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•Illegal bunkering alleged

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VOL. 8, NO. 2505 MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2013



•The Parish Choir of St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja, singing during the remembrance service for the victims of last year’s Dana Air crash in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos...yesterday. PHOTO: ISAAC AYODELE

I’ll back APC candidate if not picked, says Buhari Jonathan mismanaged Boko Haram NGF poll raises fear over 2015


ORMER Head of State Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) spoke yesterday on his political future. He said he would support whoever emerges as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to challenge the Peoples Democratic Party

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

(PDP) in the 2015 election. Gen. Buhari, the leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who expressed optimism that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would register the new party, which the CPC, the Ac-

tion Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) are championing, spoke in a Liberty Radio interview monitored in Kaduna. The three-time presidential candidate also fielded questions on a wide range of issues, among which are the Nigeria Governors’ Forum

in the APC.” “The guest of the week” first spoke in Hausa before speaking in English. He said the promoters of the APC were aware of the challenges ahead of them in an effort to register the party, adding that “the road to merger is quite rough”. “The ruling party, with its

enormous resources and its capacity for coercion, has seen it as a threat and they have said it. Personally, I came to realise since 2007 that Nigerians believe that the only way to stabilise the system of multi-party democracy is Continued on page 4

Plot to deregister Amaechi’s Governors’ Forum uncovered

Federal Govt seeks more investment in oil refining


ICE President Namadi Sambo said at the weekend that decreasing oil sales to the United States have provided the opportunity to create jobs by building refineries and developing markets closer home. Nigeria, a major member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), lacks refining capacity and depends on imported fuel to meet domestic demand. Nigeria’s position as Africa’s biggest crude producer is threatened by Angola whose oil output is at par with what Nigeria produces. For the first time since 2009, Nigeria’s shipments to the U.S. slid to 194,000 barrels a day in February, the lowest in Continued on page 4

(NGF) election crisis and the Boko Haram insurrection. Gen. Buhari, who has been touted as a hardliner in his quest for the emerging party’s ticket, said: “If APC fails to give me the ticket, I will remain in partisan politics and in the party. Anyone the party picks as its candidate, I will support because I will remain

•ACN, CPC slam Jonathan for backing Jang’s faction

A •Amaechi

PLOT to kill the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) led by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has been uncovered. If it succeeds, the action will pave the way for the recognition of Governor Jonah Jang as chairman. It was gathered that some

From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

forces in the Presidency, in connivance with some governors, are trying to prevail on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to de-register the NGF. The plan is to, after the deregistration, declare the NGF

being led by Amaechi as illegal. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on March 2, 2009 registered the NGF with a 12-man group of trustees, including VicePresident Namadi Sambo, then Kaduna State goverContinued on page 4




NEWS DANA CRASH...ONE YEAR AFTER • Vice-President Namadi Sambo (second right), Special Adviser to the Vice-President on Special Duties Isaiah Balat (left), Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga, Governor Gabriel Suswam (middle) and Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Yokohama…yesterday.

Group Chairman, First Bank Holdings Plc Oba Otudeko greeting Company Secretary Tijjani Borrodo, during the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos… yesterday. With them is the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Bello Maccido. PHOTO: SOLOMON ADEOLA

•From left: Director of Flight Operations, Dana Air Capt. Oscar Wason; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation Dr. George Ossi ; Director of Airworthiness Standards, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Benedict Adeyileka and Mr. Adedolapo Atekoja at Dana Air ‘s special church service at St Leo's Catholic Church, Ikeja in commemoration of the first anniversary of the Dana plane crash...yesterday.

•Secretary, MTN Nigeria Mrs. Ukpanah Utoh (second left)presenting gift items to the SOS Children's Village Director Mr. Buraimoh Benjamin in Isolo, Lagos...yesterday. With them are Project Manager, MTN 21 Days of Y'ello Care 2013 Mr. Omojola Felix (left) and a representative of the SOS Village Mothers Mrs. Enumah Maria (right).

Although Dana Air regained its licence six months after the crash of its aircraft exactly a year ago in Iju, a Lagos suburb, business has not been what it used to be, report KELVIN OSAOKUNBOR and PRECIOUS IGBONWELUNDU


EFORE June 3, last year, Dana Air was the toast of many a traveller. But, all that changed when its McDonnel Douglas 83 aircraft crashed exactly a year ago into residential buildings in Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb, killing all 153 passengers and crew members onboard. The airline’s licence was suspended and was not restored until six months later. Even when it got the greenlight to resume operation, it went back to the drawing board before returning to the skies. It resumed operations on January 4 on the Lagos-Abuja route. But business has not returned to the pre-June 3 crash days. The airline now flies about 40,000 passengers monthly as opposed to the over 100,000 passengers it was flying before the crash. It began with two daily flights between Lagos and Abuja, which it has now increased to 12 daily flights on the same route. A few months after the consolidation of the Lagos-Abuja route, the airline began flights on the LagosPort-Harcourt route, which started as a daily flight, but has now increased to two daily flights. In all, Dana operates 16 daily flights on the Lagos-Abuja-Port-Harcourt routes. But its flights to Uyo, Kano and Enugu airports are yet to take off. The airline claims it will soon resume flights on these routes, as “passengers from those cities have been putting pressure on the airline to resume operations on the routes”. With its flexible fare offering, DANA Air has been providing cheaper fares on the routes it flies since it resumed operations. As a way of shoring up its business, Dana has introduced the ‘Roving Agent’, a mobile device which allows passengers to be checked-in on arrival at the airport by its mobile check-in staff. The mobile check-in agents can issue boarding passes to guests even before they reach the check-in counter. They are strapped with tablet PCs and mini printers. This new initiative complements the airline’s existing check-in counters and online check-in service. Dana Air’s Head of Commercial Obi Mbanuzuo said: “What we are offering in roving agents is immense value addition for our guests. With this solution, our mobile check-in agents can quickly access and verify the travel reserva-

•The Ochonogors on their wedding day in 2008

‘My son T

HE news hit the country like a thunderbolt. It was June 3. A Dana Air plane crashed in Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb. Tears flowed freely. Marriages came to an abrupt end. Children became orphans overnight. The dreams of many were shattered. Hopes also got dimmed. Homes were scattered. Since then, days turned into weeks and then into months and months into a year. Mrs Tolulope Ochonogor’s husband, the late Ikechukwu, 35, an exstaff of FEDEX Red Star Express, an international courier firm, was one of the 153 people who died in the crash. She told The Nation that the last one year has been trying for her. She said: “I chose to believe God’s promise to me because it was Him who had given me all the courage and strength. The last one year has been emotionally tasking for me and my little son. But I thank God for His grace and presence. “My family has also been very supportive including my husband’s family too. My church,

tion details of guests; book them on their choice of seat and generate boarding passes. “Now guests with hand baggage need not wait at the check-in counter to collect their boarding pass; they can simply approach any of our easily recognisable mobile check-in agents on arrival at the airport and then proceed through airport security to the boarding gate.” It has also introduced the bookon-hold option, which gives the convenience of booking tickets and paying later at designated bank branches across the country as well as using interswitch enabled Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Mbanuzuo described the introduction of the book-on- hold option as “a good step forward in our effort to make the process of booking travel more accessible to guests throughout Nigeria.” Passengers can access the option by making reservation either online or by phone, after which they will take their booking reference number to any of the designated banks




is not business as usual

•Master Ochonogor

really misses his dad’ The Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, and pastors, have not been left out with the spiritual support they all gave me. I must not fail to appreciate my employers who have been very understanding and quite supportive. But looking back to the last one year, I have chosen to trust God wholeheartedly. And truly, He has not failed me. I am a firm believer in God and I take His words seriously. He never fails His own. In addition to that, I am so grateful to my friends, siblings, the extended family, colleagues at work, you all, media men and women, and indeed all concerned Nigerians. Please, help me to say, God bless you all. “But my son, Binichukwu, really misses his dad who used to dot on him, but being so young, he has yet to fully grasp the situation. But like I promised at the service of songs last year, I have remained strong for him even though the world of difference between me and the dad remains glaring.”

On the issue of compensation from Dana Air’s management, she said: “No amount of compensation can bring back my late husband. But the airline had tried to fulfil its obligations though there is still some way to go; that is all I can say on that. “But I have truly missed my husband. And the specific things I have missed in him are so many; such as his love, companionship, mentorship, compassion, intelligence, wit, generosity and kindness. Ikechukwu was a bridge-builder within any environment he found himself. He genuinely loved and gave his best. I am at peace, knowing that he is with the Lord. And I wish to tell you that there is no way his death can affect my travelling by air. You know air transportation is part of our modern existence. It is up to the appropriate regulatory authorities to act responsibly and ensure high level of safety in air travel.” Chidi Ochonogor, younger brother to the late Ikechukwu, said: “The absence of my late brother in the last one year has left a great

vacuum that cannot be explained in words. Just think about what it would be like to have a son, brother and friend for 35 years and then abruptly, he is no longer around. It is more of a psychological trauma because people who have had loved ones stay out of the country without seeing them for years still have peace and joy knowing they are somewhere doing fine. But in our own case, when you don’t see someone knowing his life on earth has come to end, the feeling is entirely different. “But, we thank God for his wife and his little son, who is very much my right hand man now. We are still more together as a closely knit family all under God’s care. And you know that little children can be so amazing. Binichukwu clocked three years of age exactly six months after his dad’s passage. We often think they know little, but they know quite much. On July 2, 2012, precisely one month after his dad’s death, he cried seriously asking for the first time for his ‘gaggy’ as he called his father.”

or interswitch enabled ATMs to make payments not later than 48 hours to confirm the booking. The airline’s spokesman, Mr. Tony Usidamen, said it would acquire two Boeing 737-300 aircraft. He said the choice of Boeing 737300 was considered for economic reason, saying it is cheaper to fly and fuel efficient, as opposed to older and fuel consuming aircraft. The new aircraft, he said, would be delivered in the third quarter of the year. The airline has also been busy sorting out the ‘mess’ of the crash. Usidamen said the airline was gradually recovering from the effects of the crash, following its plan to settle the insurance claims of families of those killed in the crash. He said the airline was fully insured, challenging industry watchers to cross check its premium claims with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). Usidamen said 65 families sued the airline, adding that payment of

compensation to such families’ representatives had been put on hold until all the legal issues are sorted out. He said: “So, from the point of view of the airline, it has done what is considered responsible, especially at the time of the accident by ensuring that all those who lost their abode got a place of their own immediately. “Naturally, when an accident occurs, once an airline is fully insured and premiums are paid up to date, the onus is on the insurer to ensure the payment of compensation. The process is ongoing with all the victims’ representatives, both onboard and ground. “Negotiations are ongoing with all persons who submitted their claim forms. The claim forms are sent to the insurers who will send valuers to assess the extent of the loss in the affected area. Based on this, negotiation begins between the insurers’ and victims’ representatives. “Negotiations are ongoing between the legal representatives of

both the insurers and the victims. Both parties, as a matter of necessity must reach an agreement. That process is ongoing; it is not in the hands of the airline. The insurers are sparing no effort in ensuring that an agreement is reached and all the people who lost properties are fully compensated to the extent of the losses incurred. “Delay in completion of the payment process is due to incomplete documentation, multiple claim cases, challenge in securing grant of probate/letter of guardianship (in the case of minors) and legal suits. Our insurers are, however, sparing no efforts in processing all claims in accordance with the applicable law. “We are giving the support we can to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); we are doing the best we can because we, as an airline, would like to see the process completed soon. The money to pay is there; it can be confirmed from the NAICOM, but certain requirements have to be met with re-

By Joke Kujenya

gard to the payment of the balance of $70, 000 to each beneficiary.” Usidamen said 11 families had received full compensation of $100,000 while 21 more, whose grant of probate had been processed, would soon get full payment. He added that as at May 24, 125 beneficiaries’ families who completed claim forms had received the initial $30,000 compensation following legal verification of documentation and next-of-kin status while eight families were yet to submit any document. “May be they are observing the one-year mourning period; maybe they are not interested because they feel the money means nothing to them,” he added. The main ground victim, Pastor Daniel Omowunmi, whose warehouse the plane crashed into, said he has been frustrated. He said but for the $30, 000 his lawyers demanded in lieu of accommodation about three months ago, Dana has not done anything. He said: “The last time I besieged their office, they called the police and when we went to the police station, they claimed they knew nothing about my N500 million claims. They also claimed they were not aware that I have been given $30, 000. I was the one who told the Area Commander that they have given me the money, which was demanded by my lawyer for accommodation. “Till today, they have kept promising to make an offer but have done nothing. If they are claiming they have given me advance payment, what then is the sum they have agreed on? We are still waiting on them and it appears they want to frustrate people to go to court so that the issue will keep dragging.” On the construction of cenotaph on his land by the state government, Omowunmi said he was contacted by the government and they promised to relocate him before using his land. He added: “The government promised to sort me out before construction on the land but till date, nothing has been done. I reached out to the Ministry of Lands to make enquiry and they told me they were on it. I have the Certificate of Occupancy and other relevant documents on my property. So, I want to believe the government is not planning to take my land by force.” Mr. Olatunji Lawal, who claims to have lost his sight to the disaster, said he has not been able to do any business in the past one year. He said all efforts to make Dana Air understand the suffering he is going through has yielded no result. Lawal said: “ The post-traumatic stress we experience cannot be overemphasized because emotionally, psychologically and otherwise, I cannot say I have been okay. “I cannot even go about my businesses the way I used to because the crash affected my sight. The whole thing has restricted me to a particular place. “As you are standing before me now, I cannot see you. Well, before this incident, I had eye challenges but I could see with my glasses and I used to go about my business. But the day the plane crashed, I was sleeping inside my house. It was the thunderous landing of the plane that woke me up. Before I woke up, my apartment has been engulfed with smoke. “So, the gaseous emission from

the aircraft entered my nostrils and eyes. For some weeks, I could not open my eyes because they were paining me. So, I went to the hospital and complained and they told me they will run a check. “At a point, they said the machine to run the check was not functioning. I even told the Dana people that this is what I am going through but they did not care. “Dana refused to compensate us. They refused to come to our aid. Our lawyer, Gbenga Eguntola has written several letters to Dana. He even had a meeting recently with us here. He has been trying his best and we are hoping that something good will come out eventually. “Of the ten cheques they brought while we were still in the camp, only two of us (Pastor Omowunmi and I) rejected the offer. I was given a cheque of N100, 000 for accommodation and I wondered where in Lagos I will secure an accommodation for N100, 000.” Another victim, Olakunle Olanipekun, said it appears the government has connived with Dana to neglect them. He said: “If the unfortunate disaster that happened last year had occurred in India, will the Indian government fold its arms and watch? Does Dana Air not have a responsibility towards us? The whole thing is beginning to make us wonder if our governments have not conspired with Dana against us. “Most people have left this neighbourhood but some of us who cannot afford accommodation outside are still here. I am begging the government, Federal, State and Local Government not to lead us to temptation.” Alhaja Ramatalai Akinwusi, whose fence and toilet were damaged by the crash, said she repaired her properties herself when Dana was not forthcoming. “When Dana came here, they promised to come and repair my fence, toilet and one room that were destroyed by the crash, but after that day, I did not see anybody. “So, I had to use my money to repair them since I do not have any one to help me. After I had repaired the damages, government people came and gave me notice to quit that they wanted to demolish my house to add the land as part of the cenotaph. “The information made me sick and I was hospitalised for three days. In April, the road construction people also brought another notice through one lawyer Giwa that they wanted to demolish my house and acquire the land; I still told them I have no husband, no help and nowhere to go. That I won’t allow them demolish my house unless they have a new place for me. “So, they finally pulled down part of my fence and a shop attached to it.” Mrs. Grace Adekunle said she used her feeding allowance, which her children gave her, to repair the damaged roof in her main building. She said she has not seen anyone, “no government, no Dana”. Her boys quarter, which was damaged in the crash, The Nation observed, has not been repaired till date. She said: “Although it is one year, I am still in shock over the accident. Each time that I wake up and remember how busy our street used to be and that the empty land beside me used to be a very big compound, I shiver. But I thank God for everything.”




•HONOURS: Senator Oluremi Tinubu (fourth left) and Senator Gbenga Ashafa (third right) with (from left) Japheth Odesanya; Tajudeen Ajide; Adewale Ayodele; Mrs Anike Adekanye and Semiu Oluwakemi Surakat; during the NUJ Lagos Television Chapel 2013 Press Week and awards ceremony at Combo Hall, LTV8, Lateef Jakande Road, Ikeja, the weekend.

Fed Govt seeks advantage in drop oil sales to US

I’ll back APC candidate if not picked, says Buhari Continued from page 1

for the opposition parties that have representatives right from councillors to the National Assembly to come together to deliver their constituencies democratically. This is the only way you can counter PDP’s enormous physical and material influence in the country.” Gen. Buhari expressed optimism that the APC will be registered. He said: “By nature, I am an optimist. If I were not an optimist, I would not attempt to contest the presidency three times and end up in the Supreme Court three times. I believe we are going to be registered. “There is a law guiding registration (of parties), which states that you must have your headquarters in the nation’s capital that can be identified by INEC and you must have a convention. All the three parties involved have held their conventions and have agreed to forsake their existing parties and go for APC. “At the national level, we must have those who will run the party. As soon as we meet

these criteria and INEC acknowledges that, 30 days after the acknowledgement, we are APC, whether INEC writes to us and to give us the registration or not”. Gen. Buhari accused politicians from the Niger Delta of encouraging the insecurity in the country by recruiting and arming youths in their desperate attempt to retain power as governors. The former Nigerian leader said unlike the special treatment given to the Niger Delta militants by the Federal Government, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished by government. While accusing President Jonathan of failing from the beginning to address the security situation in the country, Buhari said he had never supported the state of emergency declared by the President on May 15 on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. He said: “What is responsible for the security situation in the country is caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants. Every Nigerian that is familiar with what is happening knows this. The Niger

Delta militants started it all. “What happened is that the governors of the Niger Delta region at that time wanted to win their elections. So, they recruited the youths and gave them guns and bullets. They used them against their opponents to win the elections by force. “After the elections were over, they asked the boys to return the guns; the boys refused to return the guns. Because of that, the allowance that was being given to the youths by the governors during that time was stopped. “The youths resorted to kidnapping oil workers and were collecting dollars as ransom. Now a boy of 18 to 20 years was getting about 500 dollars in a week, why will he go to school and spend 20 years to study and then come back and get employed by government to be paid N100,000 a month, that is if he is lucky to get employment. “So kidnapping became very rampant in the Southsouth and the Southeast. They kidnapped people and were collecting money. “How did Boko Haram

start? We know that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf started his militancy and the police couldn’t control them. The army was invited. He was arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police. “The appropriate thing to do, according to the law, was for the police to carry out investigations and charge him to court for prosecution, but they killed him. His in-law was killed; they went and demolished their houses. Because of that, his supporters resorted to what they are doing today. In the case of the Niger Delta militants, Gen. Buhari said the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua sent an aeroplane to bring them. He sat down with them and discussed with them. He added that the militants were cajoled, given money and granted amnesty. “They were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the North were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues. What brought this? It is injustice,” he said. Continued on page 5

Continued from page 1

more than 18 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Part of our policy now, as a result of this, is that we’re attracting more foreign direct investment in processing the crude oil in Nigeria,” Sambo said told reporters in Yokohama, Japan. “That creates more jobs, and it creates wealth within the country.” The U.S. is Nigeria’s biggest crude buyer, importing cargoes valued at 724 billion naira ($4.6 billion) in the fourth quarter of last year stated the National Bureau of Statistics. The U.S. imports from Nigeria rebounded in March to 376,000 barrels a day, according to EIA data published May 30. Sambo is in Japan for the To-

kyo International Conference on African Development, the largest African development forum outside the continent. Angola is poised to overtake Nigeria as the continent’s top producer of crude as oil thieves sabotage pipelines in the oilrich Niger River delta. Nigeria pumped 1.87 million barrels a day in May, the same as Angola, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Both belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. International producers including Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. (CVX), Total SA (FP) and Eni SpA (ENI) — in joint ventures with the stateowned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. - pump about 90 per cent of the country’s output.

Suspected Islamist militants attack Niger prison


UNMEN have attacked the main prison in Niger’s capital, Niamey, killing at least two guards, officials say. They are thought to be members of the Islamist militant group, Movement for Unity

and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao). Officials said several inmates were overpowered and detained after what appeared to be an attempted breakout. The attack comes days after Continued on page 5

ACN, CPC slam Jonathan for backing Jang’s faction


PPOSITION parties yesterday joined the fray as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) election crisis deepens. Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi defected Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang by 19 votes to 16 in the May 24 election. But the Jang group alleged that the election breached the convention of the NGF which ensured that all previous chairmen emerged by consensus. Jang, accompanied by 15 other governors, opened his faction’s secretariat last Thursday. The group also met with President Goodluck Jonathan. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Conference for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday criticised Dr. Jonathan for siding with the Jang faction. AC N National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Osogbo, Osun State, yesterday described as “a travesty of democracy for President Goodluck Jonathan to recognise Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State as the ‘Chair’ of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), even though Jang lost to Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State in what has been widely acknowledged as a free, fair and transparent NGF poll.”

Plot to deregister Amaechi’s Governors’ Forum uncovered Continued from page 1

nor. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that some forces in the Presidency had been disturbed following the failure of the Jang faction to secure the backing of the majority of the NGF members last Thursday. The Jang faction had only 16 of the 36 governors behind it at the inauguration of its secretariat last Thursday in Abuja. The “shocking development” made anti-Amaechi forces in the Presidency to go back to the drawing board on how to force most of the governors to abandon Amaechi. One of the options being weighed is to deregister the NGF being led by Amaechi. To set the ground for the de-registration, one of the aggrieved governors had on Saturday claimed that the NGF ConFrom Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

The party said the President’s “ill-advised decision” has shown that he has “little or no respect for democracy, and will stop at nothing to jettison timetested ideals on the altar of political opportunism.” It said the recognition of the

stitution with which the Forum was registered with the CAC was unknown to members. A source said: “The anti-Amaechi forces in the presidency have decided to make the NGF battle a do-or-die affair. They believe it is humiliating for 16 out of 36 governors to be following Jang about after the NGF poll. “They have just concluded a plot to deregister the authentic NGF being led by Amaechi in CAC. Their permutation is that once it is an illegal body, the governors will be forced to associate with Jang’s faction.” Some of the reasons which the antiAmaechi camp will give for the de-listing include alleged use of forged constitution to register the Forum and non-filing of appropriate annual reports to the CAC on the activities of the Forum - in line with Article 19(1) of the Forum’s constitution.

losing candidate for the chairmanship of the NGF has also shown that the President’s spokesmen either do not know the thinking of their principal or have chosen to engage in downright lies in his defence. “President Jonathan is frittering away whatever is left of his credibility by the day. His

“Article 19(1) says: “The income and property of NGF whosoever derived shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of organisation as set forth in this Rules and Regulations/ Constitution and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly, by way of dividend, bonus, or otherwise howsoever by way of profit, to the members of the organisation.” In the North, a plot to remove the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, as the chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum is said to have been hatched. The forum’s meeting is billed for Thursday in Kaduna. The anti-Amaechi forces are pushing for Aliyu’s removal by latching on the fact that he had completed his two terms in office as the chairman of the Forum since 2009. Besides, a former minister is said to

spokesman said in a statement the day after the NGF election that ‘the President has always shown a willingness to work harmoniously with any leadership freely and independently chosen by the Governors Forum for the collective progress and development of all sections of the country and will continue to

Continued on page 5

do so. “President Jonathan trusts that as true democrats and respected national political leaders, members of the Governors Forum will quickly resolve the issues and differences among them which emerged yesterday (May 24th) and continue to contribute effectively to national de-

•Dr. Jonathan

velopment as a strong, and progressive body’. “But it is now clear that the presidency’s statement is not Continued on page 5

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NEWS Plot to deregister NGF uncovered •Former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke (left) receiving a Doctor of Law and Community Development (Honourary Causa) from Vice Chancellor, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, Prof. Kayode Makinde (middle) at the university’s convocation …yesterday. With them is Pro-Chancellor Dr. Oyeleke Owolabi PHOTO: ABIODUN WILLAIMS

ACN, CPC slam Jonathan for backing Jang faction Continued from page 4

worth the paper on which it is written, that in the Nigerian presidency, words do not carry their exact meanings and that the spokesmen for the President speak for no one but themselves. When viewed in the context of similar deceitful statements by the Presidency in the past, especially on the health of the First Lady, one can see a growing pattern of a lying presidency, a presidency that likes to hide behind one finger. This is sad, because without credibility, a president cannot govern successfully,’’ ACN said. The party said the President, who should be looked up to as the father of all, “has become the father of a few renegades, and descended from being the President of Nigeria to the President of the PDP and and now the President of a faction of the PDP”. “This President is daily cementing his unenviable reputation as the most divisive President in the history of Nigeria. By raising partisan politics to a pedestal higher than national interest, he has divided the country along religious, ethnic and political lines more than any of his predecessors. “In the process he has destroyed or is about to destroy national institutions and organisations. First, he succumbed to the pressure from his party to deal with the judiciary for daring to reverse the outcome of some of PDP’s rigged polls. But for a courageous Chief Justice of Nigeria who cannot be teleguided now in the saddle, the judi-

ciary will have been emasculated altogether. “Then the President all but put an end to the fight against corruption, which is widely acknowledged as a canker worm that is fast destroying the fabric of our society, and now he has destroyed the NGF. This is not an enviable legacy for any President,’’ it said. The CPC described Jang’s endorsement by the President as “shameful”. His earlier denial, CPC said, did not work on Nigerians adding that such a person cannot win the presidential election in 2015. It called on the international community to take greater interest in Nigeria’s democracy which, “with the President’s brand of deleterious politics, is in danger of peril”. “We call on the Nigerian people to remain resolute in defending the cause of democracy because eternal vigilance is the price for liberty!” The National Publicity Secretary, of the party Rotimi Fashakin, who issued the statement, added: “The deception did not travel for too long. President Goodluck Jonathan’s endorsement of Governor Jonah Jang as the ‘elected’ chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has finally removed the wind off the sail of the rigmarole and denials as regards the source of the contrived crisis in the NGF. This action is shameful. “It will be recalled that on Friday, 24th May, 2013, 35 out the Nation’s 36 governors voted in an election for a new chairman

for a two-year tenure. The incumbent Chairman, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, sought a re-election. The President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, did not believe that the Rivers Governor’s re-election would be helpful for his own re-election bid in 2015. He plotted, using the platform of his party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP, to truncate Mr. Amaechi’s ambition. At first, a new platform for PDP governors was birthed, with a fierce Jonathan loyalist in charge. “The earlier date set for the election was put off to enable the anti-Amaechi coalition, under the aegis of the PDP governors’ group, to gain some momentum for the task ahead. The high-wire intrigues deployed by the PDP high command belied the determination of the President to use the election as the litmus-test for his readiness to capture the country in 2015. As a way of getting firm assurance of victory, endorsement of his preferred candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, was purportedly assented by 19 PDP governors before the election. “The election, which was recorded, revealed 19-16 majority victory for Governor Amaechi. The anti-Amaechi group made known its rejection of the election on the premise that a preelection endorsement of their candidate, Governor Jang, had showed victory. For any dispassionate and discerning observer, this puerile predication of the anti-Amaechi group’s dissent is laughable and utterly ludicrous. The question asked is, can a preelection endorsement be the same as the actual votes cast in

Suspected Islamist militants attack Niger prison Continued from page 4

Mujao said it was behind suicide bombings at a military base and a French-operated uranium mine which killed 25 people. Another group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Signed-in-Blood Battalion of Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, later claimed that the assaults in Agadez and Arlit had been joint operations with Mujao. It also said the attacks were retaliation for Niger’s role in the French-led military offensive which drove Mujao and two other Islamist groups out of northern Mali earlier this year. ‘Wanted for terrorism’ Residents said the gunmen launched the attack on the prison in Niamey at around 15:00 local time on Saturday. “We were sitting there when we saw these armed men start to shoot at the guards... I saw

several of them fall and not get back up,” Ila Yaye, who lives near the prison, told the Reuters news agency Officials told the BBC the incident started when a prisoner grabbed a gun from a guard, and shot dead three guards and a civilian. The prisoner was believed to be a Sudanese member of Mujao. Members of the group stationed outside the prison then opened fire, the officials said. Some were reported to have entered the building. Nigerien gendarmes are reported to have later arrived at the prison to help the guards, who remained under fire for around 45 minutes. Police meanwhile blocked off roads leading to the facility. Later, Niger’s Justice Minister, Marou Amadou, said only two guards had been killed and another seriously wounded by four inmates.

Mr Amadou said the inmates had been captured and the incident was being investigated. “There are two versions of what happened, and right now we think it’s more likely that they came from inside the jail,” he said. “These are people who are wanted for terrorism. We do not know how they were able to arm themselves inside the prison, and how they were able to get out to attack the guards.” Mr Amadou said it was too early to say which group was behind it. Mujao is a splinter group of alQaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which formally announced its existence following the abduction of three aid workers in Algeria in October 2011. It says its objective is to spread jihad to West Africa rather than confine itself to the Sahel and Maghreb regions - the main focus of AQIM.

an election? The logic of this group’s dissent stretches credulity beyond tolerable elastic limit! “Though initially flummoxed by Mr. Amaechi’s victory, the PDP national leadership believed that travelling on the road of perfidy would really fit its demagogic, larger-than-life image as the ruling party, hence the President’s endorsement of Mr. Jang as elected. This anti-democratic stance should not surprise anyone familiar with PDP’s brand of democracy. The split in the NGF was the impetus needed by the leaders of PDP to unveil the plan for ensuring distortion of the Nation’s electoral process hereafter. “As a party, we are appalled by the President’s abandonment of the ship of state to cause needless overheating of the polity. The NGF, as it stands, remains a voluntary platform among Nigeria’s governors, with no constitutional function. How the election of the chairman of the NGF captured the animated interest of the President, despite the seeming myriad of issues besetting the Nation State, is still puzzling. “This, of course, is another attestation of the President’s besmirched reputation for wrong priorities. Undoubtedly, the President’s conduct in the just concluded governors’ election is a pointer to the immense electoral incongruities being planned for the 2015 elections. Unfortunately, all the President’s men and women have sworn to obsequious subservience which explains why he is egged on to continue with the capricious politics that is only geared towards exacerbating the overheated Nigerian polity.”

Continued from page 4

have been recruited into a plot to hijack the party machinery from the governor and impeach him. It was learnt that the governor ran into trouble for not only backing Amaechi but for disclosing that President Goodluck Jonathan entered into a one-term pact with PDP governors in 2011 before he got the party’s mandate. Aliyu has consistently maintained that it is the turn of the North to produce the president in 2015. The source said: “They want to force Babangida Aliyu to step down as the chairman of the NSGF. They have just realised that he has overstayed in office. “Actually, Babangida was elected as the chairman of NSGF in 2007 and asked to stay in office again in 2009. By the time a fresh election ought to hold, the politics of the illness of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua had set in. Northern governors unanimously mandated Aliyu to continue to hold the forte because of the political tension in the country occasioned by Yar’Adua’s illness. “Now the forces in the Presidency, in connivance with three governors and a former minister, are plotting against the governor. Although Babangida Aliyu tried to make up with President Goodluck Jonathan during the flag-off

of Zungeru Hydro-power project last week, the forces are not ready to forgive him.” Presidency has said President Goodluck Jonathan has no hand in the NGF crisis. There is intense lobbying of members of the Niger State House of Assembly to impeach Aliyu, a source said. Members are being promised money to join the plot. “There is also a plan to precipitate a crisis of epic proportions, with the aim of destabilising the state and seizing control of the party structure from Aliyu. The ex-minister is alleged to be working in collusion with top politicians from Zone A, consisting of the Nupe, who are in the majority. The promise of governorship returning to the zone is the carrot that the former minister is dangling before politicians in the zone. The source said: “Niger State has a zoning arrangement which takes the Governorship slot to Zone C (Kontagora zone) after Zone B (Minna Zone), where Governor Babangida Aliyu hails from, would have served out his two terms in 2015. “The ex-Minister met with key stakeholders from Zone A in Bida on Saturday 11th May, 2013 after he attended the reception organised in honour of the Secretary to the Government of Niger State, Hon Saidu Ndako Idris Kpaki in Kpaki Village.

Buhari: I’ll back the APC candidate if I’m not picked Continued from page 4

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the election of the NGF chairman, Gen. Buhari said since the forum was not a legal body; he saw no reason for the controversy. “The confusion is unfortunate,” he said adding: “To me, the Governors forum is not constitutional and it is not a party affair because they are supposed to come from all the parties. There is no constitutional law as far as I can see. So,why all these row about it. “I watched the clip of the election which seems to have been conducted in a free and fair way. But then, Jang came and said he won the election when we saw visibly on the screen how they conducted the election. “The man who presided over the election declared the

result there and then. I was surprised how Jang came to say he won the election and proceeded to open his own secretariat. “So, if 36 of them can not conduct an election, Nigerians should begin to appreciate what we are in for when they are supposed to be conducting an election for over 140 million people by 2015.”

