front and as his job became harder his confidence dropped and his annoyance rose.

Thursday night’s Copa del Rey clash against Osasuna, away in Pamplona, could have an effect on Pep Guardiola’s men after they had to change their traveling plans due to unfavourable weather conditions. Barca will be eager to return to winning ways following the 1-1 draw against Catalan rivals Espanyol.

Everton to bounce back after Tottenham loss

A

STON VILLA have signed Republic of Ireland international striker Robbie Keane on loan from LA Galaxy, subject to clearance from FIFA. The club hope Keane will be available for tonight’s Barclays Premier League home match against Everton on Saturday January 14th. The loan will end after Villa's match against Wigan on February 25th. "I'm delighted to be back in the Premier League." Keane, who has 123 Premier League goals to his name and has played for Tottenham, Liverpool, Leeds and West Ham among others, said he was 'excited' by the move. "I'm delighted to be back in the Premier League," said Keane.

•Robbie

E

VERTON travel to the Midlands looking to bounce back from their defeat at T o t t e n h a m o n Wednesday by beating mid-table Aston Villa. Alex McLeish’s side stuttered over the festive period winning only two of their six games and sliding to 13th in their table. Whilst their victory over Bolton in early December was expected their success against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge turned a lot of heads in the top flight with some seeing it as a potential turning point for Villa. However, they followed up that performance with defeat against Swansea at Villa Park to maintain their inconsistent form. Their impressive win West London highlighted the capabilities of the Villa squad with Stephen Ireland, in particular, proving to be a shining light over Christmas. The midfielder has endured a tough time since his move from Manchester

City at the end of last season but his attitude and performance in recent weeks have been encouraging.

TOP SCORES Van Persie Demba Ba Agüero Rooney Aiyegbeni Dzeko Adebayor Sturridge Lampard Fletcher Balotelli

Arsenal Newcastle Man City Man United Blackburn Man City Tottenham Chelsea Chelsea Wolves Man City

FIXTURES

17 15 14 13 12 10 9 9 8 8 8

Saturday Aston Villa vs Everton Blackburn vs Fulham Chelsea vs Sunderland Liverpool vs Stoke Man Utd vs Bolton Tottenham vs Wolves West Brom vs Norwich Sunday Newcastle vs QPR Swansea vs Arsenal

E

V E N m o r e attention than usual will be focused on Real Madrid’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo when the La Liga leaders play at Real Mallorca on tonight after his petulant reaction to whistling from disgruntled fans last weekend. The Portuguese refused to celebrate his goal at the Bernabeu, Real's fifth in a 5-1 thrashing of Granada and his 21st of the campaign, after a section of the home support again expressed their frustration with his performance. There appears to be a perception among some of the Real faithful that the world's most expensive player can be too selfish and that he is more concerned with personal success than collective triumph. Coach Jose Mourinho and his team-mates have rallied behind Ronaldo

and he was given a resounding vote of confidence by honorary Real president Alfredo Di Stefano in the 85year-old's latest newspaper column published on Thursday. "We should support him because he could not put in a n y mor

e effort, he g i v e s everything to the team," Di Stefano wrote in sports daily Marca. "The Portuguese is an example to follow and his success is the result of a great deal of work," added the former Real player and coach. Real can stretch their

Saturday Granada vs Rayo Zaragoza vs Getafe Sevilla vs Espanyol Mallorca vs Madrid Valencia vs Sociedad Sunday Atletico vs Villarreal Osasuna vs Racing Bilbao vs Levante Gijon vs Malaga Barcelona vs Real Betis

SEVILLA will be looking to end their three-match losing streak in La Liga when they welcome Espanyol to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium tonight. The Rojiblancos last tasted victory with a 3-0 win over Getafe and since then they have suffered three consecutive losses to Levante, Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano. Despite recording a 2-1 midweek victory over Valencia, Sevilla were still knocked o u t o f t h e competition on the away goal rule with Valencia carrying a 10 advantage from the first leg played at the Mestalla.

•Ronaldo

lead over second-placed Barcelona to eight points with a win in Mallorca, with the champions, who drew 1-1 at local rivals Espanyol last weekend, not playing at home against Real Betis until Sunday.


THE NATION SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

34

NATION SPORT

Inside The Glass House WITH AMINU MAIGARI

The Power of Football O

N Wednesday, the Senior Men’s National Team, also known as Super Eagles, drew 0-0 with the Senior Men’s Team of Angola at the National Stadium, Abuja in an international friendly match that served good purposes for both countries. While Coach Stephen Keshi was able to show us that indeed, some of the home boys are good enough to be in the mainstream of the senior team, or actually serve as the senior team when the need arises, the Palancas Negras were able to step up their build-up for the 2012 African Cup of Nations starting in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea next weekend. The considerable crowd at the National Stadium cheered and roared on the home boys who showed some exquisite skills and comfort on the ball throughout the ninety minutes. It was exhilarating. The highly-experienced Angolans knocked the ball around well with the more famous Manucho and Flavio Amado doing their thing, but the Eagles did not do any less. Surely, the Nigeria Football Federation remains grateful to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR for the conducive environment provided by the government for hosting of the match, and I am sure after the event the Angolans are happy to have played in Abuja instead of the neutral ground that was earlier proferred.

The NFF is also appreciative of the efforts of the Honourable Minister/ Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi, the Honourable Minister for Interior, Comrade Abba Moro and indeed all cabinet ministers, Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, the chairman of the House of Reps Committee on sports, Honourable Godfrey Gaiya and the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Chief (Dr) Patrick Ekeji. Many thanks to the Director of Federations and Elite Athletes Department of the National Sports Commission, Dr. Bolaji OjoOba, the Director of Facilities, Alhaji Magaji, other top officials of NSC, Senator Haruna Garba (one-time Board Member of the NFF), other members of the NFF Executive Committee, management and staff, and indeed all dignitaries, media persons and the wonderful spectators who kept the atmosphere lively throughout. I received a phone call from the Head of the Angolan delegation, Mr. Jose Luis Prata who was very appreciative of the hospitality that his team received throughout its stay in the country. He noted that all the way from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on their arrival aboard a chartered flight, to their departure aboard the same flight after the match, everything went smooth and they could not have had it better.

• Keshi

That reminds me to express the appreciation of the NFF to all agencies involved in the facilitation of all security and airport arrangements, starting from the Inspector General of Police, the Commander, Brigade of Guards, Director of the State Security Service (National), the Director of State Security Service (FCT), the Nigeria Airspace Management Authority, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Customs Service and indeed the Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps. There were a total of 700 security personnel involved in the main work at the National Stadium, Abuja on matchday, and the anti-bomb experts, mounted troops and Fire Service also deserve commendation. Indeed, the staging of the match underscored the power of football – the beautiful game. While so many people doubted the ability of the NFF to hold the match in the country at a time like this, we never harboured any uncertainty or entertained thoughts of a no-show. Our appreciation also goes to the Match Commissioner, Mr. Austin Mgbolu (former Head of Communications) who did a great job, as well as the FIFA referee Bunmi Ogunkolade, and his assistants Sani Zubair, Abel Baba and Benjamin Odey. I also owe a world of gratitude to the management of the National Stadium, Abuja who did a good job getting the venue ready, and co-operating so well with the functionality of their equipment. Football is one of the big unifying factors for our country and the thousands of people who turned up at the National Stadium on Wednesday were there simply to enjoy themselves and savour the captivating skills of the home boys. The security personnel at the venue did wonderful job screening each and every spectator that entered the stadium and the commitment shown by all is edifying. As I noted earlier, both teams certainly drew positives from the staging of the game and Coaches Keshi and Vidigal must have no reason to regret. The home boys have shown in this very first opportunity by Keshi that they can hold their own and dig their feet into the ground when the need arises. And for Coach Vidigal, he must have noted a few things to adjust or review in his Palancas Negras as they head to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. It got so good that the Super Eagles were even in

the ascendancy and could have sneaked in one or two goals in the second half, with the pace of Ejike Uzoenyi and the quick thinking of Sunday Mba causing the visitors problems. All the players actually did very well. While the forwards must perfect their finishing, it is important that I applaud the performance of the defenders, who dug their feet firmly in the ground and showed excellent anticipation, timing and ball sense. By Sunday, we would have another opportunity to see Keshi’s New Nigeria as they take on the Lone Star of Liberia in Monrovia in another international friendly. Should that be the last international friendly for the team before the African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Rwanda in Kigali, methinks it would be enough for Coach Keshi to pick his home-boys contingent for the game. By the time the overseas boys arrive few days to the match in Kigali, they would discover that they have to fight harder for shirts than is usually the case, all because the Nigeria Football Federation and Coach Stephen Keshi have decided to take the bull by the horn and give the home boys a sense of belonging. By and large, I believe that the home boys somewhat lived up to the charge of Coach Keshi to prove the doubters wrong. They showed character and poise, were calm and surefooted in their approach and confident in the air while being strong in the tackle. There were a number of wayward shots but training would take care of that as time goes on. Of course, matches between Nigeria and Angola have always been tough and tricky. Back in August 1989, apart from the very sad incident of the death of Nigerian player Samuel Okwaraji, the Eagles could only beat their opponents 10 in an Italia 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Lagos. Earlier, both teams had tied 2-2 in Luanda in the same series. I can also remember that race to the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany, when the Angolans assumed the role of spoilsports and benefitted hugely from the exotic head-to-head rule. Angola won 1-0 in Luanda in the first clash between both teams while the second leg ended 1-1 in Kano. When both teams finished equal on points at the end of the series (even with the Super Eagles winning their last two matches against Algeria away and Zimbabwe at home, by wide margins), the first factor that came to play was head-to-head, and the Super Eagles were eliminated despite having better goals difference. I can also recall a 2004 Cup of Nations qualifying match in Benin City, when the Angolans led by two goals, before Kalu Uche and Osaze Odemwingie equalized to bring Nigeria back on level terms. All in all, it was a good game and both teams must have been happy with their output on the evening. NEXT WEEK: Our Expectations For Year 2012 (1)

• Aiyegbeni

Aiyegbeni keen on Blackburn’s survival •Mikel sidelined for Chelsea match

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I G E R I A N international Yakubu Aiyegbeni is keen to lift Steve Kean's led Blackburn Rovers out of the English Premier League table as the club drift gradually to the relegation water. Blackburn welcome Fulham to Ewood Park today and Aiyegbeni will be aiming to fire the club to victory as their first victory of 2012. Blackburn manager saw his side end 2011 in some style beating Manchester United at Old Trafford and moving to within a point of safety. But they fell back into old habits in their first fixture of the New Year turning in a tame display just 48 hours later against Stoke. It’s been the same old story all season for Kean who has seen his players fail to build on some impressive wins with their inability to string a positive set of results together arguably their biggest issue. Their victory over Arsenal in September was followed by an eight game winless run

By Bimbo Adesina before they beat Swansea at the start of December. Unfortunately they went onto lose three and draw one of the four games after before beating United on New Years Eve. Not even the goals of Aiyegbeni have been enough for Rovers to pull away from danger although any side would struggle with an injury list Kean has had to contend with. The beleaguered boss is missing eight first team players including influential skipper Christopher Samba. His absence for the visit of Fulham is a massive blow for Rovers as they aim to build some momentum in 2012. However, Mikel Obi remain on the sideline due to injury as he will not be part of squad that would tackle Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Mikel last featured for Chelsea on December 22 when they played 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Osaze eyes another win

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SAZE Odemwingie will face a tough task today as he lead West Brom against hard-fighting Norwich at The Hawthorns with the aim of another win. Osaze was on target on January 7 when the Albions defeated Cardiff City 4-2 in the English FA Cup clash. West Brom are in 15th place on 22 points, five ahead of their nearest rivals Wolves and Queens Park Rangers. West Brom have some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone but Hodgson will know he cannot allow that gap to shrink. For Norwich City, they will look to climb higher in the league table as they have lost only once in their last six matches, picking up nine points out of a possible 12 to

•As Anichebe battles Agbonlahor at Villa Park move into eighth place in the table, four points behind Stoke City who are on 29. At the Villa Park, Victor Anichebe will lead Everton in a vital clash against Aston Villa Both sides have struggled for consistency this season, with Villa manager Alex McLeish and David Moyes under pressure forresult. Everton suffered a 2-0 loss at Tottenham on Wednesday after also losing to Bolton, and in desperate search of three points. While Villa have been inconsistent at home, 11thplaced Everton have a strong away record - four wins in 10 outings - they will be keen to build on.


SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

36

Golf...Golf...Golf...Golf...Golf...Golf...Golf...Golf...Golf GAIUS OBASEKI SPEAKS

GOLFLINE

Noble folks play golf, corruption a matter of choice

WITH

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AST General Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Gaius Jackson Obaseki, stands shoulder high above most people. At well over six feet, the whole lot of us could as well appear like those fabled Lilliputians in his presence. Even the golf professional who lined up his early golf lessons, Francis Isuku, a giant of sort, would still look up anytime he had to ask ‘Oga’ if he preffered a wedge or just a 9-iron to get out of an unlikely pitch on the rough. Obaseki is quiet, distant man with an intense, brainy aura that could intimidate. But you could see that behind his love of solitude is an innate shyness. You would want to pinch yourself and ask if this was the man who once sat atop Nigerian oil. But, still, you would know. How? Well, he swaggers with this weighty aura of someone trying to save his environment. When Obaseki was ruling at NNPC, he made a demand of those wheelers on his board. He wanted them to play golf. Reason? He believes golf clears your head, a perfect drug for stress. One of his top men at the time, Engineer Austen Oniwon, who presently is the General Managing Director of NNPC didn’t at first see the wisdom in shifting base to the golf course. Oniwon, in his own wisdom, believed golf was for idle souls who loved strolling in the hot sun, chasing small balls. So, to pacify his boss, he just acquired a golf set and dumped it in his garage. But after one particular occasion in Abuja , Obaseki clearly asked Oniwon: “Are you playing golf now?” It was at this point it dawned on Oniwon that he would have to play at all costs. So, he lined up lessons in Abuja and Port Harcourt . Weeks in between these lessons, he saw the wisdom in playing the game of golf. So much he can’t do without playing the game… So much he moved to rehabilitate the mini golf course at the vast Eleme Petrochemicals where he was once an MD so he could have a game at any free time. Interestingly, just like Obaseki prodded him into the game, Oniwon, too, has made it mandatory for his top guys to play golf. Oniwon even offered his own reason. Hear him: “If I play a round of golf with anyone, I will know what sort of person he is. I will know if the person is a cheat or a gentleman. I will know if the person can face tough period… or fold up when confronted with a tough time. I will know if the person has the ability to move ahead after a blunder. You see, in golf, you are your own arbiter… so you mustn’t cheat. In golf one hole can pull you off… and if you can’t forget about that one hole, you won’t have the courage to move ahead. Those are the good things I have discovered in golf… things I believe a good leader must imbibe”. Well, those are the lessons Gaius Obaseki throw at people who pass through him. I wanted to know more about the man and his golf. I had this opportunity and I met him for an interview. Besides golf, I wanted to

