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VOL. 05, N0. 1781

SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2011

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Ikuforiji re-elected Lagos Speaker –P

Seventh Senate: Senators to watch

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Nigeria’s truly national newspaper

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

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Reps Speaker: Presidency mounts pressure on Obasanjo’s man to quit VP in secret talks with PDP nominee, Mulikat

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News How I heard of my mother’s death - Kudirat Abiola’s son

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Glamour

• Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji (middle) at his swearing in at the Assembly complex, yesterday

Bankole: EFCC deploys operatives in Lagos, Abeokuta

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PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

I like taking big risks – Opa Williams, creator, Nite of a Thousand Laughs 9&

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Column

The rising mass of Anyim Pius Anyim G

OD bless the pyramid of a man called Anyim Pius Anyim. Famously dismissed by a rival politician as a mass of protoplasm, the Ebonyi politician has risen once again with his massive heft to the pinnacle of political glory. The insult itself must rank as one of the most savage dismissals in modern Nigeria political history. But as it was the case with his first coming, Anyim has triumphed again against all odds. There must be more to this fellow than sheer mass. The art or genre of political insults is as old as the profession itself. It has its all-time masters and magic maestros. Most politicians enjoy verbal cruelty when and where the real thing is not immediately available. When distilled into the diary form by the politician who is also a writer of genius, it is a movable literary feast, riveting and rousing with icy wit and imaginative sadism; crackling with pungent humour and surly diatribes. Recall the diary of the late Alan Clarke which set political London ablaze sometime ago. So it is that Winston Churchill once infamously dismissed Ghandi as a “half naked fakir”. A rival politician once likened William Hague to a foetus. Lord Dennis Healy, the old bruiser himself, once dismissed the vicious dismissal of a rival as akin to being savaged by a dead sheep. And when he was informed that a rival politico was his own worst enemy,

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•Anyim

a famous British politician reportedly exploded. “No, he aint! Not while I am alive!” Ten years ago in 2001, in a senate teeming with Igbo barracudas doing each other to death, it was a

callow and inexperienced Anyim that emerged from nowhere to trump betterfancied and better-connected opponents. By then, the fear and collective selfloathing so emblematic of the post-civil war Igbo political elite, particularly where group interests are concerned, had already consumed the likes of Evan[s] Enwerem, the wily and durable warhorse, and of course Chuba Okadigbo, the bright but feckless political gladiator. A decade after in 2011, with the tribe astir with the same Gadarene frenzy and collective self-subversion, Anyim has emerged once again to clinch the principal post for the Igbo elite. Although technically a demotion when compared to the exalted number three slot, this is still one of the most powerful political posts in the land. The decade in the purgatory of denied preferment ought to have prepared Anyim for this historic moment. He has nothing to fear but the fear of his own fellow Igbo elite. Like the famous masquerade in Things Fall Apart, Evil Forest is at home in the evil forest. As a people trying to regain their lost glory and relevance in the

Okon is remanded

S the date for the celebrated trial of Okon for bigamy drew nearer, the house has been a beehive of activities with wellwishers and sympathisers coming and going. Some notable lawyers have shown up waiving their hefty consultation fees as a gesture of respect and solidarity with the embattled boy. The entire house had been converted into an Efik sanatorium milling with small creek crooks, drunken hell-raisers and other miserable specimens of humanity. Snooper had been wondering why all the fuss about the crazy lad, as if he would be the first person facing the prospects of some spell in prison for amorous misconduct. But the immoral adulation seemed to have gone into the boy’s head. At a point, the mad boy even had the temerity to ask snooper to excuse them in view of the delicate nature of the discussion. “Not on your shameless life!” snooper screamed as he was about to be evicted from his own house. One became convinced that a spell behind bar would not be bad thing for Okon, at least this would allow for snooper to reorganise and get on with life. The most entertaining but infuriating visitor to the house was Baba Lekki. He would arrive every morning carrying a basket of law books on his bald head and swigging directly from a bottle of illicit gin. Having fortified himself, he would proceed to lecture his captive audience on why bigamy was non-justiciable in an amphibious and bigamous country like Nigeria.”If you live on land and in

water at the same time, bigamy is impossible to prove”. You could see that he had been refining even this position when one morning, Baba Lekki finally dropped his legal bombshell. “Coming to think of it, the charge of bigamy cannot be sustained against you on grounds of spirituality and nationality’, the old criminal exploded. “Baba, how dat one come be now? You don come with dem jaguda grammar again?”, an anxious but cynical Okon snorted. “You see, you cannot charge a spirit with bigamy. As you are Ebora Calabar, the charge is null and void. Secondly, since your grandfathers were from Bakassi, Nigerian laws do not apply to you since you are not a Nigerian”, Baba Lekki proferred. “Baba how dat one go be now as I don contest for president?” Okon asked half-whispering. “How many of the other presidential candidates are Nigerians?” Baba Lekki snapped. On judgement day, the house was invaded at dawn by all sorts of ruffians, riff-raff and ragamuffins on the margins of society. They began chanting solidarity songs from the June 12 struggle, daring anybody who cared to listen to send Okon to jail. When the mad boy suddenly appeared dressed like an Efik chieftain, the crowd went completely gaga. They seized Okon and began carrying him shoulder-high towards the court. Could this be the commencement of the Nigerian revolution, snooper wondered. The entire route was lined

with well-wishers singing Okon’s praise and asking the god of retribution to deal with his tormentors. The adulation soon led to a fatal dose of delinquent confidence. As soon as the mad boy entered the court room, he sighted a familiar light-skinned policeman on duty .The cop bore a comical resemblance to a recently deposed governor. “Ah yellow, you still dey force? I think say dem Sunami don reach una like your tolotolo brother for Agodi. But no forget say you owe me small change from last time ooo”, Okon snorted as the hitherto serene courtroom exploded in laughter. The cop completely ignored Okon. But while they were still trying to restore order, Okon’s eyes lighted on the aging president of the court and his geriatric assistants. One of them was dozing away while the other was battling kola nuts with missing incisors. “Chei, na dis Old Peoples Home dem dey call b-gamey court for Yorubaland?” Okon sneered. “Who is this fellow?” the old president scowled with impatience and indignation. “Sir, he is here for bigamy?” the court clerk replied. “ And what is brigamy?” the dozing old man asked. The president, a no-nonsense former boxing champion and lay preacher, ignored his colleague and faced down Okon. “Youngman, what is your name?” the old man demanded from Okon. “I be man, but I no be Young. I be Etubom Okon Anthony Okon”, Okon retorted.

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nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu coliseum of prized fighters that is the Nigerian post-colonial state, the Igbo nation may yet have Goodluck Jonathan to thank for the integrity and compassion he has shown by appointing Anyim. Many of the names being bandied about could not have passed muster in the delicate geo-political configuration that is emerging in the Fourth Republic. One or two of them are celebrated political scavengers and carrion-feeding hyenas who could not have cared about group interests as long as their private interests are satisfied. With his bulk and embonpoint, snooper fancies Anyim as a heavyweight boxer. But it is not always that heavyweight boxers punch heavily. The weight sometimes gets in the way of the big bang which crushes and ends all contention. After demolishing many heavyweight opponents thrice his size, the crazy Mike Tyson was caught sneering: “I like to make big men cry”. That was before the loony one took to clinching and ear-chewing as a survival kit in the ring. Let us hope that smaller men will not make Anyim cry. After learning of Anyim’s elevation, a female acquaintance called up snooper early in the morning and noted snootily that given Anyim’s sheer mass, Jonathan’s transformational war-cry was dead on arrival. But given the fact that snooper himself does not weigh in as a featherweight, this may just be an oblique way of settling old scores. A heavyweight must never punch below his weight. Snooper will like to share a visual allegory with Anyim. Fortuitously, it is from his catchment area. Readers familiar with Okigwe in the early seventies must remember a feisty and dryly witty man known as Barry Nwokenta who taught science at Boys High School, Ihube, Okigwe. The name Nwokenta translates roughly as a small person. Whenever any impossible request was made of him, the great man, with a disobliging frown, would retort that his name was Nwokenta and not Nwokuku. Nwokuku translates roughly as a big person. The lesson is that a small person must not aspire to become a big person and a big person must not conspire to reduce himself to a small person. From Ihube, if you travelled further down the road and turn right into a valley, there was a single-seat bar in a small wooden hut. This native pub was known as Agana- adoga bar. Aganaadoga in Igbo language translates roughly as the struggle continues or we must continue to strive. Uphill from this bar was a place known as German Hill. If you continue with your journey on this road towards AÂara junction on the route to Owerri, there was a short cut to Umuahia known as Okpara Road. This unpaved road was the proverbial route to hell. Shortly after the civil war, the entire road was filled with so many unexploded bombs and man-eating mines that only the bravest of the brave could dare traverse it. It was not that the other pot-hole filled road was any better as intrepid drivers often squared

up to each other in a test of will and suicidal daring until somebody lost his nerves. But if you travel in the other direction from Ihube, you would soon reach the unpaved road to Isuochi and on to Mbala and Ngodo, the homestead of the Chukwumerijes and the Madubuikes. Across on the other side, you would soon get to Uturu junction. Directly opposite was the road to Isu-ikwuato and Ovim, the land of famed Igbo warriors such as General Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu and Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu. Without this detour, the road led to Afikpo from where you could make a detour to Ohafia. On the other hand, if you stay the original course from Ihube, between Okigwe and Awgu, there is a bush path through what was a no man’s land to your right. After a two hour drive through pristine forest and uncharted jungle, you would get to Ishiagwu and Ohaozara where Anyim hails from. This is the land of rice and sturdy women-farmers. The yams here are even bigger than Anyim. Snooper should know, having once led some NYSC rebels and reprobates on a bridge-building community project in the place. It was a hardship posting for some earlier collision and the equivalent of leading the dirty dozen. Anyim should take this annotated and illustrated travel guide as a political road map, a survival kit and native insurance. The lessons should be taken to heart. From the Agana-adoga bar, he should learn that life is permanent struggle. He should avoid shortcuts and the Okpara Road which is filled with unexploded bombs and land mines. He should avoid German Hill and the old route to Isuochi. A vibrant Igbo nationalism should not be synonymous with malignant xenophobia. Finally, while avoiding the small-minded and their antics, Anyim should learn from his people of Ishiagwu that no yam tuber is ever too big for the yam mortar. All of this, it must be stressed, is not from any nobility of heart or some high-minded altruism. The Nigerian post-colonial state is a brutal boxing ring which has no time for beautiful brides and feeble protestations. It is teeming with Androcles. But enlightened self-interest dictates that if the battle for genuine federalism and humane restructuring of this afflicted nation is to be truly joined, the Igbo elite must be helped to recover their old plunk and punk as an integral part of that redemptive and recuperative process. Paradise cannot be surrounded by hell and you cannot advance by holding others down. This is the new frontline and the new order of battle. By his inspired elevation of Anyim, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan may yet prove to be more than just an honorary Igbo. Mass may yet be equal to substance. Let Anyim prove that he is not another King Farouk of Egypt who was famously dismissed as a man of enormous weight but little substance.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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How I heard of your Have my mother’ssay death -- Kudirat Abiola’s son T HE sixth child of the late Mrs. Abiola, Abdul Mumuni Abiola, an accountant and a member of staff of NNPC, at a press briefing in Lagos during the week recounted some memories of his mother and the events that played out on the day of her assassination. The press briefing heralded the launch of a website which showcases the life, times and relationships of the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O.Abiola. The website, spurred by the need to connect with the Nigerian public as well as the international community, is the brain child of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), a nongovernmental organization. On the day his mother died, Abdul just might have had a premonition of her death. He narrated: “On the morning of my mum’s death, I told her that I didn’t want to go to school. I let her know that I wanted to stay with her but she refused and dressed me up then sent me off. I was crying as I was leaving the house. At 3 o’clock, I was waiting to be picked up as usual and there was nobody there to pick me up and that had never happened before “At about 3.30pm, I saw

By Rita Ohai

my step-mum come pick me with a taxi. I was surprised at two things; first, it was my step-mum who came to pick me and next was the fact that she brought a taxi. She started rushing me into the car and then we went to her house where she gave me a white cloth to wear. I actually thought there was a party going on since my parents were always holding parties. “As we drove back home, we saw people chanting ‘we no o gree!’. I really didn’t know what was going on until my aunty walked into the room where my younger brother and I were playing computer games and broke the news to us. I thought it was a joke and when I looked outside I saw people carrying something that looked like a coffin.” He added, “Even though I saw her body going into the ground I never felt her absence. Growing up, I remember thinking she was going to pop out of somewhere and say ‘Hey, I’m back’. “My mum was always all over the place but no matter how busy she was she always insisted that I take school seriously. One of the things I remember is that even though she had everything she wanted, she

Have your say The view that the current four-year tenure for elected officials should be changed to a single term of 6 years for effective performance has been advanced by some politicians. What is your opinion? — Send SMS with full name and location before Wednesday to 08074473182 Responses to previous week’s question are on pages 48 & 52

•L-R: Mrs Opeyemi Akindele, Vice Chairman, Mosan Okunola LCDA, Alimosho, Abdul-Mumini Abiola, son of the late Kudirat Abiola, Amy Oyekunle, Executive Director of KIND, and Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Campaign for Democracy (CD).

always pushed me to be better and took time out to check my report cards,” he said. The flag-off of the website, celebrate kudiratabiola.info, coincides with the 15th anniversary of the death of Alhaja Abiola who was a vibrant pro-democracy activist during the military era. Amy Oyekunle, the Executive Director of KIND stated that the organization

which has trained over 4000 women in leadership skills has moved from being a pro-democracy group to being one that actively works to ensure that Nigeria’s democracy is strengthened. She said, “We are launching the website to immortalize the life and sacrifice of the late Kudirat Abiola. The site is to reenforce the essence that she and many other women

“As we drove back home, we saw people chanting ‘we no o gree!’. I really didn’t know what was going on until my aunty walked into the room where my younger brother and I were playing computer games and broke the news to us. I thought it was a joke and when I looked outside I saw people carrying something that looked like a coffin.”

before and after her have gone through. It is also important for the young generation of girls and boys to know that change does not just happen but that we collectively make it happen” Oyekunle said the internet site provides testimonials and comments from those who knew and were influenced by Kudirat. According to her, the site will also be an interactive platform giving people the opportunity to raise important issues about the late activist. Most of the ideals and principles that Kudirat lived by were passed on to not just her children but to other members of society like Dr. Joe Okeh Odumakin who spoke passionately on her relationship with the late activist and Mrs. Akindele, Vice-Chairman of Mosan/

Okunola Local Government who spoke on the benefits of being a member of KIND. To mark the 60th posthumous birthday anniversary of Mrs. Abiola, KIND is set to organize a fund raising event for the construction of a Women Development Centre in Abuja. The building is to serve as a conference centre and lodge. It will also feature a museum dedicated to showcasing women who through their lives have exemplified the spirit of selfless service. Kudirat Abiola was married to Chief Moshood Abiola who was incarcerated after he won the June 12, 1993 election. She was drawn into the pro-democracy movement after his election was annulled. On June 4, 1996, she was assassinated by unknown gunmen.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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AST-minute battle to choose a new Speaker for the House of Representatives has intensified with pressure on Muraina Ajibola from the presidency to accept the choice of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mrs. Mulikat Adeola-Akande. In line with the push by the presidency, it was learnt that some party leaders and top shots in government have been holding talks with Ajibola to give Mulikat a chance. A reliable source said: “There is pressure on Ajibola from the presidency to accept the choice of the party. “But if he does not, the PDP will damn the consequence and he will end up being the loser.” Ajibola, believed to be a candidate of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who returned to Abuja yesterday from a sudden shuttle to Lagos, was sighted registering for the inauguration at the National Assembly Complex. It could not be immediately ascertained whether he will bow to pressure from the presidency or not. However, Ajibola was yesterday absent from the retreat organised by the leadership of the PDP for all its elected members. The twoday retreat was turned into a major campaign ground by Mulikat Adeola-Akande and Yakubu Dogara who are vying for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively. By the zoning arrangement, the South West and North East respectively would produce the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House when inaugurated tomorrow. Vice-President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, on Friday night held a meeting with the female aspirant for the office, Mrs. Mulikat Adeola-Akande and insisted that there was no going back on her choice. There were indications last night that Sambo has succeeded in breaking the ranks of Reps-elect from the

News

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Rep Speaker: Pressure mounts on Obasanjo’s man to quit From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Sanni Ologun, Abuja, Kolade Adeyemi, Kano and John Austin Unachukwu

North-West to checkmate Aminu Tambuwal from the zone who has defied the zoning formula of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to vie for Speakership. But opposition parties yesterday summoned an emergency meeting to finalize their position on the new Speaker. The opposition is keen on Tambuwal but the PDP is trying to reach out to their Reps-elect individually. Lawyers have backed Aminu Waziri Tambuwal for the position of Speaker of House of Representatives.They said leadership of the house should not be based on ethnic sentiments but on intellectual ability and timetested leadership qualities. According to them, the logjam over the choice of Speaker was unwarranted. Investigation by THE NATION revealed that the Vice-President interacted with Mulikat on Friday night to review her campaign strategy, the support of the Presidency and how the ranks of the North-West have been broken. A highly-placed source said: “The VP reassured Mulikat that she remains the official candidate of the party. He also assured her that the government will do its best to support her emergence as the Speaker in line with Affirmative Action. “The truth is that the VP has wielded enormous influence to break the ranks of Reps-elect in the NorthWest. For instance, the Reps-elect from Kaduna , Kano , Sokoto, Kebbi have decided to vote overwhelm-

• VP in secret talks with PDP nominee, Mulikat ingly for Mulikat. “As it is now, there is no way the VP will not deliver the North-West to Mulikat. In fact, another strong voice in the zone is Hon. Farouk Lawan, who is said to have teamed up with Mulikat. On the struggle so far, the presidency source added: “From the stock-taking so far, the presidency has secured the backing of the South-South, NorthEast, North-Central (except Nasarawa), a greater part of the South-East and NorthWest for Mulikat. “The only challenge is

the South-West and a few states in the North-West and the South-East like Katsina, Anambra, Imo, and Zamfara. But the votes will be split.” The Chairman of the South-South Parliamentary Caucus in the outgoing House, Mr. Andrew Uchendu, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Reps-elect from the SouthSouth met on Friday night and we have endorsed Mulikat fully because she has the mien, humility and the exposure to occupy the office.”

• Ajibola Muraina

Meanwhile, some opposition parties were expected to meet last night to take a ‘final position’ on the choice of a new Speaker. As the seventh National Assembly convenes on Monday, a member-elect of the House of Representatives, representing Fagge Federal Constituency of Kano State, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, has declared that he and his colleagues would resist any attempt to impose a speaker on the House. Speaking in an exclusive interview with this re-

porter in Kano yesterday, Suleiman confirmed that his colleagues are ganging up to reject any person the PDP and the Presidency is proposing to be the next speaker of the House. A member of the opposition said: “We do not want the PDP to foist a Speaker on the 7th House of Representatives. We believe that we have a voting strength to make the right choice for the House. “With the cracks in PDP, do not underrate the opposition. We have had discussions with Tambuwal and we believe he is the right choice for the office of the Speaker.”

• Mulikat Abiola

Bankole: EFCC deploys operatives in Lagos, Abeokuta

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HE Economic and Financial Crimes C o m m i s s i o n yesterday deployed its operatives in Lagos and Abeokuta as part of the ongoing investigation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole. It was gathered that the operatives are on a “factfinding” mission. But the anti-graft commission and Bankole are still locked in a hideand-seek game over the actual time the Speaker will appear for interrogation on Monday. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the deployment of the operatives followed allegations in some documents made available to the commission by some petitioners which ought to

FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

be clarified. It was learnt that the fact-sheet has to do with the ownership of certain assets indicated in some of the petitions. A top source in the commission said: “The EFCC chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, approved the deployment of the operatives to go and verify some assets allegedly linked to the Speaker. “Since Bankole is coming for interrogation on Monday, equity demands that we conduct discreet investigation into these assets and ascertain the truth or otherwise in the petitions and documents available. “Sometimes, issues raised in petitions against

some suspects might not be true. But we cannot just assume that the allegations are false. “One of the assets is the controversial sale of the NET building for N4billion allegedly bought by Chief Alani Bankole, the father of the Speaker. “The Speaker’s family and the firm that sold the building have spoken that the Speaker had nothing to do with the sale of the building. “Once we establish that it was not bought with any slush funds, it may not be an allegation that the Speaker will respond to.” A reliable source in the commission said: “We wanted him to be around by 9am on Monday but he chose noon . Again his Chief Press Secretary talked of 2pm .

“Yet the shift of his appearance to 2pm has not been officially communicated to us. But we believe he ought to keep to our agreement with him on the time.” Contacted, the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said: “The investigation of the Speaker is on course, I cannot give further details.” A group, Youth AntiCorruption League had about two weeks ago staged a protest to the EFCC demanding Bankole’s probe. The League submitted a one-page petition to the EFCC through its President, Jumoke Iliyasu. The petition said: “We are aware that your commission has received several petitions against

the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, about the N2.3billion car scam arising from the purchase of 407 Peugeot cars for the House sometimes in 2008. “We are further aware that certain members of the ‘Progressive’ group of legislators submitted a petition against the same Speaker on the abuse of due process and corrupt practices associated with the N9bilion capital budget of the House of Representatives for 2008/ 2009 sessions. “To the best of our knowledge, no visible action has been taken against him upon any of the petitions. “Only recently, allegations that the Hon. Speaker approved a loan of about N10billion for the

House without any resolution of the House supporting the said loan. “Consequently, it is public knowledge that the Honourable members have not received their due remunerations due to the inability of the House to pay its members following the impoundment of their statutory allocation by the United Bank of Africa (UBA). “We are therefore calling upon the EFCC to enforce the anti-corruption policy of this government by arresting and prosecuting Hon. Dimeji Bankole. He must be made to account for his excesses and EFCC must not allow the Nigerian people to believe that certain category of Nigerians are above the law. EFCC must act now.”


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

News

David Mark (Benue South): This is one man that can be aptly described as a master of the game on the political chessboard. Having been in the Senate since 1999, the ex-Army Signals General has perfected the art of blending military strategy with political legerdemain in a way that has continued to baffle his peers and contemporaries within and outside the political setting. Since he started his political career, he has never been caught on the wrong side of the power game. An establishment man to the marrow, Mark was perceived to have played a vital role in seeing the back of at least two former Presidents of the Senate before the expiration of their tenures in the Fourth and the Fifth Senate. When the President of the Fourth Senate, the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo stepped on the proverbial banana peel through irregular contract awards, Mark and a few others ensured that Okadigbo learnt the right lessons. With some nibbling by the then Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency, Okadigbo was lowered from his exalted seat to the popular side in the chamber. Then came Adolphus Wabara who displayed less discretion in his dealings while presiding over the Senate. In the process of chasing after what many described as peanuts, he slipped, staggered and fell flat on his face. Again, Mark was believed to have known one or two things about the big fall. And when the position of the President of the Senate was allotted to his North Central geo-political zone in 2007, he emerged the winner through effectively coordinated political moves that saw his opponents kissing the dust. Having successfully piloted the affairs of the Sixth Senate from start to finish without a hitch, he is waiting in the wings to be crowned President of the Seventh Senate tomorrow. In the last four years, the 63-year old Idoma born politician has presided over the Senate with a great deal of maturity and native wisdom. His efficiency in handling plenary sessions was legendary. He always took his time to listen to contributions by his colleagues with rapt attention and would not cut a colleague short even when the fellow was not making sense. When it was time for him to rule the person out of order, he always did it so nicely, usually with a friendly smile. Mark, as the clichĂŠ goes, has a unique way of telling a person to go to hell and the fellow will be looking forward to the trip. He is a man to watch in the seventh Senate. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West): He is warming up for a third term in the Senate as Deputy President of the Senate, a position he occupied in the sixth session. He can safely be credited with the successful amendment to the Constitution and the Electoral Act, a project that had been bungled by the National Assembly since 1999. His background as a brilliant lawyer and his level headedness has combined to give him a great deal of respect among his colleagues. A man of calm disposition, Ekweremadu has a way of making his presentations in a way that infiltrates the thinking of his colleagues to a point of winning them over even when they seem to disagree with his point of view. The youthful legislator was able to steer the process of constitution amendment to a logical conclusion with the required maturity. Though the end product of the amendment

Seventh Senate: The Senators to watch The Senate is to be inaugurated tomorrow with a blend of new and returning members. Assistant Editors, GBADE OGUNWALE and REMI OYELOWO report on a few of them who are expected to make impact in their own various ways.

may not be perfect, there is enough room for improvement along the line. Interestingly, his reelection, nay his political future was almost sacrificed some months ago during the bitter struggle for the soul of Enugu State politics between the state governor, Mr Sullivan Chime and the then National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo. Ironically also, is the fact that while the man who brought Ekweremadu into political limelight, exGovernor Chimaroke Nnamani may be heading into political oblivion following his defeat in the last National Assembly elections, Ekweremadu’s retention of his seat as the Deputy Senate President is almost 100 per cent guaranteed as several factors are working in his favour: First, he is in the good books of the PDP leadership; second, he did quite well in the few times he presided over the Senate plenary sessions in the absence of the president; third, he has a cordial relationship with many of the returning senators and last, the zoning policy of his party. Without doubt, Ike Ekweremadu would remain an influential voice in the new senate. Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West): He is an exponent of legislative militancy who plunges headlong into any issue he feels strongly about. At the close of the last Senate session, he emerged as the senator with the highest record of attendance. As a matter of fact, he missed plenary sessions only four times in four years. Even at that, he was not satisfied with his commendable minus four attendance record where some of his c o l l e a g u e s recorded over 200 days absenteeism. When the Senate closed down on Thursday, he was still sulking for missing the 100 percent mark. Explaining how he missed the four sittings, he told our correspondent that he was unavoidably absent only on two occasions when he accompanied President Goodluck Jonathan to Niger State on electioneering campaign and on another occasion when he went to the INEC to collect his certificate of return. He explained that on the other two occasions, he missed his flights from Lagos and even at that, he came in just when the sittings were being adjourned. He came late. If legislators should be given the deserved credit for the successful passage of the Freedom of Information bill, Adeyemi should be one of the first on the list. He was one of the people that drafted the bill, in collaboration with the Media Rights Agenda, a media advocacy group, long before he was elected to the Senate. Incidentally, a few years after, he found himself among the lawmakers that worked on the bill and processed it to a logical conclusion. In one of the sessions where the bill was being debated, he struggled to push for a wider coverage for the bill on the floor of the Senate. And when the majority drowned his lone voice, he kept mumbling that the bill did not meet expectations in terms of contents and context. When it comes to pursuing the interest of his Kogi West district, the Kabba born lawmaker would not hesitate to head butt

(figuratively speaking) anyone standing in his way. On a few occasions, his unwavering agitation had pitched him against some vested political interests in his native Kogi State. As a matter of fact, these aggrieved forces almost robbed him of the party nomination ticket to return to the Senate in the last election. But like the proverbial cat with nine lives, he was able to combine some deft political moves with his trademark head butting to clinch the ticket. Can Adeyemi break his own record in the next Senate? Only time will tell. George Akume ( Benue Northwest): This second term senator has proven beyond doubt that he is a dogged long range fighter, an untiring one for that matter. A g r a s s r o o t s politician to the core, Akume it was who contested the Senate Presidency with Mark as a first time lawmaker in 2007 but the formidable forces behind Mark effectively blocked him. This may have been responsible for his perceived l u k e w a r m approach to his legislative duties in the last Senate. The battle of wits between him and Mark apparently snowballed into what can be described as a cat and mouse game between him and Mark. Incidentally, the two political foes are from Benue State where they dug the battle trenches. And before anyone could say Joseph Tarkar, the war had assumed a complex dimension with ammunitions supplied by Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam. It got to a climax where the forces edged the former Governor out of the ruling PDP forcing him to pitch his tent with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which eventually gave him a ticket to retain his seat in the Senate. If the feelers from the ACN caucus are anything to go by, Akume may head the ACN caucus in the Senate. The party has the highest number of senators besides the ruling PDP. Should he become the Minority Leader, it will be a difficult task predicting the nature and form of the battle ahead. Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central): The former Governor elected on the platform of the ruling PDP may prove a very hard nut to crack. Already, he is believed to be nursing some hard feelings over the recent amendment to the Senate standing rule on ranking, an exercise that has barred him and other first time senators from aspiring to any of the available


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

leadership positions in the upper legislative chamber. He was initially counted as one of the aspirants to the Senate Presidency until he threw in the towel at the last minute. He cited the zoning arrangement by the PDP, which allotted the slot to the North Central zone and the ranking order as the obstacles that were deliberately thrown his way. For a first time senator to aspire to head the Senate there is no doubt that Goje is very ambitious. Which politician isn’t anyway? Only time will tell how he goes about managing this feeling of conspiracy against him, having it at the back of his mind that the levers were deliberately skewed against him. Chris Ngige (Anambra Central): This political combatant with ‘no retreat no surrender’ approach to politics may present a formidable force in the incoming Senate. Vocal, bold and incisive, the former Anambra State Governor has fought and won many political battles. His estranged political godfather, Chris Uba and former Information Minister, Professor Dora Akunyili can tell the story better. While he was able to fight Uba to a standstill, he rubbed Akunyili’s nose in the mud during the last elections where he taught the latter the fundamentals of politics I-0-1. The two nambra politicians will not forget him in a hurry. His major asset is his g r a s s r o o t s orientation and his performances in the short period he mounted the saddle at the Anambra Government House. Loved and highly appreciated by his people, Ngige is no doubt one of the most popular politicians in Anambra today. Wherever he goes, his people go with him. This man of the people will be one of the lawmakers that will shape the direction of events in the Senate, especially coming from the opposition ACN. Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central): The immediate past Governor of Kwara State is coming to the Senate for the first time. He presents a different kettle of fish. A highly unpredictable survivalist, Saraki is versed in the art of political pacifism. He is highly flexible and has the habit of making dramatic summersaults when the chips are down. Always eager to be on the winning side, he may not spring any surprises but can constitute a wet blanket at very critical moments. He knows when to fight and when to back out; just as he is ardent in playing the bird in daytime and the bat at night. His half-fish-halfcrab approach to politics stands him out as a willing candidate for any struggle of the conservative type. Bukola Saraki is easily persuaded to abandon a political battle so far the opponent is not Olusola or Gbemisola Saraki. In the last governorship election in his home state, he surprised bookmakers when he banished his father and younger sister to the cold crevices of political oblivion. It would take a miracle for father and daughter to recover from the devastating blow dealt them by one of their own. When it comes to intrigues, he is a man to

News watch. Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central): A freshman with brilliant ideas, the ever restless journalist turned politician started making radical proclamations even before the elections. A fighter and rights activists, he is full of promises and many are waiting to see how he will draw from his history of activism to make the difference. Ojudu would probably have found a soul mate in Sule Yari Gandi, the youthful senator from Sokoto who unfortunately died in the ADC plane crash a few years ago. Gandi who was of the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was a rationally aggressive lawmaker with the right instincts. Judging by his background and orientation, Ojudu, coming in on the platform of the opposition ACN may bring back to the floor of the senate memories of Gandi. Victor Ndoma-Egba Victor Ndoma-Egba is returning to the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly for the third time with a rich political and legislative experience garnered in the last eight years. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ndoma-Egba was a Principal Officer in the Sixth Senate as the Deputy Senate Leader. A respected figure among his colleagues, the Cross River State-born lawmaker’s intellect and informed contributions to national issues has not gone unnoticed in the last four years. He would surely play more of such roles in the new dispensation. And if the new Senate rules, which forbid new members from contesting as principal officers is strictly applied to the letter, there are strong speculations that Ndoma-Egba may emerge as the new Senate Leader to succeed Senator Teslim Folarin, who failed to secure a return ticket of his party. Mrs. Remi Tinubu She made indelible marks as erstwhile First Lady of Lagos State through her numerous charity projects. Even before her tenure as First Lady she had proven herself to be a f o r m i d a b l e political force giving invaluable support to her e m b a t t l e d husband during the activism era of N A D E C O struggles against the torment unleashed by the late Gen. Sani Abacha. Emerging as a consummate g r a s s r o o t s politician during her campaign for the Senate seat, she is poised to be a voice that cannot be ignored in the hallowed chambers. Kabiru Gaya A former Governor of Kano State in the Third Republic, Kabiru Gaya became a Senator in 2007 and was also elected by his colleagues as the Deputy Minority Whip. Having had his mandate re-affirmed by his constituents in spite of the PDP hurricane that swept across the Kano political landscape in the last general elections, Gaya, a member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) would be a major force to reckon with in the new dispensation. Zainab Kure From Niger State in the North Central zone, Senator Zainab Kure is coming to the Senate for the second time. Still relatively new in politics, the former First Lady of Niger State is fast learning the ropes, much to the surprise of her critics. Quite active in the last Senate, Kure’s rising political profile has been further confirmed with her role as the North Central coordinator for the re-election of David Mark as the Senate President. She is one woman to watch out for in the current dispensation.

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Chris Anyanwu She is another Amazon with a bright political future. Anyanwu won her reelection in spite of the heavy odds stacked against her. Denied of the PDP ticket (on which she was elected in 2007), Anyanwu moved to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), got the party’s ticket, and subsequently trounced the PDP’s candidate, Dr Kema Chikwe at the polls. An articulate woman with an enviable professional background in broadcasting, Anyanwu seems poised to play a vital role in her second stint. Nkechi Nwogu Not a bench warmer in the last Senate, Mrs Nkechi Nwogu’s voice would become more vocal in the new dispensation. Elected from Imo State, she headed the Senate Committee on Banking and likely to be moved to another A-list committee in the new era. Uche Chukwumerije He defeated ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State at the last National Assembly elections, thus securing a second mandate in the Senate. At the early period of his stint in the Senate, he was quite vocal but seems to have mellowed in the last couple of months. This notwithstanding, the Abia State-born politician would remain an influential figure in the new Senate. Ayogu Eze He was very visible in the last dispensation being the Senate spokesperson. From Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze is a staunch ally of Senator David Mark. He is expected to be more active in the new Senate. Hayatu Bello Gwarzo From Kano State, the physically challenged Hayatu Bello Gwarzo shares the same enviable record with David Mark as the only two senators to have been elected from 1999 till date. Hardly heard in the Senate, he is, however, a political asset from his state and quite revered by his colleagues. Bukar Abba Ibrahim He served as Yobe State governor from 1999 to 2007 and in the same year elected as a Senator after the expiration of his tenure as governor. He is back again as a re-elected Senator and chances are that he would be a major rallying force (with Senator Kabiru Gaya) for Senators elected on the platform of ANPP and the other opposition parties. However, some new first term Senators are expected to give a good account of themselves. These are Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau State, Abdul Ningi, Ita Enang, Mohammed Ali Ndume and Dr. Datti Ahmed, who are former members of the House of Representatives, while the new female senators to watch out for include Hajia Aisha Alhassan (Taraba State), and Mrs Nenadi Usman (Kaduna). There are many others who can be counted among the front runners in terms legislative experience and track record. A few of them include Professor Olusola Adeyeye (Osun). More vibrant senators will certainly emerge as the session progresses.


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News

Ikuforiji re-elected Lagos Speaker • Fashola seeks developmental laws A DEYEMI Sabit Ikuforiji was yesterday re-elected as the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. He was elected after the proclamation of the assembly by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. Ikuforiji, representing Ikeja 1 constituency, emerged as the sole candidate for the position at the ceremony presided over by the Clerk of the House, Mr. Taiwo Olatunji. The speaker who subsequently took the oath of office is holding the office for a record third time. He was nominated by Razak Balogun from Surulere II Constituency and was seconded by Wahab Alawiye-King from Lagos-Island II constituency. Other principal officers of the House that emerged included, former Majority Leader, Taiwo Kolawole (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1), Deputy speaker; Ajibayo Adeyeye (Kosofe II), Majority Leader; Razaq Balogun (Surulere II), Chief Whip; Lola Akande (Ikeja II), Deputy Majority Leader; and Rotimi Abiru (Somolu 1), Deputy Chief Whip. Governor Fashola who addressed the 40- member Assembly comprising of 22 returning members and 18 new ones, who were solely elected under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), charged the legislators to make good laws that would fast track development in the state. He said the assembly has all it takes to efficiently perform their duties of law making to bring good governance to the people. He lauded the contribution of the last session, which he said made qualitative laws that

By Oziegbe Okoeki and Miriam Ndikanwu

have impacted positively in the life of the citizens, while adding that the rich mix of new members would inject fresh perspectives to the state legislative outlook. “I anticipate that deliberations in the House will benefit from the experience of returning members and the training they have received which expectedly should translate to better service delivery to our people.” Fashola who reminded the lawmakers that legislative work is a career, nurtured by experience, passion to serve the common and public good rather than a desire to prosper individual interest, urged them on making laws

that will improve the general well being of the citizens. According to him, “Apart from the fact that legislators are elected to represent certain geographical areas and constituents which make them a link between government and the people, they actually enable society develop and prosper by the quality of laws that they make. “It must be made very clear to our electorate that it is not the role of the legislator to build roads, hospitals or schools, but the kind of laws that they make can enable the quick and efficient delivery of those services and prosper society at large.” The governor listed some of defining legislation by

the last Assembly to include, Security Trust Fund Law which did not only help make Lagos the safest State in the country, but brought the state and country into international recognition. He sued for more cooperation from the legislators, stressing that the fact that he had the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l responsibility to proclaim the Assembly and yet had to rely on the approval of the House members to implement certain policies shows the interdependence of both arms of government. Fashola advised the legislators to establish offices in their constituencies so as to be in touch with their people, saying the electorate will be disappointed about their

representatives if they avoid going back to their constituencies to make impact. In his acceptance speech, Ikuforiji said the inaugural session and his re-election marks a new beginning, a new dedication within the Assembly and a new spirit among members. He thanked his colleagues “for all your understanding, tolerance, struggle and your insistence on electing me as speaker once again and for all you have done to make this institution an enviable one.” He urged his colleagues to cooperate and be patient with him assuring them that he will not betray the confidence reposed in him. According to him, “the

•L-R: Senate President, David Mark, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN; Sen. Kabir Gaya; and former Senate Committee Chairman on Information and Media, Sen. Ayogu Eze, during the northern senator's dinner in Abuja at the weekend.

commitment of this House towards democratic ideals and the principle of separation of powers remain unshakeable. But the House will collaborate with other arms of government in bringing the dividends of democracy to the doorstep of Lagosians. Therefore, the House is ready to offer support to the Executive arm, in terms of passage of bills and resolutions and other responsibilities as the situation demands.” He said he envisions a creative and challenging moment which member’s courage and capabilities can cope with. Ikuforiji stressed, “after a period of serious politicking and lobbying we are entering another phase in our duties as lawmakers. In pursuing our goals of full employment, better housing, excellent education, in rebuilding our towns and improving our rural areas… we will and must press urgently forward. We must act as authentic representatives of the people and let the people know we represent them adequately,” Ikuforiji said. The colourful event, which commenced at about 11am at the inner chamber of the House was held under tight security and was witnessed by an array of dignitaries, including the wife of the governor, Abimbola, the deputy governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope – Adefulire, Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, Chief Henry Ajomolale, former members of the State Executive Council, members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional leaders and others.

New York twins die on same day at age 92

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DENTICAL twins Julian and Adrian Riester were born seconds apart 92 years ago. They died hours apart this week. The Buffalo-born brothers were also brothers in the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor. Professed friars for 65 years, they spent much of that time working together at St. Bonaventure University, doing carpentry work, gardening and driving visitors to and from the airport and around town. “It was fun to see them, just quiet, gentle souls,” Yvonne Peace, who worked at the St. Bonaventure Friary for nearly 21 years, said Friday. They died Wednesday at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., Brother Julian in the morning and Brother Adrian in the evening. Both died of heart failure, said Father James Toal, guardian of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, where the inseparable twins lived since moving from western New York in 2008. “It really is almost a poetic ending to the remarkable story of their lives,” St. Bonaventure spokesman Tom Missel said. “Stunning when you hear it, but hardly surprising given that they did almost everything together.” Julian and Adrian Riester were born Jerome and Irving on March 27, 1919, to a couple who already had five daughters. They took the names of saints upon their ordination in the Catholic church. “Dad was a doctor and he said a prayer for a boy,” Adrian once said, according to St. Bonaventure. “The Lord

fooled him and sent two.” After attending St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, the brothers were turned away by the military because of their eyesight, the university said. One had a bad left eye, the other a bad right eye. Eventually they joined the friars of Holy Name Province in New York City. They received separate assignments before reuniting at the seminary at St. Bonaventure from 1951 to 1956. After serving parishes in Buffalo for 17 years, they returned to St. Bonaventure in 1973 and spent the next 35 years there. They had separate rooms in the friary but one telephone extension that rang into both, Peace recalled. It was usually the more talkative Adrian who answered, though Julian possessed a quiet authority. They never said who was born first. “Brother Julian was like the big brother. Brother Adrian would defer to him,” Peace said. “They picked up one of our friars at the airport one time and the friar said, `Can I take you to dinner?’ “Brother Adrian looked at Brother Julian and said, `We aren’t going to dinner?’ `No, we’ll go home,’” Peace said. “So that was it. No discussion, no contradicting. `No, we aren’t going today.’” Funeral services are scheduled for Monday at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Church in St. Petersburg. Afterward, the brothers’ bodies will be flown to Buffalo and buried Wednesday at St. Bonaventure Cemetery, across the street from the university.

•Julian and Adrian


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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R E S I D E N T Goodluck Jonathan was not singlehandedly handpicked as late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s running mate in 2007 by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party ,Dr. Ahmadu Ali said yesterday. Ali , who spoke at a two-day retreat for elected PDP Governors and federal lawmakers , disclosed that late Yar’Adua picked Jonathan as his running mate without the input of any of the PDP leaders. Ali while reacting to a comment made by the publisher of ThisDay newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena that the British High Commissioner told him that PDP short-listed former governors James Ibori, Peter Odili and Jonathan for the slot, said such an assertion was far from the truth. He said the PDP’s leadership never drew up any list of possible running mates for Yar’Adua. “It is not true that three people were in consideration for vice president and Ibori was never considered,” Ali stressed. According to the former PDP boss, while PDP governors were meeting in the house of former Special Assistant to Obasanjo, Andy Uba, deliberating on who to nominate for the post, Obasanjo, Chief Tony Anenih and himself (Ali) summoned Yar’Adua to read his acceptance speech and inform them who he is picking as his running

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Obasanjo did not handpick Jonathan in 2007, says Ahmadu Ali

From Sanni Ologun, Abuja

mate. He said: “Chief Tony Anenih, myself and Obasanjo were the only three people in the basement and we forced the late president to read his acceptance speech. “He resisted and I am the only one keeping a copy of that speech which he never read. Goodluck Jonathan was nominated

single-handedly by Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as his running mate before me, Chief Anenih and Obasanjo. We insisted he must tell us who is his running mate. “At that time the governors were meeting, they were holed up in the

house of one senator now trying to direct affairs, so we jumped them. While they were meeting in Andy Uba’s house where they were trying to come out with a candidate as the vice president we said, ‘no, Umaru tell us now, now, now’.

“That was when he said he would like Goodluck Jonathan. So, Obasanjo took the telephone and said get me Goodluck, get me Goodluck and Goodluck came and sat down. He (Jonathan) couldn’t get any idea from our eyes as he was seated opposite me and we

•Abia State Governor, T.A Orji (right) and former National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, at the International Conference Center, Abuja, during the PDP retreat.

were just watching him. We asked Yar’Adua to tell him (Jonathan) what he told us and he told him.” He added that when Jonathan was asked to respond, he (Jonathan)expressed his reservations about holding the office of Vice President when he already had a vision and agenda on how he would govern Bayelsa State. “He said ‘well I do know what I was going to do in Bayelsa State, but I don’t know what I will do as vice president. I would have preferred to be governor of Bayelsa State.” Ali said when Jonathan voiced his reservations he (Ali) squeezed his face and Jonathan eventually agreed to serve as Yar’Adua’s vice president. He said they consequently asked Yar’Adua to approach his governor colleagues and inform them of his choice. He added: “Meanwhile, television crew had already been summoned. Anenih was on this side, I was on the other side, Yar’Adua was sitting in the centre and he made the announcement that Jonathan is his running mate and that was how we torpedoed the governors meeting.”

Group allegedly plots Amosun’s fall

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GROUP of politi cians believed to be loyal to former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has earmarked about N50 million to de-stabilise the

government of his successor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. It is however not clear whether the group has the endorsement and support of the ex-governor in the

execution of the plot. Competent source in the State hinted that the aim of the group is to ensure that the new ACN governor “does not have the breathing space to

undo most of the things that the former administration did or embark on a probe.” The source claimed that the group began to strategise on the plot be-

Why I visited Bankole — Ringim

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HE Inspector General of Police (IGP) yesterday said his visit to House of Representative Speaker Hon. Dimeji Bankole was purely on social grounds and not to stop or influence the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting him. Ringim, in a statement by the Force spokesman, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Olusola Amore said it was a mere coincidence that at the time he visited Bankole to apologize for not attending a social event the speaker earlier invited him to, the EFCC were also there in an attempt to effect his arrest. He said he was neither aware of the presence of anticorruption officials nor did he interact with any of them. Amore said: “The attention of the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, has been drawn to publication in the media that he intervened or stopped the arrest of former Speaker, Hon. Dimeji

From Sanni Ologun, Abuja

Bankole. “The IGP wishes to state clearly that he did not direct, instruct or intervene in the arrest of the former speaker by the EFCC. For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC is not under the control or command of the Inspector General of Po-

lice. “It was a mere coincidence that when EFCC operatives came to the house of the former Speaker, the IGP paid him a social visit to apologize for not attending a social event which the former Speaker had invited the IGP. “The Inspector General of

Police was not aware of the presence of the EFCC at the former Speaker’s residence nor did he speak to or interact with EFCC operatives. “EFCC which is not under the command of the IGP is at liberty to invite the former Speaker or anybody without recourse to the IGP.”

Kwara tribunal secretary receives death threats

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ECRETARY to the Kwara state governor ship elections petition tribunal sitting in Ilorin, the state capital, Mrs. Uju Mesiobi-Emeto has raised the alarm over threat to her life. Mrs. Mesiobi-Emeto, it was gathered raised the alarm following an alleged threat she received from some strange quarters. The persons it was gathered, had allegedly threatened to “deal with her in Kwara state for refusing to sign a document.” Mrs. Mesiobi-Emeto had at the inauguration of the tribunal

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

last month vowed not to entertain frivolous requests from counsels. The Nation gathered that the secretary who had been harassed both physically as well as through phone calls had since reported the case at the ‘A’ division of the state police command. A very close source to the secretary said the woman “was sent to Kwara state by the Court of Appeal, I don’t know why some faceless persons would be calling her phone number to threaten her.

“The policemen attached to the tribunal had reported the case at the station. Not willing to take things lying low the secretary has formally lodged her complaint too. She has been secretary for many years but had not received such harassment of being dealt with. “The incident happened last week. They asked her to sign a document which she declined,” the source said. When contacted, Spokesperson of the state police command, Dabo Ezekiel (DSP) did not confirm the incident as at press time yesterday.

fore the change of government after they got information that Amosun refused to establish contacts with his predecessor and rebuffed all efforts initiated by Daniel to reach him. It was learnt that one of the key aides of the former governor had earlier prepared the proposal for the plot a week after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the ACN candidate winner of the April gubernatorial election in the state. The source said: “Daniel had actually refused to be part of such a plot as he told his close aides that Amosun is my person and we would always find a meeting point because we have come a long way before the events of 2007 caused a strain in our relationship.” “That is why it is not clear whether this incessant attack on Amosun which is from the same group has the blessing of the former governor now cooling his feet in London,“ the source said. The source added that a former commissioner was made the arrowhead of the plot with the task of mounting ceaseless attacks on the person and government of Governor Amosun. The main thrust of the plot is “to engage Amosun

to the extent that he will be distracted and won’t be able to meet the aspirations of the people within the first one year in office and then he will lose the sympathy of the people.” The source said they “planned to use all the available means of communication including new media like facebook, tweeters, newspapers as well as other online media to paint the government black.” The source added that part of the plot would be to “sabotage the programmes of the government” and warned that the sabotage aspect is to start from the end of June this month. One of the foot soldiers in the plot however succeeded in recruiting “a big-fish” from the governor’s party, ACN. The ACN man had, played some roles in Amosun’s campaign before, during and after the election but became aggrieved over “some appointments made by the new governor.” According to the source, “It was easy for the group to persuade him to join in an all out attack because he was already aggrieved over some early appointments made by the governor that excluded him and those that are close to him.”


