I’ve not given up on Nigeria –Buhari –PAGE 4
Remove fuel I’ve no subsidy foreign over three accounts years AGF Adoke –Kalu Idika Kalu –PAGE 5
Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Vol.06, No. 2005
SUNDAY FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
JANUARY 15, 2012
Strike continues Govt, Labour fail to agree NLC, TUC insist on return to N65 –PAGE 2 No going back on deregulation –FG Unions want negotiation on fuel price in 3 months MADALLA BOMBING PENGASSAN stays action while talks continue Police arrest
suspect in Borno Gov’s Lodge Found in company of serving military officer Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
The mediator, Senate President, Senator David Mark, welcoming NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, and TUC President Peter Esele to the meeting on petrol subsidy between government and Labour at the Presidential Villa, yesterday. Photo: Akin Oladokun.
HE Police appear to have recorded a breakthrough in their investigation of the Christmas Day bombing of St.Theresa's Catholic Church, Madalla, near Abuja. They arrested yesterday a man suspected to be the mastermind of the attack in which over 40 people died. The Islamic Sect,Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing. His arrest was effected in an unlikely place:a Governor's Lodge-that of Borno State in Abuja. The suspect, Kabir Sokoto, was picked up in the company of a serving military officer whose name was not immediately disclosed.
•Continued on Page 4
EDITORIAL “It is not too late for the Jonathan administration to backtrack from the high road of intolerance. We have been on this route before not to recognise the tell-tale signs of the budding pathology. A democracy which treats dissent as treason is no democracy.” –PAGE 13
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
At the negotiation table, NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, TUC President Peter Esele, National Secretary, Comrade Owei Lakemfa, Secretary General, TUC, Comrade, John Kolawole and NLC Treasurer, Comrade Ayuba Wabba at the meeting on petrol subsidy between government and Labour at the Presidential Villa, yesterday.
The mediators, Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and Senate President, Senator David Mark with, Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, Governor of Anambra, Peter Obi, Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Governor of Niger State, Dr, Babangida Aliyu and Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola at the meeting on petrol subsidy between government and Labour at the Presidential Villa, yesterday. Photos: AKIN OLADOKUN.
Strike continues as FG, Labour talks end in deadlock
HE suspended strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to protest the removal of petrol subsidy is continuing. It resumes nationwide tomorrow after the collapse late yesterday of last ditch talks between the Federal Government and Labour. Government had planned to use the opportunity to avert a shut down of oil production threatened by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) should the subsidy removal subsist beyond today. NLC and TUC leaders emerged from the three hour talks to inform State House correspondents that the two sides could not reach an agreement. President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar went diplomatic in his response to reporters’ questions saying the meeting was not deadlocked “but we have not reached a compromise.” He sad:”Like we said the other time,it means the status quo remains.We are going to continue our deliberation at our organisation level and then maybe we will see the way forward. “We are going to meet with our organs,then we’ll inform Nigerians.” Omar led the NLC team while the TUC delegation was led by Mr.Peter Esele. The talks opened at 7.20pm.There was a break at 9.37 but talks resumed about 20 minutes later. The meeting ended at 11.17pm. At the talks were Senate President David Mark;his deputy Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Speaker House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha; Senate Leader Ndoma Egba; Senator Abdul Ningi and House Leader, Mulikat Akande. Also in attendance were Governors Babatunde
• Govt, Labour fail to agree • NLC, TUC insist on return to N65 • No going back on deregulation –FG • Unions want negotiation on fuel price in 3 months • Demand committee to audit PMS importation • PENGASSAN stays action while talks continue From: Yusuf Alli ,Vincent Ikuomola and John Ofikhenua, Abuja
Fashola of Lagos, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, Wamako of Sokoto, Peter Obi of Anambra, Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers, Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers, Muritala Nyako of Adamawa and Gabriel Suswam of Benue. Representing the Federal Government were Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; National Security Adviser Owoye Azazi;Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,Minister of Finance; Mrs Deizani Madueke, Petroleum Resources; Mr. Emeka Wogu,Labour;Mohammed Bello Adoke,- Attorney General; Labaran Maku , Information and FCT- Bala Mohammed ,FCT; as well as the NNPC GMD- Austen Oniwon. The first signs of a possible showdown emerged after the NLC and TUC at separate meetings preceeding the State House deliberations resolved that it was either a reversion to N65 per litre or nothing. The strike commenced last Monday but was suspended on Friday to enable the two organisations re-assess the situation and consult as well as allow Nigerians restock their homes with food and refresh ahead of the next possible stage of the anti-subsidy removal protest. For about five hours yesterday NLC and TUC leaders met separately in the Federal Capital where they resolved that the only acceptable solution for them was a reversion to the old price of N65 per litre. They later left for the Presidential Villa,Abuja for a fresh round of negotiation with
Federal Government officials. They said once the price reversal was effected stakeholders could then begin to discuss issues involved in the deregulation of the downstream sector of the economy and appropriate pricing of fuel price. Sources close to the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NLC, which took place at the Labour House, Abuja ,said they wanted the President to heed the call made last Sunday by the House of Representatives that the Federal Government should,in the interest of the generality of Nigerians reverse the pump price to N65. The NEC of the TUC adopted the same position. They also asked the Federal authorities to raise a larger committee to audit crude importation, PMS importation and negotiate appropriate pricing of fuel within three months A member of the NEC, said: “We have decided to ask the President to comply with the decision of the House of Representatives asking him to reverse the fuel price to N65. “The President must lead by example. An arm of the National Assembly (the House of Representatives) has taken a decision, we stand on that. He should respect the opinion of the legislature. “We also asked the Executive to raise a larger committee to audit crude importation, PMS importation and determine appropriate pricing of fuel within 90 days. “So after the reversal of the pump price to N65, the government, the labour and other stakeholders will now sit down for three months on how to go about the deregulation of the downstream sec-
tor. We cannot accept N141 pump price without facts and figures.”We took note of the fact that if a proper auditing of crude being sold and fuel consumption is done, you will discover a lot of fraud. “Records at our disposal show that about 4million litres of fuel are not being accounted for daily. Yet Nigeria is paying for these. Responding to a question, the source said: “Jonathan has the next 24 hours to decide on these options or else we will shut down all oil installations by midnight on Sunday. “There will be a total strike from Monday.” Following Saturday night’s inconclusive negotiations, NLC Secretary General, Owei Lakemfa told the cable news network, Al-Jazeera,
that since Labour had been in talks with the government over the modalities for deregulation, the Jonathan administration had acted in bad faith by going ahead without notice on January 1. He said Labour was insistent on a return to the status quo as a condition for negotiations to restart. On the part of government they are insisting that deregulation was now official government policy which cannot be reversed, and that the best Labour can get was a reduction in price. Last night, Senate President David Mark who has been mediating the talks between both sides said progress had been made despite the inconclusive nature of the talks. He said: “It is a
whole negotiation process; negotiation continues. We have done pretty well; we are consulting. We want to bring this to a logical conclusion at the nearest possible time.” He declined to reveal what the Federal Government was offering. “There is no question of the Federal Government offering a specific pump price. The essence of negotiation and discussion is that both sides are shifting ground and we are doing that very well.” There was, however, no indication last night as to when negotiations would resume. NLC President, Omar, did say though that threatened shutdown of oil production by PENGASSAN might not happen immediately because of the ongoing discussions.
Deregulate CBN now -Falana
AGOS lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana,has raised the alarm over the declining strength of the Naira in the last few weeks and called for the immediate deregulation of the Central Bank (CBN). He is holding the apex bank for the fate of the national currency. He said: “Last year,the International Monetary Fund directed the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to devalue the national currency. The dubious directive was flatly rejected by the CBN in the national interest. But shortly thereafter, the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was in Washington to attend a conference organised by imperialist forces on the Nigerian economy. “Since then the Naira has been regularly devalued to
the detriment of the country.Specifically, the value of the Naira has plummeted against the US dollar through reckless manipulation by the management of the CBN on the orders of the the IMF. In the last few weeks, the Naira which exchanged for N150 per dollar is now N160. “ In order to supervise the destruction of the economy the IMF has two staff “working” in the CBN! It is common knowledge that the CBN has become a bureau de change whose main duty is the weekly sale of hundreds of millions of dollars which are largely round tripped by the cartel of fuel importers and other economic parasites.In a deregulated economy the CBN cannot to trade over 80 percent of all the dollars traded in the forex market.
“Another means of destroying the Naira is the illegal monthly removal of huge revenue from the Federation Account by the CBN for the purpose of changing same to Naira for distribution to the three tiers of Government. Since section 162 of the Constitution prescribes that all revenues collected by the Federal Government shall be paid into the Federation Account the CBN has no powers to remove funds paid into the Account in foreign currencies and change same to naira at rates unilaterally fixed by the management of the Bank.With effect from January 2012, the three tiers of government should be issued with dollar certificates in respect of dollar derived revenue. This is in line with the policy of government enunciated in the Vision 2020 document.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
The harmattan of venom
nooping around With
• Fuel subsidy protesters
OR Nigeria and Nigerians, it has been the dupes’ December. Or let us call it the harmattan of venom. This was the week when the unspeakable finally came to pass and the unmentionable became reality. Those who make peaceful protestation unfashionable only make violent remonstration unavoidable. Even then, and when all is said, the obtuseness and folly of power in Nigeria beggar belief. Power in Nigeria is so powerfully unfeeling and insensitive that even critical dangers to itself simply do not register. Only a political daydreamer, cocooned away from harsh reality, could have mistaken the danger signals flashing all over the nation in the past two weeks as a sign of national quietude and acquiescence with official evil. It doesn’t take some rocket science or some special clairvoyant gifts to read the pulse of a nation or to glean the mood of a hapless people at the end of their hopeless tether. All it takes is humility and the ability to know when the past has become history and when a new paradigm is finally in place. It is a political fool that will mistake a major historical tide for a mere ripple in the mighty ocean. There are many political fools in the upper echelons of contemporary leadership in Nigeria. Eventually, it is a feckless monkey that will kill itself. There is nothing more to say on that one. But our heart must bleed for the plight of poor Nigerians who have been deliberately saddled with a monumentally corrupt and inept leader-
ship. Dear readers, for the past two months, week in and week out, this column has been warning of the dire consequences of toying with petroleum pricing in the name of a bogus subsidy and of the security complications that may confront the nation in the event of compounding industrial strife with political and religious mayhem. Unfortunately, those the gods want to destroy, they first make mad and deaf. Now, the perfect storm is upon us all. Like a foolhardy commuter, the fourth executive president of Nigeria has walked into a landmine with eyes wide-opened and with the assurance of a sleepwalker. It doesn’t get more bizarre. Some hardnosed analysts have in fact concluded that Jonathan cannot be this naïve and politically challenged. They have concluded that he may in fact be acting out a wellchoreographed script whose endgame is the balkanization of Nigeria as we know it. Welcome to Afronistan or Negroslavia where a full slave rebellion is in progress. There comes a time when even dupes realise that they have been a victim of a gigantic swindle. You can only trick a woman into bed once. The rest is dalliance between consenting adults. But there comes a time in the life of a nation when the voiceless find their voice, when the people must say no to conscienceless and unconscionable oppression, when the politically meek finally realise that they are never going to inherit the earth. The past one week has been
unique in the history of the nation. The genie of national will and a pan-Nigerian resolve is out of the bottle. You can break the bottle if you like, but that is like locking the stable after the horse has bolted. It is the birth of a nation by default. It has taken blood, sweat and tears. The funeral pyre is crackling with the bones of old Nigeria. It is byebye to Lord Lugard’s colonial monstrosity. Lugard created Nigeria but did not create Nigerians. You cannot give what you don’t have. In order to man the apparatus of torture and terror he was leaving behind in the name of a new nation, Lugard created a new colonial elite of metropolitan mimic men. They have done excellently well in sustaining the penal colony, the medieval torture wrack. But they are not Nigerians. Otherwise, we would not be in this mess. They are Managers of the Interior such as we encounter in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Those of them who saw through the fraud and could sniff the odour of death and decay beyond the camphor cubes and the deodorised dung heap were summarily silenced. Leopold Senghor was a minority Christian in an overwhelmingly Muslim nation but he was able to give his compatriots a new nation and an identity to be proud of. Julius Nyerere was from a minority nationality, but he was able to forge a new nation from the disparate multitude. Nasser was a visionary soldier and the father of modern Egypt. This week the Nigerian multitude finally seized the initiative for
nation-building. They carried the battle to their tormentors. They responded in kind by taking the law and the nation into their hands. But since the law and the nation have both been bastardised nobody must complain. When two negatives collide, the outcome is always positive .It is people’s power at its historic vintage. Historians looking back will surely point at this past week as the critical watershed for Nigeria. But the toll has been prohibitive. The nation is foaming in blood and gore. Valuable property has been lost. Many have been killed and more have been maimed. The nation itself has been turned into a vast ghostland. A deathly still and silence has descended on the land. The protocol of elders have disappeared to their malignant dens. Welcome to the stone country. It is also known as Goodluck’s Gridlock. Like Lady Macbeth, Jonathan is swimming in a river of blood. Nigeria will never be the same again. Sane and rational people must wonder why it must come to this. For decades, we have argued that the current structural disequilbrium of Nigeria will eventually see off the nation in its current format. If we don’t restructure, Nigeria will eventually be forcibly destructured. Whoever heard of punitive taxation during the First Republic? Unlike the hallowed generation of the Alukos, our economists in government no longer think. They have allowed the meta-language of their profession and the discursive formation of its hegemonic discourse based in the Western sanctuaries of knowledge as oppressive power to replace thinking. Otherwise, why hasn’t it occurred to any of them that the very notion of subsidy removal is a violent oxymoron, an assault on the sacred social contract between the ruled and their rulers? Lord Maynard Keynes would be weeping in his grave. There must be a basic levelling field before government can stop functioning as a huge economic almshouse. When they came with the notion of structural adjustment, discerning people asked them where the structure they were adjusting was. In the Gadarene procession of monetarist economics
Now, Okon counts the blessings of baby boomers
ITH Nigeria totally shut down and all political and economic activities paralysed, the feckless and crazy Okon has been involved in a different kind of social arithmetic. The rebel boy has been calculating how the shutdown will affect the demographic complexion of the nation come September. By his mad calculation, Nigeria’s population will increase by a third in September. The mad boy had come up with a theory of Nigerian baby boomers which is as original as it is compelling. He sidled up to snooper with his primitive graph on Friday morning. “Oga, when dem Setemba come dem maternity for obodo go scatter with dem babies. Even dem mosques and dem church dem go turn maternity. Dem baby go be like dem locusts,” the boy opened. “Okon why now?” snooper asked half-asleep.
Oga, as dem obodo come kaput and dem don shut down all dem place. People come dey dem home and na so so na kpoi, na kpoi everywhere. I been dey hear dem noise efen for dem afternoon. Oga no be setemba dem say dem born you too? Dat na for dem Hitler war,“ Okon snorted. “Okon, shut up,” snooper screamed at the mad boy. “Oga, no be say shut up be this. I been dey collect dem name for dem setemba babies. If na girl dem go call am Subsidikatu. If na boy dat one go be Isanusi,” the boy chortled. “Get lost Okon. Is this what should be your concern when they are killing people?” snooper snarled. “Oga, dem no dey kill people. Na only Yoruba and dem mala dem dey kill and dat one na population control, abi how you wan make Ijawman survive for dangerous
obodo?” Okon sneered and headed for the dangerous streets. He had stopped among some old men playing the traditional Ayo game right in the middle of what used to be the ever busy and bustling Mushin junction. Pretending to be a reporter from a local station, Okon began to sample opinion about the prospective population bonanza. One of them, a fetching old man with walrus moustache, looked very much like a randy crook. He eyed Okon with benign mischief. “Come oo. Which television station sent you again?” he demanded with a merry twinkle in his eyes. “Na OIC for Alagbado,” Okon mumbled. “Hmmm. Alagbado is better than Alagbaro,” the old man observed philosophically, inflecting the names with lewd connotations. Okon saw his chance. “Baba as dem baby go boku for
Setemba since everybody dey hammer everybody wetin go be dem name?” Okon asked. “Ah aburo, na Oko’njo be dat,” the old man chortled, pronouncing the name with a wicked and lewd Yoruba inflection again. “Baba, and wetin if dem baby be dem girl?” Okon pursued. “ Dat one go be Lamido,” the old man crooned with satanic mirth. At this point, even Okon was tired of the old man’s bawdy delinquency. He had turned to a man with fastidious manners who wore a pair of glasses that made him look like a travelling scholar. “If it is a boy, it is Epolana Ijabiyi and if it is a girl it is Otedolapo,” the other man weighed in with an intellectual frown and then dismissed Okon. It was at this point that a group of hoodlums invaded the gathering and seized the playing board, sending everybody and Okon scampering to safety.
and its lunacies, the myth of a nonexistent structure leads directly to the bogey of a non-existent subsidy. How many of the current Chinese economists and the Singaporean miracle workers care a hoot about the IMF and the Chicago school? What then is to be done? There will be more storms ahead even if Jonathan rides this one out. Whether he is acting out a script or he is merely succumbing to fundamental incompetence, it is clear that Goodluck Jonathan does not have what it takes to rule a complex and complicated nation like this one. Yet, whether one likes it or not he is the constitutionally elected president of Nigeria. The sane and cultured thing would be to allow him to serve out his term and leave the rest to the electorate. But since he is so prone to unforced errors, the country will continue to slide towards anarchy, chaos and eventual violent dismemberment. Despite its paraphernalia of power, it is clear from the events of this past week that the Jonathan administration has lost legitimacy and authority with the larger segment of the populace. The presidency is hobbled. It will take some extraordinary magic to bring the nation back on an even keel.
When Goodluck is not enough
N an earlier piece heralding the advent of Goodluck Jonathan, this column compared him with Gerald Ford, another lucky American president, and concluded thus: Some people are even luckier than Goodluck Jonathan. But luck can only carry one so far. The backlash against Ford began almost immediately. His pre-emptive pardoning of Richard Nixon who many Americans consider to be a psychotic political criminal deserving a long spell in jail was viewed by many as an act of presidential racketeering unworthy of the highest office in the land. To compound his problems, Ford, a supreme athlete in his prime, began physically and intellectually stumbling in full public glare. Among his unpardonable gaffes was the flat assertion that Poland was a free country even as it reeled under the communist jackboot. It was a bridge too far for the boy from Grand Rapids. When he was asked why he thought he was never an astonishing success as a politician despite having served in the White House, Gerald Ford replied that it was because he was disgustingly sane. In other words, bland sanity is no match for the quirky irrational genius of the exemplary politician. Among crazy people, abnormality is the template for normality. In the end, to be lucky is not always to be fortunate. When people are catapulted beyond their competence, they always end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. Gerald Ford came from nowhere and ended up nowhere, so to say. But it is a rousing American story; a Gatsbyian extravaganza of orgiastic possibilities in a land of ceaseless self-invention. It is a stunning parable for Nigeria. (The President from Nowhere)
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
I have not given up on Nigeria -Buhari P
RESIDENTIAL candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last election, Major General Mohammadu Buhari, said yesterday he remained in the battle to make Nigeria a better place to live in irrespective of his losing the suit to upturn the result of the April 2011 presidential election. He said he is a firm believer in a better Nigeria,come what may. He spoke at an interactive session in Kaduna with newly sworn in members of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the party. The Supreme Court recently ruled that some members of the party elected into the National Assembly were not the rightful candidates and should therefore make way for those properly nominated by the party. The former military ruler said he had been quiet on national issues in view of the suit filed by the party and morality demanded that he should not comment on a matter in court. General Buhari said most of the problems rocking the CPC were self-inflicted as some caretaker committee members put in place to run the affairs of the party felt too big for their roles with the result that they insisted on having their way, or making the party pay by losing the last elections. But he also said whatever action taken by the ruling PDP to undermine the CPC must have been informed by the fact that it identified his party as a formidable enemy that must be crushed. He said:”You all know what happened and this was aggravated by attempts by the ruling party to make sure that I am thoroughly undermined in my constituency and where ever I go. “In the whole of the North East and North West, they committed lots of resources to make sure that I am thoroughly undermined and
From Tony Akowe, Kaduna there was confusion within the party. I don’t blame them, but our members, especially the caretaker committees. “If you were in the position of the PDP and you are the unchallenged champion with over 20 states and you identified one enemy, the CPC, what will you do? That was why I did not want people talking about the PDP when they are complaining about our problem in the state, especially in the North East and North West. “My worst problem is that as chairman of the Board of Trustees and with the power of the constitution of the party given to me, I was in a dilemma because of subsequent happenings. Members of the party from the same constitu-
ency went to the court and tribunal; members of the party took the party to court’ the party itself was in court from the State House of Assembly to the Presidency. “I, as chairman of the BOT and presidential candidate said I was not going to court. What will I do? What is the attitude of the judiciary right from the tribunal to the Supreme Court? So, there was no way I could have been talking. I am effectively restrained by the constitution of the country and by decency, once a matter is before the judiciary, I am not supposed to go and talk. “But people forgot the restraints put on me by decency, the processes of the electoral act and the constitution of my party. After the judgement at the Supreme Court, I made a statement and I can now
talk to you. You don’t need to bring confusion to your own country and that is why I effectively kept my mouth shut. “The only thing I did was to discuss with the party anytime they come and tell them my restraints and it is up to you to explain to your constituency. It is not as if I have given up anything. No, I have not given up and my address after the Supreme Court judgement showed that I have not given up. “I said it 25 years ago that this is the only country that we have. You can get a job anywhere; but your children will ask you one day, when are we going home. So, whatever we do, we better do it well and see what we can do about our country”. Former Speaker of the House of
Soldiers arrest ex-PTD driver for alleged gun running From Tony Akowe, Kaduna
Following the suspension of the strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress for two days, Saturday & Sunday, airlines commenced operations at Murtala Muhammed Airport 2, Ikeja, yesterday.
Madalla bombing: Police arrest suspect in Borno Gov’s Lodge •Continued from Page 1 The duo were being quizzed, sources told The Nation last night. Also facing police inquisition in Abuja are two men accused of attempting to smuggle arms into Nigeria from Ghana. Scores of worshippers and passers-by were injured in the Madalla bomb blast. Some of them are still receiving treatment in 12 hospitals in Abuja , Madalla, Suleija, Zuba, Kwamba and Kubwa. Investigation by our correspondent confirmed that Kabir Sokoto was arrested at the Borno Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro District after weeks of trailing him . It was gathered that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, has briefed President Goodluck Jonathan on the breakthrough. A reliable police source said: “Following a tip-off, the suspect was arrested early on Saturday morning while in hiding at the Liaison Office in Abuja . He was said to be in transit to London . “For weeks, we have been working on clues that the suspect was one of the masterminds of the Christmas Day bombing. “He is being interrogated by a special team of senior officers on how St. Theresa’s Catholic Church bombing was perpe-
Representatives and governorship candidate of the party in Katsina state, Aminu Bello Masari who led the lawmakers to Gen. Buhari’s office explained that the party went to court to prove to the people of Katsina state and Nigerians that the party won the election in the state and not to obtain justice. Masari said “what brought us here is to say thank you and pledge our loyalty to you and the CPC who has given us a mandate. Clearly looking at what has happened right from the beginning of the elections to the last election, you will see that CPC clearly won the elections in Katsina state. “Unfortunately, due to weakness of structures, we lost the governorship seat in the state. When we went to the tribunal, we went there to prove a point not because we expected justice there. We knew that we don’t have what it takes to acquire justice because in this country, you acquire justice. “We have proved to the people of Katsina and Nigerians that CPC won the elections in Katsina state. Again, the verdict that came from the Supreme Court was what we were expecting and so, there was no manipulation anywhere because there is no way they could have manipulated it to be what it is not. “We are aware that after the Supreme Court judgement, a lot of interpretations and readings were going around including going to the National Assembly to make sure that the swearing in of the new members never took place.
trated. “The interrogation may also involve other security agencies since a serving military officer was with him when he was picked up. “The IGP has submitted a preliminary brief to President Goodluck Jonathan on the latest arrest. The suspects are being kept in a police detention facility. Another reliable source said: “The suspect left Maiduguri on Friday via Kaduna . On getting to Kaduna , he sought the assistance of a military officer to provide him escort to Abuja to catch a flight to London . “Aware that the security agencies had been on his trail, he could not get a safe place to sleep. He decided to go to Borno Governor’s Lodge to seek assistance to sleep overnight as an indigene of the state. “Oblivious to the fact that he was a Boko Haram member, the Permanent Secretary in charge of the lodge decided to be magnanimous to give him free accommodation for a night. “But intelligence agents trailing the suspect on the phone succeeded in tracing him to the lodge through a GPRS device. “This led to the storming of the Lodge in the early hours of Saturday leading to the arrest of the serving military officer and some staff on duty. “But after in-
teraction with the staff of the Lodge, they were released by the police on bail pending the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation.” A police source Saturday said Force Criminal Investigation Department is already handling the quizzing of the suspects.” Kabir's arrest came against the backdrop of police investigation of a serving governor in one of the northern states over alleged sponsorship of Boko Haram. Security agencies have already raised a panel to confront him with the facts at their disposal. But he is said to be evading contact with security operatives as he keeps citing one official engagement or the other. Several other top politicians from the north are also said to be under security watch over their relationship with the group. Some of them have reportedly fled to Niger Republic and Chad. It was gathered in Abuja that security reports have indicted the governor for having a "deep" relationship with Boko Haram. Only his immunity has prevented the security agencies from arresting him. However, they are keen on "interacting" with him with a view to laying the facts before him. Said a source familiar with the
issue: "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 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. An inter-agency committee may also interrogate the politicians suspected of romancing with Boko Haram. A list of the affected persons has already been compiled for further action. Meanwhile, two Nigerians out of the five suspects arrested in connection with a truckload of arms and ammunition in Ghana have been flown to Abuja for interrogation. Accra Regional Police Officer, Rose Atinga had last Wednesday confirmed the interception of a truck with Coca-Cola inscription loaded with pump action guns, double-barrel guns and a large quantity of cartridges.
ECURITY agents in Kaduna yesterday arrested the former chairman of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers in the state, Nuhu Mohammed for allegedly stockpiling arms in the Trikania area of Kaduna. It was gathered that soldiers from the One Mechanised Division of the Nigeria Army arrived Mohammed’s house along Matawalle road at about midnight. His house was searched and he was whisked away. One of his neighbours Ibrahim Haruna disclosed that the soldiers after searching his house did not found any incriminating. However, when they searched his second house they found some bullets. However, it was gathered that the soldiers came back with 10 Hilux vans at about 7am to search the house for the second time, but met a stiff resistance from the youth in the area who hurled stones at them. Sources told The Nation that his arrest followed a tip-off from residents of the area who alleged that Mohammed popularly known as “Babawo” was arming some youths in the area to cause crisis in the state. Spokesman of the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna, Lt Col. Abubakar Edun confirmed the arrest in a telephone interview saying “we are doing something about the arrest, when we are through, the press will be communicated”. Unconfirmed reports have it that Army uniforms, assorted rifles and other dangerous weapons were recovered from the residence of the suspect by security agents after a thorough search was conducted.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
HE Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) yesterday denied operating multi-million dollar secret accounts. He said he declared his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau and whoever wants to know his net worth is free to contact the agency. Besides, he has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, to probe the sources of the allegations against him. Adoke, who made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ambrose Momoh, said he has nothing to hide as a public officer. The attorney general’s alleged net worth has been
Adoke denies alleged secret accounts, asks IGP to probe claims • Says I have nothing to hide. I declared my assets to Code of Conduct Bureau From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
a subject of speculation on certain social media in the last few days.. The denial: “The attention of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, CFR has been drawn to reports making the rounds in the social media including
Sahara Reporters, Pointblank News, I-Reports etc, to the effect that he maintains accounts with First City Monument Bank, Diamond Bank and Zenith Bank Plc into which lodgements running into several Millions of Naira, Dollars and Pound Sterling have been made. “While these spurious allegations/reports would ordinarily have been ignored, the tendency for Ni-
• Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State with some youths who were protesting over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government on Friday
Fire guts part of National Assembly
IRE yesterday gutted part of the main building of the National Assembly complex. The timely intervention of men of the National Assembly Fire Service save the situation from escalating. An eye witness told our correspondent that the fire started at the office of the Secretary to the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA) on the third floor at about 1pm. He said that the heavy smoke bellowing from the CNA’s office attracted the attention of an official who quickly raised the alarm. He said the official quickly contacted men of the fire services who rushed to the scene and struggled to put it out before serious damage could be done. Although the cause of the fire outbreak could not be immediately ascertained, it was suspected that it resulted from electrical spark. One of the fire fighters who participated in putting out the fire said: “When we got there the whole place was covered by smoke; we could not find our way through easily. Apart from that, there was nobody to bring the keys and open the offices for us to move in. “We were just there struggling to see how we could enter until one of us forced one door open. When our correspondent visited the place around 6pm the Chief Security of the
From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor
National Assembly Col. Emeka Okere (rtd) and his assistants were prevented from entering the building. Officers of the fire service were also there trying to mop the water used in quenching the fire. The fire fighting lorry used in putting out the fire with registration number, NASS FL 278 Mgt was stationed in front of the Na-
tional Assembly main building. The entire Eagle Square leading into the National Assembly was cordoned off by security operatives drawn from the Army, Police, Directorate of State Security (DSS), Civil defence. Directorate of Traffic Service (VIO) and the Federal Road Sefety Corps. The Eagle Square was already being prepared for a special parade to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
gerians to believe such blatant lies and malicious stories has necessitated this response so as to put the records straight and re-assure all well-meaning Nigerians especially the Attorney- General’s friends, close associates and relatives who are worried and greatly saddened since these allegations began circulating in the social media. “We wish to categorically state that while the Attorney-General maintains accounts with Diamond Bank and First City Monument Bank, the balances in those accounts are certainly nowhere near the outrageous figures quoted in the publication. “It is instructive to note that Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, has been a Legal Practitioner for 26 years and was in recognition of his achievements elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 2006. “As an investment lawyer, he made careful investments which yielded good returns. At the time he was invited to serve as AttorneyGeneral of the Federation, he was by the grace of God, a successful legal practitioner, by every standard. “It is also instructive to note that the Attorney-General of the Federation declared his assets including all his accounts on assumption office as Attorney-General of the Federation. Mr. Adoke further directed that no money should be paid into all his accounts except the salary account he maintains with Intercontinental Bank Plc. “Consequently, the authentic balances in the accounts maintained by Mr. Adoke only reflect his earnings as a legal practitioner/ investor before he took public office. “We therefore advise anyone interested in know-
ing the net worth of the Attorney-General to check his asset declaration with the Code of Conduct Bureau.: Adoke said he has lodged a formal complaint with the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim demanding a probe of the sources of the allegations against him. He added: “It should also be appreciated that no allegation of wrongdoing has been made against the person of the Attorney-General of the Federation. It is therefore clear that the objective of the publication was to damage his reputation and expose him to public odium. “The Attorney General has therefore lodged a formal complaint to the Inspector General of Police and has called on the InspectorGeneral of Police to cause a
painstaking investigation to be carried out on the allegations made in the publication and the Report made public. “This is necessary to prove to Nigerians that the Attorney General has nothing to hide and can account for his earnings and wealth. Mr. Adoke has maintained a consistent lifestyle in the last 15 years and will by the grace of God continue to maintain his cherished values of honesty, probity and accountability in public office. “Finally, we make bold to state that if the motive of the publication was to discourage and distract the Attorney General of the Federation in the discharge of his duties and commitment to the development of this country, such endeavour has clearly failed.”
El Baradei pulls out of Egyptian presidency race
ROMINENT Egyptian reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei has pulled out of the race to become Egyptian president. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said yesterday that “the previous regime” was still running the country which has been governed by army generals since Hosni Mubarak was deposed. “My conscience does not permit me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless it is within a real democratic system,” said the former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, once seen a frontrunner for the post Mubarak held for three decades. ElBaradei has been a vocal critic of the military council which has been governing Egypt since Mubarak was toppled in February, swept from power by mass protests
that were driven by demands for accountable and democratic government. The military council’s opponents say it is seeking to preserve power and privilege in the post-Mubarak era and do not believe the generals’ repeated promises that they will surrender power to civilian rule at the end of June. A favourite of Egyptian liberals and initially seen as a leading candidate, the withdrawal of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s head until 2009 was, in part, an admission that he could not win, experts said. “ElBaradei acknowledges he may not have the grassroots support to win in this presidential election,” said political analyst and activist Hassan Nafaa. “He also realizes that the next president will not have full powers and will be bound by the current system,” he added.
Nigerians besiege markets, banks to stock up food
TRIKE: Nigerians yesterday besieged markets, filling stations and various banks automated teller machines (ATMs) to make purchases and withdraw money following the two day hiatus of the nationwide strike. Labour had declared yesterday and today free to allow citizens replenish their stocks since the strike began on Monday. In Kano, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Inuwa Isah Danguguwa announced on radio that the two-day rest was to allow them pay condolence visits to families who lost their beloved ones during the protests and to pay sympathy visits to those who were injured and still receiving treatments in hospitals. This led to panic pur-
From Kolade Adeyemi, (Kano), Ugochukwu Eke (Umuahia) and Joe Agbro Jr. chases, with several motorists queuing up at fuel stations to fill up their tanks ahead of the protest, scheduled to resume tomorrow. Market women dashed to the markets to make brisk business, while house wives besieged markets and other shopping centres to secure food and household utilities for their families. However, a few expressed displeasure at the prospect of the strike continuing. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kano State, Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu Gago made a passionate appeal to Labour to shelve the industrial action and the planned protest
rallies so as not to heat up the already tensed security situation in the state. On the other hand, the Zonal Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Abdullahi Baffa, who has been mobilizing students and youth for the rallies, insisted that the organized labour is not prepared for anything short of N65 per litre. Meanwhile, there are still security concerns, even though the State Government has relaxed the curfew earlier imposed on the state from between 6pm and 8am to 10pm to 8am. The Commissioner for Information, Prof. Faruk Umar Jibril announced the reviewed while speaking with reporters at the Government House. He said the curfew was relaxed following intelli-
gence reports that the situation has improved in the last couple of days. In Abia State, there are no signs of strike since last week when it started, except for the closure of banks, schools and government offices. The people are busy going about their normal business, as all the markets in the cities of Umuahia and Aba are open for business. Governor Theodore Orji had earlier appealed to the leadership of the state chapter of NLC/TUC not to go on protest march to avoid hoodlums hijacking it to destroy public and private property. In different parts of Lagos, there is a wave of fresh air as commuters and public transport operators filled the roads. Some markets also opened and traders used the opportunity to make sales.
Internet service provider, Swift Networks also opened its Victoria Island and Ikeja offices to its customers. In other parts of the country, normalcy returned over the weekend. Ife Odusanya, a Kaduna resident said that despite a 5pm to 8am curfew imposed on the city, a semblance of normalcy has returned to the town. “Everybody is moving,” she said, “and markets are opened and people are buying and selling.” In Ughelli, Delta State, Julius Ighofose said there was “scanty” vehicular movement yesterday. Speaking over the telephone, he however complained of skyrocketed prices of foodstuffs in the market as people sought to purchase foodstuffs. “The inflation is just too much,” Ighofose said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
One killed, market set ablaze in Benue •As ACN, PDP youths clash
ENSION is reportedly mounting in Wannune, Tarkaa Local Government Area of Benue State, following a clash between supporters of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) just as gunmen suspected to be robbers shot and killed an Igbo businessman in the town. Wannune is located along Makurdi-Gboko federal highway and is the home town of Dr. George Akume, the immediate past governor and ACN senator representing Benue-North West. An eye witness who identified himself as Austine Africa Anzembe, told The Nation that troubled started when the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Tarkaa Local Government, HON. Samuel Atsuku went round and ordered shop owners to stop playing “Ishior chenji” music Ishior chenji music is ACN campaign song. According to Anzembe, the caretaker committee chairman also ordered that all paintings of brooms (the
From Uja Emmanuel
symbol of ACN)made head of the last April elections be removed now that campaigns and elections are over. He said the order of the Caretaker committee chairman did not go down well with ACN youths, who felt it was an affront on their leader, Senator Akume, who was in Abuja at the time of the crisis. ACN won the only House of Assembly seat and presidential, governorship and National Assembly elections in Tarkaa Local Government Area. The eyewitness said PDP youths then proceaded to set a past the market ablaze to create a crisis situation. A PDP supporter was gave his name as Terngu harever denied the allagation saying the arson was carried out by ACN supporters. Meanwhile, a famous Igbo trader in the town called Alloy was shot and killed by gunmen suspected to be armed robbers. According to an eyewitness,the gun men
stormed Alloy’s house located on Mbatierev Road in Wannune at about 2am and ordered him to give the money. The deceased repotedly hesitated only for the robbers to open fire on him. The robbers also shot another petrol dealer Tersoo Keneshe in and carted away large sums of money. They also attacked another woman in Asukunya , a surburb located on Makurdi road, about 10 minutes drive from Wannune. Meanwhile, the local Government Security Council headed by the council Chairman, HON Samuel Atsuku has banned all forms of political meeting in the area until normalcy returns. The council also imposed a curfew from 10pm to 7am and directed the DPO to arrest anyone who disobeys. As at press time, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Ejike Aralibe told The Nation on phone that he was yet to confirm the report from the DPO in Wannune. The state publicity of the PDP, HON Godwin Ayihe, however confirmed the fracas between PDP and ACN and appealed for calm.
Sullivan Chime’s hammer against protesters
F there is an award for ‘the best governor in the art of fuel subsidy strike disruption’ during the first week of the nationwide protests, that award should be reserved for Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State. While most of the other governors allowed the people to express their grievances, Chime chose to act in a military fashion and in so doing succeeded in frustrating the protests in his state. Reports said the governor, ahead of the planned protest, hurriedly banned the holding of public assemblies, meetings or public processions in any part of the state and threatened to deal with any person or group cansing breach of peace. To implement the ban, he set up a special court to try any violator. He made good his threat on the second day of the strike, Tuesday, January 10, 2012, when he ordered the arrest, trial and imprisonment of Festus Ozoeze, a unit ViceChairman of Amalgamated Workers Union in Water Corporation, Enugu, for trying to enforce the nationwide strike in the state. Reports confirmed that within hours of Ozoeze’s arrest by the police, he was tried by the tribunal set up by the state government at the Police CID and sent to the Enugu Prisons “for planning to cause breach of the peace in the state.” Some other labour leaders in the state, like
By Sam Egburonu
Timothy Ojielo and Chris Elibe, were declared wanted, thus effectively clipping the wings of the state labour activists. While the arrest was ongoing, reports indicated that Enugu State Head of Service, Denis Eze, led top government officials and personally destroyed keys used by labour to lock up offices. These dictatorial strategies rendered the efforts of aggrieved masses in the state ineffective. State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Igbokwe Chukwuma, who blamed the highhandedness of the state government for the poor outing of protesters in the state said, “since Monday we’ve been on it; we woke up Monday morning to see that government had issued a proclamation banning gathering and protest in Enugu State; we looked at it as something very unfair; we tried to move like other states but a contingent of policemen had been stationed in front of our secretariat, which is our meeting point and you see they have remained here all these days. “Actually, today we wanted to go to the streets again but we were restricted; we were even pushed; so we are saying that this is very unfair; what is happening in other states should happen in Enugu State. This is a national issue not a state
issue and Enugu State workers have not been associated with violence of any kind in all our demonstrations.” Since the news of the arrest, trial and imprisonment of the labour leader was made public, observers have condemned the action of the state government. Chukwuemeka Agu, a Polytechnic lecturer, said the action of Chime-led state government “is despicable as it reminds one of the ignominious actions of past military dictators. Even President Jonathan was not so high handed.” So, as the organised labour, human rights activists and concerned Nigerians demand immediate release of the incarcerated labour activist, Agu insists that “the development has unarguably detracted from Chime’s human rights’ record.” While protagonists of fuel subsidy removal may acclaim the governor for being ever pre-emptive and firm, it is doubtful if the development has helped his image as the people’s leader. His critics are already saying that no matter how passionate he may feel about the subsidy matter, Chime, if he is a true democrat, should have been more tolerant and more accommodating in the way he handled his people during the first week of the nationwide protest against removal of fuel subsidy.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
NMA directs doctors to continue rendering services
Protest shouldn’t end until there is a change, insists ACN UK T T HE Ondo State Chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the United Kingdom (UK) at the weekend expressed solidarity with Nigerian masses over the ongoing strike occasioned by the removal of oil subsidy by the federal government. The party maintained that the protests should not end until there is a change, saying “it is time Nigerians give it all it takes to get the kind of country they deserve.” The group also said the
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
appointment of a former World Bank official as the Finance Minister has enslaved the country. Expressing reservation over World Bank and IMF prescriptions, the group said, “It is a fact that many European countries are struggling economically, yet they still refused to accept economic policies suggested by them; why should Nigeria accept them?” The group also said “it is almost incredulous that the same Nigerians that the
government finds it difficult to pay a decent minimum wage are now expected to pay N140 per litre of fuel.” ACN in a communiqué issued after its emergency meeting and sent on- line queried how resolute the government is about the issue of minimum wage compared to oil subsidy removal? The statement signed by its Chairman, Tunde Doherty and Secretary, Dolapo Onajin, lamented lack of infrastructure and social welfare. It therefore said “Nigerians have had
to resort to self-governance for so many years, yet the government still assumes it caters for them. In order to survive, you need to provide your own housing, electricity, water, security, education and others; what then is the relevance of government, it queried? The ACN urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reduce the number of political office holders around him and provide citizenry with good infrastructure to raise their hopes as Nigerians.
HE Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has directed its members nationwide to continue rendering medical services to Nigerians. The NMA which had threatened to shut down all medical facilities if the Federal Government did not reverse the price of one liter of petrol to N65 said while it would continue to align with progressive forces in the struggle for the suspension of the subsidy removal it is necessary for its members to remain on duty . It however expressed regrets over the death of people across the country during the ongoing protests against the removal of fuel subsidy. It said: “It would be recalled that on January 6, 2012 NMA held a press conference on increase in pump price of fuel by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the NLC/TUC peaceful protest/strike which commenced on January 9. “NMA continues to align with the demands for the reversal of the pump price of fuel which was illtimed. In view of casualties that have been reported from various protest sites including death, there is obvious need to continue
From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
rendering emergency services in our health facilities. “The great loss of lives and economic losses arising from this peaceful protest is sad and unfortunate. We call on the Federal Government at this moment to forestall further loses in any form by reverting to the N65:00 per litre of fuel in line with the request of NLC/TUC/civil society organizations, professional associations including NBA, NMA and the voices/intervention of the National Assembly all on behalf of majority of Nigerians to allow for further discussions/ negotiations. Government should thus, reverse this action and prevent avoidable stress and strain on the good people of Nigeria. “Government should be prudent and reduce cost of governance, make the refineries functional, ensure accountability with verifiable audit in all sectors, tackle monumental corruption in the downstream sector of oil and gas operations and other sectors of the economy. The NMA will stand with, by and behind the Nigerian people in these genuine and legitimate demands.”
Pay my entitlements, ex-Ondo cabinet member tells Mimiko
T L-R Former Governor of Imo State Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State and his wife Chief Mrs. Mercy Odochi Orji during the wedding ceremony of Nneoma Theodore Orji daughter of Abia State Governor and Obinna Ararume son of Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume at Holy Trinity Parish, Maitama, in Abuja.
‘They held me hostage, buried strange corpse in my house’ •Traditional ruler, 88, alleges threat to life
N 88 year old traditional ruler of Bende Autonomous community in Bende Council Area of Abia state, Eze Ariwodo Kalunta, has alleged threat to his life and that of his family members. Following the alleged threat, the traditional ruler had called on the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, to protect them from those he called “enemies who want them dead”. The monarch also alleged that some people invaded his compound last Monday with scores of armed policemen and plain cloth security operatives and buried “an unknown corpse” in his compound. According to him, he was held hostage in his room upstairs where he was recuperating from an illness while his wife and other members of the family were assembled down stairs and held hostage for hours while the said burial lasted. Eze Ariwodo, a medical doctor and the first psychiatrist doctor in the
Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia
defunct Eastern Region, also alleged that the people that invaded his house were led by his two married daughters and accompanied by other people he described as “thugs” and some policemen from Bende, including the Divisional Police Officer in 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.
It was learnt that their relationship went so sour that the Eze was said to have disowned the late doctor and vowed never to have anything to do with him. He said, “They gave the cabal money to harass and held 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.” The traditional ruler said, “They were held hostage for hours. Two plain cloth security operatives who led the operation claimed that they have orders from above.
We were not shown any warrant. The way they came, we took them to be kidnappers. That was not how security operatives work, they operated 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 burials that are controversial to avoid break down of law and order, saying “if the police were there, they came to maintain peace and order.”
HE Former Special Adviser on Planning and Strategy to Ondo State Governor, Hon. Saka Lawal, yesterday criticised the alleged directive to stop the payment of balance of his statutory allowance payable to all political office holders. Lawal, who recently dumped the ruling Labour Party (LP) and joined Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said the directive came to him as a rude shock. According to a letter he sent to Governor Mimiko, dated January 11, “it was a surprise to me that the governor has instructed that the balance of statutory allowance due to all public office holders should not be paid to me because I left LP for ACN. “While I will not fall prey to this arm-twisting tactics of using an allowance that is statutory as bait for possible rapprochement, I wish to draw the attention of Mr. Governor to three major issues: “First, it is my constitutional right to be paid allowance having
Cleric task FG on development programmes RIMATE of the Emmanuel Salem Church, Lagos, Apostle M.A Mate has called on the Nigerian leaders to show sincerity in the implementation of varying social safety net programme as that would help ameliorate the present socio-economic challenges in Nigerians. Mate, who disclosed this
By Adeola Ogunlade
to journalist yesterday at the Annual General Conference of the church held at Ipaja, Lagos, said, the leaders should remember that God placed them in the position of authority to restore the glory of the nation Nigeria. The clergy decried the spate of insecurity leading to the ongoing strike embarked upon
by the Nigeria Labour Union on fuel subsidy, saying, “the federal government needs wisdom in their decisions on the fuel subsidy considering the fact that the people who voted them into power deserve to enjoy the dividends of democracy. “This is not a period to place more hardship on the people but a period to relief them of the
hardship they have gone through from past leaders”, he said. Also speaking at the event, The Chairman of Ipaja-Ayobo Local Council Development Area, Hon Sakiru Yusuff called on both Muslims and Christians in the state to see themselves as one and be in unity in order to fight a common goal of building a better Nigeria.
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
served Ondo State Government as a Special Adviser for 29 months, therefore, Mr. Governor needs to be reminded that the word of God is clear on this issue in Timothy Chapter 5 Verse 18 “thou shall not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the labourer is worthy of his reward.” This is the word of God, anything done in the contrary attracts a curse.” “This same unwarranted persecution has been extended to Otunba Omoniyi Omodara, Prince Sholagbade Amodeni, Deolu Akinwunmi and Johnson Olubi Jimoh. The former Mimiko’s aide, who is now an ACN governorship aspirant said, “I will not recourse to any legal action if I am not paid within the next one week, I will however make a formal report to Reverend Adesida who anointed you (Governor Mimiko) at your swearing in. He contended that if this effort fails, he would report him to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, where the governor worships every month. A top government source, contacted to confirm the development, said he could not speak on Lawal’s allegation, stressing that offices at the secretariat had closed down since last week’s Friday, following the strike by Nigerians over oil subsidy removal.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
S the organised labour and the civil society organisations halt the anti-oil subsidy removal protest for two days to enable them prepare for full blast protests on Monday, the people of Kano State are taking advantage of the protest holiday to restock essential commodities and rest ahead of what promises to be the mother of all protests. The labour community in the ancient city has been educating and sensitizing the people to stage the rallies in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, urging them to prepare ad-
Anti-subsidy protesters await further directives From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano
equately for part two of the protest should the Federal Government fail to revert the pump price of petrol to N65 per litre. The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Comrade Inuwa Isah Danguguwa had gone on air to inform the protest-
ers that the two-day rest to pay condolence visits to families who lost their beloved ones during the protests and to pay sympathy visits to those who were injured and still receiving treatments in the hospitals. This essentially explains the reason for yesterday’s panic purchases, with sev-
eral motorists queuing up at fuel stations to fill up their tanks ahead of the protest, scheduled to resume on Monday. Market women dashed to the markets to make brisk business, while housewives besieged markets and other shopping centres to secure food and household utilities for their families. A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party in Kano State, Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu Gago in a chat
with The Nation made a passionate appeal to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve the industrial action and the planned protest rallies so as not to heat up the already tensed security situation in the state, arguing that the labour community should support the state government and the security agencies in the management of the fragile peace and security in the state.
Meanwhile, there are still security concerns, even though the State Government has relaxed the curfew earlier imposed on the state from between 6pm and 8am to 10pm to 8am. The State Commissioner for Information, Prof. Faruk Umar Jibril announced the reviewed curfew in a chat with reporters at the State Government House. The State Governor, Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso himself has been consulting interest groups on how the various ethnic and religious groups in the state can continue to live in peace, and of course to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the protest rallies, should labour and civil society organisations resume the rallies come Monday.
Commercial activities pick up in Ilorin
•L-R: Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, his Deputy, Tele Kuru, Secretary to the State Government, George D. Feyii, Speaker, State House of Assembly, Otelemaba Amachree and the Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission, Chief Azubuike Nmerukini during the prayer and fasting service organised by the State Government at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Port Harcourt, over the weekend
Group protest alleged attempts to assassinate Jonathan
ISTURBED by the rumours making the rounds of alleged plots to assassinate President Goodluck Jonathan and other service chiefs, a group under the aegis of ‘Niger Delta People in Bayelsa state’ embarked on a mass protest across Yenagoa, the state capital yesterday, with procession marching across the streets at the major East/West expressways. Displaying placards with various inscriptions such as: “Any attempt to assassinate President Jonathan will be met with tough stance”, “You touch Jonathan we
From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa
break Nigeria”, “We swear, oil will shut down soon”, “subsidy removal is better than Boko Haam”, “Boko Haram is killing Nigerians, not oil subsidy” “NLC/TUC have never protested killings by Boko Haram, why on subsidy”and more. The group was led by several political leaders including Famous Daunemugha, Congress of Political Change governorship candidate in the state, Chief Kalaite Jephther, Rosebel Jackson, Emmanuel Jonjon
While addressing journalists, Daunemugha said: “We are trying to show our support for the new policy to the travellers along the East/ West road. To let them know that Mr. President should be given time to implement the policy, to enable us know if it will work or not”, adding: “Why should we protest a policy that is not meant for one man alone, NLC should not deceive the unemployed youths by instigating them to go on protest to be killed, after all labour will collect their salaries after the strike while the unemployed will not have anything to rely on.”