NTDC brings for

Tony Akhigbe golflineintl@yahoo.com

•Utaka

0 8 0 94863638 know how it was with him at the NNPC. “So, you want me to talk?”, he said it in the tone of a patient priest at a tea party. His calmness unnerved me. Then he added… “If I talk now, a lot could happen”. He said this with a slow methodical rhythm with no hurry and each word getting a bite. I gave up the hope of getting the much sought for interview. But at another time, a fresh opportunity presented itself. This time, the big man widely referred to as the 'Oil Expert' agreed. He gave a date. To me, that date could, as airline companies would put it, be subject to alterations. I had to hope against hope. Well, on the given date, Gaius Obaseki appeared. Armed with this sophisticated video recorder that is as small as a midget, he was prepared for the interview. “Do you know why I came with this?’ he asked, pointing at the recorder… “Well, I don’t want to be misquoted”. He said it with an equal mixture of humor and sarcasm. But seriously he added: “You will only ask me questions on golf… nothing more”. So, we talked about golf. Before leaving NNPC, he was playing off 23 handicap. Now that he could play most mornings, he has dropped to 18 handicap. But that is still hefty. Can’t he play sub 10 handicap? Again, the easy smile. Then he said: “I don’t play to win tournaments. I just play to keep fit… to amuse myself”. But has he ever won a tourney? His face came up in joy. Yes, he once carded a stunning 68 Net in a special tourney played to launch the Green Project of the Benin Golf Club. Interestingly, he made NNPC donate three greens to that course. “That net of 68 is one great result”, he said. “No one has beaten that score yet”. Sorry, a UBTH based golfer and Bank Manager of the Ugbowo branch of Zenith Bank, Patrick Ozodobi, scored a stunning 57 Nett at a recent golf tourney at the Benin Golf Club. So what is he doing for golf? A lot. For starters, there is the Obaseki Foundation Golf tourney that plays off annually. But he can still do more for golf. He didn’t say a thing. He just kept on smiling, keeping up the good mood. But it is never enough for a journalist. I punched in one he never expected. Corruption is all over the place. I asked him if our leaders should not be compelled to take to the course… so they could keep a sane head. At least, he did this successfully at NNPC. “You are right” he said. “Golf is for noble, honest people. But corruption is a matter of choice”. I was waiting for him to make clarifications, but he just stood up. “You can see someone waiting for me on the tee”. With this he moved swiftly to have a round of golf with another dinosaur, I.K. Afe.

Utaka eager for Ligue 1 title •Ike Uche in survival battle with Granada

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IGERIA international John Utaka who has become a regular face in the French football is eager to win the Ligue 1 title with Montpellier as they push to overthrow leader Paris Saint Germain (PSG). Utaka will lead the attack today against another title contender Lyon at the Stade de la Mosson. Montpellier, are three points behind PSG. Though, Montpellier suffered defeat, going down to a surprise 4-2 loss to previously struggling Evian to allow PSG to go three points clear at the top. Utaka and his teammate will however contend with Lyon who are in confident mood after seeing off another high-flying side, Lille, in the

Maradona faces second trial in Italy

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•Obaseki

By Bimbo Adesina Coupe de la Ligue despite playing most of the match a man down. And in Spain, Ike Uche continued survival battle with Granada in the Spanish La Liga table as they face Rayo Vallecano at Stade de la Mosson. Granada, sitting at the 15th position on the table got hammered by Real Madrid by 5-1 over the weekend, and Rayo Vallecano upset Sevilla. Confidence and form are on Vallecano's side and seeing as they have done a decent job picking up away points so far this season, they could add to the woes of Granada.

SECOND hearing has begun in Naples into the estimated 40 million euros Diego Maradona owes to the Italian government in unpaid taxes. The case relates to the legendary Argentine international’s seven-year spell with Serie A outfit Napoli between 1984 and 1991. It first emerged two years ago that Maradona owed a colossal sum of money to the state but the first trial collapsed because of a conflict of interest involving one of the designated judges. The 51-year-old, who is currently coaching in United Arab Emirates with Al Wasl, has repeatedly stated his innocence and, according to TMnews.it, his legal team is adamant that the World Cup winner

is the victim of a witch hunt by the Italian tax authorities.

•Maradona


39

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

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BUN just sat there oblivious of everyone’s presence, lost in thought. She sat there staring into space, praying that this should be one bad dream that she would eventually wake up from. It was not a bad dream. It was so real. Her husband, Chuka, after 19 wonderful years of marriage, was dead. Leaving behind three beautiful daughters and a son. Most importantly, leaving behind his soul mate. Chuky and Ebun were a couple with a difference. They were my neighbours when I was residing at Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos State. If you are single and you are opportune to see the duo and their open display of affection for each other, you would pray for a partnership like theirs, trust me. Our prayers are with his immediate family, his aged mother, his younger sister and of course his friends. When is it really the right time to move forward after the loss of a loved one? Of course one cannot move on because the loved ones will forever remain in one’s heart. What we are concerned about is moving forward. Research shows that there ways to overcome the grief of losing one’s soul mate. No doubt, coming home to an empty home is not an easy thing. The house seems to echo from the silence and you shed tears as you remember that you are now alone. So many years together, so many memories you two created together are all you have left. Losing a loved one changes your entire life, especially when the loved one was also your best friend. You feel completely lost and totally uncomfortable making even minor decisions. The bed becomes too wide and you hug the pillows for comfort. But something inside you tells you that you can survive! Suggested are ways to cope: Know that it will take time before you can begin to feel normal again but you will become used to living with the pain. It will not just disappear quickly. Do not pay attention to those who try to tell you that you are not grieving properly. I recall years back

Spousal loss: when to move on when a popular actress lost her equally popular husband. She was criticized for going back to work months after her loss. I totally disagree with those that criticized her. Here was a woman that had so many bills to pick without the support of anybody from any quarter, yet she was expected to just sit at home and mourn? Here is the thing, grief is an individual thing. It is as individual as you are, as your partner was and as your relationship was. Specifically, you will likely deal with some who think you are healing “too fast” and those who think you have become “ stuck in your grief”. If you have such concerns, it might be wise to talk to a counselor. He or she is far better prepared to help you navigate your new life than someone who has never dealt with the death of their significant other. Realize that you have choices. There is a time when you need to cry and there will come a time when you are ready to have a new life. When the tears come less often then you know it is time for your new life to begin. Store all your memories in a safe place in your heart and continue life’s journey. Understand that your life as you knew it will never be the same, but this does not mean it will not perhaps be better. Maybe you will begin a new career or move to a new location and if it is what you want, you might one day love again. It is

possible to find another. Do not worry that you will forget your spouse. You will not, but with time, the pain of the loss will lessen; continue living your life with realization of knowing that your spouse would have wanted you to be happy. It is important to note that a grieving person needs support in order to survive. Here are suggested ways to support a person experiencing the grieving process and also some things you definitely should not do. Listening Listening to grieving people is the most important thing you can do. Listen in a non-judging way and allow them to tell the story or stories over and over if they need to . Repetition is often a key part of the healing process. Sharing Share your memories of the loved one too. Reflect on the feelings they are experiencing but as you share ; be careful not to upset their feelings or comparing your loss to theirs. Don’t say things like “I know exactly how you feel “ its usually more helpful to say something along the lines of “I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now”, because most grieving people feel like no one else could know what they are experiencing . It is also important not to tell people that time heals all wounds or that their loved ones is in a better place . While that maybe true (depending on your belief system and theirs) they may not be in the mood to hear that at this point.

Understand that grieving people are very likely to have emotional setbacks even after a long period of healing and outward “improvement” something could spark a memory that causes them to spiral downwards

Timing Each person recovers from grief at his or her own pace . Some can recover quickly while others can take a full year or more (this will also depend on the severity of the loss) . Be care-

Text messages Can a grown man be stolen?

•A grown man can be stolen if he is not indisciplined and wayward. Because the man, Tony later abandoned what he hardly played with – his kids, food and wife called for observations such as – could the wife had offended Tony at home which was unsettled and was probably undisclosed to Vera, or could Mabel have applied an African magic on Tony? That the love between Mabel and Tony was growing the more calls for spiritual angle, one hopes Tony’s real wife has a good pastor. With a husband that is not disciplined and an impatient wife, a grown man can be stolen. Lanre Oseni •Certainly, going by the advice you gave towards the end of your article on the ‘stolen’ man, you are an experienced person. But the man was only ‘missing’ not stolen. He was with Mabel just for comfort! Barr. Moronkeji

•Alh. Ogunwoolu presenting gift to Hon. Adetifa Chairman, Glanvils Group, Lagos during a recent ceremony.

ful not to impose a time limit or tell people to get over it and move on feeling that they have grieved too long can cause people to suppress their feelings, and slow or stop the healing process. Understand that grieving people are very likely to have emotional setbacks even after a long period of healing and outward “improvement” something could spark a memory that causes them to spiral downwards; dates that were important in the loved one’s life, such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Some of these memories often trigger for setbacks. Be there for the grieving person as long as he or she needs you. Be Tolerant Remember that there is no definitive way to experiences grieving and that everyone experience a unique set of feelings or physical symptoms like ; aches and pains, anger (at others or at God) , anxiety, comparing the loss to the loss of others , confusion, depression, disbelief, dis-

•This woman, you no well. I love your sense of humour. I am a man but I feel for Mrs Tony though she made a wrong move, but the pain of rejection could be bad. However, I suggest you people should catch the fool called Tony and cut off his thing, then beat the Mabel black and blue for their heartlessness. How about that, even if Tony is a

fool, Mabel no go go and find her own husband? Na wa oh. •A grown man can never be stolen. Men who cheat are “smooth operators” any wife who has this problem should square it up with her husband and not create a public show. However, it is wrong for any man to abandon his entire family for another damsel. Kola Alao •Please we don’t want this double standard. When there was suspected violence in Mubi, your paper was the first print a screaming headline (Boko Haram kills 35 in Adamawa). Now it has been proven that it was not Boko Haram, but a clash between two factions of Igbo communities over traditional title in Mubi. Your paper did not make an attempt to find out from your reporter in Adamawa or is it deliberate to always the north in bad light. Or are you people not aware that northerners are being chased out of Benin? Your ardent column reader Yusuf •I am ashamed about all of you who did talk to Mabel without telling us what you told her. But you put all the blame on the hapless mother of four. Please, let us know

interest in life, easily distracted, erratic appetite, feeling crazy, feeling disconnected from family and friends, feeling of hopelessness, guilt, hallucinations, etc. Understand that the grieving person will always feel the loss, but that he or she will learn to live with it overtime. Celebrate It may sound strange to talk about. Celebrating but it can help grieving people heal. Help them celebrate the life of the loved one they’ve lost. Help them develop rituals they need to get through the difficult early stages of the grieving process. Be Watchful Sometimes grieving people can go to extremes - if you notice signs of suicidal behaviour or fear they may harm themselves or others , it’s your moral , legal and ethical duty to refer them to a mental health professional. It is therefore key that we must all note that recovering from a spousal loss , varies from person to person.

the response of Tony and what Mabel has done to compel Tony to do his dues to his wife and kids. Please tell the two love birds they can not escape the law of karma at its own time. Prince SK Lawal •Male infidelity in marriage is not inevitable. A man may succumb to the fire in his loins but can not be stolen. A woman should have some financial independence and not depend entirely on her husband. She has the right to protect her sturf. A direct confrontation with the female offender could be counter productive. Aloysius •I wish you a happy New Year regardless of Jonathan’s ‘Greek’ gift. A grown man can not be stolen. If your loved one is by any means ‘stolen’ it is because he wants it. It is not news that married men go for younger single ladies. They do this on their own freewill. It is even worse when they have money to throw about. I am a single lady and of all my suitors, 80 per cent are married. They come to me on their own volition. Mabel must be a quiet and polished girl. If any married woman comes to my door step to try what that lady did with Mabel, I will not only give her the beaten of her life, I will lock her up for life! What rubbish! Tonia, Ikorodu-Lagos


40

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

The strike, the protests and the lovemaking

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’ve had a very hectic time juggling with the dic tates of my work and the demands of my clients. I held my head some days back and looked at myself in the mirror. I almost couldn’t recognize myself. For me, it’s been meetings upon meetings with clients (mostly politicians) who want to have a say about the problem generated by the removal of the fuel subsidy. To make matter worse, they were all so divergent in their views and I’m actually supposed to agree with everybody’s views. God help me! To make matters worse, my driver has not been able to come for some days now, claiming he can’t get public transport to my place because all major roads are

Dear Adeola, thank you for your efforts in providing solutions to people’s problems/issues. Here, I will like to share with you my problem for your advice and counseling. I am 23 years old and a 300-level undergraduate. There is a lady I love so much (she is an undergraduate too 300level. I asked her for a relationship and she agreed at first instance but later on she called me to say that the relationship would not continue. I asked her why? She told me that she was already into a relationship. I told her if she didn’t mind having me too; I didn’t mind. Her response was that “she should give that a thought. I said okay. But the way I see it now, things are not working out the way it is supposed to be. She always gives me her attention whenever I need, but going into a serious relationship with me which I so much desire is the problem. I keep going to her but despite my continued persistence; she told me that we should just be casual friends. Actually, I don’t want a casual relationship between me and her. I want an intimate relationship. I have been patient since 28th August, 2009 to date but no positive result. She is more than a casual friend to me; and she is a kind of a lady I love and even the kind every man or person will adore. I need a serious relationship between me and her; (I started this matter of relationship with her on 28th August, 2009). Since then I have been patiently waiting for her, thinking she would change her mind to love me as I love her but no good result. What confuses me most is that, she has been so cordial with me, she calls me always that she wants to hear from me, and whenever I call her she picks my call as if she was waiting for me to call. Last year in the month of November, I called her and asked her that I wanted to know whether we should continue with the relationship, but she told me that nothing could change what she told me. I am still interested in her,

blocked. So, I’ve had to find my way to various parts of the city on my own. I don’t want to admit my helplessness in finding my way around town. Did I get lost on my expedition? That’s a topic for another time. To ease tension, I called up a few friends of mine who, like the rest of us, have not been to go out because NLC and other groups want us to stay at home, and they stunned me with the revelation of what they have been up to – lovemaking! You won’t believe that most people for want of other things to do, have been finding time to do what before now had been elusive in their busy lifestyles – lovemaking! Waoh! How come I didn’t think about that? To me, a strike is a strike, so if some are out there protesting and some of us are at home, shouldn’t we all include lovemaking in the strike or what do you think?