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Views

How to engage the Private Health Sector

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HEN I started my tenure as Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003, I discovered that there was neither a policy framework, nor a practical forum for a dialogue with private healthcare providers about their potential and actual contributions to national health goals. The lack of both a framework and a forum mattered to me, because access to affordable and good quality healthcare remained out of reach for far too many people, a problem which the public sector could not solve alone. In Nigeria, as in virtually all health systems, the private health sector is a critical partner. Across the African region, the private health sector provides half of all services to patients of all income levels, sometimes in areas where public care is simply not available. Figuring out how to effectively work with the private health sector is therefore a high priority not just in Nigeria, but for any Ministry of Health in the African region. Mothers don’t care who is providing health care to their sick child: their concern is that the health care is provided on time; that it is of good quality; and that they will not fall into poverty as a result of payment for the healthcare received. Similarly, policy makers should not care about who is providing affordable quality health services. Therefore, all providers – public and private – must be included in the national health policies and practice, if reforms are to be successful. But how this challenge is to be approached is a difficult question. We are only beginning to come to grips with the issue in this region; we are now learning from one another on successful approaches. In Nigeria, the federal constitution has not explicitly and clearly devolved responsibility for private actors to the state governments and therefore, the collaboration between public and private providers has been very low in almost all states of the federation. At the time I was the minister of health (2003-2007), we embarked on health sector reform efforts. As part of these, we drafted the National Health Bill to, among other things; clarify roles and responsibilities for various stakeholders in the health system. We also developed a policy framework for working with the

By Eyitayo Lambo

private health sector. The effective launch of the National Health Insurance Scheme in 2005 was another major part of the efforts. Towards this end, we accredited both public and private providers to provide the scheme’s benefit package and also got private Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to purchase health services from accredited providers on behalf of the scheme. Instead of worrying whether providers were public or private, the measure of success was to be whether people are able to get the care they need, when they need it, without falling into financial impoverishment. Oversight matters in working with the private sector, but such oversight should not be administratively cumbersome or stifle innovation. However, both public and private health sectors should have an interest in ensuring that providers cannot continue to get away with poor quality healthcare, whether they are traditional medical practitioners or neurosurgeons. Responding to the urgent need for effective partnership with the private sector, IFC and the World Bank are launching a report titled “Healthy Partnerships – How Governments Can Engage the Private Health Sector to Improve Health in Africa”. For the first time, the report offers a standardized assessment of how public-private engagement is working. The report offers a framework for policy makers and an analysis of the key elements of success. Good practice examples show that the government must recognize the private sector as a partner in service provision and ask for its full participation in achieving national health goals. Private providers themselves are asked to do their part and organize in a way that enables the government to interact with them effectively. The key conclusion is that the health system must be seen as one; that parallel systems lead to wasted resources and unnecessary loss of lives. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to the report’s release and to the impact that it may have on policies and practices in our health systems. Professor Eyitayo Lambo is former Minister of Health

A vote for public health

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HIS year’s World No Tobacco Day (May 31) was really a special day for most lovers of public health in Nigeria. It was on this day that the outgoing House of Representatives decided to cast its vote on the side of public health by giving concurrence to the passage of the Tobacco Bill which was passed by the Senate on March 15. The bill which has been in the works for some time, was sponsored by Senator Olorunnibe Mamora, a medical doctor, who put his wealth of experience in the medical profession to at the disposal of public good by standing on the right side of history. The bill which is now awaiting presidential assent by President Goodluck Jonathan would go a long way to safe many people from the havoc of tobacco. According to the World Health Or-

•Comrade Solomon Sobade, Secredatary General, Campaign for Democrac, (CD), Comrade Peter Esle, PresidentGeneral, TUC, Abdul Abiola, Son of late Kudirat Abiola, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, CD and Women Arise, and Foluke Daramola, Nollywood Actress, during the 15th anniversary to mark the assassination of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola organised by the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Women Arise and KIND, yesterday in Lagos

By Olayinka Oyegbile

ganisation (WHO) “This year, the tobacco epidemic will kill nearly six million people, including some 600, 000 non-smokers who will die from exposure to tobacco smoke. By 2030, it could kill eight million.” The figure by the WHO may seem far and therefore not strike the alarm in the heads of many. However, in May 2007 this was brought clearly home when the Lagos State government and the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) sued six tobacco companies in Nigeria for their activities in the country. The unprecedented suit sought to compel six companies to pay special, general, punitive and anticipatory damages of up to $21,617,605, 885.17 (N2,702,200,735,647.17). The suit which was filed by the state’s former attorney general, Prof Yemi Osibajo said in 2006 alone, there were 9,527 reported cases of tobacco related diseases in Lagos State hospitals and at least N316,000 per month was spent on each of these cases in the state alone! Saved public fund Now, with the passage of this bill by the two arms of the National Assembly, a state like Lagos would be saved from these kinds of wasteful spending and devastation of health of its citizens by the tobacco industry. Tobacco is not only harmful to the user, it is also harmful to innocent bystanders who inhale the smoke (it is called second hand smoke). The Tobacco bill is a domestication of the WHO global health treaty known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2003. So far, 172 countries and the European Union have become Parties to the treaty, which is among other things, expected

to protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke, ban tobacco advertising and sales to minors and put large health warnings on packages of tobacco. It is also to ban or limit additives to tobacco products and increase tobacco taxes so as to reduce consumption of the product. With the passage of the bill the National Assembly has shown that it is in tune with world demand for the control of the activities of the tobacco industry which has used its enormous resources to frustrate and hinder the enactment of laws to put its activities in check. In lauding the action of the National Assembly ERA/FoEN said the action has placed Nigeria “on the global map of countries that have domesticated the FCTC.” Akinbode Oluwafemi, the group’s Director of Corporate Accountability and Administration, said: “We commend the forthrightness of the House of Representatives for seizing the opportunity of this year’s commemoration of the World No Tobacco Day to give this nation a law with far-reaching consequences on our well being. Though this took long to come, we are in no doubt that this bill will stem the gale of tobacco -related deaths.” With this step, the National Assembly has listened to the words of the former WHO director general, Dr. Gro Harlem-Brundtland who once said, “If we do not act decisively TODAY, a hundred years from now our grandchildren will look back and seriously question how people claiming to be committed to public health and social justice allowed the tobacco epidemic to unfold unchecked.” The fight is not yet over, even after the president has signed there would be the need to educate citizens and law enforcement agents on how to make sure the bill is effective. It is not enough to pass a law without making it work.


THE NATION

11

ON SUNDAY

COMMENT and ANALYSIS JUNE 5, 2011

Limits of Jonathan’s GNU concept Festus Eriye efestus2003@yahoo.com 08052135878 (SMS only)

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T appears Nigerian politicians have suddenly come down with a rather virulent strain of patriotic zeal. Everybody suddenly wants to serve their fatherland, and the best place to offer this service appears to be either the inner sanctum of President Goodluck Jonathan’s next cabinet, or in some cushy ambassadorial posting or, at worst, on the board of a sufficiently liquid parastatal. Inspired by tales of ministers living large, and federal legislators on the receiving end of quarterly allowances in excess of N20 million, anyone would volunteer to be injected with this viral strain of patriotism. However, all the evidence points to the fact that Jonathan is not fooled by all the pushing and shoving by the long line of ‘patriots’ who are dying to serve their country. That must be why, in spite of the harvest of talents recommended to him by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) high command and sundry godfathers, he is still pursuing the opposition with uncommon ardour. Jonathan won nearly 60% of the vote at the presidential election, so why is he so bent on this Government of National Unity (GNU) or “Collective Government” as he would rather call it? The answer is simple: his triumph has stirred uncommon passion and bitterness in parts of the country. Ethnic, regional and religious buttons are being pushed - stretching national oneness to a breaking point. Once upon a time these explosions happened along North-South or Christian-Muslim lines. In the April post-election carnage we had some of that, as well as the new dimension of targeting traditional institutions with the sacking of the homes of emirs. That is why, even in the face of statistics that suggest he received a robust crosscountry mandate, national healing now takes priority over equally pressing issues like an economy on its last legs, an intractable electricity crisis, and a new-fangled headache of terrorists sowing misery unchallenged across the north-eastern part of the country. In most instances the GNU is sold as a contraption that puts the national interest first; in reality it is a sound political device that helps the majority party secure the breathing space it needs to steady itself. In 1979, the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) won a controversial presidential election victory after the tribunal agreed that two-thirds of 19 states amounted to twelve and two-thirds. On the basis of that controversial ruling, the Second Republic got off to a rather shaky start. To assuage the pervading sense that something unsavoury had just happened, the NPN successfully wooed the Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) into joining it in government. But once it had a grip on things, the majority slowly began to

• Jonathan

marginalise the junior partner – leading to a sour divorce shortly before the 1983 elections. So when President Jonathan gathered opposition leaders in Abuja on Tuesday he told them, correctly, that the elections were over and that they should consider the national interest and join him in governance. It is the usual pitch and he deserves credit for making the offer. However, given the temperament of our politicians and their history, this “Collective Government” business may not deliver to him what he desires most. In times of crisis or deep national divisions, countries resort to it as a way of rallying their people. It is also the case that the political elite in those countries see it as the best way of protecting their common interest for the short term. Take the case of Israel. After a game of musical chairs, the two biggest parties Labour and Likud along with a sprinkling of lesser ones are now cohabiting in Netanyahu’s government – leaving the equally notable Kadima party in opposition. In the United Kingdom, when last year’s polls produced no clear majority, Tory leader, David Cameron, citing national interest seduced the Liberal Democrats into joining him in a coalition government of ideological polar opposites. Although the partners kept arguing that they were acting in the national interest, it was obvious from the word go that the common motivation was the strong desire of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to flee the opposition wilderness. The trouble with the “Collective Government” Jonathan is hawking is that it has the capacity to lull everybody to sleep. In an environment like Nigeria where the average politician would rather die than

spend a night in opposition ranks, it is the declaration of a one-party system by other means. If Jonathan had his way even Mohammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) should be part of his new administration. Given that they are the most embittered of all the opposition groups, and their supporters were behind the mayhem that trailed the elections up north, any genuine unity government that has national healing as its objective should have them on board. But we know that is unlikely to happen as they are already at the tribunal. They have also stated in no uncertain terms that they do not want anything from Jonathan. So with whom does the president move forward with his healing agenda? A congregation of the converted, no less! The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Labour Party adopted Jonathan as their presidential candidate and have never hidden their enthusiasm to jump aboard his government. Only the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) stated its strong opposition to the GNU idea when the kite took to the skies. In the aftermath of the Abuja meeting, former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, articulated one of the key problems of the unity idea starkly when he told the media that the summit with Jonathan should not be interpreted as “the end of opposition”. The Nigerian reality is that every time it happens it usually means the hobbling of opposition voices. In 1999 what was then the All Peoples Party (APP) was only slightly behind the PDP in strength and spread nationally. But when its then national chairman, Alhaji Mahmud Waziri, condescended to accept the position of Special Assistant to Obasanjo, he set the stage for the slow emasculation of the party. By 2003, nearly all the APP and later ANPP members who were invited into the Obasanjo administration decamped from the party that nominated them. Today, the hollow shell that is the ANPP is the best evidence to support the position that joining unity governments is the kiss of death for opposition parties. In any event, Jonathan has to be sure that this is what he really wants. Encouraging a robust opposition is sometimes not such a terrible thing as it keeps you on your toes. Every country needs alternative voices. Perhaps, what would be in the national interest is for the man and the party who have received a mandate to press ahead with governance, and let the electorate judge them on the basis of their actions in four years. The desire to get everybody on board while charming and noble, is in the end not practical. Even worse, it sends out a message of a president who is insecure – even with a handsome 60% of the vote. I doubt whether that is the impression a man chasing a worthy legacy wants to create.

“Jonathan has to be sure that this is what he really wants. Encouraging a robust opposition is sometimes not such a terrible thing as it keeps you on your toes. Every country needs alternative voices. Perhaps, what would be in the national interest is for the man and the party who have received a mandate to press ahead with governance”

Lekan Otufodunrin lotufodunrin@yahoo.com 08050498530 (SMS only)

Thought for celebration

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HAVE followed keenly your presidential elections and I am glad you did not follow the example of Kenya to fight over results. The swearing in of the Cote d’Ivoire president was also encouraging news coming from the region. In our neighbouring Uganda, democracy is under siege. When will people’s verdict be final?” The above quote is from a mail I got from a Kenyan colleague, Catherine Onuma who has always shared her thoughts with me on developments in Nigeria. With last Sunday’s Democracy Day marked with the swearing in of winners of the recent presidential and gubernatorial elections in the country, Onuma’s question on when the people’s verdict will be final remains a valid issue which we cannot wish away. There were indeed some violent reactions to the outcome of the elections in some parts of the country, especially the presidency which resulted in senseless killing of innocent people and destruction of property. We were lucky that ours did not degenerate to the Kenyan level which became a “tribal war” in which thousands of people were killed. While we have cause to celebrate some modest accomplishments in our bid to enthrone democracy in our country, we must admit that we still have a long way to go in abiding by democratic principles in not only elections, but in the day-to-day government activities. While election petitions over the last elections might have reduced considerably as acknowledged by President Goodluck Jonathan, the truth is that various electoral malpractices were perpetrated during the election by virtually all parties. Some of the accusations and counter accusations over the April elections as far as I am concerned is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Hopefully the election tribunals, for those who can afford the high cost and endure the long delay for judgement, will reveal the length many desperate politicians went to in order to win their elections. What is required to ensure that people’s verdict is final is a transparent electoral process which every candidate should be willing to abide by. Just as the electoral body must ensure that its staff does not collude with politicians to rig elections, candidates must learn to accept the outcome of the elections. It is heartening to know that some defeated candidates in the last elections readily conceded defeat and are not planning to go to the tribunal. Some defeated candidates don’t have to discredit the outcome of elections when it is very clear that they were voted out by the electorate. President Jonathan and state governors sworn in last Sunday owe the electorate the duty of providing good governance. They must not forget their electoral promises. If they fail to live up to expectations, the electorate will be waiting for them at the next election and that will not be the time to cry foul if they are defeated.


12

THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAY 29, 2011

Comment & Analysis

27B, FATAI ATERE WAY, MATORI, LAGOS. WEBSITE: www.thenationonlineng.net

After election, what comes next? The present crop of elected leaders should learn from the mistakes of their defeated predecessors

Ogochukwu Ikeje ohgeeoh@gmail.com 08084235961 (SMS only)

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HETHER those who were sworn in on May 29 like it or not, the world is watching and waiting to see what they will do with power. To some, that fiveletter word may mean little more than a licence to muscle their way through anything and situation, including getting away with all manner of indecencies and atrocities. To some, power is merely a tool to attract all that shines to its wielder, and nothing more. To some others, power is nothing if not a rotating bowl of irresistible pepper-soup to be eaten in turns. Only very few (and I hope more) may realise the enormity of responsibility that comes with power. I hope more than a few will come to grips with the fact that getting elected was the easy part of the four-year journey ahead of them. These ones will know that getting installed by some godfather carries much less burden than getting elected by the people. Only these few know that after election, comes governance. On May 27, that is, two days before the swearing-in, pupils across the country marked Children’s Day, but it was essentially just another day, hollow in content, burden-

some in ritual. Some children merely marched past their school principal or some official. Some came home with a paper crown to be torn to shreds moments later. Some returned with nothing, physical or mental. May 27 has lost whatever was its original message. Did anything of enduring significance come home with the children this year? What can their parents look forward to in next year’s edition or in the ones to come? What future for the Nigerian child who is presently struggling in a patently unstable school system? What message of hope for pupils who will graduate into secondary school this year, or for their older counterparts who will transit to tertiary institutions? Or, for that matter, the undergraduates waiting to be summoned to orientation camp for the mandatory one-year post-graduation service? May 27 has become a day in denial. But May 29 is not any more. It is now a day to reckon with, but not just because some old Government House tenants have moved out and new ones taken their place. There is something much more profound than entry and exit.

A few weeks earlier, the air was thick with venomous electioneering campaign messages. Some then incumbent state governors fantasised about how they would roast their challengers at the polls. One particularly took reporters round a refurbished part of the Government House where he fancied himself being sworn in a second time. On Election Day his castle in the air disappeared before his very eyes. The people had spoken eloquently about their preferences. But the governor would not take no for an answer. For some inexplicable reasons, the results would not be announced, and the nation waited, needlessly. In another part of the country, similar stunts played out too. The message was clear: relinquishing power gracefully is not one of their strong points. Thankfully, some are learning their lessons, however belatedly, and have begun to make their restitutions, first by congratulating the choice of the people. I expect they will continue in that spirit by realising where they hurt their people and make amends. Those who seek elective offices should begin to see May 29 as a day of final reckon-

Those who seek elective offices should begin to see May 29 as a day of final reckoning. Defeated ones should learn from its patience and appreciate its philosophical depth and retributive justice. May 29 pays you according to your coin. What you sow is what you reap

ing. Defeated ones should learn from its patience and appreciate its philosophical depth and retributive justice. May 29 pays you according to your coin. What you sow is what you reap. Those who sowed poor governance, and did not impress their people were shown the way out. The governors who muzzled their state legislators and so survived impeachment for four years could not escape the finality of May 29. In days gone by the day had no more meaning than the powers-that-be ascribed to it. Leaders were hardly elected; in the main, they were selected and imposed on the people. Not quite so these days. May 29 is gaining a life of its own, powered, of course, by the people. The day now carries a sword. For those who won election in April, there is a heavier burden. The fate of those ushered out on May 29 must be a constant reminder of what is sure to happen if they too fail to govern. The sword of May 29 is certain to descend, should election winners of today make a life of listening to bad advisers and sycophants. New tenants of Government House as well as those who renewed their tenancy must realise the enormity of work before them. The health index of the people they govern remains poor. The quality of life needs urgent boost. The state governments which are working are spending so much money in fighting crime. Smart governors will do well to know that fighting unemployment is a better way to fight crime. Incumbent office holders should know that after election, comes governance. Esteemed readers of this column will do well to respond only by text messages or email.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Comment & Analysis

13

Triumph of order Ogun Assembly that Daniel despised not only survived him; it has reversed some of his actions

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T is tribute to the futility of impunity, in a democracy, that Otunba Gbenga Daniel, immediate past governor of Ogun State, who felt he could unilaterally shut down the state’s legislature, has been outlived by that same legislature. While Daniel has virtually fled, though his spin doctors maintain he only chose to travel abroad two days to handing over to the Ibikunle Amosun administration, the Ogun State House of Assembly has returned in glory to nullify some of the illegalities the former governor, who behaved like a constitutional outlaw, purported to inflict on the state. But it is also a sad commentary on the impotence of institutions of the Nigerian state that a governor elected under the Constitution would shut down a rival arm of state, for whatever reasons, and nothing happened. This outrage was particularly severe because it occurred under the presidential system of government, which enshrines clear-cut separation of powers between the three governmental arms: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. What Daniel did and got away with was tantamount to a high crime against the state – shutting down the legislature, the very symbol of representative government, and proceeding to virtually rule as a sole administrator (at best) and as a dictator (at worst). Yet, heavens did not fall. President Goodluck Jonathan who, as commander-in-chief has the security agencies tucked in his belt, conveniently looked sideways. To boot, he promptly appointed Daniel as South-West coordinator of his presidential campaign – to underscore the convenience of the moment. It was a rare spectacle of a president, for political expediency, trembling before a constitutional creation, but riding rough shod over the constitution itself! The Ogun Assembly itself suffered the conceit of not promptly challenging the outrage in court, reasoning, somewhat rightly many may insist, that the idea of a minority throwing out a majority in parliament was so alien to common sense and repugnant to natural justice that it should automatically collapse by the sheer weight of its own contradictions. That could well be in a lawful milieu.

But with an outlaw governor and colluding federal authorities, the courts should have been brought in to whip into line the constitutional felons. Of course, in the House itself, there were Judases, who would conspire with the Daniel executive to undermine the integrity of their own class: either to settle political scores or to enjoy fleeting perks. That is the ignoble lot of illegal “Speaker” Soyemi Coker and his Lawless Eight colleagues who, with Daniel, merrily raped the constitution, knowing nothing would happen. And incidentally, nothing has happened or is likely to happen! It is just as well that the outgoing Ogun legislature was inaugurated after the May 29 inauguration date of the executive. It is also joyful coincidence that the former governor’s preferred candidate did not emerge governor after him. Though it is difficult to hold for certain that Daniel’s preferred successor would have been as lawless as his predecessor, it is legitimate guess to hold that the former governor would have pressured the new one to continue on that path of illegality by making it impossible for the Ogun Assembly to sit. Still, it is a thing to cheer that order has triumphed over illegality; and some of Daniel’s illegal decisions, including the arbitrary naming of state monuments and alleged illegal concession of Ogun State-owned hotels are being reversed. If anything, it should sink in the message that, in a constitutional set-up, order would always trump illegality.

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

•Editor Lekan Otufodunrin •Managing Editor Festus Eriye •Olayinka Oyegbile Deputy Editor •Associate Editor Taiwo Ogundipe

•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Kunle Fagbemi

But reversing illegality is not enough. There ought to be punishments for willful abridgment of the law. For instance, the illegal Speaker knew he was breaking the law – that under the eyes of the law, he did not exist. Yet, he allowed himself to be used for brazen illegality. He with his Illegal Eight, even purported to have passed the 2011 budget, not in the committee rooms in the Assembly complex but in ante-rooms in the Oke-Imosan, Abeokuta, Government House. That willful abridgment of the law was complete with a hurried and illegal “plenary” to purportedly pass the budget! If only to make of them stern examples for future constitutional felons, all those involved in this outrage ought to be tried and punished, if found guilty. And let no one talk of political victimisation. Those involved voluntarily chose to thumb their noses at the law. However they are sanctioned is their just desert. The case of former Governor Daniel is even more complex. As at the time of his constitutional outrage, he enjoyed immunity from prosecution. It is doubtful if any attempt to prosecute him can stand now that he has lost his immunity, since he acted then, not now. But it would be grossly unfair to punish the legislators who enjoyed no immunity and leave untouched their executive instigator and collaborator. But the way out of all this is to strengthen the institutions of the Nigerian state, particularly the security apparatus. If the Police had been schooled to know they are loyal to the Constitution and nobody else, it would have been automatic for them to guarantee security for legislative business. If that had happened, the legislature would have continued with its work, whether the governor liked it or not. And that prevention would, as they say, have been better than cure. Let everyone therefore work towards the strengthening of democratic institutions. The Daniel era rape of the Constitution is an open sore that should worry everyone. Only a determined effort to ensure that such never happens again can heal that wound, now that Nigeria’s current democracy has just entered its 13th straight year.

Just before we sell off our airports

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S President Goodluck Jonathan widens his search for the best hands to man the different sectors of the economy, Nigeria is undeniably looking forward to having patriotic – and competent — citizens, who would bequeath the best legacies for each of the sectors. Shrill calls for the inclusion of technocrats or professionals in the new cabinet have risen in direct proportion to the President’s search for ministers and aides. As if it is going out of fashion. Lately, the bewildering heaps of unsolicited suggestions to the President are becoming unsettling. Civil aviation is taking much of the pounding. Some stakeholders say the airports should be privatized at once; others say new investments, such as the N22.3bn allocated for upgrades or airport enhancement projects, are unnecessary. To cap it all, appoint “professionals” to run things. The collective rhetoric is beginning to look like a sinister agenda. I shall discuss each in turn. Having been cleaned up in the past four years, the Nigerian air transport sector, has a pivotal driver of the nation’s economy, and should now be considered as such. Changes are also needed to inspire more contributions to the growth of the economy. Which is why one is not averse to the growing agitation by aviation stakeholders for a technocrat or professional that will motivate the desired change in the industry. However, the present administration needs to take precautions against rhetoric and suggestions that may reverse the gains made so far and plunge Nigeria into

By Jogbenayon Ogunrounbi recession. The point is that the some of the so-called professionals, who have served the industry in various capacities, have not really risen to the occasion; their performance has not been exactly sterling. What really matters now is that whoever is appointed to captain the industry must share in the vision of transforming the industry meaningfully. For example, he must understand that the greatest challenge we have today in the industry dwells more on poor infrastructure and dwindling fortunes. And he must produce and implement a workable plan. It must decidedly be more imaginative and practical than what has been done so far. A tall task indeed. Because this administration has committed so much funds, focus and energy into the sector. Nigeria is now a respectable US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 nation. Hard to believe, given the frightening fact that just four years ago, Nigerian aviation was the laughing stock of the global community. No one wanted to touch us with a ten foot pole. Today, many countries are beating a path to Lagos to learn how we did it. But CAT 1 is like the icing on the cake. It took a lot of hard work to get there, even harder work to sustain it. The Jonathan administration seems determined to keep it. It shows in ongoing programmes and projects around the nation’s airports, airfields and airspace. For example, the Federal Air-

ports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is currently implementing an improvement programme at many of the 21 airports under its management. It covers critical projects such as runway rehabilitation and extension, apron construction and extension, perimeter fencing, terminal building remodelling and rehabilitation of access roads, improvement of power and water supply. Under the leadership of Richard Aisuebeogun, an aviation professional, FAAN has woken from its seeming slumber. The erstwhile Akanu Ibiam Airport , Enugu has been rehabilitated and re-designated an international airport. President Jonathan commissioned it on December 17, 2010. The Vice President, Ach. Namadi Sambo, was also on May 23, 2011 in Kano , where he commissioned the new domestic terminal building of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano and the upgraded power supply. He also laid the foundation of a new international terminal for the airport. Proposals have also been made for the construction of new international terminals at the airports in Lagos , Port Harcourt , Calabar and Enugu . Just a couple of weeks ago, precisely on May 10, 2011, former Aviation Minister, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, commissioned the apron expansion, operational and boundary fences of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja . It is a requirement for the full certification of the airport. Similar construction of perimeter and other related fences are also ongoing at other airports in Lagos , Kano , Owerri and Port Harcourt .

Massive rehabilitation works are ongoing at the nation’s premier airport, Murtala Muhammed Airport , Lagos . The airport is expected, in due course, to take delivery of new carousels to replace the old ones, which occasionally adversely affect the Authority’s service delivery. All at once, these projects guarantee that our airports as well as our airfields and airspace, are among the safest in the world. More projects are in the pipeline. And they require funding. This is why the N24 billion allocated to the aviation industry for the rehabilitation of some airport projects in Kano and Abuja is justifiable. It will bring about operating efficiency, improved management, better investment decisions and consequently, satisfactory rates of return on the investor’s capital investments. This does not in any way suggest that government renounced its plan to commercialise or privatise the industry. I suspect its latest injection of funds, particularly the rehabilitation of infrastructure required to accommodate increasing aircraft and passenger traffic in the sector, is actually aimed at the preparing the airports as commercial and competitive entities for privatisation. The airports, as Aisuebeogun recently posited, are about to experience significant changes in the years to come in terms of efficient service delivery in the face of growing demands by passengers, operators and other stakeholders. There is more sense in what FAAN and the government have done and are doing. The logic is not farfetched. No reasonable investor would want to put his/her money on an airport that is absolutely de-

void of basic infrastructure. If government does not upgrade the airports and facilities from their poor states, it may just end up selling them as carcasses. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that some investors, masquerading as prospective partners in PPP are actually making a strong case for the airports to be sold off or “privatized” in their present conditions. That way, they can suppress their value and pick them up for peanuts. They don’t mean well for Nigeria and this important sector of the economy. As further proof that this set of “investors” are in it just for the money, all their eyes are on the main cash cows in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and to a minor extent Kano. The minor airports, which government and FAAN keep running with huge resources and paltry returns, can go to rot. The other downside of selling off airports in decaying condition is that would be buyers would expend a fortune to upgrade them, and they in turn would pass such costs on to users. This, in the medium term, would make such critical public utilities very expensive to use. With the possible exception of the telecom sector, privatization in Nigeria can hardly stand up to rigorous scrutiny. Only recently Vice President Sambo lamented that many of the privatized firms were under performing, to the dismay of government. Privatization is a great concept. But this should be implemented after the ongoing investments have taken full effect, and after reasonable returns have been secured. This is not peculiar to Nigeria . Nigeria, indeed users of our prized jewels and FAAN, deserve no less. Ogunrounbi, an Aviation Expert, writes from Lagos


14

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Comment & Analysis

Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net

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INCE the return in the SouthWest to progressive politics after the April elections, pundits have been at work on what needs to be done to restore the pace-setter’s role bequeathed to old Western Region in the decade before independence through the commitment of Awolowo and his party to a philosophy that saw improvement of the life of citizens as the sole purpose of government. The new journey to progress in the Yoruba region promises to be a demanding one. It requires the readiness of politicians, business leaders, and public intellectuals to convince the rest of the country that the return of progress to Yorubaland is, more likely than not, to be of benefit to the rest of the country. The electoral victory of ACN in five of the region’s six states deserves to be celebrated. But it is just the beginning of the journey. The desire by ACN to extend its rule to Ondo State is desirable. Even with that, the journey would only have started. Formal and informal discussions among the region’s progressive governors are direly needed. But this too cannot be more than the beginning of a journey that calls for serious commitment by rulers and the

Restoring dignity to the Yoruba region (1) This is the time for Yoruba political leaders to think out of the box and adopt a lifestyle that shows humility ruled to an ethic of region-wide transformation, a commitment that will require governors and public officers to jettison the view and practice that government is about flaunting power and exhibiting privilege. In the post-PDP dispensation in the region, governors and their appointees need to adopt the policy of austerity; austerity in terms of reducing recurrent expenditures and increasing capital expenditures and austerity in terms of shunning showboatism and self-celebration on the pages of newspapers. The money spent by our governors on congratulating their friends or funds spent by commissioners and local government officials to congratulate governors can be better spent on providing direly needed services to the people. Governors should pluck the courage to tell their praise-singers in search of favours to desist from congratulating them through the media. There are several more sophisticated and humble ways to do that. Newspapers certainly need ad-

verts to survive, but what they need will be advertisement of government projects and programmes, not of elected officers and their appointees on government payroll. Although it is not only Yoruba politicians that take pages of newspapers to congratulate themselves, it is perhaps worse in the Yoruba region than in other regions. Generally, it is a practice that shows lack of seriousness usually expected of rulers in a country that suffers infrastructure deficit and should be in a hurry to catch up with the civilised world. In the days of Awolowo, government used the resources available more for development than for cheap and obnoxious self-marketing of elected officers in the media. Citizens are not unaware that funds used by elected officers to congratulate each other do not come from personal funds. The region’s new leaders have to show more sensitivity to the people’s situation by desisting from committing scarce resources to self-

promotion in the media. Citizens also need to have a new orientation. The culture of sycophancy that pervaded Yoruba states in the last few years shows a phenomenal rise in churlish behaviour among a people that used to be known for dignity and high self-esteem. There is no doubt that the depth of poverty in the land has fueled people’s grovelling before public servants and the rise in the number of lick-spittles among people whose grandparents must have acted with dignity some fifty years ago when public office holders showed more discipline and restraint in the flaunting of power than now. It is not by chance that countries that do not encourage the worship of office holders like deities are doing much better than Nigeria in terms of accountability, transparency, rule of law, and development. Democracy is a system that is expected to nurture a critical citizenry. One that is able to speak truth to power and show disdain to public officers that

demonstrate evidence of megalomania. It is also a system of government that encourages citizens to respect legitimate authority without destroying their own self-respect. In days when people ruled the region without legitimacy under the PDP, lack of sensitivity to the feelings of citizens by those in power was understandable. It should not be tolerated by citizens who voted their representatives into power to serve them and not to abuse voters’ sensibility. This is the time for Yoruba political leaders to think out of the box and adopt a lifestyle that shows humility. It is only when public servants have and demonstrate emotional and psychological maturity that is able to resist sychophancy and cheap selfmarketing that they are able to give more attention to party’s ideology and programmes. Political leaders that spend more time and resources on ego stoking are unlikely to succeed in bringing progress to their states or regions. ACN governors no longer have reasons to show that they are in power. All they need to do is to use the power freely given to them by the electorate to demonstrate that they are, to borrow Umaru Yar’Adua coinage, servant-leaders, not media deities. ACN governors and other public officers must not forget the Yoruba proverb that says: A fi e j’oba o n se awure, se o fe di Edumare ni? (Someone already in power should not act as if he is still looking for recognition).

The leadership Nigeria needs Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)

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N order to concretise President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent hand of fellowship to other political parties as encapsulated in his meeting with leaders of the opposition parties, I have the pleasure of presenting here, a portrait of one of Nigeria’s emerging leaders as scripted by U.S- based Dr Wumi Akintide . It is edited for space constraints. Dr Kayode Fayemi, the ACN Governor of Ekiti State, is definitely one of a kind among the new generation of Nigerian leaders; the very anti-thesis of con artists who view politics as a way to ask what their country can do for them rather than what they can do for their country as hypothesized by JFK. I came to that conclusion after listening to him for 90 minutes during his recent 4-day business trip to Atlanta and New York. He led a small delegation of 3 or 4 to personally meet with some investors, Nigerians and foreigners who may want to partner with his Government to get Ekiti State out of the financial quagmire created in large part by his immediate predecessor and years’ of unremitting kleptomania. Nigeria will be a different

Nigeria will be a different country in a short space of time if we can have more of Fayemi’s kind coming to power at the state and federal levels country in a short space of time if we can have more of Fayemi’s kind coming to power at the state and federal levels and if the forces of entrenched evil and corruption in our society do not conspire to take him out by all means, if he would not join them if he cannot beat them. Dr Fayemi is talking the talk and walking the walk in pretty much the same way Pa Adekunle Ajasin did in his 4 to 6 years in power in Ondo State when Ekiti was still part of that state. Dr. Fayemi flew in to Atlanta and New York with his small delegation, taking commercial flights and staying in moderately-priced hotel in New York when some of his colleagues would have chosen Sofitel Hotel around Time Square for 3,000 dollars a night. He even took public transportation to the Town Hall meeting to minimize the cost to his state. Talking about keeping time and shunning African time, he and his delegation were the first to arrive at the venue of the Town Hall meeting where he spoke unscripted for 90 minutes. He also took and answered questions from all and sundry in a session that would be remembered for a long time as the best town hall meeting ever held in the Big Apple by a visiting political leader of his caliber and stature from Nigeria. He spoke from the heart, never trying to evade hard ball questions from tough-minded New

Yorkers who graced the occasion. He rolled out data and statistics to prove his point. Above all, he was fully aware of the malaise of praise singers who quite often derail and mislead our leaders by praising them to the death or turning them into tin gods overnight and forcing them to lose focus as time goes by. Ekiti State is truly blessed to have him as Governor. That exGovernor Oni was flushed out of the Ekiti State House was exactly the right thing to do because he did not win the election, to begin with. If the ACN under Dr. Fayemi’s leadership could again repeat the landslide victory it has just won in Ekiti within months of his taking over, that would mean that the PDP did not at any time enjoy the support it has often claimed in Ekiti and other parts of the South West. Dr. Fayemi found himself in considerable predicament on taking over from Governor Oni. In less than a year he had mapped out a strategy for turning the state around. He spent all of his 90 minutes at the podium explaining the situation he met on the ground and what he has been doing to change the practice, in the state, of borrowing money at prohibitive interest rates. Ekiti State was the 35th poorest state in a Federation of 36 states. His Government had just passed a renewal budget of 80 billion naira with a liability of 40 billion to pay back for contracts that were either

not done at all or abandoned or poorly executed. Even though Ekiti State was among the poorest in Nigeria, it nonetheless established three Universities she had to fund and support because an unthinking government made the wrong choices. The status quo was unsustainable and Dr. Fayemi had to speak up, and he did that with clarity He enpanelled an Education Task Force /Visitation Committee which was soon followed by an Education Summit which ended up recommending that the three Universities be merged into one Ekiti State University just like the State University of New York with campuses scattered all over the State. Ekiti State University will now have campuses in Ado/Iworoko, Ikerre and Ifaki such that its operating budget will go down considerably making it possible for the State Government to deploy funds to other priority areas. The Governor is also focused on the provision of water and electricity and the promotion of Agriculture and Food production as priorities of his Government. He is going to make the Ureje Dam in Ado Local Government, Ero , Egbe and Itapaji Dam the central focus of that effort. He will also devote time to urban renewal, state-wide. Adequate attention will go to road construction as well as working in partnership with other state governments like

Ondo, Edo and Kogi to do what state governments have been doing in America with remarkable progress. Ekiti and Ondo will reconstruct the road between AdoEkiti and Akure, the Ondo State capital, which happens to be a Federal Road but which has been neglected over the years.The governor is setting up independent power projects coordination Task Force to oversee the equitable distribution of electricity to enhance the industrialization potential of the state. Most of those present at the meeting felt proud and satisfied that Nigeria is on the right path with the generation of Governors joining Raji Fashola in Lagos. Nigeria will be the better for it if President Jonathan will seize this window of opportunity to allow for healthy competition and partnership between states regardless of party affiliation or labels. We told Dr Fayemi to expect a fierce challenge from the nihilists in Ekiti and all over Nigeria who view political power as an opportunity to steal and enrich their own pockets. All these are reasons President Jonathan must show leadership now that he has the peoples’ mandate as President. He no longer has any excuse to blame anybody but himself if the status quo remains unchanged. Progressive Governors like Dr. Fayemi, Raji Fashola, Olusegun Mimiko, Amosun, Ajumobi, Aregbesola and Oshiomhole and others across the nation must see the President as rising above partisan politics to show leadership on this issue in the overall interest of Nigeria.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Tunji

Adegboyega tunji.adegboyega @thenationonlineng.net 08054503906 (sms only)

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HIS year’s elections have come and gone, but we are still computing the costs. The elections were generally adjudged freer and fairer than the previous ones in our country’s recent past, but I guess that is relative. If what we had before, during and after the elections had happened elsewhere in terms of violence, no one would have given us a pass mark. But, considering where we are coming from, the 2011 elections was a shade better than the previous ones. Secondly, we would be denying both President Goodluck Jonathan and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, as well as the many INEC and other adhoc staff, and the security agents etc., the credit they rightfully deserve for the sacrifices they made to get us to where we are, if we fail to give honour to whom it is due. However, after the elections, it is only proper that we have a postmortem of the event. This will serve at least the main purpose of allowing us to know where we made mistakes, whether by way of structures, logistics or even infrastructure, with a view to correcting them before the next elections. The disclosure by the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Hafiz Ringim, to the effect that no fewer than 520 persons were killed in the post-election violence which occurred in parts of the country, es-

Comment & Analysis

A costly election In spite of being free and fair, we lost so much to the 2011 polls pecially in the North, is a way of reviewing the elections. Speaking at a review of the elections organised by the Policy and Legal /Advocacy Centre in Abuja last week, Ringim said Kaduna State accounted for 518 of this number; six were policemen whilst two persons were killed in Niger State. Coming from the police boss, we can say that the figure is likely to be far higher because there would have been unreported cases; even then, our police are not known for giving the actual number of casualties in such circumstances because in a sense, the high casualty rate calls to question their own state of preparedness and efficiency. So, they see it as an indictment on their part that they allowed such high numbers of people to be mauled down before bringing the situation under control. In another sense too, it calls to question their intelligence gathering skills because, with a good intelligence gathering system, they would have been able to anticipate the likely hot spots and kept the trouble makers in check before they could wreak any havoc. As we must have noted, the figures released by Ringim were for post-election violence that attended the presidential election result alone.

Yet, we know that many people were killed in various bomb blasts that preceded the elections as well as other incidents of violent protests in parts of the country. We cannot but mention the one in Akwa Ibom State where the state governor behaved like an emperor by decreeing certain parts of the state ‘no-go areas’ for political parties other than the PDP. Apart from the human losses and the attendant pains, there was attendant loss of property. According to Ringim, “157 churches, 46 mosques and 1,435 houses were burnt. Four hundred and thirtyseven vehicles, 219 motor-cycles were also burnt. Forty five property belonging to the police were also burnt.” He also stated that 22, 141 persons became internally-displaced in Kaduna State alone while 77 persons were injured and that 157 churches with 46 mosques were burnt in the state. Also, 987 shops and 1, 435 houses were burnt, as well as 437 vehicles and 219 motorcycles. Given all these unfortunate incidents, isn’t it an irony that we still could declare the product of this kind of bloody situation as free and fair? But, as they say, “in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is

“Given all these unfortunate incidents, isn’t it an irony that we still could declare the product of this kind of bloody situation as free and fair? But, as they say, “in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. How many places in Africa have we had elections without bloodshed in recent years? So, if we lost about 520 lives to post-election violence, we can afford to clap for ourselves”

king”. How many places in Africa have we had elections without bloodshed in recent years? So, if we lost about 520 lives to post-election violence, we can afford to clap for ourselves. After all, when a lizard falls from a wall and the people there pretend not to see it, the lizard nods in self- appreciation of the feat it has performed. Or, is it easy to fall from a wall and remain intact? Any person who thinks it is should attempt to do same; he would be lucky if all he lost was his hand or leg, he should give glory to God if he survived it. Now that we have started the post-mortem on the polls, we have to move forward, as they say in government parlance, by using our experiences to plan ahead for future elections. After all, the title of the paper presented by Mr Ringim says it all, at least as far as the police are concerned: “2011 General Elections’ Review: Experience-Sharing, Lessons Learnt and the Way Forward – The Nigeria Police Perspective”. Of course, papers were also presented by other eminent Nigerians, including Justice Muhammadu Uwais, chairman of the occasion; Prof Jega himself, and the National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi. As a matter of fact, there was nothing new that was said at the occasion. Recommendations ranging from the need for the government to create a conducive environment for employment as a way of providing jobs for idle hands that politicians usually find handy to cause trouble; our culture of impunity to

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incidents of violence and the need for voter education were made. We were also reminded of the fact that the policemen are inadequate for our needs; even at that, they are poorly kitted and motivated, etc, among others. Which of these have we not heard before? However, I found ludicrous the expression of surprise by the IG as to why people have to stay behind to police their votes. In a situation where the police have themselves admitted that they are inadequate in number and poorly kitted, does it not make sense for people to be sure their votes are properly recorded? If anything, the IG should be told that there is no going back on this aspect of our electoral life until a time when voters would be sure their votes would not be tampered with after they had left the polling units. The onus is on the police to protect people who want to protect the sanctity of their votes and not to be pleased in seeing their back only for election riggers to make a mess of the ballot. Another recommendation from the event was that (again by the police) strict legislations, including at least six years’ imprisonment for crimes such as illegal possession of fire arms be made. Is our problem the absence of laws or failure to enforce them? The point being made is that until and unless we stop deceiving ourselves, we will never get it right in subsequent elections. For as long as people can commit crimes, including murder, with impunity, for so long will we continue to have cause to give graveside orations after elections. Yet, elections do not have to be this costly. It is taken for granted in many other places. We spent more than N89 billion to conduct the last elections. Why must we lose our money and still lose our lives?

Public order- President Jonathan’s biggest challenge

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ITH the swearing-in of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as president of the federal republic on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in his own right after being declared winner of the presidential election of April 16, 2011, he now faces the challenge of governance, afresh. The bombs which went off in Bauchi and Abuja, among other places in the North, on the day of his inauguration have shown that Jonathan’s task is cut out for him. The North’s latest bombing runs of May 29, followed next day, May 30, 2011, by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) confronting security forces while celebrating the 44 th anniversary of Biafra, amount to a taunting of the federal authorities which control the security forces. They constitute affronts on law and order. Perhaps, Dr. Jonathan needs that rude awakening from the N800 million party reverie of his inauguration that the Presidency is not an endless round of wining and dining and attending other similar inauguration jamborees. President Jonathan cannot plead newness on the job, having been in the presidency for the past four years. This far, luck has carried Jonathan - now he has to get down to work. He would need to apply the triple attributes of intellectual rigour, the persuasive skill of a communicator and courage, with a dose of the ferocity of a tiger to tame the Nigerian jungle. It can be said that he is starting out on a promising intellectual note with the inclusion of a Presidential Inauguration Lec-

By Bisi Olawunmi ture, delivered by a distinguished academic and development consultant, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, on May 26, 2011 in Abuja as part of the pre-inauguration activities. Prof. Adamolekun, in his lecture titled : “A Transformation Agenda for Accelerating National Development” had identified five fundamentals necessary to transform the country. These are : 1. Electoral legitimacy; 2. Peace and Security; 3. Government Policy Stability; 4. Rule of Law and 5. Anti-Corruption stance. Although media reports did not indicate the professor’s order of priority of the five fundamentals, I would assume that his number one priority is peace and security considering his special emphasis when he described it as “an incontrovertible precondition for development”. Many commentators have harped on peace and security ; rule of law and anti corruption crusade, but I consider these three as components of one fundamental - PUBLIC ORDER. A Public Order Agenda is a holistic approach that seeks to establish orderliness and discipline in all aspects of life, implying an imperative for all regulatory agencies to be alive to their responsibilities. Public Disorder is any action, against the norm, taken expressly to get an undeserved advantage. People generally know what is wrong and have a clear understanding of what is right. But deviants would want to buck, corrupt and intimidate the system and when the system collapses under the persistent assault of de-

viants, the consequences are systemic rot and descent to anarchy. Regulatory authorities are like levees/barriers against raging floodwaters, once they collapse and give way under intense pressure from water surge, everything in its path get swept away. Public disorder, like raging floodwaters, is sweeping all that is decent away in Nigeria. The tragedy is that for too long, the nation has tolerated public disorder such that disorders have come to be seen as normal. Manifestations of public disorder include communal and sectarian warfare, extra judicial killings by security agencies, subversion of rules and regulations, embezzlement, school admission racket/examination malpractices, bribery, vehicular homicide and tainted court verdicts. Incompetent, but strategically-placed, public officials are in a class of their own as dangerous agents of public disorder. Under such incompetents, public policy becomes an instrument of self aggradisement and meanness, eliciting reactions which lead to disruption of public order and public peace. Lack of confidence in the judicial process, arising from compromised lawyers and judges, induces public disorder when people resort to self help in seeking justice. It is public disorder when rule of law only serve to let criminals off the hook through technicalities or under the new fangled phrase – plea bargaining - when those who financially compromised their positions to the tune of hundreds of millions of naira get kissed off with paltry fines. Thus impunity, the word bandied as the bane of law and order,

is really a culmination of non enforcement of regulatory sanctions, that has brought about endemic public disorder. The latest murderous rage between the Nigerian army and the Nigeria police in Badagry, Lagos state, which led to the killing of five police officers graphically depicts the lawless state of the Nigerian State and a horrific manifestation of depth of public disorder. Now, how can President Jonathan stem this inexorable slide to a jungle state? I proffer two suggestions, though not exhaustive. 1. First, Dr.Jonathan must promote constitutional amendment for the establishment of State and Local Government Police to enhance Public Order in constituent states, with the Federal Police collaborating with states on interstate crimes. A three-level policing system will serve public interest better, relieve the federal government of a huge burden while it retains surveillance power whereby governors, as state chief security officers, who cannot prevent breakdown of public order get suspended in the first instance and removed where there is a repeat, under ‘Emergency declaration’, and charged with either culpable homicide or criminal negligence depending on the gravity of disorder. Police officers who fail to ensure public order/peace in their jurisdictions should also risk censure, including suspension ,summary dismissal and/or prosecution on relevant charges. Restoration of Public Order must begin with the police. 2. Create a ministry of Public Order and Anti-Corruption Affairs under his direct supervision to give teeth to the anti corruption

crusade. On the other hand, he can create a National Agency on Public Order (NAPO), whose head would have the necessary passion and communication skills for mass mobilization to propel it. Lifestyle monitoring should be a major plank of such Agency to tackle financial disorder, with the Federal Inland Revenue Service as a major partner. Demanding tax certificate and source of income from people with opulent mansions and exotic cars and others living above their legitimate incomes will drastically reduce financial corruption. Flaunting of ill-gotten wealth is one of the major manifestations of Public Disorder. Lifestyle monitoring of public servants, who are the regulators of society, had enhanced public order in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1980s had witnessed the jettisoning of this laudable tradition of the public service such that, today, civil servants and their political and business elite collaborators now brazenly flaunt affluence from proceeds of corruption. Tackling corruption, through lifestyle monitoring, of course, demands courage and the ferocity of the tiger from the president considering the high social status and strong political connections of most of those engaged in public disorder activities. The media would have to be mobilized such that bleeding heart, liberal editors will not disparage necessary draconian measures that the situation demands. So, as he begins the four-year tenure of his presidency, the poser for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is : Can he, will he, bite the bullet on enforcement of Public Order?