Ameachi leads Rivers to pray for Nigeria
IVERS State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, over the weekend led Rivers people to pray for the quick resolution of the country’s current crisis and unity of all Nigerians. The prayer session at the end of a one-day statewide fast was held at the St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Port Harcourt and was attended by a great number of Rivers people who all came to pray for divine intervention in the country. Governor Amaechi at the prayer session, urged Nigerians to acknowledge God’s supremacy over the country’s challenges and the need
to seek His help in tackling them. “Most importantly, the fast was not about us; the fast was about the state and particularly about the nation”, he said. ”When we play God without knowing that we are playing God, then God will not hear us and will not speak to us. ”When we assume we can find solution to all problems and fail to consult God , then we are playing God, and then God will watch us cheerfully and allow us make our mistakes so that He will teach us that He is God”, Amaechi said. In his sermon, Rt. Rev.
Innocent Ordu, Bishop of Evo Diocese, Port Harcourt, appealed to all Nigerians not to rise up against the country’s constituted authorities even in the country’s current turbulent situation. ”We are commanded by God to cooperate with our rulers and pray for them and not to rise against them in civil disobedience”, he said. Prayers were said for President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government, for Governor Amaechi and the Rivers State Government and all other governments as well as the church leadership and the church in Nigeria and for continued peace in the country.
LL was calm yesterday in Ilorin, Kwara State capital after last week’s violent protest against fuel subsidy removal in compliance with the suspension of the protests for two days by the organised labour. Business offices and traders opened very early in the state capital. A new generation bank sent text messages to its staff asking them to resume by 8.00am instead of the normal 10.00am for Saturday banking operations. The text was meant to assist customers take advantage of the suspension of strike, it was gathered. Customers in droves also besieged automated teller machines (ATM) centres to make withdrawals leading to a long queusS at some of the
From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
banks monitored. Some of the customers said they were at the ATM centres to replenish their purses which had been depleted and in readiness for another round of strike come next week. The suspension of strike however did not lead to operations at the Ilorin International Airport, it was gathered. An official of one of the agencies at the airport cited bad weather and the need to service aircrafts that have been left idle since the commencement of the strike as the reasons for none resumption of operations. Ipata one of the popular markets in the metropolis was alive yesterday. Many buyers however expressed
concern that the prices of goods and services had skyrocketed as sellers sought to take advantage of the situation. Commercial vehicles and motorcycle operators were on the road conveying residents to business centres and various destinations. Soldiers were however still guarding some strategic places such as GambariOkelele axis of the state capital as well as major public installations to maintain law and order. Some residents of Ilorin who spoke our correspondent expressed relief that the protest was suspended for 48 hours and although they described the mass revolt against the removal of oil subsidy as a worthwhile venture, they called for a quick resolution of the impasse.
Senator carpets FG on subsidy removal
HE Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Ayo Adeseun, has faulted the argument by the Federal Government that only removal of fuel subsidy can save Nigerian economy from collapsing. Adeseun, who is representing Oyo Central at the upper legislative arm, in a statement yesterday said that the government should explain how it arrived at uniform landing cost of N138 per litre for petrol imported from various countries. Distancing himself from the policy, Adeseun advised
From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
government to block leakages in the system and provide stable electricity to Nigerians instead of inflicting more pains on citizens. Faulting the argument that Ghana has removed subsidy on petrol, Adeseun said: “Ghana is not an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Country. It neither produces nor exports petrol. So why should Nigeria be compared with Ghana? And even when petrol subsidy was removed in Ghana, it only caused a 15 percent increase in the pump price of the commodity. In Nigeria, it has caused over 120 per cent
increase in the pump price of petrol. Also, there is constant electricity in Ghana. Nigeria has no constant power supply and that is why 32 percent of the consumption of petrol is for electric generating plants.” The Senator added that it is so sad that only Paraguana Refinery Complex (PDVSA), a single refinery in Venezuela (a country of 28million population) refines as much as 940,000 barrels per day compared to just about 133,000 barrels per day being refined by the four refineries in Nigeria with total installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day. “
Businessman disowns self from Pinnacle Construction
R. PETER Mbah, Managing Director of Pinnacle Oil & Gas Ltd, has described as false the listing of his name as the promoter of a company named Pinnacle Construction and beneficiary of the controversial fuel subsidy in advertorials placed in several newspapers last week by a group with the name, South-South Elders and Leaders”. In what has been established as a clear error of judgement by the South
South Elders and Leaders in the said publication, Mr. Mbah was listed as the Managing Director of Pinnacle Construction –one of the companies named as a beneficiary of the Federal Government’s oil subsidy. However Mbah’s company, Pinnacle Oil & Gas has no relationship whatsoever with Pinnacle Construction. In a statement made available at the weekend by his solicitors, G&E Associates (Solicitors); Mr. Peter Mbah, Managing Director,
Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, was said to have “no relationship whatsoever with Pinnacle Construction and has no connection with its promotion or management. According to the statement, Pinnacle Construction is neither a subsidiary nor associate company to Pinnacle Oil & Gas Ltd and the two companies have no relationship whatsoever beyond the common use of the word “Pinnacle” in their respective but independent names.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
HE curfew imposed on Niger state by the State government in the wake of Wednesday’s civil disturbance in Minna has been relaxed by 12 hours. In effect, residents are now to stay indoors from 6pm to 6am until further notice. Mallam Danladi Ndayebo, Press Secretary to Governor Babangida Aliyu, said yesterday in Minna, that the adjustment was ordered by the the State Security Council following a review of the security challenges triggered by the labour organized protest. He enjoined residents to pursue their legitimate businesses, remain calm and report any act capable of threatening public peace and order. But he warned that government would not hesitate to revert to 24-hour curfew should there be a
Niger reviews curfew hours From Jide Orintunsin,Minna
fresh attempt to cause a breakdown of law and order, adding that security agencies are still at alert to deal with any unlawful situation in the state. The state government on Wednesday afternoon imposed a -24 -hour curfew after a violent protest resulted in the burning of several public and private properties. The Minna office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Aliyu’s campaign office, the constituency office of Jumai Mariga and the law office complex of the state PDP deputy chairman, Mr. Tanko Beji were burnt by the protesters. The violence also claimed two lives in
•Now from 6pm to 6am Lambata, Gurara Local Government Area of the state, while three Police officers were injured at different locations in the state. No fewer than 20 ve-
hicles were equally burnt. R o u n d a b o u t s , Democracry Garden and Murtala Muhammed Amusement Park all in Minna were also vandal-
ized. As soon as yesterday’s announcement was made residents rushed to the markets to buy food items and other essentials. Others
went to the various ATM points to withdraw cash in anticipation that the strike over fuel subsidy removal will continue tomorrow.
Yakassai backs subsidy removal •Defends Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi
ECOND Republic Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has challenged individuals and groups criticising the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to advance superior argument to counter their position on the removal of subsidy on petrol. Hailing Sanusi and Okonjo-Iweala as patriots,Yakasai said:”As a patriotic citizen and elderly person who was actively involved in the struggle for freedom and independence on the side of the Nigerian people; and who was consciously guided and participated in the struggle for the enthronement of democracy and human rights in this country for many decades, I am disturbed by the orchestrated campaign of calumny directed against the Governor of Central
From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano
Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, aimed at frustrating and pushing them to resign their positions on account of the principled and patriotic stand they have taken on the issue of deregulation on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS, otherwise known as petrol). “In keeping with my political, social and indeed ideological orientation as well as faith in the superiority of logic and reason, I believe these two patriots have offered unassailable arguments in support of the stand of the government on the issue. Undoubtedly, there are many other Nigerians who are similarly impressed. It therefore behoves those who disagree with them to offer a superior argument to dislodge the one advanced by the two individuals.
Institute calls for dialogue
HE Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) is suing for sustainable dialogue between the Federal Government and Labour in resolving the deadlock over the withdrawal of fuel subsidy by government. The Director-General of the Institute, Dr. Joseph Golwa, said in Abuja that the violence occasioned by the first week of the strike was unnecessary and avoidable. “In recent times, the nation has been bedevilled with various issues of security challenges includ-
From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja ing the ongoing contestation over fuel subsidy. While these contestations represent freedom of expression which is healthy for our democracy, the attendant violence is unnecessary and very much avoidable,” Dr.Golwa said in Abuja. “The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution therefore regards the violence as unfortunate, condemnable and can only exacerbate the existing security challenges.
•Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State being received by his aides during his return from Abuja where he attended a special consultative and negotiation meeting on fuel at Aso Rock Abuja. PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE
Fashola says dialogues, a step forward
O V E R N O R Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has described the readiness of all parties involved in the nationwide to engage in dialogue as a positive development. Speaking to reporters at the weekend after returning from a meeting of Governors’ Forum, Labour with President Goodluck
Jonathan, he said, “It was a useful meeting, coming from where we were before. The very idea of meeting is suggestive that parties are ready to embrace dialogue and that for us, is a step forward.” Responding to a question on his advice to Labour and the Federal Government against the backdrop of the threat by the
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to shut down Oil and Gas installations if no conclusion was reached by midnight on Saturday, Fashola said he had not received the facts of that development. He said, “I think ultimately, my own interest
and I believe the interest of those of us who are involved here today and all Nigerians, the ordinary people who are at the receiving end of this crisis, one way or the other, people are suffering and we remain responsible and duty bound to ensure that the suffering and the inconveniences and the pains ends as quickly as possible.”
Lawmaker criticises FG’s threat to civil servants
EPUTY Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rotimi Abiru, has condemned threats by the Federal Government to civil servants for their participation in the ongoing nationwide strike on fuel subsidy. The Federal Government last week issued threat of no work no pay and sack for civil servants who fail to report for duty on Monday. According to Abiru, such threat will achieve no good and will only further incense Nigerians who are already
By Oziegbe Okoeki angry with the government, “government officials should be more tactful in what they say and stop making statements that will further aggravate the situation that is already bad enough he said.” The lawmaker further added: “I cannot see the threat achieving any good, instead it will worsen the already tensed situation. The strike is not about public workers, but the Nigerian people.
“Already, the government is losing about N159 billion daily as a result of the strike. Also, Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association (PENGASAN) is threatening to join in the strike, which means that petrol production will stop. If care is not taken, power and water may be cut off. “The Federal Government must tread with caution because the way things are going, such a statement may bring about violence and there may be complete breakdown
of law and order. I am sure this is not what Nigerians bargained with President Goodluck Jonathan when they overwhelmingly voted for him in April. “ Last week the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, issued a no-work no-pay threat and threatened to sack all civil servants who fail to report for duty tomorrow, Monday.
Catholic bishop advocates policy with human face
HE Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Dr. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji has advised the federal government to execute programmes and economic reforms that will have human face and promote the overall wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable in the society. He listed some of these programmes and reforms as oil sector de-regula-
Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia tion, agriculture, mass transit, road construction and rehabilitation, housing , education, etc adding that the success on these areas, “must be measured on the extent that they truly serve the interest and welfare of the poor and weak”. The Bishop gave his advice in a statement on the removal of fuel Sub-
sidy and the security challenges in the country captioned. According to him, the prevailing tension trailing the withdrawal of fuel subsidy has been an opportunity for Nigerians to speak. The cleric said that people should not shy away from crying out loud and clear on their burning desire for a government that is respectful on the rule of law and the
fundamental rights of every citizen. On the Boko Haram insurgence and the massacre of people in parts of the northern states, Ugorji said, “no political anger, religious intolerance or ethnic hatred can justify this act of barbarism which hurts our religious and cultural sensitivity as a people to the sanctity of human life”.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Hoodlums kill 400 cows during protest in Edo •12 suspects arrested M ORE than 400 cows were killed and shared by hoodlums who hijacked the protest against fuel subsidy removal to loot and attack innocent citizens. This was disclosed by the Chairman of Edo State Cattle Dealers Association, Alhaji Saad Ahmed when the General Editor, Tell Magazine, Mrs. Adekunbi Ero presented food and other items to persons affected by the activities of hoodlums. Ahmed who pleaded for the Oba of Benin’s assistance to reduce loss to traders said cattle herds had turned game in Benin City and its environs.
From Osagie Otabor, Benin According to him, “Here, they killed up to 400 of our cows. When they see grazing cows in the bush they kill them like bush meat. Cows have turned to bush meat in Benin. It can happen anytime. They slaughter the cows and pack meat away. “We have never witnessed this kind of thing in Benin before. If they had told us we would not have believed. It is our belief that it is not only the Binis that are doing these, but if Omo N’oba speaks they will stop. We like Omo N’oba (Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba
Erediauwa) to intervene.” Meanwhile, patrolling soldiers have arrested more than 12 persons who participated in the killing and sharing of cow in Benin City. The suspects were ar-
rested after one of the Fulani herdsmen tipped some military men patrolling in the area and they caught them sharing the meat. Among those arrested is wife of one of the suspects,
Mrs. Abbey Mary who was alleged to have used part of the beef to prepare food she was to sell. Some of the suspects who gave their names as Bashiru Adigin and Peter
Oguche denied involvement in the act but could not explained how they came about having large chunk of beef in their homes. Police spokesman, ASP Ahawara Ejiroro confirmed the arrest and said they would charge the suspects to court after investigation
Women group pleads for understanding
HE National Council for Women Society (NCWS) of Nigeria has said it is in support of the withdrawal of petro subsidy. It said its decision was arrived at after careful deliberations on the benefits the policy intends to bring to the country. The National President, Chief Mrs. Nkechi Okemini-Mba said this yesterday in Owerri while interacting with reporters. According to her, the decision is in the best interest of the nation aimed
From: Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri. at tackling anomalies in the oil sector. She pointed out that with the removal of the subsidy, the future of the country is hopeful, stressing that the gains expected of the policy will be greater than the loss. Mrs. Mba said that already the national executive council (NEC) has already carried out demonstration in support of the subsidy removal in Abuja .
•L-R: The Legal Officer, Kosofe Local Government, Abel P. Bello administering the oath of office during the swearing in of newly appointed members of Executive Committee of the council, recently.
Igbo students ask Okonjo-Iweala, Allison-Madueke to apologise to Nigerians
HE Confederation of Igbo Students (CIS) is demanding a public apology to Nigerians by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke for misleading the President and portraying him as being insensitive to the plight of citizens. They are also asking the President to revert to the old pump price of N65 while a Deregulation Road map be implemented within a specified time frame of four to six months, culminating in the removal of petrol subsidy. The students’ position was articulated in a statement in Enugu by the national coordinator, Chukwudalu Anaekwe and national secretary, Okechukwu Eze. While not against the removal of the oil subsidy, the students maintained that the two ministers mishandling of “an otherwise good project has subjected Mr. President to unwarranted insults thereby bringing his popularity rating to an all time low.” They were of the belief that President Jonathan despite his good intentions was wrongly advised to start deregulation without first putting the necessary building blocks in place. They approved of the President’s announcement
From Chris Oji, Enugu of 25% reduction of the basic salary of all political office holders in the executive tier of Government as a step in the right direction but added that more fundamental action needs to be taken. They also called on President Jonathan to prosecute the so-called “petrol subsidy cabal” and as well as implement the report of the Senate ad hoc committee on the NNPC so as gain investors’ confidence and restore public trust in his Transformation Agenda.
On the menace of Boko Haram, CIS said it was convinced that Boko Haram’s ultimatum to Southerners to leave the North should not be ignored since they have both the capability and intention to carry out their threat. “Ndi-Igbo are the most populous Southern ethnic group living in the North and have contributed immensely to the economic development of that part of the country. As such, they (Ndi-Igbo) will be the biggest casualties of such a threat. A review of the list of victims of the Madallah Christmas Day Bombing will buttress the point.”
Union supports subsidy removal, decries killings by Boko Haram
EMBERS of the Movement for Abia Reunion have given their support to President Goodluck Jonathan over the removal of subsidy on petrol. The group also condemned the senseless killing of people from the Southern part of the country by the members of the Islamic group Boko-Haram and called for a change of heart from the religious sect for the peace of the country. Speaking with journalists in Umuahia, the zonal chairman of the union for Abia South, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu said that the removal of the subsidy is one of the
Ugochukwu Eke, Umuahia
ways to ensure even development and also to stop some selected cabal that have been benefiting from the oil subsidy to the detriment of the country’s economy. He said that what many people in the country do not know about the petrol subsidy, “is that only few people in the country are the ones enjoying the oil subsidy meant for the people of the country and when it is removed everyone will now enjoy it”. The group while deploring the killings of southerners by Boko-Haram said it is going to make its stand clear soon.
COMMENT and ANALYSIS
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
All the president’s enemies
With friends like Jonathan’s who needs enemies
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The death of fear
F anyone had doubts that the Federal Government’s pre-January 1, 2012 sales pitch on the need to remove fuel subsidy was a failure, they would have been cleared by the strikes and protests that grounded the nation in the last seven days. The government tried to do what it should have done before New Year day by sponsoring a slew of advertising making its case. Unfortunately, its protestations were drowned out by the din generated by angry Nigerians whose voices were heard from Kano to Kogi to Lagos. Once it became clear it had badly miscalculated in its assumptions about the preparedness of the people for the radical move, government panicked. Rather than calmly engaging Labour and the civil society coalitions leading the protests, functionaries and supporters resorted to the same failed methods of intimidation and name-calling. First, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, makes ominous threats against “treasonous critics” who want to “overwhelm” President Goodluck Jonathan’s government. He then proceeds to lecture those who have walked out from public and private sector jobs about their contractual obligations. Providing backing fire was the Minister for Labour, Emeka Wogu, who sneeringly told Labour and its allies that if they thought they could force the government’s hands with street protests they were dreaming. Before the end of the week, those hands had not only been forced, they were in a veritable bind. What I found particularly amusing was the arrogant posturing of these officials who forget that whatever legitimacy the government enjoys comes from the people. Laws are laws only if the people continue to obey them. Once they cross the fear barrier you are on your own. It happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and is ongoing in Syria. You cannot incarcerate a whole nation: you don’t have enough prison space. Policies are meant for people. You don’t crush them just to make a policy point. If they say they don’t want – even if you believe your position is superior – you back off. In the 90s Nigerians debated whether to take an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan or not. Although the then Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, thought it was madness to spurn such cheap, long-term developmental funds, the vast majority of the people were opposed to taking it. Against that backdrop, then President Ibrahim Babangida rejected the loans. You can make the argument that the nation is paying the price today for not accessing the IMF funds; still the nation was not put through the wasteful and traumatic experience of the last seven days. What has been happening on the streets of Nigeria is not unique. For several months the streets of Greece have been seething as riotous mobs protest bitter economic policies. Those protests led to the fall last year of the Socialist Prime Minister, George Papandreou. Back in 1990 when she was in the sad-
dle, even the notorious Iron Lady, former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, backed down in the face of violent resistance on the streets to her bid to introduce a so-called ‘Poll Tax’. She was still defending the tax even when opinion polls showed that only 2% of Britons supported. It was one of the factors that brought her down. Frankly, there is nothing shameful in a government knowing when to cut and run when the people say no. That is why I find mindboggling the sort of narrative coming out of government circles concerning the strikes. Rather than continue to humbly make the case for the removal to angry voters who put them in office, government spokesmen and sympathisers choose to interpret the revolt as the evil handiwork of opposition media, politicians and assorted enemies. It plays nicely into this flawed narrative that Pastor Tunde Bakare, one of the driving forces in the Lagos protests was the Congress for Progress Change (CPC) vice-presidential candidate at the April 2011 elections. Other villains they have quickly identified are former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nasir el-Rufai, who had the temerity to be critical. Sooner or later every public debate in Nigeria becomes an ethnic slanging match. This week was no different. Jonathan’s clansmen led by Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and some retired militants, charged that the whole protest was a scheme by ethnic groups who had monopolised power for so long, to humiliate a son of the South-South zone out of office. Amazing! They accuse the North, South-West and other unmentioned zones of leading the protest because they have enjoyed subsidised petrol for years. Is it the same North in which extremities fuel was sold for well over N100 before January 1, 2012? How convenient it is for Jonathan’s tribal champions to make this argument now. They did not reject the millions of South-West votes that ensured Jonathan did not face run-off elections against
Buhari last April. They did not denounce the zone when its vociferous activists fought Jonathan corner during late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s illness and the constitutional crisis that followed. If those who are running things in Nigeria at this time are overwhelmed by siege mentality, and can no longer think straight, then we all better start running for the hills. Why can’t Jonathan and his people understand that this is not about PDP, CPC, PRP or ACN? Nigerians are not protesting because they love El-Rufai, Bakare or Babangida. They are howling because the yoke that has been placed on their necks – without adequate preparation for the shocks – is crushing them! Why is the presidency moaning about so-called “failed politicians” jumping on the bandwagon? Who else would hop aboard the protest train? Is it Jonathan’s friends – the so-called “successful politicians” - who are having a good time riding the gravy train? Rather than blame anybody for what has happened, Jonathan and his people should examine themselves. They provided the platform around which Nigerians of all shades and stripes are rallying because they didn’t think through the removal of the fuel subsidy. Whatever scenarios they may have painted in their strategy sessions were probably only rosy ones in which Nigerians welcomed N140 per litre petrol with hearty cheers. It is especially sad that the president has been seduced into thinking those on the streets – whether politicians or beggars – are enemies, rather than angry Nigerians who feel the pinch of a bungled policy. Jonathan has to rise above the pettiness, and block his ears to the mediocre counsel being whispered in his ears. He has to decide whether he wants to be president of all Nigerians – protesters and ‘failed politicians’ inclusive, or president of the PDP and ex-South South militants. The president may also need to take a second look at his ‘friends.’ Many of them are responsible for the humiliating situation he finds himself in today because of what they’ve been feeding him. With such friends no one needs a foe. Jonathan should listen to what patriotic Nigerians who may not have access to the inner sanctum of Aso Rock are saying. Deregulation is not the problem: the management of the run-in has been disastrous and chaotic. He can retrace his steps and start all over. That is nothing to be ashamed of.
“Nigerians are not protesting because they love El-Rufai, Bakare or Babangida. They are howling because the yoke that has been placed on their necks – without adequate preparation for the shocks – is crushing them!”
HIS column was written ahead of yesterday’s meeting of labour leaders and Federal Government officials to resolve the national crisis over the removal of fuel subsidy. Hopefully, the nation-wide one-weekold strike will be called off if an agreement is reached at the crucial make-or -mar meeting. If not, the Occupy Nigeria rallies, our own version of the Arab Spring, will continue on Monday. The massive turn-out of the cross-section of Nigerians is undoubtedly a proof of the general opposition of the people to the removal of the subsidy. If the Federal Government thought it could force the decision on Nigerians like other past administrations did, it definitely knows better now and should not undermine the wave of the global anger by citizens who are ready to insist on good governance more than ever before. It used to be that many citizens were afraid of confronting their leaders headlong for fear of crack down on them through the use of security forces, but this is no more the case. The people are now ready to take their destiny in their hands and have conquered whatever fear they used to have in times like this. This reality was recently aptly captured by Aljazeera Television with the title of a documentary on the Tunisian revolt which triggered off the Arab Awakening: The death of fear. Based on the magnitude of protest witnessed so far, with curfew declared in some states due to the scale of violence, the Federal Government cannot afford to risk another week of protest. The implication is grave and for whatever it is worth, the government should be ready to back off this battle against the people who have pronounced an emphatic No against the removal of fuel subsidy. I share the concern of the government that our economy is in a bad shape but the situation could get worse if it allows the continuous shut down of the country by not accepting the demands of the labour and civil society groups. No doubt, it will be tough if the government has to continue to subsidise fuel importation but like many analysts have pointed out, our present situation is an avoidable one. How do we explain that none of our refineries is working at full capacity? Why should we allow the level of corruption in the oil sector and others continue?. If we are a major oil producing country, why should Nigerians pay as much as the government is proposing per litre of fuel? Instead of opting for a quick fix by removing the subsidy, we need to address the problem in the oil sector once and for all. In addition, this is the time for all, not only the masses, to sacrifice to get us out of our present predicament. The huge pay of political office holders at all levels is definitely not sustainable. The proposed 2012 budget proposal in the light of the situation needs to be clinically reviewed to eliminate many unjustified allocations. Government officials cannot afford to continue to live like kings when the average Nigerian lives on less than two dollars a day. The Presidency can further part with more percentage of its present basic pay and allowances while the House of Representatives members, Senators and other political office holders at all levels should also voluntarily agree to a pay cut. There comes a time in the history of a nation when it has to make up its mind to swim out of trouble or sink. Swim we must for the sake of all, now and in the future.
Ogochukwu Ikeje firstname.lastname@example.org 08084235961 (SMS only)
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Comment & Analysis
AST week gave everyone a foretaste of a possible worse scenario as Nigerians protested the removal of fuel subsidy. But even that foretaste was very bitter indeed. There were deaths in several states across the country. There was destruction of public and private property. Extortion was rife in places. Though protesters in Lagos and a few other places were said to have conducted themselves quite well, people still died. The windscreens of some private cars were still smashed. People still surrendered cash and whoknows-what-else to attackers. A lot of unsavoury things can happen even in a controlled protest. In Niger State, an announcement by the state government urging workers to return to their duties stung the protesters. They turned to government property and even private ones. The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was reportedly set on fire. So was the campaign office of the retired General Ibrahim Babangida. In Ogun, an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was rolled out to contain a situation involving “hoodlums” and members of the public. The miscreants were said to be extorting people. The APC crushed some of them, according to reports, and the police too were attacked. A lot more happened in the country in the week as Nigerians rose in
A stitch in time Government should use the strike reprieve at the weekend to end it condemnation of the subsidy withdrawal. The economy ground to a halt. The markets were shut. Offices and trading places remained closed to business. The ports were sealed off. Ships could not sail. Nor could planes take to the air. Commercial buses were withdrawn from the roads. There was no access to the banking halls. Only the ATMs were operational, but that was only for a time. After a day or two of intensive service to Nigerians, the wonder machines ran out of cash. The ATMs were broke, as it were. The people were broke. The economy was deflating. How long can that continue? But things could get much worse if nothing is done quickly. The strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress
(TUC) was expected because their leadership left no one in doubt about its inevitability if the subsidy was removed. The protest too was genuine because the people felt the only thing they could call a breather, the subsidy, was suddenly taken away on the first day of the year. They took to the streets, the first day posting a modest crowd. But on the second, their number increased and kept doing so till the reprieve at the weekend. The educated and the well-spoken condemned the withdrawal of the subsidy. The uneducated also denounced it. The physically challenged joined in too, making themselves heard. Actors demonstrated their anger. Musicians sang out their pain. Other professionals expressed their disavowal, calling for a reversal of the policy. A bank
“The learned condemned the subsidy withdrawal. The unlettered denounced it. The physically challenged joined in too. Actors demonstrated their anger. Musicians sang out their pain. Other professionals expressed their disavowal, calling for a reversal of the policy. A bank security staff told a TV reporter that he would have joined the street protest if it but for his duty obligations”
security staff told a TV reporter that he would have joined the street protest if it wasn’t for his duty obligations. The anger is understandable. For, there is pretty little upon which to hinge the subsidy withdrawal. For instance, the government’s argument that subsidy is enjoyed by a tiny cabal is at once self-indicting. With its powers and resources, it is ex pected that government will smash the cabal, if it wants to. It is hard to explain why government and its agencies cannot check the smugglers who ship the so-called cheap Nigerian fuel to make brisk business across the borders. Again, the profile of government’s non-performance through the years makes it difficult to give the new Jonathan administration the benefit of the doubt. The huge cash budgeted from one administration to another, and from one president or Head of State to another has failed to produce any positive changes in the country. Public infrastructure has since collapsed. The refineries are still comatose in even though tons of naira were provided for turnaround maintenance. What is the guarantee that more money will make any difference? The prevailing cloud of insecurity has also worsened matters. The rampaging Boko Haram sect has moved from bombing churches on Christmas Day to shooting worshipping Christians in the new year. Southerners living in the North have been fleeing southwards. Also some northerners living a southern location have been reported to be heading north. A reversal of the withdrawal will calm nerves across the country, and reduce the fires the government will fight. It will save the country further losses. A stitch in time will prevent a worse situation than what the country witnessed last week. .
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Comment & Analysis
Jonathan’s budding intolerance President blames opposition media for his govt’s ineptitude and incompetence
S if the paralysis occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy and a looming threat to shut down the nation’s crude export terminals by midnight on Saturday are not enough worries, the Federal Government seems to have settled on fishing for imaginary enemies in its misguided quest to foist its warped deregulation policy on citizens at all cost. Again, against reasonable expectations that it will move speedily to douse the anger threatening to boil over as a result of the unpopular measure slapped on Nigerians on the New Year’s Day, we have it on good authority that the Jonathan administration is rather, contemplating a clampdown on those it claimed are behind the agitations. And while it is at it, there have been references at the highest levels in government to rope in a section of the media, and no less some unnamed opposition figures as forces fuelling the nationwide protests. In the first place, we are not surprised that this government has opted to chase the shadows as against the more fruitful business of dousing the citizens’ anger over its rejected policy. As it is, its affliction obviously goes far deeper than the false reading of the national mood on the question of the subsidy; there is a worrisome dimension which sums up to the tragic disconnect between the Jonathan administration and Nigerians, now expressed by its imperviousness to reason. Where are the enemies? Certainly, not this newspaper that has chosen to maintain a principled position on the subsidy question. As a newspaper committed to the ideals of free enterprise, freedom, democracy and social justice, as well as the lofty principles of federalism – if indeed we have enemies to fight, it is the enemy of corruption, ineptitude and the vices of bad faith that has held the nation down. We understand that much as the merits of deregulation are innumerable, its implementation in a fragile political economy like ours requires due sensitivity and wider consultation. We are certainly not enamoured of the administration’s style of unleashing the market hounds in an environment where
NE fundamental challenge which the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government will face on the resolution of the current impasse in Nigeria over the removal of the subsidy on the pump price of premium motor spirit, otherwise called petrol is winning back the people’s confidence. This problem is serious to the extent that it might be the bane of the government in the next few years. Even when the government is serious and genuine in whatever action it wishes to take on behalf of the people, it will be hard to believe. This is against background that the decision to hike the price of petrol was taken and executed with fiat even as it came at a time when the series of ‘town-hall meetings’ were still being held across the country by agents of the government. The meetings were essentially meant to build confidence and sample people’s opinions on the desirability or otherwise of the subsidy removal. Some commentators have rightly tagged the action of the president as an ambush. It would be right to conclude that the government was either insincere from the outset while it mooted the idea of the townhall meeting or took the preemptive step having realised that the outcome of the opinion sampling would be unfa-
basic infrastructure and social services are non-existent. It does not fit into our idea of governance; if we sound unrestrained in calling it by its rightful name of abdication, it is borne of our awareness of its potential for social cataclysm. The current outrage against the subsidy removal has since borne our position out. Again, as a newspaper, we care to remind that we have only done our duty of reporting events as they unfold. Just as we have not shied from taking a position, we have also taken due care to avail all shades of opinions, ample space on the issue. We see this as consistent with our duty to inform and educate, without which it would be nigh impossible for citizens to make informed judgement. We do not pretend that our principled positions would endear us to anyone – not least, an administration that chooses to back a wrong track. That, of course, is the price of keeping faith with the people. And that, we dare say, is nothing strange in a plural democracy like ours, or even in the charged political atmosphere at the moment. Our guide remains the strict provisions of the constitution and the laws of the republic, and the dictum of the greatest good for the greatest number. It is a matter of great irony that the current administration, arguably the greatest beneficiary of our principled stand on issues affecting the polity, is now the one throwing around the false labels of “enemy” after its bungling of the process of
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
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subsidy removal. Did we not stand for the constitution and law during the needless crisis provoked by the infirmity of President Umaru Yar’Adua and the power vacuum it created? Did that automatically translate to being an adversary of the regime at the time? Didn’t our principled insistence on due observance of the constitution pave the way for Jonathan to emerge as acting President? Again, in the aftermath of the violence that greeted the presidential election in April 2011, did we spare the word in condemning the violence? Did we not urge aggrieved parties to go to court to seek redress for whatever wrongs perceived to have been done to them? If we sided with democracy and the rule of law then, what makes it wrong for us to take a position on a matter on which the welfare of majority of Nigerians depends? Isn’t that public duty guaranteed by the constitution? Why should anyone imagine that threats of intimidation would make us shirk this important duty? The administration would therefore be mistaken to underrate our resolve to fight for these principles- which we hold dear – at any time, no matter the cost. It is not too late for the Jonathan administration to backtrack from the high road of intolerance. We have been on this route before not to recognise the tell-tale signs of the budding pathology. A democracy which treats dissent as treason is no democracy. We hope, for the sake of this country, that the administration does not suffer the tragedy of the hunter’s dog fated to be lost in the woods. That would be most tragic for an administration which started off with a so-called pan-Nigerian mandate. Rather than fish for imaginary enemies, the Jonathan administration should sanction the officials who advised the government to unleash the withdrawal of subsidy on Nigerians on January 1. And if it was the President who imposed the decision on the polity, he should quietly sulk over his fate and learn the appropriate lessons.
A President and crisis of confidence vourable to it. From the look of things, there might not be any need for the retired Justice Alfa Belgore-led committee that is supposed to hold talks with organised labour and civil society groups to resolve the grey areas of the subsidy removal. Aside the fact that the committee’s function has been overtaken by events, its composition is questionable because five of the members are serving state governors who had not hidden their preference for the subsidy removal. Finance Minister, Mrs Ngozi OkonjoIwela has disclosed that the governors were the very set of people who mooted the idea of the subsidy removal. The other members of the committee, except Justice Belgore belong to the federal cabinet while one of them, Senator Ben Obi is a presidential adviser. The other committee on subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, on face value, looks like comprising representatives of organisations and unions which will discharge the assignment dispassionately, but if viewed more critically, they are not immune to manipulation.
If the Presidency is the organ that has appointed them, it stands to reason that the members will dance to the tune of the Executive. It does not matter that the national assembly will have representatives on the body, ditto for the un-
ions and organisations that had been mentioned. It is good that six reputable individuals drawn from the county’s six geo-political zones will make the committee, but the question that is germane is who determines
those reputable individuals at a time when even some of those who had been nominated for national awards are said to be of questionable characters. Beyond the quality of the membership of the committee, a government that is
on record to have rammed a policy down the throats of the people can do anything. Will Dr Christopher Kolade be courageous enough to call the bluff of President Jonathan if the administration decides to channel the savings from the subsidy removal to other projects other than the ones stated in the government’s agenda? By Dele Banjoko, Adeniji Street, Olorunnisola-Ayobo, Lagos
Return of schools to missionaries in Anambra
O rule a state is a bigger task than to train a child. The trained child brings civilization to the state, for a better society. At old age, the importance of education is cherished. But this, some people do not know. Since the return of 56 secondary and 1040 primary schools in Anambra State to missionaries on November 21st last year, Governor Peter Obi has experienced vocal and written criticism in few weeks than he had ever experienced in the years he had been governor. While many observers have condemned Obi’s action from the view point of politics, the governor was seeing his action from the moral point of view and was of the opinion that the society needs a big whip to restore morals the lives of people. His regret that government
should not have taken over the schools from the missionaries may not be out of place. What may be out of place is the manner with which government hijacks every aspect of human endeavours due to political and economic interests without minding the social implications. It is believed that what this softspoken governor handed over were mission schools, which the missionaries are the original owners, and not the contemporary schools dotting every corner of this country christened private schools. Anybody saying that the handing over of the schools is not for the good of the schools is far from saying the truth. What consultation does anyone need if the State House of Assembly acceded to the return of the schools to the missionaries? Anambra State House of Assembly passed an executive bill
mandating the immediate release of the schools run by the state government to the missionaries. The fear that there would be situations teachers working in the missionary schools would be given additional responsibility and mandated by the missionaries to return in the evening after school to participate in church activities is just the judgement of detractors. If all brethren in churches are not mandated to do choir practice and catechism and other activities by their priests, how come anyone would imagine that the fate of teachers in Anambra would be different in the hands of the missionaries? The people are closer to their churches than they are to government and closer to their priests than they are to their governor. This does not mean that the governor is not accessi-
ble. The governor also is a product of the church. This is why the policy would benefit parents, their wards and the teachers in the state. When there is strike, it will never affect the students. What Obi is doing is ensuring that there are adequate and equal educational opportunities for all in the state at all levels. If he was not bent on making this a reality, he would not be assisting the mission schools (not religious bodies as some education unionists have posited) with the billions of naira. Handing the schools back to the missionaries does not mean that Obi wants to prosecute “religious education”. Rather, he wants to promote moral virtues. By Odimegwu Onwumere, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Comment & Analysis
Subsidy removal: hoarding and bloating information Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net
OARDING facts is similar to hoarding goods. Sometimes, the hoarder makes higher profit than normal for hoarding goods. At other times, it makes a huge loss for over hoarding. The same applies to hoarding information or government’s attempt to hoard information on what it plans to do to compensate citizens for removing long-standing subsidy on imported fuel, in the absence of efficiency in domestic refining of crude oil for domestic use. In addition, bloating or exaggerating facts also have a way of creating credibility gap for information “bloaters.” So much information has come out since the commencement of the strike and protest against subsidy removal. But most of it has not increased the trust of citizens in their government. If anything, much of the information has added to credibility gap on the side of the Federal Government in particular and of state governors that encouraged the Federal Government to remove oil subsidy. The Federal Government announced after the onset of the strike that it has started to
Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)
T this point in Nigeria’s history, however, we can no longer absolve ourselves of the responsibility for our present condition. Corruption is endemic because we have had a complete failure of leadership in Nigeria that has made corruption easy and profitable. It will be controlled when Nigerians put in place checks and balances that will make corruption “inconvenient” – with appropriate jail sentences and penalties to punish those that steal from the state. The first republic produced political leaders in all the regions who were not perfect, but compared to those that came after them they now appear almost ‘saint-like’ – they were well-educated, grounded politicians who may have embodied a flawed vision or outlook for the country (in my opinion); but at least had one. Following a series of crises that culminated in the bloody NigeriaBiafra war, Nigeria found itself in the hands of military officers with very little vision for the nation or understanding of the modern world. A period of great decline and decadence set in, and continues to this day. The civilian leadership of the Second Republic continued almost blindly the mistakes of their predecessors. At that point in our history, the scale of corruption and ineptitude had increased exponentially, fueled by the abundance of petro-dollars. By the time the Third Republic arrived, we found ourselves in the grip of former military dictators turned ‘democrats’ with the same old
Available information since the beginning of the strike has not increased citizens trust in government for buck passing by the President, as in three years time he will be close to leaving office. Would it not have been more credible for the government to take one refinery per year? If the President is left with the third one by the time he is ready to end his tenure, most voters are not likely to have any major problem waiting for his second term or his successor to complete the third refinery, more so that the two completed refineries would have eased the dependence on imported petrol to be subsidized. Similarly, the news that the reason the proposed Greenfield refineries for Kogi, Lagos, and Bayelsa have not come on stream is because foreign investors are not ready to bring their money to do this until after the removal of subsidy. One wonders if consideration was ever given to Nigerian billionaires in this respect. It is on record that there was a time Otedola, one of the beneficiaries from oil subsidy, sought approval for a refinery on the condition that the government would stop importing refined petrol. Protesters who have heard about Otedola’s interest would have taken the option of foreign investors with a grain of salt. Bemoaning seamless or porous borders looks like an avoidable excuse from a government that is interested in transformation. The argument is already too familiar to citizens. It was used to explain the persistence of the Boko Haram menace. If borders cannot be controlled by the Federal
Government to discourage oil cabal members from exporting already subsidized petrol to other countries, then citizens have reasons to be apprehensive that other countries can easily rush into the country to destabilize it or endanger the lives of citizens. Citizens are still likely to remember Gaddafi’s advice that Nigeria should be broken into two countries along religious lines. If there is anyone in Libya that has the same mindset as Gaddafi, what stops him from taking advantage of a seamless border that has become impossible to control or police? Persistent argument by the Federal Government that subsidy can shatter the nation’s economy in contradistinction to labour union’s claim that it is the removal of subsidy that has more chances to kill the economy because of its deleterious effect on the informal sector of the economy and small and medium-scale businesses in the formal sector. This point also brings forward the issue of sovereignty. Does sovereignty belong to elected officials in the executive and legislature? It is generally assumed in all democracies that sovereignty belongs to the citizens. If a referendum is allowed to gauge the views of citizens on subsidy removal and majority opt for an end to subsidy removal, nobody in the nation or abroad will blame the President for following such decision by majority of the citizens, more so that it was the same majority that made it possible for the President to be what he is today.
The roots of Nigeria’s current travails
since the”shoe-less” campaign set out, not only to colonise the entire NollyWood ensemble whose leading lights transmuted to campaign hands but had to procure those Obas, Obis and Emirs whose support they reckoned was key to ensure their type of “victory”’. The worst part of this oil debacle is the serial lies the government continues to sell the Nigerian people who they say will now have, thanks to oil subsidy removal, first rate infrastructure in place of the totally decrepit existing stock. What they have not yet promised, and may yet do, is that Nigeria will become an atomic power thereby. Deconstructing their lies recently, el-Rufai, a former minister under the Obasanjo regime, said that with regard to the proposed Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE) there was no money anywhere to execute the listed programmes because all accruals to the Federal Government has already been captured in the 2012 budget which assumes there is no subsidy. He added that, indeed, the projects now being peddled by the government were approved as far back as during the Obasanjo administration. He should know. Unfortunately, there is no indication that this government understands what motivates the people in this total strike; a strike so popular it is “dead” to political, racial, even religious considerations. If it did, it would have taken a completely different course from the chimera it presently blindly pursues. Although the peoples’ angst is not aimed at regime change, it is directed at frontally confronting the all-pervading corruption that ravages the entire oil industry. But Jonathan doesn’t get it. We, as Nigerians, must ensure we make the best of this opportunity: we must not be derailed in this just peoples’ cause. We must beat back corruption, or we die a collective death –no thanks to President Jonathan.
investigate and getting ready to punish some members of the cartel or cabal in charge of fuel import for attempting to fund the strike or the accompanying protests. Not one of such cabal members has been named, thus giving the impression that the Federal Government is interested in distracting protesters and labour union members already on strike. Moreover, the announcement by government that it is going to audit the oil sector with a view to identifying and punishing corrupt imported oil marketers is likely to be seen by citizens as coming too late. Citizens and the media had asked that such people be identified since the beginning of the discourse on subsidy removal. The Federal Government ignored such calls. The enthusiasm to now audit the imported petrol sector cannot but appear suspect to citizens. Supporters of subsidy removal started to emphasize the bogey of economic collapse should oil subsidy persist. It is definitely difficult to convince citizens about the validity of the bankruptcy thesis. If 25% of the budget claimed to have been spent on subsidy last year (and this remains unproven) is true, the only course of action left for government is not subsidy removal. The government could have looked for ways and means of reducing the nation’s expenditures by 25%. There are too many areas available even to the layman to do this: cutting salaries and benefits of executive and legislative arms of government at
the federal, state, and local government level. There was a time the Central Bank Governor even warned the nation about the unreasonableness of spending 25% of the nation’s budget to service the legislature alone. Even if the governor had bloated the facts, as legislators had claimed, by the time we add what is spent on the executive to this, it will be feasible to save 25% of the recurrent budget of over 70% of the total budget. If the President was able to announce 25% cut in the salaries of his aides, it must mean that he had been thinking about it. It is amazing that such announcement to reduce emoluments to the President’s aides was made only after the start of the strike and nationwide protests. Such cut in salaries and allowances should have been extended to the legislature as well, and long before workers’ frustration about the rigid position of the executive had reached fever pitch. Furthermore, news by the Minister of Petroleum about the fact that the government is considering bids to carry out Turnaround Maintenance on three refineries: Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna at the same time looks like an example of hoarded information that should have been a part of the pre-removal argument from the Federal Government. It also diminishes government credibility to have said that the maintenance of the refineries will take three years. Citizens are likely to believe that this is giving room
Poor leadership and systemic corruption remain Nigeria’s problem mind set but now donning civilian clothes. So, Nigeria following the First Republic has been ruled by the same cult of mediocrity – a deeply corrupt cabal – for at least forty years, recycling themselves in different guises and incarnations. They have then deeply corrupted the local business elites who are in turn often pawns of foreign business interests. When I have talked about the need for a servant leader, I have emphasized an individual that is well-prepared – educationally, morally and otherwise – who wants to serve (in the deepest definition of the word); someone who sees the ascendancy to leadership as an anointment by the people and holds the work to be highly important, if not sacred. I know that is asking for a lot, but that really should be our goal. If we aim for that, what we get may not be so bad after all” – Professor Chinua Achebe in a recent interview. I have to quote Professor Achebe this much because in those cryptic words inhere, the very roots of our present travails as a nation. As should be expected, the globally acclaimed author of Things Fall Apart has clinically put his hands on the problem with Nigeria, a country which is still in search of that educated , morally upright individual, who will take the business of ruling it as a serious, even sacred duty and not be a “Yes Man” of the IMF/World Bank diktat, whose ambassador would sit in-house, over-seeing him in the guise of a co-ordinating conquistador, a super- President, if you like. But Nigeria did not get here by mistake. Arising from the circumstances ably captured by the Professor, we have amongst us, soldiers-turned
statesmen, powerful enough to foist very weak and ill-prepared individuals into the presidency; a consequence of which is the thoroughly compromised security situation across the land and this latest, absolutely unconscionable, subsidy removal. The situation becomes more agonising when you realise that the cartel they now seem so desperate to demonise, congregate their kindred spirits who, indeed, funded their ascendancy to the ultimate positions of authority. For far too long I have called attention, on this page, to the likely consequences of former President Obasanjo’s one-upsmanship, trumping the land like he owns us all. Literally from nowhere in 2007, just as some Northern generals and politicians had inflicted him on Nigeria at his second coming right from the dungeons of a murderous general Abacha he, playing poker with the nation’s future, single-handedly installed a very sick but clearly unambitious, Yar’ Adua who was already contemplating returning to the classroom after serving as state governor, as President. For the late President Yar’ Adua, administering Nigeria could only have been the lesser of two jobs, given that in his health condition, he had to stay away from the country on many occasions, sometimes surreptitiously. The same Obasanjo would subsequently lead the charge against his party’s firmly established zoning formula from which he had personally benefitted, serving two terms of four years each as a representative of Southern Nigeria. He would thus, again, rail-road another politically unambitious, rather easy-going but clearly illprepared Goodluck Jonathan into the Nigerian presidency. This man
has never once contested in an election, not even a councillorship, on his own steam. Rather, God has smoothened his path unto glory until he decided to fight for himself; and here we are. Since our last two presidents got into office in such warped circumstances, it should not surprise that Nigeria has been so ill-served. This is particularly agonizing in the case of Goodluck Jonathan for whose cause Nigerians returned to the barricades, just so he could be made Acting President and, later President, on the death of Yar’ Adua. Today’s urban terrorists, Boko Haram, is in part a result of the North’s belief that President Jonathan’s emergence owes a great deal to Obasanjo’s infernal hatred for the North, especially for those of his political colleagues who were ambling to contest the 2007 Presidential elections on the ticket of the PDP whose candidate he knew, a priori, will be President, even if he had to, as usual, be rigged into office. Jonathan would subsequently run, unarguably, the most expensive Presidential election campaign in the country. And if Dr (Mrs) Onyuike- Okereke’s instigated Corporate Nigeria facilitated the funding for Obasanjo’s election, another woman of power, and co- incidentally the Petroleum Minister, had this time around to drag in, not just the oil Majors, but this self-same oil cabal they now denounce, and for whose economic depravities and sins the poor people of Nigeria must now be visited with the greatest punishment, only a little short of the death sentence. It is not inconceivable that the socalled subsidy ballooned to N1.3 Trillion on account of that election
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
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OR once, I was proud to be a Nigerian this past week. For once, Nigerians trooped out in their numbers to say ‘no’ to an insensitive government that wanted to push poison down their throats in the name of fuel subsidy withdrawal. The beauty of it was the ability of the people to sustain the tempo for the entire working week. That is one weakness successive governments had exploited to truncate Nigerians’ protests. It was soul-lifting that the jinx was broken in Goodluck Jonathan’s time. And it had to because, as I also said before, Jonathan had trod where even the cruelest of our military dictators feared to tread and so courted the angst of the ‘world’s happiest people’. Those saying revolution is impossible in Nigeria due to disunity must have seen how mistaken they were. Poverty knows no politics, religion or ethnicity. It is universal suffering. Next time around, the president would not wake up from the wrong side of the bed to inflict that kind of pain as policy on Nigerians. I am particularly delighted because the momentum was sustained. As I argued on this page last Sunday, if Jonathan is allowed to get away with the subsidy withdrawal the way he did it, he would commit worst atrocities. How can he love us more than we love ourselves? Even if you go to a hospital and the doctor wants to administer a drug on you and you tell the doctor that you don’t want it, he cannot force you
Postscript, Unlimited! By
Oyinkan Medubi 08187172799 (SMS only) email@example.com
START this week with some lines from Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513). ‘A Prince’ (i.e. a ruler), he writes, … must not object to be called miserly. In the course of time, he will be thought more liberal, when it is seen that by his parsimony, his revenue is sufficient, that he can defend himself against those who make war on him and undertake enterprises without burdening his people, so that he is really liberal to all those from whom he does not take, who are infinite in number, and niggardly to all to whom he does not give, who are few. … if he wishes to be able to defend himself, to avoid becoming poor and contemptible, and not be forced to become rapacious; this niggardliness is one of those vices which enable him to reign … This simply means that a ruler must be seen not to yield too easily to his friends’ requests at the expense of the state. He will risk being called miserly with state funds and resources by his friends but that would be better than allowing state funds and resources to be at the whims of those friends and associates. The larger majority, saved from being overburdened by excessive taxation when the ruler does need money, would rise and call that ruler liberal, may
Comment & Analysis
Happiest people’s revolt Jonathan goes beyond bounds and Nigerians gave it back to him to take that drug, no matter how convinced he is about its potency to heal your ailment. But the know-all Jonathan administration, after squandering the monies it met in the coffers on God-knows-what, came up with the laughable idea of withdrawing fuel subsidy, so that the government can, according to it, provide good roads, state-of- the-art railways, health, education, etc. This is a man that has been in the saddle for over 18 months, without being able to articulate any clear policy direction beyond the so-called transformation that his government has been touting. Even on the subsidy matter, all the promises, except the equally laughable 1,600 buses that his government has promised to provide remain ‘promissory’ notes which Nigerians are used to. With 774 local governments, this translates to one and a half buses per local government! That was what Jonathan brought to the table; and this has been part of the song his ministers and their hangers-on have continued to sing, even when it was clear that Nigerians were sick and tired of the monotone.