I told her I didn’t mind sharing her with the other guy that is, I still love her; also not minding whether she is into relationship with another man. I’m a kind of a guy that holds myself. I have never fallen in love since my teenage years to date. So I need lady of her type who I know is from a disciplined and reputable background to engage in a serious relationship. And the only thing that will let me forget about her is if she gets married to another person. In this kind of situation what can I do? I need your advice. Wishing you a prosperous New Year - Emmy. Dear Emmy, if you’re really ready to have an intimate relationship with this girl, knowing she’s with another man, then you’re obsessed with her! Obsession makes us lose all sense of reasoning. Let me give me some scenarios that may help you get this girl out of your system. Let’s assume she’s already in a sexual relationship with this other guy and you also want an intimate relationship. What that means is that she will have sex with her main boyfriend and come to serve you your own round too. Or it could be that she’s with you and the other guy calls her. Would you allow her to go to him knowing for sure that they will repeat the same things you have just done with her? When she goes home with the other guy to his parents, would you take her home to yours upon her return? If you take this girl to be the good girl you say she is, then you won’t be indirectly designing a morally-loose way of life for her. You will learn to accept her terms and give her space to enjoy her existing relationship.

The girl on the other hand needs some talking-to. What does she mean with her calls to you, knowing that she’s eliciting some passion in you? If she wants to stay with this other guy, let her keep her eyes glued on him. If it is you she wants, then she should end that other relationship and come to you. What’s the meaning of this leave-me-I-like-it kind of game? Cut it off fast. Ignore her for a while even if she calls you. She should decide what she wants without causing any of you the anguish she’s causing now.

Is it true that a girl loves you better when you make love to her? Is it true that a girl loves you best when you make love to her? – Moses. Dear Moses, it’s high time we talked to ourselves about the the difference between sex and lovemaking in a relationship. It is not sex that holds a relationship together or makes a woman love a man and vice versa. It is affection. Sex could just be an animalistic passion between a man and a woman without meaning anything to any of them. It could just be the desire to satisfy an urge and after that, there’s nothing in-between. Lovemaking is more like what makes a woman love you. Now, there’s a difference between just having sex and making love. While sex is an act of satisfying an urge, lovemaking is the act of expressing love flesh to flesh. Lovemaking is best done in marriage or in a committed relationship. Lovemaking is tender, it is unhurried and it is intended to please. It is not selfish, and so gives consideration to the other person’s satisfaction. Sex on the other hand seeks to take without necessarily giving back. So Moses, which one do you mean? Lovemaking or sex? Don’t ever confuse the two. Yes, if you make love (and not sex) to a woman, and she sees the love and tenderness in it, she will love you silly.

Hearts With Adeola Agoro E-mail: libranadeola@yahoo.co.uk Tel: 08023162609

Hope I’m not pushing myself on him when he’s not interested again?

I

met this guy some weeks back in his friend’s office. Though the friend too had asked me out before but I maintained my cordial relationship with him. When this guy tired to woo me, I didn’t take him serious because he seemed to be too lousy for me from the way he talked and reacted that day and I saw him as an opportunist. Whenever he called to ask about the proposal I’d tell him to forget it. But I didn’t tell him why I turned down his proposal; I just agreed on casual friendship. But now it seems things have changed, I have now developed interest in him. Maybe it’s as a result of how he listens to me on the phone and the way he talks politely. Now I’m the one doing the calling and texting. Though he replies my texts and give excuses of being too busy at work. I asked him the nature of his job, but he said he would tell me later. He asked me why I didn’t ask him that the first day we met and why I didn’t answer when he asked about mine. He promised to call back but he has not. How do you see this; hope I’m not pushing myself on him when he’s not interested again? His friend asked me whether I was serious about having a relationship with him and I answered that we’re managing to tolerate one another. Is this guy trying to pay me

back? Please what do you think or should I just let it go? T. Dear T, you have no reasons whatsoever to feel bad. Most of my friends and business colleagues are men so I know them very well. A fine girl comes to see one of them in the office when others are visiting. One of the visiting friends gives the host a knowing sign to see if the coast is clear. Once he’s been given the green light, he begins to try his luck. If it clicks, fine. If not, nothing is lost. The primary reasons why guys visit each other is either to do business or hang around each other. That a girl walks in is secondary but it is always a welcome diversion. Except a guy is seriously searching, he may not pursue a chasing game he started by chance. You must always bear in mind too that he’s likely to have a girlfriend and you coming along was just one of those things. If he wanted you badly, he wouldn’t waste time in making you know through his actions. Telephone calls happen to be the easiest way of making a girl know she’s much thought of. Your phone won’t stop ringing if a guy is interested. If this guy wants you, no matter how busy he is, he will create that time for you to see and talk. The way he’s behaving now shows that he has other things he wants to do with his time, and you’re not part of it. Just let him be, stop calling him, if he misses you, he will start calling. If not, let him go.

What do I do about my big and flat breasts?

I

feel ashamed, Aunty Deola. Please can you help me on this issue; I’m just a teenager (I have removed your age) and my breasts are not good to look at. I mean they have grown big and flat. I feel ashamed when I look at myself in the mirror. I don’t have money to buy breast firming products. Please advise me on what to do. I’m taking you like my mother.

I’m sorry to hear about your case. Though, it is not common for a girl of your age to experience sagging or drooping of breasts but let’s console ourselves with the fact that eventually it is a natural and inevitable process that happens to all women at some point, except to those with fairly small breasts. When gravity pulls the breasts down, the ligaments and the skin around the breasts can stretch, and so the breasts then droop. This depends on the elasticity of your skin and of your ligaments as determined by your genes and diet, and also on normal aging processes. Obviously large breasts will sag easier since the gravity is pulling them down more. When breasts bounce during active sports, such as tennis, those ligaments can also be stretched or even torn. A good sports bra can minimize that effect. Short of breast lift surgery, there is unfortunately not much you can do about it. Although there are some claims in some quarters that there exists certain herb to gradually help the breast regain their fullness, the herbs too do not come cheap and you said you don’t have money. Even breast lift surgery results are not permanent because the skin and ligaments will stretch again eventually. However, there is one step all women can take to prevent sagging, and that is to wear good sports bras during active sports, such as jogging. This is because the bouncing of the breasts can overstretch or tear the Cooper ligaments inside breasts. Your concern, I’m sure, would be about the man you will eventually marry if this problem has not been corrected before then. Yes, most men love full and firm boobs, but they will sometimes understand if you Some of the staff of Leadmode Resource Centre, Lagos, in the University of Leicester prints during the tell them in advance about your problem. induction of new students into leading universities in the United Kingdom If the man you love is bothered by them,

try to educate him. Remember also that if he really loves you, he will not quit loving you because of some physical characteristics. Surely we all would want to have a husband who is not concentrating solely or obsessing over the outward appearance - because that will inevitably change some day as you age. Experts think you should try (although they are not giving guarantees) is to help the elasticity of your skin nutritionally, maybe that would help those ligaments to stay in top fit and to prevent further drooping. For example, vitamin C is very important for the collagen synthesis within skin. There are also other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help the skin and ligaments to be in top health. Remember your future babies won’t care as long as he/she gets milk from your breasts. That’s what counts. N.B: Men, you’re the cause of our worries about our breasts. We want you to know that you have mothers who do not have full boobs anymore. You have sisters too, who have saggy breasts and you will want them to marry someday soon. If men from other families can take your sisters the way they are, you too should take other people’s sisters the way they are. Having saggy breasts does not mean the woman has been loose. It just means she’s been unfortunate with her body. You (men) who mind sagging breasts should keep in mind that you’re going to have a hard time finding a woman whose breasts would never droop except you marry a flat-chested woman.

From you to me Hello Mamaa, how is the strike in Abuja? I thought you would have written something about it, but you have kept silent on it. Or are you no more on our side? I’m just joking ooo. – Biodun from Ijebu (07060708070). •Adeola, you wrote in your column on the 31st of December, ‘It’s a new year tomorrow, so we won’t start with problems. But see what Jonathan has brought upon us! – Barrister Moronkeji (07088562633).


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LIFE

Society Profile

THE NATION, Saturday, JANUARY 14, 2012

STYLE Gossip Interviews

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‘My life as a pot drummer’ The clay pot within our African tradition is very symbolic; it is almost like the source of life... Afe Onikoko is pushing the boundaries a little further by making the clay pot to nourish our inner being through music

Afe Onikoko

See Page 44


THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012 44 Oluwatoyin Oluwaferanmi Akinola, whose stage name is Afe Onikoko, is a musician with a sense of consciousness of who she is and where she is coming from. She has a strong and burning passion for music as a medium of entertaining and educating people about the richness of African culture and tradition. Born in Okitipupa in Ondo State, Afe Onikoko is the only female talking potter in the world; and she is a proud Nigerian. She speaks with OKORIE UGURU. Excerpts:

‘Why I chose the pot as drumminginstrument’ W

HAT does it mean to be a female talking potter? It is to talk and make music with pots. I mean the pots that we women use in cooking food in the kitchen. That is my musical instrument and a means of communication to people too. I have been able to turn the pot into a musical instrument and that is what I play and that is why they call me Afe Onikoko. Some use the guitar, others the keyboard, percussion and so on, Afe uses the pots, how did you come about it? Nobody knows it all. Although music is universal, we see so much dominance of western musical instruments in our music. I am an African lady and I like my roots and also love exploring it, knowing that the clay pots are what African women use in the kitchen. You know in the olden days apart from farming, the men would go into the forest to hunt for games for the family meals; it was the responsibility of the woman to prepare the food in the kitchen. The clay pot within our African tradition is very symbolic; it is almost like the source of life. In some cultures, you hear of the pot of life. The clay pot is the source of nourishment for our physical body through the food that is cooked inside it. Extending a little this concept of the pot nourishing our body, Afe Onikoko is pushing the boundaries a little further by making the clay pot to nourish our inner being through music. I use the pot to communicate and create good Afrocentric music. I would rather go African than say I want to play the guitar and so on. Although as a musician I can play the guitar, the keyboard and so on, I prefer to concentrate on this unique adventure, exploring African heritage using the pot as a symbolic African instrument to create music. I feel I am not complete without using an African instrument, which my instrument. Why the pot? For so many reasons. First, the clay pot that I am using is very traditional to Africans. In addition, I am a woman. In Africa, she is the mother of the house. She brings life into existence through birth; she nourishes and toils for the upkeep of the family and this she does by preparing food in the house using the pot. Within an African family setting, a home is almost incomplete without the clay pot. Taking it further, when a member of the family comes in the heat of the sun, the first place he goes on entering the house is the clay pot where drinking water is kept and you know water clay pot is chilled and reinvigorates the body. This is the same thing I do using music and the clay pot as musical instrument. How did the concept of using the pots as musical instrument come? The idea first came from my promoter, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye. He was the person that first suggested it. He said I should go and work with the pot and see the kind of music I would create from it. It was initially baffling. I went to the resort and toiled for a very long time, but the

sound I was creating did not make any serious meaning. I had to go back to him and he gave me some tips which I used. I will not disclose that in this interview, it is our secret. I work with that concept and the music came out fine. Outside the music, for it to meaning and make the desired impact, I needed to think deep using the concept of the African pot and its symbolism within the African way of life. It was only then that did the music made more meaning and I have become focused on what we are trying to do in the Atunda Band. Do you write your songs or what? I write songs and my manager, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, also writes many of the songs I play. Afe is a beautiful woman, tell our readers your marital status? I am married with two children. Talk a little about yourself and family background. I am from Okitipupa in Ondo State. I am the first in a family of seven. I attended Olowoira Primary School, Olowoira and from their to Isheri Grammar School. Later I moved to Government Girls High School, Shagamu. I was admitted to the University of Lagos, Akoka for a degree course in music. Back then, guitar was my major but when I joined my band, the Atunba Entertainment Within an AfriGroup, we are Afrocentric and they can family setwanted me to go African, that was how I ting, a home is started creating music almost incomwith the pots. What is your most plete without the memorable expericlay pot... And ence? An experience I will you know water never forget was the day I performed with in the clay pot is the pots at the resort. chilled and At the end of the performance, the former reinvigorates the Vice Chancellor of the body. This is the University of Ibadan, Professor Bamiro said same thing I do he wanted to introduce the talking pot using music and into the school syllathe clay pot as bus and would want me to lecture in the musical instruuniversity. My attitude ment to life? I always like to be myself. I don't pretend.

•Afe Onikoko


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

‘I took after my mum; she’s artistic, stylish and chic’ Didi Ocheja is a scientist and former biological researcher at the prestigious University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Now the Director of Operations of the Miss Nigeria Beauty Competition and the CEO of Didi Isah Bags and Accessories, in this interview with KEHINDE FALODE, speaks about her foray into the beauty and fashion industry.

F

OR how long have you been in the accessory business? To be honest with you, I started it as a hobby because it was a passion. I don't have a formal design training. That is not my background. I'm a scientist. It was just a hobby and a passion. Really as a business, I will I started in 2005. I had always made things for family and friends before it turned into a business for me. You worked with Mrs. Nike Oshinowo as well, how do you cope? It's very difficult but I am a true Nigerian and have more than one job (she laughs). People are versatile. You need to have more than one thing. Really, it is a passion and I have time to design. I do have my nine to five but I do have time to fulfill my passion. How has it been designing leather products and other accessories? It's been challenging. It's been interesting. It's been exciting. I found out that leather is a fine material to work with. The older it gets the better. It ages well and even becomes more beautiful. Leather is one of the most versatile materials that you can use to design. •Didi Ocheja So I intend to use leather. Sometimes, I use natural fibre like raffia and cane just to make it interesting. But generally, I work with leather. I think that in my experience here and that of UK, when I look back, I found that the challenge I face is sourcing for materials, even though we have a very vibrant leather industry but searching for materials and in terms of finishing is difficult. We don't really sell our leather in Nigeria. One of the things that some of my contemporaries and I in the leather designing industry have done is to get together and formed and association all Leather Designers Association of Nigeria. That's one of the reasons why we are here. Because there is no point complaining, we have to do something about it. Leather is one of the products from which we can make billions of dollars a year. Our leather is one of the best in the world but the truth of the matter is, if we don't harness the industry, we won't gain from it. Owners of factories believe in exporting raw leather not knowing that they can make money from it here in Nigeria. There is a huge market for leather by designers, interior decorators, furniture makers, automobile industry businessmen and others. There are whole industries that need leather. We shouldn't really have to import leather. That's part of the challenges we face. Honestly speaking, those are the challenges that I find but so far, it's still very promising and exciting because there is nothing you can't find here in Nigeria and I think that if we come together and really work hand in hand, we can have our own leather industry. How about the leather designers association? We are very new and doing very well. We have had a lot of consultations and we welcome other designers to join us as long as they are Nigerians and work with leather so that we can network and a have a forum for those who source for leather from outside and Nigerians who feel our products are not good enough. When they start seeing the quality assurance and standards of our association, then people will feel more comfortable to buy Nigerian leather just like they started feeling more comfortable to buy Nigerian fashion clothing. Hopefully, we will get to that point. Things have changed as you know in how many years,10 years ago. The truth is that it takes times and we hope this also happens in our own industry. How do you get inspired? I get inspired from different sources. I think that inspiration comes from different aspects of life. My inspiration comes from travels, nature and others. Sometimes, you can pinpoint how you get inspired.

