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Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Puyol, Xavi to battle Eagles in Catalonia

Wada discharged from hospital


NEWS Page 7

•Barca stars promise tough friendly

•‘Leg fracture to heal in six months’

VOL. 8, NO. 2359 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2013



14 die as soldiers, Boko Haram clash


OLDIERS clashed with Boko Haram insurgents in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday in an operation that left one soldier and 13 insurgents dead, the Joint Task Force (JTF) said. “At about 1600 hours (1500 GMT) today (yesterday), troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order had an encounter with Boko Haram terrorists at Bulabulin and Bayan Quarters of Maiduguri,” spokesman Lt-Col. Sagir Musa said. “During the encounter, the JTF lost one soldier and two were wounded. Thirteen Boko Haram terrorists lost their lives,” he added. According to residents and a relief source, suspected Boko Haram attackers slit the throats of 15 Christians last week on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the group’s main stronghold. Violence linked to Boko Haram’s insurgency has left about 3,000 people dead since 2009. Boko Haram has said it wants to create an Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria but its demands have shifted. It has repeatedly been linked with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb but its goals and hierarchy remain unclear. The JTF spokesman said the operation against the Boko Haram cell in Maiduguri was ongo- •State of Osun Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (right) and the state’s Acting Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Elder Adelowo Adebiyi, at the 40 minutes fire-works display to herald the New Year at Railway Station, Osogbo, one of 10 similar locations across the state…yesterday ing.

Jonathan: Police HQ, UN House bomb suspects held Four Boko Haram ‘kingpins’ in custody


HE brains behind some bombings have been held, President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday. The suspects, who were not named, are being held for the bombing of the Po-

From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

lice Headquarters, the UN Building and St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State. Dr. Jonathan spoke yesterday at the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus Christ and

THOSE ARRESTED UN HOUSE BOMBING Ali Sanda Umar Konduga Ismail Kwaljima Babagana Mali Mamman Nur(still wanted) New Year Service at the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Diocese of Abuja, All Saints’ Church,

POLICE HQTS BOMBING Ali Sanda Umar Konduga Two unnamed suspects in police custody Bashir Madalla(Feared dead) MADALLA BOMBING Zone 5, Wuse. The president was accompanied to the church by his wife, Dame Patience, his

Bashir Madalla(feared dead) Kabiru Sokoto Habeeb Umar Bama THISDAY OFFICE BOMBING Bashir Madalla(feared dead)

mother Eunice, some lawmakers, some members of the cabinet and senior aides. Also present were Minister

of Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade and Minister of state, FCT, Olajumoke AkContinued on page 2

Suntai out of hospital •Wife delivered of twins


ILING Taraba State Governor Danbaba Fulani Suntai has made his first public appearance - not physically, but in a photograph (right) - in about 67 days. Suntai flew the plane which crashed on Oc-

From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

tober 25 near the Yola Airport. He has been discharged from the German hospital where doctors treated him for multiple fractures, The Nation learnt yesterday. In the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) photograph, apparently taken by an amateur, Suntai looks darker than he used to be. He is holding his baby – one of the twins his wife, Hajia Hauwa, was deliv-

•Suntai (middle), his wife, Hauwa (left), and a family friend, Prince Tita Nbalam with the governor’s three-week old twins in a cafeteria at a German hospital…on Monday

Continued on page 2




NEWS Nigerians deserve better deal, says Tinubu


•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (middle) greeting Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (right) during the 75 Trees Birthday Anniversary for Dr Newton Jibunoh (behind the governor)’s 75th birthday at the Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo Senior School, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos…yesterday.

ACN to Jonathan: be serious this year


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday urged the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Administration to shake off its “trade mark lethargy” and take governance more seriously this year to ease the hardship which his government has foisted on Nigerians. In a New Year message by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the AC N said since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, last year ranked among the worst for Nigerians. It said having ambushed Nigerians on January 1, 2012 with a totally unnecessary and punitive fuel price hike, the Jonathan administration ensured that everything went downhill from that moment until the end of the year when Nigerians had to pay far above the official price for fuel, with its attendant bandwagon effect on the price of goods and services. ‘’Mr. President, that singular act of your administration helped to erode whatever trust Nigerians reposed in you.


Since trust is a critical element between the government and governed, you must begin to rebuild trust by delivering on your promises, since trust can neither be decreed nor forced. ‘’Suffice it to say that Nigerians cannot and will not trust an administration that promises to fight corruption but has presided over the worst cases of corruption in the history of the country; Nigerians cannot and will not trust an administration that sets up committees after committees to probe the oil sector, only to shamelessly dump the reports of the committees in the garbage can!

Continued from page 1

From Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

be a limit between criticism and abuse. “That President Jonathan is from a minority geo- political zone should not be the reason why the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other opposition parties should be heaping insults and abuses on him in the name of criticisms. “There must be a limit and we implore that we use the spirit of the New Year to say that enough is enough.”

And Nigerians cannot and will not trust a spendthrift administration that wastes scarce resources on flimsy projects like banquet halls and mansions for a few government officials, when millions are jobless and homeless,’’ the ACN said. The party advised the President to drop his “amorphous Transformation Agenda” in favour of a compact programme that prioritises security, job creation, infrastructural development and the fight against corruption. It also advised the government to stop relying on

tentials to the benefit of the people, Nigeria is held down by a leadership that is indecisive, insensitive and clearly incapable”. Tinubu said developments in the past year revealed a gulf between what the government promises and what it eventually delivers and it is difficult to point to any incremental or minimal improvement in the overall governance of Nigeria as it affects the quality of life of the average Nigerian. “Nigerians deserve a better deal than they are now getting. Nigerians deserve better roads, better health delivery services, better security, better jobs and better power supply.” Tinubu urged Nigerians to persevere and seek to partner with the government towards forcing the hand of change and bringing about much desired development. Continued on page 63

Suntai out of hospital

PDP demands respect for President HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged opposition parties to show respect for the office of the President, saying it remains the only institution that unites the nation. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, deplored the manner opposition parties “abuse President Goodluck Jonathan in the name of criticism.” The statement reads: “The Presidency is the highest institution in the country and it deserves our collective respective. There should

IGERIANS deserve a better deal from their leaders this year, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said. In a New Year message to Nigerians, the former Lagos State Governor decried “Nigerians’ suffering from the crosswinds of change and near chronic government inertia and inability to govern the country”. Tinubu said: “Our collective and continous survival as a nation will depend largely on how quickly positive developments in concrete terms are achieved in the New Year. Unless the government of President Goodluck Jonathan steps up and applies itself to the challenge of running the country properly, Nigeria will remain lost at sea. “In the face of many opportunities to actualise her po-

“phantom statistics to give Nigerians the impression that it is delivering the dividends of democracy, when indeed the opposite is the case. ‘’The Jonathan administration trumpets economic growth figures with glee, but of what use is economic growth that has not translated to better lives for the people, create jobs, put food on the table and make our roads more motorable? ‘’Despite this so-called economic growth, the reality of the Nigerian situation is that more of our youths are daily Continued on page 63

ered of on December 6, also in Germany - and looking straight into the camera, his wife is holding the other. His Excellency is dressed in a white oversize (neck) shirt under a grayish jacket. His face is expressionless; unlike those of his beaming friend and wife. Suntai’s head and chin look clean shaven. In the photograph, which is said to have been taken in the canteen of an unnamed German hospital, the governor sits on a dark leather chair that is obviously different from the others in the canteen. In front of him is a plate of food, which looks half-eaten, a set of cutlery, cups and a salt jar. Standing behind Suntai is a man wearing a thick black winter jacket (the type worn by security agents). His face is covered by the camera. The reason for the release of the picture was not immediately known yesterday. It came amid the rumour that

Suntai may have been permanently incapacitated. Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South), a close friend of Suntai, said the birth of the twins doubled the celebration in Suntai’s home, following his discharge from hospital. It was gathered that Suntai’s wife was expectant when the governor got involved in the crash. Her trip to Germany to assist her husband at the hospital changed the plan for her to delivered of the babies in the United States. With the twins, the Suntai family now has five children – four girls and a boy (one of the twins). Bwacha said the governor was not in a hurry to return home because he wants to be fully fit. Besides, he added, the governor has confidence in the ability of tActing Governor Garba Umar to carry on. Some people described as Suntai’s supporters are said to be planning to visit him.

Jonathan: Police HQ, UN House bomb suspects held Four Boko Haram kingpins held for major bombings

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injide. The president said: “It is the ambition to get rich overnight that leads to robbery, kidnapping and all sorts of crime”. “The church’s prayers have been helping us to stabilise the country at the time of our challenges. There was time the country was drifting and everyone thought the country will not endure but the prayers rescued us. “We have moved to another phase of terror, kidnapping and armed robbery but these are momentary challenges. “I receive constant briefings on security daily, though we don’t publish them. Most of the terror suspects have been arrested. People may not know what our men in uniform have been doing, they have been doing a lot to check the situation. The people who bombed the Police Headquarters, the United Nations Building and St. Theresa’s Catholic Church


OUR key Boko Haram leaders are in custody for the bombings of the United Nations (UN) House, the Police Headqurters and St.Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State. One of the suspects, Mamman Nur, is still wanted in connection with the attack on the UN House. Two other suspected Boko Haram leaders (Bashir Madalla and Habeeb Umar Bama) died in the clash with the Joint Task Force (JTF). According to records obtained from the State Security Service (SSS), those in custody are: Ali Sanda Umar Konduga( a.k.a Usman Al-Zawahiri), who was jailed for three years in December 2011; Ismail Kwaljima(a.ka. Abu Summaya); Babagana Mali (a.k.a Bulama); and Kabiru Sokoto.

in Madalla have been arrested. We will continue to improve on our security architecture. “The new year will be better for the country. We have a huge population and we will continue to provide employment for our people and encourage entrepreneur-

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said “the people who bombed the police headquarters, the United Nations building and the St. Theresa Church in Madalla have been arrested”. The list of those in custody is outside the 19 Boko Haram leaders recently declared wanted by the JTF with N290million ransom placed on them. A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “It is true that we have some of these key commanders of Boko Haram in our custody, with many of their foot soldiers. At the appropriate time, a full list will be made known to Nigerians. “The challenge we have with terrorism is that investigation is ongoing, in view of the link between Boko Haram and AlQaeda in the Maghreb . Their network is such that security agencies (especially the

ship,” he said. In his sermon, titled: “circumcise your heart”, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, urged Nigerians to circumcise their hearts- the church, businessmen - civil servants and politicians at all levels.

SSS, which has recorded many breakthroughs) keeps on stumbling on clues every day. “We are also looking for a number of suspects in connection with the UN House and Police Headquarters bombings. That is why most of those arrested have not been arraigned in court. “The disclosures made by the President at the church service on New Year’s Day had to do with security reports at his disposal on the arrest of key co-ordinators of Boko Haram. Some of these leaders managed bases and strategic cells of the sect.” Another source, who pleaded not to be named because of “the sensitivity of the matter,” said: “I know that the police are keeping some leaders of Boko Haram, but they are yet to release the

He also challenged teachers and academicians and their students who dress indecently on campuses to: “circumsize your hearts.” To the market women who sell fake products and transporters who hike prices in festive periods, kidnappers, armed robbers and members

Continued on page 63

of the Boko Haram sect he said “circumcise your hearts”. To the young men who are in a haste to ride Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), Rev. Okoh advised them to be patient. Rev. Okoh urged traditional rulers, university authoriContinued on page 63


OUR ERRORS The captions on some of the photographs of the Jankara, Lagos market fireworks explosion published on December 27 was wrongly referred to as crash. The errors are regretted. —Editor

ADVERT HOTLINES: 08023006969, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678






Behold babies of the year Many babies were born yesterday across the country. But some make record as the first in their state of birth, with governors’ wives showering them with cash and other gifts, report WALE ADEPOJU and DAMISI OJO

••President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience and his mother, Eunice at a church service to mark the new year in Abuja...yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

•Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola SAN, presenting a certificate of honour to Miss Bukola Elemide, a.k.a Asa (left) and the Founder, Change-A-Life Programme, Ms. Funmi Iyanda (middle), during the 11th anniversary of the programme at the NTA, Victoria Island, Lagos...yesterday.

•From left: Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, wife of Primate of Anglican Church, Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh and Director General, NIA, Mr. Olaniyi Adedeji at the service to mark the new year...yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

•The Assistant Provincial Pastor, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 5, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Greg Nzekwu (left), Asssistant Pastor Kofoworola Olaosebikan (second left), Parish Pastor, Redemption Centre, Aaron Olaosebikan and Zonal Pastor, Faith Chapel, Steve Oluyombo at the 50th Birthday Thanksgiving Service of Pastor Olaosebikan at Kubwa, Abuja... yesterday. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE


IRST Lady Mrs Patience Jonathan yesterday welcomed Abuja’s first baby of 2013 born at 12:10am, weighing 4.13kg, at the National Hospital. Mrs. Jonathan, who presented the first baby of the year certificate to the mother, Mrs Kikelomo Badejo, urged her to raise the baby boy, Oluwanifemi, in the fear of the Lord. She said: “As a mother, I’m happy for you and I urge that you train the baby with the fear of the Lord. Congratulations, we thank God for safe delivery and I pray for His protection over the newborn.’’ She preached love and brotherliness in the New Year and prayed for the country. Mrs Jonathan said: “We all need to thank God for keeping us alive because we are not better than those that did not see today. I will like to use this opportunity to urge all Nigerians to walk in love; with love we can surmount any situation. If we love one another, the transformation agenda of Mr President will move swiftly. One man cannot develop the country, we need to stay connected in order to move forward.’’ Dr Daudu Katagum, the Obstetrician/Gynaecologist of the hospital, said expectant women must have regular ante-natal care. “Regular ante-natal is very important. We knew her history and we had the reservation that there might be an emergency because of the mother’s height so the theatre was ready. Short people in some cases have complications because their babies tend to be bigger than their pelvis. When this baby breached, we were ready and we’re happy everything came out well.’’ The mother of the child, who works with an Indian firm, told NAN that the baby was in a normal position when he suddenly turned and had to be delivered via a caesarian section. “I’m elated because I’ve had three girls; this is my fourth child and it turns out he’s a boy. I’m also delighted he came on the 1st and will be meeting the First Lady today,’’ Badejo added. The second baby came in at 1:35am, also at the National Hospital. A baby girl, delivered at 12: 01 a.m. to the Keru Olumuyiwa family at Maternal and Child Centre (MCC), Surulere, weighing 2.5kg, was announced first baby of the year in Lagos. The Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, declared baby Olumuyiwa as the baby of the year. The Enitan Busari family was also blessed with a boy child at 12:02 a.m., weighing 4.1kg, at the Ifako/Ijaye General Hospital. A three-kg baby girl was delivered at the Ifako/Ijaye General Hospital to the family of Patricia Ajisegun. She was born at 12:35 a.m., weighing three kg, at Ifako/Ijaye General Hospital. The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, urged parents to take good care of their children by patronising primary healthcare facilities. Mrs Fashola spoke at the celebration of the 2013 First Baby of the Year

programme. She presented gifts to both mothers and their babies at the three hospitals – Ifako/Ijaye General Hospital, Ifako, Maternal and Child Centre (MCC), Surulere, and the Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos. “Today, in line with the tradition, we are here to welcome and celebrate the first baby that was delivered in the year, including babies delivered in the early hours of today. We are also using this opportunity to share the joy of this day with those, who, as a result of their health conditions, cannot celebrate in their houses with their families,” she said. Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris urged everyone to collectively work toward reducing maternal and child mortality. “Parents have a role to play by imbibing what they are told to do. They need to immunise their children, which is essential for the reduction of child mortality; need for pregnant women to attend antenatal care, at least four times in a year. They need to adopt family planning practices, spacing the children so that they can grow and feed well,’’ he said. In Ondo State, a baby girl born to the family of Adedeji, was declared baby of the year. Baby Adedeji, who arrived at 12:01am at the State Specialist Hospital, Akure, weighed 3.8 Kilogramme at birth. Baby Adedeji was delivered through normal delivery without complications. The wife of the governor, Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko, presented cash and other gift items to the baby’s mother, Mrs. Veronica Adedeji and other mothers who gave birth on the New Year Day at the State Specialist Hospital, Akure. Mrs. Mimiko, who was represented by the wife of the Commissioner for Special Duties, Mrs. Nireti Akinsuyi, advised all mothers to take good care of their children and lay a healthy foundation for them through exclusive breast feeding for the first six months after birth and also ensure that they receive all the necessary immunisation at the appropriate time. Commissioner for Health Dr. Dayo Adeyanju assured mothers that measures were being put in place to further reduce Infant mortality and maternal deaths. In Abia State, the governor’s wife, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji, paid homage to the state's 2013 "Baby of the Year", Miss Favour Chimezie Uchendu. She was born at Amachara General Hospital at 1.40am, weighing 3.5kg. The governor's wife directed the immediate release of 11 indigent nursing mothers at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, who were 'detained' over non-payment of their hospital bills totalling N1.017m. The indigent nursing mothers thanked the wife of the governor for coming to their rescue. Lady Orji also visited little Master Emmanuel Ndudi from Uturu, Isuikwuator Local Government, who was the first baby born at FMC Umuahia at 6am and weighed 2.5kg. The wife of the governor distributed various gifts to the Baby of the Year, Master Ndudi and other newly born babies in the hospital. In Oyo State, the wife of the governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, presented cash and gifts to Mrs Balikis Adebayo, who was delivered of the first baby at Adeoyo Hospital, Yemetu, Ibadan.




• Mrs Fashola (middle) carrying the first baby of the year...yesterday. With her are: Dr. Idris (right), Commissioner for Education Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye (second right), Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina (left) and Dr Olufemi Onanuga (second left). PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

•Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, cuddling the state’s first baby of the year at he Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti...yesterday. With her are the parents of the baby, Mr. and Mrs. Femi Jayeola (left).

•Wife of Ogun State Governor, Olufunso Amosun (left), with the First Baby of the Year and the baby’s mother, Mrs. Funmilayo Sodiq at the State Hospital, Ijaye in Abeokuta...yesterday.

•Rivers State Governor’s wife Dame Judith Amaechi with the New Year Baby delivered by Mrs Nkiruka Onuzuluike at 12:05am weighing 3.4kg at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital in Port-Harcourt ... yesterday.

•Wife of Osun State Governor, Sherifat Aregbesola carrying the Baby of the Year...yesterday. With her are: Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Lara Ajayi (left), Chief Medical Director, Hospital Management Board , Dr. Bosun Awoyemi (second left), Commissioner for Health, Dr Temitope Ilori, and mother of the baby, Mrs Rasheedat Odekemi.

•Lady Orji at the intensive unit of the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia ...yesterday.

Worshippers hand over Nigeria to God


ORSHIPPERS in Abuja prayed yesterday for God’s intervention in Nigeria’s numerous challenges and wisdom for its leaders at church services to usher in the new year. In many of the churches visited by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the eve of the New Year, the faithful sang praises to God and prayed for Nigeria, its people and leaders. At the ECWA Church in Wuse II, the faithful praised God with songs and read Bible passages. In an interview, the senior pastor of the Church, Rev. Barje Maigadi, assured Nigerians of God’s love for Nigeria. He predicted that God had designated the year to address the numerous challenges confronting the economy and the people of Nigeria. Maigadi called on politicians and Nigerian leaders to work for the good of the people by raising their standard of living. He said that God would use Nigerians to improve on the economy and make things better. The clergyman urged Nigerians to continue to persevere and imbibe the habit of togetherness and care in 2013. Also in Abuja at the Breakthrough Chapel in

•Kukah urges inmate to embrace education Area 11, Garki District, Bishop Ben Oruma said the year held great promises for Nigeria but urged the people to work hard and pray for God’s intervention in the nation’s affairs. At the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Area 1, worshippers prayed for members of the church and the country. Pastor Dele Babade, the pastor in-charge of Province 4 of RCCG, urged political leaders to be united, irrespective of their religious and political affiliations. Babade said there was no need for bickering among politicians, stressing that division among politicians would not encourage development. He urged the leadership of the country to be more sincere with their programmes of alleviating poverty and improving the economy. He urged all Nigerians irrespective of their backgrounds, to work harder in the new year. Babade called on the Federal Government to initiate measures to dialogue with aggrieved groups in parts of the country in the

interest of peace and unity. He predicted a more prosperous and fulfilling year in 2013. The story was the same at the All Christian Fellowship Mission, Maitama as the faithful praised and worshipped God at the traditional crossover service. Worshippers were excited at the service conducted by the General Overseer of the church, Rev. Williams Okoye. Rev. Okoye said although the situation in the country was frightening, God is in control and would intervene at the appointed time. He said God was on the side of Nigerians and added that no situation was insurmountable or too difficult for Him to handle. NAN reports that loud noises of praises were heard from most of the churches in the city centre and beyond as worshippers celebrated the New Year. The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Hassan Kukah, yesterday advised prison inmates to acquire western education to enable them contribute to national growth

after their terms. Kukah gave the advice in Sokoto during a visit to the Sokoto Central Prison where he distributed food and soft drinks to the inmates to mark the new year. “The prison is not the end of your life, some of you can still make it in life; just be focused and seek western education and cooperate with the prison officials,” he said. “ You can be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, governors and members of the National Assembly, if only you are ready to seek for knowledge to enable you to contribute positively towards the nation’s political growth,” he said. He called on them to take the advantage of the skill acquisition centres to learn various trades. Kukah said the era of waiting for government to do everything for citizens was over, hence the need for self reliance. “ We have all that it takes to be one of the top developed nations in the world, if we can tap the abundant human and mineral resources available at our disposal, “ he said. Kukah promised to settle the fines of some of the inmates to enable them to regain their freedom.




Ajimobi to develop infrastructure


OVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has congratulated the people on the occasion of the New Year celebration. He promised that he would redouble his efforts to make life more meaningful for them this year. The governor, in his New Year message, assured of a new lease of life, which he

said would be brought to the state through infrastructural development. He said the development, which would be unprecedented in the history of the state, would cut across all sectors of the economy. Governor Ajimobi said the beautification efforts of his administration, which he noted were being acknowledged and applaud-

ed, would continue until the state was given a facelift. He craved the understanding of the indigenes, particularly those affected by the ongoing demolishing of illegal structures, saying it could be likened to the proverbial circumcision that comes with pains, but whose elegance later becomes a thing of pride.

The governor said the neighbourhood markets being built by his administration would enable people sell in a safe, secure and decent environment. He urged them to support his administration to create a conducive atmosphere for the actualisation of lofty programmes that would ensure the transformation of the economy.

Aregbesola greets Nigerians


SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has urged Nigerians to assist the Federal Government with prayers to solve insecurity. He hailed the people for their support and wished them a prosperous 2013 that would witness the continuation of efforts by the government to better the life of the people. The governor, in a congratulatory message to the people to mark the New Year, signed by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, assured indi-

•Calls for prayers over insecurity, others genes and residents of a better 2013. He said his administration would not relent in its achievements, saying what was witnessed in Osun State last year in terms of development would be small compared to what would be experienced this year. Governor Aregbesola said: “2013 will further convince the citizens that the current administration is committed to a total transformation. “Let us resolve more than ever before as we step into

the New Year that Osun will continue to be a shining example of what good governance should be.” He acknowledged the security challenges in the country, enjoining Nigerians to tackle them. Quoting Chapter II, Section 14, Paragraph 2b of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the governor said: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” He noted that a government exists to protect life and property, ensure peace and security and maintain


law and order. “It is under this environment that people can enjoy their liberty, engage in fruitful and legitimate economic activities and realise their potentials.”

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, flanked by the Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraj Ishola Adekunbi (left); and Mrs. Olufunso Amosun (right); greeting popular musician, Wasiu Alabi (aka Pasuma), during the “Fireworks Display on the Bridge”, organised by the government in Abeokuta...yesterday.

PDP hails Ondo people at New Year


HE Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated members, supporters and people of the state as they marked the beginning of 2013. A statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Wale Ozogoro, reads: “We are con-

•Mourns Adegbonmire’s death From Damisi Ojo, Akure

vinced that this New Year will usher in good governance and development in our state. “We have rated the present government, led by Dr.

Olusegun Mimiko and found it wanting. “The governor has pauperised the people, engaging in profligacy and indebtedness and abandoning the projects initiated by his predecessor. “The Labour Party (LP) ad-

ministration has achieved nothing. Indigenes and residents of Ondo State are yet to enjoy the dividends of democracy. “We commiserate with them on the death of Chief Wumi Adegbonmire. He was a believer in good governance. He was a welfarist.”

Enugu Acting Governor urges Nigerians on nation building


NUGU State Acting Governor Sunday Onyebuchi has enjoined Nigerians to redouble their efforts in building a stable, secure and prosperous nation.

He said this in his New Year message. According to him, the citizens should learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure that there is improvement in the country’s socio-

economic and political life. Onyebuchi urged Nigerians to be prayerful and seek God’s protection and guidance in 2013. He thanked Enugu State indigenes, security agencies

and organisations for their support and cooperation in 2012 and assured them that government would not relent in its efforts to entrench good governance and bring transformation to the state.

Amosun: we’ve received cooperation from our people


GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun has said his administration has enjoyed cooperation from the people in its development programmes. He noted that “contrary to speculations in some quarters that our people are averse to development, they have shown unparalleled and rare enthusiasm for positive change.” The governor said this in his New Year television and radio broadcast to the indigenes and residents. Amosun said: “We have seen people removing the roofs of their houses and breaking walls before the demolition team of the road construction firm gets to their areas. Till now, we have not received any news of confrontation on any of the sites.” He said his government has had “pleasant experiences” in its ongoing construction work in Sagamu, Sango Ota, Ijebu Ode, Abeokuta and other places, adding that “our people will support developmental efforts and make sacrifices where they see determination by the leadership to bring about improvement in their standard of living.” The governor said his administration has received requests for road projects from communities in the state, adding that due to limitation of resources, “it is not possible to build all the roads in Ogun State at the same time.” While calling for more sacrifices from the people, Amosun assured that his administration would reduce the pains of those affected through the payment of compensation. He said plans were on to build modern shopping malls to cater for displaced traders.

Adeboye urges politicians to take precaution against disasters


HE General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, yesterday warned politicians to learn from last year’s disasters and take precaution, to avert bigger ones. Releasing his prophesies for 2013 at a crossover service to usher worshippers into the New Year at the Redemption Camp, he said there could be more devastating natural disasters, such as flood, if precautionary measures are not taken. Describing 2013 as a year of signs and wonders, Pastor Adeboye said: “This year will be better than last year.” According to him, before the middle of the year, many Nigerians would have cause to smile, adding that prayers and supplication should, however, be intensified. He told the worshippers that God spared the lives of some individuals last year because of the intercessory prayers of the saints, noting that “the prayers of some of you reduced the deaths of prominent Nigerians last year. Don’t stop praying.” Pastor Adeboye said: “This year will be a year

of completeness.” The cleric said prominent world leaders need a lot of prayers to avoid death. He said prominent church leaders also need prayers against planned scandals, adding that the weather condition may worsen unless prayers are intensified. Adeboye went on: “We should expect a major breakthrough in medicine this year. “Christians should cultivate the habit of praising God. Praise is a tool for receiving signs and wonders. One can pray and study the Bible in silence, but no one can praise God in silence.” The congregation applauded when he said: “You can never praise God quietly. “If they say we are crazy for shouting Hallelujah in our environment and wherever we find ourselves, then it is a good kind of craziness.” While assuring worshippers that 2013 is a year of open doors, Pastor Adeboye said it is one thing to enter into a New Year, it’s another thing to have a new beginning. He urged Nigerians to reconcile with God by living a righteous life.

Akpabio: let’s draw near God


O V E R N O R Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has urged Nigerians to draw closer to God as they start another journey of their sojourn on earth, adding that this is the only way they would succeed and achieve their objective this year. He said this in his New Year message. Said Akpabio: “As we end 2012, let us count our blessings and thank God for everything. Let us pray for the best in 2013 and draw closer to our creator because this is the only way we can receive his blessings, protection and provision in the New Year as individuals, state and a nation. “As a people and state, we have moved from the fring-

es of national life to the centre of national attention. We have run a good race in terms of infrastructural development, human capacity building, economic growth and educational advancement and health care services.” The governor thanked Akwa Ibom indigenes for the lovely sentiments they expressed during his 50th birthday celebration. He said: “We set out to change Akwa Ibom State, but it looks like we are changing Nigeria. The tidal wave of development we have unleashed on our state has caught the imagination of the nation. Our state has become the destination of choice for conferences in Nigeria and the Gilgal of our nation.”




Injured Wada discharged from hospital I NJURED Kogi State Governor Idris Wada was yesterday discharged from the Cedar Crest hospital, Abuja where he has been receiving treatment for a broken thigh. Wada, who lost his aidede- Camp (ADC) in a car crash last Friday, was moved to Abuja for treatment. The governor was said to have left the hospital around 9 am yesterday in the company of his aides, amid tight security. Certifying Wada fit, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, who was in charge of the treatment, Dr Felix

‘Why Judiciary performed poorly in 2012’ By Joseph Jibueze


•Fracture to heal in six months

From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

Ogedengbe, said it is better for the governor to recuperate at home to enable his thigh heal permanently. Stressing that the treatment given to the governor would allow him to move around, he said the fracture would heal in about six months.

At the hospital, Wada received high profile Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan. Dr. Ogedengbe had earlier at a news conference said there was no need for the governor to be flown abroad for further treatment. The governor’s driver, who also sustained injuries, is said to be stable and responding to treatment.


N Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor, Mr. Sebastian Hon (SAN), has said the Judiciary performed poorly last year due to “institutional and legislative problems.” He said the Judiciary was also faced with the challenge of archaic laws, adding that failure to convict former Delta State Governor James Ibori in Nigeria, for instance, was a sign of the “rot” in the system. Speaking in an interview with our reporter, Hon said: “As a prosecutor for the EFCC, we have our challenges. The judiciary did not perform well in Ibori’s case, I must admit. It is not only in Ibori’s case. This is not a personal indictment of anybody. We have institutional and legislative problems. “Our laws are outdated, judges are still using longhand. We have a lot of challenges. So, Ibori’s case is one signpost of the rot in the judiciary. It is one of the cases that show that there is a problem in the Judiciary.” He said the fight against graft would not be won if Nigerians continue to encourage it. “There should be reforms in the Judiciary. It is very important because the Judiciary is the last hope of the common man,” he said. Hon added: “Remember that the EFCC went and arrested Ibori, and his kinsmen in the village blocked the way, saying he could not be arrested. Corruption is not just a thing that affects the Judiciary. We are all corrupt. “If the Delta people felt that Ibori was not corrupt, why were they shielding him from arrest? It is a general problem. We have to navigate out of this problem before there will be no Nigeria.” He decried the state of Nigerian prisons, saying the money meant for reform is not properly utilised. “We need prison reforms. I don’t know when last we built a prison in this country. Yet, everyday, thousands of people are convicted and detained. So, the matter may even be beyond the Attorney-General of the Federation. “Apart from building new prisons, if you go to advanced countries, their prisons are better than some of our five star hotels. Prison is not meant to be punitive. Jurisprudence has taught us that prison is meant to be corrective and reformative. But the system here is different. “When politicians come onboard, they just pack all the monies meant for basic things that would have transformed this country institutionally, politically and fundamentally.”

Pope prays for peace


OPE Benedict XVI has prayed for world peace. He decried the inequality between the rich and the poor and “the unregulated financial capitalism.” He spoke yesterday at a New Year’s mass in St Peter’s Basilica. The Pope said: “Hotbeds of tension and confrontation caused by the growing inequality between the rich and the poor and the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mentality also expresses unregulated financial capitalism.” He added that humanity has “an innate vocation for peace” and prayed for “the gift of peace” this year. Quoting a Biblical passage, the Pope said: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” The Roman Catholic Church celebrates New Year’s Day as World Peace Day.

•Fun seekers at the Bar Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos, celebrating the New Year Day...yesterday.

Obasanjo: let’s trust in God


ORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised Nigerians not to lose hope in God. He spoke in Kaduna when he visited Governor Mukhtar Yero and members of the Council of Chiefs on the death of former Governor Patrick Yakowa. Obasanjo described his death as sudden, adding that the late governor was a “bridge builder” who struggled to secure and develop the state during his tenure. He said Nigerians must not be desolate, but should trust and appreciate God at all times.

“We must not mourn or lose hope like unbelievers because we believe in the ultimate goodness of God,” he said. The ex-President congratulated the new governor, urging him to continue with the good work of his predecessor. He hailed traditional, religious and political leaders in the state for the smooth and peaceful transmission of power to Governor Yero. Vice-President Namadi Sambo thanked Chief Obasanjo for the visit. He said Yakowa’s demise was a great loss not only to the family, but to the entire

country. He urged traditional leaders and the indigenes to support the new governor to continue the programmes of Yakowa. The Chairman of the Council of Chiefs and Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, assured the governor that the traditional leaders would support him in discharging his duties, especially in securing, uniting and developing the state. He enjoined Yero to continue the legacies of the late governor, as it would aid in achieving the transformation agenda of the state.

IGP challenges officers, men on selfless service From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

I •Obasanjo

Fed Govt urged on job creation


HE Coalition of Nigerian Youth Organisations has tasked the Federal Government and the National Assembly to address unemployment and provide jobs for the youth, to curtail the insecurity facing the nation. Addressing a news conference, the coalition, comprising youth organisations spread across ethnic groups, said government’s recent cancellation of the recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) was sad and painful. The group’s statement was signed by Comrade Etuk Bas-

sey Williams, ex-President of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS); Wole Badmus, President of the Yoruba Youth Frontiers; Uche Casmier, President of the Ohaeneze Ndigbo Youth; Mr. Splendour Agbonkpolor, President of the Niger Delta Youth Alliance; and Mallam Musa Abubakar Yusuf, President of the Arewa Youth Forum. It said the cancellation was unwarranted, considering the high rate of unemployment in the country. The group appealed to the Federal Government and the National Assembly not to

block the chances of Nigerian youths who wish to work with the NIS. It said: “We appeal to the Federal Government to rescind its decision on the cancellation of the recruitment into the NIS and to also expedite action on the recruitment to curb unemployment and meet the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.” The Coalition of Nigerian Youth Organisations hailed the Comptroller-General of the NIS, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, for carrying out the recruitment in accordance with the federal character principle. It said: “We believe in the

competence and managerial ability of Mrs. Uzoma because her track record is a testimony of good leadership, which is in line with President Jonathan’sexpectation from public office holders. “The plot to rubbish her was orchestrated by some politicians who are mischief makers. They want to replace her with their stooge. “The recruitment began some months ago. Thousandsof Nigerians applied and due process was followed. Employment letters have not been issued to anyone as claimed by some people who want to blackmail the Comptroller-General.”

NSPECTOR-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar has urged officers and men of the Nigeria Police on the need to rededicate themselves to selfless service. He told them that their calling as peace officers demands of them the highest level of patriotism, selflessness and hard work. In his New Year message to the nation, Abubakar thanked God for his grace and mercies that saw Nigerians through the turbulence that characterised last year. He hailed them for their vigilance, partnership and support for the police, without which, he said, the task of policing Nigeria would have been an impossibility. The police boss urged citizens not to relent in this regard, but should assist the Force with greater vigour in the months ahead. He pledged the loyalty of the officers and men of the Force to the nation and promised that everything would be done this year to curb crimes. The IGP stressed the resolve of the police management team to rededicate itself to the vision of reforming and professionalising the Force, with a view to bequeathing to the nation a people friendly police. Abubakar assured the citizenry of effective, efficient and intelligence- driven Force with greater respect for the fundamental rights of the citizens. Officers and men, he said, would be positioned to tackle crime and social disorder. He promised that he would work with the relevant Federal Government agencies to seek new ways of improving their welfare and general working conditions. The IGP thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for his passion for security and his resolve to tackle insecurity. He appreciated the 36 governors, FCT Minister and local government chairmen for supporting the police with logistics and crime-fighting tools last year. Abubakar enjoined the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement or person to the police or other security agents.



NEWS Alaafin urges politicians to fulfil campaign promises From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


HE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, has urged politicians to fulfil their campaign promises. Oba Adeyemi spoke yesterday after inaugurating two blocks of three classrooms at the Irepodun Araromi and Asamu community Primary Schools and boreholes built by the lawmaker representing Atiba State Constituency in the House of Assembly, Mr. Waliu Adekunle. The monarch hailed Adekunle for putting a smile on the faces of the electorate and urged politicians to emulate his gesture. He advised the benefiting communities to take care of the projects and support Adekunle in future elections. Adekunle said he was distributing materials worth N20 million to empower his constituents. He said N4 million was shared to 200 people to start small scale businesses. The lawmaker thanked the Alaafin and Governor Abiola Ajimobi for their support.

•Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (middle) greeting members of the newly established Peace Corps at the Jibowu Hall in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital...on Monday.

Afenifere: Yoruba is marginalised

Kashamu empowers PDP members


POLITICAL group, the Omo-Ilu Foundation, has started distributing 500 vehicles, 1,000 motorcycles and 1,800 bags of rice, worth N800 million, to members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State. The Foundation spoke of plans to erect 33,000-litre capacity kerosene tanks in various locations to dispense the product at N50 per litre. Presenting some of the items to party supporters at a reunion rally at his IjebuIgbo country home yesterday, the leader of the OmoIlu Foundation, Prince Buruji Kashamu, said the gesture was aimed at empowering members to start their own businesses and strengthen existing private businesses. Kashamu said gone were the days when party supporters got such items for free, adding that the beneficiaries would have to meet certain conditions. He said: “Since its inception in 2009, the Omo-ilu Foundation has given out over 700 vehicles free-ofcharge. However, because of the poor maintenance culture of some of our people and bad usage, we have decided to modify our operations, such that certain pocket-friendly conditions are now attached to such gestures.”

“Towards this end, we have bought 500 vehicles for commercial use. The Foundation has also purchased 1,000 motorcycles, which will be given to PDP members across the state.” Kashamu said arrangement was being made to give loans to petty traders and artisans in the 236 wards, as well as buy working tools and equipment for artisans. He said: “Farmers will benefit from our agricultural scheme by providing them with seedlings, fertiliser and tractors for rent at a cheap rate, and also organise trainings for them to enhance their businesses.” Kashamu said the Foundation was collaborating with several organisations to train PDP members on how to make soap, beads, Adire, Aso-Oke, cake and air freshner, among others. He said: “We’ll empower them after the training with cash to start their businesses.” Kashamu said the Foundation would extend its scholarship scheme to students in private universities. The State Chairman of the party, Chief Adebayo Dayo, thanked the Foundation for taking the interest and wellbeing of party members seriously.

Speaker seeks support for Ajimobi


YO State House of Assembly Speaker Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu has urged residents to support and pray for the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration. Mrs. Sunmonu, who spoke with The Nation on the telephone yesterday, said public servants need the people’s prayers and support to meet the needs of the electorate. The Deputy National Chairman of the Conference Speakers in Nigeria said the state government is committed to improving the standard of living of the people. She said the Assembly would continue to work with the other arms of government and make laws that will facilitate development. The speaker assured residents of great things in this year.


PAN-YORUBA group, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), yesterday alleged that the Yoruba has been marginalised by the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration. It urged the Federal Government and the Federal Character Commission to correct the alleged injustice in recruitment and appointments into critical sectors of the economy. The group said recruitments and appointments at the federal level are being manipulated to favour some geo-political zones. ARG National Chairman Mr. Olawale Oshun told reporters in Lagos that the group would petition the Federal Character Commission. He said: “The Yoruba demand to know why the discrimination against us is on the increase. We note with verifiable evidence that most routine appointments and recruitment into the public service in this administration completely shortchange our people. “For instance, of the 792 cadet officers recently recruited for training at the

By Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Political Editor

Customs Training College (CTC) in Kano, only 45 were from the Southwest. One hundred and sixty eight cadets were from the Northcenral, 157 from the Northeast, 91 from the Southsouth and 68 from the Southeast. “The evidence before us shows that 5.8 per cent of the cadets are from the Southwest, while the Northwest took the lion’s share of 33.1 per cent. What exactly is happening here? “The report of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ going on in the Aviation Ministry is fast reaching an alarming proportion! Recently, we got reports that most of the key people sacked at the ministry are of Yoruba extraction. “Findings indicate that of the 75 appointments made, 49 of the appointees are from the Southeast. The illogical justification offered for this decision is that it is in line with the ongoing transformation agenda. Is the marginalisation of a people the new definition of transformation? “Our younger generation

are asking us to define the meaning of ‘Federal Character’ when appointments and recruitments at the federal level are being manipulated to favour some geo-political zones to the exclusion of the Yoruba. “We are alerting the whole world that Nigeria’s problems are not limited to governance. There is a calculated attempt to relegate the Yoruba to the background, which does not augur well for the country’s development. While it is not in Yoruba character to seek to dominate, enslave or push for unfair advantages against other people, we will not accept a situation where we would be deprived of what rightly belongs to us . “Our concern is equity, fairness and justice for all, and if these qualities of ours are our offences against the rest of Nigeria, we have no apologies. “We urge the Federal Character Commission to wake up from its slumber and right the wrongs that are being perpetuated by opportunists in high positions. We urge the commission to investigate all these allega-

tions of discrimination against the Yoruba, especially in the civil service appointments and promotions, and we dare it to publish its findings. “We are prepared to pursue our legitimate right without minding whose ox is gored. We will no longer fold our arms and watch people with curious agenda deprive our people of what rightly belongs to them, unless they are saying this country only belongs to certain categories of people or certain sections of the country. “As a starting point, our group will be presenting an official protest letter to the Federal Character Commission, not only to formally bring these issues to their attention, but to also seek appropriate remedy. “While we do not contend with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government on the way it chooses to share government positions and political appointments, facts on ground show that the Jonathan administration is bent on the complete marginalisation of the Yoruba from the scheme of things and we will resist it.”

Ekiti lawmaker disowns campaign posters


HAIRMAN of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Budget and Research Opeyemi Bamidele has expressed concern over the pasting of his posters in Ekiti State. He said he had no intention of contesting the governorship election in 2014. Bamidele, who disowned the posters, described the move as an attempt to discredit him. He said he knew those behind the “mischevous act” and pledged to expose them. In a statement, Bamidele said: “It has been brought to

my notice that less than 48 hours after I left Ekiti for the United States (US), some faceless individuals pasted posters purporting that I would be running for the 2014 governorship election on the platform of the Labour Party (LP). “I was not responsible for the said posters. I am a founding member of the ACN and I have not joined any other party. I know those who masterminded the pasting of those posters and would address the issue at the appropriate time. “In the meantime, I reiterate that, if this is an attempt

by those conspiring against my vision and destiny to preempt and harass me into surrendering on my principled stance on issues, then they have failed. “Like other well-meaning sons and daughters of Ekiti State, I have my dreams and vision for a new and united Ekiti and when it is time to aspire in furtherance of that vision, I will do so, most courageously, within the party and without any apology to pseudo democrats, who are trying to give the ACN a bad image through their acts of intimidation and intolerance, informed by leadership com-

plex. “I have worked tirelessly with the leadership of the party since 2004, especially to strengthen the party in Ekiti State and I am sure the national and state leadership understand that I am out to whip out mediocrity and highhandedness in whatever form to protect the party’s integrity. “When it is time to aspire, God will give me the grace to do so as a responsible member without minding whose ox is gored. “This faith, I will keep, come rain or sunshine and under the banner of the Almighty God.”



NEWS Ekiti to build 5,000 low cost houses

Adegbonmire for burial on February 8


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said his administration would build 5,000 affordable housing units this year. He announced this yesterday in his New Year broadcast. Fayemi said the State Peace Corps will soon become operational to complement the efforts of security agencies in tackling crime. He said: “It is common knowledge that a society thrives more and attracts higher economic growth when there is peace. The State Peace Corps will become operational in the New Year to complement the efforts of the regular law enforcement agencies and reduce crime.” Describing 2013 as “Ekiti’s Year of Empowerment and Consolidation”, Fayemi said the government would empower more people and create a conducive environment for job creation. He said his administration would improve the welfare packages of workers. Fayemi said the plan to build 5,000 houses, was to save residents from shylock landlords and dubious property developers. He said the housing scheme, to be tagged Homes Agenda, would be achieved through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement. The governor said the Social Security Scheme for the Elderly would be extended beyond the 20,000 beneficiaries, who receive N5,000 monthly stipend each. He said his administration plans to build two General Hospitals in Ilawe and Iye, adding that the abandoned Oba Adejugbe General Hospital Complex would be completed in the first half of the year. The governor said arrangements have been concluded for the renovation of the 20 Special-



ist and General Hospitals, as well as the 35 basic health centres across the state. He said the Ekiti College of Agriculture will take off his year, adding that the state government would partner the Federal Government to establish two rice processing mills and one cassava processing plant in the institution. Fayemi said his administration would complete all ongoing road projects this year and initiate new ones to make all parts of the state accessible. He said the government would continue with the Urban Renewal Programme and build township roads in Ikere, Ikole and Ijero, which used to be the divisional headquarters. The governor said a new ministry would be created to facilitate development and eradicate poverty at the grassroots. He said the Ikogosi Tourist Resort would open for business in the first quarter of the year, adding that a lot was invested in tourism to make Ekiti the most attractive holiday destination in Nigeria. Fayemi said his administration would continue to train teachers to enhance their performance. He said the revival of the Ire Burnt Bricks Factory and the Odua Enterprise Centre has expanded the state’s resources and provide jobs for the people.

Our people have been supportive, says Amosun


GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun said his administration has been enjoying the people's support. In his New Year television and radio broadcast, Amosun said: "Contrary to speculations in some quarters that our people are averse to development, they have shown rare enthusiasm for positive change. "We saw people remove the roofs of their homes and even break the walls before the demolition team of the road construction firms got to their areas. Uptil now, we have not received news of confrontation at any of the sites. Our people will always make necessary sacrifices and support genuine development efforts." He said his administration has continued to receive requests for road projects from communities across the state, but explained that due to limited resources, it was impossible to build all roads in the state at the same time. Amosun assured the people that his administration would continue to compensate those affected by the demolition. He said plans were on top gear for the building of shopping malls for displaced traders. The governor said: "Our schools have become better and we have more of our children in school now. Services and infrastructure in our hospitals have greatly improved. A lot of our youths are now gainfully employed, either directly in the Public Service or empowered to

•NURTW hails governor on roads From Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

start their own small/medium scale enterprises. "Our state is wearing a new look. The road projects have turned our environment into a huge construction site." He thanked civil servants, traditional rulers, rights groups, labour, security agents, opposition groups, media and other stakeholders for the successes so far recorded and urged them to continue to support his mission to rebuild Ogun. Also yesterday, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Ogun State branch, hailed the governor on road projects, particularly the building of the first Fly-over in Abeokuta, the state capital. It said the projects would not only fast-track development, but ease the movement of goods and persons. NURTW Chairman Alhaji Akeem Adeosun told reporters that the projects have opened up every section of the state. He said the benefit of the projects far outweigh the momentary pains of the people, whose shops and homes were affected, and urged residents to support the governor. Adeosun said: "This is real governance and it must be applauded. A lot of roads are being built to ease movement. I urge our people to support the governor and pray for peace to continue to reign in the state."