Arguments by those opposed to the government’s policy that there is nothing like subsidy, and that what the government calls subsidy arose because we are importing fuel, which is even an abnormality for a crudeproducing nation, did not sell in government circles. The argument that rather than visit the sin of those defrauding the country (by inflating what they bring to claim subsidy) on Nigerians, the government should fish out the cabal and prosecute them also fell on the deaf ears of government. The response of Jonathan to calls that he brings down the cost of governance attracted the tokenism of 25 percent that he promised would be yanked off the salaries of public office holders. Nigerians say this is a drop in the ocean, considering the humongous one billion naira that would be spent to feed the president and his deputy, or even the millions budgeted for the president’s kitchen utensils for 2012. Rather than heed wise counsel, the government insisted it was right and its officials kept infuriating passion by saying there is ‘no going back’ on the decision! How can a civilian government say such nonsense? Has de-
“Even if the opposition was responsible for the amazing crowds that defied everything to protest, then the opposition is doing its work. That is what opposition parties the world over are supposed to do; and if the same opposition that Nigerians rejected at the presidential polls just eight months ago has now grown in influence to pull such crowds nation-wide, it shows the ruling party has lost focus and become alienated from the people in so short a time after it was voted into power”
mocracy stopped being ‘government of the people, for the people, by the people’? 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. I would be happy if he is made to swallow his word, not necessarily to humiliate him, but to send the message that he should remove words like ‘no going back’ from his lexicon because such words have no place in a democracy. And this is where Labour and its civil society coalition partners have to be careful of the kind of compromise they reach on the matter. Nigerians have demonstrated their resolve to pursue this matter to a logical conclusion this time around. It should not be the usual business of government announcing a reduction in the price of fuel and everybody clapping; otherwise, there would have been no basis for the protests and loss of lives. This time, it’s about a gamut of steps and actions to take to return this country to normalcy in fuel refining and punishing the fraudsters in the system. It’s about cutting the cost of governance; it’s about transparency in government. Why has it suddenly become difficult for refineries to work here? And why are governments, including state governments, insisting on dying if they do not get N1.3 trillion even as there is no evidence of development in spite of the monies that have accrued to the various governments in the past years?
Nigerian nation on brink of anarchy because of some corrupt ‘Untouchables’! be even blessed. Machiavelli’s treatise on ruling has often been called ‘cold-blooded’, ‘cunning’ or ‘cynical’, but one can hardly doubt its reasonableness when pitted against the present Nigerian situation. The reasons are not far-fetched: either because the state has managed to rope itself into insolvency or the president has not been too wise in his choice of friends and methods. That the Nigerian state has been in turmoil for a while now is hardly news. What is newsworthy is the fact that what started out as a simple problem of subsidy removal with a simple solution of subsidy reinstatement has been boiled over into a hot whirlwind, gathering up a great deal of citizen-anger in its path. Meanwhile, the originators, the federal government, have remained as cold as ice. What is even worse, the subsidy thing appears to have polarized the country right down the middle such that brother is now turning against brother. People interviewed in the broadcast media are now asked outrightly what their leanings are: pro or anti subsidy? You see, the subsidy removal seems to have become the passport to knowing who is for and against the state. Those who are for the removal are against the people (and they are often hissed at) and those who are against its removal are for the people (they are often smiled at). Let us see the scenario that led to this. By its own admittance, the federal government stated that the fuel subsidy was no higher than two hundred (200) or so billion naira before the elections. A few months after the election, however, the bill jumped into the trillion brackets.
This means the president picked up some wrong friends along the way. It was also announced that electricity tariff is to jump up too, while vehicle plate numbers and drivers’ licenses are to change once more either because there is a new man at the helm (of FRSC for instance) or because the government is desperate for some money. Spoken in any of Nigeria’s 450 languages, all these translate to only one thing to the people: the president has lost the sense of fellow-feeling they voted for and the people feel very hurt and betrayed for several reasons. To start with, people of different religions, ethnic tribes and political persuasions had turned out in large numbers to vote for him. In the people’s dictionary, voting for someone is as good as offering that someone a finger to feed him/ her. And no one, absolutely no one, bites the finger that feeds, err, votes for him. Removing the subsidy on fuel, something the country has enjoyed since the seventies, is tantamount to biting the people’s finger. Furthermore, the government’s argument that the subsidy payouts are benefitting only a small group of people, a ‘cabal’ constituted of some well-placed friends of the government who are too lazy to work like you and I, does not cut it for the people. This cabal of friends also appears to be well beyond the punitive arms of the president as the government has been heard to declare that it cannot deal with them as economic saboteurs as the law demands because its hands (the government’s, not the law’s) are tied. I think that’s why the people
are really angry as it stands for everything that has been wrong with this country from the beginning. Successive governments’ inability to deal with its friends has been the root of Nigeria’s corruption from the years of import license scandal to policy changes and now to fuel importation. In any case, what government ever admits that it cannot make a citizen of its own bend to the law? Tis a strong one indeed who prays, ‘God save me from my friends; my enemies I can handle.’ Then, the government announces unashamedly that it places a great deal of faith and hope on the charity it intends to dole out as ‘palliative measures’ for removing the much-loved subsidy. This consists of the amount of money that it will distribute to the federal, state and local governments who ‘will’ use the money for the ‘good’ of the people. Moreover, about 1,600 buses have been ordered to ease transportation. And as a sign of good faith, some states are even now ready with some of their own buses which they have purchased! Ha! I think it was at this point that the people started to laugh out loud. The people laughed because we live in a country riddled with corruption (we will soon have ‘Corruption Street’), where governors, assemblymen and sundry political party individuals have pilfered large sums from the government’s own treasury into their own private pockets. I heard that a man bought a 150 million naira house for his girlfriend. How then are the people to believe that any accrual from the subsidy will not go further to fill some rapacious party fellow’s pockets (the monthly alloca-
The same Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government dealt with this matter with Labour in 2000/ 2001 and committees were set up to see to the implementation of the agreements reached in phases; the recommendations are gathering dust somewhere. Then the Mantu committee also made some recommendations. What has happened to those too? This government is now talking about Belgore and Kolade committees. Why do we set up committees on which a lot of money is spent only to jettison their recommendations? Particularly annoying is that rather than the government seeing Nigerians’ reaction to its obnoxious policy as the result of its serial bungling, corruption, ineptitude and incompetence, it had been laying the blame at the door step of the opposition parties and media. When a democratically elected president suddenly truncated a consultation process that was in place on a matter and suddenly and unilaterally removed fuel subsidy as a New Year’s gift to the people, what did it expect; a warm embrace and accolades? Even if the opposition was responsible for the amazing crowds that defied everything to protest, then the opposition is doing its work. That is what opposition parties the world over are supposed to do; and if the same opposition that Nigerians rejected at the presidential polls just eight months ago has now grown in influence to pull such crowds nation-wide, it shows the ruling party has lost focus and become alienated from the people in so short a time after it was voted into power. The good news! Like the prodigal son, President Jonathan’s prodigal government should repent and apply its new-found bravery to deal with the subsidy cabal, failing which God will clear the Augean stable for wailing Nigerians. The signs are there that this would not be later than this year. The visitation is nigh! tions have already lined them)? This is just a sign of the corruption which is really at the bane of this problem. What the people are asking for is simple enough. The people want to be provided more serious infrastructure such as train services that can compete with the rest of the world; they want affordable housing to be available to the last ordinary man; they want industries where they and their children can get jobs; they want a constant flow of electricity; they want well equipped hospitals where helicopters can easily transfer a patient from one point to another in an emergency. … The people also want a government that can save the weak from the strong, keep the strong from destroying himself and the state, and stop pushing the people’s button. For, when the people’s button is pushed, they will react again and again and again. Their reaction, however, is not what takes the country to the precipice. No sir; it is when the country is handed over to cronies and friends and party members that the country will be pulled into certain anarchy. It is government liberality to a few that has led to the corruption that has taken us to where we are now; it is this government liberality that the people are fighting. “That government is best which governs the least”, says an adage. I end as I started, with Machiavelli’s The Prince: There is nothing which destroys itself so much as liberality, for by using it you lose the power of using it, and become either poor and despicable, or, to escape poverty, rapacious and hated. And, of all things that a prince must guard against, the most important are being despicable and hated, and liberality will lead you to one or the other of these conditions.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Who needs the New Year more? A
S we crossed from 2009 to 2010, I wrote: “As December 31 turned into January 1, an extremely wealthy man peered down from his penthouse lair at the commoners below. He uttered but one word about the desperate, pitiable celebrations he saw: “Fools.” Two years have passed. We have entered the year 2012. The world remains much the same yet also changed. The haughty penthouse remains. Those who occupy it, those who control all manner of things and believe that they should control all other manner of men, have held their end-of-year party. The champagne corks popped, the rich liquid flowed and the fine crystal glimmered and clinked as affluent revelers toasted to their deep fortunes and high station. Amidst the lavish pleasantry, there was unease. An intruder they could not ignore yet dare not address moved among them. They sensed that all were no longer supine below them. Piercing their laughter and music was a feint yet piercing sound. It is the sound of poor man’s indignation. All the common people were no longer quiet in their houses and hovels. Many have massed in the city square. Having been backed into dire corners by the way things are in political economy, they now seek to occupy their own futures instead of having the penthouse community define their lives for them. The most insightful among the partiers drank their holiday elixir with equal parts gusto and resignation. They know they occupy great privilege but realize, if their class continues to overplay its hand, the New Year may produce a profound challenge to their elevated status. Yet, this is but a small, somewhat guilt ridden minority among the affluent vanities. Most members of this class have dull social antennae. They will never sense change until it s kicks in eh door. They believe commoners will do as they always do: bend, scrape and follow the orders given. However, 2012 may be a peculiar year. Either it will be another year of the Era of Conservatism or it will initiate the 21 st century’s Progressive Era. We all should watch the coming year very well and live it even better. We exist in a time when elite and mass political and economic interests collide more than in the past three decades. Something has to give. How this confrontation ends will determine the fate of much of the world for years to come. 2012 may be the annus mirabilis of the 21 st century where people retake their lives and gain control of their governments. Alternatively, it could be an annus horribilis where more is taken from the poor and humble in order to sustain the rich and to keep arrogant the ways of the powerful. This collision has occurred because we seem to be nearing the end of an age. The past thirty years has been the age of conservatism in the political economy. Because conservative has enjoyed uninterrupted prominence, it has overreached. Today’s practitioners no longer are satisfied with traditional conservatism; they have become reactionaries. In the West, democracy is being curtailed under the guise of national safety and security. Nations already dictatorial have become more so. Almost everywhere, the social compact the people thought existed is breached on a daily basis. In recent economic crises, government refused to aid the general populace. Instead, the populace has been surcharged. When big business failed, government collected against the people to make the financial houses and large corporations whole. In Europe, the people are made to suffer the lower living standards and chronic unemployment of recessionary austerity while institutions of national and regional governance readily find billions of euros to buttress errant banks. Consequently, the people took to the streets o protest the inequitable trade-off. In China there is a large labor protest in at least one of the major cities everyday because
An ounce of understanding profits more than a pound of exertion
•Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad By Brian Browne
people are frustrated that their wages and living standards are artificially suppressed so government can amass foreign reserves by maximizing its export trade. Perhaps the worst breach of the public trust occurred in Japan. The Fukashima nuclear mishap bore the stench of unmitigated disaster. Most objective reports show at least one reactor experienced meltdown. More than trace evidence of radioactive toxins entered the ground water, contaminated the food supply of that region and tainted the air as far away as Tokyo. Yet, the government told the people all was well and the problem contained just because government did not want to spend money on the safety and evacuation of commoners. Nor did government want to do injury to the nuclear industry. It rather do injury to the people. When it came to depreciating the yen to maintain the nation’s export position, government readily released billions of dollars worth of yen into the financial sector. Everywhere people protested, political leaders and their master, Money Power, took acute umbrage and have tried to disband the unwashed rabble. In America, the police used strong-arm tactics to arrest, bully and disband the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and sit-ins throughout the nation. In Syria, a nation with one foot into civil war and the other in abject tyranny, tactics were less refined. They simply shot the protesters; but for everyone one that was downed another came out of the house into the streets to protest what had been done. While each situation is different, there is a common thread. In each case, government and its puppeteers in big busi-
•Egyptian Leader, Field Marshal Tantawi
ness have exceeded the bounds of responsible conservatism for that society. America moves toward elections in which a black president, a conservative on fiscal and national security matters, is depicted as a progressive liberal simply because the Republican contenders are so reactionary as to be dabblers in quasi-fascism. If left with only these alternatives, Americans will face the Hobson’s choice of deciding whether to enter perdition in a slow surrey or a speeding sedan. Because there is little difference between the bone-crushing economic policies of the Republicans and Democrats, the Occupy Movement will have nothing to do with either political party. Yet herein stands the problem with those who protest. Their analysis of the problem resonates with the public but they fall short on solutions and political organization. Consequently, in Egypt those who led the protests that started the political reform are being left behind as the electoral process moves forward. There are four main political grouping in that nation: 1. The Military, 2) The Religious Parties 3) The Secular Democrats and 4) The General Public. But for the third, the nation would not be moving toward reform. Yet, when people go to vote in parliamentary elections, two-thirds would rather the military be replaced by the Islamist parties than the parties more affiliated with the protests. Part of this is due to the better organization of the religious parties and their ability to select popular local candidates. However, a large part of this is because the secular parties have yet to paint a convincing image of a secularity different from Mubarak’s. Secularity provides a bad aftertaste to most Egyptians who view it as
“Consequently, the clue to whether 2012 becomes the year of the progressive or will be the latest entry in conservative annals will be if the progressives can formulate an alternative political and economic worldview that seems achievable yet offers material improvement in the lives of most people”
a failed experiment imported from afar. The religious parties offer something home grown, organic, real, and that seems fair. Egypt provides the starkest example of the problem all progressive movements now face. It is insufficient to describe the problem. A practical alternative must be offered. In each nation, the camp of progressives is pitted against that of the conservatives. They fight not so much to destroy each other as to win to their side a decisive number of a third group, that vast mass of people who dislike the system but are inert. Their inertia favors the status quo. Thus, it is incumbent on progressives to win a decisive segment of this group to their cause. If not, their cause will extinguish like a petty fire. A definitional challenge progressive elements face is deciding whether they seek reform or radical transformation. They must decide whether their narrative is one where the rules of the present political and economic game are basically sound but current leaders are inept or whether the game needs to be changed because it is on based on the use of a crooked deck. History indicates that those who seek only minor reform today become conservatives tomorrow. By seeking radical transformation, there is a chance protesters might achieve genuine reform. Consequently, the clue to whether 2012 becomes the year of the progressive or will be the latest entry in conservative annals will be if the progressives can formulate an alternative political and economic worldview that seems achievable yet offers material improvement in the lives of most people. This requires the abnegation of neoliberal economics’ focus on short term profit maximization, replacing this dismal pseudo-science with new principles that center on the full employment of the labor force and the nation’s productive capacity. It requires the scrapping of money politics through a reformation that allows technology to tilt the balance from elite-based representative or authoritarian governments to engagement with direct democracy where more people have influence in and access to political parties and their governments. For such major changes to take place, protest movements must mature. They have to quickly evolve from amorphous street assemblies expressing broad dissent to mass political organizations with distinct aims. They will have to be as adept at prescribing solutions as in describing the problems. To attract enough support from the inactive mass of people, progressives must quickly raise a new crop of leaders. There can be no successful reform or progressive movement without visible and outstanding leaders. A great deal is at stake. If the movements do not mature politically and organizationally, they will dissipate like vapor in the night air. If they do evolve as recommended, the people will have a fighting chance to bring greater justice, prosperity and democracy into their lives and to reinvigorate their nations. The sacrifice and pain endured in 2011 would have been worth the effort for they would be nothing less than the birth pangs of a new era where people take more of their destiny into their hands. If these movements collapse, conservatives will be further emboldened to get on with their inhumane program. Then 2012 will be a year where the era of conservatism inches closer to descending into a period of grinding, reactionary politics. We face the New Year uncertain whether it will be an annus mirabilis or annus horribilis. The answer rests in how many people dedicate themselves to living and acting in a manner that defines the New Year in a new manner instead of allowing it to be defined in the same old way by the smug coterie that gathers in the cushy penthouse to decide the fate of the rest us who will never have the chance to enter their company.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Troubled times for NASS, Executive relationship T
HINGS are definitely falling apart. The last one week has revealed a serious crack in the relationship between the presidency and lawmakers. Lawmakers have made pronouncements strong enough to rattle even the bravest President. The Presidency has hit back, accusing them of inciting Nigerians. When the executive accuses lawmakers of inciting citizens, there is no doubt things are no longer at ease. Yet, this is one battle President Goodluck Jonathan has been very careful to avoid. But his insistence on the removal of fuel subsidy has caught him at a wrong divide with the lawmakers. It all started last Sunday. The House of Representatives, which has been characteristically vociferous, chose to hold a special emergency session. In the nation’s democratic experience, the move was as novel as unprecedented. Lawmakers are known to be hesitant to sacrifice their recess for anything. But the speed and excitement with which they accepted to convene on a Sunday alarmed the Presidency. There must be something untoward about the emergency session, many presidential aides felt. This unease emanated from how the leadership of the lower chamber emerged. Like his predecessors, Jonathan was as interested as anxious in who leads the House. This is more so because the House of Representatives has always been indisposed to external influence. Former Speaker Ghali Na Abba gave President Olusegun Obasanjo so much headache to the point that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made sure he never returned to the House. All efforts to pacify Na Abba to cooperate with the presidency met brick walls. Jonathan also had a raw experience with former Speaker Dimeji Bankole during the succession crisis that resulted from former President Musa Yar’Adua’s illness. Bankole allegedly sided with the famed cabal that worked against the confirmation of Jonathan as acting president. Even after Yar’Adua died and Jonathan succeeded him, Bankole remained headstrong. Desperate to avoid a faceoff, Jonathan managed him until last April. In the run-off to the hotly contested PDP’s Presidential primary, Bankole allegedly worked with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, at the expense of Jonathan. Coming from this background, Jonathan became interested in Bankole’s successor. When the PDP South West caucus opted for Hon. Mulikat Akande- Adeola, the Presidency was elated. Akande-Adeola is a pro-establishment who can be easily relied on for support during crisis. With Obasanjo behind her, presidential aides exuded confidence her speakership will be a smooth sail. There will at least be someone that can call her to order for the presidency. But this was not to be. Opposition members had another idea. They constitute a sizeable number that can pull weights in the House, they realised. So, they opted
“The Presidency was seething with anger. It considered the resolution as insulting. Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, carpeted the House for playing to the gallery. The resolution, he insisted, was merely an opinion aimed at inciting Nigerians.”
The stage is set for a possible executive/legislature face-off with recent developments over the fuel subsidy crisis, reports Sunday Oguntola for Hon Aminu Tambuwwal, who thrashed AkandeAdeola despite presidential backing. That was an audacious message to the presidency. It was clear: The House of Representatives may not be controlled by the executives. Tambuwwal, ever conscious of how he emerged, has been most eager to pacify opposition members. They head more committees than before and call shots. It was not unlikely he realised most of them are against removal of fuel subsidy and chose to play along. Last Sunday’s emergency session, it was gathered, held despite serious presidential pressure. Presidential aides were most desperate to prevent the sitting. Several overtures were made to the House leadership. But most members were bent on the sitting. ‘’You see whenever we sense the presidency making agitated efforts to make us do something, we become alarmed. We resort to self-preservation tactics and become resolved to do exactly what they don’t want us to do, ‘’ Chairman of a House Committee, hinted last week. This was exactly what happened. The members had their way and the sitting held. The sitting itself was a serious session. It was obvious members were boiling and desperate to have their way. They spoke without caring a hoot on how Nigerians are worse off with removal of fuel subsidy. Their constituents, they claimed, will have nothing to do with the deregulation policy until federal government restore the price of petrol to N65. This is the position of labour, which has shut down the nation with massive protests in the last one week. At the end, the House passed a resolution asking the federal government to suspend the policy and engage labour in dialogue. The Speaker, in his remarks after the resolutions were adopted, noted that the decision of the House was taken in the best interest of the country. He said, ‘’I believe what we have done as members of the House of Representatives of Nigeria is in the best interest of this country. ‘’I believe that all of us as leaders, it is our collective responsibilities to ensure that our government, indeed
our country, is governed through due process, respect for the rule of law that will promote and sustain fundamentally the harmonious and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I therefore implore all men of goodwill, either in government or outside the government to understand the position of the House of Representatives.’’ The Presidency was seething with anger. It considered the resolution as insulting. Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, carpeted the House for playing to the gallery. The resolution, he insisted, was merely an opinion aimed at inciting Nigerians. He said: “Well, I mean what the House of Reps has said is merely an opinion and in a Constitutional democracy, people have a right to hold debates or to discuss. “But I think it is most unfortunate that a House of Representatives will hold a special meeting on a Sunday. To the best of m y knowledge, that is the first time that will happen in contemporary Nigerian history, that a special meeting will be called on a Sunday just to debate an issue of deregulation. “Of course, I followed the debate for the most part on television and the quality of the debate as well. I think the less we say anything about that, the better because I have cited the example of a member of the House misinforming Nigerians about the President’s movement. “And of course you saw how one lawmaker after another had no basic facts. There was so much interest in grandstanding and I think that the entire exercise is more of a comment on some of the individual contributors to the discussion. “That extraordinary session coming a day on the eve of an attempt by some people to disrupt law and order could be interpreted in some quarters as an attempt by the House of Representatives to incite the Nigerian people against the government and the last time I checked the lawmakers are also a part of this government.” Almost immediately, the House responded to the grave allegations. Deputy Chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs Rep Victor Ogene, said the lawmakers were not bothered by the failure of the Presidency to accept their resolution. The House, he said, will invoke its powers under the constitution to restore subsidy. According to him, “If dialogue fails, we will invoke our lawmaking and appropriation powers, in accordance with provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, and put in money in the 2012 budget in tune with the wishes of most Nigerians.” Ogene also dismissed the Abati’s allegation of inciting Nigerians as childish. He said, ‘’That statement was childish even though we don’t want to waste our time responding to everything; but I am sure the ad-hoc committees will have to look into it.” With this crossfire, there is no doubt the battle line is drawn. Senators also... Also on the people’s side, the senate convened a closeddoor session on the contentious removal of fuel subsidy. It joined the House of Representatives in asking President Goodluck Jonathan to revert fuel pump price to N65 per litre. The senators urged the Senate President, Senator David Mark to convey the message of the upper chamber to President Jonathan within 24 hours. With the Presidency bent on pushing the deregulation of the downstream oil sector through, the stage is set for a possible executive-lawmakers’ face-off. This time, it is difficult to imagine how intense it will be.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
T the height of the fuel subsidy debate, President Goodluck Jonathan, after prolonged consultations with some stakeholders, including leaders of his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, promised the organised labour that the proposed removal of subsidy would not be implemented until sometime in April, 2012. That promise was made late November, 2011, shortly after a meeting with the leaders of PDP and former Heads of State, like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Yakubu Gowon. Insiders said the elder statesmen had been assured by Mr. President that he would adopt the PDP proposal of implementing the removal of fuel subsidy in four installments of 25 percent each, with effect from April. But by December 31, 2011, barely a month later, Jonathan announced a total removal of fuel subsidy with effect from January 1, 2012. The immediate effect of the sudden policy change was increment of the pump price of petrol from N65. 00 per litre to a minimum of N141. 00 per litre. That curious New Year’s gift came as a rude shock to many. Majority of Nigerians, the organised labour, members of the National Assembly and top leaders of PDP, therefore felt let down, leading to allegations of betrayal. Thus, instead of giving open support to the President as the fuel subsidy strike effectively paralysed the country during the week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate washed their hands off the decision and joined the protesters to demand a reversal of the policy back to the N65 per litre regime. Coming at a time when many Nigerians are complaining bitterly over Jonathan’s seeming helplessness and alleged slow approach in tackling the Boko Haram’s security challenge, this action once again brings to the fore the debate over his style of administration. In fact, since May 6, 2010, when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan first assumed office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, steering the ship of state, the decisions he has taken or the ones he has failed to take and his usual slow speed at decision taking have attracted either applause or widespread criticisms.
How he arrives at decisions: Close associates and some Presidential aides have revealed that Jonathan loves to be liberal. This desire has largely influenced his decision taking process. Besides, he, according to a close aide, is always guided by the principle of fairness and overall good of the country above all issues. “He gets all stakeholders involved even when he is fully convinced that the decision he is about to take is for the good of the entire country,” the aide said. A quick look at some recent actions of the president and steps he took before arriving at the decisions may confirm this claim:
The cassava bread endorsement: Recently, President Jonathan endorsed production of cassava bread in Nigeria. But before the public endorsement, the President, according to a close aide, ate the bread for about two weeks and after he was fully convinced that it was good, he publicly endorsed its consumption and directed all his ministers to join him in adding cassava bread to their menu.
We gathered that this final decision took a very long time, for aside eating the bread for two weeks, the president also consulted with his ministers and advisers on all the issues that may arise as a result of the decision. We also learnt that the Minister of Agriculture, in particular, gave him great assurances that if encouraged, the country can meet local demands in a very short period. Other concerned ministers, advisers and experts, including those of health, gave assurances before he went ahead to endorse cassava bread for the country.
‘He is cautious and
doesn’t want to be blamed’ Another very important character trait that seems to have influenced Jonathan’s style so far is his cautious nature. “Oga is never in a hurry,” a personal aide told The Nation recently. “No matter how hot an issue may be; no matter how urgent his advisers may think an issue has become, the president will remain calm and take his time,” he explained, adding that “Oga can seek the opinion of a personal aide.” This disposition, which is sometimes blamed for his delays, has understandably provoked his critics, some of who concluded that in
most cases, Mr. President is afraid of taking far-reaching decisions alone. “It is because of this inherent fear that he wastes so much time always before taking decisions,” a top civil servant said in confidence, adding, “As you must have observed, this error has caused the nation so much for it is in the process of his endless consultations and the irritating process of attempting to satisfy all the hawks that surround him that otherwise good policies are adulterated to the disadvantage of Nigeria and the common people. A more assertive leader, who is not so desperately afraid of being blamed, would have done better but Mr. President is afraid of offending powerful peo-
ple and this is unfortunate for the rest of us,” the civil servant concluded. While not accepting the allegation that Jonathan is ruled by overwhelming fear, some of his close aides told The Nation that this impression may have been created because he prefers to hear everybody’s views and thereafter take time off to digest the issues very well. “What is wrong with that,” an aide asked, pointing out that Mr. President is particularly cautious when the issue bothers on national security. Take for instance the issue of Boko Haram, the aide said, “are you not aware that many experts in the security circle have advised the president to use maximum force but
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
A president and his style Since he became President and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, two years ago, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has either been applauded or criticised for taking or failing to take decisive decisions when majority of Nigerians expect him to do so. Associate Editor, SAM EGBURONU, State House Correspondent, VINCENT IKUOMOLA and Bayelsa State Correspondent, ISAAC OMBE, in this report, examine Jonathan’s style of governance, noting some personal and external factors that influence his decisions. Oga thinks otherwise, having read the mood of the north and that of the rest of the country. He took what you may call an unpopular decision here to go softly so as not to be seen as deliberately going against the North. I think he is merely being responsible.” The source further informed that Jonathan took this option especially because he considered the way the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua granted amnesty to militants from the South-South region of the country when the region was under siege of armed youths. This consideration, according to the source, explains why the president has not ruled out amnesty in the case of Boko Haram, in spite of more radical and decisive options that have been proposed to him. It would be recalled that in his attempt to tackle the explosive security challenges in the
country since he emerged the President, Jonathan has set up two different committees; the post election violence and Boko Haram committees, to seek ways of ending the spate of wanton killings and destructions of properties in the country. Many Nigerians believe he should have done better. The source also cited the recent declaration of state of emergency in some areas in four states in the north as a proof that the president is very painstaking and meticulous in his decisions. Following continuous Boko Haram bombings, most security experts advised Jonathan to tackle the terrorists, fire for fire. The same approach of widespread consultation has been deployed by the president on the issue of fuel subsidy removal. It is instructive that though popular opinion was
against the move, the president went ahead to announce total removal of fuel subsidy with effect from January 1, 2012. This action has been described as evidently contrary to his guiding principles. Close associates however said he took the decision after gauging the mood of the people. His advisers on economy, like Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and conservative stakeholders, like wouldbe investors in the oil industry and the Governors’ Forum, had told him the policy would ultimately receive general acceptance, given the long term benefits to Nigeria and to Nigerians. A source told The Nation that at that point, the only thing they all envisaged as a contentious issue was the timing of the commencement of the policy. We learnt that while some insiders cautioned that it should be shelved for sometime because of the explosive security situation in the country today, Mr. President yielded to the pressure mounted by the second group, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which wanted immediate removal of fuel subsidy. It would be recalled that deregulation is part of the agenda of the ruling party, PDP. So, notwithstanding loud opposition of the policy, the party, it was revealed, advised Jonathan to implement the policy early in his administration so that Nigerians would have forgotten the pains and got used to it before the next general elections. This, according to a source close to PDP, explains the courage of Mr. President in this subsidy controversy. “He knows he is not alone in this struggle. The ruling party is behind him. Governors and other informed stakeholders know it is for the general good; so, Mr. President should not be perturbed by the aggression of the majority, most of who do not understand the issues at stake,” he said.
Is he always slow? Over the period, it has been observed that the President is not always quick in decision taking, a situation that has called to question his level of assertiveness. But from Jonathan’s point of view, as revealed by some close aides, some of who have been working with him since his days as governor of Bayelsa State; he is only being meticulous and cautious. They defended that Jonathan takes time before acting and even when he takes decisions, he could change his mind, “not because he does not have personal convictions but primarily because he gauges the success of his decisions with public reactions.” As one of his long standing aides puts it, “This, to a large extent, explains why he sometimes reverses some of his major decisions. An example here is the appointment of the head of one of the anti-graft agencies, which he had to put on hold following disturbing calls challenging the character of the nominee. It is only a sensitive president like Dr. Jonathan that can be so persuaded by public sensibilities” the source said. It is this quality, more than any other, which first defined the quality of Jonathan’s presidency. Soon after his election, last year’s April, appointment of members of his executive became a major issue. Political godfathers and powerful interest groups, with who he allegedly entered into some deals to secure his party’s ticket and win votes, demanded juicy positions. The pressure was so intense that lists of would-be appointees became endless. It was as a result of the intrigues generated by that multi-faceted struggle for power that some of his critics first wondered whether he was weak or indecisive. Since then, such critics had been alluding to it whenever Jonathan hesitates before taking major decisions. Perhaps, the most cited case is the security challenge, which is still staring the nation on the face. To many observers, he has failed to respond assertively to the security challenge posed by the activities of the Boko Haram group. This is worsened by his decision to go ahead with the removal of subsidy on fuel at the same time.
When Jonathan acts out of character Some decisions recently taken by the President suggest however that he may not
always be predictable. For example, his decision not to wait for the approval of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before the removal of fuel subsidy and his sudden decision to break the promise he allegedly made over the timing of the new policy are pointers to the fact that Jonathan is also independently minded. It is this aspect of him that has somehow made his style rather complex. While many of his associates and aides claim to know how the president would act in most circumstances, it remains to be ascertained what would normally force him to act out of character as was the case in fuel subsidy removal. One thing has been ascertained, President Jonathan is easy to predict but sometimes he can also spring surprises.
How Jonathan’s government works IVING insight into the workings of the government under Jonathan, one of his top aides, who spoke off record, said, “Decisions on policy issues, under President Jonathan, first starts from healthy debates at the council chambers. It is the outcome of such free debate that shapes the final decisions of the president on most of the crucial issues of state.” The aide said “one good thing that cannot be taken away from President Jonathan is his ability to observe very well and this has impacted positively to his style of governance. For example, his decision to always include major private sector players of the economy in his entourage whenever he visits other countries of the world was informed by his observation of what obtains outside today. He observed that other leaders include such personalities as part of their delegates whenever they visit and so, he adopted it as a state policy. The recent change in the country's foreign policy could also be attributed to the president's observation of the trend in foreign diplomacy, the aide said. “He kicked against the policy of retaining Africa as the centre point of the country's foreign policy on economy after observing current trends and listening to experts.” This style dates back to his days as governor of Bayelsa State. Mr. Austine Febo, who served as the Commissioner for Lands and Housing in Bayelsa when Jonathan was the governor of the state, confirmed that fact to The Nation in an interview. According to him, “President Jonathan is not a dictator but a democrat. For instance, during executive council meetings, he would present matters before the council and allow them to go through exhaustive discussions. He would insist on unhindered contributions, allowing all shades of opinion from council members. “He most times bows to superior reasoning and leaves out his own personal views. “He doesn’t argue to allow his views dominate; you needed to be in council sessions then to see the way his commissioners would take on him. He’s not always in a hurry to take decisions and is never angry if anyone presents opposing views during the debate. He is a true democrat,” he said. Dr. Promise Ekio, Jonathan’s kinsman and very close associate, who served as Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State since when the President was the governor of the state, corroborated that assessment. “Within the period I worked closely with him as a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State, I discovered that he listens, consults before taking decisions, and he is always having foresight on issues. That is the kind of person that should lead a country,” he said.
COVER THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
Political cost of fuel subsidy removal For President Goodluck Jonathan, the removal of fuel subsidy was a huge political risk. Sam Egburonu, Associate Editor, examines how much goodwill the president has blown in this report
HEN President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn-in as President on May 29, 2011, he enjoyed enormous popularity. His supporters touted his victory in the April polls as a “pan Nigerian mandate”. From across the country; East, West, North and South, the results confirmed his wide acceptability. Since then however, several issues have threatened to affect his popularity negatively. Until January 1, 2012, when he announced an unpopular total removal of fuel subsidy, chief amongst the developments that threatened his image was his government’s failure to quickly tackle the security challenge posed by the Boko Haram terrorists. With the removal of fuel subsidy and the resultant nationwide protests, Jonathan’s political image may have suffered its worst dent, especially in the Southwest which supported and routed for him. Already described by some angry Nigerians as ‘insensitive and callous,’ there is no doubt that most of the common Nigerians have refused to distinguish the promised long term economic benefits of the new policy from the perceived ‘welfarist’ obligations of an elected president. “Jonathan has failed Nigerians. He has cheated us. When he came for our votes, he never said he wanted to increase our sufferings. He made many enticing promises; today, he has done the worst thing ever. He and his party are wicked. They do not love common Nigerians.” Those were the cries of Demola Ayedun, an angry protester in Agege area of Lagos. While his views, which correspond with that of millions of others, may be dismissed as grossly uninformed by Jonathan’s economic team, there is no doubt that it shows the grief of a people and their resolve to give political interpretation to the removal of fuel subsidy. Battle on all fronts It is indeed obvious that Jonathan is currently fighting a major political battle. The way he handles the situation will go a long way in determining his future political fortunes. This is also true of his party, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has deregulation as part of its agenda. The implication of the current faceoff is evidently not lost on both PDP and
Jonathan. That explains why the party reportedly advised Jonathan to implement the policy very early in his administration so that before the next general election, the people would have forgotten the pains. But by implementing it at this time, shortly before governorship elections in four states, it remains to be seen if PDP’s political fortunes would not be affected. In Britain, when the government of Margaret Thatcher imposed the controversial Poll tax, she became so unpopular that her party almost lost the next election. The tax, introduced earlier in Scotland in April 1989, was the major cause of the London protests in 1990. As is the case today in Nigeria, the common people in Britain saw the tax as a deliberate punishment. The government however argued that it was a ‘just tax’ as it was designed to spread “the cost of local amenities democratically across the population,” unlike what obtained previously when the privileged rich had to pay more. As one commentator puts it then, the people saw the tax as “divisive and clumsy social engineering; a gift for the Thatcher voting middle classes for their continued loyalty and a punishment for the working classes, who would anyway never vote Conservative.” Some also described it “as a continuation of the Monetarist agenda of replacing the state sector with private companies by starving local services of proper funds.” So, understandably, the London protest was regarded by the people as the final showdown with Thatcher’s conservative government, even as the Poll tax has since been acknowledged as one of Thatcher’s worst political moves. So, as eager protesters gathered in Kennington Park on March 31, 1990, commentators predicted correctly “that the March to Trafalgar Square is going to be huge and unruly.” Estimated at over 250,000 people, political analysts say the event marked the turning point in Thatcher’s political career. Although roundly condemned as violent and “anarchist,” the overall impact of the protest, described as the biggest in Britain that century, cannot be overemphasized. It remains a fact that till date, the ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ can never be forgotten both by the conservative party and the people. This is because it not only brought an end to the contro-
versial Poll tax, but also crashed Thatcher’s political image. The party therefore needed no extra lecture to understand that it had to disassociate itself from the unpopular policy or risk losing subsequent elections. No wonder, Thatcher’s heir apparent, John Major, wisely changed the policy, even at the risk of facing Thatcher’s fury. With that hindsight, informed analyst are saying that Jonathan and PDP’s rating had already waned in the rating of most Nigerians and that this assess-
ment will continue to deepen except they listen to the people and reverse the policy. If the government remains adamant, some governors will also lose popularity. Such governors include former labour leader, Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers). Most protesters have very harsh words for Oshiomhole and Amaechi, the chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). Given the leading support the forum gave the policy, its chairman has suddenly lost influence amongst many Nigerians.
ANUARY 1st is u ebrations worldwi gerians, this year’ Goodluck Jonathan dec
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
Counting the economic cost The week-long mass protest embarked upon by the organised Labour over the arbitrary removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government on January 1, has continued to take its toll on the economy, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
LTHOUGH the above classic poem, The Casualties, by world renowned playwright and poet, Professor J. P. Clark Bekederemo is a post mortem of the Nigerian civil war which took place between 196770, it becomes apposite in capturing the many unintended consequences of the tragedy of the ongoing mass protest by the organised labour and civil society groups over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government on January 1 this year. Catalogue of woes Painfully, the mass action by Labour has led to a chain of reactions with dire consequences for the nation’s socio-economic life as it were. Although Labour agreed to take some days off apparently to enable the members of the public to restock food and other basic necessities of life, ahead of next week’s protest, should the Federal Government not accede to its demands of reversal to N65 p u m p price, t h e e c o nomic cost of t h e weeklong mass protest
staged in more than 30 states including Ogun, Niger, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Anambra, and Enugu. Others are Imo, Rivers, Benue, Bauchi, and Gombe, among other state capitals and cities, left sorrows, tears and blood in its wake. Counting cost of strike A conservative estimate of what the country may have lost in the last one week has been put at N1trillon due to the protests on removal of petrol subsidy which shutdown commercial activities in many parts of the country, with banks, airports, seaports, businesses, schools and most offices across the country under lock and key. Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) was $197 billion in 2010 and analysts at FBN Capital have estimated that the GDP for the 2011 fiscal year might be around $201 billion. According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, an analysis of the GDP would reveal the financial loss to the strike. Sanusi who spoke along with the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala on a television programme said the GDP was one of the most acceptable ways of computing the economic loss. A country’s GDP is a measure of activities that shows the productive capacity of all the sectors of the economy. It is thus the value of all goods and services within the borders of that country over a given period. At separate interviews with The Nation, a cross section of economists and financial analysts estimated the loss to hundreds of billions daily. The analysts said with the move by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to reweight and rebase its series, Nigeria’s GDP are estimated to be between $260 billion to $300 billion. Using a conservative estimate, the experts said the opportunity cost of the strike could be as high as $1 billion or N165 billion per day for a full calendar
year of 365 days. Analysts at GTI Capital however, noted that average loss per day due to the strike might be more than N200 billion, citing Nigeria’s large informal sector and shadow financial transactions that have traditionally not been adequately captured in national accounts. “We acknowledge that the true cost goes beyond our $710 million to $1 billion per day estimate. However, it provides an idea of the scale of the impact of the strike,” analysts at FBN Capital said. The threat to shut down oil exports might escalate the adverse impact on the economy, raising concerns over the realisation of the 2012 budget, which already has built in deficits of more than N1.1 trillion. The financial services, manufacturing, services, agriculture and retail sectors are expected to bear more of the burdens of the general strike. Average loss per day at the Nigerian interbank market is estimated at more than N83 billion. Chief Timothy Adesiyan, who heads a shareholder group, noted that the capital market usually experiences general lull at this time of the year, but was however quick to admit that the mass protests practically brought the market to its knees. In the view of Emmanuel Ikpon, an investment expert, “Nigeria currently produces over 2.36 million barrels of oil per day and as at the time of this report, crude is $113 per barrel. A simple mathematics will lead you to your destination.” Ikpon said virtually all the economic sectors may have been affected one way or the other by the protests. “Exportable agricultural produce like cocoa etc have also suffered a great deal. Exports proceeds would have been earned during this strike period. The tele-
communication industry is also a victim of this long strike. The banks are not left out as well as the stock market, private business owners, haulages and service industries. But in our normal fashion, we would not always reflect on the losses as against a private businessman.” As to the implication on the country’s credibility in the comity of nations, Ikpon stressed that: “Nigeria is Africa’s investment destination; United Kingdom, United States, China and other parts of the world are Nigeria’s potential business partners whether through Direct Foreign Investment which they have always indicated interest in our banking sector and the oil and gas.” Investors in the near future, he maintained, “Will be reluctant to invest hard resources into our economy for fear of civil unrest whenever there is a policy implementation which will drive the economy of the country forward. “Apparently, the credibility of the government will be put to test. In a nutshell, there might be a conspiracy by foreign investors that Nigeria lacks a good sustainable developmental policy that can woo investors.” Echoing similar sentiments, Dr. Austin Nweze, a policy analyst who lectures at the Pan African University, Lagos, said: “In my estimate Nigeria is losing between N80 and N100 billion daily. The reason for this figure is that the banks, sea ports, airports, market, stock markets, government offices, private establishments, roads transportation, etc have all been shut down in most parts of the country. Importers are incurring demurrages because their goods cannot be cleared from the ports. Ships cannot berth because the employees are not working.”
Why Labour cannot afford to fail The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) may suffer perennial political loss and goodwill should the on-going protests fail, reports Sunday Oguntola
As the affected political figures and institutions count costs, it remains to be seen if their political opponents would take advantage of the removal of fuel subsidy to their advantage. For instance, the unalloyed and almost blind support given to Jonathan during the election by the Southwest has been completely lost. A look at all those who participated and addressed the mammoth crowd that massed at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, is enough to send signals that he (Jonathan) has lost the critical support of the region. To gain this back would take more than a king’
HE nationwide protests against removal of fuel subsidy did not take off until the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) stepped in. Nigerians immediately took to the streets the moment Labour announced an industrial action last Monday. This has confirmed again that Labour has become the main champion of people’s welfare and rights. Fears that Nigerians may not be able to sustain the strike beyond the first two days have been eliminated. They have not only complied with the sit-at-home orders, they have also taken to the street, seeking for the reversal of the decision to abolish of fuel subsidy. When the NLC speaks, Nigerians listens. They have come to trust the union with their lives and rights. The labour movement has ridden on the back of swelling public goodwill and collective support to rally Nigerians to desired causes. But should the on-going protests fail to achieve its purpose, the NLC will be doomed forever. This is why labour leaders are treading softly. They have insisted on reversal of the decision to remove the fuel subsidy as the only condition for cancellation of the on-going strike and protests. This is a far departure from what used to be. During previous fuel crisis, labour leaders announced
•Omar strike and negotiated with government for a new price regime. A new realisation This time around, labour leaders have become smarter and more tactical. They won’t bulge until the federal government
•Peter-Esele reverts to N65 per litre of fuel. Only then will the strike be called off. Then, there could be negotiations. NLC’s President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said the strike will continue until government yields to its de•Continued on Page 22
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Cover FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS WINNERS
ABOUR – Whichever way the pendulum of the strike swings, Labour- personified by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) will come out as the true champions of the people. Although Labour has been known to be a veritable vehicle of mobilisation in all struggles against government tyranny, never before has the struggle been so coordinated and united as it has been since January 9 when it called out the country’s workforce to protest the sudden withdrawal of petroleum subsidy. Not many Nigerians would readily admit they know the name Abdulwaheed Omar or be able to recognise him if his picture is displayed in public. That was before January 9. Not anymore. He may not have the charismatic face of an Adams Oshiomhole or the gift of oratory and dramatics possessed by the former labour leader. He has however demonstrated that what he lacks in charisma he has as an astute organiser and crowd puller. His TUC counterpart Peter Esele is no less a force. In the past the government had used his organisation to try and break the unity of Labour over matters of strikes; this time around Labour spoke with one voice and decided to fight a “common enemy” in unison. Together Omar and Esele brings back to mind Bakayoko, the leader of the Senegalese railway strike of the 1940 who led the rail workers against the colonial French government. In the final analysis, whether government backed down or not Labour will continue to hold its head high that it has been able to galvanise the populace in one voice to stand against a decision it considers unwarranted. In this struggle Labour will come out smelling of roses and despite all antics of government it never allowed itself to be cowed. The Nigerian People – Closely following Labour in the ranks of winners are the Nigeria People. From North to West, East to South they have been able to speak and demonstrate in one voice and looked power in the face and say truth to it. Perhaps for the first time in the history of the country, the Nigerian people have shown that unity of purpose is possible. Before now many have always thought it is only football
that could make Nigerians speak with one voice. The withdrawal of petroleum subsidy has given the face of lie to this belief. From Maiduguri to Lagos, Birnin Kebbi to Aba, and Lokoja to Yenagoa citizens poured into the streets to say NO! Not even the threat of the use of force by security agencies was enough to deter them from stating their stance. People came out in hundreds and withstood all the elements of the weather. Attempts by some dark forces to cow them failed. Even scary text messages sent to phones were not enough to whittle down their determination. For instance, a so called Alert text message saying “Boko Haram suicide bombers with guns, machetes are to infiltrate the subsidy protests in Lagos, Abuja, Edo, Delta, Kaduna, Kwara to cause mayhem. Please be at alert, spread the word”, did not cut any ice with the Nigerian people. They massed in Yaba, Gani Fawehinmi Park and other parts of Lagos. So did they at Eagle Square, Abuja and other parts of the federal capital city. The same was replicated in Kano, Minna, Kaduna, Aba and other parts of the country. Step forward for your medal, great Nigerian people. The National AssemblyTwelve years since the return of democracy, never has the National Assembly endeared itself to the heart of the people as it did over the battle for the restoration of the subsidy. It has always operated as if it is tied to the apron strings of the Executive. However, this time around it decided to cut that link and write itself back to the reckoning of majority of the ordinary citizens who have all along been weather beaten by unfavourable economic conditions in the country. In this, the House of Representatives takes the ken for taking the lead in voting on the side of the Nigerian people. The leadership of the House will go down in history as rising promptly to the occasion. It summoned an emergency session and met on Sunday, January 8, the first in the annals of Nigerian democracy. The sitting was lively and robust; they spoke as true representatives of their people and decided to say No to the added yoke already borne by the electorate. Perhaps in a bid not to be beaten and thereby have ashes on
Battle for WINNERS
•Protesters at Ojota, Lagos
PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL
On January 1 the federal government announced an increase in the pump price of petroleum. Eight days later Labour called out Nigerians to embark on nationwide strike to force down the price. It has been a long drawn battle, in this report Olayinka Oyegbile, Deputy Editor, examines who wins or loses in this contest of will. •“If we want to live decently we must fight”- Sembene Ousmane in God’s bits of wood their faces, the Senate after its leadership met with Labour without any headway decided to line behind the House and majority of Nigerians. It also voted for rever-
sal of the increase in the pump price of petroleum. ...AND THE LOSERS Jonathan- Leading the pack of
the losers in this battle for supremacy over the increase in pump price of petroleum is President Goodluck Jonathan. With
Why Labour cannot afford to fail •Continued from Page 22 mands. He said, ‘’What we are saying is that ‘no to the removal of fuel subsidy, and what Nigerians want is a reversal. We in the organised labour and civil society coalition have given the government a new way out by saying that ‘reverse’ and we would stop this protest. And we will go back and see how we can discuss the entire thing about the removal of the fuel subsidy, what is doable and what is not doable. “Unfortunately, it appears the government, despite the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, is not ready to back out of the removal and Nigerians have agreed and are not ready to back out too. I do hope that it is not going to be a long jump strike between the government and the people on the other side.
