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Nigeria’s truly national newspaper

AMCON ‘won’t kill rescued banks’

Fresh anxiety over Boko Haram



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•CEO forecloses liquidation

•Govt won’t withdraw troops now


VOL. 6, NO. 1824 MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011



•Flooded Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway at Abule-Egba, Lagos ... yesterday. See also page 3.


Workers insist on strike Mark, others beg Labour Fed Govt, states, local govts get N1.3tr Oyo school owners protest Gbonigi, others plead with Ondo NLC Edo teachers to join strike Minister, Labour leaders meet today


ABOUR insisted yesterday on a warning strike over the N18,000 national minimum wage. The strike is billed to start on Wednesday. Labour leaders seem unimpressed with the government’s release of N1.3 trillion June allocation from the Federation Account to give all tiers of government the financial

From Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu, Lagos and John Ofikhenua, Abuja

muscle to pay the new wage. Governors, who had earlier said they could not pay, also at the weekend, promised to pay. A meeting is slated for today between the labour leadership and Minister Emeka Wogu to stave off the strike.

This will be followed tomorrow with another one with the governors. Both meetings will hold in Abuja. Ahead of today’s meeting, Wogu called on labour not to come to the table with a fixed position. “People should not come to the meeting with a fixed position. We will resolve any area of contention. That is the essence of dialogue,” he told

our reporter on the telephone. Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Deputy President Promise Adewusi said the outcome of today’s meeting, if unfavourable to labour, “cannot affect our mobilisation in any way”. “Our members are on red alert.” Adewunsi said labour may not shift ground at the meet-

ing. “We have shifted ground enough; nothing to shift again,” he said. To Trade Union Congress (TUC) chief Peter Esele, the governors’ promise is a welcome development, which must be properly documented. “At today’s meeting with the Federal Government and tomorrow’s with the governors, let them document

whatever they want to do. Our agreement on the minimum wage was documented. Let the implementation decision also be in black and white. We can not put off the planned strike, based on what governors said in the newspapers,” he said. At a news conference in Continued on page 2






•Japan's players receive the trophy after the victory against the U.S. in their Women's World Cup final soccer match in Frankfurt, Germany ... last night.

ENATE President David Mark and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu have urged Labour to shelve their proposed warning strike. Ekweremadu told airport reporters in Lagos: “I hope they said it is a warning strike, we only received the warning, we hope they will not go and demonstrate. “We have appealed to them; we are appealing to them to calm down while our colleagues in the House of Representatives attempt to convince the other governments to ensure that there is full compliance. I’m happy that some state governments have agreed to implement the minimum wage. To that extent, I’m sure we are making progress;

Mark, others urge Labour to shelve strike By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor, Damisi Ojo (Akure), Bisi Oladele (Ibadan), Osagie Otabor, (Benin)

brunt of the insurgency. The Army has said the Boko Haram threat is capable of robbing civil society the support of the army in the maintenance of law and order. Maj.-Gen. Seriki Yaki Bello, the General Officer Commanding, 82 Div., Nigerian Army Enugu, spoke at the weekend at the closing ceremony of the 2011 Inter-Brigade Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Competition in Calabar. Gen. Bello, represented by Brig.-Gen. Sylvester Audu, Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, praised the performance of the military during the general elections, despite the postelection violence and other security challenges. The GOC, however, said some of the troops’ conduct during internal security operations might be subjected to enquiries.

Boluwaji Kunlere, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Hon Joseph Akinlaja, the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Adesimbo Kiladejo and the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida, were there. Labour’s men demonstrated at the Adegbimile Cultural Centre venue of the meeting, chanting war songs, before the arrival of Governor Olusegun Mimiko. Mimiko said since his administration was still negotiating with the workers, there is no basis for the strike, adding that the government would only be able to negotiate further with the workers, if they suspend their strike. But Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) chair Solomon Adelegan said the workers were not on strike because of the minimum wage, but because of the N14,000 relativity pay which the state government had earlier approved. He argued that since the government had approved the salary relativity, the minimum wage should be calculated with it. Bishop Gbonigi and other stakeholders urged the workers and the government to resolve the impasse amicably. Bishop Gbonigi urged the unions to call off the strike to enable the government conclude its negotiation with them. Adelegan, however said that since the decision to go on strike was taken by all the workers and not the union leaders, an emergency meeting would be held today to decide the next line of action.

Continued on page 8

Continued on page 8

we are appealing to labour not to carry out their threat.” In Akure, stakeholders at the weekend mediated in the crisis between the state government and unions over the ongoing minimum wage strike. At the stakeholders meeting were traditional rulers, businessmen, religious leaders, members of the National and State Assemblies and top government officials. Bishop of Akure Anglican Diocese, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi (rtd), Senator

Fresh anxiety in govt over Boko Haram violence


ROOPS will not be withdrawn from troubled Maiduguri. This is sequel to Intelligence report which revealed that Boko Haram men plan to take over government in Borno State as a preclude to announcing their secession from Nigeria, it was gathered last night. Besides, security chiefs believe the Islamic fundamentalist sect may have infiltrated the Borno State Police Command, given its understanding of its mode of operation. The Federal Government is not persuaded by the request of Borno elders who last week called for the withdrawal of troops and their replacement with “well-trained policemen”. Governor Kashim Shettima is opposed to the position of the elders. He declared at the weekend

•Army admits excesses of soldiers From Yusuf Alli (Abuja), Kunle Johnson (Calabar) and Duku Joel (Damaturu)

that it was not yet time to withdraw the troops. A security source said: “The main intention of Boko Haram members is to take over the government of the state and they are unrelenting in this plan. “Once they take over the Government House in Maiduguri, they will announce a separate government. So, there is complicity of backing from some rebels in certain war-ravaged countries.” On the request for the withdrawal of troops, the source said the government’s stand is that it will not allow insurgents to overrun a part of Nigeria. The source said: “Most members of this deadly group are

between ages 19 and 24. We are suspecting that they have infiltrated the police because they know much of the modus operandi of the police. “This discovery justifies why the JTF will have to be in force for a while, until the activities of the sect are curtailed.” A government official said: “The government has no plan to withdraw the troops in Borno State. If the Presidency withdraws the troops, what will be the replacement? “If the governor of the state is appealing that the troops should stay, you can imagine the magnitude of the situation at hand. “The government has a responsibility to protect lives and property in all parts of the country and it will not abdicate its duty anywhere in Nigeria, including Borno State.

“The JTF, which is in charge in Borno, comprises many security agencies and the police. And it is because of the presence of the Task Force that we have a semblance of peace that has made evacuation of some people possible. “It is the business of Borno elders and stakeholders to also come together and call their sons and daughters to work for the peace and security of the state.” “So far, the Joint Task Force has gained some mileage in checkmating the Boko Haram members and any withdrawal of troops will return the state to status quo. “Even most of the elders and stakeholders that are demanding withdrawal of troops have relocated to neighbouring states or Abuja. They have left the poor and the vulnerable to bear the

Workers insist on strike as Mark, others plead Continued from page 1

Abuja yesterday, Adewusi talked tough. Speaking on behalf of the NLC, the TUC and the Civil Society Coalition, he urged Nigerians to store food items because of the strike. His words: “We want to reiterate that for the purposes of this strike it is our hope and wish that the government of this country should not allow this strike to hold. But should they allow it to go on, from the midnight of Tuesday, no aircraft will fly. The ports will be shut down and roads will be deserted. No university will be allowed to open. The banks will be closed. We, therefore, call on Nigerians, and that is why we give all this leeway, so that between Monday and Tuesday, they can stockpile foodstuff and go to the bank to collect money. Even NEPA as erratic as it is, will not work. “Of course, we are open to discussion. This strike is not called in any way to undermine the Nigerian nation. The strike is called to serve a definitive purpose, which is that of the implementation of the minimum wage. “If there are avenues for discussion on this, we will attend. However, that will not stop our mobilisation. For all you know, this may be the only mechanism and design to demobilise our people. We have seen it before and we will not take chances. If they call us to a meeting 24 hours

Fed, states and local govts share N1.3tr to pay minimum wage


O guarantee the payment of the N18,000 minimum wage by the states, the Federation Account Allocation Committee at the weekend shared N1.3 trillion among the three tiers of government. The allocation, which is the highest in recent times, was made on Friday during the monthly FAAC meeting in Abuja. The Federal Government got N693.79 billion, representing its statutory 52.68 per cent; the 36 states got N351.90 billion (26.72 per cent); and the 774 local governments got N271.30 billion or 20.6 per cent. The balance of N171.21 billion was shared by the oil producing states, based on the 13 per cent derivation. to the commencement of the strike, the strike will still go on because they had all the time to have done that in the past.” According to Adewusi, the strike is no meant to undermine the nation, but for the implementation of the national minimum wage. Labour gave conditions that must be fulfilled for it to shelve the strike. These include: •signing an agreement with the workers that “the New National Minimum Wage of N18,000 will be implemented across board, based on salary relativity that will not distort the payment table at the Federal, State and Local Government levels”; •payment of the new Minimum Wage will take effect

By Nduka Chiejina, Assistant Editor

This month’s allocation to the state, it was learnt, was increased owing to the N710.71bn arrears which the committee decided to pay the three tiers of government. The amount had been outstanding since the beginning of the year. Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Danladi Kifasi said the gross revenue received for June was N883.3 billion – a N212.83 billion increase over the N670.46bn collected in May. The increase in gross revenue was attributed to a rise in oil prices at the international market and the increase in payment of the Production Sharing Contracts. But there was a decrease in

from March 23, the day President Goodluck Jonathan signed the New National Minimum Wage into law; The arrears will be paid within three months; and •workers will not be victimised over the minimum wage by way of mass retrenchment, increase in tax or in any other form. On the governors’ promise to pay, Adewusi said: “The Labour Movement welcomes the July 16 promise by the 36 governors that they will pay the new wage. It is in the general interest of the polity for the governors to realise that they need to comply with the law. We have always been taken for granted because we do not see how governors, who are the chief security officers of our states, would

crude oil production and lifting in June as a result of the maintenance at the Brass Terminal, pipeline break at Bonny Terminal, injector compressor breakdown at Akpo Terminal as well as repair at Usari Idoho pipeline at Qua Iboe Terminals, which affected crude oil production. In June, a breakdown of the sources of finance shows that the distributable statutory revenue for the month was N470.97 billon, which is an increase of N78.93 billion or 20.13 per cent as against what accrued in May. About N82.96 billion was used as augmentation was made as “a result of the shortfall in distributable revenue based on the 2011 approved budget”, Kifasi said.

choose not to obey the law; only anarchy would inform such an act. “Therefore, the governors’ pronouncement that they will obey the Minimum Wage law has changed nothing on the ground and has advanced nothing in reality. And if the Federal Government follows suit, it will not change workers’ resolve to go on the threeday warning strike from Wednesday July 20, 2011. What the NLC, TUC and the Nigerian working people demand is a signed agreement between the Federal and State governments on one hand and the NLC and TUC on the other.” While recalling how the governors proposed to pay the minimum wage during negotiation last year,

Adewusi said it was amazing that a state government, such as Abia, which last year proposed a N46,700 National Minimum Wage would delay in paying N18,000. He added: “It is equally shocking that states like Kwara, Imo and Kebbi which proposed N30,000 minimum wage and the FCT and Anambra state government, which offered in 2010 to pay N25,000 minimum wage will show reluctance when asked to pay N18,000. On the average, the State Governments proposed a new National minimum wage of 21,800 in 2010; why would they be reluctant to pay N18,000?” The labour movement also noted that during the negotiation, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and

Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) proposed N34,200 monthly, the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) concluded that the minimum wage should be N41,000, the National Productivity Centre proposed N22,000, and the Central Bank of Nigeria N20,216.01 and the National Bureau of Statistics proposed N18,036.73. Adewusi said workers have rejected the Federal Government offer that the minimum wage should be applicable to only level 01 to 06 workers. He derided the idea and explained that it could culminate in a situation that a Level Six officer’s pay will be higher than that of a Level Seven officer. Joint Secretary of Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) Mr. Biodun Aremu said promises by governors to pay the new wage had not changed anything because they are verbal. Aremu said: “LASCO’s position is that the struggle is not about promises to pay, but paying – in line with the new Minimum Wage Act across the board. “Jega’s INEC had National Assembly’s approval within 24 hours for supplementary budget. If the federal government and governors are serious, they should submit their supplementary budgets from tomorrow to implement the new wage without retrenchment, effective March.”

ADVERT HOTLINES: 01-280668, 08070591302, 08052592524 NEWSROOM: LAGOS – 01-8962807, ABUJA – 07028105302 COMPLAINTS: 01-8930678



NEWS 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 Lagosians panic as 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 rains pour again 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 By Jude Isiguzo 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 THE rains poured again in Lagos 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 yesterday, disrupting all religious 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 and social activities in the Centre of 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 Excellence. 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 A similar downpour rendered 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 residents homeless and destroyed 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 property worth billions of naira last 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 week. 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 As of 9pm, yesterday’s rains were 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 yet to subside. 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 However, the downpour, which 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 started around 1pm reportedly 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 rendered more people homeless. 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 Places like Akowonjo Road were 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 submerged in the flood. Worst 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 affected are those living around 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 Jimoh Bus stop, where the flood 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 destroyed property in shops and 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 houses on Akowonjo road. 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 The Oshodi-Apapa Expressway 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 was also flooded. Motorists had a 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 hectic time wading through. Other 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 places such as Mile 2 Low Cost 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 Housing Estate junction by Fatg12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 bems Petrol Station, Second Rain12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 bow, Sanya, Iyana-Itire and Berger 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 bus stops were also flooded. 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 Some motorists who are not used 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 to these roads had their vehicles 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 trapped in pot holes covered by the 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 flood. It was also gathered that a lot 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 12345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901234567890121234567890123 of heavy duty vehicles were also •Archbishop John Onaiyekan of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja (middle) with candidates who received the Sacrament of Confirmation at SS Peter and PHOTO: NAN Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya, Abuja…yesterday.

Lagos lawmakers seek Fed Govt intervention on flooding


ATIONAL Assembly members for Lagos State have called on the Federal Government to assist the state mitigate the challenges of the flooding that has destroyed lives and property. They said it is a matter of urgent national importance. The lawmakers are seeking the Federal Government’s assistance for the state to access ecological funds and the protection of its wide expanse of the coastline. This call was made by Senators and House of Representatives members from the state after their fact-finding tour of flood-affected areas, including the failed portion of the Lagos –Abeokuta Expressway which caved in after last Sunday’s torrential rainfall. The visit of the lawmakers followed a motion at the Upper Legislative chamber by the Senators who called on the Federal Government to assist the state in addressing the challenges posed by flooding. Senator Oluremi Tinubu, whose Lagos Central Senatorial district covers Eti-Osa and Lekki areas of the state, two areas badly hit by the environmental challenges said kudos must be given to the Lagos State government for the proactive approaches it took before and after the floods because it really shown that drainage channels in the state were really active during the down pour. Senator Tinubu disclosed that shipwrecks on Lagos coastline must be removed to save the state from ecological challenges. She called on the people to reciprocate the determination of the state government in ensuring free flow of water in the drainage channels by not impeding the drains with refuse and physical structures. A lawmaker representing Eti-Osa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jide Akinloye said the visit was necessitated

ACN condemns ‘uncaring’ Jonathan


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday expressed its disappointment at the failure of President Goodluck Jonathan to visit Lagos State, and show concern, in the aftermath of last Sunday’s devastating flooding in parts of the state. The party, in a statement issued in London by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said President Jonathan should realise he is the President of all Nigerians, not only of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its supporters, hence he should see the entire country as his constituency. Besides, it said, Lagos is the economic heartbeat of Nigeria and home to all Nigerians, irrespective of their tribes, hence whatever affects Lagos touches every Nigerian one way or the other. ACN wondered how the President can be so quiet despite the devastating effect of an unusually heavy rainfall on in Lagos on July 10, in which some 264mm of rainfall (a volume equivalent to what is usually recorded in one month of rainfall) was recorded in a single day, leading to massive flooding that claimed the lives of many residents and caused a huge damage to property. The party said: “A President that is not too busy to receive all manners of people in Aso Rock has not deemed it fit to embark on a quick trip to a state as strategic for all Nigerians and the nation’s economy as Lagos, after such a state was hit hard by a natural disaster. Even if the President and his advisers did not understand the symbolism of such visit, they could have taken a cue from what obtains in other climes. The party went on: “In April 2010, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao both postponed By Emmanuel Oladesu

by the desire of the National Assembly members to get first hand information on the severity of the flooding, saying the final solution to the challenges is in sight as the lawmakers will ensure that Federal Government come to the aid of the state. Akinloye, whose Federal Constituency covers the Lekki, Ikoyi,VictoriaIsland and Obalende said the shipwrecks on the coastline of beaches, especially at Alpha-Beach has affected

By Sunday Omoniyi

planned overseas trips because of a strong earthquake in Northwestern China. In April 2010, US President Barrack Obama visited flood-hit Massachusetts, and personally thanked emergency operation officials monitoring flooding in the state. He carried out a similar tour of tornadohit Missouri this year. And in November 2009, then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited flood-hit Cumbria in Northwest England to see the damage caused and show government support for the victims. “These are instances to be emulated by any leader who believes the people are the source of his powers. President Jonathan, who by the way received massive votes in Lagos during the last elections, should not be an exception,’’ the party said. “Today marks the eighth day since the Lagos flooding, and President Jonathan has yet to visit the state or even comment on the incident. This is not right.’’ ACN expressed shock that instead of the President’s party pointing him to the right path by encouraging him to visit Lagos after the flooding to show federal support and rally emergency service officials, especially the National Emergency Management Agency, the party (PDP) resorted to cheap politics by asking Gov. Fashola to resign, as if he - or anyone at all - has control over natural disasters. The party praised Governor Babatunde Fashola and his team for their prompt response to the flood disaster, saying the state government’s show of concern for the victims and its quick intervention to alleviate their suffering went a long way in soothing the pains of affected Lagosians and reassuring them that their government cares.

the tourism activities in the area and also, increased the menace of erosion which has almost cut off the Alpha Beach road into many parts. He said the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly is at the final stage of raising a motion on the issue at the plenary while calling on a Federal Government agency, Nigeria Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to urgently remove the shipwrecks to halt a looming disaster on the coastline. Other legislators including Sena-

tors Gbenga Ashafa, Ganiu Solomon, Hon. James Faleke who spoke after the tour, appeal to the Federal Government to assist Lagos State to access the Ecological Funds to address present challenges. They also pleaded with the residents to remain calm as the state government is up to the task of ensuring protection of lives and property, advising them to ensure that the their drains are kept free of refuse and other human activities at all times.

Blame Fed Govt for strike, ASUU tells Nigerians


ARENTS and guardians have been told not to blame varsity teachers, if they go on strike over the non-implementation of the agreement between the Federal Government and various unions within the university. Serving a strike notice at the weekend, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said the Federal Government should be held responsible for the disruption of

Isaac Ombe-Yenagoa

academic activities over the lingering dispute. In a statement read at a news conference at the weekend in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, ASUU drew the attention of the public, including parents and students, to the non implementation of some aspects of the agreement reached between ASUU and the Federal Government more than two years ago.

At the conference were ASUU representatives from Benin Zone, comprising the union’s executives from Niger-Delta University (NDU), Bayelsa State, Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State and Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Delta State. The ASUU members said the agreement was in relation to the amendment of the current Pension Act and the 70 years retirement age

for varsity workers in the professional cadre. The agreement, according to the lecturers “has been surprisingly jettisoned by the government”. The statement reads: “The union wishes to state categorically that the Federal Government should be held responsible for any eventual industrial action over non-implementation of this agreement that it freely entered into with ASUU.”

trapped between Mile 2 and Ijeshatedo Bus stops thereby blocking the highways and causing serious traffic snarl. Investigation also revealed that Ikorodu road was also badly affected by the rains. Those living in the Ikorodu axis found it difficult to get home last night. According to reports, the Lagos/ Ibadan Expressway was also flooded making it almost impossible for motorists and commuters residing at Mowe/Ibafo and those returning to Lagos.

Lawyers protest mode of SAN conferment By Joseph Jibueze

PROTESTS are trailing this year’s award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC). The LPPC, chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, named 30 SANs on July 7. It approved 15 names each for last year and this year. But, many lawyers have criticised the selection, saying it was fraudulent. They said, for instance, two of the applicants, who were dropped at the last minute, actually came first and second in the exercise. The lawyers reportedly met the criteria set out in the guidelines published in the Federal Government Gazette No. 57, Vol. 94, on June 29, 2007. The criteria are integrity (25 per cent); knowledge of law (25 per cent); leadership quality (10 per cent); contribution to development of law (10 per cent); leadership qualities in the legal profession (10 per cent); and quality of law office and library (10 per cent). Despite meeting the requirements and paying the non-refundable N200,000 application fee, they were dropped. The source, who pleaded not to be named because of what he called the sensitivity of the matter, accused Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke, of removing some names and replacing them with those he favoured. “They dropped based on some spurious reasons by the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation,” he said, adding that the process was not transparent nor was it based on merit. It was also alleged that while the committee announced names for both 2010 and this year, nobody has actually been interviewed for this year.



NEWS Tinubu to deliver Chatham House lecture From Yomi Odunuga, London

NATIONAL Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today deliver a lecture on the resurgence of opposition politics in Nigeria at the Chatham House, London. The lecture titled: ‘Democracy and the rebirth of opposition in Nigeria’ is expected to highlight the political history of the country and the key role that the opposition parties should play in the emerging politics, starting from now. The prestigious Chatham House is internationally recognised as a forum for discussion of issues be it social, political or economic. It is also known as a receptive venue for raising and examining ideas that shape the society’s political economy. Tinubu will attempt to provide a broad outline of the strategy of the opposition and also provide a response to issues raised on the Nigeria’s 2011 elections. He will also speak on ACN’s plans in growing the economy for the benefit of the generality of the people as against the current trend where the rich tend to have appropriated the key sectors of the economy. Others areas the lecture is expected to touch on include Nigeria’s security and Boko Haram; arguments concerning Nigeria’s perceived position as a failing state; the state of the economy and the increasing pauperisation of the Nigerian masses in the face of the unprecedented oil revenue generated in the last ten years. Key leaders of the ACN and notable politicians are already in London for the Chatham House talk which is billed to start at 5:00 P.M.

‘Jonathan is choking under PDP’ •ACN’s London office opened

Akwa Ibom ACN accuses INEC of blocking justice at tribunal T

HE Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has expressed confidence in the ability of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to dispense justice in its case filed against Governor Godswill Akpabio. But it is displeased with the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its officials. The party accused them of acting in collusion with the governor to frustrate justice. ACN, its governorship candidate and running mate in the last election, Senator John Akpanudoedehe and Ime Umanah, are challenging Akpabio’s emergence as winner of the election. They accused INEC of, among others, falsifying results in Akpabio’s favour. Named as respondents to the petition are Akpabio, his deputy, Nsima Ekere, their party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, lawyer to ACN, Akpanuudoedehe, and Umanah said his cli-

ents intended to provide evidence before the tribunal to show that INEC made and is making efforts to manipulate vital materials used for the election and which are critical to the establishment of their (the petitioners’) case. He said in an interview, that his clients were comfortable with the conduct of the tribunal so far, noting that it has conducted itself in a fair and balanced manner. The tribunal’s ruling, which would determine the life of the case, is expected today. The tribunal will rule on applications by Akpabio, Ekere and INEC, seeking the dismissal of the petition on the ground that the petitioners sought for the issuance of pre-hearing notices on the respondents via a motion exparte, arguing that it ought to be by way of a motion on notice as required under Para-

graph 47 (2) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). It is also their contention that the purported failure of the petitioner to comply with the provision of the Electoral Act by not serving them with the motion for issuance of prehearing notice, robs the tribunal of the jurisdiction to entertain the petition. The petitioners countered the arguments in their counter-affidavit where they among others, contended that the applications were incompetent and should be dismissed. Osinbajo also spoke on other issues, the tribunal’s reaction to the allegation of theft of election materials by INEC officials. Osinbajo said: “The tribunal observed that the lawyer representing INEC did not deny our allegation that ballot boxes and other vital election materials were stolen and carted away from INEC’s office,

there was no need since they did not deny it; and that if there is need for it, we should bring it by way of a process, through an affidavit and file same in court. “If they deny it, we have our video and we will show it. We have even made the point in the open court, that while our inspection was going on, ballot boxes and necessary materials were being moved out of the place (INEC office).” On what impact the alleged stealing of election materials would have on his clients’ case: Osinbajo said: “If you steal the evidence, the only reason would be that they want to manipulate the evidence. That is obvious. We were scanning the materials with the intention to show to the tribunal, by way of forensic evidence, that those votes were fake , and if you are stealing the ballot papers away, it obviously means that you want to manipulate them. That is why we are agitated by that occurrence.” On what will be the next business before the tribunal if today’s (Monday’s) ruling goes in favour of the petitioners: “We will go into trial by God’s grace.”

Aviation minister allays fear over bomb at MMIA By Kelvin Osa- Okunbor


Wife of the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Mrs. Catherine Adesola Adefuye (left); his husband Prof. Ade Adefuye; Vice President (Africa Division) World Bank, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, at a reception hosted in honour of the Governor by the Ambassador in Washington the weekend.

NYSC dissociates self from fraudulent message


HE National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has dissociated itself from a fraudulent text message askACTION Congress of Nigeria ing Corps members to pay (AC N) national leader Asiwaju N1, 500 into an IntercontinenBola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday tal Bank account to revalidate said President Goodluck Jonathan has failed even before their accounts for the payment starting his touted reformative of the arrears of their approved allowances. agenda. President Goodluck Tinubu said the President has Jonathan recently approved a shown signs of a confused raise of Corps members’ person who is being chocked monthly allowance from under the yoke of his platN9,775.00 to N19,800. form, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He spoke in London at the inauguration of the ACN office in Debenham. His words: “The government OR 35-year-old prisoner, has failed. Jonathan is confused Sina Akinsola, it was and he is choking. His party time to go home at the will not let him be and that is weekend. why the ACN must separate An Oyo State Magistrate’s him from the PDP. We must Court sitting in Iyaganku, demand for a proper electoral Ibadan granted him freedom reform. The Muhammadu following his conviction for Uwais panel on Electoral allegedly cutting off a harlot’s Reform has done its job, but ear in a hotel after having an the report is not fully impleaffair with her . mented. Before his release, Akinsola “As for Jega, they want us to had spent over eight months believe that a tree can make a at the Agodi Prisons, Ibadan. forest but it cannot because that The convict, who initially is not true. INEC must be given denied biting the harlot’s ear, full financial autonomy and there must be total autonomy”. said he used his belt to whip From Yomi Odunuga, London

From Eric Ikhilae and Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

and we have that on video. It (the tribunal) noted that the lawyer to INEC has promised to ensure that such incident does not happen again.” On how far the petitioners have gone in the inspection of materials used in the disputed election: “We are making progress. But of course, there are many delays, deliberate delays. There are times they (INEC officials) do not show up in their offices until 11 am, and insist they must close at 4pm. These are delays that make it very difficult for us to do the inspection and scanning of the materials. Even when they said they were closing at 4pm, we later saw some of them who came back to the office to cart away ballot boxes. They were accosted by our people. It is on video.” Osinbajo also spoke on why the tribunal declined to see the video. He said: “We actually wanted to show the video of what we said was denied by INEC. But they have not denied it. I think the tribunal felt that


From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

The increment was conveyed in a letter from the Presidency to the Office of the NYSC Director-General, and sent to all state Coordinators. Its Director-General BrigGen Maharazu Tsiga told reporters that the increment would be implemented from March,2011 and that last year’s Batch ‘B’ Corps members who just passed out from the scheme

will be paid in arrears too. A statement signed by Mr. Alao Olanipekun on behalf of Tsiga in Abuja at the weekend said: “The NYSC hereby dissociates itself from the message which was meant to mislead and defraud unsuspecting Corps members and should be disregarded.” Tsiga advised affected Corps members to visit the nearest NYSC secretariat for all inquiries. The NYSC chief also ex-

plained that the Batch ’B’ 2010 Corps members, who had completed the scheme last month and who will benefit from the arrears from March, 2011, will be paid through their existing NYSC bank accounts by e – payment. The NYSC management in the statement also enjoined all the masterminds of the fake SMS text to desist forthwith, warning that they would be made to face the full wrath of the law, if apprehended.

HE re-opening of the abandoned underground parks at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, will not pose any security threat, Aviation Minister Mrs Stella Ada Oduah- Ogiewmonyi has said. Since the minister ordered the reopening of the parking lot, which had been abandoned since 1997, there have been concerns in some quarters that the place could become a hideout for bombers. The minister said the matter was well-thought out before the pronouncement was made. Oduah-Ogiemwonyi said before the park would be opened, it has to be fully rehabilitated, with the installation of Close Circuit Cameras (CCTV), as part of security measures to secure the premises.

Court frees 35-year-old man for biting off harlot’s ear From Joseph Okwuofu, Ibadan

her, leading to the falling off of her ear, confessed to the crime last week. His confession followed what he called his harrowing experience at the prison. Akinsola said he contacted sexually-transmitted disease, which led to the decay of his manhood, nine months after his romance with the harlot. According to the charge preferred against him by the prosecutor, Sunday Ogun-

remi, an Inspector of Police, Akinsola of 15, Sunmola Street, Mende, Maryland, Lagos, allegedly on “17th September, 2010 at 10.00 p.m. at Oje Area of Ibadan in the Ibadan Magisterial District did unlawfully injure one Funke Adeleye, (45), of Oje area by biting off her right ear and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 38 Vol. II of the Laws of Oyo state, 2000”. Akinsola was arraigned on September 22, last year before

Magistrate S. Oyediran of Iyaganku Magistrate’s Court 2, Ibadan, but pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of N50, 000 with two sureties in like sum. Akinsola’s relations could not be located, making him to spend eight months in the prison before he was convicted. According to the prosecutor’s report, the accused had in February complained of illness, because of the disease he contacted.