What dreams and prospects do you have for your business? (She smiles)I have big dreams for Didi Isah. I think that our main goal as a company really is to provide beautiful designs and well-made leather goods because I generally design accessories: bags, belts, passport holders, notebooks. Our goal is to provide for Nigerians and people from the outside world quality goods well-designed. I always say our philosophy is quirky elegance because our designs are quite elegant and very classic but there is always something slightly different about it. As I look at our prospect, we would like people to recognise our brand as always delivering quality well-designed and proudly-Nigerian goods. Do you feel threatened by imitation of your products in the market? Not yet (she laughs). Because people still want to buy Gucci goods and top international designers when it comes to accessories but I think that at some stage this would happen if you are good as imitation is the best form of flattery. We talked about this issue in the leather designers association because in terms of production, sometimes you are worried that if you give your design to a company to make, they will produce a lot more for you. Right now, it is a small-medium scale business but as you grow, you think of giving to the Aba traders to mass produce for you. As a designer, you will worry about such but that should be in the future and it will sort out itself then. What future do you see for the Nigerian leather industry? Wow! I think the future is very bright and enormous. I said it before that Nigeria has one of the best leathers. We haven’t taken advantage of it yet. The possibility is endless. I don’t think it is the accessories business that will enjoy the fruit of leather industry in Nigeria. Leather will definitely bring in more revenue for our country as this will create more jobs. From the hides and skin from the cows being reared to the finished product for leather, the industry is full of potentials if only it can be deployed and given an enabling environment by the trade and investment policy of the government. As someone known in the beauty industry, we cannot fail but ask what is style to you? I think that style is an interpretation of how you want to be viewed. It is a personally thing. People have their own style. You can see two women wear the same outfit in different ways because of their personal style. It is how you express yourself to the world. What determines what you wear? Both my mood and occasions determine what I wear. There are some occasions you have to dress in a certain way, if not you are being rude. Who are the three Nigerian women whose style appeals to you? Nike Oshinowo-Sholeye, she has an incredible style. My two senior sisters also have good styles that appeal to me. I learn from them because they are a lot older than me and I always looked up to them. Can you describe your person? I am a very passionate person, disciplined and loyal. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Didi Ocheja is an Igala. I come from a family of seven children. I am the sixth. I must have taken after my mum because she is very artistic, stylish and chic. I think we all got it from her. A lot of my siblings are very artistic as well. I have a sister who studied fashion design and got a degree in the UK. I didn’t study design; I studied chemistry precisely, Biological Chemistry. I was actually a researcher at Cambridge for four years. I studied at University of London and did research when I finished in immunology at Cambridge. Later, I went into branding, that’s my kind of core competence. I am the brand director for Miss Nigeria. Do you have any special beauty routine? I don’t have a special beauty routine but I think that when you get to a certain age, you have to take a bit more care of your face. Just the normal things, you clean, moisturise and exfoliate. Those are the three laws of beauty care. That is what I do. The last beauty thing I do before going to bed is, I have to take off everything if I don’t make-up that day, the dirts on the face have to be removed by cleansing. How do you unwind? I like reading. Reading calms me down. I find it relaxing. I want to tell you something really good. You have to get a kinder reader, an electronic book. You cannot be carrying how many books up and down in a day. I got a kinder reader so that I just put in my bag. You can load over 200 books in it. It’s the best thing. You need to get one. These children that don’t read nowadays, parents should buy them kinder readers. Why can’t they read books? They should put Wole Soyinka on it. Growing up, we used to read. We had a library in my house and my father made sure that you had to read different books. You talked about the books you read and discussed it. It makes you enlightened.

I come from a family of seven children. I am the sixth. I must have taken after my mum because she is very artistic, stylish and chic. I think we all got it from her. A lot of my siblings are very artistic as well


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

Taking care of your skin OW healthy one’s skin is is the first step towards an excellent supple body. But how you maintain your skin will determine how healthy it can go all year round, especially in this harmattan period. It is very necessary that you take special care of your skin in order for it to look radiant and beautiful. So, you need to take extra measures to protect your skin against harsh weather because the harmattan season brings about other potential problems for the skin. Colder weather does not mean your skin is not in danger of drying up. In fact, the skin tends to get dry easily during colder weather. To keep your skin healthy and protect it against the harsh weather, you must make sure it is supple and full of moisture to avoid cracking and dryness. Tips for vibrant skin despite the cold •Bath with plain water as much as possible and avoid using hot water at all time because too much of it can steal its natural oils. •Petroleum jelly is good for the season; it will seal in moisture, •For your skin to retain its glow throughout this cold period, you need to look for a body cream that contains some vital vitamins. •Also, body creams that contain avocado oil and sunflower oil will make the skin glow and warm. •Drink plenty of water; water will detoxify the blood streams and aid the free flow of blood. Drinking at least seven to eight glasses of water every day helps

H

purify the body from within and helps us flush all the harmful bacteria out. •Avoid too much intake of soda and other alcoholic drinks since these can lessen your youthful look. •Eat lots of fresh fruits; fresh fruits and vegetable plus a good healthy diet can make skin healthy at the same time help us achieve a balanced weight. •After you wash your hands, use hand cream to seal in moisture. •Rub raw aloevera juice on your skin. It helps to keep a smooth and clean body. It’s worth the stress. •Always use a facial wash that prevents blemishes and, more importantly, moisturizes. You may not appreciate the effect today, but it will certainly go a long way. •Take off every bit of makeup at night before bedtime. •Before going to bed, mix some olive oil and vinegar and rub some on your face or on the entire skin and wash off in the morning. •Use glycerin-based soaps or face washes; apart from the fact that you will get a great cleaning without the dryness feel to your skin; these brands of soaps also stabilize the pH of the skin and create a hostile environment for bacteria. If you can follow these simple rules religiously, believe me, your skin, especially your face, will be totally rejuvenated from the inside out despite the cold weather!


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

Jeggings back on style radar M ANY years ago, jeggings surfaced on the style radar. This season, this ‘80s fad of choice is spreading like fire. Not only have they shown up all over the runways, but they have become the favourite of young leading ladies. Jeggings may look like a pair of skinny jeans, but they are made with a lighter material, a type of nylon named nylon PV1.

your stems, add a pair of jeggings in to the mix. This enables skin-shy women to pull off skirts of all lengths. Choose a colour that coordinates with your top, and keep in mind that dark colours are always more flattering.

Shirt dresses Stepping out in a sturdy shirtdress, tights add an extra layer of style, often in the form How to rock it of a pattern or colour. When it Mini comes to sun dresses and other Jeggings and skirts are truly breezy numbers, take caution: a dynamic duo. If you have most flirty frocks are just too qualms about showing off light for tights.

•Denin jeggings

•Jeggings

•Nancy Jeggings

•Jeggings

Lady Gaga buys fake designer Merch CCORDING to a

Daphne Guinness honoured

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A

British tabloid, Lady Gaga recently told fans she’d bought some counterfeit designer goods, while in Japan last month. “In Tokyo, they have all these stores that have fake Chanel and Versace. And I’m an Italian from New York, so I still buy it. This jacket is a fake.”

•Lady Gaga bought fake designer Merch during her trip to Tokyo last month

HE Jewellery Information Centre’s 10th annual GEM Awards honoured Daphne Guinness and Vogue editor, Candy Pratts Price, for Jewellery Style and Journalistic Excellence respectively. Meanwhile, the event’s host, Padma Lakshmi, said her jewellery line would soon be back.

•Daphne Guinness honoured for her jewelry style magazine ad page sales down in 2011


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SOCIETY

THE NATION SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

Ooni honours Yeye Maye at 50

T

HE Yeye Maye of Ile-Ife,Osun State, Chief Iyabo Olufunmilayo Adedoyin, celebrated her 50 th birthday last Saturday with great pomp and ceremony in the ancient town. Apart from all her friends who came both from the United States and the United Kingdom to rejoice with her, Olufunmilayo, the pretty wife of the President of the Oduduwa University, Chief Ramon Adedoyin, also hosted traditional rulers from the town and its environs. The blue colour was ubiquitous at the event, and it added glamour to the ceremony. Everywhere you looked at was blue. If it was not blue attire, it would be a blue cap or blue headgear. Most of the family members of the charming Ife chief were present,radiating happiness. The occasion afforded those who had not met for a long time the opportunity to sit under the same umbrella. Full of life and energy,the celebrant walked majestically hand-in-hand with her husband who was in white agbada. They walked to the centre of the event, smiling and exchanging glances like teenagers in love.

The arrival of Oba Okunade Sijuwade,the Ooni of Ife, represented by his wife, Olori Odunola, enlivened the ceremony. As she entered the arena, she became the focus of attention. Traditional musicians and praise singers were eulogizing the monarch who came to honour the celebrant with his presence. According to the olori, Ooni would have loved to come, but he needed to rest. When it was time to dance, the Maye of Ife, Chief Adedoyin did not disappoint, as he did it to the admiration of all. The chairman of the event, the General Manager of Chi Nigeria Limited, Mr. Muihael Oyekanmi, urged all women to emulate the patience of the celebrant. He said the woman had been with her husband right from the time he was nobody. Among the eminent people at the event were: Professor Omisakin of the Mississipi University, USA; Professor Bamisaye of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; former chairman of the Ife East Local Government, Chief Gbenga Owolabi; and former Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Chief Segun Bamigbetan-Baju, among others.

•'Birthday girl', Chief (Mrs) Iyabode Adedoyin

•Wife of Ooni of Ife, Olori Odun Sijuade (left) with Chief Adedoyin

•Husband of the 'birthday girl', Chief Adedoyin (in white) with children and grandchildren

•The son of the late Ooni of Ife, Omooba Adesoji Aderemi with his wife

•L-R Former Chairman of Ife East Local Government, Oluomo Gbenga Owolabi (left) with the former Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Chief Segun Bamigbetan-Baju

•The General Manager Chi Nigeria Limited, Mr. Michael Oyekanmi Onagbola (left) with his wife


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN I’m still dazed, laments man whose son was gunned down in Edo

•Traders, others bemoan looting of their shops, property

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OR Mr. Saturday Osobor, a me chanic based in Benin City, Edo State, the tragedy that befell him on Tuesday, the second day of the protest against fuel subsidy removal, was what he could not fathom. He sent his son, Elvans, who was an apprentice under him, to buy some parts for a vehicle he was asked to fix, only to be told a few minutes later that his son had been killed. It was learnt that his son, instead of going on the errand, joined some youths who allegedly went on a looting spree and was hit by a bullet allegedly fired by a soldier attached to the Edo State ‘Operation Thunder Storm’.

•Mr. Osobor

Osagie OTABOR, Benin

Witnesses said the soldier warned the alleged looters severally to step back before firing the fatal shot that killed Elvans. The corpse of Elvans was taken to the Esigie Police Division until it was later taken by the family to the Police Headquarters in Benin City. Lamenting his loss, Elvans’ father said his son was not part of the protesters as he only sent him on an errand. He said he was confused about the next step to take, saying he was yet to understand why his son would join hoodlums to loot people’s property. Mr Osobor’s predicament is what many parents are currently battling with as their children were either arrested for looting or shot dead. Unconfirmed reports had it that a boy who was shot dead at Ogbeleka area in Sakponba road lived at St. Saviour road and was the only son of his parents. Many others, including residents living in hotspots, sustained gunshot injuries as police and soldiers battled to secure properties of traders targeted by the hoodlums who hijacked the protest organised by Labour movement and civil society groups. There were pockets of protest across the state on Monday when the strike commenced. The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) was on their own. The NLC, TUC and the leadership of the several groups under the Coalition to Save Nigeria (CSN) led their own protest, while other groups were also leading their own. The NBA in the state threatened to boy-

cott all court processes if the price of fuel is not reverted to N65 per litre. The protest had even begun at the Benin City centre (Kings Square) before labour leaders gathered their members together. The Labour leaders were at the King’s Square when some youths broke away and headed differently to areas such as Sakponba Road, Lagos Street opposite the Oba Market, New Benin where Bureau de Change operators are located. Adjoining stores in the areas were also looted and the hoodlums made away with gold, beads, air-conditioners, hard currencies and several goods. Some shop owners who attempted to defend their goods were injured, while some ran away. Worst hit was Erie street. It was a street known for its high commercial activities. Despite police efforts at safeguarding the place, it was heavily looted by hoodlums. Shops in more than seven buildings were vandalised and properties looted. Two vehicles and six motor-cycles were set ablaze at Erie Street just as generators, fans, computers were set ablaze. In other parts of the state, the hoodlums went on looting spree, attacking market women and breaking into stores. At First East Circular, some women and children took up arms alongside their husbands to ward off the hoodlums. On Tuesday, the NLC and TUC chairmen, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun and Comrade Joe Aligbe respectively, had called off street protests and directed workers to remain at home and observe the strike action. The labour leaders, in the statement, said the events that occurred after they stopped the protest were a negation of their ideals, adding that anybody found on the streets should be regarded as a criminal. Despite

•An injured man being taken to the hospital in Benin City •Protesters in Benin City

•The Police dragging some arrested suspects into their van

•Some suspects arrested by the Police

the calling off of the street protest, some hoodlums went ahead and continued their attack on citizens and looting of shops. Meanwhile, operators of Bureau de change have started counting their losses during the protest. Some of the traders, who were seen coming to take stock of what was stolen, said what their losses could not be quantified. One of them, who identified himself as Ibrahim Alli, said he was confused about the situation. He said he was at a loss why their shops would be looted. “They took many air-conditioners and money. You can see the whole place. More than seven houses in this vicinity were vandalised.” Another trader on Lagos Street, Alhaji Dambo Mohammed, said everything in his shops was looted. “They took everything. They came here with cutlasses, clubs and dangerous weapons. They took my gold, beads, and money. People gave me gold to keep for them. I am a citizen of this state and I have lived my life here. Whatever it is, I will remain here. I lost more than N500,000”. A community leader also on Lagos Street, Monday Osahon, condemned the attack on the traders’ properties. According to him, “This is not a protest but stealing. People came here to rob and steal. This is not fighting but robbing. They stole gold, beads. Anybody they caught should be arrested. In this office, they stole air-conditioners. Protesters don’t steal. We are trying to reach the police to give them security.” However, some persons who were taken to various emergency centres and police stations for safety have since returned homes.