“I do not know how the government feels, but if truly we are in a democracy where the majority of the people are talking. I believe this government should listen. I have challenged the government in the past, if they think this is a popular policy, let them subject it to a popular referendum so that Nigerians will really determine whether or not the subsidy will be removed or not.” On Thursday night the Senate President, David Mark, broker a truce between Labour and government. He led Labour to the Presidency and the executive which had hitherto vowed not to negotiate with Labour until the strike was called off had to back down from its high horse. The federal government delegation led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
met for several hours and could not resolve the issue. Sources close to the meeting told The Nation that while Labour stuck to its gun of a total reversal to N65 per litre government after lots of horse trading proposed N120 which Labour rejected. Government later settled for N100 which Labour also turned down flatly and threatened to walk out of the meeting. The leaders were calmed down. The meeting was unable to arrive at a conclusion and had to be postponed till Saturday to allow both sides to consult their constituencies. This is one political battle Labour is aware it must not lose. If the strike ends without these demands met, then organised Labour is doomed. If Nigerians wear out and choose to return to work without such directives from labour, then the union can as well forget
leading Nigerians to economic and industrial battles again. At the gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos which is the epicentre of the protest, John Alade, one of the protesters who had been there since Monday when the strike began said, “We have sacrificed all to be here and if labour fails us, they should never expect students, market women and other civil society groups to heed their call for strike now or in the future. They cannot afford to fail us.” In the United Kingdom, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) became eternally damaged in 1985 over a failed strike action. Led by Arthur Scargill, the NUM commenced a national strike in March 1984 to fight the closure of 20 mines, which threw over 20,000 miners out of job. The all-powerful union exuded confidence the action will force the government of
Margaret Thatcher to give in. But Thatcher was more than prepared. She had stocks of coals that could last for months. There were intimidations and violence against striking miners. On March 3, 1985, the strike ended nearly a year after it had begun. Some workers had already returned to work of their own accord, a symbolic victory for the Coal Board management. Scargill was humbled and devastated. The NUM lost its bite and aura. Thatcher had the last laugh. This is what the NLC and the TUC will be avoiding. It remains to be seen how the unions will sustain the interest of Nigerians in the struggle. Will this strike end without Labour getting its desires? Whatever may be the case, Labour is staking its integrity and political influence. It will never be the same all-powerful union again should it lose this struggle.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS game (yes, is it not a game they are playing with the populace?). However, she has been shouting herself hoarse trying to distance herself from the decision. According to her, the major forces behind the fuel palaver are actually the state governors who had concluded on the issue before her resumption. She is saying the voice is that of Esau and the hand that of Jacob. But no matter what she does and how much she defends herself, many Nigerians would never believe her. In this guise, she is a loser. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi- The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a man that has never run away from controversies. He is like that character in the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s song “Trouble sleep Yanga go wake am.” Sanusi loves and courts controversy. He is never afraid to throw his bare hands into a cauldron. He never winces nor withdraws from a boiling pot of controversy. From the sack of some hitherto powerful Chief Executive Officers of banks to the Islamic banking brouhaha and now the fuel subsidy tangle. His rating in the eye of many has further dipped and no matter what he does his perception by many are going to be coloured by these events. He is a die-hard supporter of the withdrawal. He is a loser here too. State Governors- Behind the scenes they were the engine room and chief proponent of the withdrawal of fuel subsidy because it is going to ensure they have more revenue in their kitties. However, now that a shove has become a push, many of them have withdrawn into their shells; leaving the President and the Minister of Finance to bear the cross. Even when protesters in state capitals carry their protests to their door steps, none of them came out boldly to state their stand. They all saw it as a liability and pushed it on to the federal government. And because they are unable to stand by their choice and defend it valiantly in public they are losers. The Police- The Nigerian Police Force as an institution is in urgent need of reorientation and transformation. Perhaps the much trumpeted “Transformation Agenda” of the Jonathan administration should begin with them. The Police have refused to learn the simple fact that we are now in a democracy and that the way their job is done under a de-
Nigerian Oil subsidy and hearts challenge of good governance
the sleight of the pen with which he gave the go ahead for the price to be jerked up, he has lost the goodwill of many citizens who had before now held him in awe. Never has a man been so popular as to win a “pan Nigerian mandate” and lost it in so short a time! It is clear that whichever way it goes, he would not come out of this smelling of roses. He has no doubt had rotten raw eggs thrown on his face and he carries the can alone. In one single blunder he has provided a strong
platform for all his opponents to unite and pelt him, what a pity. He rode to power on the crest of providing a “breath of fresh air” but has now polluted the air so much that tonnes and tonnes of perfume cannot purify the air. He has no doubt lost a major political capital. He is the greatest loser. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala- Her return to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was heralded in some quarters in a blaze of glory. The last time she passed through the same Executive Chambers she had put up what many con-
sidered a stellar performance by the singular act of making the Paris Club to ‘forgive’ Nigeria’s jumbo debts. However, this time around, she is having barbs and flaks thrown at her from all quarters so much so that she would sometimes in her sober moments ask why she decided to leave her cosy job in the World Bank to come and have a second shot at a ministerial appointment at home. As Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, she has a very central role to play in all this fuel increase
mocracy is a different ball game. The institution has continued to operate as if the country is still under military jackboot. Unjustified arrests, extra judicial killings of innocent protesters and heavy handedness, have continued to dog the trail of the force. From Lagos to Abuja and all over the country many lives have been lost to the protest because policemen have mishandled the situation and turned peaceful assemblies to mayhem. The Economy- Nigeria is a country that has poor regard for figures. If it were to be in other climes the record of billions of dollars that the country has lost in the course of the strike is enough to cause government economists heartache. But this is not so. Apart from the billions that have been lost in the formal sector, the informal sector has also lost uncountable millions. Artisans, traders, and other self employed citizens whose livelihood are not recorded in government books have lost millions to the strike and they have no way of regaining this. It is this that worries many that the government allowed the strike to persist for so long: the question on my lips is why do you lose billions to gain how much? Nigeria’s image- A country that is in search of public perception and acceptance does not allow things to degenerate to the level to which the government has allowed it in the last one week. As if the Boko Haram menace is not bad enough, the prolonged strike has led to innumerable battering of the country’s image internationally and to recover this is going to be tough. How does the country hope to attract foreign investors into an economy that is perceived unsafe and unpredictable? The country image has suffered irreparable loss. Peoples Democratic PartyThe decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to suddenly withdraw fuel subsidy on January 1 has further dented the image of his party (PDP). Many before now hold the party in contempt while viewing the president as a different brood, hence the vote for him in the last election. However, what has become clear with his recent action is that PDP will always be PDP. It has lost whatever political capital it has and for it to recover, it would take some level of magic.
Okonjo-Iweala takes subsidy campaign to Facebook, Twitter Like her TV, radio and newspaper appearances where she has spoken of the necessity and benefits inherent in the withdrawal of fuel subsidy Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s pro-subsidy removal postings on the various social media are attracting mixed reactions from Nigerians, reports Ademola Adesola
N a bid to further reach out to more Nigerians with a view to enlightening them on why the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector is expedient, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been making use of the social media, twitting and posting different messages, asking the citizens to support the government in its battle against the few but formidable cabal who are allegedly enriching themselves at the expense of the country’s economic well being. In her various postings on Facebook
and Twitter, she argues that the removal of subsidy was in the best interest of Nigerians. Her two major posts in these media last week were titled: “Answering some of your frequently asked questions”, and “Why gain a kobo to lose a naira?” Nigerians across the six geopolitical zones of the country have been expressing their displeasure at the action of the Federal Government, which they describe as “insensitive and wicked”, since January 1 when the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) unexpectedly announced the take-off of the fuel subsidy removal policy. This,
observers submitted, largely contributed to the remarkable compliance by Nigerians to the directive of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and Civil Society Groups (CSG) whose industrial action accompanied by street protests, and mass rallies have shut the country down since last week. The striking unions have repeatedly said they would only resume dialogue with the government only when it reverts to the old pump price of N65 per litre. Strong proponent
Since the beginning of the strike, the Finance Minister alongside the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has featured as guest on different TV and radio programmes speaking to Nigerians on the conviction of the government about its subsidy policy. The minister has also used the social media to propagate and robustly defend and explain her position. In her posts on facebook entitled “Answering some of your frequently asked questions”, Dr Okonjo-Iweala wrote: “Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to thank you all for engaging in a lively and respectful debate on the fuel subsidy. It is heartening the passion all of us have as Nigerians to usher our country into a better future. I have enjoyed communicating with all of you in this forum, and I have taken pains to read your responses. Many of you have similar questions regarding the
reasons behind the subsidy removal and the impact of the removal on Nigeria’s economy”. The focal point of her explanation in that post included the rationale behind the government’s plan to deregulate the downstream petroleum sector, the option of a staggered, phased removal of fuel subsidy, government’s assurances to Nigerians that the additional revenues from petroleum subsidy removal will be judiciously used, the plans put in place by government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal, among many other repetitively hyped projected gains from the policy. She added that more detailed answers to most of the questions raised by Nigerians in respect to the fuel subsidy debate have been compiled in a document accessible through the link: http://bit.ly/ yjBKhn. However, majority of the over •Continued on Page 24
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Cover FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s announcement of 25 percent reduction in the basic salaries of political office holders on the eve of the on-going national protests against the removal of fuel subsidy should have assuaged Nigerians. The President, in a broadcast, also ordered that overseas trips by government officials would be drastically reduced. The deft measures were clearly intended to convince Nigerians that government functionaries are prepared to also pay the muchclamoured economic sacrifice. Nigerians have criticised and continue to protest heavily since the removal of subsidy. They have expressed serious disgust over what they considered the over bloated expenditures of government officials. Government, Nigerians argued, cannot be living in maximum opulence while they are asked to adopt austere measures. Why should Nigerians be denied fuel subsidy while their leaders are overpaid, many argued. The annual basic salary of the president, according to Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders Salaries and Allowances (Amendment) Act 2008, is N3, 514, 705 per annum while that of the Vice President is N2, 031, 572.50 per annum. If implemented, the new directive will mean Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo will annually lose N878, 676 and N757, 693 respectively. Jonathan’s 42 ministers, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF) and Chief of Staff to the President, will sacrifice N22, 797, 000 which constitute 25 percent of their annual basic salary of N91, 188, 000. Chief of staff to the president, ministers, SGF and HOSF earn N2, 026, 400 each as basic salary annually. The president’s 20 special advisers, by this
‘Jonathan can’t cut salaries At the height of the controversy over the removal of subsidy on petroleum, President Goodluck Jonathan announced a 25% cut in the salaries of political appointees, Sunday Oguntola, examines whether the president has the power to do so
HE use of the social media among Nigerians, cutting across all ages and creed, has become a habit. Many today have established strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry Messaging (BBM), 2go, blogging and a host of others. It was therefore not surprising that when the federal government through the Price...... (PPPRA) on January 1, 2011 decided to surreptitiously announce the withdrawal of petroleum subsidy many were caught pants down. It was through the social media that many, who had been suffused in the celebration of the New Year, first heard the news. It immediately when viral thus a new vista of campaign against the action was kicked off.
arrangement, will give up N9, 629, 325 of their total basic salary of N38, 857, 500 this year. The Act provides that special advisers to the president receive N1,942, 875 each as annual basic salary. These sacrifices, to many Nigerians, are far from enough. They argue that members of the executive do not necessarily rely on salaries. Their allowances and other perks remain increasingly high. For example, in the 2012 budget, a staggering N1 billion would be spent on feeding by the Presidency. The breakdown shows that N477 million would be used to pay for foodstuffs and “catering materials supplies” for the President’s office. Additional N293m would be for his “refreshment and meals” and N45.4m for canteen and “kitchen
equipment.” Also, Vice President Sambo plans to spend N1.7bn on trips in 2012 and N1.3 billion on office stationeries; N2.4bn on office maintenance, N314m on drugs and medical supplies; N477m on foodstuff and catering material supplies; N121 million on drugs and medical supplies and N11m on teaching aids and instructional materials. These cuts, Nigerians said, do not really affect what accrues to government officials. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) faulted the cuts. It described the exercise as mere tokenism. The political party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, “The President
must tell Nigerians what 25 per cent of basic salaries of public office- holders amount to, and what impact this will have in a government suffused with incredible profligacy. “We will also like to know the allowances and other perks that these officials receive, which is the core issue.” President of Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe OkeiOdumakin, said Jonathan should have reduced allowances of political office- holders. According to her, “It (President’s broadcast) was an empty talk to bamboozle the unwary. What he is doing is medicine after death.” On its part, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) said it was at a loss how Jonathan was acting in the best interest of the people. Besides, lawyers are questioning the legality of the reduction. Jonathan, they said, do not have any constitutional backing to cut the salaries of political office holders since he did not determine them in the first place. Bamidele Aturu, a constitutional lawyer, described the announcement as simply •Continued on Page 67
Fuel subsidy battle goes cyber In this report, Rita Ohai, examines the role played by the social media in the protest over the removal of fuel subsidy. The campaign begins online In the twinkle of an eye, a once docile populace sprang into action. In a short while, a ‘revolution’ that had slumbered in the hearts of many was given a life of its own with the aid of the Internet. Regular bloggers and users of Twitter, Blackberry Messaging (BBM), 2go and Facebook began to vent their frustration by airing their views via the social networking sites - a platform, •Continued on Page 67
Okonjo-Iweala takes subsidy campaign to Facebook, Twitter •Continued from Page 23 10,000 respondents to the minister’s post spotted gaping holes in her claims; they questioned the genuineness of the government’s policy, noting that it has not shown that it can be trusted. Even the few who said they were in support of the deregulation in the petroleum industry as championed by the government equally emphasised the fact that there was need for government to give up its current effort at trying to climb the tree of the fuel subsidy policy from the top. They called on the government to desist from balking the wrong tree and cut to the chase. In his comment, Booque Abdulrazaq Yusuf said, “Yes, Ghana has removed the subsidy on their fuel. Consider that the government of Ghana has provided basic amenities to drastically reduce dependence on petrol and kerosene. We hear that the price of fuel in Ghana just increased by about 15% as against Nigeria’s 115% increase. In empirical terms, if I am right, Nigerians will feel the pain of fuel subsidy removal (115% ÷ 15%), i.e. about eight times more than the Ghanaians. Posers for the minister “I ask where is the money that was generated from the removal of the subsidy on diesel some time ago? Crude oil has about ten by-products. I also ask, what happens to these byproducts? There seems to be no place for these by products in the discussions going on. Finally, I’ll like
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to explain how locally produced petroleum products enjoy these subsidies”. In his response, NwaGod King maintained, “Madam, please before the removal of this subsidy first build refinery that will produce fuel for our consumption. When we can refine our crude locally it will do us a lot of good in creating jobs and bringing development to the people. We should not be talking of subsidy if our refinery is working. Again if government fails to build and maintain our refinery, why would it not also fail in fighting corruption? How many people are importing fuel in Nigeria? Why can’t the government fight the corruption in importation of fuel before removing subsidy? What of the excess money our leaders are making form their respective positions? For example, N1b for feeding president and so on. You and Jonathan should revert to N65/litre before God will be angry with you all. Where is the money from subsidy on diesel? Using his personal case to explain how unjustifiable and insufferable the policy is to Nigerians, nay low-income earners, Enomate Anuli touchingly rapped out: “Madam, I have been finding a medium to share this with you and getting a response: I’m a civil servant with a take-home salary of N23,700 monthly. With two kids, one in the university and the other in secondary school (no scholarship like in your time), it is difficult to live. With the current removal of subsidy my daily spending has increased. The rate
of inflation due to the deregulation is not commensurable to my earning. Madam, the government is not sincere with this idea of deregulation. There is more to it, otherwise how can I survive with my N23,700, monthly?” Another respondent, Lijoka Oluwaseun, submitted thus: “Hi ma, don’t you think there are many things to do or work on before embarking on fuel subsidy removal? Ma, I understand that you spent most of your time in developed countries but are those countries battling with insecurity, social unrest and other problems that we are facing now and are they muddling things together like you guys are doing? With the removal of subsidy, you guys want to increase the hoodlums on the streets, youths that are unemployed will look for dangerous ways of surviving, the poor will become poorer and things will be too high to bear. You guys should have provided the necessary things to curb the effects of this removal. I believe that if the US wants to embark on a programme, they always put the citizens first. But you guys do no such thing. I believe Nigerians shouldn’t be left to bear the consequences of the mistakes of our past leaders. Go back, ma, to the drawing board”. Though Gboyega Nasir Isiaka considered the frequently asked questions (FAQs) posted by OkonjoIweala as “quite informative,” he however said “I disagree in some areas … From what I understand in the FAQ, the refineries will be fixed one after the other over a period of one year or so. A
comprehensive programme that has all the ingredients of the measures being proposed over a period of time will be better understood and accepted than one that first takes away the entire subsidy and thereby pushes prices of goods and services up immediately while the other measures are kept on the drawing board for subsequent implementation. Not many people will buy the argument that market forces will bring back the prices to equilibrium later even when this actually happened in the telecoms sector. The fear of some of the contributors about trust in government can be appreciated but I’m not sure the alternative to that is anarchy. I think it’s still about discussion, negotiation and showing our grievances maturely as we are currently doing”. In yet another of her post headlined “Why gain a kobo to lose a naira?”, Okonjo-Iweala amply reiterated most of the arguments she is known to have advanced in support of the removal of fuel subsidy. While appealing to Nigerians to endure the seemingly excruciating hardship of the moment, she called on them not to see the development as a battle between them and the government. She twitted: “This struggle is not between the government and the masses because government is squarely on the side of the masses. The fight is between the government and masses on one side, and persons who are bent on continuing their age-long ‘milking’ of the system for their personal benefits,
on the other side. Let us support government’s efforts at defeating these persons, and creating a better country for all Nigerians”. In reaction, Popo Plyze Ewarami urged the government to “do something with what you have first and we can talk about removal of subsidy thereafter. Some state Governors are doing well in their states without this money. Fashola could provide 2000 buses without subsidy, but the Federal Government can’t even do that without subsidy and yet they have the biggest share of allocations. Work on NNPC inefficiencies; calculate the true landing cost and pay the right price for petrol subsidy. I tell you the truth; subsidy for fuel shouldn’t be as high as a trillion naira”. On his part, Cornelius Ohonsi said, “Trust! Trust! Trust! … I believe in the process, but many Nigerian like myself don’t trust the government. Trust can be earned by the government cutting down on its expenditure first. Reduction in allowances, not net pay. Gradually government can build trust”. Similarly, other numerous respondents intimated the minister on the resolve of the Nigerian people to continue to challenge the government until it changes tack and heed their call. No doubt, the cyberspace has enriched the robust argument for and against the withdrawal of subsidy more than any medium could have done because of its immediacy.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
‘Remove fuel subsidy over three years’ Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development in the administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida has served the nation in several capacities in different dispensations. Kalu has designed several economic policies for the country. Back in 1985, he came up with the deregulation policy, which is now a topic of heated national debate. In this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf he deconstructs the whole essence of deregulation, its principles and practice among other issues.
AKING a retrospective look, would you say the blueprint on deregulation policy which you designed in 1985 is what is being implemented in the country today based on the template you gave? No. Right from the beginning we didn’t quite follow it and those are the things that are now coming back to haunt us. First, the way I wanted us to deal with the exchange rate was not what we did. We chose what we called the Second Tier Foreign Exchange. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team at that time came in and were shocked. As I said in an earlier interview, when we start saying it is the IMF or the World Bank, we don’t know what we are talking about. They (IMF/World Bank) didn’t know what Second Tier Foreign Exchange was all about and as such they didn’t support it. And yet people out there still think they did it. Well, some people who preferred the Second Tier Foreign Exchange, instead of an adjustment… what I’m saying is you see structure of the economy, you know how much adjustment you should be doing at a certain point in time. Now, we chose to be trading with the foreign exchange, that wasn’t the IMF, this was some people in government who preferred it that way. I mean, with the status of limitation, we can say the truth now. I have said though and I have given lectures all over the country on this. But it is not that that is such a bad thing. But for it to work properly we have to fund that market properly. But we were also debating, we said, we don’t want this loan, we don’t want that loan... So for the last 25 years, we were probably underfunding the economy by as much as $5billion every year. Do you understand? You can just look at it in quantum terms. That means that for funds that should come in at 0%, 2%, 5%, we say we didn’t want; we didn’t want to be involved. That also limited how much we used... A few that came in from already existing pipeline and our own resources and we know our own resources were also being whittled down by waste, by corruption and other leakages. In Nigeria you hear so much about how people pocket things. I say we should stand up to that, we should let our sanctions apply; we should deal with corruption head-on. And then access funds so that we can give our people better water, better schools, better hospitals, job opportunities, things that would create higher standard of living and so on and so forth. So, we didn’t fund it properly and it was that shortage that pressured the exchange rate and it was depreciated. Out there, people say it is the IMF that caused the devaluation, it’s all rubbish, it’s all wrong. It is the decision we took that created the perennial shortage and that is how the exchange rate depreciated. Now if that didn’t happen, we could have been funding at the appropriate rate: growing agriculture, growing our manufacturing, growing our income. So when price changes come about - which is the situation right now - people are in a much more solid position to absorb it. You starve the economy, never mind the people contributed because they didn’t know and they didn’t listen. Everybody was talking, everybody was debating. But you know leadership has to show by example. If we chose, and decided to go that way, well fine. He is a military man and he didn’t know. But what about the professionals who should have understood what I was saying? They wanted to play to the gallery. •Continued on Page 26
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
We can’t run away from borrowing
•Continued from Page 25 This is the background to a population that is so pauperised because the level of investment was not maintained. What that means is not just financing to maintain investment, it’s also financing because there were profitable areas in agriculture, in industry, in mining, in the social sector, in all sectors, infrastructure...But we didn’t build this up. That’s where we are. So if you now want to adjust the price in any economy, you have to relate it to what that economy can bear at any given point in time. And I think that the way we should have gone was to first of all tighten up our sanctions; if there were people gaining more than they should or who were being paid more than they should paid, not only should they be identified and punished, but also those who were making the payments because it wasn’t those people going to the treasury to grab the money. Secondly, the projects that you are listing as palliatives and so on, it is not just to list of them - you have to be really convincing that you have the resources to do this. The only way we can get the resources is to throw away that old sense of ‘you don’t want to borrow, it’s not your own money’ and so on… No country has done that. Even the countries that have financial crisis today, they’ve built up their economy, they’ve built up their industries; it’s a question of monetary and fiscal management to re-organise themselves. So, we can’t compare them and say look at Greece, look at that. That’s not the right comparison. The time we should have gone from ANAMCO, in Kaduna to 50, 60, 70 per cent, we should have our own buses now. We started the Volkswagen with Brazil, we started Ajaokuta stell complex, it’s unfinished. Those are the areas that require the right kind of funds… It’s not just by mentioning billions of naira and we think that is enough to build the quality infrastructure or the quality factory and the quality roads or something. That is why these funds are necessary and once the benefits outweigh the cost, you continue to fund. That is why these institutions are there. We have lost a lot by that sort of general ignorance and specific knowledge of those who make the policy. These were some of the things one tried to do at that time. I like to take you back. I recall that during IBB’s regime when the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was introduced, the social service sector… things like hospitals, schools and so on were starved of funds… (Cuts in) You see, ignorance is our biggest problem. You should not ask that question because I just gave you an answer. SAP denied nothing. We said we didn’t want to borrow, you understand. And you hear this all the time. We have to “unlearn” it if we are going to see our way through. It’s like saying budget denied or plan denied. There’s no such thing. We threw it open to debate and people said they don’t want this. The World Bank gave some money to assist and the IMF said, no we won’t have anything to do with it. And that is the truth. But there is some cancer in the brain here; we can’t let it go no matter how often one explains. Perhaps, that mindset of Nigerians arises from the dictum that he who goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing… That doesn’t make any sense in development terms. Why are
“Deregulation does not mean allowing some people to import finished goods. Deregulation means the ability to open up the forces behind demand and supply. If you just deregulate an element of supply, which is the import source, and you don’t provide for how the domestic supplier will also respond to the price and the demand; that is not deregulation! That is creating distortion.” there financial institutions all over the world? Why do you think they are there? Why do you think there are financial institutions that are lending billions and billions and some countries come and take what they can use. And some other countries that can take five times and say we don’t want, we don’t want! On the other hand they want to be among the top 20, they want to have this, they want to have that. It’s irrational, it doesn’t make any sense; we ought to grow out of that. I wrote the reform programme; I never called it SAP, believe it or not. At first I was part of a group that did the Structural Adjustment Programme for South Korea when I was at the World Bank. But the one I wrote for Nigeria I didn’t need to call it any name. I knew what we needed to do about our tax, our tariffs, even the land decree was the first item in my paper. What do we do about our exchange rate, what do we do about our borrowing, how do we revitalise industries that could not buy spare-parts; those are things you needed those funds for. But when you say you don’t want the funds, how can you say and they denied this and denied that? Denied them what? They didn’t deny them anything. It was the people who decided that they didn’t want the IMF loan and the leadership could not feel strong enough to go ahead. I stayed three months in Ministry of Finance and was moved to planning. In fact, I was supposed to have been fired and I kept saying well, this is not what I said we should do. Then we were to com-
bine the ministries, I was to go back there, I was then taken to the Ministry of Transport. So this is the time to tell ourselves the truth. SAP didn’t do anything. There were mistakes with the way the foreign exchange market was managed as I told you. I wanted a discreet adjustment and then we fund the programme and funding the programme means you mobilise your savings, you mobilise other funds that make sense, in terms of the cost benefits. But if you don’t mobilise these funds, where would they have got the funds to give to all these sectors? I hope you understand what I’m saying. I have been giving this public enlightenment for 20 years now. The misunderstanding is the biggest problem we have. I think the issue of misunderstanding arises as a failure of the leadership to communicate the ideal… I guess one is right to say so. But it’s also because the professionals outside government didn’t do their job. You see, when the World Bank suggested that we should adjust our exchange rate, this is like you go to Jankara market and you see somebody who is putting up their price, and you say, ‘listen, you better adjust your price, because you can sell.’ Of course, in the market you don’t have to tell the guy, because what happens is other people will just go elsewhere. Or if you put your price too low, they will come and buy it up and go and set it up right by you. You don’t need anybody to tell you. The advice they (World Bank and IMF) can give you is for you to take or
leave it. The advice they give you is because of their superior expertise on something that would help you. That is why those of us who worked there (I worked at the World Bank for eight years) we help the countries depending on the structure of their economies. And when they do that, the Bank and the Fund are happy and they applaud them, you understand? But all these negative things, I’m used to hearing it from people from outside. They just look at us and say maybe these people don’t understand and we continue with the same thing. I heard them even in the protest rally few days ago blaming the IMF. And I ask myself, where did the IMF come into this subsidy thing now? They asked Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that even on the television! I was amused… (laughs) because I’ve been given the same question. It is stark ignorance. There is no substance to it whatsoever. You said you want government to go back to the drawing board... (Cuts in) Yes, I think 100 per cent withdrawal is too high for the structure of the economy. They can decide how much of that they want to do – 25 or 30 per cent. I mean you look at the indicators, a kind of growth you are projecting and so on. Of course, when you even look at the growth you are projecting, that growth does not impact on everybody evenly, you understand. But whatever is the case, the history you look at, in any country, I have never seen any such steep adjustment in one budget. It’s not done. Secondly, they should go back and see how they can really mobilise funds. You see where the other issue comes in: mobilise funds; that is how much faster you can improve the buses and trains, improve roads, education and health. You are not going to do these things because you wrote them down in some item document and say you will do this and that and everybody is singing it around the whole place. One year later, we are just going to be sorry and the people who put it there would have excuses to give you why they didn’t do it. But the real thing is that it is just deception, the resources are not there. It is to mobilise those resources that is why you have to go and take loan. As soon as you know that the terms are better than what you should get or the benefits outweigh the cost, it is that differential that constitutes the source of growth. In the 2012 N4.2 trillion budget, government is devoting at least 72 per cent to recurrent expenditure
and leaving a paltry 28 per cent to capital expenditure. Is this a wise decision? Well, I have spoken up against that. We have allowed this to happen over the years. Government now has a responsibility to take some drastic decisions. I don’t think that it is right to blame it on the federal system. You can adopt a structure but you should know how to adapt that structure to your own resources. We are the ones running it top heavy. I suggested in one outing that in fact, what we should do is to revert that recurrent to 50 per cent and then for anybody to now argue for why it should be higher than that, you have to look at each additional one per cent critically whether it is worth it or not. Certainly, we should not allow it to go above 70 per cent for awhile and then thereafter, it should come even further down. So everybody knows that. The next thing you hear is that they are setting up committees with assistants and this and that. The whole thing is just like a circus show. So the recurrent is too heavy as a proportion of the total budget, it should be about half of it. I know it’s not going to be easy. Again, we are talking about how you’ll phase this. You can phase this down to 50 per cent, may be in two, three years. It is not something you can just wake up and cut down. Like the minister was also explaining, you’re talking about human beings, we hope, and not just ghost workers, or ghost pensioners or whatever. Nonetheless, things are phased because you’re dealing with humans; you’re dealing with institutions so it is not so easy to cut down. So that is another argument for saying there is no way one should have contemplated just taking off this in one fell swoop. The argument is not ‘no we want deregulation’ or ‘we don’t want deregulation’ - that is not the issue. All the debates have been wrongly focused. The real focus should be how much you should adjust that makes sense in the circumstances. The other issue is that government has also proposed to fund N794 billion of its 2012 budget through domestic debt as well as earmarked N560billion for debt servicing. This is even as the country’s total debt stands at about $40billion. Given the situation, don’t you think this may render the economy insolvent? Those things don’t mean anything. Most countries have much more bigger debts. You see, there is supposed to be growth, you start from your resource base. Your debt can be growing, but in relation to your income it could be declining. It is like your debt may be two, your income may be five, it means your debt is like 40 per cent, your income can get to seven and your debt can be three. So three/seven is already lower and so on and so forth. So, you can focus on the debt, but what you should focus on is that you’re making money. If you’re making money, it means you’re covering your debt service. Debt service is the critical thing. America doesn’t talk about its debts; they have the biggest debt. This year already they have added $1trillion to their debts again. Servicing the debts is an important thing. That is why it was not a good idea to carry $14 or $16billion to say we are going to pay off our debts. Paying off your debts at your level doesn’t mean anything because in order to grow you still have to go and borrow bigger. •Continued on Page 67
Copa del Rey quarter
CITY'S SILVA TO RETURN FOR WIGAN CLASH
Sunday, JANUARY 15, 2012
SET TO SHOCK MILAN
NATIONSPORT SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
ITALIAN SERIE A
the bounce, something they had not achieved since Jose Mourinho's time in May 2010. A disastrous start under Gian Piero Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri's early problems suggested qualifying for Europe could be a struggle, let alone going for the Scudetto, but the tide has turned. A win would put the Nerazzurri within five points of their city rivals and burst the race wide open at not even the
NTER striker Diego Forlan is looking forward to experiencing his first Milan derby tonight.“Everyone who has played in the game has told me about the special atmosphere,” the 32-year-old told Sky Sport Italia. “I've always wanted to play in these types of games and I just can't wait for the match to actually start.”The Uruguayan international joined the Nerazzurri in the summer after the Italian club sold Samuel Eto'o to Anzhi. Forlan has struggled to get a game for the club so far though after being hampered by a number of fitness issues. The South American has scored one goal in eight Serie A appearances even if he has started just six ties.
ANCHESTER CITY assistant manager David Platt has confirmed he expects David Silva to be fit for Monday's trip to Wigan. The brilliant Spain midfielder suffered a blow to his ankle in Sunday's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United that ruled him out of the midweek Carling Cup reverse to Liverpool. Silva is currently back in Spain having treatment but after scans revealed there was no major damage, Platt is expecting him to be involved in the Barclays Premier League clash at the DW Stadium. "David did a bit of running yesterday and will do a bit more today," said Platt. "Hopefully he will be back on the training pitch tomorrow." However, Platt conceded that striker Mario Balotelli, who aggravated an ankle injury against Liverpool, was more of a doubt. "Maybe. But that's all it is, a maybe," he added. Meanwhile, Platt has raised the possibility of Carlos Tevez playing for the club again, even though it is widely anticipated his move to AC Milan will be revived despite the collapse of
ARCELONA coach Pep Guardiola believes his team's clash with Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey will be a thrilling spectacle for fans of both clubs. Barca secured their last-eight spot with a 21 win at Osasuna Thursday night to go
Frenchman will make his first league start for the club in five years remains to be seen as Arsene Wenger can confirm that Robin van Persie will be making the coach trip down to Wales. The flying Dutchman has scored 17 of Arsenal's 36 goals this season and since he has been rested Arsenal have looked to be lacking badly in front of goal. But given that Swansea have a good home record and only one side Manchester United have managed to secure three points on their own patch this season, he will surely be in the starting XI. Chances for Arsenal are likely to
talks with City on Thursday. "Stranger things have happened," said Platt. Silva, meanwhile, has played down City's recent blip in form that has seen them lose three games in four. He told the Sun: "One thing is certain: we have failed in two consecutive home matches against big clubs. "But I do not think these setbacks are that significant or that City are a club in crisis. The season is very long and any club can suffer defeats. Of course our priority is the league.
be few and far between judging on Swansea's performances in front of their own fans, and van Persie is the one player who can be relied upon to take an opportunity that presents itself.
GUTI MULLING OVER HOMECOMING
Premier League Fixtures Newcastle Swansea Wigan
Sunday vs vs MONDAY vs
QPR Arsenal Man City
WILLIAMS READY FOR GUNNERS' DUO
WANSEA star Ashley Williams is relishing the challenge of keeping Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry quiet this weekend when Arsenal arrives at the Liberty Stadium. Van Persie and Henry could link up for the first time against the Swans after the legendary Frenchman made his sensational return to the Emirates on loan from New York Red Bulls. Henry announced
his return to Arsenal in style when he came off the bench to score the winner in the FA Cup third round tie with Leeds, while Van Persie is set to return to the side after being allowed to miss Monday's clash. Swansea boasts the best joint defensive record at home, having conceded just four goals in front of their own fans and they have only lost one game on their own patch. That record will be facing a severe test against Van Persie, Henry and co, but Williams is confident Swansea can maintain their fine home form. "Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the league and he has been brilliant for them this season," Williams told skysports.com.
ON GRANERO, FORLÁN
Pardew and his staff, Newcastle go into the NEWCASTLE televised game full of confidence after back to wins over Blackburn Rovers and FEARS HUGHES' back Manchester United. “Sometimes it's quite difficult you do your FACTOR AT QPR preparation work in the lead up to a game, but
when a new manager comes in, you don't OHN Carver's wary of the Mark who they're going to pick, or what Hughes' factor when Queens Park know system they'll use,” Carver told the Gazette. Rangers visit St James Park. “So what we've got to do is concentrate on But Newcastle United's assistant ourselves. We've got to be prepared and ready manager is confident Alan Pardew's for the game. One thing Mark Hughes will side can make it three wins in a row bring is organisation and stability, then he'll tonight. look to progress the club. He's already said Hughes succeeded Neil he could have one or two new faces Warnock as QPR manager before the time they play us. this week, and could “There's Alex, who's on the have at least one new transfer list at Chelsea, so that face in his line-up for could happen quite quickly. their visit to Tyneside, But as I said, we've got to with the club having concentrate on ourselves. We bidded for Chelsea know what happens when a defender Alex. new manager comes in, and While Hughes' we dealt with QPR quite well appointment last year at Loftus Road after represents a Neil Warnock brought in •Hughes challenge to several new players.”
through 6-1 on aggregate and book a two-legged meeting with Jose Mourinho's side, who progressed after a 4-2 aggregate win over Malaga. The first leg will be played at Madrid's Bernabeu stadium on January 18, and Guardiola is looking forward to the occasion.
"Real Madrid are a great rival. It will be beautiful and exciting for the spectators," Guardiola told Barcelona's official website. "Both them and us are teams that, no matter what competition we are playing in, we always try to win." However, Guardiola played down any effect the tie may have on the race for the Primera Division title, which Real lead by five points. UTI is say." He added: "It seems as considering an though whatever the Preference offer to return to After spending 15 seasons result, the world ends at Spanish football and play that moment. in the Real Madrid firstfor Real Zaragoza after failing to find a club since team squad, Guti left in "Whether we go through 2010 to play for Besiktas but or not, the games in the leaving Besiktas. he made only 23 appear league are assured. The veteran Spain ances. international midfielder "When you play teams stated that he wanted to try like Real Madrid the a new culture and lifestyle possibilities of winning rather than play in the and losing are Primera Liga again when he always there. left Turkey. "If we were Now, though, Zaragoza five points have given Guti the ahead we'd go opportunity to play at the in to this tie to highest level and he has win it just as we admitted that it could be an will go to win it option. being five points "It is true that Zaragoza behind, just like have been in contact with Real Madrid me," the former Real would. Madrid star posted on his Twitter account. "We are two teams and two "At the moment though institutions that try there is nothing more to to win everything they play." MÁLAGA SET SIGHTS
RSENAL will be aiming to get back into the Premier League's top four with victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium tonight, and make them 1.8 shots to win a tough away tie. The Gunners trail fourthplaced Chelsea by one point after losing 2-1 to Fulham in their last league start, but regained some confidence with a 1-0 win over Leeds in the FA Cup thanks to a magical goal from returning hero Thierry Henry. Whether the on-loan
halfway stage of the competition. Wesley Sneijder, Dejan Stankovic and Diego Forlan all hope to be fit enough for at least a spot on the bench on tonight. Sulley Ali Muntari is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty, but was not expected to feature anyway. Diego Milito finally rediscovered his scoring touch by netting three in the last two games, while Ricky Alvarez is finding his feet on the left side of midfield.
despite the gap in the standings, the Nerazzurri are in form having won their last five in Serie A. “I'm loving the atmosphere in the city ahead of the derby,” continued the Ghana international. “Everyone is crazy for it.” Milan are presently joint top with Juventus and the former Portsmouth man has been impressed by the Bianconeri. “I really enjoy myself when I watch their games,” he continued.
BOATEN CITY'S SILVA TO G TARGET RETURN FOR S INTER K O WIGAN CLASH
ILAN midfielder KevinPrince Boateng is eager to end Inter's Scudetto chances in this weekend's derby. The Nerazzurri are presently in fifth place and a loss to the Rossoneri would see them fall a massive 11 points behind the leaders. “We are the strongest team and we want to take Inter out of the Scudetto equation,” the midfielder told Tuttosport. The San Siro showdown is being eagerly awaited in Italy as,
INTER SET TO SHOCK MILAN
HE Derby della Madonnina is wide open, as both clubs are on exceptional form and Inter can sensationally get back into the Scudetto race. This is always perhaps the biggest fixture in the Italian calendar and it could not have come at a better time for football fans, no matter who they support. Milan are unbeaten in 12, including 10 victories, in which they have scored 32 goals and conceded just eight. They are the joint Serie A leaders alongside unbeaten Juventus and the reigning title holders. On the other hand, Inter have won their last five on
Copa del Rey quarter
ÁLAGA are ready to spend big again in the January transfer market and have set their sights on both Esteban Granero of Real Madrid and Inter Milan's Diego Forlán, according to a report in Marca. Boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking to strengthen his squad in a bid to finish in a European spot this season and having captured goalkeeper Carlos Kameni from Espanyol he is now searching for a central midfielder and a striker. Granero's name has been linked with the Costa del Sol club for the past few months and he is well known to Pellegrini, who was instrumental in bringing him back to the Bernabéu after Madrid exercised their buyback option of €4m when he was with Getafe. The Chilean has already decided he will jettison the temperamental Apoño from his squad and sees 24-year-old Granero, who has not been getting the number of minutes he would like from boss José Mourinho this campaign, as the ideal replacement.
SPANISH LA LIGA Fixtures
Atlético Osasuna Athletic Gijón Barcelona
SUNDAY vs vs vs vs vs
Villarreal Racing Levante Málaga Real Betis
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Kehinde Falode Tel: 08023689894 (sms)
•Bp cork wedgex
•Yves-Saint Laurent satin Peep Toe shoe
•Sexy! Givenchy GÇÖs women GÇÖs wedge shoes are usually not this avant-garde
Walk 2012 in style A
S we have discussed in Invogue about the clothes, jewelry and bags, it is time to talk about shoes for 2012. As we all know, shoes enhance the attractiveness of legs and stylish dress. And no other set of shoes will capture the imagination of fashion buffs this new season as gladiators, sneakers, peep toe shoes, wedge, flat, stilettos and strap sandals. Nothing guarantees you that special look than stylish and perfectly cut shoes. I have always believed that a beautiful shoe is useless unless it feels as wonderful as it looks. So, make sure that they fit properly in the store before paying for it. Below are some of shoes that will capture the imagination this year. *knee-length boots All hail the return of the stunning and perfectly fitting knee-length boots!
*Stilettos Everything you could want in a pair of sexy high heels, from strap sandals, peep toe to covered shoes. Stilettos, after the 80s disappeared and reappeared they are the most elegant shoes for 2012. They are a must have for women of style, who need to look classy and different. *Flat shoes These well-balanced, trendy and funky shoes are another women foot wear that cannot go out of fashion. The pattern and style may vary per season, but the flat shoes will forever remain in fashion. *Pump metallic These shoes have had almost the same shape for ages without changing. It is a fashion material that women can't get tired of. *Bow shoes Otherwise known as butterfly shoes is the new trend in town.
*Sneaker shoes *To-match shoes and bags Sneakers with heels- (Italian shoes) their elevation may differ Though they are fading out in centimeters and mainly because of the colourthickness. blocking era; nevertheless, these set of bags and shoes have their *Peep toe shoes popularity too. Italian shoes with It is a simple yet solid shoe matching pair of a bag are the that allows a lady to show off high shindig favourite to watch her lovely feet while just out for. They are forever getting revealing a bit of the toes. more stylish and designers are experimenting with mix fabric. *Wedge shoes *Gladiator shoes There are three varieties of wedge that are in vogue now: the Strappy gladiators have their wedge sandal, wedge shoes and roots in ancient Rome and the wedge slippers. A wedge shoe Greece where people wore them is guaranteed to make you look to war. Today's gladiators are chic. more stylish and are usually worn with skirts and knee length dresses. Certain basics are essential while wearing gladiator shoes such as taking care of your feet and sometimes painting your nails, since your feet will get quite some attention when wearing these strappy shoes.
•Pump metallic shoes
•Sensational Splurge patent leather wedge sandals with cork sole from Sergio Rossi
•Tory Burch Black Wedge slippers
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
•Wedge heel shoes
•Christian louboutin lucifer bow stilettos
DIY pedicure I
•Although Diego Dolcini is a busy man with Dolce & Gabbana he GÇÖs had time to create a little shoe action with his own stravagan
•Checkout Chief Nike Akande tiny bag
N this period of 'holiday' when most of us are bored, why don't you take a little time out and give yourself a pedicure? Save money for fuel/transport and don't spend thousands at the nail salon, do it at home. Get all the tools together that you will need-Nail Polish remover, Basin filled with warm water to soak your feet, Epsom salt or peppermint foot soaks, Toe nail clipper, Nail file, Cuticle moisturizer (optional, but necessary for a high end pedicure) Cotton balls or toe separator, Base coat, Nail polish, Top coat, Foot pumice buffer. This should be a fun relaxing thing to do for yourself. Have fun! Method •Remove any nail polish that you might have on.
•Filled a big bowl/basin with warm water to soak your feet •Add epsom salt or store bought product to warm water and soak your feet at least 15-20 minutes. The longer the better especially if your feet are hard and rough on the bottom. •Clip toenails with clipper. •Then smooth them with nail file. Also gently push back cuticles and use a cuticle moisturizer if they are still hard. •2012-Womens-Shoes
•Knee lenght boot
•If you have rough feet, use a special scraper to remove dead skin. •Dry feet and toes thoroughly. •Apply base coat and wait for it to dry completely. Next, apply the nail polish and finally the top coat. •Don't forget the cotton or toe separator. •Also be sure to wait at least an hour before putting on shoes so you don't mess up your new toes.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
•Selina turquoise blue high waist skirt
•L’Wren Scott high waisted skirt
Copy her look
HE talented, Creative Director of fashion label, House of Nwocha, Ugonna Omeruo, always stands out in the boldest of colours. She is never afraid to try new things and always hits the right note. Most celebs don’t always find the right balance on the red carpet. Ugonna looks glamorous in this two tone pink and turquoise blue dress paired with simple small studs, chunky costume necklace, simple clutch purse and a 2011 Giuseppe Zanotti turquoise blue platform wedge shoes. Like Ugonna, add sparkle with bold chunky necklace that set off close-knit beads and enhances the dress’s high neck style. She’s sensational without being fussy! Style is all about bringing a fashion vibe with a fresh twist.
•Draw attention to your lovely neckline with these statement making chunky necklaces. As you can see bigger is better. So be bold!
•Copy Ugonna’s two tone dress in a glossy pink blouse and high waisted turquoise blue skirt. Selina turquoise blue high waist skirt
One of the most distinctive shoe styles of 2011 have been Giuseppe Zanotti‘s extreme style turquoise blue platform wedge styles.
•Pink glossy clutch
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
As we all know, red carpets are serious fashion affairs and boundaries are often pushed. Kehinde Falode brings for your delight some red carpets hits and misses. Photos by Olusegun Rapheal
What was Yeni Kuti thinking??? Somebody should sack her stylist. Oops!
Queen Aniva is a tale of two halves, sleek and cool like a melting iceberg in combo. Part of me loved it, especially the top part of the dress (as well as her vibrant curly hair and make-up) but I wish the dress had been an all-in-one column and not bisected by an unflattering pleats. Kudos!
Bisi Towery-Coker looks amazing. She has such poise. This top and her combination power really backs that up. Kudos!
Olabisi Emeruwa looked beautiful in her animal prints blouse and jeggings pants. Her minimal hairdo and natural make-up also do justice to her totally. Kudos!
The extra-junkie, long beaded necklace was an over-kill. Without it, Princess Thomas would have looked great. Oops!
Sola Ogunbanjo looks casual and chic in this outfit, Kudos!
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Favourite wrist watch Cartier and Rolex
One of Nollywood’s best, daring Tonto Dikeh reveals her top ten things to Kehinde Falode
Favourite TV channel
Favourite makeup kit Mac makeup kit
Favourite shoes designer
Crime and investigation
Favourite food Fufu and burnt okro soup with lots of sea foods in it
Favourite bag designers Gucci and Louis Vuitton
Favourite holidayspot Paris
Favourite drink Vodka
Favourite colour Pink
Favourite wallet Gucci and DKNY
With VICTOR AKANDE
HAT’s your background? I think people already know about me but for those who don't know, I am from Imo State. I had my primary education in Port Harcourt and I went to Federal Government Girls College, Abuloma in Port Harcourt, same school as Agbani Darego. The school is a breeding ground for a lot of people. I went to Benson Idahosa University where I studied International Relations and Diplomacy. I did my Youth Service in Rivers State as well. I think my journey of life just revolves round Rivers State. Having studied International Relations, why did you choose to do music? I chose music because I like it. I like music generally, not just rap alone. Music is very personal to me. How well did your family accept your choice of music? I have the most amazing family. They support me in everything that I do. I like the fact that I have people who love me, care about me and want to see me succeed. I feel like the sky is just my stepping stone because my family is behind me. It's ok to do it on your own but once your family is behind you that is the best thing you can ever ask for. From Munachi the beauty queen to Munachi the rap artiste; what is it like? I am just going back to who I used to be before I became the queen without losing the queenly attitude, poise and glamour. I am combining everything into one person. There is this story that you used to be a member of the group called the Ijaw Boys; how true is that? No, it is not true. I don't know who put that information on Wikipedia. I wasn't a member of Ijaw Boys. They were just my friends and we used to rap together. The first group I actually did a song with were from Port Harcourt. A friend of mine found out that I could rap and introduced me to them and that was how I did the first thing I can call rap. You were already rapping before you became a beauty queen. How much of rap were you doing then? I was rapping before I wore the crown but nobody knew my name. They were already playing the song I did with Specimen A in Port Harcourt and a song I did with Terry D'Rapman just before I became queen in 2007. Just a few people knew I was the same person that was on those songs with the artistes. Most female rappers are known to possess the attitude of a tomboy; how do you intend to blend your elegance with the rap swag? As long as I still bear my feminine features, I think you can tell I am a female. Being a rapper doesn't mean that you have to be a gangster. You can still be nice and feminine and do what you do. I think Nicki Minaj is doing that so everybody can relate with that. I don't have to change anything
I am not a vain person. I am the low-key kind of person. I don't know what people perceive beauty queens to be. We are human beings; it's just the crown and it is not as if the crown is made of real diamonds.
After her reign in 2007 as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, most people expected less from her. But Munachi Abii was quick to shake cynics off when she started appearing on shows and singles as a rap artiste. Munachi, who put up a stellar performance at the last Headies (Hip hop World Awards) talks about her life, career, and other issues in this chat with MERCY MICHAEL. Excerpt…
Being a rapper doesn't make me a gangster —Munachi —Munachi Abii about myself. People see female rappers as tomboys but not all are like that. Sometimes, we have this persona that is kind of confrontational which is why people think that we are like that. I think it does help sometimes, because of the way the music goes. You cannot rap in a ball gown. Is your single entitled I feel Real a song about you? It's just a feel good song. It doesn't necessarily have to be about somebody in particular. I understand that you also write songs for other people, so I could call you Muna the rapper, the song writer and what else? Muna the artist because I sketch; Muna the song writer; Muna the rapper; Muna can sing and act; Muna the entrepreneur as well. I am a business woman; I am a rapper, a singer, an entertainer, and a brand. Does it bother you that for artistes to break even, to a large extent, they must show some flesh? No, you don't have to do all those things to sell. It also depends on what you are singing about. You cannot be singing Touch My Body and you're wearing a gown. It depends on what you want to do and how you want to go about it. I have no problem with how people want to sell their music as long as they are true to themselves and they are happy with what they are doing. As an ex-beauty queen, it is believed that everything about you must be expensive. Is that always so with you? I am not particular about acquiring material things; I am not a vain person. I am a low-key kind of person. I don't know what people perceive beauty queens to be. We are human beings; it's just the crown and it is not as if the crown is made of real diamonds. I am not different from anybody else. I have problems too. There are days I
don't have money too and there days I have. Have you ever thought about practicing what you studied in school? Being in show-business or being an entertainer, one way or the other is a kind of International Relations. It depends on how you approach showbiz. If you are just there to entertain, that is fine. If you are also using that to pursue other causes, better. So, either way, my course comes into play. Who is the man in your life? I can't tell you that. Do you get disturbed by the fact that a lot of musicians in Nigeria do so much but get so little that they practically have to depend on shows to make something out of their music careers? It does because I am in the industry too. I really don't want to depend on shows to make ends meet. It is a terrible thing because these past years, there were no shows that much and it is quite depressing. It is sad. I pray that more avenues will open up for us to make more money other than shows. I wish more companies will come and invest in Nigeria so we can have more endorsement deals. I pray that things will change. What was it like growing up in Port Harcourt? I grew up in Port Harcourt and my grandmother used to live in Imo State. So, I used to go to Imo State to stay with her. My mom used to work in a bank so she did not really have time. Most holidays like Christmas, I would go to the village or Imo State to stay with my grandmother and that was how I learnt to speak Igbo. How do you handle the fact that people link you romantically with different guys? To be honest with you, whatever they do in their spare time does not bother me. Everybody will always have their different opinions about you.