Feeling he could die as a result of the disease, because, according to him, somebody had died as a result of a similar disease, Akinsola elected to testify before the court when he made a confessional statement that on the said date, he went to the brothel and met with the complainant, who dressed in a very skimpy dress. They went in on a fixed agreement, but the light in the room was dark and so he could not determine her age.




•BACK FROM HELL: Oshiomhole addressing the the weekend

‘We could have been victims of bombers’


VACUATION of resident-settlers from Maiduguri, the hotbed of Boko Haram insurgence in Borno State continued at the weekend, with Ogun and Edo states moving their indigenes. Governor Ibikunle Amosun said his administration would not fold its arms while the safety of lives and property of indigenes of the Gateway State are threatened. Amosun spoke after he was briefed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment, Mr Sola Adeyemi, on the evacuation of about 150 indigenes of the state from Borno. The Edo State government evacuated more than 100 of its indigenes studying at various institutions in the Northeast state. Also evacuated were some primary and secondary school pupils, who fled the areas invaded by the Boko Haram (Western education is evil) members, with their parents and guardians. Amosun explained that “a team, led by the state Emergency Maintenance Agency (SEMA), Mr. Timothy Oyenekan, was dispatched to Maiduguri, after receiving a distress call from our students studying at the University of Maiduguri, which was shut down on July 12, following the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect. Amosun said Adeyemi had described the situation in Maiduguri as an ugly one, explaining that moving the people out was a tough task. “Considering the level of insecurity in Borno. Our people were practically living in fear. They weren’t too sure of the next moment”, he

•Returning Edo students from Maiduguri recount ordeal ‘We could have been victims because one of the bombs exploded close to where some of us reside’ said. Speaking on behalf of those evacuated, Taiwo Sokanlu thanked the government, especially the governor, for the quick intervention, saying: “We could have been victims because one of the bombs exploded close to where some of us resided.” Receiving the students at the Government House, in Benin on Saturday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole decried the unabated bombings in Borno as unnecessary destruction of lives and property. He hoped that the Federal Government would find a solution to the criminal act soon. Oshiomhole, who spoke with one of the parents of the pupils on telephone, assured all that the state would take care of the children, until the crisis in northern states is resolved. He urged the returnees not to be discouraged by the experience they went through, pleading with them to have faith in Nigeria. The leader of the evacuated students, Mr. Mohammed Ali Abdulazeez, a 400-level student of Economics, thanked the governor for acting promptly by sending four luxury buses to Maiduguri to bring them back. He said the buses also assisted in evacuating about 50 stu-

dents of Ondo State origin, who were dropped off in Abuja to the embrace of their state’s representatives. The authorities of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) had, in a circular eight days ago, entitled: “Suspension of studies in the University of Maiduguri”, and signed by Registrar Mr. Babagana Aji, ordered all students and workers to vacate the campus immediately for safety reasons. The circular reads: “This is to inform all members of staff and students that the Committee of Provost, Deans and Directors (CPDD) at its emergency meeting held on Monday, July 11, 2011, after critically assessing the security situation in Maiduguri and its environs has, on behalf of the Senate, come to a painful conclusion to suspend studies indefinitely with effect from Tuesday, July 12, 2011.” Abdulazeez said the rescued Edo students escaped death and relocated to a safe place, away from the exchange of gunfire. “We had to move once the school authorities decided that the school premises were no longer safe for students and workers. As soon as we packed our bags, some of us gath-

ered ourselves together at a place called Elkanemi Hall from where we got in touch with the government. We could not just go out like that because the situation in Maiduguri is not conducive for now. It is very dangerous because whenever there is a bomb blast anywhere, the soldiers would just cordon off the whole area”, he said. Another student, Kingsley Osholene, a 400-level Business Management student, said some of them have not had their bath for eight days. Yet, another, Alex Ezekiel Ohue, a 500-level Mechanical Engineering student, hailed Oshiomhole for acting quickly, urging the governor to assist them financially, especially as some of the students lost their properties when their homes were burnt by members of the Boko Haram sect. Beyond evacuating indigenes of Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi promised to engage more than the 50 people evacuated from Maidiguri. Noting that it was the lack of commercial activities that forced the endangered citizens to travel to the farflung Northeast, the governor asked the student-returnees to register with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). “We will make life better for you. Our administrations will provide opportunities, not only for you, but for all citizens of the state so that nobody will have to migrate to other states for his or her means of livelihood’, Ajimobi said.

‘Tackle insecurity’ From Chris Oji, Enugu


OVERNORS from the Southeast have urged leaders and stakeholders in the North to join efforts in tackling insecurity. The governors spoke yesterday, shortly after their meeting at the Enugu Government House, in Enugu, the state capital. Present were Governors Peter Obi (Anambra), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi) and host Sullivan Chime. Abia State helmsman Theodore Orji was absent. Fielding questions after the meeting, Obi, who doubles as the Chairman of the Forum, said the abandoned work on federal roads in the zone formed part of deliberations at the parley. Obi said that the Forum mapped out plans on redressing the ugly situation of highways the Southeast. The governor restated their commitment to pay the N18, 000 minimum wage. They also promised to work together as governors of a zone with one destiny. According to Obi, they resolved to tackle menace of erosion, saying contracts have been awarded on some sites and that the contractors would soon begin work.

Boko Haram’s killings unjustifiable, says Borno governor


ORNO State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday described the killings by the Boko Haram sect in the name of Islam as “unjustifiable.’’ He said: “How can a true Muslim explain, let alone profoundly justify the current unfortunate cold-blooded murders and bombings in the name of Islam. “Islam means peace and submission to the will of God and thus it should remain so, in both theory and practice. “This was the understanding of our forefathers; theirs is the true meaning of Islam in both letter and spirit.’’ Shettima said targeting innocent souls for attacks irrespective of religion and ethnicity, among others,

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

was alien to Islam. The governor said: “The targeting of innocent and unarmed civilians regardless of their ethnicity, race and or religious beliefs is alien not only to our norms and culture, but alien to the fundamental doctrines of Islam.’’ He said Borno, as home of Islam over the years, had enjoyed great harmony among the different tribes and religious groups. “In over the 1,000 years that Islam has taken its roots in Borno, it indeed has affected the lives of our people positively, and has through its doctrines guided our daily lives”, he said. It also guided our interpersonal relations ranging from social to economic interactions.’’

He pointed out that the strict adherence to the Islamic virtues of peaceful co-existence among groups, facilitated the development of Borno over the years. Shettima said: “Borno was a model, a standard of what was good in the African culture, a pride of the black man everywhere. “And our history was compared to those of the Ottomans and Sa’adi Morocco, some of the oldest and most impressive dynasties in the world. “Borno, as a society, was and still remains a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic as well as multireligious society.’’ He described as regrettable the attempt by the by the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna wal Da’a watu Lil Jihad, pop-

ularly called Boko Haram sect, to impose its own opinion on the entire people, had brought untold damage to people’s life. “The current state of insecurity and deplorable state of affairs is not unconnected with the attempt to impose the opinion of a small group on a larger society. “A situation which clearly abridges the freedom to freely hold and express one’s opinion which is fundamental and inalienable in any given society.’’ He advised the Boko Haram sect to seek peaceful means to advance its course rather than continue with the killings and destruction of public property. Shettima reminded the sect: “We

are Muslims and Muslims do not harm innocent souls, much less fellow Muslims. “Any interpretation or understanding of Islam which justifies killing of innocent people is condemnable and should be rebuked in toto.’’ He said the mayhem caused by the sect had given the state a bad name, leading to the mass exodus of people. “A situation where the name of our dear state, an epitome of peace, degenerates to signify violence with evoking fear to outsiders, and trepidation in residents, leading to lack of free movement to attend to the day-to-day activities, is clearly unacceptable”, the governor said.



NEWS Kano tribunal dismisses PDP candidate’s petition

‘Abuja varsity will provide easy manpower’

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

HE Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Muhammed, has said the proposed Abuja City University would provide easy manpower for businesses and encourage the development of skills for the public sector. The minister spoke at the weekend in Abuja when he received the report on the proposed university. Abuja City University was initiated by the former FCT Minister, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar. Muhammed said the FCT administration would make Abuja a business destination, adding that the proposed university would be an impetus for training and retraining the human resources needed in such a skilled-labour environment. The minister noted that other developed cities had embraced initiatives that provided them with skilled human resources, saying Abuja should not be an exception. He said the FCT administration would provide the land and other support for the university. Muhammed said his administration would soon inaugurate an implementation committee for the university. The minister said the FCT Administration, in conjunction with the Churchgate Investment Limited, was developing the Abuja World Trade Centre, which has accreditation and business connections with about 300 associations around the world, to scale up Abuja’s international image. Committee Chairman Prof Pat Utomi said the university was proposed on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis.

THE Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kano has dismissed the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Kano Municipal Federal Constituency, Alhaji Muktari Ishaq Yakasai. The petition is challenging the election of Alhaji Haruna Musa Fatahi of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Justice Tsea-Tsea Kule said the petition was dismissed because the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt. He said the only witness in the case was not coherent and consistent in his testimony. The petitioner challenged the election of Fatahi on the grounds that his election was characterised by electoral fraud and other acts that violated the provisions of the Electoral Act. Yakasai said Fatahi was not duly elected in the April election.

Pre-Ramadan expo holds July 23 in Abuja A PRE-Ramadan expo, tagged: As-Souq (The Market), will hold on July 23 and 24 at the Shehu Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja. During the expo, Muslim dresses and other products will be displayed for sales. The two-day trade expo, organised by the MID Kollections, will also have operators of Hajj and Umrah (lesser Hajj) travels and tours, aviation, telecoms, fashion and accessories, arts, food and drinks, among others, as participants. It will hold from 10am to 6pm daily. Abdulhameed Adetona, the Chief Executive of MID Kollections, said: “The goal of this expo is to ease Muslim consumers into the month of Ramadan; promote halaal, which means the permissible, related products and, more importantly, boost the socio-economic conditions of the country during this season.”

Ohaeri leads Abuja NIPR THE Head of Public Education Office of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Osondu Ohaeri, has been appointed chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Abuja Chapter. Ohaeri takes over from Emma Okoro, who left office after the June general meeting of the association, according to a statement by the Public Relations officer (PRO), Mr. Callistus Unakalamba. Ohaeri will lead Abuja NIPR until its annual general meeting (AGM) in September.

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja


• From left: Governors Peter Obi (Abia); Sullivan Chime (Enugu); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) after their PHOTO: NAN meeting at the Government House, Enugu….yesterday

Tight security as Suleja church holds memorial service for bomb victims


ECURITY was tight yesterday in Suleja, Niger State, as the All Christians Fellowship Mission held a memorial service for three members who died in a bomb explosion last week. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Divisional Police Officer incharge of ‘A’ Division, Suleja, Mr Bassey Effiong, led the officers who formed part of the security group. The officers screened church members and all others who were either invited or had a mission at the service, conducting the screening some metres away from the church. He said: “We must check everybody, even the members. We are not looking at

faces. Experiences have shown that security goes beyond that, as anybody could be used as an agent of destruction.” The church authorities also carried out instructions of the Acting Governor of Niger to remove a refuse dump near the church premises. Also, a pathway leading to the church office, usually plied by motorcycles, has been blocked, leaving only the main gate as the entrance to the church. In a sermon anchored on Romans 28: 32 - 39, Rev. William Okoye, the church’s General Overseer, urged the worshipers to remain grateful to God. He said: “You should

give thanks to God in all things, notwithstanding what might have happened to them. All things work together for good to those who love God. If we serve Him, no matter what happens, God will turn it around to serve a purpose. “There is nothing that happens that is hidden from God, for He knows what happened to this church last Sunday from the foundation of the world because He is the Almighty.” Okoye consoled the church members, assuring that proper arrangements had been made to guard against a recurrence. One of the church members, Rev. Godwin Umeh, described

last week’s explosion as unfortunate. He said the church had lost dedicated and faithful members. Also, a chorister in the church, Mrs Florence Okoro, said the church members did not expect such a blast, especially on a Sunday. “But, as a Christian, I believe the deceased had gone to rest eternally,” she said. A bomb explosion rocked the church premises on July 10, claiming the lives of three of the church members. The deceased are: Mrs Theresa Ogbogu, 51, who was the Chairman of the church’s Mission Support Team; Miss Ifeyinwa Ogubuike, 38, and Mr John Edward, 22.

Boko Haram: Falana urges trial of ex-governor Sheriff


AGOS lawyer Mr Femi Falana yesterday called for the trial of former governor of Borno State, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff over his alleged involvement in the extra-judicial killing of Boko Haram leaders. In a statement in Lagos, Falana accused the former governor of “insulting the collective intelligence of Nigerians” by denying complicity in the sect’s activities. He said Sheriff was not telling the truth on the reason behind his apology to the sect last week. The statement reads: “The immediate past governor of Borno State, Sheriff, insulted the collective intelligence of Nigerians last week when he

Muslim cleric berates sect over killings


N Islamic preacher, Sheikh Abdumutolib Abdullah Mohammad, has criticised the Boko Haram sect for killing innocent citizens in the name of religion. The scholar noted that nobody has ever shed the blood of any innocent man in the name of religion and go unpunished. Mohammed spoke at Ansar-Ud-Deen Mosque, Ado- Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, during a N50 million endowment fund and awards to some prominent indigenes organised by Rahamotallah Islamic Group to mark its 10th year anniversary. He expressed doubts about the understanding of Islam by the sect members, saying no By Olamilekan Andu

denied any involvement in the Boko Haram menace. “Contrary to the belated

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

true Muslim would kill fellow beings under any guise. Mohammed urged Muslims, Christians and followers of other faiths to unite, noting that harmonious co-existence is the remedy for the economic and political upheavals in Nigeria. Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Ganiyu Owolabi expressed his belief in the peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, regardless of their political, ethnic and religious beliefs. He urged the Islamic group to pray for the Kayode Fayemi administration, adding that it would avoid religious sentiment.

denial of Sheriff, it is public knowledge in Borno State that he integrated the Boko Haram members in his re-election

campaign in 2007. Upon winning the election, Sheriff compensated the group by appointing one of them, Alhaji

Buju Foi, as the Commissioner for Religious Affairs. “Foi’s principal brief was the implementation of Shariah (Islamic legal code), which the ex-governor had illegally proclaimed in a secular state. Foi was said to have resigned from the government when he discovered that corruption was the order of the day. “The Boko Haram sect has repeatedly accused the exgovernor of masterminding the extra-judicial killing of its leader – Mohammed Yussuf - and his father-in-law as well as ex-commissioner Buju Foi. In reaction to the allegation of instigating culpable homicide of the three unarmed citizens, Sheriff has apologised and begged for forgiveness...”

Kaduna elders advocate new state to end crises


ADUNA State elders, under the aegis of Kaduna Development Elders’ Initiatives and Zazzau Emirate Development Association, have called for the creation of a new state from the present Kaduna to end recurring violence. They said the agitation for self-determination among the various ethnic nationalities contributed to recurrent crises in the state.

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

The group noted that because successive governments did not punish those indicted by commissions of inquiry and panels into crises since 1987, those who masterminded the post-election violence were emboldened to unleash terror on the residents. They spoke just as the

Arewa Nationalist Movement urged the Federal Government not to withdraw its troops in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to curtail the activities of Boko Haram sect. In their submissions before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to probe the April post-election violence, the groups said splitting the present Kaduna State into

two would end unemployment among youths, highlevel criminality and almajiri (social miscreants), among others. The submissions were signed by Mallam Abbas Dabo Sambo on behalf of the Kaduna Elders’ Development Initiative and Dr. Isa Abdullahi Shika on behalf of Zazzau Emirate Development Association. The groups urged the

government to probe the post-election violence and bring those found guilty to justice and pay compensation to the families of the dead and those whose property were destroyed or vandalised. They called for the establishment of Police and military formations in Kafanchan and a security outpost at Gonin Gora for rapid response during crises.




ACN condemns arrest of witness


HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun State has condemned the arrest of Benedict Agbo, a Superintendent of Police and its star witness in the petition against the House of Representatives’ member for Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency, Nathaniel Agunbiade. Describing the development as an indication of unholy alliance between the police and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Acting ACN Chairman Elder Adelowo Adebiyi said Agbo’s arrest at the High Court last Friday was unfair. Adebiyi said the information at the party’s disposal indicates that the order for Agbo’s arrest was from

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

above. He accused the police of colluding with the PDP to subvert justice. “This is a democracy and it is most surprising that the police can succumb to the attempt by the PDP to use state apparatus to subvert justice. “We hereby call on the police to release Agbo to continue his assignment and stop further harassment of any other person involved in the case. “We must also add that if the PDP candidate is convinced of the strength of his case, why using the police to stall justice?” But the PDP called on the Inspector-General of Police to probe Agbo’s attempt to testify in favour of the ACN.

Family of Osun monarch pleads From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo


HE family of the Alowa of Ilowa in Obokun Local Government of Osun State, Oba Adebukola Alli ,has pleaded with the government, human rights groups and Non-Governmental Organisations to save the monarch. Alli was accused of allegedly raping a female National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member. A family spokesperson, Prince Seun Alli, yesterday said the accused was ready to stand trial. According to his counsel, Victor Opara, the monarch was chained to his hospital bed by prison officials. Opara said this has worsened his condition and made him not to respond to treatment. The family said: “Evidences are there to prove the poor health condition of our father, Oba Alli. He had stroke for seven years. “In the course of the trial, he had travelled to England and returned. If he wanted to jump bail he would not have come back at all. “He has collapsed twice in public even before this issue came up. He is truly ill. We have proofs. He is not trying to deceive the court as believed in some quarters. “We felt bad to hear that the medical report said Oba Alli was treated for a headache. How can somebody be treated with N500,000 bill for a headache? We have the receipts for all the treatment he has received so far. We stand by the medical report presented to the court. The spokesman said the accused is not guilty as charged, saying the victim was Oba Alli’s lover and that evidences abound to prove the claims.

Fashola appoints more aides


EW aides have been appointed by Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN). The appointees, who are of non-cabinet category, include the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms Moji Rhodes and other Special Advisers who would assist the governor. The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Hakeem Bello, was elevated to the post of Spe-

By Miriam Ndikanwu

cial Adviser on Media. Other appointments include that of the former Special Adviser to the governor on Public Affairs, Idowu Ajanaku, who is now the Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji. Rev. Peter Adebiyi is Special Adviser on Regional Integration.

Ikere College reopens today From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi and Visitor to the College of Education, Ikere–Ekiti, has ordered the reopening of the school. It was closed in the wake of students’ demonstration on May 19. In a statement by the College’s Public Relations Officer, Tokunbo Olakunle, students are to resume academic activities today. It said workers indicted in the May 19 disruption will face appropriate disciplinary action. The release added that all former students, who had been expelled are to stay away from the campus.

Yoruba Council honours Faleti


HE Grand Council of Yoruba Youths (GCYY) has slated a two-day event to mark the 80th birthday of Chief Adebayo Faleti in Ibadan the Oyo State capital. A statement by its President Awa Bamiji and Prof. Adedotun Ogundeji, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, said Faleti is be-

ing honoured because “he is a cultural icon and an indispensable mentor of time.” The events have been slated for July 27 and 28. The GCYY is a self-determination group that came into existence in October 2001. Its objective is to promote unity, peace, stability and development in Yoruba Land.

•Vice-President Namadi Sambo (right) greeting the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, at the closing ceremony of a Presidential retreat for ministers, special advisers and permanenet secretaries at the Presidential the weekend. With them is Head of Service Prof Oladapo Afolabi PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN

Police pension chief alleges threat to life •’I’ll not bow to threat’ •Retirees to get gratuity with smartcard


HE Director of Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO), Abdulresheed Maina, at the weekend raised the alarm over what he described as “threat from top personalities in the country” to kill him. Maina, who was appointed by the Head of Service, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, said he received over 15 death threats and letters. Speaking with reporters in Abuja when CIPPO pensioners visited him, Maina said many people, who are not happy with the reforms in the pension system of CIPPO, the Civil Service and the police, are those involved in fraudulent practices in the system. He vowed not to bow to pressure from any quarters. Maina said: “Is it a crime for wanting to put things

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

right in the country? “How can people want to kill me for doing well? This is my calling and I will not relent. “Could you believe that I received death threats through my phone and petitions that I will be killed if I continue with the pension reform programme? “The worst is that immediately I started that of the police, I received over 15 death threat messages. Some even asked why I think that there should be a reform in the police pension system. Some even said I should get ready for war. “They are all jokers, I will not relent. I will complete the reforms. It is a task that I must carry out. Many pensioners are suffering for not

being able to collect their pensions while some are enjoying theirs. It is a sad development “For the police pension right now, we have just finished the assessment stage. The Head of Service directed that we go in and restructure the police pension office and computerise the workflow process. “We are doing the biometric enrolment of the police retirees nationwide. “We want to have a common platform for all the pension offices.” He told the CIPPO pensioners that from next month, a smartcard will be provided to enable eligible pensioners collect their entitlements on-line without queuing. “The software is already on ground. We have tested it

and all the needed information is there and by next month we will start payment with that. “We were able to incorporate all the various harmonisation since the inception of the pension system in Nigeria up till date and all the salary charges of the paramilitary officers into the system. “So that as soon as you put the card and certain variables required it gives you the total amount due for collection. “We want to correct that era where pensioners will queue to collect their entitlement and travel long distances to be verified. “After every 90 days a SMS is sent to remind him or her that the person should go to the nearest office for verification.

Falae: Boko Haram is being sponsored by politicians ORMER Minister of Finance and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Chief Olu Falae has said the Boko Haram issue has gone beyond religious crisis. He described it as an organised crime. Falae, in an interview with reporters in Akure at the weekend, said the violence is sponsored by some politicians, who are bent on destablising the nation. According to him, the level of sophistication in which the sect carried out its dastardly act showed that the members are not ordinary hoodlums. His words: “The Boko Haram of today is completely different from the Boko Haram of last year.


From Damisi Ojo, Akure

But I suspect that some people are using this to destabilise the country. “I don’t know who they are, they may be politicians, of course their targets show that they are politicians, it might be religious as well. “There are some people who are hiding under the Boko Haram issue to perpetrate evil and kill people.” He faulted the proposed creation of new ministries by the Federal Government, describing it as another exercise that will promote wasteful spending. According to him, since creation of the ministries would not enhance efficiency and productivity, there is no need to embark

on such action. He said it was wrong for the presidency to be proposing creation of more ministries at a time the nation needed to reduce its over head expenses. “Creation of additional ministries is a way of wasting government resources. At a time, we need to reduce overhead expenses; we are creating more institutions that can lead us to spend more money. “As a matter of fact, there is no need for Federal Government to create more ministries. What we need at this moment is to ensure that government money is used judiciously. “If you have 36 states and only 18 ministries, it means that you have to create 18 additional ministries. So, if


we have 100 states tomorrow, you must have 100 ministers. It is a wrong idea” On the jumbo pay being received by members of the National Assembly, Falae suggested that the remuneration of federal lawmakers should not exceed N500,000 a month. He noted that even with 40 per cent reduction, what the legislators were earning was obscene and ridiculously.



NEWS Rivers partners France THE Rivers State Government has said its relationship with France will be sustained. It said the opportunities for profitable engagement between them would continue. Governor Rotimi Amaechi said this yesterday at the French National Day Celebration in Port Harcourt. Amaechi, represented by Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru, congratulated the French people on their National Day, and said the cordial relationship between the state and France would be sustained. He noted that “the French stood by us during the heady days of militancy and criminality, which we have been able to overcome.” Describing France as a “dependable partner”, the governor assured that French interests and investments will be protected,. He said Total Nigeria and other French companies have provided employment and positively impacted on the economy of the state.

Edo Revenue Board gets chair EDO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has appointed Chief Oseni Salawe Elamah as the chairman, Edo State Board of Internal Revenue (BIR). Until his appointment, Elama was Special Adviser to the Governor on Fiscal Governance and Project Monitoring. A Chartered Accountant and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Elamah, who got a Master’s degree in Governance and Finance from Liverpool John Moore University, UK, has worked in both the public and private sectors. Oshiomhole has assented to the Hotels and Events Centres Occupancy and Restaurants Consumption Tax Law passed by the House of Assembly. The law imposes a Consumption Tax on any person, who pays for the use of any hotel, facility or events centre. The tax will also be paid by anyone who “purchases consumable goods or services in any restaurant whether or not located within a hotel in Edo State”.

Asaba Airport opens today COMMERCIAL flights will begin today at the Asaba Airport, Delta State. This followed the installation of navigational and operational facilities at the airport. Abuja and Lagos are the two routes to be serviced by Overland Airways, which will operate daily flights to both cities. The first flight departs Asaba for Lagos at 11.30am while the Asaba to Abuja flight takes off at 2.15pm. The Abuja-Asaba flight departs at 10am; the LagosAsaba flight takes off at 1.30pm. All the flights will be operated from Monday to Friday. The airport has been certified by the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Mark, others urge Labour to shelve strike Continued from page 2

In Ibadan, proprietors of secondary schools in Oyo State warned against the dire consequences of the implementation of the minimum wage on the private sector. According to them, a sudden rise in wages would further compound the harsh operating environment for their business. Operating under the aegis of the Association of Proprietors of Private Secondary Schools in Oyo State, the Committee on Education Standards, led by its Chairman, Mr Muyiwa Bamgbose, advised the government at all levels to rather implement the new wage in phases, such that businesses will be able to plan and accommodate the rise in wages for their employees. Bamgbose said as proprietors whose business is mainly human capital development, adopting the new wage regime would translate to increasing fees in all private schools at the rate of the rise in wages, meaning that parents would have to pay much higher than what they have been paying. He said a blanket increase would be unfair to many parents and at the detriment of the education sector in Nigeria. The association said rather than approving a sudden geometric rise in wages, the gov-

ernment should also invest more in education and other public services that would improve both the operating environment as well as the quality of education being offered in the country. It said: “As an association, we are concerned about the raging controversy over the new minimum wage of N18,000 recently passed into law. We agree with the intention of the law, which is aimed at reducing poverty level among our people, but believe that its implementation should be done with care. Our fear is that if the implementation is not properly handled, the good intention could end up worsening the living standards of more people, and worsening the education sector. “While appreciating the state of those currently earning below the N18,000 benchmark, we believe the exercise should not be used as an opportunity to further widen the gap between the rich and the poor by applying an increase across all the salary levels. “Such an across-the-board upward adjustment will increase our rate of inflation. The supposed increase in earning will end up in the pockets of other service providers who would also be compelled to increase their charges. As school owners, these increases will naturally

be passed on to parents, which will be inequitable and unfair.” In Benin, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) said yesterday it would join the strike being planned by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) against the implementation of the minimum wage. Edo NUT had on July 12 given the government a seven-day ultimatum to include teachers in the state in the new package. The strike is to begin tomorrow. But the government said an-

other round of negotiation was open to other workers who were not captured in the minimum wage agreement it signed with labour leaders. ASUSS, in a statement signed by Comrade Osasuyi Faluyi and Henson Enagbare, chided the labour leaders for what they termed “compromise in the negotiation rather than the collective goodwill of the state’s workers”. The statement reads: “We wish to correct the erroneous claim that teachers in Edo State have a special salary structure. What teachers in

Fresh anxiety in govt over Boko Haram Continued from page 2

“Some of our attitude, conduct and behaviour during most internal security operations may be subjected to enquiries. It is, therefore, very vital that we exhibit very high standard of professionalism, always. “Let me warn that while the threat is more pronounced in the North, the effects may spiral to other parts of the country. Some mischievous persons may want to embarrass the military. “Let me re-emphasise that terrorism has entered Nigeria and we must move with the tide to develop strategies to counter it. “We must sensitise our troops and family members on

terrorist methods and safeguards. We should be extra vigilant and alert, if we are to secure our AORs. “Commanders are, therefore, enjoined to train and prepare adequately to counter any threat in their AOR,” he said. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has established four resettlement centres in Borno and Yobe states to reduce the suffering of Maiduguri residents displaced by the Boko Haram crisis. The centres are located behind the Maiduguri Police Hospital, Njimtilo, Gwoza; and Kukareta Boarding Primary School in Yobe State, 105 kilometres west of Maiduguri.

•From right: Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio; former Senate President Ken Nnamani; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Legal Adviser Olusola Oke and Organising Secretary Uche Secondus at a thanksgiving service for Akpabio.. yesterday

Rains force flights delay, cancellation


OMESTIC flights were yesterday delayed or cancelled as a result of the heavy rains. Passengers waited endlessly at the departure halls of the new Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. Some flights from Lagos to Kano, Kaduna and Abuja were delayed for four hours. DANA Air and Aero Contractors adjusted their schedules to accommodate the arrival of their aircraft. There was reduced visibility in Lagos, as the weather minima oscillated between the approved and unapproved limits for flights. Mostly affected were DANA Air and Aero Contractors, which delayed

•No threats of tsunami, says Demuren By Kelvin Osa- Okunbor

their flights from Lagos to Abuja, Kano and Kano for some hours. Many passengers ,who waited at the new domestic terminal, expressed concerns over the inclement weather, just as officials of the airlines updated them from the flight display terminal and public address system. The delay and cancellation came amid caution by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), that pilots should obtain weather information and briefing from the Nigeria Meteorological Agency ( NIMET), of-

Edo State presently enjoy is a special professional hazard allowance and not a salary structure. Otherwise, teachers’ salaries are structured in line with the civil service structure. It is, therefore, baseless and unfair in all respects to apply apartheid position in implementation of the new minimum wage.” “ASUSS will mobilise members in the public secondary schools in the state to embark on an indefinite strike in Edo State with effect from Tuesday in cooperation with the NUT demands.”

fices prior to commencement of flight operations. The Director-General, Dr Harold Demuren, said this became necessary as the agency would not want any carrier to jeopardise safety and security of passengers. Demuren dismissed claims that Lagos and some parts of West Africa would be hit by tsunami. He said the NCAA sent some helicopters, flying at low level, around the Atlantic Ocean to confirm the possibility of any threat of tsunami, which he said was not existent. The NCCA chief described the information as misleading and unscientific.