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

THE GREAT SHUTDOWN KADUNA: Daring youths’ melodrama, partially observed curfew hallmark strike

•The protesters in Abuja

ABUJA: Fun, colour and vital lessons in religious harmony D

ESPITE the unbelievable death toll that attended the fuel subsidy removal crisis in other states of the federation, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has not recorded any casualty. It is not by happenstance. It is because the labour leaders had warned the protesters not to give the Police any reason to pounce on them and declare a curfew in the city. As the protest began on Monday, there were fears that the Police who were armed to the teeth could open fire on the surging crowd of protesters, but it never happened. Initially, the cops thought they could intimidated irate youths with the presence of heavy equipment that now permeated the entire metropolis, but the determined protesters dared them. An example was at the Sky Memorial Junction in Zone 5, Wuse. The Police literally barricaded the road and ordered that nobody must dare them. Alas! Some of protesters pulled off their shirts. They laid on the floor and said: “Fire us. After all, we have nothing to lose. All we know is that Jonathan must revert to N65.” The Police gave up the threat and the youth penetrated through the barricade and cheered up. Tuesday, there was tension as the security was reinforced by the presence of the Nigeria Army. But it did not change anything as the protesters were determined to die. Investigations, however, revealed that most of the policemen are happy with the demonstration, which could reduce the high cost of living should the protesters have their way. However, the entire environment has been at the receiving end. Most of the protesters don’t carry placards. They resort to uprooting the flowers and little trees that beautify the streets. They use the leaves as shades. In addition, they also forcefully stuck the leaves on moving vehicles to ensure that they show solidarity with them. Also, the manner in which the demonstrators smoke their India hemp under the watch of policemen is unbecoming. It is commonplace to see irate youths puffing smoke of India hemp, which easily intoxicates people with fragile senses. To some people, the rally is an opportunity for them to slim down. Therefore, heavyweight men and women always join the protest to the end. Hear Ada Timi: “I am using this opportunity to exercise myself.” In terms of participation, many of the traders have decided to shun the rallies. To them, subsidy or no subsidy, they will survive because they sell their product according to cost. Yet, they have lacked the

John OFIKHENUA, Abuja courage to open their shops in Wuse market. However, the small scale traders could be seen advertising their wares in the morning but as soon as they hear the war songs of demonstrators, they vacate the scene. This is also similar to the attitude of some of the bus drivers who assemble for business at Wuse market in the morning but they are always conscripted into the demonstration before noon. The Bike Rides Association in Abuja has been of tremendous strength to the protest. Protesters delight interest in the roaring sound of the bikes because of the musical icon Charley Boy. The protesters run after them singing and caressing Charley Boy’s body admirably. Language has also played a pivotal role in

the Abuja protest. Being a cosmopolitan city, the people are always addressed in Hausa and English for mutual intelligibility. For instance, the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, cautions the youths in Hausa and repeats the same message in English. Also the Trade Union Congress President, Comrade Peter Esele, also makes some explanations in English. Nigerians have, however, learnt a lesson from the mayhem as they have realised that both the poor, rich, Christain and Muslems can be united if there is common cause like obnoxious policy. This is better explained from the way the Christians and Muslims take turns to guard themselves at prayer time. Indeed, they have realised that their common enemies are the politicians who incite them against one another.

JOS: It's partial shut down

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HE state of emergency imposed in Jos, the Plateau State capital, though made the protest ineffective but it was not enough to stop the strike. The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and civil society organisations had several meetings with security agencies in the state and an agreement was reached to shelve the protest but that the strike can go on. Residents, therefore, remained indoors throughout the first day of the strike. All business premises, fuel stations and banks remained shut; the city was almost at a stand still. Most people were afraid of coming out for fear of looters. But on the second day of the strike, business activities picked up as people came out to continue their normal businesses. Commercial motorists as well as motorcyclists came out for their business. Shops owners opened their shops and the markets resumed. But government establishments and offices remained under lock and key as workers heeded NLC’s instruction. The Joseph Gomwalk State Secretariat was deserted. A commercial motorcycle rider, Musa Sani, said: “I was forced to remain at home on the first day of the strike, I could not

Yusufu AMINU Idegu, JOS come out to work. My problem is that I have to ‘deliver’ to the owner of the motorcycle daily, which is our agreement. I have to pay for the day I did not work. So, if I remain at home for more days, I will suffer for it. Hence, I have to come out and work. Secondly, due to the rise in petrol price, we have increased transport fares but it has boomeranged because the patronage has reduced; many people have resorted to trekking to short distances where they used to pick bike that is the problem we are facing now”. Civil servants in the state are lamenting the strike in the New Year having spent a weeklong Christmas and New Year break. Their hope to resume work and make arrangement for the expenses of children resuming schools has been jeopardised. Daniel Ajik of the state Ministry of Agriculture said: “This strike is boring; I am tired of staying at home. I hate being redundant in January. I can’t go to work and this is not a farming period; I hope the strike does not last”. Generally, the prices of commodities have risen by 100% and this affects every sellable item in the market.

Continued from Page 15 protesters, especially those who came from the Tudun Wada and Rigassa areas of the metropolis headed for the Government House chanting the party slogan of the Congress for Progressive Change in an apparent move to introduce political dimension to the protest. They insisted on entering the Government House and returned moments later after they were dispersed with teargas by the police and decided to test the patient of the security agents. But they (the Police) maintained a high level of decorum in the face of provocation by the youths who pushed at the Government House gate, threatening to break it down. However, when the security agents maintained their cool, the youths started dispersing gradually, leaving a handful of them there who insisted on sleeping at the Government House gate, but had to be dispersed. But labour leaders and civil society groups in the state got more than they bargained for on the second day of the protest when more people, especially under-aged children, came out in their number in Kawo, Rigassa and the Kaduna Western bye pass. Even though the Government House area had to be condoned off, the youths insisted on passing through the area, but had to be prevented. Unconfirmed reports have it that a senior military officer escaped being lynched in the Rigassa area of the metropolis, but his military hillux pick-up van was not lucky as it was vandalised by the youths who also resorted to breaking windscreen of other road users. But organisers of the protest in the state moved to douse the growing tension in the state by asking all protesters to return to their houses and await further directive from them. But the youths who were already on the streets refused to hid the call. The Nation learnt that available reports to security operatives indicate that some people were planning something more vicious for the third day of the protest despite labour’s call for a stay at home and had to move quickly to impose a curfew on the metropolis to forestall a breakdown of law and order; a decision that was swiftly condemned by civil society groups as an attempt to muzzle the people of the state. Interestingly, while many residents of the state decided to obey and observe the curfew by the government, Mallam Shehu Sani, President of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) decided that he would not. Dressed in black suits, Sani invited reporters to witness his disobedience to the curfew. He drove to the Gamji gate multipurpose centre located behind the Kaduna Police College and from there, walked along the Independence Way down to the Lugard Hall roundabout, passing police check points without anybody asking him where he was going or coming from. He was accompanied by two of his friends on the long walk and it was evident that the policemen at the various points he passed through either had instructions to ignore him or just mistook them for security agents. At a check point close to the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Kaduna, the security men told reporters when asked why they did not stop Sani and his friends that “they are SSS officials”. Sani told newsmen that he would continue to defile the curfew until it is lifted. While the curfew was near total at the city centre, the same could not be said of the outskirts as most people went about their normal businesses. At Angwan Romi, for example, some commercial motorcyclists were busy ferrying people to their destinations while shops were opened for business. Sources, however, told The Nation that some policemen resorted to forcing some shop owners to close their shops located in their residents, saying they must not sell anything and must remain indoors in compliance with the curfew.


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THE GREAT SHUTDOWN We’ll mourn Demola for a long time, says friend of 26-yr-old allegedly shot dead by Lagos DPO Continued from Page 20

such that it was difficult to hold back tears. At the brief ceremony, prayers were offered by Christian and Muslim clerics for the repose of Aderinto’s soul, while an up and coming hip-hop artistes dedicated a song to the memory of the slain youth. The organisers of the event admonished friends and colleagues of the deceased not to engage in any form of reprisal attack that could complicate the crisis, adding that the best honour they could accord the deceased was to be law-abiding. Those present on the occasion included

the Baale of the community,Chief Ismaila Yaya Abatan and other community leaders in the area. Youths and some members of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) gathered at the Yaya Abatan junction to condemn the killing while calling for a thorough investigation into the incident and ensure that justice is done. One of the youth leaders, simply identified as Mr.Fadayomi, described the killing as senseless and barbaric. “The killing of an innocent youth by a senior police officer in the person of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Pen Cinema Po-

lice Station, Mr.Segun Olubunmi, is at best senseless and at worse barbaric.The statutory mandate of the police is protection of lives and property but it’s rather unfortunate that they are the ones killing harmless people they ordinarily should protect. “As I speak, we still feel the pain of losing Ademola, fondly refer to as Omo Olope, and I think the pain would endure for a long time simply because of the way he was killed.” The dastardly act has been condemned by all and sundry, including the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Com-

mand, Yakubu Alkali, who wasted no time in ordering the immediate arrest of the DPO, who was taken to the command headquarters, Ikeja. Men of the State Criminal Investigation Department later whisked him away to Panti for further investigation. The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Samuel Jinadu, said the state command “sympathises with the family of the deceased”, adding: “But investigations have commenced on the incident and I don’t want to jeopardise the case. But we’ll give details after the conclusion of investigations”.

‘Demola could have survived gunshot, but for the strike’ Twenty-nine-year old Opeyemi Aderinto is Ademola’s friend and room mate.In this interview with KUNLE AKINRINADE,he recalled his last moments shortly before he was shot dead by Police.

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AN you recall Ademola’s last moments on the day of the incident? We slept together on the same bed and I was the one who woke him up.I told him it was day break already and that he should get up to prepare for the day.He initiaslly complained of tiredness but he later left for the bathroom to clean up his face while I went to the back of the house.By the time I returned he had left on his motorbike.When I didn’t see him, I assumed he had gone out to carry passengers on his motorbike because he did that to augement his income as a fashion designer. I later saw him from a distance at the Yaya Abatan junction and I warned him not to pick passngers anymore.He heeded my warning and went home to park his motorbike. He returned a few minutes later to join in a discusiion over ther ongoing protest over fuel subsidy removal and to

watch street soccer. About 45 minutes later,the policemen arrived to disperse the crowd.The Divisional Police Officer who led the team started firing shots into the air and onto the ground but the youths were undettered. He again fired at them directly and four people were hit by bullets.Ademola, who was among the victims, felled down in a pool of his own blood and he died a few minuets later at the Ifako/Ijaiye General Hospital where doctors and nurses battled to save his life. He had lost a lot of blood and because of that,the doctors called some staff of the blood bank on the telephone to come and give them the kind of blood needed for a blood transfusuion.But because of the ongoing strike, those in charge of the blood bank couldn’t make it to the hospital on time and it was in that process that Ademola died.

How long did you live together? As friends ,we had been living together for about eight years without any rancour of sort. I can’t remember having any row with him because he was just unassuming. You said he was your friend, but how come the two of you shared the same surname? That is one aspect many poeple don’t know about him. His real surname was Abiodun and not Aderinto.People referred to him as Aderinto because they thought we were brothers. Was there any dream he was nursing before his unfortunate killing? Yes.He was planning to move into his own apartment and he had even bought some electronic gadgets such as TV, Home Theatre Sound System,generator and furniture.Unfortunately, he died before he could live his dream.

•Opeyemi

‘We didn’t know our son joined the strike’

Continued from Page 21 members of their families into mourning. The youths’clash with law enforcement agents at the Government House, Kano resulted in the death of Suleiman and Basiru, while several others sustained various degrees of injury. Some of them are said to be writhing in pains on their hospital beds. Suleiman Buba, 23-year-old graduate of Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kano, lost his life, while trying to add his voice to the call for the reversal of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government. Like Suleiman, Basiru Ahmad, also 23, an itinerant Islamic scholar, popularly called Almajiri, died on the same day, as he marched along other protesters to prevail on the government to rethink its decision. They are both from Hotoro Quarters of the ancient city. The sudden demise of these young men has devastated their parents, particularly the father of Suleiman, Malam Buba, who narrated his ordeal to our correspondent in Kano, saying: “I was sitting at home when some people came to inform me that my son, Suleiman, had been shot and was now in serious condition. I immediately rushed to the scene but was told that he had taken to the Malam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. On arrival at the hospital, I met him dead. That was the boy I saw hale and hearty this morning,” he lamented. The security agencies allegedly compounded the woes of Malam Buba by not granting him the needed permission for him to recover the bodyof his late son from the hospital. The hospital management told him to obtain official permission before his son’s body can be released. He immediately went to the Yar Akwa Police Station to obtain the order. Police officers on duty referred him to the headquarters, where he said he was treated with neglect. “It is not the death of my son that is making me angry now. It was the way the police maltreated me. They did not even care about me. The loss of my son does not mean anything to them at all. We waited for over three

hours and when we realised that the police would not attend to us, we decided to go back to the hospital to plead with the doctor on duty to release the body of my son for burial. The doctor insisted that I must present a police report. That was how we repeated the same scenario. “But this time around, we went with an influential person, who intervened in the matter, and drew the attention of the Police Commissioner to my plight. We were then told to return the next day. It was on Tuesday about 24 hours after my son’s death that I finally secured his bodyfor burial.” Suleiman’s mother, Malama Dada Buba, had tears in her eyes when she recounted the gory story of how the life of her beloved son was exterminated. In an emotion- laden voice, she said: “He was my only son. He had his breakfast on that fateful day and left home, and I had no premonition that trouble was lurking around. He did not tell me he would be joining the protest. Only Almighty Allah will judge those who killed my son. All I know is that my son died a hero because he was championing the cause of the masses.” She said Suleiman was of good conduct, in that he was honest, sincere and gentle. “At no time did he have any ill-feeling towards his friends and associates. I’ll miss him deeply,” Dada sobbed. Suleiman was not the only casualty in the protest that turned violent on Monday in the ancient city of Kano. Basiru Ahmad was reportedly killed after he was hit by a strayed bullet. His Qu’ranic teacher, Malam Yunusa, who lives in Hotoro Quarters, gave an account of how Basiru met his untimely death, saying: “We were about to observe our afternoon prayers when some people came to tell me that Basiru had been shot during the protest taken to the hospital; we ran there immediately. When we arrived, we were told that he could not survive the gun shot wounds. We met his body covered with a piece of cloth, and we were instructed to get a van to convey his body home for burial. We buried him that day.”