Email: olawunmibisi@yahoo.com SMS ONLY : 0803 364


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Essay

Nigeria: As a New democratic cycle begins O

UR beloved country, Nigeria, last Sunday, May 29th, commenced the fourth cycle in the democratic endeavour we started 12 years ago. It has been a challenging and difficult period during which we have gradually but surely been transforming what was initially a mere transition to civil rule into genuine democratic governance representative of the will of the people. Democratic transitions the world over are hazardous enterprises and Nigeria has been no exception. The transition from authoritarian political cultures such as communist, military or civilian dictatorships to open, democratic societies tend to be long, drawn out processes. Any promise of instant, full blown democratic transition is nothing but an illusion. This is because democratization involves fundamental institutional re-structuring and deep-seated value re-orientation that take time to evolve. In many instances, the process of democratization is made more tortuous by the inevitable conflict it breeds between entrenched forces intent on maintaining the autocratic status quo and agents of the emergent new order. Indeed, Nigeria has every reason to be grateful to God Almighty for the milestones achieved so far. There are countries that have not been as lucky and successful in effectively managing the societal and psychological traumas associated with democratic transitions. After initial, false steps towards democratization, they tend to regress either to disguised forms of dictatorship or outright descent to anarchy. Nigeria could easily have been in that category. Prolonged praetorian rule had by 1999 worsened the country’s economic problems aggravating the challenges of mass poverty and gross social inequality. This in turn deepened ethno-regional, communal and sectarian fault lines that severely endangered political stability and national cohesion. Given this situation, it was all too easy for aggrieved groups to seize the opportunity of the relative liberalization of the political space in 1999 to vent their pent up frustrations in ways that would have made democratic governance or even civilized co-existence unsustainable. Despite the severe systemic stress experienced by the polity as a result of repeated cycles of ethnic, communal, religious and political violence in different parts of the country since 1999, our democratic experiment has survived and there is hope of a brighter democratic future for Nigeria. Most objective observers agree that the 2011 elections substantially reflected the will of the Nigerian people. The international community whose disavowal of the 2003 and 2007 elections reinforced the disenchantment of the Nigerian people with the jaundiced polls has sanctioned this year’s election as reasonably meeting global standards of free, fair and credible elections. This is a significant stamp of legitimacy in a globalized world where it is increasingly difficult for nations to be Islands of exception to acceptable standards of behaviour. Of course, the elections were characterized by several imperfections and there are a number of cases that are sufficiently strong to succeed before the various Election Petition Tribunals. But on the whole, they were appreciable improvements on previous elections. The compilation of a credible electoral register and the more transparent and competent management of the voting and collation processes were critical to the success of the polls. These in turn were functions of the enhanced integrity of the electoral commission. Equally significant was the courage of the judiciary in upturning the perverse outcome of the 2007 polls in several states and outrightly restoring the stolen mandate of the people in a number of cases. This had the effect of de-motivating a lot of desparate politicians who would have sought to rig with impunity. The strong possibility that such jaundiced electoral verdicts would not pass the rigorous scrutiny of the courts was a strong disincentive to rigging in the last election. All the same there were still cases of alleged mass thumb printing of ballot papers, multiple voting and under aged voting at some polling centres manned by unscrupulous electoral and security agents. It is certainly not yet Uhuru as regards the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria. We cannot afford to rest on our oars and complacently assume that we have attained the desired standard. There is still considerable room for improvement both in terms of the accuracy and reliability of the voters register as well as the efficiency and transparency of the voting and collation processes. It is also obvious that the pace of institutional reforms to ensure credible elections has not been matched by a corresponding transformation of the attitudinal orientation of political actors. All too many parties and candidates would not hesitate to pervert the electoral process and manipulate the outcome if given the opportunity. Members of the political class have still to internalize the critical value that he who cannot gracefully accept loss in a free and fair election does not deserve to savour the joy of victory at the polls. While Professor Attahiru Jega must be encouraged and supported to continue the internal re-organization and re-invention of INEC to consolidate its new image and systematically enhance its integrity and capacity as a professional electoral umpire, we must also stregthen the electoral sector reforms to build on the achievements

•Tinubu By Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

of the 2011 elections. For instance, it is unsafe and unsustainable to rely on the sincerity and good intentions of an incumbent President to choose a person of integrity as INEC Chairman. A President may emerge in future who will abuse such powers and foist on INEC a character that will do his bidding, compromise the integrity of the commission and erode previous electoral gains. There is, therefore, no alternative to implementing the recommendation of the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reforms panel that the President cede the power to recommend the Chairman of INEC to the National Judicial Commission (NJC). Again, it is imperative that an Electoral Offences Tribunal be set up to try and punish those who violate the electoral law as a deterrent to such behaviour. Furthermore, we must take another look at the present order of elections which is arbitrary and completely at odds with the federal structure we purport to operate. In a federal system like ours, the logical order of elections should be from the bottom up – State Governor/House of Assembly; National Assembly; Presidency – and not the other way round. We must avoid the impression that the order of elections has been fixed to favour vested partisan interests. Without a transparent and credible electoral process, democracy cannot serve as a vehicle for promoting development and the reason for this is obvious. If the votes of the electorate do not count and governments can stay in power irrespective of their performance, then there will be no incentive for elected public officers to deliver on their mandate. Afterall, they will reason, the opinion of the voter does not count. When the voter is truly King as should be the case in a genuine democracy, then a government that fails to meet his/her expectation can be voted out of power and a new government elected to prove its mettle. In such a competitive democracy, parties and governments are sensitive to public opinion and strive to fulfill their part of the social contract in order to remain in power. It is through such a dialectical process that development is achieved through the interplay of democratic forces. The sad truth is that democracy has not delivered the dividends of development to the Nigerian people over

“Without a transparent and credible electoral process, democracy cannot serve as a vehicle for promoting development and the reason for this is obvious. If the votes of the electorate do not count and governments can stay in power irrespective of their performance, then there will be no incentive for elected public officers to deliver on their mandate”

the last 12 years. But for a few oases of on-going transformation, Nigeria remains a vast wasteland of mass poverty characterized by a pauperized citizenry, dilapidated infrastructure, comatose health and education sectors, inadequate power supply, de-industrialization, youth unemployment and chronic insecurity among several other national challenges. One reason why this situation has persisted since 1999 is that elections for the most part have not counted during the period. We have thus had the ironical situation whereby as the economy, society and polity deteriorated and living conditions worsened abysmally since 1999, the party in control at the centre won elections by increasingly wider margins and magnitudes in 2003 and 2007. It is only natural that if a party believes that it is being rewarded by the electorate for impoverishing them, it will not be motivated to do anything positive about their condition. But then, we know that Nigerians did not vote to reward those who had deepened their poverty in 2003 and 2007. The outcome of those elections were largely a function of the ‘do or die’ politics characteristic of those times. But then, the 2011 polls clearly mark a paradigm shift both in the conduct of elections and the attitude of the electorate in Nigeria. The Nigerian electorate is awake and alert and the political terrain can never be the same again. In these elections, the voter has demonstrated his power and will certainly never ever again cede the precious power of his vote to election riggers. Parties and candidates can only take the voters for granted to their own peril in future elections. It is for this reason that I am optimistic that decisively addressing the other fundamental obstacle to rapid national development is only a question of time. I refer to the national question or the challenge of true federalism. The 1999 constitution, which provides the legal frame work for this political dispensation is a mirror image of the 1979 constitution and is thus an essentially unitary document adorned in federal garb. We have refused to make the fundamental changes since 1999 necessary to transform this overcentralized polity into a true federation in any meaningful sense. But can we continue to do the same thing and expect a different outcome? That is the definition of insanity. The unitary path we have stuck to since 1999 has led us as a country further down the slippery slope of poverty and underdevelopment. A necessary imperative for the transition to a genuine federation in Nigeria is a careful revision of the items on the Exclusive legislative list in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 constitution. This is with a view to substantially scaling down the powers and responsibilities exclusive to the federal government and devolving more of those functions to the states. It stands to reason that many of those responsibilities, which impinge directly on the welfare of the people, can be more efficiently and effectively carried out by the states where the people actually live. To saddle a distant federal government with such responsibilities only compounds the problems of bureaucratization, the attendant corruption and wastages associated with inefficient service delivery. At best the Federal Government should have responsibility to set minimum national regulatory guidelines and standards for diverse sectors including education, health, industry, environment, agriculture, transportation etc while the actual formulation and implementation of specific policies within the states should devolve on the state authorities within their respective defined jurisdictions. The logical concomitant of such far reaching devolution of powers and responsibilities through an extensive revision of the Exclusive Legislative list that does not compromise the soverign power of the Federal Government is a drastic review of the current Revenue Allocation Formula to make more resources available to the states to meet their responsibilities to the people. Since it is the states that impact directly on the well being of the people resident within their jurisdictions, it follows that significantly enhancing the revenue available to the states will improve delivery of democracy dividends to the people and enhance popular confidence in democracy. The state governors are certainly right in insisting that the current revenue allocation formula, which gives the Federal Government 52.68% of National Revenues with the states and local governments allocated 26.72% and 20.60%, respectively is out of tune with contemporary realities and should be urgently overhauled. This is not necessarily only in order to enable the states implement the new minimum wage bill but to also accelerate the general socio-economic and infrastructural transformation of the country including our capacity to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Enhanced funding for the states, for instance, will mean that the Federal Government can shed the burden of maintaining federal roads within each state while assuming responsibility for inter state highways. In the same vein, the responsibility for road, water and rail transportation within the states can devolve on the state governments. This will enable the federal government focus with greater impact on inter state transportation. Continued on page 70


Cover Story

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Cover Story

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•Scene of a bomb blast in Abuja

A wave of bombings P

ALPABLE fear has gripped Abuja, the nation’s capital and several cities in the northern part of the country in the last few months because of the spate of bombs that have been exploding and killing people. The fear has become so rife that in Abuja today, many people think twice before attending functions at the Eagle Square and other public places. For instance, even if attendance to the square for the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan had not been restricted to “strictly by invitation”, many would not have bothered to go there for fear of bomb exploding during the ceremony. The 50th anniversary twin-bomb explosions near the square and other such happenings around the country, especially in the northern part of the country have made many to be wary of public places. In the last few months in places like Borno, Bauchi and Kaduna States, law enforcement and security agents are consistently on tenterhooks, striving to untangle the knots spurn by shadowy groups and individuals. The security agencies are in continuous suspense over how, when and where the next bombing or violent attacks would erupt. Evidently, the terrorists behind these have achieved some measure of success in spreading a great deal of paranoia across the land, especially in the north. Many residents especially in cities like Borno, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger and even the Federal Capital now live in perpetual fear. Only last week, the younger brother of the Shehu of Borno was killed in Maiduguri.

The spate of bombings in the northern part of the country has led to many asking whether security and intelligence gathering have broken down in that part of the country. Jide Babalola, Tony Akowe, Jide Orintunsin, Folarin Samson and Biodun Bello examine this situation Fear of public places The widespread killings and bomb explosions have driven people away from most public places such as gardens, drinking joints and the spread of the bomb explosions to the popular ‘mammy market’ in Bauchi has led to the beefing up of security in most military barracks across the country while the authorities have been talking of reviewing the laws that established such markets in barracks, saying they may be shut down. In Kaduna, attempt at planting explosives in public places have led to fatal consequences as both the innocent and those suspected to be the responsible have died as the bombs exploded prematurely. Also in Kaduna, a factory where suspects were allegedly assembling bombs was after a bomb that was in the process of being made exploded on

the man manufacturing them. It was not clear how many of such explosives had already been manufactured and sent out and currently in the hands of people. Police sources said that five apprentices were arrested at the factory at Rafin Guza area of the city, but how many have already been trained in the act of bomb making is the question the police are trying to find answers to. During the inauguration of Ibrahim Yakowa as governor of the state, a faceless group claiming to be Boko Haram members sent text messages that it was going to strike. This led to tightened security in the state and other states in the run up to the inauguration. Security sources in Kaduna told The Nation on Sunday that they are not taking threats going around lightly, pointing out that they are

‘’Many have linked the explosions in Kaduna to international terror networks. For instance, during the first explosion, the survivor claimed that the explosives were given to them by a foreigner whom he could not publicly identify”

deploying heavy security tracking mechanism to track down those behind such threats. Before the recent twin explosions in Zaria in which four people were injured, residents of the city, especially Christians have lived in fear because of the threat to attack them. Many students stayed away from school for fear of the attack. Suspected international links Many have linked the explosions in Kaduna to international terror networks. For instance, during the first explosion, the survivor claimed that the explosives were given to them by a foreigner whom he could not publicly identify. As if to confirm this, all those arrested during the second explosion were from Niger Republic while an international passport was discovered at the scene of the third explosion. The police said they are investigating the foreign connection while the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim was said to have constituted a high powered investigation team headed by a Deputy Inspector General to unravel the mystery behind the spate of bombings. However, as at the time of this report, there have been more bombings across the north with no clear indication of how far the police investigations have gone. Also, none of those arrested for previous attacks have • Continued on page 18


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Cover story

• Continued from page 17

been charged to court by the police who claimed that investigations are still ongoing regarding the various incidents. A highly placed security source in the state told The Nation on Sunday that they decided to keep everything regarding those arrested under close wrap in order not to jeopardise their investigations. “We don’t want a situation where our investigations are jeopardised. We don’t want to alert these people or let them know that we are closing in on them. That is why we will not let you know exactly what we are doing about the situation,” said the source. However, with the recent explosions in Zaria in which four people, including two children were injured, many are wondering whether the security agencies are actually doing anything to unravel the mystery behind the spate of bombings. There is a general fear in the state about where the next target will be. Investigations reveal that drinking joints have been the prime target of these bombers in Kaduna and this has sent fear into many who now prefer to stay away from such places. Extra security measures Churches in the metropolis and perhaps other parts of the state are beginning to take security seriously during their worship services. Some of them now resort to searching members, especially those carrying bags before being allowed into churches. Many of them are believed to have also told their members to be on the watch out for new faces who might come into the church, leave a bag on the seat and go out. Also, security agents in the state have embarked on a campaign to educate the people on how to be security conscious and avoid being caught unaware. They have continued to appeal to members of the public to report any suspicious movement to the police. Even Niger State which used to pride itself as one of the safest states in the country has not been spared from the spate of bombings. It had its own bitter share on March 3 when a twin bomb explosion terminated the lives of innocent people including school children and rendered some permanently handicapped for the rest of their life. At the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Niger East zonal campaign rally held at the Government Day Secondary School, Suleja, the bombs exploded. The serenity of the city was jeopardised barely a month after with explosions at the premises of the Suleja office of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). No fewer than 13 people lost their lives, including some former National Youth Service Corps members and ad hoc staff of the electoral body. The attack which wrecked the commission’s office and neighbouring houses, forced the electoral body to postpone the National Assembly election in the town to the next day. The Police Public Relations Officer, of the Niger State Command, Mr. Richard Oguche (ASP) said that the command was on top of the situation and that efforts are on to bring perpetrators to book. According to him, “the command is atop the situation. I can assure the people that we are getting closer to the perpetrators of Suleja bomb explosions. Justice will be done at the end of the day.” He assured citizens of safety of lives and property, and pleaded for time. Questions have also been raised whether some of the explosions are really bombs or locally made explosives. A teacher of Chemistry at the University of Lagos, who does not want his name in print, said the two are different. According to her, “An explosive is a kind of chemical material or materials, added together that can react immediately on contact with heat, while bomb is made from explosives but with a higher degree of concentration.” Is this the end? However, to Mallam Abdullahi Ahmed, a school teacher in Suleja, the two bombings and the increasing wave of crime have made life unbearable. “The fact is that, we are yet to recover from it. People now live in fear. You need to experience the attendant panic that goes with a minor burst, you will see people scampering and running for their lives. We now live with and in fear.”

‘Politicians stoked the violence’

•Chukwuemeka Wogu, Minister of Labour & Productivity •Smouldering vehicles at a blast site

For Mr. Shuaibu Daudu, a retired civil servant, who is into petty trading in Kantoma, Suleja, the April 2 explosion at INEC office, was “a confirmation of the scripture”. According to the father of three, who lost a niece in the explosions “all these are end time signs, as predicted by the Bible. The situation has made life difficult, as no one is safe from these bomb attacks.” He lamented the inability of the various security agencies in the state to fish out the perpetrators of the evil act. “Despite the huge amount our various governments allocated to security, despite the unaccounted for security votes of state governors, one is at a loss that the police and other security agencies are yet to clamp down on the bombers. It is lamentable that the situation is getting worse, as those behind this dastardly act are gaining more ground and their nefarious activities are spreading into more states in the north.” Why violence persists Already there are apprehensions that the country, especially the northern part, may descend to the level of Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq and other countries where daily bombings and killings are commonplace. What could be responsible for this? Mr Dele Ashiru, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos was of the opinion that a paradigm shift in power offers the best explanation for the violence in the North. According to him, “In the past, the highest office in the land for a very long time seems to be the exclusive preserve of the North. This time around, that assumption that the North has the monopoly to rule Nigeria like a fiefdom is changing and in this particular election, the southern candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, is a challenge to the widely held belief in the North that to rule Nigeria is their birthright. Now that it is sliding to the south, it is expected that there will be some rumbling in the North. They are beginning to come to the reality that Nigeria is meant for those in the North and South.” Asked why the northern part of the coun-

try seems to have become the new hotbed of political violence, which in the past used to be common in the South West, a sociologist from the Department of Sociology, also of the University of Lagos, Mr. Pius Adejoh argued that the crisis in the North was slightly different from those that have taken place in the South West. He said, “The violence in the South-West has always been tied to the rape of electoral process and annulment of the people’s mandate. The violence in the North has a concrete reason that is understandable from any point of view. You have an array of possible explanations. One, you have been hearing about the Boko Haram-the group which does not believe in western civilization- it’s an issue. You can’t link it to political process as it were.” He alluded to the theory propounded by a prominent Northerner which arrogates the right of political dominance to the North, adding that the shift in this line of reasoning is also a cause of the upheaval. Other reasons provided by the academic are poverty, ignorance and the failure of leadership. “Year in year out, we hear they pass budget, now in trillions of naira, how is it rubbing off on the ordinary person? Where poverty, hunger and frustration are, anything can happen,” he asserted. Mr Ashiru believed that with a strong political will in the nation’s leadership, there can be a solution to the perennial problem. He stated that the country is in dire need of fundamental economic and political reforms that reflect the realities in the country. He lamented the winner-take-all nature of the electoral system. “When people don’t see election as a war where the winner takes all and the loser loses everything and sometimes even his life; if things are shared in election in proportion to the number of votes during election, it will reduce this ‘war war’ thing over elections.” However, Mr Yunana Shibkau, a Fulani Christian from Zamfara State at a recent press conference in Abuja accused one of the presidential candidates in the last election of fomenting the crisis. Speaking on be-

half of the 19-member Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice (NCDJ), he said the group, which is made up of both Christians and Muslims, has in its possession audio and video recordings to support its claims over the alleged involvement of politicians in stoking the violence. Lessons learnt In Abuja where they joined other stakeholders, including civil society groups and international partners for a review of lessons learnt during the conduct of the recent general elections, the trio of the National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi, the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega gave deep insights into the causes, patterns and strategies to curb the trend of violence. They noted that the successful conduct of the April polls was a Herculean task that was achieved in spite of much cynicism and the demonstration of utter desperation by some politicians. Jega pointed out that INEC learnt a lot of lessons from the elections, noting that the introduction of inter-agency networking among security agencies significantly helped to curb incidences of violence and electoral offences. He said, “The election was not perfect; we are however glad that like we promised the election was a remarkable improvement over what happened in 2007. We learnt lessons in the area of operation, logistics, planning and preparations.” Azazi who was represented by a director in his office, Ambassador Lai Olaseinde, emphasised that a lot of credit should go to President Jonathan who demonstrated the political will to ensure the credibility of the polls. Ringim disclosed that 520 persons were killed in the post-election violence that erupted in Kaduna, Bauchi and Niger States. He said Kaduna was the worst affected during the course of the post-election violence as it accounted for 518, including six policemen while two persons were killed in Niger State.

“Churches in the metropolis and perhaps other parts of the state are beginning to take security seriously during their worship services. Some of them now resort to searching members, especially those carrying bags before being allowed into churches’’


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

PAGE 19

Osun...the sights, the sounds, the people Page 21

H

E sits in one of the sofas in his modestly furnished office on the third floor of the Senate new building. His rotund torso heaves back and forth in rhythmic coordination of sound and gestures as he changes his sitting position intermittently. With a pair of muscular hands, he adjusts the withered lower limbs and places them more comfortably, all within a sixty centimetre surface radius on the brown coloured sofa. A firm voice accentuates his boyish looks with a disarming childlike innocence. It is inconsequential that he lost his lower limbs to poliomyelitis at the age of two. And it’s of little difference that his father; the family’s breadwinner died when he was in lower secondary form three. Rising through the boot straps The death of his father did not deter him. With a modest post secondary educational qualification, he started out as a teacher. Later he worked with an airline. He left the firm to move to the banking industry where he rose to become an Assistant General Manager. He dabbled into politics when the ban on party politics was lifted in 1998. In 1999, he was elected to the Senate to represent the Kano North Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He has maintained his membership of the upper legislative chamber till date. Now, he is set to begin a fresh four-year tenure. He was re-elected in the April 2011 parliamentary election, for the fourth time. How did Senator Hayatu Bello Gwarzo fight the odds? “Having realised my physical deformity, I asked myself at a very early stage in my life whether I was going to resign to harsh fate or to fight the daunting challenges disabled persons are confronted with. I decided to fight my disability by pursuing my dreams. I am only physically deformed, but mentally, I am very agile. So I shrugged off the challenges and took my destiny in my own hands”. The humble beginning Born to a royal family in Gwarzo, Kano State, on April 14, 1960, he is the eighth child among nine siblings. He was brought up by an uncle after his father’s death. He completed his secondary education and proceeded to obtain a National Diploma in Statistics. He started out as a school teacher from where he joined a family airline •Gwarzo being pushed on his wheelchair by his former colleague, Prof. Jubril Aminu. business. But he felt he could not maximise his potentials in that industry. He crossed over to the banking industry where he rose to become an Assistant General Manager. Not even the cosy atmosphere in the banking environment, with the mouthwatering perks attached to the office could quench his thirst for adventure. So in 1998, he resigned his appointment with the bank and went into politics. “Becoming a senator was my life ambition so I plunged into politics headlong. Today, I am one of the few oldest senators in the chamber. I thank my people for the honour and the opportunity given me to serve them despite my physical disability. Above all, I thank God for His guidance and for giving me the strength to carry on”. He was visited by a daunting vicissitude early in life. But rather But coming to the Senate for the first than succumb, he weathered the storm. Through sheer time, a person must have certain aims and objectives in mind. What was his determination, he has confirmed the adage that where there is main focus as a first time legislator? a will, there is a way. Hayatu Bello Gwarzo is to be sworn-in “When I came to the Senate, what came to my mind were rural development, tomorrow as senator.It is his fourth time. His story is reported infrastructure, water, electricity, by GBADE OGUNWALE, Assistant Editor

Triumph over adversity: The Hayatu Gwarzo story

hospitals and schools. Without wasting time, I set out on a mission to attract as much federal development projects to my constituency as I could possibly achieve and my efforts paid off”. Mission in the Senate According to him, he was instrumental to the efforts that gave birth to the construction of Lamba – Kunchi –Kazaure Road with a cost profile of about N8 billion. Similarly, he joined others in ensuring that three different roads in his constituency were captured in the 500 Road Project currently under the Federal Government/Private Partnership maintenance arrangement. Also on the card is the Kano –Gwarzo –Deyi Road; Kano –Bichi –Katsina Road; Kano – Dumawa –Babura Road, all under the Operation 500 Road project s. The senator also said he was able to pursue the construction of 24 health clinics with 35 beds each. He added that no fewer than 18 communities across the various local governments in his constituency had benefited from electrification projects, including solar street light projects. The three local governments that were left out in the project have been captured in the 2011 budget, Gwarzo stated. He added that up to 60 solar boreholes, about 300 hand pump boreholes and over 1500 tube wells for irrigation have been sunk across the 13 local governments in his constituency. Also afoot is an irrigation project at Watari Dam in Bagwai local government which is to cost the Federal Government over N4 billion. The senator has lost counts of the number of classrooms that have been constructed with his active involvement. But all these are Federal Government sponsored projects. Service to constituency What are his personal contributions to the communities that have continued to renew his mandate since 1999? “In my personal capacity, I have initiated a number of empowerment projects for the social and economic development of my constituency. I have trained many people in welding, vulcanising, tailoring, soap making and others. After their training, I always provide them with the necessary tools, equipment and working capital for them to take off. I have also given assistance in terms of scholarship to students and I do give laboratory equipment to secondary schools in my constituency. As part of my religious obligations, I sponsor people on pilgrimage to the hajj on a yearly basis.” Active in the chamber Having been in the Senate for upward of twelve years, what are the various committees he chaired? “I was the pioneer Chairman of the-committee on States and Local Governments from 1999 to 2003 after which I was moved to the Committee on Labour and Productivity. I chaired the Works Committee sometime between 2003 and 2004 and headed the Committee on the Federal Capital Territory from 2004 to 2007”. However, in the 2007-2011 session, he had to fight his way through the courts to retrieve his mandate from an opponent from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) who occupied his seat in the Senate for the first one year before the Court of Appeal restored his mandate to him. By the time he took his seat a year after, the 54 standing committees had been constituted. It was only late last year that he was assigned •Continued on page 20


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Life

‘I’m only physically deformed, not mentally retarded’ •Continued from page 19

• Gwarzo

to chair the Committee on Agriculture when the leadership of the Senate effected a minor reshuffle of a few of the committees. This did not give him enough time and space for optimal performance as the legislative session was already drawing to a close. What is his take in the dynamics of chamber politics? “Sometimes I just sit down and observe other people’s mistakes. I learn everyday because in legislative business, experience really counts. So I believe we need to

build a way of retaining members in the legislature. The truth is that there are a lot of training and d e v e l o p m e n t programmes going on so the level of awareness is very high. Most of the problems here arise as a result of inexperience and immaturity on the part of a few members. If the two chambers can have experienced members over a period of time, there will be significant improvement in the business and quality of legislation. It takes time to grasp the intricacies of the job and

this is one of the things we need to address.” On ranking of lawmakers On the controversy over the recent amendment of the standing rules as regards ranking of senators, Gwarzo is of the view that, “Take it or leave it, ranking is a normal practice in parliaments all over the world, especially countries that have been practising democracy over a long period. The amendment was perfectly in order because what we did was to bring Order 97 forward to Order 3. In my view,

there was nothing wrong with the exercise. However, I am a bit uncomfortable with the timing of the amendment because it tends to give the wrong impression that it was designed to prevent first time senators from aspiring to leadership positions in the Senate. The amendment was ill-timed and that is why people are complaining. Had it been that it was done say about six months ago or before the April elections, there would not have been any complaint from outside the Senate. That is why we should learn to do things in the right way and at the right time. That is my personal opinion as far as the amendment is concerned”. Obviously, physically challenged persons do face a number of challenges which able bodied persons don’t experience in their day- to -day activities. What challenges does the 51year old lawmaker encounter in the cause of duty? “It is normal for physically challenged persons like me to encounter one problem or the other on a daily basis arising from my deformity. I face the challenge of having to walk a distance without my wheelchair. Until recently, I used to manage to walk around with the aid of my walking stick. In fact, I used to go on oversight functions when I was chairing the Works Committee but I am unable to do that now. It has to do with my weight because I realise that I have gained considerable weight lately. But I am trying to work on it with advice and assistance from my doctor. But I cope with what my able bodied colleagues do in terms of legislative business. I am only physically deformed. I am not mentally retarded. I work with my brain so I don’t see that as much problem. Beyond this, I don’t face much challenge in other aspects of my duty since my job does not entail boxing or wrestling”. Asked if as the only surviving male child in his family and married to a wife with five children, he does not as a Muslim consider marrying at least one more wife? He sighs, “Hmm, I don’t know”. The reporter further prodded “Do you have a girlfriend?” Emphatically he replies, “No, I don’t have a girlfriend. It is not part of my practice”. What will his next move after he might have completed his fourth term in 2015? “That is beyond me. My fate is in God’s hands. Wherever He puts me after my tenure, I will remain there”.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

E

Life

XCITEMENT and eager anticipation filled my bones and pounded through my blood stream as I boarded the bus heading to Osogbo. After waiting for a little over two hours for passengers to harken to the constant yelling of the hoarse voiced conductor, with the help of the bus driver, I began my slow-paced adventure to a land of beauty yet to be explored. Sitting in the vehicle, thoughts of unlimited measure flittered through my mind but nothing prepared me for the shocking discovery of the challenges that faced the drivers who ply this route. Trying really hard not to be caught playing the role of a ‘peeping Tom’, I watched as the bubbly, round-faced driver slipped N30 into the hands of policemen at every check point on the journey. With stone-hard expressions, the ‘security officers’ (regardless of the rank) slipped the cash into deep pockets and in some cases offered various amounts as change to the driver should they receive sums of money larger than their stipulated fee. As rubber met asphalt, mammoth expanse of under-utilized land interspersed with large rock formation which stretched for miles loomed before weary eyes. Comparing this scenery to the average over-populated street or road-side in Lagos would have been a ludicrous attempt. The timeless potential of these portions of land could serve as a goldmine for any dying economy, thought this reporter as I began to draw a mental checklist of the many industries that could grow from its proper use. Having spent three hours on the road, all the passengers heaved a huge sigh of relief as the bus came to a final stop at a filling station in the heart of Osogbo. Wanting to put what was left of day-light to good use, I decided to head for the next point on my itinerary, a government facility called the ‘State House Annex’. Coming •Mud house along Ejigbo road from an environment like Lagos where almost every human littering its street was impatient and aggressive, it was a surprise to find passers-by as well as okada riders who were patient and courteous enough to carefully explain hazy directions. The orderly bustle of the town saps the energy out restless souls as the people go about their daily activity with a sense of serene purpose, never in a hurry. I was also soon to find out how relatively cheap the cost of transportation was in comparison with that of other major commercial cities across the country. With my bag hanging from my shoulder, I employed the services of an avaricious okada rider who looked as if he was going to faint when I offered to pay him the amount he was charging as his fare. I quickly learned that the average cost of a bike-fare was N30 and any trip that required you to pay more was better handled with the aid of a small, bug-like bus called ‘korogbe’. Although the premises being visited boasted of large buildings, it was akin to a ghost town as very few people were seen conducting business there at a few minutes past 1pm. This, in more ways than one, spoke of the work ethic of the staff. Nightfall soon began to spread its dark blanket across the sky and the hunt for a comfortable shelter to spend the night became intense. For a town that does not have so many visitors knock on its doors, the rundown state of most of its hotels is to be expected. Whatever the hotels and •Herbs and foodstuff market behind mosque in Osogbo relaxation spots lacked in finesse, they made up for in prices as an average single with stoic expressions we kept trying to cement. The amiable people of this town room costs about N4,500. ignore the constant and nearly violent are a large educated group who not only At the break of dawn, it is not an gyrations of the vehicle. One is bound to speak English and Yoruba but French also. unusual sight to see a farmer and his observe the peaceful scenery and the This is probably as a result of their age children wielding cutlasses on a bicycle almost absent presence of vehicles on the long connection with French speaking heading for their farms. Heading to Ejigbo roads. Passengers were seen sitting on countries like Togo and Cote d’Ivoire. town from Osogbo was an amusing trip their luggage’s, mostly crops, with forlorn Iwo town, although more urban as nine passengers were crammed into a faces. looking than Ejigbo shared the same very old Peugeot station wagon that looked A tour round the ancient town of Ejigbo affinity for traditional, Fuji or Akpala music. like it would fall apart at the slightest jolt. would present the appreciative tourist Most of the shops visited and the buses As we crawled over the poorly with antique African building built with entered had this form of music blaring maintained roads connecting both towns, red mud either left bare or plastered with through their speakers. One who is not

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Osun...the sights, the sounds, the people

Rita Ohai shares her experience exploring the vast lands of Iwo, Ejigbo and Osogbo in Osun State

used to so many musical instruments clashing at the same time might fail to understand the beauty which this kind of music holds. I was robed with a sense of nostalgia as I boarded a bus returning to Lagos. Knowing that ahead of me lay a city saturated with people living the ‘rat race’ made me yearn for the solitude of these towns. I guess I’ll always carry beauty of the sights, sounds and people of Osun in my heart.


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Life

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

RANDOM POST

Keeping tabs on people and events in cyber space

Nigerian 'baby factory' raided, 32 teenage girls freed NIGERIAN police have raided a home allegedly being used to force teenage girls to have babies that were then offered for sale for trafficking or other purposes, authorities said on Wednesday. “We stormed the premises of the Cross Foundation in Aba three days ago following a report that pregnant girls aged between 15 and 17 are being made to make babies for the proprietor,” said Bala Hassan, police commissioner for Abia State in the country’s southeast. “We rescued 32 pregnant girls and arrested the proprietor who is undergoing interrogation over allegations that he normally sells the babies to people who may use them for rituals or other purposes.” Some of the girls told police they had been offered to sell their babies for between 25,000 and 30,000 naira (192 dollars) depending on the sex of the baby. The babies would then be sold to buyers for anything from 300,000 naira to one million naira (1,920 and

6,400 dollars) each, according to a state agency fighting human trafficking in Nigeria, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). The girls were expected to be transferred to the regional NAPTIP offices in Enugu on Wednesday, the regional head Ijeoma Okoronkwo told AFP. Hassan said the owner of the “illegal baby factory” is likely to face child abuse and human trafficking charges. Buying or selling of babies is illegal in Nigeria and can carry a 14-year jail term. “We have so many cases going on in court right now,” said Okoronkwo. In 2008, police raids revealed an alleged network of

such clinics, dubbed baby “farms” or “factories” in the local press. Cases of child abuse and people trafficking are common in West Africa. Some children are bought from their families to for use as labour in plantations, mines, factories or as domestic help. Others are sold into prostitution while a few are either killed or tortured in black magic rituals. NAPTIP says it has also seen a trend of illegal adoption. “There is a problem of illict adoption and people not knowing the right way to adopt children,” said Okoronkwo. Human trafficking is ranked the third most common crime after economic fraud and drug trafficking in the country, according to UNESCO. S o u r c e : www.olamidentertainment.com

AFTER entering a hospital on Sunday with critical injuries from a personal watercraft crash, singer Sean Kingston is now expected to make a full recovery from his injuries. CNN, citing two unnamed sources close to Kingston, reported that the injuries sustained in the crash should take around six weeks to heal. The sources told the news network that the “Beautiful Girls” singer suffered a broken jaw, a fractured wrist and water in his lungs. The last update from Kingston’s label, Epic Records, reported that he was in “critical but stable condition” in a Miami hospital on Tuesday. His rep also told MTV News that Kingston, 21, is “aware of what is going on around him” and that he was “sedated but fully conscious.” On Sunday, Kingston and a female passenger crashed his Sea Doo jet ski into the Palm Island Bridge at approximately 6 p.m. ET. After being rescued by an off-duty Coast Guard employee, the pop star was taken to the trauma center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, but has since been moved to the intensive care unit. TMZ spoke to Kingston’s rescuer, who said that Sean was “puking up blood out of his mouth.” Another witness told the site he noticed a gash under Kingston’s chin after the crash. Cassandra Sanchez, 23, Sean’s friend and passenger on the jet ski at the time of the accident, has since been discharged from the hospital,

Sean Kingston expected to make full recovery in six weeks Singer reportedly suffered a broken jaw, fractured wrist, water in lungs in jet-ski crash

Kingston’s rep confirmed. Sanchez told TMZ that Kingston tried to turn away from the bridge but was going “really fast” and couldn’t avoid the crash. Sanchez also said that as Kingston was maneuvering toward the bridge, she urged him to stop and screamed out, “We can’t fit under there! Are we going to try and go under there? Sean, stop!” Sanchez told TMZ on Tuesday that she had no plans to press charges against Kingston over the crash. “I know this whole thing was just an accident,” she said. “I won’t be pressing any type of charges or hiring a lawyer. Sean is a good guy.” CNN reported that Kingston had bought the jet ski just days before the accident, as he prepared to move into a new

house in Miami. An eyewitness said Sean’s life vest fell off during the crash, which caused him to sink below the water. “They were calling us over, telling us, ‘He’s drowning, he’s drowning,’ “ witness Carmen Rivera told CNN. “We jumped in the water to help him keep his head above water,” friend Jimmy Vega added. “I pushed him up, and he was vomiting what seemed like water, and then there was some blood coming out,” Jonathan Rivera said. Rapper Trav, whose new song “Up and Down” features Kingston, told CNN he visited his friend in the hospital on Monday and said Sean was “very responsive.”

Source: www.mtv.com

WHO’S TALKING...

JOBS ONLINE NIGERIAN Breweries Plc has vacancies for a Branch Manager. Applicants must not exceed the minimum of 35 years of age. He/she should have a minimum of a second class lower and the candidate is expected to have three years of brand management experience. Application can be sent to this link: http:// nbplc.com/careers/ vacancy.php?action=view&v=19

Chief Operating Officers, Legal managers and Asset managers are also needed by an oil and gas company which KPMG is recruiting for. Applications should be sent to recruitment@ng.kpmg.com before the 7th of June. Stanbic IBTC PLC is searching for vibrant and efficient people to join their team. The list of requirements can be found at their website and applications should be

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

sent online to http:// corporateandinvestment.st andardbank. co.za/pages/ careers_rmsnigeria/ jobs.html

OMG!!! DID YOU KNOW.. ...THAT our teeth start growing six months before we are born. ...that all healthy people fart at least 14 times everyday both consciously and unconsciously. It’s an important part of digestion. ...that you are taller in the morning than any other time of the day because the cartilages in your joints relax at night as we sleep and compress in the day as we move around. ...that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body

FREE DOWNLOADS

SEE the determination of the Nigerian spirit in action. I wonder if he’s old enough to spell his name yet! Source: simplysamad. blogspot. com

Sultry and husky voiced female singer, Ibiyemi while marking her birthday decided to give back to her fans by offering her latest song ‘It would be’ as a free download. On this track, she featured Dipo, a fast-rising artist on the Nigerian music scene. The download link can be found at bellanaija.com.

THIS week the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) distanced itself from a widely reported “Celebration of the widely applauded April 2011 General Elections in Nigeria and one year in office of Professor Attahiru Jega and his team of National Commissioners” currently being advertised and planned by a group which calls itself “Nigeria VoteCount Campaigners.” The event is scheduled for June 9 in Abuja, but in a statement released by www.saharareporters.com, INEC said although it was overwhelmed by the appreciation by most Nigerians and the international community of its performance in the April 2011elections, it was not “inclined to go on a celebration binge,” and that the group had failed to obtain its endorsement. Noting that invitation cards and a programme brochure bearing the INEC logo

have already been printed and issued to the public, INEC said the haste of the group raised questions about the intent of the organizers, and urged the public to be wary. Here are few reactions from Nigerians; Oladipo This reminds me of Ndi Okereke’s fundraising event for Obama’s campaign. Thank God men of integrity like Obama quickly disowned himself from the partying. O g h e n e r u o n a Omavuivwrighren Francis Credibility & legitimacy!!! Why not wait for the verdicts of d tribunals before celebration? They may not do a 100% perfect job ,but would point out Iwu’s mistakes (rigging) repeated by Jega. The chairman sure knows the implications of celebrating. David Udotong Jr These are sychophants and

praise-singers at work. Beware Matthew More Though it had some flaws, no need to celebrate, its not important, at least they are paid salaries, so it should be a thing of joy if they perform well! Ibrahim Mohammed No need to celebrate this sham called election, with all the video evidences and the magic numbers from Southeast and Southsouth and someone wanna celebrate? Kunle Disowning that is the best view forward, I think we need to disown a lot of wrong things that are happening. like someone mentioned that the banks that messed up in 2009 want to go to london to get listed because they cannot find any investors here. Is that not terrible?

N.B: You can send your jokes, pictures and gist online to pearlohai@yahoo.com


23 SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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HE first major archeological discoveries were made in 1938. With those discoveries, Igboukwu town was established as a historical site where the Igbos had existed as far back as the 9th century AD. It was the objects thus discovered that proved that the local people who must have used those implements were primarily artisans, farmers and hunters. In order to further establish the place of those relics, between 1959 and 1964, renowned British Archaeologist, Professor Thurstan Shaw, made more revealing ethnographical discoveries suggesting that Igboukwu had been the cradle of the Igbo race as early as the 9th century AD. Moved by these series of early discoveries, in 2003, the federal government, through the auspices of the National Commissions for Museums and Monuments, established the Igboukwu Museum. The museum was promptly tagged community museum to emphasize the fact that most of the implements discovered were mainly community-oriented. In the words of the curator of the museum, Prince Enyi Imebuogu, “This is one of the flagships of the National Museum. Members of the community here have been cooperating with us to keep this place running. This is because the people are completely culturally-oriented. They love the Igbo culture and do all they can to preserve, protect and promote these cultural values on-behalf of the Igbo race. It is named community museum because the objects here in the gallery represent the way of life of the people who used them in those early years when human civilization was still rudimental.” Most of the objects on display have elaborate historical insignia indicating broad social system which involved lots of ceremonies. Some of these ceremonies included title-taking, music, dance, group initiation, body ornamentation and adornment and lots more. They show also that the people had for long been in love with bronze casting and wood carving, and that those ornaments of decoration were to make the women and the titled people exceptionally beautiful and outstanding. The gallery is mainly a pictorial one showcasing early bronze castings and terracotta from Igboukwu and some neighbouring towns. There were three sites from where these objects of different make were recovered. All of them are displayed and dated in properly protected areas in the museum. These sites were Igbo Isaiah, comprised mainly of stone houses of ritual objects used by a powerful local leader, the Igbo Richard, showing the burial chamber of an important person. The third one is named Igbo Jonah, depicting a disposed pit with many bronze and terracotta objects which were radio-carbon dated to the early 9th century AD. All these suggest the settlement of a people who were exposed to the use and production of copper and alloys in the whole of West Africa where they dominated the trade. According to Imebuogu, “after the discoveries by Shaw, Igboukwu immediately became famous worldwide as a town that was exposed to technology long before other communities within the area. The artifacts predicate that people were cultural-oriented and today, people still use some of those early implements like cooking utensils. Some of their objects of worship, farming, hunting and musical instruments can still be found in and around here. In fact, the people of Igboukwu hold firm to their culture,” he explained, indicating with his hands. Before the federal government chose to make Igboukwu one of its foremost museums a lot of factors were considered. The location of the office was chosen to synchronise with one of the most notable historical sites. The people, mostly the elders,

•Ethnographical objects at Igboukwu Museum

•Imebuogu

‘Why ours is a community museum’ All the museums in Nigeria are named based on the type of objects and artifacts they showcase. The one in Igboukwu, Anambra State is a community museum so-called due to the nature of the objects discovered in the town dating back to the 9th century AD. Edozie Udeze just back from the museum reports were made to understand and appreciate the import of the exercise and why the town has to be continually preserved as one of the sacred places in the country. Today, the town is not just a historical monument, as it were, it equally attracts visitors from all parts of the world who are curious to see and feel Igboukwu. “People visit us from time to time, from different parts of the globe,” the curator said. “We record more visitors among those who just come to be sure of what they have heard about these discoveries. Students also come on excursion to see the famous Igboukwu archeological findings which they have been taught in school, and read in historical books,” he said. Imebuogu explained further that the existence of the famous bronze culture for which the people were widely known indicated that the people operated a centralized system of government in the days of yore. The people believed in the existence of a Supreme Being called Chi-ukwu who ordered and patterned the world. This Supreme Being had many taboos and He

was worshiped through other intermediaries. Man being so little, had no power to approach Him directly. In this wise, the place of ancestral spirits was part of the ordinances of the Supreme Being whose anger was often ignited when the people violated some of the taboos and norms of the society. Igboukwu society then had a set of taboos which included the abhorrence of the killing of the Eke. Eke is the royal python which is regarded as sacred and special to the people. In fact it was taken as a bad omen when such snake was killed either on purpose or by mistake. It was seen as an abomination and the offender was usually asked to bury it in a ceremonious way or go into exile. “Through these ways, the society was properly ordered in those days,” Imebuogu, himself, an archeologist, said. As at now the museum is still operating from its temporary site in the town. “Yes,” the curator concurred, “that is true. But as I am talking to you now, we are almost set to move to our permanent site.

As soon as the necessary fittings are done we will move in,” he said, a snide little smile perching on his face. “The new site is conducive for what we do, I can assure you of that,” he said, nodding his head. The most striking feature of the museum is that its objects are essentially pictorial and physical. One can readily see these objects and promptly relate them to what they symbolize in the local and traditional existence of the users. Some of the objects are bronze roped pot, bronze stands, pendants, bowls, medallion. Others are ornate staff head, scabbard, spiral snake ornament, bronze skull of a leopard, ofo, Ite arusi (ritual pot) and a host of others that significantly distinguish these objects from the rest. As a community museum therefore, Igboukwu truly stands out as a place where the people proudly point to and say “We are really the cradle of a race.” And so the elders too have taken it upon themselves to promote these ideals so that these cultural values do not die or disappear.