The Northeast coordinator of NEMA, Aliyu Sambo, said: “In each of the resettlement centres, there are no fewer than 200 fleeing residents, with the Kukareta centre accommodating 450 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) to bring the total of Maiduguri fleeing residents to about 1,050 as at 3pm yesterday (Saturday).” He noted that before the establishment of resettlement camps in Maiduguri and Damaturu, some of the fleeing residents on the 587-kilometre Maiduguri-Kano Road took refuge in their relation’s home in Damaturu. Others sought shelter and food from the ward heads of Njimtilo, Ngamdu, Gwoza and Muna, 135 and 15 kilometres east of Maiduguri, the state capital”. Sambo said that the agency yesterday gave food and household items, including baby foods and sanitary products for children and women, for distribution at the Muna resettlement centre. He identified most of the displaced persons as children between the ages of two and 12; and housewives, with each having a minimum of three children to nurse. Among the items distributed by the agency are baby milk and pampers. Insecticidal mosquito nets and detergents are being distributed to prevent malaria and other water-borne disease, such as cholera and diarrhea in the resettlement centres.

‘Urhobo deserve minister’ From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Ughelli

A GROUP, Urhobo National Youth Council (UNYC), said it would amount to neglect if the Urhobo are not given a ministerial slot in the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. In a statement by its President, Monday Oyeghe, the group said it is concerned that the Urhobo is not represented in the new cabinet. The statement urged Jonathan to consider between two of their sons, Emmanuel Agwariavwodo and Edeh Dafinone. Oyeghe said: “The President needs technocrats to transform his administration and that the likes of Agwariavwodo and Dafinone are among the most qualified persons to be considered.






Kwara ACN condemns Saraki’s stay in Govt House


HE Kwara State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned the continued stay of former Governor Bukola Saraki at the Presidential Wing of the Government House, two months after leaving office. The party demanded that the former governor vacate the place because “it belongs to Kwarans”. But the government said Saraki is not a resident, but a “guest”, who deserves to use the facility because of his status as a former governor and a “distinguished senator”. In a statement by its Chairman, Kayode Olawepo, ACN said: “More than two months after he left office, Senator Saraki has continued to live in the presidential lodge wing of the Kwara Government House. “This is without precedence in Kwara State or anywhere else for that matter. There is no legal basis for this aberration, which goes to confirm that Bukola and his cohorts are bent on running Kwara like a fiefdom or private enterprise. It is a slap on the people of Kwara. “We also condemn in strong terms the unjustifiable pension package hurriedly awarded him by the then solely-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Assembly, especially in a

•Govt: He’s our guest From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

state with poor human development indices like Kwara. There can be no justification for Bukola getting such pension package in a state as poor as Kwara, which, as at today, has the worst health records in Northcentral. “Bukola cannot, and should not, be getting this hefty package while Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed is telling the world that Kwara cannot pay N18,000 minimum wage. Yet, under the same Bukola wicked administration, pensioners were and indeed are still being made to suffer. “It is this same Bukola, who is feeding fat on the meagre resources of our people, that has continued to insult the people of Nigeria by asking the Federal Government to withdraw petrol subsidy from the impoverished people of Nigeria. “If he meant well, as he wants the gullible to believe, how come he did not reject the indefensible pension package unduly awarded him? The people of Nigeria sure are tired of selfish individuals.” In a statement yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr

Abdulwahab Oba, the government said: “Dr. Saraki is not only a former governor of the state, but one that served the people well, even at the greatest risk, for the good of the residents. “He is a man who positively changed governance in the state for the best interest of the masses. He is also a distinguished senator representing Kwara Central and the collective interest of Kwarans. “The government, as the custodian of the property of Kwara State, reserves the right to host whoever it wishes, in the collective interest of Kwarans, and in any of its property. It is not, therefore, out of place for the government to host Dr. Bukola Saraki or any other individual it deems fit. “What we are doing for a former governor, a serving senator and a leader of PDP in the state, is not out of the ordinary. For the avoidance of doubt, the former governor is not a resident of the Presidential Lodge Wing of the Kwara Government House, but a guest. “On the issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, Dr. Saraki, as a politician, a leader and an administrator, is entitled, like any other Nigerian, to his opinion. Solution to economic problems worldwide is not a one-way

traffic. He reserves the right to his opinion.” The statement said it was “the legitimate right of not only the former governor but all those who served government” to get a severance package. It added: “The insinuation that government is building mansions in Kwara and Abuja is unfounded. It is an unnecessary diversion of government attention. The former governor and others, who served in the previous government, are entitled to their severance package, which will be paid at the appropriate time. “We advise all Kwarans to let us concentrate on the issue of empowering our youths, good governance, and provision of dividends of democracy to residents rather than dwelling on unfounded allegations. The Access to Information Act is there and enables people to confirm information and we are ready to cooperate with anybody seeking for information. “At no time did we say we would not pay the minimum wage. It is either they are ignorant of what is on ground or they are deliberately trying to cause confusion. We have agreed that we will pay the minimum wage and the Governors’ Forum has also communicated that all state governments have agreed to pay.”





We have huge infrastructure deficit in many of our countries. I believe the solution is to continue to grow world class capital markets. It is important because for us to deploy the wealth of our nation on investment, to realise our full potential, we can raise the funds we need for infrastructure from the capital market and transform our economy. –Aruma Oteh, DG SEC

Interbank rates rise on NNPC’s recalled N180b

AfDB approves $25m for African businesses


HE interbank lending rates climbed fraction ally higher to an average of 9.08 per cent last week compared to nine per cent the previous week as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) recalled a portion of its deposit with banks. Dealers said the NNPC recalled about N180 billion, a portion of its funds from some banks, which impacted on the level of liquidity in the market and caused a marginal rise in rates. NNPC usually sells dollars to some banks in a monthly cycle and recalls the naira proceeds to its account with the banking watchdog. Reuters said the firm sold around $400 million to selected lenders last Friday. The secured Open Buy Back (OBB) closed flat at 8.0 per cent, in line with the CBN’s benchmark rate and 200 basis points over the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) rate. Overnight placement fell to 9.50 per cent from 10 per cent last week, while call money climbed to 9.75 per cent against 9.0 per cent previously. Dealers said the system remains liquid, while the increase in cost of funds was marginal and only noticeable on call money due to the effect of the withdrawal by NNPC. “We still have a lot of banks not placing funds at the interbank market, while liquidity remain relative stable,” one dealer said. Traders said last week many lenders were exiting the interbank market because of the soon-to-be expired CBN’s guarantee on interbank placements with rescued banks, causing rates to remain unchanged. The market opened last Friday at N213 billion, down from around N352 billion last week.

DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$114.2/barrel Cocoa - $2,856/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢78.07.pound Gold -$1,161/troy ounce Rubber - ¢146.37/pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N7.82 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion RATES Inflation -12.4% Treasury Bills -2.64% Normal lending -24% Prime lending -18% Savings rate -3% 91-day NTB -6.99% Time Deposit - 6% MPR -8% Foreign Reserve -$31.6bn FOREX CFA 0.281 • 218 £ 242.5 $ 150.9 ¥ 1.5652 SDR 241.5 RIYAL 39.3

By Daniel Essiet


From left: Assistant Brand Manager, Stills, Coca Coca Nigeria, Ruth Ode; Creative Director, STB McCan, Omowumi Owodunni and Marketing Director, Coca Cola Nigeria, Austin Ufomba, during a briefing on Eva Fun Walk, at Omole Estate, Phase 1, Ogba, PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA Lagos .

AMCON chief forecloses rescued banks’ liquidation • Promises to return lenders to safe haven


HE Chief Executive Of ficer (CEO) of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustafa Chike-Obi, has foreclosed the liquidation of the eight rescued banks. He said while liquidation remains an option, it is very unlikely, based on recent steps taken by these banks (Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Finbank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Afribank Nigeria Plc, Oceanic Bank International Plc, Bank PHB Plc, Spring Bank Plc and Equitorial Trust Bank), which were bailed out by the apex bank with N620billion in 2009. CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had threatened to liquidate any the rescued banks that don’t meet a September 30 recapitalisation deadline following various court injunctions seeking to scuttle their deals. Recently, CBN’s Deputy Governor, Kingsley

By Collins Nweze

Senior Correspondent

Moghalu, said the Federal Government may nationalise these banks if they fail to recapitalise before the stipulated date. But the AMCON boss in an interview with The Nation, said: “From what I am seeing, I can’t see any of the banks being liquidated. The fear of liquidation, while it remains an option, is very very unlikely.” He said AMCON is committed to concluding the process of recapitalisation, and will assist the CBN and the banks to meet the September 30 deadline as well as achieve financial stability as quickly as possible. “If the CBN sets a deadline, what AMCON will do is to help everybody meet that deadline,” Chike-Obi said. He disclosed that more Transaction Implementation Agreements (TIA) between

the rescued banks and the core investors will be signed soon. Chike-Obi also promised that AMCON will take the rescued banks from their current negative capital, to zero capital position, to allow the core investors move the banks’ liquidity to the right capital adequacy level. But this could only happen in banks with what he called ‘enforceable recapitalisation plans’. “AMCON by agreement will bring all the rescued banks to zero capital position, provided they have viable enforceable recapitalisation plan,” he said. The AMCON boss said funds coming from new investors will take the banks to required capital adequacy. He said that in recapitalisation, there are always three options involved. First, the banks have to recapitalise themselves by choosing viable partners. Union Bank, Intercontinental

Bank and FinBank have followed this path. The second option is for those, which cannot recapitalise themselves, to be recapitalised by AMCON to the right capital adequacy position by giving them lifelines from where they would operate until viable partners come in. He said the third option is liquidation, and the thinking of AMCON is that no bank goes through this process. “Liquidation is the worst option, but from what I am seeing and hearing, it’s unlikely that any bank will be liquidated,” he reiterated. The AMCON boss said he was pleased that the courts have ruled in its favour on what he described as ‘nuisance lawsuits’, which were serious impediments to rescued banks’recapitalisation. Meanwhile, Moghalu is expected to address the press today in Lagos on the state of the banking industry.

HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $25-million equity investment in Vantage Capital Fund II (VCF II). A statement from the bank said the second-generation multi-sector fund, designed to reach $250 million, will provide mezzanine financing – a combination of debt and equity instruments – to selected portfolio companies across the Africa. About 45 per cent of the fund’s portfolio in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, 30 per cent in North Africa and 25 per cent in East and West Africa, will support the growth of African businesses. The first generation Fund, VCF I, helped create some 19,300 jobs, generated $91 million in tax revenue for the South African government, and added $281 extra capital flow to South African businesses over eight years. VCF II is expected to help catalyse some $735 million in aggregate capital flows to African mid-markets companies, trigger the creation of 10,000 additional jobs and bring in $145 million in government revenues. The AfDB’s investment in VCF II, according to the statement, will promote the expansion of mezzanine financing as a mainstream asset class on the continent. The Fund is expected to attract institutional investors from several African countries and promote higher levels of investment in long-term instruments. As the first fund domicilled in Botswana, VCF II will help launch the nascent Botswana International Financial Service Center (BIFSC). Mezzanine assets represent less than two per cent of African private equity funds, compared to a world average of 10 per cent.

CBN allays fears over Islamic Banking


MID controversies about foisting a reli gious banking practice on Nigeria, Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has allayed fears of concerned Nigerians on the proposed Islamic Banking. Mallam Sanusi cautioned Nigerians, especially Christians, not to exercise apprehensions about the word ‘Islam Banking’. He said it (Islamic banking) is just a banking product like some other conventional products in the commercial banking system, which can be, and is actually being run concurrently by any commercial bank with other products.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

The CBN boss made this clarification last weekend during a special lecture for the 2011 batch “B” National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members held at the Ise/Orun/ Emure-Ekiti, Permanent Orientation Camp in Ekiti State. Islamic Banking, also known as non-interest banking, is a banking system consistent with principles of Islamic law and Islamic economics. It prohibits the collection of interest, commonly called riba, although revenue-sharing arrangements are permitted. Since the announcement that

the apex bank has given the goahead for JAIZ Bank International Plc to operate as an Islamic bank and the subsequent issuance of final guidelines on Islamic banking, criticism, especially from Christians have continued to trail the planned introduction of Islamic banking. But Sanusi noted that the confusion was a product of “mere nomenclature” as same could alternatively be called “non-interest banking” Represented by the Branch Controller, Ado-Ekiti, Mr Samuel Ogungbayi, Sanusi observed that what distinguishes non-interest banking from other commercial banks

was the fact that it is operated on the principle of “shared fortunes” which means both the business owner and the financier have stakes in business ventures. Ogungbayi explained: “The bank is for both Christians and Muslims and has nothing to do with the Islamic faith. It only operates the Islamic principle of shared profit without interest rate. The investor or the owner of business idea brings his proposals while the bank finances the business and shares profit and loss with the owner of the business”. Besides, he noted that based on the Islamic rules and regulations, the Islamic bank

forbids whoever seeks to access its loans to establish nonIslamic businesses like brewery for alcoholic drinks, casino or others. His words:”Islamic banking as one of the models of non-interest banking provides financial services similar to conventional financial institutions save that it operates in accordance with principles and rules of profit and loss sharing and the prohibition of interest charges. “The Islamic financial system is estimated to be $1 trillion of global industry. The rating agency, Moody has forecast that the industry could hit $5 trillion over time.”



BUSINESS NEWS Sony launches Internet TV


ONY Gulf has introduced 25 Sony BRAVIA television models into the Nigerian market, 20 of which are Internet enabled. The company, in a statement, has also projected a 15 per cent rise in expected turnover for 2011, according to Osamu Miura, Managing Director, Sony Gulf, during the unveiling ceremony of the products. Miura, who unveiled the television range to newsmen at a briefing held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, said BRAVIA television sets featuring latest LCD/LED, 3D, internet technologies, VAIO laptops, Cyber-shot digital still cameras, and Handycam camcorders are some of the categories that are performing extremely well in this region.

41.6% youths are unemployed, says CBN T HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put the percent age of unemployment at 41.6 per cent. Of this figure, 23.3 per cent are males. The remaining 17 per cent are females. They are all within the age bracket of 15 and 24. CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi disclosed this at the weekend in Yipakta, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State, while speaking on Youth Empowerment as a tool for Sustainable Development: The Central Bank of Nigeria Interventions. Sanusi, who was represented by the CBN’s Branch Controller, Mr Onoriode Olotewo, said: “The country’s current economic efforts will only be a snapshot if the real economic agents, who are the

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

youths, are not part of the transformation.” He said the high rate of unemployed youths and poverty were responsible for youth restiveness in parts of the country. Sanusi said: “An inclusive and robust economic growth will only be achieved if the youths are adequately empowered. This is the only path to sustainable economic development which the country.” He said the CBN, as part of its development role, initiated some youth empowerment programmes to complement other initiatives of

the government, the private sector and development partners. “The CBN has identified lack of investible funds as a major challenge to youth entrepreneurship development. There is a need to unlock the credit market with initiative interventions through developing internal capacity that will de-risk lending to the youth,” he said. He said this idea was imperative in view of the fact that Nigeria needs to reduce reliance on external sources to finance development due to dwindling donor funds. He explained that the CBN has supported this initiative “by targeting and focusing on interventions towards the achievement of our national aspiration of sustainable development.”

Flight Schedule MONDAY - FRIDAY LAGOS – ABUJA Departure Arrival 1. Aero 06.50 08.10 2. Associated 07.00 09.30 3. Air Nigeria 07.00 08.20 4. IRS 07.00 08.20 5. Dana 07.02 08.22 6. Arik 07.15 08.15 7. Chanchangi 07.15 8. Air Nigeria 08.15 09.35 9. Dana 08.10 09.20 10. Aero 08.45 10.05 11. Arik 09.15 10.15 12. Chanchangi 10.00 11.00 13. IRS 11.15 12.35 14. Dana 12.06 12.26 15. Aero 12.20 13.30 16. Air Nigeria 13.25 14.45 17. Chanchangi 13.30 14.30 18. Arik 13.45 14.45 19. IRS 14.00 15.20 20. Aero 14.10 15.30 21. Air Nigeria 14.50 16.10 22. Dana 15.30 16.50 23. Chanchangi 15.30 16.30 24. Arik 15.50 16.50 25. Aero 16.00 17.20 26. IRS 16.30 17.50 27. Arik 16.50 17.50 28. Dana 17.10 18.30 29. Chanchangi 17.30 18.30 30. Air Nigeria 17.35 18.55 31. Air Nigeria (T/TH) 18.30 19.50 32. Arik 18.45 19.45 33. Aero 19.20 20.40 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

LAGOS – BENIN Arik 07.30 Associated 08.30 Aero 10.50 Arik 11.45 Associated 13.00 Aero 14.25 Arik 15.30 Associated 16.00

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

1. Arik 2. Aero 1. 2. 3. 4.

• From left: INSEAD Chair Professor on Business Ethics & Social Responsibility at Insead, France, Prof. Craig Smith; CEO, Thistle Praxis Consulting, Mrs. Ini Onuk; former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson; Executive Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service, Mr Babatunde Fowler and External Relations and Advocacy Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Africa Region, Ms. Funmi Balogun, at the Africa CEO Roundtable & Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility convened by Thistle Praxis in Lagos.

Sterling Bank finances Karma Milk’s $20m plant


TERLING Bank Plc has fi nanced the Karma Milk Indus tries Ltd’s $20million Soya bean Processing Mill and Edible Oil Refinery Plant in Abuja, under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS). This, according to a statement from Sterling Bank’s Head, Corporate Affairs, Mrs. ‘Bimbo Sowemimo, was a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to lending to the agriculture sector of the economy, The CACS was established by the apex bank to promote commercial agricultural enterprises in Nigeria and to fast-track development of the agricultural sector of the economy by providing credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at a single digit interest rate. The credit scheme is also geared towards enhancing national

By Akinola Ajibade, Senior Correspondent

food security among others. In line with these CBN objectives, Sterling Bank said through its’ Agricultual Department, it intends to increase lending to the sector from its current level. Already, Mrs Sowemimo said Karma Milk Ind. Ltd, a Nigeriabased firm has started the establishment of a $20million factory that will take delivery of locally produced soybeans at the end of this year’s harvest. The company, the biggest soybean factory in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa, will be creating tens of thousands of jobs along the soybean value chain. “The 75,000 metric tons processing capacity factory, which is located near Abuja International Airport is expected to open up new

marketing opportunities for Nigerian Soybean farmers as well as create additional stable and sustainable demand for soybean in one of Africa’s major producers. “It is hoped that through this investment, Sterling Bank, will help to reposition soy-bean production in Nigeria and, more importantly, profit the Nigerian Soybean farmer because he now not only has options to sell his products, but can also plant with a sense of security and the assurance that his produce has a committed buyer. This is in line with our commitment of being the one customer bank,” she said. Other agricultural lending products, Sterling Bank stated, have been developed to drive lending to the agricultural sector. Sterling Bank recently announced a post-tax profit of N5billion for the year ended December 31, 2010. This

was against the previous year’s N7.2 billion loss. The bank sustained its profitability, achieved in the third quarter, driven by improved margins and control in operating costs. Other highlights of the results indicated that balance sheet size total assets grew by 25 per cent to N277.1 billion from N221.3 billion, spurred by slightly improved economic conditions Also, deposits advanced by 26 per cent to N203.1 billion from N161.3 billion in 2009, reflecting slight market share gains, while net loans & advances (including advances under finance lease) rose by 25 per cent to N103.8 billion from N82.9 billion in 2009. Funding costs also declined by 33 per cent to N11.1 billion from N16.5 billion in 2009 (annualised) feeding through a 32 per cent improvement in net interest margins.

Traders lose N20b in two-day market closure


HE Secretary of Alaba International Market Association (Electronics), Lagos, Mr Nnadozie Uchenna,yesteday said the market lost about N20 billion following its closure on July 14 and 15. Uchenna told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the market was closed by the association to forestall a break down of law and order. He said the shutting down was necessitated by the arrest of its

Chairman, Dr Celestine Ezeani and Vice Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Onyejelem, by the police on July 13. According to him, based on past experiences from such illegal arrests of its executives, the association decided to shut the market to prevent hoodlums from using the opportunity to cause chaos. “It is not the amount lost that is the issue. It is how many families that lost their means of livelihood

as a result of the closure. “Many families depend on daily activities in the market for their livelihood,” he said. According to him, traders in the market are lawful businessmen engaged in the business of buying and selling electronics and its allied products. Mr Zimako Anayo, the association’s Public Relations Officer, said the closure of the market had a multiplier effect in and outside the country. He said that businessmen and

traders from West Africa and other regions of Africa visited the market daily to buy their electronics. Another trader in the market, Mr Ijendu Nkemdilim, said that losses during the closure by CD traders could not be quantified as more than 10 million people depended on the market for their livelihood. “We cannot quantify the loss as many of the traders, their families and other businessmen from outside the country depend on the market,’’ Nkemdilim said.

LAGOS – CALABAR 07.30 11.20 12.50 16.00 LAGOS – JOS 10.55 11.15

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

08.30 09.10 11.50 12.45 13.40 15.20 16.30 16.40 08.50 12.40 14.10 17.20 12.15 12.45 09.10 11.00 11.10 16.20

LAGOS – PORT HARCOURT (CIVIL) 1. Aero 07.15 08.35 2. Arik 07.15 08.35 3. Arik 09.00 10.20 4. Dana 09.27 10.40 5. Aero 10.50 12.30 6. Arik 11.40 13.00 7. Air Nigeria 12.00 13.10 8. IRS 13.30 15.00 9. Arik 14.00 15.20 10. Dana 15.03 16.20 11. Air Nigeria 16.00 17.10 12. Arik 16.10 17.30 13. Aero 16.15 17.30 14. Arik 17.10 18.30 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

LAGOS – OWERRI Aero 07.30 Arik 07.30 Air Nigeria 13.40 Arik 14.00 Arik 16.30

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

LAGOS – KANO Air Nigeria 07.10 IRS 08.00 Dana 08.10 Arik 12.20 IRS 14.00 IRS 18.15

08.50 09.45 09.40 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

LAGOS – UYO 10.35


1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik 1. Dana 1. IRS 2. Arik

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 11.15 13.15 15.50 18.00

LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

08.00 18.00

LAGOS – ABUJA SAT/SUN Arik 7.15; 10.20; 2.20; 5.20pm – 7.30; 9.15; 10.20; 2.20; 4.50; 6.45 Aero 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 – 07.30; 09.35; 13.10; 14.50; 20.20 Air Nigeria 08.15; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30 – 08.15; 13.30; 14.30; 17.15; 18.30



ISSUES The battle for theN18,000 minimum wage was long and hard. Labour fought hard to get it. The fight, it seems, is not over. Reason: the Federal Government is saying only workers on Levels 01 - 06 will be paid the wage. Senior workers are kicking. Implementation, they say, should be across board. Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have rejected government’s implementation time table as workers get set for a warning strike on Wednesday.DUPE OLAOYE-OSINKOLU reports.

Should senior workers benefit from minimum wage? T

HE announcement that only junior workers will benefit from the minimum wage jolted organised labour. It was not what the labour leadership planned for. All along, it had thought that the wage will be implemented without discrimination. As usual, discussions are still on to resolve the knotty issues. Why does the government want to exempt senior workers from the wage implementation? It seems the intention is to “bridge the wage gap” between senior and junior workers. But must be done by making the senior workers “stagnant” in their grade while their subordinates enjoy higher pay? What is the difference between their wage and that of their junior counterparts? These are some of the questions the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Labour centre for senior workers, want answered as it continues negotiations with the government on the matter. Today and tomorrow, the Federal Government, governors and Labour are meeting to avert a strike over the minimum wage. Labour had earlier fixed Wednesday for the beginning of a three-day warning strike. The outcome of the twoday meeting will determine whether or not the strike will hold. Following the purported exemption of senior workers from the wage implementation, the TUC leadership met with the Speaker, House of Representives, Aminu Tambuwal, to register its disagreement. The meeting agreed that the Federal Government has to use more than one table for the implementation.

•Labour Minister Chukwuemeka Wogu

TUC President General, Comrade Peter Esele said meetings are on-going and that TUC has made it clear to the government that the Levels 01-06 table implementation is unacceptable to the Congress. TUC, he said is already mobolising for the warning strike. He added that paying a living wage is just one of the government’s responsibilities. It (Government) is also expected to create employment in order to effect peace and stability among the youths. TUC, he said is appealing that the implementation of the minimum wage should not cost people their jobs. Government should, instead of laying off workers under the guise of restructuring, create employment for the people,” Ezele added. The Secretary-General, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Comrade Solomon Onaghinon, said the government should work the minimum wage and the relativity together, just as the Lagos State Government has done. The state, he said, is now paying N18,780.84 because it worked the minimum wage with relativity. From the look of things, the matter may end up before the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP). As always, new wage implementation is associated with disagreement and trade disputes. Blanket wage increase in Nigeria always leads to job losses, as many state governments find one excuse or the other to reduce the strength of their workforce.

•Continued on page 14

•Mr Esele




•NLC President Ibrahim Omar

•Mr Onaghinon

Should senior workers benefit from minimum wage? •Continued from page 13

This explains why some workers are worried about the possibility of losing their jobs even as the Federal Government insists on partial implementation. The tripartite actors, (Labour, Government and Employers) came together under the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee to negotiate and agreed on N18,000 minimum wage. The TUC, NLC, Nigeria Empolyers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity were represented on the committee. Workers initially asked for N52,200, which the NLC and TUC said was most appropriate as living wage. They said workers would not accept anything less than that amount because the Police and other services got between 60 to 100 per cent increase.

Workers’ perspective Mrs Adebisi Adebakin works with one of the state ministries. She recalled that workers were laid off in Lagos, Osun and some northern states during the implementation of the old minimum wage. Many others agreed with her, and they are already planning how to cope with retrenchment should it occur. Another worker, who craved anonymity said first among the casualties would be those nearing their retirement. He added, however, that one should not, for the fear of job loss, abhor the struggle for wage increase. In past years, the Industrial Arbitration Court had a busy time settling disputes between workers and the state governments. States traded blames with the Federal Government, saying the wage increase was arbitrary and uni-

lateral. This current Minimum Wage Act is however, far from being arbitrary. It is a product of continued tripartite negotiation. NLC and TUC demanded N52,200 as national minimum wage. Their demand gave rise to the setting up of a tripartite committee for minimum wage negotiation. Substantiating the demand for N52,200, NLC drew a table illustrating the monthly basic needs of a worker. It estimated a monthly budget of N20,000 for the least paid worker’s family. Electricity – N1,000, water – N500, keroseneN4,000, communication – N2,000, clothing – N4,000, medical expenses – N5,000, education – N6,000, laundry – N1,300, transportation – N6,000, entertainment, recreation N1,000, and miscellaneous –N1,500. It all totalled N58,500. NLC noted that the government spends N18,000 on the feeding of a prisoner monthly and wondered why the same government could not ensure the payment of N20,000 for the feeding of a

family of six per month. Employing published data on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from year 2000 on July, 2008, NLC said the value of the N5,500 minimum wage has been wiped out. It said N11,213.52 would guarantee the same value of N5,500 in year 2000. It said: “All over the world, salary increases in the public sector is underlined by the principle of equity and the need to bridge social inequality in the face of widening economic and social gaps amongst citizens.” It, recommended that given developments in the overall economy and compensation adjustments since 2000, the current minimum wage in real terms would have to be adjusted upwards by a minimum of a factor of four in order to maintain the relative position of the least paid in the national compensation structure. Workers are presently miffed that there is much disparity between the salaries and allowances of government workers and political appointees. Even the Boko Haram sect has allegedly warned the

‘Today and tomorrow, the Federal Government, governors and Labour are meeting to avert a strike over the minimum wage ... The outcome of the two-day meeting will determine whether or not the strike will hold’

chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Elias Mbam to stop plans by the commission to increase the salaries and allowances of Nigerian legislators. The sect in a newspaper report, said it has been monitoring Mr Mbam’s statements over the past days and it seems he is bent on this agenda, when millions of Nigerians wallow in abject poverty and deprivation and state governments cannot even pay the N18,000 minimum wage. The newspaper claimed that the statement was posted on the fundamentalists’’ website, where Boko Haram vowed to place a “Fatwa” on the RMAFC boss if he does not review downwards the salaries and allowances of states and federal lawmakers with immediate effect. The Economic Confidential, an online publication quoted a source in RMAFC as saying that the allegation that the agency is working towards upward review of salaries and allowances of political office holders in the country is not true. The source said: “We are more concerned about fashioning out fair and just revenue allocation formula as well as devising strategies for diversification of the economy from mono-products where each state could boost its internally generated revenue independently from other means.” While some federal commissioners and members of staff of the agency expressed concerns over the reported threat, one of the commissioners told the Economic Confidential: “we only hope the media would not engage in sensationalising sensitive national issues that could give room for ulterior motives. We never met nor contemplated an upward review of anyone’s salary or allowance.”






MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011



• President Jonathan, Vice President Sambo, SGF Anyim and the new ministers.

Appointments: After the euphoria, what next? The April elections came with so much heat. Intense lobbying preceded various appointments. The lucky ones who scaled through eventually celebrated. There are, however, fears that many of them might not have taken office to serve. DADA ALADELOKUN, Assistant Editor, reflects on various shades of opinion on the task before governments at all levels.