HE funeral ceremony of the late leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Chief Wumi Adegbonmire, will hold on February 7 and 8. The funeral service will hold at St. Thomas Anglican Church, Arakale in Akure, the state capital, on February 8. Adegbonmire’s widow, Solape, announced this while receiving some ACN leaders, who were led by Dr. Paul Akintelure. She said the family would work with the ACN to make the burial a success. Akintelure said he had a cordial relationship with the late Adegbonmire and described him as “a defender of the masses”. He said: “Baba contributed to the sustenance of democracy. He used to resolve disputes in the party amicably. We all respect him. I benefit-

ACN leaders mourn politician From Leke Akeredolu, Akure and Emmanuel Oladesu, Deputy Political Editor

ed from his knowledge and experience. He was a real progressive. “This is not the time to mourn, but to celebrate Baba’s achievements. I assure the family that we will sustain his legacies. Adegbonmire was Secretary to the State Government (SSG) for many years and was never accused of any crime. Even when he was harassed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the President then, Baba remained committed to his party.” ACN Chairman in the Southern Senatorial District Adewale Akintimehin said: “Baba never believed that money could do everything. His approach to politics was different from that of young-

er politicians. Baba said his happiest day would be the day ACN takes over governance in this state.” ACN leaders in Ilaje Local Government Area commiserated with the family of the late Adegbonmire. They described him as a “dependable and incorruptible political leader, who did not depart from the path charted by his mentor and leader, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo”. In a statement signed by a former governorship aspirant, Mr. Felix Rawa; patron of the Women Emancipation Group Olori Olufunke Ogunyomi; Pastor Odusola Adeola; Chief Ogunkalu Faluyi and Mrs. Roseline Oyeneyin, they said the late politician led a “honourable and dignified life” worthy of celebration, adding that he devoted his political career to the propagation of progressive

ideals.The statement reads: “We received the death of the political icon with a mixture of shock and understanding. It was with shock because we expected him to continue to play a leadership role in the party, so that we could benefit more from his wisdom and experience. It was with understanding because he died at a fairly ripe age. “Chief Adegbonmire, the Asiwaju of Akureland, was a famous student and youth leader in his alma mater, the University of Ife, and the country. He was a close associate of the late Awolowo, the late Papa Adekunle Ajasin and the late Papa Abraham Adesanya, who were Afenifere leaders. “As the SSG during the administration of the late former Governor Adebayo Adefarati, he joined his colleagues in running an efficient, transparent, incorruptible and accountable government.



CITYBEATS Missing student’s father seeks police’s quick action A FTER a month-long fruitless search for a 25-year-old student, Ismail Ayoola Balogun, his father has appealed to the police to act swiftly on fresh leads. Alhaji Musibau Balogun is asking the Police to, through MTN, trace the location of his son, who was last seen naked in the midst of some people in a picture on the boy’s Facebook page. The picture was downloaded on the boy’s MTN Blackberry. The 300-Level student of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, left his 91, Egbe-Ikotun Road, a Lagos suburb home on November 30, last year, for school. Ismail, his father said, had been boarding night bus from Maza-Maza, Lagos to Abia

By Segun Balogun

since he was admitted into the school. "On November 30, we observed Jumat together and he left for the park around 4:30pm. He called me when he got to the park as he usually does. Each time he travels, he keeps us informed of his steps through phone calls," Alhaji Balogun said. About 7pm, Ismail called to inform his father of his intention to return home because he forgot to take along the original copies of his admission credentials. He needed the documents because of the periodic unscheduled screening to fish out illegal students. "But I discouraged him," his father said, "I told him his friends who will be coming home for the December holiday would bring the documents to him. Then at 9:51pm,

we spoke and he told me they were about moving." That was their last discussion. Ismail's phones have been switched off since then. "I have been communicating with his schoolmates but no one has any clue. I have been to Maza-Maza Park to make enquiry but I don't know the exact bus he boarded and the motor park executives said there was no case of accident. I have even reported the case at Ejigbo Police Station," Balogun said. Ismail's friends, he said, informed him of two recent pictures on the missing boy's Facebook page. Ismail's Blackberry phone was configured to automatically upload every picture taken with the phone onto his Facebook account. The first was uploaded on the day he travelled. It showed

08033054340, 08034699757 E-mail:-

Assembly gets Clerk By Oziegbe Okoeki


him at the park, leaning with his back against the bus. The second was uploaded on December 1 at 2:25am. It showed Ismail sitting naked in the middle of three people. "People said the second picture looked like a beer parlour but it doesn't look so to me," said Balogun. "I went to MTN office to see if they can trace the location the second picture was taken. They told me they can

only release the information to the police." He submitted a petition on December 10 - with the two pictures attached - at the Area E Command Headquarters, FESTAC, seeking "quick response," which has never come. "Since then, the police have not said anything. I am just appealing to them to do all within their capacity to resolve my son's mysterious disappearance," he said.

Be civil, LASTMA officials told By Tajudeen Adebanjo

LAGOS State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) General Manager Mr Babatunde Edu has urged his men to be courteous when dealing with motorists. He urged them to be respectful motorists and firm in implementing the new Traffic Law. The agency, he said, is committed to an highly mobile, efficient and effective traffic management in line with best global practices. Edu said: "The experience of 2012 will serve as a guide, and impetus to deliver better and efficient services. The agency has strategically positioned the personnel to move it forward, in order to achieve the set objectives of free flow of traffic and an accidentfree Lagos. This is in conformity with Lagos State service delivery. "As professional traffic managers, we have mapped out strategy that will increase the level of voluntary compliance through awareness, sensitisation and public enlightenment. The agency is determined, more than ever, to entrench sanity, decency, orderliness and safe road usage." The agency, Edu said, would identify more areas of traffic gridlock to unlock them. "We shall continue to implement policies on safety in order to reduce road accidents to the minimum. This is possible and achievable. To this end, the performance evaluation training of staff will continue with a view to acquiring traffic management skills to enable them discharge their duties and responsibilities," he said.

THE Acting Clerk of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Ganiyu Abiru, has been confirmed as the substantive Clerk. Abiru, whose appointment was confirmed on Monday, becomes the sixth Clerk of the House since its inception in 1999. He started his career in Lagos State Public Service as a Higher Executive Officer in 1983 and was deployed in the Ministry of Finance where he was in charge of office management. Abiru became Director, Grade Level 17 in July 2008 and was deployed to serve as Director, Finance and Administration, of the House. He held the post till August 2011 when he became the Acting Clerk. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM).

Group decries violence against women By Tajudeen Adebanjo

•Goodnight: Broad Street, Lagos...yesterday


Fashola gives ailing actress N4.5m


ITH N4.5 million from Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola yesterday, ailing Nollywod actress, Ngozi Nwosu, may soon leave the country for treatment abroad. The governor’s donation raised the total money realised to for her to N6.5 million, which is N500,000 above the amount she requires. In the last one month, her friends have have been soliciting for N6 million to take her abroad for treatment of kidney and heart related conditions.

They opened a Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) account where they asked people to send their donations. The actress also appeared on popular TV game show; Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, as part of the fund raising drive. She made N1 million, with the support of Seun Oloketuyi, publisher of Best of Nollywood magazine and filmmaker, Lilian Amah. Announcing Fashola's donation in a statement, Oloketuyi put the total amount realised at N6.5 million. "It gives us great pleasure

to announce that we now have N6.5 million. All funds were paid directly to her, we will like to use this opportunity to thank all those that contributed and supported. "This brings to an end our fundraising drive for her to go abroad. We shall be making an official statement soon but for now, we thank the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola for his donation of N4.5m today (yesterday)." "May God continue to bless the governor, our families, as well as the good people of Lagos State


and Nigeria that responded to the clarion call," the statement read.

THE Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) has called on governments worldwide to take the security of women serious. WARDC’s Executive Director Ms Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said the gang-rape and subsequent death of an Indian woman showed the continued vulnerability of women to gender-based violence. She urged the governments to take adequate steps through legislation and other means to ensure zero tolerance to rape and other forms of violence against women. Akiyode-Afolabi said despite publications of several reports of rapes and gang rapes in Nigeria, the issues are not prioritised as a subject of national discourse requiring special attention.

Lagos presents 140 transformers to lawmakers, others


HE Lagos State Government has handed over 140 transformers to members of the House of Assembly and Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to improve power transmission. Commissioner for Rural Development Cornelius Ojelabi, who handed over the transformers to the lawmakers at the premises of Els-weddy Electric Nigeria Limited in Badagry,

By Yinka Aderibigbe

Lagos, put the cost of the equipment, which includes installation at N975 million. He said 132 of the transformers are for lawmakers and the remaining eight are for the MDAs. According to him, with the handing over of the transformers, Governor Babatunde Fashola had fulfilled his promise to meet the needs of the law-

makers’ constituencies. He said: "Members of the Assembly represent the people and realising their needs, they approached the governor and the solution is what we are handing over to them. "We believe that they will ensure that the communities would maintain the transformers very well," he said, adding that Els-weddy would convey the transformers to the constituencies where the

Rural Electrical Department of the Ministry would install them. Ojelabi appealed to the lawmakers to ensure that their communities got maximum benefit from the transformers. He also appealed to the lawmakers to urge Community Development Associations in their constituencies to pay their anual fees, if they wished to benefit from the transformers. Receiving the transform-

ers, Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji praised the government for the gesture, saying it delivered the transformers at the appropriate time. Ikuforiji, represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Ibrahim Layode, said the transformers would be distributed to the various constituencies, adding that the House would ensure that they are well maintained.



NEWS Aliyu to tackle infrastructure From Jide Orintunsin, Minna


IGER State Governor Babangida Aliyu has assured the people of the state that his administration would focus on infrastructural development and complete ongoing projects in the New Year. The governor promised to ensure that projects that have been appropriated in the 2013 budget are implemented. Aliyu spoke in Minna, the state capital, on these and other issues in his New Year goodwill television broadcast to the state. He said: “In 2013, we shall ensure that by the grace of God, the majority of the people of Niger State continue to remain the target beneficiaries of all our policies and programmes.” Aliyu restated his administration’s determination to entrench fiscal discipline and responsibility in governance this year. The governor noted that wastages and leakages in government expenditure and revenue collection would be blocked to ensure sound economic management. He called for support and cooperation for his administration. Aliyu also urged the residents to shun indolence, promising that his administration would be sensitive to the imperatives of social security for the people. Highlighting some of the positive changes in the socio-economic and political life of the people in the last five years, the governor reiterated his commitment to consolidating on the achievements of his administration.

2013 is year of great expectations from Jonathan, says Kalu


FORMER Abia State Governor Orji Kalu has said 2013 is a year of great expectations from President Goodluck Jonathan. Kalu, in his New Year message to Nigerians, noted that with the numerous crises facing the country and Jonathan’s promise to fasttrack development in 2013, the President would be taken to task this year. In the message by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewunmi, the former governor said with the Boko Haram insurgence, fuel crisis, Labour-related issues and other challenges that confronted the country in 2012, Jonathan needs to confront these challenges and provide effective leadership. He said: “Nigerians do not expect anything less from the President than solutions to the numerous crises facing the country. “With the earlier promise by the President that he would fast track development in 2013, the President should not expect anything less than being held accountable for the huge resources coming into the country’s purse vis-a-vis development in all spheres of the country’s life...”

•From left: Prof Festus Osiyemi, Prof. Biodun Ayodele, his wife, Bimpe, and Prof. Ebenezer Fayose, at a reception for Ayodele following his promotion as Professor of Botany at the University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan, Oyo State...on Monday

Obi: we’ll leave worthy legacy for Anambra


NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi has said his administration would not relent in rebuilding the state for future generations to be proud of. The governor spoke in Awka, the state capital, when people of Orumba, a community in the state, visited him at the Governor’s Lodge. He said this was the time to lay a strong foundation that would reposition the state for sustainable and comprehensive development. Obi explained that the massive infrastructural development of rural areas is to open

•Community residents hail governor From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

up the grassroots for wealth creation. The governor called for collective efforts to keep the state on track so that it would not slide back to its difficult past. The leader of the delegation Chief Okey Ezeibe said the visit was to thank the governor for giving the people of Orumba North a sense of belonging. Ezeibe recalled that the Obi administration initiated and completed many projects in the

local government. He noted that the projects, including the Odor Bridge, have direct impact on the lives of the residents. The community leader promised that the area would reciprocate the governor’s gesture by supporting his efforts to correct the mistakes of the past and maintain the present tempo of development. Also, a former deputy governor, Dr. Okey Udeh, noted that the Obi administration has stabilised the state financially, economically, socially and po-

litically. He stressed the need for collective efforts to elect a worthy successor for him to consolidate on his administration’s achievements for continuity. At Obeledu, Obi assured the residents that he would fulfill his campaign promises to them to restore confidence in governance and entrench new consciousness among the people. Obi said the government was taking steps to secure the life and property of the people.

NUJ petitions FCT police chief over assault on journalist HE Federal Capital Detained journalists released Territory (FCT) Coun-


cil of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has petitioned Police Commissioner Aderenle Shinaba over the alleged assault of Leadership Newspapers reporter, Mr. Igho Oyoyo, by men and officers of the command. Oyoyo was, at the weekend, allegedly beaten up by some officers and men of the FCT Police Command. The NUJ gave the names of the policemen as Ibian Eno, John Ikwuo, Abubakar Katcham, and Malah Muhammed. The police team was led by Inspector Bitrus Dakup, the union added. The incident was said to


WO detained Nigerian journalists have been freed after they were detained without charges for over a week by Nigeria’s secret police. The journalists were detained for allegedly writing stories about the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram, and military abuses. Mohammed Garba, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), yesterday said Musa Mohammed Awwal and Aliyu Saleh, journalFrom Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

have occurred during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ward primary in the FCT. The FCT NUJ Secretary Emmanuel Ogbeche urged Shinaba to take immediate action

ists with a weekly Hausa language newspaper, Al-Mizan, were freed around noon. Garba said the two men had not been abused or mistreated while in custody. He said the two journalists may have to return for questioning again by the State Security Service (SSS). Both journalists were arrested on December 24 at their homes in Kaduna. Their newspaper has reportedly published a series of stories about alleged military abuses and Boko Haram.

against the errant policemen. He described the action of the policemen as unprofessional, barbaric and against the present administration’s rule of law mantra. The NUJ secretary threatened that the council would

sue the policemen, if the command failed to take appropriate disciplinary action against them. “The action of the policemen offends decorum, professionalism and respect for human dignity,” Ogbeche said.

Ekiti faults ASUU’s claim on varsity funding, tax


KITI State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Funminiyi Afuye, has faulted the claim by the Ekiti State University (EKSU) Ado-Ekiti branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), that the state-owned university is underfunded. The commissioner described the claim as “misleading, malicious and blatant falsehood that stands evidence on the head”. In a statement last weekend, Afuye also dismissed the teachers’ claim that the academic staff members are groaning under high taxes allegedly imposed by the state government. He expressed the shock that university lecturers that are believed to be learned could express such crass ignorance about how their institution is being run and the law governing taxes in the

country, the Personal Income Tax (PIT) Act passed by the National Assembly. Afuye warned ASUU members at EKSU to stop whipping up sentiments and blackmailing the state government on a tax law that did not originate from it. Afuye claimed that the Kayode Fayemi administration has done a lot for the university more than the previous administrations before it in terms of funding and infrastructural development. He explained that for the first time in over 15 years, EKSU got a capital vote of N300 million from the state government for the development of infrastructure to be ploughed into the building of a Medical Library and Biochemistry and Pharmacology Buildings in the College of Medicine. The government spokesman maintained that there is

nowhere in the world where university is funded 100 per cent but between 30 and 35 per cent. According to him, what government does is to empower the university to generate internal revenue from ventures, research, collaboration and partnerships with institutions and corporate organisations. The commissioner contended that besides the monthly subvention from the state government, EKSU is expected to generate revenue to augment its subvention. Denying the ASUU’s claim of imposition of higher regime of tax, Afuye explained that Ekiti State government is not to be blamed for higher taxes which was brought about by the Personal Income Tax (PIT) fixed by the Federal Government to ensure uniform taxation nationwide.

He said the state has no control over the issue of tax which, he noted, is now on the federal list as the states are now also affected by the new tax law in force. He said: “These are firmly fixed by an act of the National Assembly and so is uniform nationwide. No state of the Federation or establishment should alter it, but accountants in government offices, both at the states and national levels, have been very arbitrary in their deductions of personal income taxes. “This is despite their knowledge of the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2011. In situations where the tax has been under-deducted, the Accountant-General of the Federation is empowered by the PIT Act to deduct the allocation of the erring State Government, ministry, department or agency from source.”

Army division gets new generals, colonels From Chris Oji, Enugu

TEN military officers at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, have been promoted to Major-General, Brigadier-General and Colonels. Among those promoted are Maj.-Gen. T. Y. Buratai; Brigs.-Gen. J. A. Orokpo and Koko Essien. Those promoted to Colonels include N. U. Muktar, O. S. Abai, P. P. Malla, E. E. Eyong, J. C. Akpan, Hamzah A. Gambo and M. T. Abdullahi. The General Officer (GOC) Commanding the division, Maj.-Gen. Olayinka Oshinowo decorated the officers with their new ranks. He urged them to be conscious of the additional tasks in the discharge of their duties following their promotion. The senior soldier expressed gratitude to God and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, for the promotions.

CLO hails Anambra budget From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

THE Anambra State Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) yesterday said the 2013 Appropriation Bill presented last week by Governor Peter Obi to the House of Assembly is a giant step to reclaim the state from what it called Nigeria’s consumerism pattern of governance. In a statement in Nnewi, by its Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah, and Secretary, Justus Ijeoma, CLO hailed Obi for ensuring that recurrent expenditure is far lower than the capital expenditure. The organisation urged other states to emulate Anambra by cutting down their extraneous expenditure. Examining the budgetary allocations of various states and the federal budget, the group noted that Nigerians need to work hard to engage the government in budget preparation and spending. This, it said, would ensure that funds are effectively used in critical sectors. The CLO condemned the bogus allocations, which most governments map out for refreshment, kitchen allowance, and state banquets.




NASSI seeks implementation of reforms in power, oil sectors M

EMBERS of the National Asso ciation of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) have urged the Federal Government to ensure the effective implementation of the oil and gas sector reforms in the new year. Members, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ex-

pedite action in finding lasting solution to problems of the oil and gas sector. Managing Director, Limmy Cosmetics Limited, Mrs Lydia Amos, urged Jonathan to address the epileptic power supply problem and implement the oil and gas sector reforms agenda. She called on the President to create an enabling environment for socio-economic development.

She said: “Privatisation of the country’s refineries is the only option towards an effective oil and gas industry,” adding: “most small scale businesses have closed shop due to the epileptic power supply in the country which I think can be tackled.’’ She said government’s priorities for should be on the power sector “because no country triumphs in the socio-economic development without effective and

efficient power supply.” Also speaking, the Managing Director, Khary Diary Juice Limited, Mrs Falilat Balogun, implored the Federal Government to take the power sector more seriously in the new year, saying most companies have stopped production while many others have moved out of Nigeria to places with better operating environment. Mrs. Balogun said: “If President Jonathan can fix power

supply and tackle corruption in the oil and gas sector, we will have a new Nigeria. “The feeling of the people of this country can only be assuaged by evidence of actual improvement in ]their socioeconomic conditions,” she saiadde. Chief Executive Officer, Sokuslow Construction Limited, Mr Abiodun Kasali, said what is “important to us at this time is that the power sector should be aggressively tackled.’’ He urged Jonathan to focus more on specific areas that would have greater impact on the country, such as the implementation of the oil

•Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment

and gas sector reforms and permanent solution to constant power failure in the country. “The President should put the interest of the country first in all he does, ‘’ he added.

Morgan Stanley buys North Sea Forties crude


• Governor Dickson (left) presenting the cheque to Mr Nasko at Government House in Yenagoa.

Bayelsa pays N8.5b mobilisation for roads, airstrip T HE Bayelsa State Gov ernor, Seriake Dickson, has presented N8.5 billion cheques as mobilisation fee for the construction of two roads and an airstrip in the state. The roads are SagbamaEkeremor and YenagoaOporoma Senatorial roads. A breakdown of the figures showed that N3 billion was paid as mobilisation for the SagbamaEkeremor road, being handled by Dantata and Sawoe Plc. Also, N2.5 billion was paid as mobilisation fee for

the construction of an airstrip by the same company. A cheque of N3 billion was presented to the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) as mobilisation fee for the OporomaYenagoa road. Presenting the cheques in Yenagoa, Dickson said adequate funds have been earmarked for the various projects and charged the contractors to ensure the timely completion of the projects.

On the Nembe-Brass road, the Governor said the project would be awarded early this year, as new designs have been developed raising the road as high as seven metres in view of recent floods that ravaged infrastructure in the state. He said the NembeBrass and SagbamaEkeremor roads would cost N90billion. On the airstrip, Dickson said the project, which is situated along the

Amassoma, Ogobiri and Egbedi axis, was expected to be completed within one year, adding that clearing on the site has since started. In their responses, representatives of the Dantata Group, Mr Hamza Nasco, and the Project Manager of CCECC, Mr Gillio Costa, commended Dickson for his commitment to the development of the state. They assured that they would deliver the projects on schedule and in accordance with government’s projection.

Lull in business, flight operations in MMA


S Nigerians celebrated the new year yesterday, there was a lull in business and flight activities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, Lagos. At the old domestic and new terminals of the MMA, only a few airlines operated flights, as the departure and arrival halls of the terminal were almost empty. Unlike the usual hustle and bustle that characterise operations at the airport, activities remained at low ebb yesterday, as many airport workers complained of low patronage , caused by reduction in passenger

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

movement across the country. At the General Aviation Terminal, where Arik Air is the major carrier, the tempo of activity was not as boisterous when the passengers besiege the terminal to get ticket, obtained their boarding passes for onward journey to their destinations. Apart from airlines, which recorded lull in operations, car hire operators, eateries, bureaux de change operators and others who carry out ancillary services around the airport were also affected by the celebrations. At the new domestic

terminal, otherwise known as MMA 2, passengers and vehicular traffic remained low, as only a few security personnel attached to the entrance of the terminal were on duty. However, a few carriers operated flights to Abuja and Port Harcourt from the MMA2. Offices belonging to aviation agencies, including the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), remained under lock and key as only security personnel reported for work at their corporate

headquarters. Human and vehicular traffic on the Airport Road was scanty. The tight security that pervaded the precincts of the airport was relaxed yesterday, as the counter terrorism squad that held sway on the road screening vehicles for explosives were absent. At the international wing of the airport, activities remained normal as check in protocols were on for passengers on foreign airlines, who are billed for out-bound flights. Scores of airport workers and airline personnel were on hand to attend to passengers who arrived in the country.

ORGAN Stanley has bought a cargo of North Sea Forties crude from BP Plc at the highest price in more than a week, while Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA placed unsuccessful bids for cargoes. Supplies from Angola will increase this month while output from Nigeria will fall, according to researcher JBC Energy GmbH. Morgan Stanley paid 45 cents more than Dated Brent for a shipment of Forties, F0108, loading on January 14 to 16, a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window showed. That’s the highest since December 20, when a Forties lot traded at a 60 cent premium. BP had bought lot F0108 at parity to the benchmark on December 24. Shell bid 55 cents more than Dated Brent for a cargo loading on Jan. 14 to 16 and a second consignment on January 19 to January 21. Total bid 30 cents more than the benchmark for a shipment on Jan. 23 to 28, according to the survey. Trafigura Beheer BV offered a consignment of Forties on Jan. 21 to Jan. 28 at 85 cents more than Dated Brent, without finding a buyer. Reported crude trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ended yesterday, earlier

than its usual finish because of the New Year holiday. Forties loading in 10 to 25 days was four cents less than Dated Brent on December 28, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a 9 cent discount on December 27. Brent for February settlement traded at $109.55 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at the close of the window, compared with $110 in the previous session. The March contract was at $108.37 a discount of $1.18 to February. There were no bids or offers for Russian Urals grade, according to the Platts survey. The Urals differential to Dated Brent in the Mediterranean was at minus $1.01 on December 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In northwest Europe, the discount to Dated Brent was at $1.35, the data showed. Qua Iboe blend was at $2.46 a barrel more than Dated Brent on Dec. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Angola’s output will increase by 30,000 barrels a day in December with the start of work at the project known as PSVM, while Nigeria’s production will decline by 25,000 barrels a day because of terrorist attacks, according to Vienna-based JBC Energy.

FAAN assures passengers


HE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said the long traffic delays experienced on airports roads are due to security checks. In a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, its General Manager, Corporate Communication, Mr Yakubu Dati, said: “We wish to assure air passengers that pass through the roads leading to our airports during this Christmas/New Year holidays that the long traffic delays experienced on airport access roads, due to routine security checks, is in the interest of the general pub-

lic.” He said the government was determined to put measures in place at strategic locations, including airports to forestall any form of security breach during the yuletide period. He noted that the measure was a positive step designed to complement FAAN’s effort at ensuring maximum safety and security of lives and property at the nation’s airports. Dati, however, advised air passengers to leave their homes early so that the delays would not hamper their pre-boarding formalities at the airport.


Igiebor, Uche link up with Eagles in Barcelona

Pg. 14

•Bianca Ojukwu urges team to win

NFF threatens to petition FIFA over players Pg. 51

Sport Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Catalonia lists

Pg. 14

10 Barca Stars, 7 Espanyol players against Eagles

•7pm is Kick-off time

•Game will be difficult —Keshi

Pg. 14






Catalonia lists 10 Barca stars, 7 Espanyol players against Eagles …7pm is Kick-off time


EAD COACH of Catalonia side, Johan Cryuff, has listed 10 players from Spanish La Liga leaders Barcelona for the international friendly against Nigeria’s Super Eagles tonight. He has also picked seven players from Espanyol FC, whose ground will host the encounter. The list made available to the Nigerian delegation on arrival in Barcelona has Barcelona first choice in goal, Victor Valdes, Xavi

Hernandez, Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Martin Montoya, Sergio Roberto, Christian Tello and Marc Bartra all listed from the Catalan giants. From Espanyol, there will be Joan Verdi, Joan Capdevilla, Sergio Garcia, Kiko Casilas, Raul Rodriguez, Victor Sanchez, and Sergio Tejera. Others in the team list are AC Milan’s Bojan Rkic, Getafe’s Alvaro Vazquez, Jordi Amat and Francesco Medina ‘Piti’

Mikel admits challenge at Blues


IGERIA international, John Obi Mikel is now aware that he faces a battle for a starting place at Chelsea. Mikel's acknowledgment stems from the conversion of centre-back David Luiz to a defensive midfielder by Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez in recent games. The 25-year-old Nigerian midfielder has been the man for the


dirty job at Chelsea for the past six years and has become accustomed to the partnership of either Ramires or Frank Lampard in the heart of the pitch. “I think he (Luiz) needs to play at the back. It affects you because I’ve been here for a long time. “And now I have to play with David Luiz. It’s just a lot, I think, psychologically as well. “You think, ‘If I’m playing today, who am I going to play with?’ “I’ve played with Frank (Lampard) for a long time and I’ve always enjoyed playing with Frank and Rami as well and (now) with David,” said Mikel. Benitez, however, stuck to Luiz for Chelsea's game at Everton over the weekend despite Mikel being available after serving a three-match suspension. The former Liverpool manager first experimented with Luiz in the holding role at the recent edition of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Taye Taiwo speaks on future with Dynamo Kiev


EFENDER Taye Taiwo spent half a season at Dynamo Kiev on loan. Having the experience of playing in the championships of France, Britain and Italy, the player thinks the move to Ukraine is a new stage in his career. with reference to the official website of Dynamo Kiev quoted Taiwo as saying: "It is a great pleasure staying in Kiev and playing for Dynamo. The team has a few of my countrymen, and it helps me to feel comfortable in the Ukraine. "Before the break, Dynamo had a very tight schedule of games, playing in the championship and the Champions League. But I'm used to such as during my time in France, Marseille, for which I've played, also appeared in three - four tournaments simultaneously." The former Lobi Stars ace is on a season - long loan from Italian powerhouse AC Milan. Talk about extending his contract at the Ukrainian vice - champions will

have to wait until the end of the season in June. "After the completion of the deal, I have to go back to Milan, and then we will see. Now I am a Dynamo player and want a decent performance in the spring with the team in the Europa League and the championship of Ukraine," Taiwo said. Taiwo is linked with a move to Istanbul giants Besiktas and Galatasaray in the winter transfer market which became active today.




UPER EAGLES’ Coach Stephen Keshi has confessed that tonight’s match against Catalonia selected side which has been tagged a high profile friendly will be difficult. The Nigerian team flew into the venue of the friendly yesterday and learnt that Catalonia Coach Johan Cryuff, has listed 10 players from Spanish La Liga leaders Barcelona for the international friendly against the Eagles on Wednesday evening. He has also picked seven players from Espanyol FC, whose

From Segun Ogunjimi, Abuja ground will host the encounter. The list made available to the Nigerian delegation on arrival in Barcelona has Barcelona first choice in goal, Victor Valdes, Xavi Hernandez, Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Martin Montoya, Sergio Roberto, Christian Tello. Keshi who has not really settled down for final camping with full compliments

•Taye Taiwo

would rather spend my precious time with my family than confront anybody on a social network site. “I am using this medium to call on Nigerians to disregard statements or comments from this Tweeter account opened in my name and picture because such remarks are not from me.” Ikpeba, who is on the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), instead enjoined the Eagles to go to South Africa to prove they are the giants of the continent. “They should go out there and prove once again that we are the true giant of African football, irrespective of who is selected or not,” he urged.

of his Europe based stars knew that it would be difficult playing a star loaded Catalonia full of World Cup winner, Spain's top star. "It is going to be difficult playing against a star loaded side like Catalonia. The cold weather there is another problem but we will try our best to defend the integrity of our nation", Keshi vowed. Keshi, however,explained that

winning the friendly is not only about winning most especially when getting to this ffinal andff vital stsge of preparations for important competitions like Africa Cup of Nations but "it is about fine tuning the team's technical and tactical play. At times we need to play safe not lose important play ers to injuries", he reasoned.

Shola Ameobi doubtful for Super Eagles

Igiebor, Uche link up


•Bianca Ojukwu urges team to win

NGLAND-BASED defender Danny Shittu has pulled out of the Nigerian squad for the African Cup of Nations, which will start shortly in South Africa, but it seems that Nigeria still haven’t heard what the situation is with Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi. But Sky Sports are reporting that Shola will not play in South Africa this month, and as we said last week, there’s no way Newcastle can force him not to play in the African Cup of Nations. The only way Shola could get out of it is to say he doesn’t want to play for Nigeria, which is exactly what Danny Shittu has done. The Media Officer of the Nigerian team, Ben Alaiya, said the following from their training camp in Faro, Portugal – that’s where Newcastle were last January for a few days break. “There is no word from Ameobi yet on whether he will be part of our Nations Cup preparations. Keshi said he cannot force the player to play for the country, and so he is still waiting to hear from Ameobi on his position and then we will take it from there.” If Shola is not going then he will have to officially pull out, and apparently there’s a clause in his Newcastle contract, which says that’s what he will do if ever selected by the Nigerian side. It’s all still a bit fuzzy, and it’s been interesting that we haven’t seen Shola play for Newcastle since he scored that magnificent winner against QPR. Maybe we’ll see him in action at some time tomorrow night against Everton.

with Eagles in Barcelona


EAL BETIS of Spain midfielder, Nosa Igiebor and Villareal striker, Ikechukwu Uche, on Tuesday joined the Super Eagles fold ahead of the international friendly against Catalonia selected later on Wednesday night. Celtic’s Rabiu Ibrahim was also part of the party that joined the Eagles for the only training session that the team will have on Tuesday evening before the match. There were fears that Igiebor, might not make the team, when he failed to arrive Faro, Portugal as arranged with Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, but immediately evaporated when he appeared in camp on Tuesday afternoon, as the team landed in Barcelona. The team departed its Browns Resort and Sports Centre camp on schedule at 4am, Portuguese time, which is 5am, Nigerian time, but experienced some little delay at the Faro Airport, but eventually arrived Lisbon at some minutes after 9am. The flight took just 35minutes.

After immigration formalities the team set out for Barcelona and arrived the city at about 11:20am Nigeria and Spanish time. The flight lasted 1:30minutes Officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Spain led by Head of Chancery, Mr Safiu Olaniyan, Deputy Consul General, Mr. Nze Nnadi, Curtis Aghedo, who is President Nigerian Union in Barcelona, Kingsley Lawal, President Nigerians in Valles and Gbenga Adegoke Scribe of Nigerians in Valles, were on hand to receive the team at the magnificent Barcelona International Airport. There were also about 20 Nigerian football supporters who were at the airport to bid the team welcome. The team was immediately moved to the equally eye-popping Hotel Fira Palace in the heart of Barcelona, where they were addressed by Mr Olaniyan on behalf of the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Amb. Bainca Olivia Odimegwu Ojukwu, who was unavoidably absent due to other engagements. In her speech, Ambassador Ojukwu,

Ike Uche wants change in the New Year


ILLARREAL striker Ikechukwu Uche says it is important for the club to win the next league game against Barcelona B to enable the team climb the table. After 19 rounds in the Segunda Division, The Yellow Submarine are 5th on the table, but trail log leaders Elche by 14 points. Uche told the official website, ''We have to improve, we need better results and that the work we are doing is reflected in the team results. Now we know we can not fail and we hope this new year things will change for the better. Now we can not fail, we know that this time is crucial and we must compete in every game. It is true that we are missing goals, but that's not the only problem the team. We must improve, we need to start well and they get the results now."|

In addition, Uche commented on the agreement reached between the Nigeria Football Federation and Villarreal so that he can play the match against Barcelona B. "This is good news for everyone and for the team, as this first game is very important . The idea is to go play with the national team's friendly in midweek in the next two days and then come and play the game against Barcelona B on Saturday. My absence is something that was known. I hope that my colleagues do the right thing and that the team keeps winning,'' says Uche. Villarreal could strengthen the squad in the winter transfer market. Uche says it is good for the team as it enables them to have more options.

Sports minister must go —Baribote

Ikpeba disowns Twitter comments

ORMER African Player of the year Victor Ikpeba has said he is being impersonated on Twitter as he does not have such an account. Ikpeba made this clarification following an exchange on Twitter purportedly between him and Osaze Odemwingie after the West Bromwich striker was sensationally dropped from the AFCON. “I make bold to state categorically here that I don’t have a Twitter account, neither have I exchanged words with anybody on the social network site,” said Ikpeba in a statement. “I only have a Facebook account, which I even seldom visit. I

both of Rayo Vallecano and Red Bulls Zalburg’s Jonathan Soriaro. “These are big names no doubt but our players know that names don’t play football these days, we will just go out there and give our best against them”, Head Coach Stephen Keshi said. The match time has also been brought forward, as it would now be played at 7pm, Nigerian and Spanish time from 9pm that it was earlier slated but the venue remains Espanyol FC home ground in the Catalan city.

Catalonia game will be difficult —Keshi


RSTWHILE Nigeria Premier League (NPL) chairman, Rumson Victor Baribote has angrily hit out at the nation's sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi. Baribote is claiming that the sports minister is responsible for the melee between the clubs owners and the outgone board. Baribote was in December last year thrown out as the NPL chairman after being accused of lack of transparency and accountability at the seventh annual gathering of the NPL held in Abuja. Last month, the NFF, however, set up a 13-man Interim Management Committee that has temporarily taken charge the affairs of the NPL pending when another election would be conducted. The committee is headed by former lawmaker, Nduka Irabor and has former

Nigerian international, Kanu Nwankwo as a member. Baribote disclosed to that the sports minister should honourably resign his appointment adding that the head of the sports ministry is not worthy of being at the helm of the football and others sports in the country. “He said he wants to sanitize sports in Nigeria, and if he really wants to lead by example as a leader, then he should resign having wasted billions of the tax payers money at the 2012 Olympics without a medal. “He is a failure and he has his own hidden agenda by bringing IMG from London into the NPL without consulting either the NFF executive committee or the NPL board. “Nigerians should know that the reason of removing the board was not for the interest of the game, but for the

greedy act of the minister who sponsored the clubs owners to fight me in Abuja as he wanted to make something out of the system. The court case has been adjourned to January 22 where the truth shall be unveiled,” Baribote explained to Meanwhile, several attempts to speak with the sports minister, Abdullahi was futile as his phone was switched off.


described the national team as the higher grade o f ambassador s o f Nigeria a n d urged t h e players to go all out and do t h e countr y proud in the friendly against Catalonia and at the upcoming Nations Cup in South Africa. She said she was aware that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was solidly behind the team to achieve success at the AFCON tourney as football is a major unifying force in Nigeria. Head Coach Stephen Keshi, said he was humbled by the kind words of the ambassador and assured that the Super Eagles will do all within their powers to defend the green white green colours of the nation at all times. “We promise never to let the confidence and trust of the nation down at all times”, he said.


Ameobi, as far as we are concerned, we do not want that matter to distract us because the coach is ready to work without the players. "But again, the football federation shall consider such attitude as quite unwholesome on the part of the players as well as their clubs because as it appears, it’s the clubs that are pushing for these players not to honour the invitation to play for their country. "So, of course, we are going to take the matter to FIFA; we are going to write appropriately; we are not going to lie low because, at least, let’s do what is right, that we should not be taken for granted. "After all, these players were found in Nigeria, these players are from Nigeria and they also desire to play for

•Tips Eagles for Nations Cup glory


X-INTERNATIONAL, Paul Okoku has stated that outof-favoured Super Eagles’ Player, Osaze Odemwingie is indeed courageous following his brouhaha with Coach Stephen Keshi. However, he advised the West Brom prolific player to exercise caution when angry just as he reemphasised the need to respect constituted authorities. In a chat with NationSport before leaving for the USA on Monday, Okoku said:"Osaze arguably is one of the courageous players that Nigeria has ever produced. I don’t know what to make of it really what is going on between him and Stephen Keshi . But I know that his exclusion from the team should not be questioned by him because the coach has a final say. I can't question the coach because he knows best. But at this stage, bringing him in might be a distraction to the team because there has been so much squabble between both of them. Osaze needs to respect authority. He might be popular with fans but not with the coach, and if a coach makes a decision he should respect it. I like the burning fire in him, I know he wants to represent his country but he doesn't need to show his pessimism on twitter." Okoku in the same vein tipped the Eagles for success at the Africa Nations Cup slated for this month. "For me Super Eagles will be one of the teams, that people would be scared to play for the simple fact that if their qualification round is

By Stella Bamawo something to by, after playing against Malawi, Liberia. All these matches were played away from Nigeria, and you need to see their performances, they gave a very good account of themselves so going to the Nations Cup with that motivation, on their side, I feel they have a good chance. I am agitating for three teams to get to the semi final. Nigeria Ghana and Ivory coast. I don't know much about Zambia. Zambia didn't deserve to win that tournament because they won on penalties. Ivory coast outplayed them. I wouldn't give them a chance. Perhaps if I see them play again. I don't see them as a threat, they got their by chance I am not saying they are not good but I don’t see them as a threat," Okoku concluded.


‘I thank Glo for exposing my son’ •Igiebor

NFF threatens to petition FIFA over release of Nigerian players HE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday threatened to petition FIFA if Newcastle United and Millwall FC of England failed to release two Nigerian players for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition. The Federation had invited Shola Ameobi of Newcastle and Millwall for the AFCON competition holding in South Africa from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10. Mr Chris Green, Chairman, Technical Committee of NFF, made threat known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt. Green said if by Jan. 5 Ameobi and Shittu failed to report to the Eagles’ camp, the federation would write to FIFA against the clubs. "Now, for Danny Shittu and Shola

Paul Okoku: Osaze is courageous

Nigeria. "So, what is the problem? Why would they have to stop them, using underarm tricks to stop them. That will not be right,” he said. Green said both Newcastle and Millwall had not communicated with the federation officially over the inability of these players to play for Nigeria. However, the NFF official said the coaching crew of the Super Eagles had other players to replace Ameobi and Shittu if they failed to report to camp. He said more players would join others already in camp in Faro, Portugal, and that the team would play a friendly match with Cape Verde before the tournament, in South Africa.


HORTICULTURIST and father of a Glo Soccer Academy evictee, Mr. Peter Yashim has commended Globacom for exposing his son, Godfrey Peter to high profile coaching during his stay at the Glo Soccer Academy. In his remarks at the reception organised by Globacom in honour of his evicted son, Godfrey in Kpaduma village in Asokoro Extension, Mr. Peter Yashim said: “I thank Globacom for exposing my son to notable names in football in this country. I am very happy when I heard that two coaches from the popular Manchester united football club also trained the boys at the Academy. I was initially disappointed that he was evicted from the Academy, because I already thought that he will be in Manchester but I thank God that his standard of play must have improved by the training he received from coaches from Manchester United.” Godfrey Peter was one of the 33 players selected from over 7,000 youths screened in Nigeria, Ghana and the Republic of Benin for the Glo Soccer Academy. While at the Academy, Godfrey had the rare opportunity of being trained by two UEFA Grade ‘A’ Coaches from the youth arm of the popular Manchester United football club in the UK, and the technical team of the academy led by ex-international, Victor Ikpeba. Earlier, Globacom Business Director in Abuja, Kazeem Kaka who handed Godfrey over to the

Kpaduma village head, Chief Peter Yakubu, said that Godfrey is now an improved footballer and exhibits potentials that can take him to greater places in his footballing career. "I want you to see Godfrey's participation in the Glo Soccer Academy as a huge success. Out of 7,000 boys who participated in the screening exercise across Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin Republic, he made the final 33. At the academy, he received training from both local and international coaches, which I believe must have influenced his style and pattern of play," Kaka advised, adding, "he has the potentials and will surely go places." Receiving Godfrey, Chief Yakubu thanked Globacom for empowering his ward, adding "I believe he will do better than he was before he entered the academy." His local coach, Ganiyu Musa said "I was touched by his coming back. But I know he is coming back a better equipped player. I am very happy for the exposure he received." Five players were evicted from the academy during the second eviction exercise. 16 finalists will emerge at the end of the exercise and they will go on a training tour of the Manchester United Soccer Schools in Carrington, England as well as enjoy the G-Bam Scholarship of N750,000 each as part of the prizes. In addition, one of the payers who will emerge as the Most Valuable Player will earn N5 million, while the remaining 15 will go home with N1 million each.





Khuboni out of AFCON team


OLDEN Arrows m i d f i e l d e r Thanduyise Khuboni has been left out of the Bafana Bafana squad for the 2013 AFCON The 26-year-old was part of the provisional squad which was assembled ahead of the friendly match against Malawi as well as the training camp in Johannesburg. However, he was not part of the final 23-man squad which was announced by coach Gordon Igesund on Sunday afternoon. Prior to this, Khuboni had not started a game for Abafana Bes’thende since November 10, with club coach Manqoba Mngqithi using him mainly as an impact player. Meanwhile, two former Golden Arrows players were included in the squad in Siyabonga Sangweni and Kagisho Dikgacoi, who now play for Orlando Pirates and Crystal Palace, respectively.

Mali unveil squad on deadline day


ALI coach Patrice Carteron has revealed he will announce his final 23-man for the Africa Cup of Nations on January 9, CAF’s deadline day. The Frenchman will name a provisional 27-man squad for the Eagles camping in the Malian capital of Bamako. “We will meet on January 5, to Bamako. I will call 27 players, and I will announce my list of 23 on January 9,” Carteron said. “We will play a friendly match against a local side on the January 8 and leave for South Africa the next day where we will play another friendly match on 15 or 16 January against a local club.” Mali open their campaign in Group B Niger before playing Ghana and DR Congo. The Eagles finished third at the 2012 finals cohosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

• Yaya (l) and Kolo Toure


OBERTO MANCINI has warned that his team may have a difficult January after losing Toure brothers Kolo and Yaya to the African Nations Cup. The two City players will be missing for a month as City face an important run of games in the Barclays Premier League and FA Cup. Monday morning Mancini said: 'Yes, we could have a problem. “Micah Richards won’t be ready to play until February while Jack Rodwell is out

‘Loss of Toure brothers to Nations Cup will affect City’ indefinitely and Kolarov is out for two weeks. 'Certainly we can’t sell any players as we don't have any players to fill in.' City faced Stoke at home on Tuesday after bringing the curtain down on a year that

saw them win the Premier League. Mancini added: 'This was a fantastic year for us, a fantastic season. 'I hope next year will be the same. I always hope the next year will be better but to be

the same would be great. 'We have a chance to have a fantastic 2013.' Mancini had a selection dilemma on Tuesday after striker Edin Dzeko scored a hat-trick in the 4-3 win at Norwich on Saturday. Asked if the Bosnian would

definitely play, he said: 'If he scored three goals every time he will stay in every week. 'He played very well at Norwich but there are 23 players who want to play every week and that's impossible.’

Cape Verde can’t fund AFCON trip Burkina Faso's Dagano set for sixth appearance


APE VERDE have qualified for the African Cup of Nations for the first time. But the government of the tiny country can't afford the cost involved and so Cape Verdeans themselves are being asked to help. Blue sharks plow the oceans in many parts of the world. They inhabit deep waters and can be found in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores, Madeira or the Cape Verde islands. They feed on smaller marine life, including squid. They do not prey on humans, nor have they been known to consume lions. Yet in the world of African soccer, which is rich in animal metaphors, this is exactly what has happened. Cape Verde, represented by Tubaroes Azuis (Blue Sharks), will become the smallest country ever to compete at an African Nations Cup finals after qualifying at the expense of four-time African champions Cameroon (Les Lions Indomptables – The Indomitable Lions). Lucio Antunes is a very good coach, says Jose Mourinho Cape Verde qualified 3-2 on aggregate in October and will

make their debut at the African Cup finals. Cameroon will not be putting in an appearance. Ever since, the people of Cape Verde have been in a state of soccer-induced euphoria. "I believe this success is uniting all Cape Verdeans," said Jorge Fonseca, the country's president. "We will now enjoy the qualifying and prepare for the final phase of the Africa Cup." That could be easier said than done. "This is the first time we have qualified. It's all very new for us," said national team coach Lucio Antunes. Yet the Cape Verdeans' chief problems are financial. A cursory glance at the bonuses paid to players shows how frugally Cape Verde is running its Cup of Nations operation. For qualifying for the finals, each player will receive an additional 200,000 Cape Verdean escudos (1,814 euros, US $2,392 ). Altogether 25 players received a total of around 45,000 euros. By way of comparison, when Germany made it through to the semi-finals of the Euro 2012, the German Football Federation (DFB) handed out 100,000 euros – to each

individual player! The cost of travelling to South Africa for the finals in January 2013 is a burden on Cape Verde's national budget "We are getting some assistance from the government, but we are really counting on the support of all Cape Verdeans," said Mario Semedo, president of the Cape Verde Football Association.