•Gen. Buahri

Firm clarifies debt status with AMCON


IOGRET Limited, has clarified issues arising between its Chairman, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and his indebtedness to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). In a statement, titled, ‘AMCON Vs. FIOGRET Limited: The Facts’ the firm said the views of the Managing Director of AMCON, Mustafa Chike-Obi, arising from an interview which was published by a national daily (Not The Nation) portraying its Chairman as a “politician” debtor who has refused to pay an alleged total debt of N617 Million owed to AMCON, amounted to a misinformation. It explained that the alleged indebtedness, which are still being disputed, arose from contracts between Fiogret Limited and

Afribank Plc (now Mainstreet Bank), Equitorial Trust Bank Limited (now Sterling Bank Plc) and Oceanic Bank International Plc (now Ecobank Plc). The firm said litigations arose from these contracts due to breaches by the banks, adding that its claim against the banks is above the N617million AMCON is claiming. “We emphasise that these cases went to Court before AMCON came into existence and are still in court, the statement indicated. The firm said it has been in negotiation with AMCON on the status of the debts, notwithstanding the fact that it is seeking legal redress. “ Following several negotiations with AMCON, we agreed to pay about N658

million which includes the N617 million paid by AMCON for the alleged debts and an additional N41 million as interest,” the firm said. It explained that AMCON asked for an initial deposit of N85 Million, “but we increased it to N200 million. And, on April 26, 2013, we paid a total sum of N189 million to AMCON, as part of the initial good faith payment which has been duly received.” The statement said ChikeObi’s comment that “we and/or our Chairman refused to pay N617 million when in fact we accepted to pay N658 Million from which we have paid N189 million with a proposal to give a Bank Guarantee for the outstanding sum,” is far from accurate.



NEWS NDLEA, Army recover 3,166.15kg drugs from criminals’ hideout By Jude Isiguzo

•From left: Executive Secretary, Punuka Foundation, Mrs. Elizabeth Idigbe; Coordinator, Autism Associates/Centre for Autism and Developmental Disability (CADD), Mr. Okey-Martins Nwokolo; facilitators from U.S., Angela Leonard, Vanessa Vitrillio, Chris Mann and founder, Punuka Foundation, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), during this year’s international symposium on autism, at the American International School, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Fed Govt moves to sell NIPP’s 10 power plants


HE Federal Government has begun the process to divest 80 per cent interest in the 10 power plants built under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP). Private sector operators will retain the remaining 20 per cent. The Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), which manages the NIPPs, Mr. James Olotu, explained that the deci-

By Emeka Ugwuanyi

sion to privatise the power plants is to facilitate the injection of fresh funds into the projects and ensure efficient and transparent management. He said when the power sector is in the hands of the private sector, it would create more incentives for additional investment because investors

would see the transparency and plug in wherever it suits them in the supply value chain. The company chief noted that with the privatisation of the power generating plants, the government can only play its role, where necessary, and focus on investing in transmission for the development of the economy. According to him, there is a direct correlation between

power and degree of development of the country. Olotu said the roadshow for the privatisation of the assets will start tomorrow in Lagos and move to the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), among other countries. The essence of the roadshows, he said, is to meet with prospective investors from Nigeria and other parts of the

David-West warns Jonathan over plot to impeach Amaechi

Adeboye urges Nigerians to pray for national development


•‘You won’t be able to contain the tempest’


FORMER Petroleum Minister, Prof Tam David-West, at the weekend urged President Goodluck Jonathan and those allegedly plotting to impeach Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi to shelve the idea or face the wrath of the people. The former minister warned that if the governor is impeached through illegal means and concocted political reasons, Dr Jonathan will not be able to contain the anger that will follow. Prof David-West spoke on

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

phone with The Nation in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on the alleged plan to impeach Amaechi by those said to be loyal to the President. He said: “My candid opinion is that Jonathan should not try to impeach Governor Amaechi. But if he tries it, he will not be able to contain the tempest that will follow. They (anti-Amaechi elements) should not concoct some flimsy political reasons to impeach him. If he should be impeached

at all, they should follow the constitution; that is, if he has done anything to warrant it. “But now, Nigerians know that Amaechi has not done anything. He is doing very well and he is very popular among Nigerians because of his performance. This is a man who is loved by the people. And the voice of the people is the voice of God. If anybody now plans to impeach him by illegal means, the person is fighting God. “There is a limit Nigerians will tolerate this executive ras-


cality and irresponsibility. Jonathan has done enough to Amaechi. If they go ahead to impeach him, then Jonathan himself must be impeached because he has committed impeachable offences too. He took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the country.”

‘Blame Africa’s failure on political class, academics’


FORMER Ghanaian ambassador to United States (US), Prof Kofi Awoonor, has said Africa’s failure can be traced to its political class because most of the continent’s politicians were products of colonial masters’ dung-heap with voluble promises. The celebrated poet noted that the African university system also failed to be part of the solutions to the African malaise. Prof Awoonor spoke in Malete, Moro Local Government Area, when he delivered the first convocation lecture of the Kwara State University

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

(KWASU). He said: “We must blame the politicians because they came out from underneath of the colonial dung-heap and made voluble promises. We followed them through the streets, mesmerised by the booming voices coming from the propaganda vans, the party songs and indeed the flamboyance of the flags swaying in the afternoon as we waited for the top man. “The African university’s failure to be relevant in the continent’s quest for answers to its

long enduring problems is founded in a number of selfinflicted wounds and ailments which incapacitate it and prevent it from discharging its share of the historic promises it made to the people who keep it in wigs and gowns. “First, the African university has not developed the capacity to take a close look at its immediate environment. The African university seems to be inoculated against the social infections that afflict the rest of the nation. Because it believes that it is not part of the prob-

lem, it is not equipped to be part of the solution. “Our various communities are labouring under social burdens as a child abuse, environmental degradation, endemic illiteracy, breakdown of the family structure, juvenile delinquency and gansterism, urban poverty etc. “Where is the African university in this multiple complexity of unacceptable human conditions in our new republics? How does the African university relate to the state institutions that are supposed to address these problems?

We’ll win more states in 2015, says PDP


HE ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it will win the Presidency and more states in the 2015 elections. Basing its projections on “positive signs and concrete indications”, the party allayed the fears that the current crisis within its ranks will not weaken its chances in the 2015 elections. In a statement yesterday in Abuja by its National Publici-

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

ty Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP said the crisis is a reflection of its democratic stance where its members have the opportunity to air their views and freely canvass their opinions. The party dismissed as “shadow-chasing and daydreaming” the threats by the opposition to wrest power

from the ruling party and take over the government at the centre in 2015. Metuh said the opposition alliance will soon be in disarray, adding that most of those in it will be betrayed and victimised by those he described as godfathers who see the coalition as their personal estate. The party spokesman challenged the opposition to the 2015 contest, saying rival parties are doomed to fail because

world, explain the state of the plants. The NDPHC chief said the privatisation process would not only follow due process but would also be transparent. He said the services of consultants, which include financial analysts and lawyers, among others, have been employed to evaluate the asset base of the NIPP.

A Combined team of operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Army yesterday carried raided Akala in Mushin, a notorious criminal hideout in Lagos. In the operation, which lasted several hours, 47 suspected drug traffickers and addicts were arrested; 3,166.15kilogrammes of narcotics, including cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, were recovered. Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, the Chairman/Chief Executive officer of the NDLEA, hailed the Army Commander, 9 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, for strengthening the raid. He said: “The agency will continue to gather intelligence reports and conduct raids on criminal hideouts. We are prepared to clean up Lagos. “This operation is a pointer to the fact that no criminal location is invincible. The understanding and cooperation of the Nigerian Army is highly commendable.”

Nigerians have realised that they are merely “strange bed fellows” who have nothing to offer but united by bitterness, frustration as well as religious and tribal sentiments. He said: “We welcome the opposition to the contest. However, they are already doomed to failure because Nigerians have since realised their undemocratic tendencies and desperation for power for selfish reasons.

HE General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, yesterday urged Nigerians to pray regularly for the country’s economic development. Adeboye spoke in Lagos during a special prayer organised for the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of organisations at the RCCG National Headquarters in Ebute Meta, Lagos. He also urged the people to obey God’s commandments to attract His blessings. Adeboye said: “God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Many people forget what God has done for them; that is why He does not do new ones. If you want more blessings from God, be grateful for what He has done for you in the past. “For some people, it does not matter what they are selling. They will surely succeed because they made God their friend. Those who make sacrifices to God always receive bountiful rewards.”

Spain police smash Nigerian ‘voodoo’ prostitution ring


HE Spanish police said yesterday they had broken up a ring that smuggled women from Nigeria and forced them into street prostitution by burning them with irons and using voodoo rituals. The police said they have arrested six Nigerians, including the suspected woman ringleader, as part of an investigation launched last year after a prostitute filed a complaint with the authorities. “The control exercised over women was total, involving verbal threats as well as physical violence and various voodoo ceremonies to terrorise them,” the police said in a statement. “The ring caused them serious injury through bites or by using an iron to cause second-degree burns.” The ring recruited women in Benin, the Edo State capital, whose husbands and fathers had died and who were struggling to raise their children.

School owners seek tough measures against child abuse


HE Lagos State chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has urged the Federal Government to introduce stiffer penalties against Nigerians who abuse the fundamental rights of children. It noted that this will check the cases of child labour, trafficking and maltreatment. President of the association, Chief Abayomi Otubela, spoke at Tunwase School, Ikeja, during this year’s Children’s Day. He also advised the government to declare the day free for adults and parents so that they can join the children in the celebrations. Otubela said the war against child abuse should be collective, decisive and effective, adding that it is saddening that though some children celebrate it, there are others on the streets hawking in the midst of vehicles. He said: “I am strongly against corporal punishment for children. The attitude should be stopped entirely because there are other ways to instil discipline without using the cane. Child abuse is illicit, wicked and absurd.”





NEWS S&P raises Access Bank’s credit rating to ‘BB-’

Obasanjo not patriotic, says PDP chieftain

By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business Editor


TANDARD & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) – one of the leading global rating agencies, has raised Access Bank Plc’s long-term credit rating to ‘BB-‘from ‘B+’ with a stable outlook. It also elevated the lender’s longterm Nigeria national scale rating to ‘ngAA-‘from ‘ngA’. This, according to a statement made available to The Nation, attests to the bank’s “continued adherence to global best practices, sound corporate governance and best-in-class risk management framework.” Validating the rating upgrade, S&P said: “Access Bank completed the integration of Intercontinental Bank in 2012 to become the fifth largest bank operating in Nigeria, and a highly systemically important financial institution. We believe that the bank’s improved franchise, branch network and cost of funds will enable it execute its strategy to lend increasingly to Nigeria’s most creditworthy institutions. “We also think that the risks the bank faces from foreign currency lending, although still relevant, have decreased due to stronger risk management and lower foreign currency exposure. Consequently, the bank’s credit losses should continue to compare well with those of Nigeria’s top rated banks through the next credit cycle. “We base our view on the bank’s cost of risk, which has compared favourably with levels of rated peers over the past five years, while stating that the factors highlighted for the upgrade in the bank’s rating would result in future asset quality that compares well with levels at the highest rated banks in Nigeria.”

N10.2b suit: 10 SANs, 87 lawyers offer Melaye free service From Sanni Onogu, Abuja


EN Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and 87 civil rights lawyers have offered the Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Network, Mr. Dino Melaye, free legal service in defence of the N10.2billion libel suit filed against him by the Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke. Melaye told reporters in Abuja that the offer of free service by the lawyers was another confirmation of the alleged abuse of office by the AGF. He said: “It shows that those in the legal profession have recognised the abuse of office and flagrant disregard for the rule of law by the AGF. “Many of the lawyers complained of the conduct of the AGF and have vowed to furnish this case with additional information and obvious cases of abuse of office by Adoke. “The bastardisation, monetisation and commercialisation of the legal profession must stop. Conflict of interest must become history. “Public interest must be placed above selfish or personal interest in the discharge of official responsibilities in the office of the AGF. “The battle to salvage our country from all forms of abuse of office is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.” The ex-House of Representatives member said the lawyers were out to take on the 11-man legal team assembled by Adoke at an Abuja High Court. He said neither him nor his Network has been served the court papers. Melaye in a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan accused the AGF of “outrageous use of powers against public interest.” But the AGF filed the N10.2billion suit, claiming that Melaye’s allegations maligned his name. Adoke had earlier written to the police to investigate the allegations, but Melaye refused to honour the invitation sent to him by the police.

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo



FORMER Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, has slammed former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his recent comments on national issues. He said his actions lacked patriotism and nationalism. Speaking with reporters in Osogbo yesterday, Oyedokun said Obasanjo’s recent posture against the presidency is an embarrassment to the Yoruba. He said: “His actions are a source of worry to us. Obasanjo is destroying the PDP and the opposition is harping on this. We are constrained to let the world know that Obasanjo is on his own. Whatever he is doing or saying does not represent our interest. “I have been receiving calls and text messages. They ask what are we doing in the Southwest about Obasanjo’s

problems? His comments outside the country portray Nigeria in bad light.” Alhaji Oyedokun dissociated the Southwest elders caucus of the PDP from whatever Chief Obasanjo might be saying on national issues. He said his opinion does not represent the opinion of the people of the geo-political zone. Oyedokun said the PDP elders have resolved not to cast aspersions on the personality of the former president, whom he described as an international figure. He said it was unfortunate that Obasanjo was not mindful of his posture globally, adding that it was easy for the international community to believe whatever he said. Alhaji Oyedodun, who was the Secretary to the Oyo State Government during the Omololu Olunloyo administration on the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), faulted Chief Obasanjo’s visit to Borno State. He said the former president only played to the gallery by visiting the state, which is one of the Northern states under the Boko Haram siege. Oyedokun said if Obasanjo was visiting the state out of patriotism rather

than playing to the gallery, he should have consulted the elders. He also berated him for not attending the last Democracy Day in Abuja. Said he: “I was sad that he was absent at the Democracy Day. Why on earth could someone of Obasanjo’s status abandon the Democracy Day? Why should he abandon the May 29 he established. It means he did not believe in it. “He aborted his trip to Morocco on that day to attend a programme in Jigawa State. We don’t know why Obasanjo is doing these. He put the President there and if he has done anything wrong, he should call him and let him know. “People are asking if we won’t do anything about Obasanjo. His actions are putting us in a precarious situation. Whatever we say now as elders, people don’t believe us again. So, we are all saying no to Obasanjo’s actions. “We are not going to sit down silently and allow him drag us back. I am speaking on behalf of the elders in the Southwest. Obasanjo should stop playing God. He is using the social, economic and other powers he has, but we have abandoned him. “His activities are not helping us at all. We are surprised by his current behaviours. Some say it is inherent in him to want to be noticed. But I think

God has already done so much for him not to be noticed. “Is it joblessness? But this is an exPresident with an empire enough to occupy him. Globally he is known to be busy. Is it personal hatred for Jonathan? But he put him there in the first place. He convinced many of us to support Jonathan in his first term. “Some are saying Obasanjo is clever. That he is playing safe before the power shift to maintain a balance. Even some are saying he does not want any government to supercede him.” Alhaji Oyedokun accused Chief Obasanjo of using anti-graft bodies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to hound and coerce the PDP governors to be loyal to him. He said it was lamentable that the anti graft agencies focused on the PDP governors, wondering if the opposition governors were all that clean. On the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the PDP chieftain said the governors have turned the forum into a cult with so much power. He said if he has the power, he would recommend that the NGF be scrapped. He said the suspension of the River State Governor Rotimi Ameachi by the PDP is not punitive, but a process that could end in punishment or reward for him, depending on the outcome of the investigation on his case.

Beninoise, Ghanaian arrested for pipeline vandalism


PERATIVES of the InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP) Special Task Force on Anti-pipeline Vandalism have arrested three Beninoise and a Ghanaian for alleged involvement in vandalising the pipelines of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) located at Akaraba Atlas Cove, Lagos. The suspects, Fufo Soglo, a Ghanaian, Christopher Suso, Matilda Idowu and Yovo Itoh, all from the Republic of Benin, were arrested on May 24 following a tip-off. Police sources told The Nation that the suspects and their leader, Mr. Chukwuma, now at large, approached somebody at the pipelines location to help them convince the police officers on duty to allow them operate that night. It was learnt that the suspects agreed to give the policemen N520,000 if they allowed them operate. We gathered that the informant allegedly played along with the suspects and agreed to bribe the police officers and also asked them to come so that he could introduce them to the policemen. The sources said it was when the informant took them to the police with the N520,000 that the suspects were apprehended. Confirming the incident, the officer in charge of the IG Special Task Force, Mr. Friday Ibadin, said the suspects were arrested with valves that had 12 holes.


The suspects and the recovered items. By Jude Isiguzo

Said he: “With this kind of technology connection, the vandals can siphon over 50,000 litres in less than 30 minutes.” Ibadin said the task force is deter-

mined to curb the activities of vandals. “We are determined, with the assistance of the residents of the communities where these pipelines are located, to reduce the activities of the vandals. I urge Nigerians to desist

from patronising them as anyone caught will be regarded as an accomplice,” he added. Ibadin hailed the efforts of the Sector Commander, Lagos, Onaghise Osayandein and those of his men in the fight against vandals.

No individual can hijack APC, says ACN chieftain

HE Deputy National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Mustapha Boss, yesterday said that it would be impossible for an individual to hijack the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said the party, which is being formed with the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigerian People Party (ANPP) and some members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has a life of its own. His words: “It will be impossible for an individual to hijack APC because it has taken a life of its own.” Speaking in Abuja during the media presentation of a book, entitled: “Engendering Progressive Politics,” he said following the complex struc-

From John Ofikhenua, Abuja

ture that the merging parties adopted to formulate its basis of existence, it would be impossible for anyone to have an overwhelming influence on APC. Boss the APC merger was unique compared with any other alliance ever recorded in the political history of the country, as individuals were insulated from the merging process. He said: “Let me give you an assurance. In the past, even the merger processes were never structured. But you can see that we have decided to do things differently this time. Individuals were completely insulated from the process and the merging political parties were asked to bring teams and these teams went

through the hierarchy: some from the Board of Trustees to the National Planning group to the National Executive Committee.” The book’s author, Salisu Mohammed, cautioned the new party against individuals hijacking the party. He said: “The party must not make the mistake of taking this for granted based on which individuals with ambitions to contest offices would hijack states, local government and ward structures.” He said the party needs to come with strong commitment for democratic funding sources. Although he accepted that such system of funding is challenging, he said the way to begin it is to start to democratise the processes of fund mobilisation towards renting neu-

tral party offices at all levels. Mohammed advised that the interim leaders of APC should be well respected Nigerians whose integrity could hardly be faulted and would represent the best and most knowledgeable. According to him, should the interim leaders of APC turn out to be second rate, based on the usual partisan design since 1999 of reserving the best for electoral contest, the potential of the party to emerge as a progressive party would be greatly compromised. He also suggested that APC should be rolled out with strong membership mobilisation programme across the country. Boss added that Nigerians, no matter their ethnic and religious groups, should be invited to join the party.



NEWS Businessman Bode Akindele turns 80 •Cleric urges Nigerians to be disciplined From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan


IGERIANS have been urged to be disciplined, truthful and God fearing. The Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Methodist Church, Nigeria, Rev. Kehinde Stephen, spoke yesterday during the 80th birthday thanksgiving service for Chief Bode Akindele (OFR) at the Agbeni Methodist Church Cathedral in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. Lamenting the high rate of corruption in the country, Rev. Stephen said: “We have to come to terms with God. Let us focus on all that is true. The situation is very sad. Nigeria started 419, now it is all over the world. Nowadays, we get mails on the internet from dubious people, but I say to myself I would not fall victim. If God is not at the centre, there will be problems. Our trust is in God. “The celebrant is renowned in so many ways. He has touched many lives and we should emulate his lifestyle. The Methodist Church of Nigeria is appreciative of your contribution towards the establishment of Wesley University in Ondo.” Akindele donated some air conditioning units, padding for the pews and a music organ to the church. Dignitaries at the event include the former Prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang; former Archbishop of Ilesha Methodist Church Rev. Ayo Ladigbolu (rtd.); Mrs. Elizabeth Makinde, wife of the church’s Prelate, Dr. Sunday Makinde. Also present were Rev. Bayo Akinlawon, Sir Bola Ogunsanwo, Chief Adebayo Akande, Chief Olu Falomo, Chief Olabisi Akindele, Chief Bamidele Oladeji, Chief Olawale Kuye and Chief Aminat Abiodun.

Fayemi blames worrisome health indices on bad governance


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has blamed Nigeria’s worrisome health indices on bad governance. He spoke in Lagos on Saturday at the Eighth Prof. Olikoye RansomeKuti Memorial Lecture. Fayemi, who was the Guest Speaker, spoke on “Tackling the challenge of health and social inequity in Ekiti State”. He identified policy inconsistency, lack of political commitment, corruption, infrastructural decay, undue politicisation of the health sector and declining professionalism as problems militating against healthcare delivery in Nigeria. Fayemi said the absence of a National Health Act that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the government in healthcare management has also contributed to the sector’s woes.

•720,000 residents benefit from free health missions He said: “Other obstacles are weak co-ordination, integration and implementation of health policies and programmes; inadequate budgetary provisions for health; inequitable distribution of the health workforce and weak primary and secondary levels of care with a weak referral system.” The governor said the nation’s health indices are worrisome, noting that the sector’s performance index is similar to that of “war torn and less endowed countries even after 52 years of independence”. He said Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is the second worst globally, adding that there is high prevalence of diseases, such as cancer, HIV/ AIDS and diabetes, among others. Fayemi said healthcare is a social service, which is “essential for sustainable economic

production”, adding that “health is wealth”. He said developing countries require “bold and imaginative healthcare policies to accelerate the attainment of optimum socio-economic development with the people at the centre of policy planning”. Recalling the health situation in Ekiti State before he assumed office in 2010, the governor said his administration designed and implemented many initiatives to improve public health but there are still challenges. He said a sector of the population still live below poverty line, adding that those in rural areas do not have adequate access to qualitative health care services. Fayemi said his administration’s health agenda is focused on the provision of free medical services to children below five years, expectant

mothers, the physically challenged and senior citizens above 65 years as well as the establishment of health centres in all localities to increase immunisation coverage. He said over 720,000 people, a quarter of the state’s population, have benefited from his administration’s free mobile health missions in two years. Fayemi said the administration is planning a Community Health Insurance Scheme in partnership with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to sustain the free health programmes. He said about N125 million was spent on the medical bills of indigent residents. Fayemi said his administration has renovated all health facilities across the

•Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun playing golf at a tournament marking the second anniversary of his administration at the Golf Resort in Abeokuta, the state the weekend.


state, built an Accident and Emergency Unit at the State University Teaching Hospital and bought 15 ambulances to take care of emergencies.

Govt to terminate Ikorodu/Shagamu road contract From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja


INISTER of Works Arch. Mike Onolomemen has said the contract for the renovation of the Ikorodu/Shagamu road, which was awarded to Hajaig Construction Ltd in 2009, would soon be terminated. He said the contractor has only done 10 per cent of the work and cannot meet the dead line. Onolememen spoke in Abuja while receiving members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abubakar Mohammed, said: “I want to clarify the fact that there is no conflict between the Federal Ministry of Works and any state government, most especially the Lagos State government, on the rehabilitation of Federal roads. “The most important thing here is for all federal roads to be motorable. Before states can repair federal roads in their domain and be reimbursed thereafter, the projects must be approved by the President and the states must adhere strictly to the guidelines of the ministry.”

Oyo farmers demand N60m compensation for crops damaged by herdsmen


ARMERS from seven villages in Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State are demanding N60 million as compensation for crops destroyed by cattle. The villages are Oluwatedo, Temidire, Idode, Kaye, Fitila, Isale-Awon, and Ekefa. At the weekend, the peasant farmers told reporters how herdsmen had been grazing cattle on their farms, destroying crops worth millions of naira. Their spokesman, Mr. Sunday Adeladan, said: “The invasion of our farms by herdsmen started about two years ago and efforts to check it are often met with violent attacks by the cattle rearers. “Farmers from each of the seven communities planted cassava, maize and yam on about 50 acres of land but were unable to harvest five ridges because the crops were eaten up by cattle owned by the bororo herdsmen. “Whenever we demand compensation, the herdsmen draw out their daggers and cork their double-barrel guns. When we complain to the police, they end up treating us as the accused. Often times, the police lock us up and torture us. “We are unable to repay

Stay off our affairs, Ondo farmers tell govt official


ARMERS in Ondo State, under the aegis of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), have told a top official of the Ministry of Agriculture to stop meddling in their affairs. In a statement by its President, Evang. Joshua Oyedele, and the Financial Secretary, Chief Oruwa Dada, AFAN urged Governor Olusegun Mimiko to call the official to order. It urged the official to account for the association’s fund. The association alleged that the official was only “interested in supervising farmers’ money but does not care about their welfare and productivity. It urged the official to tell the public how the association’s N23 million was spent. From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo

over N20 million loans because we have no means of doing so. Our means of livelihood have been damaged and eaten up by cows and we have no other means of sustenance. “Our families are dying of hunger. We have nothing to eat, let alone send our children to school. It is that serious. We urge the authorities to intervene now before it is too late, because a hungry man is a mad man.” Chairman of the Ilora Farm Settlers’ Association Alhaji Azeez Giwa said over 8,009 acres of farmland

were destroyed by cows between 2003 and 2013. He said the settlers have not been able to repay a N7 million loan received from the government and demanded N40 million compensation. Giwa said: “To worsen the situation, the role played by the police in this matter is sad. Our lives are often threatened whenever we report the herdsmen to the police. “I can show you some of the bullets picked up after policemen invaded this settlement a few years ago and shot at us indiscriminately to show their support for the herdsmen. “Some of us were arrested, brutalised, maltreated, unlaw-

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

AFAN said of the N23 million budgeted for the association last year, the ministry released only N7 million to the group. It said it owes the official no explanation on how it spent the N7 million because he is not a member of the association and the members have not complained. The farmers said they had been finding it difficult to access their fund since the official assumed office. They said: “Anytime we have a programme, he tells us to go and withdraw money from our account, even after the government has released money to him for the programme.” The official could not be reached on phone, but a source at the ministry denied the allegations. fully detained and charged to court on false allegations. The leader of the herdsmen, one Alhaji Jere, boasted that he is untouchable and vowed to continue to graze his cattle on our farms.” The farmers accused the House of Assembly of insensitivity, saying it failed to respond to their several letters. Giwa said many of the settlers have started relocating, following persistent attacks by the herdsmen. The Imam of the farm settlement, Alhaji Saliu Salami, said: “One of my son’s arms was almost amputated after he was attacked with machetes by the herdsmen. We are liv-

ing in fear here because any attempt to check the herdsmen leads to threats to our lives. We have reported severally to the police to no avail.” The farm settlement was established by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It has 105 houses and about 30 shanties. The houses, which accommodate about 700 people, are in a deplorable condition. The settlers urged the government to renovate the settlement and provide basic amenities for them. They said: “The transformer installed here is faulty and not functioning. Our only source of water supply is a

well with a hand pump. We have no health centre. We always have to take our pregnant wives to town when they are in labour. “We have one primary school. Though the teachers are dedicated, they come from town because there is no befitting accommodation in the settlement. We urge Governor Abiola Ajimobi to come to our aid and save our dying souls.” The monarch of Ilora, Oba Stephen Oparinde, refused to comment on the settlers’ complaints. A top police officer said: “Whenever the farmers complain to us, we try to settle the matter amicably, but they always insist on compensation. When we take the matter to court, the farmers always back out on the excuse that they cannot withstand the long process of justice.” Farmers in 12 villages in Orire Local Government are also complaining of attacks by herdsmen. The villages include Odedaa, Baba Selee, Aba-Oba, Lasubulumi, Oko-Ile, Elesun, Adeosun, Fapote, Onitirin, Boosa and Ikoyi-Ile. The farmers are seeking the government’s intervention.



NEWS Fashola advocates global environmental standards •American activist seeks sanction for oil spillage


AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola at the weekend restated the need for globalised standards on environmental issues. He spoke at the Lagos House, Marina, while hosting American rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson. Fashola said there should be globalised standards for handling environmental disasters, irrespective of whether the disaster took place in a developed, developing or underdeveloped country. He said the issue was raised at the first Kuramo Conference in Lagos, where Rev. Jackson was the guest speaker. Fashola said the summit took the position that if the price of oil and gas products, for example, has global matrix and is standardised, then there should be a global standard for cleaning up the environment. He said one of the developments that came out of the last Kuramo Summit is the Lagos Court of Arbitration, which resolves commercial disputes between businessmen and investors. Fashola said: “We believe the private sector has an important role to play, but it can only play that role if the public sector discharges its responsibilities well. “A responsibility, which is to enable things to happen; to provide the backbone, the super structure, the laws, the regulations, the extensive infrastructure, transportation, security, financial regulation as well as support for technological development that enables every person, who finds a space in the private sector, to live out his/her dreams and these are the underlined policies behind our budget conception, budget implementation and our decision to refocus on four sectors of the Lagos economy through Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing (PATH).” Rev. Jackson hailed the governor’s initiatives to improve Lagos. He said if oil companies, such as Shell and Chevron, could not engage in gas flaring and oil spillage in the United States (US), the same should apply in other continents and advocated global sanctions for such acts. Rev. Jackson said his organisation intends to work with the Federal and Lagos State governments to wipe out malaria, provide potable water and nutritional meals for every child.

Support Fayemi, senator tells opposition


ENATOR Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central District) has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to support the administration of Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi. He said the time had come for PDP members to contribute to the state’s growth. Ojudu was reacting to the Supreme Court ‘s dismissal of ousted “Governor” Segun Oni’s petition. Oni was challenging the Appeal Court verdict that declared Fayemi governor. In a statement in Abuja, Ojudu said he did not understand the logic behind Oni’s petition, saying it does not take a lawyer to know it was a stillborn from the word go. The statement reads: “The judgment lasted less than 20 minutes. The court dismissed the PDP’s case with ignominy. My friend and brother allowed himself to be duped again. I am happy and sad at the same time. “I am shocked that someone as educated as my friend, Olusegun Oni, could not assess the situation and seek good advice. “Fraudsters in his party set him up and sent him on a

journey to nowhere. It is time for all friends of Oni to prevail on him to leave PDP. He does not belong in that crowd.” Ojudu congratulated Fayemi, his executive committee members and Ekiti people for yet another triumph of truth over falsehood. He described the ruling as a demonstration of God's love and support for the Fayemi administration.

•From left: Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Diocese Dr. Alfred Martins addressing reporters on his 74th birthday at the Holy Cross Cathedral Catholic Mission, Lagos. With him are Rev. Fr. Anthony Nwosu and the Metropolitan Grand Knight of Saint PHOTO: NIYI ADENIRAN Mulumba, Sir Patrick Ikemefuna .


Oni: I’m ready to be probed

USTED Ekiti State ‘Governor’ Segun Oni has

told Governor Kayode Fayemi to go ahead and probe his (Oni’s) administration. Oni was reacting to Fayemi’s statement that he would probe the Oni administration, which began on May 29, 2007, and was ousted on October 15, 2010. Fayemi made the statement at the weekend while addressing a crowd at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, after the Supreme Court dismissed Oni’s petition seeking to oust him (Fayemi). The governor said: “With the conclusion of this case, they should be ready to account for the money they stole, the contracts they used to siphon our money and all the micro-credit money they stole.” In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, Oni said he was ready “for probe by anyone”. He said: “This time, Fayemi must make real his threat. If he does not, we will get the court to compel him to do so. However, he must not be the one to appoint those who will carry out the probe because his administration must also be probed.” Oni urged Fayemi to insti-

•Akeredolu hails Supreme Court’s verdict From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

tute an independent panel, comprising representatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Institute of Chattered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Transparency International (TI) and other relevant agencies, to probe his administration. The candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in last October’s governorship election in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), at the weekend, hailed the dismissal of Oni’s petition. In a statement, Akeredolu said: “The Supreme Court has

confirmed the overwhelming rejection of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the people of Ekiti State. The apex court declined to assume jurisdiction in the vexatious suit instituted to distract the real government of the people. “I salute the courage of the justices of the Supreme Court, who rightly rejected the non suit. The real victory was recorded when the Court of Appeal booted out the usurpers of the mandate of the people and installed the people’s choice. “The pretenders to popular mandate spun all manners of perfidious yarn to create confusion. The culmination of all this contrivance was the wicked and unfounded allegation against Justice Ayo Salami, the President of the Court of Appeal, by these desperate el-

ements. “I congratulate Fayemi and wish him more years of purposeful service to the people.” It was not clear last night what the probe of Oni would cover. But a verification panel set up by the Fayemi administration earlier indicted Oni for mismanaging the dairy farm at Ikun-Ekiti. Many cows were imported from South Africa with several millions of dollars and kept in the farm, but the animals were nowhere to be found when Fayemi assumed office. As at 2010, the Ado-Ekiti/ Ifaki road was only 20 per cent completed, even though the government had paid the contractor 80 per cent upfront. The multi-million microcredit scheme was also found to have been mishandled.

EKSU: Govt approves instalmental payment of fees


KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has advised the authorities of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) to allow students pay their school fees in installments. Fayemi gave the advice after series of meetings with representatives of the students, the Parents’ Forum and the authori-

ties of the institution. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, the governor said the payment format would be worked out by the authorities and communicated to the students. He urged the students to complying with the arrangement.