HE hysteria gripped every nook and cranny of the land. Who and who will make President Goodluck Jonathan’s ministerial list? This was the main question that rattled curious minds as intense lobbying took the front burner in the nation’s charged political firmament. The fever reached a frenzied proportion shortly after the April elections. Eventually, the cloud gave way as nominations trickled in from the states. Some came with nauseating emissions, while some came forth without questions. But erstwhile Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was lucky. She was begged, even by the presidency, to take the job again! The protracted fuss about the re-appointment of former Defence Minister Adetokunbo Kayode would be sickening to the apathetic of the deepest dye. Intense lobbying both in support and against prospective others painted the entire landscape ‘black,’ thus sending the signal that the ‘struggling’ would-be public servants were angling for other motives aside from serving their people. Like Kayode, Mrs. Diezani Madueke, Minister of Petroleum was literally dragged through hell by those who would not like her name mentioned in any matter related to appointment. They went all out against her. Ultimately, however, she had her way and had a broad laugh on her way back. At long last, the heat subsided. Many ended winners while some others lost the opportunity to shout hosanna. Just a few days ago, the would-be ministers partook of what

passed for ‘take a bow and go’ session on the floor of the Senate. It was dubbed screening. And at last, 40 among them got assigned various portfolios as members of the nation’s new Federal Executive Council. In a spontaneous reaction to the newsbreak on Tuesday, a woman exclaimed: “Yeah, those ministers are fortunate; their time has come. One day, however long, my child’s time will come.” Of course, she spoke the minds of many who believe that people now go to public offices to amass wealth. Inside commercial buses, at liquor joints and other informal gatherings, it was same profuse expression of doubts over the readiness or otherwise of the new appointees to shun self-aggrandisement in favour of public good. Also, people did express shock at the extent some appointees celebrated their hard-earned political ‘achievements’. It has been the same feeling, all over. Some slaughtered cows for becoming commissioners and people began to smell a rat, thus prompting the question: What for? From his response when The Nation sought it, Chief Femi Alafe-Aluko, an Osun State governorship aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the April elections, did not claim ignorance of the widespread perception. However, he was quick to point out the pressure that the people would always mount on either appointed or elected leaders who are supposed to work towards ensuring public good in terms of providing essential social services for people’s general interest.

“The people have the right to feel the way they feel especially when you have a situation whereby the few in whose they reposed electoral confidence get to office to do things that run counter to their original interest,” he said, noting: “While that aspect can be taken care of by actualizing to the letter, the Code of Conduct Act, we must not lose sight of the contributions of the people to the problem. They too need serious reorientation that can discourage them from putting relentless pressure on the elected for immediate financial assistance.” Former President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) also spoke in the same vein. To him, the scenario is troubling. “As long as this perception by the people endures in our land, I don’t see any urgent end to our collective troubles as a long-traumatised people. It is a worrisome situation that we must waste no further minute to tackle,” the activist lawyer said, fuming. Such a perception, he said, “is unfortunate because it is a dangerous signal that should rattle every soul that believe truly in representative governance and people-centred democracy where service to the people is held sacred.” He spoke further: “Yes, it can be truly observed that some elected or appointed men and women have over the years behaved in ways that called to question, their love for the people, but I must say that our people, owing to the scandalous level of impoverishment, mount unbelievable pressure on the leaders for petty demands that mostly bother on the ridiculous. “When people pester such leaders for such

personal demands, it inescapably confers on the latter the psychological “right” to feather their own nests and lose sight of why they are there for, primarily. So, our people must undergo thorough re-orientation if we must enjoy the gains of democracy that we all cherish.” To Senator Adekunle Kaka who represents Ogun East Senatorial District at the Upper Chamber, the misrule by many public office holders in the past bred people’s current perception and growing fear about the emerging leaders. “Can we really blame the people who have for a long time now, been denied of the goodies of democracy, especially by the PDP? We have seen many so-called leaders emerge in this country only to get to office to loot the treasury, forgetting the fact that the people have ears and eyes; they read newspapers. Then, why shouldn’t they complain?” Kaka Asked. He recalled: “While contesting ahead of the last elections, I had it in mind that I was going to liberate my people. Of course if they said they did not want me, I would have returned to my farm. Interestingly, rather than spend to buy votes, people came forth with money to do the mobilisation because they needed change. “But some would go to borrow to buy votes and even go violent during the polls. All these reinforce the impression that most appointees and elected ones go there to serve their pockets. I therefore believe strongly that we need serious re-orientation in order to have a clean break from the ugly past. This, interestingly, is what my party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), stands for.”




Now, it is business unusual at Lagos Assembly By Oziegbe Okoeki

• Hon. Ikuforiji


F feelers from the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly are anything to go by, Lagosians expect a more vibrant 7th Assembly Members of the legislative arm have since their inauguration more than two weeks ago, demonstrated that it is business unusal henceforth. They have so far, kept to the scheduled time for plenary and displayed enough zeal to con-

tribute to debates. How far the lawmakers would go is, however, left for time to tell. Although the 6th Assembly was equally vibrant, there has been increased vigour and agility exhibited by members. Both old and new members have been very active, showing unusual eagerness to contribute to debate on the floor. Perhaps, most striking is the fact that some of the old lawmakers, who during the last dispensation, were not very active and tagged as ‘bench warmers’, have all come out strong and active in the new dispensation. A good number of the new members have shown the same zeal. One major complaint in the 6th Assembly was the inability of the House to sit on scheduled time. The Monday sittings, usually fixed for 12 noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays hardly held as scheduled. Almost throughout that dispensation, sittings earlier than 2pm and sometimes, as late as 5pm. The issue timing formed the plank of discussions at the induction held for newly elected and returning members of the 7th Assembly at Eko Tourist Resort, Akodo, a Lagos suburb before the inauguration of the House on June 4. The Clerk/Permanent Secretary of the Assembly, Taiwo Olatunji in his opening remark, stressed the need for members to be more punctual at sittings. He decried a situation where sittings scheduled to commence by 10am will not start until 2pm, 3pm, or 4pm. He charged the incoming 7th Assembly to take

up the issue of punctuality serious as adherence to time would give them sufficient time to meet with both official and private businesses and also leave enough room for the support staff to prepare for the following day. Olatunji noted that the last Assembly’s attitude to punctuality would continue to be an albatross and a militating factor if not improved upon. He said: “A situation where daily sittings that are scheduled to commence at 12pm noon would not start until about 2pm – 4pm and even 6pm in some days, surely does not speak well of us. “It is against this backdrop that I propose that the relevant rules should be reviewed to indicate the time a sitting would end so that members can programme their commitments till after the plenary session.” Part of the resolution of the lawmakers at that retreat was to improve on timing. The resolution reads in part: “That Order 13(1) of the Business, Rules and Standing Order should be reviewed to accommodate the time of adjoining daily plenary sitting of the House”. Deputy Chief Whip Rotimi Abiru, who read the resolution, said: “We resolved at Akodo to take the work of the legislature very seriously by adhering to the time which we have chosen to sit. And in the last two weeks, we have kept to this.” Leader of the House, Ajibayo Adeyeye also said: “We have tried to improve on the issue of timing and to a large extent, I think we have kept to the sitting time”. More interesting however, is the increased

vibrancy on the floor. Although the House has done more than moving some fare reaching motions and passing resolutions, these steps were taken after robust debate by members. Of course the new members have also proven their mettle as Adeyeye said: “We have experienced legislators, 22 out of 40 are returning, even the 18 new members have very good pedigree. So I expect a good Assembly in the 7th Assembly.” Among the motions and resolutions so far passed are: calling on the state Ministry of Youths, Sports and Social Development to work in conjunction with the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development and the security agencies to sanitise Kuramo Beach and other beaches in the state; urging the Federal Government to direct Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to commence a 24-hour service at Apapa and Tin Can Ports and also provide adequate infrastructure and equipment to ease congestion at the ports; calling on the federal Ministry of Works and Housing to urgently rehabilitate Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and other major Federal roads around the seaports and calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to immediately direct the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to live up to the expectation of Nigerians by ensuring adequate supply and pricing of petroleum products particularly Kerosine across the country.

Our mission, challenges, by Delta SSG Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay is the Secretary to the Delta State Government. He spoke with JOSEPH JIBUEZE on the challenges facing Uduaghan administration and other issues.


HAT have been the challenges of governing Delta since the inception of this administration? We have political challenges. The opposition won’t want to see anything good in this administration. The way we were brought up in the labour practice is that even the man you contested against is beginning to do good things, you commend him so that when he doing things wrongly you, criticise him constructively. We have had a sort of opposition that is not healthy, and that has tried to derail the government, if not that the governor has decided to remain focused. I encourage a healthy opposition. That is a challenge. The second challenge is a nationwide problem – the issue of funds. With the withdrawal of bank facilities, we suffered some setbacks in some of these projects. Some would have been completed by now, but we had some setbacks when the banks withdrew all facilities. We had to look inwards, and to start to readjust our priorities to be able to carry on with those projects. How far has the government gone with major projects it embarked on? We have the airport. For somebody to initiate and complete an airport in one term is a feat. This is not just a domestic airport; the runway is 4.5 kilometres; it is an international airport. The only delay is that the commercial planes have certain rules guiding them; if not, today everything has been put in place for planes to start landing. The 145-kilometre road dualisation project from Ughelli to Asaba is meant to improve commerce and communication in the state. It is supposed to be a federal government project but because he is the governor, he feels Deltans are the people suffering the impact. He felt that if it is improved, Deltans will be the beneficiaries as it will encourage investors. Again, the Oghara teaching hospital was started by his predecessor, Ibori, but Uduaghan has completed and equipped it. If people know about this hospital, I’m sure that a lot of this trip to India will be reduced. I can bet my life that the personnel there are not

just professionals but world class professionals. How qualified is the personnel? Most of them were brought from outside the country - from the best hospitals around the world. One of them in the medical laboratory is about the best in the world; we have to pay in hard currency to bring him into this country. But because the place is not well publicised; nobody know that what they are going to look for in the US or in the UK is already domiciled here with them. We are also going into other areas like the Warri Business Park that we are trying to establish. The feasibility studies are being done because we don’t want to get it wrong. We’re not in a hurry to do ground-breaking so that people will commend us. We want make sure that everything we do, we take the right steps, we follow the procedure. By the time the project takes off, Warri will become something else more than what it is now. Do you have any plans for power generation? We also have the Independent Power Project. People criticise it and I told them that IPP project is not road construction. You don’t start by going to do ground-breaking. Where is the turbine, the major thing? Then you go for gas plant and the license. The ground-breaking should be the last part of it. It takes a minimum of 24 months to produce a turbine. If you have not paid for a turbine and you start a construction, at the end of the day, reptiles will make it their home. But our turbines are almost ready in the UK. I’m sure between the end of this year and the first quarter of next year, the two turbines will arrive. At Oghara now, construction work is ongoing at the site. We are not in a hurry because of blackmail to take the wrong step. The bottom line of all these is

that let’s see if we can produce a state that will not depend on oil to survive because this oil will dry up one day. So, part of our policy is to create a Delta State that depends less on oil. This administration won the Micro-finance Award of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) three consecutive times. This is an award that was not influenced, and my boss is not even in the habit of accepting awards. But when the CBN wants you to come and collect such award, it means you don’t know who is monitoring you when you are carrying out these projects. Is Delta ready to pay the N18,000 minimum wage? It may be difficult for labour in Delta state to go on strike because of the minimum wage, because right now we just started implementation of the N17, 000 Consolidated Salary Harmonisation. The difference between that and what we call minimum wage is very narrow. For us in Delta, we are almost there. We are not scared because here our minimum wage is already N17,000. So I’m sure that nobody will go on strike in Delta State. But what I have always said is that they need to give us time to straighten our books, fashion out how we are going to get revenue to make up the difference and also ensure that other services are not paralysed. The salary is for Deltans. The infrastructure is being developed for them. If you close from work and you have no good roads to drive through to home or no water to drink, you won’t be happy. So, we always want to dialogue with them and I think starting from my era in labour about 12 years back, labour and government in this state have been maintaining a cordial relationship. What plans is the state making to improve its Internally-generated Revenue (IGR)?

We’re making plans to improve out IGR. Before now, it was under N2billion. Today, by God grace we have pushed it to about N3billion, and other measures are being put in place, because as you sleep and wake you must be thinking, as you think new ideas come and you put them into experimentation and that’s what we’re doing and I can assure you that on a daily basis, our IGR will be improving gradually. What have been the challenges? One major problem we have in this state and indeed Nigeria, which Lagos and Edo States have conquered, is people resisting tax. IGR still depends on the amount of tax you want to collect. But when the people resist tax payment, then it becomes an issue. But we’re carrying out education. We’re making them appreciate that what they are seeing are done with money. If we talk of derivation, right from Ibori’s era, part of derivation has always been used to augment wages. And how long are we going to continue with that? That’s why we are focusing on Delta without oil. We may not reap the benefits under the Uduaghan administration. We want to keep a legacy that even the man that will take over in 2015 will be able to say thank God a foundation has been laid for me. What is the state government doing to consolidate on its ‘three-point agenda’? We are consolidating on them by making sure that every step we take, we carry it to a logical conclusion. If you come to Asaba now and compare it to how it was some years back, you won’t believe it is the same Asaba. We’re expanding on the street lights. The old street lights were at the mercy of NEPA and PHCN. But today we have street lights that at 7pm, they must come on till 6am in the morning, because they’re generator-driven.

‘One major problem we have in this state and indeed Nigeria, which Lagos and Edo States have conquered, is people resisting tax. IGR still depends on the amount of tax you want to collect. But when the people resist tax payment, then it becomes an issue. But we’re carrying out education’


What does it cost to maintain the street lights? It is costing us money and people are taking us to EFCC because of it. They have exaggerated what we spend on diesel. They call us all sorts of names, but that will not distract us. Because we know the crime rate that we met before we introduced the street lights. It was meant to drive crime away because it cannot thrive under light. Have you tried solar-powered street lights? We are also moving into a better research on solar. So, if you go round some of our villages, thee street lights there are powered by solar. It’s more expensive to install, but we don’t really put in any effort to maintain them at the end of the month. But maybe twice in a year, they are serviced. So, we have moved into that phase now. And they are as good as the conventional ones. What is the government doing in the area of human capital development? This is the first administration to introduce scholarship to all our first class students. Anybody who made a first class certificate, wherever he or she wants to have further studies, the government pays. We have disbursed funds and the first set of the beneficiaries of the programme are out of the country now. We have the regular scholarship schemes for indigent students. Then, we have the regular bursary. We also have continuous training programme for youths.





New National Identity Card!

HE phone hacking scandal in Britain that has already brought down The News of the World and now hangs over at least two other newspapers has exposed a culture of illegal intrusions, systematic bribes to corrupt police officials and thuggish threats of damaging publicity to silence criminal investigators. It is not over yet. Hard lessons must be drawn. Investigations into criminal behavior must be taken to their conclusions, wherever they lead. Honest journalists — and they abound in England, as elsewhere — should not fear those inquiries. But there is one course of action the authorities most emphatically must not pursue: the new system of press regulation that Prime Minister David Cameron darkly hinted at last week. Mr. Cameron, whose own judgment has been called into question by the scandal, may pine for a tamer press. But now especially, British public life needs the disinfecting sunlight of a free press, not the chilling shadow of official oversight. And Mr. Cameron should keep this in mind: the scandal is not about journalism and whether it should be allowed to flourish, it is about intentional lawbreaking — including by public officials. The News of the World episode revealed a widespread practice of illegal hacking of private phones and e-mails. The paper’s alleged targets included a teenage girl later found murdered, families of fallen soldiers, police investigators, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth II. While the story has mainly focused on illegal methods attributed to The News of the World, the latest accusations implicate two other leading newspapers: The Sun, a tabloid, and The Sunday Times, a broadsheet. Both, like The News of the World, are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International. But other British media organizations appear to condone similar practices. This sordid affair is about more than the press and the police. Andy Coulson, until recently Mr. Cameron’s communications adviser, resigned as editor of The News of the World in the wake of a 2007 scandal involving hacking into the voice mail of the royal household. Last week, Mr. Coulson was arrested on charges of approving phone hacking and payoffs to the police during his editorship. As his arrest demonstrates, phone hacking and bribing police officers are already criminal offenses. Britain does not need new laws, it just needs to better enforce the ones it already has. In other areas, Britain’s press already faces more hurdles than are healthy in a democracy. An Official Secrets Act lets the government decide what news can and cannot be printed. Libel laws heavily weighted toward complainants chill the publication of unflattering facts. Enacting further government restrictions on news gathering and publication would be a terrible idea — blinding the public in the name of protecting it. – New York Times

Britain’s Press Scandal

•Will this be different from previous failed attempts?


FTER the multi-billion fraud of 2003, the Federal Government is said to be embarking on a fresh exercise to issue citizens with new biometric-based identity cards. The midwife is the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) whose chief executive, Chris Onyemenam, has announced a take-off date of August 1. From that date, the first set of the National Identity Numbers (NIN) from citizens’ biometric data would be generated to form the basis of the chip-embedded multi-functional smart cards with recipients’ personal information to be issued as national identity cards later. The first set of lucky recipients would get theirs on September 30 as part of independence anniversary celebrations. According to the NIMC timetable, about 100 million Nigerians are expected to be issued the NIN within 30 months; the exercise is targeted for completion in 60 months.

‘Now, this is not to question the merit of the exercise, both as a vital tool in national planning, and veritable instrument for national security ... We can only hope that it will succeed this time around and, more importantly, that its integrity would not be in doubt when it finally takes off’

We recall that a similar exercise in 2003 was announced with fanfare by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, with the promise that the scheme “will help government in planning and to fight fraud and corruption”. Nothing of the sort was achieved. It was actually enmeshed in fraud and corruption. Even the plastic cards later issued as consolation turned out as an instrument in deception. Nothing of the features qualifies it as an ID – not to talk of a fool-proof one. More doubtful of course was the integrity of the data generated during that exercise. We are not even aware that anything of substance was salvaged from the exercise that took billions of Naira from the treasury as well as millions of man-hours by long-suffering citizens to bring into fruition. As the NIMC would later confirm, the current exercise started from ground zero. But this pales into insignificance compared with the scandal involving the sharing of $214 million in bribe among some powerful Nigerians. The bribe was allegedly given by SAGEM – the French firm that executed the national identity card contract. In the ensuing public outcry over the sleaze, the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Chief Sunday Afolabi (now late), Dr Muhammed Shata –then minister of state in the internal affairs ministry, Labour Minister Hussain Akwanga and Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo – all powerful members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were later arraigned for trial. For inexplicable reasons, the charges against the personalities were later dropped.

For sure, the national identity card project isn’t just the nation’s Achiles heel; it has become the nation’s bottomless hole – consuming billions of Naira while offering nothing in return. Three decades of trials and serial failures after, the question this time is whether indeed the planned exercise can be any different from past attempts. Now, this is not to question the merit of the exercise, both as a vital tool in national planning, and veritable instrument for national security. Nations far less endowed than ours have done it successfully – with far less per capita costs and yet with outstanding results. Why then is the exercise nigh impossible here? The answers are not farfetched: corruption, incompetence, bad faith and lack of patriotism by those charged with the business. No one here suggests that the current exercise would fail. We only seek to remind the NIMC of the pitfalls of the past. Clearly, the exercise cannot be described as ambitious by any standards –the data being sought are actually the same set of data required in everyday transactions. They are available everywhere – in banks and other financial institutions, immigration services, the corporate affairs commission (CAC) as well as other agencies of government. The current efforts, in reality amount to integrating them into a handy tool for business transactions – the national ID that is increasingly indispensable all over the world. We can only hope that it will succeed this time around and, more importantly,, that its integrity would not be in doubt when it finally takes off.

Almost late •Why is government just considering installing explosive detectors in our airports? HE new Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi,has come up with a starting-point policy statement that further revealed the porosity of the nation’s airports as well as the way our public officials formulate policies. She came up with the belated intent of the Federal Government to install explosive detectors at all entry points in airports across the country. The initiative, according to her, will see to the installation of the device at all airports’ entrances and car parks so as to ensure the ‘security of lives and property in and around the airports’. In her view, when this is done, it would ‘boost confidence in the safety of Nigerian airports and act as incentive to foreigners who intend to travel to Nigeria as a safe destination for both business and leisure’. We are appalled that safety issues that are already well addressed in more serious countries are just being considered here. At a period when terrorism is threatening global peace, it is sad that our government is yet to treat the matter with all the seriousness that it deserves. We are aware that focussed countries, whether developed or developing, have taken measures to curb this global threat. It is shameful that our government is just waking up from its deep slumber to be considering this idea only now. Oduah-Ogiemwonyi is not the first aviation minister that will promise to make airports across the country safe. Most of those who occupied the position before her made similar promises but it


seemed they were just interested in the glamour of office than in the actual delivery of services. In the end, they left the airports worse than they met them. Not many will attach any significance to the statement of promise by the current aviation minister because the airports, as the country’s signposts have become a big mess. Apart from their inept security state, the efficiency of services is deeply suspect. The bad shape of the toilets and air conditioners, among others, is bad public relations for the country. It is regrettable that in the 21st century, the country has airports that are still battling with minor issues such as perimeter fence, lack of safe runways and sometimes unbefitting terminal buildings that are all crucial to the discharge of efficient aviation services. The time for a realistic and comprehensive aviation development plan is now. It is because of the absence of such policy document that Nigerian airports are lagging behind in the battle against terrorism as well as in the provision of critical infrastructure. The era of one minister, one policy should be halted now. Explosive detectors ought to have been installed in the nation’s airports a long time ago, especially with the general insecurity in the airports. Was it not in one of the airports that some security and important devices as the Digital Data Capturing (DDC) machines that were used during the last general elections were reportedly stolen? The government should know that it is

not our airports alone that need explosive detectors; they must be provided in other public institutions and buildings so as to forestall the kind of explosion that happened at the Police headquarters in Abuja recently. Perhaps we need such in those places now more than ever before because of the activities of the Boko Haram sect which has been terrorising parts of the country in recent years. But installation of explosive detectors in these places is only one of the ways to ensure security in them. Other issues like perimeter fencing, especially at our airports, should be addressed as well. It is not edifying that animals or even vehicles stray into the airports. These are other forms of security risks.

‘The government should know that it is not our airports alone that need explosive detectors; they must be provided in other public institutions and buildings so as to forestall the kind of explosion that happened at the Police headquarters in Abuja recently. Perhaps we need such in those places now more than ever before because of the activities of the Boko Haram sect which has been terrorising parts of the country in recent years’


TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh • Editor Gbenga Omotoso •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi

• Controller (Finance & Administration) Ade Odunewu • Gen. Manager (Training and Development) Soji Omotunde

•Deputy Editor Lawal Ogienagbon

•Chief Internal Auditor Toke Folorunsho

•Managing Editor Northern Operation Yusuf Alli

•Advert Manager Robinson Osirike

•Managing Editor Waheed Odusile

•IT Manager Bolarinwa Meekness

•Deputy Editor (News) Adeniyi Adesina •Group Political Editor Bolade Omonijo •Group Business Editor Ayodele Aminu •Abuja Bureau Chief Yomi Odunuga •Sport Editor Ade Ojeikere •Editorial Page Editor Sanya Oni

•Pre-Press Manager Chuks Bardi •Press Manager Udensi Chikaodi •Manager, Corporate Marketing Hameed Odejayi • Manager (Admin) Folake Adeoye





IR: The recent move by the governors in the South West to pool resources together and in a synergy to evolve a socio-economic, physical and infrastructural geo-political development plan for their states is not only commendable but must be seen as a step in the right direction. It is becoming crystal clear that the persistent individualistic and un-coordinated developments foisted on this nation for many decades by successive leaders have not worked. Early Independence leaders, particularly Chief Obafemi Awolowo, used to prepare about 10-20 years development plans to guide them in the improvements of the welfare of their fellow citizens. Such road maps to guide successive governments along the line were abandoned; hence the people have been made to harvest grinding poverty, under development and sorrow in their worst forms. The attempt at making a strategic geo-political development plan for the contiguous states of the South West is therefore a right step in the right direction. Let us remind ourselves that the South West geo-political region share a common ancestry, culture and language, the state boundaries are arbitrary, so a development plan or a road plan to development can easily be evolved for the people. We have shared in this experience in past under the Action Group government led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the numerous developments carried out then include the free education programme, agricultural innovation through the establishment of farm settlements, durable road construction to link all settlements and the provision of essential infrastructural services for the needs of the people. There is no doubt that these states have experienced and knowledgeable professionals in economics engineering, agriculture and urban and regional planning who are trained to produce strategic master plans with time


The governors and South west strategic agenda frame for implementation. The master plan strategists would be able to produce a people-oriented plan after widespread consultation. The South-west geo-political region is well endowed with human and natural resources. This is the second geo-political region after the Southsouth that has a coast line capable of providing viable ports, just as Lagos ports are doing for Nigeria today, in an attempt to improve the import and export potentialities of Nigeria. The plan would make room for the exploration of its mineral resources particularly crude oil, gas bitumen

and the numerous solid minerals which are available in many places in the geo-political region. With global changes in weather conditions, the plans would make suggestions about the provision of dams to supply drinking water and for irrigation purposes. With the unrestricted human interference and wastage of our forest resources which pose a great danger for the future, the plan would show how the forests in all the states can be rejuvenated. Other issues that should be touched in the regional masterplan will include the problems of housing, the need to

build reliable and durable roads across the region, railways, air and water transportation systems as these are in deplorable conditions today in the South West. The plan should be an all-embracing and encompassing strategy for development, hence the essential infrastructure such as transportation, networks, improvement of towns and villages, housing provision and the improvement of existing ones, industrialization and agricultural development, employment provision, revival of agriculture and all other economic activi-


after my encounter with the Bayelsa State Governor. He was a guest at a poetry reading event in Port Harcourt in September 2010, where I rendered a poem with some of my colleagues from school. Impressed by my performance, he requested to see me back stage after the event. To my amazement, the meeting with the Governor turned out to be an interesting experience that would linger in my memory for a lifetime. I was taken aback by his simplicity. There was no air around him and he spoke to me as if we had met before. He also commended my performance and encouraged me to keep it up. When he asked about my education, I was quick to tell him my status as an orphan and how difficult it was for me to offset my bills. He then promised to help. As he walked away, he asked one of his

aides who accompanied him to get my details. I never imagined that they would get back to me as he promised. Two weeks after that meeting, I got a call from the governor’s office asking me to report at Yenegoa the next day with all my credentials. When I got there, I met four other students from various institutions with similar problems. One of us had secured admission in a foreign university but had no money to facilitate it. The other three were orphans just like me. Like the governor, the man who attended to us was very warm and courteous. He informed us that the governor has made arrangements with some foreign agents to process a study abroad scholarship for us. He also told us that the agents would come the following week


• Olorunnimbe Farukanmi Iju, Ondo State

A governor’s passion for the poor

IR: Permit me space in your widely circulated newspaper to extol one of the best governors in Nigeria today. Until my encounter with Governor Timipreye Sylva of Bayelsa State, I have always thought that politicians in Nigeria are of the same breed. They all accumulate stupendous wealth for themselves with no thought for the masses that languish in want. As an orphan, my education has always been a challenge. Since I lost my parents in road mishap in 2003, I have lived at the mercy of churches and some good Samaritans. During my undergraduate days at the Delta State University Abraka, I missed classes and continuous assessment tests while sourcing for funds to pay my school fees and accommodation. But my story took a positive twist

Akpabio should release child-witch commission report IR: I am writing to urge Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State to make public the entire report of the Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft Accusations and Child Rights Abuses. Last year, the governor set up this commission to verify claims of witchcraft accusations and child rights violations, and to make rec-

ties should be looked into in an effort to bring to the people progress and development in the New Millennium. This again brings to the front agenda the need for the practice of a true federalism and to review the revenue sharing formula in favour of the states which will assist them to improve the welfare of the people. The Federal Government should be made to handle only duties that it can effectively perform. What is the central government doing with duties like agriculture, road building and maintenance, provision of housing, health, energy and educational facilities on such a wide scale? This should be left to the states to manage, hence the need to review the revenue sharing formula in favour of states.

ommendations. Some of us sent memoranda and appeared before it for oral submissions and cross examination. Now we understand that the commission has concluded its work and submitted its report and recommendations to the state government. Excerpts from the report have reportedly been posted on the web site of the government of Akwa Ibom

State. Meanwhile the government is yet to release the entire document to the public. The report of the commission is critical to understanding the problem of witchcraft- related abuses in Akwa Ibom particularly the veracity of the claims by the state government and other stakeholders. We need to know how the commission conducted its work and arrived at its recommendations. We

need to help the government of Akwa Ibom implement the recommendations and to partner with it in upholding the rights children in the state. So I call upon the governor to release the report for review by all interested parties. • Leo Igwe Ibadan

to verify our credentials and administer some tests which will see us studying abroad if we passed. He subsequently gave us some forms to complete before we left. When we returned the following day we met the officials. After a thorough examination of our credentials, they asked some questions before administering a computerized aptitude test. The result of the tests and our admission letters were wired to us two weeks later. We returned to the government house in Yenegoa where they processed our visas and other travel documents. We finally left Nigeria for the George Town University, in Washington in February 2011 on an all expense paid scholarship by Governor Timipreye Sylva. Up till this moment I still don’t believe what has happened to me. Despite being from a minority tribe in Bayelsa, I’m a beneficiary of the governor’s scholarship scheme. I have no doubt that Nigeria would be a better place if we had more Governors like Timipreye Sylva of Bayelsa and Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State. It is my prayer that God will touch the hearts of other politicians in Nigeria, so that they will always remember the poor. • Fiyenabo Peremoboere, George Town, Washington.