• Lucio Antunes


TRIKER Moumouni Dagano has been named in a preliminary squad of 28 players chosen by Burkina Faso for the African Nations Cup finals, putting him in line for a sixth tournament appearance. Dagano has played at five tournaments, scoring once in 12 appearances since the 2000 finals co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria. Burkina Faso coach Paul Put included French-based striker Alain Traore, hoping he will recover from injury in time for the country's first match in Group C against Nigeria on January 21. Traore, from Ligue 1 club Lorient, will return to France today to continue treatment in a bid to get ready for the finals, Put told reporters. Overtures to French-born defender Steeve Yago of Toulouse to play at the tournament were turned down as the 20-year-old wanted to concentrate on his club career in Ligue 1. Yago, 20, is of Burkinabe descent. Burkina Faso will cut their squad by five players before leaving for South Africa on January 8. Squad: Goalkeepers: Daouda Diakite

(Lierse), Abdoul Ouattara (Jeunesse Club Abidjan), Germain Sanou (St Etienne), Abdoulaye Soulama (Asante Kotoko) Defenders: Soumaila Belem (Africa Sports), Mohamed Koffi (Petrojet), Bakary Kone (Olympique Lyon), Paul Koulibaly (Dinamo Bucharest), Mady Panandetiguiri (Antwerp), Bakary Soro (ArlesAvignon), Henri Traore (AshantiGold), Aboubacar Zerbo (Etoile Filante) Midfielders: Salif Dianda (Ternana), Charles Kabore (Olympique Marseille), Djakaridja Kone (Evian Thonon Gaillard), Prejuce Nacoulma (Gornik Zabrze), Issouf Ouattara (Chernomorets Bougas), Jonathan Pitroipa (Stade Rennes), Ali Rabo (El Shorta), Florent Rouamba (Sheriff Tiraspol), Abdou Razack Traore (Lechia Gdansk), Wilfried Sanou (Kyoto Sanga) Forwards: Wilfried Balima (Sheriff Tiraspol), Aristide Bance (FC Augsburg), Moumouni Dagano (Al Siliya), Wilfried Dah, Pierre Koulibaly (both Al Dhaid), Alain Traore (Lorient). (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Southbroom, South Africa





Giggs puts Man United lead in perspective R

YAN GIGGS is refusing to get carried away by Manchester United’s seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League. United headed to Wigan Tuesday having taken 37 points from a possible 42 since they were beaten by Tottenham at Old Trafford at the end of September. Manchester City and Chelsea performed well over the weekend but there is nothing either of them can do to prevent United securing a record 20th title if Sir Alex Ferguson’s men maintain their present form. But Giggs, a veteran of all 12 Premier League championship triumphs, acknowledges it is far too early to start thinking the job is done. The Welshman only needs to look back a matter of months, when the Red Devils blew an eight-point lead in the space of four games to lose out to City in the 2011-12 title race, to know nothing can be taken for granted. “We were this many points ahead with fewer games to go last season and it wasn’t enough,” said Giggs. “We are only halfway there and there are a lot of tough games to come. “There is also the FA Cup and the Champions League, so there are other things to consider. “We are in a great position and are happy where we are, but we know we have to carry on.” However, Giggs does concur with his manager, who has always felt United would be in contention if they reached New Year’s Day within striking distance of top spot. This time, Ferguson can spend his 71st birthday peering down on the rest, with many pundits already declaring it is United’s title to lose. “From the manager’s experience and the players who

have been here a long time, we know Christmas is the time to get down to business,” said the 39-year-old. “If we are there or thereabouts in January and then go on a run of winning 10 or 12 games it is going to give us a great chance. “There can be no mistakes. But usually when the stakes are high and the concentration is there, good players produce the goods.” It was not the case last season though. The start of the unravelling process can be traced to a trip to Wigan, a side United had beaten every time they had met up to

that point. Inexplicably, Ferguson’s team were caught cold, found themselves unable to cope with Wigan’s three-man defensive formation and slipped to a deserved defeat. It was part of a staggering run from the Latics, which took them clear of relegation trouble when at one point they had seemed certain for the drop. Their form was so good Giggs was not expecting to find them back in the mire this term. “I’m surprised that they’re down there considering the tough game they gave us last

• Deny Ba


OAL.COM is reporting that Arsenal have bid £10 million for the services of Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez. Despite netting 19 times over the course of last season, including 11 in the capital team's run to the 2012 Europa League title, the Spain international has fallen down the pecking order, starting only six of the team's 17 La Liga matches this season and scoring twice. With Radamel Falcao in the form of his life, it is unlikely that Lopez will force his way back into contention for a starting spot, and Arsenal have long been an admirer of the Spaniard. The £14.7 million release clause stipulated in the forward's contract will not have been activated with Arsenal's current bid, but given his lack of playing time, the Gunners hope to secure him for less than that amount. While not exactly a prolific striker—he netted his 19 goals last season in 57 appearances—he showed signs of excellence by winning the Golden Boot in the UEFA European Under21 Championship in 2011, netting five times as Spain scooped the title. Whether the Gunners actually need another striker, especially when Newcastle's Demba Ba is currently on 13 goals in the Premier League, remains to be seen. The Senegalese striker's release clause is £7.5 million pounds, and he has now netted 29 times in a season-and-a-half of league football.

At 24 years of age, and with a pair of good knees, unlike Ba's, it could be a deft move by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to reinvigorate Lopez's career. It could also be a terrific trio of center forwards at Wenger's disposal if England international Theo Walcott were to sign a new contract and French international Olivier Giroud keeps earning game time. With Marouane Chamakh edging toward a move to West Ham, Lopez would not have the biggest shoes to fill, and could take advantage of two established forwards ahead of him as he adapts to the rigors of the Premier League.

• Lopez

Nasri banned for three games


• Giggs

Chelsea Deny Ba Interest C HELSEA boss Rafa Benitez is in the dark over reports linking Newcastle United striker Demba Ba with a move to Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window. The Senegal striker’s representatives are understood to have met with members of The Blues’

season,” he said. “They play with a different system to the ones we are used to and do it very well. “We knew they were in a false position going into that game and when you don’t turn up against a team in good form you will come unstuck, no matter who you are against. “It was tough, especially when you consider our record there and it undoubtedly contributed to us losing the title.” “The most important thing is not to panic and look after your own results and performances.”

Gunners table £10m for Adrian Lopez

hierarchy over a potential move in the New Year. Daniel Sturridge appears set to leave the club for Liverpool upon the opening of the January transfer window, leaving Fernando Torres as Chelsea’s sole out-and-out striker but Benitez is under no pressure to add to his attack resources. On the link with Ba, Benitez said: “We don’t talk about this business, we had a very important game today we will try to enjoy it and hopefully people at the club who are working I don’t know what they will do but I am sure I will play a part I’m sure. “All the players that play for other teams could be or not but I cannot talk about them. We are working hard and we are trying to do our job.” Ba has a widely reported £7m release clause at St James’ Park and has scored 13 Premier League goals this season, but question marks remain over his long-term fitness, with Stoke City boss Tony Pulis turning down the option to sign the 27-year-old in 2011 due to his medical condition. He netted twice in the 7-3

defeat to Arsenal on Saturday as Newcastle continue to struggle to build on their 5th place finish in the Premier League last season, which saw them qualify for the Europa League. With only one striker in their squad, Chelsea appear set to add to their attack in the January window, and could contemplate recalling Romelu Lukaku from his loan spell at West Bromwich Albion with the Belgian having netted six goals in as

many Premier League starts this term. Former Chelsea caretaker boss Ray Wilkins believes Ba would represent decent value for the European champions. “He’s a goalscorer and he’s done exceptionally well this year with 13 goals already,” he said. “He’s available in January at £7million. I know that’s a lot of money, but in footballing terms for him, somebody who scores goals, it’s not. “Daniel Sturridge is going to Liverpool, supposedly, for £12m so the pound’s in for Chelsea with a guy that can score goals at the top level.”

AMIR NASRI has been suspended for three matches after Manchester City opted not to appeal against the French midfielder's controversial red card in the Premier League champions' 4-3 win against Norwich. Nasri was sent off in the first half at Carrow Road on Saturday for appearing to head-butt Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong. However, there was minimal contact between the players and City manager Roberto Mancini was furious with the decision. Mancini criticised referee Mike Jones and his linesmen after the match and suggested an appeal would be lodged. But City announced on Monday that they will not

Cudicini quits Spurs for LA Galaxy


O T T E N H A M HOTSPUR have agreed to the transfer of Carlo Cudicini to the LA Galaxy. He is thirty nine years old and comes with a over a decade of experience in the Premier League. The move will be made official with the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate at the opening of the January transfer window. Cudicini made 37 appearances for Spurs between 2009 and 2012. In his decade with Chelsea he won the Premier League twice, making 216 appearances. He

hasn't been the primary keeper for a club since 2003/ 04 when Petr Cech arrived at Chelsea. Playing behind American Brad Friedel at Tottenham for the last year and a half, his main duties were in outside tournaments - the FA Cup and Europa League. "We are delighted to be able to add Carlo Cudicini to our roster," Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said. "Carlo is an experienced and accomplished goalkeeper who we believe will be a great addition to our team and our defensive unit."

• Nasri

attempt to overturn the decision, meaning former Arsenal star Nasri will be suspended for his side's next three matches. "The Football Association have confirmed that Samir Nasri will serve a three-match suspension, following his red card during the 4-3 win at Norwich on Saturday," a statement on City's website confirmed. Nasri will miss the New Year's Day home league game against Stoke, the FA Cup third round tie against Watford on Saturday and the league trip to Arsenal on January 13. His absence will further hamper second placed City's attempts to close the gap on Manchester United, who have opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the table.




Community honours members

Dankwambo to develop tourism

Council chief presents scorecard








Page 17


Youths light up Makurdi at Yuletide


•Governor Suswam

HE weather was friendly. The sun shone brightly out of an azure sky. It was a day of cultural spectacle in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, and residents soaked it all up in grand style. The youths sang and danced, some staging a memorable procession through the capital city to mark the annual Benue Youth Pageant organised by the Office of the Special Assistant to Governor Suswam on Students

From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

and Youth Affairs. There was traffic gridlock along the designated routes of the carnival procession for several hours. Some of the major streets where traffic was heavy as a result of the procession were Wurukum, High-level Roundabout, up to Old Oturkpo Road and IBB Square. The youth, dressed in their

various traditional regalia, matched through the major roads in Makurdi, even as residents lined up the streets in their numbers to catch a glimpse of splendid cultural display by Benue youths. Over 100,000 youths from the 23 local government areas and some African countries like Cameron, Niger and Ghana participated in the youth carnival. Miss Benue Carnival led the

procession which started from Benue State University, Makurdi and terminated at the gigantic IBB Square. Children within the age range of between five and 10 years were not left of the carnival train as they competed favourably with adults in the procession. They danced and sang in the scorching sun during the five hours the street •Continued on Page 45


OY coursed through communities in Oyo State as Senator Olufemi Lanlehin distributed various jobs implements to residents. Chief Lanlehin, who represents Oyo South Senatorial District, gave out the tools in appreciation of the people whose vote took him to the fedral legislature. But beyond appreciation, the lawmaker’s gesture underscored his desire to boost the economic power of his people by helping them to fend for themselves. Physically challenged persons also benefitted from the senator’s large heart. The items, which included sewing machines and wheelchairs, were valued in millions of naira. Lanlehin, a senator of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), lifted the spirits of his people, many of who got financial assistance. The Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan venue of the event, was filled to capacity, with many party chieftains in attendance, including the state governor Abiola Ajimobi, members of his cabinet, House of Representatives member representing Ibadan North Federal Constituency, Hon Abiodun Awoleye, ACN chairman, Oyo South Senatorial District, Alhaji B. A. Oladeji, the Onido of Ido, Oba Akinola Agura, market men and women, youth organisations and different interest groups. On the stadium field were scores of generators, grinding machines, deep freezers, motorcycles, sewing machines, hair dryers, mechanical tools and clippers which were distributed to beneficiaries. Speaking at the event, Senator Lanlehin who expressed profound gratitude to party members for their support, asked for a one minute silence in honour of the late party leader, Alhaji Lam Adesina who transited on November

•Sewing machines distributed at the event

Jobs tools for Oyo communities From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

11, 2012. He hailed beneficiaries of the programme, saying, “Apart from voting, they also spent their money, time and energy to make sure that we organised and executed our plans and we succeeded and had me voted as the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, this is a token of my appreciation for what they did for me in getting me elected. I know they did a lot, and I cannot repay them fully for what they

Lanlehin boosts residents did for ensuring my election. This is just a token of appreciation for all they did for me.” The lawmaker further pledged to do more for the people, saying that what was given out was just a tip of the iceberg. He informed the people that the distribution of empowerment materials being witnessed would be a continuous process, assuring that he would pursue the empowerment of members of the party so that they will have

the economic and financial muscle to take care of themselves and their families. The senator has also constructed some ultra-modern solar boreholes across the Senatorial District and rendered financial assistance to many in the district. In his remarks, the ACN chairman in Oyo South Senatorial District, Alhaji B. A. Oladeji who •Continued on Page 45

•Senator Lanlehin



Gombe to develop tourism


•Governor Dankwambo

HE Gombe State government has expressed its commitment to the development of culture and tourism for improved revenue generation. Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo made this known in a message to the 7th Annual Cultural Festival of the Tangle ethnic group (Pissi Tangle) in Billiri on Saturday. Represented by Mr Tha’anda Rubainu, his Deputy, Dankwambo said culture and tourism were being explored to serve as the ‘new oil. Gombe State has enormous tourism potential that can be used to meet the socio-economic needs of our citizens. Our administration recognises and places high premium on the positive role that culture plays in our development. Government is making concerted efforts to create an enabling environment for this through infrastructure development,’’ he said.

Zamfara equips specialist hospital


HE Zamfara State government has suplied medical equipment worth millions of naira to the newly inaugurated Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau. The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Bello Kwatarkwashi, made this known to newsmen in Gusau. Kwatarkwashi said that the items include surgical equipment, special beds for intensive care units and a large number of parameters. He said that other items include blood and sugar monitoring instruments, radiotic incubators and cardiology

Zamfara machines for heart diseases. The director pledged to ensure that all the equipment were properly used to achieve standard healthcare delivery in the state. ‘’God willing, the hospital will commence operation in January 2013,’’ he said. He praised the state government for giving the hospital the necessary support and cooperation to enable it deliver effective services.

Sugarcane farmers seek help on fertiliser S

Gombe He said that some of these efforts include construction of roads, standard hotels and resorts and the development of tourism sites. The governor said the development of the cultural sector was the responsibility of all. The chairman of the occasion, Maj.-Gen. Sylvester Audu, decried the declining productivity of the youths in the state. Audu urged them to avail themselves of government’s development strides. He noted that the productivity of the youths was declining, saying: ``I want to attribute this phenomenon to the collapse of our educational and family value system. ``It could militate against your vision of virile Gombe State if left unchecked.’’ Prof. Sam Leonard-Fwa of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, stressed the importance of creating a just and social order to build a virile Tangle nation. He made this call in a paper entitled: Culture: A Vehicle for Social Cohesion, Stability and Sustainable Development. Leonard-Fwa also said education, healthcare delivery and income earning opportunities were imperative to building Tangle’s integrity. He urged leaders at all levels to promote and enforce accountability and probity. The lecturer said culture plays significant role in societal development and urged the Tangle nation to ensure that they used culture for such purpose.

•Governor Lamido



HE Niger State government has spent N80 million on training 10 pilots at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology’s facilities at the Minna Airport, the state’s Commissioner for Transportation, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammad, has said . Mohammad made the disclosure in an interview with journalists in Minna. “The trainee pilots had completed their ground training preparatory to their flying training. We are spending N8 million each for the training of each

Jigawa eases,’’ he said. The commissioner said that since the programme’s inception in 2007, the outbreak of livestock diseases had been reduced to the barest minimum. He also said that the state government had rehabilitated veterinary clinics, while initiating animal drugs’ revolving fund to check the circulation of adulterated and substandard drugs. Isa said that the clinics were equipped with modern equipment and drugs to enhance animal healthcare delivery at the grassroots. He said that veterinary clinics in BirninKudu, Birniwa, Dutse, Gumel, Hadejia, Jahun, Kafin-Hausa, Kazaure and Ringim benefitted from the programme.

Group launches book on marriage


GROUP, Family For a Ministry, has launched a book on marriage. The book entitled: ‘Yes I Do More Than Just a Vow” is to guide to would-be partners and provide divine healing for marriaages in trouble. The healing balm is the word of God. Family For a Ministry is a group of dedicated ministers in the Assemblies of God Church, Apapa branch, that are called to provide answers to the high rate of divorce in society. Speaking on the choice of divorce among other issues, the president of the group, Pastor Comfort Neoma Amaefula said it is a calling from God, adding that every person in the society comes from a family. “Every family is the cornerstone of the larger society. What happens there affects the entire society and so it is necessary the family is built well”. The leader of the group who is also the author of the book, attributed the high divorce rate to ignorance of many on what marriage entails with particular reference to the responsibilities therein.

According to her: “The book is advising people that are not ready for marriage and correcting the wrong view of parents and friends. So many people are not prepared for marriage but because of pressure from peers and parents, they go into it without considering the financial implications. “The direct consequence of this troubled situation is uncultured children that create problems for the society. Sometimes these children run away from home, join bad gangs and become tools in the hands unscrupulous elements in the society. As a way out, she said there is no perfect marriage. “Parties involved must return to God, search the scriptures, receive marriage counseling, set a good platform for the children, desist from the old ways and things will be fine again. As a way out, she said there is no perfect marriage. Parties involved must return to God, search the scriptures, receive marriage counseling, set a good platform for the children, desist from the old ways and things will be fine again.

•From left: Apapa District Superintendent Assemblies of God Nigeria Rev Michael Ogunbola,Chairman Family Fora Ministry Rev Frank Amaefula, his wife and President Family Fora Ministry Pastor (Mrs.) Nneoma Amaefula at the launch.

•Hon. Oyesanya inaugurating the items

Council chief remembers the needy


RADITIONAL rulers, youths,the aged, widows, artisan, orphans, social groups, market women among other needy individuals and groups in Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area of Lagos State were full of smiles recently as the council chairman, Hon Abdlfatai Oyesanya, empowered more than 300 of them to mark his one year in office. The items donated include undisclosed amount of money for small scale business, deep freezers, tailoring equipment for those who cannot afford it, barbing kits including power generating set, grounding machine and photo camera. Oyesanya advised the beneficiaries to work hard to justify the aim of the council and improve the economy of the area so as to reduce the rate of unemployment. The council chief said no amount was expected from any of the beneficiaries as pay back but to make them enjoy dividends of democracy and relieve them of their economic hardship. Speaking on the criteria adopted, Oyesanya said traditional rulers and the clergy men in the council were asked to nominate people in their areas based on their needs in their various areas of endeavours and the local government followed it strictly. He said in the next one year, he planned to improve the living standard of the people and construct more roads, help the market women, the aged, establish youth empowerment programmes,improve healthcare, education, security and other area of human interest for the betterment of the residents of Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area. One of the traditional rulers who spoke with our correspondent Oba Samuel Alamu Oniketu of Ketu said the current chairman in the council has proved himself capable in the area of governance and human development

UGARCANE farmers in Dutse on Saturday called on the State Government assistance them in the procurement of fertiliser and other agricultural inputs. A cross section of the farmers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they needed the fertilisers and seedlings among others “to enhance farming activities in the coming year’’. They told NAN at Warwade Dam in Dutse Local Government that just like other food crop farmers, sugarcane farmers also needed access to the items to operate maximally. Shuaibu Usman, one of the farmers, said that the call was imperative to enhance farmers’ access to chemicals and other inputs. Usman said that most of the farmers depended on cow dung to nourish their farms, adding that more than 200 hectares of land were cultivated

Niger spends N80m to train pilots

Jigawa vaccinates 3m livestock HE Jigawa State government has vaccinated more than three million livestock against animal diseases in the last five years. The Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Rabiu Isa, made this known in Kiyawa, while inspecting the ongoing 2012/2013 livestock vaccination exercise. He said that more than two million cattle and 1.2 million sheep were vaccinated against various diseases within the last five years. Besides, Isa said that 23,450 dogs were vaccinated against rabies in the 27 local government areas of the state. “The state government initiated and supported the livestock vaccination exercise, which aims at providing protection for the animals against major devastating dis-


By Jeremiah Oke

but urged him to do more, saying there is always room for improvement. The monarch said the developmental strides of the council chair had shown that he is commited to lifting the area to a higher height. One of the beneficiaries who got a hair dressing kit, Mrs Sekinat Oluwatoye, spoke with our correspondent.She said she was happy to receive such gift because she never dreamt of it . She said the gift was given to her despite the fact that she has never identified with any political party. Another person who was given tailoring kit Mrs Elizabeth Owolabi said she never believed she could be among the beneficiaries.

Church holds programme The Mount Ebenezer Church, Atan-Ota, Ogun State has concluded arrangements for its annual four-day prayer and fasting session. It is billed to hold at the church’s auditorium. Its theme is ‘Sojourn in the Land, and I will be with Thee, and I will Bless Thee’ (Gen-20:3). It will hold between Thursday January 17 and Sunday January 20, 2013, even as it will begin with thanksgiving service. Speaking on the programme, Deacon Ezekiel Adeboye who spoke on behalf of the host, Pastor S.A. Omolade said: “We are organising this New Year’s prayer and fasting to draw down the blessings of God, adding that it would bring healing, deliverance to the believers. He added that anyone who attends the programme will receive liberation and salvation. Rev. E. O. Agbodeyi and other anointed ministers are expected preach at the programme.

Minna pilot, who had concluded their ground training, using the stimulators in Minna and the training facilities in Zaria. The trainee pilots have been joined by three students from Benue, one each from Kaduna and Kano, bringing the total number of trainee pilots at the NCAT Minna Annex to 15 trainee pilots,“ Mohammad said. According to him, the college is expected to deploy four of its aircraft for the training of the pilots, who had to earn a credit of 15 hours flying with instructors and another 15 hours earned credit of solo flying to complete the first phase of their training. He said the college would give the successful students the Private Pilot License (PPL) but added that the students needed to attain 35 hours of credit earned flying before being given the Commerce Pilot License(CPL). Mohammad said the college’s location in Minna would not affect the quality of instructions given to the trainee pilots. “It is 18 months of rigorous training, anyone that did not earn the required credit flying hours will be dropped or asked to repeat. He said the state government was committed to the training of pilots at the Minna annex and that it would be sponsoring another set of students in line with its vision of becoming the third most developed state by year 2020. He said that NCAT had been allocated a large parcel of land for the construction of its annex in Minna.

Clerics pray for hitch-free 2013 By Dada Aladelokun


ITH 365 hearty chants of Hallelujah all through a long night, members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Covenant of Peace Parish, Ikorodu, and their clerics beseeched God with a demand: Next year, 2013 must not inherit the woes of the expiring year! With the church’s shepherd, Pastor Olaitan Aromolaran, as chief host, the church held its night of praises tagged: Convocation to Praise. It was a spectacle of sorts. The venue was the roomy grounds of the Ikorodu Town Hall, Ikorodu, a Lagos suburb. With dance steps typical of Igbo, Ekiti and Zulu groups, about 15,000 souls went into a frenzy, singing God’s praise and raining curses on the agents of terror that made the outgoing year a nightmare for many a Nigerian. Aromolaran engaged other invited men of God in a dance competition of sorts as they gleefully praised God for giving them the grace to witness the final days of the year. Aromolaran, who doubles as Zonal Pastor, Zone 1 of the RCCG, Lagos Province 16, said the event was being held with God’s consent, adding: “A few months ago when the vision came up and God said we should gather people in their numbers to give him what had never been given to him, it sounded like a strange request. What does one give God that had never been given to him before? I asked myself and I thought it was one huge amount of money. I was wondering where one could have access to such money. •Pastor Aromolaran


under irrigation farming in the state. He decried the dearth of fertiliser in council, noting that it had militated against the state’s agricultural activities. “We are not getting the fertiliser as promised by the government and we cannot afford the prices in the open market. “Lack of access to fertiliser and inputs is a major challenge facing farmers. I am, now, harvesting 1,600 sticks of sugarcane, tomato and water melon. “My production will increase if I have access to fertiliser and other inputs,’’ Usman said. Ahmad Jamil, a tomato farmer, also called for proper farmer-education and access to credit facilities. Jamil said that enhancing farmers’ access to inputs and credit facilities would encourage youths to go into farming to enhance food production.

• From left: Rev. P.O. Dada; Rev. Bisi Olaiya and his wife, Mrs Modupe Olaiya, and Comrade Segun Onaade and his wife at harvest chair holder of St. Luke Church, Ile Abiye, Ado Ekiti

Association urges students to improve education By Musa Odoshimokhe

RESIDENT of the Lagos State Polytechnic Alumni Association, Mr. Oladipupo Oluwarotimi has urged its members and students of the institution to make use of the website and other social net-


works the body puts in place to enhance their career and education. Speaking during its annual dinner party held at Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, Yaba, he noted that mem-

•Some members of the association

Council chief reels off achievements


HE Chairman, Ojodu Local Council Development Area,Hon.Olumuyiwa Oloro, has marked his one year in of-

fice. The council chief disclosed that he vied for the chairmanshipposition in order to give the best to residents of the council. He therefore decided with his team to channel the limited resources of the council into projects that will be beneficial to the citizens. “Our priorities include road construction and maintenance, construction of drainage, building primary healthcare system, giving serious attention to the environment. “We are providing schools with functional amenities for good learning environment, rehabilitating primary schools and providing other basic amenities. The vocational training centres are also receiving adequate attention, environmental sanitation would also be our priority, while security of lives and properties is a must do in the locality”. Oloro said his administration had constructed two blocks of six classrooms, one each in Ojodu Primary Schools I and II, andthe other at Okeira Primary School.He added that 100 JAMB forms were purchased and distributed to indigent students seeking admission into Nigerian universities and polytechnics as a support incentive from his administration. Construction of roads has received attention with road contracts being awarded to competent contractors. Major projects of the administration include provision of clean and hygienic water through the provision boreholes at Aguda Primary Health Centre, Irebawa community and Shogunro community. The chairman said further:”We have participated in immunisation programmes to rid the area of communicable diseases such as polio,measles among others. “Free mosquito nets were given out through the mass campaign of Roll Back Malaria (RBM) which indicated that malaria

By Duro Babayemi

cases have been reduced within the locality. Staff Clinic, staff canteen and NULGE office were constructed to attend to the welfare of workers and create a good working relationship within the secretariat.This,will no doubt enhance efficiency of the workforce . Also, workers were exposed to seminars and workshops to improve their efficiency on the job. The legislative chamber has been given a facelift. Provision was made for 60 elderly people within the locality. They are being paid N5,000 monthly. This was spread across all the wards with 10 persons per ward. Widows were also given foodstuffs. For effective security within the council, one new pick-up patrol vehicle was donated to Ojodu and Pen Cinema police stations.

bers could not afford to sit aloof when other institutions were taking advantage of the social network to enhance their careers. Enjoining the over 200 members to always respond to the Alumni meetings, he stressed that such forum would allow them to build enduring legacy and improve the image of the institution through effective collaboration with the management. Oluwarotimi, who was returned unopposed along other members of the executives during the election, said he enjoyed the goodwill of the people and urged them to be dedicated to the development of association as that was the major legacy that bound them together as former students of the polytechnic. He said: “In view of what is obtained in civilised climes, we have tried to build website, we have face book, we equally have two functional secretariats at Ikorodu and Isolo, all to enhance our development and make the alumni formidable as one of the best in the country.” The president who praised the pace at which the association had grown, explained that when he took the mantle of leadership, the body was barely in existence but could be safely said the association had grown and now up to its responsibilities. He said: “When I took over office, there was barely anything on ground but with the support of the members and commitment of the executives, there is news to cheer about. We have employed an administrative secretary who we put on salary though its not easy but we must soldier on. “The association now commands the respect of management of the polytechnic and we are still going to improve on our relationship. We now have a team in the governing council and have established two viewing centres for the benefit of our students.” The Vice President of the association, Mr. Muyiwa Onigbile equally expressed satisfaction on the performance of the executives and called on members to be more dedicated to advance its cause. “We have to work harder and I thank all them members who have been very supportive because without them we probably would not leap frog in the effort to position of the association as one of the best in the country.”

•Chairman,Ojodu LCDA, Hon Olumuyiwa Oloro (middle), his wife, Bolanle (left) and the vice-chairman, Abiodun Ayileka





Crossing Into 2013

No to loan frenzy •National Assembly should stop external borrowing


OR a Federal Government that has done little else than flash a dubious global record of lowest debt to GDP ratio to rationalise its unbridled appetite for loans, last week was a moment of truth-telling from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Venue was the Honorary International Investment Council (HIIC) conference in London. Subject was the mounting debt stock at a time of high crude prices. The CBN governor was unequivocal: At the current levels of foreign debts, and with the current trend, the nation stands in grave danger of relapse into debt peonage. His words: “we are borrowing more money today at a higher interest rate while leaving the heavy debt burden for our children and grandchildren”. The trend, he surmised, if unchecked, will lead to the mortgaging of the future of generations unborn”. For an individual regarded as being rather too outspoken for the demands of his conservative office, the immediate temptation is to dismiss his views with a wave of the hand. But that would be most unfortunate not just because of his role as head of the monetary policy committee, a role which makes his views authoritative, but also because of his membership of President Jonathan’s Economic Management Team. The fact of the matter is that Sanusi was merely echoing the opinions of majority

of Nigerians on the issue of the bourgeoning debts. To ratchet up debts at a time of rising revenues is not only inexplicable, it is unconscionable. The arguments in favour of more foreign loans have remained as unconvincing and worn. The merit, we are told, lies in the fact that they are cheap and are of relatively long gestation. That may well be. But then, the issue of whether the loans are actually needed at all, or whether they can be well utilised is a completely different matter. The point bears restating that we are hard pressed to see the sense in stacking up debts at a time of record earnings in crude oil. What makes it more confounding is that this is happening at a time the nation is said to have built an impressive reserve in the excess crude account. Now seems the time to settle the question of what the Jonathan administration has done with the loans taken, particularly as it does not appear that many Nigerians can point to any on-going projects to justify the mountains of debts being stacked up in their name. The National Assembly can help in this regard by putting a moratorium on new loans while insisting on a comprehensive audit of the existing ones to establish how much value has been delivered. Obviously, the latest development is merely a symptom of how far the nation is from imbibing the lessons of its celebrated exit from the London and Paris Clubs of creditors in 2005/6. Six years af-

ter, Nigerians still struggle to find evidence that any lessons have been learnt. They find none. Whereas, in pre-2005/6, the creditor cartel was the London and Paris Clubs, in 2012, attention has shifted to the Chinese and the World Bank – more of the same. The same goes for fiscal discipline; very little has been learnt; evidence is one of unbearably incompetent government that cannot implement its capital budget –a mere 30 percent of the whole. Nigerians expect the Jonathan administration to deliver value; not in the loan frenzy.

‘The merit, we are told, lies in the fact that they are cheap and are of relatively long gestation. That may well be. But then, the issue of whether the loans are actually needed at all, or whether they can be well utilised is a completely different matter. The point bears restating that we are hard pressed to see the sense in stacking up debts at a time of record earnings in crude oil’

Al-Mizan abduction • Nigeria’s security agencies must act in accordance with democratic standards


NE of the reasons why Nigeria’s transition to democracy has failed to yield desirable outcomes is the unreconstructed authoritarian mindset of many of the institutions entrusted with safeguarding the country’s wellbeing. This shortcoming was in evidence yet again on Christmas Eve in Kaduna State, when soldiers and plain-clothed security operatives stormed the homes of two journalists working for Al-Mizan, a Hausalanguage newspaper based in the state. Behaving in a manner harking back to the worst days of military dictatorship, the security team numbering some 40 heavily-armed men burst into the homes of Musa Muhammed Awwal, the paper’s editor, and Aliyu Saleh, a reporter. They manhandled both men and their families before conducting a search of their houses. The two men were arrested along with their wives, although the latter were reportedly released later. This was followed by an attempt to abduct Al-Mizan’s editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Mus, on the same day. The paper’s offices were also stormed and ransacked. Al-Mizan’s apparent offence was its reporting of alleged atrocities by men of the Joint Task Force (JTF), currently engaged in putting down the Boko Haram insurgency that has spread across much of Nigeria’s north-east. The paper accused the JTF of culpability in the disappearance of about 84 individuals in Potiskum, the Yobe State capital. Prior to this, the JTF’s operations have been criticised by human-rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in addition to politicians and community leaders in states where the task force is sta-

tioned. The main criticisms have focused on the JTF’s rules of engagement which appear to justify the use of all available methods in combating the Boko Haram menace, regardless of whether or not they violate human rights. Unlawful killings, rape and torture are the main accusations levelled against the task force. The JTF has denied these allegations. However, the veracity of such denials is weakened by the assault on Al-Mizan and its journalists. When a media organisation is believed to have made false or malicious claims, it is either reported to the appropriate professional organisation or taken to court. The blatant refusal of the security agencies to utilise either option is a troubling reminder of just how weak the country’s democratic structures are. The Nation was victim of a Gestapo-style invasion in October 2011; assaults on journalists are still a common occurrence across the country. The security operatives behind such abuses are rarely reprimanded, let alone prosecuted. Nigeria can no longer tolerate a situation in which its citizens are intimidated by gun-toting security agents who consider themselves above the law. Successive failures to confront these humanrights abuses over the years has entrenched a culture of impunity in the security agencies. They are almost never called to account for what are clearly illegal arrests and abductions; instead, efforts are directed towards the release of those who have been detained. Once that happens, the matter dies a natural death. The country’s human rights bodies and professional groups such as the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nige-

rian Bar Association (NBA) must unite to develop a comprehensive response to such attacks on the rights of the citizenry. It is not enough to simply protest or condemn such acts. Efforts must be made to ensure that legal action is taken against the agencies that are responsible for such acts of impunity, and that it is pursued to a logical conclusion. Although the Al-Mizan journalists who have been illegally detained were released yesterday, those responsible for violating their rights must be made to answer for their actions. Security objectives cannot be pursued at the expense of liberty.

‘When a media organisation is believed to have made false or malicious claims, it is either reported to the appropriate professional organisation or taken to court. The blatant refusal of the security agencies to utilise either option is a troubling reminder of just how weak the country’s democratic structures are. The Nation was victim of a Gestapostyle invasion in October 2011; assaults on journalists are still a common occurrence across the country’


ERE we are again, getting squared away in the New Year. Some of us take comfort in its resemblance to the Old Year, and some of us wish it were newer than it’s likely to be — a more radical departure, an unfamiliar train boarding at an unfamiliar station and headed who knows where. Make of this holiday what you will, but it is the only one in the calendar devoted to acknowledging, if not precisely celebrating, time itself. And there is nothing stranger than time. When we crossed from 2012 into 2013, there were no guards at the border, no passports or visas required. How easily we brought with us all our possessions. To some. this is a blessing, and, to others — well, it recalls Thoreau’s passage about some poor immortal soul “creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed.” There is about this day an urge to come into the New Year newly shorn. But no matter how effortless it is crossing into the New Year, it’s easy to feel as though the transition is never quite complete. Instead of feeling that time is recommencing, refreshed, it feels as if we have somehow elongated time, stretched it out from some point in the past. Who in, say, 1980 could imagine entering 2013? From that long ago vantage, this year seemed like a sciencefictional year, a date meant to sound far-off, alien, yet not so remote that it is completely unfamiliar. That is the puzzle of beginning the new year. It is always someone’s inconceivable year, unimaginably distant, yet here it is, waiting for what we make of it. – New York Times TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso

•Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

•Chairman,Editorial Board • Executive Director Sam Omatseye (Finance & Administration) •General Editor Ade Odunewu Kunle Fagbemi • Gen. Manager •Editor Online (Training and Development) Lekan Otufodunrin Soji Omotunde •Managing Editor Northern Operation •Chief Internal Auditor Yusuf Alli Toke Folorunsho •Managing Editor • Senior Manager (Sales) Waheed Odusile Akeem Shoge •Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon •Advert Manager Robinson Osirike •Deputy Editor (News) •IT Manager Niyi Adesina Bolarinwa Meekness •Group Political Editor Bolade Omonijo •Press Manager Udensi Chikaodi •Abuja Bureau Chief Yomi Odunuga •Manager, Corporate Marketing •Sport Editor Hameed Odejayi Ade Ojeikere •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu

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IR: A situation in which a successor must follow the footsteps of his predecessor has its strong and weak points. The strong point is that the successor would not abandon all completed and yet-tobe completed projects. But, following a predecessor’s footsteps blindly can be as retrogressive as abandoning everything done by one’s predecessor. The solution is an objective and dispassionate evaluation of whatever one meets on ground, including the cost, financial and otherwise. I take Kwara state as an example. The former Governor Akanbi Lawal did his best in terms of road construction and provision of borehole water which appeared unprecedented in the state capital. He set a standard



Kill the continuity syndrome which his predecessor could only ignore at his or her own peril. Yet he also did some things that should be undone. For instance, he dualised some single lanes without expanding them, which created traffic bottleneck in some streets in Ilorin. Indeed that was the only reason I did not regret he lost his re-election

bid. What is more, that was the first thing I know his successor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, immediately undid. Unfortunately, after Saraki’s two term tenure, the song that rent the air from his supporters was: “continuity”, and his successor, who he appeared to have handpicked, AbdulFatah Ahmed, seems to have

no choice but to follow his footsteps, strictly. What that means is that Ahmed cannot undo whatever was done by Saraki, whether good or bad. That is the tyranny of“continuity”. It is idolatrous, because it makes an individual to become a tin god, which is the trade mark of dictatorship. Today’s idols live in expensive

Adieu Lam and Adegbonmire

IR: The death in quick succession of the Afenifere chieftains and ACN leaders, Alhaji Lam Adesina (Oyo) and now Chief Wumi Adegbonmire (Ondo) is a tragic loss to the cause of rapid political development of Yorubaland. The two notable political titans loomed large for upwards of five decades on the political horizon of Yorubaland were the trusted and formidable lieutenants of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo whose solid contributions to the political evolution of modern Nigeria remains equaled in the annals of the nation’s history. The rate at which the rank of generation of committed and highly dedicated politicians are being depleted by old age ailments culminating into outright sudden death is worrisome and ominous. In the turbulent First Republic politics and the military interregnum, Lam Adesina and Wumi Adegbonmire kept alive intrepid and combatant columns in the media. Lam wrote under the title “the search continues” and Adegbonmire a.k.a Omo-Ekun, coined the cognomen of his illustrious native Akure

country home. They were prolific, pungent, vigorous and never-say-die writers; venting their spleen against the excesses of brutal military dictatorship, and reign of megalomania foisted on the nation. They put their lives on the line damning the dire consequences of detention without trial and its concomitant intimidations, harassments by the maximum power-thatwere. Thus, they relentlessly defended with every pint of their blood, the cause of Awoism, a political creed adroitly articulated and christened by indefatigable Awo as ‘democratic socialism’ as practical solution to the multi-faceted and complex problems staring the nation on the face. It is years since the transition of the political legend, Awolowo. Yet the country still gropes in the dark and in the vicious circle of economic woe and political maladministration, courtesy of the political venality and debauchery holding sway in the corridor of power. It is irony of fate that the toiling masses are transfixed by poverty in the midst of abundant natural and human en-

dowment. I deeply mourn the demise of Chief Adegbonmire. He was a great fighter. He aptly lived to his billing ‘as bold as a tiger’ and never relented in fighting to finish the conservatives that held Yoruba race hostage until he breathed his last. He got to the pinnacle of his political career as a member of the national working executives of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the best organized political party in the Second Republic. As a frontline politician,

grassroots mobiliser and community leader, he was installed Asiwaju (Leader) of Akure kingdom by the paramount ruler of Akure, Deji of Akure. As Omo-Ekun joined his leader Awo in the world beyond, the question on the lips of everyone is when cometh another? May the doughty souls of OmoEkun and The search continues have repose with their creator, • Ayodele Fagbohun Akure, Ondo State

houses built from misappropriated billions of public funds. Some ex-military leaders who played with public funds are one category. I heard of the house a particular state is building for its civilian idol. The members of the oligarchy surrounding him are selling him to the populace through jingles and special propaganda compositions. Today’s rulers build houses for God from public funds or ask public functionaries to come and “open” the house. Yes, it is corruption, and that is why the church and mosque cannot guide the politicians aright. How the Kwarans will overcome the dynasty trap is yet to be seen. Continuity syndrome? No, it does not exist in University of Ilorin, particularly since that is a federal university. You can trust that if it is tried, the labour unions, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), will kick against it. Yes, the Union will function normally as an organ of the national ASUU; University of Ilorin is better by far. One Dr. Imam Abubakre Aliagan, from that University, is always condemning what he calls “continuity in error” (in his Friday radio programme), while the continuity drummers turn blind eye to its negative aspects. To say that corruption is not the only issue in bad governance is either a psychiatry case, or callousness at its worst. • Pius Oyeniran Abioje, Ph. D, University of Ilorin.

Nigerians need to seek God’s face


IR: The federal Government needs to declare a national day of prayers and fasting in order to seek God’s face for favour and mercy. Sincere prayers and fasting will change bad things to good and prayers will also influence God to turn the hearts of those in authority from doing evil. The national prayer and fasting would connect Nigeria and her people to the power of God. Our leaders should be warned that

unfaithfulness and corruption will continue to make people frustrated and the more frustrated the people are, the more problems should be expected. Our leaders in every sphere of governance should read the handwriting on the wall and repent, hence, they should be expecting more problems for the nation. Proverbs 15: 27 says, “He who is greedy for gain, troubles his own house, but, he who hates bribe will live”.

Also, Proverbs 14: 34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” Therefore, let our leaders repent from their wickedness, selfish ways, so that, God can hear our prayers. When a country is well governed, there will be peace, prosperity and progress throughout the nation. • Prophet Oladipupo FunmiladeJoel (Baba Sekunderin) Lagos.




‘2013-Total Honesty Year!’; Anti-Corruption Guideline; NGOs Vs Bad Governance


APPY New Year 2013. Nigeria’s politics is a business delivering dividends. It is the worst run company in Nigeria with such poor returns Tony for the huge chunk of the investment budget paid Marinho to its directors. We hereby declare a shareholders/citizens revolt. Power in 2015 will be earned not bought. Things must change, or there will be destruction of the state. True! Nigerians have suffered in 2012 from failed mis-governance. Multibillion scams reveal the systematic rape of Nigeria by government, agencies and agents, civil servants and contractors leaving too little to save citizens from diseases of poverty and chronic recurrent suffering. Yet these ‘craw-craw’ diseases are easily reversible and preventable. This government must take responsibility for the ‘Corrupt State of the Nigerian Nation’. Corruption is not only fiscal but also physical, moral and by manipulation- 300 houses destroyed in Abuja. To step back from our own ‘fiscal cliff’ and ‘Corruption abyss’ everyone should take the oath and the bitter pill called ‘2013-Total Honesty Year!’. Of course this government had honest elections, cancelled police checkpoints saving Nigerians N24b/annum and killed the fertiliser scam but government protectionism and incompetence produced the fuel subsidy scam and cement prices increasing by 400% creating dollar billionaires who give peanuts back to ‘Nigeria In Disaster’! Potholes were filled in December 2012! Anti-corruption activities were halfhearted with EFCC and ICPC. The Freedom of Information Act, FIO Bill, may expose vices in 2013. But time waits for no man! We must nip thieving in the bud not when corruption has destroyed lives and the budget. Is it not frightening that we actually expect politicians, contractors and civil servants to steal, not perform and demand a bribe? Performing honest politicians, contractors and civil servants are the exceptions rather than the rule. Just yesterday a politician spent N45,000,000 ‘giving entrepreneurial tools’ to his ‘constituency’. ‘Congrats!’ But N45m is

7-20 years salary for a career professional. Not everybody is Berlusconi’s wife getting •4m/month. How dare individual politicians get so much from government as Salaries and Perks, SAP?’ Is it three months earnings minus what he kept back for ‘personal effects’? Another N45m? Keep your illgotten gains. What is morally wrong is wrong! Even if they are legal SAP, they are ‘legalised illegalities’ and stealing. Maths tell us that the 109 red senators have disposable income of N45mx109= N4,905,000,000 or N4.9b. And this calculation is only from the ‘declared’ N45m. Add to that about N30m/green house of reps member and you have another N9-10b ‘disposable income’, not gross O! This N15b+/quarter should be in the treasury for due process spending. NASS money is not taxable. Indeed this ‘NASS -No Taxation’ was supposed to be a private strict pre-confirmation conditionality for approving FIRS bosses. Is it and is that not corruption? The Nigerian people are taxed senseless, the presidency and ministers are taxed but the NASS, by a self-serving ‘legalised illegality’,is immune to taxation. The obscene wealth of NASS is a root cause of our 2012 disenchantment and of fiscal problems facing Nigeria. All politicians and particularly NASS must have their SAP cut by 90% and taxed in 2013. That would be leadership by example! What was not done in 1999 can be done in 2013. An ‘AntiCorruption Blueprint’ can be drawn up with the cooperation of NEITI, Transparency International, OECD, UN, World Bank and IMF input and applied rigidly to every government activity, agency and department to prevent further decline of this miserable and increasingly violent mess called Nigeria. In addition to further financial computerisation of government including gold mine NPA now strangely under the fading octogenarian Anenih of Ore Benin Expressway failure, we need a booklet written called ‘Anti-Corruption Blueprint/Guideline –how to detect and eliminate corruption in your office’ distributed nationwide, to contractors and in schools. Political parties must swear not to take from contractors who must use computerised records for tracking funds and detecting fraud. Can the ‘unlucky’ number 13 save Nigeria? The year 2012 began and ended with petrol palaver. Power is under 5,000Mw a pittance compared to the 100,000Mw a loving government needs for 100+m Nigerians. And ‘yes’, we have

an on-going nine+ day blackout this Christmas/ New Year. Will politicians or the people win 2013? Will honesty again suffer? Can NISER answer how many refineries can be built annually with the N1000,000,000,000 or N1trillion, fuel subsidy money. And we await NGOs and CSOs, our anti-corruption front line, to enter this vipers’ den and save the day. How can they fight secret party corruption demanding up to 70% of contract sums and corporate greed? Can they restore ethical business, democratic decency and moral mentality in the leadership and citizenry? NGOs and CSOs may lead, but there must be an ethical change among politicians and the silent citizenry who must raise the dust of democracy or face prolonged underdevelopment and a doomed destiny. Doom is good as seeds must die to grow. But is revolution preferable to quick painless evolution? Stop stealing in 2013! Take the oath! Politicians and journalists should get it right. There will be serious economic and human reactionary consequences in 2013. The lion-like citizens will roar and they need clean water, pothole-free roads, security and 24-hour power as much as oppressive sirening politicians living at their expense. Infrastructure and honesty are their rights from responsible government, not a dividend of a warped democracy. Change must come or it will be forced to happen-perhaps in 2013?

‘NGOs and CSOs may lead, but there must be an ethical change among politicians and the silent citizenry who must raise the dust of democracy or face prolonged underdevelopment and a doomed destiny. Doom is good as seeds must die to grow. But is revolution preferable to quick painless evolution?’