9ice's dwindling star
ONG O Aso croone r, 9ice also fondly referred to as Alapomeji by fans, may fast be losing face on the music scene for his inconsistent stage craft. It would be recalled that the artiste's first international performance at Mandela's Birthday in South Africa was adjudged by many as a washout and for several weeks, he was under serious criticism by fans and critics alike. He went ahead to release Tradition which was partially accepted on the Nigeria music scene but except for massive air-play on radio across the country, the album would have been unpopular. Now, 9ice may have disappointed some of his fans again when the artiste, yet to perform at any major concert since the release of his double album, joined the mammoth crowd consisting of a number of artistes to address protesters at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Lagos on Monday. Spotted among the crowd at the Freedom Park, ever before the artiste was handed the microphone to address the protesters, fans kept screaming to have him on stage. But, sadly, when he eventually maneuvered himself through the crowd and got on stage, 9ice couldn't entertain the excited crowd; his voice was so coarse and inaudible that he quickly dropped the mic and disappeared from the stage.
Chidinma releases debut album
TN Project Fame winner, Chidinma, has indeed come to stay and in her bid to prove this, she has just released her self-titled debut album Chidinma after her smashing hit single Jankoliko which was sponsored by organizers of the competition. The new album is gradually circulating on major radio stations across the country, and it is tipped to shake the music scene in 2012. Often referred to as small but mighty, Chindinma, with the success of Jankoliko is hoping to blaze the trail as one of the winners of the competition who may rule the music scene this year.
In the wake of the increase in the price of PMS, artistes have lent their weight to the ongoing protests around the country. One of them is Charles Oputa. With several decades in the entertainment industry, Charly Boy, as his alias goes, is known for his radical stance on issues. He spoke with VICTOR AKANDE, Entertainment Editor, on issues. relating to the ongoing crisis.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
HAT do you make of the brouhaha about fuel subsidy removal?
People are in dire need of someone who will lead their cause. I landed in Lagos three days ago and met about 15 Okada riders waiting for me at the airport. I had thought it was only one person who called me but he had gone to gather other people. They followed me to my hotel room and asked what could be done about the issue of the fuel subsidy removal. If it had been when we had Late Gani Fawehinmi, in my absence, they would have gone to his house. Also, people like Olisa Agbakoba would have risen to the situation, but I think he is quiet now. What do you intend to do now; protest the cause solely? No, I can not do it solely; it has even gone beyond that. Nobody can do this protest on his own and that, usually is the strategy they use in breaking us. If Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) can sustain a strike for just a week, then
e h t f o t v o This is g e h t r o f y greed y o B y l r a h C — y d e e r g
government would realise that things are no longer the same and it would be a starting point in the way businesses are run in the country. This cause should not be left to NLC alone, everybody should be involved. What is your position on the subsidy debate? I have always been prepared for this protest and I know the arguments for and against this situation. The issue is that who are the people to administer the money gotten from the removal of the fuel subsidy? Is it not the same people? These same people have shown great irresponsibility, no planning whatsoever and financial recklessness. If they were sincere, the President should have started with his own salary and allowances by cutting down his daily feeding allowance that runs into about N3m or N4m. Same goes for his ministers. He should block all avenues from which corruption thrives. In such instance, the need to remove the subsidy will not arise. But they do not have the strength and will to fight corruption. At the end of the day, no matter how good and positive their intentions are, corruption will still prevail, so we are back to square one. The fact that they are not leading by example is an important issue. What do you think is the problem? Is it that the President is headstrong, afraid of some people or it is a matter of ill-advice? It is all of the above. Jonathan as a person is a happy -go-lucky fellow. As a human being, I can say he is kind but as a leader, no way. We do not need the leadership of a nice person, we need a leader that will be like former President Olusegun Obasanjo or even worse than him. As a leader, you should be able to take an action and stand by it as long as it is favourable to the masses and face all the goliaths that are disturbing the progress of the nation. If he cannot face the goliaths, then he can not fight corruption. No matter how good he is, the bad people around him will spoil his goodness. Also, as a leader, it does not help if you surround yourselves with people who are only interested in making more money for themselves. They are the enemies of the State. I want to believe that as a leader, Jonathan wants to be remembered in the book of records as a President that stood out. But he can not do that because he does not even know the qualities of a good leader as he does not surround himself with technocrats who are worth their onions. We have good Nigerians who have served this nation and are still around that can contribute meaningfully to the growth of this country like my father and a whole lot of them. And this regime particularly is not even consulting with anyone as if we never had good people who have served this nation well and that can give advice on affairs of the nation. If you see the
The President should have started with his own salary and allowances by cutting down his daily feeding allowance that runs into about N3m or N4m. Same goes for his ministers. And also, he should block all avenues from which corruption thrives
kind of people running around in the Villa, then you will understand why the nation is being run like a domestic enterprise. Or is it that some of his advisors saw him grow through the ranks and as a result, he cannot look them in the face and say no to anti people policies? People like the Okonjo-Iweala who are privileged to work outside the shores and deal with important world leaders; come back into their country and look at the person who is supposed to be the head that lacks charisma, will-power and who is indecisive, they might say “Yes sir”. But if it’s me, I will not have total respect for that person. If I am employed for the sole purpose of adding value to a system in my environment, I will simply face my work because of enemies of the State who are in abundance and all over the place. I know that when you crown your leadership with no strategic plans, you will have an unfavourable situation. They threw bomb somewhere on Christmas day; I expected my President to go and visit the families affected and show great anger at the sad situation but at the time he opened his mouth, he was smiling. As it is, I do not think he has a clear-cut idea of what he should do. Do you think he has a second chance even now? Supposed he decides to revert to the old fuel price, do you think Nigerians will still trust him? He will have to go a step further because the distrust is so pungent right now. There were a lot of speculations as to when the removal would take place and there was no mention of it coming at the beginning of the year. Bringing it now is the height of insensitivity, Nigerians can never forget this. Do you know how many people are stranded in their villages? They all traveled to make merriment and are to come back to face school fees and other challenges and now they are faced with the removal of fuel subsidy. Even if he comes and says Nigerians have won and thus reverses the pump price, it will give more impetus to the fact that we should always agitate for our rights. The sharks and goliaths who are benefitting from all of this whom he said he can not fight are still in the system. That makes him a caged man as far as I am concerned because if he has that inner strength, he will be standing alone and take decisive steps. Even if he is given a second chance, Nigerians will approach it with a whole measure of suspicion. What do you think is the main agenda of these so called goliaths? Apart from greed, they are also politically packaged. I see the president as someone who thrives on luck because his whole campaign was based on luck and if you know anything about gambling, you will know that luck runs out. It is only planning that endures. So, if you base everything you do on luck, it must run out. Yes, indeed, the goliaths in the system who don't like him can create all of these and they will succeed because they know the quality of leadership they are dealing with. One of the institutions the President is fond of using is the entertainment industry, how well represented are the stakeholders in this industry at the various town hall meetings with the president’s men? Well, that is why I say government communication has been very ineffective because it is being handled by a bunch of unprofessional people who are only interested in quick fixes by sharing money to some
people and calming some sectors down. Such approach can never work and whether they include the music industry or not, it will not work because there is something faulty about their communication. As a communication expert, I must give it to them with all the good intention that they have, but the will to execute and kill corruption is lacking. And if you do not sort all that out, nothing will change. Right now, we are in a different era, an era of Blackberry and Facebook which increases the rate of awareness everyday. If something happens in a corner, give it some few minutes, everybody will know about it. So if the approach in carrying the masses along is to get some people by the side and settle them, it will not work. Then, as usual, you will only have some people living fat on this struggle. So what do you think seems to be the trouble with the Nollywood practitioners who have endorsed the removal of the fuel subsidy? There are two types of hunger: there is hunger of the pocket and there is hunger of the mind. We are living in a panic situation and people are wired differently. But I think what is happening is the kind of treachery and back stabbing that the environment has brought up and there are certain people who have decided to go and hide in their wardrobe. I am a street fighter. I was not born on the street, though I understand the politics of the street and the street is probably where I will die. If I become inactive tomorrow, God forbid, silence in this kind of unjust situation is ungodly. So, I am just being myself by talking and doing the best I can to see whether any change will come out of it. Other people feel that Nigeria does not belong to anybody, so they try to get whatever they can at the moment because like me also, they have a question mark about how their tomorrow will be. I am praying that there will come a time that a lot of this will change and if it does not, of course there must be a revolution to turn things around. What form of revolution do we pray for or what is the limit that we can take? I would desire a peaceful revolution, if there is anything like that, if we have a listening government. If per chance God comes down and asks for who can sacrifice on behalf of this nation in order for things to get really better, I will be among the people who will surrender. But with what I see, I do not think there is any way to shut these goliaths down except something happens to threaten their security, except when they come to the realization that
Goodluck Jonathan is a nice person but we do not need a nice or weak person. Infact, we need a belligerent dictator to whip everybody back into shape they can no longer blow siren whenever they drive. Like the Prime Minister of Britain, he does not blow siren and you do not know when he is passing. For that to happen, the fear of God must have gone into the hearts of our leaders and the only way it can happen is through some form of serious revolution. It is obvious that this is a government by the greedy for the greedy. The only way I know that human beings can get their right is to stand and fight for it. If I give up on this country now, where do I go? Look at how old I am. Why would some people push me out of this country? Why will they make me afraid to ask for my rights just because they do not want to do the right thing? Where would you place our security agencies in all of these? Are they really security agents? The situation is indeed laughable. I understand that at the end of the day, a lot of things have to do with our leadership. If you have a vibrant leader, necessary things will fall into place. People are saying now, they wish Olusegun Obasanjo was around and at the time he was ruling, a lot of us did not like him. We felt that he was obnoxious but he was a man that was decisive in his action. Goodluck Jonathan is a nice person but we do not need a nice or weak person. Infact, we need a belligerent dictator to whip everybody back into shape.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
his hand-towel. This Olu Maintain crowd threw the protesters into jubilations as they gives back to ecstatic shouted his praise. The artiste then showed his magnanimity by flinging at them, protesters! further other valuables like T-shirt,
ECENTLY, at the massive rally held at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos, thousands of musicians came out in droves to identify with the ongoing protest against the removal of fuel subsidy. One artiste that made his mark at the rally was Yahoozee crooner, Olu Maintain. After singing a few lines from his defunct group’s popular hit Ni bo la wa gbe lo which the excited crowd cheered frantically, the artiste reciprocated by first throwing at the
gold wrist-watch, gold necklace, and his snickers. Protesters indeed will not forget in a hurry the generous gestures of the artiste and his popularity may have been enhanced.
Bimbo Akintola, Desmond Elliot, others stand in for Nollywood
IDE Kosoko, Tunde Kelani, Kate Henshaw, Ronke Oshodi-Oke, Bimbo Akintola, Desmond Elliot, Toyin Aimakhu, Wale Adebayo aka Sango, among others, were some of the Nollywood actors and actresses spotted at the Ojota venue of the protest against the removal of fuel subsidy by the government. Following insinuations that some of them feed on largesse from the government of the day, these thespians decided to silence their critics by associating with the ongoing protest.
One of the very hilarious contributions was that of Nollywood actress, Toyin Aimakhu who gave the protesters a feel of Gbogbobiz girlz. She entertained the protesters even as she tried to encourage them not to relent in their struggle. In her words, “It is not he that begins a struggle that matters, but he that finishes it.” Comedienne Princess, Klint Da Drunk, Clever J, YQ, Shina Peters, Obesere, Skuki, Ayo Balogun, Oritse Femi, were some of the other artistes that joined the protest on Day 3.
OPULAR music reality show, Nigerian Idol, once again had millions of viewers glued to their TV sets across the country, when it presented the second batch of ten contestants among its top 30. They performed some of the globe's biggest songs to the delight and admiration of the audience and judges. Already, Chinedu, Nikki and Najite from the first batch are the first trio to make it into the top 10. There was no dull moment all through as ace producer, Samklef, joined the dynamic trio of judges Jeffrey Daniel, Yinka Davies and Charly Boy, and added a new vibe to the already entertaining show. First on the list of performers was the bold Jemiriye, who gave a strong rendition of Monica's hit Angel of Mine, followed by the booming Joe Blue whose rendition of Michael Bolton's classic How am I supposed to live without you earned him a standing ovation from the judges and audience. Next was CJ who got the audience to sing along with him in a mellowed and sweet version of the Bill Wither
hit Lean on Me. Lynda Giami escaped her shell to give an animated version of Another day in Paradise by Phil Collins. The suave Houston Grey brought John Legend to the Idol stage with a superb version of the hit Ordinary people. With How will I know, Ifeoma delivered a smooth performance of the popular Whitney Houston classic. However, it was the sassy Ibinabo Romeo, who increased the temperature with her dramatic show of Gloria Gaynor's I will Survive. The temperature also turned a notch higher as G Circuit gave an electrically charged performance of Usher's There goes my Baby. The smooth voiced Honey delivered an unbeatable take on Lionel Richie's Stuck on you that got Judge Yinka Davies close to tears and the audience responded with an extended ovation. The stunning Tega closed the performance with an emotionally charged performance of Mary J Blige's Be without you. “You can see that Nigerian Idol is heating up by the reactions of the audience to these talented performers”, explained Tiwa
Medubi, Project Manager of the hit show. “The show will only get better obviously; the Top 10 is coming up very soon and fans and viewers of the show will have the time of their lives, watching these extremely talented young people blossom into full fledged stars,” she said. According to www.nigerianidol.com, with the second batch of the top 30 concluded, the audience and fans finally have the chance to vote in their favourite contestants to go into the top 10. The voting lines close on Thursday and on Friday, viewers will find out the next trio to make it into the top 10. The top 10 will be unveiled early in February and the next Nigerian Idol will be crowned at a grand gala on the 1st of April, 2012. The next winner will join Yeka Onka as one of the Idol greats across the globe that include West Africa's Timi Dakolo and America's Jordin Sparks. Nigerian Idol is sponsored by Etisalat in association with Pepsi and Sony. It is supported by Air Nigeria, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Megalectrics (owners of Beat FM, Classic FM and Naija FM).
Has Ebube Nwagbo quit acting? Desmond
Why I gave Jonathan my wristwatch —Klint da drunk
IGERIANS have definitely not seen the end of the removal of fuel subsidy. Since the protest started on Monday, innuendos, jokes and the occasional metaphors have been pouring in from artistes and non artistes alike. Trust Nigerians, the happiest people
Klint da drunk
in the world, to make light of serious issues. One of the very hilarious jokes came from comedian Klint da drunk who was accused of giving out his wristwatch to President Goodluck Jonathan, sometime ago in PortHarcourt. When asked, the comedian was quick to put up a defense on the Podium of Freedom Park in Ojota jokingly saying, “point of correction, it wasn't in PortHarcourt but in Akwa-Ibom that I gave Jonathan my wristwatch and the reason I gave him my wrist-watch was to take his time”. Well said indeed. The protesters had something to smile about as they all burst out laughing while the comedian made his opinion known just like his other colleagues.
OLLYWOOD actress, Ebube Nwagbo launched her hair line, Posh, a 100% human hair in 2010. Since then, she has not been seen much in movies. What we do not know at the moment is if she has finally quit acting for her new found love. Though she made a statement when asked about her quitting
T is no longer news that star actress and mother of two, Oge Okoye, who has been off the movie scene for a while
acting, but response by the actress who is in her mid twenties seems to be confirming the obvious. Ebube Nwagbo, is a graduate of Mass Communication. She started her acting career in 2003 while she was still in school. She is also one of the Nollywood stars that were reported to have acquired wonders-on-wheels last year.
Oge Okoye relives work experience on Hollywood set is back in a new movie entitled Turning Point, starring alongside some Hollywood actors. The gist is that the talented actress has come out to share her experiences of the new movie which was shot in USA. She reveals that although she wasn't the original actress for that role, and although, she got the brief on a very short notice, she quickly jumped at the offer. “It was a wonderful experience working with
Hollywood stars and they really felt at home with us. That was my first time of shooting in America. I wasn't nervous but just excited, it was a great experience. “Though I had a little problem with my Director, we ended up as very good friends. I didn't have time to even read the script. The moment I arrived, she took me straight to location. I am an actress so I had to pull through,” she added.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Here comes Nnena & Friends' talent hunt
Nollywood divided over fuel subsidy C removal
URRENTLY, the Nigerian polity is heated up, not just with the strike action by a coalition of trade unions and civil society groups, but with a general call for the overhauling of the entire system of governance. A number of artistes courted one aspiring office holder or the other in the run up to the last elections in the country. They naturally expected that their candidates would listen to them on getting into office. When on Friday, December 30, a cross section of practitioners in the Nigerian movie industry gathered to the benefits of deregulation from presidential adviser, Oronto Douglas, little did they know that a bombshell awaited them come January 1. In the light of that, and in the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan coming on air to announce, among other things, a 25% cut in basic salary and reduction of foreign trips of government officials, but more importantly, a no-going-back stance on subsidy removal, a coalition of movie industry practitioners made up of actors, producers, screen writers, set designers et al, converged at the Artistes Village, National Theatre to voice their opinion on the issue. Pent up feelings seized the air as practitioners, one after another, spoke on the matter.. While some chose to take a middle ground arguing both for and against, two voices stood out as being pro subsidy removal -one of such was, Zack Orji who coordinated the activities. In the words of the veteran, subsidy removal can be likened to a pregnant woman who bears the pains of pregnancy for nine months, but at the end of those gruelling months, joy greets the news of the arrival of the tot. “That is the way I see it. I see it as a temporary thing that Nigerians will suffer in order to enjoy the benefits that are derivable from the programmes that have been laid down by the Federal Government. I look at the programmes and I say these are wonderful
programmes and I tell you this, there has never been such a wonderful programme in this country,” he said. Orator and celebrated filmmaker, Zik Zulu Okafor was also in favour of subsidy removal but with different points. His call for removal of subsidy, he said, dated back to 2009 when he, together with a colleague of his' produced a television programme called Energy this Week which focused on an incisive analysis of the oil industry in Nigeria and its inherent corruption. He said: “After this analysis, we urged the government to remove subsidy from oil. We are feeding a couple of men who have already made billions of naira in the name of importation to grab money that Nigeria makes. The Nigerian oil industry was in a pathetic state. The only opportunity Nigeria had to make money was through the local content bill,” he argued. “I look at the appointment of Diezani Allison Madueke on March 6, 2010 and I look at what they have done. First, the politics with the Nigerian local content act was removed. They killed that
We have nothing against the removal of subsidy. However, we are told that if we go through the pains now, we will enjoy later. The question is: will the government be sincere? Can we trust this government?
•Zik Zulu Okafor
politics and signed that bill into a law. Today, a Nigerian player in the oil industry can earn a lot of money. For the first time in the history of this industry, there is price uniformity. Now, the man has said that he wants to remove this subsidy, based on what they have done. They have started the gas revolution. Today, the gas industry is active. We will begin to earn more from it than from petroleum and they will be employing about three million Nigerians. Our gas reserves have been at its highest in the history of oil industry in Nigeria. Looking at all these, I think the removal of subsidy is welcome.” Segun Arinze, President of the Actors' Guild of Nigeria said that over the years, successive administrations have been engaged in a war of words over the issue of deregulation or removal of oil subsidy with promises that the benefits would be enjoyed at a later date. For him, there are more questions than answers. “We have nothing against the removal of subsidy. However, we are told that if we go through the pains now, we will enjoy later. The question is: will the government be sincere? Can we trust this government? Can the President and the National Assembly cut their expenses more? We are not asking for just 25% cut in basic salary. The cost of governance should be reduced. We believe that palliative measures like electricity should be put in place as soon as possible. There should also be adequate health care and transportation.“ As Chike Brian, President of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria put it, “government will, government will, government will. What has stopped government over the years from doing? Corruption, we all know is the biggest problem we have in this country. Nobody has told me what we are going to do about corruption. Let us not deceive ourselves that it is in our best interest that subsidy should be returned.”
RODIGIOUSLY gifted children in Nigeria have something wonderful to look forward to this New Year as one of the country's leading kids brand shows, Nnena & Friends, is set to launch a new talent show to discover and reward their endeavours. Organisers say the talent hunt is going to be for children between ages four and sixteen to showcase their skills in singing, playing musical instruments, acting, dance and choreography, jokes and story-telling, puppet show, juggling, acrobatics, drawing and painting, and other extracurricular activities. According to Nnena, the face of the talent hunt, the project is a world of opportunities for every child. Winner in each category will go home with N25,000.00 cash, while all selected candidates will enjoy national and international exposure. The auditions come up at the PEFTI Film Institute, Ajao Estate, Lagos on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8am. Nnena & Friends is an award-winning children's brand from Wale Adenuga Productions Limited.
Ill' Bliss features Timaya on new album
APPER Ill' Bliss has just concluded work on a new album entitled Double. Although the album is not officially set for release, the video on one of the hit tracks on the album is already out. The video which is currently circulating on major TV stations across the country features the Egberipapa One of Bayelsa, Timaya. Fans of the rapper who have been wondering what he has been up to in recent times can now heave a sigh of relief as he's obviously not relenting on his effort to make an impact in the music industry in 2012.
Entertainment Dstv guide
*Kingdom Against Kingdom Part 1&2: Ukadike is a leader who rules with an iron fist and enslaves his people. Not even Aku, with all his will and physical power could stop him. AFRICA MAGIC HAUSA (DStv Channel 117) Watch out for the Wednesday night premiere on Africa Magic Hausa. *Fatima Da Siyama: Siyama returns home after schooling in the United Kingdom to a marriage she doesn't want and which her father has arranged. She reneges on the arrangement and proffers him her childhood friend. A few months later she begins to feel jealous of the new couple and suddenly wants have been would-be husband back. AFRICA MAGIC PLUS (DStv Channel 115) *Princess Tyra (Part 1, 2 & 3): Princess Tyra is a classic tale of abuse of power. The proud and arrogant Princess Tyra, who is betrothed to Prince Kay, finds herself competing for the love and affection of the Prince with her own house help, Mefie. The discovery of Meffie's pregnancy triggers a chain reaction from the Princess's mother, which results in a series of untold consequences for Kay, Mefie and Ashley, the unexpected twin sister of Mefie. Starring Jackie Apphiah, Kofi Adjorlolo and Van Vicker. *King is Mine (Part 1 & 2): This movie tells the story of a young King who desperately desires an heir to his throne. He inherited a wife from his late brother and predecessor but after several attempts, she failed to bear him a male child. Now the king seeks a new mistress. The cast includes Nadia Buari, Jackie Appiah and John Dumelo. *Zan Boko: Is an emotional story of a village family swept up in the current tide of urbanisation. In doing so, Zan Boko expertly reveals the transformation of an agrarian, subsistence society into an industrialised commodity. This docudrama which is directed by Gaston Kaboré and stars Colette Kabore and Joseph Nikiema. *Totor aka The Turtle: It is about Mèntse, an orphan boy who meets his alcoholic father several times without ever speaking to him, and who is finally taken in by pygmies. In the pygmy village he makes friends with Ngâ'nsi, a young orphan like him who has extraordinary divining powers. DStv audiences can watch it on Thursday 26 January at 8:05 pm.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
PICTURE Supported by: SILVERBIRD CINEMAS
Intrigues permeate The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
RAMA/THRILLER takes another dimension in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Adapted from Stieg Larsson's Swedish-language novel of the same name , and directed by David Fincher , the film stars Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander and tells the story of a man's mission to find out what has happened to a girl who has been missing for 40 years, and who may have been murdered. In the flick, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), co-owner and writer of Millennium magazine, has just lost a libel case against crooked businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström, for which he must pay 600,000 Swedish kronor (approximately 87,000 USD) in damages. Meanwhile, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a researcher for Milton Security and a computer
hacker, has compiled a very extensive background check on Blomkvist for Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), retired CEO of Vanger Industries, for a job that Henrik wants him to perform. Despite the recent scandal, Salander passes Blomkvist as "clean." Blomkvist receives a phone call from Henrik's lawyer, Dirch Frode (Steven Berkoff), summoning him to the Vanger estate at Hedeby Island in Hedestad. Blomkvist reluctantly meets Henrik, who offers him two jobs: to write a Vanger family history, and, using the information provided by Henrik for the memoir, to solve the murder of his niece Harriet Vanger, who disappeared almost 40 years previously; Henrik is convinced that one of the family killed her. He reveals that someone he believes to be the killer has been sending him pressed flowers, which Harriet had always given him on his birthday. He says he will pay Blomkvist handsomely for this job, but Blomkvist agrees only when he promises to give him damning information about Wennerström, who is Henrik's former employee. Meanwhile, Salander, who is a ward of the state, despite being in her twenties, due to diagnosed mental incompetency, goes to visit her legal guardian, Holger Palmgren, only to discover that he has suffered a stroke. Her new guardian, lawyer Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen), seizes control of Salander's finances and issues her a monthly allowance, which angers Salander, as Palmgren allowed her to manage her own finances. Blomkvist gets to work right away, staying in a cottage that Henrik provides, meanwhile Salander has to go into blackmailing with Bjurman who rapes and sodomizes her.
Ghost Protocol stirs up excitement in Mi4
ISSION Impossible: Ghost Protocol is a 2011 action spy film, and the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible series is director, Brad Bird's first live-action film in which Tom Cruise reprises his role of IMF Agent Ethan Hunt. On assignment in Budapest to intercept a courier working for a person of interest codenamed "Cobalt", IMF agent Trevor Hanaway is killed by assassin Sabine Moreau. Hanaway's team leader, Jane Carter, and newly promoted field agent Benji Dunn extract Ethan Hunt and Hunt's source Bogdan from a Moscow prison. Hunt is recruited to lead Carter and Dunn to infiltrate the secret Moscow Kremlin archives and locate files identifying Cobalt. During the mission, someone broadcasts across the IMF frequency, alerting the Russians to Hunt's team. Although Dunn and Carter escape, a bomb destroys the Kremlin, and Russian agent Sidirov arrests Hunt, suspecting him as part of the attack. The IMF extracts Hunt from Moscow. The Russians have called the attack an undeclared act of war, and the US president activates "Ghost Protocol", a black operation contingency that disavows the entire IMF. Hunt and his team are to take the blame for the attack, but they will be allowed to escape from
government custody so that they may track down Cobalt. A 2011 action spy film, Ghost Protocol was written by André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, and produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams (director of the third film) and Bryan Burk. It is the first Mission: Impossible movie to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras.
Colombiana Genre: Action/Adventure Lagos, Port-Harcourt ******************************* Abduction Genre: Action/Adventure Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja ******************************* Tower Heist Genre: Action/Adventure Lagos ******************************* In Time Genre: Action/Adventure Lagos, Port-Harcourt ******************************* RA. One Genre: Action/Adventure Lagos ******************************* Johnny English Reborn Genre: Action/Adventure Lagos, Port-Harcourt ******************************* Friends with Benefits Genre: Suspense/Horror Lagos, Abuja ******************************* Suing the Devil Genre: Suspense/Horror Lagos ******************************* Dolphin Tale Genre: Drama Lagos, Port-Harcourt ******************************* The Change Up Genre: Comedy Port-Harcourt ******************************* What's your Number Genre: Comedy Port-Harcourt, Abuja ******************************* Gossip Nation Genre: Drama Abuja ******************************* Contagion Genre: Action/Adventure Abuja ******************************* The Smurfs Genre: Science Fiction Abuja
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Another messy Hollywood divorce
ERRENCE HOWARD, best known for his Oscar-nominated performance as a pimp with hip-hop aspirations in Hustle & Flow, is experiencing a different sort of drama these days: His divorce from his wife of one year is shaping up as one to live in infamy as far as celebrity splits go. The Howards have accused each other of physical and verbal abuse, extortion, and threats of more bodily harm in court papers. Although many of their problems appear to have started soon after they were engaged in May 2009, that didn't stop them from getting married on Jan. 20, 2010. According to court papers, the honeymoon lasted only a week. By Jan. 27, 2010, Michelle Ghent Howard discovered her husband had a secret second cellphone and a nasty fight ensued. In her court declaration, Michelle Ghent Howard says her new husband “slugged” her in the face and neck. But in his court account, Terrence Howard, 42, says it was his wife who struck him and called him racial slurs throughout their marriage. Whatever happened, they stayed together another year, separated, reconciled even after she had filed for divorce in January 2011, and then separated again. In a nutshell, Michelle Ghent Howard says Terrence Howard calls, texts, emails, and Skypes her at all hours of the day and night, and threatens to do her physical harm. Terrence Howard, in turn, says she harasses him and has been threatening to ruin his career by releasing audio recordings he had made of conversations with other people in his life before he met her. On Dec. 5, a judge granted Michelle Ghent Howard a restraining order based on her claims that Terrence Howard has caused her physical injuries that required medical attention, once broke her computer in half, repeatedly threatened her, and stalked her by telephone and on the Internet. But now, Terrence Howard will fight for his own restraining order against his wife for her “constant threats of extortion” and harassment, at a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Jan. 17. Throughout their marriage, his wife would insult him and call him “bitch,” “monkey,” and the N word, Howard alleges. Among the biggest revelations in the court file obtained are: 1) Michelle Ghent Howard, 35, said she did not know about Terrence Howard's domesticviolence history until after she had married him. The actor pleaded guilty to charges of disturbing the peace in 2002, after he was arrested for forcing entry into his first wife's home after they had a phone argument, chasing her into the backyard, and punching her twice in the face, according to police records in Pennsylvania. 2) Terrence Howard said his wife was very jealous and would repeatedly hit him in public if he responded in a friendly way when female fans approached him. She also would threaten to spit on the fans. Throughout their marriage, Michelle Ghent Howard would insult him and call him “bitch,” “monkey,” and the N word. In one instance, he said, she told him, “I never wanted to marry a [N word] in the first place.” 3) After they were engaged in 2009, Terrence Howard said, he offered his fiancée a position within his company as a liaison “between me and the rest of the world.” Two months later, she visited his home in Philadelphia and he asked for her help downloading a conversation he had recorded between the actor and his mother before she died. At the time, Terrence Howard said, he had numerous “Dictaphones” stored in his dresser, containing m a n y p r i v a t e conversations and recordings. When he returned an hour later, Michelle Ghent Howard was in the process of downlo
Actor, Terrence Howard, battles second wife gations of violence, The actor's messy divorce features alle s. The Daily Beast death threats, extortion, and racial slur the nastiest heprobed in the court file and found one of brity splits. said-she-said cases in the history of cele ading all his files into her personal computer and said she was “organizing.” Terrence Howard said he asked her to erase the files from her computer and she said she would. But a month later, during a fight about finances in which Michelle Ghent Howard was asking for more money for her monthly expenses, she brought up the recordings: “You think I don't still have a copy of your f---- up recordings? I heard the conversations that you had with previous girlfriends and if I wanted to? Trust me.” Later, she apologized and claimed she didn't really have the recordings anymore, but Terrence Howard says this was only the beginning of her many threats to sell the recordings. On one occasion, he said, she also threatened to have him killed: “If you go to the police, I will have you and your entire family clipped. I know where you and they live and I have a lot of Russian friends who would do it as a favor. So, watch your step, stupid-ass [N word].” 4) In July 2010, Michelle Ghent Howard traveled with her husband to South Africa when he was filming Winnie, and the couple had many problems while staying in a hotel in Johannesburg, including an incident that warranted calling a doctor to treat her for physical injuries. One day, they got into a fight, Michelle Ghent Howard says, so she moved into a different room, and her husband tried to push his way inside, so she unlocked the door. He grabbed her by the neck, threw her across the room, causing her head to hit the
corner of the bed's headboard. She says he then picked her up and took her to the balcony and said, “I'm gonna f--king throw you off this balcony.” When she screamed for him to stop, he dropped her on the ground. Later, he apologized when he saw the lump on her head. A few days later, they had another fight and Terrence Howard hit her in the face, chipping her tooth with his wedding band, she says. Three days later, their personal assistant called a doctor to come to the hotel to check on Michelle Ghent Howard. The court file contains a bill for $2,080 from Doctors on Call for the house call, and a list of the doctor's findings, including that he treated her for multiple contusions to the head, elbow, and calf. 5) In his declaration, Terrence Howard only addresses one incident in South Africa that he says occurred one day when he got back from filming. He said Michelle Ghent Howard asked him if he spoke to any women that day. When he responded that he needed to go over his lines for the next day, she replied, “I should bust this bottle across your face so you can't go to work.” She continued to make such threats and, he said, he tried to lock himself in another room, but she stopped him on the way and tried to bite him. She then lunged at him again with the bottle, they both fell on the ground, he managed to get away, and went to the hotel lobby and asked security to call police. When police arrived, Michelle Ghent Howard was throwing his clothes off the third-story balcony. He says he later asked police not to charge her because he was afraid that she would “retaliate” against him. 6) On Jan. 3, 2011, Michelle Ghent Howard said, the couple were arguing via text messages all day. That night, she asked him where he had been all day and Terrence Howard responded: “You are my enemy, you should watch it and be careful to not turn the
corners too fast because I will hurt you.” He then grabbed a knife, slammed it into the wood island in the kitchen and told her to stab him with it. She chose to walk away. He moved out on Jan. 15, and she filed for divorce on Jan. 27. 7) In April of 2011, the Howards reconciled, despite Michelle Ghent Howard's claims that Terrence Howard continued to threaten to do her physical harm, just weeks before she flew to Minnesota by herself to have a hysterectomy (she was diagnosed with adenomyosis and endometriosis) in March. During those few months, Terrence Howard constantly reached out to her by phone and on the Internet, sometimes begging for her to take him back and sometimes threatening her. She agreed to reconcile with him after he began therapy for his violent behavior, she said. In July, after enduring more verbal and physical abuseand another incident in Palm Springs in which he broke her computer in halfMichelle Ghent Howard said, she decided to leave him for good. 8) A month later, there was even more turmoil. Terrence Howard's attorney, Christian Markey, wrote a letter in August to Michelle Ghent Howard's lawyer, Karen Donahoe, stating that Michelle hacked into his client's email account, sent false, malicious, defamatory emails to his friends, and changed the password so he could not use the account anymore. According to the letter, she also withdrew $260,000 from his bank accounts. 9) Later that month, Michelle Ghent Howard received a suggestive voicemail message from a woman on her cell that was meant for her husband. When she responded to the text message, she received a reply from a man that she forwarded to Terrence Howard, asking him not to give her number out. Terrence Howard called the number and left a message, threatening to kill the man, and then told Michelle Ghent Howard he had done so. Days later, the recording was posted on Radar Online. 10) A month later, Terrence Howard's business manager received a call from Michelle Ghent Howard saying her husband needed to call her right away. When he called her, she made threats of selling the contents of the stolen audio files as well as a video of him singing naked in the bathroom if he didn't immediately transfer money into her account. She called him a “f--king tw-t” and added: “I will f--king bury you deep in the ground with all the information I have.” Michelle Ghent Howard hung up and texted Charlie McBride, the business manager, asking for a bank transfer. In the texts, which appear in the file, Michelle Ghent Howard also wrote: “But seeing that you guys think I'm stupid..Its [sic] fine I will do a stupid thing” and, “But that's OK, I will sell some of Terrence's belongings to cover expenses.” Terrence Howard said he transferred $40,000 into her account that night. 11) Over Thanksgiving weekend, Terrence Howard called Michelle Ghent Howard and told her “I felt like killing myself today.” He stalked her for several days after, on the telephone, until he sent the following email on Dec. 2: “If you wanted, you could crush me with the push of a button. I have no recourse, I have pleaded with Jehovah to fortify my heart that I do not fall into angry and revengeful retaliation against my forsaken love. I ask that you allow time for me to be more solid in my faith before you carry out what you feel you must, so that I may take the discipline and not resort to retaliation and reviling for reviling. I am in complete acceptance of my sentence and the charges. Its [sic] funny how clearly things become when your sober. I am struggling at present to remain true to a newly dedicated state of mind and way. I am being frightened by the ugly that can happen as a result of loosing [sic] everything and your wife to your one time friend, but I am prayful [sic]. I don't want to harbor hate and resentment in my heart especially against someone that I love. I sincerely regret my actions and I pray that you use wisdom in dispensing the discipline that I have coming. Remember, I am newly reconciled to being a servant of Jehovah. Satan is taunting me and there is no rest for my mind. So I beg you not to exercise the right that you have, divorce me and do what you wish but do not crush my families [sic] already threatened livelihood. I can't promise how I will respond. In Jesus' name I am praying.” Three days later, Michelle Ghent Howard was granted a restraining order against her husband. It expires on Jan. 17the same day that a judge will decide if he will now force Michelle Ghent Howard to stay away from her husband.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
OW do you feel about the lines and wrinkles that you see on your face? Do you cringe, pull your face back at the temples to see an unlined face, or race to your doctor for shots? Do you run to the cosmetic counter looking for that “fountain of youth” or watch an infomercial touting the latest “advances” in skin care “guaranteed” to make you look years younger, and then buy those products only to end up disappointed? On the flip side, do you look at your face and see your history, your life, and all the things that make you, you? I ask because a statement I made twice over the past month, innocuous as it was, elicited responses that saddened me. Not because of the actual responses, but because of the “thought” behind them. Let me try and explain… Over the past few months, I've been on the hunt for decent skin care products. I'm looking at anti aging products (it's my age, can't help that). What I'm not looking for is that “fountain of youth” product. Why? Because it doesn't exist. If my budget allowed, and if it was something I wanted to do, I could probably go to my local cosmetic surgeon and get a few things “done.” While I'm not putting anyone down for doing this (it's a personal thing, after all), the thought of having my face “changed” into something it is not, is not my cup of tea. So, I've been doing research for skin care products that will work for me. I have sensitive and very dry skin. That means products with no acids of any kind, and it has to have tons of hydrating qualities to it. It also has to be relatively affordable. In my world, paying $150 for .5 oz of some miracle cream that doesn't do what it's supposed to isn't very smart. I'm not paying for a “name” thank you very much. Over the past year or so, I've run the gamut from drugstore to quasiexpensive skin care products that didn't do what they should have. In my opinion, when you have to use a night cream during the day, there is a problem with that product line. A couple of weeks ago, I found a company that had a skin care product line that intrigued me. (I'm not naming it, because this is not about the product.) I headed over to my local Sephora to check it out and was assisted by a fabulous young lady. I told her I had found a skin care product line that interested me and asked if she knew anything about it. (She did.) I told her I was looking for a product that would hydrate my skin, soften the lines and wrinkles that I have, and leave me looking refreshed. I wasn't looking to erase what I have. I hoped the product line I was looking at would accomplish this. As we discussed the products further turns out I had chosen the right company, but the wrong line I offhandedly remarked that I had earned every line and wrinkle…they were part
How do you feel about those wrinkles? •Tyra Banks
of my life story. She stared at me (rather incredulously I might add) and then complimented me (sincerely) on that comment. I told her it was my truth. She commented that not one woman had ever said that when looking for skin care products…of any kind, regardless of their age. I found that sad. There are thousands of skin care products out there, being purchased by millions of women, and I'm the only person who says out loud that I'm not interested in changing the way I look? That can't be right. What kind of example are we setting for the generations behind us? How do we expect girls growing up to accept themselves as they are, if we, as grownup women, won't? This doesn't only apply to our faces either. Flash forward to this past week. My husband and I went away for a few days after Christmas. The hotel we stayed at has a fabulous spa and we decided to get a treatment. (As an aside, this was the very first time my husband had a spa treatment he loved it!) I had a facial. I wasn't looking for a miracle, just something to make me look hydrated and refreshed. Once again, (and without thinking), I made the same comment about my lines and wrinkles (and also that I wanted my husband to recognize me when we were done). And again, it elicited a surprised response. Why is that comment a source of amazement? Is it because the comment was made to “younger” w o m e n ? T h e Esthetician who did my facial must see hundreds of women, of all ages. Surely someone other than myself is OK with how her face looks. I wonder if I'd have made that comment t o a m o r e “experienced” woman if my comment would have been received the same way. The point of all this? I'm saddened
Lines and wrinkles are the story of your life writes Sherree Worrell by the fact that we are so hell-bent on being (or staying) youthful, we forget the very real things that make us who we are. Women in particular, are made to feel old with ridiculous print and digital ads that tell us we need to look a certain way, and the lines on our faces are something to be ashamed of. Men are told they look “distinguished” with their grey hair and “rugged” ( o r somethin
g similar) with their lined faces. I call BS on all of that! Never mind the fact that the women in those ads have been airbrushed and/or photo-shopped, and have had professional make-up help. I don't want to look like that and it angers me that women spend billions of dollars every year trying to. I suppose I'm lucky. My skin, even after abusing it in the sun for many years, still looks good. I have decent genetics to thank. However, being quite ill a year ago (I'm fine now), accelerated what was going to be a fact at some point. Does it bother me? No. There's nothing I can do about it, so I can either work with and accept it, or I can spend thousands of dollars (that I can't afford) putting off the inevitable. The lines and wrinkles on my face don't jive with the person I am on the inside I'm not old. With that said, those lines and wrinkles tell the world that I've lived they are a part of “my story.” When I laugh, my crows feet crinkle… As I smile, my laugh lines deepen a bit more. There's a story for every crease in my face. It makes me who I am. Why would I want to hide or erase that? Why would you? When I look at myself in the mirror, I worry more about what I'm going to do with my hair, than the lines I see on my face. I am who I am, just the way I am. I c a n ' t imagine looking any other way.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Glamour or 'village' hair is Hair salons thrive as natural likely to attract rich deemed unfashionable and unica Mark in Lagos and successful suitors. Mon reports
N a world of dramatically contrasting poverty and wealth, it's a rare common denominator: the one social status symbol of choice that cuts across Nigeria's vast class and culture groups is hair extensions. And the longer and straighter, the better. They are so popular that few women in the buzzing commercial cities of Africa's most populous nation openly wear their hair in its natural, curly state. "We're never taught to look after our natural hair, and it's something you're supposed to learn as a child, the way you learn to tie your shoelaces," said Yemi Akinrinade, 28, who struggled to persuade her own hairstylist not to straighten her curls on her wedding day. Another woman, a blogger known as Natural Nigerian, said women stare at her open-mouthed in salons, where Nigerian stylists usually try to drag their combs through her hair saying "sister we have to control this!" Some Nigerians have reported that they have been warned to "do something" about their hair at work. Black women in the US and South Africa have pursued successful workplace harassment cases in similar incidents, saying it amounts to discrimination. In Nigeria, that puzzles many. "South Africans like natural hair because they're not fashion-conscious," said a Lagos salon owner, Abogo
Ugwokeghbe. "But Nigerian women like the latest fashion," he added. Scores of them visit his popular DSalon Downtown chains to straighten their hair. Sodium hydroxide, the key ingredient used in the bi-monthly process, irons out even the toughest afro curls but burns the scalp if left on too long. It's considered a worthwhile risk, with some perceiving it as a necessity in a hyper class-conscious society. "No rich man will marry a girl with village [unstraightened] hair," declared Esther, 18, a rural migrant to the capital, Abuja, as chemical fumes wafted off the cream smothered on own scalp in the Natural Beauty salon, a four-seat outfit in a crowded market. Another popular practice is the application of extensions known as weaves. Strands of hair are attached in a weave-like pattern. Market vendors generally claim to sell genuine versions of the most popular weave, known as a Brazilian and made from real human hair. Nigeria's love affair with human hair extensions emerged, via the US, back in the mid-1990s. Then, a handful of boutiques such as Aunty Funmi's sold imported extensions priced in dollars, highlighting those
wealthy enough to afford them. Locals still call expensive extensions "Funmi" hair. Now it's no longer reserved for the rich, extensions are worn by market women and students, part of Africa's growing middle class. But not all hair is equal, as customers who live in penthouse suites and shantytowns jammed into DSalon Down
town testified. "At the moment, the fashion is to have Beyoncé's hairstyle," Ugwokeghbe said. "But it's like buying rice. You can buy rice in the market, or you can buy rice in the Sheraton." That's where people like Sehomi Bello come in. "There's no sign advertising my shop because most people can't afford the prices," explained the owner of the exclusive Lagos-based hair boutique, Silkalyn, before reeling off the qualities of dozens of extensions displayed for sale. "Malaysian hair is similar to Chinese, very strong," said Bello, who branched out into neighbouring Ivory Coast and France after opening his shop three years ago. Costs vary from $300$800 (£194 £515) and beyond a third of the average salary in Nigeria and depends on the origins: Russian manes are particularly sought after for their blond hues but "only celebrities can afford it", while Peruvian hair is catching on quick. The most expensive, Remy, is hair that's been "remitted" offered by Indian women at temples. "It all comes from one person's head only and it's the most valuable thing that Indians have, so they give it to God as a thank you," said Bello. Such hair is always retailed in long bunches, increasing its price as it's sold by the inch. "If your hair is short and you go to the temple, they will just take a razor to it [it's] no use. God isn't interested in this short hair. God wants the one that takes two years to reach your bum-bum, that is well looked after and strong," said Bello. So, apparently, do millions of Nigerian women with money to spend. But for some, the translation of breakneck economic growth into designer hair is little to celebrate. "It's like a hangover from the colonial days when the ideal was a woman with long straightened hair, the black woman's equivalent of a blond bombshell. And it's like the further away we move from that ideal, the less beautiful we are," said Akinrinade. Natural Nigerian points out exceptions: "Black American women can wear their hair natural in Nigeria. They'll be forgiven for it b e c a u s e they're seen as exotic creatures.”
, y a w o N ? s l r u C say Nigerian
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
•L-R: Chief Mrs Opral Benson, Mrs Sarah Sosan, Hajia Abah Folawiyo and Mrs Yewande Onilere
•Oba Adedapo Tejuosho and his Olori's
OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bisi Olatilo celebrates 30th wedding anniversary
CE broadcaster and Managing Director of Biscom Communication, Bisi Olatilo and his wife Folashade penultimate Thursday renewed their wedding vows th and celebrated their 30 wedding anniversary. Pastor Wole Oladiyun of Christ Living Apostolic Mission (CLAM) conducted the service. The event was witnessed by the creme de la creme of society from traditional rulers to business moguls. Among the traditional rulers were Oba Riliwan Akiolu, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho and his Olori's. Others are High Chief Gabrial Igbinedion (Esama of Benin) Chief Alex Duduyemi (Aro of Ife) Chief Ephraim Faloghi Alhaji Rasak Akani Okoya , Yeye Hanna Afolabi and Chief Mrs Nike Akande. The event was held at 10 Degree event centre, Oregun, Lagos.
•The couple cutting the anniversary cake with their children
•Alhaji Rasak Akani Okoya
•Admiral Jubril Ayinla and Oba Of Lagos, Oba Riliwan Akiolu
•Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Oloye Lekan Alabi
•Chief Mike Inegbese and wife Mary
•Chief and Mrs Alex Onabanjo
•L-R Chief Alex Duduyemi and Chief Gabriel Igbinedion
FROM THE CAMPUS PAGE 46
THE NATION SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
With Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme
Exploring the hope of sports for humanity (2)
ast week, we published the first part of this topic. The premise is that our world is becoming soaked in crisis and that part of the solution we should seek is in social re-engineering. Sports as a social institution is viewed as a key instrument of this social reengineering due to its inherent characteristics that seem to tackle some of the sources of the crises we experience today. These attributes of sports include: (1) Competitiveness (2) Adherence to rules of engagement (3) Indifference to divisive tendencies of ethnic and religious differences (4) Voluntary cooperation with constituted authority.
•Boxers late Joe Frazier (L) and Muhammad Ali pose together as they arrived at the 10th annual ESPY Awards which honor excellence in all sports in Hollywood
(5) Recreational and occupational outlets (6) Creation of social heroes and heroines etc. We have analysed two of the foregoing characteristics last week and will now examine the others in our quest to search for ways of harnessing the power and potentials of sports in dealing positively with the multivariate sociocultural sources of crisis in our world, particularly as they manifest in Nigeria.