•Protesters in Kano

•One of the vehicles torched


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ECAUSE the symptoms of heart failure (sometimes called congestive heart failure) can be difficult to identify and describe, it is often diagnosed quite late. If you or the person you’re caring for has risk factors for heart disease, such as being a smoker or a former smoker and having high blood pressure or coronary artery disease (CAD), it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for heart failure. Taken by themselves, any one of the symptoms listed here probably isn’t cause for alarm, but two or more are good cause to call your doctor for an evaluation. Shortness of breath, particularly when sleeping or lying down One of the characteristic symptoms of heart failure is waking during the night or in the morning feeling as if you can’t breathe deeply or can’t catch your breath. What it feels like: A feeling of compression in the chest and lungs, making it difficult to take a deep breath, particularly during exertion or when lying down. Other clues: difficulty sleeping because of breathing difficulties or choosing to sleep in a chair or recliner because it’s more comfortable. This symptom is easily confused with other sleep problems and breathing problems, such as COPD and sleep apnea, but the difference is the feeling of being short of breath when lying down. Having to sit up to catch one’s breath is particularly telling. Many heart failure patients compensate by propping themselves up on pillows to sleep; when making a diagnosis, doctors sometimes ask their patients how many pillows they sleep on. Why it happens: Because the heart’s ability to pump is weakened, blood backs up in the blood vessels that return blood from the lungs to the heart, causing fluid to leak into the lungs. When the head is elevated, gravity helps ease blood flow to and from the lungs, reducing the feeling of breathlessness. A feeling of chest pressure or “drowning” People diagnosed with heart failure often look back and recognize this early symptom but didn’t know what was happening when they first experienced it, or had difficulty describing it. What it feels like: It may feel like a pressure or heaviness in the chest, or a feeling akin to drowning or being compressed by a heavy weight. It may also feel as if the lungs are filled with fluid when trying to take a deep breath. Some people with heart failure experience chest pain, but not everyone does, so a lack of

Signs of heart failure

pain doesn’t rule out heart failure. Why it happens: Fluid overload throughout the body affects both the chest cavity and the lungs. Fluid in the lungs can feel like drowning when drawing a breath, and congestion in the chest and abdominal tissues can make the lungs feel pressure from outside, as they might deep under water. Clothes and shoes that feel tight Fluid retention with swelling is one of the primary symptoms of heart failure, but it can be difficult to recognize, since the swelling can occur in many areas of the body. What it feels or looks like: Tightness in clothes and shoes, or puffiness of the skin. A relatively sudden increase in girth is a telltale sign of heart failure. Someone with heart failure often looks fatter or bigger around, or you might notice a protruding belly or a shirt with straining buttons that previously fit. If the feet and ankles swell first, you may notice puffiness over the tops of the shoes or an inability to wear certain shoes that once fit. Roundness or puffiness in the face and neck is also a telltale sign. The increased weight will also show as an increase in pounds on the scale, but this may take longer to occur or to notice than the increase in size. Why it happens: Reduced blood flow out of the heart causes blood returning to the heart to back up in the veins. The fluid then builds up within tissues, particularly in the abdomen, legs, and feet, a condition known as congestion (not to be confused with nasal congestion). Also, the weakened heart can’t pump enough blood to the kidneys, which become less efficient at flushing sodium and fluids from the body. Heart-rhythm problems It’s common for people with heart failure to experience palpitations or changes in heart rhythm. What it feels like: A fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat. Someone with heart failure may complain that his heart is racing or that it feels like it’s beating too hard. Often, a fast or irregular heartbeat is accompanied by a jittery feeling, similar to that experienced during a panic attack. Other types of arrhythmias often occur as well, including atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. These problems can be dangerous if left untreated, so it’s important to tell the doctor of any heart-rhythm problems. Why it happens: The heart tries to make up for weakness in pumping

Experts agree the key to healthy eating is the time-tested advice of balance, variety and moderation. In short, that means eating a wide variety of foods without getting too many calories or too much of any one nutrient. These 10 tips can help you follow that advice while still enjoying the foods you eat. •Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no single food supplies them all. Your daily food selection should include bread and other whole-grain products; fruits; vegetables; dairy products; and meat, poultry, fish and other protein foods. How much you should eat depends on your calorie needs. Use the Food Guide Pyramid and the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels as handy references. •Enjoy plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Surveys show most Americans don’t eat enough of these foods. Do you eat 611 servings from the bread, rice, cereal and pasta group, 3 of which should be whole grains? Do you eat 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables? If you don’t enjoy some of these at first, give them another chance. Look through cookbooks for tasty ways to prepare unfamiliar foods. •Maintain a healthy weight. The weight that’s right for you depends on many factors including your sex, height, age and heredity. Excess body fat increases your chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other illnesses. But being too thin can increase your risk for osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities and other health problems. If you’re constantly losing and regaining weight, a registered dietitian can help you develop sensible eating habits for successful weight management.

THE NATION, SATURDAY,JANUARY 14, 2012

by beating faster and harder. As it tires, the heart can’t keep up a regular rhythm and skips beats, or beats with varying strength. Loss of appetite When caring for someone with heart failure, you’re likely to hear, “I’m not hungry,” even when you know it’s time to eat. This lack of appetite may start gradually with your loved one eating smaller portions and feeling full faster, or it may come on suddenly, making you wonder if she has an upset stomach. You may also notice her eating more slowly when she does eat. What it feels like: A sensation of being full, even when it’s been a long time since a meal. You might also notice nausea, constipation, a general feeling of being sick to the stomach, or abdominal pain and tenderness. In addition, the heavy feeling in the chest and abdomen can make it unpleasant to eat. Fatigue can cause someone with heart failure to eat less simply because of fatigue; even chewing can be exhausting. Why it happens: Fluid buildup around the liver and intestines interferes with digestion. Decreased blood flow to the stomach and intestines slows the entire digestive process, causing problems like constipation and nausea. Also, heart failure causes people to feel full quickly because of fluid retention and swell-

ing. Dizziness and light-headedness Complaints of feeling faint, lightheaded, and dizzy are among the most common problems for people with heart failure. As a caregiver, you may notice that your loved one gets dizzy when he stands up or when walking. What it feels like: A sensation of being dizzy, faint, and light-headed, or as if “the world’s spinning.” Nausea or the feeling of carsickness is common, too. If these feelings are associated with palpitations or arrhythmias, it’s important to call the doctor right away. Why it happens: There are several ways heart failure causes dizziness: Inadequate oxygen in the circulatory system causes cells to become oxygen-deprived. Heart-rhythm abnormalities and narrowing in one or more valves restricts blood flow through the heart. Changing levels of chemicals in the blood, such as sodium, can cause confusion and disorientation. Standing up too quickly can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure called postural hypotension. In addition, some of the medications used to treat heart failure and other heart conditions, such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers, can cause dizziness. Anxiety This is one of the most telling yet

most often missed clues to heart failure. What it feels like: Fast, shallow breathing, racing thoughts, sweaty palms, and a rapid heart rate are all signs of a heightened anxiety response. People with heart failure often mistake these feelings for anxiety and stress; they may even refer themselves to a psychiatrist or counselor, saying they feel nervous and agitated. For many caregivers, the first clue that something’s off is when a loved one informs them he’s been prescribed an antianxiety medication or an antidepressant and the caregiver hasn’t noticed the person experiencing psychological or mood problems. Why it happens: Congestion around the chest and lungs causes strange sensations throughout the body that are confusing and frightening. Lack of oxygen in the bloodstream causes weakness and dizziness and may also produce disorientation and memory loss, which exacerbate anxiety. And a racing heart can feel like an anxiety attack. 8. Coughing When coughing is one of the primary symptoms of heart failure, it’s often confused with the flu or a cold. What it feels like: A tickle or irritation in the lungs, or fluid in the lungs that needs to come up. The cough associated with heart failure is less likely to be felt in the throat than a flu- or cold-related cough. Sometimes the cough produces white, frothy sputum or thick mucus, which may be tinged with blood. However, heart failure can also cause a dry cough. You may notice the cough worsening when your loved one is lying down or when he first gets up. A cough associated with heart failure will eventually become chronic, but at first it may come and go. When talking to the doctor, be sure to mention any multiple bouts of coughing you’ve noticed in the past year or two. Why it happens: Fluid builds up in the lungs because the heart’s pumping capacity is weakened. The fluid can cause irritation and infection and can lead to pneumonia. If your loved one complains of not being able to draw a breath because of fluid, or you hear the telltale chest rattle of pneumonia, call the doctor right away. Note that a dry cough can also be a side effect of some of the medications used to treat heart failure and other cardiac conditions.

10 tips to healthy eating Regular exercise is also important to maintaining a healthy weight. •Eat moderate portions. If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it’s easier to eat the foods you want and stay healthy. Did you know the recommended serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces, similar in size to a deck of playing cards? A medium piece of fruit is 1 serving and a cup of pasta equals 2 servings. A pint of ice cream contains 4 servings. Refer to the Food Guide Pyramid for information on recommended serving sizes. •Eat regular meals. Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in overeating. When you’re very hungry, it’s also tempting to forget about good nutrition. Snacking between meals can help curb hunger, but don’t eat so much that your snack becomes an entire meal. •Reduce, don’t eliminate certain foods. Most people eat for pleasure as well as nutrition. If your favorite foods are high in fat, salt or sugar, the key is moderating how much of these foods you eat and how often you eat them. Identify major sources of these ingredients in your diet and make changes, if necessary. Adults who eat high-fat meats or whole-milk dairy products at every meal are probably eating too much fat. Use the Nutrition Facts panel on the food label to help balance your choices. •Choosing skim or low-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat such as flank steak and beef round can reduce fat intake significantly. If you love fried chicken, however, you don’t have to give it up. Just eat it less often. When dining out, share it with a friend, ask for a take-home bag or a smaller portion.

•Balance your food choices over time. Not every food has to be “perfect.” When eating a food high in fat, salt or sugar, select other foods that are low in these ingredients. If you miss out on any food group one day, make up for it the next. Your food choices over several days should fit together into a healthy pattern. •Know your diet pitfalls. To improve your eating habits, you first have to know what’s wrong with them. Write down everything you eat for three days.

Then check your list according to the rest of these tips. Do you add a lot of butter, creamy sauces or salad dressings? Rather than eliminating these foods, just cut back your portions. Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables? If not, you may be missing out on vital nutrients. •Make changes gradually. Just as there are no “superfoods” or easy answers to a healthy diet, don’t expect to totally revamp your eating habits overnight. Changing too much, too fast can get in the way of success. Begin to remedy excesses or deficiencies with modest changes that can add up to positive, lifelong eating habits. For instance, if you don’t like the taste of skim milk, try low-fat. Eventually you may


THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

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Keeping healthy in a time of crisis

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fellow youth corper once told me during camp in the eighties that, during the Biafran war, he ate lizards and any green plant, some poisonous. To demonstrate his skill at catching lizards, he used to throw pebbles at their heads with precision from afar, knocking them off the wall. In these days, a young Sudanese singer who was a child soldier tells the world about his ordeal during war. There came to a point of pathologic hunger when his fellow human beings looked delicious. Anything and everything of anything could be eaten. A man drinks his own urine. We all hope we never have to live under desperation, fear, and anxiety. Nev-

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EGULAR alcohol consumption raises breast cancer risk, except for red wine, which has theopposite effect when consumed in moderation, researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reported in the Journal of Women’s Health. The authors explained that the chemicals in the seeds

ertheless, we should develop skills for surviving crises, because in the course of a lifetime hardly can anyone escape crises in our present world. At such times, the health of the body is at stake if there are shortages of food and other life supports and the health of the mind is at stake if there are overwhelming stressors. Our spiritual health is at stake if we react wrongly. The most essential life support for the body is water. One can die sooner from lack of water than from lack of food. It is important to have a good source of water and to keep any supply we store clean. When we are desperately thirsty, we would drink any water, even dirty and disease-filled

water. Therefore, when we perceive impending crises, we should try to make sure we have a good supply of water to rely on. In the advent of crises we are faced with limitations and choices. With whatever amount of money or time we have, we have to decide on the most important items to purchase. With respect to foodstuff, foods that can give near-total nutrition include: beans, nuts, eggs, milk, and melon seeds. Unlike meats and seafood, they can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. They provide some protein, other nutrients, as well as a little energy - all of which the body needs for continuous maintenance works within us. Dried stockfish is also easy to store and contains a lot of protein but not near total-nutrition. A while ago, I had to feed on a handful of nuts for a long week-end and that kept me going. A few nuts every now and then gives the acid in the digestive juice in the stomach something to work on and relieves the hunger pangs. It also gives basic nutrition, including energy.