Federalism: In truth and in deed


OUNDING fathers who decided to name Nigeria a federation must have done so for a purpose. But as it were, it seems not to be yielding desired results just because the country has largely been operating the principle of federalism in name only. Whenever the recurring debate on true federalism resurfaces, the matter would be underplayed and relegated as to the level of non-issue by the elements who ought to know that the nation's progress is being hindered today on the ground of not living up to what it is meant to be. They pretend to forget that any structure that fails to build upon the foundation laid for it might just be awaiting the day the type of flood we experienced in Lagos last week would come unannounced to sweep it away. It is no gainsaying that the practice of federalism in Nigeria has been counterfeited, and that we only stick to the name without working towards penitence. What the country has been referring to as federalism is more of a unitary system of government as betrothed by interloping military intruders. Federalism is a legal as well as political concept. Operative in most nations under many different guises, it is meant to be centred on the principle in which locality is the key that enables effective governance. It's not only bureaucratically essential, but it politically makes sense if those in power locally assume more strength, thereby creating fairer manifestation. Ultimately, federalism is meant to satisfy the will of the people much more accurately than central system governance. Nigeria declared itself a federal state. Each tier is assigned respective spheres of jurisdiction by the constitution. A constitution ought to promote legal certainty and predictability. It also needs to provide a foundation and a benchmark for power sharing and interplay between the centre and all federating units. Under a truly federal system, each of the administrative regions ought to have political and economic autonomy whereby issues of right to self-determination would be addressed. But the Federal Government has been insisting on dabbling into matters better handled by the states. And this is why there had been dragging solutions to the myriad of problems besetting the country. The government at the centre has often been perpetrating unimpactful governance and crass corruption via the federal structure. Pakistan and India both grew out of British imperialism, complete with a British Government of India Act as the basis for their respective Constitutions. Both areas were governed similarly by the British, and on the eve of independence, both states emphasized the need for federalism. Their leaders saw its usefulness. Yet, since 1947, the two countries, with similar colonial


ORMER Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Victor Kassim Oyofo was recently caught in the web of anti-party politics. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain had, in an interview, branded Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Governor, Adams Oshiomhole as the best governor the state had ever produced thereby carpeting those elected on the platform of his party – the PDP. Coming at a time the fortunes of the party has been dwindling on a per seconds basis and coupled with the 2012 impending elections with other party chieftains like Chief Dan Orbih, Chief Tony Anenih, Senator Odion Ugbesia , Kenneth Imansuagbon, among others, struggling helplessly to redeem the party from the morass of its past, our highly respected Senator decided, without equivocation, to give credit to the deserving. This is what the PDP hierarchs have branded anti-party activity – punishable by the PDP clannish men! When asked: How would you rate the performance of Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria? Hear Oyofo: “except we are not going to face the truth, Oshiomhole has performed better than all the PDP governors we have had in Edo. The state of public infrastructure is improving under the present administration than any of the PDP governors and he has given more hope to the people...” Senator Oyofo had declared. Whose report do we then believe, between Oyofo and the PDP leaders in Edo who daily advertise their blatant prejudices by painting a grim picture of a non-working state? Penultimate week, a former PDP Chieftain and ex-Chief of Staff to Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, Isaiah Osifo and one Godwin Erhahon, even went as far as placing an advertorial in the dailies to proclaim exactly the opposite of what Oyofo did. It was a cocktail of lies, misinformation and blackmail against Governor Oshiomhole. The question therefore is: why wouldn’t these failed politicians bury their heads in shame after inflicting untold hardship on the people for nearly 10 years? How dare they compare themselves with the performing ACN government? Isn’t their actions wrong signal to Nigerian youths that it was alright to steal or mismanage public funds and yet win elections or walk freely on the street? Didn’t the PDP’s grand larceny retard the progress of Edo all these while? Obviously, Isaiah Osifo and his PDP backers in high places believe they have the licence to inflict untold hardship on hapless Edo people through bad governance. As Edo people, are we not going to send a clear message to the PDP through our votes in 2012 that today’s Edo would not have a place for a party that celebrates mediocrity, corruption, greed and wastage of public funds as exemplified by the over nine years of PDP in Edo State? One is consoled that the PDP is still in the frenzy of its infighting while it has an indomitable Oshiomhole to contend with. A

and legal backgrounds have ended up as very different types of federations. While Pakistan is infamous as a quasi-federation, or even as a failed federation, India's federalism on the other hand has yielded extensive international eulogy. In more than 50 years after independence, India has avoided the dreaded process of balkanization and making progress in all spheres. Meanwhile, Pakistan was separated into two as Bangladesh declared independence, and has suffered a permanent loss of status as a result. Let's accept the historical fact that the entity called Nigeria was not originally unitary that was eventually broken into federating units. The truth is that previously independent kingdoms, empires, nations and autonomous communities were forcefully brought together to end up in a federation. In other words, various national and ethnical groups constitute the country, with the Federal Government being an agency of the nationalities which make up the various states. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo got it right in his book Path to Nigerian Freedom where he asserted that "Nigeria is not a nation" but "a mere geographical expression." According to the sage, "there are no 'Nigerians' in the same sense as there are 'English', 'Welsh', or 'French'. The word 'Nigerian' is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not." Yet, since we've accepted to come together as a federation, we must practice it the way it is to the benefit of the people. The concept of federalism is being abused in Nigeria because of the constitutional leeway. The nation's Constitution, even as it was falsely started with "we the people" was not debated and adopted by the generality of Nigerians as it ought to. It was the military that wrote it devoid of unadulterated input from the people. This made sovereignty to be taken from the people and given to the Federal Government. Even when the opportunity came under civilian dispensation to review the Constitution, the vital federalism aspect capable of lifting the nation out of dungeon was discountenanced. Shifting to a truly federal system of government might just be what was needed to relieve the lingering variance of maladministration. A federal constitution is more or less a dead memo in any country which lacks the factors conducive to federalism. The U.S. Constitution establishes a government based on federalism, or the sharing of power between the national, and state (and local) governments. While each of the 50 states has its own constitution, all provisions of state constitutions comply with the U.S. federal Constitution. Under the Constitution, both the national and state governments are granted certain exclusive powers and share other powers. Benefits of federalism, would only become manifest in an arrangement whereby powers within a multi-national country are shared between a central administration and a number of regionalised governments in such way that each unit, including the central authority, exists as a government separately and independently from the others, operating directly with a will of its own and its own apparatus for the conduct of affairs and

with an authority in some matters exclusive of all others. To run true federation, each government must enjoy autonomy, a separate existence and independence of the control of any other government. Each government must exist, not as an appendage of another government but as an autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will on the conduct of its affairs free from direction by any government. Thus, the Federal Government on the one hand and the state governments on the other are autonomous in their respective spheres. The fundamental and distinguishing characteristic of a federal system is that neither the central nor the regional/ state governments are subordinate to each other, but rather, the two are co-ordinate and independent. All governments have a horizontal relationship with each other. The Federal Government exercises exclusive power in certain basic matters of general relevance and importance, leaving the bulk of the subject matter to the state, with a few in the concurrent list. For President Goodluck Jonathan to leave indelible legacy, he should work towards reverting the unworkable status quo to enthroning genuine federalism. For instance, let him appreciate that fiscal federalism will swell the capacity to handle emerging challenges. It is not helpful to the nation's overall development for the Federal Government to operate the Excess Crude Account, sell national properties and institutions without giving the proceeds to the state governments. Let him also know that only states ought to be collecting Value Added Tax and retaining it for their own use. In a true federation, it could not have been the duty of the Federal Government to unilaterally fix a minimum wage for the 36 states of the country with varying priorities and challenges. Were the revenue allocation formula reviewed as being canvassed by some groups of governors, it would enable the states take on additional responsibilities that'll go deeper to the grassroot. We can see the roads that are tagged federal becoming liabilities to the states they pass through. Beyond this, let the president also know that the present arrangement wherein the Federal Government controls the police is an aberration. In view of prevailing criminality across the land - kidnapping, bombing, cultism, robbery, advocacy for allowing operation of state police should receive priority attention if peace must reign at all levels. If Nigeria is longing to practice true federalism, it is expedient that it begins to redefine the constitutional framework under which it currently operates. A system where the central government compels federating units to accept what is thrown at them is obviously a deviation to generally accepted principles of federalism. It is even worse where units are forced to surrender some of its powers and areas of competencies without due consultations. The future of this country lies in only one direction: true federalism, together with fiscal federalism and resource control by the owners of the resources.

Oyofo, PDP and Oshiomhole’s performance

does not see the worker as a guy whose living standard is simply a function of his wage. However, he appreciate that the forces that determine overall quality of life includes of course, the level of wages but also the quality of other services that a state can provide, some for a fee and some at no fee to the citizens. Oshiomhole was referring to such services as good roads, education, health, water and electricity and security, among others. But, Isaiah Osifo does not see it that way. One of the first things Oshiomhole did on coming to power was to take a hard look at the structure of public expenditure in the state. In the past, overhead estimates accounted for between 60 to 70 percent of the budget. That meant for every one naira that the state earned, about 70 kobo went into all kinds of expenditures such as seminars, conferences, workshops, local and overseas travels and pilgrimages, among others. In the light of the disturbing finding, the governor called the commissioner for finance and budget and said “we must reverse the structure. For every one Naira we shall spend, at least 60 to 65 kobo must go to the people through development. We can make do with 35 kobo out of every one Naira. And the starting point is to look at the spending level of the previous years and attack the recurrent expenditures beginning with the cost of running the governor’s office”. How did he achieve that feat? Simple. He led by example. He drastically cut down most of the privileges he is supposed to enjoy as the chief executive of the state. And once he did that, that of his deputy was affected, that of the secretary to the government and, of course, from every other commissioner, the required sacrifice. The result? We take the testimony from no less a personality than Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom: “The performance of the governor has been very positive. The months he has worked has brought back to Benin City what we had not seen in the past 30 years. Oshiomhole has brought back life to Benin. This place was already desolate. It was dead but this young man has revived everything including night life. I always describe this period as that of a revolution…. Those are no idle words.

By John Akpeji doughty and tough spirited Oshiomhole that has become a nightmare to the PDP and its chieftains is cruising on his developmental credentials to trounce the failed party again in 2012. There is no doubt that Oshiomhole is the solution to the hydra headed problems confronting Edo State in general. The state needs the breadth f fresh air and to experience democratic dividends in its entire ramification. To put these guys out of business, we need more of Oshiomhole’s polices and programmes to unsettle PDP political gladiators who have held the state down. Oshiomhole’s motive when he joined the murky waters of Edo State politics was not fame; he had that in abundance ab initio. It was also not power and control of men; also had that a-plenty. He set out to liberate Edo people from the scourge of poverty and illiteracy that the PDP plunged the people and have by his good works, captured our hearts in the process. He is not doubt, among other things, a visionary, a statesman, an eminent strategist and tactician, an orator of enthralling eloquence, a disciplined politician, with an insatiable quest for knowledge. He has built himself, a formidable political credential; he is bold, and he confronted established power bases with notable success. The questions some people asked then were: can he win any election in the light of the country’s atrophied electoral system? If he wins the governorship election in Edo State, can the Nigerian system allow him to deliver on his election promises? Those who asked the questions argued forcefully that there was a world of difference between trade unionism and partisan politics and, by extension, governance. They reasoned that success in trade unionism was not a guarantee for success in partisan politics. There was even another angle to their doubts and cynicism. Some wellplaced people in Edo State nursed the fear that as a man who had spent his entire working life fighting the cause of workers like Oshiomhole, would use a greater part of the state’s statutory allocation for the welfare of workers at the expense of Edo State’s development if he became governor. One recalls when the Oba of Benin asked Oshiomhole in the course of his campaign tour that ‘since you spent all your life fighting for wage increase, now as governor, are you going to take all the money to pay salaries and leave the rest of us dry? If you give all the money to the workers, how will you develop the state and make a difference’? For Oshiomhole, it depends on how you define the worker. He

• Akpeji, student of international politics writes from Abuja

‘This reality gave birth to the Oshiomhole’s design that each model college, when completed will be made up of two blocks of 27 standard classrooms, three fully equipped science laboratories, a fully stocked library, students canteen, 1,500 capacity hall and sporting facilities’




TANDING on queue waiting for my call-up letter on a cold September afternoon in 2004, I was nervous. My fears were two-fold. Firstly, I didn’t want to be posted to a state I had visited in Nigeria, though I couldn’t claim I was a well-travelled Nigerian. I craved for Borno or Yobe States. Then, fears of skirmishes were least on my mind. My greatest fear, however, was being told there was no call-up letter for me like it happened to the guy two places ahead of me. I was ready to serve. Eventually, I was posted to Ebonyi State. It was good enough for I had never been there. That was how fate decided for me seven years ago. I proceeded to the camp. Being confined with young persons from different parts of the country was something novel for many. For me, I had such experience when I was 10 years old at Federal Government College, Warri. I remember Orlando Mamman whose acrobatic prowess I marvelled at. He was from the then Gongola State. Mohammed Sani, aka MBAS, a lanky and jovial boy from Sokoto State. There was also Umaru Mohammed, whose white uniform was always sparkling. He was from Niger State. Then, there was playful Ashami Ioromun who came from Benue State. He was a delight any time. I also remember Nneka Progress Nwinee, aka NPN, from Rivers State, and Chidi Domike, the brilliant boy from Imo State. I was from Bendel State of old but was born and bred in Lagos. There were others from the 19 states of the country then. At that tender age, individually, we weaned our young minds from prejudices which afflict many Nigerians about other Nigerians. Friendships for life formed in dormitories, dining halls, classrooms, playing fields, and entertainment nights. After all, the motto of Unity schools is Pro Unitate (for the unity of). Before the NYSC which was formed in 1973 to inculcate the spirit of unity among Nigerian graduates came into existence, FGCs had been set up to do just that. For those who missed a FGC education, NYSC has potentials to correct some misconceptions which many Nigerian youths still harbour about each other. But the situation today is that the scheme is largely mis-


Why NYSC is still relevant By Joe Agbro Jr. understood and condemned. Many prospective corps members don’t want to be drafted or want to be selective about it. They think NYSC as it is presently has lost relevance. It has not. The reality is that many Nigerians don’t know each other. Not many southerners are aware that in the north, where Hausa is widely spoken, there are hundreds of other ethnic groups and indigenous languages spoken. Many outside the west are not aware that Yoruba have dialects. The same goes for the Igbos. Also, a lot of children raised in urban centres know little of conditions of life in rural areas. This is not a good trend. A friend on Facebook has been advocating the scrapping of NYSC and he even formed a group on the social media network for that. He is a trained lawyer who went to Law School in Enugu, but it is sad that he confessed that while there, he did not have time to assimilate a little of Igbo culture. I wonder how he’ll appreciate cases steeped in Igbo tradition. I feel he also failed to realise he can be a source of inspiration for millions not as privileged as he is. While serving as a teacher at Community Secondary School, Izzikworo, I met Ndubuisi Nwangaga, a student, whose brilliance was largely independent. What some of such students just need are people to look up to be like or better than. Corp member can be such role models. In April, corps members succeeded in giving the nation a credible election, though 10 of them were killed in Bauchi State. Those corps members laid down their lives for the nation. I share their families’ grief but that is not enough reason to scrap the scheme. Missionaries have contributed to health and educational development in Nigeria. Some have died here, ravaged by malaria

and other diseases. If foreigners can make such sacrifices, then what is wrong with us? The truth is that Nigerian youths make sacrifices. Every year, corps members distinguish themselves in many communities across the country, touching the lives of people that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Projects abound which corps members have executed for the benefit of their host communities. My Zonal Inspector while I served once spoke of how a borehole was constructed by corps members for his community. In many communities, the only doctors are corps doctors. The same thing applies to schools where they form the bulk of teaching staff. Those calling for the scrapping of the scheme must be sensitive to the life of every Nigerian and not only the lives of corps members. In crises where corps members have lost their lives, more non-corps members died. Should we call for all indigenes of Nigeria to stay only in their states of origins because of bursts of violence in some parts? That would be balderdash. Rather, we must call for the security of every citizen. Regarding NYSC in particular, some factors must be urgently considered. Number one is safety. In recent times, corps members have been killed in Borno, Bauchi, and Plateau States. It is unfair that the killers of the corps members have not been fished out and the states have not been sanctioned by NYSC. In as much as I believe in the relevance of posting corps members to all states, I recommend none should be posted to those three states till the states promise such would not occur again. Travelling is a form of education and NYSC provides such opportunity which every Nigerian youth should embrace. While in Ebonyi, I learnt things about the

Igbos that I might never have known. At Amudo, Ezza East local Government Area, where I stayed during my primary assignment, I made friends I still relate with today. Five years after, I visited the community to spend the 2010 New Year day. I was welcome by members of the community like a family member. I call it my second village. The people were happily shocked that I came back. I was not surprised at the welcome because while I was there I put up no airs. Though most of the people were rustic, to me, they were very human. There were things I could teach them and things I could also learn from them. I maximised those opportunities. To better understand Nigeria and Nigerians, every Nigerian youth must look beyond the “bad news” reported about NYSC. For every death of corps members reported, there are many glorious tales largely ignored. It is high time we disabused our minds that NYSC is no longer relevant. Since NYSC’s inception, it has faced criticisms for macro issues beyond its control. Though the NYSC has issues that must be addressed to be more relevant, scrapping it is not the solution. Provided that Nigeria as a geographical entity does not splinter, a unifying factor such as NYSC is still relevant, especially for the youth, the future of our country. Till when Nigeria as a geographical entity disintegrates, my thought is; NYSC remains relevant.

‘Not many southerners are aware that in the north, where Hausa is widely spoken, there are hundreds of other ethnic groups and indigenous languages spoken. Many outside the west are not aware that Yoruba have dialects. The same goes for the Igbos’



HE rise in the unemployment rate last month to 9.2 percent has Democrats and Republicans reliably falling back on their respective cure-alls. It is evidence for liberals that we need more stimulus and for conservatives that we need more tax cuts to increase demand. I am sure there is truth in both, but I do not believe they are the whole story. I think something else, something new — something that will require our kids not so much to find their next job as to invent their next job — is also influencing today’s job market more than people realize. Look at the news these days from the most dynamic sector of the U.S. economy — Silicon Valley. Facebook is now valued near $100 billion, Twitter at $8 billion, Groupon at $30 billion, Zynga at $20 billion and LinkedIn at $8 billion. These are the fastestgrowing Internet/social networking companies in the world, and here’s what’s scary: You could easily fit all their employees together into the 20,000 seats in Madison Square Garden, and still have room for grandma. They just don’t employ a lot of people, relative to their valuations, and while they’re all hiring today, they are largely looking for talented engineers. Indeed, what is most striking when you talk to employers today is how many of them have used the pressure of the recession to

‘They are all looking for the same kind of people — people who not only have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t, but also people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day, in a market that changes faster than ever’

The start-up of you By Thomas L. Friedman become even more productive by deploying more automation technologies, software, outsourcing, robotics — anything they can use to make better products with reduced head count and health care and pension liabilities. That is not going to change. And while many of them are hiring, they are increasingly picky. They are all looking for the same kind of people — people who not only have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t, but also people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day, in a market that changes faster than ever. Today’s college grads need to be aware that the rising trend in Silicon Valley is to evaluate employees every quarter, not annually. Because the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution means new products are being phased in and out so fast that companies cannot afford to wait until the end of the year to figure out whether a team leader is doing a good job. Whatever you may be thinking when you apply for a job today, you can be sure the employer is asking this: Can this person add value every hour, every day — more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer? Can he or she help my company adapt by not only doing the job today but also reinventing the job for tomorrow? And can he or she adapt with all the change, so my company can adapt and export more into the fastest-growing global markets? In today’s hyperconnected world, more and more companies cannot and will not hire people who don’t fulfill those criteria. But you would never know that from listening to the debate in Washington, where some Democrats still tend to talk about job creation as if it’s the 1960s and some Republicans as if it’s the 1980s. But this is not your parents’ job market.

This is precisely why LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Garrett Hoffman, one of the premier starter-uppers in Silicon Valley — besides co-founding LinkedIn, he is on the board of Zynga, was an early investor in Facebook and sits on the board of Mozilla — has a book coming out after New Year called “The StartUp of You,” co-authored with Ben Casnocha. Its subtitle could easily be: “Hey, recent graduates! Hey, 35-year-old midcareer professional! Here’s how you build your career today.” Hoffman argues that professionals need an entirely new mind-set and skill set to compete. “The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone,” he said to me. “No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.” To begin with, Hoffman says, that means ditching a grand life plan. Entrepreneurs don’t write a 100-page business plan and execute it one time; they’re always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn. It also means using your network to pull in information and intelligence about where the growth opportunities are — and then investing in yourself to build skills that will allow you to take advantage of those opportunities. Hoffman adds: “You can’t just say, ‘I have a college degree, I have a right to a job, now someone else should figure out how to hire and train me.’ ” You have to know which industries are working and what is happening inside them and then “find a way to add value in a way no one else can. For entrepreneurs it’s differentiate or die — that now goes for all of us.” Finally, you have to strengthen the muscles

of resilience. “You may have seen the news that [the] online radio service Pandora went public the other week,” Hoffman said. “What’s lesser known is that in the early days [the founder] pitched his idea more than 300 times to V.C.’s with no luck.” • New York Times

• Thomas L. Friedman




NSC moves against Ojo Oba's reinstatement N

ATIONSPORT has unfolded a complete plan of the egg head in the National Sports Commission (NSC) to frustrate the return of former NFF General Secretary Bolaji Ojo Oba to his

From Patrick Ngwaogu, Abuja position as a Deputy Director (Sports). It would be recalled that the former

Oyo State Commissioner for Sports was wrongly dismissed from service due to wrong information about his secondment to the NFF given to the Federal Government. According to our source which is also highly placed in the Commission, "what actually happened then was that there was a circular from the government that everyone occupying a position in any agency as a Chief Executive should either resigned or return to his position. Ojooba did not deem it necessary to return because he felt that he is not a Chief Executive of NFF in line with the Federation's statutes. But the egg heads in the Commission armed with the Decree 101 of NFA which placed the Secretary General as the Chief Executive of the Federation, wrote to the Head of Service recommending for his immediate dismissal from service. This was effected in December 2009. When the letter came to the Commission, they immediately deposited it into Ojo oba's file, without informing him. He only got to know about this after he was removed from office in NFF,

and wanted to resume in his duty post. He wrote a petition back to the government, which led to the setting up of a panel by the Head of Service of the Federation, after thorough investigations, it was discovered that they were wrongly informed, leading to his recall and directive that he should resume on his duty post immediately". Continuing, our source said "I know very well that his letter of resumption has been received in the Commission, and I can tell you that the Commission has written to inform him that he cannot resume now until his court case is dispersed off, and he was placed on interdiction.The implication of this is that as long as the case lasts, he cannot resume duty. But the good thing is that he would be paid half of his salaries every month all through the period" he concluded. However, we could not ascertain when the interdiction notice began. If it is since his wrongful dismissal or when he was called back. All efforts made to speak with the former NFF scribe on this proved abortive, as he refused to comment on it.

Okoronkwo rips NFF, Siasia apart

Carlton Cole committed to Hammers


IGERIA-BORN Carlton Cole insists he remains as committed as ever to West Ham after seeing his move to Stoke fall through. The England international's proposed move to Stoke fell through on Friday after the Hammers had already accepted an undisclosed bid for his services. The exact reason as to why the deal collapsed is not known although West Ham released a statement suggesting the England international was unable to agree personal terms, at the same time dismissing reports of an injury as well as speculation his wage demands were too high. Cole insists he is happy to stay at Upton Park and help them try and win promotion back to the Premier League unless he is told otherwise. "I am as committed to West Ham as always. I am a West Ham player and have no knowledge that is going to be any different. Unless I am told something different, I am a West Ham player and will be doing my all for the team. "There has been a lot of things reported and that it was a done deal that I was moving to another club, but that is not the case and I want our fans to know, unless I am told anything different, I am as committed as ever to the team and getting the club back in the Premier League," Cole told the club's official website.

•Technical committee rejects player •List delayed

S •Okoronkwo


Akpabio plots Plateau Utd league stay •Eyes Golden Boot


FTER guiding his relegationhaunted team to another home win over continental chasing Warri Wolves, new league leading scorer, George Akpabio of Plateau United has set two targets before him before the expiration of the league season. Akpabio who was a bit anonymous in the first stanza of the league with a paltry 4 goals has banged in ten solid goals in the second stanza alone including the two goals that drowned Wolves on Saturday when they played at the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos. In an exclusive chat with NationSport from Jos shortly after the end of hostility with Wolves, Akpabio informed that it would gladden his heart if his goals could propel his club to Premier League safety and also ensure he wins the NPL Golden Boot when the curtain falls on the 2010/2011 league season. “I will still attribute my impressive goal scoring touch to God who has always been there for me. I got both goals today and we had a valuable three points in the kitty. It is not by my might. My personal wishes are to end up as the highest goals scorer of the NPL. It will be a dream comes true if I could achieve that. I will also like to guide my club out of the relegation waters. We still have some matches left and I am very sure we shall escape

From Tunde Liadi, Owerri the drop at the end of the season,” Akpabio enthused. Akpabio’s brace were his 14 strikes of the current campaign and makes him a goal better off previous goal leader, Sunshine Stars of Akure's Ajani Ibrahim whose club’s CAF Confederations Cup chase exempted them from Week 33 league actions as they hosted Daring Club Motema Pembe of DR Congo yesterday. Others waiting in the wings to halt Akpabio’s ambition include Kaduna United hotshot, Jude Aneke whose club was also ruled out of Week 33 league show owing to their CAF Confederations Cup involvement with Inter Club of Congo on Saturday. He has 12 goals to his credit and will have to wait till when their outstanding league duel with Enyimba International of Aba will be played at Aba to increase his goals tally while the duo of Niger Tornadoes’ Sibi Gwar and Kabiru Sanusi of Kwara United are still on ten goals each. Plateau United latest victory adds three vital points to their haul of 31 before now. They now have 34 points from 33 matches. League matches except some rescheduled ones will resume in August after the Federation

UPER EAGLES coach Samson Siasia has run into a road block with the NFF Technical Committee over the inclusion of Solomon Okoronkwo in the Super Eagles squad to face Ghana next month in London. Winger Okoronkwo is expected to take Ahmed Musa's place in the Nigeria squad when the Super Eagles list, which was due to be made public this weekend, is released. Musa, who is a already a full international, has been excused to take part in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with the Flying Eagles. A top official told

that the delay is down to the Technical Committee's disagreement with the inclusion of Okoronkwo. Their preference is for the coach to include a player from the domestic league instead. But Siasia is putting his foot down on the inclusion of the Aalesund forward, and it is expected that he will get his way. The coach has already included four players from the domestic league, with Ekigho Ehiosun, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Gege Soriola and newcomer Chigozie Agbim as the third goalkeeper. The squad will report to camp in London on August 6.

•Carlton Cole

Copa Lagos kick-off December 9 •England, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria picked for beach soccer show


HE first ever international beach soccer competition has

been scheduled to hold between December 9 and 11 in Lagos. England, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria are billed to compete for honours in the four-nation holding at the Victoria Island. Kinetic Sports in conjunction with Beach Soccer Worldwide is the body packaging the competition tagged Copa Lagos. It will also involve entertainment with top musicians expected on parade to make the atmosphere lively. Director of Kinetic Sports, Samson Adamu, said arrangements were in to gear for the event pointing out that: We have the natural skill and natural environment to stage a quality event. Beach Soccer is a big deal and that is what we are trying to promote in Nigeria. All the participating teams in the event are ready to be here and we are also working hard to ensure the experience will be a great one for Nigerians. “The stadium arena will be good enough for about 4,000 fans and that will be interesting especially during the festive month of December. We are going to charge just a token fee

from fans just to curb the crowd while there is a trophy at stake for the winner plus other attractive prizes.” Adamu stressed that the event which has the backing of the Nigeria football Federation is also being heavily supported by the corporate world. “I don’t want to mention names of organisations for now. Two banks are talking to us while we are also discussing with a

telecommunications outfit,” Adamu added. Former Eagles skipper, Austin Okocha was at the Eko Hotel for the event. He praised the initiative of the organisers and urged Nigerians to support the project. “Nigeria has natural beach and talents. I am glad to be part of this as an ambassador and I believe this forthcoming event will change the face of the sport in Nigeria,” he said.

•Samson Adamu (l) with Okocha during the Copa Lagos briefing





Sadomba’s brace holds Enyimba


NYIMBA International of Nigeria yesterday in Aba failed to make home advantage count in the Match Day One of the CAF Champions league as they allowed visiting Al Hilal of Sudan share points with the match ending 2 goals apiece. Two goals from Zimbabwean import Edward Sadomba in the 22nd and 76th minutes of the action packed match gave the Sudanese

From Tunde Liadi and Florence Nkem Israel, Aba representatives a vital point at the dreaded Enyimba International Stadium. The result left all the four teams in the group with a point each after the affair between Raja Casablanca of Morocco and CotonSport Garoua of Cameroun ended goalless in


Super Eagles’ list out Wednesday –NFF


HE Super Eagles’ team list for the friendly match with the Black Stars of Ghana will be ready Wednesday, this was disclosed by the Chairman, Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Christopher Green in an exclusive chat with NationSport in Aba on Sunday. Green said that some technical issues delayed the list that was expected to be out Friday last week by some days. He toldNationSport that attention was focused on the August 10th friendly with Ghana and that the the NFF wants to ensure that players representing the country are worth their salt. “The Super Eagles’ list for the match against Ghana in England will be ready on Wednesday and nothing will stop that. We are going to have a crack team against

From Tunde Liadi, Owerri Ghana and in order to have that we have to ensure that our best legs are used to prosecute the tie.” Green said. •Yakubu


High Court rejects owunmi's application


N Abuja Federal High Court presided by Justice Kolawole on Friday in the matter filled by deposed NPL Chairman, Davidson Owunmi against NFF, NPL and others challenging his removal from office by an NFF Arbitration Tribunal headed by Prof. Akin Ibidapo Obe refused to grant the application of Owunmi to bring in Nigeria Football League. LTD. as a defendant saying that the NFL Ltd. had no business with the matter which boarded on whether the court had jurisdiction to hear the football matter and the

Casablanca. Enyimba got the equalizer three minutes of the into the second half through Home Eagles player, Valentine Nwabili, who power a pile drive that seemed harmless but the ever dependable Hilal goalie contrived to push the ball into his own net for the equalizer. It was a reply to Sadomba’s stunner in the 22nd minute of the match. Enyimba took the lead in the 60th minute for the first time in the game when Peter Onoja’s cross off an infringement very close to Hilal’s 18 yard boxwas nodded home by Peoples Elephant striker, Kalu Uche beyond the gaping hands of the Sudanese goaltender to make 21. But Al Hilal fought back in the 76th minute when a quick played free kick caught Enyimba napping in the defence and given the deadly Zimbabwean, Sadomba the luxury to even the scoreline at 2-2.

issue of Prof. Ibidapo's Obe Arbitration award . The court further granted Owunmi's application to remove the Nigeria Premier League as defendant in the matter. The court, however, refused Owumi's request that he be declared the authentic Chairman of NPL as well as an order barring the NFF from interfering in his duties. The court instead granted the application of the NFF and Chief Baribote for accelerated hearing. The implication of the court's ruling.