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Arts

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Day culture enveloped Igboukwu

•Students of Girls Secondary School, Igboukwu on fashion parade at the occasion

•A chief and his wife displaying their native wear

Igboukwu in Anambra State came alive on Children’s Day when the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) organised a a cultural extravaganza to encourage the kids to appreciate their cultural heritage. Edozie Udeze who saw it all writes on how enthusiastic the children were to celebrate what is dear to them

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HE ancient town of Igboukwu in Anambra State came alive penultimate Friday when dignitaries from far and near gathered to celebrate Children’s Day with students of primary and secondary schools from within and around the town. The event which was put together by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) Igbo Ukwu office, was meant to give the children a sense of belonging. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the people’s cultural values as the elders and titled chiefs took time out to deliberate on salient cultural elements that would help the children have more value for what is their own. As early as 8:30 am, children from different schools within the area had started to converge, armed with their costumes and other cultural elements for their dance drama, fashion parade and other shows. Meshach Nwaebo, the head of CBAAC office, Igbo-Ukwu, said it was about time children were taught the rudiments of their tradition so that when they grow, they will never depart from it. According to him, “we are here today to commemorate the international children’s day instituted by the United Nations in appreciation of the centrality of children to the development of human society. Therefore, CBAAC’s interest and investment in children and youths programmes are encouraged by the fact that children are malleable and can be shaped into what the society expects of them to be. Our cultures help us to place premium on what is right and these kids have to begin on time to appreciate that fact,” Nwaebo said. This was why the topic for the debate was anchored on: Should traditional oathtaking be encouraged among public office holders? It was a topic that drew the attention of both the old and the young. Chairman of the occasion, Chief Okeichie Alor, explained that there has to be checks and balances to make office holders be totally responsible to the public. He equally used the occasion to explain the place of kolanuts in Igbo tradition and called on parents to always make this issue stick in the minds of their children. “You need to imbibe the habit of wear-

“The debate generated more heat and interest than the people expected. Students of secondary schools were pitched against those of primary schools who opposed the idea that oath-taking is indeed barbaric. They all made the arguments referring to the Bible to support their points” ing Igbo dresses for they make you look good,” he charged the kids. “This is the time to begin to value your local tongue. Speak it anywhere you are, be proud of who you are, for that is the way God has made you to be,” he said to them, as other chiefs on the high table nodded in agreement. The debate generated more heat and interest than the people expected. Students of secondary schools were pitched against those of primary schools who opposed the idea that oath-taking is indeed barbaric. They all made the arguments front and back referring to the Bible to support their points. “It is idol worship,” they said. In the end, the primary school pupils emerged victorious, convincing people beyond reasonable doubts that those who had taken such oath before came out unhurt. So, why indulge in it further? They asked, giving concrete examples. As the kids marshaled out their points with good command of the English Language, the elders stormed the stage one after another to spray them with naira notes as a mark of appreciation. That was however the only programme that was conducted in English. The rest, like drama, dance, fashion parade and show were rendered in Igbo and you could see the kids proudly adorned in their traditional attires. As they mounted the stage school after school, the arena came alive as all

sorts of colours enveloped the venue. Most of the songs dwelt on the need for kids to be of good cheer, to be at their best always. “A good child obeys his parents,” they sang in Igbo language. A lot of them re-enacted most of the age-long moonlight songs that embellished the culture and as they did so, the elders equally acknowledged the depth of what they displayed. This gave an unprecedented glow to the venue as the kids took full charge of the occasion. They beat the drums to profusion, they delivered the songs to type. As their teachers led them into the esplanade, they took control as if the teachers were no longer there. “We have to let the world know that we love what we have,” Uche of Hope Primary School, said. After she had danced and sung to the •Children in fashion show delight of the audience, Uche confessed that she ing for young lads to ensnare. It was that would like to be a professional dancer good and impressive, for what they did when she grows up. gave the hope that all was not lost. The For Afoma, Chinenye and Adaeze of young ones are indeed in tune with what Girls Secondary School, Igbo-Ukwu, who is their own. mesmerized the audience with their stylThe climax was the drama which was ish fashion parade, “we learnt this from predicated on the need to preserve the Igbo our mothers. This type of dressing is done Language and other cultural values. The when we are to go to church with our hus- stage took on a new light when the play bands,” the three young girls chorused in was introduced that no one was even prean interview. When they emerged on stage pared to leave the arena. to begin the processes of putting on their Those who won in all the events were make-up and dresses, everybody was given gifts and awards. Apart from enterstunned to see how perfect they were. They taining the children and guests, CBAAC tied their local wrappers very effectively ensued that the people that matter in the that people began to wonder if they were town were brought to the venue. They were really teenagers. Even the chiefs ap- all grateful to the Centre and also replauded as the elders cheered all the way. minded the Igbos that Igbo-Ukwu as the It was momentous indeed. cradle of the people’s history has to be When they were done and then began preserved and protected. “Igbo-Ukwu is to parade the arena, they no longer looked ours to preserve,” Chief Alor told the gathlike students, but adults on the prowl look- ering.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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ON of a Chief is a 92page drama piece with an African setting, written by Dr. Christopher Okuba Iyimoga and published by Kraft Books Ltd. The drama tells a story of the tragic end of an African young prince, an only son of the late king of Eji land, Ari, who tries to oppose and defy the tradition of the land and the council of kingmakers. His insistence not to marry the late father’s wives and preference to marry Azimi, a young lady he has impregnated outside wedlock is not accepted by Oboshi the kingmaker and some of the elders of the land. The play reaches its climax when it becomes clear to Ari that the only way he can be crowned the next king of the land is acceptance to marrying the late father’s wives. A woman whose heart is broken is like a deep blue see. Who can fathom what is inside of it? Azimi feels that Oboshi, one man who is set to stop her from marrying the only man in the whole wide world she has chosen to marry must die, offers Oboshi a Greek gift on the day Ari is to be crowned king. There is a dramatic irony, Oboshi, pleased with the wine Azimi offered him, not knowing it’s poisoned, changes his mind and is set to defy tradition and let Ari marry Azimi. To demonstrate his genuine intention in accepting Ari to marry Azimi asks Ari to drink from the same calabash of wine offered to him by Azimi. Azimi is helpless as she is restrained from her people from stopping his love from drinking the wine. She ruins the man she is fight-

Books

Making wisdom out of nothing ing to have for herself and has no reason any more to live. She drinks from the same calabash of poisonous wine and dies along with her love and Oboshi. The play draws attention to the ridiculous situation the African society has found itself in the claim of modern civilization. The chief character Ari, claims to be a modern man and so feels that some of the traditions of his people are obnoxious and needs immediate change. He considers inheriting his father’s wife incestuous. “Let the ancient go with their ancient ways! Let the ancient go with their primitive ways! Let the ancient and the dead go with their evil ways! How can I marry my own mothers? That’s incest!” (Act two scene III). But as a modern man, whom he claims, there is no evil in going about indulging, in sexual immorality, impregnating a woman outside wedlock and intending to marry a strange woman. These are the very things that the tradition of his people forbids. Like Oboshi puts it to him “Yes let the gods of our land go get lost… Well said Ari, the modern man. But the modern men I know don’t marry wives, not even two, Ari the modern man. But they go destroying people’s daughters. In that respect you are right, Ari the modern man.” (Act two scene III). The drama satirizes the African man’s selective modern civilization. Like Ari, the modern man wants those African traditions that seem not to favour him eradicated and retention of the ones that favour him.

The book ridicules the fickleness and greediness of Africans’ custodian of laws. Like Oboshi, most African custodians of laws of the land are fickle minded and greedy, they always fail to hold their ground in protecting the tenets of the traditional laws. There are themes of culture conflict represented by the traditional of the people and Ari’s modern believe. The book also talks about greediness among those in corridors of power. Oboshi sees his position as a kingmaker as a means to satisfying his personal greed at the detriment of the tradition. The consequences of disobedience to the tradition and laws of the land are manifest in the death of Ari who defied the laws of the land by insisting not to follow tradition. Azimi, allows herself to be impregnated outside wedlock and Oboshi fails to hold on in defense of the people’s traditional values. The drama is written in acts and scenes. It has a total of three acts. The first act has four scenes. This is the part that introduces us to the drama. The events here are expressed through idiomatic and indirect statements of some of the kingmakers and elders of the king’s kingdom and gossips of Chief Onah’s three last wives directed at his wayward son, Ari, who goes about destroying girls. This is the part the king also died. This conversation in Act one scene II is an example of the general perception of the king’s only son and an insight of what we are to ex-

pect from the drama. This is the act where the drama rises and gets to a climax. Ari is to chose between marrying his late father’s wives and be crowned a king or go ahead and marry Azimi, a girl he has put in a family way outside wedlock, and reject his kingship right. The things that are said in language of indirection by the elders and kingmakers in act one become open. We

Niger-Delta: Not yet uhuru

T

HE Niger-Delta may have become relatively peaceful. Its

former militants also may have become appeased and reformed. But the intrigues that played out in the oil-rich region for many years has provided engaging story-line for movies and placed meals on the table of adventurous pressmen. Writers have also continued to yarn tales, polishing them with anecdotes until they glitter. Here is another excellent work that is both factual and fictional, animating the exploits and excesses of the Niger Delta militants, nay freedom fighters. Aptly dubbed “Militants of the NigerDelta”, Matthew Okoba takes the reader through the cagey world of the militants as they conduct their initiation in hushed tones and fear-gripping atmosphere in the creeks. He tells the story of Tella, a detective who is sent as a spy to uncover the strangleholds of the militants. He pretends to be one of them, shares their feelings and resentments

till he is integrated into their membership and knows their modes of operation. He joins as they kidnap foreigners and engages in gun battles against the security operatives, just to gain the militants confidence and infiltrate their ranks. He succeeds. But suddenly is caught in a dilemma. Having felt the pains of the people and understood the rationale for their actions and even participated in the kidnapping and shared the loot with them, does he still have the heart to stab the militants in the back without the chicks coming home to roost? But what about his family at home? Will this mission change his life and career forever? Okoba climaxed his story well with a resolution that did not leave his plot lopsided. Another remarkable part of the 152-page novel is the author’s infusion of historical facts that arm the reader with enough background knowledge making him to easily reconcile the past with the present which has continued to

shape our future. He also cleared some concepts which the average Nigerian may not understand. The book is a must read for every Niger-Delta youth who wishes to learn about his roots and may have been put off by the boring details of historical documents and soporific feature reports. This novel is not only informative and educative but subtly entertaining. The author also well captured the long time exploitation, deprivation and manipulation of the NigerDelta by successive impervious government administration which gave rise to militancy and sabotaging in the oil rich region. The novel has the trappings of a hit movie if expanded. Every chapter is laced with impeccable action, diction and sweet fiction. The author blends fiction with fact to form what he called ‘Faction’. It reveals the consequence of overtime marginalization of a supposed minority; deplores the selfishness of a suppressive privileged few

and exposes the foolishness of extremism in a bid to get redress for injustice using barbaric means. The author should be commended for his picturesque descriptive finesse. The reader is made to be a participant as he hears the whizzing of bullets, the blasts of bombs, the howls of wounded souls as they sprawl in the throes of death. However, the author’s foible is his unbroken and uninterrupted historical narration at certain points in the novel. He turned the novel to a history classwith humdrum information. Despite this, the book is recommended to all Nigerian students and lovers of good books.

Title:

Militants of the Niger-Delta Author: Matthew Okoba Publishers: Whiz-kids No of Pages: 152 Year of Pub: 2009 Reviewer: Folarin Samson

are let into the illicit affair Ari involves herself which wasn’t really spelt out in act one. Here Ari, searches for the solution to his problem, conjures the spirits of his fathers, seeks the advice of a fortune teller. The third and the last act, has three scenes. The drama reaches its resolution here. Ari, after encountering the father’s ghost in a dream re-

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solves to be crowned king first, before marrying his love Azimi. But Azimi feels he’s out to betray her. Feeling that Oboshi is the cause why Ari has decided to leave her, she plans to revenge. Ironically, Oboshi after accepting Azimi’s drink offer decides to give his support to Ari marrying her. To prove to Ari that it is from his heart; and asking him to drink from the wine his love offers him, brings and end to the story as they both dies after drinking the poisoned wine. Azimi, who can’t stand to behold the death of her love, takes her own life by drinking from the same calabash. Son of a Chief has an attractive paper cover. The paper quality is good but not really a superior quality. This must have been as a result of making the book affordable to the common man. Iyimoga’s son of a chief, could be described as a moral, instructional and educative piece of work which can be medicinal in a society where youths find it difficult to listen to the advice of the elders and where traditions of the land are never respected. The author’s dexterity in handling contemporary problems of the African society in this book, and in his Fragments in the Air a poetry collection, positions him as one man, who uses his pain, in the fight to salvage the extinction of African value system. Title: Son of a Chief Author: Christopher Okuba Iyimoga Publishers: Krafts , Ibadan Reviewer: Morgan Otuihegeme


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Arts

1st Chapter S

OUTH Africa is a large headland situated between two oceans, one to the east and one to the west. The nations that inhabit it are numerous and greatly varied in custom and language. Yet they easily divided themselves into three large groups: the nations settled along the western seaboard are of a yellow complexion. They are the San and the Khoi. The ones in the centre are the Batswana and the Basotho. Those to the east are the Bakone or the Matebele. The boundaries between them are prominent and visible; they are boundaries created by God, not man, because the nations to the west are separated from the ones in the centre by great sandy waterless deserts, and those in the centre are separated from those to the east by a massive mountain range of towering peaks rising in the Cape Colony and running parallel to the sea, yet far, far away from it. These nations are markedly distinct from each other, so much so that a person travelling from the west to the east is immediately conscious of having come into a different country and among strange people when he arrives among the Sotho nations in the centre, and likewise when he descends towards the Matebele nations over there beyond the Maloti mountains. Our purpose here has to do with the eastern nations, the Bakone, and it is fitting that, before we plunge into our story, we should describe how the nations were settled in the beginning, so that the reader may understand what will be narrated in the coming chapters. The greater portion of the land of Bokone, which lies between the Maloti and the sea, is covered by forest. Besides, the crops there are never bitten by frost, for there are only light frosts because

Chaka’s metamorphosis This novel is the first of many works of literature which take the great Zulu leader, king and emperor as their subject. Mofolo presents it as a study of human passion, of an uncontrolled and then uncontrollable ambition leading to the moral destruction of the character and the inevitable punishment of the nearness of the sea. It is a land of lush greenness, and of extremely rich pasturage. Its soil is dark, and that means that it produces much food; it indigenous grass is the luxuriant seboku; its water lies in marshes, and that means that its cattle grow very fat. There are numerous rivers, and that means that rain is plentiful. It is a land of dense mists which often clear only after the sun has risen high, and that means that there are no droughts since the moisture takes long to dry up. In the early days, when the people were still settled upon the land nowhere were there as many people as here in Bokone, because its villages were not only large, but also numerous. As regards their customs , we can say that they are a people more skilled in medicine than any other group in South Africa, and no wonder, since they live in the proximity of forests where medicinal plants are in abundance. None can equal their skill in medicines used for witchcraft, for bringing disaster on one’s adversary, for love-charms, for charms to make one popular and bring good fortune and for dispelling one’s enemies–not even the Khoi or the San who are so famous for their knowledge of herbs, can measure up to their excellence. They are also famous for their ability to communicate with their ancestor who died long ago, and go talk them and thus obtain advice from the gods.

Water serpents are highly regarded in Bokone, and so indeed, are such little crawlers as the cobra and the puff-adder. A person who has seen a snake is considered to have seen something portentous which presages either good fortune or extreme bad luck accompanied by plagues that are coming to him from his ancestral gods. A snake is not to be killed in Bokone, and anyone who kills it is considered to have done a deed that surpasses all others in ugliness. Such a one will carry for the rest of his life the shame of having killed that snake. He who kills a snake is regarded as insulting the gods and showing them disrespect by killing their messenger because , in Bokone, a snake is a recognized messenger who conveys the wishes of the dead to their living descendants. If it should enter a house while the occupants are outside, they will never go back into that house, and will stay outside until the snake eventually goes out at its own pleasure, since its visitation means that one of the ancestors is longing for them. Or if a snake should enter a house in which some untoward event has recently taken place, this is regarded as indicating that the dead are unhappy, that they have been hurt by the way their descendants have handled their affairs, and that they will visit terrible afflictions on them, such as sickness or war. When a snake enters a house, the owners at once begin to

express their thanks, or to ask for forgiveness from their gods who may be angry with them. Snakes are abundant therefore, since they are not killed. It is understandable , then, that the snake should be an ingredient in all the medicines of Bokone, because there is no way in which such an important thing could be left out. When one travels downward between the sea and the Maloti, coming from the direction of Delagoa Bay, in the north, the first Bakone one comes upon are the Swazi nation. Across the MfoloziMnyama River were settled the Ndwandwe people who were ruled by Zwide. Between the Mfolozi-Mnyama and the Mfolozi-Mhlophe, all the way to the sea, were the Bathethwa who were ruled by Jobe; or perhaps we may more fittingly mention the name of his son, Dingiswayo, who became more renowned than his father. Between those two , but a little to the north, was settled a small weak little nation which owed allegiance to Jobe, and which was known as the FenuIwenja. Later, however, that little nation was to gain much fame, till all the nations of Bokone were called by its name. Near to the Fenu-Iwenja were the Mangwene led by Matiwane, who once invaded Thaba-Bosiu. There were also the Maqwabe, the Mafuze, the Bathembu, the Makhuze, the Mahlubi, the Bakwamachibisa, the Mathuli (where the city of Durban now stands). The reader must understand that we are describing how the

nations were situated long ago, when the people were still settled upon the land. Many small and weak nations who inhabited the area along the banks of the Mfolozi-Mhlophe, used to flee to Jobe, king of the Bathethwa, to beg him for asylum since he was very kind to all people; and among these was the Fenu-Iwenja (later to be called the Mazulu). In those day the Mazulu were weaker than most other little nations, and they survived only because of the kindness and wisdom of the great king Jobe. They were mostly famous for their trade in tobacco, carved wooden basins, and other artefacts. There is no place in the entire world where wars are unknown. There comes a time when the nations hunger for each other and continually fight each other, sometimes over many years. But in the end peace returns once more, and the land is warm again.

Sometimes while the nations are living in a state of peace, none bothering the other, a male child arise among one of them and he, even though but one individual, creates so much unrest that peace is banished from the earth and much blood is spilt. But the sufferings which were occasioned by the difaquane were unknown in the olden days when the people were still settled upon the land. The nations were living in peace, each one in its own original territory where it had been from the day that Nkulunkulu, the Great-Great One, caused the people to emerge from a bed of reeds. In the midst of so much peace and prosperity no one thought, even for one moment, that the affairs of their lives were about to change, and that they would wander in the wilderness having no fixed home, and would be killed by the spear, by exhaustion, and by hunger.

Nobel Greats

Claude Simon

Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature 1985 "who in his novel combines the poet's and the painter's creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition"

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Born: 10 October 1913, Tananarive (now Antananarivo), Madagascar Died: 6 July 2005, Paris, France Residence at the time of the award: France Language: French

LAUDE Simon was born in 1913 at Tananarive (Madagascar). His parents were French, his father being a career officer who was killed in the first World War. He grew up with his mother and her family in Perpignan in the middle of the wine district of Roussillon. Among his ancestors was a general from the time of the French Revolution. After secondary school at Collège Stanislas in Paris and brief sojourns at Oxford and Cambridge he took courses in painting at the André Lhote Acad-

emy. He then travelled extensively through Spain, Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy and Greece. This experience as well as those from the Second World War show up in his literary work. At the beginning of the war Claude Simon took part in the battle of the Meuse (1940) and was taken prisoner. He managed to escape and joined the resistance movement. At the same time he completed his first novel, Le Tricheur ("The Cheat", published in 1946), which he had started to write before the war. He lives in Paris and spends part of the year at

Salses in the Pyrenees. In 1961 Claude Simon received the prize of l'Express for "La Route des Flandres" and in 1967 the Médicis prize for "Histoire". The University of East Anglia made him honorary doctor in 1973. Some of his works: Le Tricheur/The Cheat 1945 La Corde Raide/The Tightrope 1947 Gulliver 1952 Le Sacre du printemps/ The Anointment of Spring 1954 Le vent. Tentative de restitution d 'un rétable ba-

roque/The Wind. Attempted Restoration of a Baroque Altarpiece 1957 L'Herbe/The Grass 1958 La Route des Flandres/ The Flanders Road 1960 Le Palace/The Palace 1962 La Separation/The Separation 1963 (Play adapted from the novel L'Herbe) Femmes/Women. Ill by Joan Miró. - New edition entitled La Chevelure de Bérénice/Berenice's Hair 1984 Histoire/Story 1967 La Bataille de Pharsale/ The Battle of Pharsalus 1969 Orion aveugle. Essai/ Blind Orion. Essay 1970


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I

T will be football with thrills and frills all over Africa this weekend as hostilities resume throughout the continent with national teams slugging it out for tickets to the 2012 African Nations Cup billed for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. From Cairo in the north to Cape Town in the south and Addis Ababa in the East to Conakry in the West players will file out to the pitches, coaches will bark out instructions from the sidelines, fans will cheer and jeer from the stands just as the ball will not cease to roam the arena’s main theater in search of the goal post. But for Nigerians, eyes will be glued to television sets as their side, the Super Eagles, one of Africa’s revered sides, take to the pitch in far away East Africa. The team tutored by Samson Siasia will tomorrow, confront Ethiopia in a game

2012 AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS QUALIFIERS

Nigeria, Guinea race for top spot capable of sending them top of their elimination group which parade Guinea and Madagascar. Nigeria is presently on six points, one behind leaders, Guinea who are yet to lose a match in the current qualifying series. Ethiopia is on four while Madagascar has only a point to show in the series so far. Should Guinea fail to defeat Madagascar in Conakry and Nigeria succeeds in beating Ethiopia

By Olusoji Olukayode in Addis Ababa, the Super Eagles will assume leadership of their group going into the last two rounds of matches of the qualifiers. But questions are, can Nigeria get the much needed win in Addis Ababa? And can Madagascar secure a win or at least a draw in Conakry to aid Nigeria up the log? Both results are possible but not

certain as Guinea are not expected to fall at home when they have not failed to pick a point on the road so far in the qualifiers. Ethiopia on its part still has a good chance of making it to the competition in 2012 and as such will be expected to keep that hope alive by beating their West African opponents in order to reduce the gap between them and Nigeria to a point, racing into the last two rounds of games.

•Victor Anichebe vies for the ball against an Ethiopia player during the first leg

AHEAD OF NIGERIA VERSUS ETHIOPIA

Eagles will triumph in AddisAbaba—Olayombo

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ENNETH Olayombo was a prominent member of the Green Eagles’ squad that won Nigeria’s first ever football gold, a feat recorded by beating Guinea in the final of the 1973 All African Games. Five years earlier, in 1968 he had been a member of the Nigerian senior national football team to the 1968 Olympics where Nigeria met Brazil for the first time in an international match. He and his colleagues pulled out a 3-3 draw from that encounter after seeing their 3-0 lead cancelled by the Samba boys at that Mexico Games. However, on their way to the Mexico party, the national team confronted Ethiopia in the qualifiers in a two-legged contest which they won both home and away. In the interview with OLUSOJI OLUKAYODE, the former international attacker spoke on the 1968 Addis Ababa match-up. He also spoke about the likely outcome of the Nigeria/Ethiopia clash as well as that of the Under 23 clash with Tanzania in a 2012 Olympic qualifier in Dar es Salaam. I want you to draw comparism with your set that went to Addis Ababa and defeated Ethiopia in 1968 and this set that will be playing on Sunday? There are too many changes in football now so you can’t compare the past and the present because everything has changed completely. It’s the same football but there are so many improvements and with the jet age, everything has completely changed What would you say really went down in 1968 match in Addis Ababa when we met in Ethiopia in the Olympic qualifiers for the 1968? How was Nigeria able to beat Ethiopia? It was a tough match and luckily we managed to escape with a 1-0 victory so that’s it. But with the way the present Super Eagles played last (Wednesday) I foresee they will come back victorious. You are really certain? There’s no certainty in football but with the way they played (against) Argentina, I am sure they will come back with something very positive Based on your own past experiences in Addis Ababa what would you say this team should be looking out for off the field of play, hostilities or what? There’s no hostility in Addis Ababa as far as I am concerned. I

went there with the (1968) Olympic team, I went there during the (1976) Cup of Nations in Dire Dawa so there’s no hostility, the only thing is the weather, very cold, that’s all, that’s the only difference there You watched Nigeria play Argentina last Wednesday, what advices would you be giving Siasia ahead of the match against Ethiopia especially considering too that Ethiopia lost their last friendly at home to Sudan last Sunday? There are no two matches alike; the advice I will give Siasia is that he should keep on working. He started very well, it’s a gradual process and with time he will get there. But he should not relent because that was a second string Argentina team although there were so many positives in the match so he should carry on. Finally sir, I want to take you on the Under 23, they are going the path you tread in 1968? They are trying to qualify for the Olympics. What advice do you have for them? In the first place I have not seen the Tanzanian team but the Nigerian team is a good side by any standard so they will come out tops You believe they will win that match? The worst (will be a) draw, the worst (will be a) draw.

NationSport

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 05, 2011

NationSport

•Eagles in training before a recent encounter

We want to keep alive our dream to qualify —Oliech

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ENYA national team captain Dennis Oliech, has faith that the Harambee Stars can keep the victory run ticking and push for that for qualification for the Gabon Equatorial Guinea 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations finals. Oliech believes that Sunday's game will be very difficult but not impossible for them to beat hosts Angola. In an interview with Cafonline.com, the attacking midfielder who plays his club football for Auxerre in France explained his reasons for this belief. "After the important victory we had in Nairobi (2-1) against Angola, the team gained confidence. Now, all we want is to win every game, because we believe we can climb up the table in Group J. The replacements will work hard to make a difference. "Angola has a good squad, and has influential players who can make a

difference. But this is a problem for Angola and they will have to deal with t themselves as for us our problem is to try win this match. "We are very well psychologically. We have prepared this game very carefully, because we know we need points. We have drawn and lost one before and really cannot afford dropping any more points as this affect us enormously and we want to move forward in the competition. I know it is the same for Angola too who are in a position where they cannot afford to lose if they still want to qualify. It is a very complicated challenge for everyone," he said. Oliech said in Nairobi, the team started losing (0-1). He added that they levelled up and then took the lead and held on for victory. He said on Sunday at 11 November Stadium he expects the Harambee Stars will come good on the day and play well enough to win.

Four key Mali players missing against Zimbabwe

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ALI will be without the services of four key players when they engage hosts Zimbabwe in match day 4 of the CAN 2012 qualifiers at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Sunday. Defensive midfielder Sambou Yattabaré (Caen), defenders Adama Coulibaly (Auxerre), Drissa Diakite (Nice) and striker Moustapha Yattabaré (Boulogne sur Mer) will not play due to various injuries picked up in their clubs’ end of the season games. Meanwhile Mali team arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning from Paris for their training camp before they departing for Harare on Friday, forty-eight hours before their match with Zimbabwe. Four other players, Ismael Keita (Nantes), Abdoulaye Maiga (USM Alger), Soumbeyla Diakite (Stade

Malien), Almamy Sogoba (AS Réal) joined the team a few hours later after flying from Bamako via Addis Ababa.

•Kanote

From the archives In 1993, during the qualifiers for the Tunisia ‘94 Cup of Nations, Nigeria lost to Ethiopia 1-0 in Addis Ababa even though the Eagles later triumphed 6-0 in the reverse fixture in Lagos. But does it mean the Eagles don’t enjoy good result in Ethiopia judging by Records it is observed that when both met in the elimination series for the 1968 Mexico Olympics which Nigeria eventually qualified for, Nigeria beat the East Africans both home and away. It was 1-0 in Ethiopia against the hosts before Nigeria secured a 3-1 win at home in the return leg to progress 4-1 on aggregate. Also in 1983 Nigeria went to Addis Ababa and piped their hosts 1-0. And so, beating Ethiopia in their back yard is not a feat never achieved before now and may be possible tomorrow. However, while the Nigerian team may go and secure a victory in Addis Ababa especially considering the pedigree and status of their players, a huge part of which ply their trade in Europe, Guinea still holds the ace to who snaps up the automatic slot for the 2012 fiesta. Guinea can remain top of the log if they beat Madagascar in Conakry irrespective of what result Nigeria records in Addis Ababa. The French speaking side forced the Indian Ocean nation to a 1-1 draw in Antananarivo in March in the preceding fixture, so beating Madagascar tomorrow, seems a foregone conclusion at least on paper. But first to the Addis Ababa battle. Ethiopia lost the reverse fixture 4-0 in Abuja to Nigeria via two goal each from Peter Utaka and Ikechukwu Uche. The hosts ordinarily should have all to play for like their visitors in this encounter but the humiliating defeat in Abuja could well bring about either of two things from the East Africans, it could inspire an impressive showing from the Walias Antelopes or cause them to put up a, run of the mill, performance. But do the Walias Antelopes have

the arsenal to shoot down the Eagles that made mince meat of Argentina last Wednesday? Can the Eagles repeat the form that saw them made mess of Lionel Messi’s national team? The answers can best be supplied tomorrow by the performance of the players and the input of their respective coaches, Samson Siasia of Nigeria and Ethiopia’s new gaffer, Belgian, Tom Saintfiet. The squads Nigeria will be welcoming the Ethiopians into a scary world tomorrow. A world of time tested and enterprising new look Eagles and of emerging world beaters. That world is the world of experienced defender and skipper, JosephYobo, of agile and reliable safe hands Vincent Enyeama, of the tenacious tornado, Taye Taiwo, of long-legged and elastic Dele Adeleye, of amiable Efe Ambrose, mesmerizing and tantalizing, Joel Obi, midfield marshalling Mikel Obi and enterprising Kalu Uche. That amazing world, is also one of a band of potential destructive attackers, the likes of dashing, scoring speed racer, Ahmed Musa, rugged striker Emmanuel Emenike, irrepressible, goal hungry Ike Uche, bullish forward, Victor Anichebe, sensational scorer Ekhigho Ehiosu just to mention a few – a heartbreaking world indeed and Argentina will no doubt affirm this as true. For Ethiopia which called up 22 players ahead of this tie. Victory is inevitable but may well be unattainable judging by situations surrounding their team. The East Africans last Sunday were beaten 2-1 at home in an international friendly by Sudan three days before the Super Eagles surprised both their fans and foes by recording a first ever but massive win at senior level over Argentina in Abuja. Nigeria mesmerized, outran and outplayed the two-time world champions and finally nailed then 4-1on Wednesday with a brace from Ike Uche and one each from the duo of Obinna Nsofor and Emmanuel Emenike. Siasia’s men will be taking that form into tomorrow’s game, a scary form for the Walias to face. In Conakry Guinea will be without Camille Zayetta and Karamoko Cisse. Zayetta is suspended after receiving his second yellow card in the last match in Madagascar while Cisse, a member of the Guinea team to the 2008 Nations Cup in Ghana who currently plies his trade with Italian Serie B side, U.C. AlbinoLeffe

will also be missing due to red card received. For Madagascar, reports already have it that they will be parading largely the same team that failed to make hay at home in March when they confronted the Syli Nationales, drawing that tie 1-1 and that could well sum up what to expect. Already, the Guineans have been reported to have given the South Africans a dose of what possibly awaits them at the national Stadium in Conakry when they clash tomorrow. The West Africans have been reported by Guineenews.com as booking for their visitors a hotel

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short of FIFA standard. Though that was reported as the Sports Minister, Titi Camara’s fault, it all comes down to the Guineans advantage if the Barea as the Madagascar national senior team is also known is negatively affected by the treatment. On paper Guinea are favourites to clinch maximum points in this encounter. They won the only game they have played at home so far in this series, beating Nigeria 1-0 last October. They have scored a total six goals and conceded just two in three matches. But Madagascar have scored only one goal so far and conceded four.

•Nigeria forward Obinna Nsofor

DR Congo’s Youssouf Malumbu Massive game for Zimbabwe to miss Mauritius game – Norman Mapeza

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R Congo preparations for a crucial CAN 2012 qualifier suffered a setback with revelations that, West Bromwich Albion midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu will not be able to play against Mauritius on Sunday due to injury. DR Congo coach Robert Nouzaret had spoken of his worries about injuries ravaging his squad and has already be missing , midfielder Cedric Makiadi unavailable for the encounter after recently getting married .Injuries have also denied Nouzaret the services of striker Mboyo Ilumbe who plays his club football for La Gantoise in Belgium. Ilumbe picked up the injury during his club team’s last match of the season. To compound DR Congo’s headaches even further , Belgium

based striker Mbuyi Mutombo who had been called up to the squad declined as he is till to decide whether to play for DR Congo or Belgium, as he holds dual citizenship. Coach Robert Nouzaret alluded to the difficulties to the build –up but was still confident his charges would be professional enough to collect the much needed three points against winless hosts Mauritius and keep their campaign for qualification on track. The DR Congo FA's secretary general Ediba Bedi confirmed that Mulumbu, Ilumbe and Mutombo will not be replaced. Two weeks ago, Lomana LuaLua was left out of Nouzaret's squad, but the coach is yet to explain why he omitted the former Newcastle striker from his original panel of 22.

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AFONLINE.COM caught up with Zimbabwe National Football team coach Norman Mapeza as he took his charges through their paces at Rufaro Stadium in preparations for match day 4 of the CAN 2012 qualifier against Mali on Sunday, June 5 in Harare. Cafonline.com: Norman this is a must win game for the Warriors what are your expectations for the encounter? Norman Mapeza: We know it’s going to be a massive game for us, we started our preparations (Monday) and we know what we are expected to do and I hope that with the attitude shown by the players so far we will produce a positive result. Cafonline.com: The bulk of your players play in the South African Premier League such as Nyasha Mushekwi, Knowledge Musona and

Method Mwanjali to mention a few. Are you happy with their caliber? Norman Mapeza: I cannot complain much since at the moment we do not have that many players playing in Europe. We have about three or four guys and the majority are injured and so the bulk of our players are coming for South Africa. I have no choice what can I do? Cafonline.com: In terms of the quality that you have right now do you think that you can put together a competent side come Sunday? Norman Mapeza: Exactly, I have so much faith in these guys and those players who did duty for us in Mali in the first leg, they played very well so we only needed guys like Esrom Nyandoro because of his experience but unfortunately he is not available due to injury.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2011

Style Watch 29 In-Vogue Social Circuit Oops & Kudos Parade Well-being Entertainment plus

I like taking big risks – Opa Williams, creator, Nite of a Thousand Laughs

Interview on Page 32


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Glamour Continued from Page 29

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

I grew my gray hair in two years

•Opa Williams


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

–an eye on celebrities and society people

08023201831(sms only)

Red Alert BY PATIENCE SADUWA

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HE colour red is a tricky one to wear, moreso on the red carpet. Too much of it and there's a tendency for the colour to totally overwhelm the wearer. When worn at a red carpet event, the wearer can practically fade into the background. So, how can one wear red without looking like the logo of a blue chip company or even worse a babalawo (native doctor). This is where mixing and matching comes in. One way to tone down the red colour is by mixing with another, preferably a darker hue such as black. Nollywood actresses Ini Edo and Stephanie Okereke rocked this combo at separate events in town recently with varied results. Stephanie's one-shoulder, printed gown with black pattern was in a shade that contrasted nicely with the fed carpet at her feet. An allred outfit would have been too much colour Ini stepped out too in a similar one-shoulder gown but with stripe detail and a cut-out waist. While Funke Akindele of Jenifa fame, sported a red gown, she softened the look with black heels and a clutch. Next time, though, the actress should opt for better fitting as her 'squashed boobs' don't look nice especially on the red carpet.

Stephanie Okereke

Funke Akindele

Ini Edo


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Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Social What is artist, Millicent Osumuo up to at the moment?

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buja’s dynamic female artist, Millicent Osumuo is renowned for her aesthetically appealing works of art which includes breathtaking paintings, yet the pretty young lady is not resting on her oars, or should we say her brushes? Millicent, who graduated with a B.A in Painting in 2002 from the University of Uyo and grew up watching her father paint has become a prodigy in the FCT. Her recent exhibitions “Unending Hues”, which took place at the Transcorp Hilton drew critical acclaim. Her other exhibitions which also took place at Transcorp Hilton, the National Stadium. Abuja and New Jersey, USA, include Abuja Friendship Exhibition, Art in Da House, Abuja Here and Now; and Nigeria at 50, which took place both in Abuja and USA. Of her art, Millicent has this to say:” I enjoy conceptualizing themes and titles for my projects but usually, post-production themes generated from third-party observations and comments tend to prevail. I also use abstract forms to express real-life situations. In such cases, I try to portray joy, sadness, victory, pain and even death.” The young lady, who would love to empower the less privileged through visual art skills and charity funding, is set to acquire economic and social power through her dedication to art.

•Millicent Osumu

Something about Senator-elect, Bishop Sammoses Enenche dedicates Roseline Jacobs’ Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa

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hat Senator elect, Dr. Authur Ifeanyi Okowa (PDP, Delta North) is backing the Senate President, David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to lead the Seventh Senate is no longer news. That the Senator–elect was the Secretary to the Delta State Government is also not news. In this light, the University of Ibadan-trained surgeon knows what he is saying when he said he is throwing his weight behind the current •Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa leadership in the Senate because they have that provided some level of humility and leadership “provided leadership that tended to involve everybody participating.” of integrity, leadership

new album

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he city is of Abuja is abuzz with the superlative launch of the most celebrated new gospel act in the FCT, Miss Roseline Jacobs. Bishop Sammoses Eneche of Jesus Glory Chapel In’tl was at hand at the album listening launch of the new gospel songs, Breakthrough at the Golden Hall of the New Chelsea Hotel recently. The well-attended event witnessed a scintillating performance of two tracks in the new album amongst other performances. Roseline performed Breakthrough (the title track), and Superpower, another hit track to the delight of the guests at the event. The album prior to the launch had received rave review from radio stations like Hot.FM which had the track Super Power on Power Play for a week. The station described it as a “very powerful track.” Bishop Moses Eneche while dedicating the album, said he was pleased that the young lady has chosen to affect her generation through gospel music and charged her not to be discouraged by the challenges she may face in her chosen vision and career.

•Roseline Jacobs

Taste of Lagos berths with high cuisine

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By Kehinde Falode

re you looking for a lovely and fun filled village that will offer all the Nigerian and international delicacies during the Yuletide? Then come sample some of the best of Nigeria at the Taste of Lagos culinary festival. The popular international annual event has finally berthed in the city of Lagos. The maiden edition of the cooking festival is expected to hold in the later part of the year -during the Yuletide and will be an annual event in the city of Lagos. A few weeks ago, a preview of how the event will look like and what to expect was showed by the organizers (Taste of Concepts) to a select audience, comprising celebrities, stakeholders and journalists at the newly opened Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event, which holds annually in South Africa, Chicago, Canada, London, Dubai, New York City and in more than 30 cosmopolitan cities across the world, will enable Nigerians to showcase to the world her heritage, foods, beverages as well as lifestyle. “Guests will be able to sample dishes from the finest gourmet restaurants in Lagos and this will offer access to an unrivalled selection of top Lagos restaurants all in one venue. Enjoy the best in wine and champagne, and experience world-renowned luxury brands,” said Mrs. Dunni Igbinedion, Managing Director of Taste of Concepts. And the unique thing about the event is that there will be an independent exhibition in fashion, lifestyle, healthy & beauty brand, visual art, music, cigar, wine distributors etc, and colourful and stylishly decorated halls for executive meetings during the festival period. Furthermore, she said Taste of Lagos would serve as the perfect platform for brands to interact with current and prospective customers. “The Taste brand is globally recognized as a highly effective social marketing tool and many top brands take pride in identifying with the Taste brand as they have come to recognize

Taste's effectiveness in meeting their aims. It's the perfect platform for brands to interact with current and prospective customers, and being set for a festival period, the atmosphere will creates a relaxed mood where the brand message is easily digested. Sponsors will not just gain visibility but also an experiential platform where they can showcase their products and have consumers interact with them. It's great because you have the flexibility of creating really innovative consumer engagement concepts."

VICTOR OLUWASEGUN (E-mail: thejagu@yahoo.com, Tel: 08032439153)


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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Omosede Igbinedion rejigs her social life O

MOSEDE Igbinedion, the daughter of the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, must h a v e regained her groove. Late last year when the story made the rounds that her marriage to Prince Aven Akenzua was troubled, she was downcast. Now, her once gloomy face is beaming with smiles. There’s no gainsaying the fact that her reportedly crashed marriage hit her below the belt. But she seems to have brazed up to the saying that what will be will surely be. Although the crashed marriage, celebrated on the pages of societal journals, nearly dragged her into her cocoon, Omosede held on to her place within the high society. At the end of the day, it took nothing away from the plump and beautiful lady as she is gradually returning to public glare.

Folake Odutola's new lease of life

Is Laolu Saraki now married?

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OLAKE Odutola is the top celebrity lady behind shut down Flakies Fried Chicken and Aqua 27 on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. The leggy beauty, who is well connected within the social circuit, controls some cool bucks, which is a testimony to her hard work over the years. But for sometime now, Folake has now withdrawn into her anonymous cocoon, avoiding social space like a plague. She recorded her first media mention during her romance with Olaniyi Jones, the clothier behind Focus on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. The relationship produced a daughter. She was also fingered in a relationship with Lagos big boy, Lanre Nzeribe. Both affairs never made it to the altar. Though Folake is enjoying her life, sources say she now savours her freedom and independence with obvious relish. Although her personality is so magnetic that people are easily drawn to her, she seems to have taken things easy. Her next move concerning her business is still under the wraps.

KAYODE ALFRED

AOLU Saraki not only has a front-line politician as father, his elder brother is also a former governor of Kwara State. Put politics on one side, the family has seen and known wealth for as long as one can remember. And as the baby of the house, he enjoys so much attention and care from his elder siblings that he has not looked the way of matrimony for years. Penultimate weekend, the social space was agog that the youngest of the Saraki dynasty had allegedly tied the knot with his Spaniard lover of many years. Those who should know informed us that the event, which held in Spain was restricted to close pals of the latest groom and family members. Though, the guest list was not very • L-R: Laolu Saraki, Sen. Gbemi Saraki and their father long, the place was loaded with quality people. Among them were Governor operation on his leg a few days earlier. Laolu Saraki, the Bukola Saraki and Senator Gbemi Essex University, England trained law graduate, is one Saraki amongst some of Laolu's of the most popular silver spoon kids in the social friends. Insiders alleged that Dr. firmament, who had been linked with several beautiful Olusola Saraki could not attend the girls in the past. One of the A-list babes is Moji Bankole, event because he underwent a minor the younger sister of Hon. Dimeji Bankole, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(E-mail: kayflex2@yahoo.com, Tel: 08035733605, 08099400057)


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Glamour

The year 2011 is almost half-way gone and if what happened in the last five months are anything to go by, the event scene would remain busier than ever before. The consequence of this scenario is that the fashion styles of young celebrities who are party freaks would keep getting more bold and interesting, as captured here by Olasumbo Otagbo at a recent event Photos: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

•Ala Oruitemeka’s blue foot wear needs to be complimented, oops!

•Doing what she knows how to do best, Kudos! Nikki kiran

•Bie Cookey sure knows the essence of mixing and matching, Kudos!

•Baran and Hawa make looking good seems as easy as ABC

•Balm to sore eyes, kudos! Mez

•Simple yet stylish, Kudos! Grace Onosode

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Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

FIFI EJINDU- A low-key lifestyle but still revered party scene spell-bound. And the fact that she was the envy of many of her peers was not lost on keen watchers of the social circuit. Of course Fifi had many things going for her. First, she has made a success of her professional calling; second, she is financially well heeled and third, she has a happy home. But in a move that caught many of her friends and admirers by

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surprise, Fifi relocated to Abuja with her husband, Amaechi about ten years ago, in what insiders believed was a move to chart a new path in her personal and business life. Now, Fifi attends only very select parties thrown by close coterie of friends. However, one thing is sure: Fifi remains a woman to court and adore.

Photos: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

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n attempt to draw a list of Nigeria's celebrity women who are blessed with the attributes of charm, presence and beauty would be incomplete without Fifi Ejindu's name. In the years gone by, the Cross River state-born architect was a constant feature at countless Alist parties. Then based in Lagos, the dark-complexioned literally held the


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Glamour Lifestyle Health Nutrition Fitness

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with Patience Saduwa

08023201831 (sms only) psaduwa@yahoo.com http//edirinsaduwa.blogspot.com

When ill-health strikes: Treatment and the right diet, rest and positive thinking can aid speedy recovery

For a speedy recovery

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LLNESSES and other medical conditions are a sad reality of life. They come unexpectedly in most cases and can be stressful, painful and disrupt one's daily activities. While taking treatment for an ailment, there are certain things one can do to boost the immune level, to aid in quick recovery. One of these is diet. Today, more than ever, we're aware of the healing power of food to enhance immunity and help one recover quickly from illness. Of course, proper nutrition is necessary for maintaining good health. But when your body battles illness for instance malaria for days or even weeks, your diet becomes even more essential in helping you achieve a speedy recovery. It's critical that necessary vitamins and minerals be included in your daily diet to help you build your strength and are essential to the body's repair, growth, and wellness. Whether one is sick with fever or any other ailment, protein for instance, is always necessary to keep your body strong. Proteins are essential to help your body maintain and build strength. Lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts and seeds are good sources of protein. Nutritionists recommend that adults eat 50 grams of protein per day. Pregnant and nursing women need more. By eating foods high in protein, we also get the benefit of other healing nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system. Vitamin B6 is widely available in foods, including protein foods such as turkey and beans as well as potatoes, spinach, and enriched cereal grains. Proteins such as meats, milk, and fish also contain vitamin B12, a powerful immune booster. Minerals such as selenium and zinc work to keep the immune system strong. These minerals are found in

protein rich foods such as beans, nuts, meat and poultry. Sometimes medication and treatment for a condition, or the pain caused by it, can have an impact on your appetite, energy levels and sleeping patterns. If you don't feel like eating, try having small amounts often. You can however improve your appetite with multivitamins (supplements) and choose nutritious foods that you enjoy eating. When one is ill is the time to really load up on fruits and vegetables which contain essential, health-boosting properties. They also boost immunity so are particularly useful, especially for those who suffer from a poor immune system and regularly pick up bugs and infections going around. Foods with great immunity benefits include dark leafy green vegetables, apples, berries, flax seed, oats, herbs and spices, mushrooms, legumes among others. It's also essential to take plenty of fluids during illness to avoid dehydration. Water, fruit juices, tea or cocoa drinks are suitable for those recuperating from illness. Adequate sleep and rest is necessary as well to enable the body recover itself. Reduce stress and negative thoughts Worrying or thinking negatively about possible situations can be harmful. It's even worse when one is ill because it can compromise the immune level and make recovery slow. At other times, it adds to your levels of anxiety or stress and can adversely affect your health. Reduce stress and physical tension by learning to take time out to relax for example, think of pleasant images and listen to music to calm you. Besides, taking a positive view can also make a huge difference to recovery from illness.