Bola Ige’s daughter urges Fed Govt to tackle insecurity


HE daughter of the slain former Attorney General of the Federation, Justice Bola Ige (SAN), Mrs. Funso Adegbola, has urged the Federal Government to tackle insecurity. Her father was killed by gunmen in his Bodija, Ibadan, home on December 23, 2001. His killers are yet to be apprehended. Mrs. Adegbola spoke at the weekend at her school, the Vale College in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, during the final selection of winners for the 10th annual scholarship award in memory of her mother, the late

•Gives scholarship in mum’s memory From Bisi Oladele and Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

Justice Atinuke Ige. She described the declaration of a state of emergency in three northern states as a temporary measure and urged the government to find lasting solutions to insecurity in Nigeria. Mrs. Adegbola said: “Rather than paying lip service to the security challenges, the government should tackle the root causes of the problem. “As the chief security officer, the government has the responsibility of protecting the

life and property of its citizens. It should take this seriously. “Youth restiveness, unemployment, poverty, imbalance in social class and corruption, among others, are among the major causes of insecurity. Until the government bridges the gap between the poor and the rich in this country, we may not experience peace. “Citizens also have a role to play by bringing up our children in the way of the Lord, so that in the future, they will be responsible people and not

terrorists.” She said the government can solve security challenges through the use of modern technology, adequate remuneration and training of security operatives. Mrs. Adegbola said her mother sponsored the education of many children during her lifetime, adding that the annual scholarship award was to keep her memory alive. She said 89 pupils from 15 public secondary schools in Ibadan participated in the competition and 10 were

shortlisted. The scholarship is worth N1 million a year for the ‘A’ Level programme at Vale College. It covers tuition, accommodation, books and uniforms. Any pupil that gets all ‘As’ in the ‘A’ Level examination would be sponsored to any government university. After the oral competition, three students were awarded scholarships at Vale College. They are: Ogunleye David from Alayande School of Science, Adeyanju Ololade from Wesley College of Science and Shuaibu Paul from Command Secondary School.




‘PDP setting stage for APC’s takeover in 2015’


GROUP, the New Frontiers, yesterday said that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), going by its undemocratic tendencies and despotic postures, was making things easier for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to form the government in 2015. The group, in a statement signed by the leader and convener, Mr. Patrick Mgbebu, called on the PDP leadership to go ahead and suspend the PDP governors that voted for Governor Chibuike Amaechi at the last Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election. It said the party has become so intoxicated with power that it has lost every sense of decorum, adding that “PDP’s reaction to the outcome of the NGF election

betrays its regard for democratic ethos”. The group also stressed that the events of the NGF election and the utterances of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Senator Ahmed Gulak, that nobody could upstage PDP “show the despotic mindset of PDP leaders.” The statement reads: “We, the members of the New Frontiers, Ebonyi State chapter of the All Nigeria People’s Party, (ANPP-NF) feel outraged by the events in Nigeria’s political space in the recent weeks. From the macabre show of contempt for the tenets of democracy during the last NGF election to the obnoxious presidential dinner, it is our opinion that PDP is out to endanger the nation’s democracy.

“The suspension of Governor Amaechi, the winner of the NGF chairmanship election, from the PDP is a collective affront on the tenets of politics as a game of numbers and democracy as a display of freedom of choice. It is our belief that this naked show of impunity is a symptom of a greater malaise bedevilling the ruling party. Having squandered the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians these past 14 years, it is becoming evident that PDP is out to pull down Nigeria’s democracy on itself.” Mgbebu said it was not surprising that Ebonyi State Governor Martin Elechi was among the “bad losers in the NGF election,” adding that “our governor has long been identified with anti-democratic tendencies, especially

against the background of his attempt to stop ANPP convention in the state in 2011.” He said: “In Ebonyi, people are compulsorily retired or sacked for seeking social progression. Many civil servants have been sacked just by showing their political preference. It would not be surprising if the suggestion to suspend Amaechi from PDP came from the Ebonyi Governor because while PDP was talking about reconciliation, Elechi was preaching exclusion. The best thing for PDP to do now is to suspend all governors that voted for Amaechi. For us, we know that PDP is just setting the stage for APC to take over leadership and rescue this nation from the political marauders.”



NEWS ‘Make Nigeria less dependent on importation’


HE Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, at the weekend urged universities to research into making the country spend less on the importation of goods and services. He added that they could be made available in the country. Chukwumerije said the only way tertiary institutions could justify their existence was through investment in research work relevant to the needs of Nigerians and other Africans. The committee members were in the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) on oversight functions. Other members of the committee that visited the institution were Senators Olusola Adeyeye, (Vice Chairman), Pius Ewherido

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

and Abubakar Bugudu. Chukwumerije said: “What we have seen at UNILORIN showed that the leadership is highly focused, especially by the quality of the services rendered. I hope they will keep it up. But as Adeyeye said, we want more work on research from our universities to make them fulfil more of their mandate.” He said members of the committee were not out to engage in the witch-hunt of the authorities of the institution. “We are partners in progress.” He added that the necessity to improve on education quality in Nigeria should be a “national challenge.” While praising the university for keeping a serene en-

vironment and running a decade of uninterrupted academic calendar, the senator said the nation should engender the spirit of excellence and healthy rivalries among its universities to get the best out of them. Adeyeye canvassed for computerisation of more departments of the nation’s universities to accelerate the processing of the results of students, adding that they should get access to their results “at least three weeks” after their exams. He said more research work should be carried out on healthrelated issues, especially in the area of sickle cell peculiar to Nigerians and Africans. The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, said the second generation university, despite its uninterrupted academic sessions, still receives lesser allocations from the Federal Gov-

Etisalat introduces 10k/sec community tariff



ernment in comparison with other universities of similar status. He put the population of students of the institution at about 30,000, and said the school could only accommodate 3,000 on the campus, representing a mere 10 per cent of the total population. Prof. Ambali added that UNILORIN would require assistance in the area of security.

TISALAT Nigeria has unveiled the revamped Easy Cliq for more value. Customers on the Easy Cliq platform will now enjoy 10k/sec tariffs in the biggest and coolest community of Easy Cliq subscribers, bonus on incoming calls, free 90MB data monthly, in addition to free midnight intra network calls from 12:30am to 4:30am. Speaking on the revamped package, the Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar, said the new offering is to enable customers enjoy more value from the network. He said: “The revamped Easy Cliq gives customers access to lower tariffs based on their daily spends. This unique tariff plan is such that when a customer has used N25

in a day, his/her tariff to all networks drops instantly.” Mr. Ammar said the lowered tariff is in addition to the benefits EasyCliq customers are used to. “The threshold daily spend is N25, which calls would be at 40k per second to all networks. Upon attaining the N25 threshold, tariffs drop automatically to 10k per second for EasyCliq to EasyCliq calls, 20k per second for intra network calls and 30k to other networks. All these in addition to bonus free minutes on incoming calls, 90MB of free data monthly, unlimited free SMS intra network and N4 SMS to other networks,” he added. The EasyCliq package is tailored to support the communication needs of Etisalat’s youth customers.

NCAA issues certificate to West Link Airlines By Kelvin Osa Okunbor


HE Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at the weekend issued an Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) to West Link Airlines, for general aviation and scheduled operations. The issuance of the AOC is a follow up to the airlines’ meeting the prescribed requirements by the NCAA, under the new Nigeria Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), which became effective last month. West Link Airlines is among the new airlines to be granted AOC by the NCAA under a stricter regulatory regime rolled out by the authority. Presenting the AOC to the Chairman of West Link Airlines, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, the Director of Airworthiness Standards, NCAA, Mr. Benedict Adeyileka, an engineer, hailed the management of the airlines for waiting for the documents, whose processing began in 2010. He urged the airlines’ team to ensure that the standard of safety does not fall below expectation and to maintain good safety records at all times. According to him, the entrance of West Link Airlines into the Nigerian aviation industry has opened way for other airlines operators to apply for AOCs. The director said NCAA was behind the airlines. He said the rules and regulations guiding the airlines operations must be adhered to. Mshelia said his ambition to establish West Link Airlines began in 1999, but it was halted because of the Jos crisis in 2001 as the airlines would have started operations from Jos.

















Wrong-headed strategy • 100 percent profit repatriation not enough to entice foreign investors


ENULTIMATE week, Vice-President Namadi Sambo was on hand to offer a cocktail of sweeteners for foreign investors seeking a piece of the Nigerian action. Prospective investors, he declared at the ground-breaking ceremony of Idu Industrial Park in Abuja on May 23, would be allowed to repatriate their profits 100 percent. He also restated some of the existing incentives such as the 140 percent capital allowance in research development, 20 percent capital allowance for five years on local raw materials utilisation, as well as 30 percent tax relief and expenditure on public infrastructure. Given the fetish that the Jonathan administration has made of foreign investment in the last two years, it is at once tempting to see the recycled incentives as new. The truth however is that none of the measures outlined by the VicePresident can be said to be outside the provisions of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act No. 16, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provisions Act No. 17 of 1995. Indeed, both legislations, now in their 18th year, have remained the fulcrum of the foreign investment quest. They guarantee foreign investors unrestricted remittance of dividends or profits from their investment in Nigeria, subject as it were, to evidence of capital importation issued by the banks on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria; they also contain provisions for repatriation of capital in the event of liquidation, in addition to a cocktail of other incentives.

Debatable still, is the effectiveness of the provisions in attracting the much-desired foreign investment. That is not to take anything from the administration’s efforts to ramp up the drive for investment. No one denies that the economy needs all the help it can get to energise it. Indeed, foreign investment would seem the best bet to fast-track the sorely needed technology transfer and to boost employment. However, as the Federal Government may have found out by now, it is one thing to roll out incentives; it is another to secure buy-in by prospective foreign investors. We must say here that as far as the quest to attract foreign investment in the last 18 years goes, the result, even with the best of efforts, has been a mixed grill of sorts. First, we know enough of the profoundly loose, laissez faire environment where just about anything can pass for ‘foreign investment’ not to appreciate the challenge of sifting the wheat from the chaff from the hordes said to be scrambling in. Second, a number of so-called investors see Nigeria as a country where anything goes; the latter explains the ease with which foreign companies flout our regulations – and this can range from abuse of expatriate quotas designed to regulate the influx of foreign personnel, to other sundry practices which border on economic sabotage. The question is – where are the safeguards to ensure that genuine investors as against the flight-by-night investors are the ones coming in? Have appropriate

lessons been learnt from the collapse of the nation’s capital market, when the exit of foreign portfolio investors at the onset of the global credit crisis brought the roof down? Rather than dissipate all the energies in futile pursuit of foreign investors, the Federal Government could do a better job of creating the enabling environment that would not only foster the growth of businesses but also make local ones truly competitive. It seems about time our charity began at home. We have no doubt that much of the current efforts to market the so-called incentives would have been pointless were the appropriate infrastructure to be in place. True investors obviously need very little persuasion. What stands them apart is their ability to sniff opportunities wherever and whenever they may be found. That, apparently seems lost to our officials.

‘We have no doubt that much of the current efforts to market the so-called incentives would have been pointless were the appropriate infrastructure to be in place. True investors obviously need very little persuasion. What stands them apart is their ability to sniff opportunities wherever and whenever they may be found. That, apparently seems lost to our officials’

Amaechi’s impeachment moves •Jonathan has himself to blame for over-heating the polity


N May 29, ironically the National Democracy Day, the newspapers were awash with anti-democratic news: a Presidency lobby, led by a SouthSouth governor, allegedly armed with a war chest of N7 billion, was prowling around the 27 pro- Amaechi law makers in the 32-member Rivers State House of Assembly, to corruptly lure some of them to join an alleged impeachment conspiracy against Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Normally, such an allegation should have been flatly dismissed as a harebrained piece of gossip. More telling for democratic institutions, it should have been dismissed on account that the Presidency of the Federal Republic was too refined, too cultivated and too elevated for such a scheme. Still on institution building, such alleged illicit attack on the office of Governor, no matter the perceived rascality of its temporary occupier, should not even be contemplated, given the imperative of strengthening federal institutions, in Nigeria’s shambolic federal system. Besides, the reports alleged that the tar-

‘It is on account of this perennial bad faith that any fair mind must address the latest allegation of illicit impeachment. For attempting to go for broke – law and justice be damned! – just to crush an opponent, Jonathan destroys nobody but himself. To start with, a president that sides with illegality just to gain a temporary advantage, turns nobody but himself into a mere joke’

get was seven legislators. This, other things being equal, would amount to N1 billion per induced legislator, if indeed the allegations were true. But seven added to five only amounts to 12, 10 short of 22, the two-thirds majority needed to unseat a governor in a House of 32. But the Jonathan lobby has proved itself capable of such desperation, since the president’s war against the governor started. For a rumoured bid for Vice-President in 2015, Godsday Orubebe, Niger Delta affairs minister, opened the fray, lampooning Governor Amaechi for using the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) chair to ridicule President Jonathan, a god Orubebe’s tone suggested everyone must worship, even if he is only a federal republican president, who is under checks and balances. Thereafter, the federal authorities grounded the governor’s aircraft, literally mid-air. As it turned out, the House of Representatives probe on the matter, by its justice committee (chaired by Ali Ahmad) and aviation committee (chaired by Nkeiruka C. Onyejeocha), found the Minister of Aviation to have suborned the relevant aviation agencies to pursue a witch-hunt against the governor. The probe committee therefore recommended the governor’s aircraft should be de-grounded. As the air power show went on, there were threats of withdrawing security details from Governor Amaechi, the Rivers State Speaker and the rest of the legislature as well as from other ranking members of the state government entitled to state protection. Eventually, good sense prevailed when AIG for Zone 6, Jonathan Johnson, dismissed such talks and openly apologised to the governor, even if Mbu Joseph Mbu, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, had shown reckless partiality in the matter. So, when

Governor Amaechi alleged that his life could be at risk, he sounded easily believable. Then after the NGF election was lost and won on May 24, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) slammed an instant suspension on Governor Amaechi. Though it claimed the action had no bearing to the NGF win and loss, it showed its bad faith by saying it suspended Amaechi for refusing a “lawful order” to undo what was a clear function of the Rivers State legislature – the reinstatement of the Obio-Akpor Local Government elected executive, which the legislature earlier suspended to investigate alleged sleaze. It is on account of this perennial bad faith that any fair mind must address the latest allegation of illicit impeachment. For attempting to go for broke – law and justice be damned! – just to crush an opponent, Jonathan destroys nobody but himself. To start with, a president that sides with illegality just to gain a temporary advantage, turns nobody but himself into a mere joke. Again, by warring against Amaechi so recklessly, the president tragically undermines Nigeria’s federalism. The governorship is no presidential poodle. Both are creations of the law. By the same unthinking aggression, the president further smashes up his party in a grand delusion of smashing the governor. For a president who seems desperate to run again in 2015, it is a classic case of cutting your nose to spite your face. President Jonathan must know this: he might boast huge powers. But the conceit of thinking his word is law is not one of them. He is restrained by law as any other citizen. So, thinking he could bring the house down, just because a citizen is pressing a right he does not especially fancy, would only push the president into the doldrums.

Religious freedom under attack


IOLATIONS of religious liberties have increased in some areas of the world, a U.S. State Department report says, singling out Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, even Belgium. “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” So says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. But a voluminous report issued by the State Department last week demonstrates that those lofty principles continue to be widely dishonored. In some areas, the violations of religious liberty have increased, with a rise in sectarian violence, an increase in antiSemitism and a proliferation of blasphemy laws that are used to suppress not only religious but political dissent. The International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, which was released by Secretary of State John F. Kerry pursuant to a 1998 act of Congress, is unsparing in describing violations of religious freedom even in countries allied with the United States. For example, the report notes that Pakistan has been the scene of violence against Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims, and it accuses the government there of enacting intolerant laws. In Egypt, it says, there has been little accountability for perpetrators of religious violence. In Saudi Arabia, “the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited, and the government enforced restrictions on religious freedom.” Not all of the offenders were Islamic states. In China, one of eight nations designated as “countries of particular concern,” the government’s respect for religious freedom declined during 2012, according to the report, particularly in Tibet and the Xinjiang region, home to Muslim Uighurs. The report’s inventory of restrictions on religious freedom even included Belgium, where courts upheld a ban on face coverings that made no exception for Muslim women. A major theme in this year’s report was the enactment of laws making it a crime to insult religion, which, as Kerry noted, “are frequently used to repress dissent, to harass political opponents and to settle personal vendettas.” Ironically, the same U.N. General Assembly that approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights encouraged the enactment of blasphemy laws by voting three years ago to condemn the “defamation of religions.” In the aftermath of the report’s release, some questioned its utility because it is primarily an exercise in information-gathering and does not trigger any sanctions. The same complaint is leveled against the State Department’s annual report on the state of human rights in various countries. But there is value in an objective and open-eyed accounting, even if U.S. diplomacy sometimes must be guided by factors other than a foreign nation’s respect for individual rights. And sometimes, though not often enough, governments can be shamed by the truth into changing their behavior. – Los Angeles Times

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IR: A report in The Punch of May 24 quoted Mallam Nasir El-Rufai’s at the sixth annual Alao Aka-Bashorun lecture organized by the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch as saying that 42 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed and that he has two daughters with Master’s degrees and that they are yet to gain employment. I agree when he says: “We are sitting on a demographic time bomb”; but I cannot comprehend this: “I have two daughters with Masters Degrees and they are unemployed. They have been at home for more than a year and I cannot get a job for them”. That Mallam el-Rufai, is looking for jobs for his daughters shows how elitist he is and how much he believes in guanxi (Chinese word


El-Rufai and his unemployed daughters for personal network) and not merit. Most Nigerian youths look for jobs themselves, carry around their CVs, or even try self-employment. Therefore, if his daughters are unemployed, then they have become - like other youths their age - hapless victims of the weak system which el-Rufai helped create. The second assumption is that elRufai wants to gain public respect

at the expense of President Goodluck Jonathan’s government. Regardless of how hard el-Rufai bites his lips and offer cockamamie definitions of government and leadership, the truth is that he is part of the government; he is part of Nigeria’s problem. He should send his daughters CV’s to Nigerian Airways, Ajaokuta Steel Co; Delta Steel, Aluminum

Smelting Co. Ikot-Abasi and the numerous government businesses that he helped privatize. If his privatization programme worked, his daughters will have work today and Nigeria will be easier for the present government to rule. Because he failed, that is why we are plunged into these problems today. President Jonathan is culpable for any social problem we may have in

The trouble with governors’ forum


IR: The crisis within the socalled Nigeria Governors’ Forum has not only caused unimaginable embarrassment to the Nigerian people but has also unwittingly brought terrible shame to the country. It is no gainsaying that the nation is presently confronted with monumental security, socio-economic and political problems hence it is incumbent on the political leaders in the country to take a decisive action with a view to finding immediate and lasting solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing the nation. Certainly, the present situation in the country calls for undiluted spirit of patriotism and commitment on the part of our political leaders to enable them ameliorate the terrible sufferings of our people and as such, there should be no room for our governors to engage themselves in unnecessary and unproductive ventures or jamboree. The present situation whereby the governors constitute themselves into various irrelevant associations such as the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and most recently the P.D.P Governors’ Forum (P.D.P.G.F.) and always junketing to Abuja for meetings which could only be described as a mere jamboree, thereby abandoning their state official duties is totally unnecessary and

complete waste of public fund. Such regular meetings do not serve any useful purpose to their people in view of the abject poverty prevalent in the country. The Nigerian constitution did not provide for the Nigeria Governors’ Forum or any such forums for that matter. The only body known to the constitution is the National Council of State which is comprised of the President together with the governors of the 36 states and other top government functionaries. The bickering among the governors on irrelevant issues such as the election of the chairman of the governors’ forum in the face of the mul-

tifarious problems currently confronting the nation is certainly the height of gross insensitivity on their part. The ugly scene on the nation’s television whereby their “Excellencies” were seen quarrelling over the conduct of the election of their chairman is appalling and totally in bad taste. The incident cast serious aspersions on the image and reputation of the governors usually addressed as “Excellencies.” The unbecoming behaviour calls to question as to whether they still deserve to be addressed as excellencies in view of that unfortunate incident during the controversial election of the chairman of their forum.


various flag bearers at both the national and state levels. Truly if APC can overcome this challenge, PDP will not only be disappointed but devastated and that will serve as the first rain that will sweep them away. We appeal to the committee in charge to fast tract the process of registration and please don’t give room for the INEC (an appendage of PDP as shown by some of their actions and utterances) to refuse APC registration. Every requirement needed for registration of

IR: With much enthusiasm, we are expecting the conclusion of the much expected fusion of the three parties to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The infamous “Mr. Fix it” of the PDP was quoted to have said that “the proposed merger of the four political parties under the umbrella of All Progressives Congress (APC) will collapse with the first rain”. The referred first rain here to my understanding is the selection of party officers especially at the national level and the

In the light of the foregoing therefore, I hereby call on the various state Houses of Assembly to prevail on their governors to withdraw immediately from the various unproductive forums by urgently passing resolutions to that effect so as to avoid future wastage of tax payers’ money. The public fund used for the regular Abuja jamboree by the governors could better be channeled to more meaningful projects that would definitely impact positively on the lives of the downtrodden masses of the country. • Nze Nwabueze Akabogu (JP) Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State.

Pitfalls APC must avoid merging political parties must be taken note of and addressed no matter how minute it is. We are passionately appealing to the leaders of the involving parties to please be ready to make sacrifices whenever the need arises. The problem is the character of our past and present political leaders and their inability to place collective interest of the national above their own parochial interest. We have the confidence that if our great leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a tested political tactician noted for

Nigeria because he is our leader. It is also instructive to note that all our former presidents – Yar’Adua, Obasanjo, Abacha, Babangida, Buhari etc are also to blame. Their failure is what Jonathan is confronted with today as Jonathan’s successor will have to confront Jonathan’s failure. A former minister of el-Rufia’s status should be the least to cry wolf. He was the Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and among the very few who coordinated the economic activities of the Obasanjo’s administration. His continual criticisms – that are sometimes more of a diatribe than constructive criticisms betrays him. I love his gusto, his intelligence, his zeal but will not buy the idea of him seeking for jobs for his daughters. Years from now, when we are no longer revolted by seamy details, when we are exhausted with this holier than thou attitude; when we must have noticed those that play the Orwellian intrusion, when we are worn-out of those brimming with a dangerous self-righteousness and when the salacious has become tiring, we may well wonder what this was all about. How was it that we lost our country on account of a lie told about leadership by some smarmy men? The answer is that we live in an era where fame has become synonymous with celebrity, in which personality has replaced ideology and a former minister, suffused with zealotry, said what he should not have uttered. • Uwalaka, Temple, Woosong University, Daejeon, South Korea.

his unwavering commitment to democratic ideals and principle should combine efforts with Gen Mohammad Buhari (rtd), noted for his high for his high level of transparency and disciplined nature, to form APC, the union can place Nigeria above irrational emotion, tribal sentiment and uncontrollable ambition. The APC will surely be the birth of the much awaited beautiful ones in Nigeria. • Ogunji S.A, Lagos




Please, make Nigeria indivisible


ODAY in Nigeria, 2015 has become detraction. Those in power are hardly working for the people any longer, but more for themselves. The focus of the remaining two years of tenureship is now more on power retention. It as if accomplishment of electoral promises and attainment of people’s desires are no longer of value. The nation is now filled with desperation for occupying political seats rather than working to put smiles on the face of the depressed people whose vote brought them into power. Insecurity is everywhere and the poor are getting poorer. As it were, politics is bringing in strenuous tensions, making distress to envelope the land the more. Ahead of the so-called Democracy Day last week, it was as if people were waiting for official announcement to confirm the death of Nigeria as a nation. But thank God that on that day, President Goodluck Jonathan and Senate President David Mark were reported as declaring Nigeria as indivisible, talk less of dying, despite the escalating challenges. Making public presentation of his mid-term report in Abuja after which some of the ministers had rolled out heartening financial indicators, which among others was that Nigeria has become the highest investment destination in the continent, the president said contrary to the position of the opposition parties, he had achieved so much in the two years of his administration. Mr. President self-applauded his administration’s performance. He challenged the media to use his 234-page report as a confirmable tool for any objective assessment. “I plead with all of us, especially those who want to assess and write about it to develop criteria because without a marking scheme, you cannot mark anybody’s paper. Develop your own, compare with previous governments. Develop your marking scheme and mark us.” Perhaps he is unaware of the numerous online hands now placed on websites to respond to virtually all criticisms in the media. In seriousness, Mr. President ought to know that Nigerians need no marking scheme to know that under him, the rate of unemployment has gone up, security of lives and property and the welfare of the citizens have receded discouragingly. In truth, what scoring format does one need to know that despite the ostensibly inspiring economic figures rolled out by the ministers, the average Nigerian is worse off today than before PDP took over power in 1999? The core basis of the nation’s afflictions has been that most of those who find themselves in leadership position hardly


INALLY, the story ends. The story teller has gone to sleep. He has gone with his stories – a bagful. But then another story begins. It is telling the story according to the story teller. It is the story of Chinualumogu Achebe and his stories. It is also about the stories of Chinua Achebe, the man with the stories. It is a story that thrills, enthrals and captivates - both sides of it. Children hear it and demand for more until they go to bed dreaming it. Adults too. They continue to cogitate over both the story and the story teller until a mental war begins to take place; an endless clash of which is the bigger - the story or the story teller. At that remote village of Nkwele Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State where the story began 82 years, ago it was a gathering of those who came to tell their own last stories, while others came to hear them. Yet others became the story. They came from all parts of the globe – Europe, Asia, The Pacific, Antarctica, Australia, Oceania, The Americas and Africa, where the story of the story teller had spread and is being retold in different tongues; written and verbally. Those who failed to make it to the ancient village, physically, had to rely on the varied media instruments to hear the story or tell theirs. The frenzy actually began on March 22, when the story teller told his last; when the eagle descended from the iroko and took a permanent habitation with others before him. Sitting there in the crowded enclosure of St. Phillips Anglican Church, I could tell that though many struggled, there were and still are many stories to tell. Attempts will be made as they were indeed made on that occasion. But it will continue to be like the proverbial story of the blind men attempting to describe an elephant by feeling it, each telling his according to where he touched and felt. I even told mine. When confronted by those who wanted to know my own version, I said: “Chinua Achebe rose to become an iconic figure in the area of literary geniuses. He stood up for everything that was right, everything that was good, everything that had to do with accountability and transparency. Chinua Achebe was so bold, so great, so courageous that he could hold a whole country ransom whenever he was ready to call for accountability and transparency. Chinua Achebe was a man who never feared anybody and he spoke the truth from the profundity of his heart not minding whose ox was gored. So, we give God thanks that this wonderful man, one man iroko tree and one man army squad has gone the way of all mortals...” To many, the fascination in the story of Achebe was that he told the story of Africa the way no other did – that indeed there was life and living in the continent; that Africans didn’t live on trees or hunted each other for meals; that it was actually the white man that came and put a knife in Africa, cutting the existing cord of sequence and order that bound those

lead by example. The realism is that good leadership deficit has constituted the greatest clog in the wheel of national development and progress. As an opposition party said, “performance is like a pregnancy that cannot be hidden.” Other than swelling corruption and desperation to retain power at all cost, how much of practical performance in power, security, job creation and vital infrastructural developments is already making impact on the life of the people today? It is non-performance that is pushing desperate aggression and the fight of imaginary enemies much more within the ruling party. With sincere and wise people on the president’s side, the battle with Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi should not be as dismal as it is. Perhaps they are blind to see the unnecessary conflict thinning the integrity of the president while Amaechi is being lifted higher. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo who preferred to be part of Jigawa State May 29 show than being with the president in Abuja called for change in leadership. He was quoted: “You know you can help somebody to get the job, but you cannot help him to do it. If somebody cannot do the job, we have Sule Lamido who we are confident can do the job.” Before this, Obj who reigned and ruled over Nigeria in totality of more than 13 years, had earlier condemned the increasing level of indiscipline in PDP leadership. Although THE GUARDIAN editorial reminded us how he contributed to the foundation of the indiscipline, the newspaper also recollected: “To say that PDP “lacks sufficient discipline” may well be the least that could be said of the party that has ruled Nigeria for 12 years, with very little to show for it. Poverty in the land is acute and widespread, corruption is endemic, critical infrastructure decrepit and insecurity of lives and property prevail in a huge magnitude. The PDP-led government has also not found solution to the problem of epileptic power supply. The situation deteriorates by the day without much hope of a respite.” With this contention, how then can Nigeria be saved from being dragged to primitivism? If the Bible says that a soul that sinneth shall die, why can’t the present leadership focus more on cleansing the nation from impurity so that it will not finally disintegrate? It will be in the nation’s interest if political office can become less attractive and corruption eliminated. It is clear today how politics is fuelling corruption. The desperation to occupy political office is largely to loot, plunder and embezzle. Politicians are not seeking for power to serve anymore. From federal to local level, the few in power corner the resources of the land and leave the masses with the crumbs. When there is leadership error, the common man will suffer the consequence. If sincere steps are not taken to correct the ills in the system – starting from the top, there might not be restoration of the people’s confidence in government.

Ultimately, when citizens are not given desired measure of goodness of the land and assured of protection, the country will be pushed to crumple. As those in power might be pretending not to know, many Nigerians are not blind and are not foolish. People are aware of the level of corruption, insecurity, insincerity, joblessness and poverty. They will become totally disillusioned if the leadership failed to resolve the afflictions.