Leicester makes fresh N862m bid for Yakubu ENGLAND's championship side, Leicester City have renewed a fresh £4m bid for former Super Eagles striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni. The striker spent the latter part of last season on loan at the Walkers Stadium and has reportedly been left out of the Everton squad to tour the USA this week, and it is no longer possible to order a Yakubu shirt from Everton’s online store. Leicester had previously bid around £3m for the striker who joined the Blues for £11m from Middlesbrough in 2008.

Asiwaju Tinubu Sports Club gets new coach


HE Asiwaju Tinubu Club of Africa has appointed a new coach. Elder Lateef Alli Snr. got the job to coach the club after the exit of former coach Anyiun Fredricks, who traveled to the United States of America. The former coach of the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC), formerlly, known as I.I. C. C Shooting Stars Football club, in the sixties has also had a coaching stint in Liberia during the civil war. Elder Alli is expected to meet with the co-ordinator of the club,l Primate Ayoola Omonigbehin to finalise of the contract.

MONDAY JULY 18, 2011


Page 25

Youths relish Osun jobs scheme Y

OU spot them from afar in their colourful gear: khaki overalls and

amber shawl or hat. But beyond their uniform, you know them for what they do: cleaning up the streets of Osogbo, the State capital, and other parts of the state. They are the cadets of the Osun State Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES). They are young men and women who are happy to be employed by the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. As early as 7am, they are already at work, moving from one part of their location to another. The empowerment scheme is the fulfilment of Aregbesola’s promise to generate 20,000 jobs in 100 days of assuming office. As he was declared winner of the April 2007 governorship election by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, he reassured the people of his readiness to fulfil the pledge. He delivered on it in March as he marked his 100 days in office. Twenty thousand youths from the state were given jobs. It was an electrifying and defining moment for the beneficiaries of the scheme who had undergone three weeks of intensive training ahead of their passing out. The ceremony was remarkable not just because of its grand features but because it marked the end of the misery of joblessness for the cadets. A lot of them are graduates of many years who searched for a job unsuccessfully. They cannot conceal their joy. Nurudeen Oyedokun had no gainful employment since his graduation in 2007 from the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa. With a National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Political Science/Social Studies, he had been working on and off at private nursery schools that paid him peanuts. He said for the first time in his entire

•Cadets of Osun State Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES)

It is more than a campaign promise fulfilled. Youths employed in the Osun State empowerment scheme say they are enjoying a new lease of life, reports ADESOJI ADENIYI from Osogbo

I feel very fulfilled. During the training we were told that we should see ourselves as change agents. And everywhere we work people show appreciation for we do and that alone is enough motivation for me to carry on the job life, he was happy with the job assigned to him under OYES. He expressed joy for being a part of the team trained to make a big difference within the society at a time no one wants to be committed to the social and economic growth of the

society. Ismail Afolabi, assigned to clean drainage along Isale-Aro/Jaleyemi axis of Odi-Olowo Road leading to the popular Olaiya Junction, in Osogbo, saw his employment as a great opportunity.

‘Why Ondo is building markets’


HE Ondo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Diran Iyantan has explained why the state government has constructing market in the rural areas of the state. He said the Mimiko administration embarked on ultramodern market constructions because over 70 per cent of the people of the state live in rural communities and their major occupation is trading. Iyantan noted that in the past, traders in the state faced a lot of challenges because they had no outlets to sell their goods.

From Leke Akeredolu, Akure

“During that period,” he said, “most of our traders had no shop to sell their goods and what they did was to place them in unauthorised areas; even those in the markets were not finding it easy because the markets were not conducive enough. “But since the beginning of the present Olusegun Mimiko administration, the governor has been able to re-brand the market structures for the traders. There is no local government in the state you will not find an ultra-modern market and lock-up shops either constructed by the state or the local government.

“What this present administration has achieved within the last two years in terms of rural development programmes has not been witnessed in the state before. There is no local government in the state that you will never find at least over 100 projects already completed”. The Commissioner who stated this shortly after receiving an award of national excellence in leadership in Abuja, faulted critics of the state government. “Governor Mimiko and his team are doing extremely well in the state; their achievements supersede what the previous Governor Dr. Olusegun Agagu did in six years. It

Ismail described the training he received from the OYES three-week induction programme as world-class. He said: “I feel very fulfilled. During the training we were told that we should see ourselves as change agents. And everywhere we work people show appreciation for we do and that alone is enough motivation for me to carry on the job. Though as Ordinary National Diploma graduate of Business Administration from the Federal Polytechnic, Offa in Kwara State, I collect less than what I am supposed to take, I still thank God that I am engaged usefully after more than nine years of joblessness.” •Continued on Page 26

was the acceptability of the Labour Party (LP) government by the masses that gave us the victory in the last general election. I believe if we had failed, the intelligent people of Ondo State would have kicked out our candidates. While speaking on the award, commending the facilitators, stressing that they have added to his strength that would spour him up to do more for the benefit of the people in the rural areas. He added that he had already plan on programmes that will bring meaningful impact to the society, saying that especially the unemployed youths. *Pix: Diran Iyantan receiving the leadership award s from Senator Abba Ibrahim



Youths relish Osun jobs scheme •Continued from Page 25

Another OYES worker, Mrs. Ramota Azeez is also a student in the Department of Yoruba/Social Studies, Osun State College of Education, Ilesa. She said she was engaged by OYES she was getting by in one private Nursery and Primary School in Osogbo, where she was collecting peanuts as salary. She said it was tough for her to finance her education before she secured job with the OYES. Ramota, who was all praises to Aregbesola for the job initiative, said the training she received from the camp had taught her render selfless service to others, to be patient and good ambassador of the state at all times where she goes. Yekini Tijani, a 2007 OND Business Administration graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, said he was baker before the OYES job. He said the OYES had equipped him to look beyond the immediate and hope to use the training he had received to launch himself in life. The likes of Fatai Okunade, a school certificate holder, training in Computer Engineering before engagement with the OYES, and Muideen Adedoyin, 2006 Business Administration graduate of

Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, who was hawking audio and video tapes, agreed that the N10,000 allowances they are collecting from the job are not enough. They are pleading with the authorities of the scheme to help look into increasing their allowances. Of interest is the case of Miss Olayinka Baruwa and his sister, Oluwaseyi Baruwa. They both are university graduates. While Olayinka is a 2007 graduate of Accounting in the Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe, Oluwaseyi is a 2008 graduate of Agricultural Economics in the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. They both had engaged in petty trading to survive the harsh effect of the bad economy. Olayinka was selling clothes and Oluwaseyi was dealing in stationeries. They said they are enjoying the job but wished they would soon be posted out to job specification they filleed when they collected their OYES form. At the moment, all OYES workers are yet to be assigned to various jobs covering traffic control, road maintenance, environmental services, health and others in the scope of the scheme. Both Azeezat Azeez, a graduate of

Accounting from Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun was a teacher, Azeez Adedeji, a Banking and Finance holder of 2007 Higher National Diploma Certificate from the Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke said they had been engaged in one odd job or the other before they were lucky enough to be beneficiaries of the OYES. Mrs. Moriliat Adedayo, a 2008 OND Marketing graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree and Akintayo Akinola, who disclosed that they had no job before being recruited into OYES, denied ever receiving training in how to handle arms. In Wasiu Rasaq’s narration of his experience with the OYES, he would always be grateful for the opportunity to be a pioneer member of the programme. Wasiu, a 2006 HND Accountancy graduate of Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, he would readily go back to his farming to apply things he had learnt from his training. He said: “I have learnt how to co-ordinate people, leadership training and planning, endurance and many more.” Talking about challenges the job posed to them, Wasiu said heaps of dirt are piled up where they had cleared the previous day with the belief that it “is our job to clear the mess.” At the passing out parade, the governor said the cadets would be posted on six major areas where the immediate needs of the state require urgent attention. These areas include straddling public works, environmental beautification and sanitation, law enforcement, medical emergency and road traffic management. These are the areas where the governor

believe would help translate the commercial activities of the state and also increase it revenue generation within the shortest period of time. According to him, “there is no doubt that the deployment of youthful energies will translate to socioeconomic boom for the state.” The Osun state commandant of the Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES) retired Colonel Eni Ibukun Oyewole, during an inspection tour of the training centers of Obokun, Oriade, Ilesa-East, Ilesa-West Atakunmosa-West and Ife-East including Ife Modakeke area office, said the vision of the Osun state government was to lift the youths out of poverty, engage them meaningfully and inspire them for productivity Although, some critics arguing that 20,000 out of the over 200,000 that applied for the job is just a piece of cake considering the number that needed the job, but the scheme’s Consultant Engineer Bimbo Daniyan, said the gradual degradation of the system before the advent of the new administration is not what any government can resolve within a spate of four years. “The past six or seven years have been turbulent for the people of the state. We must begin to take action now if we hope to experience a stable and enjoyable tomorrow, we must stop the idea of apathy, and show concern about what happens to our dear state and nation in general,” it’s time to empower our youths through active, and proactive positive participation instead of being engaged as political thugs, and constituting a menace to the society. This is another trumpet sound, a clarion call for the youths to be a part of the solutions to their woes. We hope to help them build a successful life, and discover what exactly they want to carve out of their lives and existence,” he submitted.

It’s time to empower our youths through active, and proactive positive participation instead of being engaged as political thugs, and constituting a menace to the society. This is another trumpet sound, a clarion call for the youths to be a part of the solutions to their woes .•Ismail Afolabi (left) and Nurudeen Oyedokun


OR almost one year now, 24-year-old Olumuyiwa Olalekan Bejide, a brilliant 400-level student of Industrial Design at the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Ondo State, has been writhing in pains. And for that long, the harder his poor parents have been struggling to get him the needed relief, the tougher situations have turned for him. Trouble set in for the Itapa, Ekiti State-born helpless boy last November when, Newsextra learnt, he suddenly developed renal problems, thus setting his academic


Varsity undergraduate needs urgent help to live By Dada Aladelokun

calendar backwards. Today, his kidneys have ceased to function, hence his inability to urinate. “One can imagine the pains my son is undergoing now. He cannot pass out urine, save for the dialysis he is currently undergoing in Abuja,” his father, Emmanuel Bejide told Newsextra amid tears. When urged not to weep over the matter, he cried louder out of sheer hopelessness, lamenting: “Every responsible parent will shed tears over what my own Lekan has been passing through. Even an ant would feel it. It has been harrowing for him and us his parents.” His poor family, he went further, had spent over N3 million on the ongoing dialysis, drugs and various medical tests. “I have God to thank for remaining with us in the journey so far. We have been running from pillar to post to get money to keep him alive. I won’t wish my worst enemy what I have been passing through. We have also

been to everywhere, praying fervently.” It was apparent that Prof. Deji Rufus Ogunsemi, Dean, School of Environmental Technology, FUTA, was almost in tears while speaking with Newsextra on his student’s plight. “His case is pathetic to say the least. I sympathise with him and his traumatised family. We have been trying all that we could to attenuate his troubles; I think every lover of humanity must show concern over his case now,” he said. For the boy to live now, according to his father, the family must do everything possible to cough up a whopping N7 million for the replacement of his dead’ kidneys in India. “All arrangements have been concluded on it; getting the money now is our biggest headache. This is why we are reaching out to every God-sent lover of mankind to help him live,” Bejide said. Out of utter desperation, he gave out Olalekan’s Account details in the hopes that urgent will come: Bejide Olalekan Olumuyiwa; GTBank, Account number 0052525152, Phone numbers: 08032468303 and 08056190125. “Please, help me tell our sorrow to the whole world and I know there are still genuine human beings with human feelings on the face of the earth. We are in dire need of their help. May they never suffer our kind of misfortune.”

Please, help me tell our sorrow to the whole world and I know there are still genuine human beings with human feelings on the face of the earth. We are in dire need of their help. May they never suffer our kind of misfortune



MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011

• Mrs Jumoke Akinrolabu, the late mouthpainter’s widow


UT of the 20 students who entered for the drawing competition, three won. The drawing was done in remembrance of Mr Idowu Akinrolabu, the foremost disabled mouth-painter in Nigeria. The yearly competition was for both the able-bodied and disabled people. The artists that day were children who came from far and near to participate in the competition. Ajanaku Michael had the best drawing. Taiwo Samuel came second and Taiwo Richard third. In his sermon at TOS Benson Estate in Ikorodu where Akinrolabu and his family lived, Pastor Paul Asianah of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) said: “Every hero leaves a landmark and the deceased left a legacy, landmark, which has been of benefit to friends, families and wellwishers.” Idowu Akinrolabu became paralysed from neck down to his leg in his final year in the University of Ife where he was studying geology after having suffered from malaria. Before his death, he also complained of malaria. After his paralysis, he was introduced to an international organisation whose primary duty was to train physically challenged people who could not draw with their hands. His wife, Mrs Jumoke Akinrolabu said the main legacy Idowu left behind was his message that disabled people are not useless. “During his life, he trained many disabled people to use their mouth and foot to paint. After his death, we are still training people on how to maximise their disability instead of begging on the streets.” She met him at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) while she was being

• Children who entered for the drawing competition

Nigeria remembers mouth-painter treated for stroke and he was on a wheelchair. Yet, they made a wonderful couple. She described him as a caring, kind, intelligent and very spiritual person. Idowu left 500 artworks before he died four years ago and the family are still selling even till now! He is survived by only his wife. The founder and president of Women and Children with Disability Initiative in Nigeria, Mrs Funmi Gbadamosi, said one thing she liked about him was that he didn’t allow his disability to deter him. Never in the history of Nigeria has anybody done mouth-painting. He was a hero. Gbadamosi said during his life, Akinrolabu ensured that disabled people were self-sufficient and were bold enough to produce something by themselves despite their physical condition.

Adeniji Olugbenga, who participated in the arts competition in his wheelchair regarded the foremost mouth-artist as his role model and mentor. He believes his disability is not a curse. He inspires himself with the words: if Akinrolabu can make it in life, then, Olugbenga too can. He met his role model in 2007 at Akure and ever since, he has been

During his life, he trained many disabled people to use their mouth and foot to paint. After his death, we are still training people on how to maximise their disability instead of begging on the streets

Ige’s son urges FG to tackle insecurity


HE Federal government has been urged to find a solution to the prevailing violence and insecurity in the country. Ibadan-based architect, Mr. Muyiwa Ige, son of the slain Attorney-General and Minister of justice, Chief Bola Ige, gave the advice while speaking to Newsextra in Esa-Oke, Osun State. Ige who decried the incessant

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

detonation of bombs particularly in the North by an Islamic sect, Boko Haram wondered why the situation has not been checked. “Nigeria is gradually slipping into a place of anarchy with series of bomb attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and armed robberies”. He called on Nigerians to be vigilant,

while security operatives should live up to the expectation by curtailing the menace. Ige urged President Goodluck Jonathan to use the instruments of government to combat violence and criminality. “We don’t want this country to be like Afghanistan or other Middle East nations where violence is the order of the day. Nigerians believe in preservation of life; the situation is becoming worrisome and

Council names administrative block after Tinubu •Continued from Page 27

“The C of O from Lands, soil test and affirmation of compatibility from the Department of Soil Testing and approval of architectural drawings from Urban and Physical Planning paved the way for what we see before us today. “So, our dear Asiwaju, we implore you to accept this token gesture as an expression of our love for you, our respect for your ingenuity, administrative acumen, visionary leadership and commitment towards taking our dear nation to the promised land”. Adaranijo poured encomiums on the former governor as an intrepid commander who would not desert the battle for fair play, equity and justice, recalling that the people of Orile Agege have savoured the success that has attended his titanic battles for the creation

of additional councils and against the seizure of allocations to the councils. Urging his people never to forget their political history, he said the only way of showing gratitude is to remain loyal to the party leader, Tinubu, who he said, has given the council a sense of direction. Adaranijo also thanked Fashola, former Local Government and Chieftaincy Commissioner Prince Rotimi Agunsoye, Oba Olatunji Hamzat, Lagos State ACN chairman Otunba Oladele Ajomale, Odunmbaku, and other party leaders for their support. He was also grateful to the council employees for their cooperation. He said the council would forge ahead with its people oriented programmes. He promised to do more school rehabilitation, establish more health centers, construct new roads, and reconstruct, repair and rehabilitate the culverts and drains. The chairman said

a source of inspiration to him. Olugbenga, an orphan, lost his leg to polio while he was just two years. He aspires to draw with both his mouth and hand. Presently, he is playing table tennis to support himself. “Mr Akinrolabu is a hero. He came, saw and conquered,” he said.

that he would expand the empowerment programmmes, give succour to indigent students, offer free JAMB and GCE forms to candidates and improve on vocational training for youths. However, the council cannot accomplish the works of development in the area alone. Adaranijo appealed to Fashola to consider the channelisation of the canal between Abattoir and Pleasure Bus Stop along L a g o s - A b e o k u t a Expressway to put an end to the recurrent flooding along the streets adjacent to it. “We were elected to render service and we will not be tired of doing the wish of the people”, he added.

should be checked,” he said. On the refusal of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to partake in the government of Natonal Unity earlier proposed by President Jonathan, the party chieftain described it as a wise decision. He hailed the victory of the party in the recent election especially in Southwest, stressing that there would now be regional integration in the Yoruba nation. The son of the late Asiwaju of Esa-Oke gave kudos to ACN leaders particularly Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande for their bravery in putting the Southwest region back to where it belonged. “With the present political developments, ACN is poised to liberate the Southwest and other regions; we are now seeing our governors in Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Edo sharing best practices to form a bloc and this is better for the party than embracing unity government,” he said.



























































• Microfinance Banks staff at the workshop

Filling skills gap in MfBs Microfinance banks (MfBs) are running against all odds. They have experienced liquidity squeeze, piled up debts, lost their licences and fired many unskilled workers. Experts believe they can overcome the problem of poor skills and record growth if they train their workforce. They spoke during a capacity building workshop for MfB workers. AKINOLA AJIBADE reports.


OR many job seekers, microfinance banks (MfBs) are easier to work with. They see MfBs as mere collectors of deposits that do not provide sophisticated banking services. Working in MfBs, they believe, does not require specialised skills compared to commercial banks. With this belief, they feel they can have easy access, or be readily absorbed into the microfinance institution, as against the difficulties encountered in getting jobs in other money deposit banks. But they are wrong. MfBs’ activities are more challenging since they cater to the poor and unedu-

cated segment of the society. It is an area where people are required to know the rudiments of micro-financing before veering into it. In recent times, many of the banks have closed shops because of to mismanagement and an inefficient workforce. To prevent a recurrence, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed MfBs to organise top-down skills acquisition programmes. The programmes are aimed at improving the skills of MfBs management and junior staff. A few weeks ago, the National Association of Micro-finance Banks (NAMB), Lagos Chapter, organised a capacity building workshop for workers. The workshop was

attended by workers from MfBs across the state. It was meant to improve their skills and help them to contribute to the growth of the sub-sector. The workshop, which attracted speakers from the sub-sector, was informal. Participants were made to interact freely, and ask questions on issues affecting their productivity. NAMB’s Financial Secretary Rufus Oluyole, said workers needed patience, passion and commitment to succeed. In his paper entitled: “Understanding Microfinance”, he said MfBs’ customers are poor and uninformed, and must be handled with patience. He said the workers must show high-level

of maturity, before they can convince people to patronise their banks. “You must not bring the mentality of commercial banks into MfBs, if you want to succeed. You must approach customers in an informal way, since most of them are artisans, market men and women. Since they are not educated, they must be addressed in a language they understand. “You must display a lot of charisma before you can endear customers to yourself. You must be creative to be able to win patronage for your banks. For you to be creative, you must have the knowl• Continued on page 56




Filling skills gap in MfBs • Continued from page 55

edge of microfinance banking.” He said would-be workers of MfBs must be able to identify poor target groups, their socio-economic and psychographic needs before they bring deposits to their banks. Oluyole said workers unable to identify the needs of their customers, would find it difficult to record growth, adding that workers need marketing/lending skills before they can bring growth to their banks. He said ability to be friendly, enterprising, fluent in English and any of the local languages, as well as understanding the business environment is required of workers in the banks. Products’ marketing in MfBs and commercial banks, he said, are not the same, adding that the former does not necessarily require higher academic qualifications. “Academic qualifications are good, but not compulsory. For instance, holders of West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) can perform better than university graduates. Higher level of education is not required at this stage, because it involves the uninformed group in the society,” he added. According to him, ability to identify various levels of micro-financing is compulsory if workers must achieve growth. He said a loan can only be given after the viability of the business has been ascertained, urging workers to appraise their clients’ investments before arranging loans for them. He said methods of appraisal include finding out the credit turnover of the customer, character/conduct of the business owners, the nature of the business/stock in shops, profitability of the business, and other sources of income of the owners of the business, among others. NAMB Chairman, Mr Olufemi Babajide, said the workshop was

aimed at equipping workers with the necessary knowledge and skills that would enable them run MfBs well. Babajide said workers must be taken through various areas of micro-financing to ensure growth. He said areas such as products development, credit administration, risk management, internal audit and control, financial reporting, and credit packaging required good skills. Others are lending models, delivery of microfinance services, enforcement of regulatory guidelines, provision of high value customers, and corporate strategy. “In a situation where workers are lacking the required skills in these areas, the growth of the bank would be impaired. These areas are central to the growth of microfinance institutions. Any attempt to prevent workers from acquiring skills in the areas, would not augur well for the banks”, he said. He said MfBs’ products are peculiar in nature, arguing that workers must understand their workings if they want to improve the fortunes of their banks. Speaking on skills acquisition, the Managing Director, Gold Microfinance Bank Limited, Mr Lanre Abiola, said workers must know the rudiments of micro-finance banking before they can excel.

• CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi

• Babajide

• Oluyole

Abiola said treasury management was one of the vital areas in the bank, adding that failure of workers to showcase their skills in this department is not good enough. He advised workers to improve their productivity to avert dismissal. He urged workers to enroll for courses in marketing, risk management, credit appraisal and recovery, financial analysis, treasury management, among others. “When workers are well grounded in treasury management, they would be able to manage money at their disposal well.

When this happens, liquidity crisis would be averted. Having such skills would not help workers to keep their jobs, but would facilitate growth growth,” he said. He said inability of workers to analyse financials is a big problem, noting that it has affected the development of many banks. He urged workers to improve their accounting knowledge to be able to perform well in the banks. The Managing Director, Amazing Grace Microfinance Bank, Mr Lekan Soyode, said marketing skills were essential to the growth of MfBs.

Soyode observed that MfBs depend on low income earners for survival, adding that such people release money based on conviction. “How can people who lack marketing skills source for savings”, he asked rhetorically. He advised workers to go for trainings to ensure success, arguing that no bank can get the best out of its staff until they are properly educated. A participant at the workshop, Mr Tunde Ojo, said he was exposed to certain issues that would assist him in future. Ojo said he has worked for some MFBs in Lagos, and was never privileged to have access to information that would improve his skills. He described the workshop as an eye-opener, adding that he would replicate what he learned in his bank in Ikorodu, a suburb of Lagos. With the workshop, the banks now know that good skills are necessary to record growth. But will they be able to impart sound knowledge to their workers? Time will tell.

‘When workers are well grounded in treasury management, they would be able to manage money at their disposal well. When this happens, liquidity crisis would be averted. Having such skills would not help workers to keep their jobs, but would facilitate growth growth’



N employer can receive hundreds of resumes in response to an advertised position. For every hundred resumes an employer receives, only a few resumes stand out from the crowd. Do you want your resume to shine in the eyes of the employer you want to attract? It is a good start by including a well-written resume cover letter/application with the resume. Then, follow these resume guidelines to create an interview winning resume that is head and shoulders above the crowd.

Formatting and overall feel matter in a resume Your resume, at first glance, can impress or depress the employer. Prospective employer or his agent is enticed to read your resume by lots of open space, a clear, easy-to-read font such as 12 point Arial, and easy-to-find and skim information. With electronic publishing, every mailed resume should be freshly printed on high quality paper. And it is a bad idea to send your application out in your current employer’s envelope. Think about what this says about the integrity of the candidate. Envelopes do matter. You may have heard this often, but it can be repeated: correct spelling, appropriate grammar, no missing words, and no typing mistakes make your resume an employer-pleaser right out of the starting gate. An error-free resume is rare. Indeed, some hir-

Four tips for a winning resume By Olu Oyeniran

ing managers will not further consider your candidacy if they find even one mistake. Every mistake may make the employer question your carefulness, care, and attention to detail. Don’t make don’t make them pause; don’t make them think.

Contact information In this era of instant messaging, email, and cell phones, there is absolutely no reason to make contacting you difficult for the potential employer. In fact they expect it to be very easy to have your contacts. Give the potential employer your cell phone number, if possible, more than one. Even if you have to buy a mobile for your job search. Write and customise an “objective” for each job and employer. The objective is your opportunity to connect your skills, experience, traits, and job requirements with those the employer is seeking. Read the job posting carefully and you can pick out exactly what the employer believes he needs. Don’t settle for a lame, “I seek a challenging opportunity to utilise my skills with a progressive employer who will provide opportunities for growth.” In response to an ad for a mar-

keting specialist, I received this customised objective: “I am seeking a position as a marketing specialist in a growing, environmentally conscious company that will utilise my current skills in the development of advertising and other marketing materials and website design and writing. At the same time, I hope to gain experience in market research, Internet competitive analysis, and market segmentation.” No contest, this guy will be invited. Here are more tips for an interview winning resume. Include a customised section called “Career Highlights/Qualifications.” This section of the resume is usually a series of bulleted points that emphasise your most important career experience, your skills, your personality traits and characteristics, and some key accomplishments from your work history as they relate to the job for which you are applying. For each former employer, clearly indicate the company name, your position, and the dates of your employment. Provide a brief overview statement that tells me about what the company does its sales, products, and customers. This helps me assess your experience. Then, tell me exactly what you did for the company in a brief statement. Don’t make me

look for information, read between the lines, or try to guess. I won’t and your resume will end up in the dreaded job file for the required year. (You don’t really think anyone takes the time to sort through all those aging resumes, do you?) For each previous employment/ position, include a list of “key contributions” or “key achievements.” Don’t make the mistake of stating, “I answered a multiline phone system. I provided customer service.” You want to highlight key measurable achievements and successes such as: “I reduced the time for order fulfilment from two days to 12 hours.” “I reduced accounts collectible by 80 per cent.” “My marketing campaign for the new product won two industry awards for effectiveness.” Education statements matter. State dates of attendance, majors, diplomas, and degrees. Don’t make me guess whether you have a degree or just took a few classes. I will figure it out and it ticks me off to have to figure it out. Include a section that lists awards and other recognition. President of the Junior Class, Secretary of the Synchronised Swim Team, four year merit scholarship winner, or college economics prize winner will catch my eye much faster than a resume with-

out awards and recognition. (Of course, you’d include this section on a resume only if you have an award or recognition to list.) Include a personal section that highlights accomplishments, and anything else that will raise the value of you, as a potential employee, in the eyes of the employer. In this section, catching my eye recently is: volunteerism; involvement with philanthropic causes; publications; team and individual sports participation; leadership positions in school or community organisations (especially in resumes without an “Awards and Recognition” section) or even, “I self-funded my college education by working part-time during all four years of school.” Well, this is my best advice about what catches my attention – positively – in a resume. I can’t speak for every employer, but know that you can’t go far wrong – and you may go far in the right direction - if you heed these recommendations. When your resume is competing with hundreds of others for attention, you need to do the right things right to be heard above the noise. You can create a winning resume. Olu Oyeniran is the Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Assoiciates. Website: E-mail: Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).




• Ijewere

At the heart of the country’s problems, many believe, is corruption. The malaise has eaten deep into the fabric of society. In this interview with AKINOLA AJIBADE, the Chairman, Longman Nigeria Plc, Mr Emmanuel Ijewere, says corruption must be tackled headlong for the country to grow. He also speaks on the economy, accusing board of directors of gross financial misconduct.