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supply. Some water mixed with sugar and a little salt can replenish some of the nutrients lost through sweating, will energize you, and can keep you from having dizziness and from fainting. For food, groundnuts are easy to carry and give near total nutrition. Make sure they are good groundnuts and do not have mold on them. Groundnuts contaminated with certain molds can cause liver damage if you ingest sufficient amounts of aflatoxin produced by the mold. During crises, we may lack good toiletry and water for adequate cleaning. Keep a small towel and some disinfectant to rob off dirt from parts of the body. Move from the less dirty parts to the more dirty parts. Swish your mouth and gargle with small amounts of water whenever you can in order to avoid dental and oral disease. For the health of the mind, we have to make sure that stressors, no matter how great, do not overwhelm. We must try to sleep, as possible. It may

be helpful to keep thinking positively, imagine a better future and move yourself into it by your survivor instincts and survivor means, keep busy and productive in any possible manner, avoid fear and anxiety generators or pacify them if they come to you, and be hopeful but realistic. Finally, do whatever you can to help relieve the crisis or the effects, present or future, of the crisis on yourself and those who are accessible to you. For your spiritual health, avoid evils and do whatever good you can or turn whatever you can into something good. Remember, you should never have to eat cockroaches or anything that is normally disgusting, or fall sick, and you should never have to arrive at a state of insanity because of crises. Healthy bodies and healthy minds and spirits are possible in times of crises. Dr. ’Bola John is a biomedical scientist based in Nigeria and in the USA. For any comments or questions on this column, please Email bolajohnwritings@yahoo.com or call 07028338910

Red wine reduces breast cancer risk and skins of red grapes slightly reduce estrogen levels and raise testosterone among premenopausal females - thus reducing their breast cancer risk. The authors stress that it is the red grape that has

the beneficial compounds, and not just red wine. They suggest that women should consider red wine when choosing an alcoholic beverage to consume, rather than encouraging wine over grapes. This study contradicts in

University faults research on red wine N extensive miscon duct investigation that took three years to complete and produced a 60,000-page report, concludes that a researcher who has come to prominence in recent years for his investigations into the beneficial properties of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, “is guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data”. In a statement published on the university’s news website on Wednesday, the University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center said the investigation has led them to inform 11 scientific journals that had published studies conducted by Dr Dipak K. Das, a professor in the unversity’s Department of Surgery and director of its Cardiovascular Research Center. The internal investigation, which covered seven years of work in Das’s lab, was triggered by an anonyomous allegation of “research irregularities” in 2008. Das has been in UConn’s employ since 1984, and was awarded tenure in 1993. UConn Health Center said it worked closely with the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) throughout its internal investigation. ORI have received the report, and they

If one is homebound during crises, hunger can be kept away with Nigeria’s favorite gari and sugar. Gari and sugar are easy to store and cheap. Both supply energy and gari supplies satiety (feeling of fullness or being well fed). Add some beans or groundnuts or milk and the kids are safe from kwashiorkor, so are the adults. Other energy suppliers and satiating foods are rice, and foo-foo products but they need their soups and stews which may not be possible in severe crises. Have a supply of multivitamin and mineral tablets of capsules. But remember, they do not work alone. You need to eat some basic food (such as gari and groundnuts or beans) and these supplements will then do wonders to keep you healthy. If you lack fresh fruits and vegetable for some time, your body will be happy if you take a dose of supplement every now and then. Remember this especially for growing children. If you are on the move during crises, especially under the sun, have a rehydrating

will now conduct an independent investigation. Inquiries involving former members of the lab are still under way, and no findings have been released as yet. All externally funded research in Das’s lab is now frozen, and the Health Center has declined nearly $900,000 in federal grants awarded to Das. Philip Austin, UConn’s interim vice president for health affairs, said: “We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country.” He expressed gratitude to the individual who “chose to do the right thing” and alert the university authorities about the irregularities. UConn has initiated dismissal proceedings, in accordance with the unversity’s bylaws. Austin said while the university authorities are “deeply disappointed by the flagrant disregard” for the university’s code of conduct, they are “pleased the oversight systems in place were effective and worked as intended”. He said the abuses in Das’s lab are not representative of the overall quality

of UConn Health Center’s biomedical research, which “continues to pursue advances in treatments and cures with the utmost integrity”. The 11 journals that UConn has informed are: American Journal of Physiology - Heart & Circulatory; Antioxidants & Redox Signaling; Cellular Physiology & Biochemistry; Free Radical Biology; Free Radical Research; Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry; Journal of Cellular & Molecular Medicine; Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry; Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; Molecular & Cellular Cardiology; Molecular & Cellular Chemistry. There is a suggestion that the impact of this news on resveratrol research will be minimal. According to a report from the Associated Press (AP), Dr Nir Barzilai, whose team conducts resveratrol research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, says Das is not a major player in the field. Barzilai told AP lots of labs around the world are conducting extensive research into resveratrol, with encouraging results, and the new allegation will not make a material difference.

part a widespread belief that the consumption of all types of alcoholic drinks raises a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer, because alcohol raises estrogen levels, which in turn encourages the growth of cancer cells. However, the researchers found that premenopausal women who consumed eight ounces of red wine every evening for approximately a month, had lower estrogen and higher testosterone levels. They tried out the same with another group of women, but they had to consume white wine - it did not have the same effect. Moderate female alcohol drinkers should perhaps reassess their choices, the authors suggested. Study co-author, Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, wrote: “If you were to have a glass of wine with dinner, you may want to consider a glass of red. Switching may shift your risk.” There are over 230,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer each year in the USA - it is the leading type of female cancer in the country, the authors wrote. Approximately 39,000 adult females died from breast cancer in 2011, says the American Cancer Society. The study involved 36 premenopausal females. They were randomly selected into two groups: The red wine group (Cabernet Sauvignon) The white wine group (Chardonnay) For one month, they drank eight ounces of their designated wine every evening. During the second

month they swapped groups, i.e. the women on white wine during the first one switched to red wine during the second month. Blood was collected from each participant four times, twice each month, to check for levels of hormones. The scientists wanted to find out the ingredients of red wine might imitate what aromatase inhibitors do. Aromatase inhibitors are drugs that inhibit aromatase, an enzyme which is involved in estrogen levels. Aromatase inhibitors are used in breast cancer therapy. They found that red wine lowers estrogen levels, which in turn should stem cancer cell growth. They

added that test tube studies had indicated the same thing. Co-author Glenn D. Braunstein, MD, explained that even though white wine (grapes) appears to lack the protective elements found in red wine (grapes), this does not necessarily mean that white wine raises breast cancer risk. Braunstein, said: “There are chemicals in red grape skin and red grape seeds that are not found in white grapes that may decrease breast cancer risk.” Braunstein added that a larger study is needed to determine how safe and effective red wine might be in reducing breast cancer risk.


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THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

•Jerusalem

New lease of life for Christian pilgrimage

P

ILGRIMAGE to Jerusa lem by Nigerian Chris tians used to be to an ex ercise characterized by complaints, reports of absconding and many other negative practices. However, last year’s exercise turned out to be one of the best. There was little or no complaints coming from both the pilgrims and the agency with the statutory responsibility of organizing the exercise. The executive secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr. John kennedy Opara , said there was a certain level of professionalism brought into the management of Christian pilgrimage in the country which in turn translated into the success recorded last year. On the just-concluded exercise,Mr Opara said: I want to say that our lives are full of changes and the only way that we can continue to remain relevant is if we ensure that whatever we do, we must continually have changes. The first set of our pilgrims returned to Nigeria on November 15 last year, and I want to say that they are full of

hope. They are excited. One thing we did was to make sure that for the first time, our Nigerian meals were prepared and served to our pilgrims . They felt at home unlike before when we allowed the air carrier prepare the menu and do anything and the pilgrims ending up being unsatisfied with that. That helped us in taking care of the welfare of the pilgrims. Second, we have added more spiritual content to our pilgrimage. From the beginning to the end, most of them witnessed what I called divine encounters, while they were there because of the type of tour operators, that is, the spiritual guides that we had were the people versed in the Bible and we expected to educate them in line with the scripture. For example, when they got to the Church of Multiplication, the spiritual meaning and implication of that were brought before all of them. They were not just seeing a physical monument, but they understood more the spiritual implications of that place and why they had to visit there. So, these were some the things that we were able to do to ensure that the journey itself was spiritually rich. Also we increased the security awareness of the pilgrims, so

that before they left here they were prepared for changes that might occur in less than 48 hours. If there was any place we had any challenge as a result of security situa-

•Nigerian pilgrims

tion, our pilgrims were ready to move to another hotel. So, they were well- informed and security conscious. By and large, I think this year’s pilgrimage, at the end of it all, will go down as one of the best that

we have ever organized in recent time.” Opara said the problem of logistics which used to hamper smooth operations in the past Continued on Page 55


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New lease of life for Christian pilgrimage Continued from Page 54

had also been taken care of. “When we look at the issue of logistics, the transportation of the intending pilgrims, one of the things we have to say is the bitter truth-because pilgrimage is one of the policies of the federal government. They are interested in the welfare of the pilgrims. So, in our own system, we had to devise a means of proper schedule where each state of the federation is given like one week or two to prepare for their departure and most of them will have to arrange the pilgrims and bring the exact number of pilgrims that will fly. “ So, we have been able to reduce the case of getting a lot of people at the airport without them flying. We tell them the number of pilgrims to bring and once they bring them, we are able to ensure that the fly. There is no case that we will bring 500 people and only 400 will travel, no, we have overcome that. “Even in bringing them back, we don’t have that

challenge because it is the exact number of people that leave the country that we bring back. And we have also tried to educate the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board to ensure that the pilgrims themselves are well prepared enough for the trip. They don’t leave any stone unturned . “ I tell you, almost all the pilgrims got to the airport

latest by 4pm, and they had to depart latest by 9pm. This gave us a hitch-free operation. We had enough staff, and, of course, the security operators at the airport were there to guide the pilgrims. So, we have overcome those problems we used to have in the past. “The carriers have to adhere to the timetable. We gave them a timetable of schedule which they must follow. They

•A tourist attraction in Jerusalem

Kehinde FALODE: 08023689894

Bread pizza Foluke ADEMOLA

BREAD pizza is a very popular recipe. It is easy to eat for any course of meals. Ingredients •4 bread slices •1 capsicum (sliced) •1 tomato (sliced) •4 mushrooms (sliced) •2 onions (sliced) •1 tbsp butter •4 tbsp mozzarella cheese (grated) •1 pinch salt •1 pinch sugar •2 tbsp pizza sauce Method • Heat butter in a pan. Add vegetables to it and fry them until brown and soft. • Add salt and sugar to the vegetables. Cook and stir till moisture evaporates from the vegetables. • Take a bread slice and smear it with pizza sauce. • Spread the vegetable mixture on the bread and garnish

have to obey our rules. Before we publish the schedule, we send them to the airlines, they will look at it and tell us our operation will agree with you vis-à-vis the landing permit over flying rights. It is after that we publish that this is our schedule.” So far, there has not been any report of a pilgrim absconding from the holy land. This used to be a source of embarrassment for the country in the past.

Opara also spoke on that: “I want to say that abscondment is now history. This is because when people travel on pilgrimage and they abscond, they are giving the country a bad name. I had to travel to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT almost twice on sensitization. We tried to sensitise the pilgrims on the need to understand that there is

no other country better than Nigeria. We encouraged them to a large extent to see Nigeria as their hope. And if you are going for a spiritual exercise or blessing, are not bringing a curse upon yourself by going and then absconding? So we educated the pilgrims to that level. Most looked at it from the perspective of why didn’t I carry my problems to God? “

L-R: Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Hon. Damishi Luka; Minister of State 1, Foreign Affairs , Professor Viola Onwulirinnd; and the NCPC boss, Mr. Opara, during a farewell visit to a batch of intending pilgrims.

Health and nutritional value of onions

ONION has been used as an ingredient in various dishes for thousands of years by many cultures around the world. World onion production is steadily increasing so that onion is now the second most important horticultural crop after tomatoes. There are many different varieties of onion, red, yellow, white, and green, each with their own unique flavor, from very strong to mildly sweet. Onions can be eaten raw, cooked, fried, dried or roasted. They are commonly used to flavour dips, salads, soups, spreads, stir-fry and other dishes. Onions (allium cepa) belong to the lily family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots.There are over 600 species of allium, distributed all over Europe, North America, Northern Africa and Asia. The plants can be used as ornamentals, vegetables, spices, or as medicine. It is used for different kind of things . Cancer Prevention: Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumour growth. In central Georgia where Vidalia onions are grown, mor•Bread pizza is ready to be tality rates from stomach cancer are about one-half the it with mozzarella cheese. average level for the United States. Studies in Greece have • Grill the bread in an oven enjoyed. Serve it with shown a high consumption of onions, garlic and other for 3-4 minutes, or till the tomato ketchup. alliums herbs to be protective against stomach cancer. bread is crispy and the Onion also protects against stomach and other cancers, cheese melts. as well as protecting against certain infections. Onion can improve lung function, especially in asthmatics. Pineapple coconut smoothie is a The more pungent varieties Preparation very popular drink which is very of onion appear to possess • Blend together pineeasy to drink after delicious the greatest concentration of apple juice, pineapple and ice meals. It gives you the satisfacealth-promoting cubes in a blender until smooth. h phytochemicals. tion you always need. • Add coconut meat and It is also very good in alleIngredients blend again until smooth. viation of different ailments • 1 cup pineapple juice • Mix in coconut milk. like: asthma, bacterial • ½ cup ice-cubes • Pour into 2 glasses. infections, cough, colds, • ½ cup fresh pineapple (sliced) influenza, insomnia, • Serve immediately. • ½ cup coconut milk obesity, pneumonia,

Pineapple coconut smoothie

tuberculosis neuritis, vertigo and bronchitis. They are rich source of chromium, the trace mineral that helps tissue cells respond appropriately to insulin levels in the blood; thus helps facilitate insulin action and control sugar levels in diabetes. Onions have the property of helping lower blood sugar; they are good for those suffering from diabetes. The extracts of onion, being rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumour growth. Onions are very good for the health and growth of hair, finger and toe nails and even the eyes.


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OVERNOR Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has expressed the willingness of his government to privatise the annual tourism fiesta, the Calabar Festival with its prime event, the Carnival Calabr that holds every December 27. He said this was the only way to ensure continuity and sustainability. Imoke said this recently in a chart with travel journalists. He also explained that the state government in the last couple of years had put in great efforts to nurture the brand and that was the reason the brand had grown strong enough to attract five big corporate sponsors. His words:“When I started the branding, we used to have the Calabar Carnival. There was no logo. We created these brands and we guard them jealously. The brand, because it has value to sponsors,we had DSTV covering an event like this live. It was not that they were recording it.You can imagine the reach, It went beyond the regular NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) and AIT (Africa Independent Television). DSTV’s reach is much more diverse. So, I believe we have a good product. One of my rules is that every year the carnival has to be better managed or produced than the previous. “I think we have done very well in terms of private sector participation. You can see that the level of sponsorship that we have is far higher than the sponsorship we had last year. We have big brands. We now have

T

HE Managing Direc tor of Lagos Airport Hotel Limited, Mr James Adenigba ,has said the best way to sustained customers’ relations in the hospitality is to maintain a high sense of honesty and responsibility. He made the remark on the hotel’s premises in Lagos last weekend when the workers were rewarded for their unflinching display of loyalty and hard work during the past years. Some of the workers, who had recovered items forgotten by customers and returned same to the management for onward delivery to them, were issued with letters of commendation and table top refrigerators as a token of appreciation from the company. Adenigba said: “Mr Alaba Ishola and Samuel Adelusi demonstrated high sense of honesty when they found three hundred thousand naira (N300,000) and one thousand pound (£1000) respectively, belonging to guests while discharging their duties.” Others items equally found belonging to guests included camera, mobile phones and cash, ranging from N50,000 to N400. These were returned to their various owners, and some of the customers instantly compensated the faithful workers for their uncommon loyalty. The company also rewarded staff who had toiled very hard to ensure

THE NATION, SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012

We want to privatise Carnival Calabar, says Imoke

•Imoke various products and each of these products can have a sponsor. For instance, the UBA sponsors the Water Carnival and one other event, so we have several sponsors for these events. Dangote sponsors the Children’s Carnival and First Bank sponsors the Carnival Calabar and one or two others. “Realistically, for a government in Nigeria, in an economy like this, to achieve that.We are not talking private-private sector, we are talking public-private sector. And these private sector people are not sponsoring you because they like your face or because the governor called them, they

are sponsoring because the value is there. That is what we are trying to create. We are trying to create value. We did better this year than we did last year. “The next stage is almost outright privatization of the carnival commission. They are to take more responsibility in terms of the management so that the carnival commission becomes the regulator. The good thing for me is that if Liyel Imoke is no longer the governor of Cross River State some day, what happens to the carnival, what happens to the festival? “ I need to entrench it in such a manner that it is re-

ally sustainable so that nobody can abolish it. If a governor comes and says I don’t like carnival. I am not doing it again, the people will revolt.” He also spoke on the involvement of the tourism board in selling the carnival and Cross River State as a destination. “We had our presence in Akwaaba, the World Travel Market and other events. I think they have given us value. I think there is no other tourism brand like the Calabar Festival and Calabar Carnival. Because of the value of the brand sponsors pay hundreds of millions of naira. “We don’t have any major sponsor that pays less than N50 million. We have one sponsor that pays in excess of N250 million. I don’t think there is any other event that is branded like that in the country. Over the first two years, we’ve worked very hard on the brand and that is why we take it very seriously. “We don’t allow people to mutilate the brand. People pay us to make Tshirts. There are about 100 approved vendors outside of our sponsors and for it is an industry that is growing. Like I said, when you see the show, a lot of people don’t know what it takes, a lot has gone into that production and so for us I think we’ve done well”.