Foods containing protein, vitamins and minerals such as poultry, fish, vegetables and fruits are great immunity boosters


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Relationship

HE problem with having sex before marriage is that it leads to unfaithfulness after marriage. How can a person who never did without sex for a week be asked to stay off sex for three months because the spouse has travelled? Even though it looks like the most common thing nowadays is for engaged couples to indulge in sex before they get married, it is not beneficial on the long run. If you did not learn abstinence before marriage, you will not practice it after marriage. •Find out whom your spouse-to-be respects. Someone who can talk to him or her if misbehaving. A young man hit his wife a few months after their mar-

Re: Why are men and women marrying late (2) riage and she threatened to report him. He laughed at her and asked her to whom she would report him. While it is good to marry someone who is confident and independent, it is dangerous to marry someone who lacks respect for leadership and authority. Some people assume that because they own their own companies and give their parents and siblings monthly allowance, nobody can correct them or call them to or-

der. •Tell one another about your past in the area of finances, morals, education, friends, past relationships, family background. •Plan a wedding that is suited to your finances. And aim to spend less than you can afford. This sets the pace for your future life together, that you will live below your means •Be charitable. Look for some less priviledged children or widows whom you

Dr. Sam Odeh’s wedding

Dr Sam Odeh, of the Institute for Human Virology finally called it quits with bachelorhood when he recently wedded his heartthrob, Onyinye at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama, Abuja. Thereafter, a well-attended reception was held for friends and associates at the Agura Hotel. While Onyinye works for a Non-Governmental Organisation in the FCT, her husband had worked for years in Kaduna before he moved into the FCT. However, information has it that repentant bachelors are requesting for where the Benue State-born Doctor found such a loving wife as they intend to follow suit

•L-R: Mr and Mrs Yekeen Amusat after their Aqidun Nikkai ceremony recently at Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State

can help by giving a onetime gift or an occasional gift. •Pay your tithe and continue to sow financial seeds to God’s work. •Discuss the kind of financial management you will operate in your future home. Joint account, separate account, or both. Who will make the purchases and pay for your expenses. Is any relative going to live with you after marriage? Who is this person and what can this mean to your relationship? What are your post marriage plans? Do you have the same vision for the next 5, 10, 25, 50 years? It is possible to be so in love that intending couples are not really planning for the future. Have you both resolved to make this marriage work? Marriage must be worked at. Both partners must believe that this marriage is meant to last forever. Are you both willing and ready to get married? A man must be willing to take care of his spouse. A lady must be willing to take care of the home. Both of them must be whole spirit soul and body. What kind of marriage are you going to have, traditional, modern, or a mixture of the two? What are the roles you expect your spouse to play after marriage? Are these roles going to change in the future? Discuss on the number of children you will both like to have. Meet each other half way. For instance if one person wants ten and the other wants

Relationship Deola Ojo 08027454533 (text) pastordeegfc@yahoo.com two, then the average is six. (LOL.) The first five years of marriage is about ABC: acknowledge, blend and cement. You will discover a lot of things about one another which you did not know before marriage. A young man was telling me how his wife discovered that he liked football and would watch this every Saturday. As he sat down weekend after weekend watching the league, his wife started complaining. His wife wondered why he never told her that he liked football. It was not that he deliberately hid this from her. The truth is, he really used to like football as a young boy. He even joined a club as a teenager. As he grew older, his family told him he needed a career and football could not be his career. He changed his focus and began to pursue an education amongst other things. He hardly watched or played football during all those years. After marriage he suddenly rediscovered his passion. Why did he not tell his wife before marriage? Because he himself did not remember that this was a passion and could become a passion again. Also perhaps he was now watching matches because there is a lot of hype about football generally. New couples will need to acknowledge the changes they see in themselves and in one another. A man does not fully know himself until he gets married. How they manage these early years will determine whether they can be honest with one another or

not. If for instance one of them begins to get offended at every discovery and turns it into a quarrel, there is a tendency for the other partner to hide his/her real self. This is why a woman may be married for twenty years and not know that her husband hates peas. Or a husband may not realize that his wife spends a huge amount of money on her clothes and accessories. It is not everything we discover about our spouse in the first few years that we will like, but we must acknowledge these things and seek to understand one another. Does this mean we cannot correct each other and try to make each other better? We can and should correct one another as long as we do not make the correction a hurtful experience. For instance a man who eats very fast and noisily, whose wife retorts angrily “Why are you eating like a pig?” He may eat quietly at home and eat noisily whenever his wife is not with him. New couples also need to realize that while our spouse will be able to change some things, some other things will not really change. The other issue you must pay close attention to, in the first few years is the extended family. No one dropped from the sky, as such we have already established family relationships before our spouse came into our lives. There are times it may be easier for a lady to talk to her sister than to her spouse. This should not become a pracContinued next week

•Mr and Mrs Remi Adebayo during their traditional wedding held recently in Iwo, Osun State


THEATRE

With VICTOR AKANDE

They call him Ajikoigbaorin for his songwriting skills. Adol prides himself as an immensely gifted soul singer. The fast-rising artiste who is noted for his unique voice broke into limelight when he emerged as the winner at an edition of the City People Music Talent Hunt Competition. Since then, his gift literally has continued to open doors for him. Adol got the attention of top Artiste & Repertoire Manager, Toni Payne, who signed him and has been promoting his music. He spoke with FEMI SALAWU about his aspirations, his music and women. Read on

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O finally, your debut album is out after what seems like a long wait, how does it feel? I feel happy and successful. I am in high spirits and I feel like the happiest person on the face of the earth today. I had released the Orin video that brought me to limelight early last year but there are several reasons for the delay of the album. Challenges abound in the industry but I believe this is God's perfect time for the release. I recorded the audio in 2008 and shot the video in 2010. You can see the gaps between the releases, however, I am most grateful now. How much exposure has your hit song Orin given you? It has really taken me far and wide. One thing I am always grateful for is that wherever I have performed that song it has always been a memorable experience. It makes me the cynosure of all eyes. I now have fans all across the world in places like Europe and America, many places that I haven't even been. Everything started at the City People Talent Hunt competition where I came up tops and since then I have performed at so many events, in fact I have lost count. How have you been accepted in the industry? So many people have come to accept me for who I am, not because I am perfect or I am a better singer, but it's just the grace of God. A lot of people call me Angelic voice, so many people just want to hear my voice only and I am grateful to God for the gift. My songs such as Orin, Ife Re and Ghetto Life featuring M.I and the

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My affair with 9ice’s ex-wife

others have opened doors for me. I mean both within the industry and outside. I am quite close to artistes like YQ, Olamide, Cadasa, Dekunle Fuji, Dede Mabiaku, Kunle Ayo, Weird MC, KSB, Jaywon and Side One, among others. I can't mention all the names. I have been encouraged by comments from these people at one point or the other. Is there anything extraordinary that you use to keep your voice in shape? I don't use anything. I am not a talkative. I don't drink or smoke. I try as much as possible to avoid eating anything that will harm my voice. I don't go through voice training as it were. I must let you know that I was raised from an Islamic background but Christ got into my life about four years ago. I had the anointing to sing from birth. As a kid during my primary school years, people paid me coins to hear me mime foreign songs. My parents are from Kwara but I was born and raised in Mushin, Lagos. I am the fifth son of my mum. My father had two wives. We are not poor or rich. I lost my dad last year. It still brings tears to my eyes when I remember that I won't be able to pay back his care and love. Did your music career enjoy the support of your parents? When I was in primary I was only doing mimes but when I got to JSS 1, I began to perform my own songs at neighbourhood gatherings and birthday parties. My parents never had any problem with me singing but it was one of my elder brothers who insisted on schooling. At the moment, my mum who is in Abuja is usually excited when she hears my music on the radio over there. She would even call to inform me. Tell us how music started for you I have been recording the song in 2000. Then I was in a group called three images but we changed to three souls. A guy had featured us in Awarawa. As the vocalist I did most of the singing. Baba Dee directed the video for the song. On the day I composed the song, there was no light in the studio and the producer and I were outside doing freestyle with his guitar. He struck a key and the song came at a point and we took note of it for recording because we saw the potentials of the song due to its impressive melody. How do you describe your kind of music? A lot of people describe my kind of music as soul. Asides that, I also do jazz, pop and afro-pop. I do all kinds of music. For instance, my album contains various genres of songs ranging from Apala to Fuji, as well as some experimental songs. I don't have any fear that this kind of music will not be commercially successful as hip hop. People have shown a lot of interest in

—Adol, Orin crooner

my music. What is your relationship with Tony Payne? She is my manager and more. She is my sister because that is how we relate. We sit down and strategize about my career. I am so grateful to God that I met her. She has been a pillar of support for me. I am so happy to have the backing of someone like her. Whenever I want to drift away, she would be around to provide correction. I thank God for the way things are going. She is doing the job of several people together. How did you meet Toni Payne? We started working together since last year. Interestingly, we just met at a magazine show where I performed. We met subsequently on the red carpet at the end of the event where we exchanged contacts. She then invited me to do live performance at her birthday party at GET Arena, although the live performance didn't work out. I do have a live band that I am just building. It was after that failed performance that we decided to work together.

Why do people call you Ajikoigbaorin? Ajikoigbaorin means one who can wake up and write 200 songs in a day. I earned that name because of my songwriting skills. I can make a song out of just about anything. I write so many songs in a day. The anointing and ease is just there every time. If you had to do a duet with an artiste both in Nigeria and the world, who will you pick? That would be Akon. The guy does not cease to amaze. His voice is phenomenal. On top of that, his success was rapid and purely phenomenal. His fame skyrocketed after his Ghetto album which was very popular with Nigerian listeners. Asides that, he has been invited for collaborations by all major hip hop musicians including the late Micheal Jackson. You should have educational plans, don't you? Of course, I do. I planned to study music at Lagos State University (LASU), however, that dream is not yet dead. I really want to throw myself into the study of music hopefully at a school abroad and I believe that it is just a matter of time. Even if it is a short course, I am not interested in the certificate.

•Adol


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Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

W L O H L Y OOD Compiled by MERCY MICHAEL

Sean Kingston stabilised after jet ski crash

Angelina Jolie doubts her vocal talent A

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EAN Kingston and a woman were taken to a hospital Sunday (May 29) night, after the Jet Ski they were riding crashed into a bridge in Miami. Kingston, 21, and his friend were thrown from the watercraft at around 6PM when it hit Miami's Palm Island Bridge. "A good Samaritan tended to the two of them until Miami Beach Fire Rescue arrived and saw there were injuries," Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, told People. The 'Beautiful Girls' singer and the woman were taken to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Alcohol does not seem to have played a role in the crash.

NGELINA Jolie, who voiced Master Tigress in "Kung Fu Panda 2" (in theaters May 26) tells USA Today that though the film was a blockbuster hit and one of her kids' favorite movies, she often doubted her vocal talents. "You know, when you hear your own voice, you can find it quite boring and uninteresting," she explains. "Suddenly, you get very shy that your voice is not enough, because I'm not musical and I don't know my voice." To gain confidence, Jolie looked to Black, 41, for support. "I was crazy about him. I had seen him in everything he'd done, but what I really knew him for was music," she

says. "I don't have musical talent, so I always thought it was really cool that he could be an actor to a lot of us but equally a rock star." Jolie's nerves came back again when she and Pitt, 47, took the children to DreamWorks Studios to see a rough cut of the film. "I wondered how they'd respond to the themes of the film," she says, noting that she and Pitt were "sensitive to see if there was going to be a big discussion that night about adoption and orphanages." Fortunately, there wasn't. "But that's because we talk about those issues at my house all the time, very openly," she asserts. "We've had those discussions so often; they're such happy, wonderful discussions." “We've got kids of all ages," Jolie continues. "So we joked that we had our own focus group.”

Gil Scott-Heron dies

G •Jolie •Sean Kingson

IL Scott-Heron, poet and singer most widely known for his poem set to music The Revolution Will Not be Televised passed away at a hospital in New York Sunday, 29 May, 2011 aged 62. Although it is not currently clear how he died, it is thought he became ill on a recent trip to Europe.

Chicago born Gil rose to fame through his socially and politically charged works in the late 70s and early 80s, and is often cited as being one of the forefathers of rap music as well as a voice of AfricanAmerican activism and inspiration to later politically minded rappers. Paying tribute, Eminem wrote on Twitter: "RIP Gil Scott-Heron. He influenced all of hip-hop (sic).”

Crane over Ghollywood

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HICH country has the biggest performers: Ghana or Naija? Come July 1, 2011, history will be made as the biggest Nigerian artistes meet Ghana's finest for a mega jam that promises to rock the Dome of the Accra International Conference Centre. This groundbreaking event has been aptly christened the “Ghana meets Naija” Concert. This event features, perhaps, the biggest line-up of acts performing on one stage from both Ghana and Nigeria; the Nigerian acts confirmed thus far to perform include, superstars such as J-Martins, 9ice, Wande

Ghana meets Naija st on 1 July Coal, and 2Face. Facing off the Naija invasion includes Ghana's biggest performers of the moment, Castro, VIP, Ruff n, 4x4, DCryme, R2Bees, Stay Jay and many others to be announced in coming weeks.

•VIP

According to the organizers, Empire Entertainment, “this event is set to be a mega-jam of sorts and rave heads can expect

Rocky Dawuni wins World Music Awards

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HANAIAN artiste and NAACP Image Award nominee, Rocky Dawuni, won the "Best African Artiste" at the recently concluded 30th Anniversary of the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) in Trinidad. Dawuni was nominated for IRAWMAs in the 'Best Album' and 'Best African Artiste'

categories. He performed on the night singing One Love with Shaggy, Tarrus Riley, Tony Rebel, Machel Montano and inter alia. Dawuni, who was recently appointed by Ghana's Ministry of Tourism as their Tourism Ambassador, has been praised for his success in music both at home and abroad and for his ongoing positive projection of

Ghana in his concerts. “The arts, especially music, can not only bring tourists to Ghana, but create an appreciation for the rich Ghanaian culture outside of Ghana. I am prepared to do my utmost to broadly portray Ghana and its rich heritage through my music, concerts, humanitarian work and appearances worldwide,” explained the new ambassador.

nothing less than fireworks and a night full of glitz and glamour that can only be associated with an event of this magnitude.” •Rocky Dawuni

Court hears N25m suit against Tuface Idibia Femi SALAWU

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HAT may emerge as the biggest multi-million Naira case against a Nigerian musician is set for the Federal High Court in Lagos in a suit against multi-award winning hip hop artiste, Tuface Idibia on June 7. The case which is scheduled to be presided over by Justice Binta Nyako was instituted by a Lagosbased Entertainment, Happy Boys Entertainment Limited and the musician. The entertainment outfit is suing Tuface and his record label, Hypertek Music over alleged breach of contract. Nyako will on June 7 hear the preliminary objection filed by Tuface's lawyers asking the court to dismiss the suit on grounds of incompetence or to refer it to arbitration. Mr Muritala Bamgbala, Chief Executive Officer of the outfit alleged that Tuface and Hypertek entered an agreement with his company to produce his latest album, “Unstoppable” in May 2008. On its next line of action, Bamgbala's lawyer, James Ononiwu in an address disclosed last weekend that should the case be taken to arbitration, the outfit would likely increase its damages to N150 million. `Ononiwu said `Although I hold the musician in high esteem however there is a clear breach of agreement here because he told my client that he would feature R.Kelly in that album and he never did. He also refused to promote the said album after collecting N25 million from Happy Boys.” While stating that attempts at resolving the case has failed, Ononiwu further alleged that Tuface in June 2010 while still under contractual obligations to his client repackaged the same album with the title Unstoppable International without consent of Happy Boys Entertainment.


Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

TELEVISION

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CINEMA guide

PICTURE Supported by: SILVERBIRD CINEMAS

DStv E! Schedule 06:00: 25 Hottest Hollywood Cougar Tales 07:50: 10 Most Compelling Mama Dramas 08:40: Forbes Top 20 Celebrity Cash Couples 09:30: E! News 10:00: Girls Of The Playboy Mansion 10:25: Holly's World 10:50: Keeping Up With The Kardashians 11:15: Forbes 15 Hot Hollywood Moms 12:15: E! News 12:45: Kendra 13:15: Kourtney & KhloŽ Take Miami 15:20: E! News 15:50: Kourtney & KhloŽ Take Miami 19:00: E! News 19:30: Kourtney & KhloŽ Take Miami 22:30: Holly's World 23:00: E! News 23:30: Dr. 90210 00:30: 10 Most Compelling Mama Dramas 01:30: Sexiest Cover Girls 02:25: Dr. 90210 03:20: Extreme Hollywood 04:15: Billionaire Crime Scenes: Was It Murder? 05:10: Addicted To Pills E! Investigates

RADIO Wazobia FM 95.1 SUNDAY(EVENING) 12/09/2010 6-7 Hi Life with Femi 7-8 Street Yarn 8 - 10 9ja Sense 10 - 12 Take Am PROGRAMME (Yaw's Schedule) MONDAY - FRIDAY 6:30AM Make Una Wake up 6:45AM Word from Abada and Blue Boat 7:30AM Sports Yarn 8AM - 8:15AM World Tori 8:15 - 9AM Music, Gist... 9:00 AM Top Tori for Town 9:30 News (short, short tori) 9:30 - 10AM Tori for Town Continues

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Street Dance: Dance drama times 3D

MAGINE the thrill of a dance and musical film. Imagine the feel of a competition drama and the energy exerted by the players. Imagine when the director taking you through an intriguing narrative techniques that gives the drama a sense of filmic reality. Then imagine that as a viewer you are watching this through the 3D glasses. This and more are what make Street Dance thick. Starring Charlotte Rampling, Nichola Burley, Eleanor Bron, Patrick Baladi, and Tameka Empson, this musical cum performing arts is an action packed adventure all through its100 minute's duration which dwells on a dance crew being forced to work with ballet dancers from

the Royal Dance School in exchange for rehearsal space, just to win the Street Dance Championships. StreetDance 3D comes alive in the showcase showdowns with all stomp and back flips, so fun and infectious even the most skeptical might find themselves considering classes. And, thought the story is as hokey as they come, it's charmingly played by the two leads, and given just the right amount of support by the others in particular Eleanor Bron as Mme Fleurie, an outraged old-school ballet mistress. Expectedly, the 3D immerses the viewer into a brave new worlds.

Your Highness: Cool Comedy

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HROUGHOUT history, tales of chivalry have burnished the legends of brave, handsome knights who rescue fair damsels, slay dragons and conquer evil. But behind many a hero is a good-for-nothing younger brother trying just to stay out of the way of those dragons, evil and trouble in general. Danny McBride and James Franco team up for an epic comedy adventure set in a fantastical world--Your Highness. As two princes on a daring mission to save their land, they must rescue the heir apparent's fiancée before their kingdom is destroyed. Thadeous (McBride) has spent his life watching his perfect older brother Fabious (Franco) embark upon valiant journeys and win the hearts of his people. Tired of being passed over for adventure, adoration and the throne, he's settled for a life of wizard's weed, hard booze and easy maidens. But

Your Highness Genre: Comedy Fast Five Genre: Action/Adventure and Sequel Priest (3D) Genre: Suspense/Horror, Thriller and Adaptation Street Dance Genre: Action/Adventure, Art/Foreign, Drama and Musical/Performing Arts Thor Genre: Action/Adventure and Adaptation

PORT-HARCOURT

Ghetto Dreams Genre: Drama Running Sucker Punch Genre: Action/Adventure and Science Fiction/Fantasy Wrecked Genre: Thriller Just Go With It Genre: Comedy and Romance No Strings Attached Genre:Comedy and Romance HOP Genre: Comedy, Kids/Family, Animation and Holiday Red Riding Hood Genre: Romance, Suspense/Horror and Adaptation

ABUJA

when Fabious' bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), gets kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), the king gives his deadbeat son an ultimatum: Man up and help rescue her or get cut off. Half-assedly embarking upon his first quest, Thadeous joins Fabious to trek across the perilous outlands and free the princess. Joined by Isabel (Natalie Portman)--an elusive warrior with a dangerous agenda of her own--the brothers must vanquish horrific creatures and traitorous knights before they can reach Belladonna. If Thadeous can find his inner hero, he can help his brother prevent the destruction of his land. Stay a slacker, and not only does he die a coward, he gets front row seats to the dawn of an all-new Dark Ages. The movie stars Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Justin Theroux.

True Grit Genre:Action/Adventure, Western, Adaptation and Remake Rango Genre:Action/Adventure and Animation Tango With Me Genre: Drama and Romance Thor Genre: Action/Adventure and Adaptation Fast Five Genre: Action/Adventure and Sequel Tommorow When the War Began Genre: Action Adventure Drama Ghetto Dreams Genre: Drama Sucker Punch Genre: Action/Adventure and Science Fiction/Fantasy No Strings Attached Genre:Comedy and Romance Just Go With It Genre: Comedy and Romance Bent Arrows Genre: Drama and suspense


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Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

•Scene from Tree of Life

A

ND the film, Tree of Life, which was earlier booed at the press screening of the 2011 edition of the Cannes International Film Festival, clinched the golden Palm (Palme d'O) award. Although the reclusive director of the film, Terrence Malick did not show up at the closing ceremony were the film's success was announced, the same way he was absent at the press screening, the producer, Bill Pohlad who received the award from actress Jane Fonda was apparently excited. "I have always wanted to speak French, and tonight more than ever. Tonight I have to take the place of a giant. Terrence Malick is very shy and discreet. But I spoke to him today and I know he is very happy to receive this honour. The Tree Of Life was a long journey, but it was all worth it. I would like to thank especially the Festival de Cannes." It didn't come as a surprise to some of the followers of the festival especially since the director had previously won the directing prize in 1979 for Days of Heaven. It is believed that Malick knows the

Cannes 2011: Tough harvest as Tree of Life bears the golden fruit Victor AKANDE Entertainment Editor rule of the game as an old recipient. Others are of the opinion that since the film was shot three years ago and narrowly missed being premiered during last year's edition of the festival, there was enough time for the filmmakers to prepare it for this edition that it eventually clinched. In what seemed like a keen battle between films from America and Europe, the latter came next with The Grand Prize (Grand Prix) as a Belgian film, The Kid with a Bike by brothers JeanPierre and Luc Dardenne and a

Turkish film, Once Upon a Time in Anatolie by Nuri Bilge Ceylan shared this second positions. Other winners included young American actress Kirsten Dunst who emerged the Best Actress through the film, Melancholia by Denmark's Lars von Trier and the Best Actor award for French thespian Jean Dujardin for his role in The Artist by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius. The Best Directing prize went to Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn, for his US-made film Drive; Best Screenplay to Israeli filmmaker, Joseph Cedar's Footnote, co-produced with the

UK; the Jury Prize to Polisse by Maïwenn; and the Caméra d'Or (for Best First Feature), also partially European: Las Acacias, Spanish/Argentinean coproduction by Pablo Giorgelli. Others are, Palme d'Or for Best Short Film by Ukrainian filmmaker, Maryna Vroda, while a Special Mention in the category was given to Beglian title Badpakje 46 (Maillot de Bain 46) by Wannes Destoop. According to Robert De Niro who headed the nine-member jury that included actors Uma Thurman and Jude Law, it was difficult arriving at the top

•Terrence Malick

winners because of the range and qualities among the 20 competing titles but noted that The Tree of Life ultimately fit the bill. He pointed out that the top film had the size, importance, intention that seemed to fit the prize. "Most of us felt the movie was terrific". De Niro said.

WINNERS AT A GLANCE •PALME D´OR Tree of Life Terrence Malick Grand Prize (ex aequo) The Kid with a Bike Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne Once Upon a Time in Anatolie Nuri Bilge Ceylan

•Scene from The Kid with a Bike

•BEST ACTRESS Kristen Dunst Melancholia •BEST ACTOR Jean Dujardin The Artist •On scene from Once Upon a Time in Anatolie

•BEST DIRECTOR Drive Nicolas Winding Refn •BEST SCREENPLAY •Footnote - Joseph Cedar JURY PRIZE Polisse Maïwenn •CAMÉRA D´OR Las Acacias Pablo Giorgelli


FROM THE CAMPUS PAGE 46

THE NATION SUNDAY, JUNE 05, 2011

GOLFLINE

NTDC brings Tony for WITH

Akhigbe golflineintl@yahoo.com 08056180071

At last succour for Olympic Golf ...As Alhaji Fairway and Col. Ezugwu pick the gauntlet

I

T has been a cheering news. The noble game of

golf will make a re-entry into the Olympics come 2016. And this will happen in Chicago, the city the game first played out as an Olympic sport some years back. All this goes down to efforts for several golf greats, especially the Phenomenal,Tiger Woods who clearly voiced it out that he would not be totally accomplished without an Olympic golf gold medal. The day golf got its re-entry, the whole world went woozy with joy. Nations had to celebrate because the game of golf counts for more than 20 gold medals in the Olympics. Every nation wants a piece of the pie. Everything will go down to preparation. From America to Albania, and from Mexico to Medellin, golf experts are being engaged to prepare youths for golf glory come 2016 Olympics. Well, all countries, but Nigeria. This might amaze Nigerians, but the Nigeria Golf Federation [NGF], a body that should be preparing our youths for Olympic glory, has since been sold to a private body. The cost? No one knows. What everyone know is that the National Sports Commission [NSC] sold out golf, headed by Sir Patrick Ekeji. Here is the sad news. Shortly before last Christmas, Ekeji, in a loaded Press Conference made it clear that golf will never make ir to the Olmpics. He gave some reasons. He was talking about great cost of preparing golfers who could make it to Chicago in 2016. We are talking

of 20 gold medals here. And NSC never knew this could be government project. So why sell golf in a hurry to a private body that wouldn't for any reason lay on table millions that could get our athletes prepared in four years? And what is NSC working on? Nothing but Athletics and the moribund game of Boxing that wouldn't even fetch Bronze. For God's sake, this nation is blessed with young golfers who could muster some seven gold medals at the 2016 Olympics. And Ekeji is saying we should dump them. No problem. There seems to be a glitter of hope for kids who will raise the banner of this nation at the 2016 Olympics. The ray of hope is coming from an astounding Ar-

I

T is certain there is a twist of fate to the annual Otunba Olusola Adekanola's CMCL event... and this is a fact. It was in this event that the late Christian Godffrey rewrote the IBB course record. It was this event that an unknown whizkid, Chukwudi Okoro, playing in his first pro golf tournament almost wrestled to the ground Nigeria's own phenomenon, Ochei Odoh. Again the facts are clear. Ochei picked victory with just one shot ahead of Chukwudi. Chukwudi showed signs of greatness when he emerged second in a tourney the Senate President, David Mark organized for the Nigerian youths last year. The aim of that event was to pick the best two and fly them to America where they could be one on one with Tiger Woods in a golf clinic. This did not happen, though.

•Capt. Jaji Golf Club , Col. V.O Ezugwu and Club members at the just concluded Nigerian Breweries Open.

chitect and father of golf in Kano. He is Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna. But in the world of golf, he is known as 'Alhaji Fairway'. Reason is clear. In a round of 18 holes, he hardly places it in the 'rough'. His partner in this hole duty is the Captain of the Jaji Golf Club, Col. VO Ezugwu. The duo believe without the NSC or the body the NGF was concessioned to, our youths would still feature at the 2016 Olympics. Alhaji Fairway, as we speak, has put on ground five youths from the Kano Golf Club that will tour the nation in inter-club matchplay that will further expose more brilliant youths to be groomed for honor in 2016. In Jaji, Ezugwu is doing same by putting on ground a youth Academy that could see Caddies being transformed into decent players. "I don't believe everything should be left in the hands of the government", Alhaji Fairway said. We are talking of a game that could give us some ten gold medals given the talented youths we have. America is spending some 70 million dollars to prepare their youths for 2016. They know what this means. Its a huge haul of medals and it calls for huge investment. This is a government thing.

So why give it to a private body that wont risk bringing out say N50 million to train youths. This is disturbing". Col. Ezugwu toes same line with Alhaji Fairway. Hear him: "When I came into golf I discovered that Caddies who carry our bags while we play, are very young and very skilful in the game. They are better than most of us. I always ask myself how we can harness these talents. Then the issue of golf getting back to the Olympics came up and this became a clear window to help these youths. Then you hear golf is no longer a property of the government. This is weird. It's like selling football to a private entity. But that should not deter us. Alhaji Fairway loves to develop youth golf and this is what I want too. I believe between us, we can get these youths to a level where government will have a rethink of preparing golf for the 2016 Olmpics". On the fence, several golfers are making one call. That is President Goodluck Jonathan's fresh air must breathe into golf. These people say if this fail to happen, they will apologise to Soddom and Gomorrah. Let's wait for Jonathan and Ekeji's NSC... and even Soddom and Gomorrah. God will help us.

Chukwudi stuns them all Here is another fate to CMCL event. The Nigerian pros, totalling some 150,were notching up close to seven months without one tournament. Then Adekanola came in with a huge support. This is after our pros are now used to playing for paltry some in lowly countries across West Africa. Let's home more tourneys 'follow through' like they say in golf.

While it is instructive to hail Chukwudi's boldness, this must be time to remember the late Godfrrey who redefined this same tourney before losing to death, alongside compatriot, Ali Abdullahi on the way to a tourney in Ibrahim Babangida's Minna. The nation still wonders why IBB's Minna road could be a death trap to travellers

In Tiger's shadow

N

EWLY crowned world No.1 golfer Luke Donald once Whether you believe golf is currently enjoying, or merely enduring, its present era of parity will depend which side you support in an age-old debate. In a sport that already guarantees a relatively large number of potential winners, do you enjoy the even greater uncertainty that Woods's decline created? Or, like a Conservative MP who has lost Madame Lash's mobile number, do you pine for total domination? It is not as if the standard of the game has ebbed considerably. Donald went toe-to-toe over 73 holes with Westwood at the European PGA Championship last week before seizing the top ranking. If it was not exactly Nicklaus and

Palmer, or even Woods and Mickelson. But it was skilful and compelling. There is also a matter of karma. If the recent number ones have lacked Woods's charisma and global appeal, they do not regularly turn their drivers into frisbees or respond to the reasonable questions of green-side interviewers with insultingly curt and monosyllabic answers.

•Tiger Woods

With Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme

Nigeria/Argentina Match Fixture as a Comic Movie IN spite of all the well heeled arguments and wise counsel against the football game between Nigeria and Argentina in this formative period of the Super Eagles, the Nigerian Football Federation and the high profile brokers have remained adamant and it is set to go on stage. I wish the NFF well. This premature game at this time has shown the way this NFF is working and the quality of its strategic planning for football development in Nigeria. For me, this game is make belief and no less than a comic movie. It is not that Nigeria cannot play a friendly match against Argentina. Why not, we can do so. But that is after we have put our team in order. We seem to have forgotten so soon how tattered this team has been in the last ten years and how the national football team of our great nation suddenly became a non-performer in competitions. About five months ago, a rebuilding process started and we have not even sealed it up and Siasia is lining up against Argentina. What do we hope to achieve? Nothing at all. Our low flying Super Eagles is rated about 39/40 in the World, while Argentina that can raise about 10 national teams of higher quality than ours ranks with the likes of Brazil. These are teams we needed to engage as we are less then six months to the next World Cup. Engaging Argentina now tells me that the NFF Technical Committee is very weak and need to work very hard to convince sports scientists and epistemologist that they can deliver quality results. Secondly, the NFF used to have a Strategic Planning Committee and one wonders with this emerging unstrategic development whether the Committee is still alive. Considering the low level of performance, the Super Eagles descended to, in recent times, engaging in comic movie games like this current one will not help its development. It is like learning how to solve algebraic equations with quadratic equation. Building a team is scientific and sequential. This arrangement is out of sequence of motor skill and team development. We are playing to the gallery. Our failure to lift the WAFU Cup in a tournament organized in our backyard with Siasia in charge, should tell us where we are on the scale of football in Africa and the task we face in building a team that can conquer. Our failure to qualify the Falcons for the All African Games should tell the NFF to get serious with the job assigned to it. In all of these, I am afraid for the NFF and Nigerian football. I am sorry to say that the assumption of the operational paradigm of the NFF is very defective. Simply put, as I see it, the NFF is consumed by the assumption that once former footballers occupy all the rooms in the Glass House, Nigerian football will be in heaven. This is not exactly correct. They are good people quite alright and patriotic Nigerians. But in addition to playing for Nigeria and playing professional football, they need reprocessing to enable these patriotic people occupy leadership and managerial positions. They bring a lot of 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 mentality to the Glass House and what else? Nothing. The Nigerian Football Federation while stuffing its house with retired footballers must also be looking for men and women of cognate scientific knowledge of sports including football; people who have great intellectual quality to raise the level of debate on issues in the Glass House, before decisions are made. Football development requires this quality of men and women to raise the standard of football beyond comic movies that we are about to start seeing. I hope the NFF knows very well that it needs a football development blueprint. I mean, a football policy document that captures the aspirations of Nigeria’s Vision 20:20:20 policy prescriptions. It must study this document and others to build the national football teams that Nigeria deserves. I wish the Nigerian Football Federation well in its daunting task of placing Nigerian football where it should be as the giant of Africa.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

O

LA Bamidele (not real names) is 32 years and a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). By virtue of his age, he should not have been allowed to participate in the scheme which stipulates that graduates over the age of 30 be exempted from the scheme and given an exemption certificate. But, defending his position, Bamidele said, “I was already in my late twenties before University of Lagos (UNILAG) gave me admission to study Mass Communication. By the time I graduated I was 32 years and it will be tough for me to get a job if I leave my age like that, that is why I reduced it so that after service, I can get a job easily.” Bamidele is not alone in this age ruse. Another corps member still wanted to serve after going through two undergraduate degrees. “I got admission to study Linguistics for my first degree but what I really wanted was Banking and Finance, and I didn’t want the dream to die like that,” he said. He actualised his dream but also had to doctor his age not only as to be able to serve but in order to secure a job. “I’m not as young as most of the people I finished with and it might affect me when it comes to securing a job so I had to bring down the age a bit,” he said frankly. Common practice One of the requirements for participation, according to the NYSC, is that the prospective participants must not be above 30 years of age on the day of graduation. But findings revealed that those who are above this age limit often go to some length to doctor their age so as to be able to participate in the programme. “I am amazed,” revealed Ayobami Famurewa, a post-graduate student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ife, Osun State, “that some people who graduate after age 30 want to participate in the scheme. I really don’t see what they stand to gain. But the age faking problem is not limited to the NYSC. It is common knowledge that people fake ages in the civil service.” Olanisebe Yetunde, one of the counsellors involved in the mobilisation of students for the programme at the Division of Students’ Affairs of OAU said, “We have had some cases of age falsification by overage students who want to participate in the NYSC programme. But most often we may not know because it is not from us,” She added, “We work on the mobilisation forms and these require that we get certain information like their age, name and state of origin. It is what they put down as their age that we make use of. We are not authorised to disqualify anybody on the basis of the age they provide. It is the NYSC office that screens out those that are above the required age”. Is there no way this can be detected during the compilation of information? She said, “I can’t specifically say that we can detect it. The only thing we know sometimes is that when you see a candidate, you can correctly guess that this one is above the age 30 requirement. The only way we can detect this is for us to check the date of birth that they put down in their forms when they were admitted. But we don’t do this. The reason is that the time limit that the NYSC give us for the compilation of names is too short and the people we

Focus

47

NYSC and the age issue Despite the numerous challenges associated with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), there are unqualified people who still tinker with their age in order to participate. Joe Agbro (Jr.), Ademola Adesola, and Rita Ohai write on this development

• Youth corps members at the camp

are mobilising for the programme are so many that we don’t have the time to be checking their dates of birth here. And there is no way we can exceed the time the NYSC gives to us”. A question that arises from this is the motivation for the interest in the scheme by those who are not eligible. Pelumi Folajimi, a postgraduate student at OAU, held that this set of people just want the “experience of the service and because of some of the privileges attached to it, like the monthly allowances and the exposure of being posted to different parts of the country and the certificate to be issued.” In the words of Anyaduba Arthur, who did his ‘youth service’ in Bayelsa State, those who engage in the programme illegally do so because of “the harsh economic realities of the country. The NYSC offers not just some stipend to the struggling graduates, it presents them with the opportunity to try eking out a living in a, perhaps, strange environment. Many see it as a way of living on the Federal Government for a year and then exploring the possibilities of finding something to do. My experience during the service showed that many of the people who falsified their dates of birth scaled through somehow because the NYSC screening was not done thoroughly. During my service, I met corps members whose SSCE certificates bore different dates of birth from the affidavits they brandished.” In similar vein, Mrs Olanisebe maintained that the

over-age graduates, some of who beg to be mobilised, often claim that “there are no jobs for them to do.” Mrs. Olanisebe laid the problem of age falsications on unemployment. “I don’t think any over-age graduate would want to waste their time being on the programme if they can be gainfully employed,” she said. One of the factors that have aided the enlistment of over-age youth corps member has been the abuse of the system of obtaining affidavits. In different parts of the country, getting an affidavit is so easy. Touts hustle those in need for affidavits and such persons do not bother to stand before any commissioner to swear oaths. “Getting a fraudulent affidavit is still easy from most of our courts,” said Olusegun Momoh, an Abuja based lawyer. “But one could bag a jail term for that.” However, the fact that such acts are tantamount to lying under oath and are a crime seems to be lost on many Nigerians. Dr. Femi Salawu, a lecturer in Iree Polytechnic, Osun State, on the NYSC age matter, Salawu said that even those who are qualified still engage in the practice of reducing their age. He said, “I have witnessed some development where students who would be a little above 30 after the service work on their age in order to get employment. What I am saying is that these people would change their age because they don’t want to be ineligible for certain jobs that require people above 27 or 28.” There was the case of a pro-

spective corps member, this reporter learnt, who was assigned a wrong age during the mobilisation process. Rather than lodging a complaint to effect a correction, the graduate of English from Adekunle Ajasin University went to get an affidavit that tallied with the wrong age which was three years below her actual age of 29 at the time of graduation. When questioned on this, she boldly explained that it was “good for employment”. After all, she said, “employers of labour are looking for those who are young. It is part of the requirements.” A way out For a way out of what some have qualified as “avoidable” problem of the illegal involvement of over-age graduates in the scheme, Mrs. Olanisebe advised that schools should make use of their computer centres, where the students would be required to submit their mobilisation forms. She said the screening there would make it easier to detect any falsification. Anyaduba utilised to improve the scheme.” Arthur on his part advised that the use of WAEC/ NECO certificates could go a long way in helping to reduce the degree of falsification because “on their certificates there are their dates of birth, and at the time of writing the examinations, the candidates would not be thinking of falsifying the birth dates for the NYSC.” The point still remains that any reform that will be carried out by the government must also take into account the problem of ineligible gradu-

“One of the factors that have aided the enlistment of over-age youth corps member has been the abuse of the system of obtaining affidavits. In different parts of the country, getting an affidavit is so easy. Touts hustle those in need for affidavits and such persons do not bother to stand before any commissioner to swear oaths”

ates participating in the scheme as this may also help in ensuring that the lean purse of the scheme is made to take care of the eligible corps members. Established in 1972, the scheme has been confronted with different problems ranging from insecurity, insufficient allowance for corps members, lack of accommodation, ineffective administration, to poor welfare packages. It has equally been said repeatedly that the scheme has not benefitted from any significant reform that can position it to respond meaningfully to the various challenges confronting it. In other words, that it is not in sync with current realities. All of these, in the view of some analysts, account for the rationale behind the now rampant act of influencing postings by the various prospective participants. Since corps members serving the country under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) started to be deliberately attacked by their host communities during crises, especially in the North axis of the country, the call for the scrapping of the scheme has increased. And with the recent killing of about 10 corps members: Paul Adewunmi (Ekiti State), Okeoma Okechukwu Chibudon , Ukazeone Amsalem, Anyanwu Agnes, Okpkiri Obina (all from Imo State), Tosin Olawale, Akonye Ibrahim Sule (both from Kogi State), Gbenjo Ebenezer Ayotunde, Adeniyi Kehinde Jelili (both from Osun State) and Adohe Elliot (Bayelsa State), following the violence that broke out in Bauchi State after the presidential election, many Nigerians have renewed their call for the abrogation of the scheme. Here to stay However, in the light of the calls for the scrapping of the scheme, President Goodluck Jonathan has said the NYSC will not be scrapped. Also, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and former Minister of Aviation, Alabo Graham-Douglas has called for the continued stay of the scheme. Just last Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan dismissed calls for the scrapping the scheme. Addressing youth leaders in an interactive session in Lagos, the president said, “We won’t scrap it (NYSC) but we shall review it and make it more practical so that it can help the growth of our young men and women.” Also, in a recent interview, Oshiomhole said the NYSC was still relevant to Nigeria and it should be allowed to remain. Questioning calls for it to be scrapped, the governor asked, “how does the abolition of NYSC settle those issues of avoidable killings, arson, and other violence that occur in different parts of the country including the southern parts?” However, the greatest threat to the scheme is perhaps the falsification of age by graduates who are desperate to take part in the scheme as a stop gap to unemployment. Many argued that that one year and the allowance is enough attraction in a country were unemployment is swelling.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

48

DIS GENERATION

Have Your Say T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not at any time hang fire when it comes to churning out policies that it considers as helpful to the continuous improvement of the country’s economy in general. At the drop of a hat, many argue, the CBN under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has birthed many seemingly discomfiting policies. The new policy on deposit and withdrawal for individuals and corporate organizations, put at #150,000 and #1m respectively, is expected to take effect starting from the 1st June, 2012. Expectedly, different reactions have been strongly expressed since the announcement was made two weeks ago. The National Assembly, specifically the one whose tenure expired last Thursday, has made its reservation about the idea known. It won’t work, it says. (In days to come, the new NASS to be inaugurated on Tuesday will put forth its own foot on the matter.) In the same measure, many other Nigerians have equally pooh-poohed the policy. However, some still think the CBN is right with its new plan. What is not in doubt from the foregoing is the need for the apex bank to do a thorough job in sensitizing Nigerians on the necessity and benefits of its policies, especially the one in view. This has to begin now and not a week to the take off time. Well-informed citizens can be trusted to make informed decision. The CBN must not use inadequate information or silence to encourage the thinking of many Nigerians that its policies are meant to ruin them economically. The moon should not be hankered for in our quest to revamp our economy. That means one would have to withdraw in five days if one wants to buy something like a car, or something whose value surpasses CBN’s maximum withdrawal limit. It’s not a good policy. Sani Yunusa, Kano State. Surcharges on deposit or withdrawal made in excess of #150,000 and 1m - individual and corporate interests respectively - will further make customers vulnerable to banks’ unconscionable deductions, discourage investments and cause loss of faith in the banking system. Bisi Adefila, NASS, Abuja. The policy is not practicable in the sense that there are people who transact business on cash basis running into millions. Nigeria is not yet ripe for this monetary policy. Isiaka Ibrahim, Iree, Osun State. Pegging deposit and

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has pegged N150,000 and N1million as the maximum deposit and withdrawal by individual and corporate body respectively. How practicable is this decision? we progressing or retrogressing? A case of one step forward five steps backward. What he is suggesting might work in a country whose systems work in all sectors, not in Nigeria. We shall get there one day, not now. So please Sanusi, kada ka bata rawanka da tsalle. Naomi Musa, Gombe State.

withdrawal at the amount indicated by CBN is not practicable at all, knowing full well that Nigerian economy is run mostly with cash. For example, an average petrol dealer deposits daily between #1, 200,000 to #1,300,000. If he wants to buy any product, be it petrol or kerosene in cash for resale, his cash withdrawal cannot be less than #1,000,000 to #1.5m. Johnson Alabi, Ibadan, Oyo State. The Central Bank’s decision on both deposit and withdrawal is impracticable if it’s not reviewed again. Muniru Gambia, Iwo, Osun State. It is a welcome idea and practicable. It will stop loose and careless carrying of money along for spraying at parties and teach serious business persons the use of cheques and reduce fake currency smuggling among others. Deacon Tunde Oshungbure (JP), Ikorodu, Lagos State. It is a good start at turning our financial system into a cashless economy. To avoid hardship of such change on rural dwellers, the cash ceiling should be doubled. Isaac Odediran, Agodi Ibadan, Oyo State. It is arrant nonsense. Perhaps Sanusi wants us to go back to keeping money in our homes. For a nation that is not ready for e-voting, will one year suffice to enlighten Nigerians on the use of e-transaction? How many will accept cheques in an open market for an amount above #150, 000? Sanusi is short of ideas. He should let us be. Barr Jide Buoro, PHC, Rivers State. I do not know why we should be leaving the substance to pursue the shadow. How effective has the monitoring of the current deposit limit been? People will still circumvent the withdrawal\deposit by way of issuing instruments equal to or less the limit. P.K. Emele, Kaduna State. The CBN has not carried out proper research on the issue regarding maximum deposit/withdrawal. Nigerians need more education on transfer of cash electronically. The facilities on grand can’t accommodate such in the next 10 years. If the CBN tries it, the small scale businesses will suffer or collapse

•Sanusi

within a week. 95% will avoid banking and may result to local banking or keeping money at home. CBN should come out with details on the operation. Ajani Omotosho Salau, Ilorin, Kwara State. The CBN’s decision has portrayed it as an establishment that is not in tune with our economic transactions. While one may agree on the need to reduce the volume of cash transactions, the limits sound unrealistic and would only lure people away from banks. The CBN should encourage the use of banks by increasing interest rates on deposits while COT’s rate is reduced. Dipo Adebiyi, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. The decision of the CBN to have pegged #150,000 and N1, OOO, OOO as the maximum deposit and withdrawal by individual and corporate body respectively is a decision that will discourage savings in bank by businessmen and that will have negative effect on the banking industry. Bright Ehis Aboiralor, Minna, Niger State. I don’t believe it will succeed. The bank managers will always flout the rule to satisfy those moneybag friends of theirs. Dr Adams Peter Sheriff, Kaduna State. Sanusi has never impressed me! He is overrated. A cashless society is when we are able to make transactions through the use of debit and credit cards. This means we will pay for our meals, clothes, foodstuffs, light bills, etc., with our debit or credit cards. These facilities are non-existent in this country right now. Implementing it will be a disaster. Mr KnowIt-All Sanusi should know that.

Obinna, Abuja. Let somebody please inform the CBN governor that his plan cannot stand the test of time and that we are in a democratic society where everybody has the right to own a property, money inclusive. The decision is exploitative and undemocratic! Ojo Hezekiah .O., Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. This policy will fail Sanusi because it has no justification whatsoever for a country like Nigeria that thrives on liquid cash. If that policy holds, then most Nigerians will have no option but to build safes in their houses and armed robbers cannot miss such opportunity. Sanusi, come out from such archaic and draconian policy that will take us backwards. Benjan Udie, Ikom, Cross River State. It is a bold step by the Central Bank governor to curtail the thieving cabal in this country who has thrown morality to the dogs in their quest to loot the treasury of this country. Iornumbe Iorrumun, Makurdi, Benue State. The decision is practicable. The CBN governor who came up with the decision is an expert. We have seen some of his reforms in the banking sector and they have helped to strengthen banks and ensure seriousness on the part of bank managers. The recent decision is to reduce this cash economy of ours; check money laundry and corruption. People should support the policy and make it practicable. Ikpechukwu Ogbonnaya, Ubahu, Enugu State. The CBN governor is directly telling people to revert to the traditional method of keeping money at home. Are

What if one is paying duties above 1m? Then the CBN is not encouraging savings. The banks will lose out. Adenrele Michael, Ejigbo, Lagos State. They are not serious. Can I buy goods at Aba and issue 1.5m cheque and be allowed to take the goods away because of 419? Chief J.C. Uwaga, PHC, Rivers State. Is it to check fraud? Let them think of a better alternative. How do we check legislative and executives FRAUD? Sanusi’s headache is big. Omodan Victoria, Agbara, Lagos State. I would have been happier if the CBN directive had taken effect in March; the naira would not have haemorrhaged so profusely in April. Mary Nyitse, Makurdi, Benue State. The CBN is ready to destroy the economy by such directive. How can a good business man cope? A good trader can purchase goods worth about two hundred naira from a salesman and he is ready to collect his money. It is an impracticable decision. Afolabi Adejare, Oyo Town, Oyo State. If that decision can be effective, it will improve Nigeria’s economy and industrialization. Even her future will be surely well determined. Akinsola Emmanuel, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. The most ridiculous directive to come out of government! Where will the Ministers and the Senators deposit their jumbo pays? Leke Ogundipe, Lagos State. If the policies being rolled out by the CBN governor is something to go by and the transformational journey we’re embarking on is real, then the policy is practicable. Chief Musa Ishaku, Kaduna State. Continue on page 52

By Jennifer Ehidiamen 08054503875 (Sms only)

A Firm unity. A strong purpose. An unshakable determination

D

ID President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration ignite a sense of belonging and optimism in you last week? Were you swayed from the position of “siddon look” and cynical cheer into really thinking “Yes we can!”? I got the opportunity to read the transcript of his speech again and reflect on the message he was passing on to us, compatriots. This is not an article to dissect the content of his speech. However, like I would bookmark interesting paragraphs or lines in any book I read, I took out time to highlight some of the things that stood out to me in his speech. First off, President Goodluck did not sound like he is going to solve all the problems and challenges in Nigeria overnight. Thank God! However, he pledged to fight for a transformed system and emphasized on the need for more collaboration and partnership. Mr. President understands that we are in an Era of global interconnectivity and intends to apply this strategy to local issues. He says, “hey! If we want Nigeria to work, we have to do this together. Don’t just sit there and think I have a magic wand I am going to spin to solve our challenges.” (Well, he did not really say that, but that is my interpretation). For many years, a lot of people trapped themselves into believing that government leaders have all the solutions. We need to change our orientation and continually develop ourselves- knowledge and capacity. You see, as Mr. President noted, “being a Nigerian is a blessing. It is also a great responsibility.” We (including leaders at all levels) need to continually build our skills to effectively and efficiently develop and implement innovative ideas needed to transform Nigeria. He reminded us that Nigeria is “a land of justice, opportunity and plenty.” But it seems only 1% to 10% of people control and enjoys these resources. But Mr. President cautions that we stop the pity party- “the time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation.” How can we turn the pyramid of our Nation’s wealth over, for more people to begin to enjoy the so much talked about wealth? Mr. President promise to start local before taking it global- “unite our nation and improve the living standards of all our people whether in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West. We will not allow anyone exploit differences in creed or tongue, to set us one against another.” And then “form technical and financial partnerships with global businesses and organizations.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

O

N Wednesday last week, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola turned 54 years. This day in the lives of the people of the Living Spring was not only a moment for deeper reflection but to celebrate with a man whose many battles to the seat of power raised questions about jurisprudence exactitude in the place of history. On this note, a book titled Ijesa Icons and the Making of Modern Nigeria edited by Prof Siyan Oyeweso in his honour crept its way to the shelve of the reading public and the sake of posterity. The Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, venue of event became a beehive of activities as rare historical materials were put on display. The people’s rich cultural prowess was handy to keep guests thrilled as it lasted. Though a large number of guests had to be on their feet as all the seats available were occupied. Those standing never showed any sign of fatigue or tiredness because of their immeasurable love for the governor whom they see as the symbol of democracy. Governor Aregbesola, who traced his emergence on the political scene to the lessons of the past, praised the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who tutored his followers on the power of resilience and vision in the pursuit of their objectives. He said: “In 1952 the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo emerged in the Western region and led us on a momentous history. He gave us vision and educated us on the need to stand for the people’s welfare and truth.”