Re-Amaechi God-given victory. Let PDP work hard for magical change of electorate minds before 2015 elections. Otherwise, the leaders’ colossal selfinflicted damage will ruin them. The NGF election exposed their shoddiness in handling credible elections. The president is rattled and more errors are bound to be committed. Please let us watch the video tape of the election and compare it with Gov. Akpabio’s doctored voters’ register or endorsees. INEC should borrow his style to save cost. From James, Jos. Dear Sir, I concur with your piece on Amaechi’s God-given victory. Nothing to add or subtract. Sentiment and desperation are ample words in Jonathan’s dictionary. Victory is really God-given. As for Akpabio, his first name is Godswill. By this he should know that God gives and takes. Your write up actually made my day. May you continue to inspire us with stimulating and thought-provoking mind. From Dr. Apelologun, Ilorin. Hello Sir, that is a wonderful write up. Akpabio should know what Chibuike means in Igbo language. 2348033339232 “The nation that once had the potentiality of greatness has been stagnant for too long” was your last statement. Pres. Jonathan might not have done well. But if in those past long years those whom ACN are trying to take us to had governed well, this nation wouldn’t have been in this sorry state. That you and ACN are trying to package us back to Egypt is gravely unfortunate. You are not a young boy. If you’ve been watching Nigeria event with objective mind, you’ll know where our problems are from. From Amadi Ibeleme Mr. Soji, your write-up in The Nation is a perfect fact of what happened and what is going to happen. Thank you and God bless. From Chris Ukpere, Abuja. Your piece spoke my mind. Akibu Hassan, Ijebu-Ode Dear Soji Omotunde, Sir, not only am I pleased with your write up on Amaechi’s God-given victory, I also want to encourage you for good work. This election was monitored online by Nigerians. So, who are those fooling the president? From Solomon Vambe, PH If you are an apologist of Amaechi, just tell us. You do not know the man called Amaechi, but we know him well. You are a Yoruba man that shut your mouth during OBJ’s misrule and wants to use Amaechi against GEJ. It won’t work as it will only dig his grave politically. 2348055331902

Achebe: The story and story teller By Chinedu Ositadinma Nebo elements of life and living together. But he did not stop there. From Things Fall Apart, a book he wrote at age 28, he went ahead to do other works, which basically pointed out the contradictions between life and living, man and his environment and the consequences of those contradictions. These were the import and purport of No Longer At Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, The Trouble With Nigeria, There Was A Country, et cetera. In all, Achebe, simply tried to re-establish the principle of the teaching of Jesus Christ that Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone. He tried to tell the world that man could indeed conquer his environment; that all that is needed is for him to follow the sequence as part of creation and not to attempt the impossible of re-creating it. He tried to point out the hugely destructive factor of man’s desire and attempt to own the world. Things Fall Apart, the book that put him in the eyes of the world must have sold in hundreds of millions and earned more proceeds for its translation into about 50 languages. Other works could have earned him fairly sizable amounts equally. This is apart from his other earnings from his work as a teacher and other engagements. Therefore, there is no doubt that he ought to be an extremely rich man. Yet, his riches translated more in his reflection of ordinariness and his closeness to humanity and his environment. At every point he perceived that environment drifting towards danger, especially man-made, he never failed to warn. That was the essence of those books. For him, any position must never be used to serve self more than the society. It was this demand that he made of me few days after my appointment as the Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), in 2003. He had called from the US to wish me success. But beyond that he reminded me that I must strive to re-establish the standard of the institution and ultimately Restore the Dignity of Man, its motto. I must not fail, he emphasised, to use that platform I had to advance humanity. The effect of those words cannot be stated here. But it suffices to say that the modest achievements recorded in that assignment owes a lot to their direct impact. And for those who thought that such a demand was utopian, impossible and even obtuse, Achebe showed how it could be done, using his immediate environment, Nigeria. Yes, some of the things he wrote, said or did, could be considered as and were indeed controversial. But more important were the motives, principles and courage that drove those thoughts and decisions. Either in his controversial re-

jection of national honours or the fact that he, according to the Most Reverend Ikechukwu Nwosu, officiating minister at his funeral church service, described same sex marriage as alu (taboo) or his latest book – There Was A Country, Achebe was not only able to demonstrate unquestionable courage to speak his mind at all times, but that a man could and indeed, should say no to certain things no matter the attraction. Whether wrong or right, in the instant examples, Achebe was able to demonstrate the teaching that saying No! at a time it is needed could reduce greed, one of the greatest elements that have held Nigeria down and prevented the giant in it from rising. By writing his version of part of the Nigerian history in that book, he simply tried not only to state the truth as he knew it, but remind the country of the glorious past and the need to rediscover itself. Many actually miss the point by putting Achebe on the hot seat for those deeds. They do because they forget that he was an intellectual. And one of the most visible elements of intellectualism is that those who inhabit that elevated platform often disagree on virtually every issue, yet remain friends. The abiding lesson(s): We can say No! to a lot of things in this country, particularly the desire for mindless and obscene acquisition of wealth through corruption and obtrusively clogging the steady match towards making Nigeria the great country it deserves because of selfish agenda. More importantly and even more relevant to our present reality, Nigerians can disagree at every point and in all places, but must remain friends. We must never allow such disagreements destroy our unity. Those are what we owe Achebe as a legacy. • Nebo, professor of Metallurgical Engineering, is Minister of Power

‘Whether wrong or right, in the instant examples, Achebe was able to demonstrate the teaching that saying No! at a time it is needed could reduce greed, one of the greatest elements that have held Nigeria down and prevented the giant in it from rising’





LATEAU State governor and factional chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Jonah Jang played out the hypocrisy that is the stock in trade of our leaders, when he apologized for the problem that dogged recent election of the forum. Receiving a solidarity delegation on his purported election as the forum’s chairman, Jang had promised that under his leadership, corrections would be made and efforts intensified at reconciliation. He said during his tenure, the forum will work out a structure for rancor free elections and he regarded himself as an instrument in the hands of God to unite and reconcile the forum. Given what we know of the conduct and outcome of that election, it is a big surprise that these statements are coming from Jang. This is a man who by all accounts, lost to the Rivers State governor, Chibuike Amaechi by 16 votes to 19 in a freely contested and fair election. Instead of accepting its outcome, he and some of his colleagues embarked on a smear protest that cast serious slur on their integrity as governors. They complained of weird and inexplicable grievances that many have found difficult to understand. Brandishing a list of 19 governors who had in April purportedly indicated the direction of their support, the protesters sought to deceive the public that it should be taken as reflecting the outcome of voting. Yet, they voted. The votes were counted; results announced and Amaechi declared winner. Then they began to talk of signatures and all that trash. We began to hear that Amaechi should have resigned before contesting. Amateur video footage from one patriotic governor put a lie to all that. The same governors who sat tight while gunning for a second term had the temerity to talk of

‘And unless the winner of that election is allowed to exercise his mandate, we should consider the forum dead. Then, history will record Jang as the instrument in the hands of those who brought about that pass’


Emeka OMEIHE 08121971199 email:

Jang and his NGF resignation. What a bare faced hypocrisy! Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko scoffed the video recording on the ground that it was not all embracing. He said aspects of his contributions that Amaechi should resign from his post before contesting were not shown in the video. He also spoke of his contribution that the election should be by open balloting which was also overruled. Mimiko appears to be contending that the power of incumbency tiled the balance in favor of the Rivers State governor. That could as well be. But it is the same incumbency power that his sponsors deployed to advantage to extract questionable commitment from him to vote for their preferred candidate. Those who opposed open balloting and the resignation of Amaechi before contesting were not oblivious of the game plan of the now protesting governors. They wanted to monitor the actual voting of those they had previously obtained their signatures for some inexplicable reasons. How free and fair would such election be? Why compel the governors to sign before election if the intention is not to influence the process? So, it is a matter of one group outsmarting the other. However, the absence of the observations of Mimiko in the video clip did not in any way, encumber its credibility. It did no collateral damage to the fact that votes were cast, counted and announced before their eyes. At any rate, those were the high points of that exercise that should attest to its credibility. If the dissenting governors were that serious on some of these issues, they should not have allowed the election to hold. By consenting to the ground rules and voting, they lost the moral ground to latch on to these excuses to

UESDAY, April 23, I missed a media chat hosted at Western Hotel, Ikeja by the deputy governor of the State of Osun, Otunba Titi Laoye –Tomori. I, however, did not miss the fact that the event was put together to appraise the content and texture of educational renaissance of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in the state. While the phenomenal Opon Imo innovation is a major plank of Aregbesola’s educational reform, it is, by no means, the reason the event was organized. This is precisely where a handful of analysts got the facts wrong. Rather than an occasion for the launch of Opon Imo, the gathering was designed, among others, to herald the official presentation of the electronic learning devise today, Monday, June 3. In fact, keen observers of events in the state of Osun since the inception of the Aregbesola administration would readily come to the inescapable conclusion that, indeed, educational intervention is the sole reason the administration came into being. Nothing, however, can be farther from the truth as huge transformation in other socio-economic sectors – roads, electricity, hospitals and modern markets among others – would bear witness. To be honest, anyone who holds such view can easily be pardoned. What with the intimidating tell-tale evidence of huge work in the area of education. Many schools all over the state have begun to wear new look. Many of the outdated colonial relics in schools are being pulled down to be replaced with modern structures. These buildings, before Aregbesola picked up the gauntlet, were, at best, eyesores. Successive administrations in the state, particularly the Olagunsoye Oyinlola- led one, viewed the decay with an air of nonchalance. New schools are also being constructed. Personnel development, another major aspect of the educational policy of Aregbesola has received giant attention. Salaries, allowances and a coterie of other entitlements of teachers have been promptly attended to. This development represents a comfortable departure from the old practice or unpaid salaries and allowances which often resulted in seizures in the educational sector of the state. A couple of decades ago when the almighty West African Examination Council (WAEC) was truly conducting its yearly tests foolproof, many of us in college had an uphill task passing. But tragically painful as it were, we drew consolation in the fact that we could re-sit the examination after each disastrous attempt. Each year, we would dust our books, ready for another titanic confrontation with the body. We had books to dust. In the state of Osun of Aregbesola era, Opon Imo has replaced our old reliable books. The privilege of having books to turn to after leaving school is precisely what critics of Opon Imo academic innovation in Osun have against the project. Other short-comings are challenges posed by epileptic power supply and inability of the scheme to accommodate printing of materials. While post-college referral is a challenge the scheme has to contend with at the moment (this is surely an area the Aregbesola administration would

fault its outcome. Had their preferred candidate won, Mimko and co. may not have had any cause to complain. Yet, it was from the same election that Jang is laying claim to the leadership of the forum. If that election was flawed as we are being persuaded to believe, from where did Jang derive his mandate to lead a faction? If the pro-Jang governors were honest in the matter, there were two options open to them: reject its outcome and call for a fresh election. But they had a mindset. They had been primed to a leadership headed by Jang irrespective of the outcome of the pool. That was why our governors had to embark on very embarrassing protests unbecoming of their elevated offices. It was a monumental embarrassment to behold. There is nothing wrong with the Plateau State governor apologizing for the misconduct of his colleagues. They really misbehaved and Nigerians still deserve unreserved apology from them. It is shameful for the arrow head of that misconduct to be parading himself as the forum’s chairman even as he is apologizing for the problem on which basis he lays claim to that post. The minimum expectation in the circumstance would have been for him to repudiate his claim to that office and congratulate the authentic winner of that election. But to hold his questionable mandate with one hand and be rendering apology with the other is the height of deceit. He even talks of uniting the forum and working out a structure for rancor free elections. He also sees himself as an instrument in the “hands of God to unite and reconcile the forum”. Jang is entitled to his views on the issue

no matter how absurd that may seem. But the question that he needed to answer is which mandate is he referring to and from where did he derive it? Jang does not have the mandate of the governors and therefore cannot lay claim to any. And he now talks of God using him to unite and reconcile the forum. It is difficult to fathom how this can happen. Rather, the baggage his dissenting colleagues have placed on his back will further weigh down and polarize the forum to the point of irrelevance and disintegration. The Bible says, we should not use the name of God our father in vain. It appears that references by Jang to himself as an instrument in the hands of God in respect of the contrived crisis in the forum, amounts to using the name of God in vain. It is a sad reminder to the charade that played out during the 2003 governorship election. In one South-south state, an ambitious governor who had massively rigged himself into power by hook and crook; appeared in church the next day with his entire family, mounted the pulpit, singing and dancing for what God had done for him. And he got away with it. Because God is very forgiving and lenient, all manner of people use his name in vain without fear of immediate repercussions. But all such people should be wary of His wrath some day. This writer has great sympathy for Jang. Not for any other reason but for the conspiracy of enemies of peace to make Plateau State uninhabitable through serial killings, maiming and destruction of valuable lives and property. Most of the times I have watched him on screens or in the newspapers, the impression I get is that of a governor fighting organized conspiracy from very powerful forces. He comes across as a man who knows his detractors but very handicapped in squaring up to them. He has not been allowed, through these contrived plots to have his vision of that state come through. Such a man deserves our collective sympathy. Jang should therefore have been saved the avoidable burden which the factional chairmanship of the governors’ forum is to him. He is talking in a manner that will erode the sympathy and respect he had enjoyed from discerning members of the public before now. Obviously, the forum is heading for the abyss. And unless the winner of that election is allowed to exercise his mandate, we should consider the forum dead. Then, history will record Jang as the instrument in the hands of those who brought about that pass. That is the foreboding verdict.

The coming of Osun’s Opon Imo By Sola Lawal have to address urgently), the twin issue of printing of materials as well as electricity challenge are not much of a task. It needs to be emphasised, right away, that government does not necessarily have to provide this electronic devise to pupils who fail to pass the final college examination at the first attempt. We all can recall that although we enjoyed free education in the Awolowo era complete with free textbooks and tuition, the government of that period did not saddle itself with the additional responsibility of provision of books after college years. During that epoch, post college candidates for WAEC satisfied their text book needs privately, This is not meant to foreclose assistance of the Aregbesola administration in the area of providing these all important tablets affordably to candidates in the post-college category. Not at all. This is precisely why it makes a whole lot of sense that the Chinese company, manufacturers of the Opon Imo device, is now setting up its production factory in Osun. Apart from addressing the question of ready availability of the device to users of all classes, the production line is, unquestionably, a veritable source of employment to the populace and revenue milk cow to the government. The way the entire Opon Imo scheme is designed, pupils need not print out any material from the devise because each school pupil owns one that can be assessed at any time desired. A tablet in the scheme is an all-inclusive little technology containing all a pupil needs to navigate college academically. 750,000 units have already been distributed to all pupils in Senior Secondary School one to three (SSS 1-3). Each of the units, in terms of configuration, is designed in a way that no pupil needs any text book except exercise books. Each unit has three components – e-Book library, integrated test zone and virtual learning. The e-Book library section contains 66 text books, 56 of which are subject based while the remaining 10 are for other developmental engagements including entrepreneurial, leadership, civic education, health hints and guidance among others. The integrated test zone, on the other hand, boasts of 10 years past questions and answers of Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, (SSCE), NECO, JAMB and so on. In the virtual learning segment, users are treated to high powered electronic teaching and learning classroom experience with a teacher in charge. The moment a pupil resumes in class at SSS1, he or she takes possession of one of the tablets and such would remain with the pupil until graduation from college three years after. Every pupil lives with the devise 24 hours of the day. Any material required by pupils is therefore only a key-tab away. Why should

anyone need a printer when a pupil would only lose possession of the devise on completion of studentship? Along with the gadget, each pupil also takes possession of two charging devises-electricity and solar. Solar charging accessory, given to every school user, comes handy where electricity is not available. On full charge, an Opon Imo would run for five hours of intense usage. Through the Opon Imo initiative, an unusual feature has been introduced into the Nigerian school system, throwing up an entirely e-Book community of students. More remarkable, it is edifying that the technology is being introduced to a very poor, largely rural human setting - a pointer to the fact of its adaptability anywhere and capability to help pupils leapfrog the challenges of poverty and illiteracy. In all sincerity, the replacement of books with Opon Imo is, to put it mildly, a turning point in the educational life of not only the state of Osun but the nation as an entity. For once, someone has courageously taken more than five decade old educational revolution of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo a step higher – almost beyond imagination. This Aregbesola initiative - without emphasis- has not only introduced a new outlook in the teaching and learning conundrum but has- more significantly, changed the way we see and prepare the younger generation for the challenges of global competition for advancement. Today, a colossal section of my generation relies on our children to do anything meaningful using the wonder electronic slate with which almost every task is now accomplished. A great number of us have similarly experienced untold frustration in our attempt at compliance due to impatience largely imposed by pressure in other areas as well as the ever so natural dwindling in the cognitive aspect of our being due to advancing age. Contemporary school pupil in Osun would confront no such obstacle. Such a child would be leaving college as a proud member of world community, computer literate- wise. • Lawal is Publicity Secretary, Action Congress of Nigeria, Ogun State.

‘The replacement of books with Opon Imo is, to put it mildly, a turning point in the educational life of not only the state of Osun but the nation as an entity. For once, someone has courageously taken more than five decade old educational revolution of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo a step higher – almost beyond imagination’






ISSUE ‘Why housing for all remains elusive’ - P. 27

Institute opens new route to stock broking - P. 37 News Briefing How to ensure quality telecoms service EXPANSION of capacity and compelling mobile phone service providers to improve are some of the ways to check the incessant problems of service quality in the country,Vice President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Dr Okechukwu Ugweje, has said.

- Page 26

ICAN recognises NDIC’s role in reforms HE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Abuja District Society has acknowledged roles played by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in bringing sanity to the financial system, especially in the course of the banking reforms.

Fed Govt to raise N80b Global Depository Notes


O further strengthen Nigeria’s presence in the International Capital Market (ICM), the Federal Government has concluded arrangement to issue N80billion FGN bonds in form of Global Depository Notes (GDN) before the end of the year, it was learnt. This is in addition to the issuance of US$1billion Eurobond and US100 million Nigeria Diaspora bond. Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr Abraham Nwankwo, who made this known at a briefing on “Advances in, and Status of the Public Debt Management in Nigeria”, in Enugu at the weekend, also said the nation’s total debt to Gross Domestic Products

Mobil:losing value

- Page 36 DATA STREAM COMMODITY PRICES Oil -$107/barrel Cocoa -$2,686.35/metric ton Coffee - ¢132.70/pound Cotton - ¢95.17pound Gold -$1,800/troy ounce Rubber -¢159.21pound MARKET CAPITALISATIONS NSE JSE NYSE LSE

-N7.560 trillion -Z5.112trillion -$10.84 trillion -£61.67 trillion

RATES Inflation 11.9% Treasury Bills 7.08% Maximum lending-22.42% Prime lending - 15.87% Savings rate 2% 91-day NTB 15% Time Deposit 5.49% MPR 12% Foreign Reserve $35.8b FOREX CFA 0.2958 EUR 206.9 £ 242.1 $ 156 ¥ 1.9179 SDR 238 RIYAL 40.472

• Nigeria’s debt-GDP ratio now 20.7% By Ayodele Aminu, Group Business, Editor,

(GDP) ratio stands at 20.77 per cent against the 21.50 per cent in December 2011. A GDN is a debt instrument created by a depositary bank, such as Citibank, that shows ownership of a local currency-denominated debt security. GDNs emulate the terms (interest rate, maturity date, credit quality, etc.) of particular local currency-denominated bonds; however, they trade, settle, and pay interest and principal in U.S. Dollars. The proposed Diaspora bond is an ambitious plan to

New revenue formula ready in December

- Page 26 MOBIL Oil Nigeria Plc appears to be in a paradox of winning the market but losing the value. The petroleum-marketing major has reversed the decline in sales that brought its turnover to its lowest in 2010 with significant growth in sales in 2011 and last year

Following the approval of Federal Executive Council, we have concluded arrangements to commence the construction of not just one, but five brand new world class international airport terminal. - Ms Stella Oduah, Minister of Aviation


From Nduka chejina Asst. Editor, Abuja

HE new revenue formula may be ready by December this year,The Nation has learnt. Going by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) timeline, work on the formula might be completed before December. A source at the Commission, who pleaded not to be named, said the new revenue formula “is shrouded in secrecy for now.” The source said some funds had been released by the Federal Government to conclude work on the new revenue formula, adding that the money was being released “in tranches”. He said N1.3 billion has been appropriated this year for the exercise, adding: it “would be used for upgrading of ICT infrastructure and data collection nationwide; stakeholder engagements and advocacy, and the purchase of logistics for state operations. With the partial release of funds for the execution of the new revenue formula,“the exercise for the new revenue formula is now fully on course,” the source said. It was learnt that the RMAFC would embark on sensitisation tours, and ask for repeat of submission of memoranda to allow those who did not make submission earlier to do so. The commission will also hold town hall meetings involving “all stakeholders, particularly the three-tiers of government to make it more inclusive so that no-

body is left out.” It was learnt that consultations are on-going with other stake holders, like the National Boundary Commission, the Surveyor-General of the Federation and the states equivalents to address the thorny issue of boundary delineation. Security challenges and paucity of funds impeded operations of the RMAFC towards releasing the muchawaited revenue formula last year, the source said. A commissioner at the RMAFC, who asked that his identity be veiled, said “there are strong indications that state governments may get more than 26.72 per cent, but it is uncertain if they will get more than the Federal Government,” as it’s been canvassed in some quarters. Under the revenue sharing arrangement, the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent, states 26.72 per cent and local governments, receive 20.60 per cent. A source said states have been clamouring to get the lion share, arguing that they have more responsibilities that require funding than the Federal Government. They claimed to be funding most federal agencies, rehabilitate federal roads in their jurisdiction, and even fund JTF activities in their states. Despite the fight from the state governments, they have been accused of “muscling local governments not to have financial autonomy, because of elections. They want to decide who gets what and


Continued on page 26

get the Nigerian Diaspora to invest in the country’s infrastructure. It is aimed at tapping into the healthy remittance market. There are about two million Nigerians in the UK and remittances from the diaspora worldwide are thought to make up about 3 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). To guard against the vagaries of inflation, the DMO boss also said about N577billion inflation linked bond would be raised this year to finance the 2013 budget deficit. He said 20 Nigerian companies raised about N200 billion from the domestic bonds market between 2005 and 2012 to fund the real sector. Dr Nwankwo said these developments depict the achievements of the transfor-

mation agenda of the current administration. He said: “This is important because it is in a process of managing Nigeria’s public debt that we develop the market to become useful for the private sector. Less than seven years, at least 20 companies in Nigeria have gone to market to fund the real sector of the economy. This has nothing to do with the government. It has to do with what we have done to transform the market.’’ Noting that the DMO had transformed the market to raise long-term funds of up to 20 years from the market, he said the office had made it possible for Nigerian companies to issue their own debt instruments in the ICM to fund various projects in the country.

He said the nation’s debt to GDP ratio should not exceed 20-25 per cent threshold and there was government’s commitment to ensure that it did not rise beyond 30 per cent. Dr Nwankwo said that the threshold set for countries in the rank of Nigeria was 40 per cent. He said in spite of that the 40 per cent threshold, the nation had decided to remain unadventurous by ensuring that it would not exceed 25 per cent by 2015. He, however, said there was the possibility that the country’s debt to GDP could reach 30 per cent in the future, adding that borrowing was part of modern economy. The DMO boss said the nation’s domestic and external debt stood at N6.49 trillion and $6.67 billion, as at March.



BUSINESS NEWS Flight Schedule

Tanzanian PM praises Dangote’s new plant


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

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

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

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

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

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

LAGOS – KADUNA Aero 08.00 Chanchangi 10.00 Arik 10.00 Arik 15.10

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

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

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

08.40 08.40 14.55 15.10 17.40

1. 2. 3. 4.

Arik Aero Arik Aero

LAGOS – WARRI 08.15 11.50 11.55 14.55

09.1 12.50 12.55 15.55

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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

08.50 09.45 14.00 15.45 19.55

LAGOS – OWERRI 07.20 14.00 16.30

08.30 15.10 17.40

1. Arik 2. Arik 3. Arik

LAGOS – MAIDUGURI 1. IRS 11.15 13.15 2. Arik 15.50 18.00 LAGOS – ILORIN 1. Overland 07.15 2. Arik (M/T/TH/F) 17.30

08.00 18.00

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


• Marketing Manager, Gulder, Legend and Life, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Emmanuel Agu; winner of Legend’s unique shopping experience to Dubai, Temitope Ogunyemi; celebrity prize presenter, 9ice and Senior Brand Manager, Legend and Life, Breweries PLc, Funso Ayeni, at the first raffle draw to pick winners of trip to Dubai in Season 2 of Legend Extra Stout’s Real Deal National Consumer Promotion in Lagos.


How to ensure quality service delivery, by NCC chief

XPANSION of capacity and compelling mobile phone service providers to improve are some of the ways to check the incessant problems of service quality in the country. Vice President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Dr Okechukwu Ugweje, told The Nation in Lagos, that the operators should address the problem. DBI is the manpower training institution of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Ugweje lamented that poor vservice quality is real, arguing that anybody who thinks it is not an issue is truthful. He identified network congestion as one major cause of poor service quality, adding that unless massive investment is carried out to strengthen the network, the issue will remain with the industry. “Quality of service is a problem and anybody that tells you it is not a problem is being economical with the truth. One of the problems that cause quality of service issue

By Lucas Ajanaku

is network congestion and the only way you can solve it is to expand the network. There are other issues in quality of service. Most of the telcos are aware that they do not have good quality service,” he said. He said the recent sealing of mega billion deals with both local and international finance houses is one of the efforts being made by the operators to correct the obvious disequilibrium between infrastructure and subscribers. According to him, the NCC is also not resting on its oars as it recently sanctioned operators that failed to live up to the key performance indicators (KPIs) entered into with the NCC.

“I know quite honestly that some of the telcos are doing something by expanding their network. I cannot point exactly at what they are doing, but I have friends among the telcos and they have told me the type of expansion they are doing. Re-

cently, some of them signed loan deals with banks to raise huge amount of money to expand their networks. I think that is one of their efforts to address quality of service. On the other hand, NCC is also doing something, trying to regulate properly and trying to make these telcos provide good quality of service and as you know, the NCC have had occasions to slam fines on the operators to make them do the right thing. So everybody is working hard but in my own opinion, it is not something that can be overcome in a hurry. I were the chief executive officer of one these companies, I will try to address the issue from the bottom top. Anything that relates to quality of service has to be addressed. The government can actually do more to force them to do something on quality pf service but I am optimistic that quality of service problem will become a thing of the past,” Ugweje said.

ICAN recognises NDIC’s role in reforms


HE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Abuja District Soci-

ety has acknowledged roles played by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in bringing sanity to the financial system, especially in the course of the banking reforms. ICAN Chairman, Abuja District, Shehu Usman Aladire, said NDIC’s role in the reforms inspired depositors’confidence in the nation’s banking system. Aladire spoke at a gala night in Abuja to honour the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, NDIC, Umaru Ibrahim. The ICAN chairman cited the increase of deposit insurance coverage levels from N50,000 to N200,000 per depositor of deposit money

banks (DMBs) and the extension of insurance coverage to depositors of microfinance banks (MfBs) as well as the primary mortgage banks (PMBs) at N100,000 per depositor of the MfBs and PMBs including the second upward review to N500,000 and N200,000 per depositor of DMBs and MfBs/PMBs. This, he said, had met the economic realities and promoted public confidence in the financial system. Another achievement of the corporation, he said, was the establishment of the bridge bank as a failure resolution option in the interest of depositors and other stakeholders. “While stressing that the NDIC’s initiative was internationally applauded, ICAN also noted with delight that the bridge bank approach adopted in 2010 prevented systemic

crisis and outright liquidation of the affected banks. Such it said, would have had dire consequences for depositors and other stakeholders in the nation’s banking system,” a statement from NDIC said. The ICAN National Vice-President, Kabir Alkali Mohammed, also presented an award to Ibrahim for his contributions toward the safety, soundness and stability of the financial system. He described the recipient as an embodiment of hard work, integrity and humility. He said the vision of ICAN with its merit awards was to promote exemplary leadership by identifying and honouring individuals with outstanding achievements and enviable contributions toward the growth and development of the nation.

New revenue formula ready in December Continued from page 25

it is through the effective control of local governments that they can do so,” the source said. He said: “Since the Federal Government has exclusive control of slush funds like Excess Crude Account and Natural Resources Funds, it can muscle states and carry out projects that are of little value to the society.” The solution, he said, is through constitutional amendment by the National

Assembly. The logical thing, he added, should be that states and local governments, which are more in number should get more allocation in the new revenue formula, but the Federal Government still takes the lion share. The Federal Government is comfortable with what it has, so it is silent for now, the source stated. There are serious encumbrances to this solution. One is that the Nigerian Constitution

cannot be effectively amended without the governors who have a firm grip on majority of their state assemblies. The revenue formula was put together by the RMAFC under the chairmanship of Hamman Tukur. It was not passed by the National Assembly and ended up as an executive order during the Obasanjo administration, a development which ushered in the 13 per cent derivation principle.

XCITED at the siting and po tential economic benefits of a new cement plant to his country, Prime Minister of Tanzania, Mizengo Pinda, has praised the President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, for looking in the direction of his country for the investment in the new three million metric tonnes cement plant. Addressing the gathering during the ground breaking of the $500 million cement factory at Mtwara, he said the commencement of the construction of the plant signalled the beginning of a new business relationship between Nigeria and his country. Pinda expressed happiness that the investment came from an African to a sister African country. The Tanzania PM described as an irony, that prior to the coming of Dangote Cement, in spite of the abundance of limestone, a necessary raw material in cement manufacture in Mtwara, Tanzania was experiencing a deficit in cement production and supply. He said: “We could not bring in Cement Plants with capacities to produce cement in large quantities, so that demand of cement would be met. Growing demand for cement with inadequate supply led to deficit and high prices. “While this was becoming a growing concern to the Government, we came to know about the availability of Cement Grade Limestone in huge quantities in this village in Mtwara. But this was a challenge for us, as Mtwara is quite far from the market of cement, which is mainly in the cities.” According to him, the discovery of cement grade limestone prompted the search for investors who could put up a large cement plant, along with facilities at the Port for transporting the cement all over Tanzania, after meeting the demand of Mtwara region which is easily connected to other parts of the country by the road.

Not all Basel requirements are acceptable, says Sanusi


IGERIA doesn’t ac cept all requirements of the Basel II and Basel III accords for banking regulation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi said. He told Bloomberg Friday in Cape Town that while “they both have strong points” for regulating bank reserves, “some of the quantitative elements where you effectively allow banks to run any kind of models and to calculate their own risk and capital,” fall short of what is needed . “There still has to be some element of Basel I as far as that is concerned,” he said. Rules from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision requiring requiring banks to hold enough capital to survive market turmoil without causing risk to the financial system, also known as Basel III, come into effect over the next five years. Appointed CBN governor amid a debt crisis in Africa’s largest oil producer 2009, Sanusi initiated reforms to rescue Nigeria’s banking industry from near-collapse and fired the chief executives of eight lenders bailed out by the regulator. The government then set up the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to buy bad debt from banks.




•A prototype of the Federal Housing scheme.

‘Why housing for all remains elusive’

Nigeria’s desire to provide houses for her citizenry remains a dream,14 years after the first attempt to address the issue, reports SEYI ODEWALE.




‘Why housing for all remains elusive’



S the nation celebrated the 14th anniversary of democratic rule last Wednesday, Pa Olasunkanmi Adepoju, a pensioner and his colleagues were not happy. Reason: What they envisaged when democracy began in 1999 was not what they got years after. They had thought the political dispensation would, at least, give them and many others the opportunity to be house owners. To them, the military that handed power to the politicians was more benevolent than the civilians on land matters. Barely five years into democratic rule, the land, which they bought from the previous military government and which they had started developing,was suddenly taken over from them. What has been their lot is an endless hope that they will repossess the land. They said successive civilian governments since 1999 have failed woefully in housing matters. Adepoju argued that one of major policy thrusts of the Nigerian National Housing Policy during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo regime was accessing funds for housing development through co-operatives. He said it was a policy aimed at tackling the housing problem of the country. But, unfortunately, he said, Obasanjo's government did not deliver. "Look at our experience at Aboru Housing scheme, which we got under site and services scheme; look at the way we were dispossessed of our land, rightly bought from the government. We are yet to resolve that issue," he said. As laudable as the policy was, it, however, died with the exit of Obasanjo's regime. Policy of this nature, directed at solving a fundamental problem like residential accommodation, experts said, should not die with the government that initiated it because the crisis of inadequate housing facilities did not die with the expiration of the initiating regime. The late President Umaru Yar ‘Adua's administration, recognising that Nigeria has a huge housing deficit, evidenced by low levels of the real estate sector and mortgage credits to the sector, accounting for less than one per cent and 0.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), planned an evolution of the National Policy on Urban Development and Housing that provided for a private sector-led housing policy with the government providing the enabling operating environment. This formed the fifth item on his seven-point agenda. But the lack of long-term funds, which has been the bane of housing in Nigeria, and the banking sector's perceived aversion to financing home ownership, did not make the policy to fly. Added to this is the legal and regulatory environment characterised by archaic laws, which inhibited efficient land transaction. The




If this deficit is to be bridged, we must continue to seek ways to provide affordable housing, especially for the lowincome, lower-medium income, and the informal, sector worker. A variety of housing delivery schemes, including social housing, rental schemes, regeneration and Housing cooperatives must be evaluated

Land Use Act which needed to be addressed and the untimely death of President Yar ‘Adua, who initiated the policy, dealt the final blow to this laudable policy. President Goodluck Jonathan on mounting the saddle professed a revolution of the sector by translating the National Housing Policy and National Urban Development Policy into a roadmap for housing development. Speaking at the Presidential Stakeholders Retreat on Housing and Urban Development at the State House last year, Jonathan said reinvigorating as well as revitalising housing and urban development was a core priority of his administration. The policies, he said, were to be translated into action through a roadmap for the housing and urban development sector. The roadmap, he explained, would address the challenges of achieving a housing revolution in in the country, within the shortest possible time. "It would also provide the pathway for transforming our cities into livable and functional human settlements," he said, emphasising the importance of cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve this objective. Jonathan had estimated the housing deficit to be between 16 and 17 million units, a fact corroborated by his Housing and Urban Development Minister, Ms. Amah Pepple. "If this deficit is to be bridged, we must continue to seek ways to provide affordable housing, especially to the no-income, low-income, lower-medium income, and the informal, sector worker. A variety of housing delivery schemes, including social housing, rental schemes, regeneration and Housing cooperatives must be evaluated. "We must also seriously concern ourselves with how we can meet the global benchmarks in housing building standards, proper land use and space standards and institutionalisation of a vibrant mortgage system, based on longterm repayment terms.

"In the same manner, we must focus attention on how to overcome the issues of capacity gaps, poor quality of building materials, inappropriate technology and dearth of technological innovations, in support of mass housing delivery," he said. Experts have said the huge deficit is yet to be bridged. They said the 17 million shortfall, which Nigeria is experiencing, is a farcry from the United Nations' minimum standard for housing. This has necessitated an endless clamour by experts in the sector for a more critical look at bridging the gap The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), President, Chucks Omeife, said no government worth its salt would overlook the sensitive issue of housing as it concerns its citizen. He said the Jonathan administration should not treat the issue of mass housing with levity. Housing, he said, has come to be regarded as a major national issue which should be taken as such. He noted that the huge deficit was worrisome. A former President of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Olushola Atilola, said the nonchalant approach of previous governments to the issue of housing in the country was regrettable. He noted that government should allow more private developers participation in driving the housing sector if it wants to achieve housing for a larger percentage of the populace before 2020. Finance Minister and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the country needed to add 23 million homes by 2020 to bridge the supply gap and another 2.6 million homes yearly. Atilola, however, noted that acute housing is not a tea party. He said unless the government mustered the political will to address the matter, it would continue to be a recurring problem. He noted that with the President's comment on the sector it would be unwise to relegate the matter to the background. The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) has, therefore, asked

to be involved in a committee set up by Ms Pepple to solve the deficit issue. A situation whereby about 85 per cent of the populace is homeless, experts said, is lamentable. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said delivering on housing would require a more forceful action across four key areas, which include simplifying allocation of land title and its registration processes; identifying three to four bankable housing projects to deliver at least 1million houses; recognising those who would not be able to buy a house if a mortgage facility is provided and considering what immediate regulatory requirements are to underpin and facilitate urban development in Nigeria. "The poor have a right to housing as well and the Minister of land and I are determined to come up with a low income housing solution for our country," she had said. Experts have, however, insisted that the government has a serious business in real estate and housing. A former President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Chief Charles Olumide Adebiyi, said land in Nigeria and most other places, is under the jurisdiction and control of the government. "So to that extent, we can say that property, real estate, whether it is housing, commercial or industrial, because it requires land to be allocated and government is in full control of allocation and pricing of land, government by that has business in property and real estate," he said. But the extent of such involvement, he said, has to be defined. What hampers Federal Government in delivering on its promise on housing, according to him, is the Land Use Act, which gives the states autonomy on lands domiciled in their territories. "It may be like a federal thing, but it is not important for the Federal Government to get fully involved in the area of housing since power over land now rests with the states," he said. On the mistrust that the populace has for the government, Chief Adebiyi said: "I agree with you that there are many things government could have done, but because of lack of trust it has not been able to do them Not only in primary issues of land allocation and acquisition, but also on issues relating to developing property, bringing people together to undertake investment in property. It is possible in other places like real estate investment trust; securitisation and so on. It is possible to do many things and make supply available. It is very difficult in Nigeria because of lack of trust. There is lack of trust between the people and government; there is lack of trust among the people themselves in terms of what people say they will deliver; the ability, the willingness and truthfulness in delivery. That is a major problem and it is also one of the things we need to examine very closely."






Equities gain N3tr in five months


HE stock market rallied whooping capital gains of N3.10 trillion within the first five months of this year as average equities’ return reached almost the same level attained for the full-year 2012. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities closed May at N12.075 trillion as against the year’s opening value of N8.974 trillion, indicating an increase of N3.10 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI), the main value index that tracks changes in prices of all equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), indicated a five-month average return of 34.6 per cent. It had made a full-year return of 35.45 per cent for the entire 2012. ASI closed May at 37,794.75 points as against its index-on-board of 28,078.81 points.