The greatest @ 70 M
UHAMMAD Ali's opponents are going down like giant redwoods in the night. Joe Frazier, Henry Cooper and Ron Lyle have all fallen in the last six months, but Ali fights on towards his 70th birthday. Another victory approaches. The champ of champs, the icon's icon, joins the ranks of septuagenarians on Tuesday. Most men of that age will feel parts of their body weaken or fail. Ali's began shutting down on him three decades ago. He passes three score years and 10 during a week of festivities in his home town of Louisville as a silent witness to his own greatness, but a conqueror still — this time of medical odds. A saloon bar debate to determine sport's greatest figure would be over before the first pint was ordered, never mind pulled. Ali's status as a political and social activist lends him a lustre denied to Pele, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, Jack Nicklaus and the rest. But perhaps a third of his reign has passed in the shadow cast by Parkinson's disease and almost certainly percussive damage to the head caused by boxing. To be brutal, obituarists keep their farewells to Ali close to the top of the pending pile. His enfeebling illness has always seemed a staging post on the way to a near oblivion. Defiance of pessimism Yet Ali himself would smile at the anxieties of those fearing he will hear the final bell any day now. His whole career was built on a defiance of pessimism. Victory over Sonny Liston validated his braggadocio and from there he never looked back. The super-human qualities he brought to the ring (and the promotional trade) have served him well in the art of survival as each notable
landmark has passed. The celebration of his latest life anniversary will be global and profound. Even Manchester is in on the act. The Generation Pop Art Gallery will show exhibits from the official Muhammad Ali Fine Art collection in tribute. On the eve of the big day, meanwhile, ITV will screen a documentary, When Ali Came to Britain (10.35pm). Cassius Clay, as he then was, first hit UK shores in 1963 to fight Cooper in a bout that almost derailed the legend before it had chance to weave its way into the history of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the golden-age heavyweight narrative of Ali, Frazier and George Foreman. Nostalgia Frazier's death last year brought an outpouring of nostalgia for the ‘Thrilla in Manila', the ‘Rumble in the Jungle' and those death-defying nights at Madison Square Garden and in Las Vegas, where the three giants generated a worldwide trade in athleticallyexpressed violence. In the Frazier retrospectives we observed the immense physical courage of each man. As the most artistic of the three, Ali absorbed punishment in a way that was most painful to watch, suspending his natural balletic brilliance to wear the other man down through sheer force of will. By the end he was more masochist than sadist. Part Motown dancer, part ferocious gladiator, Ali was hospitalised after falling ill in the aptlynamed Paradise Valley, Arizona, on November 19. Since then rumours have swirled about his prospects of seeing many more of life's rounds. As the birthday approaches America prepares to honour one of its most influential
refuseniks. Ali shares a chapter in the history of the 1960s with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. With each year Ali has said less, moved less freely and disconcerted his audience more. In America some say he has been forced into the public realm too often but you could hardly imagine him wanting to be stuck at home away from the light he always craved. Charisma needs its audience. Ali found his voice and purpose in the mirror of public fascination. Each time you see him you wonder about the life inside his head. The party line is that his mind is largely undamaged and alert to the world. His body, once a weapon, is now his spirit's prison. But no one outside his family and medical helpers can really know. For that reason his public appearances are unfailingly poignant. For great fighters, a memorial 10-count tolls across the ring. Millions across the world are dreading the clang of the bell for Ali. He reaches 70 in an age when a suffocating and narrow consensus has replaced the struggles of his time. An age, too, when the heavyweight division is in seemingly terminal disrepair, with America no longer dominant. Ali attended Frazier's funeral in Philadelphia. Even then people flicked the embers of their old feuds. It was as if boxing needed to revive those great days by returning to the animosity which fed the sport's greatest contests. But it was contrived. This was one old warrior saying goodbye to another, and girding himself for the physical struggles to come. Terrible dichotomy For Ali to fall ill so soon afterwards seemed ominous
and somehow symmetrical. But his admirers have learned not to mope about the terrible dichotomy between the two halves of his life. The first was about majesty, courage, comedy, spirit. The second has seemed a repayment for all that joy, as if the heavens were punishing him for having lived too excitingly and too well. If only one more spontaneous rap would leave his lips. The other day Mike Marley, the former publicist and Runyonesque fight reporter, recalled one of his favourite Ali quips: "If you sign to fight me, you need speed and endurance but what you need most of all is to increase your insurance." There were many more where that came from. The ‘King of the World' was placing only a mild strain on hyperbole by proclaiming his global reach. The miracle is that he found a use for his fame beyond selfaggrandisement. Boxing raised him up and it dashed him down. But he never found an opponent he considered to be superior. Now he boxes against time. He is ahead on all three scorecards. Culled from gulfnews.com
(3)Indifference to Divisive Tendencies of Ethnic and Religions Differences. There is no doubt whatsoever that Nigeria is held hostage by the twin factors of ethnicity and religion. There is a visible ethnic and religions mistrust and tension. In the world of sports, we are taught to engage in sporting programmes not minding the ethnic group or religious faith we belong. The common denomination is performance, coordination and cooperation in the efforts we need to make to achieve victory. If we transfer this value to our social life, we can live in peace and harmony. If for example, our national football team can be made up of Nigerians from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, why are we not learning a lesson from this experience. Sports teaches us that we can live together successfully, irrespective of our sociocultural differences. (4)Voluntary Cooperation With Constituted Authority Sports is rule-governed. All participants subscribe to and obey the rules of engagement including the constituted authority. As an athlete, you receive a yellow card for a false start or unsportsmanly behaviour. A repetition of this offence earns the offender a red card and you are out of the game. So sports is a decorous human experience and heavy sanctions can follow indecent behaviour. If for example, Adamu Ciroma of the NPLF was on the Sports field when he made his indecorous and indecent statement about Nigeria being ungovernable, if his candidate does not emerge as a Presidential candidate, he would have earned a red card. I believe that Adamu Ciroma’s red card is one still hanging on his head. Adamu Ciroma should be a Sports man and must learn how not to take the laws into his hands for the sake of building a harmonious and peaceful society that the world of sports enthrones. (5)Recreational and Occupational Outlets. Sometimes the upheaval we experience in society could be a product bottle up excess energy and unemployment. Sports provides the medium for positive use of excess energy through recreational activities. This process can even lift the individual’s performance capacity and capabilities. A lot of young people have found their bearing in life through engagement in sports and have risen from grass to grace. It is an open field where there is no discrimination. Society will therefore, be belter off, the more its people engage in recreational and even competitive sports that could also open occupational channels. (6)Creation of Social Heroes and Heroines The world of sports creates social heroes and heroines. The more people discover their talents in sports and achieve success, more heroes and heroines could emerge. These are iconic figures and represent success and positive values for the society. Rather than engage in antisocial activities, the world of sports extends to you, an open invitation to make yourself the hero and heroine of your community or nation. Given the foregoing positive values of sports and many more not covered in these series, it is incumbent on government and all of us to harness the power and potential of sports in building a peaceful and harmonious society. In this process, however, the drivers must be accredited professionals with the requisite education and training.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
VOL 1 NO. 037
Brand Equity as an Asset W
E once treated the issue of brand and brand equity in one of our past editions. In it we did establish the importance of brand equity in marketing, looking at it as a success driver, an element indicative of brand strength and/or measure of brand success at the market place. From that perspective, the measure of a brand's equity is a direct indication of its share of market, versus competition. Looking at brand equity from that perspective is appreciating it as a measure of value. However, brand equity is much larger than a measure of value or market success, and we intend to expand our appreciation of that brand property in this edition, such that will enable a fuller and more rewarding appreciation of its definition, importance and application. As a concept, Brand Equity is the sum total of the entire elements that makes up the brand; it is an aggregate of a whole. The equity of a brand is the summation of its assets. But we need to break it down further here, to enable easy relativity for our readers that are not professionals in advertising and brands management. Perhaps that better establish the position of a brand's equity as its asset. Perhaps we need to look at the brand in isolation of 'equity', to better identify equity and its importance in the life and person of a brand. A brand is basically made up of two elements; the product (offer) and a name. Where these two are not present together, other categorization other than a brand exists. So, the offer must have a name to become a brand, verse-versa. A brand is a personification of a promise with a name. Therefore, it possesses the following as characteristics: ? Emotions passion, anger, feel, smell, likes and dislikes, etc ? Physical attributes size, weight, complexion, etc ? Identity (name, address, personality) ? Friends and associates ? Responsibility ? Sensory organs ability to perceive ? Norms, attitude, traditions, character all such that makes up its personality or identity. The list goes on and on. However, the balancing part of a brand is its EQUITY that part of its personality that bothers on its strength, value, quality and over all market performance. So, a brand's equity will come to play in the consideration of elements such as the level of awareness it enjoys at the market, its (its share of target audience or consumer-mind), its strength as a competitor at the market in the consideration bracket of those emotional or rational reasons-for within its market, versus competing brands, its market share, the quality of perception it enjoys at the market place by reason of its character and its personality in its totality. Hence a brand's equity is the sum total of those elements that makes up the personality of the brand (some of which are broadly mentioned above) in value terms. To a large extent, the rate or speed of shelf off-take a brand enjoys is dependent upon the level and quality of awareness it enjoys at the given market (among its target audience/market). So many other controllable variables that drive growth and market performance depend on the level and quality of consumer awareness the brand enjoys. That explains why 60 to 70% of advertising objectives most times is about increasing a brand's awareness level among its target audience. Unfortunately, it is this predominant advertising (and marketing) objective that takes away the shine of
equity as a measure of a brand's strength and value. Rather than connecting every such tactical strategic engagement towards short term market gains as a part of building the sum total of the brand's equity, most linemanagers take their eyes off the equity and concentrate on the immediate. So, for instance, in so far as the brand post good volume in the market, the appreciation of its equity ends there. Space will not permit us in the treatment of such other aspects of brand equity here, but we like to emphasize the following: ? A brand's value can be measured and stored in its equity ? At maturity, a brand's equity becomes its most priced asset ? A brand's asset is a very strong negotiation tool ? From birth, all that is done in form of brand management is EQUITY building ? A brand is only a success when its equity is of optimal value ? A brand's equity is the last thing to die when a brand goes down ? A brand equity can last well over 20 to 30 years after it ceases to exist physically ? A brand's equity is strong enough to bring a dying brand back to life Essentially, therefore, brand equity must be properly appreciated for what it is in order to build in our practice some structures that will guide brand managers towards taking deliberate steps to work for it. If we appreciate the fact that every marketing objective and attendant marketing support initiative is about adding to the value of its equity, the easier it will be for us to connect with the relationship between a brand's share of consumer mind (which sum total equals the brand's market share) and its equity. As earlier stated above, a brand's equity is the sum total of the properties that make up the brand. So on the market position pyramid, stages of brand's market per-
formance is broadly categorized in three: leader, follower and laggard. Each of these three categories only reflects the power and efficiency of the various brands' equity at the market place. For purposes of demonstration, let us consider an aspect of brand equity as a success driver in brands management looking at image perception. To begin with, perception is all about the consumer's experience in relation to the given brand. Whether a given target consumer will engage a given brand after the first experience depends largely on the experience at the first contact. The desired image for any brand is very important; hence it is an issue of primary consideration in the strategic planning process. It is expressly captured in the creative brief forms. Deliberate effort is required in agreeing the image desired for a brand, which must align with its value-essence and promise. However, no matter the amount of efforts put in capturing a brand's desired image, the market's perception of the brand is determined by the consumer's firsthand experience. Take for example the issue of delivering on promise as a build up towards a brand's image. It is given that a brand knows the target market's value touch-points, prior to its making its promise and stating its desired image. It therefore means that if that brand does not deliver on its promise, it immediately earns for itself the image of a liar. So, if the BIC Ballpoint pen fails to â€œflow till the last dropâ€? the target user immediately disconnects from it, for reason of deception (or failure mildly put). Looking at the larger picture, therefore, if managers of that brand appreciate the fact that ensuring the brand delivers on its promise goes far beyond actualizing sales to adding to its total equity for the long run, they will invest more to maintain that aspect of its personality. That is the essence of this article. We have also mentioned that the problem with most brand managers today is that they look at the immediate gains instead of long term benefits. That is why so much is compromised today. As a result, some brands will boldly engage in seasonal sales promotion but deliberately skew the process to make sure big value prices are not won by anybody because nobody can immediately determine the sincerity of such exercises. But the sad news for such brands is that the market is taking note of such sharp practices, and questions are being asked. Cumulatively, the image or market perception of the guilty brands is adding up for the day of reckoning. It may not seem threatening now, but someday a competing offer will give vent to the negatives that will disgrace all such brands. Within the context of this topic, therefore, BRAND EQUITY must be considered in its influence and importance, more in futuristic terms. Looking at a brand's equity, therefore, it comes across as the power of the brand and the measure of the brand's success. A brand's equity is its most priced and enduring asset. It outlives the brand's physically determined values. Our brands managers today must carry this in their subconscious.
With Patience Saduwa
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
y r g n a n a t o n 'm 'I black womanâ€™ M
ICHELLE OBAMA has defended herself against accusations she imposed her opinions on White House advisers, saying she's fed up of being depicted as 'some kind of angry black woman'. Talking to CBS' Gayle King, she said people including the author of a new book about the first couple often find it more compelling to think of the White House as simmering with tension. Following the book's release, there has been a trickle of revelations about the Obamas, including how Michelle had wanted to stay in Chicago after her husband's successful presidential bid, and how the family threw a lavish Alice the Wonderland-themed Halloween party in 'I guess it's just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here,' she said. 'That's been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I'm some kind of angry black woman.' She added that she hasn't read New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's book that depicts her as an ambitious behind-thescenes force in the White House. The book, entitled The Obamas, portrays her as conflicting with President Obama's top advisers, in particular former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. It also suggests she struggled with insecurity about her new role. Neither the president nor his wife agreed to be interviewed for the book. 'I never read these books,' she said in the interview. 'So I've just gotten in the habit of not reading other people's impressions of people. 'There will always be people who don't like me. You don't worry about the people who don't like you. I'm first lady of the people who love me and who don't like anything about me.' Mrs. Obama said that she's 'just trying to be me, and I just hope that over time, that people get to know me', rather than believing the 'angry black woman' depiction. In the CBS interview, she argued against the claim she was an 'unrecognised force' in
US First Lady, Michelle Obama defends role as new book portrays her as major player behind the scenes at the White House. The book depicts tensions between Michelle Obama and husband's team. But in an interview granted to her friend Gayle King on the CBS Network, she says she's tired of being painted as an angry black woman. Lee Moran and Lydia Warren report. the White House, saying if she disagreed with a policy decision, that she would talk to her husband about it. And she sought to put aside 'this notion that I sit in meetings'. 'I am one of his biggest confidants, but he has dozens of really smart people who surround him. 'He wants to be talking to the people with the best information. That's not to say that we don't have discussions and conversations. 'That's not to say that my husband doesn't know how I feel. 'One thing is true, that I talk very candidly to my husband about how I feel, but that's the kind of relationship we have. 'I wouldn't go to Rahm about something that I would talk to my husband about. If I didn't agree with something, I would talk to my own husband about it.' She added: 'If there's communication that needs to happen, it's between staffs,' she said. 'I don't have conversations with my husband's staff.' Asked specifically about tension between herself and Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, the first lady said she has 'never had a cross word' with him. The same, she said, applies to Gibbs, whom was forced to apologise to the first lady for swearing at her but whom she described as 'a good friend'. 'I'm sure we could go day to day and find things people wished they didn't say to each other,' Mrs. Obama said. 'There will always be people who don't like me. But I'm First Lady of the people who love me and who don't like anything about me - 'Michelle Obama. 'And that's why I don't read these books. It's a game, in so many ways, that doesn't fit. 'Who can write about what I feel? What third person can tell me what I feel?' In the book, she is said to have struggled with life in the White House.
Kantor claims she did not want to leave Chicago, and that she felt 'alone, frightened and unsure of what to do next' after moving to Washington, D.C. But in the interview, Mrs. Obama said: 'I love this job. It has been a privilege from day one.' And compared to her husband's role, she said she had 'the better job'. 'I get to pace the issues as I wasn't elected,' she said. 'There aren't people waiting for me to get things done. I have the luxury of truly defining the issues.' Gayle King, who began co-hosting newly-launched CBS This Morning this week, secured the interview with Michelle Obama before Christmas. The pair are friends - with Oprah Winfrey as the common denominator. King has been best friends with Winfrey since 1976, when they were both employed by a Maryland TV station. King is now editor-at-large of her magazine, O, and has been a special correspondent on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winfrey is also friends with the first family. She campaigned for Obama when he was running for the White House. At the end of the CBS interview, Gayle said of Mrs Obama: 'I think we should say that there's no secret that we're friends.' She added that Michelle had agreed to do the interview as 'she was very excited about the show and wanted to support it'. She previously interviewed Mrs Obama last year on The Gayle King Show to talk about supporting the military. She added: 'There are challenges. If there's any anxiety that I feel, it's because I want to make sure that my girls (Malia and Sasha) come out of this on the other end whole.' The book by Kantor claims to have lifted the lid on what life has been like for the Obamas since they moved in to the White House in 2009. Aides told the author that in her early tenure as first lady, Mrs Obama struggled
with insecurity about her new role. The Harvard-educated lawyer battled with the traditionally 'shapeless post.' She was deeply frustrated with elements of her new life, including the fact that she could no longer take her daughters to school functions without fear of causing a commotion. She felt as though 'everyone was waiting for a black woman to make a mistake,' the former aide said. The accounts are based on interviews with 30 current and former aides - but not the Obamas themselves. The White House has had a cold reaction to the book, calling it an 'over-dramatisation of old news' and emphasising that the first couple did not speak to the author, who last interviewed them for a magazine piece in 2009. 'The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the president and first lady, reflect little more than the author's own thoughts,' White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. 'These secondhand accounts are staples of every administration in modern political history and often exaggerated.' Kantor's biggest scoop is almost certainly the revelation that the Obamas hosted a lavish Alice in Wonderland Halloween party at the White House in 2009 - at the same time the country was in the midst of a recession. The author said the reason why the party, attended by Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton, was kept so quiet at the time was because the administration was aware that it would be in poor form for them to host an extravagant party when so many were suffering financially.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Real life love stories
She stole my heart y e n o m d an Continued from next week
S I made plans to return to Nigeria, my excitement at returning home grew. I had missed home, my family and above all, Betty. I couldn't wait to be with her again. My younger brother, Thomas met me at the airport. There was no sign of Betty. I felt disappointed that she didn't come to welcome me. We drove straight to Surulere where my parents lived with some of my younger siblings still living at home. It was a sweet reunion. They were so excited to see me after being away for so long. My mother wept tears of joy, all the while hugging me and dancing with so much zeal. They all looked well and I felt a sense of satisfaction for contributing to their welfare. My happiness was however, dampened by the absence of Betty. When I asked my mother about her, she told me she would come later, then quickly changed the subject. I was dissatisfied with her answer so I called Betty's mobile number. I could not get through and that even made me more anxious. Where was she? I wondered. She should be here with me sharing in the joy of my homecoming. I decided to go and look for her. But Thomas and my mother were against my decision. They called me aside into one of the rooms and sat me down. “There's something we need to tell you,” Thomas began. “What is it? Has something happened to Betty?” I couldn't hide the anxiety in my voice. “No. She's fine. It's just that…” my mother began, then stopped. She looked at my brother, then plunged on. “The thing is that, Betty is eh, with someone else now.” I jumped up from the
chair as if stung by a bee. “What?” I screamed. “Is this some kind of joke?” “It's true, Brother. They are even planning to get married soon. I tried telling you at the airport but I didn't want to spoil your mood,” Thomas said, in an apologetic tone. The confrontation I slumped back on the chair, my face buried in my hands. I just could not believe what I was hearing. How could this have happened? What had gone wrong? I remembered the last conversation we had before I left the UK. She had not sounded too excited at the news that I was coming home. Should I have taken that as a sign that all was not well? That night, I was so disturbed, I could barely sleep. The following day, I decided to go and see Betty, to confirm what my family had told me. Even up till then, I did not believe that Betty could leave me, just like that for someone else. Not after all we had gone through, all the sacrifices, we had made. Was it now that we were supposed to reap the fruits that this would happen? Thomas drove me to the house she was said to be living in with her new man. It was Betty who opened the door. She was alone at home. An anxious look came on her face at seeing me at her doorstep. That was all-no welcoming smile, no embrace or hugs and kisses. Adding more to the pain I felt was her condition. Betty, my own fiancée was pregnant, for another man! “I'm sorry, Melvin. I didn't plan this. It just happened.” I was so angry then, I felt like holding her by the neck and choking the life out of her. Sorry! That was all she could say for ruining my life, I shouted at
her. What did she have to say about all the years I struggled abroad so our lives could be better? And what about all the money I had sent over the years to her? Where was the money? When she mumbled that she had spent it all, I grew really mad then. I wanted to give her the beating of her life but I was restrained by Thomas.
Lost love: I feel so empty and lost without the love of my life, Betty by my side
“Make sure you get my money ready the next time I come!” I threw at her as I was led away. For days, I was in a kind of daze. I took solace in alcohol and drank myself into a state of stupor. It took time for what Betty had done to really sink in. How could she do this to me? All the years I was abroad, struggling, doing
all kinds of jobs to make money, all my suffering, what kept me going was the thought of Betty. She was my inspiration, my hope. Now, I had lost her and my life looked bleak. She not only broke my heart. All my money, running into millions that I planned investing in some projects, was gone as well. Where was I to start from? Where
should I go from here? I'm really confused right now and I feel like doing something terrible to the person that has caused me so much pain and heartache. Concluded. Reactions to Melvin's story should be sent to 0 8 0 2 3 2 0 1 8 3 1 o r email@example.com.
Raising successful teenagers(2) •How to help teenagers cope with peer pressure
EER pressure can be very damaging to teenagers especially. They may end up doing things they'd otherwise not do - just to "fit in." Dealing with peer pressure is not easy because saying "no" often means you are ostracized from the group, you could be made fun of, you could be sneered at, you might not be welcome to hang out with the group. Since friendships mean a lot to people, especially teenagers, often times they can't bring themselves to say "no" and end up doing things that could damage their lives, sometimes irreparably so. You wouldn't want your son/daughter getting addicted to drugs for example, or indulging in reckless and dangerous sexual behavior. Drugs in fact is one of the prime examples of how peer pressure can damage and damage quite severely. T h a t f i r s t
Parenting smoke/snort/injection/in halation often turns into a chronic addiction. You can enable teenagers (and others) to deal with peer pressure by educating them on what to do when such peer pressures come into play. You need to inculcate in them a set of belief systems (a list of things they would not do under any circumstance). They need to be taught that saying "no" does not mean you are
any less "cool" than the crowd. The best thing though is to have a friend for your child who believes in those value systems who can support your child in that group - so that your child isn't the lone voice who isn't "fitting in." Parents can do a lot in this respect. They can choose some sound, good kids as friends for their children. Good friends can be like guiding angels - often times they support you and keep
you from drifting with "the crowd." Even if your child is alone in a group, tell him/her that saying "no" is often times more important than saying "yes." Give them examples of what drugs and reckless sexual behavior do to people. Reinforce the point that when it comes to drugs, there is no "one time." Let them know that that "one time" can turn into an addiction and that they'd be better off saying no the first time itself
Fitting in: Peer pressure can lead teens to a lot of anti-social behaviour
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
Arts & Life
By Olubanwo Fagbemi firstname.lastname@example.org 08060343214 (SMS only)
A study in contradiction If the reader pleases, he might take his time to digest today’s serving. Adapted from the internet, it is designed to explore some of the contradictions encountered in use of the English Language. The writer trusts that the keen reader will find it a useful, if amusing, material for instruction.
ENGLISH is a crazy language. There is neither egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are sweets while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another? Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.
CHEEK BY JOWL
If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed and dry cleaners depressed? Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted! Even more, bed makers will be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be deflowered, bulldozer operators will be degraded, organ donors will be delivered, software engineers will be detested, and musical composers will eventually decompose. On a more positive note, perhaps we can hope politicians will one day be devoted.
QUOTES Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits. —Unknown The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. —G.K. Chesterton
Jokes Unsophisticated Santa AS a little girl climbed onto Santa’s lap, Santa asked the usual. “And what would you like for Christmas?” The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: “Didn’t you get my E-mail?” Brotherly Revenge A SIX year-old comes crying to his mother because his little sister pulled his hair. “Don’t be angry,” the mother says, “Your little sister doesn’t realise that pulling hair hurts.” A short while later, there’s more crying, and the mother goes to investigate. This time the sister is bawling and her brother says, “Now she knows.” Stuttering Dilemma A REALLY huge muscular guy with a bad stutter goes to a counter in a department store and asks, “W-w-w-where’s the m-m-m-men’s dep-p-p-partment?” The clerk behind the counter just looks at
him and says nothing. The man repeats himself: “W-w-wwhere’s the m-m-m-men’s dep-p-ppartment?” Again, the clerk doesn’t answer him. The guy asks several more times: “W-ww-where’s the m-m-m-men’s dep-p-ppartment?” And the clerk just seems to ignore him. Finally, the guy storms off in anger. The customer who was waiting in line behind the guy asks the clerk, “Why wouldn’t you answer that guy’s question?” The clerk answers, “D-d-d-do you th-thth-think I w-w-w-want to get b-b-b-beaten up?!” Unreliable Partners TWO law partners leave their office and go to lunch. In the middle of lunch, the junior partner slaps his forehead. “Damn,” he says. “I forgot to lock the office safe before we left.” His partner replies, “What are you worried about? We’re both here.” •Culled from the Internet
Eg and Eh. But, since column g already has a 1ST STEP IN SOLVING PUZZLE: (369) 2— in cell Ig, the only space available to Look at the 3 middle horizontal (DEF) 3x3 boxes. The left box has 2 in cell Fa, while accommodate 2 in the right box is cell Eh. Reasoning along these lines, try and fill in the middle box has its 2 in cell Dd. The right box must, therefore, have its own 2 in row all the other vacant cells. E, where there are 2 vacant spaces — cells Solution on SATURDAY. Happy Puzzling!
A B C D E F G H I
SOLUTION TO PUZZLE 368
4 9 7 3 8 6 7 4
8 2 1 3 8 6 9 6 a
5 7 1 9 1 1 2 3 f
2 5 8 6 9 3 7 4 1
7 9 1 2 4 5 6 8 3
3 6 4 1 7 8 5 2 9
5 2 7 9 3 1 8 6 4
1 3 6 7 8 4 2 9 5
8 4 9 5 6 2 3 1 7
9 1 5 8 2 7 4 3 6
4 7 2 3 1 6 9 5 8
6 8 3 4 5 9 1 7 2
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Giving meaning to landscapes U
NTIL quite recently, African artists were believed to be more disposed to painting and depicting and representing Western influences in their works. Those who bothered to be African in their works were mainly seen to be dwelling more on what many art lovers perceived as fetish and too traditional. Today all that has changed with the emergence of new generation Nigerian artists, who have come to modernize African art works and infused a lot of meaning into contemporary painting, visual arts and drawing. Edwin Nwaoguegbe is one of such young artists whose array of mixed media works say a lot about contemporary issues and themes in the Nigerian society. “Yes, I paint issues that address topical modern problems in the entire Nigerian society”, was how he opened the discussion on the pattern of his works and why mixed media has come to be his primary focus. A Fine and Applied Art graduate of Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, Nwaoguegbe explained that his journey into the world of visual art began very early. “But my main concern has been to paint objects that appeal to people’s sensibilities. This is why I love colours. I love greenery landscapes where nature is often at its best. To me green depicts the richness of nature and man’s compliance to ensure that nature is persevered”, he enthused while fiddling with some of his painted works. Although he is vast in other aspects of the visual art, the artist in him often tilts more towards mixed media, textiles, acrylic on canvass, graphics and motifs. For now, he dwells essentially on contract works where he does some paintings for individuals and corporate organizations. Some of the classical works in his custody now were made for Starcoms Telecommunications. “Yes some of the works I have now belong to Starcoms”, Nwaoguegbe said “The works include eight mixed media and one landscape. What I usually do is that once I am in the mood, I go to a particular spot to paint the scene. This is one of the ways to get the correct figure of a landscape”, he grimaced. At the moment, he said he is fulfilled because whenever he makes use of flashy and bold colours, they bring out the total beauty of his works. “Bright colours explain what you have in mind; your mood, your creative ability and so on. Any time yellow, blue and green colours flash in my mind while I am at work, it shows I am set to do a brighter concept. It also shows that I am in the right frame of mind to be at the peak of my creativity”. Based on his numerous works ready for public exhibit, he said: “I am discussing with Neighbours Art Gallery, Lagos, at the moment to see if I can mount an exhibition there this year. So far I have a couple of works but I hope to do more subsequently to increase the numbers. After all, it only takes me a couple of days to complete one art work”. In one of his works entitled After a day’s job; Nwaoguegbe, depicts a farmer/fisherman pedaling home in his canoe after completing his work for the day. “It shows how happy he is”, he posited, pointing to the many flashy colours adorning the landscape. “The man, as a fisherman was successful as you can glean from the choice of colours in the background”. With his cap perching piteously on one side of his head, the fisherman looked more like a bandit running away from an impending disaster. His countenance was not easy
Edozie Udeze writes on Edwin Nwaoguegbe, a young artist who comes on board with renewed zeal, depicting ideals of landscapes and mixed media
•Nwaoguegbe to decode but he was obviously in a hurry to get to his destination. However, the juxtaposition of multiple colours gave an impression that the artist intended to be more deliberate and expressive while doing the work. Also in Then came mercy, the assemblage of surrealism and realism explained what the artist described as “after a strife comes
respite, for hard work is the best route to success. The picture, as you can see, depicts an angel coming from heaven to console the person in the picture. That person there looks hopeful and bright. He has come to the end of his long suffering and it is time to enjoy”, he explained with high sense of professional zeal and satisfaction.
With almost all his works going for N60,000 each, Nwaoguegbe radiated life and enthusiasm while the chat lasted. He said “yes when you radiate life, happiness and strength, your work reflects deep love and enchantment”. And so with more notable art works in his armoury in his FESTAC Studios, Lagos, he is set to overcome and reach out to the world.
Music as weapon of mass protest The moving lyrics of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and other musicians, last week, added some vibes to the protests against the removal of oil subsidy, writes Edozie Udeze
N his time, world-acclaimed literary icon and word-smith of all times, William Shakespeare, described music as the food of love and urged lovers to use it for proper effect. However, the tone has changed in Nigeria today. Music, in all intents and purposes, has been transformed by the Nigerian protesters into a strong weapon of protest and agitation. On January 2nd when the coalition of civil rights activists first Continued on page 52
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
‘Choreography is a spiritual exercise’ Abel Otuebo, a choreographer and dance instructor is one of the greatest sensations in the culture sector in Nigeria presently. He spoke to Edozie Udeze on the profession and why he is now the most sought-after choreographer in the industry and lots more.
OU are into choreography, what does that entail? Yes, I am an artist, specializing in choreography and dance. At the moment I am in Ogun State as a resident choreography for the state. I have won many awards in dance and choreography for the state. And what I do now is to coach dancers in different aspects of choreography and dance so that those who show enough interest in it can one day live on the profession. When we went for Festival of Arts (NAFEST) last year, the state came third and we did so well in the areas of choreography and dance. We also went for Abuja carnival and took third. Apart from what I do presently for the Ogun State Government, I have my own project called Spark. Spark is a project where I am training some artistes and preparing them to tour the country and the world with me. I began to think that we young choreographers when we go outside the country and see large crowds of people watching people display their dances, we also need to do our own bit from here. Dance is in our blood It is not about contemporary dance now. It is about telling the world that those frisky and fast stage movements began from here and we can do it much better. So, I tried to go back to Abeokuta. I have been on the project for one year, thinking up new ideas and dance steps with which to invade the world very soon. Now you choreographed the Odia Ofeimun’s award winning dance-drama Feast of Return. How did you get into it? Felix Okolo who directed the show has indeed been a mentor to me on this profession. He knows my capa-
bilities and how vast I am on the job. We have worked under him severally as young dancers and when the opportunity came for him to appoint choreographer for The Feast of Return, he chose me. And I am happy I did not disappoint him or the thousands of the people who have watched that show. Okolo is not just a director who’ll tell you to go here or there. No, he is deep and that is why we love to work with him. He operates spiritually and when you work with him you also operate in the spirit, reflecting deeply and coming out with the best. During Wole Soyinka’s birthday I also worked with Okolo. That was in Lion and the Jewel where I did the choreography. That was really the first time when I worked with him as a choreographer. That was when Soyinka celebrated his 50th birthday many years ago. That caught his fancy that when The Feast of Return came up, he went for me. How did you gather those dances together to have those fantastic scenic movements on stage? One, Okolo is a director who will first of all break down the rules to you. He will put you on your toes and can make you to do the research on the theme on your own. And after the research and after you have got your own dance steps and movements ready to hit the stage, he will still talk to you. Then he will tell you that that pattern of movement is not so perfect or that it is perfect. Why not allow the dancer to come from the depth of water from the left side instead of the right side and so on. Okay, I want to see the spirit of someone from three square roads dancing to
those unseen steps and sounds. So, on and on, you’ll perfect those movements and go on to have a better outing. That’s what Okolo does to you so that at the end of it all, you will have an outstanding show. Two, he will allow you to go deep into your own spirit to think and have your own imagination. And most of the time when I work with him, I do all my creations early in the morning when there are no distractions. Because you have to be at your best to give Okolo’s work the best. I usually wake up around two in the morning all alone to imagine the movements on stage. First, I have enough time to myself, then pick the script, read the story and then create the movements best suited to the dances in the story. How many dance steps did you bring together to create the choreography in The Feast of Return? You know the dances are all poetry, poems from the Bantu people of South Africa. The movements contained thousands of steps and spaces, representing other issues from different parts of Africa. But what I know is that those movements were too many to mention and that is the total beauty of that show. Basically if you look at the Bantu poems you’ll discover that Odia Ofeimun used them to look at the various cultural elements and problems in the whole of Africa. That was why the show, while on stage, was total and even touched everyone who watched it. Where were you trained? Ah, I was trained in several places. I went to school here in Nigeria and in Senegal where I had an opportunity to see the other side of choreography, dwelling on French background. It was there I got
a diploma in choreography. Then from there I went to Nante in France where I also studied contemporary dance.
Thereafter, I took a tour of West Africa to learn other aspects of people’s dance movements and styles. I also went
on European tours conducting workshops on choreography and lots more. Those were the experiences I gathered.
Music as weapon of mass protest Continued from page 51
marched to Alausa, seat of Lagos State Government from Yaba, to register their displeasure over the removal of oil subsidy, what oozed out of their public address system and propelled them on, was Fela Anikulapo–Kuti’s popular songs Zombie and Beast of No Nation. While the protesters marched on through the streets of Lagos, the forceful voice of Fela and the powerful lyrics of his music sent its own clear message to the government. Fela had sung Zombie in the 1970s to discredit the military government in power then, a government that took Nigerians for granted. Today that evocative track still remains relevant, indicating, in other words, that there’s really no difference between the military government and what the people are experiencing in the so-called civilian dispensation at the moment. But the glow and the
presence of musicians who added more pep to the rallies were more felt at Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos, where the voices of Femi and Seun Kuti, Saidu Osupa, Pasuma Wonder, Ras Kimono and others came to ignite the arena not only with their presence, but also the provocative sounds of their music. While Fela’s Original suffer head, Overtake don overtake overtake, Army arrangement, Suffering and smiling, Beast of No Nation and so on reverberated in the air and pushed the people to a point of frenzy, Femi mounted the stage to render a few lyrics from one of his tracks. As soon as he was introduced to the audience, the arena became more charged with the youths urging him to sing for them. After a few statements to condemn those he described as thiefs in power, Femi sang thus: “we will tell them. We’ll not continue like this. Suffer too much”. When he removed his
shirt to make the message sink more, the crowd went wild with ecstasy, dancing around as if they were possessed. Then more venoms were poured against the government of the day. “These songs are prophetic”, Ola a resident of Ojota, said. “Fela sang these songs long, long ago, warning us of the grave dangers ahead, but we ignored him. Now, see where we are in the country today” Ola said, frowning his face to register his disgust against Nigerian Leaders and the removal of oil subsidy. Also in Abuja, the presence of Charly Boy on the streets during the protest encouraged more people to join in the march round the city. Charly Boy had a presence that was almost ubiquitous and which also spurred on both Okada riders and street traders to abandon their wares to be part of the social crusade. All the while too, Zombie was the track that was being played.
“It is our social responsibility to stand for what is right”, Charly Boy was quoted to have said. That showed that music can be used as a social crusade and a rallying weapon to unite the people and ginger them on. This was why Femi said, “my father started this crusade when I was thirteen years. Today nothing has changed at all. In fact the country is worse than it was before. His music is a weapon for the masses to sue for what is right…” And so, as the crusade goes on, more musicians are being brought into the protest march to encourage the people with their incisive lyrics. Pasuma Wonder who spoke in Yoruba urged the people to stand firm. His statement was received with thunderous ovation by his many fans within the arena. Even then, these musicians realized that their words are powerful enough to help push on the revolt of the people against the status quo.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
‘I have thrown out my boots’ —PAGE 54
‘I‘ve not only hung my boots, I have thrown them out’ • LUTH celebrates medical feat The duo of Okorie Uguru and Wale Adepoju were at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba to witness an unusual send off.
HE neo-natal ward of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos, is not used to conducting send off ceremonies for discharged infants born in the hospital. However, last Thursday that tradition was broken. The reason? This is no ordinary time and such a time deserves special treat. The Shofunlayo quintuplet delivered in the hospital on December 16 last year are ready to go home hale and hearty. As a prelude, five baby cots lined side by side, and the quintuplet were brought one after the other and placed inside the cots. They were cute in the cloth and caps on their heads. Bundles of joy All around, doctors, nurses and every one in LUTH engaged in one way or the other in nurturing the Shofunlayo quintuplet since they were born were beaming with smiles. One could understand. It was the first time that such high number of multiple births would be delivered in the hospital and all would survive. That was
the reason the management board of the hospital gathered, not only to bid the children goodbye as they returned to their parents’ home, but also came with gifts for the children. LUTH’s message for the proud parents Mr. Wale and Olayemi Shofunlayo was that the doors of the hospital was opened to the family whenever there was need for any check up without any protocol. Although one could see in his disposition the façade of an expert who has seen it all, the eyes of Professor Godwin Olu Ajayi, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology still betrayed excitement and happiness. Ajayi and his assistants monitored and saw to the nurturing of the babies right from the womb and delivered them safely. Ajayi, who is also President of Society of Perinatal Medicine of Nigeria (SOPMON), speaking about the quintuplet and their welfare said: “It is actually for me a very joyful moment that we have this type of delivery here. We, right from the beginning thought that it was four, but on the
• Mr and Mrs Wale Shofunlayo, parents of the quintuplet
day of delivery, the Almighty God told us that he was wiser and better than all. The parents must have been budgeting for four but now they are five. I immediately I left the operation theatre, I had to call the husband and told him the number of children. And what was going on in my mind was that this is a blessed country yet, the gov-
ernment does nothing for us.” According to him, in 2002 a similar case had to be referred abroad when around 20th week it was discovered the pregnant mother and father were AS (sickle cell carriers). Further tests showed that the expectant mother was also carrying a virus. The medical team Continued on page 54
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
‘I have thrown out my boots’ Continued from page 53
was unsure whether the pathogens have the touched the placenta and done any harm. After several considerations the mother had to be sent to the United States of America where she eventually delivered in New York. After the delivery the Mayor of gave the children citizenship of the US and provided the parents with a house and nanny. However, for the Shofunlayos, parents of the quintuplet, it has been a long journey that the hospital chapter has closed on a positive note. Last Tuesday was exactly six months, 184 days since the mother left her home and the hospital became her temporary abode. The couple is now looking forward to taking care of their children in the comfort of their home. Before the birth of the quintuplet, they had only a male child. Looking to a bright future While the husband is a little reticent on having another child, Mrs. Shofunlayo was categorical: “I have not only hung my boots, I have thrown them out of the window.” To Mr. Shofunlayo the prospect of catering for these children does weigh him down: “I am really very happy for what God has done for me. I ought to have had more than one child before now, but it was not possible so God decided to compensate me for the delay by giving me a quintuplet. I am very sure he will give me the wherewithal to take of them. I am just so happy.” He added: “I have taken it as a responsibility. Even before now if I had been spending too much in other areas, I have put a break so that I would be able to meet up with my responsibility and also put more efforts in my job.” He
• The LUTH nursing personnel who took care of the quintuplet
does not however rule out receiving any assistance if offered especially from the state or federal government. Talking about his experience, he said: “We always go together, even coming to LUTH I brought her. I was happy. The issue of children for us had been delayed. So, if God wants to compensate me for that, why not. At a point to
•Dr. Afolabi Lasi, Vice president, Medical Advisory Committee, LUTH presenting gifts to parents of the quintuplet
ease herself was a Herculean task, I had to assist. It was not easy at all. At a time she had bed sore because of lying for a long time in one place. I felt so much pity for her. Most of the times, I had to help her by massaging her stomach.” Shofunlayo is disappointed that all the tiers of government had not deemed it fit to identify with his family and LUTH on the medical success recorded. He said: “I expected to see representatives of both the federal and state governments come to identify with us. We all know that this thing that happened is not a thing that happens every day and it certainly will go down in the records. This is a federal hospital and I am sure the Minister of Health is aware of this breakthrough. We are not asking him to give us anything, but he could through the Medical Director of the hospital communicate with us. There is no acknowledgement that such a thing happened.“
Professor Edna Iroha, a professor of Paediatrics, who spoke on the success the hospital has recorded with the quintuplet said: “The birth of the children is special. The normal thing is usually one two, three, but when it goes beyond that, I mean it is something big and special in a way. I tell you what you haven’t asked. There is a certain amount of weight that the uterus can’t carry beyond that, the baby must come out; about three kilogram, a little over four. But in this case, five of them and none weighed less than one kg. “We are talking about six kg or more. How she managed for that length of time, it is a miracle. You would have thought that that the five of them by the time the total weight is approaching four kg, she would pour them but surprisingly they stayed on and you can relate survival to weight. The bigger you are in terms of weight, the more likely their survival and in terms of gestational age, the longer they stayed there, the higher their
•L-R: Dr. Ireti Fajolu, Prof. Edna Iroha and Prof. Godwin Olu Ajayi
weight all things being equal, the mother is feeding well, the placenta is able to deliver that nutrient from the mother to the womb.” On whether the mother being at her prime, contributed to the success of the birth Iroha said: “It has some contributions. The earlier in life you have your babies, the better the chances of those babies surviving both in terms of gestation, the size and then the absence of abnormality. So, the age of the mother contributes a lot.” The babies have been in incubators since they were born. However, two of them are now big enough to be weaned off the incubator and their temperature outside it is stable. Iroha has advice for potential mothers faced with such multiple conception. According to her “ One thing that I will say, looking at this mother, is that she got to the hospital, she had bed rest and she delivered in the hospital unlike the ones they have transferred to us in the past, babies born in another hospital and then transferring that to the specialist institutions and by that time they would have lost some time. These babies would have gone very cold, their respiratory problems would have worsened but these ones came out and they were handed over to us, next to the incubators. It was just a matter of seconds and minutes. So, I think that contributed. So, if anybody is going to have a premature delivery, whether one or five, it is better done in a facility or in an institution where the facilities and experts are available” For LUTH and the Shofunlayo family, it is an idyllic story that ends well.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Ways to protect your eyes this dry season T
HE dry, dusty weather of the harmattan season not only causes dry, flaky skin but can also lead to some eye problems such as dry eyes, viral conjunctivitis (or Apollo or pink eye), poor vision among others. The air is actually more dry during the colder months, causing your eyes to become more sensitive. Ensure to take extra precautions once you're going outside into the dry, cold air. You can shield your eyes from the wind and cold by wearing a hat or preferably sunglasses. Clear sight: Protect your eyes this dry and dusty season with sunglasses
Simple home remedies for pink eye
PPLY a compress to your eyes. To make a compress, soak a clean, lint-free cloth in water and wring it out before applying it gently to your closed eyelids. A cool water compress may help relieve allergic conjunctivitis. If you have bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, you may prefer a warm compress. If pink eye affects only one eye, don't touch both eyes with the same cloth. This reduces the risk of spreading pink eye from one eye to the other. Try eyedrops. Over-the-counter eyedrops called artificial tears may
relieve symptoms. Some eyedrops contain antihistamines or other medications that can be helpful for people with allergic conjunctivitis. Stop wearing contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, you may need to stop wearing them until your eyes feel better. How long you'll need to go without contact lenses depends on what's causing your conjunctivitis. Ask your doctor whether you should throw away your disposable contacts, as well as your cleaning solution and lens case. If your lenses aren't disposable, clean them thoroughly before reusing them.
Preventing Apollo or pink eye This eye condition usually common during this period, is an inflammation seen as a reddish change in the periphery of the eye often accompanied by a pus-like discharge. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane covering the white of the eyes and the inner side of the eyelids. It usually affects both eyes at the same time although it may start in one eye and spread to the other after a day or two. It may be asymmetrical, affecting one eye more than the other. There are many causes and the treatment will depend upon the cause. Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition. It's not serious, but it can be uncomfortable and irritating. One way
of preventing as well as controlling the spread is by practising good hygiene. For instance: Don't touch your eyes with your hands, wash your hands often, use a clean towel and washcloth daily. Also don't share towels or washcloths, change your pillowcases often, throw away your eye cosmetics, such as mascara and don't share eye cosmetics or personal eye-care items. “The most important way to prevent Apollo is to be very strict with handwashing,” stated Dr Ranami Obhuo, Founder, Dr Ranami Obhuo. Continuing, he added: “Because most times it is your hands that get contaminated with the virus and transfers the virus to your eyes when you rub them. So always wash your hands with soap and water before and after touching the eyes. Also avoid any facial contact with anyone who has Apollo. Don't share personal items such as towels, pillows, or cosmetics with an infected person. Colleagues who have Apollo should also be excused of their duties until their eyes feel and look normal again to prevent spreading the infection to others. But you cannot get Apollo by just looking into the eyes of an infected person.”
No to new HIV infections! M Faithfulness: Abstinence or staying with one partner reduces the risk of infection
any people behave in ways that expose them to contracting one infection or another. Some pick up new 'lovers', while others activate dying or seemingly dead relationships. In the process of expressing 'love', they engage in a risky behaviour, casual unprotected sex which is the
major road to transmitting and contracting HIV. However, this year's and the next four years' World AIDS Day theme, Getting to zero, has been chosen to direct efforts towards preventing new infections as much as possible. Wishing you all an HIV-free new year!
56 THE NATION ON SUNDAY
JANUARY 15, 2012
BEJU-LEKKI is also known as the Eko Tourist Resort. Situated Km 22 on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, about 35 minutes drive from Lagos, the Eko Tourist Resort has chalets and a large conference hall on 10 acres, with more than a kilometre of clean beach. Other facilities include a homely restaurant that serves Nigerian, continental and Asian food, round-the-clock security with a Nigerian police post right inside the resort. Lekki Beach: This very popular beach is only a few kilometres from the city centre along the Lekki-Epe Expressway. It is possible to hire a beach shelter made of palm fronds and set up a picnic or barbecue. Lekki Beach is right at the roundabout just past Ilasan Housing Estate. Eleko Beach: A few kilometres further along the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Eleko Beach is also a popular weekend get-away for Lagosians. Expect to 'settle' some Area Boys in order to park your car. There are lots of eating joints and bars along the beach. Eleko Beach is about 45 minutes drive along the Lekki-Epe Expressway (turn right off the main road by the Total Filling Station). You have to pay around 100 naira to enter. This is perhaps the nicest public beach along the peninsula. Tarkwa Bay: A sheltered beach within the harbour breakwater. It is easily accessible by boat from Tarzan Jetty at Maroko (N1000 per
Popular holiday hang-outs Looking for where to hang out with your family and loved ones? Here are a few places you can visit to have a lovely time. person) or under Falomo bridge on Victoria Island. The beach is a pleasant outing and has safe bathing even for children. Deck chairs are available for hire and a variety of fruits (pineapples, coconuts, oranges and so on) to buy. Make sure you book your return time
Power of giving M
OST people prefer to receive than to give due to the inherent nature of man to be selfish, often thinking of his own needs before those of others. But there is a lot to be gained and stand to benefit in giving instead of receiving. And giving should not be restricted to money or material items for that's Cheerful giver: Giving can give pleasure what most of us think of and fulfilment to the giver when it comes to giving. Giving includes the giving of time, kindness, ideas, advice, attention, skills, hope, love, The man who gave away touch, and much more. Besides the billions impact that giving makes in the lives of Virtually all successful-and certainly others, it can benefit the giver also, with all happy people-have discovered the benefits ranging from the practical, secrets of giving. Bill Gates, one of the s u c h a s i m p r o v e d h e a l t h a n d richest men in the world gave away a professional connections, to the large chunk of his fortune to charity and intangible, like hope and a sense of he is a happier man for it. He said he did not need all that money and it would connection with others. Your simple act of giving can end up creating problems for his children in future. You might not have improve the lives of others as well as Gates' billions but this festive season, your health and sense of wellbeing, you can give a little of what you have, your relationships, your company's thereby putting a smile on the face of bottom line, your happiness and many somebody. And getting a lot of joy, more. It can give a sense of purpose and happiness and a sense of fulfilment in fulfilment that you don't get from the process. Besides, givers never lack receiving. and the hand that gives is always on top.
with the boat driver. History Tarkwa is a man made bay and beach created during the formation of the Lagos harbour. The beach was shaped by the moles used to form the inlet to the harbour and covered with sand dredged from the bottom of the channel. As a result, the water is a lot calmer than the exposed Atlantic coastline elsewhere around Lagos. The fine sand is also much more comfortable to walk and lie on than the coarse/sharp sand of the other beaches. With its own resident community, most of whom make their living from the tourists who visit the beach, this is the only “maintained” beach in Lagos with
the beach hands cleaning up the garbage every weekend before the influx of tourists. Also given the fact that it is cut off from the main habitations of Lagos by water and is therefore only accessible by boat, this makes it a beach for real beach bums and sun worshippers, in contrast to the other “bums and worshippers” that flock to the Bar Beach. It is also possible to surf in a corner of Tarkwa Bay and other water sports such as Jet Skiing and Water Skiing are fairly common, although don't expect to find equipment there to rent! Make friends with the local nautical elites so you can use their water sports equipment. This is wishing all our numerous readers a very prosperous, healthy and happy New Year!