Arts Extra

49

Ijesa icons keep history alive The governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, last week marked his birthday with a book launch. The occasion which had in attendance members of the socio-political and economic class paid glowing tributes to the dogged fighter, writes Musa Odoshimokhe Buttressing the essence of the essays in honour of the governor, Prof Oyeweso noted that given that the study of History which is a wide subject has often concentrated on great empires at the expense of minor kingdoms creating a division between macro and micro history. He said: “Micro history should be at the centrepiece of scholarship but the dawn of civilisation now stresses what is called universal history. Therefore if you are not very serious and determined about the minor communities, biographies of indigenous people of Nigeria, it means history will be endangered.” Prof Oyeweso explained that only very few people are interested in having case studies on Ede, Iragbiji, Osogbo, Ikirun and other local communities. Instead, greater attentions have been focused on Lagos, Ife, Oyo and Ibadan whose histories have been reviewed severally. He noted that the book tries to recapture the some of the nitty gritty of history, stressing that earlier text books on Ijesa history were not written by Nigerians and on a general note attention was gradually being shifted from the study of history with the attendant consequence very visible.

• Prof Oyeweso, Dep Gov Otunba Titilayo Laoye Tomori and Gov Aregbesola

Though Sciences have been well funded, much still needs to be done. But in the case of historical research the only major research material which scholars could point to was the book titled Groundwork of Nigerian History edited by Obaro Ikime funded by Historical Society of Nigeria.

How many state governments today are interested in the study of history? How many parents sent their children to school to study history? People believe that the choice of history only comes when they have failed to secure admission in other disciplines. Yet, history underpins devel-

opment and serves as a torch for great tomorrow, on this note Ijesa Icons and the Making of Modern Nigeria, though biographies of people who have made impact in law, engineering, politics, commerce and industry etc, will make a significant chapter in Nigeria’s quest for her indigenous history.

Creativity beckons at National Gallery of Art National Gallery of Art (NGA) used a drawing competition to keep the children busy last week, writes Edozie Udeze

• Muku

C

REATIVITY is what makes the mind thrive. This was what the National Gallery of Art (NGA) demonstrated last week at the National Theatre Lagos when it organized a painting and drawing competition for children. The event was part of the NGA’s activities to mark the Children’s Day. With the theme Say NO to Kidnapping, (Children in Art Talent Hunt Exhibition 2011) the children, drawn from over 50 primary and secondary schools in Lagos were made to draw and paint based on the theme. In the process, a lot of new talents and prospective artists were discovered. The NGA has made it a point of responsibility to organize and discover kid artists who can follow

• The winning painting by Adindu

their God-given talents in future. In his welcome address, the Director-General of NGA, Abdullahi Muku, said the theme was deliberately chosen to let the children express their creative prowess freely. In his words, “This year’s theme Say No To Kidnapping was carefully chosen to underscore the evil trends of this infiltrating behaviour in Nigeria. It enables children to evaluate kidnapping as an aberration and shun such with utmost disgust.” The DG made reference to their past competitions and noted that NGA will do more to make

• Another painting by Isaac

children do more. And in the same vein, Mrs Ekene Okoroma, the curator of Lagos Liaison office of NGA advised the children to vouch for values that make for positivism in life. “Kidnapping has become a very big menace in our society in the last couple of years… This is why NGA has chosen this theme to enlighten the children and youths on this vice called kidnapping and how it could adversely affect and hinder their

future if not promptly checked,” Okoroma said. In the end, Franklin Adindu of Cardoso Senior High School, Lagos emerged the over all winner. His work dwells on a kidnapper who tries to strangulate his victim. The painting is so moving and convincing that one is tempted to doubt the age of the artist. But that is the stuff good artists are made of. Some of the schools that participated in the show included

Holy Infant School, King’s Heritage, Tendercare International School, Dee Jewels School. Others were Vivian fowler, St Margaret’s School, Bosworth School and lots more. The children were happy to have been given the opportunity to express their talents. As they received their gifts and awards, they did not fail to show their gratitude to NGA for giving them the opportunity to draw and paint on such a theme as kidnapping


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Arts & Life

50

SUNNY SIDE

Cartoons

By Olubanwo Fagbemi deewalebf@yahoo.com 08060343214 (SMS only)

POLITICKLE

Hail, Premier League Octopus! Published last October under the title ‘Premier League Octopus’, the following piece inspired by a faithful reader reads as material from yesterday —more or less. Donning the toga of a mystic, however amateur, the writer urges fans to digest the substance and compare with eventual results from the concluded English football season.

CHEEK BY JOWL

OH, LIFE!

THE GReggs

SPURRED by the reasonable efficacy of last season’s forecast for the English Premier League and the faithful reader’s rejoinder, the writer dusts his crystal ball to predict afresh. The following projection – arrived at after meticulous analysis of clubs’ squad strength and pedigree – should make Paul the Octopus turn green in envy. Unlike the wonder creature of World Cup fame who indicated outcomes in stages, however, the writer risks multiple calculations to highlight conclusions of the 2010/2011 season which opened yesterday. After the struggles of last season, Manchester United should finally overcome the departure of talisman Ronaldo to Spain’s Real Madrid. The appearance of Mexico hotshot Javier Hernandez at Old Trafford is expected to sharpen the Red Devils’ attack while the defence and midfield are galvanised by skill and experience. Alex Ferguson is expected to mastermind a record 19th Premier League title as Wayne Rooney recovers from last season’s late dip and subsequent World Cup slump to stir supporters on the terraces and around the world. Chelsea, on account of an ageing squad – goal machine Didier Drogba is 32 and strike partner Nicolas Anelka 31, the same age as midfield dynamo Frank Lampard – and the consuming pursuit of UEFA Champions League glory, are bound to surrender the league title. Still, last season’s double winners should compete as anyone else with addition of the exciting Ramires, who arrives from Benfica, and former Liverpool spark, Yossi Benayoun. Second place is minimum finish for the Blues. Arsenal, rather removed from the invincible era – because of boss Arsene Wenger’s youth-based policy, some will argue – are nonetheless a strong bet for a successive third place finish. Expect the Gunners to recover from the distraction of Barcelona’s courting of the emblematic Cesc Fabregas. The departure of experienced defenders William Gallas and Sol Campbell may rock initially, but eventual grafting of incoming talents Maroune Chamakh and Laurent Kolscieny should strengthen the club’s ever-fluid campaign. Despite the departure of Rafael Benitez for Inter Milan after the Spaniard was criticised for leading Liverpool to seventh place last season, the Merseyside giants look good for fourth with the appointment of proven English coach, Roy Hodgson. The retention of twin motivators Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres as well as the arrival of England midfielder Joe Cole on a free transfer from Chelsea supports the forecast. From the blue side of Manchester however comes the most arresting development. The club’s rich owners funded a spree that landed a quartet of tantalising European talents: Yaya Toure, Jerome Boateng, Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva. With the arrival of Inter Milan wonder-boy Mario Balotelli in view, City will either break into the Top Four or stretch the boundaries of English football premiership to accommodate a Top Five. Last season’s Top Four upstarts, Tottenham Hotspur, could find sixth place a more realistic ambition this term. Intuitive coach Harry Redknapp may have attracted gifted players to White Hart Lane but even he could struggle to pit his wits against opposition on multiple fronts with the club’s most inspiring figure, Ledley King. The hugely talented defender and captain is, on account of dodgy knees, incapable of a crucial run of games. Until last week’s sudden departure of manager Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa were expected to resist Everton’s anticipated push for the top. Now the Toffees are set for at least seventh place with a competitive squad. And where do these leave Nigerians? For local league players, dreaming of opportunities to fly abroad at the earliest opportunity; for England-based stars, hoping to trade tackles anew with champions; and for fans, preparing to comb sports papers and surf satellite TV channels from now to next May when the European football season closes.

Jokes A Poor Mothers Day Two children ordered their mother to stay in bed one Mother’s Day morning. As she lay there looking forward to breakfast in bed, the smell of fried eggs and toast bread floated up from the kitchen. But after a good long wait she finally went downstairs to investigate. She found them both sitting at the table eating the food. “As a surprise for Mother’s Day,” one explained, “we decided to cook our own breakfast.”

The Exorcist Once, Mrs Smith and Mrs Green met at a party. After an hour talking and drinking Mrs Smith told her friend, “They call my husband ‘The Exorcist.’” With great surprise Mrs Green asked her, “Why?” Mrs Smith replied, “At every party we attend, he soon gets rid of all the spirits.”

Early Birthday Over breakfast one morning, a woman said to her husband, “I bet you don’t know what day this is.” “Of course I do,” he indignantly answered, going out the door to the office. At 10 a.m., the doorbell rang, and when the woman opened the door, she was handed a box containing a dozen long stemmed red roses. At 1 p.m., a foil wrapped, two-pound box of her favourite chocolates arrived. Later, a boutique delivered a designer dress. The woman couldn’t wait for her husband to come home. “First the flowers, then the chocolates, and then the dress!” she exclaimed when he finally arrived. “I’ve never had a more wonderful Children’s Day in my life!”

QUOTE Sport is a preserver of health.

—Hippocrates •Culled from the Internet

SUDOKU

5/6/2011

and Hd. But, since row G already has a 6 - in cell Gh, the only space available to Look at the 3 middle vertical (def) 3x3 accommodate 6 in the bottom box is cell Hd. boxes. The top box has 6 in cell Bf, while the Reasoning along these lines, try and fill in middle box has its 6 in cell De. The bottom all the other vacant cells. box must, therefore, have its own 6 in column Solution on SATURDAY. Happy Puzzling! d, where there only 2 vacant spaces—cells Gd

1ST STEP IN SOLVING PUZZLE: (306)

PUZZLE 306

A 4 3 B 7 1 6 C 9 1 4 D 5 6 1 3 E 2 5 3 F 6 8 4 G 6 7 4 H 2 5 I 9 3 5 a

b

c

d

e

f

g

h

i

SOLUTION TO PUZZLE 305

5 3 7 4 8 9 1 2 6

9 1 8 2 5 6 4 3 7

2 6 4 1 7 3 5 9 8

7 2 3 9 4 1 6 8 5

6 8 1 3 2 5 7 4 9

4 9 5 8 6 7 3 1 2

1 5 2 6 3 8 9 7 4

8 7 9 5 1 4 2 6 3

3 4 6 7 9 2 8 5 1


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

51

Young Nation Hello children, Hope you are all doing fine and staying attune with the newly sworn-in government in the country.

Olaitan Akisanya 08056745268 SMS only

with

WORD WHEEL

Birthdays

Children’s day celebrations

•Peace Rapheal of Mighty Oak Model School Ipaja, Lagos cutting her 6th Birthday cake on Sunday, May 29th

• Children at wellness party organised by Emzor Pharmaceutical Company on May 27 at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

This is an open-ended puzzle. How many words of three or more letters each including the letter at the centre of the wheel can you make from this diagram? We’ve found 19 including one nineletter word. Can you do better?

PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHAEL

WORD SEARCH

Places in Lagos

L • Homeless children being hosted for children’s day by Haven for Nigerian Child at Kuramo beach, Lagos

•Children at children‘s day celebration, organised for the kids by the Christ Apostolic Church, Mount of Glory, Ejigbo, Lagos PHOTO: BELLO ABIODUN

•Christiana Rejoice Isiwele, 3 years old (left) and Victor Caleb Isiwele, 5 years old of Faith Nur/Pry Sch, Ibiye Estate, Ibiye, Lagos, marking their birthdays on Saturday, June 4th

AGOS is a state in southwest Nigeria. Bordered by Ogun State and the Atlantic ocean, it was the former capital of Nigeria and its proximity to the ocean has enriched the state with aquatic riches. However, with two sea ports, one International Airports, and a population of over 15 million people, it remains the commercial hub of the country. Tagged with the appellate ‘Centre of Excellence’, Lagos, however over the years fell to a deplorable level, but with the advent of democracy in 1999, the state has started to come to its former glory. And the Babatunde Fashola Administration has further acted as the much needed catalyst. Currently, the eyesores which used to characterise major parts of the state have given way to beautiful landscapes, clean roads, and a burgeoning metropolis. Find some areas of Lagos in the word search below:

•Evelyn Phillip cutting her 1st birthday cake on Wednesday, June 1st

AGEGE APAPA BADAGRY EPE FESTAC TOWN IKEJA

Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to sundaynation@yahoo.com

IKORODU IKOYI ILUPEJU LEKKI MUSHIN OBALENDE

OJO OSHODI SHOMOLU SURULERE VICTORIA ISLAND YABA

Word search supplied by Joshua Ayomide Ajayi, JSS 1A, Kings College, Lagos


52

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Life

‘Enemy Within‘ Entry by Mac-edwin Obi

ness is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, I pray it‘s not AIDS. ‘Don‘t worry, I‘ll get you herbs.

‘E

HEN! How is the election campaign for the community election going?‘ Dimgba asks his friend ,Okoro. ‘Chidi is still leading?‘, he continues,‘you see that young man is large-hearted, he‘ll make a great leader ! ‘Chidi is not eligible, he‘s an outcast‘, Okoro submits. Dimgba ,like a predator waiting for its prey pounces on Okoro,‘Oh! You‘ve suddenly realized he‘s an outcast…‘ Dimgba couldn‘t complete his statement, he coughs but summons enough strength to continue ‘This man built schools, hospitals…‘At this point Okoro helps him, rather sarcastically, ‘he even attracted industries, roads, right?‘ ‘Yes ‘, Dimgba responds. Okoro continues, ‘but he‘s not qualified,he‘s mother is an untouchable…‘ Dimgba‘s cough gets louder, he‘s tired and falls back into his seat, Okoro couldn‘t ignore the cough anymore, he asks :‘My friend ,have you contracted it in the city from one of your regular womens…one of those bad diseases‘, he jokes. Dimgba looks at Okoro, seething in anger, still tired to utter a word. Okoro continues ‘I know you enjoyed yourself with those pretty city girls, I know the weak-

Meanwhile Dr Chimezie, a medical doctor decides to visit his uncle, Dimgba, to inform him of his new job at the Health Commissioner of the State. ‘Success has always been in our blood, ‘Dimgba boasts. ‘Just make sure you don‘t let us down, ‘I won‘t uncle, I‘m passionate about the job, our people are under the siege of deadly diseases-malaria, TB and particularly AIDS.’ Dimgba shrugs of his nephews comment about with a hiss. Chimezie couldn‘t believe his ears and began to argue with his father’s educated brother on the reality of AIDS. In his office- Dr Chimezie is on the phone with his latest patient, Mrs Okeke’s son, Emeka whose weak medical condition has been stabilized. Moments later Dr Chimezie‘s secretary walks in with a letter saying Dimgba his uncle is been admitted in hospital. Chimizie, surprised rushed to the hospital and sees Dimgba lying critically ill with Okoro sitting beside him. The doctor on duty pulls the health commissioner aside to break the news: ‘We‘ve run

tests on him, he has full-blown AIDS, he won‘t make it‘. Shocked Chimezie countered, ‘But I was with him a few days ago,there was no sign of illness.‘ He was confused. Okoro now very close to the two men, decides to speak on his friend’s deteriorating health, ‘He took some herbs to suppress the symptoms when you visited, I warned him but Dimgba never believed AIDS was real. As everyone in the ward stared at Dimgba, they saw not just a dying man but also the reality of his folly.

Many thanks to our amazing readers who send in their comments. If you are passionate about writing exciting short stories, you can send two copies of your writing samples to pearlohai@yahoo.com. Winning entries will be published once every month. N.B: Each entry must have a minimum of 800 words and a maximum of 1000 words. Credit will be given to each writer for every story published. Continue from page 48

It’ll just have one effect: the number of the un-banking number of our people will increase tremendously because many artisans and petty traders will no longer cope with the resultant banking bureaucracy. How many people have become conversant with ATMs? Yet they want to impose other e-banking services that fast! Edu Montee Agulu, Gwarinpa Estate, Abuja. May the good Lord prevail on the lawmakers to see reasoning with reasonable Nigerians. It’s workable if our political money launderers allow it. Adedayo Akala, Ibadan, Oyo State. The Central Bank may have good intentions, i.e., to curtail or reduce corruption or money laundering. But my fear has to do with the amount involved vis-à-vis the potency of the naira. Wale Odebade. What’s this Sanusi talking about? Our economic structure and orientation do not support this policy. More funds will remain outside the banks. CBN need to start with a sustained awareness and attitudinal change campaign, not this military-style order. Interest rates in Nigeria are still the highest in the world. Ed Malik. Absolutely wrong! Monsorjimba, Ikorodu, Lagos State. The decision is PRACTICABLE! Wahab Lanre Oseni, Lagos State. If the policies being rolled out by the CBN governor is something to go by and the transformational journey we’re embarking on is real, then the policy is practicable. Chief Musa Ishaku, Kaduna State. It’ll just have one effect: the number of the un-banking number of our people will increase tremendously because many artisans and

Pacqueens Aisagbonhi.

Have Your Say The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has pegged N150,000 and N1million as the maximum deposit and withdrawal by individual and corporate body respectively. How practicable is this decision? petty traders will no longer cope with the resultant banking bureaucracy. How many people have become conversant with ATMs? Yet they want to impose other e-banking services that fast! Edu Montee Agulu, Gwarinpa Estate, Abuja. May the good Lord prevail on the lawmakers to see reasoning with reasonable Nigerians. It’s workable if our political money launderers allow it. Adedayo Akala, Ibadan, Oyo State. The Central Bank may have good intentions, i.e., to curtail or reduce corruption or money laundering. But my fear has to do with the amount involved vis-à-vis the potency of the naira. Wale Odebade. What’s this Sanusi talking about? Our economic structure and orientation do not support this policy. More funds will remain outside the banks. CBN need to start with a sustained awareness and attitudinal change campaign, not this military-style order. Interest rates in Nigeria are still the highest in the world. Ed Malik. Absolutely wrong! Monsorjimba, Ikorodu, Lagos State. The decision is PRACTICABLE! Wahab Lanre Oseni,

Lagos State. This won’t work because implementation will be hasty. Traders and professionals that use cash will find an alternative by probably boycotting banks. More grace needed. Joe Ezegbudo, PHC, Rivers State. The idea of pegging withdrawals and deposits by CBN at #150,000 and #1m may be fanciful and/or attractive but it is not practicable in Nigeria. This may even turn out to be counter productive as it will discourage our largely ignorant populace from saving their money in banks. We are not yet ripe for cashless transactions. I feel the banking culture should be encouraged rather than discouraged as this policy unwittingly seeks to. Musa Audu, Malali, Kaduna State.

The CBN is confused. Spending on the printing of currency is the reason behind the policy! Otherwise, depositors should now pay for the printing of currency! I strongly believe it will discourage the public from putting money in the bank. Ironically, federal and state assemblies and politicians must not hear this because their businesses are cash and carry. For instance, will they not sponsor bills? Besides, our payments modus of operandi is basically cash as it is more reliable. Let the CBN help government in better ways of improving the economy. Basil Bagudu, Lagos State. I say no to what Central Bank said about deposit and withdrawal. It is totally wrong. Mr Benjamin Okolo, Ogbomosho, Oyo State.

I think the CBN governor has not come up with the true position of our banks. If there is further liquidation, the number should be reduced rather than introducing such policy. It will not work. Let’s practise free flow of cash. Fidelis Obi, Minna, Niger State.

The question is not whether it is practicable or not, but that the new CBN policy is bad with harmful effects. It curtails citizens’ freedom, violates their right to their money and treats adult like kids. It is capable of discouraging savings and thus should be abrogated. Dr Jabhuere, Abuja.

That decision of the CBN contravenes a person’s constitutional right to own property and right to use it as he wishes. So, it’s void. Secondly, the banks will lose because many will avoid them. Otunba Tunde Seriki, Lekki, Lagos State.

Very practicable! In the UK there is withdrawal limit too. Sanusi should also ban cheque withdrawal. Cheques should be paid into accounts. Payment into accounts should be increased to #500,000. Bank drafts should be used for larger payments.

It is not workable without providing other means. In Ghana it is working perfectly together with ATM. But here CBN has failed in ATM service. The CBN governor should go. He’s damaging the economy. Pastor Chuks Sampson. It’s a foolish idea. That is why the rich travels very often to take their money overseas and change their money to hard currency. Lanle Akinfemiwa, Ikorodu, Lagos State. The CBN policy which pegged the daily cash deposits and withdrawals to N150k and N1M for individuals and corporate organizations respectively is unrealistic and is an infringement on the rights of other people. I’m sure this policy will not stand the test of time. Azeez Adeyemi, Ibadan, Oyo State. All their plans are full of selfishness and undemocratic. Nangang, Apo, Abuja. I can’t understand the noise on the issue. We want to make heaven, we abhor death. We want our country to grow and develop, like the USA, France, UK, Germany, Canada, etc., but we don’t want to imbibe features for development. Let us use less of cash, more of cheques, and drafts. Anonymous. I hope they consider the case of a motor dealer selling two Toyota Camry cars worth of #4m a day and don’t want to keep money at home. How will he do it? Anonymous. This CBN idea has innumerable benefits economically, socially and mentally. It is practicable. Anonymous.

Continue on The Nation website: www.thenationonlineng.net, Click on Sunday Magazine, then Have Your Say


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

53


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

54

Creating a smoke free environment

A EBERE WABARA

L

ET us welcome Statesman, the Imo State governmentowned newspaper, for the first and probably last time to this column! Its Opinion Page of May 2629 scandalized the provincial publication: “In the eyes and reckoning of every Imo citizens, there has only been two administrations in the state.” Every Imo citizen or all Imo citizens…and this: there have (not has) only been two administrations in the state. “NPA commends FG over (for) port reforms” (THISDAY Headline, May 27) “Nigeria’s aviation industry has witnessed some changes since the administration of late Musa Umar Yar’dua….” (THISDAY Aviation, May 27) The administration of the late…. “After four years of solid performance on the saddle…”’ (UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S Full Page Congratulatory Advert for Chief Godswill Akpabio, THISDAY, May 27) Let God’s will be done: in the saddle. “Some states have seized the opportunity to make waves….” (NIMASA Full Page Advertorial, THISDAY, May 27) It is only in America and Nigeria that opportunities are seized. In New (Formal/Standard) English environments, you either use or take opportunities. ‘Seize’ inseparably involves the use of some measure of force or deployment of violence. “Gowon, Jang, others pay last respect to Madam Pam” (National Mirror Headline, May 26) No news: last respects. Yet another headline goof from the above edition: “Tantalizers fete (fetes) kids on Children’s Day” Tantalizers is just a company. “Post election panel is illegal and diversionary” (DAILY CHAMPION H e a d l i n e , May 26) Get it right: Post-election panel illegal, diversionary “It is perhaps in this light that the series of consultative meeting....” Folk (popular) etymology: the series of consultative meetings. “in this regard, one must doff one’s hat for Chief Sylvanus Ogbonna....” This way: doff one’s hat to (not for). “In the last elections, voters had to choose between three parties essentially….” ‘Between

O8055001948

ewabara@yahoo.com

Akpabio in the saddle three parties’ is simply acidulous. Formal expression: among three parties…. “The security-men who arrested Chima were eight in number (what would ‘eight’ have been?) and arrived at about 10 a .m. in the morning.” Towards Standard English for readers: at 11.a.m or about 11a.m, if there is an element of uncertainty. To employ the two in one breath is irksome. How does this sound: ’10 a.m. in the morning’? “Of course filmmakers should also watch them so that the public can be told the videos are not some Hollywood make-belief.” My comment: make-believe. “Pondering over the nation is the spectra of economic corruption and a descent into (to) chaos and anarchy.” Singular: spectrum and plural (spectra). “It is therefore most expedient for ex-Generals like Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida to re-examine its (their) role in government and take a honourable bow from politics.” A time to quit: an honourable bow. “Even now, no talk of regional or sub-regional integration is complete in this continent without an echo from Nigeria.” Diplomacy: on the continent. “…am convinced that what held the audience spell-bounded and excited was the fact of an Anglophone being able to tell him in their own language.” “Instead, people compete and fall over one another for the crumbs and fallouts from the ‘high table’ (platform/ dais/rostrum) and even defend the indefensible.” ‘Fallout’ is uncountable. “…we swept them under the carpet pretending that all was well when in actual (what for?) fact we were heading towards apocalypse.” “…others point out the moral ground for such action (an action), given Labour’s antecedents in the past.” ‘Antecedents in the past’? This is unacceptable for obvious reasons. One of these days, somebody would write ‘future antecedents’! Yank off ‘in the past’. “As at 1985 there are (were) over 36,000 dams in the world with about 18,000 in China alone.”

“Are you therefore surprise (sic) to find mediocres promoted beyond their highest level of competency.” The noun form of ‘mediocre’ (an adjective) is ‘mediocrity’ or ‘mediocrist’. “Statistics of African debt profile shows (show) that Nigeria owes about 15 per cent of the continent’s debt.” “But none of these leaders coming with large (a large) retinue of people (would it have been of animals?) will agree that it is important to back-up (back up) their good wishes with concrete policy (a concrete policy) in the area of debt management for sustainable growth.” “Within the 15 years of the four military regimes under review, Nigeria moved twice from one extreme end of the scale to the other in her (its) relation with other nations.” Either extreme or end. Both cannot cofunction. “General Babangida’s emergence on the scene brought an initial soothing balm in Nigeria’s foreign relations because of his early release of a transition programme.” ‘Soothing balm’ is offensive to good scholarship. What else, apart from soothing, would balm do? “While the Chinese were still protesting the bombing of their embassy in Belgrade, NATO had gone ahead to bomb the Swiss embassy, causing damages (damage) to the Angolan embassy and hit (hitting) a hospital, among others.” “What is laying a siege on (to) public wealth and traumatizing all those who dared to point accusing fingers.” Delete ‘accusing’ because of its contextual redundancy. And this: point the finger (stock expression). “How does the separation of powers that are (is) discernible in Government textbooks operate in real life.” “Just as the banning of books and newspapers give (gives) rise to an illicit trade in them….” “Perhaps it may interest you to note that the average take home (a hyphen) pay of a fresh university graduate a month, in any of the Federal ministry (ministries), was slightly above N3,000.”

LTHOUGH, it is not uncommon to see a child under 18 purchase sticks of cigarette or a packet from the road side Mallam or vendor in Nigeria. However, according to WHO (World Health Organization), nearly 24% of all young smokers started by the age of ten when they are far too young to understand the risks of tobacco use, addiction or to resist social expectations. Some people express shock at this revelation or appalled at the extent of degeneration of the once innocent child. Whatever your stand, these unfortunate cases are children with different circumstances; street kids, orphans, in secondary schools or even living with family. Intrigued and exposed to a harsh and uncaring environment, they are attracted to smoking as a normal way of life. Seeing the plight of children, risk to their health and dire implications for Nigeria, a young advocate, Emmanuel Odiase, started the Smokefree Initiative in 2007 as

By Adeola Ogunlade

an intervention to enlighten them on the dangers of smoking tobacco. His research reveals that smoking started out as an adventure for some children but metamorphosed into an addiction as they grew older. He said "big tobacco companies target young people in Africa, with over 2,000 teenagers becoming addicted to smoking each day," Emmanuel went further to publish a book titled ‘Who's the Target: The Unfiltered Truth,’ a book now being used to educate children and adolescents in schools against the use of tobacco. But the most interesting part of his advocacy work is his contributions to the passage of national tobacco control bill; that the government should protect its citizens and pass laws that can reform the systems to reduce the death of secondary smokers through Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). This bill

presently being considered at the National House of Assembly of Nigeria will ban single sticks sale of cigarettes; ban on tobacco advertisement, sponsorship and promotions; ban on selling cigarettes to persons under the age of 18; ban on smoking of tobacco products in public places, which includes airports and public buildings; and ban on selling single stick cigarettes. An interview with beneficiaries' of the programme shows that they have quit smoking and are now empowered and enlightened on the dangers of smoking. "We are educating our family and friends on effects and diseases of the deadly habit." Till date, the initiative, SFN, has impacted 2,000 children, over 100, 000 youth and adults across Nigeria in Lagos, Abuja, Edo, Kano, and even beyond the country in South Africa-Capetown, Belgium- Brussels and ItalyParma.

Safety and Security Alert! Effective crowd management at public events

L

EADERS who gather people for political, religious, social and cultural celebrations do not envisage carnages at the end of the occasion? Things turn sour due to negligence and reckless crowd control mechanisms. We lose loved ones to the lackadaisical attitude of organisers and ill-informed security providers. For instance, the recent presidential rally at Liberation Stadium, PortHarcourt, the ordeal at Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed’s campaign office in Ilorin and inauguration ceremony of new Ogun State governor at M.K.O Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta where poor crowd control was reported and many others are grave concerns. Therefore, we need to ensure effective crowd management at sporting events, rallies, concerts, parades, crusades, conferences, etc. What is a Crowd? Crowd simply means a large assemblage of people coming together for a common purpose. An effective Crowd Management Plan should include: •Type of event •Facility characteristics / segmentations •Crowd size and demeanour. •Access and crowd control •Communications •Parking / Traffic control •Queuing methods •Emergencies preparedness plan. Facility managers must plan, staff, organise, direct, evaluate, review roles, advance intelligence and process per stage (before, during and after). They are to file a copy of the plan with government agencies to reduce complacency. Precautions: 1) Anticipate potential sources of dangers. 2) Take steps to prevent hitches. 3) Be prepared to respond quickly and effectively. Crowd could cause problems from within and outside the facility through environmental catastrophe and rumour.

Crowd Dynamics Characteristics of the audience reflect through: •Environmental perception •“Sociological signals” •Staff attitudes •Interior and exterior operatives •Promulgation/enforcement of house rules •Door opening policy •Communication alterations •Comfort patrons Crowd Management Techniques A. Advance Planning and Training 1. Gather background information. 2. Travel to other locations for experience. 3. Publicise house rules 4. Train staff with manuals. 5. Enforce crowd management /emergency plan. 6. Take joint decisions. 7. Cooperate with support service providers. 8. Develop and share chain of commands. 9. Adequate communications. 10. Special notices and prohibitions. 11. Provide medical emergency services. 12. Comb for explosives 13. Audit plans and techniques. 14. Ensure rehearsals and dress rehearsal. B. Interior Crowd Management 1. Responsible for patrons’ behaviours. 2. Maintain cleanliness 3. Make right decisions. 4. Ban alcohols, cigarettes, bottled and plastic drinks. 5. Demarcate and label aisles with lights. 6. Direct patrons to reserved seats. 7. Train in crowd management and safety. 8. Display and enforce fire / safety signages. 9. Provide medical services and first-aid locations. 10. Help physically challenged patrons. 11. Turn on aisle and corridors lights. 12. Ushers remain at positions. 13. Position undercover personnel.

C. Exterior Crowd Management 1. Advertise time of opening. 2. Inform crowd on happenings inside 3. Control access by metering. 4. Permit vendors to sell prescribed refreshments. 5. Use more than one entrance 6. Security responsible for exterior. 7. Train police officers in crowd management. 8. Reflect security details for crowd size and behaviour. 9. Don’t allow patrons to increase 10. Direct pedestrian traffic. 11. Provide public address system 12. Communicate with operatives and medical unit. 13. Accommodate crowds outside 14. Display and enforce house rules. D. Facility Security 1. Train on crowd management and emergency procedures. 2. Screen for contraband. 3. House ushers wear name tags/ numbers. 4. Enforce house rules. 5. Treat patrons with courtesy. 6. Cooperate with law enforcement officers and ERT. 7. Dress neatly. 8. Provide manuals for communication. Ensure to hold post event meeting to review operations, records and actions, attendance by stakeholders and legal adviser. In conclusion, government agencies are to enact statutes, enforce safety and security standards while facility management must engage safety and security professionals and train employees in crowd control management. NB: The pieces of information here are snippets. The writer will be willing to share more on invitation or request. Please send responses, comments and safety/security challenges to the undersigned by sms or e-mail. By: Mr. Timilehin Ajayi (Safety and Security Consultant) E-mail: timilehinajayi@yahoo.com 08095683454.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2010

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HE news meeting of The New York Times Foreign Desk in this oval office presided over by Susan Chira, the most senior editor on this wet Wednesday, was brisk, businesslike and incisive. Appointed foreign editor of one of America’s most prestigious newspapers in January 2004, Chira who sat at the head of the conference table left no one in doubt that she was in charge. In a week largely dogged by sex scandals involving randy big fishes and only punctuated by President Barrack Obama’s epic roadmap for trouble shooting the intractable Middle East crises and the impending visit of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, the media was obviously locked in a haul. All the significant feeds from the newspaper’s rich array of correspondents spread across the world listed in a four page guide were digested, evincing its dominance of the reportage of foreign affairs even when many of its closest competitors have had to cut down their offices abroad because of financial constraint. Straddling between the mainstream and social and popular media, The New York Times has kept its business above waters. In spite of the low profile in the reporting of Africa by others, the paper reputed for recruiting the bulk of its reporters from top Ivy leagues - Harvard, Princeton and Yale, remains one of the very few American newspapers with four bureaus on the continent. Soon it was time to preview the news pictures from a 42 inch screen behind, reinforcing the changing face of the modern newsrooms now adorned with laptops, iPads, iPods, digital cameras and pre-press machines and so on. Its expansive online and video section restates its vision of buying into the gains of multimedia despite closing its TV section some years ago. In the past, Cecilia Bohan, former foreign photo editor and her assistants were left with the arduous task of perusing several rolls of films from the photo feeds to decide on a pick. Even Bohan who was posted to London as director of photography after the takeover of the International Herald Tribune formerly jointly owned with the Washington Post, has moved on to the Arts and Culture Desk. By exactly 4pm, it was time for the Front Page news meeting of all the most senior editors from the various desks. Just like it was with the news meeting of the Foreign Desk, this writer had the enviable opportunity of also attending the Front Page meeting where Bill Keller, executive editor and Jill Abramson, managing editor took charge. Taking the decisions Ever impressive Chira, a former editorial director of book development since 2002 opened the curtain with her line up spiced with running stories on Libya, the succession crisis in Moscow involving President Dmitry Medvedev and his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, aftermath of the killing of Al-Qaeda Leader, Bin Laden, Obama’s impending speech on the resolution of the crises in the Middle East ahead of the vote for a Palestinian State at the UN in September and the visit of Netanyahu. Other editors took their turns, reeling out stories ranging from the indictment by the Grand Jury of the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Khan to the unfolding story involving former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger who had a 14 year old son outside wedlock from his maid, Mildred Patricia Baena without the knowledge of his wife, Shriver. Will the travails of Arnold make the front page of The Guardian, This Day or any other highbrow newspapers in Nigeria, a country where it is almost a norm for many people in public office to father children outside wedlock? I shrugged. Or will the story of the two cops-Kenneth Moreno, 45 and Franklin Mata, 29 now standing trial for taking sexual advantage of a drunken East Village 27-year old woman, stranded in a taxi get rave reviews in a country where police violation of citizens rights is commonplace? Many in Nigeria would merely ask what’s nu? At the Front Page news meeting, there was also the story of the bleak future of American graduates who can no longer find jobs and the billions of planets outnumbering stars which negates the 200 billion stars said to be in the Milky Way galaxy, according to meas-

Life Extra

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Memorable day at The New York Times A former stringer for The New York Times, Tony Iyare, was recently in the United States of America, in this piece he recounts his visit to the newspaper

•Iyare in the news room (inset) the building of The New York Times urements and calculations by an international group of astronomers led by Takahiro Sumi of Osaka University in Japan. A quick look at the line up of pictures and the meeting soon came to a close. At the two meetings where exchanges were deep, colleagues were delighted to meet their long time West African stringer who had now “crossed to the other side”. Old bonds Former West Africa Bureau Chief, Norimitsu Onishi facilitated this visit which will forever remain memorable. Now in Japan covering the Tsunami from his base in Djakarta, Onishi easily passes as one of this writer’s mentors, having assisted in acquiring my first laptop in 1998 and also brokered editorial consultancy with the UN since 2001. Sauntering through the hustle and bustle of the ever busy Manhattan, the business heart of New York City, from the Long Island Train Station, on 34th Street this wet Wednesday, was a hard nut. But I made it swiftly and was dead set at destination for my 2.45pm appointment. The imposing 52 storey skyscraper on 41st Street by 8th Avenue on the west side of midtown Manhattan and its alluring ambience, gleans the paper’s eminence as a prime mover. Built in 2007 and housing the headquarters of this high brow American newspaper, The New York Times, it is just earshot from the UN headquarters. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FXFOWLE Architects, with Gensler providing interior decor, the tower rises 748 feet (228 m) from the street to its roof, with the exterior curtain wall extending 92 feet (28 m) higher to 840 feet (260 m), and a mast rising

to 1,046 feet (319 m). As of 2008, the building tied with the Chrysler Building as the third tallest building in New York City and the seventh tallest in the United States. Greg Winter, one of the editors on the prestigious Foreign Desk was at the security post on the ground floor to usher and show me around the paper’s state of the art newsroom. Though my sojourn with the paper as their stringer dates back to 1992 when I worked with Kenneth Noble, now a professor of Journalism at the University of Southern California, this was my first visit to its headquarters which has witnessed two movements since it was cited at the famous Times Square in 1904. Earlier discourse with Winter over lunch, impinged on happenings at home, veering from my work with Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who’s committed to fixing a state in doldrums for close to 30 years to the significant challenges before President Goodluck Jonathan particularly after the strides of the 2011 election. Apart from the inability to meet Onishi’s predecessor at the West African bureau, Howard French, now a professor of Journalism at Columbia during my short trip, the biggest regret was that I could not touch the seat of one of my foremost role models, Raymond Walter Apple Jnr, one of America’s most powerful political writers who kissed the dust in October 2006 at 71. His obit done by The Times on October 4, 2006 was relishing. “With his Dickensian byline, Churchillian brio and Falstaffian appetites, Mr. Apple, who was known as Johnny, was a singular presence at The Times almost from the moment he joined the metro-

politan staff in 1963. He remained a colourful figure as new generations of journalists around him grew more pallid, and his encyclopaedic knowledge, grace of expression — and above all his expense account — were the envy of his competitors, imitators and peers”, the paper wrote in the obit titled R.W. Apple, a Times Journalist in Full, Dies at 71. With travels to more than 100 countries, Mr Apple enjoyed a career like no other in the modern era of The Times. He was the paper’s bureau chief in Albany, Lagos, Nairobi, Saigon, Moscow, London and Washington. He covered 10 presidential elections and more than 20 national nominating conventions. He led The Times’ coverage of the Vietnam War for two and a half years in the 1960’s and of the Persian Gulf War, a generation later and chronicled the Iranian revolution in between. Popularly called Johnny Apple because of his editorial exploits around the world, he remains an enigma at the Times for his stories which stretches from War and Revolutions, Politics, Business, Foreign Affairs, Arts, Architecture, and Life to Food. His glossary on cuisines from different parts of the world underscores his eminence as a plenipotentiary writer. Unfortunately Apple, who had a glowing over 40 year career as a correspondent with NYT, was no more when the paper moved to its current headquarters in 2007. •Iyare is Special Adviser on Media Affairs to Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2011

Why Nigeria’s tax system is weak Unremitted taxes running into several billions of naira by ministries, agencies, management of the National Assembly and other tiers of government, remain a concern not only to tax authorities but other stakeholders, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

I

N other climes, especially in more advanced economies, tax is relied upon perhaps as one of the most important fiscal policy instruments deployed by the government to raise the standard of living of the people. But in Nigeria, this is an irony. As a rule, tax is only observed in the breach by a broad spectrum of the society, most especially so-called enlightened citizens, who have since gained notoriety for circumventing the tax processes in the country. The above terse statement captured the lamentation that resonated among a crosssection of Nigerians recently, who at separate interviews with our correspondent expressed outrage over the parlous state of the economy, which, in their estimation, was as a result of poor fiscal discipline in the allocation of resources and the operation of an ineffective tax regime in the country. Critique of the tax regime In the view of analysts, despite the fact that one of the major areas of reform in recent years has been tax administration, the reform seems to be more of ‘pro-rich’ proposition in its design and implementation, thereby creating the regime of ‘unfairness’ and ‘unequal opportuinities.’ Tax payment in various parts of the country, the analysts stressed, especially in government, is easily manipulated, as tax officials double as ‘consultants’ to whoever wants to evade tax; they help them compromise the books and they collect a handsome fee for their services. These same set of persons are reluctant to remit taxes and nobody is bold enough to wield the big stick. It is common knowledge that Nigerian leaders routinely live above the law. Hence, the question of how much has our past and present leaders paid as tax in the last decade, is never answered, experts further argued. Tax default The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) revealed that as the end of 2009, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), amongst other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the National Assembly had not remitted a total of about N72 billion in Personal Income Tax deductions, Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax. This was made known by the the FIRS after it declared that Tax Clearance Certificate

•Utomi

•Sagay

•Ijewere

would soon be a requirement, and be made compulsory, to be able to access certain government services, even as part of vehicle particulars. Assistant Director Tax, FIRS, Mrs. Camilla Chuta, said the management of the National Assembly Withholding Tax was about N306 million made up of N22.34 million. Although the National Assembly officilas had then promised to meet with the officials of the FIRS for final reconciliation before effecting payment for the period under review, the above economic pundits argue, obviously shows how the National Assembly, in spite of being a conduit that drains the economy of funds, is still not able to perform its obligatory role of adequately paying back the tax required into the system. The Director of FCT/Special Tax Office, Abuja, Mr. Peter Olayemi, remarked that the enforcement became necessary given the “uncooperative posture” of

many defaulting MDAs and government officials, who had deducted these taxes but refused to remit same to the detriment of the smooth running of the government. Shedding more light on the foregoing, professor of political economy, Professor Pat Utomi, in an interview with The Nation had decried what he described as the country’s painful journey into a state of anomie, “where the selfish few live off the majority.” He said: “A country like Nigeria, where more is devoted to recurrent expenditure with little or nothing left for capital expenditure, is not just a bad signal but shows us as a country not yet in a hurry to develop and catch up with our peers out there.” Apparently discomfited over what he called the rent taking mentality of the ruling class, Utomi, who is a Director at the Lagos Business School, said: “A situation where members of the ruling class believes the rest of the country owes them the good things of life, when the essence of leadership is supposed to be improve quality of life for the rest of the people by maximising all funds, whether as taxes, loans, is a sad commentary on the leadership and the society as a whole.” While commenting on the funds expended on President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration last week, Utomi, who fell short of accusing the Federal Government of outright robbery, said it is

rather appalling that:”Tax payers’ money is being spent with impunity in the way and manner we have seen these past decades. “Nigeria, at this point deserves selfless leaders at all levels of the society,leaders, who will not choose to be selfish, but are willing to sacrifice their all for the common good of all. Nigeria is in dire need of leaders with others-centred behaviour, especially leaders who are selfsacrificing”, he said. “One of the reasons why the country has not been able to harness the full benefit of taxes compared to other countries of the world is because there is still mistrust in the system. Many people, who pay taxes pay it reluctantly because there is no guarantee that the common wealth would be put into judicious use by those who control the country’s resources.” Expatiating, he said with revelation that a lawmaker takes home about N50 million every quarter, which amounts to about N200 million per annum ($1.5million), “Means that the tax per member is about 60kobo per naira after the first N60, 000. If this is correct, then it is obvious that the government ought to be making much from the lawmakers. But unfortunately, it appears this has not been the case over the years. “If people are expected to pay tax

“I think there’s a problem in getting the big people into the dragnet. Not that they’re not in the tax dragnet, but bringing their income to the pool is the problem and it has to with the type of regime we operate in this country”

•Continued on page 58


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Why Nigeria’s tax system is weak •Continued from page 57

according to what they earn, then members of the National Assembly, including those at Federal Executive levels and their cabinet extensions that have been enjoying the increasing recurrent expenditure of the economy; should also remit what is required of them to the public purse. But unfortunately, this has not been the case”, he stressed. Like Utomi, a constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), expressed outrage over the country’s underdeveloped tax system, a development he blamed on the insincerity of the Federal Government and its agencies, which have not shown the required leadership as far as tax compliance is concerned. Sagay, who admitted that the society as a whole still needs education as far as their civic obligations in terms of payment of taxes, however, expressed disgust that the so-called lawmakers who make laws for the smooth administration of the country also deafult in the payment of taxes. Particularly worrisome, Sagay said: “Is the fact that our lawmakers and those in government are the greatest breachers of the law. Take for instance, the issue of tax remittances, they have been known to default most of the time, whereas ordinary citizens and corporates are chased around by the tax authorities if they fail to meet the same obligation. We continue to hear that the National Assembly and other tiers of government are owing several billions in unremitted taxes. This should not be the case.” Insider Perspective One-time President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, who chaired a public forum organised by the Accountants in the Lagos State Civil Service recently, broke his silence over his well-kept secret concerning the nation’s tax regime. Ijewere, who served as the chairman of the body that was put together to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) in Nigeria, recalled: ”The history of VAT is not difficult to find; it arose from the World Bank report presented to then General Ibrahim Babangida’s government saying that Nigeria should introduce VAT because a number of state governments were practising sales tax in a disjointed and chequered manner. And in many cases, they discovered that in all the states, except Lagos, there was so much inefficiency in the collection system of sales tax and they (World Bank), felt that the Federal Government should set up VAT to help the state to help themselves. “But even then, given the plurality of the federalism of Nigeria, Lagos state was already threatened to lose because they were the most efficient and the calculations my committee had at that time, showed that 72 per cent of all sales tax collected in Nigeria were collected in Lagos. As such, when we were asked to put this together, we now came up with a system that would not be perfect, but would give advantage to those who are hard working and efficient. “So, we now said that the Federal Government involvement would be purely that of a facilitator, that means that they would set up an independent body to handle VAT to replace sales tax and that body shall be maintained with five per cent of whatever money they collect, while the rest shall be shared among the states of the federation on the basis of the collection. In other words, VAT is to be collected stateby-state and at the end of each month, you determine how much is collected. “After we did the calculation, we discovered that Lagos state stood the

chance of getting about 80 per cent of all the VAT collection in Nigeria, and that was presented to the then government, but other interests came in that created so much debate that my committee report was never officially accepted. “In fact, they gave us dates and dates to formally present but we never did till today. It is little surprising therefore that we are yet to fully harness the potentials in the tax system.” The anecdote, Ijewere stressed, goes to show how underdeveloped the nation’s tax regime still is compared to other advanced countries, where tax administration remains an effective and efficient mode of revenue generation. The outgoing President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Prince Rasaq Quadri, also decried the presence of touts in the system. In an interview with The Nation, he said tax evasion was unheard of.“In other climes, an issue like this never occur. A government officer knows he’s being paid with tax payer’s money. We’ve sanctions within the Nigerian tax laws. When you hear of those not paying tax, you will be surprised that some of them are being paid with tax payer’s money. I want to advise both the Federal and State Government to take necessary measures against their staff who’re evading tax.” He was however, quick to admit: “Some people allow themselves to be used to evade tax. The law as far as Nigeria Tax system is concerned, are on ground. The tax collectors are there to make sure they collect the right amount of tax. But there are so many problems within the Nigerian tax system.” Solution While proferring suggestions, the CITN boss said: “The first issue has to do with the availability of data. The tax payers don’t have data with respective regulatory authorities. These are issues that the regulatory agency needs to look at. We’ve tax laws and they ought to be adhered to by the tax payers. “I think there’s a problem in getting the big people into the dragnet. Not that they’re not in the tax dragnet, but bringing their income to the pool is the problem and it has to with the type of regime we operate in this country. “The general tax policy has drawn another tax for us, by shifting the emphasis from direct taxation to indirect taxation. In this case, we pay according to consumption. Those big men buying luxury goods have to pay higher tax by consuming those goods while those who pay less tax are those who consume goods of lesser quality. That is the only way developed countries handle those who they refer to as portfolio carrying company to the dragnet. What the national tax policy is doing is to bring in as many of those people as possible.” Comparing the tax regime in Nigeria and other countries, Quadri said: “Comparing the system here with those developed countries means, we’re just starting off. Before now, government don’t really talk about taxation or tax payers money. Rather, they focus on crude oil and government money. “Whether the money is from the tax payer or it’s a revenue generated by the government, it’s still tax money and people should be able to ask them what they’re using that money for. I’ll still rate our system as developing. We’ve just had the national tax policy and that policy will lead to good tax laws, which will translate to good taxation. All these will give us a good tax system. Until we’ve all these things on ground, then, we’ll be able to match up to those we’re looking up to.”