‘Real sector has suffered under banking reform’ W

HAT is the state of the publishing industry? I think the industry is buoyant and non-isolated. The industry boasts of various workers. We have the authors of the work, the originators of the ideas that were put on paper, the people that put the materials together in readable and intelligible form, and those that design and print the materials. So, everybody in the industry is important. The authors, the printers and the readers, among other stakeholders, are vital to the growth of the industry. Whatever idea an author has, it is useless if it cannot get to the person who will benefit from it. However, there are challenges. One is piracy. Pirates are people who steal intellectual property or ideas. They are smart and efficient because the system does not protect intellectual property. They make a lot of money. They are not incurring overheads. They use intellectual property to play ball. They do what they like. The quality of pirated works is an insult to Nigerians. What efforts are being made to check piracy? The Nigerian Publishers Association (APA) has been making efforts to check piracy. The

association is working with the Nigerian Copyrights Commission whose duty is to protect copyrights. But it appears that the institution is weak because it is confronted with legislative and financial challenges. People know that if we have a purposive leader, there would be a way round the problem. But there is no purposive leadership. This is why the intellectual property of authors is being stolen, and pirates are making profits. I believe that the Nigerian Copyright Commission has a lot to do in this regard. The Internet has brought information closer to the people. Can the industry survive in this kind of atmosphere? The industry will survive because it is a vibrant one. It is an industry that is very innovative and proactive. The issue of downloading materials from the Internet did not start in Nigeria. It started in other parts of the world. Nigerian publishers are very much aware of this development, and are well prepared. They are up-to-date. The publishers are young people, with good business ideas. Despite the problems in the industry, they are still surviving. You will remember that there was a time when they said people would stop buying books. They

said most students in universities now rely on hand-outs from the lecturers. They said lecturers make photocopies, and distribute them to students. That has not killed the industry, though it gave the country a bad name. Downloading materials from the Internet is universal. There is nothing we can do about that, except being part of it. Information technology is on the rise. We are getting to a stage where people must be able to access our books on the Internet. As an author, you should be able to read your books from your I-Pad or laptop. It is an evolution that helps in passing knowledge. How far has the government impacted on the industry? I would say the government has left the publishing industry primarily to the private sector. I think the government is encouraging the private sector, by buying books for the use of students. Before, the government was concerned with the idea of building schools only. Now, the government is moving away from that idea. In some cases, the government now buys books and supplies them to schools. Indirectly, the gov• Continued on page 58




‘Real sector has suffered under banking reform’ • Continued from page 57

ernment is encouraging the industry because it has realised that there is no need providing buildings for students without giving them books. So, I think the government is playing its own part creditably, except that they are not giving serious attention to the development of teachers. There was a time when we have teacher colleges all over the country. Now, many of the colleges have been turned to secondary schools or polytechnics. Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan launched a scheme entitled “Bring Back the Book”. What prospects does it have for the publishing industry? The scheme is going to have positive impacts on the industry. The ‘Bring Back the Book’ project is part of the effort to make people read more. We have got to a situation, where people are no longer reading. So, the idea of bringing back the book is a fantastic one. Through the project, it is evident that good leadership has a way of impacting, modernising or improving the country. Both the late Yar’Adua and Jonathan are products of tertiary institutions. This made them to come up with the idea. Jonathan himself has seen the quality of education in the country. That is why he launched the scheme. However, he did not introduce the idea because of the printing industry, he did it for the nation. What hope for investors, in the face of persistent crisis in the capital market? I think the situation in the capital market and beyond was getting out of hand before. Now the situation is returning to normal. I know it is going to take a long time, before the market bounces back. Often times, the prices of shares did not reflect the underlining facts behind the performances of some companies. We have situations where companies that are paying dividends, recorded huge drop in prices of their shares. Also, there are companies that were not paying so much, but they were experiencing upward movement in the prices of shares. This resulted in the taking over of the market by speculators. To improve the performance of the market, the various regulatory authorities have put in place certain measures. See the ‘tsunami’ that took place at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). See the job that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is doing. See the various interventions, among other proactive steps, taken by the regulators. I believe these measures would help in restoring confidence in the market in future. Though a lot of investors has suffered, the measures would bring stability. How has the economy fared in the last five years? The economy has improved, but it could have been better if power is stable. If the level of corruption was not high as it is in some institutions set up by the government, the economy would have been better. A number of things is disheartening. For instance, when you look at the Federal Government’s budget, you would discover that about 80 per cent is recurrent expenditure. The capital expenditure is 20 per cent. By the end of the year,

between 80 and 90 per cent of the recurrent expenditure would have been spent. The question is: How much has gone into capital expenditure? Very little. So, in terms of infrastructural development, the government is showing little interest. There must be a change of attitude. The president must be radical enough to change the way business was done in the past. It is a new ball game. It is a new situation entirely. Are you saying that infrastructure should be addressed? Fortunately, the President has said he’s taking over the power sector. He made himself the minister of power, which was a very risky thing to do. He has shown a lot of courage in this regard. He has taken over full responsibility of what happens in the energy sector. I think he should go on, and become the Minister of Agriculture. Once, he is able to put power in the hands of the private sector, he should now review his cabinet to ensure growth. As a chartered accountant, and former ICAN president, would you exonerate auditors from banks’ or financial institutions’ failure? That question is borne out of the fact that you are not really aware of what the duty of an auditor is. An auditor’s duty is to report what has been done financially in the company. That is why in the auditor’s report, it shows a true and fair view of what is happening in the company. An auditor would never say that the reports have correct views. Because, there is no way an auditor’s report can have a correct view. However, if the directors of the company are crooks or fraudulent, they would find a way of sabotaging the effort of auditors. They would find a way of hiding figures, and further ensure that auditors do not discover negative things. Many directors do not really love auditors. The only way to prevent financial discrepancies is to allow shareholders to select directors that have impeccable records. I’m talking about directors who would stand up for what is right. Those are the people that can say the truth all times, compared to those that hide and cook figures. So, the auditors’ reports can never show correct views. The reports can only provide true and fair views of financial developments. Let’s say Ijewere & Co. has been hired to audit a bank, and, incidentally, it’s not being given the leeway to do the job. What will you do? As an auditor, the best thing to do is to resign your appointment, or disqualify the account. By this, you tell the shareholders that the company did not allow you to do your job, and, therefore, you cannot continue with it. You tell the shareholders that you cannot vouch for the integrity of the account pre-

• Ijewere sented to you, because the Board of Directors is not allowing you to do the job. The auditor must have the courage to do that, if he wants to live above board. Do you subscribe to the idea that auditors should be rotated? The idea of rotating the auditors is a good one, given the experience one has garnered in the past. Remember that auditors are human beings, and could be subjective. They could be subjective in their approach to duties. I support the idea that auditors should be rotated. An auditor must not stay too long on a particular job. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has fixed September 31, for the liquidation of rescued banks. Is the date not too early? I would rather look at the issue from the point of view of the shareholders and various court cases. With my little knowledge, I agree that September is too soon. But I leave the issue with the CBN. I think the apex bank is quite flexible. I believe that CBN reviews certain issues on continuous basis. They could shift the date. But it is good to give a date to anything, so that it could not be an endless exercise. From what I have seen and read on the pages of newspapers, I doubt whether that date would be realistic. I believe that CBN is intelligent and proactive enough to be able to adjust the date. What are your views on the ongoing reforms initiated by the Sanusi-led CBN? The reforms are not perfect, but they are fantastic and positive enough to facilitate the growth of the economy. The reforms are going to help the economy, and, subsequently, tell the whole

world that Nigeria has the capability to take a hard decision. Those hard decisions have been taken. Some people have suffered as a result of the decisions. The economy has benefitted in the long run. There are a number of things that are not supposed to be done, while some things are done rightly. But, by my own assessment, the reforms were brilliant and a courageous thing to do in Nigeria. The reforms were initiated to forestall bigger problems that would have arisen. Do you think the banks’ CEOs are being treated unjustly, as alleged in some quarters? When people use the word persecuted, I would rather use prosecuted. The directors of the banks have committed an offence. I believe in the judiciary, and I’m sure there would be fair hearing. CBN is not a judge. Ministry of Finance is not a judge. Federal Government is not a judge. The judiciary should be able to handle that, and present the case. And to now politicise it, that is wrong. No, because a number of the directors of banks are my friends. But, at one time or the other, you got to consider the interest of the nation. But some of the directors are allegedly being targeted by CBN? I do not have any opinion on that. I do not have any evidence on that. But I believe that nobody is greater than the nation. I think we should allow the law to take its course. Let the judiciary do its job. Are the reforms working? I can see it from my own side. In the overall, the banking reform has created a trauma for some businesses. In particular, the real sec-

‘The agricultural sector is in a mess. The manufacturing industry is nowhere to be found. The level of corruption is still very high. Educational institutions are in a backward state. All the sectors of the economy are in a bad state. We should start the process of achieving the goals of Vision 20:2020 as quickly as possible. First of all, we need to make up for the loss time we have suffered, and further accelerate our journey. Nigerians are very enterprising people’

tor has suffered because banks, whether rescued or unrescued, have gone into their own shells. The reforms have not really helped the country. The reforms have created fear. But, in the long run, I believe the economy would benefit. Because where I come from which is the agricultural industry, the situation, they would say, is a case of: wetin concern agbero with overload. The banking industry has never made it a policy to help farmers. So, whether the banking industry is lending or not lending, the farmers are not noticing it. It is now that we are beginning to tell the banks that we are the real sector of the economy. Let me give you some statistics to show that agricultural sector is a big player in the economy. Agriculture has provided 42 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the past years. Even at that, the banking sector gave less than one per cent of the entire loan lending go to a sector that boasts of 70 per cent of the Nigerian population. What are we talking about? We are just deceiving ourselves. In the agricultural industry, nobody cares what is happening to the banks because they never cared about what is happening to us. We do not have anything in common. May be hopefully, we would start talking to each other. And I hope they would start seeing agriculture as the future of Nigeria. How prepared are we for Vision 2020, given the dire state of the economy? Vision 2020 as its stands today is in a great danger. However, 2011 would determine whether we would start the journey. We have not started the journey. Without power, we have not started the journey. The agricultural sector is in a mess. The manufacturing industry is nowhere to be found. The level of corruption is still very high. Educational institutions are in a backward state. All the sectors of the economy are in a bad state. We should start the process of achieving the goals of Vision 2020 as quickly as possible. First of all, we need to make up for the loss time we have suffered, and further accelerate our journey. Nigerians are very enterprising people. Give them the right leadership; they would make a lot of progress. It is the good leadership that we are lacking now. The government functionaries have not really bought the idea of Vision 2020.You go and ask the various civil servants and politicians whether they believe in Vision 20:2020. The private sector cannot drive it. It is the government that would drive it. And the private sector would now support it. At the Villa, the President and the Vice President believe so much in Vision 2020. How many of their ministers are working towards it? How many members of the Senate understand what the Vision 2020 is all about? How about the House of Representatives? How about the governors? What contributions have they made to ensure the success of Vision 2020? Has their state legislatures bought into it? The private sector is ready to move. But the government would not allow it. Remember, the government is the biggest spender. They collect all the money. They tax people through oil. The bulk of that money goes into central account. How do they spend that money? How they spend that money would determine whether we would start the real journey to Vision 2020. They control it. Like they say in my industry, they have the knife and the yam together. This year would determine how they would cut the yam. The private sector is watching them. The sector is anxious to achieve that goal. We can move closer to our dreams of becoming one of the best countries in the world by 2020, if we start now.





Investor’s Worth

A regulator’s personal oversight


ENATOR Udoma Udo Udoma bears the statutory responsibility of overseeing the development of the Nigerian capital market. As Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the apex regulator of the capital market, his oversight functions include making and enforcing rules for the growth, development and stability of the capital market. He oversees both the primary and secondary segments of the market including selfregulatory organisations (SROs) such as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and hues and shades of operators and institutions that relate with the capital market. A senior commercial lawyer, two-term distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former chairman of Senate Appropriation Committee, pioneer chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), former chairman of the Presidential Committee on Incentives and Waivers and an investment analyst, Udoma possesses enough insights and economic intelligence beyond the average investors. His positions, knowledge and experience surely provide him with requisite market intelligence necessary for making good investment decisions. He knows what to buy, when to buy, when to sell and the structure of a dependable portfolio. An Oxford-trained astute investment lawyer, Udoma is an investor whose bandwagon,

if jumped into, can take one to good returns. While ensuring that all quoted companies comply with best corporate governance practices and treat investors fairly, Udoma also has eyes for blue chips- stocks with age-long track record of returns, reliability and resilience, notwithstanding the intermittent dips in the corporate life cycle. Udoma’s direct and indirect shareholdings in Unilever Nigeria Plc and UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc are worth more than half a billion Naira with average annual cash dividends in the past two years of more than N16 million. The structure of his publicly-declared portfolio is also instructive - conglomerates, blue chips, multinationals and market-leading companies. Given the position of both Unilever Nigeria and UACN as highly capitalised companies, substantial shares of these companies are only found with few privileged ones. For instance, out of the 100,246 shareholders of Unilever Nigeria, only 161 shareholders hold more than one million shares. This group, though just about 0.2 per cent of shareholders, control more than 68 per cent of total equity of the conglomerate. About 70 per cent of Unilever Nigeria’s shareholders hold between one and 5,000 shares. The same scenario applied to the almost 200,000 shareholders of UACN.

Issues to consider in selecting an agent

C •Udoma

Udoma’s share-holdings put him within the group of the privileged few controlling the majority. With 0.043 per cent indirect equity stake in Unilever Nigeria and 0.065 per cent and 0.77 per cent direct and indirect shareholdings in UACN, Udoma is qualified as a stakeholder in the two companies. Udoma’s commitments to investment and corporate governance as well as his knowledge and experience have also made him one of the boardroom icons in corporate Nigeria. Though it is possible to appoint a non-shareholding non-executive individual as a chairman of a company, Udoma’s appointments as chairman of UACN and director of Unilever Nigeria are related much to his shareholdings and experience. These appointments also open a multi-million Naira stream of incomes in forms of emoluments and fees. With these equity-based multiple streams of incomescash dividends, capital appreciation, emoluments and fees, Udoma’s public oversight functions have surely not overshadowed his personal security.

Ask a Broker DEBENTURE denotes a debt obligation sold by an organisation or the certificate evidencing such indebtedness. Usually, a long-term instrument, debenture is subject to the terms of issuance, but mostly all debentures are secured with stated maturity date as well as specified fixed re-


What is a debenture? turns like bonds. Debentures can be classified according to their convertibility to other forms of securities, especially equities. Thus, there are convertible and nonconvertible debentures. Convertible debentures

confer on the debenture holders the right to opt to convert their holdings to shares or demand for payment in cash whenever the issuer decides to call in the debentures for redemption or simply settlement.

Ways and Means

Optimising phones with mobile money are scaling up their phonebased product offerings. The recent launch of U-Mo by United Bank for Africa (UBA) marked another turn in the competitive phone-based banking products and services. U-Mo, a sort of mobile money - a phone-only finan•GMD, UBA Phillips Oduoza cial service without formal banking account, provides OBILE telephony has opportunity for customers greatly permeated and non-customers of UBA to the lifestyles of Ni- do a whole lot of financial gerians. The benefits of the transactions on their phones telecommunications revolu- without entering the banking tion are evident in the proc- hall. Typical of the low cusesses of financial transactions. tomer registration requireFrom instant transaction ments of mobile money, Ualert to statements of account Mo only requires names, moand updates, mobile te- bile number, address, occupalephony has improved cus- tion and signature of the customer-bank relationship. As tomer to be activated. the culture of mobile teWith U-Mo, a subscriber can lephony becomes more en- deposit or withdraw money, trenched and Nigerians be- move money from bank accome increasingly reliant on count to U-Mo, transfer their mobile phones, banks money, pay utility bills such


Starting your investment portfolio (4)

as electricity and cable channels bills, buy recharge cards, pay for goods and services among many other possibilities. Besides, customers on UMo would need not maintain any minimum balance or pay maintenance and transaction fees. Other benefits include free short message notification for every transaction, free online access to account and higher interest rates on account balance compared to other savings. U-Mo also holds prospects of solving the problem of rural banking as customers can use any of the three Nigerian languagesYoruba, Hausa and Igbo, in addition to English to conduct their transactions. There is no doubt that U-Mo perfectly fits into the lifestyle of most Nigerians who are mobile phone users and will further enable them to optimise the use of their phones

ORPORATE values and norms have to do with agreeable qualities that engender an enduring relationship. These, among others, include approachability, listening, trustworthiness, empathy and knowledge. The attitudes of the representatives of the company make up the corporate attitude and, as such, the screening process begins with the first contact. Stockbroking, basically, is acting as agent in buying and selling of securities. But, there are many embellishments that many companies offer to their clients.Each stockbroking firm develops products and services that suit its business model and enhance its competitiveness in that market. Typical special products and services include credit-purchase or margin trading, on-line payment, order, account statements etc. In a knowledge and information-driven market, the research capability of a stockbroking firm and information processing are decisive factors that can influence the success of the investor’s portfolio. Investors need to consider the quality and the quantity of research materials from stockbroking firms to determine one that can provide optimal back-up for effective investment decision. Information processing entails the readability and comprehension, availability and timeliness of the research material. A good research and information department can make all the difference for a stockbroking firm, in an industry with little product differentiation. Also, investors need to consider synergistic opportunities that ensure seamless financial services from savings to investments and trusteeship. A stockbroking firm that belongs to a strong financial services group or has alliance with such group may offer opportunities for a one-stop financial supermarket where an investor can transact all his financial dealings. However, investors need to be cautious as financial distress can also follow the line of cross-selling of products and services. More importantly, a conscious investor needs to consider the longevity of the stockbroking firm before deciding on business relationship. Longevity means the future chance of survival of a stockbroking firm. The ability of the company to meet required minimum operating standards, as stipulated by the regulators from time to time, is also important. Longevity of a corporate entity depends chiefly on good corporate governance, creativity and foresight. Every organisation with these qualities has a high chance of continuity irrespective of changes in fiscal and monetary policies. The NSE recently suspended some stockbroking firms that failed to meet operating rules while investigations by the regulators have also shown many stockbroking firms struggling with illiquidity and capital inadequacy. However, it’s always important to take the totality of the whole issues and seek answers to one’s concerns before deciding on the suitability or oth-

By Taofik Salako

erwise of an agent. It should be noted that stockbroking firms and other market operators, like every other companies, may run into temporary operational hitches due to cyclical changes in the macro economy or management decisions. The most important consideration for a reliable company is inherent corrective mechanism that enables it to deal with changes in a transparent, consistent and fair way. Investorstockbroking relationship is a personal relationship and empathy is a valuable attribute in personal relationship.

Choice of securities When an investor has outlined investment objectives, knows what to buy, when to buy, whether to buy through primary or secondary market and already chosen a valueadding transaction agent, he still needs to grapple with the proportionate question of investment allocation. The “how to buy” question of the 5ws and H of investment planning deals with portfolio mix- the choice of securities to ensure stable and enhanced growth as well as reduce risks. A good portfolio mix enhances the profitability and liquidity of the portfolio and reduces relative risks. Given the fact that past growth pattern may not be an absolute projection of success in the future, a good spread across some viable companies confers longetivity on an investment plan as well as reduces sudden failure that could occur should a so-called bluechip floundered. To mix the odds to his advantage, an investor needs to understand the portfolio mix process. The process of portfolio mix starts with understanding the sectoral categorisation of companies quoted on the stock exchange, fiscal and monetary policies that impact on each sector, distinct qualities of each sub-group, growth pattern and market behaviour of each stock as well as sub-groups. The recent experience in the capital market has showed that overdependence on a particular sector or stock can be catastrophic in the event of unusual trends. On the heels of the global and national financial crises, banking stocks, and other financial stocks like insurance, which had been tra-

‘The process of portfolio mix starts with understanding the sectoral categorisation of companies quoted on the stock exchange, fiscal and monetary policies that impact on each sector, distinct qualities of each subgroup, growth pattern and market behaviour of each stock as well as sub-groups’

ditionally the toasts of investors in terms of bonus issues, cash dividends and capital appreciation, have been the worst-hit. Most financial stocks have been unable to declare any dividend while they have also been trading at around nominal values, putting majority of investors that concentrated on financial stocks in a sort of double jeopardy. Many manufacturing companies, hitherto the underdogs of the market, have braced the recession, piling up appreciable capital gains while sustaining dividend payments. Portfolio mix also relates with the investment objectives of an individual. Personal lifestyle and stage in life influence the choice of securities. The degree and immediacy of cash requirement may mediate between choice of fixed-income securities, equities and real estate investments. However, it must also be noted that the extent of startup capital and subsequent investable funds may influence the degree of portfolio mix. One of the frequently asked questions by new investors is: with how much can I start? On the face of it, this is a simple question with also a simple answer: just as little as you can afford. But adequate advice requires explanation of the ups and downs in the stock market and the necessity of pooling substantial resources, when available, to mitigate the level of risks and increase the average chance of success. Although the point must primarily be emphasised that every person with as little as he gets can play profitably in the stock market and it is important to start now. The fact that portfolio mix, or the spread of investment across stocks or sub-groups, constitutes a critical factor in the attainment of overall investment objectives must not be understated. A relatively little fund comes with the task of blending the needs for profitability, good spread of investments and lesser risks. A safer option for many starters with little funds and low risks appetites is to stake on the established stocks, otherwise known as blue chips, but this in itself represents a flaw in investments planning as many low-priced stocks have proven to be high return-yielding investments, especially in recent period. Deciding on the portfolio mix for a small capital is usually a tough decision. For instance, should one stake his entire fund on a few hundreds of shares of a certain bluechip or spread it among thousands of shares of hopeful low-priced and emerging stocks? The option depends on the investor and his adviser. However, it is advisable to place emphasis on good spread across sectors and stock categories- emerging stocks, middle range and blue chips. Even where the initial start-up capital does not allow wide spread, subsequent build-up investments should be aimed at widening the scope of investment and reduce the risks of overdependence on a stock or sector.








Agbakoba seeks court order over indicted NAPEP officials


ORMER President of the Nigerian Bar Association Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has been granted leave to apply for an order of Mandamus compelling the Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke to prosecute officials of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and Keke Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (KORAN). The officials were indicted in the report of the Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in 2009 and the Report of

NAPEP Visitation Panel in August last year. Justice A. Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja, said Agbakoba can “ apply for an order of mandamus and to seek the reliefs as set out in the statement accompanying the application”. The suit was filed following failure by the AGF to respond to his petition of April 4, asking for a fiat to prosecute NAPEP officials and their accomplices. In 2009, the Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation established that the “Keke NAPEP project has

been tainted with massive corruption and fraud”. According to the report, “the collection and distribution of the assembled tricycles was manipulated”. The report further established that “most of the Kekes allocated to the states were diverted to open the market and displayed for sale in some cities at exorbitant prices.” The Committee also found out gross mismanagement and conversion of public funds, circumvention of operational guidelines and illegal approval by NAPEP officials. NAPEP officials were also implicated in the illegal

NRC begins Kaduna- Kano passenger train services



disbursement of funds to unregistered micro-finabce institutions and the use of fake names and unverifiable addresses, among others. The committee recommended that the management of NAPEP should be held responsible for fraudulent conversion of public funds and erring officials sanctioned appropriately.

ARELY a few days after the commencement of the Minna Mass Transit Train Service, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) yesterday said it has commenced the Kaduna – Kano – Kaduna train services. The corporation spoke in a statement by Assistant Director (Media), David Ndakotsu. The statement said the Kaduna-Kano-Kaduna train services, which started on July 11, will run on Sunday, Monday and Thursday every week in line with the existing efficient and cost-effective train pattern for the Northern region. The statement said: “The Train for now and pending the outcome of final schedule,

ASCON hosts international conference today


HE need to do a soulsearching and how to redeem the declining Management Development Institutes (MDI) in Africa will be the nucleus of international conference organised by the Administrative Staff Col-

From Adegunle Olugbamila

lege of Nigeria Topo Badagry, Lagos. The three- day conference which begins today at the college will be opened by the Head of Service of the Feder-

ation Prof. Oladapo Afolabi. It is themed: ‘Repositioning Development Institutes to Meet the Challenges of Human Capital Development for Public Service,’ Giving a low down of the event during the closing of six

regular courses of the college last week, ASCON DirectorGeneral, Ajibade Peters recalled how African governments conceptualised MDIs after their independence to fill up the gaps left by the colonial masters.

He said overtime government that established MDIs failed to utilised them, leading to their decline. He said: “The MDIs were established when nations gained independence. After the exit of the colonial masters, we found out that there was a gap in performance. This is normally referred to as managerial credibility gap.

From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

will depart Kano City by 7.30am to Kaduna Junction. Having reached Kaduna Junction by 1.35pm, the train departs back to Kano city by 2.35pm and arrives by 8.30pm. “The running of the train is designed to connect two other trains that originate same day from Kafanchan Junction and Minna using Kaduna Junction as hub. “Given the economic activities of the people in the area these trains operate and the need for an alternative to road transport mode, it is assured that the train services will be of immense benefits to the commuting people in this axis and the entire area the trains ply. “The train service will also assist farmers to transport their farm produce to city centres to stem the rising cost of food stuffs and consumables. “As the corporation continued the on-going rehabilitation exercise, it has successfully commenced passenger Train Services in Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Maiduguri, Minna, Ilorin, and Jos and will soon resume freight and long distance train services.”

Adefuye hosts Fayemi in US •Hails governor’s eight-point agenda


IGERIAN Ambassador to the United States of America Prof. Ade Adefuye has hailed Governor Kayode Fayemi’s eight-point agenda. Adefule spoke at a reception he hosted in honour of the governor at his residence in Washington DC, US, on Friday. The reception was attended by Nigerian community in the US and the Vice President, Africa Division of the World Bank, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili A statement by his Chief Press Secretary Yinka Oyebode said Fayemi was on a working visit to the US to discuss relationship between the State of Maryland, USA, and Ekiti State. Adefuye commended Fayemi for the milestone achievements made by his

administration,and the very detailed development roadmap enshrined in the administration’s eight-point agenda. Governor Fayemi hailed Adefuye for the robust representation which has led to improved bi-lateral relations between both countries, as well as the leadership role the Nigerian mission is playing among African ambassadors in the United States’ diplomatic community. The reception was attended by members of the diplomatic community in the U.S, Mamadou Traore, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mali, Ms. Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador of Botswana and Cyrille Oguin, Ambassador of Benin Republic






Monetary Control: CBN auctions N89.7b in treasury bills


N line with its monetary tighten ing measures, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sold N89.73 billion in 91-day and 182-day treasury bills, the apex bank has said in a statement. The CBN said it sold N44.3 billion of the 91-day paper and N45.40 billion of 182-day bill at marginal rates of 6.8 per cent and 7.79 percent, respectively. The apex bank issues treasury bills regularly as part of its monetary control measures. Also, the Federal Government will on Wednesday, July 20, sell N70 billion ($458.7 million) in 3-, 5- and 10year sovereign bonds. This is the nation’s seventh debt auction in the course of the year, the Debt Management Office, has said. The DMO, said it would sell N30 billion of the 3-year, N15 billion of 5-year and N25 billion of the 10-year papers, due to mature in 2014, 2015 and 2018 respectively.

Stories by Collins Nweze Senior Correspondent

“All the papers are re-openings of previous issues and the results of the auction will be published the following day,” DMO said in a statement. DMO Director-General, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, said the Federal Government issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit. The units of sale are N1, 000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N10, 000 and in multiples of N1, 000 thereafter. These issuances, analysts explained , are meant to tamper the inflationary effects of the N606 billion allocations from federal accounts to its three tiers of government for June which hit the respective accounts last week.

The year-on-year headline inflation rate which stood at 12.4 per cent in June, was 11.3 per cent in April 2011 and 12.8 per cent in March 2011. Food inflation declined to 10.7 per cent in April from 12.2 per cent in March and February 2011. However, core inflation at 12.9 per cent in April was slightly higher than the 12.8 per cent in March 2011. CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the apex bank would adopt further monetary policy tightening measures to drastically reduce the inflation risks in the country. He said inflation risks in the country remained high and that there was no choice but to focus on tightening monetary policy to address it. "I think that the indications are that we have to look at the money supply situation very closely," he said in an interview with Reuters in Senegal. The CBN Governor cited government

spending and the resolution of a banking crisis as factors capable of fuelling inflationary risks in the country. The CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Sarah Alade, said during the recent Monetary Policy Meeting that although headline inflation moderated to 11.3 in April from 12.8 in the previous month, a combination of intense pressure on the exchange rate as a result of pressure from the effect of imported prices, and the anticipation of frontloading of government expenditure in the second quarter, calls for a modest tightening of monetary policy rate. She therefore stated that policy tightening is needed to address the negative real interest rate in the economy. “While headline inflation has started to trend down, domestic inflation outlook going forward, will be impacted on what happens to global food prices.

Global food and energy prices are expected to harden in the coming months, driven by a combination of supply constraints and rising global demand as the advanced economies consolidate their recovery,” she said.

Union Bank moves to key into IFRS


NION Bank of Nigeria has taken steps that would ensure that its financial reporting complies with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) ahead of the 2012 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The bank exposed its directors, top management and staff to a one week intensive workshop on the nitty- gritty of the global financial reporting format, facilitated by reputable international experts. Speaking on the essence of the workshop, the Executive Director, Commercial banking, South, Adekunle Adeosun, said the workshop was aimed at getting the bank ready for the IFRS, stressing that the participants were drawn, not only from finance and planning/ strategy, but from different relevant disciplines to understand, appreciate and cross fertilize ideas on issues governing International Financial Reporting

Standards. The facilitators emphasized that the idea behind IFRS, is to develop, in the public interest, a single set of high quality, understandable and enforceable global accounting standards that will require high quality, transparent and com-

orous application of the standards, work actively with national standards setters to bring about convergence of national accounting standards, emphasising that once any nation adopts the standards, it would become easier for investors from any part of the world to invest in the country.

parable information and financial statements to help participants in various glogal capital markets and other users of information to make economic decisions. They averred that the IFRS Board was determined to promote the use and rig-

Citigroup profit beats analysts’ estimates


ITIGROUP Inc. has said its profit rose 24 per cent, beat ing analysts’ estimates on higher investment-banking fees and fewer losses tied to troubled assets. Second-quarter net income rose to $3.34 billion, from $2.7 billion, in the same period last year, New York-based Citigroup told Bloomberg. The 61 per cent gain in investment-banking revenue at Citigroup was led by Chief Execu-

Yoshikami said before results were released. Revenue declined seven per cent to $20.6 billion. Citicorp revenue, which includes investment banking, trading, the retail bank and global transaction services, fell 1 percent to $16.3 billion. Citi Holdings, which Pandit created in January 2009 to sell troubled businesses and securities, posted an 18 percent decline in revenue, to $4.01 billion.

tive Officer Vikram Pandit. “The momentum has shifted away from losses and to small incremental gains,” said Michael Yoshikami, CEO and founder of YCMNet Advisors, which manages $1.1 billion including Citigroup shares. “This is the beginning of laying a foundation for the long-term for Citigroup to actually be a profitable company again on a consistent basis,”


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

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

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

7.9-10% 10-11%


Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2011 “ 14-04-2011


O/PRICE 23.11 6.24 11.30 4.75 5.39 88.00 1.15 0.50 1.01 0.52

C/PRICE 24.26 6.55 11.86 4.98 5.65 92.00 1.20 0.52 1.05 0.54

CHANGE 1.15 0.31 0.56 0.23 0.26 4.00 0.05 0.02 0.04 0.02


O/PRICE 1.61 48.05 9.91 20.70 2.68 5.00 1.49 1.07 6.70 0.89

C/PRICE 1.53 45.67 9.42 19.68 2.55 4.76 1.42 1.02 6.39 0.85

CHANGE 0.08 2.38 0.49 1.02 0.13 0.24 0.07 0.05 0.31 0.04

Amount Sold ($) 400m 400m 499.8m

Exchange Rate (N) 153.59 153.4 153.45

Date 25-5-11 23-5-11 16-5-11



Tenor 91-Day 182-Day 1-Year


COBANK has unveiled a three month Salary Account Promo that enable workers win from a multiple of instant gifts as they open their salary account with the bank. It also qualifies account holders to be part of a random selection that would see winners taking home the dream prize of brand new automobiles. Country Head Domestic Products, Mrs. Funmi Ajayi, said the promo is borne out of the need to provide succour for the average Nigerian worker. She said Ecobank identifies with the working class and has created products that will meet their needs, especially in the face of the challenging economic circumstances.