Goodbye 2012, Welcome 2013


ESTERDAY, Tuesday, January 1, marked the beginning of yet another year. This event, as usual, was heralded by pomp and ceremony all over the world. The ceremonies were rather spontaneous. This is because regardless of previous or past experiences, people are always nostalgic in welcoming a new year. And so is the joy and optimism that goes with it. But then wait a minute. Let us take a look at 2012 and see whether the year justified all the ceremonies and expectations that heralded it this time last year. We might just look at the good, the bad and the ugly scenes or events that characterized 2012. As I was saying earlier, there is something so special about January 1 of every year. It is a day people give thanks to God for many things. High on the agenda is the gratitude for surviving the previous year. And it does not matter if the previous year was either good or bad. Everybody will be united in looking forward to a pleasant new year. In Nigeria, January 1, 2012 brought sorrows, tears and even blood. That was the day Nigerians woke up to the reality that the Federal Government had removed ‘subsidy’ on petroleum products. The exercise led to astronomic hike in the cost of fuel. It rose from N68 to N140. Many people who had travelled to their villages and hamlets for the New Year festivities were stranded. Tension enveloped the entire nation. What followed were huge protests all over the place. In Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, the Gani

Fawehinmi Freedom Square at Ojota, on the outskirts of Lagos, came alive. For days, protesters trooped there to register their displeasure over the sudden hike. For some people, it was fun all the way as the organizers of the protests, the Save Nigeria Group, added innovations like bringing musical bands to play, and people volunteered food that was served freely. This kept the protests alive for several days. Every day, the crowd grew in number. The more the crowd grew, the more worrisome it was for the government in Abuja. For a government that had all the time stuck to its gun, by the time it was apparent that things might snowball out of control, the Federal Executive Council scrambled to the negotiating table. By this time, the whole country was in turmoil. Lives were lost. It was a fidgety President that later addressed the nation, and reduced the price of petrol as well as promised the nation a number of steps to right the wrongs in the oil sector. Had it been that there were no protests or that the protests did not assume the fearful dimension it took, I am not sure the government was prepared to look into the oil sector to actually see what was going on. Though attempts have been made by the government to rubbish the protests by labeling it as the handiwork of the opposition, that protest will go down as the first wellorganised civil disobedience in Nigeria. We are all witnesses to the subsidy probe that followed. That probe

‘The president only needs to see beyond the present narrow prism and confront the challenges facing the nation headlong. To do this, he must act like a tiger and not a snail!’

opened a can of worms in the oil sector. It was like turning up the underbelly of a bad car. A lot of earth-shaking revelations on the financial malfeasance and sleaze that have bedeviled the oil sector were unearthed. However, what is left is the will by the government to successfully prosecute those involved in the subsidy scandal. The scandal dominated the polity in the first half of 2012. Many of the so-called ‘big boys’ driving around in posh cars were unmasked as thieves. Take for instance the case involving the oil magnate, Femi Otedola, and Farouk Lawan who headed the subsidy probe instituted by the House of Representatives. Otedola is known to be one of the commercial hangers–on around the president. Therefore, many people believed the bribe between him and Farouk could have been stage-managed or instigated from above to rubbish the exercise. Otedola’s company was one of the companies allegedly indicted. Till date, nothing concrete has been heard over that case. Yet, in Nigeria, it is a crime to offer or receive bribe. In that case, both the giver and the receiver are culpable. Nigerians are still waiting. In June 2012, a major diversion was the news of the crash of Dana Aircraft on a routine journey from Abuja to Lagos. All the 150 passengers, including the crew, perished. The crash threw the entire country into grief. The Aviation industry came under the binoculars as people asked questions. Anyway, that did not prevent further crashes in the sector. Danbaba Suntai, the governor of Taraba State, was involved in an air crash in October 2012 while ‘personally’ flying an aircraft from Jalingo to Yola. He, along with some of his aides, were badly injured and they are still receiving medical treatment abroad. If Suntai and his aides

were lucky, Sir Patrick Yakowa, former governor of Kaduna State, along with Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, immediate past National Security Adviser, the pilots and aides, were not so lucky. Six of them perished on December 15 in a helicopter crash in the mangrove forest of Bayelsa State. Nigerians had thought that that helicopter crash would complete the unfortunate events of 2012. Another tragedy, this time, on the road, occurred when the vehicle bearing Idris Wada, the governor of Kogi State, was involved in a fatal accident on Friday, December 28, 2012. The crash occurred when the governor’s Lexus Jeep suffered a tyre burst on the Ajaokuta-Lokoja Road while returning to the state capital after attending an official function. Though Wada sustained a leg fracture and other minor bruises, Idris Mohammed, his Aide-De Camp, an Assistant Superintendant of Police, died in the crash. He has since been buried in Kaduna. I will not want to bother my readers with the numerous terror attacks in the northern part of the country in 2012. As it seems, that has come to be a permanent feature in that part of the country with an apparently helpless government blowing hot and cold each time the terrorists strike. It is a big relief that 2012 is gone with the loads of highs and lows that confronted the nation. If our recent experience is anything to go by, Nigerians welcomed 2013 with mixed feelings. We surely need a new beginning this year. It is obvious that issues of the economy, security, employment, fighting, corruption and official cover-ups, to name a few, will dominate 2013 in Nigeria. On the political turf, though the president has confessed that his government is “slow”, Nigerians will want to see a more invigorated government that will alleviate the

Dele Agekameh sufferings of the people. The first way to ensure this is for the President to tinker with his cabinet and his aides. Some of them are dead woods who have nothing to offer than to sing praises and tell the President what will make him happy at all times. When you look at the performance indices of some of the ministers and aides, you could see that they are not worth to be councillors in their local governments. They are simply bereft of ideas and the wherewithal to move this country forward at the pace it deserves. It is obvious that many of them have become fronts for fortune seekers and profiteers. Majority of them have become too stupendously rich to continue in their present positions. It is for this reason that the president must take a second look at those around him and his cabinet. Nigerians don’t want a slow government. What is at stake in this country today cannot be handled slowly anymore. Afterall, the resources – human, natural and capital - are there. The president only needs to see beyond the present narrow prism and confront the challenges facing the nation headlong. To do this, he must act like a tiger and not a snail! Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)





HE State of Osun’s agricultural programme is gradually yielding the desired results as the good people of the state are being empowered through land preparation and free distribution, credits for improved seedlings, fertilizer, etc and commercial production of honey, fish, cattle and birds. The O’honey apiary project that the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola embarked upon became a reality when it was commissioned at Oyan in Odo-Otin local government, the first of its kind in Black Africa. The Bees farm covered about 11.56 hectares of land that will not only produce honey in commercial quantities but will train at least 300 youths annually and by implication reduce unemployment among the youths of the state. The largest job creation for mankind is farming, the only way out of food scarcity is a return to land but the petro-naira has made many Nigerians to neglect agriculture in which today we are not only importing foods to feed ourselves but we are importing fertilizers to impoverish the land that is naturally fertile because of our sharp practices and made get-rich quick attitudes. For over 30 years in Nigeria, the military governments and the succeeding civilian administrations have not been sincere about the need to take agriculture with all seriousness and to motivate the farmers though incentives to cultivate in

‘It was Chief Obafemi Awolowo who declared at the convocation ceremony of the then University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1971 that “except we urgently go back to agriculture our country may soon be importing food to feed the population”.


HEN President Goodluck Jonathan took over as President in May 2010 following the demise of his principal, Umaru Yar’adua, expectations were high. Despite the fact the he appeared unprepared for the task fate and circumstances had placed on his shoulders, a good number of Nigerians expected him to be different from his predecessors. Perhaps because of his saintly visage, peculiar name and the fact he was from a minority ethnic group, they believed that he was the messiah destined to lead the country out of the cesspool of failure where it had found itself. In those early days of his administration, Jonathan carried himself with the air of a messiah. Without talking much, he hoodwinked Nigerians into believing that he was heaven’s answer to their prayers. Between when he was sworn in as Acting President till when he declared his intention to contest the 2011 election, he did nothing other than firing his perceived enemies and planting his cronies in key areas of government in order to establish a firm hold. After about 10 months as President without any credible achievements, Jonathan

‘With the ways things are today, one can’t help but ask what Jonathan’s transformation agenda is all about. Is it a plan by Jonathan and his acolytes to make the country worse than they met it? If this is how he hopes to turn the country around, then we are on a journey to nowhere’

Agricultural revolution in Osun By Yomi Obaditan commercial quantity. The few commercial farmers were majorly the ex-military generals who knew that there is wealth in tilling the land and a few others who are currently enslaving the youths who are on their payroll tilling the land for them instead of training the youth to become farms owners. It was Chief Obafemi Awolowo who declared at the convocation ceremony of the then University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1971 that “except we urgently go back to agriculture our country may soon be importing food to feed the population”. But the government and people turned deaf ears to the political prophet of our time, rather the Udoji awards made the few farmers to abandon farming, migrate in large numbers to cities for white collar job, with the result that we import various kinds of food to feed our people today. When in the late 70s the frozen fish was introduced by some of our leaders to complement nutritional needs of the populace, only a few Nigerians patronize the imported frozen fish for one reason or the other. I remember my grandmother refusing the consumption of the frozen fish because of its peculiar smell and many Nigerians distanced themselves from the said fish, it was then derogatorily called “Oku Eko”. Today it is a delicacy that no family can ignore. Many homes eat the meals without meat or fish and the people are becoming malnourished and sick for lack of balance diet. The state government of Osun has taken its battle against poverty and unemployment to fish farming and the O’Fish farms have put smile on the faces of the people as the youths are currently undergoing training that will make them not only fish farmers but owners of such farms in the sort possible time. Just few weeks ago, the Cattle Ranch at Oloba Farm, Iwo Farm Settlement was revived by the government of Ogbeni

Aregbesola who declared that the ranch is open to whosoever is interested in the cattle business and that his government will not only support the individual financially but guarantee security of lives and properties at the ranch. It was the late sage Chief Bola Ige that established the ranch that was later abandoned by successive administrations. It was this vision that made the government of Ogbeni Aregbesola to partner with the German government that sent a seven man experts drawn from their agricultural sector State of Saxson Anhalt to meet the farmers’ cooperatives in the state, soil scientists, animal husbandry experts and others on how to improve agricultural products in the state. At Okuku in Odo-Otin local government council area of the state, the governor and the state executive council members were more than surprised to see a huge fish farm covering acres of land and with 120,000 fish under production and is now ready for sale, a product of the fish farm initiative of the administration. The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Production, Wale Adedoyin told the mammoth crowd that came to welcome the governor at the fish farm that the government took the risk of standing as surety for the granting of loan for the commercial farm and also involved in the supervision of the projects to ensure that the money or loan obtained from the bank is judiciously utilized for the purpose. The true story is that governor who within the space of one and a half year did not only employed over 20,000 youths of the state but is currently on a mission to revolutionise farming and empower the people to kick out poverty. The rationalization of poverty on paucity of fund has now been exposed as a product of misapplication of resources. Just about two years into this government, much impact has been made on good governance and empowerment. By the time the first four years is over God helping the government, the better judge

of this administration will be the very people who lived through the aimless and vision-less seven and half years of locusts that added little or nothing to the lives of its citizenry but misery and death, poverty and woes. This government is not saying that it has reached the state of Utopia but the hand writing is on the wall for those that care to see that the little resources available would not be consumed by political termites neither would it be poured on project that will not add value to the lives of the people, but rather this administration on the long run bring about the dignity of the people who have a great history and antecedent to stand shoulder high above the ordinary. There is a clarion call from all our people to Ogbeni Aregbesola to not only lift up the standard life of our people but to move our state to a state where we shall eat in plenty and feed other state in Nigeria. With Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola we can. • Obaditan writes from Osogbo, Osun State

‘Just few weeks ago, the Cattle Ranch at Oloba Farm, Iwo Farm Settlement was revived by the government of Ogbeni Aregbesola who declared that the ranch is open to whosoever is interested in the cattle business and that his government will not only support the individual financially, but guarantee security of lives and properties at the ranch’

Waiting for Jonathan’s transformation By Vincent Nzemeke threw his hat in the ring for the 2011 elections. Even though the decision clearly contravened the zoning principle of his party and almost threw the country into a political turmoil, he didn’t care a hoot because he felt it was his time. After a protracted battle with some northern political elites who were opposed to his ambition, he won his party’s ticket and embarked on a heavily funded campaign to become Nigeria’s president. It was in the peak of that campaign the he came up with this thing called ‘Transformation Agenda,’ with which he hoped to turn the country around for good. Lest we forget, what Jonathan did before the election cannot be described as a campaign. It was simply a jamboree where people ate, drank and got free souvenirs. As he crisscrossed the length and breadth of the country in search of votes, there was nothing inspiring in his speeches. There was no blueprint of what he wants to achieve and how he intended to go about it. The most memorable aspect of his entire campaign was that ‘I had no shoes’ speech in Abuja which has now become a satire for critics of his administration. When the time finally came to elect the country’s president it, many Nigerians voted for a man they barely knew. They willingly gave their nods to a man who had no direction, destination or commitment other than an abstract document called transformation agenda. Many of those who voted for him were naïve and overly sentimental. They stood for hours in the scorching sun to elect him not because his achievements but because like him, they felt it was his time and nobody should stand in his way.

Now that the euphoria of winning a presidential election so cheaply has subsided, the real Goodluck Jonathan is gradually unveiling himself. He is showing Nigerians that there is more to a man beyond the look on his face and the clothes on his skin. What many citizens are experiencing today is the exact opposite of what they anticipated when they defied harsh weather conditions to cast their votes for him. Under Jonathan’s watch, things seem to have gone from bad to worse. The transformation agenda he spoke passionately about is fast becoming a forlorn dream that may never materialise. Counting from when he was sworn in as acting president till date, it almost two years and there is no worthwhile achievement that can be traced to Jonathan’s administration. In his inaugural speech as President, Jonathan promised to hit the ground running and almost 19 months down the line, he is yet to get his bearing not to talk of running. He promised to make some reforms in power, economy and other critical sectors but nothing has changed. With all the mouthed reforms of the Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s economy is still at its nadir. Even now that the fuel subsidy has been partially withdrawn, ours is still one of the poorest economies in the world where thousands of citizens are unemployed and live below the poverty line. Like other Jonathan apostles, she goes about analysing improvements in figures and graphs when the realities on ground show otherwise. The President recently gloated that Nigeria now generates 4,500 Megawatts of electricity, yet the entire country still lan-

guish in darkness. Somebody needs to remind him that South Africa generates almost 50,000 Megawatts which has made life better in the country. Because of the epileptic power situation in Nigeria, industries are collapsing and moving out of the country. The few surviving ones spend a chunk of their profits to run generators and it is only a matter of time before they collapse too. Yet, the president thinks he is working. In education, it is the same tale of woes. Jonathan established six new universities when he came on board but they are not different from the other derelict ones. Is it not a shame that no Nigerian institution is ranked among the first 20 universities in Africa? With the ways things are today, one can’t help but ask what Jonathan’s transformation agenda is all about. Is it a plan by Jonathan and his acolytes to make the country worse than they met it? If this is how he hopes to turn the country around, then we are on a journey to nowhere.

In his inaugural speech as President, Jonathan promised to hit the ground running and almost 19 months down the line, he is yet to get his bearing not to talk of running. He promised to make some reforms in power, economy and other critical sectors but nothing has changed.








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‘We took to writing to impress our father’ SEE STORY ON PAGE 26 Ofeimun ends year on literary note – Page 27

Centre where future gia giants nts are nurtur nurtured ed – Page 28



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Sixty-seven years after the late writer, Cyprian Ekwensi published his first book, When Love Whispers, authors are still faced with the challenge of ekeing out a living from their works’ proceeds. His son, George Chiedu, a financial administrator, says there must be good policies to prevent the dearth of writers. He speaks on his father and other issues with EVELYN OSAGIE. The shocker


ES, you will be popular, but can’t make a living in Nigeria.” This, my father would always say to us, is the fate of the Nigerian writer.

The recollection

My father, Cyprian Ekwensi, remains my favourite author. He was born in Minna, Niger State. He was at home everywhere and also a citizen of the world. He was educated at the Government College, Ibadan, and Yaba College, Lagos, before he proceeded to the Chelsea School of Pharmacy in the UK. However, Minna was one of his favourite cities. Growing up in the place, its environment helped shape his young mind and stayed fresh no matter where he went. That was why he found it so easy to reflect the culture of the northern part of Nigeria in several of his books: Passport of Mallam Ilia, Iska, Burning Grass, An African Night’s Entertainment, Gone to Mecca and others. One thing that never stopped intriguing him throughout his life was the fact that Minna seemed a very big town in his childhood days but looked small to his adult eyes many years later. The last time he was in Niger State, he took time to photograph the single gauge rail engine now a museum piece.

The battle for the muse Right from 1945, when he wrote When Love Whispers to 2007, when he passed on before finishing his memoirs entitled: In My Time, there was always some manuscripts to be tidied up, some literary agents to meet, or simply some experiences to share at one of the many literary events he always attended. He first love was writing. And he always told a story on his love for writing that upon his return from London at the time, he landed a top job at the Federal Ministry of Health and wore a coat and stayed in the office all day but that was not him. He left that assignment to become head of Features at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) which afforded him the opportunity to travel round the country by car. He found the daily challenges confronting the common man intriguing and wove them into stories, again and again. He wrote for the masses, and addressed social issues as he saw them. Growing up with my father was very challenging. In all, we were challenged to be the best we can in all our endeavours. And as it’s expected in life there are times the muse came between us and our father. Eventually, his creative spirit ended up rubbing off on us, his children. While growing up in the household, we all took to some form of writing or the other, especially on those long summer holidays, maybe to impress our father. I wrote a series of poems and short stories. I have stories to tell, maybe someday. It now runs in my family. And today, all my children took to the arts: my daughter, Tobechi, is a fashion designer in New York and my son, Chidozie, is graduating with a degree in Music Education and Composition. Ike, the third one, is in business school, and the last boy Duaka, doesn’t know yet if he wants to be an NBA basketball player or something else.

The challenge Although my father first love was writing and wrote for the love of itwith close to 40 titles to his credit, he was a pharmacist who owned a couple of pharmacies in the country. He keep his love alive till the end despite the challenges they faced as writers at the time. My father’s was no different from most authors and artists, in general, today who complain of their being unable to make a living off the proceeds of their works due to the lack of appreciation of art in Nigeria. No doubt, the environment has not changed from his days with limited publishing houses in the country and menace of piracy: even books of established authors are being pirated. Prof. Chinua Achebe’s new book is all over the streets - all fake. Imagine if he was a young writer today the book will not even make it out of the country not to speak of recognition by the outside world. The lessons there to learn from my father life’s experience by young writers is that they have to be dedicated and whatever they like or their chosen field and work hard at it.

The Cyprian Ekwensi creative legacy I speak for the rest of the family, when I say we are very proud of the legacy our father left behind, and this means so much to us. To keep his creative legacy alive, the establishment of Cyprian Ekwensi Foundation for Excellence in Literature is in the works. It will only focus on one thing: providing education scholarship for children who demonstrate an exceptional aptitude for writing and literature. We must continue to nurture and grow our future generation of writers across our dear country and ensure that they strive for excellence in arts and sciences, and especially of the many stories that are begging to be told. After the naming of the building in Abuja in 2008 in his honour, we had planned to launch it through that centre, but now it might be jointly done with library in Minna that was recently re-



‘We took to writing to impress our father’ BIODATA


EORGE Chiedu Ekwensi was born in Jos. He spent the last 37 years in the United State of America, where he obtained a Bachelor degree in Accounting and a Masters in Public Administration. He is currently working on his PhD. He has worked in various capacities in the financial services, including owning an accounting firm and a mortgage company. He served as a comptroller in a state agency for over 20 years before retiring in 2006 to devote full time on his businesses, until his return to Nigeria in 2010 to contribute his knowledge to nationbuilding and the transformation agenda. He is a Chief Risk Officer, and, belongs to various professional bodies.

REMINISCENES named after my father by the state government. Also, the publication of his memoir, In My Time is in the pipeline. Works like Burning Grass, Jagua Nana, and People of the City were all translated in other languages back in the 1960s but I think more efforts need to be made in that regards.

The claim I have no doubt that he was with us in spirit at Minna as he was honoured posthumously with a library renamed after him. Our father Ekwensi belonged to them as much as he did to us. It’s not unusual, in other countries, for ones parent to be from a different state of origin while the offspring is auto-

‘The environment has not changed from my father’s days with limited publishing houses in the country and the menace of piracy: even books of established authors are being pirated. Prof. Chinua Achebe’s new book is all over the streets - all fake. Imagine if he was a young writer today the book will not even make it out of the country not to speak of recognition by the outside world’

matically from the state of their birth. The US is a typical example. Nigeria is no different; my father was born in Minna and by default is from Minna. I congratulate Niger State for claiming their own. God bless the government and great people of the state.

The Civil War experience As for the Civil war experience, it’s a difficult one to narrate. It was not a pleasant experience. I was 10 years old when it started. We were all in Biafra and in school then. There were constant raids. And most times we were close to the war front. We constantly and consciously avoided the air raids; and heard sporadic sounds of gun fire all night. We witnessed people dying of starvation … It is hard to describe; that’s why Achebe’s new book shed pretty much outlines what happened then. I am 75 per cent through the book, and the account is how I recall it. I don’t know what all the controversy is about.

The unifying force Going back to posthumous honour given to my father by the state, the lesson here for us all is that no matter where we come from, we are all Nigerians, and such gesture fosters unity. Let’s live in peace and unity. And as an educationist, the state’s Governor Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has shown his sincerity. I see him uniting the country through arts and sciences, especially through the annual intellectual festival. It is events as this that convinced us that this house called “Nigeria” has not fallen and will not fall. It will live with us for the rest of our lives. While speaking at the MBA Colloquium in Minna, Prof. Wole Soyinka lamented that: “corruption has become a unifying factor in Nigeria”. But I believe with time that will also change.

The legacy for future writers It is my fervent hope that the inauguration of the library named after my father by no less a person than Africa’s first Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Wole Soyinka, would lead to revitalisation of the reading culture and inspire young men and women in Niger State and, indeed, in our dear country Nigeria to strive for excellence in the arts and the sciences and promote policies that would not only foster creative writing, especially in the telling of the many stories that are still begging to be told; but also prevent the dearth and secure future generation of writers.



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

Ofeimun ends year on literary note After staging his two dance-piece drama heralding unity in diversity on Christmas Eve at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, it could be said that ace-poet Odia Ofeimun ended last year on a literary note. EVELYN OSAGIE reports.


OET-ACTIVIST Odia Ofeimun’s dramas, particularly Nigeria The Beautiful, came as a timely peace campaign last year. The plays called on Nigerians to reexamine their diversities through the spyglass of unity. There was no better way to end the year than with the performances of his two-showpiece dance drama entitled: Nigeria The Beautiful and A Feast of Return held at on December 24 at the prestigious AGIP Hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Once again, the cast, led by the scintillating Mawuyon Ogun and Toma Enakarhire, gave guests spectacular performances in poetry, dance and music. Although set in two African states, both plays, written by Ofeimun and directed by Felix Okolo, have a lot in common in terms of thematic preoccupations, spectacle, costumes, songs and dances along with the underlying thread of unity in diversity binding them. Guests at both plays would note the similarities in the Nigerian and South African socio-political experiences. Whether it is in the pre-colonial era where nature was at peace with man or the colonial experience that with it came the struggle and the post-colonial struggles experienced in varying forms by the different African states (as in Apartheid or the call for Independence), or the post independence struggles, going by the poet’s drama pieces, African states share similar historical occurrences while existing in different spaces and time. They would note that the dances were similar in some scenes, as well as the costumes. Critics have said the poet would do well to bring in fresh and different ones. Also, even though A Feast of Return is a South African piece, it is interpreted on stage using Nigerian songs, dances and historic and mythical characters such as Sango and Ogun, perhaps to suit the Nigerian audience. This venture often seems to endear the audience to the performance, and has kept some observers wondering if it is meant to show the similarities that abound in the cultures of various African people. Of the attempt to tell a South African story using Nigerian motifs and dances, Ofeimun said: “The aim is not to ‘Nigerianise’ South Africa. But to use the South Africa fibula as a means of telling Africa’s story in terms of common themes of ethnic fractions in competitive interaction and historical insertion of an external European force that heightens and, so to say, jazzes up the themes of assaults, deprivations and resistance.” And of preoccupation of the play, Nigeria The Beautiful, he said: “It addresses what I love most about my country: enduring beauty, so much beauty in the diversities and cultural differences that many consider the national albatross. True, as the story reveals, the discordance once acknowledged and unpacked can be streamlined and given a qualitative thresh.” Although in both plays there is a call for dialogue but it could also be noted that both dramas did not come to a conclusive end, in that the dialogue that is called for never took place and so, the audiences do not know what the outcome is or would be. The poet uses this dramatic technique of suspense to show that Africa’s story and that of its states is not yet ended. And in another sense, it also holds a subtle message to African leaders that Africa’s story is in their hands to write rightly or wrongly as the case may be. Hence, the poet asks through the voices of his characters in the performance that crowns the day A Feast of Return, “We have journeyed far/in the belly of time…We ask, when shall we arrive?” And because “…We do not wish to offend the earth/on whose bosom we must lie/We ask: how shall we arrive?” Which could be interpreted to mean when shall Africa, Nigeria to be precise arrive at that point that was the dream of its heroes past/founding fathers. Although critics say Ofeimun seems to be singing a new song different from his earliest ones which were hinged on guerilla roots as in I will ask question with stones if they take my voice or Go Tell the General to which he was tagged among the “angry poets”, his showpiece dramas call for dialogue and mutural understanding of the things such as similarities in ideologies, culture and customs etc. that make Africans humans beyond race, skin colour and language, and finding unifying threads in the diversities. And as he would often say at his performances: “What we have not decided on is how to make Nigeria live for each and of us. It is not only in the fighting of wars. This is an eminently safable country that can also save Africa which would get happier the less we seek to reduce it to the mono-cultural dead

•Ofeimun and cast of A Feast of Return

•A scene in Ofeimun’s Nigeria The Beautiful

DRAMA end: of one nation, one religion, one ideology, one song, one goal. Which is to point not towards an unviable polity but a promisedland of vibrancy and unflappable creativity in search of transformers, unafraid of dream and dreamers. And we have the means to safe Nigeria; we only need to employ it.” And as always the plays did not end without him saying:

“I believe we know Nigeria’s story. The differences we talk about are really no differences. Let us build Nigeria The Beautiful. It is a duty we owe ourselves to build Nigeria The Beautiful and unite the world.” And as a new year begins, Ofeimun leaves the leaders and indeed, populace with the a food-for-thought that may be linked with the popular First World maxim that states: “Don’t just talk of what your country can do for you but what you can do for you country.”

Pharmacist emerges Igue festival Queen


24-YEAR-old pharmacist, Samantha Aipoh has e m e r g e d t h e m a i d e n I g u e f e s t i v a l Queen. The beauty pageant held at the Oba Akenzua 11 Cultural Centre, Benin City, the Edo State capital, was part of activities to add colours to the annual Igue festival. Samantha smiled home with a brand new car (TATA Indigo SW GLX) and N1.5 million. She was closely followed by Ebohon Owen and Obazee Mary out of the 10 contestants

From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia,Benin

that qualified. The ceremony featured fashion parade in both English and traditional wears and a test of Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The prizes will be presented to the winners during by the Benin Monarch, Omo N’ Oba Erediauwa. Samantha said she was fulfilled to emerge the first Igue Festival Queen, adding that with this crown, she has written her name in gold.



The Midweek Magazine E-mail:-

•The centre


HEY may one day rule the world of arts. If the Hill-Top Art Centre in Minna, Niger State keeps up with its objectives of discovering and developing creative young talents, there will be lots of possibilities for those growing up in the state capital and its environs. It does not stop there; it also encourages them to become professionals and functional role models from school age. Founded in 2004 by the Niger State Book Development Agency Director Baba Muhammad Dzukogi, the centre has produced young writers, such as Halima Aliyu, Zaynab Manko, Paul Liam, Saddiq Dzukogi, Fatima Daniyan and Hauwa Husaini, whose published works have found their way into bookshelves, particularly in the North. It has also mentored the vivacious Maryam Shuaib whose debut novel BONGEL is on the way. What inspired the setting up of the place? According to the founder, popularly called BM Dzukogi, the need to engage and encourage young creative minds in meaningful work that would impact the world inspired the establishing of the centre. Dzukogi, who is also the National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), said: “It was established to make sure that a platform for developing creative writing is created for pupils who were becoming fired up as a result of the state’s Annual Schools Carnival of Arts and Festival of Songs (ASCAFS). And also for the purpose of offering the time and space for young creative minds to engage in cross-cultural dialogue, artistic exchange through a specific shared perspective or goal equally significant to the achievement of a well-rounded individual for the community that would subsequently impact the world for the greater good of humanity. Then, many of the young ones kept coming and saying they wanted to write and be like me. “So, that was how we started. The idea was actually birthed first in 1997. It wasn’t an art centre then. We were always meeting in my office. The philosophy of ANA Niger chapter has always been child-based. It focuses on individual artistic expression and exploration. That has become the centre’s inspiration. And its core belief is in hinged on shared experience of personal, professional and artistic discovery that takes place within a supportive environment of peers.” The centre stands majestically inside the Hill-Top Model School. Beautifully-crafted murals on its white-and-bluecoloured walls give the visitor a hint of the kind of artistic spirits the place holds. Its serene environment laced with trees is sure to inspire creative minds. There is a certain peace that is felt sitting in Creativity Garden, an L-shape garden in front of the building called ‘Yard 90’. This is better experienced especially when the school is not on session. The garden is carved out with a fence made of short white poles and joined by blue chain intermittently punctuated by blocks at mid-points and arcs that is painted white and blue with artistic impressions on them. The garden also has a Village Square that seats some logs in a semi-circle with a big piece placed for the ‘presiding chief’. According to its centre administrators, it is serves as a relaxation spot and for public speaking, performances and other outdoor activities Inside is the Theatre, which is the heart of the centre with a stage, murals on walls and lightings, meant to unite artists of common destiny through its liberal and inspiring atmosphere, it was learnt. It houses the centre’s coordinator, Hajiya Munirat Sulaimon’s office and the computer laboratory and serves as training ground and place for receiving guest-writers. There is also the Sakiwa Muse Dome inside. The art studio is managed by the centre’s director, Awwal Abdullahi Sakiwa and has produced several painters, it was said. “It is

•Faruk and Abdul-Azeez Yusuf and others displaying their works

Centre where future giants are nurtured Sited in Minna, the capital of Niger State, is Hill-Top Art Centre, which is fast becoming a tourist destination, especially for writers. The centre is raising new role models for youngsters, writes EVELYN OSAGIE. ARTS a developing arena that will become fully equipped with modern materials for painting,” he said. There is also the Literature Library stuffed with books where members are engaged in compulsory reading. “All members of centre must read a book a week”, the library’s coordinator Mr. Emmanuel Asigbe, a Ghanaian, said.

‘I wish when I was a child I had a Hill-Top to go to. Maybe I would have been a better poet. I owe them more books’ -Ofeimun

The centre has since become a tourist spot of sort and an environment where young ones use various forms of artistic expressions to showcase their inherent talents. And to keep up with the tempo of creativity locked inside of the young, every Saturday from 10am to 2pm it runs a training programme that brings together pupils from diverse background, cultures and religion under one ‘arty’ roof. There, talents in creative writing, public speaking, songs, performance, painting, craft, photography and language studies (Nupe and French) are discovered and horned. And at special days, it stretches its meeting days to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. One of those meeting days featured a poetry workshop for secondary school pupils that produced the poetry anthology entitled: Dewdrops edited by BM Nagidi, Terfa Nenger and Liam. In that collection is the •Continued on page 37





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

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

Fed Govt owes Lagos N51b


HE Federal Govern ment owes Lagos State over N51 billion for roads constructed and certified on behalf of the Federal Government in some parts of the state. The state Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure Dr Femi Hamzat made this known during an interview with The Nation in Lagos. He listed some of the

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie Asst. Editor

roads as Funsho Williams and several others at the Central Business District (CBD). He urged the Federal Government to expedite the payment since the projects have been certified okay by its engineers. Hamzat frowned at the blocking of the proposed

$600million loan from the World Bank by the Federal Government, saying that it smacks more of a political move than economical, especially as the state has been able to prove its mettle in upgrading its infrastructure and services to Lagosians. He said the achievement proves that the state government has used its funds in the

best interest of its people. Asked what the state would do if the Federal Government does not okay the World Bank loan, Hamzat said the state would deploy its ‘plan B’ to go ahead with its provision of infrastructure and social services to the people. He, however, said there was no reason the loan request should not be granted.

He stressed that there is nothing wrong with the proposed borrowing as far as it is put into good use and serviced. He added that the state has awarded the contract for the construction of Isheri Osun Bridge in the Jakande Estate, Isolo axis of the state to reduce the traffic snarl in the area, which is not only time consuming, but also affects the people.

•From left: Lagos State Governor Mr Babatunde Fashola (left); his Deputy, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and Majority Leader, state House of Assembly, Hon. Ajibayo Adeyeye, after signing the 2013 Appropriation Bill into law at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, ... on Monday.

LCCI foresees economic growth in 2013 T

HE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Indus try (LCCI) expects an improvement in the productive capacity of the economy this year. The body said businesses would improve during the year, as well as the welfare of Nigerians will improve this year. Its President Goodie Ibru, in a statement entitled: Expectations for 2013, made available to The Nation, said


By Akinola Ajibade

the economy would grow once obstacles to productivity and efficiency have been addressed. He said this could only be achieved, when the government improves the cash flow in the economy; adopt strategies that would address security problems; ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)

in the first quarter of 2013; and the passage of 2013 budget. He listed other growth initiatives to include deceleration of debt accumulation to protect the economy from the looming debt trap; better disposition of public institutions towards investors and entrepreneurs; renewed commitment to fight corruption; to patronise the locally manufactured prod-

ucts; commitment to local content policy in oil and gas among other sectors of the economy. He said: “ We hope to see a public sector that is driven by the true spirit of public service. This would enhance private sector development in the overall interest of the economy and the citizens. “Also, the security concerns heightened investment risk and depressed

sales in 2012. We hope for an improvement in 2013.” According to him, the economy is bleeding profusely from corruption, adding that there is high expectation that the bleeding will be moderated in 2013. He said the government could tackle corruption, by putting in place appropriate policy choices, sanctions for perpetrators and rewards people that demonstrate integrity.

‘Microfinance underfunding agric’

ECURING financial services for agriculture has continued to be a challenge , a consultant to the World Bank, Prof.Abel Babalola Ogunwale, has said. Speaking with The Nation, Ogunwale, a lecturer in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, LadokeAkintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, said the credit paradigm have failed because local farmers don’t

Banks may review Ghana, Zambia operations - P 30

By Dan Essiet

receive credit from microfinance institutions. He said microfinance institutions (MFIs) have failed in providing sustainable microfinance services that contribute to resolving the agriculture credit problem by serving some of the rural poor. He said MFIs were created to serve poor farmers, but most have focused on urban and semi-urban clients in rural

areas with high population densities. He said MFIs have limited their operations to areas with high population densities and farm loans usually represent a small share of their loan portfolios. Ogunwale urged the MFIs to provide credit to farmer associations if there is fear of default, adding that the associations will collectively guarantee one another’s repayment.

Inland Revenue tightens noose on tax evaders - P31

He urged the government to assist in overcoming barriers to agricultural microcredit. Effectivedemand for credit by small farmers is limited by high transaction costs, risk aversion, and lack ofinformation and education, he added. President of the Lagos Apex Fadama Community Association, Abiodun Oyenekan, said microfinance institutions have not bben doing enough to finance small-scale agriculture.

Many farmers need credit to purchase seeds and other input, as well as to harvest, process, market and transport their crops. According to him, the failure of microfinance to provide finance to farmers, has led to dearth of agricultural credit. The absence of rural banks or their unwillingness to meet credit needs of rural farmers largely account for the influence of informal lending

CBN warns mobile money operators against ‘suspicious transactions’

- P 31




Banks may review Ghana, Zambia operations B

ANKS operating in Ghana and Zambia are contemplat ing closing down these subsidiaries as the deadline for their recapitalisation ended on Monday. Findings showed that the banks have not complied with the recapitalisation order by local banks. Ghana and Zambia central banks had raised banks’minimum capital requirement, on the ground that the measure would help mobilise additional resources for their economies. The Bank of Ghana raised banks capital from $5.28 million to GH¢60 million ($31.7 million). It set the end of last year as deadline. Zambian hiked its minimum capital requirements for foreign banks to K520 billion ($98.52 million), from $2.27 million; that of local commercial banks was raised to $19.69 million. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, Banking Supervisions, Mrs. Agnes Martins, said the increases reflect efforts to strengthen the banking sectors in those countries, adding that global banks have also been seeking ways to boost capital adequacy ratios in their home countries to meet increased capital requirements under Basel III, and one option they have explored has been the disposal of international sub-

Stories by Collins Nweze

sidiaries. He said these capital demands are not in tandem with the level of growth in business activities in these lenders. She added that it would not allow banks to continue funding their subsidiaries from parent companies but would encourage them to consider mergers and acquisitions with other local or foreign banks in host country. “The CBN shall not permit any further capital outlay from parent banks to augment the capital needs of foreign subsidiaries but would rather encourage banks to consider mergers and acquisition arrangements with other local and or foreign banks in the host country. Under no circumstances are parent banks allowed to guarantee the deposit of their foreign subsidiaries,” Martins said in a statement. Head, Market Risk, Greenwich Trust Limited, Babatunde Obaniyi, said the CBN is being proactive to ensure that the funds that would have been used to develop Nigeria’s economy are not channelled to other economies. He said for a bank to operate offshore, it has to raise its capital base to the required N100 billion ($635.72 million) in the country. This means that a bank such as

United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has 18 offshore branches may see its funds depleted trying to recapitalise its branches abroad, where such cases arise. He explained that although there are some African countries, especially The Gambia where investors cannot bring in hot money to fund banks, polices in many African countries point to the fact that more countries want foreign banks to recapitalise their subsidiaries with funds from home countries. Besides, he said some of the banks have learnt to share risks with local banks to reduce the economic burden that come with foray into new markets. “The level of aggression most Nigerian banks exhibit in venturing into new markets, if not checked, will raise their operational risk level. Besides, I do not see the restriction of these banks into foreign countries as having the capacity to deplete their group performance because some of these markets are smaller than Nigeria’s,” he said. He said most of these banks are expected to develop their own products and services to meet the needs of the people. Speaking on the development, Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Tunde Lemo, explained that there is no justification for the

• Team Head, Contact Centre, Access Bank Plc, Mrs Nellie Oghenekohwo (4th from right) presenting food items to Principal, Lagos Special Correctional Centre for Boys, Oregun, Lagos, Mr Kotun Oluwatoyin (3rd from right). PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA With them are co-Access Bank Plc workers.

Fed Govt misses $50b year-end reserves target T HE Federal Government missed the $50 billion target it set for the foreign reserves by December 31. The reserves closed at $44.2 billion based on figures obtained from the website of Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) on December 24 last year. The amount was $5.8 billion below the estimate. However, analysts have predicted that the foreign reserve is expected to hit $47 billion by March. Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismark Rewane, said such accretion would strengthen the naira’s stability. The reserves were $44.3 billion as at December 20, from a low of $33.09 billion by January 4, this year. The global oil prices continue to fluctuate as risks of supply disruptions in the Middle East increase and global economic outlook weakens further.

Bonny Light declined to as low as $111.4 per barrel in October and as at December 19 traded at $112.6 per barrel. “With the global uncertainty surrounding the Euro zone, weak demand from China and United States and Middle East tensions, there are expectations of an increased volatility in global oil prices in the months ahead,” Rewane said in the FDC report for December obtained by The Nation. The reserves stood at $41 billion in September 10 and had maintained a steady rise to current status. Before now, the reserve, which was $36.35 billion on August 7; rose to $36.41 in August 8; $36.46 in August 9 and $36.51 in August 10. It had dropped to $36.36 billion in July 20, from $37.19 billion four weeks earlier, losing about $830

million within the period. The foreign currency reserves rose to $68 billion in August 2008 before the global financial crises impacted negatively on it. The apex bank had consistently maintained that inflow into the reserves was not consistent with the oil prices and, this underscore the need for tighter fiscal controls around oil revenues. Analysts at Afrinvest said the CBN needs to build up adequate external reserves to satisfy the genuine needs for foreign exchange as such is consistent with the increase in the growth in economic activity. It will equally assist in conserving resources and withstanding external shocks. The apex bank has also said there was need to pursue policies that would foster macro-economic stability, economic diversification as well as encouraging foreign capital inflows.

level of capital requirement imposed by the central banks of those countries hence banks will decide on their own if they can continue with those subsidiaries. The policy became exigent after report showed that Nigerian banks have recently witnessed reduced credit lines from their international partners because of the growing need for liquidity of major European banks following mounting sovereign default risks. However, Lemo said these developments would not have a debilitating impact of the health of the sector. But he did not rule out the impact on the liquidity of finance from lenders. Martins explained that the policy is expected to affect UBA and Access Bank because they have the highest number of offshore operations in the sector. Others are Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, has five subsidiaries; Skye Bank Plc – four; Keystone Bank

Limited- four ; Diamond Bank Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc – three each. Managing Director, UBA, Phillips Oduoza, said he expects the subsidiaries to contribute 25 per cent of its profit this year to the bank. He said his bank operating in Zambia would seek a local banking license, which requires a lower capital base of $20 million, to meet the requirements. He said the rule may instead make local lenders acquisition targets as the companies have to keep cash in Nigeria. Access Bank Plc will cut to 49 per cent its stake in its Zambian unit after the southern African country raised capital requirements, Chief Executive Officer Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede said. He admitted that the requirement to increase funding for foreign units has exerted pressure on the capital base of most parent banks.

Exchange rate stable in 2012


HE exchange rate was relatively stable last year, with the naira maintaining moderate appreciation and depreciation at intervals. The naira-dollar rates stability was because of increased supply of foreign exchange through autonomous sources to the interbank segment. Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened in the market to reduce demand pressure and raise the net open position of commercial banks in part to curtail speculative foreign exchange demand. It adjusted the mid-point exchange rate band from N150 plus or minus three per cent to N155 plus or minus three per cent within the year. Managing Director, Blue Wall Bureau De Change (BDC) Lucky Aiyedatiwa said despite occasional upsurges in foreign exchange demand due to interventions by the CBN and the increased supplies from autonomous sources, the exchange rate never exceeded a two per cent appreciation or depreciation margin. He said 2012 had seen some of the CBN policies on forex reflect on the dollar-naira parity at both the local and international market. Analysts at the FBN Capital predict that the exchange rate for the naira will be strengthened by the approved oil benchmark. The investment and research firm explained in a report that if the oil price remains stable, which is expected, a lower budget threshold would strengthen the defences and underpin the naira exchange rate. The naira has gained 3.1 per cent this year, the second best performance of African currencies tracked by Bloomberg News. On the budget, President

Goodluck Jonathan had sent a N4.92 trillion Appropriation Bill to the lawmakers. “The House of Representatives had previously argued for $80 per barrel and the Senate for $78 per barrel. The FGN had assumed a threshold of $75 per barrel in its proposals for 2013. This was an increase from the level of $72 per barrel in the 2012 budget, an unusual step by the executive, which we attributed at the time to its determination to secure a relatively swift passage into law of the finance bill,” FBN Capital said. Fixed Income & Currency Analyst, Ecobank Nigeria,Ezun Olukunle, said the inter-bank rate fell 20 basis points to 10.5 per cent on December 19, despite provisions made for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS), treasury bills and the monthly government bonds auction. According to him, recent rise in interbank rate was to due ongoing CBN’s liquidity management adding that Open Market Operations (OMO) bills of N273.1 billion were sold between December 10 and 13. Data from the CBN showed that the average spot rate of Wholesale Dutch Auction System, Bureau De Change (BDC) and inter-bank were N157.65, N164 and N162.85 to a dollar, especially in the first half of the year. Besides, forex inflows into the economy increased substantially, reflecting rise in crude oil receipts and autonomous inflows. However, foreign exchange outflow dropped relative to the level in the corresponding period of 2011. In the second quarter alone, there was a net inflow of $35.44 billion into the economy, compared with $28.85 billion last year.

CIBN seeks offshore practice


HE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has reiterated the need for certified bankers in the country to work in other African countries. In a statement, the institute said a communique issued at the end of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) called for an inter-country recognition and acceptance of qualifications and certificates of member countries. This, it said, would encourage and promote mobility of labour as well as skills among banks in the continent. It stressed the need for the Alliance of African Institute of Bankers (AAIOB) member institutions to participate in the establishment, programmes and activities of the Global Banking Education Standards Board

(GBESB), expected to be launched at the World Conference of Banking Institutes (WCBI) scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya in June, this year. It stated that the alliance would periodically conduct professional examination moderation exercises to strengthen examination policies, regulations, curricula and practices with a view to ensuring that quality standards and improvement in candidates’ performance are maintained and adhered to, at all times. According to the alliance, “a smooth implementation of the Staff Exchange Programme (SEP), which is aimed at, among other things, to enhance cross fertilisation of skills, bonding, mentoring among member Institutes’ personnel would be vigorously pursued”.




Inland Revenue tightens noose on tax evaders T

HE Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will no longer treat lightly the possession of fake tax clearance certificates, its Director, Large Tax Department (nonoil), Mr Innocent Ohagwa has said. Those who possess fake tax papers will be prosecuted in accordance with constitutional provision, he said. Speaking at a television programme, Ohagwa said FIRS would ensure that anybody caught with fake tax papers is jailed to deter others. He said the need to apply the law became necessary to reduce tax evasion, among other vices. FIRS’audit, he said, is based on discovered risks which triggered from the public, adding that the agency is determined to have a sound and effective tax management programme. Ohagwa urged people to pay their taxes as when due, arguing that a company has committed a criminal offence by evading tax. A situation whereby firms have to be taxed for evading tax is not good enough for the system, he added. According to him, Third-Party Confirmation, Tax Identification

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

Number (TIN), among other instruments, will be used to reduce noncompliance with the the tax payment regime. He said through TIN and thirdparty confirmation, FIRS would know whether companies made necessary returns to the banks. If the banks’statements show that mandatory returns are not made to them promptly, such fraudulent practices would be exposed, he said. FIRS, Ohagwa said, is adopting these measures to check the antics of tax evaders, arguing that it would be difficult for erring firms to escape under the new dispensation. He added that it is no longer business as usual for firms that move from one location to another to evade tax. On dead firms, he said rules of cessation would be applied for such organisations to stop them from paying taxes. He said: “If a company is dormant, you cannot say it is active. If a firm is a growing concern, you cannot say it is dormant. We have our strategies of knowing all these.” He said the FIRS feels for companies that are finding it difficult to

fulfil their tax obligations, based on its findings. This, he said, is dependent on what the financial statements of such companies or institutions are. Former President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) Mr Sunday Adigun said tax evasion and its associated vices are criminal offence, adding that they pose dangers to the government’s ability to generate revenues. Adigun said taxes play pivotal roles in the development of the economy, noting that the developed economies handle tax issues with all seriousness. He said efforts must be made to plug the loopholes people exploit to evade tax. The former CITN’s boss said people who evade taxes or work as accomplices of tax evaders are by law regarded as criminals that must be punished. Tax officials, he said, must be professional enough to discharge their duties well, arguing that errors inherent in the collection and remittance of tax would be minimised when this happens. This, he said, is why only ‘fit and proper’ person must be allowed to practice taxation to promote professionalism and a nation’s economic growth.