By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

ASI had closed 2012 at 28,078.81 points as against its opening index of 20,730.63 points for the year. Aggregate market capitalisation of all quoted equities also rose from its opening value of N6.533 trillion to close the year at N8.974 trillion, indicating capital gains of N2.441 trillion. Sectoral analysis showed that companies that engage in manufacturing of industrial goods such as cement and paints have generated the highest returns for investors. The NSE Industrial Goods Index posted a five-month return of 61.27 per cent. Drawing from the bullishness of several industrial goods stocks, most of which are ethical stocks, the NSE-Lotus Islamic Index recorded the sec-

ond highest gain of 52.28 per cent. The NSE 30 Index, which tracks the 30 most capitalised stocks, returned 35.47 per cent in the past five months. Also, the NSE Consumer Goods Index showed average return of 31.61 per cent. Banking index shows year-to-date return of 28.70 per cent while insurance index and oil and gas index open today at 22.15 per cent and 24.93 per cent respectively. The benchmark index for the newly reactivated Alternative Securities Market (ASeM) indicated a modest five-month return of 1.92 per cent. Meanwhile, turnover stood at 1.50 billion shares worth of N14.11 billion in 24,007 deals last week. The banking subsector was the most active subsector with a turnover of 811.93 million shares valued at N6.06 billion in 8,834 deals.

Chams eyes foreign markets

HAMS Plc will explore opportunities in other African countries to support its growing domestic business as the technology-innovation company seeks to steady its growth. Managing Director, Chams Plc, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, said though the company’s main focus is on Nigeria, it would seek opportunities to expand its cutting-edge and innovative products and services to other African countries. He said Chams will do what it can to take advantage of the steady growth of the payment industry in Nigeria noting that there are indications that the company would deliver good returns to shareholders in 2013.

According to him, with the identity management industry predicted to experience steady growth, the company’s concession agreement with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is increasingly stronger by the day as it continues to deploy more resource to the project. He said the company was poised to leverage on its cutting-edge and innovative technologies to take full advantage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s cashless policy, otherwise known as ‘cashlite’ project. He said that Chams has already started rolling out its mobile payment solution with remarkable success while it has secured further milestones as a major stake-

holder in the electronic and transactional payment industry. “The future, I can say with all sense of certainty is bright. Though we have had unexpected delays in several projects due to the prevailing operating environment, we have sound strategies to survive the storm. It may have taken longer than expected, but we believe that with all the investments that we have made and the unfolding opportunities, our future is certainly bright,” Aladekomo assured. According to him, as a company noted for innovation, Chams will not relent in the quest towards breaking new grounds in innovation while working on new solutions that will deliver additional value to the country and make its shareholders smile. He said new government policies have made the company’s technologies very relevant to the future, which will enable it to have the edge over others.





Nigeria, Canada target $6b trade volume T

HE Nigeria, Canada trade volume will double to $6 billion by 2O15 from $3 billion, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast has said. He made this known in the Oxford Business Group (OBG) report, which indicated that Canada is working with the Federal Government to address issues relating to security.

Stories by Collins Nweze

The report entitled: Nigeria 2013 Report on Economic Reforms, noted that rolling out of wideranging reforms across the Nigeria’s economy is prompting investors to take a “fresh look” at the country. Besides, Fast said the government’s privatisation and anti-corruption reforms will

support and protect them,” he said. It is important that security threats are addressed, particularly because security and prosperity go hand-in-hand,” Fast said. The minister added that while Nigeria’s extractive industries remain a focal point of interest for Canadian businesses, other sectors, such as information and communications technology

create better opportunities for investors. “These ongoing changes will create better opportunities for all Nigerians and for investors from around the world. Canadian businesses are taking a fresh look at Nigeria and the opportunities it presents. They see that the environment is good for business, including a fair and strong regulatory framework to

GTBank is African Bank of the Year

Access Bank boss is African Banker of the Year


HE Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ac cess Bank, Mr Aigboje AigImoukhoude has emerged the winner of 2013 African Banker of the Year Award. In a statement, the bank said this was announced at the Awards ceremony organised by African Banker Awards, the publisher of African Banker Magazine, IC Events and Business in Africa Events during the annual African Development Bank (AfDB) meetings held last Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco. In its Seventh edition, the African Banker Awards is one of the biggest landmark events that recognise and celebrate the achievements of Africa’s banking and financial sector. It is a ground-breaking event that brings together over 500 key industry players and top govern-

ment officials from Africa and around the world to celebrate excellence and best practices in African banking and finance. The Access Bank Chief Executive emerged as winner in the ‘African Banker of the Year’ category. On this year’s entries, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker Magazine, said in the statement, “I remain a staunch defender of the positive role banking institutions can play. The two biggest listed companies in China are both financial institutions and they play a critical role in the economy. The same can be said about many banks in Africa” Under Aigboje’s leadership, Access bank transited from a lowly rated Nigerian Bank to rank amongst Africa’s leading fianancial brands and Nigeria’s Tier 1 bank.Access Bank is the only Nigerian bank in the


UARANTY Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc has been conferred with the African Bank of the Year Award by the African Banker Magazine at a well-attended ceremony in Marrakech, Morocco. In statement, the bank said the African Banker award recognises financial institutions across the continent that have emerged as industry leaders and continent trend setters, due to good corporate governance practices, exceptional service delivery and innovative products. Winners of the coveted award must have consistently reported strong financial performance and contributed significantly to the quality of service offered by the financial services industry within their country and across the African continent. Publisher of African Banker Magazines, Omar Ben Yedder, said: "We are delighted that Guaranty Trust Bank Plc has won this award.

•Mr Aig-Imoukhuede with the award

medium -sized category after the 2004/2005 N25billion recapitilization that retained its brand indenty and subsequently transformed into a tier 1 bank. Over the past decade, the Access Bank boss has registered himself as an ardent advocate of responsible business practices and sustainability. He was the first African co-chair of the GBC Health.

Amount N

Rate %


3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

WHOLESALE DUTCH AUCTION SYSTEM Amount Amount Offered ($) Demanded ($) 350m 150m 350m 138m 350m 113m

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


OBB Rate Call Rate

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 31-05-13


O/PRICE 10.30 4.40 2.01 2.06 3.66 0.79 0.93 15.60 1.23 3.30

C/PRICE 11.33 4.84 2.21 2.26 3.99 0.86 1.00 16.65 1.30 3.48

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

CHANGE 1.03 0.44 0.20 0.20 0.33 0.07 0.07 1.05 0.07 0.18

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

Year Start Offer

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51














July ’11

July ’12





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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%




2.00 12.35 10.33 1088.00 1.88 0.75 1.32 29.99 3.22 4.90

1.80 11.12 9.50 1001.01 1.75 0.70 1.25 28.50 3.11 4.75

CHANGE 0.20 1.23 0.83 86.99 0.13 0.05 0.07 1.49 0.11 0.15

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

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

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


Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

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



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

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%


LOSERS AS AT 31-05-13


Indeed it has been a good evening for Nigerian banks and GTBank has consistently played a leading role in banking in Nigeria. Prudently run, with strong values, it continues to set new standards in banking. Its successful foray in international markets reflects strong fundamentals of a leading institution in Africa. Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, attributed the bank’s receipt of the prestigious award to hardwork, discipline and a welldefined operating strategy that enables it to give 100 per cent and above customer expectations. According to Mr Agbaje, customer satisfaction and service excellence are the foundations of the bank’s business and GTBank would continue to listen to its stakeholders and institute innovations that allow the bank provide services that surpass its stakeholder’s needs.



(ICT), were playing a growing role in bilateral trade and investment. “While diversified trade and investment are vital to our bilateral relationship, the extractive sector can also be an important driver of sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries, provided that an enabling environment is created,” he said.

Offer Price

Bid Price


Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833





Insurers seek infrastructure devt to boost growth I

NSURANCE stakeholders in Africa have called for the development of infrastructure along their economic corridors to boost international trade and diplomatic relations to achieve sustainable economic growth. They made this call during the 40 th African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Conference held in Cairo, Egypt. They said the continued reliance on China and other European countries for assistance, rather than developing local economies through trade and exchange would not only make the continent vulnerable to global crises as seen in the last four years, but will continue to deepen poverty and suffering among Africans. They pointed out that Africa had for long depended on the rest of the world, entrenching high level poverty, sickness, hunger and decaying infrastructure, resulting in lack of economic development. Prime Minister of Egypt, Hisham Qandeel, while speaking at the conference, said lack of in-

Stories by Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

frastructure hinders development in the African continent, adding that at the African Union, governments have identified the need to develop infrastructure along the line of economic corridors. He said : “We realise the importance of connecting each other now via roads and waterways to enhance trade and commerce among our nations. “The Egyptian government since after its revolution is working very hard to bring stability, economic empowerment, justice and development programmes that will impact on the people through quality investment in infrastructure.” Qandeel said Egypt is already working on its Nile water ways to not only create greater access for movement of ships, but open up

irrigation channels and roads for trade with neighbouring countries such as Khartoum and Jeba. The Minister of Investment, Yehia Hamed, said African governments must create conducive environments that will encourage public and private partnerships. He said that given the role the insurance sector played in payment of compensation, which helped in rebuilding and transition of Egypt during the revolution since two years ago, it has become important that nations strengthen their insurance sector for effective risk management. “Governments must make effective regulations that protect the policy holders, strengthen the financial position of the companies; enforce different compulsory insurances as well as help boost awareness for the overall interest of the economy” he added. Chairman of the Conference

‘Operators not complying with IFRS’

Organsing Committee, Abel Raouf Kotb stated that African economy is set to grow from strength to strength with the continent outpacing the global average GDP growth. He pointed out that the main challenge is to ensure that this growth reflects on the average citizen and that the riches of countries in the region have direct effect of alleviating more Africans out of poverty and tackling inequality. He said: “We have many reasons to be optimistic, but let’s not underestimate the challenges we face. Our continent continues to depend on external demand making us susceptible to global economic slowdowns, particularly in China and the Eurozone.” He noted that Africa faces many domestic risks such as youth unemployment, political upheaval, low insurance penetration and severe weather, adding that the insurance industry has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that these risks are properly identified and managed in order to ensure sustainable development.

• Five firms submit report


IVE months into 2013, only five of the 60 insurance companies operating in Nigeria have submitted their 2012 International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) compliant audited financial statement to National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for clearance. The Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive of NAICOM, Mr. Fola Daniel who spoke to reporters in Cairo, Egypt, revealed that out of the five that submitted, only one has been approved by the commission. Warning insurance firms against late account submission, Daniel said the commission recognises the challenges they face in migrating to IFRS standards, and noted that a help desk has been dedicated to guide them on compliance indicators. In April 2013, NAICOM issued a circular to the 31 underwriters listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE warning them against delay in submission of their 2012 accounts to avoid sanctions from the regulatory bodies. The circular signed by Director, Supervision, Nicholas Opara, read in part : “We are concerned about non-submission of your IFRS complaint audited financial statements for year ended 31st December 2012 as at today 11th April, 2013. As your primary regulator, our review and subsequent approval precedes submission to both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) which hitherto was on or before the close of business on 31st March following the year end of the financial statements.” The commission, however, advised the operators having challenges in meeting the directive to revert to the commission immediately stating in clear terms what the issues are. The circular also stated that the commission now has a policy to notify any insurer that has submitted its account within four days whether there are still issues to be addressed or whether the submitted account is good enough to be considered for approval.

•From left: Chairman, Niger Insurance Plc, Bala Zakariya’u; Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel; and

Chief Executive Officer, African Trade Insurance Agency, Kenya George Otieno, at the 40th African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Conference held in Cairo, Egypt recently.

WAICA Re to reward shareholders


ANAGING Director, WAICA Reinsurance Plc, Abiola Ekundayo has said the company’s 2012 financial accounts approved in March showed positive result. He said these results put the company in a position to reward its shareholders soon. Ekundayo, who disclosed this to reporters, stated the readiness of the company to pay its first dollar dividend in 2014. He noted that the company is discussing with EDC Limited as financial advisers to use its wide network to attract investors from across the African market to invest in WAICA Re. This is coming precisely two years after the establishment of the regional reinsurer. According to him, the company is currently operating with about $33million from her first capital raised in 2011 and is planning to shop for another $25million to shore up its operation. He further explained: “We want to avoid the initial mistake we made in our first offer, which con-

. Seeks more capital

centrated only in Sierra Leone, then little in Ghana and Nigeria, so it is going to be more expansive this time. “The organisation has come to full operation with full support of cedents from the West African region and beyond, having also enjoyed the goodwill of WAICA Poll as offshoot. Although WAICA Pool funds are still not accessible to WAICA Re because of a few documentations on signatories, the new company has continued to meet its obligations even to the extent of claims settlement on WAICA Poll cedents. “Recently we paid $52,000 claims to Ghana Re from the account of WAICA Pool, which we will take back when part of its monies locked up in Union Bank of UK Limited, Commercial Bank of Ghana and some in Nigeria are accessed”. WAICA Reinsurance Plc, an organisation belonging to insurance companies in the West African sub-

region with head office in Sierra Leone was officially commissioned in 2012 having operated skeletally in 2011. The firm with investors across the continent was set up to address the capacity challenge faced by the regional market in its many years of insurance practice, where foreign counterparts had controlled larger share of the market. Ekundayo stated that WAICA Re was established to help minimise the effects of the lack of reinsurance capacity within the West African insurance industry. He said: “With the establishment of the headquarters of WAICA Re in Sierra Leone in August 2011, the aim and objective of the corporation is to set up a world class reinsurance cooperation, which will not only capacitate staff in various companies in West Africa but also set a good example of regional socioeconomic integration.”

Seven mistakes in naming life insurance beneficiaries NAMING who should get the life insurance money after you die sounds simple, but designating beneficiaries can get tricky. Mistakes are common, financial advisers say — and they can be heartbreaking and expensive. When mistakes are made “you’re not creating problems for you,” says Keith Friedman, principal of FBO Strategies, an estate planning and insurance firm in Stamford, Conn. “You’re creating problems for the people you leave behind.” Here are seven life insurance beneficiary mistakes to avoid. Naming a minor child Life insurance companies won’t pay the proceeds directly to minors. If you haven’t created a trust or made any legal arrangements for someone to manage the money, the court will appoint a guardian to handle the proceeds until the child reaches 18 or 21, depending on the state, which is a costly process. Instead, you can leave the money for the child’s benefit to a reliable adult; set up a trust to benefit the child and name the trust as the beneficiary of the policy; or name an adult custodian for the life insurance proceeds under the Uniform Transfers to Minor Act. Overlooking your spouse in a community-property state Generally you can name anyone with whom you have a relationship as beneficiary, even a secret lover. “Life insurance is not a judge of someone’s morals,” Friedman says. Assuming your will trumps the policy A life insurance policy is a contract. Regardless of what your will says, the life insurance money will be paid to the beneficiary listed on the policy. That’s why it’s important to contact your insurer to change your beneficiary if needed. Forgetting to update “Designating beneficiaries are not ‘set it and forget it’ events,” says Tara Reynolds, vice president at MassMutual. You should review your policy every three years and after major life events, such as marriage, having children or divorce. Change the beneficiaries when circumstances change. Unfortunately, many people forget to do so. Neglecting details Do you want to leave life insurance money to your kids and grandkids, and you want it divided evenly? There are two ways of distributing the money — per stirpes and per capita. You can specify either method on the life insurance policy, and both are acceptable options when naming beneficiaries, says Ed Graves, a professor of insurance for The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa. “But the possible outcomes can be drastically different from one approach to the other.” Per stirpes means the proceeds are divided by branch of the family, and per capita means they are divided by head. Be specific when you name beneficiaries. Instead of “my children,” list their names, social security numbers and addresses, Graves added. Otherwise, “the insurance company has to launch a search and that can take a lot of time,” Graves said. Staying mum “The most important thing is to tell someone so they know you have a life insurance policy, where it is and how to find it,” says Joshua Hazelwood, vice president at MassMutual. Giving money with no strings attached Naming your young-adult children as beneficiaries without setting any conditions for how the money is dispersed can be a setup for financial failure. How many 18- or 21-year-olds can handle a huge influx of cash? One way is to set up a trust with specifics for how the money can be released and what it can be used for until the young adult reaches a certain age. • Tips by







In a generally depressive industry, University Press (UP) has in recent weeks shown strong resilience. Trading around its high, its double-digit year-to-date return sets it apart from the lowly subgroup outlook. TAOFIK SALAKO reports that imminent earnings report and dividend expectation are the main drivers behind the resilience of the printing and publishing company.


HE printing and publishing subgroup is generally on the low side of the market recovery. With the exception of University Press (UP) Plc, all the other printing and publishing stocks open today with negative year-to-date return. As against the overall market's average yearto-date return of 33 per cent, several investors in printing and publishing stocks still rue the market recession. Academy Press opens today with year-to-date return of 0.62 per cent, somewhat better than Learn Africa's -6.25 per cent and Studio Press's 4.9 per cent. University Press has however proven to be a contrarian stock in the subsector. Although its year-to-date return of 27.52 per cent falls below average market performance, it has shown considerable bullish trend in recent period. At N5.70 per share, it opens today seven points below its high of N5.77. It had risen by 3.83 per cent during the last trading session last Friday. The five-month performance raises optimism on the prospects for a better full-year performance, in tandem with the overall market outlook for 2013. UP recorded a fullyear return of 31.5 per cent in 2012; slightly below average market's return of 35.4 per cent. The performance in 2012 was a remarkable improvement on the negative return of 50 per cent in 2011. But in spite of the significant recovery in the past 17 months, UP is still substantially below its recent high of N8.40 per share in 2010.

Improved earnings While the share price is still trailing recent high, UP's fundamentals have sustained appreciable growth. The resultant stable high dividend yield is one of the pricing variables behind the current market trend for the stock. The current rally came on the heels of the closure of the company's business year ended March 31, 2013. With the post-listing rules of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) which stipulates that audited annual accounts of companies should be submitted within three months after the year end, UP's latest audited report is expected to be filed later this month or early next month. The share pricing trend is already anticipating the full-year audited report and dividend recommendation. Interim report and accounts for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012 indicated substantial improvement in profitability. Already, the profit level for the nine months surpassed the entire profit for the previous year. Basic earnings per share closed December 2012 at about 63 kobo, far above 49 kobo recorded in comparable period of 2011 and substantially above the full-year earnings per share of about 53 kobo recorded in the year ended March 31, 2012. Profit before tax margin was 21 per cent in December 2012 as against 19.4 per cent recorded in the nine-month ended December 31, 2011. This represented a major improvement on pre-tax margin of 16.5 per cent recorded in the audited year ended March 31, 2012. The third quarter report showed a turnover of N1.85 billion in December 2012 as against N1.54 billion recorded in corresponding period of 2011, representing an increase of 19.7 per cent. Gross profit grew by 14.6 per cent from N865 million to N991.3 million. Profit before tax rode on the back of improved cost efficiency with 29 per cent from N300.4 million to N387.8 million. Profit after tax also rose by 28.7 per cent from N210.3 million to N270.6 million.

What return for University Press? was retained for the 2010 business year. The company distributed 35 kobo per share for the 2011 business year and retained the same rate for the 2012 business year. Within the same period, the company had made three bonus issues on the basis of one new share for every five shares held by shareholders, which in every instance automatically increased the shareholding of every shareholder by 20 per cent without any cash consideration. UP's shares are held largely by small and medium retails investors, with the shares spread around some 11,000 shareholders. Retail investors favour dividend paying stocks, since the payouts provide stable income streams that cushion adverse impact of secondary market downtrend on buy and hold non-speculative investors.

Historic trend Barring any unforeseen circumstances, many analysts expect the company to build on its third quarter performance, though the degree of growth is uncertain. But there is general optimism that the 2013 full-year report will show considerable improvement on the performance in 2012. UP had shown modest growths in key performance indices in 2012 but its overall outlook was edgy. Faced with two delicate options of sales growth and cost growth, it had played

the stable balancing act. This sustained outward modest growths in profit and loss items, but it could not keep the underlying fundamentals tight. Total turnover rose by 11.5 per cent from N1.87 billion to N2.08 billion. However, cost of sales outpaced sales growth by almost seven percentage points at N998 million in 2012 s against N846 million in 2011. Gross profit thus moderated to N1.08 billion compared with N1.02 billion. Total operating expenses inched up to N760 million in 2012 as against N733 million in 2011. Distribution expenses had increased from N281.7 million to N290.8 million while administrative expenses rose from N451.7 million to N469.5 million. Consequently, trading profit improved from N289.14 million to N323.89 million. With 55 per cent decline in non-core business income and about 77 per cent increase in bank charges, profit before tax closed 2012 at N344 million, 5.2 per cent above N327 million posted in 2011. Profit after tax followed the same pattern at N227 million in 2012 as against N211 million in 2011. The company's gross margin dropped from 54.8 per cent in 2011 to 52.1 per cent in 2012. Pre-tax profit margin also dropped from 17.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent. With a stable board and management, UP has continued to invest in additional ca-

pacity to hedge against competition. But the downside for the printing and publishing subgroup is quite large. Besides the generally costly macroeconomic environment, industry specific challenges have worsened the performance of the subgroup. With average cost of production substantially lower in other competing markets, high costs of production, exacerbated by energy and distribution costs; constrain the competitiveness and profitability of Nigerian printing and publishing companies in an increasingly global industry. Besides straight-line competitive disadvantages, unethical practices by unscrupulous importers of sub-standard books and intellectual pirates weaken domestic publishers. Also, the dependence of the sector on governments' educational plans makes it susceptible to changes and delay in national and sub-national budgets. This may also result in unhealthy political colouration, which may adversely impact on long-term sustainable growth. These are moderating risks that generally underline the investors' perception and performance of the subgroup. But the earnings outlook of University Press looms larger than the downside risks. This is the balance that appears to spur the contrarian spirit of UP, and this may be further up in the period ahead.

Waiting for the dividend With a minimum dividend per share of 30 kobo in the past six years, most pundits have expressed optimisms that UP's payout may not fall below the 35 kobo that has served as the flat rate since the 2011 business year. At today's opening price of N5.70 per share, a possible dividend yield payout of 35 kobo implies a dividend yield of 6.14 per cent. With unbroken record of cash dividend payment for more than two decades and regular bonus issue, UP is fundamentally a cash cow for investors. Average dividend per share in the past seven years stands at 34 kobo. UP had distributed dividend per share of 25 kobo in 2006 and increased this to 30 and 35 kobo in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Dividend per share increased to 40 kobo per share in 2009, the same rate that











Falling oil price weakens naira


HE naira declined last week as Bonny Light crude, one of Nigeria’s main export grades, fell for the third day last Friday, dropping by 0.6 per cent to $103.41 per barrel. The local currency weakened by 0.1 per cent to N158.63 per dollar, putting its monthly decline to 0.4 per cent. The Federal Government depends on oil export for 80 per cent of its revenue and 95 per cent of its export income. Analysts blamed naira's fate on speculation that foreign investors who sold Nigeria’s debt as oil prices declined. The yield on the 2022 securities rose 23 basis points, or 0.23 percentage point, to 11.86 per cent, the highest since April 29. “It looks as if the global risk-off environment is feeding into Nigerian assets, broadly in line with what other emerging markets are experiencing,” Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd told Bloomberg. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on May 23 and 24, mopped up over N338 billion via treasury bills and Open Market Operation (OMO) bills to ensure price stability. The liquidity rush highlighted inflows from the monthly Federation Accounts and Allocation Committee (FAAC) injection. However, Currencies Analyst at Ecobank Nigeria hinted that with market liquidity of about N222 billion on May 24, there might be another round of OMO bills auction in the coming weeks to ensure price stability. Analysts insist that over the short term, the naira will likely continue to trade on the interbank market within the CBN’s three per cent band either side of N155 to a dollar.

Excess Crude Account Balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) fell below $6 billion after drawing of $1 billion in April, FBN Capital, an investment and research firm said quoting data from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). It explained that the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) of 12 per cent for banks may have to be hiked again if the fiscal stance is not tightened. The research firm explained that the CRR remains a powerful piece of weaponry in the CBN’s arsenal because of the disproportionate influence of the banks in the markets. “The hike in the rate in July 2012 has been the single most important step taken by the CBN to hold the line on the naira exchange rate with relative ease. The CBN’s intervention is merely the latest to draw attention to the strains between monetary and fiscal policy,” it said.

PenCon The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has concluded plans to conduct an enrolment exercise for employees of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that are treasuryfunded. A statement signed by its Head Communication Unit, Emeka Onuora, said the exercise was meant for employees in the service of the Federal Government who are due to retire between January and December, 2014 and would enable them get their retirement benefits. The exercise, he said, will take place between June 3, and July 11 this year. He said the beneficiaries were selected after attaining 60 years of age or 35 years in service whichever is earlier or 65 years in service or 70 years of age for employees of tertiary institutions. He said the physical enrolment also covers those who have already retired but are yet to be enrolled.

CIBN The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of manpower for the banking sector to achieve stable industry and economy. President/Chairman of Council of the Institute, Segun Aina, disclosed this during his address at the World Press conference to launch the institute’s 50th Anniversary, in Lagos. He noted that the institute has continued to fulfill the mandate for the promotion of practice of the banking profession in the country.

By Collins Nweze

Aina said that CIBN would continue to make strategic effort to support banking sector, regulatory authorities and stakeholders as they pursue reforms in the midst of constant changes in the global financial landscape. He said the Federal Government, state governments, National Assembly and other regulatory bodies rely on the institute for input into fiscal and monetary policies and related matters, adding that it had at various periods been called upon to serve in special committees of government on financial matters such as Committees on Drugs and Other Financial Crimes; Nigeria Accounting Standards Board (now Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria); Money Laundering Committee; FSS 2020; National Productivity Board among others.

DMO The Debt Management Office (DMO) raised N500 billion from the sale of Federal Government’s bonds in the last five months, FBN Capital, has said. The firm said a slowdown in issuance in the first half of the year was to be expected, given that this year’s budget projects domestic borrowing at N528 billion. It said Nigeria's domestic debt declined marginally by $41.1 billion in the first quarter of the year, adding that the country's debt profile dropped from N6.54 trillion to N6.49 trillion within the period. It explained that while this is not easily reconciled with comments last week by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) about fiscal slippage, the Federal Ministry of Finance said in February that it would retire bonds worth N75 billion.

Private sector credit The Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismark Rewane said that maintaining a tight monetary stance would continue to slow down credit to the private sector and stifle growth. His comments came after the MPC left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 12 per cent during its last meeting, In a report obtained by The Nation, he said analysts have mastered and can predict the committees’ decisions. Rewane said a decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was not enough to move the votes in favour of rate reduction. “Already, the National Bureau of Statistics reported a decline in GDP growth from 6.99 per cent in fourth quarter of 2012 to 6.56 per cent in first quarter of the year. This downward trend would continue if the MPC fails to pay heed to the call for stimulus,” Rewane said.

Taxation President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) John Jegede has said that an economy that is able to sustain its citizens must leverage on tax revenues, which he said is the most reliable source of revenue for national development and transformation. Speaking at the institute’s induction for its members in Lagos, he told the inductees that their role is to assist the government and taxpayers to plug loopholes and bring into the tax net more individuals. He said a situation where negligible percentage of taxable persons actually pays taxes is very disheartening and professionals must rise up to the challenge to ensure Nigeria’s economy is diversified through taxation. Jegede said the institute is determined

to collaborate with various stakeholders on training of tax practitioners in various organisations and agencies. “While commending stakeholders for their unalloyed support to the institute, it is my hope that the existing mutual co-operation between governments at all levels and the Institute would go a long way to improving the effectiveness of the various states’ revenue agencies while at the same time strengthening the confidence of taxpayers in the tax system,” he said.

Visa Visa, global electronic payments company, has called for an improved use of e-payment products by entrepreneurs both within and outside the country. Speaking at the BT Africa West Africa Expo and Conference in Lagos, Country Manager for Visa West Africa, Ade Ashaye, said the firm is committed to helping the country achieve its cashless banking initiative. “Visa is committed to helping move Nigeria to a cashless economy and share some of the benefits of secure electronic payments within the industry.” It hosted it with Future Group’s Business Traveler Africa. He said Nigeria is growing as a destination for both leisure and business travel and rise in spending is a credit to the efforts of those promoting Nigeria as a tourist destination.

FITC The Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) has launched new products meant to boost learning and professionalism in the financial sector. The Managing Director, FITC, Mrs Lucy Newman, named the products as FITC Virtual learning, FITC E-Recruitment Portal, and FITC Virtual Library. It developed the Nigerian version of the International Finance Corporation corporate governance and board leadership training curriculum, as well as the FITC new publications. She said the products were relevant and should help the development of the financial sector and improve bankers’ knowledge of the financial sector. The CBN Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Dr Kingsley Moghalu endorsed the products. He said there was need to improve bankers’ knowledge of operational risk. He said, “The management of operational risk needs to be improved and we know that one of the problems that affected the banking industry in the past was almost a complete failure of risk management. We must enhance the quality of banks in Nigeria through good risk management and corporate governance using proper regulatory frameworks.”

Bank to bank report FirstBank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with LEGO, the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of children’s toys to introduce KidsFirst, one of the bank’s children products to the market. At an exclusive cinema screenings to mark this year’s Children’s Day, the bank unveiled a comprehensive programme that includes three new products - exciting content partnerships, a dynamic new website and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Speaking on the programme, FirstBank’s spokesperson, Folake AniMumuney said the partnership with LEGO represents the bank’s quest to create a platform for Nigerian children to

‘The Federal Government depends on oil export for 80 per cent of its revenue and 95 per cent of its export income. Analysts blamed naira's fate on speculation that foreign investors sold Nigeria’s debt as oil prices declined’

.CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

express themselves and instilling the culture of financial discipline in them. She said KidsFirst, the first of the three products to be launched, combines the fun and excitement that children are looking for with the dependability and convenience that parents need. “The partnership with Lego will give KidsFirst account holders access to exclusive Lego events, content and products. As a children’s brand known for both entertainment and educational value, LEGO was the perfect partner for KidsFirst,” she said. Unity Bank Plc received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard certification, the global information security standard that helps prevent card-related fraud, the lender said in a statement. Presenting the certificate to Unity Bank, Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, Managing Director of Digital Jewels, a consulting firm on the project, said Unity Bank - which issues MasterCard and Interswitch Verve cards to its customers - had demonstrated leadership in the industry, being the fifth bank to receive the certification in the country. Mrs. Odunfa said, “After achieving the ISO270001 last year, Unity Bank has shown that is one of the banks at the forefront of good security and compliance by now attaining the PCIDSS certification. You are the second bank in the country to have attained both of those certifications. That is quite a formidable feat given that there are several other banks who may claim to be more technological advanced than Unity Bank.” Stanbic IBTC Holdings commemorated the Children’s Day by deploying its senior personnel in various schools across Lagos to teach students the value and benefits of financial planning and a savings culture. In a statement, the lender said its objective is to assist the gain knowledge skills and confidence that would enable them make responsible financial decisions on how to start saving money for future needs. Among issues discussed during the sessions were developing educational savings plans, budgeting, keeping money safe, and application of mobile money solutions. The bank said the initiative, which is an integral part of the group’s corporate social investment goals, is focused on helping the students embrace financial planning and a savings culture. Participating schools where the volunteers tutored were Corona School Gbagada, Methodist Girls High school, Yaba, Lagos Progressive Schools, Surulere, Kings College, Lagos, Corona School Ikoyi and Corona School, Victoria Island. Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, said it was in recognition of the strategic role of qualitative education in stimulating socioeconomic development that the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC Holdings belongs, focused its corporate social responsibility objectives on three critical areas of societal needs - Education, Healthcare and Economic Empowerment.




Mobil: Winning market, losing value By Taofik Salako

the past two years. The combination of declining profitability, worsening liquidity, negative working capital, rising financial leverage and lower cost efficiency overshadowed impressive growth in sales and underlined the need for re-evaluation of the growth strategy of the oil major towards a value-driven approach. •Mr Oyebanji


OBIL Oil Nigeria Plc appears to be in a paradox of winning the market but losing the value. The petroleummarketing major has reversed the decline in sales that brought its turnover to its lowest in 2010 with significant growth in sales in 2011 and last year. But profit, which had grown consecutively over the previous four years, witnessed a major reversal last year as the company struggled with high costs and poor liquidity. Audited report and accounts of Mobil Oil Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2012 showed 30 per cent increase in sales but pre and post-tax profits dwindled by 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. The outward negative bottom-line performance underlined substantial decline in the intrinsic profit-making capacity of the oil major, a situation that was exacerbated by growing financial leverage and worsening liquidity crunch. Average profit per unit of sale nearly halved during the year, which also simultaneously, almost on the same scale, affected underlying returns to shareholders and other stakeholders. With 1,850 per cent increase in short-term bank loans, the gearing ratio moved from 0.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent. While the gearing ratio on the basis of overdraft remained somewhat negligible, 80 per cent increase in finance expenses to N299 million, further complicated the top-loaded cost structure of the company. These reduced basic net distributable earnings by about 41 per cent and also lowered the sustainable dividend outlook of the company, in spite of the retention of cash dividend per share at flat rate of N5 for

Financing structure Mobil Oil Nigeria’s paid up capital increased by 20 per cent from N150.2 million, made up of 300.5 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, in 2011 to N180.3 million, consisting of 360.6 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, in 2012. The increase was due entirely to a one-for-five bonus issue made for the 2011 business year. Shareholders’ funds meanwhile, grew by 46.5 per cent from N4.50 billion to N6.59 billion, largely due to inflow of some 37 per cent of net earnings into the reserves. Total assets increased slightly by 7.9 per cent from N31.11 billion to N33.56 billion. Current assets dropped by 17 per cent from N14.07 billion to N11.69 billion while long-term assets increased by 28 per cent from N17.04 billion to N21.88 billion. Total liabilities were nearly flat at N26.97 billion in 2012 as against N26.61 billion in 2011. The financing structure was largely stable, although increased financial leverage tempered the outlook. The proportion of equity funds to total assets improved from 14.5 per cent in 2011 to 19.6 per cent. Long-term liabilities/total assets ratio stood at 44 per cent in 2011 as against 46 per cent in 2011, while current liabilities/total assets ratio improved from 40 per cent to 37 per cent. However, the company showed increased leverage with debt-to-equity ratio of 6.5 per cent in 2012 as against 0.5 per cent in 2011.