Photo News

•L-R: Group Managing Director, Emzor Pharmceutical, Chief (Mrs.) Stella Okoli, President Shonny Poop and Investment Co. Mrs. Taiwo Taiwo and Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Dr. Alex Otti, at a pre-launch press briefing of the commissioning of the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, in Nnamdi Azikwe University, Akwa, organised PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL by Chike Okoli Foundation in Lagos recently

•L-R: Mr. Abiodun Oduojukan in a chat with Bashorun Jaiye Randle shortly after been conferred with an award by the Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce, at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos recently

•L-R: Dr. Sola Atilola, President of the National Board of AMORC in Nigeria, Prince (Dr.) Kenneth Idiodi, and Chairman/CEO, FNL Plc, Mr. Johnson Ikube, at a public forum organised by AMORC in PHOTO: BADE DARAMOLA Lagos

•The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Funke Osibodu in a group photograph with some of children during this year Children’s Day celebration


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

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‘Nigeria can earn more from taxes than oil’ The outgoing President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Prince Razaq Adekunle Quadri, in this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf and Risikat Rahmon, renders account of his stewardship and provides useful insights into the tax regime in Nigeria and the continent at large 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901

HAT major milestones have you achieved as 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 Except for a few exceptions such as Lagos, the tax 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 president of the Chartered culture is poor in other parts of the country. Do you 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 Institute of Taxation of Nigeria in the last 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 agree with that? 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 1234567890123456789012345678901212345678901234567890123456789012123456789012345678901 two years? Before 2005, tax awareness was not the same as it is I want to first give thanks to the Almighty God; he now. It was until the Lagos state Government had an has been wonderful to us. He has provided guidance for issue with the Federal Government on funding that they us on how to go about some issues. now focused on taxation as an alternative. Each time Members of council and exco members have made it we go outside Lagos, we try to meet with the executive, so easy. Stakeholders have not only worked towards legislators, traditional rulers, tertiary institutions and developing the institute but also the Nigerian tax system. other stakeholders. We try to tell them that the only way Council approved agenda for the presidency. The they can improve on their revenue is that they should government recently started to see the importance of have a professionalised system. We have been going taxation and because of that, the emphasis started round to tell the stakeholders what they stand to benefit shifting from oil to non-oil source of revenue. with the introduction of a good tax system in their In 2009, we established four faculties to be able to domain. look at issues bothering on the Nigerian tax system. The There is this misconception that the tax regime is four faculties were: the only favourable to the rich. Some said about N2billion direct, indirect, oil and gas and international taxation was not remitted. What do you think the government faculty. can do to catch the tax evaders especially when it In 2010, we added yet another one, tax education concerns those making the laws but not respecting it? faculty. Apart from that, the image of the institute was In other climes, issues like this never occur. A another issue that was government officer knows he’s being paid with tax considered. We needed to reach out to the payer’s money. We’ve sanctions within the Nigerian stakeholders. We needed to take CITN to the public. I tax laws. When you hear of those not paying tax, you want to commend the press for this. They ensured the will be surprised that some of them are being paid with tax issues were brought to the populace. The tax system tax payer’s money. in Nigeria is still developing. We were coming from a I want to advice both the Federal and State system where we were really dependent on crude oil, Government to take necessary measures against their but emphasis is gradually shifting to other sectors. staff who’re evading tax. Our secretariat will soon move from our temporary Some people allow themselves to be used to evade site which we are in Maryland, to a more befitting tax. The law as far as Nigeria Tax system is concerned, permanent site in Ikeja, Lagos. We’ve been able to get a are on ground. The tax collectors are there to make sure piece of land; we’ve done the turning of sod in February, they collect the right amount of tax. But there are so 2011. We’ve been having donations and pledges from many problems within the Nigerian tax system. all stakeholders. Everybody is contributing to the progress The first issue has to do with the availability of data. of the institute. The tax payers don’t have data with respective We’ve improved on staff welfare. We’ve been able to regulatory authorities. These are issues that the boost the morale of our members of staff. During the last regulatory agencies need to look at. We’ve tax laws and two years, we’ve set up the Nigerian Taxation Standard they ought to be adhered to by the tax payers. Board, which is responsible for producing standard for I think there’s a problem in getting the big people members of CITN. into the dragnet. The general tax policy has drawn We felt there was the need for members in Sokoto to another tax for us, by shifting the emphasis from direct respond the same way with those in Calabar, Abuja or taxation to indirect taxation. In this case, we pay Lagos. That was the reason why the board was according to consumption. Those big men buying established, so the standard will be the same everywhere. luxury goods have to pay higher tax by consuming those The issue of having taxation as a discipline also came goods while those who pay less tax are those who up. We’ve seen the education committee. The committee consume goods of lesser quality. That is the only way is working towards producing a syllabus for the B.Sc., •Quadri developed countries handle those who they refer to as M. Sc. and Ph.D. In Nigeria, it will get to a time when portfolio carrying companies to the dragnet. What the someone can study taxation as a course from the first degree When the state pays about N30,000 per annum, with the national tax policy is doing is to bring in as many of those to the last. We want to have taxation as a discipline because level at which we’re operating, that’s not likely to do much. people as possible. we discovered the only way to catch them young is through We are looking for the time that the government will be able As a professional body on tax matters, do you subscribe tertiary education. We’ve spoken with Nigerian Universities to invest into the tax system. We can’t do it alone. For instance, to the use of whistle blowers among your members, who Commission (NUC) and the committee is moving round to the faculties I mentioned earlier should be able to meet from have the mandate to speak out against any unprofessional some universities already to introduce the course to them. time to time, and look at issues surrounding the tax system. A conduct wherever they are? Very soon, some people will be coming out with B.Sc. in bill has just been passed at the House of Reps particularly in It is not peculiar to tax professionals alone. As a Taxation. respect to personal income tax. This bill has been sent to the professional, you’re expected to put things right whenever it’s In the area of the activities of the institute, training and relevant agencies for their approval. not going well. That’s when you’ll know the difference between retraining of our members is going on, on a regular basis. We We want to use the opportunity to appeal to the a professional and a non-professional. Whoever is in a place also ensure we are relevant to the public. In the past one or government and other stakeholders to look at ways of funding that’ll compromise his professional dealings, he shouldn’t two years, we’ve had free symposium, both in Abuja and the tax system. There’re so many countries in the world that hesitate to report both to his employer and the professional Lagos, we invited the public for an enlightenment mostly run their economy through taxation. Our challenge institute. If a member brings up such issue, we take it up. programme. We organised one when Nigeria was 50. We is, the government is not investing enough in the system. Has there been any reason for you to expel some of your had a workshop in Lagos too on International Financial As the first President of the West African Union of Tax members over unprofessional conduct? Reporting Standard, the tax implications. To a large extent, Institute, (WAUTI), what are your plans? We’ve been appealing to stakeholders that whenever our ours has been a tenure full of activities. I want to thank God The first issue is we are just starting off. There’s no members are becoming unprofessional, they should appeal to for making it possible. structure on ground. Our challenge was creating a structure CITN. There’re machineries for discipline on ground. There’s What are the areas you would have wished to work on? for WAUTI. CITN and CITG, Chartered Institute of Taxation the investigation panel and there’s the tribunal. We’ve not Invariably, what are the challenges you faced during your Ghana are supporting WAUTI in terms of personnel and had any cause to remove any member from our list of tenure? funding. The problem we are having in Nigeria is tax membership based on unprofessional behaviour. But then, on We ran an open system. For decisions to be taken, all the awareness. It’s very prominent in some other countries in regular basis, we’ve petitions, but they don’t come in as members of the exco must be aware, must agree and be the West African region. The level of awareness of taxation frequently. We hear from outsiders that some people’re convinced. With that, we are able to take decisions jointly. is very low. We’re working towards having a serious misbehaving, but they’re not formally reported. I believe, it takes That is not to say we didn’t have challenges with some of the enlightenment about WAUTI as well as having a tax system more than one person to commit a crime. If the tax payers have decisions we took. that should be given prominence in the West African zone. cajoled a practitioner to commit a crime, they’re not likely to The most paramount challenge we had was the issue of The other challenge we have is, in West Africa, some are report such occurrence. If they’re not reporting, it may not be touting and quackery in the system. So far so good, we are Anglophone while others are Francophone. We also have easy to flush out the bad eggs. still having the support of the stakeholders in terms of the issue of relating with international bodies such as the How would you rate taxation in Nigeria compared to other implementing the Charter of CITN. The Charter says, only International Tax Directors’ Forum (ITDF), it’s the umbrella developed countries of the world? CITN members should practice as tax practitioners within body for the entire tax institute in the world. Comparing the system here with those developed countries the system. It further states that, unless you are a practicing means, we’re just starting off. Before now, government doesn’t or licenced member, you can’t practice. We still find in some “...Big men buying luxury goods have to pay really talk about taxation or tax payers’ money. Rather, they quarters, some touts being employed as practitioners. Some focus on crude oil and government money. Whether the money higher tax by consuming those goods while is from the tax payer or it’s revenue generated by the government, people are being given jobs to do, particularly when it has to do with the local government levels. We know that it’s not those who pay less tax are those who consume it’s still tax money and people should be able to ask them what the best. We want them to know that, until we professionalise they’re using that money for. I’ll still raise our system as goods of lesser quality. That is the only way developing. We’ve just had the national tax policy and that the system, we are not likely to get the best from the system. That’s our major problem. The other issue is the area of developed countries handle those who they policy will lead to good tax laws, which will translate to good funding. Right now, most of our funding comes from All these will give us a good tax system. Until we’ve refer to as portfolio carrying companies to the taxation. subscription from members. We have some funding from the all these things on ground, then, we’ll be able to match up to state board of internal revenues and the Federal government. those we’re looking up to. dragnet”

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THE EXECUTIVE

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NATION ON SUNDAY 60 THE JUNE 5, 2011

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NILEVER’s investment drive, especially in capacity expansion and plant modernisation, may have put paid to speculations that the consumer products conglomerate was contemplating closing its operations in Nigeria, preparatory to relocating to some other West Coast country. Although the company’s Chairman, Apostle Hayford Ikponmwonsa Alile, admitted that the outfit was confronted with many challenges, some of which he listed as consumers’ declining purchasing power, especially from the impact of fuel deregulation, decline in export sales of about 35 per cent, slower growth in domestic market, higher commodity input prices and credit squeeze to customers arising from the banking sector reforms, he nevertheless acclaimed the 2010 review period, as “the year of investment” for the firm in its brands designed to meet the ever growing needs of consumers and customers. He said: “We have invested in staying close to our consumers, as well as increasing capacity to ensure a sustainable future for the business and consequently the investment of our shareholders”. In specific terms, Alile, listed advertising and promotion, plant modernisation and financial intermediation, as some of the areas the company devoted its attention in the 2010 financial year. He said the advert budget in brand support, went up by about 35 per cent. “We spent 35 per cent more than 2009 in 2010,” he stated. In addition, he said: “We invested N3 billion in plants and equipment, N1.2 billion more than the previous year. We will continue with the expansion and modernisation of our manufacturing facilities to world class standards. We supported our customers to secure financing for their businesses at a time when there was credit squeeze in the market, while minimising the exposure of the company to credit risk,” Alile explained. The chairman said the huge investment outlay was funded from within, dispelling any fears that Unilever may have expanded its credit limit. “The investments were funded from internal sources, that is, our internal efficiency improvement programmes of cash and cost savings,” he added. The restructuring activity undertaken in the early part of 2010 enabled the firm to reduce administrative costs, releasing the funds for investments in areas which directly impact quality of service to customers and value addition to consumers, Alile, stated, adding, “consequently, we were able to afford and sustain the pricing strategy deployed in 2010.” During 2010, the company generated N12 billion of cash from operations, which the chairman indicated, was more than 85 per cent higher than the previous year. He attributed the development to the deliberate effort by management to increase working capital efficiently. Apostle Alile underscored the improved financial position of the company thus: “Borrowing levels dropped as a consequence, and despite investing more in capacity expansion and modernization, as well as paying dividends of N4 billion, the company was still able to close the year with more than N1.4 billion higher in cash and cash equivalents than in the previous year. “Cost savings realised, provided the much needed headroom to absorb the high commodity, production and distribution costs, as well as higher investment in brands without causing a dent to the bottom line. Cash savings on the other hand helped to provide the resources required to invest in

Business

UNILEVER: 2010, our year of investment, says Alile Unilever devoted the last financial year to invest heavily in plant and modernization of its production capacity to meet consumer demand. The Chairman, Apostle Hayford Alile, said that was the option left for the consumer conglomerate to stay afloat and competitive, reports SIMEON EBULU, Deputy Business Editor

DUE DILIGENCE

•Thabo Mabe, Managing Director, Uniliver Plc

capacity expansion and modernisation, as well as to finance dividend payouts,” he stated. Financials The firm declared a profit After Tax (PAT) of N4.18 billion in the 2010 financial year. This represented a marginal lift of a little above N86 million from the 2009 profit margin of N4.094 billion. The operating profit before tax and exceptional items for 2010, stood at N6.807 billion compared with the N6.692 billion recorded a year earlier. Although there were marginal shifts recorded in capital employed for 2010 and 2009, which stood at N8.335 billion and N8.203 billion respectively, posted

figures for capital expenditure; depreciation of property, plant and equipment; cash and cash equivalents, indicated appreciable margins shifts, reflecting the company’s drive, as the chairman put it, in favour of investment and plant modernisation, as well as conservation efforts to trim administrative expenses. The results, as shown in the annual accounts were; capital expenditure, N3.036 billion for 2010 and N1.773 billion recorded for 2009. Also, cash and cash equivalents, stood at N1.947 billion and N480.7 million for 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Corporate Social Responsibility The firm related with its operating environment in may respect, through NonGovernmental Organisations that have necessary skills, as well as in provision of infrastructure that provide benefits to the communities. Through the Unilever Community Assistance Programme, water and hygiene focused issues have been addressed. In addition, the company spent about N30.3 million in donation to support various programmes and institutions.

Wogu, NDE boss link infrastructure development to employment

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HE Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu and the Director General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Alhaji Abubakar Muhammed, have stressed that the adoption of more labour-based approaches in the development of infrastructure can create employment. The duo disclosed this at a stakeholder workshop on mainstreaming labour-based technology in government operations in Abuja, where they stressed that the present situation in the country will favour the adoption of labourbased method of construction. According to Wogu there are significant benefits to the economy as a whole in using labourbased method in providing infrastructure. The potentials for employment generation are high. It has stronger multiplier effect on the economy through the provision of infrastructure. Speaking in the same vein, Muhammed said: “We are still being faced with the problem of unemployment making labour available as a major resource, Nigeria is currently having little capacity for the manufacturing of construction equipment,

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja foreign exchange has been dwindling, there is rapid decay of basic infrastructure. “Poverty, especially in the rural areas is still high and in fact increasing among the unemployed. The

extreme low labour productivity caused by unemployment and underemployment translates to low rural incomes and limits the potentials for economic growth in poverty reduction.”

Lawmaker makes case for MDGs

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MEMBER of the House of Representatives Mr. Adeyinka Ajayi has urged the Federal Government to make adherence to the tenets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) a priority. Ajayi who is representing Odo-Otin/ Ifelodun/Boripe constituency in Osun State under the platform of the Action Congress Of Nigeria (ACN) said the present administration would have failed in its promises of achieving international development targets and enhancement of the standard of living of the citizens, if eradication of extreme poverty, reduction of mother and child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as malaria, cholera, HIV/AIDS, among others are not addressed. “The government of President Goodluck Jonathan has been called upon to hasten the accomplishment

By Collins Nweze of the millennium development goals, if Nigeria must be reckoned with in the committee of nations, as some members elect of the seventh National Assembly have resolved not to pay it a lip service,” he said. According to him, the recently inaugurated Administration’s at the Federal and State levels would be held responsible if Nigeria fails to meet the target date of 2015 as it falls within the time frame of their current mandate. “We must ensure the accomplishment of the millennium development goals within the 2015 target date. Doing otherwise will be a great disservice and breach of trust of the Nigerian people,” he added.


Business Diary

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2010

Bernard Okhakume

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VOL 1 NO. 016

EEDS and wants, expectation, hope and aspiration‌all such emotional expression of self crystallizes in the reason and decision-to-buy for the average consumer. In clear terms, some of the buying decisions we make are rather irrational, being decisions informed by emotion; quite inexplicable. But we all buy for different reasons. Last week we reported a case of inappropriate brand packaging and offer that tend towards false claim and outright misrepresentation of facts, to the extent that the unsuspecting consumer makes the decision to buy based on false claims and false promise. The consequences of such actions are grave and dangerous. Such inappropriate actions can lead to death ultimately. But unfortunately the immediate concern is financial or monetary gains, so the caution signs don't trigger CAUTION from among those engaged in product adulteration and misrepresentation. I have had to buy a belt only to be terribly embarrassed at first use. The loss in this case could be discounted easily, but what of the consumer that is exposed to contaminated packaged food, fake drugs? Such cases often times tend to claim life. So, consumers need to be absolutely careful. However, our BUYER BEWARE theme for this week is a consideration of landmines in our local market environment. It is imperative at this time. Results of our study of the consumer behavior and buying pattern in urban Nigeria concluded recently, threw up some interesting learning. Considered broadly, buying pattern of the average consumer in Nigeria is characterized by haste and a bit of carelessness. The need to quickly satisfy our needs/wants is so high we don't appreciate the various steps imperative towards taking the final and beneficial buying decision. Rushing through the decision making process, as we discovered, aid the scheme of the fraudulent brand/ product seller to attack consumer rights and privileges. To think that this is happening in a completely unprotected market scares the concerned individual and groups, hence the need for our CAUTION SIGN. The buying decision goes through a

SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Buyers Beware process we have dubbed PIAP-P2B. It is a global phenomenon, a social scientific process every buyer goes through, irrespective of the product or market category, or market environment. It is an innate part of our being that is grossly undermined. The quality of decision we make going through the process determines the value of the returns we get for our investment. For the purpose of this write-up, we shall run through the various steps within the buying decision making process as follows: PROBLEM RECOGNITION The problem recognition stage is the trigger that sets off the process. It is the stage of identification/recognition. At this stage the reason-to-do sets off. It is the determination of the difference between the given consumer's present/actual state and the desired state. Practically stated in examples, it is that state where a potential buyer decides to step up on his or her taste of luxury items such as wristwatch or mobile phone set. At this point the reason to buy is determined functionality, trendiness, length of battery life, inbuilt functions, etc. in more serious cases, a family may at this point decide on bigger apartment for reason of space appropriate for a family size now larger than the present one due to increase in family size (and of course improved earning). Whatever the area of need, the deci-

sion at this stage is triggered by a determination of a difference between prevalent status and the desired state or status. INFORMATION SEARCH Following from the self determination is the need to know, for the prospective buyer. He or she, at this point like to know which is that brand of mattress suitable for satisfy that desired need, etc? The prospective buyer at this point opens his/her self to information. In developed economies, various standard sources of market information abound, from the internet, through adverts about related brand sub-sets, sponsored literatures, etc. (characteristic of our local environment word-ofmouth is the first point of reference). This is where brand building and marketing communication thrives. Loads of funds are expended by players in developed markets, at this stage, to take an advantageous share-of-mind of the potential buyer, to instigate purchase. This is more so because in the developed markets, decision to buy rests on the discerning and adequately informed prospect. He/she does not need to depend on wordof-mouth (or what we call person to person testimony in our local environment) as the predominant source of dependable information, to make decide on choice of brand to buy. Quickly mentioned, it is this same pe-

•L-R: Mr. Akeem Oyewale, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited; Mrs. Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank; Mrs. Fu Hai Ying, China's Deputy Counsellor of Commercial and Economic Sector, Lagos and Mr. Ding Yong Hua, Deputy Managing Director, Lekki Free Trade Zone at the Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria-China Trade Forum held in Lagos recently.

61

culiar behavior of consumers in this market the dubious brand owners take advantage of. Otherwise why would a brand owner proudly say his/her product does not need advertising because it sells itself? Precisely because the targeted buyer will not ask questions! The average consumer in Nigeria will buy an orange from the seller only because the seller as much as assured of its SWEETNESS. That is how much the average consumer here depends on word-of-mouth to take decision to buy. It beats my imagination how one can depend on the orange seller who has not tasted the particular unit in question to determine the quality of its contents. ALTERNATIVE EVALUATION This is the stage of competitive analysis, when the prospective consumer begins to comparatively analyze the brands within his/her awareness set on the bases of his/her expectation versus their various promises. Thus, the consumer sees each product within the given category as a bundle of attributes with different levels of ability of delivering the problem solving benefits to satisfy the consumer's underlying needs, benefits and attributes. Based on personal judgment on importance of benefits and attributes, the consumer is at this stage set to decide on the brand of choice. PURCHASE DECISION In an ideal situation, the point of decision making is one of exercise of consumer discernment; the point at which the prospect is adequately informed and persuaded on the basis of available information. Taking from the careful consideration of competitive brand information at the stage ALTERANATIVE EVALUATION, therefore, the prospective consumer is free of deceit. Decision taken at this stage is wholly influenced by the information made available by the competing brands within the consumer's awareness set. Interestingly, therefore, the brand of preference at this point owes the consumer a duty of satisfaction by delivering on its promise. It is very interesting at this point. POST-PURCHASE EVALUATION Consumer experience is very important in repurchase decision. Again, this is characteristic of ideal market situation. The brand is bold to represent itself. It is not in a hurry to leave the shelf, so it invests in repeat purchase, growth in market performance and ultimately, market leadership. That is why the ideal brand will invest in the future in form of total consumer satisfaction, in line with the peculiar brand nature. For market success, a brand's value must resonate with the consumer at his value touch-points. The ideal market and consumer-centric brands know and keep with this fact dearly, because for sustainable growth in market performance, the consumer's purchase involvement must be engaged at the high point. Unfortunately, our local market environment calls for caution. The various steps within the consumer purchase decision-making process as stated above, act as guide for both parties in the consumerseller relationship in ideal market situation. In Nigeria, however, the scale tilts in favor of the sellers. Characterized largely by illiteracy, haste, carelessness and lack of regulation, players in this market take the consumers for granted. Since we do not seem to be protected as expected, we must protect ourselves. We can start by appreciating and imbibing these global practices and go ahead to exercise our consumer rights therefore. We must begin to appreciate the power of brand information and demand them patiently. It is only when we know so much that we can make informed decisions on issues of brand preference. The brand owners will pay attention to details if they know we now pay attention to brand information and awareness. No brand will offer sales promotion or raffle prizes it does not intend to redeem if the owners know the market will verify such claims. As a guide, consumers should be guided by the stages within the buying decision-making process as stated above. It will protect the consumer and check the excesses of brand/product owners, to an extent. BUYERS BEWARE!


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Business Diary

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T is apt to put in perspective the challenges that have beset the privatisation programme. It is illadvised to be gung-ho like Mr. Osita Okechukwu, the national publicity secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) who has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the programme and order a probe of the exercise. The maxim that opinions are free but facts are sacred has been lost on the ill-conceived band of privatisation adversaries. For record purposes, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has privatised over 120 enterprises since its birth and the challenges being experienced by some privatised firms cannot lead to throwing away the baby with the bath water. Let’s ask: in what state were these enterprises prior to privatisation? Take the steel sector, for example. The

Another perspective on privatisation By Abdulmalik Suleiman 20,000 workers in the sector were mostly idle since it was only Katsina Steel Rolling Mill, out of all the enterprises in the sector, that was producing, and even then it was producing at a very low capacity. Almost all the government-owned enterprises could not pay the salaries of the workers since they were not producing, as a result of which their unpaid salaries and other entitlements kept piling up. Indeed, it was funds from the sale of the enterprises that were used to pay off their unpaid salaries and allowances, which would have, otherwise, remained unpaid.

A cursory examination of just a fraction of the enterprises that were privatized from 2000 to date shows that the core investors are doing their best to operate in a very difficult business environment. It should also be noted that prior to their privatization, most of the public enterprises had been operationally grounded and were in comatose state. Most of them had been closed down for several years, while the majority of them had retrenched all their work force. Companies that come readily to mind that fall in that category are Jebba Paper Mills, which closed production in 1996; Leyland closed production in 1986; Delta Steel was operationally grounded for ten years until the new

•L-R: Mr. Sesan Ibitoye, Retail and Agency Manager, Mrs. Oluremi Bako, Marketing and Communications Manager, and Mr. Randy Buday, New Country Managing Director, all of DHL, at the media launch at DHL Family & Friends promo in Lagos recently

DHL showers gift on loyal customers

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HL Express, the world’s leading express company, has announced a new sales promotion for its cash customers in Nigeria. The new promotion “DHL Family & Friends Promo” is to reward cash customers of DHL whose loyalty will encourage more Nigerians to embrace services of DHL. At a media launch in Lagos, Mrs. Oluremi Bako, Marketing and Communications Manager, said the promo is to reward customers whose experience of the world class services provided by DHL has become a source of

influence for them to encourage members of their family or friends to try DHL’s service offerings in Nigeria. According to Oluremi, “DHL recognises the importance attached to the family system and friendship in Nigeria. To that extent, DHL is aware that members of a family and friends in the work place or homes wield strong influence in the decision making process of individuals. Thus, beyond the recommendations that come with services enjoyed by DHL customers who will be pleased to

introduce their friends and members of their family to DHL, we hope to use the promo to restate the values we attach to family relations and friendship among Nigerians. “This promo is also our way of saying we value the friendship and relationship we have built with all our customers for their loyalty and patronage which have made us one big cycle of family and friends over the years.” Speaking on the mechanism of the promo, Mr. Sesan Ibitoye, Retail and Agency Manager, said the promo will reward over 50, 000 Nigerians in seven months.

Stakeholders caution CBN on cash policy

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R Olajide Damilola, Public Policy Analyst of the Uni versity of Aberdeen, Scotland has said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s plan to limit cash withdrawal to N150,000 for individual and N1 million for corporate organisations may not achieve the desired result now. Dr Damilola, who gave the hint at an interactive forum held at the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, Lagos noted that most of the rural areas do not have access to banking facilities and often time people there need larger money than the amount which the bank was pegging.

By Musa Odoshimokhe He said if they were compelled to not to limit their withdrawal it meant they would have to constantly travel to where their banks severally to withdraw money instead of doing it once. According to the analyst, the idea to turn the country into a cashless economy was a good one but the rural areas should have access to banking operations and other facilities to make it work. Sola Fanawopo another fi-

nancial analyst explained that other segments of the economy and stakeholders must be involved in the plan to make the operation and e-payment work in Nigeria because what was currently on ground was beyond the decision of CBN alone but the with other stakeholders. He said: “The policy must be expanded to accommodate divergent opinions and views, other sectors would have to be working, there should be good communication network and power must be guaranteed for the ATM functionality.”

owners commenced production in 2006; Eleme Petrochemical had never broken even before privatization despite the enormous amount of money that was invested; the Federal Superphosphate Fertilizer Company (FSFC) in Kaduna was shut down since 1988 and came back to full production in 2007 following privatization, after it had been in dormancy for a period of 19 years, etc. This is the sad tale of public enterprises in Nigeria. In addition to the above facts most of the public enterprises, because of years of neglect and lack of proper management, ended up with technologically outdated and obsolete equipment and facilities that could no longer be used by the core investor. Let us remember that most of these companies operate in an unfavourable economic environment for private enterprise to flourish. In spite of the unfriendly environment, a significant number of the privatised enterprises are doing well in terms of increased production and improved financial performance. A number of enterprises, that were virtually dead or moribund before privatization, have been rehabilitated. The naysayers of privatization would do well to remember that privatisation has since provided the likes of First Bank, Union Bank, Afribank, IMB, UBA, FSB, Assurance Bank with private investments, skilled management and private sector management principles. We are all witnesses of the improved services of these banks and ipso facto, the gains to the economy. Before the divestiture of govern-

ment shares in the three leading marketing companies – Oando (then Unipetrol), ConOil (then NOLCHEM) and Africa Petroleum (AP) — government interference in the operations of these companies by way of board appointments loomed quite large. In the circumstance, their operations were hardly efficient and optimal. Following privatization in 2001, the fortunes of these companies have since changed for good, such that shares of Oando and ConOil are among the best performers in the capital market. Finally, the impact and benefits of privatisation should also be viewed from the prism of the larger society. Such holistic approach must be adopted because public enterprises were not established to benefit only Public Enterprise (PE) workers. It would therefore be misleading to analyze privatization using such a narrow framework. Rather it should be remembered that PEs have myriad stakeholders – the general public (which ought to benefit from PE services), the government (and therefore tax payers) which own PEs, the economy as a whole (that ought to gain from PEs efficiency) and of course PE workers. The incidence of PHCN’s efficiency or inefficiency, for instance, reverberates beyond PHCN workers. So do the resources expended on underperforming PEs which could have been channelled to improvements in social services such as health, schools and infrastructure. •Abdulmalik Suleiman is of the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

Nobel Carpets dazzles at exhibition

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UCKY Fibres Plc, the makers of Nobel premium brand of carpets and rugs for home and offices dazzled visitors and customers at the just concluded third edition of Lagos Architects Forum 2011. Tagged: ‘Lagos 2.0 - A Livable City (Next Level)’, it was held at the Lantana and Zinnia Halls, New Eko Expo Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Vitoria Island, Lagos. Speaking during the exhibition, the Brand Manager, Nobel Carpets, Mr. Tanuj Malkani disclosed that the company’s participation in the Lagos 2.0 Exhibition was strategic

to showcase its high quality range products and customization capacity to Architects as they deliberate and discuss the new innovation in the field of architecture. “We are participating in the Lagos 2.0 exhibition as organized by the Lagos Chapter of the Nigeria Institute of Architects to use the opportunity to showcase of range of high quality rugs and carpets as well as to present our key area of specialization which is our capacity to produce customized rugs and carpets” he said.

Panasonic harps on eco-friendly products

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ANASONIC Corporation of Japan has said using ecofriendly products will help reduce energy waste. “This will empower more individuals to save energy easily and contribute to the environment.” This was said during the unveiling of its 2011 deluxe model air conditioners including the touch Ecovani dual sensor air conditioner and the super Alleru Buster air conditioners last Thursday in Lagos. According to the Promoter, Panaserv Nigeria Limited, Mr. Suraj Rupani, “The new design was inspired by nature, with great emphasis on energy conservation and optimal performance.” He added that these products

would enable people to manage and conserve more energy in the environment. He also noted that Panasonic had maintained a firm grip on air conditioning technology, leading the way with landmark product innovations that impact living. He also said the brand had strengthened its market position in Nigeria with sales service centres in Lagos, Abuja and Kano. Meanwhile, the man in charge of AC business, Panasonic Corporation, Japan, Mr. Takahashi Satoshi said: “This technology is built on the scientific fact that all objects emit infrared rays which are generally invisible to the naked eye.” He added that the product will help have a cleaner and green environment.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2010

ECWA head charges Christians to be steadfast From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

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RESIDENT of the Evangelical Church Winning All [ECWA], Rev. Anthony O. Farinto, said despite the prevailing political unrest in the country, Christian faithful should remain steadfast and hold on to God’s promises and brighter days would come. Speaking at the sendforth service of the outgoing ECWA General-Secretary Rev. Mipo E. Dadang and installation of incoming General-Secretary, Rev. Prof. Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, Farinto recalled that the church has grown from leaps and bounds to become a global church. The ECWA head, who admitted that growth comes with its attendant problems, prayed God to grant the new Secretary-General insight and ideas on how to meet the challenges. He said as a church, things of the world should not be allowed to distract the church even as they strive towards unity and progress but that the church should remain focus and united and embraced a common destiny as such would bring about tremendous success in ECWA.

Parents of Bayelsa’s ex-commissioner kidnapped …Police begins manhunt From Isaac Ombe, Yenogua

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ARENTS of the immediate past Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Maxwell Oko, have been kidnapped by unknown gun men, it was learnt. The incident, according to a reliable source occurred late Thursday night, few hours after Governor Timpre Sylva announced the dissolution of his cabinet. The victims, who were at the country home of the excommissioner, at Otuesega, the source further said, were about to take their dinner when three armed men stormed the family house and whisked away the duo into a waiting car and sped off to an unknown destination. The former commissioner, who confirmed the incident, said he was yet to make contact with the kidnappers as well as understand the motive behind the dastardly act. However, Police PRO, Egwavon Emokpai, while confirming the incident, said the Police have since commenced investigations on the matter. In a related development, suspected armed robbers burgled the office of the Commissioner for Finance and the Accountant-General, and carted away vital documents, on Thursday.

News

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HE immediate past Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, has cleared the air on the controversy surrounding his removal and eventual reinstatement as Minister by President Goodluck Jonathan. Iheanacho , who stated this while fielding questions from journalists at his Emekuku country home in Owerri North LGA, Imo State, over the weekend, during a reception organised for him by his kinsmen and political associates, commended President Jonathan for his wisdom and mercy in restoring him

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Why Jonathan recalled me as minister—Iheanacho From Emma Mgbeahurike, Owerri

back to his position as the Minister of Interior before dissolving the cabinet. “I feel much fulfilled that at the end of the day the truth triumphed over falsehood. Though I cannot say exactly what transpired, but for the fact that my hands were clean, Mr.

President in his wisdom and mercy absolved and recalled me to my job before the dissolution of the last cabinet,” he said. The former minister, who also expressed gratitude to his teeming supporters and political allies for their support and encouragement during the trial period, reiterated that

he would always stick to politics of truth and forthrightness as well as continue in the direction of rendering selfless service to the nation if reappointed again by President Jonathan to serve in his new cabinet. On the expectations of Nigerians from President Jonathan, Iheanacho said: “Mr. President’s capacity to

transform Nigeria is not in doubt. Of course, he has started well by launching a road map towards ensuring that stable electricity is achieved in the country which will largely drive other sectors of the economy especially in the areas of job creation and infrastructural development.”

Falana to House of Reps: ‘Let democracy be’ L

AGOS lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has impressed on the members of the House of Reps, the need to uphold democratic tenets in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour. Falana, who spoke against the background of the alleged plot by the Presidency to influence the choice of the new Speaker and other officers of the House of Reps, recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence as the president was without recourse to zoning. While urging the members of the House of Representatives to go ahead and elect their leaders on the basis of the constitution and the House Rules and not on the basis of the internal arrangement of the PDP, he therefore described as “morally and politically” wrong moves by the presidency “compelling the House of Representatives to choose its principal officers on the basis of zoning, religion or any other sectional consideration.” Raising a poser, he said: “For goodness sake what have the masses of the North and the West benefited from producing

By Ibrahim Apekahde Yusuf

their sons as rulers of the country? Has the looting spree of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Honourable Patricia Etteh and Dimeji Bankole not embarrassed the Yoruba people?” He further reiterated that: “Having defeated the

champions of zoning to become the President of Nigeria President Jonathan should throw its weight behind the two Chambers of the National Assembly to elect leaders who will collaborate with him in the transformation of the country which he promised in his inaugural address to the nation.”

Falana, who described as discriminatory the resolution just passed to bar newly elected senators from holding leadership posts, said the House of Representatives should be commended for saying “nay” to zoning. He also assured that “in view of the threat oozing out of the Presidency and the

PDP Secretariat over the election of the Speaker on Monday, June 6, 2011, I offer to defend pro bono publico any member of the House of Representatives who may be expelled or suspended from the PDP for exercising his democratic rights in strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.”

•Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (middle); Director, Federal Commissioner, Code of Conduct Bureau, Dr. Ademola Adebo (2nd left); State Director, Aramide Atolagbe (2nd right) Mr. Fayemi Isiaq (left) and Mr. Kehinde Faluyi duing the asset verification visit of the CCB team on the Governor in Osogbo at the weekend

NPAN urges Domestication of FoI Act

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HE National President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nduka Obaigbena yesterday urged the 36 states of the federation to commence the immediate domestication of the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) for it to be effective and efficient. Obaigbena who spoke on the “Role of Media in National Transformation” at the two-day retreat organized by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its elected members in Abuja also advised President Goodluck Jonathan to commence the process of reconciliation and ensure that there is peace and security in the country. His call came as the Governors of Plateau State, Jonah Jang and his Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu announced that their states would immediately begin implementation of the FoI Act since it is in the concurrent

• Niger, Plateau governors pledge immediate implementation From Sanni Ologun, Abuja

list.

He dded that the FoI Act would become more effective, efficient, enhance transparency and reduce corruption when state governments concur with it. “The signing of the Free-

dom of Information Bill to law has dramatically change the face of information management in Nigeria and therefore requires the States of the federation to follow suit to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency,” he said. He described the signing into law of the FoI Act as the

most singular action since the colonial independent Nigeria in the management of information. He noted that media management has changed the world in the face of Facebook, Twitter and citizens democracy. In their response, the gov-

ernor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang and his counterpart in Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, pledged that they would see to the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in their respective States to ensure transparency, efficiency, transparency and reduction corruption.

PAC begins on-line registration on national security

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HE Police Assistance Committee (PAC) and its affiliate, Association of Tradesmen and Artisans have embarked on on-line registration to boost its membership drive and intensify efforts on how to assist the police and other security agencies to fight crime in our society. Speaking at the quarterly national conference of the Association held in Lagos during the week, the Director-

General of PAC, Dr. Martins Oni stated that the on-line registration which is now ongoing nationwide was aimed at ensuring that people of shady characters were not enlisted in PAC for security reasons. Dr. Oni explained that the on-line registration is important for the grassroots members of the public and other stakeholders to have the opportunity in receiving and disseminating information

that could assist the police and other security agencies in combating crime in the country. According to him, the format of the registration will entail that intending members must forward e-mail address, full name, home address, photograph and letter of intent to be a member of PAC on-line while all transactions concerning PAC operations will always be conducted with the members on-line.

In addition, he explained that applicants would only be duly qualified as full members of PAC within three months of their registration, after thorough processing and necessary investigation has been conducted on them, after which they would be attached to the nearest police station within their location to assist in the area of information dissemination to the police and other security agencies.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

News

Ohanaeze Ndigbo congratulates Jonathan on credible polls, cautions opponents

CPC Southern leaders insist on support for Jonathan T L EADERS of the Con gress for Progressive Change (CPC) from the South met at the weekend in Enugu and declared “that the purported expulsion of the eminent Southern leaders from CPC is null, void and of no effect.” In a communiqué issued yesterday and signed by the Enugu State chairman of the party, Barr. Emeka Okafor, the leaders insisted that their decision “as Southern leaders of CPC to dissociate ourselves from the suit filed by CPC to challenge the outcome of the presidential elec-

From Chris Oji, Enugu

tion remains firm and irreversible.” Contending that the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) as presently constituted is a cabal of only three persons, the leaders noted that their “said expulsion was repugnant, obnoxious and objectionable as it transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of our party constitution to protect and preserve from all official control, abuse or manipula-

tion.” The leaders further alleged that it was the corrosive and surreptitious agenda of the cabal with strong destabilizing interests that have polarized the CPC and decimated the ranks of its membership. The leaders in the communiqué contended that the action of the NEC of the CPC in initiating the purported expulsion was a violation of the provisions of Article 8, section 31(iv) of the CPC constitution which deals with the right of fair hearing in all matters that

affect members. Saying that the NEC as presently constituted is illegal and does not have any legitimacy since the record of their existence is not with the INEC, the leaders reaffirmed “our earlier position that in the April 2011 presidential election, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the PDP won overwhelmingly in all the states in the Southeast, Southsouth and South West.” The party’s leadership from Southeast, Southsouth and Southwest were in attendance at the meeting.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

HE Southwest group of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has expressed its appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) the freedom to conduct free and fair elections, which was adjudged as credible by local and international observers. In its communiqué issued at a recent meeting in AdoEkiti and signed by the presidents of each of its constituent state arms in Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Lagos and Ekiti, the body congratulated President Jonathan on his election victory, while appealing to the other candidates to accept the result in good faith. The group equally congratulated the returning and newly-elected Southeast governors on their victory at the polls. The body, however, described as barbaric the post-election eruptions in parts of the North in which a number of Igbo indigenes were killed and their properties valued at millions of naira destroyed, adding that President Jonathan has taken a path of honour by setting up a panel of inquiry to probe the unfortunate incident. The Ohanaeze also advised the Federal Government to put in place measures to insure the lives of corps members in future national service exercises, suggesting that Youth Corps members should equally be allowed to serve in their zones of origin.It also commended the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi for his merit-patterned leadership and his kindness towards the Igbos in the state, noting that other states executives in the Southwest states should follow the same path. The event, which witnessed an impressive turnout by members of the union from across all six constituent state chapters, was attended by Chief Emmanuel Nzeako, president (Oyo) and overall president (Southwest); Chief Sunday Maduako, president (Ondo); Chief (Dr.) Alugo, president (Ogun); Chief Iheonu George, secretary (Osun);Chief (Sir) Oliver Akubueze, president (Lagos) and Prince Nathaniel Uzoma, president (Ekiti).

‘Apply your knowledge to develop the Navy’

T L-R: The Vice President, Ansar-ul-deen, Alhaji Sulaiman Adeniran, President, Ansar-ul-deen, Alhaji Mobolaji Ganiyu Ashiru welcoming the Oyo State Governor Sen. Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi to the special Jumat worship/prayer for the success of the PHOTO: FEMI ILESANMI government at Ansar-ul-deen mosque Liberty Road Ibadan

Gbana leads Taraba Assembly for the third time

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HE Speaker of Taraba State House of Assem bly, Hon. Istifanus Haruna Gbana has been reelected as Speaker for the Seventh Assembly. Gbana, who represents Donga constituency, retained his seat through a unanimous vote by his colleagues. At the inaugural session of the House on Wednesday, member representing Karim-Lamido I, Hon. Charles Maijankai moved the motion to return Gbana as Speaker. The motion was seconded by the only woman in the 24-member House –representing Nguroje constituency, Hon. Rasheedat Abdullahi. No member raised objection. Born on January 2, 1964, Gbana has been Taraba Speaker since 2004, after chairing several House committees. He was also Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria in the last dispensation. The Taraba Speaker is a graduate of Law (class of 1989) from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He was called to the Bar in 1990. After a stint

From Fanen Ihyongo, Jalingo

with Sam Adda Chambers, Wukari and Amana Chambers, Gembu, he was appointed Supervisory Councilor in his local government council –Donga. Gbana first won the House of Assembly seat in 2003 and became Speaker the following year. In his acceptance, Gbana promised not to let his colleagues down, and also gave an assurance to run an opendoor policy. He said: “it is with hu-

mility and the fear of God that I accept this responsibility, to serve this honourable House and Taraba State in general. I am called to lead you not because I am the best or the most endowed with leadership qualities”. Fielding questions from newsmen, the Speaker said the House will do its best to improve on what it achieved in the last dispensation. “We shall sit up and be more committed to our duty because the expectations

from the people are very high”, he pledged. He said he was able to work with his colleagues in unity, just as the House worked in harmony with the executive arm. Gbana said: “any legislature that is in persistent face-off with the executive will not achieve anything positive for the people. If we were always quarreling with the executive here, we wouldn’t have achieved anything.’’

Ekiti students appeal to Fayemi over bursary

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TUDENTS of Ekiti State origin under the aegis of the Federation of Ekiti State Students Union (FESSU), have appealed to Governor Kayode Fayemi to restore the bursary scheme that was scrapped by the ousted administration of Engineer Segun Oni. The students, who addressed a press conference in Ado-Ekiti on Friday, described the scrapping of the scheme by Oni as most unstatesmanly, noting that

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

the administrations of Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Mr Ayodele Fayose paid the bursary to students. The National President of the Association, Comrade Ayiti Adebayo, who addressed journalists on behalf of members, informed the Governor that other States of the federation were paying the bursary to their students, while appealing that Ekiti should not be left out of this

laudable programme. Ayiti insisted that the State Government had to pay the outstanding bursary award for 2010 so as to give room for the smooth take-off of the proposed 2011 scholarship scheme. The association expressed appreciation to Dr. Fayemi for his impressive strides in the governance of the State, adding that it had hopes in the Governor that approval would be given to their latest request in order to assist the students.

HE Flag Officer of the Nigeria Navy Training Command, Rear Admiral Adeyinka Akinwale has advised graduates of the Naval Engineering College (NNEC), Sapele in Delta State to apply the knowledge they acquired during their training for the development of the Navy. Rear Admiral Adeyinka Akinwale, Flag officer of Nigeria Navy Training Command headquarters in Abuja made the call at the commissioning of some officers recently. The graduating Officers Application course 10 and Special Duty Post Commissioning Training Course 5 of NN EC were also told to be good ambassadors of the college and endeavour to bring to bear all the skills and experiences learnt during their training. The Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command said the graduating students’ impact must be felt by the system as this would encourage Naval Headquarters to maintain the tempo of funding the College for greater achievements. According to Akinwale, the Naval authorities are aware of the high standard of discipline and morale maintained by the trainees and staff of the college and urged them not to disappoint the college but to ensure that the college does not derail from its excellent stride. He commended the efforts made by the NNEC to further enhance the standard of training and obtain national and international recognition for its certificate. He also noted that Naval Headquarters was aware of their efforts in the successful accreditation of the National Diploma in the Weapon Electrical Engineering School by the National Board for Technical Education, and their plan to get similar accreditation for the Marine Engineering course. Admiral Akinwale said the authorities are equally aware of the challenges facing the college in course of ensuring high standard of training and promised that the issues were being considered for resolution. “The issue of independent manpower and upgrading/ replacement of training equipment are key amongst these challenges,” he added. The Commandant of the College, Commodore Ekwe in his speech while welcoming the SGOH and his entourage said the graduation ceremony was the culmination of the one year at the Naval Engineer Officers training. He noted that NNEC had been mandated by headquarters to train officers and ratings to meet the technical manpower requirements of Nigerian Navy. To achieve this mandate, the Commodore Ekwe said the college offers a number of courses for officers and ratings. The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of certificates to 28 graduates while four of them were also given awards as outstanding graduates during the training.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Aregbesola is transparent, disciplined – Code of Conduct Bureau

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HE Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has declared the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as a man of modesty, highly transparent and disciplined who was ready to work for the development of the people of the state. The Federal Commissioner of the Bureau, Dr. Ademola Adebo, stated this in Osogbo, the state capital on Friday after carrying out the verification and sighting of documents of the assets the governor had declared to the bureau. He noted that the bureau had looked at the documents of the assets declared by the governor, adding, “My impression about him (Aregbesola) is that he is a highly transparent and disciplined person. He comes across to me as somebody who wants to work for the development of the people. “We have looked at his record since he was a commissioner in Lagos State for so many years. We are not just looking at his few months in office and from what he has declared. For somebody who was a Commissioner for Works and in charge of giving out properties like lands and others, I am quite impressed with what I have seen. He is a man of modesty and highly transparent.” Explaining the significance of the exercise, Adebo said the constitution requires that vital particulars of any politically exposed person should be collected as part of declaration of assets of such a person. “The constitution requires that we have to collect vital particulars; we have to see the original documents, Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os), bank accounts and everything they have declared. These things cannot be done by surrogates; it has to be done by the individual office holder.”