‘Diamond Bank is No 1 in energy sector’ DIAMOND Bank Plc has invested significantly in the energy sector, its Head of Energy Department Mr Samuel Egube has said. Speaking on investment in energy in Nigeria in Lagos, Egube said the bank is a leader. He said though there are other banks that are doing well in the energy sector, Diamond Bank has recorded substantial growth in terms of value chain in the energy businesss. He said: “Because we also support NIMASA’s effort, we are quite active and aggressive on the water logistics segment of the oil and gas industry, and we have done quite a number of vessels working with partners all over the world from China, USA, Singapore, Malaysia. We have led that sector for quite a long time and we are still growing. Basically, most of the rigs that came into the country this year, Diamond Bank participated quite actively in them. “Now, if we then go to the upstream sector, where we see the indigenous capacity evolving, that sector is a little more organised and why it is so is because large amount of money is involved, and to put such money together, it requires a big structure to form partnership and to work with people.”

Access Bank campaign ends THE Divisional Director, Retail Banking Division of Access Bank, Obinna Nwosu, said the ‘Access Early Savers Back to School’ campaign initiative is part of its resolve to promote financial and independence among the younger generation. He said it would ensure that children, parents and guardians do not relent on their efforts to achieve financial independence, as the campaign ended on Monday. Nwosu, said in a statement, “With a minimum balance of N50,000 maintained in their account, account holders immediately qualify for ‘Dora branded Lunch Box’. This scheme is neither a raffle draw nor a promotion, but a reward for customer loyalty. “This serves as an avenue for showing our sincere appreciation to our numerous ‘Early Savers’ account holders for their loyalty and continued patronage over the last one year; and to encourage other kids to pursue a secure financial future by opening an Early Savers Account,” Nwosu added. He said: “ ‘Early Savers Back to School Campaign”is an initiative that is more than just a financial product but rather an interactive experience for account holders as it comes on the heels of the bank’s strategic partnership with Nickelodeon, a global family entertainment brand to drive its financial inclusion strategy for kids, parents and educators.”

Imo agric firm gets loan

• Some National Union of Postal and Telecommunications retirees protesting non-payment of their 43 months pension arrears at the gate of NIPOST office in Awka, Anambra State.

CBN warns mobile money operators against ‘suspicious’ transactions


HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has listed transactions that will be categorised as suspicious in the mobile money business. In a paper entitled: Regulatory framework for mobile payment services in Nigeria, CBN said a mobile payment firm would be involved in suspicious transactions when it allows a single mobile account (individual) to receive a total volume of payments of more than 100 in a day. Also, any mobile payment (individual) that receives a total volume of payments of more than N1,000 in a day; and when any mobile payment (merchant) account that receives a total value of payments of N10 million and above in a day will be involved in ‘suspicious’ deals. It said any company involved in suspicious transactions, has violated anti-money laundering regulations. CBN said it would be in the interest of a mobile payment company to disclose such transactions to avoid problems. “The mobile payments scheme operator shall notify the Nigerian Intelligence Financial Unit (NFIU)

of suspicious transactions as part of anti-money laundering regulations provided by CBN,”the report added. It said the regulatory authorities have the right to change the criteria for suspicious transactions reporting on mobile payments as it deemed fit, adding that such amendments shall be communicated by appropriate channels to the mobile payment operators among other stakeholders. It said: “CBN would ensure that appropriate processes and procedures are established for the purpose of monitoring compliance to the regulatory framework. Noncompliance with the provisions of the regulatory framework shall attract appropriate sanctions as may be determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria.” It said CBN will establish the Office of Ombudsman, noting that the Office would consist of the representative of the Nigerian Communications Commission; Consumer Protection Council; Scheme Operators; Financial Institutions; and a member of National Payments System Committee to foster the growth of electronic payment sys-

tem in Nigeria. In a related development, a Deputy Director, CBN, Mr Emmanuel Obaigbona, said there is the need to do more enlightenment in view of the high rate of electronic payment fraud in the country. He said there is a need for customers to guide their identities to reduce fraud. Obaigbona, also the Chairman of Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), said the forum is looking at the Payment System Management Bill put together by the legal working group of the Financial Sector Surveillance (FSS 20: 2020), before submission to the National Assembly. He said besides the awareness creation, the forum has produced a card arbitration framework for review and possible adoption by the industry stakeholders. He said the forum is committed to training, arguing that this is the only way to upscale knowledge among practitioners and further ensure that e-payment fraudsters do not rubbish the work done on the cash-less policy initiative.

SKYE Bank Plc has provided funds for Imo Hill Farm as part of efforts to support agriculture in the country A statement from the lender said the initiative would help drive topline performance and profitability, while at the same time minimising costs through low-cost deposits for the farmers The Imo Hill Farm, an integrated farm project in the Southwest, which covers poultry, piggery, feed mill and meat processing. It engages MP Farms, a German agric firm known as one of leading names in Europe, as its technical partners. MP Farms would help to oversee the management of the whole farm, with experienced managers in poultry and piggery management already hired to manage each division. The processing unit is to be run by top class professionals from Germany with over 20 years experience in meat processing and food technology. The bank cited the Imo Hill Farm as a case study of what it has been doing in recent times to ease access to finance to farmers and support them all through to meet the peculiarities of their operations. Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Skye Bank Plc Mr Timothy Oguntayo said the bank would focus on growing businesses that would develop into stable long-term banking relationships. He said the Agriculture Support Desk of the bank reinforces Skye Bank’s long-standing role as a key player in agricultural project financing with its portfolio in the agricultural sector covering the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. Oguntayo said the Imo Hill Farm would be a case study in agricultural innovation and livestock development in sub- Saharan Africa.

StanbicIBTC introduces new product STANBIC IBTC Bank has deployed a new product, SME Quick Loans, to bridge the huge funding gap in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment of the economy. The product, according to a statement, will enable eligible SMEs access finance within five days of applying for a loan. Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs Sola David-Borha, said the introduction of SME Quick Loan will benefit SMEs that could not access funding due to lack of financial statements and collateral. She reiterated the bank’s commitment to the deployment of innovative products and services to the retail segment of the market. According to her, the product not only provides finance to a large pool of entrepreneurs, but does so quickly, in recognition of the urgent financial needs of growing businesses. Head of Personal and Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Obinnia Abajue, said the bank is committed to closing the financing gap for small businesses, through its SME Quick Loan product. “Small businesses, which are typically the backbone of the economy, suffer considerably from inadequate access to capital. SME Quick Loan will help to mitigate this problem and empower SMEs to contribute more optimally to economic development. “It entails a new credit evaluation approach that reduces loan disbursement process from weeks to less than five days, reduces application forms from 19 pages to two,” he said. “Stanbic IBTC invested significantly in research in the SME segment in Nigeria, to complement the credit evaluation with processes that fit the SME business owner. All this has improved our ability to determine future risk profiles of customers. The combination of this together with affordability assessments as well as fraud management and prevention allows the bank to increase credit risk appetite. We are able to offer unsecured loans ranging from N100,000 to N4.5 million, to SMEs to enable them to achieve high level of productivity and capacity.”




Equities’ return beats analysts’ forecasts A

VERAGE return at the stock market topped most optimistic estimates by market analysts and pundits as the benchmark index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) ramped up to close 2012 with a full-year return of 35.45 per cent. The year-end return is about three percentage points above average forecasts by leading investment and securities firms including FSDH Securities, Financial Derivatives Company, GTI Capital, Sterling Capital, Partnership Investment and Cowry Asset Management Limited, among others. The All Share Index (ASI), the benchmark index that tracks changes in prices of all quoted companies, closed 2012 at 28,078.81 points as against its opening index of 20,730.63 points for the year. Aggregate market capitalisation of quoted equities also rose from its opening value of N6.533 trillion to close the year at N8.974 trillion, indicating capital gains of N2.441 trillion. The full year return underlined the attraction of equities as a real-yield instrument. The Monetary Policy Rate, the benchmark interest rate set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), stands at 12 per cent while inflation rate stands at 11.7 per cent. Fixed-income rates showed equities’ return as attractive. Three-month tenor deposit rate of banks stood at 8.69 per cent, 91-day Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) carries 12.4 per cent while average monthly prime lending rate stands at 16.48 per cent.

Stories by Tonia Osundolire

The bullish rally has re-infused confidence into the stock market. Market value of quoted companies had dwindled by N1.38 trillion in 2011 as uncertainties in the banking sector and monetary tightening policies of the CBN deflated initial optimism that had seen the market with double-digit gain in the early part of the year. Aggregate market capitalisation of quoted equities slumped to N6.533 trillion at the end of last trading session for 2011 as against the year’s opening value of N7.914 trillion. The ASI fell to 20,730.63 points from its 2011’s value-on-board of 24,770.52 points. Altogether, the benchmark index indicated a negative return of 16.31 per cent, which translated to almost N1.4 trillion loss. Market analysts had predicted that the stock market would record full year return of between 27 per cent and 33 per cent. Although they had expressed optimisms that the stock market would neutralise intermittent profit-taking dips and expected increase in demand for cash by the year end with upswings from bargain hunting and portfolio rebalancing, the sustained bullish rallies by equities through the yuletide beat analysts’ estimates. Analysts at FSDH Securities said they expected the ASI to achieve a growth rate of 25.46 per cent in the second half of the year, thus nudging the full-year return to 32.05 per cent. Following the review and expectations of the financial market in the next one year, investment advisors at FSDH were bull-

From left: Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema; ace comedian Atuyota Akporobome ( a.k.a. Ali Baba); Tunde Adewale, (a.k.a. Tee A) and Mandy Uzonitsha, pioneer female stand-up comedian at the Year End Trade Closing Ceremony of the Exchange in Lagos.

ish on equities and recommended portfolio allocation of 30 per cent, 10 per cent, 20 per cent, 20 per cent and 20 per cent in favour of equities, fund placement, treasury bills, mutual funds and bonds respectively. The performance of the stock market was swelled by impressive bullish run in the third quarter, which scooped N1.4 trillion capital gains to investors during the three-month period. The third quarter posted the

Presco’s share up by 96.08%


RESCO, one of the major players in the agricultural subsector, has grown its share value by 96.08 per cent from an opening figure of N8.67 to close the year at N17.00 per share. Speaking at the company’s end of the year party, its Managing Director, Mr Uday Pilani, said the company has been able to surpass 2011 records both in terms of product volume and turnover, from a turnover of N8.5 billion in 2011, adding that turnover for 2012 could exceed N11 billion. He expressed optimism that with the support of workers and the dynamic and excellent marketing strategy exhibited by the marketing team, there will be remarkable improvement in the year ahead. “We have in the course of the year acquired additional 3,200 hectares of land at the Ologbo Estate. Work is going on for the demarcation of the boundaries preparatory to 2013 planting season. The acqui-

sition of over 14,000 hectares at Orogho/Obagie Nunuamen in Orhiomwon Local Government Area of Edo State will also be ready for occupation next year, also, we are in the process bidding for the takeover of the Edo State Government’s Uronigbe Rubber Estate and this will hopefully materialise early in 2013,” Pilani said. However, he pointed out that 2012 had been a very challenging year for the vegetable oil sub-sector of the economy, particularly due to what he identified as government’s policy on the importation of palm oil. According to him, the company was able to pursue its processing capacity and plantation expansion programmes as planned while the Bio-methenisation project which will ensure that it operates 100 per cent with green energy is very much on course and will be completed early next year. “Presco continues to create addi-

tional value for its products by regular investment. We are currently investing in pellet plant for the export of palm kernel cake, bottling plan for the sale of oil to retail customers and packaging plant. A palm kernel fractional plant, the first in Nigeria is also to be added in 2013, to make bakers fat. “There is, therefore ample opportunity for career growth and development for people who are determined, hardworking, committed and loyal and for those who are willing to learn,” Pilani said. He explained that the yearly event was a way of acknowledging the contributions of workers and rewarding excellence while it also affords the company the opportunity to socialise, take stock of its performance for the year and chart the course for improved performance in the New Year. At the event, over 22 workers were honoured for their contributions to the growth of the company over the years.

Operators attribute bullish run to retail, institutional investors


TOCKBROKERS and in vestment pundits in the capital market have attributed the stellar performance of the market to renewed interest in the equities market by retail and institutional investors. Managing Director, Compass Securities Limited Mr Emeka Madubike, said retail and institutional investors increased their participation in the market to be part of the success story. Managing Director, Trust Yield Investment Limited, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuf, said investors were moving funds away from the money market because of the Sanusi’s remarks

on the increasing debt stock. They said the growth followed decline in yields from treasury bills and government bonds. In separate interviews, the brokers said the new position of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to tackle inflation and rising debt profile contributed to the market growth. CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi warned the Federal Government to stop accumulating debts for future generations. He said the level of debt, if unchecked, could cause hardship for future generations.

Yussuf said investors were also moving away from government securities to equities in anticipation of apex bank’s review of the monetary policies in 2013. He said opportunities in the market were enormous and that institutional investors were taking positions in the market ahead of 2013. Another stockbroker added that the reforms introduced into the market needed to be sustained for sustainable growth. He said there was the need for more investor education to increase local participation.

biggest rally in recent periods with a quarterly return of 20 per cent during the three-month period ended September 30, 2012. Total average year-to-date return then closed the period at 25.47 per cent. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities, which had opened the third quarter at N6.895 trillion, closed the period at N8.282 trillion. This represented an increase of N1.39 trillion. The ASI jumped from its index on board of 21,599.57 points to 26,011.64 points, an increase of 20.43 per cent. The market closed the first half with a marginal gain of 4.19 per cent. ASI closed the first half at

21,599.57 points as against its year opening index of 20,730.63 points. Aggregate market capitalisation of quoted equities also showed modest increase of 5.54 per cent at N6.895 trillion by June compared with its value on board of N6.533 trillion for the year. The market had closed the first quarter with a negative year-todate return of 0.38 per cent as declines in share prices of highly capitalised stocks overwhelmed the market situation. ASI closed first quarter at 20,652.47 while aggregate market capitalisation of equities closed the first three months at N6.550 trillion.

Recapitalisation will enhance values for shareholders, says Oando


HE success of the ongoing rights issue by Oando Plc would enable the company to optimise opportunities in its upstream business and deliver better values for shareholders. Its Group Chief Executive Officer, Oando Plc, Mr Wale Tinubu, said the successful outcome of the rights issue will position Oando to increase value for shareholders in the upstream through focused portfolio growth in production, cash margins and improved returns on capital deployed. He said directors of the company count on the consistent support of shareholders to seize the opportunity to take up their rights and benefit from the higher margin value creation the upstream offers. Oando Plc last Thursday started the process of raising N54.579 billion from the capital market following the opening of its rights issue of N4.548 billion, which took off on December 28 in Nigeria and to open on Thursday, January 4, 2013 on Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). He said the recapitalisation was in the final stages in the execution of their overall strategy to increase their exposure to the upstream sector. “ In 2010 we raised N21.1 through a Rights Issue, it was a highly successfully event, as it closed 28 per cent oversubscribed and we look forward to a similar outcome in this exercise. We count on the consistent support of our shareholders to seize the opportunity to take up their rights and benefit from the higher margin value creation the upstream offers,”

Tinubu said. According to him, the rights issue is in line with the company’s corporate strategy for balance sheet optimisation and the financing of growth initiatives in the upstream sector. According to him, pursuant to the recent signing of agreements by its affiliate OER with ConocoPhillips, to acquire their entire Nigerian asset base for $1.79 billion plus customary adjustments, OER will be transformed from a small size oil company to a midsize oil producer. The offer, being made at N12 per share on the basis of two new shares for every one share already held, is expected to close on February 6, 2013. Net proceeds of the offer would be used to repay part of N60 billion syndication loan used to acquire upstream assets and swamp drilling rigs among others. Specifically, the funds would be used to repay part of loan used to acquire upstream assets and swamp drilling rigs, partfinancing of acquisition of upstream and midstream assets by Oando’s upstream subsidiary, Oando Energy Resources and investment in working capital to support increased level of business. Vetiva Capital Management Limited is the lead issuing house to the offer while FBN Capital Limited and FCMB Capital Markets Limited are joint issuing houses.




LCCI cautions law makers over zero allocation to SEC


HE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has criticised the zero allocation to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by the National Assembly, urging the lawmakers to review their decision. The Chamber’s Director-General, Mr Muda Yusuf, the stand of the lawmakers has many unintended consequences. This, according to him,include, perception and reputational risk for the stability and credibility of the capital market. It also has adverse impact on regulatory effectiveness in the capital market. He said the law makers’ stand could reduce the recent gains of recovery and stability in the capital market and send wrong signals about the nation’s democratic process, especially the preservation of the tenets and values of separation of powers. “We are concerned about the zero allocation to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which is a strategic regulatory institution in the Nigerian financial system. We urge the National Assembly to review its position in the interest of the stability of the

By Toba Agboola

capital market, the nation’s financial system and the larger economy. “We urge the National Assembly to look beyond the person of the Director-General of SEC, and give consideration to the wider implications of its decision for the economy.We believe there are adequate provisions in our laws and a multitude of state institutions that could be deployed to bring any erring public official to justice. This is a better option to explore rather than a clampdown on a strategic regulatory institution,” Yusuf said. The Chamber commended the National Assembly on the early passage of the 2013 Appropriation Bill, saying that this has increased the prospect of improved budget implementation in 2013. “We urge the President to demonstrate a similar spirit by promptly assenting to the bill. The differences in the oil price assumption between the Legislature and the Executive can be managed within a mutually agreed flexible implementation framework. After all, budgets are estimates which would, ultimately, be shaped by

From left: Sector Commander, Ogun State Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr Ayobami Omiyale; Deputy Corps, Public Education Officer, Abuja, Mr Bisi Kazeem; and Head of Section, Uniform Licencing Scheme, Mr Hyginus Fuomsuk, at the mobile court trying road offenders in Sagamu, Ogun State ... on Monday.

reality,” Muda said. He said the early passage of the Appropriation Bill portends some benefits for the economy. These, according to him, will pave way for better planning space and time

U.S. stocks rise as Congress works to reach budget deal


NITED States stocks rose, after the big gest weekly drop for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in about two months, amid budget talks to head off more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases slated to start tomorrow. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) jumped more than 2.3 per cent. Investors bought shares of companies most tied to economic growth, sending technology and material stocks at least 1.2 per cent higher. Facebook Inc. climbed 2.7 per cent after Bank of Montreal raised its rating on the company to outperform from underperform. U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, talks about the negotiations to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff of automatic budget cuts and tax increases. He speaks with Peter Cook on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.” The S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent to 1,414.02 in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52.85 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 12,990.96 on Monday. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 11 per cent below the 30-day average at this time of day. U.S. ex-

changes are closed yesterday for the New Year’s holiday. “The fiscal cliff is the worse-case scenario, and if we have something better than that, then that’s a positive,” said Walter “Bucky” Hellwig, who helps manage $17 billion of assets at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama. “I think we will get a deal. How do we sort that out and the tightening effect on the economy, that will be what the market responds to after the deal.” Stocks briefly pared gains as President Barack Obama said today that while a deal to avert the fiscal is “within sight,”the agreement was not yet complete. He said he was “hopeful”that Congress would reach a smaller agreement that prevents tax hikes and that the deficit can be tackled in stages. The White House and congressional negotiators have so far agreed to contours of a deal including tax cut extensions, with the remaining sticking point being how to handle automatic military and domestic cuts, according to an official familiar with the talks who spoke before Obama’s comments. Income tax cuts would be extended on families earn-

ing up to $450,000, the official said, with rates rising to 39.6 per cent on incomes above that. Progress picked up after a weekend of private talks and public sniping as lawmakers sought to avert more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that make up the so-called fiscal cliff. The S&P 500 (SPX) slipped 1.9 per cent last week, the most since November 9, amid concerns lawmakers weren’t making progress on a budget deal. The benchmark index has fallen 3.6 per cent after reaching the highest level since 2007 in September as Obama’s re-election set up a budget showdown with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The gauge has advanced 12 per cent for the year, extending the bull market rally to 109 per cent since March 2009, as financial stocks and consumer discretionary companies advanced more than 20 per cent. Gains in 2012 have been curbed this month, with the S&P 500 dropping 0.3 per cent. The loss is the worst December performance since 2007, when it fell 0.9 per cent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

BRIC dominance fades as equity returns lag behind


TOCKS in the biggest develop ing markets are lagging behind global equities for a record third year as faster economic growth proves no lure for investors amid concerns over government interference in markets, Bloomberg has reported. The MSCI BRIC Index (MXBRIC) of shares in Brazil, Russia, India and China rose 11 per cent this year through Dec. 28, trailing the MSCI All-Country World Index by 1.6 percentage points. The trend will probably persist in 2013, according to John-Paul Smith, a Deutsche Bank AG strategist. Mutual funds that invest in BRIC nations have posted $1.65 billion of outflows as Brazilian politicians intervened to cut utility rates, China maintained control of its biggest companies and Russian businesses spent shareholder money on projects favored by the government. “This whole revolution of going from a socialistic mentality to a market

economy mentality is not complete,” Mark Mobius, who oversees about $40 billion as the executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group and has invested in developing countries for more than 25 years, said in a Dec. 12 phone interview from Nairobi. “We’re still in the middle of that and have a long way to go.” Stocks of BRIC companies beat global equities by 403 percentage points in the eight years after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. coined the term in 2001, as their economies grew more than threefold. Gross domestic product is now expanding at the slowest rate compared to the rest of the world since 1998. The International Monetary Fund sees average growth in the four countries of 4.5 percent this year, down from 8.1 percent in 2010, compared with 3.3 percent for the world economy. The BRIC index rose less than 0.1 percent at 2:53 p.m. in Hong Kong, while

the All-Country measure slipped less than 0.1 per cent. While the BRIC gauge increased this year, the value of shares traded on local bourses fell to a three-year low and the measure is still 36 per cent below its October 2007 peak. The outlier is India, where the benchmark BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX) surged 26 per cent as the government responded to the threat of a credit-rating downgrade with its biggest push in a decade to open up the economy to foreign investment. “Governments typically only carry out reforms when they have their back to the wall,” Ruchir Sharma, the New York-based head of emerging-market equities and global macro at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, which oversees about $330 billion, said in an interview. “It’s moving in the right direction in some of these countries, but the task is so enormous that I’m not sure it’s enough.”

horizon for stakeholders in the economy because of the signalling effect of the budget from appropriation and policy perspectives. The National Assembly allocated

zero budget to the SEC, citing the Presidency’s refusal to remove its Director-General, Ms Arunma Oteh, from office in line with the law makers’ earlier recommendations.

Unitykapital Assurance profit drops to N298m


NITYKAPITAL Assurance Plc has recorded mar ginal reduction in its profit after tax for the ninemonth period ended September 30, 2012. A breakdown of the unaudited financial result made available to the public through the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that profit dropped from N376.038 million in 2011 to N298.94 million in the review period. Other highlights of the result showed that gross premium earned rose in the three quarters of 2012 to N1.660 billion from N1.583 billion in 2011, while reinsurance cost dropped to N190.750 million from N326.210 million in 2011. Net premium earned rose to N1.469 billion from N1.257 billion; Commission earned was N9.672 million as against N4.125 million in the previous year. Net claims incurred also rose

By Tonia Osundolire

to N193.846 million from N166.230 million; underwriting expenses stood at N90.513 million from N95.763 million, while underwriting profit stood N847.983 million as against N889.167 million in 2011. The underwriting firm had in 2011 financial year paid N130 million to its shareholders, alongside additional bonus shares of 15 new shares for every one held by the shareholders. It recorded premium income of over N1.97 billion in 2011, compared with N941 million realised in the last financial year, which ended December 31, 2010. Shareholders had commended the turnaround from loss to profitability which has been attributed to the new policy of ‘cautious dynamism’ being implemented by the management under the leadership of the Managing Director, Mr Kins Ekebuike.

Resort Savings to disburse N165m Housing Fund


ESORT Savings and Loans Plc has received an ap proval from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to disburse N165.2 million National Housing Fund to applicants for mortgage loans. Managing Director, Resort Savings and Loans Plc, Mr Abimbola Olayinka, in a statement in Lagos, said the bank was poised to deliver quality service to its customers. He said firm is committed to the delivery of houses through its wide range of products, which includes the Fund. “The bank’s target is towards the low, medium income earning individual, private sector employees, public servants, self employed, businessmen, tradesmen owning their personal homes in any urban centre of the federation with the property serving as the sole collateral,” Olayinka said.

He said the loan repayment arrangement is like the monthly rent because of its singular digit interest rate of six per cent per year with a long tenor of about 30 years depending on the age of the subscriber. He added that the bank would be ready to assist individuals and corporate organisations in the remittance of employees’ 2.5 per cent of the basic income from organisations who want to become contributors to the Fund. Olayinka noted that the bank has been able to create an atmosphere that makes home ownership more accessible and timely to Nigerians who are 18 years old and above. The new approval is the second in less than five months. Earlier, N411million was approved for disbursement. The new approval is coming at a time the bank has equipped itself with the state-of-the-art infrastructure and has also established a network of branches in strategic locations across the country.




Where to make money in 2013 M

ANY business opportunities exist in 2013. None of these, however, are get-rich quick ideas. They are business opportunities that provide a real chance to make money in the New Year and beyond – businesses that, done right, in the right place and for the right people may be profitable enterprises for years to come. One of the first steps before making an investment is to do an analysis of the market trends that will affect bottom line. However, identifying and understanding the implications of industry market trends requires a lot of time for those who aren’t working in the given sector. Bike store Bicycling is a popular outdoor activity. Many Nigerians are trying to use bikes to exercise. Anything that is popular is a pretty good business bet. Hot lunch delivery Think how many people working in offices would appreciate the convenience of having a hot meal delivered. A lot of workers will prefer to eat in the office rather than go outside to buy food. Food business is something one should start today. As a caterer, one can choose to go into full scale catering services alongside event planning services or may decide to specialise on food cooking, snacks baking or cakes, barbeque preparation, etc. One can offer various options on meat and expand out to more and more food options and drinks. Outdoor cooking could fun; well, it’s profitable also. Agent The best thing that could happen to a home-business owner is to have so much business that he can’t do it himself. When this happens, he can become an

agent for his type of business by sub-contracting excess work out to others and taking a percentage of the fee. In this capacity, one can do the billing and maintain the clients. When business is slow, one assumes the workload and maintain service to your customers. Errand service People who run everything from home businesses companies often lack the time to get everything done. That’s why there’s such a large demand for errand services. If one have a small truck or van, are punctual and trustworthy, and don’t mind an occasionally hectic schedule, one can profit from delivering packages, picking up supplies, and handling similar details for harried home business owners and executives alike. To locate clients, check with businesses in one’s area, or have friends and family ask their employers if they could use one’s services. Fix-it shop Any appliance, tool, or toy one buys can break — that’s a fact of life. Most Nigerians would rather hold on to what they have rather than incur the cost of buying something new. Having a knack for fixing household items means you can earn some money. There are many low-cost ways to advertise one’s services — flyers, classified ads, and the yellow pages are just a few. There are also many ways to expand one’s business; for example, one could offer pick-up and delivery, stock replacement parts, or refurbish toys and appliances and sell them for less than what they’d cost new. Handyman service Leaky faucets, clogged drains, doors that stick — the list of minor home repair needs are almost endless. Most people just

‘One of the first steps before making an investment is to do an analysis of the market trends that will affect bottom line. However, identifying and understanding the implications of industry market trends requires a lot of time for those who aren’t working in the given sector’ •Home based sewing service

don’t have the time or the knowhow to tackle these problems themselves. If one is good with his hands and have a general knowledge of home repair, then start a handyman service. Charge clients less than the professionals. One’s customers’ savings is one’s gain! One’ll need a good set of tools and a truck. Herb garden Cooking with home-grown herbs holds a special appeal these days. One can capitalise on this culinary trend by growing herbs to sell to small restaurants, specialty shops, health-food stores, or even friends and neighbors. Cultivating an herb garden

‘Grinding mills profitable’


RINDING mills dot most streets in the metropolis. This is because they are needed by many people. The mills grind food stuff, such as beans, maize, cassava, yam flour and pepper. Because of small capital required to start the trade, it appeals to many who have found it difficult to get a job. Encouraged by the prospect in the trade, Mr Justus Onismus started it in 1993 with a lister grinding machine worth N11,000, after he lost his job. Today, Onismus is using the proceeds from the trade to finance his family. After marriage, he started a small provision business alongside the grinding business. His wife was in charge of the store. They sold household items, such as beverages and other provision.They started with N2,000. Later, he added a barber’s shop and a bar. The road to success, however, was not all smooth-sailing. In 2000, they decided to shut the other businesses and concentrate on the grinding trade. They added another diesel powered engine. Today, they have two large grinding machines (one of them uses the latest technology in grinding known as hammer mill) and a milling machine for de-husking grains. Later, he learned how to repair grinding machines and offer his services to others. He also assists new entrants into

can require very little space – in fact, one can grow a fair assortment in flower pots on one’s window sill! Put gardening expertise to work in another way by becoming a “gardening consultant,” — assisting clients in setting up their own herb gardens. Sewing service Do you have a talent for sewing? Starting a sewing service at home is a profitable and enjoyable business. If you have the equipment and skill, the demand is great. Busy professionals need to keep their clothes in shape. Local dry cleaning and clothing stores are good sources for leads. Also, try advertising in the classified section of the local newspaper, or posting flyers in the neighborhood. Put one’s creativity to work by creating curtains and other home decorations, or sewing costumes for holidays and stage productions. To expand, consider the large demand for upholsterers.

Professional organising If one notice the messes in other people’s homes and businesses, then maybe one should be an organiser. There are many books on organising and a multitude of products that help conserve space or provide filing or stacking capability. Gather material on the subject. To start the business, practise with people you know for a small fee, then use this experience to sell yourself to others. You can buy and mark up ready-made products, or call in carpenters to put in closet organisers, shelves, and furniture. What people save in time and money will more than make up the difference. Start a cleaning business One can start a cleaning business in at any level ranging from carpet cleaning, floor cleaning, roof cleaning, office cleaning, foreclosed properties cleaning, home cleaning, etc. You can also operate this business on a part time basis.

Tanzania to create new entrepreneurs


• Onismus at work. Stories by Daniel Essiet

the business. He helps people to choose the best machines and mills to buy and guides them on how to set up the business. At the moment,he said they are financially okay. He has built two houses with many tenants.He owns

a car and a motorcycle. His major challenges are power supply and funds. Electricity supply is epileptic; it has affected business to an extent. Sometimes he desires to expand, but he has limited funds. Another challenge is getting good employees.

ANZANIA is making efforts to create a new generation of creative and forward-looking entrepreneurs, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mr January Makamba, has said. In an interview in Lagos, Makamba said the country is encouraging entrepreneurship among its people so Tanzanians can become self-sufficient. • He said there are significant indicators that the government is committed to nurturing the next generation of business leaders. He said entrepreneurial culture is the key element that contributes to economic development by creating new businesses, jobs and wealth, which leads to sustainable competitiveness. He said the government is creating a business climate that supports and rewards innovation and entrepreneurial initiative. According to him, economic development means building businesses, growing, developing and employing people, to make them

• Makamba

become small and medium–sized companies (SMEs). He said SMEs are creating jobs and stimulating growth and innovation. These entrepreneurial firms are the driving force behind a more competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy.



MARITIME Fed Govt urged to develop rail THE Federal Government has been advised to develop the railway to facilitate the carrying of goods. An expert in marine transport and Principal Partner Multi-system Consult, Dr Wale Adetigba, said the interconnectivity of the rail to water ways was important. “Marine transport is a component part of transportation system in the world and from my training and experience, the marine transport cannot operate in isolation from other modes of transportation, especially with rail system,” he said. A maritime lawyer and lecturer, Mr Dipo Alaka, said if the link is right, the cost of goods in the market would be reduced. “When goods come into the country, the only means of distribution is by road. Unfortunately, the roads are bad. My position is that we need to revisit the railway that is missing in our transport system. As long as the rail system is absent, it will be difficult to have problem-free port operations. The cost of port operation will continue to be high,” he stressed. He said the port system was increasingly becoming automated, noting that the Federal Government has to respond to the global thinking of mechanisation. He, however, added that expertise and modern equipment needed to operate an efficient port system needed attention. According to Adetigba, marine transport is essential to the operation of any country’s economy and a vital part of any nation’s transport system. Without marine transport, Nigeria would have been landlocked and its economy would have remained stagnant in different areas.

Foreigners rule oil trade

•Lagos port

Customs introduces new cargo clearance method T O facilitate cargo clearance at the ports, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has adopted the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR). Customs went for PAAR following the expiration of the contract given to service providers by the Federal Government on Risk Assessment Reports (RAR). PAAR, it was learnt, will be one single document for clearing goods. Customs, sources said, would hold sensitisation workshops for those that will implement PAAR. PAAR, it was gathered, would aid the 48-hour clearance of goods policy. The workshops for customs licensed agents, will dwell on the new clearing procedures, classification of goods and the time-tested valuation of goods’ processes. The workshops are expected to start soon. Young graduate officers, have been recruited and trained abroad and they will be deployed in the ports for intelligence gathering under PAAR, a source said.

•CG Customs Abdullahi Dikko Stories by Oluwakemi Dauda, Maritime Correspondent

PAAR, the source said, would use pre-classification and prevaluation mechanisms to facilitate the importation of goods and enhance Customs efficiency. There will be an integrated Risk

Management Platform to be shared by Customs, National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), among others, to ensure consistency and make cargo clearance easy under the new regime. It will also have a web-based system, using recent technologies to ensure a faster and more accurate service and generate PAAR not later than five working days for shipments by sea and two working days for shipments by air/land after receipt of documents (based on Import guidelines. President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Olayiwola Shittu, said the initiative is good, expressing hope that it would be well-implemented. While calling on the Federal Government to review the number of agencies at the ports, Shittu said PAAR would boost efficiency at the ports.

Lift ban on rice, importers urge govt


HE Federal Government has been urged to lift the ban on rice import through land borders in the interest of the masses. Spokesman of rice importers Mr Gbolahan Adetona described rice as one of the nation’s staples. He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the group import the commodity through land borders this year. Adetona said the landing cost of rice through the seaports was expensive compared to what obtains in neighbouring countries. Another member of the group, Mrs Nosirat Odubela, said import-

ers pay 20 per cent Customs duty and a 20 per cent levy, in compliance with government’s directive. The importers refuted claims that they were shortchanging the government by evading duty, saying they were ready to pay. “It is bad for those that have government’s ears to tag us that are doing legitimate business through the approved land borders and paying the necessary duty to Customs as smugglers. We are not smugglers, but importers and rice merchants. “We prefer to import through the neighbouring ports because we

cannot compete with the local importers that use billions of naira to import the commodity. “Those who engage in smuggling are still in business.They have their routes and know how they convey their rice to the market,” Odubela said. Investigation by The Nation revealed that rice import through land borders has stopped and smuggling has reduced because of Customs surveillance. Some importers in Seme said the price of rice went up during the yuletide because of the importers’ interest.

‘Protect waterways against illegal fishing’


HE Federal Government has been advised to protect the territorial waters and develop naval capability to deal with hazardous waste dumping and piracy. A member of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) Mr Seyi Adetula gave the advice during an interview with The Nation in Lagos. He said the country should work

with foreign partners to develop the capacity that could help it in tackling the crisis caused by piracy and illegal fishing. He said the dumping of toxic waste in the maritime domain and the increasing crimes in the coastline require commitment of the Federal Government to provide capability and cooperation with foreign partners to build its maritime capabil-

ity. Adetula pointed out that security experts around the Horn of Africa have developed theories over increasing piracy. He noted that Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand had set the stage for cooperation between states, in information exchange and mobilisation of resources.

ONLY 60 of the 600 vessels in the upstream oil sector are owned by indigenous operators, the General Secretary of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Captain Niyi Labinjo, has said in Lagos. He told The Nation that a vessel on offshore operations makes a minimum of $5,000 daily. This, according to him, is the least amount made by a foreign vessel doing business in the nation. As a result of lack of indigenous ships, he said the country loses about N2 trillion yearly. He said: “We have plenty of hydrocarbons. As at today, it is 37 billion barrels, but our government is working towards making it 40 billion barrels. That is our proven reserve. We are said to be the 10th world producer of oil. The world uses 84 million barrels per day of oil and Nigeria produces 2.5 million barrels every day. For gas, we have 24 trillion reserves. “We have the best shrimps in the world called tiger shrimps. That is why you have many Indian fishing companies in Nigeria. All the tiger shrimps are exported. We import into Nigeria every five million metric tonnes of cargo and 100 million metric tonnes of goods. We also import 65 million litres of petroleum products every year. “In the oil and gas industry, Nigeria has about 500 oil wells. For each well, there is a rig, which is supported by a minimum of five ships, and they are called oil support vessels.” He said a foreign ship earns $5,000, while others earn $150,000 per day.

Lawyer canvasses use of arbitration A lawyer, Deji Agbaje, has said the use of arbitration in settling maritime disputes will boost the country’s development plan. At a seminar entitled: Effects of resolving maritime dispute through arbitration, organised by maritime traders in Lagos, Agbaje said arbitration attracts foreign direct investment and sustains a high level of private sector-led investments. Agbaje said arbitration was a cost-effective dispute resolution mechanism, which has contributed to the timely settlement of disputes in many sectors of the economy. He added that arbitration is needed for the smooth-running of the maritime industry in Nigeria being a coastal state where the sector contributes a considerable percentage to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “Most maritime arbitrations involving Nigeria parties were conducted in London in the past; however, with the combined effect of the Arbitration Act as well as arbitral institutes, facilities and associations in Nigeria, disputes arising out of maritime transactions are settled within the country. This has contributed immensely to the growth of the economy. “There is an increase of trained arbitrators, experts and support staff in Nigeria. The advent of these professional arbitrators has shortened the time frame of arbitral proceedings and contributed to providing a more effective means of dispute resolution,” he said.

‘Free-on-Board policy is uneconomical’ NIGERIA loses billions of naira to the continued use of Free-on-Board (FoB) policy, the President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, has said. FoB, the body said, is a trade policy that gives the buyer the opportunity to pay for the shipment and landing costs of the goods from the port of origin. Shittu said there was an urgent need for the President Goodluck Jonathan administration to adopt Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) for the lifting of crude oil. CIF, he said, gives the seller the right to arrange for the ferrying of goods by sea to a port of destination, and provide the buyer with the documents necessary to collect them from the carrier. Shittu said a major part of the problems faced by indigenous owners was due to the failure to enforce the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA) Act, 2007, five years after its enactment. He said Nigeria is the only country that is still using the FoB policy. A member of the group, Mr Segun Ogunsanu, said the indigenous shipping firms have over the years been grappling with lack of cargo support, which had made so many of them to close shop with the attendant unemployment problems years after the enactment of the act and other legislations, such as the Cabotage Act, 2003 and Nigerian Content Act 2010.

By Musa Odoshimokhe




Who owns GAT, FAAN or Bi-Courtney? •Row over airport terminal deepens


HE war of attrition between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited over the ownership of the remodelled General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, is still raging . According to FAAN, the truth has not been told about the status of the terminal. FAAN, according to its spokesman, Mr Yakubu Dati, explained that it is imperative to explain the ownership status of the terminal following what he calls misrepresentations by Bi-Courtney. The firm, which manages the MMA2 terminal, is claiming ownership of the facility. Dati was reacting to a statement by the firm’s spokesman Mr Steve Omolale-Ajulo, that the terminal does not belong to FAAN. Dati said: “ It is an open secret that Bi-Courtney, in a desperate bid to also deceive unwary Nigerians, has taken it upon itself to engaged in a campaign of calumny against both the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria for standing up against the company's well-known penchant for taking undue advantage of its business partners, especially government agencies. “This has been done through several sponsored articles using different channels to propagate lies to the public. Other times it had gone overboard to sponsor faceless individuals to do its bidding. “We know that the case between FAAN and BASL has not been fi-

By Yakubu Dati

nally decided by the judiciary, so we will limit our response to his article and present facts that will debunk the lies and expose the mischief contained so that the public is not deceived. “The pertinent question remains, agreement approved by who? Does the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN have the authority to cede government property to a third party or concessionaire, without the approval of the Federal Executive Council, which approved the initial concession in the first place? “It should be noted that it is not in all the cases that a minister's action receives the approval of Mr President and some ministers have been relieved of their portfolios or meted with stricter measures because of such illegal or irrational actions. “The fact is that the draft agreement for the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) of the Domestic Terminal 1 was for a total cost of N3.9billion and the tenure of the agreement was 12 years, dully approved by the Federal Executive Council. This is the only authentic agreement. “Immediately after this agreement, Bi-Courtney organised a consortium of banks and got a loan facility to the tune of N38billion contrary to the terms of the agreement which pegged the cost at N3.9billion. Bi-Courtney then proceeded to build a different design that was not agreed nor approved by FAAN. This was the genesis of

•Aviation Minister Stella Oduah


Bi-Courtney's predicament. “The company after realising its folly now approached a consultant KPMG on how long it would take to recoup the N38billion. The consultant findings revealed that it would take 36 years. “Their co-travellers at the Ministry also got another consultant, who recommended 45 years! Realising this dilemma, they started various divisive antics on how to get an elongation of tenure of the initial agreement through their connections at the helms of affairs at that time. “They approached the former President, the late Alhaji Umar Musa Yar'Adua, to authorise an elongation; predictably, he outrightly refused them because it was not in the overall interest of the nation. “They again went back to a former Minister of Aviation, and persuaded one of his Personal Assistants contrary to government's regulation who

•Chairman, Bi-Courtney, Dr Wale Babalakin

•FAAN MD George Uriesi

gave them a purported letter of approval extending the tenure to 36 years. It is this fraudulent and criminal document they have been brandishing around as official approval for this bogus project. “Furthermore, the company got another purported approval from a former Attorney-General, who set up a committee, got people who are not staff of FAAN to be the members of the committee, to extend the tenure to 36 years. “All the so-called approvals were without any FEC approval. There was none, whatsoever from DPP, ICRC and other mandatory organs. We challenge Bi-Courtney to produce any formal approval, for extension of the tenure of agreement by FEC, and bring this out to the public domain. “The purported approvals are not in the best interest of the nation and people who ought to be in jail are busy misinforming the public in pursuit of greedy, selfish interest. “Bi-Courtney is the one talking about its predicament so, the onus is on it to justify this so-called predica-

ment imposed by government, by publishing the document signed by the same government granting it a 36-year concession and the ownership of GAT. “If Bi-Courtney does not take up this challenge, it is an admission that the company is suffering from a self-imposed predicament, engendered by greed and insincerity, to say the least. “Nigerians should appreciate this government for deciding to put an end to the discrepancies and criminal tendencies associated with many concession agreements of the past, no matter who is involved in these concessions. “The overall best interest of the country should override the narrow and parochial interests of a few self-serving government officials and fraudulent investors. “In the words of Abraham Lincoln: ‘You can fool some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’ The game is up for Bi-Courtney.” •Dati is General Manager, Corporate Communication, FAAN

Accident Bureau to build lab for black boxes in Abuja


HE Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is to build its accident investigation laboratory in Abuja, where flight data and cockpit voice recorders of crashed aircraft will be decoded, its Commissioner, Captain Mukhtar Usman has said. Usman told reporters in Lagos, that the project would cost $5.5million. "The bureau is very close to launching its own Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) laboratory from CAE/Flight Scape Incorporation of Canada, which will enable us to download both flight recorders promptly during investigation. “Hitherto and now, these units are taken overseas for downloading,'' he said. The system also can also be used for real time flight data monitoring, Usman added. He said the laboratory would be

Stories by Kelvin Osa-Okunbor Aviation Correspondent

located in Abuja in line with international practices where similar accident investigation laboratories of other developed countries are located in their capital The equipment has arrived in Nigeria and work would soon start at the site, he explained. Usman added that on completion, the laboratory would handle cases of air, marine, road and rail crashes. "We have highly qualified accident investigators who were trained in the world class institutions to man the laboratory on inauguration, he said. Usman also said the bureau has started training its personnel in investigating marine, road and rail related accidents when ever they occurred. So AIB's planned collaboration

with the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) in this respect is still ongoing, he said. He added that 20 out of the bureau's 32 recommendations had so far been implemented by the Federal Government through Ministry of Aviation. This included the establishment of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project, airlines installing ground tracking devices in their offices to monitor their aircraft while flying, he said. He recalled that no passengers could be rescued in the ADC, Bellview aircraft and Beechraft 1900 D aircraft crashes when they occurred because there were no radar systems to track them. The AIB boss listed the safety recommendation to the government to include the completion of the total radar coverage of the airspace, the provision of pilots

and crew briefing rooms at the airport, as well as the provision of inboard and on the ground detection equipment to boost safety. He affirmed that safety has improved in the airspace contrary to speculation in some sections, saying that if the airspace were unsafe, mega carriers from all over the world will not be flying into the country. Captain Usman also confirmed that the committee set up by the Federal Government requested the assistance of the agency to unravel the cause of the Nigerian Navy Agusta helicopter crash in Okoroba, Bayelsa State. Usman explained that though, the agency is saddled with investigating civil aviation aircraft accidents, it could not, but offer assistance on request to find out the cause of the military helicopter crash. He explained that there exists collaboration between the military and civil aviation authorities, hence the

desire of the AIB , to assist in finding the probable cause of the accident. Usman further said: " The AIB cannot investigate military accidents in line with the rules setting up the agency, but this time around a request was made by the body named by government for the AIB to assist. That is precisely, what we are doing. “Further to this, we have trained all our personnel to handle the investigation of all modes of transportation." He also spoke of collaboration with the Ghanaian authorities to assist in the investigation of the Allied Air cargo aircraft that crashed in Accra, near the Kotoka International Airport, on June 2, 2012. He added: " Nigeria was invited to participate in the investigation of the accident of the cargo plane belonging to Allied Air."

Emirates offers ‘special‘ 2013 fares


MIRATES Airlines is welcoming 2013 aboard by offering attractive fares for quick-acting customers. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with family and friends or visit a dream destination Emirates’ Economy class deals, currently available for early bookers, offer something for everyone. The special fares apply to more than 120 destinations across the Emirates’ network when booked between December 26, 2012 and January 2013. “With our excellent on board product and a long list of exciting destinations - from Buenos Aires and San Francisco in the west to Tokyo and Auckland in the east – there are already many reasons to experience Emirates,” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President – Passenger Sales World-

wide. “Now, we are injecting even more value into Economy Class fares, while giving a warm welcome to 2013. We urge customers to move quickly to secure seats at the best price,” added Mr Antinori. The raft of savings means that passengers can fly, for example from Nigeria to other Middle East destinations for as little as US$989, to Dubai from US$956. Prices to India and South East Asia starts from US$840, fares to South East Asia begin from $1,103, China and Japan starts from $998 while Australia and New Zealand can now be reached from $2,415. All the prices quoted are inclusive of taxes and fuel surcharges. Emirates’ world has grown rapidly in 2012, with the launch of 15 new destinations, bringing new countries, cultures and experiences for customers to explore.

•Med-View Aircraft B-737-700 on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 Ikeja, Lagos.