Post-party detox The New Year is a time to make a fresh start especially where your health and wellbeing are concerned. And right after that end of the yearlong period of over indulgence, the New Year is the perfect time to detox your mind and body. A good detox can help you to lose weight, cleanse the system, think clearly, and feel good. Toxins can be a result of excessive alcohol, smoking, environmental pollutants, processed foods, caffeine and any other health demons. “Nigerians carry a lot of garbage in the system the body can't get rid of due to our diet. And these can be harmful to the system,” said Dr Taiwo Fadeyi. He added that the food we eat such as beef, chicken and others contain fat which can cause toxins in the system over time. “Everybody should try to do a detox, not just this holiday period after over-indulging but regularly. I recommend a fruit fast once a month. You should decide you aren't eating any solid food for the day-eat only fruits such as pawpaw, watermelon, pineapple, oranges. These will help
cleanse the system. There are also special supplements that can be used for detoxifying different organs in the body for example the kidney, liver and others,” he stated. Besides the fruit fast, here are other forms of detox that will keep your system in tip-top condition this new year: Drink tons of filtered water and caffeine free teas. Limit your intake of wine to one to two glasses of
BUSINESS THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
HEN the Federal Government attempted to remove subsidy from diesel in 2000, some of the benefits it canvassed was that the move would enable the government save money hitherto earmarked for subsidizing the products as well as ensure availability of the products. Currently diesel sells at the pump price of N170 per litre almost thrice the pump price of petrol when it sold at the pre-hike price of N65. However, indications are that though the Federal Government succeeded in phasing out subsidy for the Automotive Gas Oil, the benefits in real terms, is yet to be determined, fueling speculations that nothing has changed in the diesel market despite the hype that attended the deregulation programme at the time. This is the damning verdict of some analysts who have monitored trends in the sector thus far in the last decade. One of those who have expressed misgivings over the purported benefits of deregulation of diesel is Dr. Austin Nweze, a policy analyst who lectures at the Pan African University, Lagos Nigeria. Nweze who spoke during an interview with The Nation said: “The whole issue of what has been saved and how the money has been invested is shrouded in secrecy. No one has been bold to tell Nigerians the truth about the impact of the AGO deregulation.” His argument is that if the Federal Government had recorded any milestone as it claimed with the deregulation of diesel, it would have graciously used it as a propaganda tool to canvass support for the deregulation of petrol. “Otherwise they should have been using it to sell the idea of fuel deregulation to Nigerians. Since they are not doing so, it then means that they cannot account for the money realised therefrom”, he stressed. Waxing philosophical, Nweze said: “It was the late American president, Abraham Lincoln that once said: “If you tell the people the truth, the country is safe.” Truth telling, he maintained, “is key to credible leadership. It is what makes or breaks a leader. The various Nigerian governments have not been telling Nigerians the truth. That’s why people are tired of their lies and are reacting in this manner. What people are demanding for is to be told the truth, be accountable and be responsible. “Nobody has heard or read anything about the deregulation of the AGO sector since the year 2000. The reason why nobody seems to know much about the AGO deregulation is because that involved companies such as manufacturing, construction and other industrial companies, and they have not come out openly to complain.”Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development in the administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida, shares the same sentiments with Nweze. Kalu prepared a policy document on deregulation as far back as 1985, said: “We have found that it was feasible to phase out sub-
Diesel deregulation: Points to ponder The Federal Government reportedly phased out subsidy for the Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), otherwise known as diesel in 2000. But over a decade after, questions are being raised as to the propriety or otherwise of that decision, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
sidy for diesel. I can’t recall exactly how it was done; I mean one didn’t focus on it.” According to him, “Deregulation does not just refer to the oil sector; in reality, it refers to the economy. So that is the first thing. Even if one is referring to a subsector of the economy, deregulation does not mean allowing some people to import finished goods. Damola Samuel, who runs a printing press at Bajulaiye axis of Lagos, however has a different view. According to him, “Anybody who has used a diesel vehicle or engine will appreciate a diesel vehicle. Diesel engines have fuel economy when compared to those that run strictly on petrol.” Echoing similar views, Stanley Okeowo, an engineer said: “About 70% of all private cars in Europe are diesel engine. Diesel engine is much more efficient than petrol engine. I have used diesel Golf 2, Passat TDI, 1996 Pajero with 2800 TD, 1996 V6 petrol Pajero- petrol guzzler.” Talk of different strokes for different folks. With the revelations detailing fraud in the petroleum industry in recent times, it is anybody’s guess that the much hyped gains of deregulation may be a smokescreen after all. According to leaked United States diplomatic cables, the fraud associated with the cabal that has brought Nigeria’s fuel subsidy system to its knees has been ongoing
for close to a decade and has remained virtually unchecked. The US cable coded 04LAGOS767 was created on the 8th of April 2004 and refers to discussions on April 2nd, 2004, between the then Chairman and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation of Nigeria (SPDC), Mr. Chris Finlayson and the then US consul general. Finlayson of Shell had told the US envoy that a scandal was imminent in the NNPC due to overpayments made by Nigeria’s apex oil body to international fuel marketers as a result of falsification of shipping documents on the part of the fuel marketers. The US cable also highlights discussions on April 6th, 2004 with Femi Otedola, described as “President and CEO of Zenon Petroleum and Gas, the largest supplier of diesel fuel in Nigeria.” The cable states that Mr. Otedola “essentially corroborated” what Finlayson of SPDC had earlier revealed to the US consul general. The cable reveals, “Otedola said over $300 million has been overpaid by NNPC for fuel imports, and that many leading international traders are involved. According to Otedola, NNPC contracts to pay its suppliers the market price on the day a ship is loaded with fuel. The cable goes on, “Pointing to examples, Otedola said that while a tanker loading fuel at a refinery in Bahrain usually takes four weeks to arrive in Lagos, comparisons between the bills of lading and dates
of arrival of some shipments reflected only a four-day difference, and in other cases, if taken at face value, indicated the journey took nine months. Otedola said 73 shipments from refineries in the Persian Gulf, England, and Venezuela listed delivery times of only one day. Otedola went on that most of the fuel traders supplying Nigeria are implicated in overcharging NNPC, and showed a list of 17 companies that supplied fuel in the first quarter of 2004, several of which, he said, are significant players in international markets, such as Trafigura and Vitol. Otedola added that three companies clearly not involved in the scandal are British Petroleum, ChevronTexaco and Shell.” The Zenon boss said he believes international fuel trade “mafias” are behind the failure to bring Nigeria’s refineries back on-line and to capacity. Otedola is convinced these traders arrange for the vandalization of crude oil feeder pipelines, which keep the refineries at Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna closed or under-capacity. He said the international traders generally receive at least one million dollars per shipload of fuel to Nigeria and have grown accustomed to the easy money Nigeria offers as long its refineries remain down.”
‘Lack of accountability bane of oil industry’ -- Page 59
Briefs How KPMG unmasked corruption at NNPC
RESH fact has emerged as to how KPMG, the internationally acclaimed auditing firm blew the whistle on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, hired KPMG and another Nigerian auditing firm, S.S. Afemikhe & Co., in July 2010, to look into the books of the corporation following allegations of “wrongful deductions at source by the NNPC to fund its operations” by the 36 state governors. There were also concerns at the time that “the procedures for managing and reporting the country’s crude oil and gas revenues are opaque and characterized by gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies in the role of key parties responsible for the assessment, collection and reporting on these revenue streams.” Officials of the petroleum ministry and the NNPC, a source at the finance ministry disclosed, developed cold feet after the auditors were sent in, and indeed tried hard to frustrate the representatives of the two audit firms by failing to supply evaluation criteria for commercial bids submitted in respect of petroleum products importation. The report, which could trigger a fierce face-off between the Federal and State Government, is one document the Federal Government, the petroleum ministry and the NNPC have worked hard to conceal for a little over a year now. It contains shocking details of how the NNPC, and by implication, the federal government has been swindling the states. Contracts for the importation of products, the auditors wrote, were also routinely awarded without regard for approved guidelines and procedures. “We observed that contracts for the importation of petroleum products were awarded to companies and suppliers not listed in the approved prequalification list used for the fourth quarter 2008 importation,” the report noted. The auditors specifically queried the award of contracts to Astana Oil Corporation Limited, Natural Energy and Oando, when they were not prequalified for patronage that year. Among other forms of misdemeanour, ranging from poor accounting to shoddy record keeping, the auditors also indicted the corporation for leaving its own storage facilities, unused, and then proceeding to incur additional cost from leasing of third party storage facilities. The auditors reported that DPK tanks (with storage capacity of 18,000 cubic metres) at the PPMC depots within the Mosimi Area had not been used for three years even though there were in good condition. Yet the corporation, the examiners added, had been leasing storage facilities from third parties. The spokesperson of the NNPC, Levi Ajuonuma, declined to comment on the report, saying he had nothing to say until the government releases it officially.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
‘Removal of fuel subsidy right and timely’ President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to withdraw the fuel subsidy has attracted very strong opposition. Pushing a contrary view is Dr. Innocent Usoro. Usoro, who is chairman of Miden Systems Limited and an Abuja-based businessman with interests in oil and gas. During a recent visit to the editorial headquarters of USAfrica in Houston, Texas, he told the Publisher, Dr. Chido Nwangwu, that Jonathan’s action was timely
N the timing of the removal My key issue is that I strongly believe that President Goodluck Jonathan should stay the course on the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy because he made the right decision. I think he also made this decision at the right time.
Those who claim otherwise do not know what they are talking about because they forget Nigeria is losing money to fraud in the name of fuel subsidy. He should be firm and sincere on his proper decision to withdraw the fuel subsidy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s President Jonathan’s New
Year gift to Nigerians. If you and the President are right, why are Nigerians so overwhelming in their opposition and demonstrations against this New Year’s gift? Most of the demonstrators don’t have the right information. Those who oppose it don’t have the right
information. Some of them know better but support the demonstrations. The demonstrators should call on their new friends, namely the Soyinkas and the Babangidas to ask the House to demand that the proper appropriation/law for subsidy be funded. As you’re aware, some Nigerian youths have been killed by Police and security agencies over the fuelpetroleum subsidy demonstration… I think that labour’s demonstrations fueled and led to the deaths of those Nigerians. Really! Are you serious? Yes, I am serious. The labour organisations, plan-
ners and leaders of these demonstrations are responsible for the deaths of those Nigerians and not President Jonathan and his security team. Where’s the role of the NNPC in the whole palaver? The subsidy itself was a fraud; and it’s the major part of the fraud in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. It is the N1.4 trillion worth of fraud annually that the President has eliminated without celebrations. Why should the fuel subsidy be withdrawn at this time without any cushioning and transitioning mechanisms? The question of timing is the individual prerogative of
any president. Jonathan thinks this is the right time to do it. He’s right. When will it ever be the right time to discontinue it? We’ve been at this for 20 years; we should salute the courage of the President for stopping the fraud of fuel subsidy. Is there a date certain that organized labour will find it acceptable? Are you indifferent to the facts on the ground in terms of the mood and expression of popular opposition to the president’s decision? I’m not indifferent and it’s sad some people have died, and the security should be more careful. The president must leave no one in doubt that this is an irreversible action.
South Africans await travel alert on Nigeria
HE Department of International Relations announced on Wednesday that it is in consultation with the High Commission in Nigeria on whether to issue a travel alert. The country which has been hit by an indefinite strike against President Goodluck Jonathan government’s decision to end the fuel subsidy, has seen pet-
Stories by Rita Ohai with Agency Report
rol costs more than double and food prices soar, while millions of Nigerians live on less each day. “The Department of International Relations continues to monitor the situation with a particular interest in South Africans. Our advice would be that they keep in touch with our mission and they keep updated with regards to devel-
opment,” said Clayson Monyela, a staff. The industrial action entered its third day on Thursday, with unions warning that they will halt output in Africa’s top crude producer. The United Kingdom (UK) issued a travel alert in the wake of the deaths of at least 13 people who were caught in the ongoing clashes which started on Monday.
Liberia gets IFAD $24.9m loan to revitalise cocoa, coffee
T •L-R: Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Governor of Lagos State; Mrs Bola Adesola, Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd and Mr. Rufus Jegede, Chief Consultant, Ijewere and Co. during the presentation of an award in recognition of the bank’s tax compliance at the 5th Lagos State Taxation Stakeholders conference held in Lagos recently. PHOTOS: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL
HE International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$24.9 million loan to the Republic of Liberia to improve food security and reduce post conflict poverty in rural communities. The loan agreement for the Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalisation Support Project was signed recently by Mohamed Sheriff, Ambassador of the Republic of Liberia and Kevin Cleaver,
Associate Vice President, Programmes at IFAD. Development of the agriculture sector is a top national priority of the Liberian government. Although agriculture is the largest employer in the country, it is facing major challenges. This new project will aim to increase the incomes of cocoa and coffee producers by raising the quantity of produce sold. The project will revitalize 50 per cent of existing plantations and restore 315 kilometres of
rural road networks to improve access to market centres for more than 280,000 people. In addition, the project will strengthen both the private sector and extension services to smallholder farmer cooperatives by the Ministry of Agriculture. With this new project, IFAD will have financed 5 programmes and projects in Liberia for a total investment of $38.3 million benefitting 30,000 households.
Total appoints new senior vice president for Middle East
•L-R: Mr John Ugbe, Managing Director, Multichoice Nigeria, Dr Patrick Ekeji, Director General, National Sports Commission, Engr. Yomi Bolarinwa, Director General, Nigeria Brioadcasting Commission and Mr Felix Awogu, General Manager, Supersport, during the certificate presentation to graduates in Management Development Programme of the Wits University, sponsored by Supersport held at National Stadium Abuja recently
NE of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in the world, TOTAL, recently appointed Momar Nguer as Senior Vice President, Africa/Middle East for their Supply & Marketing division. He succeeded Alain Champeaux who left his operational responsibilities after a career of 35 years with the Group. Nguer began his career in 1982 in Hewlett Packard France’s Finance Department and joined Total in 1984, serving in various
downstream positions. After a period at Total Africa’s headquarters, he was named Vice President, Marketing at Total Senegal in 1985. Returning to Paris headquarters in 1991, he was appointed Vice President, Retail Network & Consumers at Total Africa. In 1995, Mr. Nguer became Chief Executive Officer of Marketing subsidiary Total Cameroun and was subsequently named Chief Executive Officer of Marketing subsidiary Total Kenya in 1997. In 2000, the fifty-five year-
old was appointed Vice President, Total East Africa & Indian Ocean in Total’s Refining & Marketing business. Mr. Nguer who is a graduate of France’s ESSEC business school had been Vice President, Aviation Fuel since February 2007.
HE 2012 budget did not include the fuel subsidy, suggesting that it is already a fait accompli of sorts. From the macroeconomic point of view, would the removal of the fuel subsidy serve the public interest? The point is since there is no provision of subsidy in the 2012 budget, the Dr. Christopher Kolade-led committee to supervise the investment of the subsidy money is not necessary because there is no money to manage or invest in the first place. Who is fooling who here? I think the government panicked when the people reacted and hurriedly set up the committee without intelligently thinking it through with the intention of placating the people into swallowing the bitter pill. From the economic view point, the fuel subsidy removal serves the public interest. Here is the part of the comment I made in 2007 when the subject of fuel subsidy was on the front burner in the national political and economic space: Between 2006 and 2007, Nigeria’s oil production level was 2.2 million to 2.5 million barrels per day, making Nigeria the 6th biggest oil producing nation in the world. For every US$1 increase per year in the price of oil, Nigeria earns revenue equal to US$700 million. Nigeria’s domestic consumption of refined crude (PMS) is 26 million liters per day. Since the refineries are not working and no new ones have been built, the refined crude is being imported from different parts of the world by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which has recently been “calibrated” to different autonomous or semi-autonomous units for better “efficiency” (so they made us to believe). The NNPC has a monopoly over the importation of PMS, AGO, Kerosene and other allied products. This monopoly encourages corruption and the government doesn’t want to let go. When General Obasanjo came to power in 1999 he took control of the oil portfolio and refused to appoint a minister to oversee the sector. He held on tightly for the eight years he ruled and the present administration has maintained the status quo. Oil has been used, either in the form of oil blocks licenses or allocation to import or supply refined crude on behalf of NNPC, to sort out political I.O.U.s or to settle friends and party loyalists. No wonder the office of the Group Managing Director of NNPC is constantly besieged by rent seekers looking for oil allocation. These people should realise that the NNPC GMD has a major duty to carry out on a daily basis other than giving out allocation papers, and therefore should be allowed to perform those functions to move the industry forward, especially on the policy level. Sometimes I wonder why someone has not sued either NNPC or the Federal Government for monopolistic tendency or anticompetition behaviour for reserving the sole right of importation of oil (refined crude) to NNPC. I hope one day, through the courage of someone, this situation could be tested in the court of law. The oil sector should be completely freed up from the government control. When the sector is completely liberalised, it will curb corruption and benefit the masses. I’ve often heard that the reason for non liberalization of the oil sector is because it will hurt the masses. My discussions with oil experts pointed otherwise. The corrupt Nigerian elite prefer the system of monopoly to enrich themselves more and impoverish the masses more. This is what currently obtains. The government would want petrol to sell for N100 per liter, but instead it is being sold for N70 per liter (depending on which city or state you live or buy your petrol). So, the government provides subsidy of N30 per liter of petrol for domestic consumption. Since 26 million liters of petrol are consumed daily in the domestic market, therefore it means that the government spend about N780 million daily on subsidy or N285 billion or US$2.5 billion annually. But for corruption, I would have said this amount could have been invested to develop other sectors of the economy like agriculture or even research and development. When the oil sector is completely liberalized it will encourage more competition. Even though the pump price of petrol in filling stations will be higher than the prevailing N70 per liter (could be N100 or more), in the short term, but in the long term it will benefit the masses. The pump price will eventually come down to an affordable rate because
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
‘Lack of accountability bane of oil industry’ Dr. Austin Nweze, a policy analyst lectures at the Pan African University, Lagos Nigeria. In this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf he speaks on the pros and cons of the fuel subsidy among other issues
•Nweze people will invest in new refineries and existing ones will be put to near capacity utilization. At the prevailing rate of N70 per liter, investors are reluctant to invest. Anybody can import petrol if they so wish rather than the current situation where NNPC has monopoly. One thing we should realize is that government monopoly, or any other form of monopoly for that matter, doesn’t not augur well for our economy. In 2011 the government spent about $5 billion in funding the corrupt practices in the sector in the name of subsidy. Meanwhile, according to Woodmark Consulting based in Ireland, Nigerian government has not made any forward investment in the sector to continue exploration since 2006. So the oil reserve is fast depleting as we speak. What in your view is the economic impact of the mass protest occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, how much has been lost and in which sectors? Nigeria is in a precipice and only wise counsel can save her from imminent collapse or break up. What is happening or what we are seeing today through the strike, rally and protest is a silent revolution akin
to or another version of military revolution. This is a global trend where power is shifting to the people. In the past when we experienced partial strike or protest, it was estimated that over N40 billion was lost on a daily basis. But what we are seeing today is beyond anybody’s expectation where every Nigerian from all walks of life both the rich and the poor have come together not just to protest against the fuel subsidy removal but for bad governance, insecurity in the land occasioned by the wanton killings of innocent citizens by the so-called Boko Haram and other evil agents, and the survival of our dear nation. So, it is not just about fuel subsidy removal. The subsidy removal is the last straw that broke the Carmel’s back. So, in my estimate Nigeria is losing between N80 and N100 billion daily. The reason for this figure is that the banks, sea ports, airports, market, stock markets, government offices, private establishment, roads transportation, etc have all been shut down in most parts of the country. Importers are incurring demurrages because their goods cannot be cleared from the ports. Ships cannot berth because the employees are not working. This is probably the price we all have to pay to save Nigeria and take our country back from the evil forces that have held us in bondage since independence. Given the huge lost estimate do you think government was justified to have removed the subsidy without consideration for the spinoff? One major challenge every Nigerian government has always had is in trying to solve a problem they create other problems and at the end create jobs for those who don’t deserve it or create unneeded jobs and therefore compound the situation. Governments think in bits when it comes to decision making process. They need to think strategically and paint different scenarios. But the crisis government is having today is the result of not thinking strategically, a situation where they don’t see the end from the beginning. The government underestimated the reaction of Nigerians. They don’t know that it is no longer business as usual. Nigerians have become more sophisticated and they are aware of what is happening all over the world through the power of internet, social media and television. From what is currently happening I don’t think they will ever introduce any policy in the same manner they have just done with the fuel subsidy removal. What Nigerians are indirectly or directly telling the government is that they need to be given their voice back. The culture of impunity where the government will just wake up and do whatever they want is over. People power is the name of the game today. This is a global trend. Another trend is that now economic decisions determine political outcomes. The reverse was the case in the past. We have seen this topple the government of Greece and Italy without elections,
and Spain and Ireland. If this situation persists longer than necessary, I foresee the Nigerian people asking President Jonathan to step down. I hope it doesn’t get to that and I hope the government will do the right thing and arrest the situation soon. The government successfully deregulated AGO (diesel) as far back as 2000. Do you have an idea how much has been saved if any, and what has government done with the money and given the success with diesel, can it be used as a yardstick for fuel? The whole issue of what has been saved and how the money has been invested is shrouded in secrecy. No one has been bold to tell Nigerians the truth about the impact of the AGO deregulation. Otherwise they should have been using it to sell the idea of fuel deregulation to Nigerians. Since they are not doing so, it then means that they cannot account for the money realised therefrom. It was the late American president, Abraham Lincoln that once said: “If you tell the people the truth, the country is safe.” Truth telling is key to credible leadership. It is what makes or breaks a leader. The various Nigerian governments have not been telling Nigerians the truth. That’s why people are tired of their lies and are reacting in this manner. What people are demanding for is to be told the truth, be accountable and be responsible. Nobody has heard or read anything about the deregulation of the AGO sector since the year 2000. The reason why nobody seems to know much about the AGO deregulation is because that involved companies such as manufacturing, construction and other industrial companies, and they have not come out openly to complain. Fuel affects everybody including the common man on the street. That is why it is different and the reaction is different too. President Goodluck Jonathan has presented N4.2trillion budget to the National Assembly. The argument in some quarters is that for an economy that is in dire need of infrastructure investment, committing 72 per cent of the budget to recurrent spending would not promote the cause of economic transformation. And going by record of budget implementation, the portion of the budget that would go to capital spending may even be less than the proposed 28 per cent. What is your take on this? The whole issue of annual national budget and budgeting is warped. I have a different view on this budget issue. Yes the benefits of budget and budgeting cannot be overemphasised but I kick against the ritual of annual budget because it encourages corruption. Budgeting supposed to help governments, individuals, and companies in the planning process. In terms of government budgets, the annual budget carried out by the federal and state governments encourages corruption. For a developing country like Nigeria we need to have a four-five year budget proposals. We want to see a situation where a government comes to power armed with a budget proposal of what it intends to accomplish within the four-five year tenure of that administration. Annualized budgeting is more needed in developed economies, but not in the developing economy. About 80% of the recurrent expenditure which constitute 72% of the total budget is for personnel cost. Recently there was about 53% salary increase across board apart from the N18, 000 minimum wages. So, you can see clearly that the system we run (liberal democracy) is too expensive for the size of our economy. We need to rethink our democratic system and come with a system we can afford to run. The type of democracy we profess to be running is not working and will never work unless we move majority of Nigerians out of poverty level. This is because, our brand of liberal democracy and poverty cannot mix. It is anti people and anti development. Some people are feeding fat at the expense of the majority of Nigerians. We can see it in the budget. With a capital budget of less than 28%, what are you going to achieve. That means we will continue to have bad roads, no power to run our factories, no water to drink or wash, and other amenities that will improve the standard of living and quality of life of the people. Economic progress will be achieved when the ratio of capital expenditure to recurrent expenditure is at least 60:40 and with sincere and transparent implementation.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2011
Lawmaker tasks councils on revenue generation C
HAIRMAN, Public Account Committee (Local) of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Hon. Dayo Fafunmi has implored all the 57 councils in the state to be proactive in revenue generation. He stated this at the year 2010 Auditors Report for Local Government held
By Oziegbe Okoeki
at the Assembly recently. He advised the councils to pay up in terms of unfinished paid loans and unremitted statutory money meant to be paid to the Federal and state accounts respectively. “There is need for all Local Government Coun-
cils (LGAs) and Local Government Development Areas (LCDAs) to find out their strength especially those in the coastal areas and improve on it so as to boost their revenue drives”, Fafunmi said. This, he said, would improve on education, community health care delivery and poverty alleviation as well as
infrastructural facilities at the local government levels. A member of the committee, Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1) said there would be punitive measures against any local government that refuses to respond to queries issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Local Government.
Civil servants urged to professionalise
HIEF Whip of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Hon. Razaq Balogun has called on the Office of Transformation (OT) to involve professionals from the state civil service for its success in the state. Balogun who is also chairman, House committee on Ethics, Protocol and Privileges stated this during a meeting of the committee in his office at Alausa yesterday. According to him, “there is need for the Office of Transformation to make use of the state Government trained professionals because the same government has invested in them and it is just wise to take advantage of such. Why do you train them? All you have to do is to give them incentives to boost their morale”, Balogun said. The committee further directed the Office of Transformation to bring a position paper between its office and the Management Services for the purpose of clarity to avoid duplication in the Year 2012 budget. Responding DirectorGeneral of OT, Mr. Toba
Ogunsanya explained that in-house professionals had already been selected. “We already have six in-house professionals, but where we have
gaps, we then have to get some professionals externally. It would be recalled that the Office of Transformation was created in November
2009 and did not take-off until May 2010 with the amalgamation of two existing offices, Management Service Reform and Project Inspection Monitoring Unit.
• Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Chris Onyemenam being decorated with the Armed Forces Remembrance Emblem by a staff of Nigerian Legion in Abuja recently. PHOTO: NAN
Experts’ recipe for women economic power
CROSS the globe, women do two thirds of the work, receive 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the means of production; a fact that has nonetheless affected the almost 50:50 ratio of the male: female population in the Nigerian business world. The debate which was sponsored by Nestle Nigeria plc had a crop of seasoned professionals in their individual fields as panel of discussants. This provided a platform on which perception of gender diversity by corporate organisations; proactive actions to achieve gender balance in workplaces as well as the level of intensity in the hurdles women face at the workfront were objectively looked into. While noting that for all of these areas to be dealt with progressively the need for gender recruitment tracking is imperative. The Gender Recruitment Tracking (GRT) would enable the monitoring of the gender
The need for gender balance at the workplace was an issue hotly debated at an interface and discussion session held at the Entrepreneurial Development Centre of the Pan African University recently, reports Timilehin Osunde ration of the Nigerian workforce, thereby encouraging the womenfolk as they climb the corporate ladder in a traditional society where they are expected to focus more on family than the men. Organised by Idea Builders Initiative, a notfor-profit organisation committed to helping women transform their lives in Nigeria, the debate had on its panel of discussants, Dr. Esohe Molokwu, Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, Dr. Keziah Awosika, Dr. Sade Taiwo, Mr. Femi Ogundare and Mr. Kunle Ajibade. Speaking during the event, Dr. Keziah Awosika, an economist specializing in the area of money and banking, explained that
the need to sensitize and educate others especially the men is key. A cross-section of the experts observed that there is need to network constantly amongst organisations in both the corporate and development world, as this can help source out ways through which gender balance can be achieved in the business world. Expatiating, the experts held that every year, both genders enter the workforce with comparative education, ambition and commitment, but as the climb up the ladder progresses, it turns into a diminishing numbers game with a minimal percentage of the female force staying long enough to reach the senior management level. Both workers, irrespective of their gender, the panelists
stressed, both face the same challenges, changes and tasks. But they however pointed out that in a setting where more is expected physically, emotionally and psychologically from the women than the men, then the guilt of not being able to fill these spaces adequately as well as the real or perceived workforce productivity loss is huge. Hence, it has been deduced that women in policy making positions need to explore the area of Gender Recruitment Tracking (GRT) and endeavour to work towards making it a strong requirement if corporate gender initiatives are to be sustainable while noting the difference between tracking numbers and putting down numbers.
Beyond Talent By Adetayo Okusanya Email: email@example.com
Setting the Right Goals for 2012
ICTURE this. It is your first day at work for a new employer. You ask your supervisor to tell you the company goals for the year in progress. He tells you he has no clue. Would you think your supervisor was competent and would you be motivated to go to work every day not knowing if the work that you do is valuable to the organization? Put differently, you have just been asked to invest a significant sum of money in a company and you ask the management team for their business plan. They do not have a business plan. Would you invest your money in that company? As CEO of your own destiny, your focus this week should be on goal setting. Goal setting is the process whereby you determine a future state that is important to you, establish timelines for achieving this future state, prioritize the steps you will take to reach the desired state and preset the criteria for measuring success. Goal setting, if done the right way, will motivate you in the short term, focus your efforts over the long-haul and enhance your chances of success. Additionally, people are more inclined to take you serious and provide support when you can clearly communicate your goals. A goal is simply a result or end point that you desire and aim at. Goals are powerful because they provide direction. For goal setting to be effective you must be convinced that you are setting the right goals for your life, committed to executing your plan, excited about the outcome and determined to see your goals through to the end. You will exp e r i e n c e progress, success, growth and personal satisfaction when you are armed with the right set of goals. Identify the areas of your life that are important to the future state that you have envisioned and set long, mid and short term goals for each of these areas. For example, your long term vision could be to become a bestselling and financially independent author of kids’ literature, a supportive spouse and parent, and a role model in the community. In this case finance, education, career, family, community service, health, recreation and personal growth, are life areas that could be critical to your success in reaching your desired state. Set big, bold and audacious long term goals. They should challenge and stretch you and perhaps on some level frighten you because they have the potential take you out of the realm of your comfort zone and push the boundaries of what you believe you are capable of accomplishing. Be sure to balance your ambition with a healthy dose of realism. Your long term goals should have a time horizon of five years or more. Breakdown your long term goals into targets you can accomplish in smaller time frames. For example, in the area of career, your five-year goal could be to publish a book by December 1st 2016. Your midterm goal (two to five years) could be to complete the first draft of your book by January 1st 2014 and your short term goal (less than two years) to complete a creative writing course by December 31st 2012. You can break this down further into daily, weekly and monthly goals that you can track and manage more easily. Your 2012 goals should be clear, specific, sufficiently detailed, measurable, achievable, time bound, action oriented and most importantly organized based on priority. Clearly defined and prioritized goals will enable you optimize your resources. For instance, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for Tope compared to recreation. She has set a target to lose five kilograms in six months by exercising three times a week at the neighborhood gym, eating larger portions of fruits and vegetables and weighing herself daily. She is willing and committed to cutting down the number of hours she spends watching television so that she has time to work out at the gym. Write down your goals to keep a record and reminder of the things you are committed to achieving in 2012 and in the long term. As you accomplish the short term tasks be sure to take time to celebrate your successes. Also, remember that there are many factors which can impact your desired outcomes, some of which may be outside your control. Focus your goals on areas that are within your control. Tip of the day: A great way to ensure you achieve a minimum performance standard related to your goals is to adopt the use of checklists. Checklists are easy to use and free. They complement your memory, especially in high pressure situations, and help you remember to do the minimum tasks that are critical for success. Create a daily or weekly checklist to remind you of the critical and important actions (no more than ten) you need to undertake to achieve your goals.
WORLD NEWS THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
URVIVORS from a luxury cruise ship that ran aground and tipped over, leaving at least three dead and 69 people still unaccounted for, described yesterday a chaotic evacuation, as plates and glasses crashed and they crawled along upended hallways trying to reach safety. Three bodies were recovered from the sea after the Costa Concordia ran aground off the tiny island of Giglio near the coast of Tuscany late Friday, tearing a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in its hull and sending in a rush of water. The ANSA news agency quoting the prefect’s office in the province of Grosseto as saying that authorities have accounted for 4,165 of the 4,234 people who had boarded the liner. By yesterday morning, the ship was lying virtually flat off Gigio’s coast, its starboard side submerged in the water and the huge gash showing clearly on its upturned hull. Passengers described a scene reminiscent of “Titanic”, complaining the crew failed to give instructions on how to evacuate and once the emergency became clear, delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many of them to be released. Helicopters plucked to safety some people who were trapped on the ship, some survivors were rescued by boats in the area, and witnesses said some people jumped from the ship into the dark, cold sea. Coast guard rescuers were continuing to search the ship for passengers. Authorities still hadn’t counted all the survivors by the time they reached mainland 12 hours later. The evacuation drill was only scheduled for yesterday
Three dead, 69 missing as ship runs aground off Italy
•View of the Costa Concordia yesterday, after the cruise ship ran aground and keeled over off the Isola del Giglio, Friday night. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE afternoon, even though some passengers had already been on board for several days. “It was so unorganized, our evacuation drill was scheduled for 5 p.m.,” said Melissa Goduti, 28, of Wallingford, Connecticut, who had set out on the cruise of the Mediterranean hours earlier. “We had joked ‘What if something had happened today?’” “Have you seen ‘Titanic?’
That’s exactly what it was,” said Valerie Ananias, 31, a schoolteacher from Los Angeles who was traveling with her sister and parents on the first of two cruises around the Mediterranean. They all bore dark red bruises on their knees from the desperate crawl they endured along nearly vertical hallways and stairwells, trying to reach rescue boats. “We were crawling up a
hallway, in the dark, with only the light from the life vest strobe flashing,” her mother, Georgia Ananias, 61 said. “We could hear plates and dishes crashing, people slamming against walls.” She choked up as she recounted the moment when an Argentine couple handed her their 3-year-old daughter, unable to keep their balance as the ship lurched to the side and the
family found themselves standing on a wall. “He said ‘take my baby,’” Mrs. Ananias said, covering her mouth with her hand as she teared up. “I grabbed the baby. But then I was being pushed down. I didn’t want the baby to fall down the stairs. I gave the baby back. I couldn’t hold her. “I thought that was the end and I thought they should be with their baby,”
CIA behind nuclear scientist’s killing - Iran
RAN said yesterday it has evidence that the United States was behind the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist this week in Tehran, state media reported. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed in a brazen daylight assassination Wednesday when two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car in the Iranian capital. The killing bore a strong resemblance to earlier killings of scientists working on the Iranian nuclear program, and has prompted calls in Iran for retaliation against those deemed responsible. The IRNA state news agency said yesterday that Iran’s Foreign Ministry has sent a diplomatic letter to the U.S. saying that it has “evidence and reliable information” that the CIA provided “guidance, support and planning” to assassins “directly involved” in Roshan’s killing. The U.S. has denied any role in the assassination. Iran delivered the letter to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which looks after U.S. interests in the country. Iran and the U.S. have had no diplomatic
relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. IRNA also reported that Iran delivered a letter to Britain accusing London of having an “obvious role” in the killing. It said that a series of assassinations began after British intelligence chief John Sawers hinted in 2010 at intelligence operations against the Islamic Republic. British media have quoted Sawers as saying that intelligence-led operations were needed to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Britain’s Foreign Office has condemned the killing of civilians. Israeli officials, in contrast, have hinted at covert campaigns against Iran without directly admitting involvement. The killing has sparked outrage in Iran, and state TV broadcast footage yesterday of hundreds of students marching in Tehran to condemn Roshan’s death and calling for the continuation of the country’s disputed nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies fear Iran’s program aims to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies
the charges, and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. In the clearest sign yet that Iran is preparing to strike back for Roshan’s killing, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the spokesman for Iran’s Joint Armed Forces Staff, was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency yesterday as saying that Tehran was “reviewing the punishment” of “behind-thescene elements” involved in the assassination. “Iran’s response will be a tormenting one for supporters of state terrorism,” he said, without elaborating. “The enemies of the Iranian nation, especially the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime,
or Israel, have to be held responsible for their activities.” Jazayeri also accused the International Atomic Energy Agency of being partially to blame, saying that the U.N. nuclear watchdog made public a list of Iranian nuclear scientists and officials that “has provided the possibility of their identification and targeting by spy networks.” British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the “whole world” would take action if Iran closed the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in a television interview during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday. “It is in the interests of the whole world that those straits
are open and, if there was any threat to close them, I am sure the whole world would come together and make sure they stayed open,” Cameron told AlArabiya television. Cameron’s first visit as premier to OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia comes as Western governments move to step up sanctions over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, threatening an embargo on its oil exports. The move has drawn an angry response from Tehran which has in turn threatened to shut the strait — a chokepoint for a fifth of the world’s seaborne oil exports — if it is attacked or heavy sanctions are imposed.
Moscow police arrest two at protest
USSIAN police have detained two officials of a liberal opposition party after a protest rally in Moscow against election fraud. Yesterday’s rally by the Yabloko party was sanctioned for 300 participants, but police counted about 350. Organizer Maya
Zavyalova was detained on charges with violating public order, the state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted a police spokesman as saying. The charge carries a fine of 2,000 rubles (about $60). Yabloko’s deputy chairman Sergei Mitrokhin was detained after entering the rally by skirting police
security barriers. He was charged with disobeying police, RIA-Novosti said. That charge carries a potential sentence of 15 days in jail. The rally protested alleged fraud in last December’s parliamentary election and called for volunteers to monitor March’s presidential vote.
she said. “I wonder where they are,” daughter Valerie whispered. The family said they were some of the last off the ship, forced to shimmy along a rope down the exposed side of the ship to a waiting rescue vessel below. Survivor Christine Hammer, from Bonn, Germany, shivered near the harbor of Porto Santo Stefano, on the mainland, after stepping off a ferry from Giglio. She was wearing elegant dinner clothes — a gray cashmere sweater, a silk scarf — along with a large pair of hiking boots, which a kind islander gave her after she lost her shoes in the scramble to escape. Left behind in her cabin were her passport, credit cards and phone. Some 30 people were reported injured, most of them suffering only bruises, but at least two people were reported in grave condition. Several passengers came off the ferries on stretchers, but it appeared more out of exhaustion and shock than serious injury. Some passengers, apparently in panic, had jumped off the boat into the sea, witnesses said. Authorities were trying to obtain a full passenger and crew list from Costa, so they could do a roll call to determine who might be missing. The evacuees were taking refuge in schools, hotels, and a church on the tiny island of Giglio, a popular vacation isle about 18 miles (25 kilometers) off Italy’s central west coast. Those evacuated the port of Porto Santo Stefano on the nearby mainland. Paolillo said the exact circumstances of the accident were still unclear, but that the first alarm went off about 10:30 p.m., about three hours after the Concordia had begun its voyage from the port of Civitavecchia, en route to its first port of call, Savona, in northwestern Italy. The coast guard official, speaking from the port captain’s office in the Tuscan port of Livorno, said the vessel “hit an obstacle” — it wasn’t clear if it might have hit a rocky reef in the waters off Giglio — “ripping a gash 50 meters (160 feet) across” in the side of the ship, and started taking on water. Costa Cruises said the Costa Concordia was sailing on a cruise across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo. It said about 1,000 Italian passengers were onboard, as well as more than 500 Germans, about 160 French and about 1,000 crew members. The Concordia had a previous accident in Italian waters, ANSA reported. In 2008, when strong winds buffeted Palermo, the cruise ship banged against the Sicilian port’s dock, and suffered damage but no one was injured, ANSA said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
South Sudan: new nation, old problems Two killed, 16 hurt in Libyan clashes
N July, joy reigned over the land, there was promise of peace, and Juba's streets were alive with jubilation, as the world heralded its newest nation. But, six months later, strife - familiar to the region now known as South Sudan is on the return. From communal clashes by herdsmen fighting over water troughs to accusations by former neighbour, Sudan, of siphoning its oil, it is beginning to look like tales of woe for the country. Immediately after independence, squabbling for oil broke along the Sudan/South Sudan border while a month after, Murle fighters killed more than 600 Nuer villagers and abducted scores of children. And on December 31, 2011, in what may be a reprisal attack, about 8, 000 Nuer fighters poured into Pibor, burning Murle huts and killing all in sight. The carnage which continued till January 3 have left an estimated 3, 000 people dead. Announcing their coming, the rival ethnic group had warned via a statement: "We have decided to invade Murleland and wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth." Also, last Tuesday, South Sudan's oil minister hinted at instituting legal actions against Sudan for siphoning its oil. The country owns about 75% of the Sudan's oil wealth. Khartoum had also imposed monthly charges on South Sudan's crude oil transported through its pipelines. And Sudan is also frustrating oil earnings which should accrue to South Sudan. "Rather than view the New Year as an opportunity for renewed cooperation, the government of Sudan unilaterally decided to impose economic sanction[s] by blocking exporting our crude and stealing our oil", Stephen Dhieu Dau, Minister of Petroleum and Mining told journalists in Juba. South Sudan is considering building a pipeline to Kenya to bypass having to use north Sudan's infrastructure but this is years away from being achieved. Six months into independent South Sudan, the two countries are yet to finalise agreements on oil, assets, debt, citizenship and border. Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir last week accused South Sudan of not negotiating in good faith while South Sudan has claimed Khartoum is arming rebel groups destabilise its oil operations. However, both countries deny this, Macar Aciek Ader, an undersecretary at South Sudan’s oil ministry told the press briefing in Juba the world’s newest country would incur “huge economic” damage if Khartoum continued its stance. South Sudan is one of the poorest regions in the world, with oil accounting
LASHES between rival Libyan militias have killed two people and wounded 16, in the latest violence
involving armed groups refusing to hand in their weapons. The clashes began late on Friday and continued yesterday. “We received eight cases yesterday, including one dead who was shot in the head and chest, one critical with a head wound and six others lightly injured,” said Ibrahim Karim, a doctor at the main hospital in Gharyan, 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli. Muhammed Hassan, a doctor at the same hospital, said another person had died and nine others had been taken to the hospital yesterday, two in a “very critical condition.” Libya’s interim government is struggling to control disparate militias which played a key role in toppling Muammar Gaddafi but are now refusing to disarm, saying they are suspicious of the country’s new rulers. Earlier this month, Libya appointed a head of the armed forces, in the first significant move to build a new military to incorporate the former rebels. At the same time, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC), warned that conflict among rival militias could spark a civil war after four militants were killed in a clash in Tripoli. Former rebels want more cash for ousting Gaddafi in the nine-month conflict, and for the government to cut off the salaries of top officials who served under Gaddafi.
N. Korea says Kim’s body to go on permanent display •Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s president By Joe Agbro Jr. with agency reports
for around 98% of the government’s annual budget. Both Sudan and South Sudan are currently involved in series of negotiations on several outstanding post-independence issues, under the mediation of the African Union High Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP). In recent months however, both countries have continuously accused each other of supporting rebellions seeking to destabilise respective governments. While Sudan points fingers at its southern neighbour for allegedly backing rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, South Sudan accuses Sudan of backing armed rebel movements seeking to topple the Juba government. Ethnic violence South Sudan’s government have declared Jonglei a disaster zone and the UN has declared emergency operation. While aid and food is yet to reach there, fighting is on-going. Jonglei state governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said Monday that the recent attacks were either “retaliation or a continuation of the hostilities that have been going on all along.” The cattle fights have been old among the tribes, but settling them had been via the use of spears. However, in the aftermath of the civl war, automatic weapons have been in the possession of many youths in the region. Juuk said that South Sudan’s military hopes to launch a civilian disarmament exercise by the end of the month to remove the automatic weapons held by much of the region’s youth. Dina Parmer, a policy adviser for the peacebuilding organization
PACT, says the both the government of South Sudan and the international community must do a better job of preventing the attacks. “This is an issue of preparedness,” she said. “Violence has become the norm. It has become the only way in which to get noticed and the only way in which to get what people need,” she said. A downside of this violence is that many South Sudanese now throng the Ethiopian border for refuge. After meeting refugees at Doro Camp which hosts at least 28,000 fleeing South Sudanese escaping fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile state between the Sudan armed forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation MovementNorth, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has called for humanitarian support for South Sudan, which faces major forced displacement crises. Guterres noted that South Sudan was facing ‘massive suffering and a multiplicity of crises – more than 80,000 people have fled Blue Nile and South Kordofan States of Sudan.’ Refugee leaders claimed that there were at least 300,000 people hiding in the Nuba mountains across the border. Aside from the 28,000 in Doro, up to 25,000 other civilians have sought refuge in other parts of Upper Nile state. Former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Segun Olusola however believes the situation in South Sudan shouldn’t have arisen given antecedents of the independence of South Sudan. The former envoy said the present troubles are, “obviously being fomented by those who didn’t want South Sudan to gain independence.”
He advised: “It would be a good thing if they would realise this and come together under the new leadership in South Sudan and at least settle the government on an even keel and let the government survive these first few months before they start quarrelling over oil. That can be deferred. What cannot be deferred is a situation where the people of South Sudan are not allowed to enjoy the independence which has cost a lot of lives, including the life of a good friend of our, John Garang, whom w attempted to persuade to work with, especially when I was in Addis Ababa and Nigeria supported his struggle for independence. “I am sad to know that they are not settling down to work and I hope that their friend s would let them know that they must always remember those people who never wanted them to be independence – Sudan itself and the Arabs north of Africa. I think that the South Sudanese should bring themselves to order and don’t start a war that they can’t end. Regarding external participation towards ending the continuous strife, Olusola said: “If outsiders continue to meddle in the problems of South Sudan, then the conditions would not ameliorate soon. “If they (South Sudanese) realise the kind of lives it took to get them their independence, I think that they would settle down to work very quickly. Let them exploit it among themselves but that should not be the cause of current troubles that they have.” More than 350,000 people of South Sudanese origin have returned since independence. An estimated 700,000 remain in Sudan.
ORTH Korea plans to preserve the body of Kim Jong-Il would go on permanent display in a Pyongyang palace also housing his father, and memorial towers would be built nationwide to honour its late ‘dear leader.’ “Great leader Kim Jong-Il will be preserved to look the same as when he was alive, at Kumsusan Memorial Palace,” the official KCNA news agency reported. The embalmed body of Kim’s father, founding president Kim Il-Sung, is already on view to favored visitors to the building. Kim Jong-Il died on December 17 of a heart attack at age 69 after 17 years in charge of the impoverished but nuclear-armed nation. His son Kim Jong-Un has taken over the leadership after the second dynastic succession. KCNA, quoting a decision from the ruling communist party which described the late Kim as its “eternal leader”, said a bronze statue of him would be erected. It said smiling portraits “and towers to his immortality” would be built nationwide. And his birthday on February 16, “the greatest auspicious holiday of the nation”, would be named the Day of the Shining Star. Kim Un’s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, whose birthday on April 15 is known as the Day of the Sun. Kim IlSung was declared eternal president after his death in 1994. A towering bronze statue of Kim Il-Sung, unveiled in 1972 to mark his 60th birthday, is customarily the first stop for foreign visitors to Pyongyang. Tour groups or individuals are expected to lay flowers at its feet. Kim Il-Sung’s corpse was embalmed with the help of a Russian team.
Thousands of Facebook accounts hacked
HE user names and passwords of more than 45,000 Facebook members have been stolen in a hi-tech cyber ‘worm’ attack. The Ramnit worm, which has previously been used to steal bank account details, has mainly targeted users in the United Kingdom and France so far. The worm is designed to self-replicate itself and send ‘infected’ links, which redirect to a website that downloads a virus Cyber-threat researcher, Seculert, said in a blog post the Ramnit worm was discovered in April 2010 as a financial malicious software (malware) and is now targeting Facebook. “We suspect that the attackers behind Ramnit are using the stolen credentials to log-in to victims’ Facebook accounts and to transmit malicious links to their friends, thereby magnifying the malware’s spread.” The researchers said the virus is taking advantage of the fact that users have the same passwords across numerous web accounts and can use the details to hack into corporate networks. “The viral power of social networks can be manipulated to cause considerable damage to individuals and institutions when it is in the wrong hands.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
ElBaradei pulls out First set graduates from of Egypt presidency Oprah’s South Africa school T
ALK show host Oprah Winfrey proudly saw the first class of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds graduate yesterday from her $40 million school in South Africa. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girl celebrated the graduation of 72 girls. Wearing white dresses, the girls were cheered on by their families. “The pride that I feel today is overpowering,” Winfrey said at the graduation. “I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission.” “This class will prove that when you invest in the
leadership of girls, you invest in a nation,” said Winfrey, who herself emerged from childhood poverty to become one of the most influential women on American television. The facility opened to much fanfare in 2007 with former South African President Nelson Mandela on hand along with U.S. celebrities including singer Tina Turner, filmmaker Spike Lee and comedian Chris Rock. The graduation celebration, attended by Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, was a rarity for the country’s high schools. “I’m very glad. I’m very happy. I feel blessed, you know. The girls look like
angels,” said a grandmother of one of the graduates. Winfrey said, however, that if she had to do it over again she would not build a school from scratch, after a series of cost overruns drove up prices for the campus located about an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg. The school admits girls who show leadership qualities, have strong grades and come from poor families. Its facilities include a middle and upper school, state of the art laboratories, classrooms, a yoga studio and beauty salon. Winfrey’s school was rocked when a matron was arrested about four years ago for suspected sexual abuse of students. She was later
acquitted. The school was among a handful in the country where all of the students passed a high-school graduation exam. All of its graduates will enter university, mostly in South Africa but with some going to the United States. Despite a heavy investment in education since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa’s overall system fares poorly, with thousands of schools still lacking basics such as books, desks, electricity and running water. Most girls who enter the school system do not finish, and only about a quarter of all graduates do well enough on exams to qualify for entry to university.
HE ex-head of the UN nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said yesterday he would not run for the Egyptian presidency because there is still no real democracy in the country. “My conscience does not allow me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless there is real democracy,” ElBaradei said in a statement received by AFP. ElBaradei said there was no room for him in Egyptian politics because old symbols of the regime were still running the country and charged that preparations to draw a new constitution were “botched.” “I have examined the best ways of serving the goals of the revolution and I found that there is no official post for me, not even the presidency,” ElBaradei said. “Preparations are being made to elect a president before the establishment of a constitution that would organise relations between the (judicial, executive, legislative) powers and protect liberties,” he said. He praised the revolutionary youths who led massive popular uprisings that ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year but said “the former regime did not fall.” “No decision was taken to purify state institutions, particularly state media and the judiciary, of symbols of the old regime,” said ElBaradei. ElBaradei compared the revolution to a boat and
charged that “the captains of the vessel ... are still treading old waters, as if the revolution did not take place.” He charged that corruption was still rife in post-Mubarak Egypt, which is being ruled by a military council since the veteran president was ousted from power in February following an 18-day popular uprising. “We all feel that the former regime did not fall,” he said in the statement. ElBaradei denounced the “repressive” policies of Egypt’s new rulers, who he said were putting “revolutionaries on trial in military court instead of protecting them and punishing those who killed their friends.” His comments reflect growing disenchantment with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The SCAF has repeatedly pledged to cede full powers to civilian rule when a president is elected by the end of June but there is widespread belief that the military wants to maintain a political role in the country’s future.