Efficiency The petroleum-marketing company obviously witnessed considerable decline in productivity and efficiency during the period, although available details were not

sufficient to determine the actual unit level of productivity and overall efficiency. The ratio of total costs of business-excluding interest expenses, in relation to sales worsened to 98.1 per cent in 2012 compared with 94.2 per cent recorded in 2011, underlining further erosion in margins and returns.

Profitability Mobil Oil Nigeria shows an inverse relationship between sales and profitability. While sales recorded impressive double-digit growth; profit dropped by similar rate. This rubbed off negatively on actual and underlying returns to shareholders and other stakeholders. Total sales peaked at N80.80 billion in 2012 as against N62.10 billion in 2011, sustaining a commendable successive growth trend. However, cost of sales outpaced sales growth with 40 per cent increase to N72.59 billion in 2012 as against N51.96 billion in 2011. This lowered gross profit by 19 from N10.14 billion to N8.21 billion. A stable total operating expense moderated the mid-line at N6.68 billion in 2012 compared with N6.52 billion in 2011. Noncore business income increased by 12 per cent from N2.55 billion to N2.85 billion. This was counterbalanced partly by 80 per cent increase in interest expense from N166 million to N299 million. Thus, profit before tax slumped to N4.1 billion as against N6 billion in previous year. After taxes, net profit for the year dwindled to N2.88 billion compared with N4.1 billion in 2011. Earnings analysis underlined the negative bottom-line performance. Basic earnings per share dropped from N13.58 in 2011 to N7.98 in 2012, a dip of 41 per cent. The company retained a dividend per share of N5, the same rate paid for the 2011 business year, but the 20 per cent increase occasioned by 20 per cent bonus issue for 2011 increased gross dividend from N1.50 billion to N1.80 billion. Meanwhile, net assets per share improved by 22 per cent from N14.97 to N18.28. Key underlying profitability and return ratios were generally

Fiscal Year Ended December 31 Nmillion

2012 12 months

% change

2011 12 months

Profit and Loss Statement Main Business Segment Total turnover Cost of sales Gross profit Operating expenses Interest and other incomes Finance expenses Pre-tax profit(loss) Post-tax profit (loss) Basic earnings per share(kobo) Gross dividend (Nm) Cash dividend per share (kobo) Net Assets per share (kobo)

80,802 80,802 72,591 8,211 6,681 2,846 299 4,077 2,878 798 1,803 500 1,828

30.1 30.1 39.7 -19.0 2.5 11.8 80.1 -32.0 -29.5 -41.2 20.0 0.0 22.1

62,100 62,100 51,963 10,136 6,517 2,546 166 5,999 4,082 1,358 1,503 500 1,497

Balance Sheet Assets: Fixed assets Total long term assets Trade debtors Current assets Total assets Liabilities: Trade creditors Bank loans Current liabilities Long-term liabilities Total liabilities Equity Funds Share capital Total Equity Funds

8,911 21,877 5,745 11,687 33,564

-1.6 28.4 -30.0 -17.0 7.9

9,055 17,039 8,212 14,073 31,112

9,249 429 12,333 14,641 26,974

-1.6 1850.0 -0.3 2.8 1.4

9,400 22 12,365 14,249 26,614

180.3 6,590

20.0 46.5

150.2 4,498

lower. Gross profit margin dropped from 16.3 per cent to 10.2 per cent. Pre-tax profit margin nearly halved from 9.7 per cent to 5.0 per cent. Return on total assets dwindled from 19.3 per cent to 12.1 per cent. Return on equity halved to 43.7 per cent as against 90.8 per cent. With lower basic earnings and constant dividend, sustainable dividend outlook dimmed to 1.60 times last year as against 2.72 times in 2011.

Liquidity The liquidity position of the company worsened considerably in 2012 with negative working capital and lower financing coverage for emerging financial obligations. Current ratio, which broadly indicates ability of the company to meet emerging financing needs by relating current assets to relative liabilities, slipped below generally acceptable one-for-one benchmark from 1.14 times in 2011 to 0.95 times in 2012. With reversal of positive working of N1.71 billion to –N646 million in 2012, the proportion of working capital to total sales declined from 2.8 per cent to -0.8 per cent. Debtors/creditors ratio stood at 62.1 per cent in 2012 as against 87.4 per cent in 2011.

Governance and structures Mobil Oil Nigeria was incorporated as a private limited liability company in 1951 and converted to a public limited liability company in 1978. Its shares were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 1979. Mobil Oil Nigeria is a subsidiary of Mobil Oil Corporation of the United States of America, which holds 60 per cent equity stake. With more than 200 retail outlets spread across the 36 states and three ultra-modern multi-purpose plants located in Apapa, Lagos State, Mobil Oil Nigeria is one of the dominant petroleum-



marketing companies and it particularly holds distinction as the earliest petroleum-marketing company to be incorporated in Nigeria. It’s the second most capitalised quoted petroleum-marketing company. The board and management of the company remained stable. Mr Adetunji Oyebanji remains the Chairman and Chief Executive of the company. The combination of chairmanship and chief executive is contrary to the code of corporate governance for publicly listed companies, which requires separation of both positions. Besides, Mobil Oil Nigeria is well-regarded in terms of compliance and best practices.

Analyst’s opinion The latest audited report underlined the difficult operating environment in the downstream sector but it also reflected the need for a careful consideration of the business strategy of Mobil Oil Nigeria. While the sales growth is commendable, and should be sustained, the company needs to realign its costs to optimise sales into tangible returns to shareholders. With relatively low margin and little product differentiation, protracted reform and many lingering oftennegative controversies have been major constraints to Nigerian downstream operators. The year under review had started with a petroleum price crisis, which later snowballed into scandalous oil subsidy probe, which left most oil companies scampering to clear their names from the mess. Mobil Oil Nigeria needs to harness its vast potential and rise above the challenges. It may also need to consider additional capital to strengthen its balance sheet and reduce dependence on shortterm high-interest loans.


Fiscal Year Ended December 31



Financing structure Equity funds/Total assets Long-term liabilities/Total assets Current liabilities/Total assets Debt/Equity ratio

2012 %

2011 %

19.6 43.6 36.7 6.5

14.5 45.8 39.7 0.5

Profitability Gross profit margin Pre-tax profit margin Return on total assets Return on equity Dividend cover (times)

10.2 5.0 12.1 43.7 1.60

16.3 9.7 19.3 90.8 2.72

Efficiency Pre-tax profit per employee (Nm) Staff cost per employee (Nm) Cost of sales, operating exp/Turnover

NA NA 98.1

NA NA 94.2

Liquidity Current ratio Working capital/Turnover Debtors/Creditors

0.95 -0.8 62.1

1.14 2.8 87.4





•Trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange

A window of opportunity has been opened for unemployed graduates and others who want to be brokers. The Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) has charted a new path to its professional qualifications, which offers hopes of employment and self-generated income. TAOFIK SALAKO reports.


Institute opens new route to stock broking

HE unemployment rate in Nigeria is rising. Although unemployment statistics differ from source to source, there is unanimity on the trend it’s been rising. Unemployment estimates range from government’s official rate of about 24 per cent to World Bank’s estimate of more than 50 per cent to private sector estimate of about 70 per cent. With a growing population, increased tertiary enrolment has kept the unemployment rate on the rise. The hope of the teeming army of unemployed youths lies in attaining a professional qualification, which opens windows for the creative ones to earn self-generated income or enhance the chances of securing employment. Against this backdrop, the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), the statutory body that regulates stockbroking and investment practice - the hub of the capital market – has introduced a new professional qualification scheme that

would enable undergraduates and those who aspire to work in the financial services industry to obtain initial qualification and proceed to qualify as chartered stockbrokers. With the CIS Professional Diploma in Securities and Investment, anyone with a minimum entry requirement of five ‘O’ Level credit passes, including English and Mathematics, or a non-finance graduate can undertake the professional diploma as a preliminary stage to the CIS professional examination. Upon successful completion of the professional diploma, candidates can proceed to the final stage of the CIS professional examination. President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Mr Ariyo Olushekun, said the introduction of the new qualification scheme was

in response to the yearnings of several nonfinance professionals and undergraduates who are desirous of obtaining qualification as chartered brokers or certified investment and finance professionals. According to him, the new professional diploma will serve as a foundation for anyone wishing to start or continue his career within the financial services industry. It has been designed to provide participants with an overview of all key areas of securities and investment. He pointed out that undergraduates can start and even complete the CIS professional examination before graduating, contrary to the previous provision that set first degree and equivalent qualifications as minimum

entry requirement into the CIS professional examination. “With this new programme, an important gateway has been created to meet the demand of a teeming population of Nigerians who have been itching for an alternative entry route into the CIS professional qualification scheme,” Olushekun said. He added that the basic qualification provides attractive terminal value for employees working in financial services industry and would further enhance the professionalism in the industry. Besides the immense opportunity implied by the ability to proceed for qualification as chartered stockbroker, holders of the CIS Professional Diploma can serve as back office staff in the securities and investment industry. The Registrar and Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Adedeji Ajadi, said the professional diploma gives holders a unique advantage •Continued on page 38



JOBS Institute opens new route to stock broking •Continued from page 37 with prospective employers as the qualification carries the emblem of the CIS and the institute’s reputation and record of accomplishment. According to him, the diploma opens the doors of opportunity to all those who aspire to work in the financial services industry, irre-

spective of their background and previous work experience. In addition, it provides a basic qualification with an attractive terminal value for employees working in, or aspiring to work in, the financial services industry. Ajadi said the diploma has been designed to gives graduates of non-finance disciplines who are not

well grounded in finance and accounting an opportunity to build a solid foundation before proceeding to the professional qualification scheme. With a minimum entry requirement of five O’ level credit passes, including English Language and Mathematics in either of West African Senior Cer-

tificate Examination (WASCE), General Certificate of Education (GCE), Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), National Examination Council (NECO) and their equivalents, the new prog r a m m e h as opened the doors of opportunity to millions of Nigerians to create their own markets.

• Olushekun

• Ajadi

Top five personality traits employers hire most I

KNOW you: You’ve been looking for your next job, well ... your job. You’ve scoured your resume of clichéd buzzwords, brushed up on body language and even gotten a handle on the dreaded video interview. But all that might be for naught if you just don’t have the personality your dream employer is looking for. New research shows that the majority of employers (88 per cent) are looking for a “cultural fit” over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates. Lucky for you, we’ve drilled down into data from 1,200 of the world’s leading employers (think General Electric, P&G and Accenture) to find precisely the personalities big business is looking for.

10 questions you should never ask in a job interview

Universum, the Stockholm-based employer branding firm that annually surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on jobs-related issues, has culled their data to the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates last year. How’s that for a leg up on the competition? “We surveyed employers to get a handle on the challenges that face them in hiring,” says Joao Araujo of Universum. “What are they looking for in employees and what are they not finding?” By identifying both traits, he says, aspiring job applicants can both identify the most sought after traits –and brush up resumes and interview tactics to best position themselves. Professionalism (86 per cent), high-energy (78 per cent) and confidence (61 per cent) are the top three traits employers say they are looking for in new hires. Kathy Harris, managing director of Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied says these first-im-

pression traits are the most critical for employers to prepare for as they all can be evaluated by a recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.

10 worst body language mistakes to make in an interview

“A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” she says; from the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But don’t be offput by this commonplace advice. Harris, who specialised in highlevel executive placement says even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Universum clients agree: confidence ranks highest on the list of skills companies think employees are missing most. “We remind every candidate of

the most granular advice,” she says. The most successful applicant is the one who walks into every interview with her hand outstretched for a handshake, has done her homework on the interviewer and company and is dressed to fit effortlessly into the culture of the workplace.

10 clichés to ditch on the job hunt The remaining personality traits that Universum clients say are critical in the hiring process aren’t ones that can be read on-sight but instead call for both resume and interview preparation. To present yourself as a self-monitoring (58 per cent) personality type, Harris says to adjust resume language to call attention to work experience where you’ve worked independently or excelled without the guidance of direct leadership. “In interviews, chose anecdotes that show how you’ve saved, made

or achieved in previous positions… and how self-motivation was critical to that success.” Intellectual curiosity (57 per cent) is, fittingly, a curious trait for Harris, who says she generally advises clients to tightly edit the “hobbies and interests” sections of their resumes. “I’d imagine that in looking for intellectual curiosity employers are looking for two things,” she says. “The ability to problem solve and the ongoing dedication to learning new technologies or solutions that will continue to advance in the changing workplace.” Employers are asking themselves whether new hires will be with the company for the long term, she says. An employee who will grudgingly adopt a new database is not as attractive as one who is truly passionate about learning new things. • Culled from Forbes



OU probably have attended some interviews without an offer of employment coming out of your efforts and emotional investment in the position. In the past you may have experienced this frustrating and sinking feeling that you did not do well in this or that interview. You may also have noticed the uncertainty in the faces of your interviewers, their failure to warm - up to you as the interview progresses and their eagerness to shoo you out of the interview room, barely disguised by patronizing courtesies. You then ask yourself, what went wrong? Many things could be wrong for failure of candidates to convert interviews to job offer. This week, we will consider one of the issues you may have pondered about: What do this people want? All organisations, whether for profit or otherwise, is about combining men, money and materials to achieve the organisational goals and objectives. This assertion holds for commercial companies, nonprofit organisations and civil service. The key to optimisation of performance is the human capital. A wrong decision of a high level member of management can cost the organisation a lot of money. At the lower level, an unproductive employee is some investment – in terms of cost of recruitment as well as in terms of salary and emoluments. So a recruitment error (an individual recruited but found to be unsuitable) at the end of the day is a drain, and usually a drag on the system. The foregoing explains why employer goes to great lengths to ensure that they offer employment to a square peg in a square hole. They are usually very clear on specification of potential employees they want. (It is not unusual for them not to get exactly what they want.) Today, we will dwell on the kind of employees employers

What employers are looking for (I) By Olu Oyeniran

desire and prefer. But before we go on, need to point these out: (i) what we will discuss is more or less general, the attributes desired by most (if not all) employers. But the priority and point of emphasis differ from industry to industry, from company to company, and from position to position. Also work circumstances and context has their own influence on the desired qualities: is it a new position? Have there been changes in technology and skills needed for the job? (ii) It is obvious that the requirements for executive positions will differ significantly from that of entry / low-level positions. We will elaborate on additional/specific requirement for senior positions. (iii) What we will say today may not apply to very junior positions: labourers artisans, factory workers and shop floor employees.

The following qualities are desired by most employees

Basic competence A candidate must indicate he knows how to do the job for which he is to be employed. A driver must show competence for his primary duty (get a vehicle moving, maneuvering in the traffic, finding his way to different locations, etc) even if he can do other things as well- ironing, operating lawn –mower, baking bread etc. You must show at least a theo-

retical level of competence, if you don’t have the experience. A candidate applying for an engineering job is expected to show competence in engineering basics, at least. A sense of competence gives you confidence and given the employ the basis for comparison and performance appraisal. Nothing should be taken to mean an engineer cannot be engaged in anything aside engineering or that a biologist should look for work only in establishments that concern itself with biology.

Communication skills Employers desire employees with good communication skills. Success in most jobs requires writing, verbal and non-verbal communications abilities. Can you easily understand instructions, and pass on instructions to others. Will you be able to communication with your supervisor as well as your subordinates? How good are your writing skills? It must be realised that though communicating well has some element of talent, it can indeed be learnsist.

Inter-personal skills A one- man island organisation is probably not in existent, especially when organisation must at least relate to others outside. Interpersonal skills are required to establish, build and maintain relationships that last. You are expected to do this within your unit, across departments and with your customers and suppliers. This skill is becoming more important as organisations realise that more than ever before that every employer must have the skills to interact with the customer.

Adaptability Change happens daily, and is often resisted, even though it is better than what we have now. Change management is an important skill in this age of information and rapid technological changes. Will you be able to adapt to changes that may be required and vastly different from you previous experience? For example if a technical position requires some salesmanship, the question then is whether the candidate realizes the full implication of and accept dealing with customers.

Willingliness to learn Rapid changes in technology and an extensive availability of information make obsolescence commonplace occurrences. Skills, process, equipments, knowledge become outdated soon after they are acquired. Thus successful organization requires employee are ready, willing and able to learn in this environment of constant change and organised chaos. Do you realise that learning on-going and never ending? Is the candidate organised and predisposed to learning?

Initiative and independence The direction of human resource management is to empower each of every employee. But for the employee to successfully use his empowerment, the employer needs to be assured that the employee can take on-the -spot decisions with infrequent errors. Employers require a work force that can take on tasks and projects and get them done without having to tell them what to do every step of the

way. Ability to work on your own is important in the work- place, more so in certain positions such as consultancy.

Cooperation and Collaboration In spite of the need to be independent, the fact is that significant part of work- place assignments takes place within teams. At any rate, in a number of situations, our output represents the in-put for others down the lines. The best teams are those that respect and use the talents of all their players. Employees require the skills to understand themselves and their strength within the team as well as those of other team players, in order to enhance performance through effective use of each team member. In short, employer desire employees that can work on their own, and also able to achieve within teams.

Motivation What is driving you towards achievement of your goals and excellence, and where is this force coming from? How much enthusiasm can you put to your job? Highly motivated employee don’t need to be pushed to do them work, and to do it well. Motivation shows as eagerness to progress, gain promotion, doing something productive instead of just sitting down, etc. Employers desire candidates with a high level of self-motivation and inner strength to do well. Bye for now. We will continue next week. •Oyeniran is the Lead Consultant, EkiniConsult & Associates. He can be reached on Tel 08083843230 (SMS Only).



International Business Ex-Microsoft manager plans first U.S. marijuana brand


FORMER Microsoft executive is planning to create the first United States national marijuana brand, with cannabis. He hopes to import it from Mexico. He said he was kicking off his business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three U.S. states, Globe and Mail, reports. Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, said he envisions his Seattle-based enterprise becoming the leader in both recreational and medical cannabis – much like Starbucks is the dominant name in coffee, he said. Shively, 45, whose six years at Microsoft ended in 2009, said he was soliciting investors for $10-million in start-up money. The use, sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law. Two U.S. states have, however, legalised recreational marijuana use and are among 18 states that allow it for medical use. “It’s a giant market in search of a brand,” Shively said of the marijuana industry. “We would be happy if we get 40 per cent of it worldwide.” A 2005 United Nations report estimated the global marijuana trade to be valued at $142billion. Washington state and Colorado became the first two U.S. states to legalise recreational marijuana when voters approved legalisation in November. Shively laid out his plans, along

Joblessness, low inflation hit EU


NEMPLOYMENThas reached a new high in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank’s target, showing the size of the challenge European Union (EU) leaders are facing in their efforts to revive the bloc’s sickly economy, Globe and Mail, reports. Joblessness in the 17-nation currency area rose to 12.2 per cent in April, Eurostat said on Friday, marking a new record since the EU’s statistics office started collecting data on the countries in 1995. With the euro zone also in its longest ever recession since its creation in 1999, consumer price inflation was far below the ECB’s two per cent target in May, although it ticked up to 1.4 per cent from 1.2 per cent in April. That rise may quieten concerns about deflation, but the deepening unemployment crisis is a threat to the social fabric of the euro zone, with almost two-thirds of young Greeks unable to find work and southern Europe facing a ‘lost generation’. In France, Europe’s second largest economy behind Germany, the number of jobless people rose to a record in April, while in Italy, the unemployment rate hit its highest level in at least 36 years, with 40 per cent of young people out of jobs. Expectations are rising for the ECB to act to revive the economy and go beyond another interest rate cut to consider a U.S.-style money printing program known as quantitative easing. “We do not expect a strong recovery in the euro zone,” said Nick Matthews, a senior economist at Nomura International in London. “It puts pressure on the ECB to deliver even more conventional and non conventional measures.” ECB President Mario Draghi, who already saved the euro zone from breaking up last year with a plan to buy the bonds of governments in trouble, has so far preferred to leave the onus on euro zone governments to reform.

with his vision for a future in which marijuana will be imported from Mexico, at a Thursday news conference in downtown Seattle. Joining him was former Mexican president Vicente Fox, a long-time Shively acquaintance who has been an advocate of decriminalising marijuana. Fox said he was there to show his support for Shively’s company but has no financial stake in it. “What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my side instead of Chapo Guzman,” said Fox, referring to the fact he would rather see Shively selling marijuana legally than the Mexican drug kingpin selling it illegally. “This is the story that has begun to be written here.” Shively told Reuters he hoped Fox would serve an advisory role in his enterprise, dubbed Diego Pellicer after Shively’s hemp-producing great grandfather.

• From Left: Divisional Head, Lagos Island Keystone Bank Limited, Abubakar Ajose; Regional Manger, Lagos, Florence Aduwari; Divisional Head, Product Development and Markerting Support, Sunny Obazee; Divisional Head, Human Capital Management and Development, Joyce Okoli: Executive Director, Operations and Information Technology, Ademola Adewale, and Students of Chrisland School when they visited the bank’s head office in Lagos during the children’s month activities …recently.

OPEC agrees to keep oil output target unchanged


HE Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) halcyon days of high prices and high production may be drawing to a close as soaring United States’output opens a new era for world oil markets, Globe and Mail, reports. After a comfortable ride since the 2008 price crash and record revenue of $1 trillion last year, it may have to be more pro-active on output policy. The rise of U.S. shale oil and slack demand will eventually force OPEC either to support oil at $100 a barrel by cutting output – offering higher price support to rival producers – or protect market share by keeping the taps open and allowing prices to fall. The OPEC’ weekend's meeting was content to simply agree, as expected, to retain the group’s 30 million barrels per day (bpd) output

target through the rest of the year. It will meet again on December 4. Oil is just above the $100 level favoured by the group that pumps a third of the world’s oil. OPEC’s leading producer Saudi Arabia says the world oil market is in “good shape.” For now, maybe. But OPEC has little room to pump more due to the U.S. oil boom that has shifted the existing competition for marketshare once and for all to Asia and intensified a rivalry between OPEC’s top two producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq there. Core Gulf producers think OPEC will still be able to pump at least 30 million bpd, provided U.S. shale grows at a moderate pace. While that does not leave much room for

growth, it implies that OPEC will not need to scale back significantly. “This is not the first time new sources of oil are discovered, don’t forget history,” said the influential Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi. “There was oil from the North Sea and Brazil, so why is there so much talk about shale oil now?” There has not been such a surge in flows from outside OPEC in decades and that has rung the alarm with some members – particularly Nigeria and Algeria – that feel squeezed. “The rapid ramp up in U.S. shale bears a striking resemblance to the situation in the early 1980s when North Sea oil production from the UK and Norway was rising very quickly,” said Neil Atkinson, director of

U.S. consumer spending falls, inflation subdued


NITED States consumer spending fell in April for the first time in almost a year and inflation pressures were subdued, pointing to a slowdown in economic activity that should see the Federal Reserve maintaining its monetary stimulus for a while, Globe and Mail , reports. The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending fell 0.2 per cent, the weakest reading since May last year, after edging up 0.1 per cent in March. Economists had expected a 0.1 per cent gain. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of U.S. economic activity, was held down by weak demand for utilities and weak receipts at gasoline stations

on the back of a drop in gasoline prices at the pump. When adjusted for inflation, spending nudged up 0.1 per cent last month after rising 0.2 per cent. The sixth straight month of gains in the so-called real consumer spending came as a key inflation gauge fell in April by the most since July last year, pushed down by declining gasoline prices. The economy has been hit by higher taxes and deep government spending cuts as the government tries to slash its budget deficit. It grew at a 2.4-per cent pace in the January-March period, but is expected to slow to a rate of between 1.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent this

quarter because of the government budget cuts, which are already putting a strain on manufacturing. A price index for consumer spending fell 0.3 per cent last month after dipping 0.1 per cent in March. A core reading that strips out food and energy costs was flat after rising 0.1 per cent the prior month. Over the past one year, inflation has risen just 0.7 per cent, the smallest gain since October 2009 and pushing further below the Federal Reserve’s two-per-cent target. The index had increased 1.0 per cent in the period through March. Core prices are up 1.1 per cent, the smallest rise since March 2011 and slowing from 1.2 per cent in March.

Apple hikes prices in Japan as yen flags


PPLE Incorporated has hiked prices of iPads and iPods in Japan at the weekend, becoming the latest and highest-profile brand to join a growing list of foreign firms asking Japanese consumers to pay more as a weakening yen squeezes income, Globe and Mail, reports. The yen has fallen more than 20 per cent against the U.S. dollar since mid-November when then-opposition leader Shinzo Abe prescribed a dose of radical monetary easing to reverse years of sliding consumer prices as part of a deflation-fighting policy, dubbed “Abenomics.” The Bank of Japan, under a new Abe-backed governor, in April promised to inject $1.4trillion into the economy in less than two years to achieve two-per-cent inflation in roughly two years.

Price rises are rare in Japan, which has suffered 15 years of low-grade deflation. A few other foreign brands have also raised prices on products, providing an early sign of inflation for Abe and an indication that these companies feel consumer demand is strong enough to withstand the increases. Still, price rises would have to spread much more widely, especially to lower-end discretionary goods, to show that Abe’s aggressive policies are helping reflate the economy. Apple, one of the most visible foreign companies in Japan, raised the price of iPads by up to ¥13,000 ($130 U.S.) at its local stores. The 64 gigabyte iPad will now cost ¥69,800, up from ¥58,800 a day ago, an Apple store employee said. The 128 gigabyte model will cost ¥79,800 compared with ¥66,800.

Apple also upped prices of its iPod music players by as much as ¥6,000 and its iPad Mini ¥8,000. Mobile phone network operators SoftBank Corp and KDDI Corp, which offer iPhones and iPads at their stores, said they had not yet decided on whether to ask its customers to pay more. By raising prices amid a weakening yen, Apple joins luxury jewellery maker Tiffany & Co., which recently raised its prices even as sales jumped by 20 per cent in Japan in local currency terms during the first quarter. More recently, German appliance maker Miele raised prices of some products, such as its dishwashers, because of the weaker yen. Volkswagen AG, the biggest foreign car company in Japan, this month also increased the recommended prices of 14 car models by an average of 1.5 per cent.

energy research at Datamonitor. “This presented OPEC with an enormous challenge because at the time demand growth was very weak. Nobody’s saying that will happen again, but all the ingredients in that brew are starting to come into place.” Oil above $100 has freed vast quantities of U.S. shale oil in North Dakota and Texas that helped boost U.S. output by 850,000 bpd by the end of 2012. That is more than each of OPEC’s two smallest producers, Qatar and Ecuador pump in total. Light, low sulphur shale poses no threat to OPEC’s Gulf members that sell heavier crude – but is a headache for Nigeria and Algeria, which produce oil of similar quality. The surge may even push the United States closer to the Saudi mindset, thinking more like a producer than a consumer keen to keep oil cheap.

Airlines to buy $17b aircraft SINGAPORE Airlines Ltd has agreed to spend $17 billion to buy 30 Airbus SAS and 30 Boeing Co. aircraft, underscoring the airline’s bet on a pick-up in the struggling premium class market, Globe and Mail, reports. The significant orders announced at the weekend makes Singapore Airlines the long-awaited launch customer for a proposed stretched version of the 787 Dreamliner, boosting Boeing’s plans to offer a 320-seat aircraft designed in large part for crowded intra-Asian routes. The move comes as SIA attempts a big strategy overhaul, pushing into the budget-airlines segment and expanding its regional network. “They demonstrate our commitment to the Singapore hub and our confidence in the future for premium full-service travel,” Singapore Airlines chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said in a statement. “Today’s aircraft orders are among the biggest in Singapore Airlines’ history, helping to ensure that we retain our industry leading position.” This month, Singapore Airlines reported weaker-than-expected full-year results and warned of a deteriorating environment as it struggles to cope with the rapid emergence of Gulf carriers and low-cost Asian rivals such as Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd. and Indonesia’s Lion Air. State-backed Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are stitching deals, while Gulf states race to become regional hubs linking Asia-Pacific and Europe.




















Opon Imo: Osun’s new baby comes alive today A wonderful but quiet revolution in the education sector will take place in Osun State today. It is the launch of Opon Imo, the electronic e-learning computer tablet that comprises the entire educational needs of pupils in senior secondary 1,2 & 3, writes KUNLE OYATOMI.

event. It is the official launch of Opon Imo, the electronic e-learning computer tablet for pupils in SS1, 2 and 3, which will prepare them for school-leaving certificate examinations, as well as equip them for the UTME into universities and other tertiary institutions. Opon Imo is the very first of its kind in the world, which comprises the entire educational needs of a student in higher secondary school into a handy electronic tablet not only to make learning easier, but also to make available every necessary bit of information and instruction that the student needs for knowledge, and to pass relevant examinations for his or her continuing education. The Opon Imo comes with 63,000 e-books covering 17 subjects prescribed for the WAEC, NECO and SSCE. There is a whole English Dictionary uploaded into this wonderful computer tablet, as well as Yoruba proverbs, the Holy Bible and the Quran, plus past questions of the last ten (10) years. It also contains lesson notes with 51 video tutorial installed as study aid. This tablet is a core component of the educational transformation agenda of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola-led government that inherited a decaying education infrastructure which pro-

duced one of the worst student performances in the history of school –leaving certificate examinations in the country. These unacceptable results challenged the governor and his planning team; and after series of brainstorming sessions they came up with this idea of the Opon Imo as impetus for learning and an easy access to all the information and schooling materials necessary for obtaining excellent grades and performance in various examinations. Besides, the Opon Imo has been designed to close up the interactive teaching and learning environment between teachers and students on the one hand, and the student’s access to all the textbooks he/she needs to acquire knowledge and perform well at examinations on the other hand. But one of the greatest solutions it provides is that no matter how rich or poor the student’s parents may be, each one of them in the State of Osun will have free access to 57 textbooks and seven other extra-curricular texts for expanded knowledge in SS1, 2 & 3 levels of senior secondary school education. This is a spectacular achievement not replicated anywhere else in Nigeria or Africa. All these are in addition to the fact that the Opon Imo is the first of its kind in the world. We recall that earlier in this educational transformation exercise,



ODAY, the people of Osun will celebrate a landmark

A great window of opportunity has now been opened to parents, teachers and the pupils themselves to never again allow educational standards to fall in Osun, but should make it climb the ladder of excellence higher and higher in the south west, Nigeria and Africa or even on the world map.


the Ogbeni-led ACN government in Osogbo has been radically changing the infrastructure of many schools and colleges; and has also been focusing attention on the younger ones in schools from primary one to four, by providing them with a healthy rich meal a day. This is to ensure that young pupils have sufficient food nutrients for health and energy to boost their capacity for intellectual growth – as the saying goes, “to have a sound mind in a sound body”. No matter what the critics may have against the ACN government

of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, they cannot but acknowledge that his education reform agenda is not just unprecedented; it is blazing a trail that will be replicated across Nigeria and Africa in the not-too-distant future. This will not only put the state of Osun in a conspicuous space on the educational map of Africa and the world, it will also attest to the uncommon genius of the thinking behind the project. The people of Osun should feel proud today that, with the official launch of Opon Imo, they are taking the lead in the whole world to provide an electronic gadget which nobody on earth has ever thought of, but which has the potential of improving on the incentive to learning and educational excellence that all humanity aspires for. Credit for this attainment must also go to Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori the deputy governor, who is also commissioner for education, for the tireless efforts of herself and her team within and outside the ministry of education in bringing this project to its successful completion. We must also acknowledge the collaborative effort of the people of China whose technological input made production of the Opon Imo possible. A great window of opportunity has now been opened to parents, teachers and the pupils themselves to never again allow educational

•Aregbesola standards to fall in Osun, but should make it climb the ladder of excellence higher and higher in the south west, Nigeria and Africa or even on the world map. This is the least that Governor Aregbesola expects as gratitude from the people of the state of Osun for his tireless efforts in developing high quality human capital for our society and communities. Finally, the people of Osun should congratulate themselves that in the last 30 months, their collective will expressed in 2007 but actualized in 2010, has produced this record –breaking progress that has ended the years of the locust and set the state on the path of distinction as a role model in the management of scarce resources and creative thinking. Osun ti’ndara, Odua a gbe wa o!!













NEWS N400m for 60,000 flood victims From Osagie Otabor, Benin


HE Government of Edo State is to begin the disbursement of the N400 million grant provided for last year’s flood victims by the Federal Government. Over 60,000 persons were affected across three local government areas. A total of 4,616 houses were either washed away or damaged; 5,811 families were affected. The planned payment followed the approval of the report of the state Flood Relief Committee by Governor Adams Oshiomhole. The Committee Chairman, Hajia Maimuna Momodu, denied insinuations that the government had spent the money. She said the fund was intact in an account domiciled in a bank. Ms Momodu said the fund was not shared to the victims at the camps because the extent of damage was not ascertained before the victims left the camps. She said her committee visited the affected communities to ascertain the number of houses destroyed, categories of houses affected and the level of damage. Ms Momodu said: “Some people have mud houses; others have modern buildings. Do you expect the amount due to each person to be the same? “We also took account of those affected whose property were destroyed but were not buildings. “We captured community buildings, schools, churches and others. “This is to ensure that nobody lost out. We have concluded all the arrangements. “We are at the point of disbursing the money. We want to ensure we do not short-change anybody and nobody double crosses anybody. “The letters we are distributing are in three colours for easy identification.”