The Midweek Magazine


Sultan to open Auchi fiesta


HE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saa’d Abubakar III, will open the Auchi Day Festival on January 18 with a lecture entitled: The purpose of life. The event will hold at the palace of the Otaru of Auchi. The two-day festival is to promote co existence of the Nigeria citizenry and oneness of a nation that should depict the essence of living together, irrespective of religion and tribe. Also expected at the festival are Cardinal John Onaiyekan of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja; Prof. Zakarau Oseni of the University of Ilorin, Chief Imam of Arafat Mosque, Auchi, Sheikh Ahmad Bello of the Umaru Musa Yara’dua University, Katsina and Sheikh Abdul-Lateef Abudul-Hakeem, the Chief Imam of Lagos State House of Assembly who will speak on Islam. The festival will also unveil Prof. Oseni’s lecture on “the century of adoption of Islam as a way of life in Auchi Kingdom (1912-2012)”. Traditional materials that would add colour to the festival will feature “Isiko Troupe” (hunters’ dance) a prominent profession among the Auchi people and “Iyekute” a female troupe enhanced with re-collective lyrics of Auchi folklore that contain lessons on moral ethics. Personalities expected at the festival include Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole as the Guest of Honour; Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, with His Royal Highness, Sami Gono II Emir of Zuru, Gen Muhammadu Sani, Sani (rtd).


Queen Ure unveils album By Evelyn Osagie


•Dzukogi (2nd left) and Mr Asigbe receiving books from Dr Vicky Sylvester

•Omolaja explaining his work on Soyinka.

work of Kinsley, Part of my Body. “I wrote it because of the way some people are misusing their body, smoking and getting drunk,” said the 12-year-old Omolaja who described the centre as “a meeting point for all of us children from different background and zones of Nigeria”. If you had met young Omolaja the last year, you would have found one timid boy who was consumed with stage fright, it was learnt. “But today, I am no longer shy or afraid of crowd. Since I started coming here last year, I have learnt lots of things. I can now draw and write short stories. Creative writing is taken very seriously as we have mentors to help us as in other aspects also. I started with learning how to write poems and this year, aunty, we have an anthology in which I contributed a poem, Part of my Body. The Wicked Mother and Full Moon are part of the works of my pairs. We are all involved: doing one thing or the other. Also, we are inspired by the calibre of writers that has visited this centre. We have been blessed with the visit of notable people like Mallam Abubakar Gimba, Ofeimun Odia, Remi Raji, Ahmed Maiwada, Camillus Ukah, etc.” And in anticipation of the Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka’s visit to the place during the last MBA Colloquium, young Omolaja and his colleagues, such as Umar Faruk Yusuf, Abdul-Azeez Yusuf, Musa Abdullahi and, Adamu Abdullahi, drew a portrait of him and made various works and crafts in his honour. Even though eventually he did not come, perhaps because of the day’s tight schedule, they said they honoured to have made something for him. They were also elated over the presence of other writers led by the ace poet Odia Ofeimun that finally visited. “We are happy you are all here and would like your autographs, if you don’t mind,” young omolaja told the writers as he and others treated them to warms


Centre where future giants are nurtured •Continued from page 28

speeches, dramatic and artistic displays. Their presentations and the structure of the place not only drew applause but also lots of encomium and monetary donations from the visitors. The visit brought back nostalgia in poet Ofeimun so much so that he was moved to make donation to the centre. “I wish when I was a child I had a Hill-Top to go to. Maybe I would have been a better poet. I owe them more books,” he said. ANA Abuja chair Edwin Eriata Oribhator hoped to borrow a leaf from the experience. “I appreciate what is happening here and would love to replicate it anywhere I am, especially in my hometown. To be here today is like a dream come true.” Hill-Top Model School Principal, Mallam Hahiru Ahmed said: “We appreciate the centre for bringing us honour and hope. I enjoin them to keep the temple going.” Aside Dzukogi and Sakiwa, the centre also has on its board Francis Sokomba, an artist whose exhibition has featured in Foundation Valparaiso Mojacar, Spain and Theatre Royal Stratford East London; ANA Niger chair, Kamar Hamza and business administrator, Isyaku Bala Ibrahim. The mentors include Nenger, BM Nagidi, Khadijat Abdullah, among others. The centre is also seeking to become a place for discovering the “New Nigerian Child” “that will be moulded into a functional engine for the society”, it was said.

ANKER and Coach Ure Okezie is known for two things: smiling and singing. However, Okezie, who is popu larly called Queen Ure, has chosen to take the latter to a professional level. She is out with an album entitled: Porpori. It was unveiled last Saturday amid glamour at The Cave in Lagos. It was released under the label, Dream and Become International where the singer is the chief executive officer. She holds a Bachelors degree in Physics and has over 10 years experience in banking. What could have motivated this former bank executive, who is also the former wife of the famed music act Soul E, to go into music – money, fame or her former hubby? As a one-time backup singer for the famous gospel artiste, Paulam Bassey Paul, the banker now turned singer, said music has always been her first love. “Music has always been a passion close to my heart. I started singing from age 10 and have always known that someday I would go into it fully. I guess that day is here. I am happy because it has been well received,” she said. The album is a music Potpourri containing 15 tracks written by Queen Ure and produced by Georgee Nathaniel alongside Dude Tetsola and Cashson. Whether it’s reggae, R&B, Afro pop and Highlife, Queen Ure’s album seems to have something in it for everyone. It touches on varying subjects: from love, romance to gospel and admonition. The tracks, especially the main one that has its video already on Nigerian screens, the singer said, is inspired by a past love affair wished would not end. “I had an experience that I wanted a repeat of it. And that desire inspired the song,” she said. The unveiling was a night of thrills. Queen Ure gave guests a dose of what the album contained. She thrilled them with her performances which could have been better had she worn something more flexible to aid her movement other than the beautiful long flowing gown she had on since her brand of music was basically dancehall. And had she had some dancers on stage alongside each performance, it was would have given more life to her performance. The audience observed that the performance of the track entitled: Hapum aka, that is inspired by the press, was outstanding, perhaps because it featured the dance group called Just Dance on stage. Other tracks performed at the event are Nkem o, I Cherish the Moment and Get Down featuring the up and coming artist Dude Tesola, among others. The event, which opened with a red carpet, had in attendance celebrities from the music and film industries such as the Alariwo of Africa, Ghanaian actresss Halima Abubakar, Ijeoma Imo, among others.

•Queen Ure



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AVE you ever heard of the ‘Tree of Forgetfulness’ located on the coast of Quidah in the present day Benin Republic? It was a mystery tree around which captured slaves destined for an irreversible and involuntary trip across the Atlantic had to engage in a ritual dance before their fateful departure. The purpose of the dance was to induce amnesia in the slaves, to empty their minds of any remembrance of their past life as they ventured out to a strange, new experience. Most probably, you must have heard of the point of no return at the Badagry slave port here in Nigeria; that point at which captured slaves bade a final unsolicited farewell to their homeland as they faced a dark and uncertain journey. But are you aware that before getting to the point of no return they equally had to drink water from a strange “well of attenuation” for the same purpose of inducing amnesia as the case in Quidah? Have you heard of the long and bitter rivalry between the Mobee and Seriki Williams Abass families in Badagry over their competitive roles as collaborators with foreigners in the iniquitous slave trade enterprise? These are only tips of the revealing history of Africa vividly portrayed by Wole Soyinka in his new and exciting book, “Harmattan Haze on African Spring”. In this book, one of the most profound thinkers of our time takes a hard look at the African predicament; he dares to ask painful questions and to think the unthinkable. What shines throughout this book is Soyinka’s passionate commitment to Africa, his ardent desire for a change in the fortunes of one of the most abused and humiliated geographical delineations in history. But Soyinka’s concern for the continent of his birth is not borne of racist xenophobia. Rather, it is only a manifestation of his larger commitment to humanity as indelibly captured in his famous credo: ‘Justice is the first condition of humanity”. Soyinka has spent a substantial part of his eventful life fighting injustice and human indignity wherever it rears its head irrespective of race or faith. But Soyinka in this delectable intellectual

Segun Ayobolu sms to 07032777778

Harmattan haze on an African spring (1) banquet; an enriching history of the all too tragic African drama, starts with the most fundamental question, what exactly is Africa? In his words, the beleaguered continent “is at once part wish-fulfilment and part reality, part projection and part historical distillation, part fiction and part memory. It is, of course, generally acknowledged as a warehouse of yet untapped natural resources. Even as Africa exists as a desire for some, so does it constitute a nightmare from which others pray to be awakened…”. Soyinka undertakes an extensive survey of the portraits of Africa given by an assortment of foreign explorers, writers and thinkers many of whom had little or no understanding of the peoples and cultures they purported so authoritatively to portray to the world. These misguided interpreters of Africa include Leo Froebinus, Joyce Cary, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Conrad and Lord Tennyson among several others. Soyinka describes their efforts as the ‘fictioning of Africa’ pointing out scathingly that “the perceived darkness of the African continent may be a function of the wild cataract in the eye of the beholder”. Although noting that Africa is the only

continent that was not ‘discovered’ by others, Soyinka insists that the redemption of the continent must begin with a ‘voyage of self-discovery’ by Africans themselves. He affirms the significance of history in understanding the challenges of contemporary Africa warning of the dangers of sweeping the lessons of our bitter history under the carpet. For him, the colonially devised boundaries of contemporary Africa are elaborate fictions that have failed to evolve into enduring, cohering realities and African leaders must summon the moral and self-sacrificial courage to make radical adjustments more in tune with the continent’s natural socio-cultural contours. He is equally fierce in condemning the antics of dictatorial and corrupt African leaders whose conduct only serve to confirm the earlier distortion of the continent’s history by external voices and interests. In line with his concern with history, Soyinka takes a detailed look at the savage phenomenon of slavery and the slave trade and its continuing negative implications for the African psyche. For Soyinka, slavery was one of the most heinous crimes against humanity on a scale as monstrous, if not more,

than the holocaust or Hiroshima. Of course, this is a path Walter Rodney had earlier charted in his path-breaking ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’. But while Rodney’s is a coldly logical historical analysis, the barbarity, humiliation and dehumanization of slavery vividly come alive as Soyinka’s dramatic skills guides us through various slave camps including Salaga, Sandema, Nalieregu, Gandlu, Jenini, Kafaba, Kintampo and others in diverse parts of Africa. Furthermore, unlike Rodney, Soyinka does not just concentrate on the European trans-Atlantic slave trade but also focussed extensively on the Arabdriven trans-Saharan slave trade that equally had a devastating effect on Africa. Indeed, Soyinka decries the tendency to underplay the forced “dispersal of Africans throughout the Arab world” noting that the trans-Saharan slave trade commenced at least a thousand years before the trans-Atlantic slave trade and continued long after the abolition of the latter. He traces the roots of the Arab victimisation of blacks in recent decades in Zanzibar, Mauritania and lately the Darfur tragedy in Sudan to the trans-Sahara slave trade. Another point of divergence between Soyinka and Rodney is the former’s emphasis on the role of African collaborators in enslaving their kinsfolk. Noting, for instance, that it was the African slave hunters and middlemen that thought up the ritual of the ‘Tree of Forgetfulness’, Soyinka laments that “…the processes – ritualistic or commercial – that desecrated so much of Africa’s humanity implicated, ironically and embarrassingly, the very race that produced millions of such victims”. Soyinka’s new book came out about the same time as Chinua Achebe’s ‘There was a Country’. It is clearly one of the most important new books on Africa and deserves to be thoroughly debated and discussed. In the second part of this review, we will examine Soyinka’s explosive, controversial and unorthodox views on precolonial African spirituality and its perceived redemptive potentials both for Africa and humanity.

Foundation unveiled By Udemma Chukwuma


•First Bank Plc-sponsored Thespian Family Theatre performance, Med King of Ijudiya at the MUSON Centre, Lagos last Friday

EN-TEN Charity Foundation has introduced a new way in which people can benefit in the society. Its founder Fifehanmi Bankole, who spoke at the unveiling session of the foundation, said: “Let’s Play Ten-Ten is a pan-African social movement inspiring people to help people and empowering people who inspire people to help people. Let’s Play Ten-Ten is creatively designed as a social microgiving, savings-for-charity game because we believe in the power and potential of micro-giving: little means so much to someone somewhere. Let’s Play Ten-Ten is a game of love, a game of life that is accountable to its players and other stakeholders at different levels”. ”We are not hoping to save the world just as many charity foundations will say but to make a change with change. Let’s play TenTen is a two level game you play by saving every ten naira you come across over a period of three moths so that you can give your TenTen savings to charity. The second part is to inspire nine people to play the game with you. If you inspire nine people we will send you outstanding certificate for contributing to charity, outstanding certificate to recognise that leadership quality and nation building”. Bankole said the certificate makes its possible for a star player of the game to receive empowerment training on four various areas such as leadership development, community development, civic engagement and entrepreneurship courtesy of British Council or US Consulate. He stressed that the group aims at inspiring 10 million Nigerians in 10 years to participate in Let’s Play Ten-Ten. “Inspiring nations appears an ambitious goal, but we believe that it is possible through creative collaborations, when people who share our passion get involved and people are inspired to inspire people to help people. Institutions, corporations, organisations, states, entrepreneurs, professionals, sit-home mums, engineers, creative, scientist, politician, diplomats, military personnel, students, grandparents—anyone who cares about people and charity cases can help us to achieve our mission”, he said.



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The man who would have been president


HE first thing that struck me on opening this 511-page book was that I attended the same primary school - Sacred Heart School, Odoakpu, Onitsha - as the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili. Incidentally, Dr. Odili was admitted into the next-door secondary school, the famous Christ the King College, (CKC) Onitsha, where I lived all my early life in the staff quarters with my uncle JO Aginam who was a CKC teacher. So all the names Dr. Odili mentions in the book about his college life, like the legendary CKC principal, Rev. Fr NC Tagbo, and the teacher Nwishienyi who gave the youthful Odili a slap that nearly led to a school riot, were personages who “brought me up by hand” as Charles Dickens put it in Great Expectations. On that familiar platform, Dr. Odili’s story happens to be my story too. Dr. Odili would go on in the course of time to live a very public life in Nigeria as Rivers State Deputy Governor, then Governor and nearly capped it all up with becoming the Nigerian President but for some bewildering gang-up and plot that stopped him short at the eleventh hour. In the run-up to the 2007 presidential contest, Odili was without question the front-runner amongst the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants. The bystander that would eventually gain the PDP candidacy, to wit, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was not even in the contest, and the man who was shooed in into the vice-presidential slot, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was equally not interested in throwing his hat into the ring. Odili’s campaign drive, led by the irrepressible Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, was in full rev towards the end of 2006 until, as Dr. Odili writes in Conscience and History, “12th December, a spurious and anonymous petition was posted in the internet from a questionable ‘source’ alleging corrupt practices against the Rivers State Government under me. These allegations were converted into a petition by the EFCC under Nuhu Ribadu’s hand, to the President same day. On the 13th of December, 2006 Mr President directed EFCC to investigate. On the 14th day of December, 2006, EFCC submitted a so-called ‘interim’ report to the then President who promptly minuted (sic) for my response on the same 14th December, 2006, but forwarded to me on 15/12/06, a day to convention vide ref. PRES/44. I assembled what was left of my cabinet team, a few having been arrested and kept at the EFCC office in Lagos within these few days of urgent dramatic action. We submitted our response on the 15th day of December, 2006 by which time it had become clear what the


Conscience and History – My Story (An Autobiography)


Dr. Peter Otunuya Odili


Uzor Maxim Uzoatu



whole exercise was about – ‘Get Odili out of the race for the Presidency, at all cost.’ … This became lucidly clear with the instant release of my staff who were being detained in Lagos by the EFCC as soon as I voluntarily and wisely withdrew from the contest. There was jubilation at the EFCC office immediately the news of my withdrawal broke and all my staff were asked by EFCC to go home immediately.” After withdrawal from the PDP presidential primaries Odili was then summoned to Aso Villa on the morning of December 16, the day of the PDP Convention, by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. The promise Odili got after the morning prayers at the Villa with Obasanjo was that he would be made the running mate of Umaru Yar’Adua. It happened that when Odili went to meet Yar’Adua he ominously discovered that conversation amongst the gathered party wigs such as Chief James Ibori, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and Nassir El-Rufai immediately seized. Yar’Adua took Odili upstairs to introduce him to his wife Turai “and assured me of his happiness at the prospect of our working together”. Then Yar’Adua and Odili went together to the Eagle Square, the venue of the Convention, and walked round the square. Odili was even privileged to see the typed copy of Yar’Adua’s prepared acceptance speech where “it was clearly stated that he had nominated Dr. Peter Odili as his running-mate for the Presidential race.” It was in the ungodly hour of around 3.30am that Odili was informed that some fresh information just received from the selfsame Nuhu Ribadu would lead to his dropping as the running-mate. In the end Yar’Adua read a handwritten acceptance speech that excluded Odili’s name, only adding that further consultations were being made on the vexed matter of his running-mate. It was later in the evening of De-


cember 17, 2007 that Dr. Jonathan’s name manifested as the running-mate of Yar’Adua. Odili’s book Conscience and History is indeed momentous given the countrywide angst about governance in the country and the news flying fast and free that Obasanjo had fallen out with President Jonathan. The offering of Odili in Conscience and History is indeed an object lesson in political brinkmanship. Even so, Odili’s autobiography transcends politics to encompass love in its natural flora and fauna. Born on August 15, 1948 in Ndoni of the now Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA of present-day Rivers State, Odili showed leadership qualities from very early in life. He was the Senior Prefect and College Captain of the esteemed CKC Onitsha, where he had his secondary school education. According to Odili, “From cradle, through primary school, and admission into one of the best secondary schools of our time, I can say without any shred of doubt that the foundational impact of secondary school education is the fulcrum of anyone’s life later. That’s what CKC did for me. I won’t be who I am if I did not pass through the walls of CKC.” He suffered as a refugee during the civil war and had to submit to being recruited as a soldier. He took top position in the army course and was deployed as an instructor in the school of infantry instead of being sent to the warfront. After the war he began schoolwork as an indigent medical student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A driven lad, he embarked on the holiday trade of travelling abroad to earn some money which immediately turned him into a cam-

pus big boy. It was fateful afternoon, about 1.30pm, in 1972 that Odili espied the beautiful Mary who became the love and anchor of his life. Three girls had entered a lecture in the bid to “colonize” some seats when the young Peter saw the dashing damsel. When the girls left Peter opened one of the books of the girl of his adoration and saw her name: Mary Nzenwa. He had to wait all of three years before an old CKC friend Papp Alumona fortuitously brought Mary into the young Peter’s world through a birthday party. Peter and Mary got married on August 26, 1977 at Oredo Local Government Council Registry, Benin, whist he was a house officer and Mary was in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. Odili’s fatherin-law, the great HRH Eze (Barr) BSC Nzenwa, who played pivotal roles in the founding of Rangers Football Club of Enugu and Spartans of Owerri, generously waived the expensive Mbaise marriage for a later date which the couple undertook in grand style in 1982. Blessed with four children and five grandchildren, Dr Peter and Justice Mary Odili are the one example of a marriage made in heaven. Odili founded PAMO Clinics and Hospitals in Port Harcourt in 1982, growing it in leaps and bounds as the very best in Rivers State despite the sabotage of a trusted associate named Idigo. A Catholic to the core, Odili is a Knight of St. John International and Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great (Supreme Papal Knighthood). Odili’s exploits in politics, notably as Deputy Governor of the old Rivers State in 1992/93; leader of the Rivers State Delegates to the Constitutional Conference 1994/95; Rivers State Governor from 1999 to 2007 etc. stood in him good stead to stand for the coveted Presidency of the country in 2007 which was thwarted through underhand means. He then headed to the courts to clear his name. He won justice against the EFCC through a thorough court trial as documented in Conscience and History as opposed to the “perpetual injunction” against his trial as peddled by his traducers. In an uncanny twist of fate, Odili became estranged from his protégé Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who emerged as Rivers State Governor through a landmark Supreme Court ruling. Governor Amaechi set up the Kayode Eso Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which Odili saw as “clearly conceived, designed and programmed to permanently indict and incarcerate Dr Odili.” Once again, Dr Odili went to court and got deserved justice.

‘Language, literature vital for national development


HE role of language in the development of a country such as Nigeria has been emphasised at a conference on language, literature and national consciousness. The three-day conference was organised by the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus. The Head of Department of English, Dr. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, expressed the need to address issues as armed robbery, kidnapping, climate change, gross unemployment, the bottomless gulf between the government and the governed, mass deaths, jungle justices, terrorism and other forms of organised crimes with reading of literature. Dr Chuma-Udeh said through the manipulations of language and the apt use of words, positive change can be brought about in any society. The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Sam Ukala, pointed out that any nation that dreams of development, even in science and technology, must pay attention to the study of the disciplines that can positively cultivate the mind, such as language and literature. According to Ukala, it is the uncertainty in the mind of the Nigerian nation about the functions of language, literature and the rest of the humanities in nation building that is responsible for the government’s discrimination against the Arts, which manifests clearly in the admission quotas foisted on the Nigerian Universities by the Nigerian Government. These quotas ensure that for every 60 students

•From left: Chairman, Nigerian Red Cross Katsina State, Dr. Ishaka Sarkin Fulani; Vice Chancellor Anambra State University, Igbariam, Prof. Fidelis Okafor; Chairman, Council of Chiefs Ekpetiama, Bayelsa State, HRH Chief C.A.O. Otobotekere and Col. Gagariga, who represented Major-General Isah at the event From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

CONFERENCE admitted into the sciences, only 40 may be admitted into the Arts. Ukala stressed further that it is odd to regulate university admissions in disfavour of Arts not minding the powers of the Arts in fostering all-round development by generating in the imagination the dreams upon which Science and Technology are built. The keynote speaker, Major General D. M. Isah represented by Colonel Taritimiye Gagariga, commanding officer of the Nigerian Army 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, equally noted that Language and Literature

must be a means of driving a country’s development, pointing out that countries like Japan, China, France and USA, whom we emulate, do promote their mother local dialects as well as their official language. According to him, “We should endeavour to speak our mother tongue, use it in the media, publications, writing of various sorts and the products we sample in the labour market or sell to our neighbouring countries. ”Our mother tongue should also be used as a means of learning in Arts, Science and Technology because most developed countries succeeded by developing interest in their own local dialects as much as they speak other languages.”

He charged the federal government to implement the use of mother tongues as much as possible, since it has been made compulsory in schools, so that the nation will witness a tremendous improvement in her pursuit of development, unity and integrity. Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo of the Department of English, University of Lagos, encouraged the participants and students to pass the good message to the public on the need to evolve a new consciousness whereby Nigerians will harnessing what they have, believing in themselves and pushing for a more positive way of realising their dream of being among the best as against the current culture of borrowing everything from others.



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A baby girl making up at Fun Factory, Lekki, Lagos during the Yuletide.


Controversy over Fakeye dynasty identity By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)




SENIOR Lecturer at the Fine and Applied Arts Department, Delta State University, Abraka, Dr. Nelson Edewor, has described the popular Fakeye woodcarving dynasty as inappropriate identity of the dynasty. He said the dynasty’s appropriate taxonomy is Olawonyi woodcarving dynasty, adding that the late Lamidi Fakeye belongs to a fifth generation carver in the dynasty. Edewor, who recently returned from 10 week of post-doctoral fellowship at the Oriental and African Studies, University of London, said that Fakeye belongs to a longstanding tradition of woodcarving culture, which is traced to Olawonyi, the founder of Omido Community in Kwara State. He recalled that he corrected this anomalous that assigns the family identity to Fakeye Akobi-Ogun (father of Lamaidi) in

his Ph.D thesis, Historical Study of the Olawonyi Carving Dynasty in 2009. On the periodisation and categorisation of Lamidi Fakeye’s practice, Dr. Edewor observed that Fakeye’s practice spans seven decades, which could be collapsed into four distinct periods: Pre-Oye-Ekiti period (19381948), Oye-Ekiti period (1949-1960), early post-Oye-Ekiti period (1961-1996) and late Oye-Ekiti period (1997-2009). He noted that these periods oscillate between Yoruba longstanding (traditional) and neo-traditional tendencies. “In contrast to these, my study shows that Lamidi is a modernist of the new Igbomina/ Ekiti art form. This position arises from the interrogation of his formal progression from Igbomina longstanding woodcarving traditions to adapting Ekiti forms during the OyeEkiti workshop, eventual oversea studies at Paris and the continued interface with academic culture as instructor at the university level home and abroad. Also, care was taken to tailor his works within the socio-political changes of the Nigerian state and the development of modern Nigerian art,” he said. He wondered if it is the form of art that situate an artist or his reaction to his time. According to him, until recently he saw the late Fakeye as a bridge between traditional and modern artists, but ‘should I judge an artist by his beginning or his end?’ He was on fellowship between October 1 and December 14 during which he presented two seminars; Bestriding Igbomina/Ekiti Longstanding Woodcarving Traditions and Modern Nigerian Art; Lamidi Olonade Fakeye (19282009) and Evolution, Development and Challenges of Modern Nigerian Art since 1900.

•Some of the artistes at the launch

Rosey Records eyes talents


HE Chief Executive Officer of Rosey Records, Mr Babajide Igun has urged musical artistes to embrace their culture heritage by shooting their music videos in Nigeria rather than going overseas. He said Nigeria is capable of producing excellent music videos like they do in the US or Europe. Igun, who spoke at the launch of Rosey Records in Lagos last Thursday, noted that Nigeria music industry is a lot better now compare to before. “There is a lot difference in the industry because artistes are getting endorsement and various platforms like the internet are helping the industry. However, one thing I don’t like is for people to think that we can’t do our music videos here. We can actually do good music video like they do in the U.S. I’m not saying they shouldn’t shoot their music video overseas, but I think they should embrace and promote our own,” he said. He disclosed that Rosey Records is founded

By Udemma Chukwuma

to promote African music, culture and is aimed at discovering talents in order to raise role models in the music industry in Africa and other parts of the world. “Music is transcendent, distinctive, exciting and full of rhythm. At Rosey Records, music is not just an art or skill; it is a part of life, a state of existence and much more, this is the blueprint and foundation of Rosey activities and just like the name Rosey stands for the finest champagne, so do we represent the finest of music. He added that a group of three students, Kryptic Kidz who are currently making waves in the music industry is signed under the record label. According to him, the studio is looking for female artistes and anyone who has dream, inspiration and love for music. He said: “The champagne room is a place where you make music and pop champagne because the success is here for you, the studio is open, you can come here and record any time.”





With ekpoita / 08077706130




1.Cook in Oven (4) 4.Fruit (4) 8. Writing Fluid (3) 9. Through (3) 10. Remit (4) 11. Breakwater (4) 12. Cushion (3) 14. Vase (3) 16. Beverage (3) 18. Policeman (3) 20. Exhibition (5) 22. Wrath (3) 23. Resort (3) 25. Knob on Root (4) 26. Remain (4)

1.Revel (4) 2.Benevolent (4) 3.Final (3) 5.Eager (4) 6. Bind (3) 7. Obtain as reward (4) 11. Metal Vessel (3) 12. Group of Lions (5) 13. You in Plural (2) 15. Perform (2) 16. City (4) 17. Dry (4) 18. Price (4) 19. Make Supplication (4) 20. Dispose (3) 21. Mineral (3)

MINI-SUDOKU Fill in the missing numbers in the grid to ensure that every row, column and 2 by 3 box contains the numbers 1 - 6.

HUMOUR Catching Lions An American zoologist told 2 Ibo men to catch lions for him at price of $20,000 per lion. The Ibo men went into the forest to catch lions, after a fruitless search they fell asleep from exhaustion. A short while later one of them heard the roar of a lion and woke up, he saw 150 lions surrounding them, instead of him to find an escape route, he woke his friend up and said; “EMEKA! EMEKA!! WAKE UP, WE DON HAMMER!!”

A Welcome Father Mother: Son I’m sorry I slept with someone that is not your dad 23 years ago. And that person is your real father. Son: Mum, what rubbish! How am I to deal with this?! You should be hanged. Mother: I am sorry he was my first love and I could not marry him... because we are of different religion. He is on the phone at the moment and wants to speak with his son for the first time ever. Son: No I am speaking to no one. Bob is the only father i know and so will that be. Mother: Please don’t be so upset. Just talk to him. Son: Ok, I will give him a piece of my mind! Phone: Morning Son, I am Aliko Dangote. Iam your real father. Son: Dad! Dad!! Dad!!! Thank God! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Thank God!!!!!! Love u so much Dad!!!!! I’ve been looking for you for so long.

Pep Talk

Reflections The Seed A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were Shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.” One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have rgrown” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.”How could he be the new CEO?” the others said. Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer.

WORDS & ORIGIN ”Caesarean section” A Caesarean section, also spelled Caesarian or Cesarean and often without the upper case C, is the surgical delivery of a child. It is a term with an interesting etymology and lots of associated folklore. üÿThe term comes from the name of Julius Caesar, who according to legend was delivered by this method. From R. Jonas’s 1540 translation of Roesslin’s Byrth of Mankynde: They that are borne after this fashion be called cesares, for because they be cut out of theyr mothers belly, whervpon also the noble Romane cesar the .j. of that name in Rome toke his name. Although this is where the term Caesarean comes from, this legend about Julius’s birth is almost certainly false. While surgical deliveries were known in ancient Rome, they invariably resulted in the death of the mother and Julius’s mother, Aurelia, lived well into her son’s adulthood. It is possible that one of Julius’ ancestors was delivered in this fashion and bequeathed the name to the family. Although Pliny reports that the name comes from caesaries, or hair, as the future dictator of Rome was born with a full head of hair. The term Caesarian section dates to 1615, first appearing in Helkiah Crooke’s A Description of the Body of Man.

MISSING LETTERS All the words in the grid have lost their first letters. You are to fill them to ensure that an 11-letter word with the meaning “Rite of Marriage” is formed.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose-a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. - Mary Shelley





• The House in session.

In the course of performing their constitutional roles, members of the House of Representatives got enmeshed in various intrigues that tended to spoil the show for them and the nation. VICTOR OLUWASEGUN and DELE ANOFI witnessed some of the hectic parliamentary sessions.

House of Reps: Drama that went with 2012 I

T was an active year for the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly; no dull moment. The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, and his colleagues sent a stern warning to the Presidency that the Seventh House of Representatives was not ready to be a pawn in their hands. To show how determined he was, the Speaker convened a special plenary on Sunday, January 8 even when the lawmakers were on Christmas break to discuss the intended removal of oil subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan. The atmosphere was tense but lively. No fewer than 294 members turned up. It was a plenary that a committee headed by Farouk Lawan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kano State, set up to verify and determine actual subsidy requirement and monitor the subsidy regime. The committee was to later generate more controversies. Not entirely satisfied with the levity with which the Presidency had been treating its resolutions, the House, on February 15, took on the Executive again by successfully endorsing the second reading of a Bill seeking to compel the Executive to obey House resolutions. The lawmakers were ready to go the whole hog by amending the constitution to that effect. The action of the lawmakers was not unconnected with past actions or inactions as well as utterances of some Presidential aides on House resolutions The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said that the lawmakers’ resolution that the government should suspend the removal of fuel subsidy was mere

Vital bills passed by lawmakers


HE House of Representatives was fairly busy in terms of the passage of bills and resolutions stemming from the consideration of motions. And for a Chamber in which only 100 members out of 360 were re-elected into the 7th House, the Aminu Waziri Tambuwal-led House, to most observers, has done well. For the year under review, the House considered and passed various bills on the review of the 1999 Constitution to the ad hoc Committee on the said review headed by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha. Hearings in all the 360 federal constituencies were held in November to give room for grassroots participation and thus, make the review allinclusive. Among the constitution amendment bills, is one seeking to vest control of Mineral Resources in states so that the states in which the resources are domiciled and not the Federal Government will have control over them. Another one seeks to vest control of Prison Services in the states. Another prominent but contentious bill that has passed second reading is “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of Legal, Fiscal and Regulatory Framework for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria and for Other Related Matters,” Known as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and an attached bill entitled, “A Bill Seeking to Establish an Oil Exploration Agency to Discover New Frontiers in Chad Basin, Benue Trough, Dahomey Basin, Imo Basin etc.” The bill was referred to a 23-member Special ad-hoc Committee headed by Ishaka Mohammed Bawa, the Chief Whip of the House. The committee which includes all the House Commitexpression of their opinion. Then the lawmakers wondered: “If over 80 per cent of what we arrive at here on the floor of the House come by way of motions and resolutions, with the time and energy exerted in the best interest of Nigerians are ignored by those who are supposed to implement them, then we have no

tees’ Chairmen and their Deputies also had Samson Osagie as deputy. A bill for an Act to prohibit marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex and solemnisation of same (also known as Same Sex Bill) also passed through second reading in the House despite threats and opposition from Western countries. The bill was presented by Majority Leader of the House, Mulikat Akande Adeola. Another contentious bill which has gone through public hearing is: A Bill for an Act to Amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (Amendment Bill) 2012. Two former CBN Governors and other stakeholders spoke against the amendment bill during the public hearing held in October by the House Committee on Banking and Currency saying the bill, which is meant to whittle down the power of the CBN Governor, is not in the interest of the nation. The House also considered and passed through second reading, “A BIll for an Act to Amend the NSITF Act Cap. N88, LFN, 2004 to Provide Social Security/Protection to all eligible Citizens of Nigeria Who Are who Are Ordinarily Resident in Nigeria Whether Employed Both in the Private and Public Sector, Unemployed and Aged Without Discrimination and Related Matters.” The bill stemmed from the belief that government is not being as responsible as it should in providing safety nets for its citizens, particularly the aged and unemployed. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Honours Warrant of the Subsidiary Legislation of National Honours Act! CAP 43 •Continued on page 4

business being here”. If there was any drama that entertained and shocked majority of Nigerians, it was the Hembe/Oteh saga in which the hunter suddenly became the hunted. It all began with the probe of the House into the near collapse of the Nigerian Capital Market by the

House Committee on Capital Market headed by Herman Hembe. The drama began with Oteh being abandoned by her Commissioners and Directors when it was her turn to make presentation about her stewardship. None of the Executives assisted her while answering questions form the panel but when it was their turn to

put in their words, they accused the woman of running the show alone. Half way into the probe, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arunmah Oteh accused the committee chair of demanding and receiving N44 million from her organisation and that some of the funds released to Hembe was not utilised for the purpose it was intended. Thereafter, the country was regaled with accusations and counter accusations from both sides. In the long run, Hembe relinquished his position as the chairman of the Committee as well as the probe panel. He is currently being prosecuted over the issue by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The face-off between the SEC and the House also resulted in the SEC not getting any allocation in the 2013 budget as the House had earlier demanded her sack by President Goodluck Jonathan for “incompetence. The president is yet to heed the lawmakers’ resolution on the SEC boss. The SEC/Reps imbroglio was a high octane drama that encompassed the former DG of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mrs. Ndi Okereke-Onyuike. On April 24, when the report of the Lawan-led Committee was to be presented, the nation was treated to a protest by about 100 protesting youths at the entrance of National Assembly. The youths, under the banner of two Civil Society Organisations, said their mission was to express •Continued on page 44




Drama of 2012 •Continued from page 43

their disapproval over alleged plans by the House of Representatives to indict the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison– Madueke with the recommendations of the report One of the inscriptions on the placards they carried read: “We say no to Lawan Report if it is a ploy to discredit President Goodluck Jonathan, The protesters arrived at the National Assembly at about 8am on a procession from Millennium Park, protected by the police. The report was eventually presented with Lawan exonerating Femi Otedola’s companies of complicities in the subsidy saga. That action was to later haunt him and turn him to an orphan among his colleagues. The House commenced an investigation into the allegation against Lawan and removed him as both the Chairman of the ad hoc committee investigating the subsidy regime and Chairman of the House Committee in Education. Speaking on the investigation into the alleged $620,000 bribe-for-clearance scandal and its decision to suspend him, Lawan on June 12, maintained his respect for the decision of the House as a collective decision of the institution. Till date, the progress of the investigation by the police is shrouded in mystery. On June 11, the lawmakers threw fire and brimstones when they summoned President Jonathan to the House over the deteriorating security situation in the country. The summon generated so much heat as the public went on a lengthy debate about the legality or otherwise of the invitation. Till date, the President has effectively ignored the summons and the House seems to have capitulated. Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed at a media interactive session on June 21 said though the House had not erred by inviting the President for an interface on the security situation in the country but that the President is at liberty to decide what to do. Another interesting moment in the House was the July 3 interrogation of Femi Otedola by the ad hoc Committee set up to probe the bribery scandal. While Otedola insisted on open meeting, the lawmakers preferred closed-door. At the end, the lawmakers accused Otedola of insulting them while the Chairman of the panel, Gambo Dan-Musa lost his cool while calling Otedola ‘stupid’ for making mockery of the panel. The deteriorating relationships between the House and the Presidency took on a new dimension when the lower chamber warned the President to either Implement the 2012 budget fully or face impeachment. The floor of the House on the 19 of July was tense as the lawmakers irrespective of their party affiliation rose in unison in demand of full budget implementation. The lawmakers were fully prepared, not ready to play to the gallery with rhetorics; they were armed with facts and figures from key Committee Chairmen. By the time they were done, the President was accused of gross violation of the Appropriation Act, 2012 through selective implementation of the budget. The lawmakers also took it further, that same day; they rejected the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on the basis of its late submission. They gave the President a deadline of two months that coincided with the lawmakers’ two-month recess. The leadership quality of Aminu Tambuwal and the cohesion of the House was tested on July 13, when the Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila called for the division of the House on the basis on an unclear voice voting. The problem began with the issue of troop deployment to Edo State by

President Jonathan for security proposes. Bimbo Daramola (ACN, Ekiti) had, under a point of order noted that the President’s action was without constitutional backing. Before he could complete his submission, the House seemed set on weighing the issue along party lines contrary to almost accepted norm in the House where issues are tackled on their merit and based on national interest. Daramola tried to buttress his augment with constitutional provision but the noise in the chamber was overwhelming and Tambuwal eventually put the motion to voice vote whether to be taken or forsaken. The voice vote was unclear but the voice of those against appeared to be more. Tambuwal nonetheless ruled in favour of the ‘nay’ banging the gavel. At once, Gbajabiamila stood up on another point of order after which he cited Order 11 (77) that when the voice is unclear, a division should be called by the Presiding Officer. Moments later, the Speaker reversed his earlier ruling and decided that the motion be taken the following day. On that day, the Minority Leader, before the division could take place, withdrew the application but wanted the motion debated. Murmurs set in, the opposition parties that were ready for the business of the House being divided were disappointed asking for the reason for Gbajabiamila’s change of heart. The House seemed divided over party lines again, while some applauded Gbajabiamila for his understanding and for the sake of the unity of the House as he stated earlier, others were furious that they were kept in the dark over what they had thought would have sent a clear signal that there were opposition parties in the House. However, some House commentators commended the Speaker for being a patriot and having the courage to reverse himself, despite knowing the effect such act could have on his authority. Another test that came almost immediately was the issue of security in Plateau State. Simon Nwadkon, who was with the late Sen. Gyan Dantong when the mourners were attacked moved a motion, but seeing the mood of the House and probably the mood of the nation and the possible effect the debate might generate, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha decided that It should not be debated because the prayers of the motion have no negative effect on anyone. When all these were going on, a part of the ceiling in the chamber fell off which prompted the lawmakers sitting at the back of the auditorium to take to their heels for dear lives, thinking it was a Boko Haram attack. This almost resulted in panic in the hall. Most of the lawmakers were seen looking over their shoulders when the ceiling fell. Several parts of the roof were leaking with the ceiling

‘Half way into the probe, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arunmah Oteh accused the committee chair of receiving N44 million from her organisation and that some of the funds released to Hembe was not utilised for the purpose it was intended. Thereafter, the country was regaled with accusations and counter accusations from both sides. In the long run, Hembe relinquished his position as the chairman of the Committee as well as the probe panel’

Vital bills passed by lawmakers •Continued from page 44

• Tambuwal

looking weak with faded color. Water could be seen dripping from the ceiling in a central part of the gallery. On Oct 10 when President Jonathan walked into the green chamber at 10.18 a.m accompanied by his entourage, to present the 2013 budget proposal, little did he realize that the lawmakers were prepared to be dispassionate or sentimental about the event as it was about the greater majority of Nigerians. The President however was supported by the heavy presence of his cabinet and PDP chiefs. They did their job by clapping for the President whenever he made any noteworthy remarks when they realized that the lawmakers were not in a clapping mood. But to the chagrin of the male lawmakers, the women folks jettisoned the adherence to separation of power by giving the President a standing ovation as he mentioned several programmes lined for women empowerment. When it was the turn of the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal to take the vote of thanks, the hall erupted into a frenzy and was given a standing ovation before he uttered the first word. The ‘short’ vote of thanks was applauded at every juncture and when it was finally concluded, the ovation was astounding. However, before the President took his leave, like he did on ascending the podium, he approached the Chairs of the Senate President, David Mark and Aminu Tambuwal to exchange handshake with the two men. He was however seen shaking Tambuwal’s hands more vigorously as he exchanged banters with the two leaders. He personally collected the addresses of the Senate President and the Speaker before handing them over to his aides. Unlike before, the House on Dec 11 sent clear signal to errant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that always refused to honour invitations by commencing the process of issuing a bench warrant for the arrest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Lamido Sanusi and 14 other Chief Executives. Chairman, Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who under a matter of urgent public importance requested for mandate of the Committee to issue the bench warrants for the affected Chief Executives for non-appearance. The Speaker granted the request, summons were issued and all the 15 Chief Executives turned up on the appointed date. Even protesters took it to the next level on discovering that previous protests have drawn no response for the authorities. They took to picketing. The option was more effective as none among the lawmakers, the NASS staff or visitors were spared the agony of being held up for hours at the main entrance to the complex. Not done, they somehow found their ways to the last entrance to the complex. How they beat the security apparatus, only God knows.

Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to Provide for Limits for the Number of Persons Appointed to the Different Ranks of the Order in Any Calendar Year and Related Matters, was also passed. The bill, sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, seeks to bring order and respect back to the award of National Honours by the Executive arm of Government An important bill meant to bring sanity into the procurement processes which was entitled: “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Procurement Act, No 14 of 2007 in Order to Ensure Project Continuity and Other Matters Appertaining Thereto, 2011,”was also considered and passed. Sequel to the innumerable deaths recorded of victims of gunshot wounds across the country, due to the cumbersome processes involved in treatment such wounds, a bill for “an Act to Make Provision for the Compulsory Treatment and Care for the Victims of Gunshots and Other Matters Connected Therewith,” was passed by the House. ‘A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Any Form of Expenditure in Default of or Contrary to Appropriation by Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to Facilitate Accountable Governance and Other Matters Incidental Thereto,” has passed second reading seeks to criminalize expenditure outside budgetary planning. Another bill passed, to safeguard the lives of road users was “A Bill to make it Mandatory for Tyres to bear Manufacturing and Expiry Dates, and to prohibit the Importation and Use of Sub-Standard Tyres and for Related Matters.” Some prominent bills on amendment to the constitution include: A Bill For An Act To Establish A National Commission For Youth Development And To Make Provision For Its Administration And For Connection Purposes; A Bill For An Act To Alter The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 To Permit Public Officers To Maintain Or Operate A Bank Account In Any Country Outside Nigeria; And For Related Matters; A Bill For An Act To Amend The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999 To Provide For The Consent Of The Senate/State House Of Assembly For The Removal Of Government Of The Federation/Commissioner Of The Government Of A State; A Bill For An Act To Amend The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria1999 So As To Establish State And Local Government Council Of Chiefs; And For Related Matters, and ‘A Bill For An Act To Alter The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 To Provide For The Establishment Of State Police And To Ensure Effective Community Policing In Nigeria And For Other Matters Therewith.’ Others include: A Bill For An Act To Establish The Federal Capital Territory HIV/Aids Control Agency( FACA) And For Other Matters Connected Therewith; A Bill For An Act To Amend Companies And Allied Matters Act 2004: And For Other Related Matters; A Bill For An Act To Provide Remuneration Of Former Presidents, Heads Of Federal Legislative Houses And Chief Justices Of The Federation (And Other Ancillary Matters); A bill for an Act to amend the Federal Highways Act Cap. Fi3 Laws Of The Federation, 2004 to construct public toilets on the highways to enhance the welfare and safety of commuters on the Nigerian highways and for related matters; A Bill For An Act To Establish The National Child Protection And Enforcement Agency; A Bill For An Act To Provide A Framework For The Regulation, Development And Management Of A National Health System And Set Standards For Rendering Health Services In The Federation, And Other Matters Connected Therewith; 2012 Appropriation Bill; A bill for an Act to amend the National Institute for Labour Studies Act, 1990 Cap. 261 Lfn; A bill for an Act to amend the Public Procurement Act. No. 14, 2007. A bill for an act to establish the National Commission For Conciliation And Arbitration, National Labour Council, the Office Of The Registrar Of Trade Unions, etc. to administer the provisions of Labour Laws In Nigeria And Matters Connected Therewith; A Bill For An Act To Make Development Planning Compulsory For All Tiers Of Government In Nigeria And To Create Coherent And Measurable Targets In Developmental Initiatives In Support Of The Attainment Of The Goals Of Vision 20:20:20 And For Related Matters; A Bill For An Act To Establish The National Integrated Rural Development Agency And Other Matters Related Thereto and A Bill For An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The Federal University Of Dutse And To Make Comprehensive Provisions For Its Due Administration And Other Related Matters.’ Among other such bills are: A Bill For An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The Federal University Of Uyo And To Make Comprehensive Provisions For Its Due Administration And Other Related Matters; A Bill For An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The Federal University Of Kashere And To Make Comprehensive Provisions For Its Due Administration And Other Related Matters; A Bill For An Act To The Nigerian Communication Commission Appropriation 2012 And Other Matters Connected; A Bill For An Act To Prohibit The Movement From 6am To 6pm Of Certain Articulated Vehicles On Nigerian Roads And To Provide For Other Related Matters; A bill for an Act to amend the Federal Road Safety Commission Act Cap. F19 Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria, 2004 And For Other Related Matters; A Bill For An Act To Amend The Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (Establishment, Etc) Prohibit Any Form Of Expenditure In Default Of Or Contrary To Appropriation By Heads Of Ministry, Department And Agencies (MDAS) To Facilitate Accountable Governance And Other Matters Incidental Thereto; A Bill For An Act To Repeal The Oil And Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act; And To Provide For The Designation And Establishment Of Oil And Gas Free Zone And Special Investment Areas In Nigeria: Establishment Of Oil And Gas Investment And Free Zone Authority; And Other Matters Connected; A Bill For An Act To Establish The Social Security Agency Which Shall Provide A Framework For A Workable Social Security Scheme And The Issuance Of Social Security Number System In The Federal Republic Of Nigeria And For Other Incidental Matters; A Bill For An Act To Establish A National Grazing Route And Reserve Commission For Managing National Grazing Routes And Reserve In All Parts Of Nation And For Incidental Matters; A Bill For An Act To Re-Establish The Standards Organisation Of Nigeria And To Repeal The Standards Organisation Of Nigeria Act Cap 59 Laws Of the Federation Of Nigeria 2004 And For Matters Incidental Thereto, and A Bill For An Act To Provide For The Mandatory Inclusion Of Cassava In The Production Of All Flour In Nigeria And For Other Matters Connected Therewith.’ • Ihedioha




Ogun prioritises healthcare

GUN State has demonstrated its interest in the well-being of its people, with its Ministry of Health restating its commitment to providing qualitative and affordable healthcare services. The Ministry also said no efforts will be spared in controlling and preventing communicable and non-communicable diseases in every part of the state. Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka disclosed this while defending his Ministry’s 2013 budget estimates before members of the State House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation in Abeokuta, the state capital. Giving a breakdown of the budget, Dr. Soyinka explained that N1.03b of the sum would be expended on salaries and allowances, while N58m had been set aside for overheads, adding that the sum of N2.09b would be expended on capital projects. The Commissioner stated that N1.58b had been earmarked for the

•Governor Amosun

renovation of Primary Healthcare Centres and construction of a stateof-the art specialist hospital. On the proposed spending of the Hospitals Management Board, the Commissioner disclosed that a sum of N4.37b would be expended on recurrent and capital expenditure. According to him, N2.25b out of the sum would be spent on recurrent matters made up of salaries, allowances and overhead costs while the balance of N2.12b would be expended on capital projects. Making the position of government known on the control of diseases while flagging off a training programme with the theme “Detection and Management of diabetes” in collaboration with SANOFI pharmaceutical company, Dr. Soyinka said government was partnering with the private sector to explore avenues towards reducing diseases to the barest minimum, saying that the workshop would be held at intervals to benefit a large proportion of healthcare workers in the State. “We want to make it a statewide affair, such that at the ened of the day, we would probably have trained a large proportion of healthcare workers on how to recognise ,ý D26% diagnose the problems of diabetes.” Dr. Soyinka submitted. Earlier, the Permanent secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Tunde Olowonyo advised the public to take diabetes as an issue that deserved urgent attention, pointing out that unknown to the people, diabetes also affects children. He therefore advised parents and guardians to be vigilant at all times.