Lagos Airport rewards workers

MTN supports Ovala Aguleri

I

N line with its tradition of promoting and encouraging local customs and traditions, telecommunications giant, MTN, is throwing its weight behind the 112th Ovala Aguleri with a full sponsorship of the 2012 Ovala Festival, a celebration of the rich culture and traditions of Aguleri people in the Anambra East Area Council of Anambra State. This year’s celebration, the 112th in the series, holds this weekend, and promises a grand display of the cultural heritage of the Aguleri people who have for centuries held on to this celebration to espouse the rich culture and traditions of the people. The Ovala Aguleri festival, a four-day cultural exposition, will feature lectures, induction of new royal cabinet members, merit awards and cultural displays. The event is expected to attract over 50,000 people, including locals, traditional chiefs and leaders from neighboring towns and villages, friends and well-wishers, tourists and the Diaspora who have developed strong passion and affinity with the rich cultural heritage of the Aguleri people. Based on its commitment to the core value of enriching lives, MTN is truly bringing the festival to a fitting level. The company has given a branding face-lift to the Ama Eze, Aguleri, the much revered venue of the century’s old festivities. Speaking on the rationale behind the brand sponsorship of the festival, Kola Oyeyemi, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN, said, “The Ovala Aguleri is very symbolic to the people, and that is instructive of how serious we take our culture in Nigeria. It represents our fathers’ traditions, values and ways of life which include our dance, practice and dressing. These are very important to the people, regardless of their level of education or exposure. Therefore, in MTN, we have resolved to help bring these rich culture and traditions to the limelight so that the younger generation of Aguleri people can identify with their culture and understand the essence of the Ovala celebration. The Ovala Aguleri is an annual celebration of the Eze Indigbo to commemorate his kingship and the dawn of a new year. During the festival, the Eze Indigbo offers prayers and thanksgiving to God for his benevolence and continued assistance both in the year gone by and in the years ahead. It is celebrated on the first Saturday of every year, and attracts dignitaries from all walks of life. Heads of neighbouring villages also come to pay homage to the Igwe of Aguleri on this day. MTN has continued to support various cultural festivals and traditional celebrations across Nigeria as part of its commitment and contribution to the development of the rich culture and traditions of the people and as a way of promoting tourism and hospitality in Nigeria.

SUDOKU HOW TO SOLVE THE PUZZLE 368: Look at the 3 top horizontal (ABC) 3x3 boxes. The left box has 4 in cell Cc, while the middle box has its 4 in cell Bf. the right box must, therefore, have its own 4 in row A, where there are 2 vacant spaces cells Ah and Ai. But since column i already has a 4 in cell Di, the only space left to accommodate 4 in the right box is cell Ah. Reasoning along these lines, try and fill in all the other vacant cells SOLUTION TOMORROW. HAPPY PUZZLING!

•The Managing Director of Airport Hotel Limited, Mr. James Adenigba (standing), with other management staff during the ceremony in Lagos.

that all went well for hotel in the out-gone year. For instance, Mr Olatunji Oluwole who emerged the best staff of the year, got cash reward and would be the company’s ambassador in the next one year. The MD stated that the singular act had already set the company apart from others because some of the customers expressed surprise and even promised to recommend the hotel to their friends and

relations for continued patronage. “I am very delighted to mention that some of these people have shown appreciation to what we did. One of them a United Nations staff who lodged here has promised to recommend our company to his organisation for their patronage each time it has something do here within Lagos.” Another staff, Mr

Lawrence Omidiora said: “Some of you probably do not really know that a day like this will come when you will be honoured while doing those things you did, by the same token I want to encourage others to do same as the company will always reward loyalty.” The staff used the occasion to refresh as they wined and dined during the award and commendation ceremony.


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Tomorrow in THE NATION PUNCHLINE We then have on our hands a president that lacks the moral courage to face the cabal that some people have argued heavily financed their campaign in the last elections, suddenly developing the misbegotten bravado to defy Nigerians and having his way on a matter as contentious as fuel subsidy removal

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2011 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL.7, NO. 2005

—Tunji Adegboyega

I

T has been quite interesting watching the cerebral orthodox economist, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, making the television rounds and offering lucidly pro-people analyses on the contentious fuel subsidy removal policy that has virtually ground the country to a halt over the last one week. Ah, how times change. As Finance Minister under the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida, Dr. Idika Kalu was one of the staunchest advocates of the IMF/World Bank inspired Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) which was touted at the time as the magical cure all for all Africa’s economic woes following the ascendancy of right wing Reaganite and Thacherite free market orthodoxy in the west. Along with IBB’s powerful Secretary to the Federal Government, the brilliant rationalist, Chief Olu Falae, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu argued passionately that there was no alternative to SAP. At a point when the public debate on whether or not to accept an IMF loan and implement SAP was as heated as the current controversy on removal of fuel subsidy, Dr. Kalu famously wondered how even Awka market men and women could summon the temerity to contribute to debates on matters of arcane economic policy! This rather arrogant elitist view that economic issues should be left to trained economic experts was shared by no less a person than my former teacher at the University of Ibadan, the late Professor Ojetunji Aboyade, who was the head of IBB’s Presidential Advisory Committee. So dismissive was Aboyade of the critics of SAP that a normally reticent Pa Alfred Rewane publicly decried what he described as the professor’s ‘’imperious disdain’”and “pedagogic arrogance”. As a young member of the Daily Times Editorial Board in the eighties, I was one of those who was privileged to listen to and debate Chief Falae when he visited the newspaper to convince us on the inevitability of the SAP policy. Making an eloquent case for the massive devaluation of the Naira, which was the central plank of SAP, Chief Falae rolled out the usual text book arguments that this would discourage importation, promote import-substitution industrialization, boost export trade and have an overall positive impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Other components of SAP included privatization of public assets, removal of fuel subsidy, reduced public expenditure on education, health and other social services, reduction of the public sector work force and trade liberalization among others. In spite of the stiff opposition of labour, students, radical academics, professional organizations and other civil society groups, the Bretton Woods policy apologists had their way.

A road travelled before

•Okonjo- Iweala

This is surely a road we have travelled before. Just as President Jonathan’s current mantra, they claimed that the economy would crash if SAP was not implemented. IBB’s palace intellectuals just like Jonathan’s present chorus boys praised his courage to high heavens for implementing a harsh but supposedly inevitable policy. A group of political scientists even wrote a shamelessly hagiographic work on IBB titled “For their tomorrow we gave our today’. In reality, through a regime of the most callous corruption, they had not only consumed our tomorrow but also that of generations yet unborn. Now what was the implication of the much touted SAP policy, the magic wand of the neo liberal economic witches and sorcerers for the Nigerian economy? Nobody captured SAP’s destructive impact better than Pa Alfred Rewane. His words: “Some of the worst effects

But unless we face the more fundamental challenge of re-thinking, re-defining, re-inventing and re-structuring the Nigerian state to guarantee its efficiency, efficacy and functionality, we will only be postponing the evil day. Can Jonathan summon the requisite will, vision and courage for this task or will he be Nigeria’s Gorbachev? Only time will tell

of the government’s economic policies are only too obvious today. Look at the unprecedented level of unemployment among our young graduates and school leavers. The manufacturing sector is on the verge of collapse. Agriculture is at best stagnant. Employment opportunities in government services are not expanding. Are these not the exact opposite of what the advisers said would happen under SAP? Look also at people, especially children, foraging in dustbins for food…” This I repeat is a road we have travelled before. It is surprising that in spite of their culpability in leading us down a ruinous economic path from which we are yet to recover, successive administrations have continued to rely on Bretton Woods institutions inspired intellectuals to manage our economy. The only exceptions were the Buhari and Abacha regimes that refused IMF/World Bank dictates and pursued

nationalistic economic policies. Unfortunately, the internal and external political contexts within which they operated undermined their economic performance. When he appointed Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala from the World Bank as Minister for Finance and coordinating Minister of the Economy, President Jonathan sang her praises to high heavens portraying the likeable academic as the country’s much awaited economic messiah. Her credentials as a neoliberal orthodox economist are impeccable. But it was under her watch that a country with our devastating level of infrastructure deficit and dehumanizing impoverishment paid $12 billion dollars in one fell swoop to earn debt forgiveness from our creditors! Just like the failed promises of SAP, the assumed gains of the debt cancellation deal in terms of infrastructure expansion and improved social service delivery have not materialized. In the run up to the current national showdown on fuel subsidy removal, members of President Jonathan’s economic team waxed lyrical on the inevitability and benefits of the policy. The Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was particularly imperious in his idealistic postulations that the controversial subsidy benefits the rich more than the majority of poor Nigerians. The massive national resistance against the policy, which cuts across political partisanship, ethnicity, regionalism, religion or even social class, shows how far removed Madam Ngozi and her fellow economic gurus are from the Nigerian reality. What President Jonathan and his advisers are confronted with in the fuel subsidy removal national melt down is actually only an economic manifestation of a more fundamental structural crisis of the Nigerian State. This overly centralized, excessively bureaucratized Nigerian State has become unsustainable. Nigeria as she currently exists has become a veritable obstacle to the socio-economic viability of her component parts. It is as a result of the dangerous fragility of the Nigerian State that over N900 billion has been voted for security alone in the 2012 budget. Even then the prospects for national stability and cohesion are not promising. Members of Jonathan’s economic team are at best deluded even if well meaning technocrats. They can only tinker at the margins with the effects of a festering and deep seated political crisis. The current fuel subsidy crisis will surely be resolved soon largely on terms acceptable to the Nigerian people. The popular momentum has simply become unstoppable. But unless we face the more fundamental challenge of re-thinking, re-defining, re-inventing and restructuring the Nigerian state to guarantee its efficiency, efficacy and functionality, we will only be postponing the evil day. Can Jonathan summon the requisite will, vision and courage for this task or will he be Nigeria’s Gorbachev? Only time will tell.

Ade Ojeikere on Saturday talk2adeojeikere@yahoo.com

The way forward I

T is 14 days since the year began yet noth ing seems to be happening in sports be yond the rhetoric of ensuring that 2012 is a better year. Except for the international friendly held in Abuja between the Super Eagles and Panacra Negras of Angola, sports talks have centered on how to return to the drawing board to plan. What we seem to have lost sight of is the fact that sports can be used as the vehicle to unite Nigerians, only if we appreciate the power this industry has to fight unemployment. Does it not tell a story that 10,000 Nigerians could watch the home-based Eagles play out a barren draw result against Angola? The all-workers strike has given us room to reflect and challenge our sports administrators to roll up their sleeves and organise the games from the prism of it being a science and indeed a business concern. In the past, the Angolan game wouldn’t have been held. Some all-knowing National

Sports Commission (NSC) men would have played politics with it to settle scores with the NFF, perhaps to underline their inefficiency. That has been the trend and it is chiefly responsible for the absence of sponsors in the industry. Need I stress that no brand would want to associate its products or services with an industry that is perpetually engrossed in controversies and tales of corruption. The archaic trend of constituting committees filled with some of those who ran sport aground to proffer solutions to self-inflicted pains hasn’t solved the nuisance in the industry. Since the committee members know the thinking of their principals, they only give teeth to their thoughts, leading to the terrible outing last year in sports. Little wonder these committees report have remained tucked in the dusty drawers of those who set them up. Again, the drawing board syndrome, which we always refer to anytime things go awry, is the witch-hunt tool that our sports administrators use to further destroy what is already in tatters to create a vacuum for

their friends to fill. Our failure in sports should propel us to do things differently, ensuring that knowledgeable people man the key structures that will make the industry operate as a business. A holistic approach to restructuring sports this year should include asking those who have failed us to resign from their jobs. We must scout for administrators who will see sports as the culmination of science and business at the helm of each sport to institute templates that will further challenge our athletes to be professional in their assignments. These administrators must be tasked to take each game to any part of the country with the best comparative advantage to produce the athletes who must then be taught the rudiments of the game at the grassroots. The criteria for picking administrators for each sport should include having the passion for the game. It is only when a person is passionate about a sport that he can appreciate the need to continuously provide new ideas to lift it from the doldrums. A blueprint is sacrosanct for sports to

thrive and it must be anchored on the dire need to resuscitate moribund grassroots competitions that engaged the youths, take them away from the vices of the society. The emergence of a sports policy endorsed by the government will create jobs such that this industry could in the next 10 years become the highest employer of labour. The policy should challenge local government chairmen to build at least four minisports centres that would serve as playgrounds for their constituents in the absence of such structures in the schools in the 774 local government areas. Multiply four mandatory mini-sports centres by 774 local governments, what you get (3,096 mini-sports centres) would set the platform for the industry to grow and then hire blue-chip companies to leverage their products and services on this enterprise since their target audience are the masses who will throng the centres to watch competitions. The spiral effect of blue-chip firms identifying with this new initiative is that the local government areas could recoup their investments because they could offer to name these facilities after the firms alongside other marketing windows that the initiatives offer, such as kitting and modeling the career paths of athletes discovered to stardom. Wealthy indigenes will queue up to

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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-08094000052, Marketing: 01-8155547, Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja, Tel/ 07028105302 `E-mail: saturday@thenationonlineng.com Editor: DELE ADEOSUN

The Nation January 14, 2012  

The Nation January 14, 2012

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