Navy impounds Lagos firm’s vessel for illegal bunkering T HE Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO of the Nigerian Navy in Bayelsa State has impounded a vessel, MV Dalal, carrying 120,000 litres of AGO (Automated Gas Oil), suspected to be stolen, in Akassa creeks of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. Oil industry operators put the street value of the stolen AGO (popularly called diesel) at about N18million, going by the prevailing market price of about N150 per litre. It was gathered that the vessel is registered by an oil and gas firm located in Apapa, Lagos State. Confirming the report, the Command Operations Officer, Central Naval Command, Cmd. Emmanuel Enemor, said: “The vessel was a fishing trawler converted to a tanker for the purpose of illegal bunkering.” He said the captain of the vessel confessed to loading the vessel from an illegal refinery in the creeks. “At the time of the arrest, the vessel did not have Nigerian Ports Authority bunkering permit, ship’s log, Naval

US donates two warships From Shola O’Neil, Port Harcourt


HE war against illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta received a boost at the weekend with the United States’ donation of two warships to the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba, who made the revelation in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the ships would join the war against oil theft, piracy and other illegal activities in the maritime environment. Speaking at a ceremonial sunset to mark the end of the 2013 Navy Week at the Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at the weekend, Ezeoba named the ships as USNS Mcdonell and the USCGC Gallatin. The CNS, who was represented by the Flag Officer Commanding CNC, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said: “It is expected that the transfer of these ships to the Navy would be actualised before the end of the year,” he said. The USNS Mcdonell was launched in 1990 and rested in 2010; USCGC Gallatin, a high-endurance cutter, was commissioned in 1968. From Shola O’Neil, Port Harcourt

Headquarters approval and the certificate of the Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield.” “Laboratory analysis of the sample of the product from the vessel also indicated that

the AGO on board is of poor diesel quality,” he said. Enemor said there was a need to institute a legal action against MV DALAL, adding that the Navy had handed over 10 crew members arrested on board the vessel and other exhibits to the Eco-

nomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He said the suspects were transferred to EFCC after a brief ceremony at the command’s headquarters in Yenagoa. He said EFCC was expected to carry out further investigations and prosecution of the suspects. Enemor said the Navy would retain custody of the vessel until the conclusion of the case. The naval officer expressed concerns over increased cases of illegal activities on the waterways. “We are concerned with crude oil theft, illegal refining of stolen crude, pipeline vandalism, sea robbery, piracy, kidnapping, hijacking of vessels and attacks on vessels.” Enemor named other water boundaries that were of concern to the Navy in the war against crime as Brass River, Nun River and St. Nicholas River.

Activists reject scrapping of NGF From Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin


IVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) in Edo State have condemned the call for the scraping of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). The Executive Director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, David Ugolor and the former chairman of the State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kaduna Eboigbodin, described the call as baseless and unconstitutional. Ugolor said the governors, like any other group of persons, have the right to freedom of association. He said the controversy over the winner of the NGF election should not be a yardstick for people to start calling for the scraping of the Forum.

•Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Edem Duke (second right) cutting the tape at the official commissioning of AES Luxury Apartments in Abuja... at the weekend. With him are the Chairman of the Board, Oluyemi Ogunyemi ( right) his wife, Titilola and a director, Eddy Olafeso. PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

Anger as search for victim of sunken vessel ends


HE search-and-rescue operation for the crew of the ill-fated Jascon 4 vessel, which sank off the coast of Escravos, Delta State, last Sunday, was called off on Friday. One member remains missing. A source told our reporter that foreign experts and their Nigerian counterparts assembled for the rescue mission, called it a day last Friday, much to the consternation of the missing seafarer’s family. The family of the missing seaman, identified as Richard Egbe, was unhappy with the development.

•Survivor recounts ordeal From Shola O’Neil, Warri

“Can you imagine, our brother is still missing, yet we heard that they have called off the search? I do not want to believe this should happen,” a family source said. Jascon 4, owned by West Africa Venture (WAV), a subsidiary of Sea Truck Group (STG), sank last Sunday during a routine tow of an oil tanker to the BOP owned by Chevron Nigeria. Sources at the Warri office of Chevron Nigeria Limited

said Egbe was holed up in the engineer’s room of the vessel, when it sank. A search later revealed the wreck of the vessel in the bed of the Atlantic Sea, leading to the discovery of 11 of the 12man crew, among which the cook, identified as Harrison Oghene, was the only survivor so far. Officials of WAV and STG could not be reached for comments yesterday. The Chevron management declined comments.

It was jubilation for the Oghene family on Saturday, following his discharge from the Chevron Clinic, where he was admitted. Oghene was rescued on Tuesday evening by a team of divers, who met him in the vessel’s kitchen, where he was hiding after the vessel sank. Narrating his lucky escape, Oghene said he climbed to the top of the cabinets to keep his head above water. He said when the diver came to the cabin, he was scared and thought death had finally come for him.

Rivers’ PLWHA high From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

RIVERS State has the highest number of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), with 145,236 adults and 15,000 children affected, a group, Rhema Care Integrated Development Centre said. The group’s Co-ordinator, Priscilla Shu, made this known when the center facilitated a sensitisation programme among workers of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. To curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, the awareness campaigner stressed the need for total abstinence and faithfulness to one uninfected partner. She also advised on the need to avoid use of unsterilized sharp instruments and ensure that only screened blood are transfused.

‘Rivers PDP crisis, unnecessary’ From Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja

FORMER Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudum Nwuche yesterday described the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State as a storm in a tea cup Nwuche, who spoke to our reporter in Abuja, insisted that those tagging the crisis as do-or-die have missed the point. He noted that internal party discipline would eventually prevail as the party would come out supreme. The former deputy speaker said the PDP has capacity to resolve its internal crisis. Nwuche described the crisis as a family affair that has nothing to do with external interference. H said: “Those who describe it as a do-or-die affair are missing the point. The point is that what is happening in Rivers PDP is an intra party problem. The PDP has the capacity to solve the problem within its fold. “We will survive in the normal PDP setup. You hear a lot of noise, see a lot of activities, a lot of disagreement. But eventually it will be settled. “Fortunately, internal party discipline will prevail and the party will come out stronger and supreme. “I know that the PDP has an internal mechanism for conflict resolution and adjudication. “People are ascribing it to external forces when the matter is internal. I can tell you that the President has no interest in the PDP matter in Rivers State because he is busy.”

My life under threat for supporting Amaechi, says House of Reps member


OR supporting Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency, Davies Sokonte, has alleged threats to his life. Sokonte said his extended family members were not spared from the threats. In a statement at the weekend, the lawmaker said he

From Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, Abuja

would not abandon Amaechi and the cause he was pursuing. The statement reads: “Recently, my family and I have come under attacks due to my principled stance concerning the issues of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State and my sup-

port for Governor Rotimi Amaechi. “These attacks have been in various forms, such as anonymous phone calls, death threats, subtle coercing by others who request that I mellow down on my position. “Please, note that I am making this statement to all concerned that there is nothing anybody can do against

the truth and as it is said, tyranny thrives when men of good conscience keep silent. “Also, note that cowards die many times before their death. “Finally, let it be known to all that for me, anybody who intends to kill me has just declared his or her own obituary. “I have never shed anybody’s blood and nobody can

shed my blood or that of any member of my family. “What has Governor Amaechi done to attract all this hatred? What type of governor will Amaechi be if he kept silent? “As for my support, nobody can stop it because I am convinced beyond any doubt that Amaechi has done well and is doing well. “I believe that this distrac-

tion they want to give to him has failed and that he will finish stronger. “He is not only a national darling but an international one. “People should stop trying to destroy what they cannot build. “If they failed when they had opportunity, they could join the achiever in commending him/her and share in the success by so doing.”






CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999


EMORIES will be rekindled today as the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, lays a wreath and unveils a cenotaph at the site of the June 3, 2012 Dana Air crash at Iju Ishaga, a Lagos suburb. It will be at a remembrance service to commemorate the first year anniversary of the tragic accident, which claimed the lives of 156 passengers with the crew and others on ground. Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed briefed reporters on the programme on Friday. He said today's event emanated from a consensus reached between the victims' families and Fashola. "The governor had several meetings with the families of the deceased and it was from those meetings that the bereaved families opted for a memorial to be on the day of the first anniversary. It was a consensus of opinion. Preparations have been made to unveil a cenotaph in their honour and the governor is going to be present," Ahmed said. Also at the briefing, Commissioner for Information, Lateef Ibirogba, said the commemoration would be sober, adding: "As a government, we feel those who lost their lives in that unfortunate incident should not be forgotten. We will always remember something happened to us on June 3, 2012." Members of the Lagos State Executive Council, non-governmental organisations, families and friends of the victims of the crash are expected to gather at the crash site today at 10 am. "The governor will spend a sober time with the families and friends of those who lost their lives; he will also offer his words of encouragement to all the victims. There is no fanfare or jamboree. This is an event to remember our friends and families who lost their lives on that day," Ahmed said. The commissioner also disclosed that the state government had put in place measures that would ensure the improvement of emergency response in the state. "Already, we have established local emergency management committee at every local government in the state that would respond to cases of emergency, secure the location and control the crowd before the arrival of the state management team. We have

Customs seizes N13m goods By Uyoatta Eshiet

•Commissioner for Special Duties, Lagos State, Dr. Wale Ahmed (2nd left), addressing reporters on Dana Air Crash Remembrance Day at the Secretariat, Alausa-Ikeja ... on Friday. With him are: Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba (1st left); Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Dr. Aderemi Desalu (2nd right), and the General Manager,Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Dr. Oke Osanyintolu (1st right). PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

Dana crash: Fashola unveils cenotaph today •We've been left to our fate, say victim's relations By Seun Akioye and Jude Isiguzo

trained and kitted them and we ask all Lagosians to give them their support so that the prognosis in such emergency can improve." However, the tears of relations Sarah Mheslia, one of the victims, have not dried up, owing to what they termed the insensitivity of the managers of the airline. But the latter had claimed that they had reached out to families of all the victims of the air disaster. The victim's family's spokesperson, Sandra Mshelia, said what the airline

managers had done to her family was unfair as it was yet to receive any compensation. She added that the family was yet to come to terms with the reality of the death of their sister and wondered why the airline that caused them the grievous loss, would further subject them to more pains by not paying them any compensation. Mshelia said: "I am always agonised each time I visit my parents, Mr and Mrs Gana Mshela, my siblings, Isiakhu, Rebecca, Hassana and Hannatu because I cannot explain to them why we have not yet got any favourable response from the management of

Dana Airline. It is so painful they are treating us this way and yet, they go about claiming in newspapers that they have paid something to all the families of the victims involved in the crash when they know they are lying ". She urged the Federal Government to prevail on the management of the airline to live up to its promise after the crash. Mshelia commended Governor Fashola, whom, she said, had been wonderful in terms of assisting families of victims of the air mishap. She commended him for providing a venue for the memorial service for the victims.

• The late Ibrahim

• Mrs. Momodu

you to know that when I went to the station after I called my son's GSM number on that fateful day, the police gave a conflicting version of how he was killed". "The police referred to my son as a commercial bus driver while my son could not even drive a car. The motorcycle which my son boarded was impounded, while the whereabouts of the motorcyclist remain unknown." "It is my candid prayer that you launch an unbiased investigation into the killing of Ibrahim Momodu and bring the culprits to justice," she said. In a chat with The Nation, Mrs. Momodu said she was told by sympathisers at the scene that the police ran away after killing her son, only to return the following morning to collect his corpse for burial.

She said a policeman told her at the State Police Headquarters that her son was killed during a shoot-out and that the motorcyclist escaped with bullet wounds. Meanwhile, students and members of civil societies in the state have mobilised to protest the killing in major streets of Benin City today. Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev David Ugolor, who condemned the killing, said a formal petition would be written for a panel of inquiry to be set up to investigate where the victim allegedly robbed and for the police to release the pathology report. State Police spokesman, DSP Moses Eguaveon, a Deputy Suprentendet (DSP), could not be reached for comments at press time.

Woman seeks justice over son's killing •Students to protest colleague's death


N employee of the Edo State Centre for Community Development, Mrs. Osas Okungbowa Momodu, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to investigate the alleged killing of her only son by some policemen. Her son, Ibrahim Momodu, a 500level student in the department of Science Laboratory Technology of the University of Benin, was reportedly shot dead by the police last Wednesday night along Textile Mill Road, Benin City. In the petition, mother of the victim urged the police boss to urgently look into the killing and bring those responsible to justice. She said her son was shot dead by policemen attached to Ogida Police

‘The police referred to my son as a commercial bus driver while he could not even drive a car. The motorcycle which my son boarded was impounded, while the whereabouts of the motorcyclist remain unknown’ From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Station on trumped-up allegation of armed robbery.” The petition read: "It might suffice

Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge excites motorists


S the clock ticked past midnight last Friday, the new Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge was opened for use to motorists, who welcomed the project and commended the Babatunde Fashola-led administration over it. Mr Agore Aboh said: "If similar things can be happening in our country, we would be happy. That was why I decided to ply the road, pay the toll and encourage others to pay because it is a good thing.” Chief Adolo Okotie Eboh, described it as an evidence of good governance and hoped that other states would emulate the state government. Mr Bambo Ibidapo-Obe said: "I

made sure I passed the first day it opened and I am very impressed. "I have paid N300 for my Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). If we want good things, we have to pay for them. Mr Valentine Aboh described it as a people-oriented project, adding that its benefit is for road users. Tunde Olaleye said it would hasten people’s movement from lekki to Ikoyi. Fashola, last Wednesday, formally opened the bridge, restated that the primary objective in its conception and delivery was to provide transport infrastructure and strategic traffic management solution aimed at tackling traffic congestion in the area.

THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), last week arrested a total of 1,300 bags of smuggled rice with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N13.4 million in Bawe Village near Ere, a border community between Nigeria and Benin Republic. The arrest was made by the Western Marine Command (WMC), an arm of the NCS in charge of securing the water ways in Western Nigeria against illegal imports after a oneweek ambush for the smugglers, following an intelligence report. The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Zakka Audu said: "On sighting the officers, the smugglers immediately jumped inside the water and escaped. But it is not in the best interest of the Service for the officers to start pursuing them in that circumstance. The most important thing is that the seizure had been secured," Audu said. The smuggled goods estimated at about 1,300 bags were loaded in three big wooden boats. The estimated value was put at N6.2 million while Duty at 110 percent was put at N7.1 million. "By being smuggled in through the land borders, they have flouted the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we are there to stop them from using the wrong routes", Audu said. Meanwhile, the Comptroller said the Command had synergised with the Federal Operations Unit of the Customs and they also have a unit that enlightens the public on the danger of smuggling and its effects on the economy.

Bamigbetan urges road users' patience By Seun Akioye

REPRIEVE will soon come the way of motorists plying Isolo-Egbe Road, particularly at the Iyana Ejigbo Junction axis of the road, which has been taken over by flood, Kehinde Bamigbetan, Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State, has assured. This assurance was contained in a statement issued at the weekend by the Council's Information Officer, Rabiu Hassan. Bamigbetan said the state Ministry of the Environment had indicated its readiness to put the situation under control, but said he had directed the council's Works Department to immediately provide palliative measures at the waterlogged portion of the road to alleviate commuters' suffering. "Initially, we thought that by breaking the hard culvert at the entrance of Double Power Line Road, off Iyana Ejigbo Road, the flood would find its way to Egbe stream, but we discovered that there is another hard culvert underneath the broken one that is impeding the free flow of water along the excavated drainage, leading to the canal," Bamigbetan stated. He said further: "At that point, we informed the Ministry of the Environment on the need to carry out the concretisation of the excavated drainage and break the newly discovered hard culvert to solve the problem finally." Bamigbetan, who sympathised with motorists plying the road on a daily basis and the man hour lost as a result of traffic gridlock caused by the bad portion, assured them that the problem would soon be over.

• Bamigbetan



NEWS Kidnapped Briton regains freedom From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba


ISS Nora Mankel, a Briton who was kidnapped at Umunkiri village in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State in April, has been freed by her abductors. The Commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abubakar, who confirmed her release, said she was dropped very close to the village by her abductors and that no ransom was paid. Abubakar said she has been reunited with her mother and had left Nigeria for England to join other members of her family. Miss Mankel, whose mother hails from Umunkiri in Obingwa Local Government Area and was married to a Briton where she (Nora) was born, reportedly visited her mother’s hometown during Easter, where she was kidnapped. On the day she was kidnapped, Miss Mankel went to the market in the company of her fiancé. As they were returning home in the evening, some gunmen ambushed them near her grandparents’ house at Umunkiri. Her fiancé was reportedly injured.

‘Enugu ACN intact’ From Chris Oji, Enugu


HE National leadership of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has declared that there is no crisis in its Enugu State chapter. It said the suspension of the 2011 governorship candidate, Valentine Nnaedozie and 21 others was part of measures to instill discipline in the party and rid it of bad eggs. The national ex-officio member representing Southeast zone, Adolphous Udeh, affirmed claims by the Barth Ugwuoke-led leadership that prior to the sanction, the suspended members were allegedly being used by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The ACN said as a serious opposition party, it cannot afford to watch renegades and mischief makers misled its members. Udeh said: “I want to state that there is nothing like crack or division in Enugu ACN, the present state exco led by Ugwuoke was duly elected during a state congress held on April 29. “This congress was observed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials, security operatives and all other relevant bodies as stipulated by law.”

Anyaoku gives N65m to dialysis centre From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


ISHOP of the Anglican Diocese on the Niger Rev Owen Nwokolo yesterday said the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku and his wife, Bunmi, have redeemed their pledge of N65 million to the diocese for the establishment of a dialysis and diagnostic centre at IyiEnu Mission Hospital. The Anyaokus made the pledge at Mr. Anyaoku’s 80 th birthday and their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Anyaoku requested his friends not to put up any advert but rather channel the advert money to a dedicated account for Iyi-Enu hospital established in 1907. That they did and the sum of N65 million was realised. Speaking during the first session of the 29th Synod of the diocese, Nwokolo praised the Anyaokus for their magnanimity. He said the church will seek expertise advice to procure the best diagnostic and dialysis equipment, adding that somebody on behalf of the Anyaokus has promised to donate some medical equipment.

•The wreckage of the vehicles...yesterday


Six dead in road accident

IX people have died while returning from a funeral at Arochukwu as the bus in which they were travelling collided with a car at Ohafia, Abia State. The accident occurred near the Goodluck Jonathan Barracks of the 14 Brigade, Ohafia. A soldier said he was on duty at the main entrance of the barracks when the bus tried to overtake a vehicle but rammed into the car, which was coming in the opposite direction.

•Victims returning from funeral From Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke, Umuahia

He said the bus, somersaulted hitting another bus parked close by, killing six people in the process. An eyewitness, Lazarus Idika, said he was working in his workshop when he heard a loud sound which made him to head towards the source of the sound, and that on reaching there he saw the vehicles

with passengers trapped inside. He said: “We decided to break the bus with axes and diggers to bring out the bodies that were trapped and save the survivors. “The passengers in the car -a man and a woman- were injured. They were taken to the hospital and are responding to treatment.” A survivor said the passengers were returning from a funeral at

Arochukwu. He said they were really pressed for time, which must have been why the driver was speeding. “The driver was speeding but he became careless. He did not check before overtaking; there was no way the accident could have been avoided,” he said. Police spokesman Geoffrey Ogbomna could not be reached for comments.

What Achebe loved, by friends, associates


HE literary giant, the late Prof Chinua Achebe had two things he held dear to him, aside his family and his writings? According to some members of his family, friends and associates, women topped the list. They said Achebe held women and Onugbu soup very dear. Although his widow and children could not be reached for comments, Achebe’s associate at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and President of Old Boys of Government College Umuahia, Abia State, Emma Anyanwu, confirmed that Achebe had a special passion for women. Anyanwu said Achebe never took advantage of women. “Achebe loved women but in the positive way. He did not exploit people. While we were on campus, he loved women. I can attest to that. “And the little interactions I had with him exposed his love for women. “He was a consummate grandfather, powerful father, loving and caring husband who applied proper and reasonable time to his books, research and intellectual pursuit. “Though quietly disposed like a


•’Onugbu soup his favourite’ From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

consummate philosopher, he had ample time for everything he had his mind set on to do.” But Achebe’s in-law, a retired head teacher, Mrs. Ikpeze Nnonyelum, disagreed with the notion that Achebe loved women more than his books and family. Mrs Ikpeze said: “My in-law had no time for women. He wrote 24 hours daily. “My uncle was married to Achebe’s elder sister. The much I know about him was that he did not meddle with women. “I was happy that he was married to his books and the testimony from his family was that he was a good and loving man. “He was married to his books and, of course, his wife and family, not women outside his home. The late Achebe’s nephew and Chief Medical Director, Venik Specialist Hospital, Onitsha, Ike Okonkwo, supported Mrs. Ikpeze’s views.

Okonkwo said: The late Achebe was my uncle and we don’t know him as a womaniser. He was married to his books and does not have time for pettiness. “I am not aware that he was into women or that he loved women in the sense you are asking about it. If the word love must be used it must be in the positive aspect. “In fact, he had no time for women because he was married to his research and family, hence he was teaching and writing till death.” Senator Annie Okonkwo said: “I would not want to comment on his personal life because every individual has his right to privacy. “Achebe is no more and so we should look at his legacies and see how we can make them beneficial to our generation. “I don’t think women should be part of his disturbances, having achieved this feat in writing and teaching. “He has made great Nigerians and I can make bold to say that he was married to his books.

•The late Achebe

“Let institutions be named after him and let more like him be given the exposure they need. The senator representing Anambra Central, Dr Chris Ngige, said the late Achebe’s favourite soup was bitter leaf soup, which they enjoyed together as prepared by his wife, Christie. He said Achebe was fearless, probably because he was a short man like him (Ngige) but endowed intellectually.

Community, Anambra govt bicker over land

ZA Ozubulu community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State has called on the government to hands of its land which habits a deity-Agbo Ogwugwu In a letter to the Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning through its lawyer, Rapheal O. Nzekwe & Co, the community said it would not allow the government take over its ancestral land. The community said the government trespassed on the Agbo Ogwugwu land situated on the Old Onitsha–Owerri Road, where many food crops and economic trees were allegedly destroyed and the community’s ancient deity, Agbo Ogwugwu desecrated. The community claimed that there

•Commissioner: govt did not trespass From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

was no valid acquisition of the land by the government neither was it given notice of acquisition before the government entered into it “without due process.” It alleged that the acquisition of the land was to sell it to the public, which it declared unconstitutional, null and void. Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning Okoli Akirika said the government did not contravene any law, adding that the parcel of land was acquired by a military administration in Anambra State decades ago.

The commissioner said the state had instructed its Surveyor–General to investigate the claims of the community to be confirmed by the

community’s surveyor. He insisted that government had no intention to disposes the community of its land without adequate compensation and would not go back on its plan to develop the area.

Army confab begins today


HE Chief of Army Staff 2nd quarter Conference begins today in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital. The conference, which will hosted by the 82 Division, Enugu, will run from today till Wednesday at the Staff Development Centre (SDC), Abakaliki. A statement by the spokesman of the division, Col Hamza Gambo, said the Conference, organised by the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Abuja, is in line with the Army’s annual activities. The army spokesman said the focus of the conference is to appraise the performances of Army formations in combating security challenges in their Area of Responsibilities (AoRs).




Kogi ACN kicks as Wada increases tuition fees •Panel uncovers defects in state-owned tertiary institutions


HE Kogi State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday condemned Governor Idris Wada’s recent increase in the tuition fees payable by students of the state-owned tertiary institutions. In a statement in Abuja by its Chairman, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, the party said the action would deprive the children of the poor the access to higher education. It noted that the government’s directive for increased fees would directly affect every household in the state. ACN said the new fees were contained in a recently released Kogi State Government’s White Paper on the findings and recommendations of the visitation panels to tertiary institutions in the state. The report covered the activities of the institutions from 2000 to 2009. The party urged the government to reverse the order, adding that it is capable of throwing the state into a deep crisis.

‘Melaiye for Senate’ posters flood Lokoja From Muhammad Bashir, Lokoja

HE posters carrying the portrait of former House of Representatives member for Kabba/Ijumu Federal Constituency, Dino Malaiye, have been pasted at Lokoja roundabout, the Kogi State capital. The former lawmaker is from Kogi West Senatorial District and is a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Residents of the town woke up yesterday morning and saw varieties of his campaign posters on major streets of the state capital showing he is vying for a senatorial seat. Though Melaiye has not made any official declaration, it was learnt that the activist has been under pressure by his people, especially those of Okun, to contest the seat with incumbent Smart Adeyemi, who is said to be eying his third term in the Senate. The Nation gathered that Melaiye has bowed to the pressure but warned that the 2015 senatorial election in zone must be free, fair and credible. The fiery politician has said he will not condone electoral robbery. Melaiye is said to have been endorsed by some political leaders in the zone. A source close to political leaders in the zone, who spoke in confidence, said they agreed to back Melaiye because of his anti-corruption crusade in the country. “We had supported people in the past and our community is suffering for it. That is why we looked at Dino’s antecedent when he was member of the House of Representatives...”


From Sanni Onogu, Abuja

The statement added: “Based on the approval of the Wada-led government, the tuition fees of tertiary institutions in Kogi State have been increased. “Students of Kogi State University (KSU), Anyigba, are now to pay N100,000 as tuition fees. Their counterparts in the Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, are to pay N50,000, while those of the Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa, are equally to pay N50,000 per session.” It was learnt that students of the state university were paying less than N40,000 per session while their counterparts in the college of education and the polytechnic paid less than N30,000 before nearly 60 and 45 per cent upward review was introduced. ACN said it is unfortunate that the Wada administration, which promised to turn around the fortunes of education in the state, now “wants to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the parents, majority of

who are down-trodden, to send their children to school.” The party stressed that it did not occur to the government that some parents have more than a child in tertiary institutions. It asked: “How then do we expect them to cope with this unpleasant development?” ACN also noted that some indigent students were struggling to pay their way through school. It added: “We, therefore, view the current action of the PDP-led government as an attempt to take education beyond the reach of the masses. “By the introduction of the new tuition fees, we in the opposition strongly believe that the aim has been defeated. This is because only the rich can now afford the means to send their children to higher institutions in the state. “We are, therefore, calling on the well-meaning people of the state, particularly the leaders and traditional rulers, to advise the state government to drop this un-


popular policy now before it throws the state into a serious crisis. “This action has demonstrated to all and sundry that the PDP-led government has no interest of the masses at heart; as such, it should be voted out in the next dispensation. “We knew from the onset that the PDP-led government has nothing to offer the state, more so that they have been unable to account for the billions they have received from Abuja in their 10 years of misrule.” ACN urged the people of the state and Nigerians to vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) as an alternative platform to stop the current underdevelopment under the PDP administration. It said: “As we are moving to the All Progressives Congress (APC), we urge Nigerians to vote en mass for the party in the next general elections.”

Oil marketer petitions CJN over Judge’s ‘victimisation’


R SEUN Ogunbambo, the Chief Executive Officer of Fargo Oil Services and one of the oil marketers on trial for alleged fuel subsidy fraud, has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Maria Mukhtar, over alleged victimisation by Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court. The petition was dated May 30 and signed by the petitioner. Ogunbambo, who recently enlisted former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) in his defence team, alleged that when his lawyers applied for bail before the trial judge, he was the only oil marketer who was denied bail until the Court of Appeal approved it. According to him, he had thought that the basis of re-

fusal was because of a prejudicial matter introduced into the bail application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which involved Stanbic IBTC in connection with a loan that was unrelated to the subsidy matter. Ogunbambo said following an out-of-court settlement, on which the bank wrote the EFCC withdrawing the case, “I had thought that the matter had ended there, until in opposing my bail applications in the two suits before Justice Onigbanjo, the complaint of Stanbic IBTC was brought in as a basis for opposing the grant of bail to me”. He added: “It appears to me that Justice Onigbanjo has taken a position against me in the pending proceedings before him. This goes beyond the prejudicial material introduced by the EFCC. I now sit in the dock (listening to the proceedings

and sensing from the questions the judge poses to the prosecution witnesses and the ruling he has given concerning certain documents prepared by the EFCC during the proceedings which my lawyers objected to but which the Honourable Judge nevertheless admitted in evidence against me). I have a feeling that my conviction by the Judge for these trumped-up charges, brought by the EFCC, is only a matter of time and not dependent on the strength or otherwise of the case against me. “The rulings I have referred to above are even a child’s play compared to the manner in which the honourable judge, during the proceedings in these charges, has granted an exparte application for the forfeiture of my assets to the Federal Government behind my back and before my guilt had been established.”

Borno shuts 20 private schools over poor standards


HE Borno State Government has shut down 20 private schools for failing to meet the minimum standard. The Commissioner for Education, Malam Inuwa Kubo, spoke yesterday in Maiduguri, the state capital, with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said the action followed several warnings by the Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of

Education, which the proprietors did not meet. “The government closed down the 20 private schools because of poor quality standard. “We found out that the proprietors of the schools were more inclined to making money, instead of maintaining standards in schools,” Kubo said.

Youths urge Ameachi, Jang to resolve NGF crisis


YOUTHS’ group, the Middle Belt Youth Assembly (MBYA), has urged the leadership of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to immediately resolve the crisis that followed the election of its chairman over a week ago.

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

MBYA National President Kingsley Omerigwe said the crisis has done more harm than good to the image of the forum. Addressing reporters in Abuja, Omerigwe said: “It is

our desire that Governors Jang and Amaechi will, in the interest of peace and unity of the whole country, meet and resolve the crisis in order to move the forum forward, particularly in delivering uniform dividends of democracy to the people of Nigeria...”





FOREIGN NEWS Islamist militants attack Niger prison

Court outlaws upper house in Egypt


GYPT’s highest court ruled yesterday that the nation’s Islamist-dominated legislature and constitutional panel were illegally elected, dealing a serious blow to the legal basis of the Islamists’ hold on power. The ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court says that the legislature’s upper house, the only one currently sitting, would not be dissolved until the parliament’s lower chamber is elected later this year or early in 2014. The constitutional panel has already dissolved after completing the charter. The ruling deepens the political instability that has gripped the country since the overthrow of authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak more than two years ago. The same court ruled to dissolve parliament’s lower chamber in June, a move that led to the promotion of the normally toothless upper chamber, the Shura Council, to becoming a law-making house. The Shura Council, long derided as nothing more than a talk shop, was elected by about seven percent of the electorate last year.

It was not immediately clear whether the ruling on the 100member constitutional panel would impact in any way on the charter it drafted. The constitution was adopted in a nationwide vote in December with a relatively low turnout of about 35 percent. But even if it does not, the ruling will question the legal foundations of the disputed charter pushed through by allies of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in an allnight session late last year. Critics say the charter restricts freedoms and gives clerics a say in legislation. The Islamists who drafted it hail the document as the best one Egypt has ever had. In what appeared to be an attempt to remove any confusion over the ruling, Morsi’s office issued a brief statement in which it emphasized that all state institutions must respect the constitution, that the Shura Council will continue to function as the nation’s legislature and that the president will ensure that all the branches of state are fully functioning. Regardless of its consequences on the ground, Sunday’s ruling is likely to prolong the polarizing politi-

cal transition that followed Mubarak’s overthrow. Rival political groups disagree not just on policies and the future course of the nation but on the legitimacy of the basic institutions of government. It will give heart to the mostly secular and liberal opposition, while providing fresh ammunition to the argument often repeated by the president’s supporters that the judiciary is filled with Mubarak loyalists determined to derail the nation’s political process. Morsi, elected nearly a year ago, tried to reinstate parliament’s lower chamber just days after he came to office on June 30 but eventually bowed to the court ruling and backed down. In both rulings on parliament’s two chambers, the court contended that political parties that fielded candidates for the third of seats set aside for independent candidates, as allowed by the election law, amounted to a breach of the principle of fairness. The Shura Council’s critics say it is ill-equipped to be the nation’s sole law-making body, and complain that it’s

considering legislation that will have a far reach into the future rather than simply pass what is absolutely necessary during the transition period. Of the chamber’s 270 members, 180 were elected, and Morsi appointed the other 90. Five percent of its members are Christians - about half the proportion of the population - and four percent are women. When Shura Council elections were held in early 2012, not only did many voters stay away but so did many political parties - especially several of the newborn liberal groups with smaller budgets. Over 70 percent of the seats were won by Islamists. The court on Sunday also ruled unconstitutional clauses in a 1958 law giving the president far-reaching powers under a state of emergency. The invalidated clauses allowed suspects to be arrested with little recourse and placed restrictions on the freedoms of movement and assembly. The ruling comes ahead of the scheduled climax on June 30 - the president’s first anniversary in office - of a campaign by anti-government protesters to collect 15 million signatures of Egyptians who

Iraq uncovers al-Qaeda ‘chemical weapons plot’


HE authorities in Iraq say they have uncovered an alQaeda plot to use chemical weapons, as well as to smuggle them to Europe and North America. Defence ministry spokesman Mohammed alAskari said five men had been arrested after military intelligence monitored their

activities for three months. Three workshops for manufacturing the chemical agents, including sarin and mustard gas, were uncovered, he added. Remote-controlled toy planes were also seized at the workshops. Mr Askari said they were to have been used to release the chemical agents over the target

from a “safe” distance of 1.5km (1 mile), reports the BBC’s Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad. All of the arrested men had confessed to the plot and said they had received instruction from another al-Qaeda offshoot, he added. As the defence ministry spokesman spoke on Iraqi TV, footage was shown of four men with black hoods

on their heads, our correspondent adds. Three of them were wearing bright yellow jumpsuits and a fourth was in a brown jumpsuit. Four men accused of manufacturing chemical weapons are pictured at a news conference in Baghdad (1 June 2013) All of the arrested men have allegedly confessed.


want to see Morsi leave office. Morsi has yet to say whether he intends to take any action against the campaign or its organizers, who plan to stage a mass protest outside his Cairo palace on June 30. But the president’s supporters have denounced as illegal the campaign, called Tamarod, or “Rebel,” and there have been several street scuffles between the two sides.