Youths light up Makurdi at Yuletide •Continued from Page 17

procession lasted. Benue State youth and cultural carnival has become famous since its inception three years ago when the Special Assistant to the Governor on Students and Youths Affairs, Terfa Akem initiated it. The carnival is a showcase for the rich cultural heritage of the people. The state governor Gabriel Suswam, represented by his deputy Chief Steven Lawani, described the carnival as the best in the country, even as he directed the Ministry for Culture and Tourism to help package the

next edition of the carnival. Chief Lawani further stated that he has watched many carnivals but that of Benue State is the best and unique in nature as the

cultural heritage of the people of Benue State has been richly preserved through the event which attracted hundreds of people to IBB Square in Makurdi.

The youth, dressed in their various traditional regalia, matched through the major roads in Makurdi, even as residents lined up the streets in their numbers to catch a glimpse of splendid cultural display by the youths

Jobs tools for Oyo communities

•Continued from Page 17

chaired the occasion, said he was delighted to witness the groundbreaking event which, he described as the first of its kind in the district. He commended the lawmaker for fulfilling the promises he made to the people during his electioneering campaign, adding

•The youths in a procession

that what he has accomplished has not been achieved by anyone in the history of the district. The party chieftain called on other elected officers to emulate the good work of the lawmaker. Governor Ajimobi acknowl-

•Wheelchairs and refrigerators distributed at the event

edged “the great feat of Senator Lanlehin”, saying, what he “did today is significant and worthy of commendation. What Lanlehin did today is exemplary. He has done very well. I was once a senator but I never did anything like

this. Also, I have not seen a governor in Oyo State that did what we have done in less than two years. With what we have done no party should defeat us. But, we can be our own enemies. Unless we come together and unite we may not win future elections.” He stressed the need for unity and cohesion in the party and appealed to members to put their differences behind and embrace peace in the collective interest of the party and the state. The governor, noting that the party had witnessed some setbacks as a result of disaffection among loyalists, reasoned that division could be harmful to the party. “We can be our own enemies,” he said. “Unless we come together and unite we may not win future elections. The dividends of democracy would go round if we come together in unity. “I want to appeal to aggrieved party members in their own interest to remain united. No one knows how long anybody can live. The

party and the people of the state have suffered for too long and we need to cooperate to move the party and the state forward. “Some call themselves ‘Lamist,’ some ‘Senaco,’ and some ‘Integrity’ Group. You are using this to make money for yourselves. I can boldly say that I, Ajimobi, am the number one Lamist in the state. Where there is animosity there is always no progress. If we don’t win more defectors from other parties against the next poll it would be difficult to win.” Expressing his gratitude to the lawmaker, one the beneficiaries, Adepoju Oluwafemi Akande said, “I am very happy because Senator Lanlehin is a man that has been supporting the masses, and that is why we have been supporting him too. And what he has done today is a thing that will go a long way to alleviate poverty and suffering of the people in the district and like he said, more is still coming; this is just the beginning of good things to come our way”.



HE Consumer Rights Advocacy Network (CRANET), an umbrella body of all credible consumer rights advocacy organisations in Nigeria, in collaboration with Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has held a oneday capacity enrichment workshop for consumer rights advocacy groups in the country. The workshop, endorsed by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), held at the Excellence Hotel Ogba-Ijaiye, Lagos State. Its theme was “Exploring Strategic Alliance with Advocacy Groups for Effective Delivery of Consumerism in Nigeria.” The Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) who was represented by Mr Okechukwu Aninweke, NCC Zonal Controller Lagos delivered the keynote address. Other stakeholders in the sector including the media were fully represented. In a communiqué signed by the National President, CRANET and founder of Leadership Watch, Dr. Martins P. Iwuanyanwu; Mr.


NGO fights for consumers By Chinaka Okoro

Emeka Okafor Member, Editor, Research Intelligence Magazine, Lagos; Ms Fidelia Salami, Secretary and author of Tourism in Nigeria and Chika Izuora of Leadership newspaper, the group considered various memoranda, reports and submissions presented by lead speakers, Etisalat Telecommunications and Arik Airline being service providers and other stakeholders. The forum observed that the regulatory agencies in Nigeria namely Consumer Protection Council, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), among others have shown little or no commitment to the issue of consumerism and the interest of Nigerian consumers in general.

Lack of infrastructure, double taxation and double regulation are major challenges in providing quality and affordable service to consumers…Of particular reference are issues of power and security. Efforts must be made by the Federal Government to address these issues

An exceptional case, it said, was the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) which it said had put in place innumerable and impressive programmes that protect, inform and educate the consumers in the telecommunication sector. It also praised the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in protecting bank customers. The forum also expressed its worry over the Federal Government’s lack of the appropriate mechanism to monitor and appraise the performance of CEOs of its agencies, which it said resulted in the seeming waste of budgetary allocation to such agencies. It also noted that “lack of infrastructure, double taxation and double regulation are major challenges in providing quality and affordable service to consumers. “Of particular reference are issues of power and security. Efforts must be made by the Federal Government to address these issues.” Another of the problems the forum noted are militating against the smooth operation of some companies is the outsourcing of some important functions within some operating companies. This it identified as part of the causes of poor services experienced by consumers. The forum regretted that the poor and weak framework and regulations on consumerism in Nigeria are largely as a result of the incompetence of the leadership of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the

sweeping corruption in the system. It recommended that round pegs should be placed in round holes in the stead of round pegs in square holes when it comes to appointments into agencies of government. As the consumer regulatory agency, the forum expressed the urgent need for the CPC to carry out consumer education and enlightenment. This is so because most consumers in Nigeria do not know when their rights are trampled upon and taken for granted by service providers, importers and manufacturers. The forum advocated the need for genuine collaboration among consumer rights advocacy groups and regulators in addressing the challenges of consumerism in Nigeria in order to adequately protect Nigerian consumers. Praising the NCC as the only organisation that has shown serious commitment to consumerism from the inception of GSM in Nigeria, the forum noted that it has helped in transforming the telecommunication sector as well as protecting telecommunication consumers. Recognising the role of the media in nation-building, the forum noted that consumer advocacy groups should partner with the media in all of their stakeholders’ engagements to drive home the message of consumerism, even as it advised advocacy groups to sustain the clamour for consumer rights until all grey areas are fixed. “Nigerian consumers must con-

•Dr Iwuanyanwu tinue to agitate for better, quality and affordable services and must not shy away from this course for any reason, particularly as Nigerians are seriously complaining about the arbitrariness with which the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) is billing electricity consumers. “The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission should step up action to enforce its directive on the PHCN to issue prepaid meter free to all electricity consumers in Nigeria,” it said. The forum also condemned the unbridled manner in which substandard, fake and adulterated products especially food, drugs, power generating sets and spare parts flood almost all Nigerian markets. It therefore urged that those who take delight in bringing in these sub-standard goods should be made to face the law.

Community honours members


OME outstanding members of the Adeyemi-Arowojo Community Development Association (AACDA), Lagos State have been honoured for their service in the community. They were recognised at the 4th award night of the association at its secretariat at Oshodi, Lagos. The occasion also marked the community’s end of year get-together and a sent-forth party for one of its elders, 80-year-old Pa Amos Akinwumi Kuti, who recently relocated from the area. Six outstanding members, including Kuti, were honoured with the community’s various service awards. On the list of the awardees were Elder Kuti, who retired from the then Beecham Pharmaceuticals, now Glaxo Smithcline Beecham in 1992, into private business and community service, 70-year old Mr. Babatunde Oyegunle, a retired mechanical engineer, who variously worked with the defunct Nigeria Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and the Lagos State Water Corporation from where he retired into private life in 2001, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai aka MAF, the member, representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 1 in the Federal House of Representatives and Dr. Jacob Olugbenga Jacob Awobusiyi, an Associate Professor with the Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, Lagos, Consultant Nephrologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Managing Director/Consultant Nephrologist, Dialyzer Specialist Medical Centre, Arowojobe, Oshodi, Lagos. Others were Mr. David Oluwasegun Oriyomi, Chief Executive Officer of a foremost Lagos private waste management firm, Excellens Links International Company and Chairman, Conference Committee, Association of Waste Management of Nigeria (AWAN) and Chief Godwin Emeka Ibe, Managing Partner, Emeka Ibe & Co and CEO, Valid Points Consulting, two accounting and auditing firms special-

•The honoured members of the association ising in finance, tax and business advisory services. Pa Kuti, who had lived in the community for many years and was involved in numerous communal development activities, was awarded the community’s Excellent Service Award for his excellent service. Elder Oyegunle also got its Excellent Service Award for his contribution to the peace, progress and development of the area. Hon. Akinderu-Fatai was honoured with the same award for his humility and the countless development projects he initiated, completed and attracted to the community since he was elected into the House of Representatives five years ago. Dr. Awobusuyi, who recently floated the Dialyzer Medical Technologies in the community, got its Excellent Merit Award for setting up the unique medical facility in the area. For the state’s No.1 private waste management operator’s decision to site the company’s corporate and operational office in the community, David Oriyomi, who now operates in four of the seven wards of Oshodi,

Mafoloku and Shogunle of Oshodi/ Isolo Local Government Area, was awarded its Excellent Noble Service Award in recognition of the company’s noble environmental sanitation services in the community while Chief Ibe, who moved into the community only in July this year, was presented with the Community’s Certificate of Recognition for his show of commitment to the progress and development of the area within the short period he has been around. Chairman of the Adeyemi/ Arowojobe Community Development Association, Mr. Godwin Ifijeh, congratulated the awardees for the honour bestowed on them, advising that they continue in their good stead as they were carefully selected for recognition and emulation as the leading light of the community. According to him, with the awards bestowed on the six of them on that day, they had made it 32 persons that have been so honoured by the community since the awards were instituted four years ago, stating that awardees were always carefully selected to ensure

that the best of the community at the time in terms of dedicated communal service, uprightness, hard work and general sense of direction and purpose in life were brought to play in their selections. He reminded the awardees that they were selected for the awards for their unique features and to serve as role models to all in the community, warning against anything that may in any way portray any of them in bad light.

The Chairman of the occasion, Surveyor Olatunji Ayinla Oladapo, First Vice Chairman, Community Development Committee (CDC), Oshodi Local Government Area, commended Adeyemi/Arowojobe CDA for putting such a magnificent event together and enjoined community members to always embrace communal service and total devotion to their associations.



We met N80m revenue projection per annum, the actual performance was N56m. When we came in 2011, we doubled it to N160m. As we speak, we have gone beyond N100m mark. We have not anything magical apart from meeting the developmental needs of our people. Isolo people now pay taxes voluntarily without being forced to do so


HE chairman, Isolo Local Council Development Area, Hon Samsudeen Olaleye marked his 400 days in office. At an interactive session with journalists at the council secretariat, he reviewed past performances, explained the present situation including the challenges faced by the council and his plans for the future. On roads and infrastructure, the chairman said 56 roads had been graded; 49 in Okota/Ago axis and seven in Ire-Akari. “The work done on these roads are palliative and ongoing; a permanent work will be done on them when the weather is favourable. For Osolo Way, Mushin Road, Promasidor Road, major work had been done on them and they are all in good condition. Alabe road was in bad shape but it is now rehabilitated. The same goes for Ogunbiwale Street in Ilasa where 485metres had been tarred. I can proudly say all the major roads in Isolo are in good condition,” he said. Olaleye said the council had done creditably well in providing drains to control flood. In Adesina Street, about 250metre drain was provided and in Okoto area, about 50 culverts provided. For the dredging work at Ilasamaja, the state government

•New Kia cars donated to some council officials

Council chief presents scorecard By Bode Monogbe

was invited for the re-dredging of the canal after doing a report. The exercise had positively affected 49 streets in the first phase. The other phase will affectanother 49 streets.

“In all, 70 streets have been desisted and no major flooding have been reported in the area”, the chairman noted. In the education sector, his high points are the reconstruction of a block of classrooms

•Hon Adekunle (middle) hands over the keys of one of the vans. With him are party chiefs and cabinet members

‘We should strengthen police’


HILE the police have a duty to protect life and property, they need all the support they can get. That was the point the chairman of Alimosho Local Government Area, Hon. Israel Olusola Adekunle made as he presented two security vans to the law enforcement agency. One of the vehicles went to Area M; the other to Afonka police station, both in the area. The presentation was made at the Akowonjo, Lagos secretariat of the council. Hon. Adekunle also donated 10 walkie-talkies to the police.

The council chief equally cheered up his constituency by providing three transformers to the community. The three were the latest after the chairman provided 10 transformers earler. It was a memorable event, which was witnessed by a wide range of people, including members of Community Development Committees (CDCs), Community Development Associations (CDAs), market men and women. There were also youths and other residents of the area. Hon Adekunle said the police deserve all the assistance they can get

and should be strengthened because they may not succeed by relying only on what they have. Besides, no nation can survive without the police, the more reason everybody should support law enforcement agencies not just with information but also logistics. The walkie-talkies are meant to help the police in communicating better while on duty. The gesture underscored the council chief’s profound understanding of the imperatives of security. The recipients of the gesture expressed appreciation, saying it will greatly boost their operations.

each at Ilasamaja Primary School and St Paul Anglican Primary School, Ishagatedo, provision of furniture and distribution of writing materials and exercise books. “Our primary schools now have magnetic boards and we intend to extend same to secondary schools. We have distributed customised school bags and generating sets to power boreholes . In addition, the council conducted extra-mural classes for JSS2 students. There is a scholarship programme for indigent students of the council as well. Adults were not left out in the scheme of things as adult mass literacy centres have increased to five from just one at the inception of the current administration” he said. The council, according to the chairman, has satisfied the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of one health centre to a political ward. He said work on Apena Health Centre has been completed and that of Oke Openi is functioning with N12 million assistance from Johnson Wax Pharmaceuticals. The foundation for Alagbeji Ward Health Centre has been laid. In social welfare, about 120 widows were carefully selected by representatives and traditional rulers to benefit from a social programme instituted by the council. Two widows and two senior citizens are now taking monthly dues with four women on monthly allowances. Besides, a bursary scheme has been instituted by the council. As revenue is the key to economic and social development, the council has raised his revenue profile. He said: “We met N80m revenue projection per annum, the actual performance was N56m. When we came in 2011, we doubled it to N160m. As we

•Hon Olaleye

speak, we have gone beyond N100m mark. We have not anything magical apart from meeting the developmental needs of our people. Isolo people now pay taxes voluntarily without being forced to do so”. In market development, the chairman said “we have inherited and adopted Ire-Akari market now. This is after the initial litigation that characterised ownership. The first phase of development will produce 1000 shops. The same goes for Ilasamaja International market whose contract has been terminated and rewarded. About 500 shops are now ready for occupation. All papers on Aswani/Farombi market are completed. About 3000 shops are planned for the market. The right side will be for textile is others such as aluminum and other wares would have their places too. To ensure safety of lives and property, the council holds regular security meetings with the police. It has also procured generating sets for police posts and provided allowances for fuelling them. The council has equally provided two patrol vans out of the four planned for the police division.

About 120 widows were carefully selected by representatives and traditional rulers to benefit from a social programme instituted by the council. Two widows and two senior citizens are now taking monthly dues with four women on monthly allowances




TENNIS: Djokovic injured after autograph seekers fall over barrier • Jimenez


ovak Djokovic suffered a brief injury scare Monday when a barrier separating himself from autograph seekers collapsed, sending some the tennis star’s way and some fans tumbling to the court. The world No. 1 had just

completed a Hopman Cup victory over Andreas Seppi. He was at a barrier signing post-match autographs when a barrier buckled, sending people tumbling onto the court. "It was a bit of a shock and I'm glad that the children involved are

OK. I am fine," Djokovic told reporters. No one was seriously hurt. Djokovic was seen limping after the incident but was able to continue his play at the international team event, partnering with Ana Ivanovic for a win in the doubles.

GOLF: Jimenez breaks leg skiing


OPULAR Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez has broken a leg skiing and will be out of action for up to five months, an European golf spokeswoman said on Sunday. "Miguel Angel Jimenez underwent an operation yesterday and he will not be able to play again for about five months due to a serious injury to his right leg," said Maria Acacia Lopez-Bachillez in a press release. The 48-year-old Ryder Cup star suffered the injury when he fell during a skiing outing in the Sierra Nevada range of Andalucia in southern Spain. He broke his tibia just below the knee and was taken immediately to a hospital in Malaga, where the operation was carried out successfully. "It will take me three, four or five months to fully recover and play again at a competitive level," Jimenez was quoted as saying in the statement. "I have been playing well but that's just the way it goes in life." Jimenez made headlines in November when he won the Hong Kong Open to become the oldest winner ever on the European Tour.

• Djokovic

CRICKET: Stars lack Warne's sparkle, says Hussey M

ELBOURNE STARS batsman David Hussey says he told Shane Warne not to take a Big Bash League midseason break because the team needed him. But Warnie being Warnie, the skipper went anyway. Warne skipped last week's win over the Strikers in Adelaide to travel to Britain. ''We all knew right at the start of the summer that he was going to go home and miss the game against the Strikers,'' Hussey said on Monday. ''I

was a little bit disappointed. I thought that was one game that we need our best spinner to be playing. Adelaide Oval generally turns a little bit. ''We needed him to be playing that game. Turned out to be, probably not a blessing in disguise, but turned out to be pivotal. He gets to freshen up a bit, have Christmas with his family and now he comes back for the back half of the year and hopefully to win a championship.

BOXING: Uchiyama defends WBA super-featherweight title


APAN'S Takashi Uchiyama pulled off a technical knockout victory over Bryan Vasquez of Costa Rica

to win a unification bout in the World Boxing Association (WBA) superfeatherweight title on Monday. Uchiyama piled up the points by pummelling Vasquez with lefts and rights to the stomach, and finished off

• Uchiyama

the fight three minutes into the eighth round, unloading punch after punch. "My opponent had never lost a match before and never suffered a knock down, so I really wanted to win the match in a good style," said Uchiyama, 33. "This champion's belt is just a formality. My top priority is to become


stronger," he added. It was Uchiyama's sixth defence of the title, which he wrested from Juan Carlos Salgado of Mexico in January 2010, maintaining his unbeaten record at 19 wins, including 16 KOs and one draw. The 25-year-old Vasquez now has 29 wins, including 15 KOs and one defeat.

''Warnie's Warnie. He takes criticism on the chin. ''[You] have a great debate and then he takes off and does whatever he wants. We desperately need him back.'' The Stars play the Brisbane Heat in Brisbane on Thursday. Meanwhile, another retired Test champion, Ricky Ponting, has emerged as the Hobart Hurricanes' key man as they find themselves on a roll at the right end of the Big Bash League. Ponting admitted recently he was still getting used to the Twenty20 game, having played only 17 international T20 matches in his Australian career. He hasn't played a one-day international since February and, at 38, was something of an unknown quantity heading into his first full Big Bash League season. But after consecutive scores of 63 in straight victories for the Hurricanes, coach Tim Coyle has declared Australia's greatest Test run scorer as the man who has rescued his side's batting. ''He's become the glue around the batting order and we're batting around him,'' Coyle said before the New Year's Day clash with the in-form Perth Scorchers at Blundstone Arena. Ponting opened the innings in his first three matches before slipping back to No.3 for the Boxing Day win over the Sydney Sixers. ''I said at the start of the tournament, once he's over the emotion of retiring from Test cricket and his mind's free of that, then … his Twenty20 cricket will rise to the top,'' Coyle said. ''It's absolutely no surprise to me, and I think he'll only get better.'' The fifth-placed Hurricanes made the semi-finals last season and their clash with the fourth-placed Scorchers, who have won their past three games, will be crucial if they are to repeat that feat.

ATHLETICS: US charity runners return for festival


ITH 700 overseas visitors signed up to take part in next month’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend, organisers are encouraging Island athletes to get their entries in quick if they want to be part of the running festival. The event, which is being held for the 38th time, is welcoming back a sizeable group of competitors from the Leukemia Society Team in Training. It has been almost a decade since the US-based group organised a formal group to participate in Bermuda. Their return has been welcomed by race weekend director Anthony Rayner. “I’m excited that they are coming. It is the New York chapter. We’ve had one or two people come independently in recent years, but this is the first time since about 2004 that the organisation has come as a group,” he said. The race weekend is shaping up to continue the event’s resurgence of recent years, with the projected number of visiting athletes getting close to the high figures seen in the early 2000s. Raynor is encouraging locals who would like to be part of the threeday running spectacle to get their entries in before the end of year deadline. He has also sent out a message of thanks to the people of Bermuda for all their help in the past and asking them to show the same spirit of cooperation and welcoming attitudes when the Island hosts the major sporting event on January 18-20. “I want to thank the public for working with us in the past and ask that they once again understand we are doing this for the Island. We have 700 tourists registered — that is just the participants, not counting the family members that will come with them,” he said.

FORMULA 1: I must emulate Grosjean, says Ricciardo


ORO Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo believes that he must adopt an aggressive approach to improve next season. The Australian is one of the candidates to eventually replace Mark Webber at Red Bull, making 2013 a big year for the former HRT racer. Ricciardo believes that if he mirrors the likes of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado he could enjoy a more fruitful campaign next year: “I’m aware of that, and I know that my targets in 2013 will have to be more ambitious,” he told Autosprint. “I won’t hide and I say that I must and can obtain a podium. I will push to the maximum to make it. “My Achilles heel is that this year, in the first part of the season, I wasn’t aggressive enough in the races. “In some aspects I was the opposite of (Romain) Grosjean. Now, however, I think I’ve found the right balance in showing my capabilities.”

• Ricciardo




Balotelli ends feud with his birth mother


HEY have had a rocky relationship since he was adopted by the wealthy Balotelli family at the age of two. But Mario Balotelli seems to have ended his long-running feud with his birth mother, Rose Barwuah, by spending Christmas Day with her. The 22-year-old footballer is said to have picked the cleaner up from

her rented council home on Manchester’s notorious Wythenshawe estate - made famous as the setting for Channel 4’s Shameless - in his camouflage Bentley. Along with the Manchester City ace’s sister Angel, 13, the mother and son enjoyed a day of festivities at Balotelli’s £3million mansion in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. A source told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: ‘This was Mario’s first proper Christmas with his real mother. They had a great day. ‘They have steadily been building their relationship up and they are getting closer all the time. It always causes a bit of a stir when Mario turns up on the estate.’ In the past, Rose has accused the Balotelli family of turning her son against her and his other birth relatives. She and her husband Thomas, who are originally from Ghana, were advised to give him up when he was two because he had a lifethreatening intestinal condition made worse by their cramped living quarters in Brescia, Italy.

However, the pair have been working hard to rebuild their relationship since Rose moved to the Wythenshawe estate last year, with the star’s Bentley being spotted outside her house on a number of occasions. But while they might be blood relatives, it would seem they are worlds apart when it comes to their lifestyles. The talented striker earns £120,000 a week, lives in a lavish £3million home and has a penchant for drinking vintage champagne straight out of the bottle. While the footballer glides around in his gleaming £120,000 Bentley Continental GT, Rose has a more humble mode of transport – the number 11 bus - which she uses to get to her £6.08 an hour cleaning job on the outskirts of Cheadle, near Manchester. A source recently said: ‘When she came over from Italy with her daughter, Rose, she said she wanted to be close to her son and didn’t want any of the huge wealth or luxury he now enjoys.

“At this moment, Van Persie is a very important player for United. He has scored 14 goals in the league and it's clear he's changed their situation. We wanted Van Persie because we wanted to improve our team. We were very close. But it did not happen and now we can do nothing.” Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini lamenting the loss of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United.

Walcott set

to renew contract T H E O WALCOTT on new year’s eve dropped the biggest hint yet that he is ready to sign a new Arsenal contract. The Gunners forward, 23, said: “I'm sure that something will be sorted very soon. “I've always said I wanted to stay and I enjoy playing for this team. Now we will just see what happens. “I will continue to play my football and let the

• Walcott


raid in August. RVP has been a revelation for United with 17 goals in all competitions and has helped chalk up a seven-point lead in the Premier League. Mancini insists his strikers will come good again but cannot help but rue the one that got away. He said: “At this moment, Van Persie is a very important player for United. “He has scored 14 goals in the

league and it's clear he's changed their situation. “We wanted Van Persie because we wanted to improve our team. We were very close. But it did not happen and now we can do nothing.” Van Persie, 29, revealed he had 'listened to the little boy inside him' when he opted for Old Trafford. Yet Mancini added: “I know what decided it but I won't say. It was not money. We were very close.”

worst signings of the season in La Liga, by readers of Spanish newspaper Marca. Luka Modric, who left Tottenham for Real Madrid after protracted negotiations, and Alex Song, who signed for Barcelona from Arsenal, were the worst rated, with Modric gaining 32.2 per cent of the vote. Croatian Modric initially impressed on debut for Jose Mourinho's side, but has failed to push on and claim a regular role either as a deeplying playmaker like Xabi Alonso, or attacking midfielder like Mesut Ozil.

Allegri convinced AC Milan destined for successful 2013

RVP could cost us the title OBERTO MANCINI fears missing out on Robin van Persie to Manchester United could prove the difference in the title race. The Manchester City boss claims he was 'very close' to landing the Arsenal skipper a few months before he opted for a switch to Old Trafford. City had to get rid of a forward in order to bring in a new one and that allowed rival Alex Ferguson to make his £22million

people who look after me and the club talk to each other and go from there.” SunSport revealed on Monday talks are expected over the next fortnight and Walcott is ready to stay. The England star, whose current deal ends in the summer, wants £95,000 a week £20,000 more than Arsenal are offering. But an agreement could be struck if the Gunners meet halfway. Modric and Song voted worst signings of the season in Spain Two former Premier League stars have been voted as the


•Van Persie

C MILAN coach Massimiliano Allegri is adamant they're over the worst after a tough 2012. Milan have endured a massive clearout in the last 12 months. “We are on the right track by focusing on youth,” the Coach told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We are building a new Milan, so this is an achievement that takes time and passion. The President is right to take this

route, as nobody in the current Italian financial crisis can afford wages of €7m per season and stay within the Financial Fair Play rules.”



Nigerians in S/Africa moblise support

for Eagles


EMBERS of the Nigerian community in South Africa have started moblising to support the Super Eagles during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The event has been scheduled to run from January 19 to February 10, 2013. Frank Anagu, leader of the Nigerian community in South Africa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg on Monday that 200 tickets for each of the matches had been purchased for distribution to Nigerians, to watch the Eagles’ group games. Anagu said Nigerians living in South Africa and Mozambique were being moblised to support the National team. ``We have done a lot of mobilisation through the various Nigerian unions in South Africa and Mozambique for them to come out in their large numbers to support the team. The Nigeria union has making arrangements to rent 46-seater busses to take us to Nelspruit, apart from individuals that will be travelling to watch Nigerian matches. Our plan is to travel a day before any of our matches, to have a `one on one’ encounter with our National team, to motivate and support them,’’ Anagu said. He said Nigerians in Mozambique were making their own arrangements to give their full support to the National team. ``As we are making own arrangements here in South Africa, members of the Nigerian community in Mozambique are also making their own arrangements. Mozambique is not too far to Nelspruit. It is even closer to the venue than Johannesburg, so we are expecting many Nigerians in their numbers to come from Mozambique to support our national team,’’ Anagu said. He said members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club in South Africa will join those coming from home to motivate the players


Eagles/Chipolopolo tie records highest ticket sales


IPHO GAMA, General Manager of the province’s Culture, Sports and Recreation Department has revealed that the match between Nigeria and Zambia has so far recorded the highest number of ticket sales. ``We are very concerned about the slow tickets sales, we have to come out with strategies to create awareness and encourage people to buy tickets. People are not just buying tickets except group tickets purchased by teams playing at the centre. The match between Nigeria and Zambia has so far recorded the highest number of ticket sales. But sales of tickets are generally slow,’’ Gama said. ``You know, where we have stated which countries will be playing in Mbombela and people are excited about it, they have got the flags of the nations playing here and the national flags of South Africa. We have given them vuvuzelas and we are saying to them go and buy tickets, so that you can be at the stadium. So, I think the campaign is working for us,’’ Gama added. Meanwhile, Mpumalanga provincial government is working round the clock to woo members of the

public to purchase tickets for games. Sipho Gama, General Manager of the province’s Culture, Sports and Recreation Department, said they had embarked on road shows to encourage members of the public to purchase tickets for the tournament. Mbombela Stadium

will host group C matches with teams – Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Zambia, the defending champions, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. The LOC had raised concerns at the slow tickets sales. He said the awareness campaign would continue until the tournament's kick off on Jan. 19.


Burkina Faso announces prelim squad


TRIKER Moumouni Dagano has been named in a preliminary squad of 28 players chosen by Burkina Faso for the upcoming African Cup of Nations, putting him in line for a sixth tournament appearance. Dagano has played at five previous tournaments, scoring once in 12 appearances since first competing at the 2000 edition, co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria. Les Etalons coach Paul Put included French-based striker Alain Traore in his selection, hoping he will recover from injury in time for the country’s first match in Group C against Nigeria in Nelspruit on January 21. Traore, from Ligue 1 club Lorient, will return to France on Wednesday to continue treatment in a bid to get

ready for the AFCON, Put told reporters. Overtures to French-born defender Steeve Yago of Toulouse to play at the tournament were turned down as the 20-year-old wanted to concentrate on his club career in Ligue 1. Yago, 20, is of Burkinabe descent. Burkina Faso will cut their list by five players before leaving for South Africa on January 8. Burkina Faso squad: Goalkeepers: Daouda Diakite (Lierse), Abdoul Ouattara (Jeunesse Club Abidjan), Germain Sanou (St Etienne), Abdoulaye Soulama (Asante Kotoko) Defenders: Soumaila Belem (Africa Sports), Mohamed Koffi (Petrojet), Bakary Kone (Olympique Lyon), Paul Koulibaly (Dinamo

Bucharest), Mady Panandetiguiri (Antwerp), Bakary Soro (ArlesAvignon), Henri Traore (AshantiGold), Aboubacar Zerbo (Etoile Filante) Midfielders: Salif Dianda (Ternana), Charles Kabore (Olympique Marseille), Djakaridja Kone (Evian Thonon Gaillard), Prejuce Nacoulma (Gornik Zabrze), Issouf Ouattara (Chernomorets Bougas), Jonathan Pitroipa (Stade Rennes), Ali Rabo (El Shorta), Florent Rouamba (Sheriff Tiraspol), Abdou Razack Traore (Lechia Gdansk), Wilfried Sanou (Kyoto Sanga) Forwards: Wilfried Balima (Sheriff Tiraspol), Aristide Bance (FC Augsburg), Moumouni Dagano (Al Siliya), Wilfried Dah, Pierre Koulibaly (both Al Dhaid), Alain Traore (Lorient).




•Members of St. Michael Anglican Church addressing inmates at the Kaduna Prisons to mark 2013 New Year celebration...yesterday.

•Bishop, St. Jude’s Cathedral Anglican Diocese of Lagos Mainland Most Rev. Adebayo Akinde (middle); Dean of Cathedral, Ven. Luyi Akinwande (left); Deputy Registrar, Leke Owolabi; Registrar Lady Chikere Ochiagha and Chancellor, Justice Ibikunle Adesalu after the service...yesterday. •Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins (middle) and knights after the service at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos...yesterday.

•The Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde flanked by Pro-Presbyter, Methodist Church of the Trinity, Tinubu, Very Rev. Steven Adegbite (left) and Bishop of Tinubu, Rev. Sunday Oluyemisi-Ogunlere aftter the New Year service in Lagos...yesterday. •Mrs. Benedicta Peter with her new baby (left); Head, Human Resources, Vitafoam, Mr. Akin Oladiran; father of the baby Lawrence Peter; National Sales Manager, Vitafoam, Mr. Sola Owoade at the presentation of gifts to Vitafoam Baby of the year at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos...yesterday. The baby was born at 12.05 am.

•Picknickers swimming

•Kids having a swell time at the Water Parks, Ikeja, Lagos ...yesterday. PHOTOS: ABIODUN WILLIAMS, ADEOLA SOLOMON, ABIODUN WILLIAMS




Banking stocks record more gains


ANKING Stocks have continued to attract investors at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Consequently, the sector recorded more gains than losses this week. Healthy demand for toptier banks led to appreciation for FBN Holding (0.6 per cent), United Bank for Africa (UBA) (3.4 per cent) and Zenith Bank (4.6 per cent). GTBank closed flat, as it drifted between N22.80 and N23.00. On the flip side, Stanbic IBTC Holding and Diamond Bank lost 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. The breweries sector was also upbeat on Monday; Guinness consolidated on previous gains with a further 1.1 per cent mark-up, NB and International breweries also picked over 1.3 per cent each to close at N147.00 and N16.20 respectively. Mixed sentiments in the

By Tonia Osundolire

food and beverages industry made UTC and Dangote Sugar gain 4.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent, while Honeywell Flour and Nascon went south with losses of 0.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent. Other companies in the sector recorded no change. Monday’s close saw the benchmark index exceeding the 28,000 pivotal points for the very first time last year. Commenting on the new development, operators said it’s a positive beginning for the market as it not only retained the recovered loses, but that it would consolidate to make the market more attractive to local and foreign investors. However, information from the market revealed that the shares of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc will be placed on a full trad-

ing suspension from January 2 -4, 2013 to enable the bank conclude its restructuring process. The shareholders of the bank recently approved a new commercial banking structure in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s regulation, which repealed the universal banking model under which Nigerian banks hitherto operated. The new structure would enable UBA to divest all noncommercial banking businesses of the Group, which are now to be managed under a seperate firm under the Group’s holding structure. Under the new arrangement, the divested non-commercial banking businesses (except Africa Prudential Registrars and Afriland Properties that will be held directly by shareholders) will be consolidated within UBA Capital Plc. Besides UBA Plc, the restructuring will therefore result in the emergence of four separate stand-alone companies namely: UBA Plc; UBA Capital Plc; African Prudential Registrars Plc; and African Properties Plc.





‘Africa’s stock markets should unite to attract investors’


FRICA’S 24 stock markets should learn to work together better if they are to seize high levels of investor interest, Nicky Newton-King, Chief Executive Officer, Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), has said. The leader of Africa’s biggest securities exchange told AFP that global investors have eye in Africa and the continent’s stock market leaders should seize the opportunity. “The appetite for Africa is very, very high. I think everybody is trying to find their way, to participate meaningfully in that. All of us who are privileged enough to run exchanges, need to figure out that these waves of investor appetite

By Collins Nweze with agency report

aren’t yours by right. Once they come you have to be able to ride them properly. We should not be taking this as business as usual, this is a business opportunity,” she said. Newton-King said that allowing South Africans to more easily place orders into Nigerian stock markets, or by allowing Kenyans to invest in joint-listed South African stock in KES shillings, would attract more foreign investors. She added that there are benefits from cross-listing, as the JSE learned when its leading shares moved to London: “When Anglo-American

cross-listed in London, the amount of trades in AngloAmerican increased. South Africa’s percentage of trade in Anglo-American decreased, but the decreased percentage was worth more. In those cases you have to think quite bravely,” she said. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts the aggregate economy of sub-Saharan Africa will grow at 5.7 per cent this year, also presents a giant opportunity for the continent. Newton-King said that one way to channel the investor interest through African markets would be to make it easier to invest across borders and to improve liquidity in small

markets so that assets can be bought and sold quickly. The JSE already works closely with the Namibian Stock Exchange and she said it is looking to make deals with two other African bourses. She said that creating a single panAfrican bourse is not currently on the agenda and the JSE is concentrating on improving the continent’s financial plumbing including allowing cross- and dual-listings and easier order-routing. “I think it is far more about collaboration. Were we not to have any exchanges on the continent I think we would have wanted to create a single exchange that would service multiple jurisdictions out of

GTBank reassures safety of funds


GUARANTY Trust Bank plc has re-affirmed its commitment to the safety of stakeholder funds as it prepares for the 2013 financial year. In a statement, the bank said it has several new technologies and introduced a number of internal procedures that enable it check

frauds on customers’ accounts. The bank’s Managing Director Segun Agbaje said the lender is committed to ensuring that its customers are protected from the rising incidence of online and other forms of electronic fraud being experienced within the industry. Mr. Agbaje said “We have

tial fraudsters and apprehend them before they act’. He said the bank regularly reviews its security infrastructure and processes, a practice that has assisted it in controlling fraud within the system. He said there was an attempt by some unscrupulous individuals to defraud a customer of a large amount of money.

introduced several new processes internally, which I cannot disclose that make it more difficult for fraudsters to have access to our customer accounts. Additionally we have a mutually beneficial relationship with law enforcement agencies, such as the Nigerian Police Force that enable us identify poten-

Tanzania, Nigeria T-Bills lead Africa yields


IELDS are rising on Tanzania’s and Nigeria’s Treasury bills, although demand continues strong, according data posted on the website of the Central Bank of Tanzania and Central Bank of Nigeria.

The average yield-to-maturity for Tanzania was 13.43 per cent on the 364-days bills, 12.86 per cent on the 182-days paper, 11.76 per cent on 91days and 7.25 per cent on 35 days. For Nigeria, it is 12.5 per

cent on the 364-days bills, 11.75 per cent on the 182days paper, 11.6 per cent on 91-days. The main investors in government securities in both markets are pension Funds and commercial banks who

took more than 60 per cent of the market, followed by insurance funds and a few micro-finance institutions. Treasury bills are issued regularly as part of monetary control measures to help lenders manage their liquidity.


Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012





272.12 145 33 18.63 41.89 16.4 8.56 3.8 3.45 11



C/PRICE 275 147 34.65 19.49 42.5 17 8.98 4.18 3.75 11.29


3.78 0.78 1.33 1.08 0.56 59.4 8.1 2.1 11.03 4.95

3.66 0.76 1.3 1.06 0.55 58.53 8 2.09 11 4.94

Niger, Senegal and Togo. Six other West African nations namely Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Guinea and Liberia - plan to enact a common currency, known as the Eco, by January 2015, 12 years behind an initial target, Temitope Oshikoya, chief executive officer of the West African Monetary Institute, said. The Eco target was pushed back as countries continued to fail to meet standards including singledigit inflation, a budget deficit of not more than four percent of gross domestic product excluding grants, and central bank reserves of not less than three months of import cover, according to Oshikoya.

CHANGE 2.88 2.00 1.65 0.86 0.61 0.60 0.42 0.38 0.30 0.29

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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


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

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days


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

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

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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


CHANGE 0.12 0.02 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.87 0.10 0.01 0.03 0.01

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m





HE central banks of West and Central Africa are considering merging their currencies to boost trade within the region , Lucas Abaga Nchama, governor of the Bank of Central African States, has said. According to Bloomberg reports, the West African and Central African CFA francs are currently separate currencies that are both pegged to the euro. Merging them would boost trade and help fight money laundering, Nchama said. The franc zone covers 14 African countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, GuineaBissau, Ivory Coast, Mali,

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

Currency OBB Rate Call Rate

Lenders mull unifying Francs to boost trade




•NSE CEO, Oscar Onyema

Mauritius put together. There are amazing companies in both of those countries.”



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

one legal base. That’s the most efficient way to do it, but I’m a bit of a realist. Once you try to do cross-border mergers and acquisitions, you run into much more trenchant issues of a regulatory nature, all of which stem from ‘how do we protect the local investor?’, ‘how do we make sure the local market grows?” However, she identified liquidity as a key challenge to attract foreign investors: “Really big trades are not going to go to illiquid markets. The average day’s trade on the JSE is more than the average annual trade on Kenya and

Offer Price

Bid Price


9.08 1.00 132.34 124.60 0.77 1.13 0.91 100.00 1,000.00 1,754.53 10.75 1.33 1.80 9,029.05



Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





Obama to House: it’s up to you


S President Barack Obama has urged the House of Representatives to back a Senate-approved deal to prevent sweeping tax rises and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff”. These came into effect at midnight when George W Bush-era tax cuts expired, although few effects will be felt immediately as Tuesday is a US holiday. House Republicans were to meet at 13:00 (18:00 GMT) to discuss their strategy. There is pressure for a vote before financial markets reopen today.


However, the speaker of the Republican-led House, John Boehner, has not endorsed the Senate deal and there is expected to be some opposition from Republican representatives. Boehner has pledged either a vote or the tabling of an alternative measure. The House has now reconvened. The Senate-backed bill, which raises taxes for the wealthy, was passed in the early yesterday by 89 votes to eight after lengthy talks between Vice-President Joe Biden and Senate Republicans. Spending cuts have been de-

Mass for Chavez

ENEZUELAN cabinet ministers got together to pray for the recovery of President Hugo Chavez, who is in Cuba recovering from a cancer operation. They took part in a mass held at the presidential palace in Caracas. Official New Year celebrations were called off on Sunday after Vice-President Nicolas Maduro announced that Mr Chavez had suffered new complications. The 58-year-old president is due to be sworn in for a new term on 10 January. “The government is united, we are all praying for his health to recover so he can return to our country,” said Federal District governor Jacqueline Farias. Elsewhere in the Venezuelan capital, at the San Francis church, some 300 people attended another mass for Mr Chavez. Correspondents in Caracas describe the end-of-year atmosphere as subdued, yet calm. Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, was elected in October for a fourth term in office. Earlier this year, he said he had been cleared of a cancer diagnosed in 2011 and was fit to serve out his six-year term. But on 11 December, he went through his fourth cancer operation in Cuba.

Jonathan, 10 other heads of state for Mahama’s inauguration



layed for two months to allow a wider agreement. In hailing the Senate vote, President Obama stressed the urgency of a House approval. He said in a statement: “While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay.” He said: “Leaders from both parties in the Senate came together to reach an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support that protects 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners from a middle class tax hike.” Boehner and other top Republican leaders said in their statement: “Decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members - and the American people - have been able to review the legislation.” Yesterday, one senior Republican aide told Reuters news agency that the party’s House members were meeting at 13:00 local time to discuss a “path forward”.

IX days to the January 7 swearing-in of Ghana’s President-elect, John Dramani Mahama, 11 heads of state including President Goodluck Jonathan, have confirmed their participation in the historic event. Delegations are also expected from 18 governments across the world. World leaders expected include Faure Gnassingbe (Togo);Mahamadou Isoufou (Niger); Blaise Compaore (Burkina Faso); Alassane Ouattara (Cote d’Ivoire) and African Union (AU) Chairman President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin Republic. Presidential Transition Team spokesperson James Agyenim-Boateng reportedly said in Accra that “all is set for the inaugural ceremony on January 7” and invitations had been extended to 50,000 guests world-wide.

Work on the ceremonial ground, he disclosed, would begin tomorrow and completed on January 5, adding that the team had received all hand-over notes from ministers and government appointees. Opposition NPP may shun event There were indications that opposition New Patriotic Party, NPP, may shun the event on account of alleged irregularities that marred the polls over which it filed a petition at the Supreme Court on December 29. NPP Director of Communications, Nana Akomea, said the party was yet to confirm whether or not it would attend the inauguration of President Mahama on Saturday. If it fails to attend, it would be the first time a main op-

position party is shunning the inauguration of a president-elect since the return of democracy in 1992. Akomea noted that he was uncertain the party would send representatives to the event. However, he said the party’s decision would be informed by legal advice, saying they would attend if their presence would not invalidate their case before the Supreme Court. “If lawyers so advise that your presence there when you believe that the whole process is based on an illegality and your presence there compromises you, the legal opinion will hold sway,” he said. Meanwhile, NPP Presidential candidate, Nana AkufoAddo, told journalists after filing the challenge with the Supreme Court that the alleged discrepancies were too large to ignore

New York City records 52m visitors in 2012


N estimated 52 million visitors were in New York City last

year. This is about 2.1 per cent increase over 2011. According to the New York foreign statement made available to the North America Correspondent of the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN), visitors generated an estimated $55.3 billion in economic impact to the city’s economy, with direct spending reaching $36.9 bil-

lion. It said that New York City continued to be the premier United States travel destination, with an overseas market share at a record high of 33 per cent. The statement noted that the tourism record was announced on Monday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and NYC Camp; Company Chief Executive Officer, George Fertitta. “In 2012, New York City welcomed an estimated 41

million domestic visitors and 11 million international visitors. “In addition, New York City sold a record 29 million hotel room nights and generated a record $504 million in hotel tax revenue, and the overall hospitality industry across all five boroughs now employs 356,000 New Yorkers. “In the tourism industry, average annual earnings are higher than $52,000 – roughly $7,000 more a year than average earnings in the entire local economy,’’ the statement said. “New York City continues to attract people from all around the world who want to experience our unique culture, food, parks, shopping, arts and energy. “The tourism industry is thriving, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers at all rungs of the economic ladder. “ We are well on our way to achieving our new goal of 55 million visitors and $70 billion in economic impact by 2015,’’ the statement quoted Mayor Bloomberg as saying. It noted that since 2006, when the mayor created a new municipal marketing model by merging NYC Camp; Company with the City’s marketing and big events groups, New York City’s share of overseas visitors to the U.S. had increased from 28 to 33 per cent. According to the statement, each market share point represents an additional $750 million in direct spending by tourists in New York City. It added that NYC Camp; Company had been able to grow the City’s market share of international visitation by targeting nontraditional travel markets with strong economies and growing middle classes. It added that with the continued increase in visitation, New York City’s hotel room inventory continued to expand with 91,500 active rooms. “Even with the addition of new rooms, the city’s hotel occupancy remains strong at 87 per cent, the highest in the nation,’’ it said. The statement also noted that the American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, was one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational and cultural institutions.