Obama to receive Jonathan Wednesday From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

UNITED States President Barack Obama will receive Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the White House, Washington DC, on Wednesday. The meeting will hold at 4:40 pm local time. President Jonathan is billed to arrive New York to participate at the High-Level Meeting/Summit on HIV/AIDS and the impact of the pandemic on international peace and security. Nigeria is currently one of the nine non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. According to President Jonathan’s programme for the two day trip to US which was made available by the office of the Special Adviser to the president, he is expected to take a break and head for Washington for the meeting with President Obama before returning to New York same day. He is also expected to participate in the launching of the Global Plan for Elimination of HIV Mother-To-Child Transmission project with former United States President Bill Clinton on Thursday in New York before returning to Nigeria on Friday. President Jonathan is also expected to participate in one of the Security Council sessions that may decide on a second term for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Twelve foreign leaders mostly from Africa have confirmed their participation at the HIV/AIDS Summit.

Amosun explains Abeokuta demolition

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GUN state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday cleared the air on the controversy surrounding some building demolished by the state government in Abeokuta, the State capital. The governor, who spoke during an interview in Abeokuta, maintained that the outcry that greeted the demolition was mischievous and a calculated attempt to hand-twist his government into supporting an illegality that even the last administration had admitted. He revealed that the owners of the building have been notified by officials of the Gbenga Daniel administration as far back as October, 2010 that the location was inappropriate and has been advised to bring it down. According to the governor, “I saw it written in the file that the building is illegal and to be honest, they have done everything but the only thing they didn’t do is to pull the building down and I asked why and they said the person is close to the (former) governor. I said that cannot be because the entire citizenry is greater than anyone. “They said the owner is an untouchable. There will be no two laws in Ogun state; it will be one law for all, whether you are rich or poor and “so I ordered its demolition. They had done everything and all they needed is the political will to complete it,” the governor emphasised. Senator Amosun who also took time to explain the controversy that surrounded the invitation of former commissioner for Information, Sina Kawonise, said “it was an affront. The commissioner, soon after hearing that the Ijebu Ode stadium has been renamed after the late Dipo Dina, went to the stadium to change the name from Ijebu Ode international stadium. It was a citizen that saw him do it that alerted us and I asked the police commissioner to ask him why he should embark on such action.”

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Suleja bombing: 71 alleged fundamentalists in police net S EVENTY one persons suspected to be members of a notorious religious group causing mayhem in Suleja, Niger state and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were arrested by Police in Niger State on Friday night. The operation which was carried out between 9 and 10 pm by a combined team of over 300 policemen, comprising of 2 units of mobile policemen, a team from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Commissioner of Police X-Squad, the AntiRobbery Squad of the state Central Investigation Department (CID) and 100 conventional policemen raided eight enclaves and hideouts of the sect members in Suleja and Madalla towns simultaneously. A source within the state Police headquarters in Minna told The Nation that the raid on the enclaves and hideouts

From Jide Orintunsin, Minna

of the religious extremists and some criminals became necessary following alleged crimes committed by members of this religious group. It was learnt that the operation was secretly planned and carried out by a team of policemen and their officers on the orders of the state Commissioner of Police, following the nefarious activities of the group, which tend to breach the peace of the state. It was gathered that, aside from some top senior officers at the state Police headquarters, the operation was coded to avoid being leaked. We further gathered that the Suleja Area Commander and the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) for Suleja and Madalla were also not briefed

•Police IG, Hafiz Ringim

about the operation. According to a top police source: “The operation was highly coded in secrecy; except for few officers at the headquarters, officers in charge of the areas where the operation was carried out only got to know when those arrested were taken to their

Sylva woos opposition

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OVERNOR Timipre Sylva has called on the opposition outside the state to return home for collective development. Sylva who spoke at the inauguration of the 4th Assembly in Yenogoa, the state capital, over the weekend impressed on the opposition, the need to return “home for collective development.” While congratulating the new Speaker, the newly elected executives of the Assembly and members of the Assembly, the governor appealed for the continuous support of his administration by members of the 4th Assembly. The inauguration of the 4th Assembly of the state, which was presided over by the Clerk of the House, Elder P.k George,

Seminary to mark 400 anniversary of King James Bible By Abdullahi Yusuf Inapeh

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HE Christian community in country is set to commemorate the 400 years of the King James Bible Version, Rev. Dr Garry Maxey Founder West African Theological Seminary has said. Maxey made this disclosure at a pre-event press briefing held at the Bible Guest House, in Lagos recently. Justifying the need for the occasion, the clergy said, this year marks the 400 anniversary of the King James Bible, adding that it is the widest selling and distributed bible in the world, printing over a billion copies. While briefing newsmen on the programme of activities drawn for the event, Maxey said the King James Version will be celebrated with a two-day Bible conference and exhibition which will be held in Lagos on Friday and Saturday at the Apostolic Church Grounds, with similar events to be held in Enugu from June 14th- to 15th and also in Port Harcourt from June 17th to 18th respectively.

From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

saw the return of the former Speaker, Mr. Nestor Binabo and his Deputy, Mr. Fin Angaye. Other members of the Assembly executive include

Amalayo Yousuo as the Leader of the House, Agather Goma, the only woman in the House, emerged as the Deputy Leader; while Benson Kombowei was elected the Chief Whip, and Walaman Igururubia as the Deputy Chief Whip.

station for documentation. “The team left for operation from the state headquarters at about 7:30 pm on Friday and drove straight to storm all identified enclaves and hideouts of members of the group and some other criminals in the towns. Eight identified spots were raided and 71 persons arrested,” our source further said. It was further gathered that the suspects were later brought to the state Central Investigation Department (SCID) for further interrogation and possible prosecution. Confirming the raid, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mike Zuokumor said that the operation was part of the renewed plan by his command to get rid of criminals and criminal acts in the state. According to him, “the raid was to sanitise Suleja and its environs of criminals and religious extremists”, adding that: “The raid in Suleja and Madalla was the beginning of more of such raids. We are going to smoke out criminals and over zealous religious groups of the state. Anywhere we find crime and criminal acts; we shall raid and sanitize such places.”


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Worship

Living Methodist Church honours Aiku Faith T By David Oyedepo

You can access divine guidance!

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PERSON who seeks to be guided must reach out to God to receive guidance. Predestination is real, but it has to be discovered in order to be actualized. Just as precious jewels are not found on the surface of the earth, so it is with divine guidance. Divine guidance is what gives direction to life. You cannot get your bearings right without it. The person that needs to access divine guidance has what to do to be led. Let us look at some of them: 1. Realise your need: God can’t supply you what you don’t need. Only a fool will despise the need to be guided. God’s Word says: Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). A lack of vision and guidance in his pursuit can ruin a person. It is not God’s wish that anyone should perish rather, He wants everyone to progress in life. Only vision can take one there. So, there is a need for one to have a vision. Vision is the gateway to greatness in God’s Kingdom. Look at the man called Jacob, for instance. He was a trickster and a usurper until he met with God. His personal encounter with God brought him greatness. A need arose and he remembered his covenant with God. He asked for and received a terrific insight into cattle rearing, which he promptly put to work. He pursued it and prospered by it (Genesis 30:43). The potential for greatness was in him all the while. But until he saw the need for insight into the ways of God, he never received it. Divine guidance causes positive changes in a man’s life. See the need for it, and you will be prepared to receive it. 2. See God’s willingness to reveal His plan: God is always willing to reveal His plans. He didn’t make His plans for Himself, but for you and me. He devised them so that through them, we can make progress in life. God is eager to see you progress. That is why He is eager to reveal His plan to you. God said: ... I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go (Isaiah 48:17). God has taken upon Himself the responsibility of leading you into your destiny. How does He do this? It is by revealing His plans to you and showing you your own little portion in His master plan. God is eager, so don’t waver. He is waiting for that moment you will step out to receive directions from Him. 3. Seek God in prayer: Prayer draws the hand of God into a situation. It is the link that connects man to the throne room of God. If you want to know the ways of God in any situation, you must pray and ask Him for direction (Matthew 7:7-8). God said: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3). Every “showing” must be preceded by “a calling.” No calling, no showing! The word “shew” means revelation. In this context, it can be called guidance, as He will reveal to you what you need to do. This can only come to you through prayer. 4. Be correctly positioned: You need to be correctly positioned to see what God is showing you. You need to be well positioned to hear what He is saying to you, and to catch His vision for your life. There is a need for a re-positioning for you to hear God accurately and distinctively, because connectivity is not possible on every platform. There is a correct platform for divine connectivity. Before our ministry took off, I went to God for final instructions. I separated myself to a room in Jos, determined that before the end of 10 days, I would receive His instructions. On the fourth day, God’s voice came! I came out of that encounter with a powerful insight! It was there that God told me, “I have sent you forth as a prophet to nations!” You need to be willing to pay the price of separation, if you want to hear God’s voice. Friend, the power to be correctly positioned is available, if you are a child of God. You become a child of God by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You can be born again now by saying this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You Jesus for saving me! Now I know I am born again! Next week, I will continue this teaching. I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. Our midweek services hold on Wednesdays between 6 and 8 p.m. We have four services on Sundays. The first one holds between 6.30 and 8.15 a.m., the second between 8.25 a.m. and 10.10 a.m., the third between 10.20 a.m. and 12.05 p.m. and the fourth between 12.15 and 2.00 p.m. God bless you as you come! Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, please get my books — In Pursuit Of Vision and Understanding Divine Direction. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO, Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail: bishop@davidoyedepoministries.org

HE Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Dr Sunday Ola Makinde will conduct the investiture of Elder John Olufunso Aiku as a Knight of John Wesley, the highest award in Methodist Church Nigeria. The event is to be hosted by the Arch Diocese of Ikot Ekpene at Ebenezer Methodist Cathedral, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State. Chief Aiku, who is being honoured for his meritorious service to humanity and the Methodist Church in Nigeria, is a Port Harcourtbased chartered accountant and a prince from the Amororo Royal House of Owu, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Married to Lady Matilda Olufemi Aiku and blessed with five children, the recipient is the principal partner of J. O. Aiku & Co, a firm of chartered accountants and tax consultants, which he established over 25 years ago in the Rivers State capital. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria as well as that of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, among several professional

•Aiku

qualifications. Elder Aiku, who was baptised at infancy at Methodist Church, Ogbe, Abeokuta in 1956 has served in various capacities in the church. He was Secretary of the Youth Fellowship at Freeman Methodist Cathedral for so many years up to 1980 and facilitated the construction and completion of a major toilet project during his tenure.

He then used to shuttle between Lagos and Abeokuta and worked passionately. On his relocation from Lagos to Port Harcourt in 1980 in the course of his professional assignments, Elder Aiku and his family enrolled in Banham Methodist Cathedral in the Rivers State capital. He continued his meritorious service to the church. Apart from be-

ing the Auditor of the Archdiocese of Ikot Ekpene since January last year, he has served in the same capacity for the Banham Cathedral and D-Line Local Church (1982-1983); Diocese of Port Harcourt, (1994 till date); Diocese of Bori (1996 till date) and currently Auditor of the Diocesan Men’s Fellowship. Since 2005, Chief Aiku has been a member of the Diocesan Synods and other Diocesan Committees. While he was Chairman, Council of the Diocesan Medal of Commendation (2005-2010), the Council refurbished the Diocesan Upper (Conference) Room with executive chairs, conference tables and split unit air conditioners. As Patron of the Youth Fellowship, he has been assisting the young church members with gainful employment. He has been the Diocesan Council Secretary, Diocese of Port Harcourt since March 2006; Chairman of the Patrons and Patronesses of the Metropolitan Battalion of the Boys’ Brigade 2009 and the representative of Banham Cathedral at the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), among several other responsibilities.

Ositelu commends President over FOI

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HE National Vice President of Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and The Primate and Metropolitan Archbishop of The Church of The Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, His Eminence, The Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu has commended President Good Luck Jonathan on his assent on the FOI Bill. Speaking from Germany where he is attending 33rd German Evangelical & Ecumenical Festival in Dresden, Germany, The revered Aladura Leader said the advent of FOI Bill is a welcome development after all. ‘President Good Luck Jonathan should be commended for his assent on the FOI Bill. This is a

good omen for our nation and it will definitely project Nigeria as a serious nation in the International glare.’ he said. The Pope of Aladura Communion also took time to laud the Upper and Lower chambers for a good job well done, saying that the sixth assembly would be remembered for this task. Said he, ‘I give kudos to the distinguished members of the out-going sixth National Assembly for the passage of the FOI Bill at this time when Nigeria is basking in the euphoria of democratic gains. They have done a good job, even though the Bill has been in limbo for eleven years now. But the most germane

Cleric to Jonathan: ‘choose capable men’ S the search for competent individuals to fill the federal cabinet continues, a cleric, Rev. Chisom Ekwonna, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to choose god-fearing men and women. Ekwonna, who is founder of the Victory House Chapel of Living Seed Ministries, Lagos, said this will ensure Jonathan have a successful tenure and deliver on his promises to Nigerians. He also called on Nigerians to pray for good health and safety of the president to complete his tenure. The cleric who predicted that the

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administration may be bedeviled by detractors bent on calling for the president’s impeachment and army take over, however assured that “our highly rated military will not disappoint the nation.” He therefore called on political leaders to “heed God’s word and His divine will and not be carried away by the empty promises of “enemies” of Jonathan’s government who will try to buy them over to betray the President. He also stated that Nigerians should expect more inter tribal conflicts in some states in the country, adding that the Jos crises will spread to neighbouring states close to the city.

thing now is the fact that it has been passed and it calls for commendation’. On President Jonathan’s recent parley with all Stakeholders of political parties in Nigeria, The German-speaking Aladura Leader said is laudable but cautioned that it must not erode the yearnings of the crying masses. ‘I salute President Jonathan for his decisiveness and unwavering firmness of character. The parley with stakeholders from all political parties is a very good signal towards charting a new cause for national stability developments. But, what we need right now in Nigeria is a government made-up of Technocrats, who are willing to deliver the expectations of the masses. The present scenario may not take Nigeria to the Promise Land. For instance, what Governor Fashola is

doing in Lagos is a typical example. So the parley must reflect the prompt delivery of democratic gains, values and sound characters’, he opined. On the recent bomb and serial killings in the some parts of the country, The Ogere-born cleric said that State Religion should be eradicated, saying that Religion is a personal undertaking and should not be the business of the state. ‘Sharia should not be a State issue, but may be practiced in diverse homes. For instance, every religion must have equal rights in any part of Nigeria. Those arrested in respect of bombings and killings of innocent Nigeria should be thoroughly investigated, and if found wanting should be brought to book. It is very sad, honestly as those who have lost their beloved ones to this brutal act would have been subjected to serious trauma’, he said.

Nigeria’s destined for great things, says cleric

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N order to renew the glory of man and the country, The Joy of Zion Evangelism Ministries, OriOke, has commenced an eight-day prayer and thanksgiving ministration, which is expected to end on Wednesday 10.00pm, at 1, Allied Street, Off Fadiya Street, Tipper Bus stop, Ketu, Lagos. Tagged: ‘Glory of New Things’, the event, according to the host minister, Pastor Abiodun Christmas Difference, said the programme is a mandate by God to return

the country to its lost glory. Citing the story of how Jabez was transformed by God from being a sorrowful child to a child of promise, the cleric said he was believing God to perform the same miracle on Nigerians. “God is set to do glory of new things in our nation Nigeria and also do glory of new things in the lives of everyone that would attend the programme”, he assured.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Worship

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Making Sense of Life with adeWale Adefuye

‘A bloody, bloody husband!’ Y the time you got back again to Egypt, your life could be neatly split into two phases: 40 years in Egypt and another 40 in Midian. How was your trip back to

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• L-R: CEO Unity Hospitals, GRA Ltd, Sir Dr. Deinde Williams with Bishop Olumuyiwa Odejayi, of Ikorodu Diocess, Methodist Church Nigeria (3rd left) the celebrant, Archbishop Dr Joseph Sunday Ajayi of Lagos, his wife Funmi Lady Olulanu Ayoola, Executive Director, Nigeria Ltd, Lady Funmilayo Johnson, wife of the first Lagos state military governor and Sir Abidoye Ayoola, Executive Chairman Nigeria (Nig) Ltd, Lagos at the reception for the celebrant’s 65th birthday at the All Season Plaza, Ikeja on Saturday

‘Give Lagos special allocation’ T HE Diocesan Bishop of Lagos, Most Revered Ephraim Ademowo has added his respected voice to the numerous calls to the Federal Government to give Lagos State a Special Allocation because it is first among equals and Second to none. The revered man of God made the call on Thursday 2nd June, at the Thanksgiving Service organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), in honour of His Excellency, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, to mark the beginning of his 2nd Term in office as the Governor of Lagos state, and his Deputy, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa , Ikeja. Speaking further at the Service, the Most Reverend

Dr. Ephraim Ademowo, Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and the Dean Church of Nigeria of Anglican Communion who was the Guest Speaker at the Service said in his sermon that the Thanksgiving was organised to appreciate God for His numerous and uncountable blessings on the Governor and his Deputy, to thank Him for their past, present and future and to commit their lives, strength, weakness to God for perfection. The clergy admonished the congregation to continually offer praises to God on a daily basis. This, he described as an expression of our faith in God. He cited America as an example of a Nation that deem it fit to set aside a day in the year to thank the Al-

mighty God. Reverend Ademowo described His Excellency, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN as a pragmatic, focused leader, a stickler for perfection, a management consultant, and a blessing to his generation. He likewise described the Deputy Governor, Mrs Adefulire as a brilliant, humble, unassuming, hardworking and a grassroots woman. He then challenged them not to rest on their oars but to strive to do more for the people that elected them into office. He also made it known that he awaits the commencement of the Light Rail services. The Governor who was represented at the occasion by his Deputy, Mrs OrelopeAdefulire expressed the appreciation of His Excellency to the Christian leaders and the Christian community,

and thanked them for their love, support and prayer sessions in their various churches for peaceful elections. She equally thanked the Almighty God, for His Mercy, Grace and for counting the Governor and herself worthy of the position they now occupy. The Deputy Governor, Mrs Adefulire promised to be diligent to be more committed, and to work in unity with the Governor. She concluded with a solemn promise: ‘’I will strive to do every assignment given to me diligently and I promise to represent the body of Christ well in this Government, so help me God’’.

Church dedicates 500-seater auditorium

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HERE was hilarious dancing and singing last Sunday as the 500-seater auditorium of The Power Pentecostal Church, Ejigbo branch, Lagos was commissioned. General overseer of the church, Bishop Bola Odeleke, who was in joyous mood, described the completion of the project as nothing but miracle. Odeleke, who danced to the delight of members and guests, recalled the many challenges that faced the project. She recounted how the project was stopped by government and a court injunction for many years before it finally took off. Odeleke said: ‘’ “That we are commissioning this new church auditorium today is a testimony that the grace of God abounds in this church. ‘’We had commissioned this place before

then Satan came up with stumbling blocks. At first it was the state government then another individual came up with spurious claim that the land belonged to him. ‘’We went to court and we won then the government said the land was on pipeline at the end God intervened and we had to

move the church back few meters to accommodate government’s demand”. She lauded members and leaders of the branch for completing the project debt-free. She said the project was a celebration of God’s grace upon the church. Odeleke also extolled the virtues of the branch Pastor,

Rev Dr Neye Enemigin, his assistant, Pastor Leke Adeseri and the congregation for commitment and dedication towards the befitting edifice. She urged them not to relent but refire, knowing there is a God that rewards diligence and commitment.

Pray for elected leaders to perform, says cleric

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ENERAL overseer of the Star Gospel Church of God Lagos, Prophet Taiwo Akinrinmade, has called on Nigerians to pray for elected office holders to fulfil their campaign promises. He noted that the Jonathan administration would bring good things to Nigeria and canvassed for prayers for actualisation of populist policies. Akinrinmade, who

spoke with newsmen, called for resuscitation of the power sector and reduction of cost of cements. The cleric also called on the government to release funds for the construction of housing units in all states of the federation as a way of curbing the hardship faced by Nigerians to affordable shelter. To him, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies

should quiz outgoing governors and ministers and force culprits to return stolen loots to the treasuries. This, he said, will serve as deterrent to other public office holders not to embezzle but develop their states. He also appealed to Jonathan not to interfere in the activities of the anti- graft agencies but give them free hands to operate.

Egypt?” “It certainly was a difficult trip, especially its timing. I’ll explain. One day, I came back home from work befuddled because I had to tell Zipp, who was almost due with our second baby, that we were relocating to Egypt. It was never on the cards. I had ruled Egypt out forever and she knew it. Now, not only were we going to move but there was a sense of urgency with it. It had to be now, a matter of days; not even weeks. Besides, I couldn’t give her details. Firstly, I needed to prove to myself I wasn’t hearing voices—” “—in other words, not mad.” “Secondly, my understanding was that whomever I told prior to my first meeting with the Pharaoh was to be strictly on a need-to-know basis. I understood her frustration. She didn’t want to hear my suggestion that she could stay back with Dad and the rest of the clan. She insisted on coming along.” “Like Ruth would do a few centuries later in Hebrew history!” “After a few days of packing and saying our goodbyes, we set out.” “We read of the incident on the way about some attack that turned bloody. Do you want to throw some light on that please?” “Oh, certainly! It was at a stop-over motel. We checked in and I helped tuck Gershom into bed. Zipp was breast-feeding Eliezer when I went out for a walk. I needed to clear my head. I was out when the incident happened. But, according to Zipp, it was shortly after midnight that she noticed Eliezer’s breathing was irregular, his body temperature high; the baby was feverish. He began to throw up as his facial expression changed. He was deteriorating rapidly. Death appeared to be written all over him. In a flashing moment of revelation, she realised the 8th day of the baby’s birth had just passed and he had not been circumcised – a Hebrew cultural practice. She grabbed a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of the boy’s penis. It was at that moment I came in and she threw the foreskin at my feet, remarking disgustedly, “What a blood-smeared husband you’ve turned out to be!” I felt terrible. I could have lost my son because the eighth day passed by a few minutes and he wasn’t circumcised.” “For us, today, in the New Testament, we’ve been warned by Paul not to give place to the devil. You really provided the fiend a chance to sneak in on you, didn’t you? He will take advantage of any loop hole to wreck havoc. Anyway, how did Zipp know what to do?” “Circumcision was not a Hebrew thing alone. It was an ADU thing.” “What does that mean?” “Abraham’s Descendants Union. Remember the Midianites also descended from the great patriarch. It was a practice she knew from childhood. Moreover, she was there when I circumcised Gershom.” “How did that experience affect you both?” “It persuaded Zipp to go back to Midian to stay with her parents. You see, I wasn’t sure the reception I was going to receive in Egypt. Also, my encounter with the Big One gave the impression that the assignment was going to be short and sharp. It wasn’t going to be a protracted operation and I expected that in a few weeks, I would bring the Hebrews back to Sinai to worship the LORD and the family would be re-united again.” “And the reception in Egypt? Today, in many nations, a criminal case like murder is never closed. Even in our own Nigeria, we have many unresolved cases; if new evidence (or suspect!) shows up the Police will dust the files and resume. An arrest warrant for someone like you would never be timebarred.” “The Egyptian oppression of the Hebrews did not encourage any of them to come out to testify against me. Secondly, I was no threat to anyone politically. It was clear I was not interested in the pharaohship.” How’s your Hebrew? ............ in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15 Task: Please fill in the gap. You may text me if you wish. I will explain next week. adeWale Adefuye, dean of LifeClass, can be reached at dean@lifeclassonline.org or by sms at 070 3002 3002 The Dean Speaks date: Sunday, 5 June 2011 at 5.00pm @ Graceville Chapel, 129 Awolowo Road, Ikeja, Lagos on: Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. date: Friday 24- Sunday 26 June 2011 @ City of Refuge Church, 58, Ogudu Road, Ogudu GRA, Lagos. on: National Transformation - Practical Steps


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

News

Group seeks role in Amosun’s Govt.

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N Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftain and former member of the Federal House of Representatives for Ado-Odo/Ota Federal Constituency, Hon. Remi Babawale, has pleaded with the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to consider a member of Ogun Patriotic Forum (OPF) for political appointment when constituting his cabinet. Babawale, a patron of Ogun Patriotic Forum, who made this call in Abeokuta over the weekend at a dinner for members of the Forum in celebration of the inauguration of Senator

Ibikunle Amosun as the Governor of Ogun State, stressed that the only way to show appreciation for the human and material resources deployed by the Forum in campaigning for the election of the Governor was to have at least a member of the Forum in his administration. He noted that members of the Forum who are men of proven integrity, track record and broad experience in their respective field of endeavours would, no doubt, contribute immensely to the state’s overall development. According to him, in as much as the onerous task of transforming the state is a

Quiz competition for private schools

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HE third edition of the Lagos state Private Schools Quiz Competition tagged: Talent Expo will take place on June 22 and 23, this year. The competition which will be relayed live on some Television Stations is been put together by World Best Entertainment TV Show. According to astatement issued by the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Mr. Fred Iwuoha, about 40 schools are expected to participate in the competition planed to hold in two segments. The first leg it said, would be the preliminaries while the second which comes up on June 30, would be the grand finale. The statement further said that the competition would involve academic excercise on English grammar, Mathematics and Spelling contest. It added that members

of the panel of judges would be drawn amongst university lecturers and renowned educationists in the country. Winner of the contest, according to the statement will go home with a star prize of an Econoline Ford Bus while first and second runners up will also go with items relevant to the development of education. On the venue of the event, the statement noted that adequate arrangement had been made for the competition to hold under a very peaceful atmosphere at the Brainfield Events Centre Limited, Halls and Gardens located at KM3 IsheriIgando Road Off Oko Filling, Igando Iba Road. It added that a special new magazine christened ‘The Vision’ would be published at the end of the exercise to highlight the profile of participating schools.

Leolas donates gifts to Children

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S part of its commitment towards the Nigerian child, , Leolas – Ramas Industries Limited, a beverage manufacturing company penultimate Thursday made a donation of several packs of its Leolas apple, Leolas lime and lemon, Leolas table water and other gift items to the pupils of various schools who thronged the Lagos Television (LTV) and Murhi International Television (MITV), Lagos on May 27, 2011 for the celebration of this year’s children‘s Day. The donation was made by Prince Lekan Sule, the Managing Director of Leolas – Ramas Industries Limited, who specially said that the products, which contains essential vitamins and nutrients for the healthy growth of the body, were meant for delightful refreshment and nourishment of children. Sule said, as a responsible corporate social firm, Leolas “is not just interested in doing business and making profits but also concerned about her society and environment. It is just one of our many ways of giving back to the society”. According to the

Managing Director of Leolas – Ramas Industries Limited, the donation is a way through which the company shows love to the Nigerian child and the society at large, stating that the company believed so much in giving a reasonable proportion of profit earned back to the society through its varied corporate social responsibility initiatives which he noted, had far reaching effects in the lives of Nigerian. He further stressed that the company was set to further sharpen its policy advocacy machinery to sustain its qualitative service delivery to the Nigerian populace, in line with the company’s assurances of unwavered commitment to always surpass out their standards in serving the customers. The epoch – making children’s day celebrations, which had thousands of children from various schools in Lagos, created fun for the children who also participated in several activities such as cultural dances, rendition of songs, drama presentation, match pass and fashion parade which added colour to the event.

collective one, members of the Forum were adequately prepared to join hands with Governor Amosun in moving the state rapidly forward on the path of development to give the people the quality of life they richly deserve. The ACN chieftain urged the Ogun State Governor to give suitable appointment to one or two members of the Forum, assuring of the group members’ belief in the vision of Senator Amosun to implement people-oriented programmes, which would enhance the rate of socio-economic development in the state that will make it a model for other states of the federation. Babawale further reminded Senator Amosun that as the Chief Executive of the most dynamic and vibrant state in the country, the people will, no doubt, be interested in how his administration will contribute to their socio-economic wellbeing, urging the Governor to give due regard to sensitive matters of national interest such as security of lives and property, unemployment, road networks and housing problems, which if tackled, the state would definitely move forward. While thanking Hon. Babawale for the dinner, the Forum’s National President, Mr. Seyi Shodipo, explained that the entire members of the Forum were appreciative of Hon. Babawale and other ACN chieftains’ recognition of their contributions to the victory of Senator Amosun, reiterating that the Forum resolved to promote the aspiration of the Ogun State Governor based on his track record in both private and public offices and also on the Forum’s independent assessment which adjudged Senator Amosun the best candidate for the Ogun Governorship race.

• From left, the Chief Imam of Ilorin Central Jumat Mosque, Imam Bashir Muhammed; Anwar Abu Hassan, Managing Director, Charvet Nigeria Ltd; Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda; Dr Bukola Saraki, Issam abu Hassan, Executive Director, Charvet Nig. Ltd. and the Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, among others, at the recent inspection tour of Ilorin Central Mosque during the last session of the Nigeria Governors Forum in Ilorin. The mosque is being constructed by Charvet Nig. Ltd.

•Deputy Governor of Enugu state, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi (middle) flanked by the newly sworn-in Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Amaechi Okolo (right) and Chief of Staff, Mrs Ifeoma Nwobodo (left), shortly after their swearing-in ceremony, at the Government PHOTO OBI CLETUS House, Enugu........at the weekend.

Nigeria: As a New democratic cycle begins Continued from page 16

A movement in the direction of true federalism will also imply that we systematically jettison the notion that centrally collected oil revenues will always be available to be shared among the federal and state governments. Rather, we must evolve a competitive federalism that encourages each state to develop its own internal resource base while retaining a substantial percentage of revenues derived from its resources and paying appropriate taxes to the federal government. The implication of this, of course, is that each state must live substantially within the limits of its resources rather than the current centrally enforced welfare standards funded

substantially from oil receipts. This will not preclude development grants by the federal government to help meet the challenges and develop the capacity of less endowed states. Other sectors that will benefit immensely from decentralization include power and security. Necessary constitutional amendments should be effected to expand the scope for the states to generate; transmit and distribute electricity outside the national grid. This will increase the capacity of states to complement the on-going efforts of the federal government through small and medium scale off-grid power plants. In the same vein, the current unitary security arrangement is clearly inadequate to cope with the security chal-

lenges of a complex, federal society like Nigeria. It is certanily time to come to terms with the imperative of constitutionally allowing states willing to do so to establish their own police outfits to enforce state legislation within their jurisdiction and enhance security across the country. This will obviously be without prejudice to the soverign authority of the federal government, which resides in its undisputed exclusive control over the Armed Forces that is the supreme coercive instrument of the federal republic of Nigeria. The reign of the rule of law that protects the ordinary citizen from abuse of federal police powers will also deter or punish such abuse of police powers by states. In the aftermath of the

just concluded general elections, Nigerians are looking forward to a new momentum in governance that will add value to their lives by promoting national prosperity, security and stability. The challenges ahead are monumental. We must be audaciously creative in our thinking and courageous in our actions. It cannot be business as usual. If we do not summon the will to do that which must be done in the collective interest of the Nigerian people, the voters will wait patiently to give their verdict and exercise their power in the next electoral season. The time to act is now. · Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State is a National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (A.C.N.)


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 5, 2011

Sport Extra

OPERATION CRUSH ETHIOPIA

Super Eagles to arrive Addis S Ababa 3am today UPER Eagles 22-man contingent departed the country yesterday and are billed to arrive Ethiopia 3am today, to honour a crucial African Nations Cup qualification match against the Walya Antelopes. NationSport gathered from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), that the team travelled aboard an Air Nigeria chartered flight, expected to last five hours. The team is expect to have a light training session, 8 am this morning to have a feel of the Addis Ababa Stadium turf and also acclimatize to the weather before the game kicks off at 5pm Ethiopia time (2pm Nigerian time). The team which includes goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, captain, Joseph Yobo, John Mikel Obi, in -form goal poacher, Ikechukwu Uche, and 18 others had earlier rounded off their preparation at the Abuja National Stadium. Speaking before the team's departure, Captain Joseph Yobo said: "We have prepared well, the players are confident and we believe we have done everything to give ourselves a good chance of winning in Ethiopia. "As long as we do what the coaches ask of us, play for each other on the field, we should be able to win." Aside the players, 14 technical crew members, three NFF board members, technical committee members and management staff, 13 Media representatives, and 20 members of the Supporters Club were on board the flight.

•Yobo hopeful of victory •Kick-off for 2pm Nigeria time

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Azuka vows to make most of Under-23 call-up AL ITTIHAD of Libya and Nigeria Under-23 invitee, Izu Azuka says he will make most of his call up to the national Under-23 team if fielded today in the first leg 2nd Round Olympics Qualifier against the Junior Taifa Stars of Tanzania. Speaking with NationSport, the Libya-based player said: “I am thrilled by this invitation handed out to me. I will call it my first assignment with any of the country’s national teams because my invitation to the Home Based Eagles then by Coach Okey Emordi was punctured by my deal with JS kabylie of Algeria. “I am hoping to make most of this very invitation and by God’s grace it will be

From Tunde Liadi, Owerri

a rewarding one. I will only pray I am given some playing time by the coaches and I will surely not disappoint at all.” The Al Ittihad striker stated that what would be uppermost in the minds of the players to Dares-salaam would be to give Nigeria a good representation and to leave Tanzania unscathed ahead of the second leg billed for Benin on June 19. The Dream Team V defeated Equatorial Guinea 9-1 on aggregate to book a passage to this round of the qualifiers while their opponents, the Junior Taifa Stars of Tanzania defeated Cameroun in the last round.

EURO 2012 QUALIFIERS

Emeghara plays for Switzerland in 2-2 draw with England NIGERIA-BORN Innocent Emeghara was on duty at the Wembley Stadium when he came in as a late substitute for Switzerland against the Three Lions of England in a Euro 2012 qualifier. England, top of their table with 10 points going into yesterday’s fixture could only manage a 2-2 draw at home against the visitors who had

• Ike Uche (l) celebrates with teammate, Victor Anichebe after scoring a goal against Argentina

Eagles getting better under Siasia—Owello K Start of Norway forward, Solomon Owello believes the Super Eagles of Nigeria are getting closer to perfection under Coach Samson Siasia while describing the team’s 4-1 mauling of the Albiscelentes of Argentina as incredible. Owello a former Under-20 international and a shock inclusion in the Lars Lagerback’s 44-man preliminary squad for the South Africa 2010 World Cup told NationSport from his base that the heartwarming victory over the two-time world champions showed that the dream Eagles will soon surface. “I am happy for the team and the morale-boosting victory. The 4-1 win goes to show that the dream Super Eagles shall soon be here and that with little more patience Nigerians will have a team to be proud of.” Owello however, played down on assertion in some quarters that it was because Nigeria played against the

71

From Tunde Liadi, Owerri second team of Argentina that occasioned the result.

According to him, “I don’t believe that notion at all. When the match is talked about no one will ask if it was Argentines B Squad or Z

Squad. We have played against Argentina and that is what the result has depicted.” Owello who was a member of the Flying Eagles to Canada 2007 Under 20 World Cup, however, advised Super Eagles technical crew to give some other Nigerians in Diaspora the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the country’s senior national team.

LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC QUALIFIER

Dream Team to spot white against Tanzania

N

IGERIA’S Olympic male team, Dream Team V will be spotting white outfit today against Tanzania’s Olympic side when both slug it out in the first leg second round of the 2012 London Olympics football elimination. The second leg will be in Nigeria in the next two weeks and the winner over the two legs will proceed to take part in an eight-team tournament which will be hosted by one of the last eight teams in the qualifiers. The eight-team tournament is provisionally slated for

•Match kicks off 2pm Nigeria time By Olusoji Olukayode

December 2-18, 2011 and it is from that contest that Africa’s automatic flag bearers will emerge for the London Games. There will be two groups of four each for the competition and the topmost three at the end will automatically make it to London 2012 while the fourth placed team will go for a play-off with the fourth best team from Asia to determine who proceeds to the English Games. Meanwhile today’s game

against Tanzania will be played at 2pm Nigerian time and 4 pm local Tanzanian time.

RESULTS AFCON 2012 QUALIFIERS

Zambia 3-0 Mozambique Uganda 2-0 Guinea Bissau Namibia 1-4 Burkina Faso Cameroon 0-0 Senegal Sierra Leone 1-0 Niger EUROPE 2012 QUALIFIERS

Russia 3 - 1 Armenia Latvia 1 - 2 Israel England 2 - 2 Switzerland

gone up 2-0 before the hosts’ revival. Emeghara who plays for Grasshoppers in Zürich came into the Wembly tie in the 90th minute for brace scorer, Tranquillo Barnetta and saw action for three minutes, being the added time. Barnetta had struck twice for the visitors before the hosts got back in.. The Bayer Leverkusen man hit target first in the 32nd minute and doubled his tally in the 35th minute to put scores at 2-0. But England responded through Frank Lampard from the penalty spot in the 37th minute. Lampard made way for Ashley Young in the 46th minute and that substitution proved timely for England five minutes later as Young pulled

By Olusoji Olukayode them level 2-2 in the 51st minute. After his introduction, Nigeria-born Emeghara made valuable contribution when he maneuvered his way through the left flank but the final touch from a team mate narrowly missed target as it rolled near Joe Harts left pole for goal kick.

• Emeghara

Ethiopia tie won't be easy – Nsofor NIGERIAN forward, Obinna Nsofor has warned teammates in the Super Eagles to brace themselves for a tough match in Sunday's 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Addis Ababa. The 24-year-old Inter Milan striker explained that the East Africans know what to expect from the Super Eagles when both sides clash on June 5. "In our first game we beat them 4 - 0 so they now know us well. For me it means we should expect a tough game because they won't want us to beat twice," said the former

Enyimba man. Nsofor, who has been on loan for the past two seasons at Malaga and West Ham, added that he and his teammates have conditioned themselves to win against the Walya Antelopes in Addis Ababa on Sunday. "It is a game we must win because we know that it is important," he said. Nsofor said the Super Eagles are focused on the Ethiopian game after dispatching Argentina 4 - 1 in an international friendly midweek in Abuja.


http://www.thenationonlineng.net

QUOTABLE “The Speaker (Bankole) resisted arrest for four to five hours and now called for assistance from the world, pleading that he should be allowed to handover. All these things happened in the night but he refused to give himself up.”

SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2011 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 5, NO. 1781

--Mr Femi Babafemi, the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, reacting to Speaker Bankole resisting arrest.

N

O punishment can be more severe than attempting to read President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration speech twice. It is an ordeal only the pains of journalistic duty could have compelled a reporter to endure. It is not just the physical aches that unsettle you, there is a way the speech’s languid and tormented paragraphs weary you, unnerve you, and sap the vital energies from any future effort to carry out a dissection of other speeches. Its problem was not its grammar: the professors and eggheads who worked on the speech, notwithstanding their sometimes impulsive leap towards the extraordinary and the theatrical, managed to achieve grammatical exactitude that do their training proud. It was not also the eclecticism evident in the speech, though this was overdone, thereby probably indicating the unmanageable number of experts who worked on it. The problem with the speech is that it had no pretence to be called one, though from all the evidence embedded in its paragraphs, it hoped to be an oratorical exercise worthy of the best America and England could produce. Before Jonathan’s inauguration, I had feared that given his elocutionary defects, he would do grave injustice to even the best of speeches. I think he has a rich heart full of lofty and ethically sound intentions, but at every turn his clipped tongue, quivering lips, discomfiting micro pauses, and a head prone to wandering, betray him. Indeed he seems perfectly built to undo a good speech. But on May 29, he received additional help by being saddled with a speech so badly written, so lifeless, so disjointed, so off-putting, and so disregarding of the great day it was designed to inspire, that the job was made easier. Had he been given a great speech, at least it might have been inspiring in print even if it sounded revolting in elocution. In the end, we had neither a good speech by soapbox standard or print, nor one redeemed by statesmanlike histrionics to which great orators had invited us to dinner over the ages. By unanimous agreement, most commentators seemed to think Jonathan’s May 29 speech was good or even brilliant. The irreverent The Nation newspaper disagrees so violently with the speech it had no scruples to dismiss it as next to useless. It takes an irreverent newspaper to be incandescently outraged by what it sees as incandescent nonsense. I agree totally with the paper. As every rhetorician knows, without a great occasion, a supposedly great speech would appear annoyingly hyperbolic and inappropriate. It has always been the lot of Nigerian leaders to fail to live up to the great occasions that confront their presidencies. Either they were too witless to recognise the occasion, or their speech writers were too academic to appreciate what nuanced meals to offer the hungry populace waiting to be inspired above the stolid circumstances their unremitting poverty had sentenced them. At his inauguration, Jonathan did not give the impression he personally recognised the greatness of the occasion before him. His speech writers appeared to guess, but seemed to lack the intellectual scope, the rhetorical flourish, and, most importantly, the passion to rise to the occasion. May 29, and the great achievements Jonathan had just recorded with a generally credible election, a personal pan-Nigerian mandate, and at least one of his leading opponents making an ass of himself, required the most perspicacious speech which would define his presidency. But this, alas, was a speech his speechwriters were probably not equipped to handle. He therefore opted for the safety and solitude of Nigeria’s typically lifeless leaders’ speeches, which often sound like a budget speech promising the clichéd good things of life. Proof that the speech was irredeemable

Jonathan in his own words

•Jonathan

•Obama

was the quandary it put newspaper editors in casting their headlines the following morning. They struggled to get the central theme of his speech, even as they also squirmed to get anything memorable. Four newspapers, to wit, Vanguard, Tribune, Independent and Mirror gave up trying and settled for the punishingly boring “I’ll never let you down” headline. The Guardian and Nation were at a complete loss how to approach the speech. Tiptoeing round the speech’s mundane core, the two papers inflicted their own mundaneness against the speech in revenge. The Nation confounded its readers with the headline “It’s action time,” as if in the excitement of the moment Jonathan could seek to be anything else; and The Guardian added to the perplexity by casting what probably qualified as the least exciting headline of all that reads as follows: “Jonathan’s hand now on the plough.” If you sympathise with The Nation and Guardian in their bewilderment, what would you do to Next newspaper which gave us the even blander “A fresh start”? This Day newspaper attempted to escape from the dilemma by opting for The Times of London approach to US President Barack Obama’s speech at Westminster Hall on May 25. With a mournful quote on the topic of lamentation from Jonathan’s speech as its main headline, the paper added another second lead reiterating “Time of lamentation is over” above the masthead. In their dismay and confusion, the newspapers ended up transferring their pains to us. If they could not pick or hold anything in Jonathan’s speech, neither could we, for the ordinary Nigerian is not as trained or as accoutred for the thankless job of synthesising the mystifying and disparate thoughts of speechmakers as newspaper sub-editors. Right from the opening paragraph, where Jonathan said he stood in “humble gratitude” for being

elected, whatever that means, he constantly arrived at “junctures” and “points” where he “thanks” and “salutes” many of us. If these redundant and pointless interjections obtruded on the public eyes and ears, they were not nearly as grating as the numberless instances when he laid the foundation of what promised to be a sound and brief disquisition on an esoteric idea only to leave the job hanging in mid-air. After concluding his lengthy tributes, he immediately launched into Obamastyle rendition of human interest observations. There were stories of “courage and patriotism” displayed by those registering for the elections and voting, including that of one 102 years old man, which the president said was inspiring. There was of course nothing courageous or patriotic about registering or voting. The people yearned for something much more fundamental and sublime. The question was whether they would have their wish. However, in these stories, the president said he saw determination which derived from the Nigerian spirit of resilience. A rhetorician of modest gifts would have used the opportunity to discourse fulsomely upon the great topic of democracy, what it means or should mean to us, the world, and particularly Africans still struggling to defeat tyranny, and why no price is too big or small to pay to ensure that government of the people by the people is nurtured. Instead of determination, he should have seen the sacrifices being paid by the aged as spurring all of us, and himself, into vowing to guard and secure our freedoms from the rampage of intolerant and violent state governments, federal security apparatuses still acting like neocolonial instruments, and other governmental agencies apparently dedicated to making life a living hell for Nigerians. It is hard to see how some of the ideas enunciated in the speech connect with one

“Before Jonathan’s inauguration, I had feared that given his elocutionary defects, he would do grave injustice to even the best of speeches. I think he has a rich heart full of lofty and ethically sound intentions, but at every turn his clipped tongue, quivering lips, discomfiting micro pauses, and a head prone to wandering, betray him. Indeed he seems perfectly built to undo a good speech. But on May 29, he received additional help by being saddled with a speech so badly written, so lifeless, so disjointed, so off-putting, and so disregarding of the great day it was designed to inspire, that the job was made easier”

another. Along the line, an idea about unity crossed the president’s mind, and he declaimed upon it without saying what disunite us or how to remedy the problem. This may be because at a point he assumed that our unity “is firm.” If it was firm why then is it still a problem? Presently, he moved on to something else that only an eclectic speechmaker would allow. Without warning he suddenly launched upon us what he presumed to be our task. “It is the supreme task of this generation to give hope to the hopeless,” he lyricized, “strength to the weak and protection to the defenceless.” Before and after this vaulting ambition there was nothing to connect the task with us; absolutely nothing in his speech. The most vigorous part of his speech, which the newspapers seized upon to serve their readers, was the talk of transformation and the need to end lamentation and cynicism. He said he was ushering in the era of transformation. What sort of transformation does he have in mind? He did not say. Or perhaps he has in mind a country where “positive change will continue,” as he said in the preceding sentence. If so, what change? Perhaps the transformation has something to do with what we have lamented over. But what lamentations? Jonathan’s inauguration speech came from the head not the heart, and even then it came apparently from many heads working at cross-purposes. But we cannot blame the speech writers, for as I said earlier, they at least wrote well the message they had no idea how to deliver cleverly. There had to be a message, given the importance of the occasion in our history, even if that message remained diffused in the many minds that wrote the speech. The problem, I think, is that this kind of speech can only come from the heart, not the head. The head (that is, the knowledge base) often serves as the fuel to fire a powerful, passionate message from the heart. My suspicion is that the president has not yet reached a stage where he believes in anything so deeply as to be willing to stake his presidency or even his life. He had only a vague idea of the historical significance of what happened in the April polls, and what it presaged for this often fractious nation. If he did not know a great speech, how could he recognise one if it was forced on him? What worsened his trouble was that no one among those who influenced the final draft had any inkling what rhetorical gifts were appropriate for this particular May 29. Obama’s speech in Westminster Hall, (the first by any US president to both Houses of Parliament in Britain) that got the whole British intelligentsia drooling over his words, was said to have been crafted by a 29-year-old man. Obama’s influence on the speech was, however, acknowledged to be immense. Great speeches, we all know, have the capacity to drive changes and societies, and give fillip to the sort of transformation that has now formed a fuzzy picture in the mind of Jonathan. We know the president is not a gifted speaker, and his cadence a disaster. But if he cannot articulate on paper what is in his mind, and cannot also inspire us with the words of his mouth, how can he drive the change he is staking his presidency on? Wading through Jonathan’s unremarkable speech over and over again, I fear greatly that neither he nor anyone around him has a firm idea of what must be done to galvanise Nigeria, or, more subliminally, the ideas upon which that galvanising must be done. Next time he wants to write a great speech for a great occasion, let Jonathan look into his own heart to search for the values and ideas required to launch his country into the realms he often gives the faint impression he knows. Then, let him work with one or two drafts, not the smorgasbord he flung at our faces last Sunday.

Published by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025, Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor - 08050498530, Marketing: 4520939, Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Telephone: 07028105302 E-mail: sunday@thenationonlineng.net Editor: LEKAN OTUFODUNRIN

The Nation, June 5-2011  

The Nation, June 5-2011

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