GUNMEN have attacked the main prison in Niger’s capital, Niamey, killing at least two guards, officials say. They are thought to be members of the Islamist militant group, Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao). Officials said several inmates were overpowered and detained after what appeared to be an attempted breakout. The attack comes days after Mujao said it was behind suicide bombings at a military base and a French-operated uranium mine which killed 25 people. Another group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Signedin-Blood Battalion of Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, later claimed that the assaults in Agadez and Arlit had been joint operations with Mujao.

Gaddafi billions held in South Africa, says report


SSETS worth billions belonging to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi are thought to be held by South African banks, the Sunday Times reported. “National Treasury was approached by a group claiming to be representatives of the Libyan government,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane told the newspaper. It reported that Libyan investigators had found evidence that more than $1bn (about R10bn) in cash, gold and diamonds was being held by four South African banks and two local security companies. “The process of verifying the group’s claim is under way,” said Sikhakhane. Libyan embassy official Salah Marghani told the Sunday Times investigators had “been appointed to investigate and secure assets in Africa on behalf of the people of Libya”. The Sunday Times published extracts of letters from Libya’s justice and finance ministers to their South African counterparts, asking for help finding assets linked to Gaddafi which might “have been illegally possessed, obtained, looted, deposited or hidden in South Africa”.

Hezbollah and company in Nigeria? Global Focus


AST Thursday, a chilling news broke out of Kano, Nigeria about the arrest of Mustapha Fawaz, an Abuja-based business man of Lebanese extraction in whose home a catche of arms were found hidden in a bunker. He is one of three so named in the operation and word is coming out that the origin and intent of the ammunitions was from the terror group Hezbollah. Out of the ruins of Beirut, in the aftermath of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which led to the bloodiest conflagration in the Middle East during the Ronald Reagan years, would emerge Hezbollah, a Shi’a Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon. It prides itself as ‘The Party of Allah’, or ‘The Party of God’. With the successful routing of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the heavy destruction of the Syrian military and the Israeli Defence Force-backed Phalangist Party incursion and massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee Camps, killing almost 800 PLO refugees, the Muslim clerics in the Middle East region came together, to set up Hezbollah which began as a small militant group to help stand up to Israel in future invasions. That was 1982. Time has changed. Hezbollah has metastasized, more lethal, financially muscular and militarily strengthened by Iran and

DAYO FAKUADE, Foreign Editor

That was 1982. Time has changed. Hezbollah has metastasized, more lethal, financially muscular and militarily strengthened by Iran and Syria and more importantly, a political force to be reckoned with in Lebanon politics; what with its moderate numeric strength in the parliament. Syria and more importantly, a political force to be reckoned with in Lebanon politics; what with its moderate numeric strength in the parliament. Its original four goals as contained in its 1985 manifesto include “Israel’s final departure from Lebanon as a prelude to its final obliteration”, ending “any imperialist power in Lebanon”, submission of the Phalangists to “just rule” and bringing them to trial for their crimes, and giving the people the chance to choose “with full freedom the system of government they want”, while not hiding its commitment to the rule of Islam. Hezbollah leaders have also made numerous statements calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, which they refer to as the ‘Zionist entity’. Iran’s Iranian Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s followers were largely credited with providing the ideological vista that helped nurtured

Hezbollah with its present leader and Secretary General since 1992 as Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah, like Hamas, has a deft manipulative and strategic modus operandi that worms easily into the minds of the poor and down-trodden in its areas of operation: extensive social programs and healthcare services and perpetually branding and vilification of Israel as ‘enemy of mankind’, in order to justify its hatred for the Jewish State. The latest upsurge in the organisation’s activities in West Africa has been cited by many observers as a child of necessity. Early this year, in his appearance at the United Nations’ Security Council, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, alerted the international community to the nefarious activities of the group in subSahara Africa: “Hezbollah uses West Africa as a transit point for funneling money, arms, and

drugs to far-reaching corners of the globe,” Prosor said at a special debate on the growing security challenges facing West Africa. “The world cannot afford to stand by and give Hezbollah a base of operations in West Africa.”, he warned. Shortly after, while struggling with and establishing links between our own Boko Haram, Ansaru with the larger regional Al-Qaeda In the Maghreb(AIQM), explodes in our very eyes the first hint of Hezbollah’s presence and attempt to use Nigeria as a launching pad against Israeli and Western interests. It is therefore in this light that the recent discovery of large ammunitions in Kano, traced to the group should be alarming because of the fragile, hydra-headed security imperatives the nation is currently battling with. While believing in the fundamental rule of law which presumes innocence until proven guilty, it is hoped that the present arrests will lead

sms 08134230367 to a thorough investigation by our law enforcement agencies; devoid of sloppiness and usual delays that often lead to miscarriages of justice in Nigeria. Not to be forgotten are the insinuations presently being peddled about the possibilities of those currently in security operatives’ dragnet of their alleged closeness with some powerful people in and out of power in Nigeria and who could use their far-flung tentacles in scuttling the wheel of justice in favour of their erstwhile ‘partners’. Hezbollah is such a dangerous, well managed and coordinated terror organisation that possesses effective network of operatives well knowledgeable in our internationally known propensity for corrupt practices. If the latest discovery pans out, we would have been proven right as we have said on this page before that the whole insecurity situation in Nigeria involves people in high places along with their foreign collaborators that have vested and varied interests in making Nigeria ungovernable. Questions will continue to be asked if recent successes in the war against terror, as commendable as they may be, are sustainable, results of recent declaration of state of

emergency in three northeastern states, a reawakening and changes in strategies by our security apparati or a combination of all of the above. Second will be the sustainability of the present tempo by acting in concert with our friends in the international community who have warned us severally of the wrong approaches we have been deploying in our futile attempt at fighting terrorism. After all, America just warned about our lack of a clearly identifiable, coordinating and lead agency in this regard with the end result of needless quests for supremacy and infighting among our security agencies in instances that demand clear and outright leadership. It is instructive that Hezbollah is already fighting alongside Syria, its financier, in the current Syrian war against the Forces of Syrian Army; it has made successful forays in South Asia recently and it will not be a coincidence if the Kano plot is part of this grand design at the terror group’s attempt at springing another surprise in its global endeavours of destabilisation of perceived implacable foes and their allies.

THE NATION MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2013 In any case, highlights of outputs expected from the collaboration were summarized and presented for Council’s consideration as follows: i. 60,000 farm families translating to 360 people will be exposed to improved technologies in a range of Crop Production. ii. Training of 20,000 disadvantaged women farmers who have not been reached previously by the traditional extension efforts. iii. Establishment of three (3) (one per Senatorial District) post-harvest extension learning platforms (PHELPS) and thirty (30) (ten per Senatorial District) Community based income generating Agro – Processing Enterprises in key value chains involving 600 rural people. iv. Training of 15 post-harvest Agro – Processing extension matter specialists and 30 field officers. Council noted, considered and approved the followings; Approval granted for signing the MoU by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on behalf of the State Government. Release of the sum of N30,000,000.00 as counterpart funding for the envisaged project. i. Request for Funds to Enable Conveyance and Registration of Fifty Five (55) Successful Kano State Indigenous Candidates Who Gained Admission into the Nigerian Institute for Leather Technology, Zaria:- Congruent with the empowerment policy of the incumbent administration Council approved the release of the requested sum of N2,119,500.00 to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government to be utilized for the stated purpose above as follows: Registration fee N36,000 x 55 = N1,980,000.00 DTA for 2 Officials N15,000 x 2 = N30,000.00 Fueling of 2 buses N30,000 x 2 = N60,000.00 Feeding for 55 Candidates N900 x 55 = N49,500.00 TOTAL N2,119,500.00 The Directorate for Economic Empowerment should mandatorily execute the purpose. j. Request for Funds to Enable Removal of NITEL Poles along Major Roads of Kano Metropolis in View of the On – Going Expansion Projects:- The present administration is currently executing repairs and extension projects on twenty eight (28) selected major roads in the metropolis all of which affect a total of 671 NITEL Poles. Details were presented for Council’s consideration which informed the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology to request Council to approve for the release of the sum of N8,052,000.00 through the Office of the Secretary to the State Government to address the issue. Council noted, considered the request as significant and approved the release of the requested sum of N8,052,000.00 to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government for onward payment to the Ministry of Science and Technology to address the referred issued according to the details presented. 2. OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF CIVIL SERVICE Request for Funds to Facilitate Successful Conduct of the Celebration of the 2013 Civil Service Day:Office of the Head of Civil Service notified Council, through contents of this memorandum that, Kano State has been celebrating the Civil Service Day since 1999. Accordingly, the 23rd June is set aside for the purpose as was declared in 1994 in Tangier (Morocco) by the African Ministers of Administration and Civil Service to which Nigeria is a signatory. So, the aggregate sum of N3,473,000.00 was requested for release to the Office of the Head of Civil Service to enable successful celebration of the Civil Service Day on 23rd June, 2013. Approval was granted as requested for the release of the sum of N3,473,000.00 to the Office of the Head of Civil Service for the stated purpose. 3. MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES Nature provides abundant supply of water for man to harness, store, purify and distribute to areas of requirement by the citizenry. Kano State Government has done its own share of harnessing and storage of the water resource base by developing and maintaining over fourteen (14) dams. So, Council was politely reminded of its approval for the release of funds to the tune of N58,195,712.00 to execute repair/renovate Magaga and Guzu – Guzu Dams. In the same line, the State Ministry of Water Resources requested for the release of the sum of N62,773,640.68 to undertake repairs/renovation works at Tudun Wada Dankadai and Bagauda Dams. Details were presented for consideration by Council. Significance of the request prompted Council to approve the release of the requested sum of N62,773,640.68 to the Ministry of Water Resources to enable the execution of the repairs/renovation projects at Tudun Wada Dankadai and Bagauda Dams as follows; i. Tudun Wada Dankadai Dam N27,750,583.43 ii. Bagauda Dam N35,023,057.25 TOTAL N62,773,640.68 4. MINISTRY OF HEALTH Three (3) memoranda were submitted for deliberation by Council from the Ministry of Health. Two (2) of them were approved for execution as follows: a. Presentation of Information Memorandum (MI) on Strengthening of Nigeria’s Vaccine Supply Chain:The Hon. Commissioner for Health informed Council, through contents of this memorandum that the Federal Government (in consultation with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)) recognized the importance of strengthening the Routine Immunization (RI) supply chain in order to achieve one of the goals of “saving one million lives” by the year 2015. Details on the program were presented for Council’s consideration. Council appreciatively acknowledged the presentation and approved the acceptance of the program in the State as considered by the Federal Government and Development Partners. The Kano State Ministry of Health is to provide the required logistic support and form membership of the State Steering Committee on Vaccine Supply Chain. b. Request for Funds as State Counterpart Support for the Conduct of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) Step – Down Training for 120 Nurses, CHEWS, Midwives and Doctors in Kano State:- With concern, Council was notified that, in Nigeria today one among every five (5) Children die before their 5th birthday. 70% of such deaths are due to one or combination of five (5) major disease conditions, which include Acute Respiratory Tract Infections – especially Pneumonia, Diarrheal Illness, Malaria and Vaccine preventable diseases. So, the strategy of IMCI was introduced by UNICEF and WHO in response to the continuing high morbidity and mortality of children aged 0 – 5 years in developing countries. More details were presented for consideration by Council which prompted the granting of approval for the release of the requested sum of N941,769.38 to the Ministry of Health to enable the conduct of the stated training in view of its importance as specified in the presentation. 5. MINISTRY OF LAND AND PHYSICAL PLANNING Request for Funds for the Renovation of Ajasa Road:The sincere and laudable resolution of the present administration to provide qualitative infrastructure for use by the citizenry prompted KNUPDA to identify Ajasa Road for renovation. This road is a major link from Civic Center ending at Obasanjo Road that has dilapidated to a point that causes vehicular damage and frequent accidents. Repairs and general renovation of Ajasa Road will certainly ease traffic congestion and provide for easy passage to the numerous road users, especially on Obasanjo and Ibrahim Taiwo Roads. Details on the works required were presented for consideration by Council which prompted granting of approval for the release of the requested sum of N304,015,340.43 to the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning to enable KNUPDA execute the renovation of Ajasa Road project. 6. MINISTRY OF WORKS, HOUSING AND TRANSPORT This Ministry submitted six (6) memoranda for deliberation by Council. All were approved for execution as follows: a. Request for Funds to Execute Phase II Works for the Accommodation of Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) at Former E. E Rural Site:KAROTA has been established with plausible reasons by the present administration in the State to control traffic. What remains is provision

63 of befitting premises for its Offices from which to coordinate conduct of its operations. The project was designed to be executed in phases. Phase one has already been executed to 100% level of completion. So, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport requested for the release of the sum of N29,258,007.19 to enable execution of the second phase of the project. This was approved. b. Request for Funds to Enable the Construction of a Toll Gate and Diversion Road Near Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education Along Zaria Road:Zaria Road is the principal link and gateway into the State Capital with Southern Nigeria and other important neighboring States. This road is amongst the major gateways now under expansion and reconstruction. Council was reminded of its approval for the release of funds for the construction/provision of toll gates equipped with HD Scanners along Zaria Road. So, for effective control of the City – bound heavy – goods – carrying – vehicles, especially trailers, a second toll gate (comprising of Toll Officers’ rooms, city gate and automated steel barriers) is intended for construction/provision near Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education. This will only allow entrance to the city by validly approved vehicles. As such, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport requested for the release of the sum of N115,511,990.44 to enable the provision of a second toll gate on Zaria Road near Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education. Council approved the request due to its significance to the provision of security for the State. In the same vein, another tollgate was proposed to be sited at Rijiyar Gwangwan on Wudil road equipped with HD Scanners to control entry of all traffic and identify contents of respective vehicles coming into the State from Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, and other neighboring States. This will boost security and further prevent smuggling of banned goods into Kano City. The sum of N87,861,171.62 was requested for release by Council to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable execution of the project. Considering the relevance of the request, Council approved the release of the requested sum of N87,861,171.62 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the construction of tollgate (with HD Scanners) at Rijiyar Gwangwan on Wudil Road so as to boost Security for the entire State. c. Presentation on Need and Release of Funds to Purchase Five (5) Fire Fighting Vehicles and Eight (8) Complete Engines With Gearbox for Mercedes Benz Vehicles:The contents of this memorandum concertedly reminded Council of its recent approval granted for the procurement of three (3) water tankers, fire-fighting chemical foams, hoses, and other valuable accessories worth millions of Naira to the State Fire Service. Such provision rescued the Fire Service Department and rejuvenated its capacity to tackle mandated responsibilities with more vigour and determination. So, to consolidate the achievements, the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport requested for the release of the sum of N105,910,000.00 to enable the procurement of five (5) fire-fighting vehicles and eight (8) complete engines with gearbox for Mercedes Benz vehicles for use by the Fire Service Department. Council noted the request and approved the release of the sum of N11,160,000.00 to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to purchase eight (8) Engines complete with Gearbox for Mercedes Benz vehicles for use by the Fire Service Department. d. Request for Funds to Enable Construction of Additional 1200M/ 12M Perimeter Block Wall Fence with Two (2) Gates and Gate Posts at Kwankwasiyya City, Zaria Road:The requested sum of N47,703,901.00 was approved for release to the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport to enable the execution of the additional project stated above so as to further fortify the emerging Kwankwasiyya City as one of the laudable achievements of the present administration. In fact, Kwankwasiyya City is among the 3 newly established cities being constructed by the State Government to provide accommodation to the teeming population and decongest the old Kano City. Over N6 billion is expended on the project, which is to be sold at a profit to interested buyers. e. Request for Funds to Enable the Construction of Students’ Cafeteria and a Hall at the Fisheries Institute, Bagauda:The Fisheries Institute, Bagauda was among the 21 skills acquired institutions established by this administration. Others are the Sports Institute, Informatics Institute, Livestock Institute, Hospitality Institute, etc. The Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport identified the need for the provision/construction of a befitting/modern cafeteria and a hall for use by students and other eligible persons at the Fisheries Institute Bagauda. So, Council was requested to approve for the release of the sum of N28,307,221.89 to enable execution of the project. This request was approved. 7. MINISTRY PLANNING AND BUDGET This Ministry submitted two (2) memoranda for deliberation by Council. Both were approved for execution as follows: a. Request for Funds for the Conduct of Training Program for Managers of the 44 Micro – Finance Banks and other Relevant Officers by the Kuwait Finance House:The Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Planning and Budget politely informed Council that, a letter on the subject matter mentioned above was routed to his Office for advice. Outcomes of contents of the letter prompted Governor Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE to visit Kuwait as a result of which the Kuwait Finance House pledged to strengthen the 44 Micro Finance Banks Management by training the Managing Directors and other relevant Officers. Progressively, in future, they have also agreed to: Provide Technical Support now and in the future. Upgrading of each of the 44 Micro Finance Banks in the area of ICT requirements. Partnership with the Micro Finance Banks in projects management and finance. Essentially, Council was alerted of the fact that, this is an opportunity to ensure starting the Micro Finance Banks on solid foundation and entrenchment of sustainable mechanism. Further, the Management of the Micro Finance Banks would be exposed to International Best Practices in managing Small Banks and Islamic banking. This will also enable the Micro Finance Banks to initiate/open Islamic Banking Units respectively. Again, this endeavour could also be the beginning of establishing mutual bilateral relationship between Kano State and Kuwait. Details of the financial requirements totalling up to the sum of N10,468,000.00 was presented for Council’s consideration and approval for release. The request was approved. b. Request for Funds to Enable Continuation of Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) Exercise Across the 14 Sectors of the State Development Plan:- The contents of this memorandum reminded Council of the successful completion and launching of the Kano State Development Plan (KSDP) after which directives were issued on the commencement of the MTSS process with four (4) Sectors. These included Agriculture, Commerce, Infrastructure and Environment, which were added to the pioneer two (2) Sectors (Health and Education) to make six (6) among the fourteen (14) Sectors. Eight (8) Sectors still remain to be covered. The MTSS is the evidence-based description of how a Sector, Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA) goes about achieving outcomes, goals and targets over medium term period usually three (3) years. Council was further notified that, the DFID collaborates with the State Government to support the MTSS exercise on the four (4) Sectors mentioned above. All accomplishments were made through conduct of several workshops held in Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and Abuja. So, to sustain the process and cover the remaining eight (8) sectors, the State Government Counterpart Contribution is required to supplement the support from DFID. Council considered the situation and approved the release of the sum of N10,000,000.00 to the Ministry of Planning and Budget as the State Government’s contribution towards the stated commendable endeavour. 8. MINISTRY OF JUSTICE Request for Funds to Settle Transport Fare of Pardoned Prisoners:The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Justice/Attorney General informed Council through contents of this memorandum that, the State

Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy works vigorously towards achieving its objectives. Several meetings were held with the Advisory Council which resulted in recommendations proffered for the pardon of some 55 Prison Inmates in commemoration of the 2nd year in Office Anniversary of Governor Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE. Traditionally, a token sum of N5,000.00 is given to each of the Pardoned Inmates as transport fare which totalled up to 55 x N5,000.00 = N275,000.00. As such, the Ministry of Justice requested for approved by Council for the release of the sum of N275,000.00 to be disbursed to the 55 Pardoned Prisoners as transport fare. Council approved as requested and wished each of the pardoned Prisoners safe journeys home and success in their future endeavours. MINISTRY OF FINANCE 9. Presentation on Update on Payment of Salaries for the Month of May, 2013:Contents of this memorandum politely reminded Council of the following: That at its last sitting, Council deliberated on the issue of delay and late payment of some Civil Servants for the month of April, 2013. Based on this, a directive was issued to sort out the problems and ensure immediate payment of all outstanding cases. That migration from manual to automated system of payment of salaries (i.e. E _ payment) primarily caused the delays. This was discovered to be as a result of submission of wrong information on personal details required to effect the automated payment of the salaries. Based on the foregoing, the Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Finance reported to Council that, as at Monday 27th May, 2013, the status of the automated payment of staff salaries for the month of April, 2013 was as follows: i. Number of Staff on payroll 39,736 ii. Number of Staff paid 37,178 iii. Number of complaints on non – payment of salaries received from MDAs/Staff 2,558 iv. Number of cases rectified 1,521 v. Number of outstanding payments 1,037 So, Council was humbly notified that the Ministry of Finance is currently addressing all cases of non – payments in collaboration with IT Consultants commissioned by Fidelity Bank Plc. so as to ensure that such payments are made immediately and the problem does not occur again. Relatedly, the Ministry of Finance has advertised through public media urging all MDAs/Staff with problems to immediately report to the Ministry for prompt intervention and explanation on the cause of the delays. Further, Council was notified that payment of salaries for the month of May, 2013 has already commenced and is in steady progress without any problems. Similar problems are not expected as constant contact with MDAs and payroll Standing Committee as well as the IT is maintained to ensure non repeat of the problem. Council appreciatively acknowledged the presentation. 10. MINISTRY OF RURAL AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Request for Funds to Enable Provision of Solar Powered Boreholes at Sharada Common Facility Center and Post Office Road Butchers’ Trade Cluster:Provision and maintenance of general infrastructure for use by the citizenry in Kano State is among the cardinal resolutions of the present administration. Roads, bridges, pedestrian walkways/overhead crossover, water distribution networks, etc. are continually being provided and maintained. So, to provide for the water supply needs at the Sharada Common Facility Center and the Butchers’ Trade Cluster at Post Office Road, one Solar Powered borehole is required at each of the locations for which RUWASA submitted details on the financial requirement for Council’s consideration. Each Solar Powered borehole costs N5,500,000.00 to provide making the financial requirements for the two (2) to total up to the aggregate sum of N11,000,000.00. As such, the Ministry of Rural and Community Development requested Council to approve the release of the sum of N11,000,000.00 to enable the provision of one Solar Powered borehole each at the stated locations. Council approved the request. UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES OF THE 100TH SITTING OF KANO STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 1. PRESENTATION OF AWARDS TO GOVERNOR ENGR. RABI’U MUSA KWANKWASO, FNSE Council witnessed the presentation of a Gold Medal Merit Award to Governor Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE by Servant Leader magazine for the “Development of Education 2013’’. Similarly, the Governor was presented with another award by Development of Education Association as ‘’Best Governor, Best achiever in Education” for his giant strides in the transformation of education in Kano state. 2. COURTESY VISIT BY BOARD OF AMINU KANO TEACHING HOSPITAL Council witnessed courtesy call to Governor Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE by a delegation of the recently appointed Members of the Board of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital with Alhaji Samaila Sambawa as its chairman. 3. 3RD CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF THE KANO UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,WUDIL Council acknowledged the Successful conduct of the 3rd convocation ceremony of the Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil held on Saturday, 18th May, 2013. During the ceremony a total number of 689 students graduated from the University and also Four (4) Prominent Nigerians were Honored with Honorary Doctorate Degrees. Honored at the occasion were Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Hamisu Musa, His Highness, The Emir of Daura and Malam Mudi Spikin of Blessed Memory who was Honored Posthumously. 4. CHILDRENS DAY CELEBRATION Council acknowledged observance of the children’s day celebration and wishes the entire public a happy holiday. 5. SIGNING OF BILL ON PREROGATIVE OF MERCY Council witnessed the signing of a Bill on Prerogative of Mercy by Governor Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE. The Bill signed is part of suggestion of the Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy and is in tandem with the present administration’s desire to pardon prison inmates. So, to commemorate the May 29th Democracy Day celebration, (55) fifty-five prison inmates of good character, Advanced Age, Poor health condition, etc. were pardoned and assisted with N5,000 as transport fare respectively totaling N275,000.00. 6. HANDING OVER OF SEVENTY (70) HOUSES AT WARAWA QUARTERS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR Council acknowledged the handing over of seventy houses to victims of flood by the Deputy Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at Warawa village and similarly recalled last year’s flood, which affected some villages at Warawa Local Government and two other Local Governments in the State. Council also noted a grant of the sum of N400 million given by the Federal Government. The project is estimated to consume over a billion Naira. Accordingly, Council assured the public that the second phase of the exercise is in progress. Council assured those yet to benefit from the exercise to take measures to avoid the problems of flooding as the rainy season is fast approaching. USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS ON ANY EMERGENCY Council endorsed the useful phone numbers submitted by the security agents for easy access in case of any emergency on the metropolitan Roads. Accordingly, the public may easily contact KAROTA for: Breakdown of Vehicle(s), Traffic Congestion, Accidents, and Illegal/ Wrong Parking through the following number– 08091626747. Similarly, the State Police Command could be contacted on – 08032419754, 08123821575. In addition, the State Fire Service can also be contacted on – 07051246833, 08191778888. For update on the activities of Kano State Government, click to Signed: Hon. Commissioner, Information, Internal Affairs, Youth, Sports & Culture, Kano State



VOL 8 NO 2,505

‘If APC fails to give me the ticket, I will remain in partisan politics and in the party. Anyone the party picks as its candidate, I will support because I will remain in the APC’



HE issue is less partisan because it is more so. I am referring to the election of the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum that held a little over a week ago. It is easy to tag it as an opposition versus establishment saga, a grudge match between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi, or a signal of the impending battle to the death between the APC and PDP. It is all that. Who would deny that the opposition did not gloat at Jonathan’s frustration when his candidate, the ex-military officer Jonah Jang, fell dismally in front of his colleagues? This is so especially when they anticipated a coronation but had a coroner for their ambition to take over the governors’ forum. They did not yield ambition to grace. The first plot was to ask Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi to step down as chairman before the election. That would have brought a vacuum. Then they would have said, let us appoint a caretaker, and one of the 16 who voted for Jang could have taken charge. Then like the last meeting when they did not have the numbers to oust Governor Amaechi in a fair contest, they could have declared that an election should hold at a later date. By that move, they would have accomplished what President Jonathan mandated: oust Amaechi for anyone else. But Amaechi knew this and said he would not step down but asked the director general of the forum, Asissana Okauru, to conduct the election. Do the governors or president step down because of election? That was the first indication that the antiAmaechi forces were nervous. Election is a ritual. They did not want to yield shenanigan to the ritual of democracy. That was the first instance of failure. The second was when Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko turned himself into an adversary of secret ballot and an evangelist of open ballot. The man, who is unraveling as the quisling of the west to his Ondo State people, knew that he could not trust the so-called 19 whose names were fraudulently listed on an advert in the media. He was clearly one of the 16. The socalled 19 is what I call apocrypha. It was a false document by a false people. Well, Mimiko failed and the election took place. That was failure number two. The third instance was that they relied on hearsay, since they did not expect the world outside to know what happened in the entrails of the room. They could paint white black and black white, and it would be one person’s word against another. But the grassroots governor, Rauf Aregbesola, had a joker. It was camera. He


IN TOUCH 08054501081(sms only) •NMMA Columnist of the Year

A coroner’s inquest

•Mimiko captured the story as Okaura first counted all 35 ballots and separated the votes for Jang and Amaechi. The returning officer showed the ballot to the governors to see as he counted. When he finished, the votes favoured Amaechi. The pro-Jonathan forces were stunned. This was failure number three for the anti-Amaechi forces. Mimiko and company wanted open ballot but secrecy from the outside world, a philosophical contradiction. With his phone, Ogbeni struck a triumph of technology over the luddites. Those who cannot anticipate technology cannot anticipate the future. The camera phone blindsided them. They are still playing the Luddite. For those who don’t know, luddites were those who opposed new tech-


...was he the RETURNING OFFICER?

nology at the height of the industrial revolution. Chief among them is the quisling Mimiko who said the tape was manipulated because he was not featured. Only megalomaniacs want to see themselves in every picture. If they failed in technology, they also failed in mathematics. Suddenly, 16 was 19 and 19 was 16. It reminds one of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic, A man from the Underground, who marveled at how mathematics had been turned on its head by the civilisation. He noted that one plus one was no longer two but the beginning of death. That was what the anti-Amaechi people tried to do. They said because they had 19 endorsements then it meant they had 19 votes. They lost a sense of sequence. Voting is not about a past but the moment. When Barack Obama trailed John McCain ahead of the polls, Americans knew that it did not count until the day of counting. The pro-Jang men counted their chickens before they were hatched. On hatching day, they brooded over the roost and saw that they were sorely routed. They hurriedly ran an advertisement that showed that some governors who were out of town, like Gaidam of Yobe State, had become spirits that materialised to vote in Abuja. That was failure number five. They failed mathematics. They failed English because they did not understand the simple rules of the game. They failed communications because they lied after it happened, and they failed technology for acting like luddites. So, they failed the exam. What is NGF? It is actually a pressure group of governors. Other than that, it is nothing. Mimiko said its election in the past was based on consensus. Can he explain how they allowed a former colleague who is now presi-



URING last Thursday’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family dinner in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan finally laid to rest any speculation about his determination to wrest control of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) from the hands of his enemies, or failing that, to destroy it. Not only did he reportedly refer to Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State as chairman of the NGF, he also indirectly gave notice which side he supports and how ready he is to help bury the group. That singular but unpresidential act showed the frailty and fecklessness of our leading politicians. But it isn’t only the character of the governors that has been weighed and found wanting; by publicly and casually embracing the Jang faction of the NGF, the president gave indication that any morality he had pretended to since his assumption of office was simple a hoax. It is true the president has not come out clearly to endorse the Jang faction. But what is his word worth anyway? Is it not recalled that he also denounced those who suggested he had any vested interest in the NGF election before it held on May 24? But whether in the case of the post-election endorsement or pre-election interest in the NGF chairmanship, the president had pretended to be uninterested. No one is fooled. More, it is doubtful whether he would


dent to throw cat among their pigeons? Was it against their rule for Amaechi to earn a second term? Did Mimiko himself not play quisling to get a second term as governor? When did it become a sin? Yoruba say K’e j’obi gbua gbua. (say it as it is.) Would there have been a tiff if President Jonathan was at peace with Governor Amaechi? Is this not petty politics? The irony is that Jonathan climbed its back to power, and he does not care, in his Machiavellian way, to destroy it now. That is not statesmanship. As for Jang, he was a sad tool. He capped it by thanking God for giving him a fraud. God of Old Testament would have made him regret. “Because sentence against an evil act is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are full set in them to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11. The reason this is less partisan because it is more so is this: it is less partisan because it reveals the maggoty underside of our politics, especially electoral politics, whatever the party. When 35 people in a small room cannot agree on an election that was so transparent, are we not wasting our time with elections involving millions in a wide swath of land? It is because it is so partisan that we saw all of this. So we know that it is not about NGF but about the man at the top. It is about a man who said he would retain the integrity of governance in Rivers State and not be dictated to from the centre. Was that not the reason Mimiko gave for his so-called principle? Why is he playing slave to a new master? It is about Amaechi’s stance about Okrika, and his position that the waterside must not remain a slum even if an unconstitutional first lady hectors inelegantly at him. It is about his pursuit of what he sees as his right to defend the oil wells of his state when the president forgets that he is the leader of all of Nigeria and not Bayelsa State. It is about a man who says he must assert his dignity as a man. It reminds one of the classic by Primo Levi titled If This Is A Man, meditating on how he asserted his humanity in the dark, barbarous furnace of the Nazi concentration camp. But more telling is the story of Sir Thomas More, who stuck to principle when the Tudor King Henry V111, wanted him to renounce his belief because he wanted to change the law to marry a woman. More became a martyr that historian Hugh Trevor Roper described as the “most saintly of humanists and the most human of all saints.” Amaechi is not More, but he acts like a man for all seasons, understands the principle of asserting his manhood without capitulating. That is how to nourish democracy.

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Jonathan quits equivocating on NGF be able to fool anyone again as to his bona fides, let alone his nobility of purpose and values. It is now as clear as day that Dr Jonathan is more than anything else a practical politician unruffled by the contradictions that encase his politics and disfigure his worldview. More worrisomely, he is not even really anxious about how his Machiavellian sentiments war against his proudly publicised religious principles. For to embrace an election loser is one thing; but to embrace an election loser who lives in denial of his defeat is quite another. There had been times when the president attempted philosophising about life, religion, God and Nigeria’s manifest destiny. To be sure, his philosophy never went beyond the practical and commonsensical perspectives of those long castrated by the dulling atmosphere of the countryside, and the bucolic wisecracks of the village teacher; but at least he made some efforts to be deep, detached and, like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion. If only such accoutrements had been brought to bear on his political morality! What worries the average Nigerian is not Mr Jang’s quixotic chairmanship of the NGF, as the president and his aides must have known by now, but the president’s bra-

vura display of political brinkmanship. The disturbing thing about Dr Jonathan’s endorsement of Mr Jang, obvious from his meeting with the losers last Friday, is how the president so insouciantly subordinated the entire Nigerian presidency to the childish intransigence of the 16 governors in his camp. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, it is said. The president and his governor friends could admit defeat in the NGF election but refuse to respond to any call for meeting. They could even decide they would be satisfied with associating only within the purview of the PDP Governors’ Forum. Or they could refuse any further association of the 36 governors altogether. But to insist they won an election which they unequivocally lost, and for the president, who fails to understand the weight and pricelessness of the office he occupies, to lend the highest office in the land to that shocking piece of chicanery is both to denigrate all that Nigeria ever aspired to be and to set a dangerous and dispiriting example for the coming generations. It would have been better if Dr Jonathan kept to his untruth of not being interested in the NGF election.

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

June 03, 2013  

The Nation June 03, 2013

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