FOREIGN NEWS Clashes near Aleppo airport


•Ouattara (left) and his wife Dominique (middle) stand next to a child during a visit to the Cocody hospital in Abidjan..yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

60 killed in Ivory Coast stampede


T least 60 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in a crush during new year festivities in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan, officials say. The incident occurred early yesterday as people were heading home from a fireworks display at a stadium in the city’s Plateau district. Most of the dead are believed to be children aged between eight and 15. Details of what caused the stampede are unclear, but the government has pledged to investigate the tragedy. The death toll is expected to rise. The crush happened after the fireworks ended in the 65,000-capacity Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium at about 02:00 local time. “During the fireworks everything was proceeding normally,” Interior Minister

Hamed Bakayoko said. “At the end of it people wanted to go home, back to their home districts. “Near the Hotel Tiama and the Houphouet-Boigny stadium there was a stampede. “We were notified of injuries and deaths, and as regards casualties, we learnt that there was a heavy toll. “The circumstances surrounding the incident will form the subject of an investigation.” According to some reports, thousands of people were trying to leave the festivities at the same time as another large crowd was arriving, the BBC’s West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy says. But one of the wounded told Reuters news agency that the arrival of the security forces had triggered a panic which resulted in a stampede. “The great mass of people caused a very large stampede

which caused 60 deaths, more than 200 people were injured,” Lt Col Issa Sako, head of the military rescue effort, told reporters. “In the stampede, some people were trampled and suffocated by the crowd.” At least two hospitals in the city have received the wounded, some reportedly with life-threatening injuries. President Alassane Ouattara has visited some of the wounded in hospital and promised that the costs of their medical treatment will be covered by the government. The governor of Abidjan, Robert Beugré Mambe, said he had also visited the wounded and the families of those who had lost loved ones. “We bow our heads respectfully before the memory of all those who died,” he said.

The site of the crush was littered with abandoned clothes and blood stains as light dawned. Relatives went to the scene to get news of missing loved ones. The distraught mother of a nine-year-old boy told local media: “I have just seen all those bodies, but I can’t find my son.” The Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium was named after the founding president of Ivory Coast. The fireworks event had been organised to celebrate the peace recently re-established after a period of unrest triggered by former President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to recognise Ouattara’s victory in 2010 elections. The night before the tragedy, the stadium hosted a concert by US performer Chris Brown.

Clinton has clot between brain and skull


S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making “excellent progress” after a blood clot was found between her brain and skull, doctors say. They said she will make a full recovery and will be released from hospital once a blood-thinning dosage has been set. Mrs Clinton, 65, was admitted to a New York hospital on Sunday, having suffered a concussion earlier in the month when she fainted and fell over. She is due to stand down before President Obama begins his second term. Doctors said an MRI scan on Sunday had revealed the formation of a “right transverse sinus venous thrombosis” - a clot in the vein behind Mrs Clinton’s right ear in the space between the brain and the skull. “It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage,” said Dr Lisa Bardack and Dr Gigi El-Bayoumi, who were treating Mrs Clinton at New York’s Presbyterian hospital. The secretary of state was said to be in good spirits and “engaging with her doctors, her family, and her staff,” added the doctors in a state-



HERE are four things you need to know about blood clots: • It is not life-threatening (most of the

time) Most cases are simply treated with a blood thinner that breaks up the clot and prevents it from migrating to different areas in the body. However, if left untreated, clots can result in a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when the blood clot travels from the leg to the lungs. It accounts for nearly 200,000 deaths a year. •Travellers have the highest risk A large long-term study published in the journal PLoS One in 2007 found the more frequently a person travels, the higher their risk. This is because blood clots are generally caused by sluggish blood flow through the vein, usually from sitting in cramped positions for ment. Doctors discovered the clot during a routine follow-up MRI scan on Sunday, said her spokesman, Philippe Reines, adding that she was being treated with anti-coagulants. At the time of her faint, Mrs Clinton was reported to have had a stomach virus and to have passed out after becoming dehydrated. Mrs Clinton is due to give evidence before a Congressional committee in January in connection with the attack in September on the US con-

long periods of time. Experts say most cases of DVT develop on flights over four hours in length. Some studies show the cabin pressure of an airplane also plays a rol •There are warning signs If your leg, ankle or foot is swelling, cramping or feel warm to the touch, that may be a sign of a DVT blood clot. Also, sudden onset of shortness of breath, anxiety or chest pain may be a warning of pulmonary embolism, or a blockage in a lung. • Keep the blood flowing The most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot is to get up and walk around every 30 to 45 minutes to keep the blood flowing in your legs. If you are stuck at your desk at work, or on an airplane and can’t get up, simply pumping your leg/foot or rotating your ankle can help to get the blood moving. Staying

sulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Mrs Clinton was appointed secretary of state at the start of Obama’s first term, in January 2009. Her most recent foreign trip was to Dublin earlier in

December: she is renowned for keeping a gruelling travel schedule. She is the most travelled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 countries while in the job, the Associated Press says.


1971: Sixty-six die in Scottish football disaster Sixty-six football supporters are killed following a clash between Celtic and Rangers at the Ibrox Park stadium in Glasgow.

IERCE clashes have erupted near the international airport in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, officials say. State news agency Sana said the army was tackling rebels who had targeted airport operations. Unconfirmed reports say it has temporarily been closed. There have also been air strikes on several suburbs of Damascus as the army battles Free Syrian Army rebels there. Opposition groups say more than 44,000 people have been killed since Syria’s unrest began in March 2011. The Free Syrian Army and government forces have clashed regularly over Aleppo since the rebels launched an offensive last July. Sana reported that units of the Syrian army were clearing the areas surrounding the airport. The rebels have targeted the airport to limit the movement of government forces to the city, which remains largely under rebel control. One airport official told Agence France-Presse news agency the runways had been closed for a “very short period of time”, adding: “There have been continued attempts by opposition militants to target civilian aircraft, which could cause a humanitarian disaster.” The UK-based opposition activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it had been told that an explosion had hit a civilian plane taking off on Saturday, though it had no more details. Elsewhere in Syria on Tuesday, air force jets struck rebel targets in the south-western Damascus suburb of Daraya. Other air strikes were reported in eastern suburbs of the capital. One resident of the the Old City district of Homs in central Syria told Reuters that there was shelling “from all sides” there. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fighting in the north-western province of Idlib.

Helicopter dives into sea


UNBATHERS on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach watched in horror as a helicopter crashed into the sea during a rescue. Amateur footage showed the aircraft hovering over the water before plummeting into the Atlantic Ocean, twisting onto its left side and sinking into the choppy waters. The crash, which has been blamed on engine failure, was witnessed by hundreds of spectators on Saturday. All four crew members and the swimmer they were saving survived with minor injuries and were able to swim to shore.

UN sanctions for rebels


HE UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on leaders of the M23 rebel movement in DR Congo. Under the measures, those linked to the group will have their assets frozen and be barred from travel. Similar measures were taken against Rwandan FDLR rebels. Made up of deserters from the army, the M23 captured Goma - on DRC’s eastern border with Rwanda - from government and UN troops last month. It later withdrew from the city, following international condemnation. The New Year’s Eve sanctions come the day before Rwanda joins the Security Council for a two-year term. The UN and DR Congo government accuse Rwanda and Uganda of backing the rebels, an allegation they strongly deny. Rwanda is widely seen as having backed armed groups in the east of DR Congo as a way to fight Hutu rebels who fled there after the genocide of the 1990s. It has been accused of using militias as proxies in an ongoing battle for the region, which is rich in minerals. The Rwandan government strenuously denies the accusations. The M23 rebellion started when a militia that had been absorbed into the Congolese army mutinied and went on the rampage in the eastern part of the country. Since then nearly half a million people have been displaced by fighting between the M23 and the army.

New year speech in North Korea


HE North Korean leader has delivered a new year’s message on state TV, the first such broadcast for 19 years. Kim Jong-un, in power since 2011, spoke of the need to improve the economy and also to reunify the Koreas, warning that confrontation only led to war. The speech came less than a month after the conservative Park Geun-hye was elected president of South Korea. In 1994, Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, spoke on radio and TV. His son, Kim Jong-il rarely spoke in public. In addition to Kim’s televised address, new year’s messages were issued in the form of a joint editorial by North Korea’s three main newspapers. Kim Jong-un said 2013 would be a year of creations and changes, calling for a “radical turnabout” that would transform the impoverished, isolated state into an “economic giant” and raise living standards. But while he said confrontation between the North and the South should be removed, Kim stressed that military power remained a national priority. “The military might of a country represents its national strength. Only when it builds up its military might in every way can it develop into a thriving country,” he said. The message coincides with UN Security Council discussions on how to punish Pyongyang for a recent long-range rocket launch.



NEWS ‘Our culture led us to it’ •Quadruplet’s mum seeks help


ABIES are blessing from God but to Mrs Genevieve Ubah, a set of quadruplets, has become a source of worry. The mother of three was delivered of four more babies on November 29 through Caesarian Section (CS) at Island Maternity Hospital Lagos. She is unemployed; so is her husband, who is a petty trader. Mrs Ubah is worried over how she can take care of seven children. She recounts on her hospital bed that her husband, who is the sole breadwinner, couldn’t break even with his bag-selling busi-

By Wale Adepoju

ness, before it finally collapsed. The woman, in her 30s, said the family definitely

‘Edo is safe’


HE Director of Research and Documentation, Justice Research Centre, Mr. Donald Inwalomhe, has said Edo State is safe despite the travel advice by the United States Department of State. He said the biggest security challenge in Edo State last year was when 11 people died from the robbery incident in Auchi on November 26. “The question is if the US could advise its citizens not to visit Edo State and nine other states, why should US also not advise Nigerians not to visit United States? “Nigerians are aware that the year 2012 was a year of mass shootings in the United States. “The rate at which people were shot in the United States of America is 19.5 times higher than other advanced countries of the world yet the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US Department of State did not advise Nigerians not to visit US because of mass shooting and insecurity. “Just the way we are facing the problem of Boko Haram and other security challenges in Nigeria, United States is equally facing the problem of global insecurity. “For instance, US Ambassador was killed in Libya. Did that happen in Nigeria? “The United States is confronting a dynamic and complex strategic environment that defies neat categorisation. “Non-state or sub-state actors may be using conventional weapons to achieve their goals, and rising state powers may be turning to non-conventional means. The relationships between allies, friends, partners, and adversaries are fluid. “The US has the opportunity to shape this environment to promote the nation’s security, but also must be prepared to react to changing circumstances. “The Edo State Government has assured Nigerians and the international community that the country remained safe and all security challenges will be tackled and put under control.”

•The babies...yesterday

•Mrs Ubah

needs help to take care of the babies. “My petty trading business went under because of the economic challenges in the house,” she added. On why the family tried


for more babies, she said: “Our Igbo culture is responsible for why we tried for another baby. “We have two girls and a boy. We wanted to try and have another boy but when

it turned out that I was carrying the pregnancy of four babies; my husband became agitated and became uncooperative. “Now we have resolved the issue. The children are

JTF impounds vessel in Rivers


HE Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta has impounded a vessel suspected to be carrying 1, 000 tonnes of crude oil off the coast of Bonny Island in Rivers State. The Commander of the 2 Brigade and Sector Two of JTF, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, paraded nine suspected crew members of the vessel before reporters in Bonny yesterday. Buratai, who was represented by Maj. Michael Etete, the 2 Brigade Army Public Relations Officer, said the Nigerian registered vessel was arrested while illegally siphoning crude oil

from a pipeline. He said the nine male crew members, who were arrested, were Nigerians. “Following military intelligence report on December 29, troops of Sector two deployed in Bonny, arrested a vessel registered MT Atlantic Star illegally siphoning crude oil from a pipeline. “At the time of the impoundment, the vessel had loaded about 1, 000 tonnes of stolen crude oil and nine crew members on board the vessel were also arrested. “Further investigation is on-going and the suspects will be handed over to the

Chidinma is best female West African Act

kill the crew members, if he refused to cooperate. Rasak claimed that the gunmen immediately took over the vessel and anchored it in Bonny and loaded the vessel with the illegal crude oil. “The gunmen had threatened to kill us if we didn’t cooperate; we had no choice but to obey. “While loading the vessel with the crude oil, men of the JTF approached us and the gunmen fled the scene,” he said. The captain said the crew was innocent of the charges brought against them by the JTF.

Expectant mother dies in crash From Osagie Otabor, Benin


N unidentified expectant woman has died in an accident on Uwelu Road in Benin City, Edo State. A commercial bike rider was injured in the accident. Witnesses said the deceased was about to pay the bike rider when a Sports Utility Vehicle ran into her. The witnesses said the woman was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), where she died a few minutes later. It was the intervention of some security operatives that stopped youths in the area from lynching the driver. The Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Michael Ibadin confirmed that the victims were brought to the hospital.

DELSU worker kidnapped

By Victor Akande


TN Project Fame West Africa reality show winner in 2011 Chidinma Ekile has emerged the Best Female West African Act. She received the honour at the 2012 edition of Kora Awards which held last Sunday, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Chidinma’s victory came through her hit song ‘Kedike’. The song which is her second single, defeated Omawumi’s ‘If you ask me’ and five other entries from top African female acts. Another Nigerian, David Adeleke, otherwise called ‘Davido’, clinched the Best Male Newcomer category at the event. However, the event was not in favour of Nigeria’s D’Banj, Clarence Peters and the Infinity Group who were nominated in the Best Male African act, Best Director and Best Gospel group categories respectively. The show featured US rapper Chris Brown, as headliner act. The artiste attended the event with Rihanna, his current lover. Also present at the award was Nigeria’s pop duo, PSquare, who rendered their usual energetic performance

Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for prosecution. “JTF restates its commitment toward stamping out oil theft, oil bunkering and other criminal activities within its area of responsibility in-line with its mandate,” he said. Buratai called on the public and organisations to provide information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of oil thieves in 2013. The captain of the vessel, Rauf Rasak, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was hijacked by six gunmen, who threatened to

God’s special gifts to us.” Mrs Ubah pleaded with the government, corporate bodies and well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of her family.

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba


•Ms Ekile with her award

DELTA State University (DELSU), Abraka worker, Martins Denedo, was yesterday kidnapped by eight gunmen as he drove into his compound. The victim is the treasurer of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, DELSU branch. He was reportedly returning with his family from church after the New Year service at about 1am when the hoodlums swooped on them. The victim’s brother, who recounted the incident, said: “When we stopped to open the gate so that we could drive in, about eight men carrying guns intercepted us. “They ordered us out of the car and started shooting sporadically to prevent any form of resistance.” He said the hoodlums left with his brother in his Nissan Pathfinder Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with registration number BKW 18 AA. Paschal said the matter had been reported at the Abraka Divisional Police Headquarters. Police spokesman Famous Ajieh said the command could not confirm the incident.




‘We need elders’ support for Southern Kaduna to develop’


OUTHERN Kaduna youths, under the aegis of the Concern Southern Kaduna Professionals, yesterday said they needed the elders’ support to develop the area. They said the recent agitation for the deputy governorship position exposed them as a people with an undefined agenda. In a statement by their Convener, John Danfulani, the group expressed disappointment with a statement credited to the Elders’ Forum of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), the umbrella body of the southern Kaduna people. The union reportedly said the youth who opposed the appointment of Amb. Nuhu Bajoga as deputy governor were misguided. In the statement, entitled: Southern Kaduna needs elders of integrity and courage, the youths said they were speaking out because of posterity. The statement reads: “Ordinarily, we would not have commented on the predicament the people and land of Southern Kaduna is in today,

Kaduna youths urge support for Yero From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


ADUNA youths, under the aegis of the Nigerian Youth Council, have urged the residents to support the Mukhtar Yero administration to enable it deliver the dividends of democracy to the state. In a statement in Kaduna by its Secretary-General, Danjuma Bello Sarki, the youths noted that the governor and his deputy make a perfect combination to develop Kaduna State. The statement reads: “The leadership of the council has carefully been following the current political happenings in our state, following the death of our former Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, the elevation of Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero to the position of the governor and the appointment of Amb. Nuhu Bajoga as the From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

but for the sake of posterity and to set the record straight. “The political and human survival of Southern Kaduna people and their land remains undefined and uncertain, going by the trends and issues unfolding in Kaduna State. The recent politicking

deputy governor. “We use this medium to call on the youths to give the governor and his government the support to move the state forward. “It is pertinent to note that Governor Yero is a young man, within the age bracket of young men. Therefore, if he fails, it would be considered as a failure of young men in leadership positions in this country. Likewise, his success will further boost the confidence of the society in the leadership capabilities of the youths. “Also, we declare our support for his administration as he continue with the meaningful developmental projects of his predecessor and others he will initiate for the transformation of our state and the development of youths.

in Southern Kaduna, following the death of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, proved the expediency and the need for our area to have real elders, people of integrity and courage to help in taking southern Kaduna to a greater height. “Moreso, there has to be a complete turnaround and

disembarking from the slavery flight already being boarded via our sheer greed, ego, political and economic interests. “The recent deputy governorship saga further shows how some so-called elders are short-sighted as they were falling atop one another fighting, instead of challeng-

ing the calculated ploy and deliberate subjugation and political landmines planted in our path. They went berserk - very typical of slaves throwing invectives and tagging their daring youths as misguided and charlatans. “The series of challenges, the people of Southern Kaduna are in presently include insecurity; a virtual and gradual annihilation and encroachment of our people and land as a result of our poor reasoning. “Under-representation in the delineation of both state and federal constituencies and polling units that stands in between as a barrier to our political reality. Deliberate scheming of political and economic marginalisation aimed at enslaving the people of Southern Kaduna “Agitation for the creation of a Southern Kaduna State. Lack of a cogent Political Agenda to knit Southern Kaduna in a single positive political direction. Lack of a robust economic hub to enhance business and to create a vibrant economic class

Three-day fast, prayers for Wada


GROUP , the Kogi Youth Council (KYC), has declared a three-day special fast and prayers for ailing Governor Idris Wada, who was involved in a car crash on December 28. In a statement in Abuja by its chairman, Mr Emmanuel Godwin, the group stressed the need for Kogi youths to fast and pray for the quick recovery of the governor. It also urged Nigerian youths to join their Kogi counterparts in prayers for the speedy recuperation of the governor. The group added: “Wada is a lover of youths.” Besides, the group advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts on road rehabilitation and construction to avoid further deaths on the nation’s highways. Wada had a leg fracture in the crash; his aide died on the spot. The governor is recuperating at the Cedarcrest Hospital, Abuja, where a surgical operation had been performed on him by an orthopaedic consultant, Dr Felix Ogedengbe. Dr Ogedengbe told reporters in Abuja that the governor was recuperating after the successful surgery.


ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday released 30 inmates of Maiduguri Maximum Prison to mark the New Year. The governor announced the amnesty during a visit to the prison. He said the gesture followed the recommendations of the state Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy. Shettima said some of the beneficiaries were awaiting trial prisoners who had stayed for long in custody. The governor said others were serving jail terms for minor offences. He promised to train those who regained their freedom in various skills and provide the capital for them to start businesses. Shettima also presented N1 million cash to the prison authorities for the transport and upkeep allowances for the freed inmates. The governor urged other inmates to pray for peace in the state. Shettima also presented 100 bags of rice and two cows to the inmates to enable them celebrate the New Year. The Deputy Comptroller of Prison in-charge of the prison, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, thanked the governor for the gesture. He urged the governor to help the prison repair the broken down borehole, which provides water to the prison.

Low key New Year in Kano From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

T •Twenty of the prisoners released by the Borno State Governor Shettima from the Maiduguri Maximum Prison...yesterday

Kano shuts 5,000 drug shops at Rimi Market


HE Kano State Government has sealed the popular Sabon Gari Drug Market after the expiration of the December 31, deadline. Despite the ongoing litigation between the government and the patent medicine dealers’ association, the Musa Kwankwaso administration sealed the 5,000 shops. Barely 24 hours after the

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

closure, the state branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) assured the public that the government would ensure better access to quality drugs. The government gave the deadline following the alleged concentration and sale of fake and adulterated drugs in the market. In a statement in Kano by

its Chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Gana Mohammed, the PSN noted that the government’s decision is in the best interest of the people. The statement reads: “We assure you that the decision of the government to close the market is in the best interest of Kano people and all beneficiaries of pharmaceutical services.” It explained that the resi-

dents can buy prescribed drugs from government hospitals, registered pharmaceutical premises and patent medicine shops, including Lafia Jari shops. Also, the Chairman said a list and addresses of registered manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and distributors would be announced on radio and published in newspapers for bulk purchase drugs.

Kwara PDP criticises Belgore’s comment on govt



Shettima releases 30 prison inmates

HE Kwara State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in the 2011 election, Dele Belgore (SAN), of “insensitivity” for criticising the PDP government in the state. In a statement by its

Publicity Secretary, Mas’ud Adebimpe, the PDP said it regarded Belgore’s call for a “reduction of the staff strength of the work force as retrogressive and insensitivity to the plight of the civil servants “who have contributed in no small measure to the success re-

corded in the last few years in the state”. It said by criticising the 51 per cent of recurrent expenditure over the capital expenditure of 49per cent, “Belgore is indirectly calling for retrenchment in the state civil service, knowing fully well that recurrent expenditure is

almost synonymous with staff salary and other overhead costs”. The statement added: “Pray, is Mr Belgore saying Kwara State workers’ salaries should not be paid? Is he asking the state government to retrench workers to reduce the recurrent expenditure?”

HE New Year celebration was lowkey for Kano Christians. Only a few of them attended the first church that ushered in the New Year because of the security challenge in the country. More security operatives were drafted to parts of the state, especially churches, to ensure the security of life and property. There were more rigorous checks of vehicles by security operatives in Kano city yesterday than before. Checks at some churches around the state capital showed that most seats were empty because many worshippers stayed away. The traditional merriment that used to accompany New Year celebrations were missing yesterday. Those who attended church service hurriedly retired into their homes instead of celebrating openly with families, friends and others. Many Christians used to take their families and friends to eateries, restaurants and other fun spots to celebrate the New Year. But such pastimes were not as pronounced yesterday as they used to be.








Ahmed Musa wants AFCON Sony can win league title N trophy as New Year gift A

HMED MUSA has said a befitting New Year gift for the fans would be Nigeria winning the 2013 AFCON. The CSKA Moscow star told that the fans, who last celebrated a Nigeria triumph at the AFCON 19 years ago deserve a trophy for their support over the years. "I am wishing Nigerians and

the fans a great new 2013. My New Year resolution is to win 2013 AFCON because it would be a perfect gift for Nigerians, who have stood by the national team," Musa told The ex-Kano Pillars star is poised for his Nations Cup debut in South Africa. Musa has also insisted the Eagles will not be intimidated by the top stars they will face when they take on Catalonia on Wednesday night in Spain. He will up against Barcelona defenders Carlos Puyol,

Gerrard Pique and Jordi Alba in this AFCON warm-up clash. "Personally, it won't be hard to face them. I have faced a lot of world-class defenders especially in Champions league. Others in our team have played at top level, so there is no reason to be afraid of facing any one,” he declared. “Emma (Emenike) took on the Barcelona defence at Camp Nou, for one, so no cause for alarm. We are ready for them."

Ubido tasks Eagles


•Ahmed Musa

E A R T L A N D defensive midfielder, Julius Ubido has charged the team to give Nigerians a special New Year gift by beating the Catalonian selected in Wednesday's friendly in Spain. The friendly encounter will serve as build-up match for the Eagles' 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in South Africa. Ubido said the national colour should spur the Stephen Keshi-tutored side to overcome the expected tough challenge from the Catalonians. "Of course, the players know what is at stake and can't afford to start the year on a losing note. "The greatest gift Nigerians expect at the start of the New Year is emphatic victory which will go a long way to

Tourists give Pele the nod


IGERIA Premier League (NPL) campaigners, Wikki Tourists have named Ahmed Audu Pele as the club's chief coach. Pele, 51, was last term the chief coach of Jigawa Golden Stars who were relegated on the last day of the outgone 2011/12 league season. gathered that Pele was recommended to his present position by Wikki Tourists' head coach, Yakubu Maidajin who will next year travel with Nigeria's Flying

Eagles to the African Youth Championship (AYC) in Algeria. Interestingly, Maidajin also replaced former Wikki Tourists' coach, Ladan Bosso who has teamed up with NPL returnees, Bayelsa United. Confirming Pele's appointment, the club's team manager, Yusuf Gimba disclosed that the decision to hire Pele was made at the club's recent board meeting in Bauchi. “Pele was recommended to us by Yakubu himself and we were convinced with his reasons as we want the best for the club in this

Ayew tips Ghana to win AFCON A NDRE AYEW says Ghana will win 2013 Nations Cup Ghana winger Andre Ayew has boldly declared that the Black Stars will win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. The four-time champions flattered to deceive at the last edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea 2012 where they finished fourth. Ghana have a tough Group


comprising DR Congo, Mali and Niger at the tournament in South Africa. Kwesi Appiah's side will begin preparations in Abu Dhabi on January 5 where they will play Egypt and Tunisia in warm-up matches. Ayew, who is on the verge of recapturing his verve after a slow start to the season in the French Ligue 1, believes Ghana will win their fifth title. "Please, I'm not here to talk about the Nations Cup. I can talk about it when the time is right," the Olympique Marseille ace said in Douala where he joined Samuel Eto'o for a book launch. "But know that we will win this CAN in South Africa." Ayew has made 18 appearances for Marseille and scored five times.

coming season. “We have finalised the deal and he will resume next week as Yakubu will leave for the Flying Eagles' camp. We would support him to succeed as the chief coach,” Gimba told on Monday. Wikki Tourists finished in 10th position in the final standings last term on 51 points from 36 games.

prepare their minds on what to expect at the Afcon in South Africa. "They should be able to prove themselves worthy of the national colour they put on. "The Catalonian challenge will be tough as each player is in his best form but on the field of play it will be 11-11, so the Eagles won't have any reason to disappoint," said the Heartland midfielder to Ubido believes the Eagles have what it takes to grab their third African title in South Africa. "The Eagles are capable of winning their third title in South Africa if they can put their mind and body into the game. "The first game against Burkina Faso is crucial, a win will boost their confidence going into the next matches. "No team in their group look to me a cheap side, so they must not underrate any opposition but go into each game with a mind to win," said the former Lobi Stars' midfield maestro. Nigeria are in Group C with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Cup holders, Zambia. The Eagles return from the Catalonian tie to head to Nelspruit, South Africa venue of their first two games against West African foes, Burkina Faso and Zambia.

Mancha blames players for defeat P LATEAU UNITED coach, Patrick Mancha has blamed his wards for the 1-2 loss to FC Abuja in NNL Matchday 2 in Abuja. The Tin City side had looked forward to consolidate on their 20 emphatic home win against Spotlight FC in the season's opening day. Mancha, who has course to complain on the handling of the match, said his charges would have negated the poor officiating if they had converted several goalscoring chances that came their way. "The way you prepare your bed so will you lay on it, we got the match wrong and we paid dearly for it. "Fine, there are lots to be bitter over the referee's handling of the match but I don't want to dwell on it. "I blamed my wards for their failure to convert several goalscoring chances. They blew over seven such glaring chances. I think we lost the game ourselves. "There is always a lesson to learn from each game, it's an eye opener if we must make headway in this year's league season," said

the former Nigerian player to Mancha said they will make up for the defeat against their Matchday 3 opponents, Niger Tornadoes at the Rwang Pam Stadium on Sunday. "We'll make up for the loss when we host Niger Tornadoes on Sunday," he said. The former Golden Eaglets player said he is praying for a good football year free of crisis. "We pray for a football season free of crisis in the New Year and beyond," he enthused.

•Kelly Oka

EWLY signed Sony Sugar full-back Amon Muchiri hopes to give his club a reason to smile come the end of the season. The former AFC Leopards defender has joined the millers on a two-year deal. Muchiri most of last season on the bench or playing out of position at Leopards, which did not help his performances as he was culpable for some of the club’s weak results, in the process earning criticism from the fans. It ended with him being dropped by the club at the end of the season and even though the circumstances with which he left the side were not the best, he does not have any hard feelings towards his exemployers. “I am happy with the move, it is a new adventure for me at a club that is very well known,” said Muchiri. “It is a new challenge for me and one that I am looking forward to. Last season was

sort of tricky for me as I did not get the playing time I wanted and my form was not good. It was frustrating because at a club like Leopards, you just want to do well for the fans who give a lot to the club.” The millers have brought in some experienced and exciting players in the off-season, and Muchiri feels that with the right start they can challenge for the Premier League title. “We can win the title for sure,” he said. “If you look at the players that have been brought in, it shows that the club has ambition and wants to do well. “There are a number who have played at the top most level in the Kenyan game and even the national team, so the quality is there. “We also have a very good coach and he will be keen to do well, so the ingredients are there,” he concluded. Sony won the Premier League in 2006.

Serena stamps authority with crushing win


ERENA WILLIAMS stamped her authority on the Brisbane International yesterday when she crushed Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2. On a day that saw second seed Maria Sharapova withdraw with an injured collarbone and fifth and sixth seeds Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova bundled out, Williams was all business as she disposed of Cornet in exactly one hour. The 15-times Grand Slam winner broke Cornet in the first game of the match and was never troubled after that, as she broke the Frenchwoman once more in the first set and twice in the second for a comprehensive victory. Williams had far too much firepower for Cornet, hitting 25 winners to four including six aces. One in the second set was clocked at 200 kmh (125 mph). The third-seeded American stepped up a gear from her opening-round win over fellow countrywoman Varvara Lepchenko. “She’s (Cornet) a former top 15 player and we’ve had a tough three-set match before, so I knew I had to play really well,” she said. “I tried to be more aggressive and tried to be more consistent.” Sharapova was earlier forced to withdraw with a right collarbone injury. The Russian world number two sent scans of her injury to her doctor in New York, who advised her not to do any overhead training for at least a week. “So to be fair I haven’t really given myself a chance to pretty much hit any serves or anything over my head, I’ve just been practising ground strokes. So I just kind of ran out of time here,” she said. It is the second year in a row that Sharapova has withdrawn from the tournament without playing a shot. In 2012 she skipped Brisbane because of an ankle injury and went straight to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open, where she finished runner-up to Victoria Azarenka.

•Serena Sharapova said she would do the same this year, passing up the opportunity of playing in Sydney next week to make sure she is fit for Melbourne. Former Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who won in Brisbane in 2011, went down 6-4, 7-5 to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Italy’s Errani lost in three sets to 2012 runner-up Daniela Hantuchova 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. “It wasn’t my best tennis today and I think that it’s the beginning of the season, so I hoped that it could be better, for sure,” Kvitova said. “Right now I have still some space where I can improve and I hope that in Melbourne I will improve these things.” Top seed and world number one Victoria Azarenka plays her second-round match against German Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday. In the men’s draw, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin downed eighth seed Slovakian Martin Klizan 6-1 6-2, while Austria’s Jurgen Melzer, the seventh seed, beat US qualifier Denis Kudla 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Australian qualifier John Millman set up a secondround clash against Andy Murray when he beat Japan’s Tatsumo Ito 6-4, 6-1 and Tommy Robredo of Spain edged American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). In the final match, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt of Australia downed Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 46, 6-2.



NEWS Governors’ Forum oppressive, says Aminu


HE Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) – an association of governors – is oppressive, Senator Jubril Aminu said yesterday. He called for a check on the influence of the governors, who he said, have been dictating to even the President. Aminu, a former Presidential aspirant and a former ambassador spoke in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, at a news conference organised by the ‘stakeholders’ of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. The PDP in the state is bit-

terly divided with key leaders taking different sides in the seemingly intractable crisis. Adamawa is the home state of PDP National Chairman Alahaji Bamanga Tukur and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Governor Murtala Nyako and Tukur are on opposing sides in the crisis of leadership rocking Adamawa PDP. Aminu said yesterday on the Governors’ Forum: “It is very strange. I worked in many countries and have not seen anything like such a forum.

“The Governors’ Forum is what is used to oppress everybody, including the president”, Aminu said. He said the forum always ensured that governors had their way in everything, including nominating who became an ambassador or member of the National Assembly. “I don’t know how the forum came about in this country. And if it is not checked, it will put the country in serious trouble, as the state chief executives unite to challenge the Federal Government,” Aminu said.

He called for the application of internal democracy in the running of the political parties. He also cautioned against the politics of sentiments and stressed that the introduction of sentiments in the nomination of candidates would bring about tyrants in public office. Aminu protested against the intervention of Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido committee in the crisis in Adamawa PDP saying he had no confidence in the choice of Lamido, because of his relationship with Nyako.

Jonathan: Police HQ, UN House bomb suspects held Continued from page 2

ties who sell doctorate degrees and titles to those who are not worthy of them to also “circumsise your hearts.” He said: “To be regarded as uncircumcised means you are a godless person. Jesus demonstrated his circumcision by being obedient. We ought to be obedient to God’s laws. “Circumcision as it affects us today means cutting of sin, corruption, bitterness and so on and so forth. “As we enter the New Year, we should cut off certain things. I ask Nigerian clergy, business community who exploits people, civil servants who hide files, politicians at all levels, teachers who persecute girls for refusing to sleep with them, traders who sell substandard products, transporters who hike prices, petroleum product sellers

who short change Nigerians, kidnappers, armed robbers and Boko Haram to circumcise their hearts. “This is important so that in the new year we will build a nation that our children will be proud of. “Those looking for opportunity to make money without working, young graduates seeking contracts instead of employment, who wants to ride a jeep. This is a deformity of the heart. It is a wrong lifestyle to start from the top. All of us Nigerians should circumcise our hearts. “The Name of Jesus Christ must not be joked with else when you need Him to work for you and you evoke the name, it will not work. “To the President, the year 2013 will come with challenges, and you need the Name Jesus and once you bind that name around you, your vic-

tory shall be sure. “Some of us limit our lives to just money while God can give you a name, a promotion that is bigger than money. Nigeria shall rise up and walk in 2013. “The year 2013 is a trackless sea, a desert. The guiding hand you have is that Jesus is the way, the truth and the

life. The most important thing for those holding high, low and oversised responsibility in the nation is to bind Jesus to yourself and it shall be well. “God will be gracious to us as a people and to our nation Nigeria”. The First Lady took the Bible reading from Gen. 17: 916.

ACN to Jonathan: be serious this year

Continued from page 2

meandering through traffic in our major cities selling toothpicks, rat poison and pure water. What does this so-called economic growth figures mean to them? ‘’In 2013, the Jonathan administration must jettison cookedup economic growth figures and make a concerted effort to reverse the situation that has seen an estimated 11 million Nigerian children out of school, 46 per cent of our youths unemployed, made Nigeria a country with one of the highest rates of road crashes in the world, put the country’s life expectancy at a mere 51.9 years (compared with 62.7 for Gabon, 73.4 for Mauritius and 74 for Libya) and the indignity of annually seeing the country ranked among the most corrupt,’’ the ACN said

Four Boko Haram kingpins held for major bombings Continued from page 2

list. “The recent attack of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit in Abuja was traced to the detention of some Boko Haram leaders in the place. The police investigating team might refer to this when it completes its probe.” But the source claimed that the list of arrests made so far is outside the 19 leaders declared wanted by the JTF with N290million ransom. Those affected are five members of the Shurra Committee of the sect, including, Imam Abubakar Shekau (N50million); Habibu Yusuf (a.k.a Asalafi) N25million; Khalid Albarnawai

(N25million); Momodu Bama (N25 million); and Mohammed Zangina (N25million). The Boko Haram Commanders are: Abu Saad (N10million); Abba Kaka (N10million); Abdulmalik Bama (N10million), Umar Fulata(N10million); Alhaji Mustapha (Massa) Ibrahim (N10million); Abubakar Suleiman-Habu (a.k.a Khalid) N10million; Hassan Jazair N10million; Ali Jalingo (N10million); Alhaji Musa Modu (N10million); Bashir Aketa (N10million); Abba Goroma(N10million); Ibrahim Bashir (N10million); Abubakar Zakariya (N10million); and Tukur Ahmed Mohammed (N10million).

‘Nigerians deserve better deal’ Continued from page 2

That partnership, he explains, must go beyond merely expecting the government to always do the right thing or make the right policies, but must extend to the determination of the people to call the government out and protest against anti-people policies and deliberate government inaction and brazen corruption. He cautioned that such partnership must be predicated on the ability to offer constructive criticisms and suggestions and a determination to mobilise to defend what the people believe in.

“Last year January, we saw the power of the people to organise and demonstrate against insensitive government policies. Unless the people demand to be governed properly, those that lead them will continue to ride roughshod over them,” Tinubu said. He said Nigerians must begin to work for desired change and that work must begin from the new year until it culminates in a new leadership come 2015. Tinubu urged Nigerians to be ready to defend their hard earned democracy, particularly the very liberties, freedoms and rule of law upon which democracy rests.





‘‘The president only needs to see beyond the present narrow prism and confront the challenges facing the nation headlong. To do this, he must act like a tiger and not a snail!’ DELE AGEKAMEH

VOL.7 NO.2,357



OR two days early December last year, Government College, Bida, where I had my secondary school education between 1965 and 1969, celebrated its centenary. As you can imagine it was a great homecoming for many of the students of the school which, by sheer longevity alone, has produced some of the most pre-eminent citizens of this country. The celebration was prefaced by the sad and sudden demise of one of the school’s most eminent old boys, Ambassador James Tsado Kolo, Waziri Doko. JT, as his friends called him, was among the pioneer senior staff of North West State, today’s Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara states. A humble, diligent and upright gentleman, he rose to the rank of permanent secretary in the old state and eventually served as the Secretary of the Niger State Government before he ended his civil service career as an ambassador. Ambassador Kolo was billed to deliver the keynote lecture about the journey to date of his alma mater on the night of December 7, the first day of the celebration, and had indeed prepared his paper. He died at 74, apparently from heart failure, a little over two weeks before the lecture and a day after the very day the centenary organising committee put out the first newspaper advert announcing the programme of the event. In the end it fell on his old teacher as a secondary school student, Professor Jonathan O. Ndagi, himself one of the most eminent educationists in the country and pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, to deliver the lecture. The occasion was chaired by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Modibbo Belgore, who though not an old boy, had sentimental ties to Bida as the closest childhood friend of Alhaji Umaru Sanda, the late Etsu Nupe, whose late father, Alhaji Muhammadu Ndayako, was one of the emirs in the North to plant the seed of Western education in the otherwise conservative and hostile region. As you’ll expect Ambassador Kolo’s history of his alma mater was full of reminiscences about the good, but at times not-so-good, old days of diligent and stern teachers, simple but delicious meals, notably nyanboci, the Nupe staple food of tuwon shinkafa served with bean soup or gbegiri soup as the Yoruba with their affinity with the Nupes, would call it, and of the senior boys all too often lording it over their juniors, etc. The one thing Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the pioneer premier of Western Nigeria, was justly famous for was his policy of free education in his region. In a sense his Northern compatriot, Sir Ahmadu Bello, was one better than the chief; JT Kolo and his fellow pupils not only enjoyed free education, they were actually paid to learn. For, in addition to free tuition, primary and secondary school pupils in the North right up to the seventies enjoyed free meals and free uniforms, and received allowances which were princely sums in those days. Such was the great store the great Sardauna put on education and such was the strength of the momentum of his

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA

Government College, Bida centenary


legacy. As the college celebrated its centenary its good old days seemed light years away. Although academically it was not in the premier league, to use a football metaphor, it produced a few odd brilliant students that went on to set academic records in other schools. One such student was Malam Yunusa Paiko whom Professor Ndagi singled out from the audience for mention in the course of reading Ambassador Kolo’s lecture. To date Malam Yunusa’s record of six distinctions in West African School Certificate examination in 1959 remains unbroken. He went on, according to Professor Ndagi, to set a similar record in King’s College, as a Higher School Certificate student where he made three straight A’s. Modest as the school’s academic record is, it has produced more than its fair share of the country’s most pre-eminent citizens. It holds the record as the only secondary school to have produced two military leaders of this country –Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar – both of them Class of ‘62. The same class has also produced the single highest number of senior military officers in the country. These officers, with the exception of Colonel Sani Bello who was retired as military governor of Kano State, left the military as major-generals. These were Muhammadu Magoro, now a senator, Muhammed Gado Nasko, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sani Sami, the current Emir of Zuru in Kebbi State and the

late Mamman Vatsa, he too one time FCT minister. Another exceptional classmate of theirs was Garba Duba who retired as a three star Lieutenant-General. The trail blazer for them all, however, was Lieutenant-General Muhammadu Wushishi who was their senior by two years. Along with the late Colonel Ibrahim Taiwo, the military governor of the old Kwara State who was killed in the coup attempt against General Murtala Muhammed in 1976, and late Col Garba Dada Paiko, they were the first to be enlisted into the army by their old teacher, Alhaji Tako Galadima, as Nigeria’s first minister of state for the army. The military, however, was not the only sector in which the early products of the school proved their mettle. In the judiciary, broadcast, banking, bureaucracy, academia, and among traditional rulers many of its students have come to occupy prominent positions. In the judiciary, for example, a recent former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi was a student (Class of ’54) and its head boy. Then there was Justice Abdullahi Mustapha, one time president of the Federal High Court. Again there is the current Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo, and before him a few other chief judges. This is not to mention many serving judges at various levels of that arm of government. Among traditional rulers the school has produced the late Lamido of Adamawa, Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora, Alhaji Sa’idu Na Maska, the longest serving emir of Lapai, Alhaji Muhammadu Kobo, who was both student and teacher in the school, the current emir, Alhaji Umaru Bago II, the late Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Omolori, the current Sarkin Zazzau of Suleja, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim and Sarkin Sudan of Wurno, Alhaji Shehu Malami. Several of these old boys, along with some of their teachers, notably Professor Ndagi, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu – now famous for his hard hitting speech during the submission of the report of his presidential committee that investigated the 2011 post-election violence –



LL Kogites, long depressed by the nearly absolute lack of progress in their state, will certainly hope that the world has not failed to notice the salutary example Kogi is setting in information management. A day after ferrying Governor Idris Wada to Cedar Crest Hospital in Abuja as a result of a car crash last Friday on the Ajaokuta- Lokoja highway, the governor’s information managers addressed a press conference in which the hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Dr Felix Ogedengbe, fully and frankly explained the governor’s medical condition. He hid nothing, and he was actually believable. On the day of the crash itself, the state’s information managers also put out what turned out to be a sensible press release detailing what they knew about the crash and the effort to get the governor medical relief. This admirable sort of information management is top grade. But it is coming from the most unexpected quarters. Kogi State, as many analysts know, has been ruled by very uninspiring governors. And that is an understatement. The first Fourth Republic governor, Prince Abubakar Audu, carried himself regally and with such panache that he

the late Professor Albert Ozigi, also a prominent educationist, and the ageless Malam Iliyasu Bida who is most likely in his eighties but is always looking 60, came up for award on the second day, December 8, of the centenary. Of the seven categories of awards on that day, the most interesting and telling for me was the Special Award that went to two of the school’s pioneering students – both of them females. Telling because, first, mixed schools were rare, if not unheard of, in these parts at that time. This apparently explains why the old boys of the school who initiated the establishment of their association in October 1975 chose to name it Bida Old Students Association (BOSA). Second, I thought the award was interesting and telling because the elderly Hajiya Jibabatu Mohammed, who, of the two recipients of the award, was present in person to receive her award, spoke such perfect English in accepting her award you would be pardoned if you thought she attended some of the best schools in England; you would never imagine that all she got was Middle School education between 1945 and 1948, when the school’s status as mixed came to an end. Certainly, it would make you wonder whatever happened to Western education in the country, especially in the North which had been a laggard in that field. However, even by the school’s rather modest academic performance, the last result of its WAEC was exceptionally dismal; out of 200 of its students who sat for the exams in June, less than half a dozen had four credits and above. All stakeholders in the school – students, teachers, parents, old boys and the state government – must share in the blame for the terrible decline of the college. But the least blameworthy are the old boys for the simple reason that under the chairmanship of Col Sani Bello, BOSA has done virtually all that any group can do to restore the past glory of the college. Along with his team, he has used a judicious combination of carrots and sticks to get many of the high-net-worth old boys to rehabilitate the schools buildings, infrastructure and equipment. So successful was he as chairman in the last five years that the school today stands out among its contemporaries like Barewa College, Zaria, Rumfa College, Kano and Government College, Keffi, as probably the best in these three areas. If the old boys are the least to blame, the worst culprit must be the state government. Like most states in the country, especially in the North, education seems to be Niger State’s least priority, whatever the state authorities, going all the way to its self-styled chief servant, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, may claim to the contrary. And unless the state authorities begin to give primary and secondary schools their due and unless there is transparency and efficiency in the handling of what goes into the sector, things can only get worse than the dismal record of the school in recent times no matter what anyone else does or says. •For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Surprise from Kogi on information management seemed a grotesque exaggeration in a dramatic piece, in fact close to a burlesque. He was active, indeed hyperactive, and he actually managed to exhibit some flashes of brilliance in project enunciation and execution. But he was also jadedly ordinary. He never really rose beyond the humdrum level, beyond what Nigerians were used to in the 1960s and 1970s. As a matter of fact, he had no concise and coherent development programme for the state which the rest of Nigeria could notice. However, his successors, Ibrahim Idris and now Idris Wada, make Audu look like a whiz kid. Idris, to put it mildly, wasted eight years as governor and made those years very loathsome. For his appalling efforts, he even got improbable judicial help to extend his tenure. Audu’s sin was that he didn’t create a template for the state’s social, political and economic development; and Idris’ crime was that he had no idea what a template looked like. Wada, in nearly one year, has built only a roundabout on the access road to

Government House. Under him, too, local governments owe salaries, and, like the melodramatic Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, he has accumulated aides by the dozens as if his life depends on it. In addition, he grovels sickeningly at the feet of Idris, the former governor who continues to cast a long shadow over the hapless state. So, imagine how surprising it was that in a country so incompetent in information management, it is still this same laggard Kogi that appears to be setting the pace. This can only mean that no one is so absolutely bad as not to have even one redeeming feature. Hurrah, then, to the laggard. To properly weigh Kogi’s achievement in this regard, recall that three governors – Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Danbaba Suntai of Taraba, and Liyel Imoke of Cross River – are currently on hospital beds abroad. Chime’s people have gone to great lengths to hide information on the governor’s condition, and the other two states have made an ass of themselves by keeping everyone in

the dark. Recall also that the late Umaru Yar’Adua made the country look stupid considering the way his family and the selfish crowd around him managed his hospitalisation. Then, of course, who can forget the extraordinary lengths presidential aides went to in concealing Dame Patience’s recent hospitalisation? Hardball wishes Wada speedy recovery. It is hoped the crash and his time in hospital have enabled him to do some reflections on his purpose in life and the weight of responsibility the office he occupies has thrust on his shoulders. Perhaps we should expect he will return from Abuja freed from any instinct to grovel before his predecessor, and that he will prune the burdensome number of aides he has saddled himself with, rejigger his uninspiring cabinet, and get the state’s abundant talents to help him draft a development template. If he has the discipline and know-how to utilise the template, and there is nothing to show he is capable of both, the state may yet become a model, assuming we are not too vicariously ambitious for the sleepy state.

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

The Nation January 02, 2013  

The Nation January 02, 2013

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