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 400m 467.7m 400m 452.3m 500m 499,8m


OBB Rate Call Rate

Ecobank unfolds promo




•Lamido Sanusi, CBN Governor

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

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51













08-07-11 N7.773tr 24,310.03


January ’11

February ’11

May ’11





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.3%


7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

07-07-11 N7.786tr 24,350.18

% Change 0.2% 0.2%





Rate (Previous) 04 MAR, 2011 9.0417 9.6667 11.2917 12.1250

Rate (Currency) 24, MAY, 2011 10.17% 11.46% 11.96% 12.54%

Offer Price

Bid Price

9.17 1.00 117.62 1,586.00 0.81 0.99 0.99 1,586.00 9.97 1.39 1.87 8,827.74 193.00

9.08 1.00 117.16 1,576.75 0.78 0.99 0.99 1,576.75 9.48 1.33 1.80 8,557.25 191.08




Bank P/Court

Previous 04 MAR, 2011

07, MAR, 2011


8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded 2 1.04 2,500 2 2,500 AGRICULTURE/AGRO-ALLIED Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded PRESCO PLC 7 8.00 119,600 Sector Totals 7 119,600 AIR SERVICES Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded NIGERIAN AVIATION HANDLING COMPANY PLC 18 7.50 141,591 Sector Totals 18 141,591 AUTOMOBILE & TYRE Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded R. T. BRISCOE (NIGERIA) PLC 18 2.00 265,697 Sector Totals 18 265,697 BANKING Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded ACCESS BANK PLC 184 6.40 20,906,375 AFRIBANK NIGERIA PLC 32 0.94 1,393,140 DIAMOND BANK PLC 46 4.97 2,634,176 ECOBANK NIGERIA PLC 16 2.72 2,689,929 FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK PLC 30 6.15 5,946,084 FIDELITY BANK PLC 80 2.21 12,266,673 FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC 447 11.70 10,057,318 FINBANK PLC 34 0.55 3,166,823 GTBANK PLC 469 13.80 16,059,001 STANBIC IBTC BANK PLC 47 9.50 1,265,750 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK PLC. 57 1.04 2,354,686 OCEANIC BANK INTERNATIONAL PLC 92 1.20 12,893,749 0.71 344,402 BANK PHB PLC 17 SKYE BANK PLC. 224 6.39 4,824,348 SPRING BANK PLC 1 0.85 750 STERLING BANK PLC 34 1.53 3,506,290 UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC. 169 5.00 23,477,145 UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC 138 2.50 6,509,043 UNITYBANK PLC 8 0.85 940,500 WEMA BANK PLC 12 0.94 498,000 ZENITH BANK PLC 267 14.30 9,516,188 Sector Totals 2,404 141,250,370 BREWERIES Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded CHAMPION BREWERIES PLC 1 4.46 1,000 GUINNESS NIGERIA PLC 33 243.00 436,627 NIGERIAN BREWERIES PLC 116 91.40 2,182,306 PREMIER BREWERIES PLC 3 0.93 1,233 Sector Totals 153 2,621,166 BUILDING MATERIALS Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded ASHAKA CEMENT PLC 22 19.68 219,331 CEMENT CO. OF NORTHERN NIGERIA PLC 10 9.00 8,561 DANGOTE CEMENT PLC 21 121.70 916,704 LAFARGE WAPCO PLC 18 47.50 826,858 Sector Totals 71 1,971,454 CHEMICAL & PAINTS Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded BERGER PAINTS NIGERIA PLC 1 9.91 1,302 CHEMICAL AND ALLIED PRODUCTS PLC 10 29.00 78,874 PORTLAND PAINTS & PRODUCTS NIGERIA PLC 1 5.11 555 Sector Totals 12 80,731 COMMERCIAL/SERVICES Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded COURTVILLE INVESTMENTS PLC 2 0.50 1,500,000 RED STAR EXPRESS PLC 3 2.78 4,830 Sector Totals 5 1,504,830 COMPUTER & OFFICE EQUIPMENT Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded TRIPPLE GEE AND COMPANY PLC 1 3.25 1,485 Sector Totals 1 1,485 CONGLOMERATES Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded CHELLARAMS PLC 1 7.22 1,300 JOHN HOLT PLC 2 7.21 4,297 PZ CUSSONS NIGERIA PLC 42 34.50 645,676 TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATION OF NIGERIA PLC 7 1.03 60,000 UAC OF NIGERIA PLC 47 39.03 647,980 UNILEVER NIGERIA PLC 36 26.00 265,538 Sector Totals 135 1,624,791 CONSTRUCTION Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded COSTAIN (WA) PLC 26 2.79 3,231,303 JULIUS BERGER NIGERIA PLC 12 53.49 72,754 Sector Totals 38 3,304,057 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded CUTIX PLC 3 2.30 45,000 NIGERIAN WIRE AND CABLE PLC. 3 0.54 46,900 Sector Totals 6 91,900 FOOD/BEVERAGES & TOBACCO Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded 7-UP BOTTLING CO. PLC 8 45.00 12,362 CADBURY NIGERIA PLC 49 17.00 350,415 DANGOTE FLOUR MILLS PLC 14 16.00 169,514 1,636,764 DANGOTE SUGAR REFINERY PLC 78 11.16 FLOUR MILLS NIGERIA PLC 27 81.52 2,137,291 HONEYWELL FLOUR MILL PLC 4 4.25 23,000 NATIONAL SALT COMPANY NIGERIA PLC 10 4.76 3,382,333 NIGERIAN BOTTLING COMPANY PLC 9 41.50 63,521 NESTLE NIGERIA PLC 26 402.00 139,196 NORTHERN NIGERIA FLOUR MILLS PLC 2 24.70 166 UTC NIGERIA PLC 1 0.68 282 Sector Totals 228 7,914,844 HEALTHCARE Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded FIDSON HEALTHCARE PLC 9 1.74 93,980 GLAXOSMITHKLINE CONSUMER NIG. PLC 32 24.26 446,249 MAY & BAKER NIGERIA PLC. 16 3.80 126,450 NEIMETH INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICALS PLC 1 1.62 20,000 Sector Totals 58 686,679 HOTEL & TOURISM Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded CAPITAL HOTEL PLC 1 5.65 64,914 IKEJA HOTEL PLC 5 1.46 1,193,000 TOURIST COMPANY OF NIGERIA PLC 1 4.31 1,000 Sector Totals 7 1,258,914 INDUSTRIAL/DOMESTIC PRODUCTS Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded NIGERIAN ENAMELWARE PLC 3 42.66 1,250 VITAFOAM NIGERIA PLC 11 6.00 189,620 VONO PRODUCTS PLC 1 2.88 47,000 Sector Totals 15 237,870 INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded 653,215 STARCOMMS PLC 4 0.55 4 653,215 Sector Totals INSURANCE Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded AFRICAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE PLC 3 0.50 5,000,000 AIICO INSURANCE PLC. 31 0.70 585,052 CONTINENTAL REINSURANCE PLC 4 1.07 345,893 CORNERSTONE INSURANCE CO. PLC. 2 0.50 400,050 CUSTODIAN AND ALLIED INSURANCE PLC 25 2.90 13,600,530 GOLDLINK INSURANCE PLC 4 0.50 382,500 GUARANTY TRUST ASSURANCE PLC 49 1.44 12,728,755 INTERNATIONAL ENERGY INSURANCE COMPANY PLC 5 0.50 364,112 LASACO ASSURANCE PLC. 3 0.50 96,675 LAW UNION AND ROCK INSURANCE PLC. 1 0.52 300,000 LINKAGE ASSURANCE PLC 1 0.50 5,383 MUTUAL BENEFITS ASSURANCE PLC 2 0.50 10,062 N.E.M. INSURANCE CO. (NIG.) PLC. 14 0.52 792,358 NIGER INSURANCE CO. PLC. 14 0.50 1,661,974 PRESTIGE ASSURANCE PLC. 6 1.83 150,370 STACO INSURANCE PLC 2 0.50 2,900,000 STANDARD ALLIANCE INSURANCE PLC 4 0.50 605,004 UNIVERSAL INSURANCE COMPANY PLC 2 0.50 55,103 INTERCONTINENTAL WAPIC INSURANCE PLC 2 0.53 5,709 Sector Totals 174 39,989,530 MARITIME Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded JAPAUL OIL & MARITIME SERVICES PLC 58 1.06 1,688,613

Value of Shares (N) 2,725.00 2,725.00 Value of Shares (N) 957,068.00 957,068.00 Value of Shares (N) 1,031,462.44 1,031,462.44 Value of Shares (N) 532,715.94 532,715.94 Value of Shares (N) 132,462,318.42 1,306,698.86 12,849,019.80 7,312,690.85 36,580,115.56 27,058,695.45 115,732,116.69 1,746,335.29 220,769,265.58 11,951,685.40 2,446,938.52 14,933,495.19 242,646.92 30,748,106.08 607.50 5,367,986.60 117,473,816.75 16,106,488.88 800,640.00 468,200.00 133,642,900.96 890,000,769.30 Value of Shares (N) 4,670.00 106,038,597.86 197,181,687.78 1,196.01 303,226,151.65 Value of Shares (N) 4,318,316.30 74,141.16 111,609,143.03 39,134,524.86 155,136,125.35 Value of Shares (N) 12,369.00 2,278,625.20 2,924.85 2,293,919.05 Value of Shares (N) 750,000.00 13,236.10 763,236.10 Value of Shares (N) 4,588.65 4,588.65 Value of Shares (N) 8,918.00 29,434.45 22,437,384.97 61,800.00 25,285,355.66 6,937,390.50 54,760,283.58 Value of Shares (N) 8,985,474.98 3,721,048.40 12,706,523.38 Value of Shares (N) 103,250.00 25,326.00 128,576.00 Value of Shares (N) 556,914.35 6,012,429.25 2,712,224.00 18,220,493.96 173,242,694.99 95,180.00 16,066,586.75 2,642,296.50 55,949,150.50 4,150.00 183.30 275,502,303.60 Value of Shares (N) 163,410.20 10,543,334.39 473,758.50 30,800.00 11,211,303.09 Value of Shares (N) 366,764.10 1,741,780.00 4,100.00 2,112,644.10 Value of Shares (N) 52,508.90 1,137,542.81 135,360.00 1,325,411.71 Value of Shares (N) 357,203.95 357,203.95 Value of Shares (N) 2,500,000.00 408,185.37 372,764.44 200,025.00 38,789,831.62 191,250.00 19,654,872.70 182,056.00 48,337.50 156,000.00 2,691.50 5,031.00 409,487.94 833,106.74 288,710.40 1,450,000.00 302,502.00 27,551.50 2,911.59 65,825,315.30 Value of Shares (N) 1,732,330.96

NBC sets for delisting as shareholders meet


ARRING any unforeseen circumstance, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Plc might wrap up the planned delisting of its shares this week as shareholders of the bottling company meet for the crucial court-ordered general meeting on Friday. Coca-Cola Hellenic, the foreign core investor in NBC, which already has 66.21 per cent equity stake, is seeking to buy out dissenting Nigerian shareholders and delist the shares of the company from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as a precondition for an N45 billion investment programme. NBC has notified capital market regulators about the convening of the court-ordered meeting. Extant law requires that the company must have sent the scheme of arrangement for the transaction to shareholders 14 days to the meeting. Several shareholders however, at the weekend said they have not received the scheme documents. It could not however, be ascertained whether NBC has posted the scheme documents as required as the mobile telephone number of the company secretary was off and message sent to the mobile line was not responded to as at press time. With its existing 66.2 per cent equity stake, Coca-Cola Hellenic only needs additional 8.8 per cent equity stake to secure the three-quarter approving mandate for the scheme of arrangements. Failure to secure the shareholders’ mandate at the court-ordered meeting could reverse the entire process. The market capitalisation of the NSE would be reduced by more than N54 billion if the move by NBC to delist its shares scale through the courtordered shareholders’ extra ordinary general meeting. But indications have emerged that NBC might secure the approval as the bottling company intensified lobbying within the Nigerian shareholders’ groups. The

Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

looming sense of illiquidity and short-term capital gains may strengthen the bargaining power of the foreign core investor at the meeting The board of NBC had recently increased the scheme price for delisting of its shares by 9.3 per cent from initial proposed price of N43 to N47 per share while reiterating its resolve to pursue the scheme. Shareholders’ leaders who spoke with The Nation said they were concerned about the delisting, decrying what they called muscling of the Nigerian shareholders. Shareholders also complained about the neutrality of the venue of the court-ordered meeting. NBC has indicated that the meeting would hold at Mainland Hotel, Ebute-Metta, a subsidiary of AG Leventis Nigeria Plc, which shares similar foreign core investors with NBC. Coca-Cola Hellenic had premised the delisting on its plan to invest N45 billion in Nigeria with a view to modernising NBC’s infrastructure, enhancing its supply chain capabilities, strengthening its commercial platform and an expansion of its corporate social responsibility programme. But the investment programme would be preceded with cancellation of part of the paid up share capital of NBC and the subsequent delisting of the company from the NSE, which effectively take away the company from Nigerian investing public. Meanwhile, key market indicators at the NSE still closed on the negative last week in spite of the rebound witnessed on Friday. The All Share Index (ASI) and market capitalisation of equities dropped by two per cent each. The ASI depreciated by 477.89 points to close on Friday at 23,832.14 while the capitalisation of equities decreased by N153 billion to N7.620 trillion. Sectoral reviews showed that all group indices equally

slumped last week with the NSE-30 Index depreciating by 22.52 points or 2.1 per cent to close at 1,060.49. All four sectorial indices depreciated during the week same as the preceding week. The NSE Food & Beverage Index depreciated by 17.58 points or 2.21 per cent to close at 784.53. The NSE Banking Index depreciated by 17.35 points or 4.8 per cent to close at 347.26. The NSE Insurance Index fell by 1.85 points or 1.15 per cent to close at 158.20 while the NSE Oil & Gas Index slipped by 5.26 points or 1.80 per cent to close at 287.62. Eighteen stocks appreciated during the week lower than the 23 stocks recorded in the preceding week. Nigerian Breweries Plc led on the gainers’ table with a gain of N4 or 4.5 per cent to close at N92 per share. Nestle Nigeria Plc followed with a gain of N1.99 or 0.5 per cent to close at N402.00 per share. On the losers’ table, 49 stocks depreciated last week with Chemical and Allied Products (CAP) Plc leading the price losers with a drop of N5.22 or 15.30 per cent to close at N29 per share. Julius Berger Nigeria Plc followed with a loss of N2.71 or 4.82 per cent to close at N53.49 per share. Turnover last week stood at 937.9 million shares worth N7.58 billion in 26.528 deals compared with a total of 1.68 billion shares valued at N12.7 billion traded in 29,688 deals in the previous week. The banking subsector was the most active with a turnover of 620.12 million shares worth N4.57 billion in 14,800 deals. Insurance subsector followed on the week’s activity chart with a turnover of 130.67 million shares valued at N135.03 million in 1,483 deals. Also, a total of 70 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each were added to the shares outstanding in the name of Union Ventures & Petroleum Plc at N0.52 per share last week following the conclusion of special placement by the second-tier company.


58 MEDIA No of Deals Quotation(N) 2 0.51 2 0.50 4 MORTGAGE COMPANIES Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) UNION HOMES SAVINGS AND LOANS PLC 32 0.53 Sector Totals 32 OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) CRUSADER NIGERIA PLC. 2 0.50 NPF MICROFINANCE BANK PLC 1 1.11 Sector Totals 3 PACKAGING Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) NIGERIAN BAG MANUFACTURING COMPANY PLC 843 2.55 STUDIO PRESS (NIGERIA) PLC. 1 2.92 Sector Totals 844 PETROLEUM(MARKETING) Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) BECO PETROLEUM PRODUCT PLC 1 0.50 MRS OIL NIGERIA PLC 1 70.75 CONOIL PLC 7 34.30 ETERNA OIL & GAS PLC. 1 4.30 FORTE OIL PLC 15 19.28 MOBIL OIL NIGERIA PLC. 12 157.50 OANDO PLC 120 38.90 TOTAL NIGERIA PLC 15 195.50 Sector Totals 172 PRINTING & PUBLISHING No of Deals Quotation(N) Company Name ACADEMY PRESS PLC. 1 3.50 LONGMAN NIGERIA PLC 1 5.60 UNIVERSITY PRESS PLC 7 5.00 Sector Totals 9 REAL ESTATE Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) UACN PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT CO. PLC 2 20.15 Sector Totals 2 THE FOREIGN LISTINGS Company Name No of Deals Quotation(N) ECOBANK TRANSNATIONAL INCORPORATED 35 14.60 Sector Totals 35


Overall Totals




Quantity Traded 20,000 6,670 26,670

Value of Shares (N) 10,200.00 3,335.00 13,535.00

Quantity Traded 5,446,801 5,446,801

Value of Shares (N) 2,736,420.50 2,736,420.50

Quantity Traded 5,000 10,000 15,000

Value of Shares (N) 2,500.00 11,000.00 13,500.00

Quantity Traded 3,668,195 100 3,668,295

Value of Shares (N) 9,407,867.85 278.00 9,408,145.85

Quantity Traded 99,000 200 6,786 4,790 48,047 7,130 342,471 35,370 543,794

Value of Shares (N) 49,500.00 13,444.00 221,467.61 19,591.10 926,346.16 1,123,075.00 13,084,938.82 6,919,470.05 22,357,832.74

Quantity Traded 10,000 3,650 35,474 49,124

Value of Shares (N) 33,300.00 20,440.00 176,818.50 230,558.50

Quantity Traded 1,500 1,500

Value of Shares (N) 28,725.00 28,725.00

Quantity Traded 736,240 736,240

Value of Shares (N) 10,743,272.50 10,743,272.50














NATO hands over first Afghan province

Phone hacking: UK police arrests Brooks


ORMER News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating phone hacking and bribery at the News of the World. The 43-year-old was arrested by appointment at a London police station and remains in custody. She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption. She quit News International on Friday as pressure mounted over her role in the deepening scandal. Mrs Brooks was editor of the paper between 2000 and 2003, during which time the phone belonging to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was tampered with. BBC Business Editor Robert Peston said News International was not aware that Mrs Brooks would be arrested when her resignation was being discussed at the company on Tuesday

and Wednesday of last week. She eventually resigned on Friday. Mr Peston added: “It’s certainly the most extraordinary development. Rebekah Brooks is incredibly close to the most powerful people in the UK - the current prime minister, the previous prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. More or less every senior person of influence within Britain.”

He said it could now potentially jeopardise her appearance at the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on tomorrow, where she is due to answer MPs questions on the hacking scandal. “I would assume having been arrested it’s now almost impossible for her to appear. It’s very difficult for MPs to ask her questions that wouldn’t be seen to be impinging on the police inves-

tigation,” Peston said. A spokesman for Mrs Brooks says the Met police notified her on Friday, after her resignation had been agreed, that she would be arrested. He also said her arrest would make her appearance at the committee “pretty tricky”. She had been offering to speak to police on voluntary basis since January, so she was “very surprised” to



learn she would be arrested, he added.

Egypt’s PM reshuffles cabinet amid protests


GYPTIAN Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has begun his promised cabinet reshuffle as protests continue to over the slow pace of political reform. Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Orabi has resigned while two new deputy prime ministers have been appointed. Among protesters’ de-

mands are for corrupt officials who served under President Hosni Mubarak to be tried. A general who went to Tahrir Square, the heart of the revolt that toppled Mr Mubarak, was booed by demonstrators. Under intense pressure from a new wave of protests, Mr Sharaf has embarked on what are expected to be sweeping changes to his gov-

ernment. Official media say up to 15 ministers are expected to be replaced in the reshuffle. It is being seen as a purge of those with links to Mr Mubarak, who was ousted in February. Mr Orabi, considered too close to the Mubarak regime, has resigned after less than a month in the foreign minister’s post.

He was going “to spare the prime minister any embarrassment during the current negotiations on the ministerial changes”, Egypt’s staterun Mena news agency quoted him as saying. Mr Sharaf, who heads a caretake administration and has limited powers under the military rulers, has appointed two new deputy prime ministers.

ORTH Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has handed over control of the central Afghan province of Bamiyan to local security forces. It is the first of seven areas to be passed to local forces under a plan announced by President Karzai in March. Bamiyan is one of the country’s most secure provinces but it is a poor region, heavily reliant on foreign aid. The handover is seen as a critical step in a transition of power before foreign troops end combat operations in 2014. Senior Afghan ministers and foreign ambassadors flew down from the capital, Kabul to take part in a transition ceremony that for security reasons was not announced in advance and was not broadcast live. The ceremony was held at Bamiyan’s police headquarters. The police will take responsibility for security in the province as there are no army units stationed there.





‘From what I seeing, I can’t see any of the banks being liquidated. The fear of liquidation, while it remains an option, is very unlikely’ VOL. 6, NO. 1,824



FTER some reflection and access to facts, the recent tiff over the delay of Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola to form a cabinet has reminded me about the human obsession with rituals. It has also unveiled how a chasm of communication between the government and the governed can generate needless hoopla. Ritual is an important part of life, and indeed life will be tragic without it. Lovers of literature, myth and the dramatic arts are enamoured of ritual and rites. Mystics, priests and a whole array of clerics see rituals as their breath of life. We wake up, worship, greet, kill, fight wars, and eat and procreate with adherence to rituals. It has become the human way of simplifying life, healing it of its horrors and even explaining away some of our many barbarities. We hide our evil behind it. When we kill, it is a prelude to a feast. As the poet Frederick Turner put it, “it is the beauty we have paid for with our shame.” Forming a cabinet, swearing them in, has become what we expect to happen in a government and indeed the constitution says it should. The Ogbeni has not formed his cabinet and some people are skewering him over that. Two sets of people are triggering the campaign. One, those who are genuinely interested in the progress of the state and governor, especially in the aftermath of the years of struggle to wrest a legitimate mandate from the party of lies and governor as tyrant who held sway for years. The other group is actually within the political circle of the governor himself who are angling for positions within the cabinet, and who believe the governor is dangling their carrots without letting them drop on their longsuffering and outstretched hands. I had to make personal enquiries and research over the matter. I discovered three things. One, the government is trying to save a lot of money. Two, the government has not done a good job of explaining this. Three, our people are placing more emphasis on appointment than performance. The government has, by constitution, to appoint a cabinet of commissioners to govern the state. The governor on mounting the seat discovered the shabby state of finances. One, it was paying a loan of about N600 million a month in a state whose total monthly revenue is less than N3 billion. The governor negotiated the loan down to N60 million a month. This should give a breather to finances under siege. In spite of this, the government still has to borrow about N200 million monthly to pay salaries in a pre18,000 minimum wage regime. Yet in spite of these, he employed 20,000


Congestion?...Come see KIRIKIRI!


IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) •Winner, Informed Commentary 2009 (D.A.M.E) •Columnist of the Year 2009 (NMMA)

In defence of Ogbeni ‘If Ogbeni Aregbesola appoints a cabinet today, they may be about 20 men and women. They would need salaries, houses, furniture allowances, and of course new cars. Once those are accomplished, they would have to employ personal staff. By the time all of that is done, the wage pressure would likely paralyse efforts to pursue grand objectives of governance’ •Aregbesola

youth in Osun State who had no jobs, and who were desperate for a source of sustenance of family and themselves. This issue has been submerged in the staccato of condemnation over the delay in appointing a cabinet. If Ogbeni Aregbesola appoints a cabinet today, they may be about 20 men and women. They would need salaries, houses, furniture allowances, and of course new cars. Once those are accomplished, they would have to employ personal staff. By the time all of that is done, the wage pressure would likely paralyse efforts to pursue grand objectives of governance. The critics are obsessed with employing about 20 people while underplaying 20,000 persons. These youths are not asking for

houses, new cars, travelling allowances, furniture, et al. They will not employ special assistants or other forms of aides. They will not seek imprest or other sundry perks and demands accruing to such positions legitimately. The youth underwent a series of training at a camp for weeks prior to their absorption into the state civil service. The appointment of youth is important. The nation today is being held hostage by youths on rampage. A significant healing has come to the Niger Delta after militancy. It came with the fertile idea from Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State. The idea of militancy was pooh-poohed then, but late President Umar Yar’Adua ran with the idea, and today the incidence of militancy has



HORTLY after he assumed power in 2007, President Goodluck Jonathan’s predecessor, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, enunciated a seven-point agenda for what he expected to be the transformation of Nigeria. The programme comprised the following: ‘Power and Energy 2. Food Security and Agriculture 3. Wealth Creation and Employment 4. Mass Transportation 5. Land Reform 6. Security 7. Qualitative and functional education. This programme was supported by what the late president described as ‘two special interest issues’ of, ‘Niger Delta, and Disadvantaged Groups.’ Since he spent most of the about three years in office battling a debilitating illness, he had little energy left to fulfil anything, let alone even one of the programmes or special interest issues. At the time, too, many commentators felt he was unnecessarily ambitious to hope he could fulfil the seven-point agenda in a four-year reign. It was probably Chief Obafemi Awolowo, founder and leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the Second Republic that made the succinct enunciation of party programmes popular with his tight, realistic and achievable Four Cardinal Programmes. Since then crystallising party or government agenda

Jonathan’s x-point agenda into crisp forms easily became a hit with public officers, especially those in power. It was, therefore, not surprising that a newspaper a few days ago seized upon President Jonathan’s speech during the swearing-in of the last batch of his cabinet appointees to report that the government had decided on a nine-point programme. It didn’t matter that the president wasn’t thinking along the line of an agenda in the Yar’Adua sense. The paper quoted the president as saying, “We are expected to stabilise power supply in the country, as a minimum pre-condition for strengthening national productivity. We are expected to generate employment for our unemployed youth; we are expected to revolutionise the agricultural sector and ensure food security for the people; we are expected to sanitise the oil and gas sector; the people also want good roads, a more qualitative public school system, as well as more efficient


mitigated, although the implementation still falls short of the Sylva-inspired blueprint. Now, we have Boko Haram, and the young men are holding an errant state to account for years of negligence. The ways of God are being translated into the ritual of violence, triggering supine apologies from men of power. It is youth gone awry. The youth went awry in answer to wayward elite. “Youth is the time for any extraordinary toil,” noted the Greek philosopher. What we have lost is youth in active service for the people. The irony though is that those institutionalised to serve, a la NYSC, have been quarries of youths who define service subversively. Those who maim, desecrate the bomb and bring down magisterial buildings, send terrors to the high and mighty. With Boko Haram the high and mighty live in fear and trembling. Youth has become the nemesis of the ruling class. It is a revenge of history, a history of official neglect. Rather than employ and educate them, former Governor Modu Sherriff Musa ignored and pauperised them. When the media skewered him, he scoffed that his people could not read. It is that ignorance that has come to haunt him. He is now apologising to them in English that he deprived them the opportunity to learn. Ogbeni is averting this. He even organised a summit on education in keeping with his pledge to abide by the Awo vision. We shall see how he translates the ideas. He also came up with Jigi Omoluabi, a free eye care service to the people. About 18,562 people who had a variety of eye afflictions benefitted from this programme. He has done some work in the area of the environment with inspection bodies already at work and N187.5 million released to clear drainages in parts of the state. While the ritual of government is important, we should not mistake it for the purpose of government. Government exists for the provision of the goods, to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and make way for them to realise their individual powers and happiness. He will appoint his cabinet as he says. I don’t know, though, how much he wants to save before he can do that. The law does not give a time limit to appoint cabinet. So, he has not erred. Rather he has used his sagacity to turn time into money, and that is the sort of creative gusto we want of our leaders. But he ought to communicate this. It was my concern that made me to come to this understanding. Governance is not only about doing well but being seen to be doing well. However, we should not levitate ritual over substance, appointment over performance.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above public health and transportation systems, and so on. These expectations cut across all sectors. Most importantly, we are expected to protect life and property, and guarantee the welfare and happiness of all Nigerians. We cannot afford to disappoint the people.” But during a presidential retreat for ministers, advisers and permanent secretaries in Abuja, Jonathan strongly refuted the report of any nine-point programme. As he put it, almost sarcastically, “I never mentioned any agenda point. We have never promised any number of point. We promised good governance, not point.” That supposedly settles the issue of point programme. He will not be held down to anything anyone could do a checklist on. He has spoken on many issues, and for all he cares, they were not even exhaustive. By refusing to be tied down, he smartly allows himself latitude his predecessor did not give himself. By refusing to be boxed into a corner, while at the same time promising all there is to promise, Jonathan would be in a position at the end of his tenure to declare victory, even when we see defeat, and walk away from the smoke and ruins of failure, if it came to that. Such is the beauty of ambivalence.

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The Nation July 18 2011  

The Nation July 18 2011