Taiwan’s president wins re-election
• Oprah (c) poses with the first set of graduates of the oprah winfreye academy for girls, founded five years ago to turn impoverished girls into elite leaders PHOTO: AFP
Bomb kills 53 pilgrims in South Iraq
bomb killed at least 53 Shiite pilgrims near the southern port city of Basra yesterday, an Iraqi official said. It was the latest in a series of attacks during Shiite religious commemorations that have killed scores of people and threaten to further increase sectarian tensions just weeks after the U.S. withdrawal. The attack happened on the last of the 40 days of Arbaeen, when hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims from Iraq and abroad visit the Iraqi city of Karbala, as well as other holy sites. Yesterday’s blast occurred near the town of Zubair as pilgrims marched toward the Shiite Imam Ali shrine on the outskirts of the town, said Ayad al-Emarah, a spokesman for the governor of Basra province. The shrine is an enclave within an enclave — a Shiite site on the edge of a mostly Sunni town in an otherwise mostly Shiite province. There were conflicting reports on the source of the blast. Al-Emarah said the explosion was caused either by a suicide attacker or a roadside bomb. But an Iraqi military intelligence officer who is investigating the attack said it
was a roadside bomb, noting that the road from Basra to Zubair being used by pilgrims had been closed to traffic. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media. Basra hospital received 53 killed and 137 wounded after the blast, said Dr. Riyadh Abdul-Amir, the head of Basra Health Directorate. He said some of the wounded were in serious condition, and warned the death toll may rise further.
The explosion came as Shiites commemorate the climax of Arbaeen, which marks the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure. Pilgrims who cannot make it to the holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, often journey to other sacred sites such as the shrine near Zubair. Majid Hussein, a government employee, was one of the pilgrims heading
to the shrine. He said people began running away in panic when they heard a loud explosion. “I saw several dead bodies and wounded people, including children on the ground asking for help. There were also some baby strollers left at the blast site,” he said. The attack, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents, is the latest in a series of deadly strikes in this year’s Arbaeen. More than 145 people have been killed.
China bids farewell to France-bound pandas
UAN Huan and Yuan Zi spent their last day at the panda breeding centre in southwestern China ahead of a ten year trip to France, with a farewell ceremony held in their honour. The two pandas at the centre in the city of Chengdu will be flown to the French zoo they will call home for the next decade under an agreement reached between Paris and Beijing after years of top-level negotiations. Huan Huan and Yuan Zi are the first pandas sent to France since the death of Yen Yen in 2000, given to the country’s former president Georges Pompidou in the
1970s along with another panda, who died shortly after arriving. The pair, who have been specially selected for their breeding potential, will leave today on a private plane bound for the private Beauval zoo in the Loire region of
central France. But the French public will have to wait until February 11 to get their first glimpse of the bears in their specially built 2.5 hectare enclosure adorned with Chinese-style pagodas and marble lion statues.
•Yuan Zi (left) and Huan Huan in their quarantined enclosure at the Panda Research
AIWAN’S incumbent president was reelected yesterday as official tallies showed he held a near-unassailable lead in the vote-count and the opposition conceded defeat. The result, which points to a continuation of the detente between Taiwan and China, should reassure both Beijing and Washington at a time of political transition for both superpowers. The elections had been expected to be tight, but the Central Election Commission said that with most votes counted, the Nationalist Party’s Ma Yingjeou, who has fostered warmer ties with China, had about 51.5 percent of the vote versus about 45.7 percent for Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). “We have won,” Ma, 61, shouted to supporters at party headquarters as they cheered and clapped in pouring rain. Tsai conceded defeat and said she was quitting as DPP party chief. However, Ma’s victory will be much reduced from the near 17-point margin he had over the DPP at the last election in 2008. But the Nationalist Party was also projected to get a clear majority in parliament, which should give Ma a fillip in pushing through policy. Television said the Nationalists would get about 65 seats in the 113-member
legislature, although that is also lower than the 81 seats they had in the outgoing house. Under Ma, the Nationalists have pursued detente with China — closer economic ties while vowing not to declare independence nor seek unification. A Ma victory should also go down well in the United States, which holds presidential elections later this year, as Washington would be keen to take at least one potential irritant in bilateral ties with China off the table. Nearly 200,000 Taiwanese returned from overseas for the poll according to local media reports, cramming flights in a last minute rush to cast ballots. In a measure of the easing ties with the mainland, most of them came over from China. Ma and Tsai are both former law academics with doctorates from Harvard and the London School of Economics respectively. Tsai, the first woman to bid for Taiwan’s presidency, appeared unable to press home her charges that Ma had pursued his pro-China policy with little regard to rising costs of living and a widening income gap at home. A third presidential candidate, former Nationalist party member James Soong who now leads a splinter party, trailed far behind with around 2.8 percent of the vote.
JANUARY 15, 2012
With Joe Agbro Jr. 08056745268
Hello children, This week must have been trying with protests against fuel subsidy removal in the country which saw fuel prices being increased from N65 to around N150 and made schools and offices close. Do you know what a protest is? Well, protests are expressions of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protesters may organise a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy. When such resistances and restricted by government policies, economic circumstances, religion, the protests may assume the form of open civil disobedience.
This is an open ended puzzle. How many words of three or more letters, each including the letter at centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram? Weâ€™ve found 40, including one nine-letter word. Can you do better? â€˘ Some children protesting the fuel subsidy removal at Funmilayo Bus-stop, Agege, Lagos on Thursday..... PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL
Riddles with Bisoye Ajayi 1. I am something I pour but you can never cut me? . What am I?
2. I am something I am very sharp if you use me anyhow I can be harmful. what am I?
Miss Ajayi is a JSS 1 student of Queens College, Yaba, Lagos.
FIVE girls took part in a race. Alison finished before Bunty but behind Clare. Debby finished before Emma but behind Bunty. What was the finishing order?
Puzzle Answer Clare, Alison, Bunty, Debby, Emma
AUSTRALIA BRAZIL CANADA CHINA FRANCE GERMANY INDIA INDONESIA ITALY JAPAN MEXICO NETHERLANDS RUSSIA SAUDIARABIA SOUTH KOREA SPAIN SWEDEN SWITZERLAND TURKEY UNITED KINGDOM UNITED STATES
Word wheel NINE LETTER WORDS: Flattened Aft, daft, deaf, deafen, defeat, deflate, deft, elf, fad, fade, fan, fate, fated, fatted, fatten, fattened, feat, fed, fee, feed, feel, feet, felt, fen, fend, fete, feted, fettle, flan, flat, flatten, flea, fled, flee, fleet, leaf, leafed, left
Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. It is measured frequently in that most countries provide information on GDP on a quarterly basis, allowing trends to be seen quickly. It is measured widely in that some measure of GDP is available for almost every country in the world, allowing inter-country comparisons. GDP is widely used by economists to gauge economic recession and recovery and an economies general monetary ability address externalites. Find some coutries with the highest GDP in the world in the wordsearch below:
Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer to Riddles:
2. Razor Blade
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS
Between subsidy, the mob and governors
O say these are trying moments for the nation will be restating the obvious. From the insurgency of Boko Haram, the nation has come under fresh security challenge since Monday following a general strike declared by the organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy. From Lagos to Kano, Oyo to Edo, Enugu to Kaduna, the story is the same: growing insecurity as street protests turn violent. Unfortunately, it would appear some miscreants are resolved to give a bad name to the otherwise legitimate and noble cause of the labour by parlaying the protest to molest and extort money from commuters. Reading media reports of attack on some ACN senators in Ibadan on Wednesday while travelling from Lagos enroute Abuja, I finally came to terms with the cold reality of the anarchy in the land. To be sure, since the debate on subsidy removal started, these same ACN senators have been very vocal in supporting the retention of subsidy on petrol. So, the question is: why attack your own advocates? I had a similarly nasty experience on the second day of the strike while commuting from Ibadan to Lagos. At the Ibafo end of the expressway, we ran into three barricades in a roll mounted by some miscreants who simply unleashed a reign of terror on defenceless citizens that came their way. I saw many motorists that day with their windscreen smashed. I couldn’t understand why supposed ‘freedom-fighters’ could turn around to batter and maim fellow ‘oppressed’ without any apparent justification. To be sure, this writer is of the view that the objection raised by the labour to the removal of the subsidy is legitimate and believe that ultimately when the disputation is resolved, things will certainly not be the same again in the downstream sector of the economy. At least, those in authority will have to face the reality that gone are the days when anything could be forced down the throats of the public. My purpose of writing this piece is, therefore, twofold. First, I like to appeal to the leadership of the labour to ensure that this legitimate struggle is not compromised by these undesirable elements. If the Arab Spring succeeded in Tunisia and Egypt, it was partly because of the high sense of patriotism, focus and responsibility displayed by the citizens by not allowing the message to be diluted.
•Adams Oshiomhole By Segun Ajayi
Having said that, it is only natural therefore to also review the conduct of the other side of the spectrum: the authorities. One good thing about the controversy the fuel subsidy removal has generated is that more and more facts are now in the public domain with regards to the operations and administration of the downstream sector of the economy. At least, the average Nigerian today is better informed about the buccaneering activities of the so-called cartel and the seeming helplessness of the Federal Government. From what is now in public domain, what I still find quite amazing is the reluctance of the state governors to speak out on the exact situation of our economy. (Just as one is also more than amused seeing how those who only yesterday told us privatisation and market forces were nonnegotiable suddenly turn champions of subsidy today. Well, that is a topic for another day.) But I would single out someone like the Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as deserving kudos for displaying uncommon courage for speaking up over the shenanigans going on. In recent times, I have read a couple of articles and followed some rather emotional conversations on the internet which tended to portray the former NLC president as someone who has ‘sold out’ on account of ‘speaking against’ the existing subsidy even when it is now widely acknowledged that that arrangement mostly profited only a small cartel of importers and a group
of government officials. By his own calculation, Oshiomhole argued that NNPC’s unilateral deductions meant that a state like Edo was being made to cough out over N2b monthly in the name of subsidy (representing almost half of statutory allocation to state). It should be realised that such vigorously patriotic objection against NNPC’s shenanigans is what has invariably helped to force the ongoing debate on the sustainability of the subsidy. Of course, central to the argument is the urgency of the need to audit the nation’s actual refining capacity with a view to devising short, medium and long term strategies to ensure we extract maximum benefits from the oil resource. With every litre of petrol imported into Nigeria, we are actually subsidising a foreign economy. By now, we should be exporting refined products instead of crude, thereby conserving our forex. This, I think, is the point Oshiomhole was trying to make. I think the former NLC president even went further to illuminate the conversation by insisting that other policy options be explored with a view to bypassing the notorious fuel cartel and delivering the subsidy directly to the needy: the masses. So, my own reading of such proposition is this: if subsidy is removed, shouldn’t it become imperative then to widen the social safety net by, for instance, declaring free qualitative healthcare for all citizens in addition to abolishing school fees up to university level? I think such prescriptions ought to be part of the options to be considered today as the labour and the government continue their dialogue on the way forward. However, unlike Oshiomhole, the way some governors have carried on, it is as if they are afraid to stand up for something in what could now rightly be
described as the nation’s hour of crisis. The bitter truth is that cumulative years of corruption in the management of our oil resource have brought the nation down on her knees. As I write this, it is open secret that even though President Goodluck Jonathan that enthusiastically signed the new minimum wage into law and made it binding on states, federal civil servants are yet to benefit! Abuja is not alone; it is also well known that many states are yet to implement the new minimum wage. This ought to have prompted the big question: why? The truth of the matter is that the Federal Government has been running on credit. As a nation, the truth of the matter is that for so long we had lived a lie. Consider these cold statistics: the size of federal budget is N4.5t. Out of that, the wage bill of federal workers alone takes a third! Once upon a time, the nation had what is called Excess Crude Account. But over the years, that fund was decimated to fund our culture of waste and corruption. Now, the day of reckoning is here. Perhaps, if most of the governors had come clean on this debate, most Nigerians would have been persuaded on the subsidy removal argument. Having said that, it must be emphasised that, ultimately, the challenge before the government and the labour will be making a hard choice between two evils in order to ensure a more efficient utilisation of our oil money. It should be admitted that the rain started beating us long ago. From the Olusegun Obasanjo days, it had been the practice of NNPC to merely announce at the Federal Account Meeting that x amount was spent on fuel subsidy upfront without even the courtesy of making full disclosure to the full house. Because no one dared ask questions, over the years, the figures fattened and the thieves became more daring. By crusading for more transparency in the subsidy business, I think the message Oshiomhole has now helped to push out is that spending almost a third of national receipt from crude on subsidy is nothing but a crime against the masses of Nigeria. So, whichever option the labour and the Federal Government finally settle for in the times ahead, I believe history will definitely remember someone like Oshiomhole for, at least, speaking out. •Dr. Ajayi is a Lagos-based investment banker
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2012
FUEL SUBSIDY CRISIS •Continued from Page 24 which brooks no mediator or censors board, where the freedom of expression is a right and not a luxury. Adeoye Sijuade, an ardent user of twitter said, “I had travelled to Ibadan to attend a friend’s wedding on the December 29, but because I wanted to enter the New Year in Lagos, I decided to come back on December 31. It was when I was going through my home page the next morning (January 1) that I first heard about the removal of subsidy. “Initially, I thought it was a joke because we get to see all kinds of junk messages online but when my Dad called me to verify if it was true that petrol was now selling for N141, I knew for real that it had happened. My brain went from a state of disbelief to shock, to denial and then I began calculating the damage the subsidy removal would do to my pocket and before
Fuel subsidy battle goes cyber I knew it I was so mad that I hit twitter and began to speak my mind. While I was tweeting, I found that so many folks out there were as upset about the situation as I was. Before I knew it someone had contacted the late Gani Fawehinmi’s wife and a couple of other people and that was how we staged the first protest on January 2,” he said. As with previous globally impacting revolutions, such as those in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, as soon as the news and widespread impact of the removal of subsidy went viral, various Civil Society groups and individuals began corresponding online and planning street-protests, a move many had dismissed as a waste of time as is evident in Akin Oyebode’s (@AO1379) January 1
‘Jonathan can’t cut salaries •Continued from Page 24
playing to the gallery. According to him, ‘’He (Jonathan) is not serious at all. There is a law that regulates how much government officials are paid. If he is sincere about the cuts, the first thing to do is to sponsor a bill seeking an amendment to the law. Until that is done, he is only deceiving us and playing to the gallery. Aturu said Jonathan must reduce the costs of governance by immediately trimming the size of his aides and special assistants. He explained that so much profligacy takes place in government’s circles. ‘’The number of aides and special assistants is killing. Most of them travel overseas on government’s bills. Let him reduce them and order them not to travel again. If they don’t travel, we won’t lose anything in Nigeria. The waste among government officials is incredible and that is what we should fight first,’’ he stated.
To former National President, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba(SAN), the reduction is quite commendable. He said the President must be applauded for responding to public criticism. He, however, noted that it is not within the powers of Jonathan to reduce the salaries of government functionaries. He said, “The move is commendable but what we are asking for is institutional reform. He should enact the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to tackle corruption in the oil sector. As long as the NNPC controls the oil business; the corruption and ills in the sector will continue’’. The general belief of most is that the president only announced the salary cut to douse tension and make people feel he is doing something, when in actual fact it is just an intention that can only be valid if passed by the National Assembly. In other words, the action is simple hot air.
tweet. He dismissed the online campaign as fruitless. In his tweet he had written “People will complain, your government knows this. Ultimately people will adjust. Social Media rants are useless.” He tweeted too soon and he was proved wrong. Nigeria and Nigerians have changed; the social media has empowered many and taught them a lesson or two about mobilisation. By 6pm on January 2, Facebook, Twitter and BB messages containing details of various rallies and venues to campaign against the withdrawal of subsidy have gone viral around the country. To the surprise of many, Ikorodu Road came alive on the morning of the third day of the year. Less than seventy-two hours after the President’s announcement, a crowd of over 400 people participated in a rally which ran through Maryland and rested at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota. Owing to regular photo uploads and rally reports on the internet, the size of the protesting crowd grew day by day and swelled to over 300,000 people since the strike action declared by Labour. As the anti-subsidy removal proponents utilized the power of social media to further its cause, the President Goodluck Jonathan led government was not left out. Its supporters have mounted spirited defence and campaign to drive home what they termed the “benefits of deregulation” The last couple of days have also seen the release of various vital Government ‘secret’ documents via social networking sites by professional website hackers. Web hackers take over One of such groups is a team of four young men known as the Naija Cyber Hacktivist. These hackers with a twitter followership of 5,390 have been responsible for hacking into the websites of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Transportation, Dangote Cement and a host of other government and government related organisations. They are also known for fishing out the phone numbers of highranking government officials and sharing on the internet. Ensuring that the reason for hacking into the websites of these organisations is understood by its owners, messages were left on the home pages of each site hacked into. One of such said, “Nigerians are stirring and with it, revolution is brewing...The recent cutting of
the fuel subsidies by you is the last straw. Your horrendous actions have crossed the lines. Your crimes have united this great melting pot into a white hot alloy of rage.” When asked why they carry out these activities, the NaijaCyberHacktivists said, “No one else will create the future we desire for us, our kids & the children unborn if we (Nigerians) don’t step out of our islands of sanity to fix the ills we so often condemn.” The battle for the mind of Nigerians is no longer fought only on the streets and various parks and rallies, it has gone viral and the various social media have become a new platform to propagate many beliefs and various shades of opinions.
The N1.3 trillion question The astronomical rise in the funding of fuel subsidies in recent times has remained a source of worry to many Nigerians thereby calling for a complete audit of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf
OES fuel subsidy really exist? This is one jigsaw puzzle Nigerians want to unravel at all cost in view of the startling revelations of how trillions of naira has been expended on it in the last few years. In the 2011 budget, N240billion was appropriated for fuel subsidy, However, so far a whopping N1.3trillion has been spent. This was revealed in Abuja by the Senate joint Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Appropriation and Finance last December. According to the committee, there are some major players in the petroleum sector that have shared over N3.655 trillion between 2006 and September 2011 in pursuit of importation of refined petroleum products. Senator Magnus Ibe, the chairman of the committee, also
disclosed that some 100 companies in the downstream sector and in construction, shared over N1.426 trillion between January and August 2011 alone. Oando Oil, CONOIL, African Petroleum and MRS Oil are among the powerful players in the petroleum sector that have shared over N3.655 trillion between 2006 and September2011 in pursuit of importation of refined petroleum products. Oando Oil is owned by Wale Tinubu, Mike Adenuga owns CONOIL, Femi Otedola owns AP, while MRS Oil is run by Aliko Dangote’s brother, Sayyu Dantata. Other key players named include Pinacle Construction Ltd, as well as Integrated Oil and Gas, which is owned by a former Minister of the Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho. •Continued on Page 71
‘Awarding 18 refinery licenses is crazy’ •Continued from page 26
But you say you won’t borrow when America, Japan and all these countries borrow to complement their resources to make sure that the people get better housing, better health, and better jobs today, tomorrow, next year. And for us who have minerals, these are ways of developing our resources. You have all these minerals but you cannot dig them up in one year. So that debt helps you to get the funds out and then as you dig them out, you’re paying back. So long as you’re on the right terms and so long as you’re using the debts properly… If you’re not using the debts properly, then punish those who misuse it. You don’t say you won’t borrow because there is no way you’re going to get the standard of living to grow. The best thing is to focus on sanctions, letting your laws take their course. You don’t let your law not take its course and people just have impunity to do whatever they like and then you expect to give your citizens better standard of living, it’s not possible. Where is it going to come from? Still on the subsidy, I recall in 2000, the Federal Government gradually phased out diesel subsidy. Is there a chance that the same
template can be used for fuel? That is the crux of economic management. We have found that it was feasible to phase out subsidy for diesel. I can recall exactly how it was done; I mean one didn’t focus on it. That is why we should be contemplating also phasing out fuel subsidy. That is not the issue again. The issue is how do you do it, you understand? That distinction has to be declared, it’s not whether you phase it or you don’t, but how do you take it so that it doesn’t... You see, if it was the right way, people will not be in the streets now... (laughs). It’s clear. They will not be in the streets. The discussion is not phasing it out or not because we’ve done diesel. Deregulation does not just refer to the oil sector; in reality, it refers to the economy. So that is the first thing. Even if one is referring to a sub-sector of the economy, deregulation does not mean allowing some people to import finished goods. Deregulation means the ability to open up the forces behind demand and supply. If you just deregulate an element of supply, which is the import source, and you don’t provide for how the domestic supplier will also respond to the price and the demand; that is not deregulation! That is creating distortion.
They tried with fertilizer. But I don’t know what is happening with fertilizer. We should have fertilizer plants; in fact, we should be exporting fertilizer to other countries. But we’ve not done well in agriculture, maybe they should not have phased it out because as I said subsidies are used to encourage production. When you’re making profits, let’s say in oil, you can use the profits from oil to subsidise agriculture, subsidise manufacturing, particularly small scale and so on. So, it is the management of things that is the issue, not some absolute notion of phase this out or phase that out totally. So all that grammar about all the benefits of deregulation, that is beside the point. We should get back to how do you implement it so that everything is growing in a stable format, don’t steep this thing because prices just jump up. You see the elasticity of demand and supply is very low, that is why we are an underdeveloping country. If it’s in advanced countries, they can make buses immediately, put more trains out quickly. So our own needs more time to be built. That is why you should also take it in small measure overtime. Going forward, what timeframe would you advice for the removal of fuel subsidy?
Ideally we should be looking at two to three years. And if you tell people that they would anticipate what would happen. More than that, you’re also making it possible that when you eventually take that decision, it would not disrupt things. Those things that would stabilise other things that would disrupt them you’re also working at as I said transportation, education, health, roads, etc. When you’re building up all that, the following year... Somebody said Ghana has power so it’s easy for them. I don’t know where they (Ghana) were coming from, I am sure they are not coming from 65 to over 150 per cent increase. So those are the things. Once you’ve power, transport, schools, etc, when you do these things, if you raise the price of petrol, somebody can say I’m not going to use my car, I’ll join the train or I’m only going to use my car for such and such...You see how it works? But when the person has no option how is he going to get the income to adjust to the 150 per cent or 200 per cent increase? That is a very practical thing. It’s not a matter of ‘I like deregulation’, or ‘I don’t like it’. The question is your ability to adjust. If you had the opportunity of advising the Federal Government
to choose from a list of 10 priorities like power, energy etc, which would you consider as top priority? What do you mean power and energy? We don’t have anything. I mean to choose as an agenda? They are all interrelated. We’ve been shouting power, power! But from what I’ve said, are we mobilising enough or are we just getting mesmerised by billions and billions? We must make sure we give it to the right people to do. We are giving 18 licenses to people to build refineries. That’s crazy! Before you even give one, you should give it to somebody who can build, that’s why you’re giving it to him. You can’t give a farmer who doesn’t even know what a refinery even looks like a license to build refinery. Are you going to wait for him to go back to school to go and learn what it is all about? So it’s a very strange thing. You give somebody license to build a power plant or refinery, you give five, you give 10, 18, and then you expect us to feel sorry for you because none of these people delivered? We should examine your own head! Why would you not have thought of the people who you were sure would produce results? That’s the obvious question. Why didn’t you give it people who can use it?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
WORSHIP THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Living Subsidy protests: Cleric calls for prayers Faith T HE General Superintendent of
By David Oyedepo
The power of imagination (3)
WELCOME you to a highly profitable time as you read my article today. From the beginning of this month, I started to help you set the pace for a business breakthrough and wonderful family life this year, by sharing with you the fact that you can use your thoughts or imagination to paint a glorious picture for your business, career or home. This week, I will show you one factor that can enhance your thoughts and consequently your imagination. It is the Wise Company Factor. I want you to know that thoughts are governed by three basic things: association, observation and teaching. Your mind is conditioned by what you observe and what you see automatically registers on your mind. It is also controlled by what you associate with and of course what knowledge you allow it to acquire. Based on this truth, you can determine what you imagine by controlling the kind of company you keep. Consequently, she ate the forbidden fruit and gave it to her husband, Adam, who also ate. This, in turn, affected her home negatively and brought her entire family, including generations yet unborn, under the curse of God (Genesis 3). This will not be your portion this year in Jesus’ name. Someone said, “You’ll remain the same way you are today in five years, except for two things: the books you read and the people with whom you walk.” You can interact with people through the books you read, as though they were there physically. This is because what you are doing while reading a book is sharing the opinions and thoughts of the authors, rubbing minds with them. Every book you read is the author’s thoughts in print. Therefore, when you read his or her material, you are keeping company with him or her, and sharing his or her thoughts, and in no time, you will start thinking the same way. For instance, when you read the Bible, which is the Word of God, you share God’s thoughts and benefit from them. Because of my earlier interaction with the Word of God, and the light I caught on hitch-free marriage from it, I have enjoyed a happy home. I have not had to live by trial and error. The Bible tells a story about how Amnon, son of King David, had carnal knowledge of his step-sister called Tamar, through the evil and ungodly counsel of his friend Jonadab. Although Amnon had this strong urge to have an inappropriate relationshsip with his stepsister, his association with a dubious friend hastened the speed with his satanic desire was accomplished! Consequently, this immoral and inappropriate relationship caused Amnon his life. At the end, it was Jonadab his friend who reported the news of his death to David (2 Samuel 1-34). Amnon, who kept company with his foolish friend Jonadab, was not only foolish, but was destroyed (Proverbs 13:10). Wrong association cost him his precious life! It is time to disconnect from those negative and fruitless association corrupting your business or home. It will help you to experience the glory that God has in store for you this year. Remember that friendship is not by force, but by choice. This new year is not a time for you to mingle with crooks, miscreants and derelicts in the society. Be wise! You are a child of destiny! Don’t allow evil and dubious friends to crash your enviable destiny. Re-examine your relationship with your friends. Once it tends to the negative, you have the right to disengage and step aside! A stitch in time saves nine! One way to determine who to associate with is to find out whether what the person is saying has profited him/her or not. More importantly, you need help from the Source of wisdom, the All-wise God. Without Him, you can do nothing (John 15:5). You can enjoy His help after confessing your sins, forsaking them and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. That is how to be born again. If you are not yet born again, you can do so right now as you say this prayer with sincerity and confidence: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. I cannot help myself. Forgive me my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious blood. Deliver me from sin and Satan, to serve the Living God. Today, Lord Jesus, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You Jesus for saving me! Now I know I am born again! I will continue this teaching next week! This is your year! You must fail destiny! I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. Our midweek services hold on Wednesdays between 6 and 8 p.m. We have four services on Sundays. The first one holds between 6.30 and 8.15 a.m., the second between 8.25 a.m. and 10.10 a.m., the third between 10.20 a.m. and 12.05 p.m. and the fourth between 12.15 and 2.00 p.m. Every exploit in life is a product fo knowledge. For further reading, please get my books — Making Maximum Impact, Towards Mental Exploits and Success In Marriage.
Divine Christian Assembly, Rev Dr Olubayo Folarin, has called on Nigerians to exercise patience with the Federal Government over the on-going fuel subsidy crisis. He spoke last week ahead of the 25th anniversary of the church, which begins today. Folarin warned that the subsidy crisis might snowball into a major conflagration if care is not taken. He advised protesters to avoid violence and burning
Stories by Sunday Oguntola
of tyres, saying that the protest should be about redressing ills in the and not destruction of lives and property. According to him, ‘’This country needs massive prayers. Thank God for the protests but we need God to touch the hearts of our leaders. ‘’We need to pray for righteousness in the land and for God Himself to be established in our affairs’’. The cleric, who served as a Military Engineer before starting the church in 1975, said God has been more than faithful.
The church, according to him, that started in a rented apartment, has completed a gigantic edifice in the Lagos international headquarters with branches in Kwara, Kogi, Osun, Ibadan and Lagos states. He said, “ God has been faithful to me as an individual and to the Church in particular, 25 years of God’s faithfulness is worthy of celebrating. ‘’This anniversary is a time to celebrate God’s faithfulness, He has proven himself in our midst, from a humble beginning’’.
A former Military Administrator of Abia state and member of the Church board of trustees, Rev (Dr) Moses Fasanya, said one of the basic foundation tenets of the church is soulwinning. Fasanya thanked God for the opportunity to serve in His vineyard at Divine Christian Assembly. Secretary of the Church, Pastor Samuel Inyinogu, explained that the week long activities tagged “ Preparing the bride of Christ-holy and presentable to God” ends today with ordination of deacon and elders.
Makinde to Jonathan: Guard against sycophants
HE Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Ola Makinde GPJ, CON, has warned President Goodluck Jonathan against sycophants interested in only telling him what he wants to hear as against the realities of hardship in the country. He spoke at the commissioning and dedication of a very befitting residence for the Archbishop of Lagos, Methodist Church Nigeria, at Oko-Oba Road Agege, Lagos. Makinde tasked Jonathan to formulate genuine, humane policies that will cushion the suffering of Nigerians. Many Nigerians, he said, are languishing saying any index to the contrary by anybody is misleading and self-serving. The cleric urged Nigerians to continue to offer constructive criticisms and prayers for the current administration.
•Makinde commissioning the building
Revert to N65, Adeyemi tells FG
ENIOR Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse the removal of fuel subsidy. Adeyemi, in a statement, said the federal
government must tackle corruption and build infrastructure first before thinking of removing subsidy on petroleum products. He said the on-going subsidy crisis was caused by high level of dishonesty
and corruption in government circles. According to him the proceeds saved from subsidy will frizzle away if corruption remains in the oil sector. The cleric advised government to embrace
Don’t retaliate, Erumaka begs Christians
N appeal has gone to Christians to stay calm and avoid any form of retaliation in the face of persecution and killings of believers in the North. The General Overseer of the Wordbase Assembly Lagos, Bishop Humphrey Erumaka, said taking up arms against Muslims may lead to total breakdown of I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testi- law and order. mony with me through: BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO, Faith TaberHe spoke last week nacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; Or call during a church service. 7747546-8; Or E-mail: email@example.com
By Adeola Ogunlade
According to him, “I don’t encourage Christians to take up arms because Boko Haram sect is a sect rejected by the Muslim community. ‘’It shall always be the responsibility of the federal government to isolate this group and deal with them accordingly”. Erumaka said selfdefense is in order but
tasked Christians never to retaliate or initiate attacks. On the declaration of emergency rule in some parts of the North, The cleric said, “I am not impressed by the actions of the federal government as most of their actions are belated but there is room for improvement that is progressive”. He charged President Goodluck Jonathan to do everything within his power to sustain the unity.
phased removal of fuel subsidy after the refineries are fixed over a period of two years. Adeyemi said, “The war on corruption in the oil sector should begin immediately. ‘’Construction of one large or two medium sized refineries that will be ready in two years should begin immediately. ‘’Inefficiency should be stamped out of existing refineries immediately so they can produce more fuel. ‘’Phased withdrawal of subsidy should begin when new refineries come into operation in about two years. Private refineries will spring up when we achieve full deregulation.’’
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012
Aiyegbeni sees red in Blackburn win
IGERIA international Yakubu Aiyegbeni's nine-years in English football suffered a setback yesterday when he was redcarded in Blackburn’s 3-1 defeat of Fulham at Ewood Park. Aiyegbeni who is Blackburn’s top scorer this season with 12 goals, was shown the way out of the match in the 23rd minute when he went for a loose ball with Fulham's Danny Murphy. Aiyegbeni went high with his right boot, and to add to his indiscretion his studs were showing, catching
•Anichebe rescues point for Everton •As Osaze fails to lift West Brom By Bimbo Adesina the Fulham midfielder on his right knee. Under-fire Rovers’ boss Steve Kean must have feared the worst when Aiyegbeni was red-carded before the interval when Morten Gamst Pederson found the bottom corner of the net with a freekick. David Dunn doubled Blackburn's lead less than a minute after the restart of
second half, but Fulham reduced the deficit when Murphy found Damien Duff, whose shot went through the legs of Rovers defender Martin Olsson and into the bottom corner. But Mauro Formica restored Blackburn’s twogoal cushion by finishing coolly after latching onto Steven Nzonzi’s ball over the top. The victory took Rovers off the bottom of the table and
Flu stops Taiwo from Milan derby
IGERIAN left back, Taye Taiwo will not be in action for AC Milan today when they tacke arch rival Inter Milan in the Milan derby at San Siro due to flu symphton.
Taiwo, who though was part of Milan training tour of Dubai misses the friendly match against PSG on January 4 at the Al-Rashid Stadium, his last active match was in Milan 2-0 defeat of Cagliari
on December 20 in the Serie A clash. He is joined on the sideline with Alberto Aquilani and Gennaro Gattuso while Clarence Seedorf who is also down with flu is doubtful.
I want to play for Arsenal — Musa
ESPITE claiming a contract with CSKA Moscow from VVVVenlo last week, Nigerian winger Ahmed Musa is already eyeing an eventual move to England to play for Arsenal. Musa explained that the Gunners are the club he has always followed since his childhood. " I have been a fan of Arsenal since my childhood. Someday I hope that I can play for the Gunners," Musa admitted. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is known to have looked closely at the 19year-old, but CSKA Moscow had an advantage negotiating with VVVVenlo, due to the excellent relationship the transfer of Keisuke Honda between the two clubs cemented. And it was little surprise that the Russians won the race, paying 5 million Euros for Musa, who had started to show his
•Continued from Page 67 Analysts who have watched the trend in the sector argue matter-of-factly that it remains one avenue used as conduit pipe to siphon money in the system, with many high net worth individuals said to be involved in the racket. President Goodluck Jonathan himself painfully admitted this fact recently when he said unabashedly that a powerful cabal was responsible for the high level of malfeasance in the petroleum sub-sector. Den of corruption An audit report submitted to the Senate joint committee investigating the management of funds set aside for petroleum subsidy further exposed the level of corruption in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The audit was done by renowned audit and advisory consultancy, KPMG, which exposed the massive financial malfeasance and monumental corruption in the NNPC. According to information, this document has been shielded from the public by the
potential in the Dutch Eredivisie. The Army Men have been delighted with their coup, although coach Leonid Slutsky has been quick to point out that Musa is far
from the finished product. "Ahmed is quick, strong and has a good shot on him. However, he's still very young and he has a lot to learn. That shoul be remembered," said Slutsky.
out of the bottom three, and was a massive boost for former Fulham assistant manager Kean, whose team have won two of their last four games. At the Villa Park, Victor Anichebe came from the bench to rescue a point for Everton after Darren Bent had given Villa the lead in an uninspiring clash. Anichebe's introduction in the 61st minute almost resulted in an impact was almost immediate, as the striker beating Villa's offside trap to collect Landon Donovan's pass and coolly slid the ball past Shay Given. It was, however, not a good result for Osaze Odemwingie as he failed to lift West Brom which fell by 2-1 to Norwich at The Hawthorns as they crashed to their third straight Premier League defeat.
CAF ref. Wokomma misses Nations Cup train
OP Nigerian and CAF elite referee Solomon Nwokoma has missed the Nations Cup train no thanks to a medical test he failed in Cairo last year
Veterans call for concerted sports development policies
HERE is need for Nigeria to put in place, sports policies that are developmentally oriented, so says the Association of Sports Veterans, Nigeria. ( ASVN)…….Given the pathetic experiences of 2011, we must just focus on programmes and policies that will help to develop sports in our country” the August body said. Addressing members at their end of year get together and 2011 close down meeting, the President of the body Chief Jonathan Ogufere said that Nigeria cannot afford to go through the type of experience it did in 2011, especially in football. The veteran sports
administrator, former President of the West African Football Union ( WAFU ) and board member of the Nigeria Football Association said that it was high time Nigeria put policies in place that will guarantee the effective development of the game. He commended the NFF for what he called the “ Keshi experiment “, insisting that the country will soon reap from the concentration and attention now being given to the domestic league. The Presidential address also decried the frequent wrangling and in fighting that was the characteristic of the year just gone by. “ ….Sport is about unity, peace and love.
• Yakubu Aiyegbeni of Blackburn (l) goes in with a dangerous tackle on Danny Murphy of Fulham to earn himself a Red Card
No meaningful achievement can be witnessed in an atmosphere of animosity and hatred” he said He regretted the sad court cases that took over the sanity of the Premier league last year and wished that this year, the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. He called on the NPL and the clubs to consider as a matter of priority the return of fans to the stadium. “…..When you see our league matches, especially televised ones with little or no spectators, it gives you cause for concern. Efforts must be made to return spectators to the stadium in order to add value to our league” He said.
during the CAF elite referees course. A sad Nwokoma was to say that it is not the end of the world and that though he regrets not taking his position in Africa’s top most soccer competition, he believes there is hope in the future. His compatriot Peter Edibe on his part was in the list of 18 assistant referees just released by CAF Referess Committee headed by the Tunisian Tarek Bouchamanoui. Also in the list is Gabon’s Vinga Theophile, Yeo Songuifolo of Cote Divoire, Champiti Moffat of Zambia and Kabanda Felicien of Rwanda among others. The referees list is a veritable ‘who’s who’ in African refereeing. On top of the 18 man list is Doue Desire of Cote Divoire, Maillet Eddy of Seychelles, Benneth Daniel of South Africa and Diatta Badara of
The N1.3 trillion question Federal Government, the petroleum ministry and the NNPC in the last one year. The 41-page report detailed the corporation’s sharp business practices, violation of laid down rules and regulations, illegal deductions of funds belonging to the state, and failure to account for several billions of naira that should go to the federation account. The agency, the report says, has also severely defrauded the country in subsidy claims. Auditors found that between 2007 and 2009 alone, the NNPC overdeducted funds in subsidy claims to the tune of N28.5bn. It has not been able to account for the sum ever since. The over-deduction from its remittance to the federation account for 2010 and 2011, believed to be in hundreds of billions of naira, is not captured in the report. The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, hired KPMG and
another Nigerian auditing firm, S.S. Afemikhe & Co., in July 2010, to look into the books of the corporation following allegations of “wrongful deductions at source by the NNPC to fund its operations” by the 36 state governors. Among other things, the report said, N25bn was deducted as subsidy estimate for September 2009 from domestic crude sales proceeds while Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) approved a subsidy of N23.8bn. N35bn was also deducted as subsidy estimate from November 2009 but PPPRA approved of N21.3bn.” The auditors’ analysis indicates “over-deduction for these two months amounted to N14.9bn. However, only N4.2.bn was swept into the Federation Account by the NNPC as adjustment for subsidy claimable in the two months.” That is beside the N11.8bn subsidy claim the
NNPC claimed it paid for imported products that didn’t reach consumers. NNPC, according to the report succeeded in cheating the three levels of government of a whooping N85.2bn in three years – N25.7bn in 2007, N33.8bn in 2008 and N26.7bn in 2009. Specifically the auditors
queried the allocation of crude to Ovlas Trading (2, 852,316 barrels in 2007 and 906, 269 barrels in 2008) Petrojam (2,818,914 in 2007), Oil Fields (950,166 barrels in 2007) and Zenon (906,000 barrels in 2008) even when they were not on the list of authorized buyers for that year. The auditors specifically
Senegal. Others are Grisha Ghead of Egypt, Lemghaifry Aly of Mauritania, Jedidi Slim of Algeria and Seychum Rajindraparsad of Mauritius. Gone are the days when CAF eliminated referees from qualified countries, based on unfounded suspicion. Today the best are considered on merit. The referees will undergo further fitness and medical tests before the kick off of the Tournament on January 21st.
RESULTS Premier League Aston Villa 1 - 1 Everton Blackburn 3 - 1 Fulham Chelsea 1 - 0 Sunderland Liverpool 0 - 0 Stoke City Man United 3 - 0 Bolton Tottenham 1 - 1 Wolves West Brom 1 - 2 Norwich Spanish La Liga Granada 1-2 Rayo Sevilla 0-0 Espanyol Zaragoza 1-1 Getafe
queried the award of contracts in that manner to Astana Oil Corporation Limited, Natural Energy and Oando, when they were not prequalified for patronage that year. Among other forms of misdemeanour, ranging from poor accounting to shoddy record keeping, the auditors also indicted the corporation for leaving its own storage facilities unused, and then proceeding to incur additional cost from leasing of third party storage facilities.
List of fuel subsidy beneficiaries 1. Oando Nigerian Plc. – N228.506 billion 2. MRS –N224.818 billion 3. Pinnacle Construction-N300 billion 4. Enak Oil & Gas –N19.684 billion 5. CONOIl – N37.960 billion 6. Bovas & Co. Nig. Ltd. – N5.685 billion, 7. Obat N85 billion and AP; N104.5billion. 8. Folawiyo Oil - N113.3 billion 9. IPMAN Investment LimitedN10.9billion 10. ACON - N24.1billion
11. Atio Oil-N64.4billion 12. AMP- N11.4billion 13. Honeywell-N12.2billion 14. Emac Oil- N19.2billion 15. D.Jones Oil-N14.8billion; 16. Capital Oil - N22.4 billion 17. AZ Oil- N18.613billion 18. Eterna oil- N5.57 billion 19. Dozil oil- N3.375 billion 20. Fort oil-N8.582 billion. 21. Integrated Oil and Gas- N30.777 billion.
QUOTABLE "Nigerians have not gathered together like this before. This struggle is a struggle against corruption, autocratic government and bad policies.”
SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 6, NO. 2005
— Professor Pat Utomi addressing the anti-fuel subsidy crowd at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, last week.
IGERIANS were left transfixed on January 1, 2012 when they woke up to meet a transformed President Goodluck Jonathan working his economic sorcery on their pillows. Last year September, the president had viciously and humourlessly denounced those who rebuked his style of leadership. The toughness they expected from him, said the chastened president at a Church service in Abuja, was akin to the one found among ancient Egyptian pharaohs and Babylonian kings. Being a zoologist, he unknowingly failed to appreciate that some of the kings and pharaohs he lumped into one disreputable basket were builders and modernisers whom history would not forget in a hurry. Nebuchadnezzar, whom he implicitly excoriated in his Church homilies, was in fact a highly discerning king whose only sin was pride. Having given us a lesson in what he purported was history, Jonathan concluded that he was a listening, humble and God-fearing prince of righteousness who was uninterested in being a general or a dictator. Many analysts laughed him to scorn. Now, they would wish they had been more discrete. It must, therefore, shock his subjects – that is what he has turned us into – that when the self-proclaimed transformer finally embraced change last week he got transformed into a furious and spiteful prince who would neither listen to pleas to climb down from the Olympian heights of fuel price hike nor empathise with his countrymen left bereaved by the atrocious manner his policemen tackled protesters. None of his predecessors in office deprecated dictatorship, not even Alhaji Shehu Shagari nor Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (on his second tour as president). But none of them displayed the terrifying detachment Jonathan showed last week from the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who protested against his economic measures. It was obvious that the criticisms of his countrymen had got to him. They said he was weak and ineffective; now they would see him strong and firm. This was why he stood inflexible for the whole of one week against the wishes of those who elected him into office. I did not vote for Jonathan in the last presidential election (though I knew he would win) because I feared he lacked a sense of proportion, not to say depth and charisma. I suspected that he was as prone to act dismally when the occasion required strength as act unfeelingly when the occasion demanded the greatest of benevolence. There was indeed a terrible disconnect between his illusions and the reality. Last week, as the president stood ramrod on his plans, even as the country was united against him, I knew I was right about him all along. He was neither a transformational leader, as many governors who supported him testified falsely and sometimes facetiously, nor a moderniser as his ingratiating ministers declaimed noisily in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) chambers and at press conferences.
Jonathan’s Babylonian transformation
Last week, before the strike action began and protests inundated our cities, I had written in this place that Jonathan underestimated the resolve of Nigerians. I do not have a high opinion of Jonathan’s capacity for leadership, but I secretly hoped that when the chips were down and he saw the resolve that I predicted, he would shift ground and speak peaceably to his people, knowing he was an elected leader, not the sort of military dictator he abjured many weeks earlier. All we heard from him was a sepulchral whisper saying he was prepared to stay the course. His aides and ministers searched for excuses and scapegoats, railing against politicians and subversives they accused of sponsoring protests to bring down his government. It was doubtful whether the president watched television, or if he did, whether he had not given himself over to a lying spirit. The whole country across religious divide and across all professions had united against him: how could he fail to see that? For the first time ever, the middle class was part of popular protests. Indeed, they inspired, guided and led the strike by providing the modernising attributes far better than what we saw in Egypt or Tunisia during the Arab Spring revolt (See Box). Rather than appreciate this trend, and rather than address the protests with presidential grandeur and unfathomable reflection, pointing out to those who
voted him into office that he was impressed by the generally peaceful show of anger and the fact they transcended religion and ethnic cleavages, the president malevolently sought to get the governors of the Southeast and South-South to split the protests and undermine them. (The governors of the North and the Southwest had been reduced to conspiratorial whispers). Then he followed up this declaration of animosity against the country he was elected to preside over with desperate and deceptive propaganda anchored by Neighbour to Neighbour, an arm of his presidential campaign organisation still laden with unaudited cash, purveying recriminations and remorseless untruths. He preferred to listen to his aides egging him on against the will of the people, as if the people didn’t matter anymore in his definition of democracy, and as if power no longer belonged to the people. Nigerians became trapped between the self-righteous zealotry of Jonathan who insisted there was no other way and the vainglorious economics of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Diezani AlisonMadueke who scorned every alternative idea of rebooting the economy. We have not really heard from the politicians in the president’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Or perhaps, given the way sycophants and technocrats have dominated the cabinet, it is no longer pru-
Protests that unite rather than divide
F by the end of today Jonathan still forges ahead with the price hike of petrol, it will mean he has refused to acknowledge the limits of the powers of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In consequence, and no matter the force at his disposal, or such forces as he is willing to mobilise to crush the will of the people, stymie the operations of free press and free speech, and undermine both the constitution and democracy, the unprecedented protests that began last Monday will continue as vigorously as ever. No one thought the protests would be as popular as they have been – certainly not the organisers, who have been pleasantly surprised, nor the government, which is in a foul mood alleging that some failed politicians and media houses were behind the public demonstration of rage. The protests are an eye-opener. They signify the beginning of popular civil societies-led protests, protests designed to draw
attention to more salient, philosophical and constitutional matters, protests that will usher in good, accountable governance. Henceforth, popular protests will no longer be called by labour unions alone, or targeted at industrial relations matters like wage increase or layoffs alone. Nor, when well planned by reputable professionals, will it necessarily be violent. Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, set the pace by giving birth to protests led by civil society organisations. Though Ojota became the mecca of protesters, complete with carnival-like celebrations and attended by middle class professionals proud to be among the crowd, there were also salutarily a few large cells of protesters in other parts of Lagos for those who found the Gani Fawehinmi Park a little too far to access. Four outcomes are possible from the ongoing countrywide protests against fuel price hike. (1) Jonathan has the option of respecting popular will by withdrawing his policy
and re-presenting it like an elected president; (2) he can roll out the tanks through the imposition of state of emergency if the National Assembly lets him; (3) he can starve the protesters to submission and break their backbone; and (4) the protesters can compel his resignation, impeachment or abdication. It is unlikely that a stalemate can exceed this week, for both protesters and the government are at the end of their tethers. History tells me Jonathan cannot win, for if he does, he would have got away with what no military ruler has ever done. If that should happen, then democracy is finished in Nigeria. Sadly, Jonathan and his tyrannical aides and cocksure ministers do not understand that Nigerians love their democracy more than they love their economic well-being. Take democracy from Nigerians and you have destroyed their pride and soul. They will resist to the death any such attempt by any president, no matter how powerful.
dent for any politician close to the president to think originally or contrary to the regnant cabinet opinion. Until someone tells us in the future what went on inside the Jonathan cabinet, we may never fully understand why as a politician the president chose to follow the counsel of the non-politicians in his cabinet, men and women who never hope to stand for election and therefore do not seek popularity. But the country is changing in many dramatic ways. By the next elections, it will not be sufficient that a local politician, PDP or otherwise, is popular or is loved; Jonathan and his team have done inestimable service to severe the romance between the electorate and local politicians. Voters are being re-educated by the ongoing protests to exercise their mandates carefully. They will do so profoundly and brutally in 2015. It must be restated that the problem is not that Jonathan made up his mind cruelly when he finally chose to quit dithering, or even that he made it up wrongly to the disservice of his education, his party and his office. The problem is that, as an elected president, he often confuses intransigence with courage. When it was manifest that the country had risen up against the brusque method he chose to push his economic measure through and everyone saw its unnerving and injurious scope, he was constitutionally bound to listen. Unfortunately, Jonathan has little understanding of what democracy is all about. He ought to have campaigned round the country to sell his agenda, which is heavily anchored on fuel subsidy removal. He did nothing of such. Instead he sat in Abuja, got the conniving Governors’ Forum, irrespective of their party leanings, to endorse the hated measure, and then while the people ‘slept’ he stole in on them with the sledgehammer. Many brilliant and forceful presidents before him faced even bigger economic problems. But rather than present themselves as tyrants, and understanding that democracy does not admit of ambush tactics, they did their best to push the measures through parliament, or, failing that, offered to resign because they believed there was no other way. I have cited many examples here before. Somehow, some of Jonathan’s uninformed aides and narrow-minded ministers have apparently educated the president to believe that it was courageous of him to enunciate the fuel subsidy removal measure and that it was also appropriate for him to defy popular will in pushing it through. I think the president is finding it hard to read history or to draw lessons from contemporary events in other countries. Why the president thinks he can undermine the protests with propaganda, accuse his opponents of subversion, and even point fingers of guilt at this newspaper, which he claimed was being used to undermine his presidency, and then follow up his anti-democratic behaviour by contemptuously warning those who voted him into office of an impending crackdown, is truly numbing. Obasanjo, one of his predecessors, had many weaknesses, including pride, but not even he attempted what Jonathan has blithely done. And to worsen a bad problem, Jonathan has allowed a sectional and divisive campaign to be carried out on his behalf by some influential people and governors from his political zone, as if those opposing his policies today were not the ones who rose in his defence when a cabal prevented him from assuming power during the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s illness, and as if the same people did not vote for him in spite of his ethnic origin. If he is not to continue endangering his presidency, the lives of his predecessors, democracy, and the stability and progress of the country, let him revert to N65/litre petrol price. Then let him take his case through his 2012 Budget to the parliament, and let him try once again to persuade the country to give his economic plans a chance. It is infuriating that he thinks he can use presidential powers and security agents to cow the people. If he takes that unprecedented path, he must be prepared to bear responsibility for whatever orders he issues directly or indirectly to his security forces, assuming in the first instance that those unlawful orders would be obeyed.
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Published on Jan 14, 2012