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NAMA: We didn’t ground Oshiomhole’s aircraft ‘We only delayed it’

Action is abuse –Page 4 of power –ACN

–Page 69

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.07, No. 2511




JUNE 9, 2013

• Fire men trying to put out the fire at the scene of the pipeline explosion at Olorunkemi/Alaakia village near Ibadan, yesterday.

Plot to suspend Nyako, Aliyu tears PDP apart Govs in fresh gang up against Tukur

Taraba: Tension over move to smuggle in Suntai

Boko Haram kills 13 in Maiduguri

Pressure on PDP, assembly –Page 2 to confirm Acting Gov

Hide guns in coffins

–Page 4

–Page 2

How I spent Project Fame prize money – Yetunde

–Pages 34 & 39



Suswam denies plot to remove NSGF chairman


O V E R N O R Gabriel Suswam of Benue State yesterday dismissed as false a media report that there was a plan to remove Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, as Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF). The report had suggested that Suswam was responsible for the absence of many governors from last Thursday’s meeting of the forum in Kaduna preparatory to the dissolution of the NSGF executive committee at the next meeting. He said: “the NSGF has its established rules and procedures for conducting its affairs, including the choice and removal of its leadership” and that “It does not even make sense for anybody to plot to remove any leader whose tenure has expired or is expiring.” The Governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, in a statement said: “Over the years, Governor Suswam has remained not only a loyal, committed and dedicated member of the Northern States Governors Forum, but has also been serving as its viceChairman. There is, therefore, no basis for Suswam to plot or gang up with anybody to destabilise an organisation to which he has committed himself and the state government for so long.”


Taraba: Tension over move to smuggle in Suntai • Group asks Acting Gov to produce medical report T • Pressure mounts on PDP, Assembly to confirm Umar ARABA State is on the edge again following an alleged plot to ‘smuggle’ in ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai from his sick bed abroad with a view to stopping the planned confirmation of Alhaji Garba Umar as substantive governor. Umar has been acting since the October 2012 air crash in Yola, Adamawa State, in which Suntai was injured. He is currently receiving treatment in the United States of America (USA) following initial medicare in Germany. The State Executive Council, comprising mostly loyalists of Suntai, is also said to be holding the acting governor to ransom by refusing to raise a Medical Board to advise it on Suntai’s health. Sources said pressure is mounting on the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the House of Assembly to confirm Umar as substantive governor. A pressure group, Taraba Justice Forum (TJF), yesterday asked the acting governor to produce an official medical report on Suntai’s state of health to justify why the state would have to await his return. It was gathered that the

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

governor’s loyalists are resisting moves to confirm Umar by insisting that the governor will soon be back to resume work. They are pushing for what observers call the “Umaru Yar’Adua” treatment for Suntai while some others want the invocation of Section 189 of the Constitution. That section says: “The Governor or Deputy Governor of a state shall cease to hold office if (a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the state it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and “(b) the declaration in paragraph (a) of this subsection is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection(4) of this section in its report to the Speaker of the House of

Assembly. “Where the medical panel certifies in its report that in its opinion the Governor or Deputy Governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State. “The Governor or Deputy Governor shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.” It was gathered that to pave the way for the emergence of the acting governor as governor, the House of Assembly had in April impeached its Speaker, Mr. Istifanus Gbana, his deputy, Peter Abel Diah and the majority leader, Mr. Charles Maijankai. But enough support could not be mustered to declare Suntai incapacitated by the

State Executive Council (SEC). Worried by the pressure on PDP leadership and the State House of Assembly, Suntai’s loyalists have opted for “Yar’Adua’s treatment.” A reliable source said: “There are plans to bring the governor back into the country by some of his loyalists. Under the plot, `the governor will be kept in a way that the public will be told the man is still recovering. You remember the dark room Yar`Adua was kept, that is what they are planning. I am making this disclosure because this game is not in the best interest of Suntai. “The PDP had set up a panel to check the health status of Suntai but loyalists of the governor have obtained court order to stop the panel from sitting. “Following the stalemate, President Jonathan has been considering Taraba Stakeholders Session to find constitutional and political solutions to the leadership

•An ambulance leaves the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria yesterday where former South African President Nelson Mandela was admitted previously. Nelson Mandela was back in hospital on June 8 in a "serious but stable" condition, triggering an outpouring of concern for South Africa's beloved national hero at home and across the globe. (Inset Mandela) Photo: AFP

vacuum in the state. “But Suntai loyalists want to stop such possibility. They want to stop the presidency from intervening.” Asked why the stakeholders cannot give Suntai some time to recover, the highly-placed source added: ‘‘We heard from the hospital that the governor could not recognise the acting governor when he visited. Umar too did not show any sign of surprise. We heard the governor said some things that made no meanings at all.” Another source added: “I think some Abuja politicians are just desperate to remove Suntai from office. They know the state of health of Suntai but they are blinded by hate politics. They cannot have their way in the State Executive Council. “They are also not taking cognisance of the fact that the acting Governor once said that Suntai is recovering.” It was, however, gathered that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Taraba State House of Assembly are under pressure to confirm the acting governor. A party source added: “The presidency is getting security brief on Suntai’s health and at the appropriate time, the PDP leadership will be advised on how to consult with stakeholders and effect change... but a final decision will be taken in a manner that it would not breach the peace of the state.” The Taraba Justice Forum (TJF) in a statement by its General Secretary, John Ambulus, wondered why Umar is “playing along with those trying to stop the state from moving forward? Why is he joining them in lying to the public? It is time for him to ask for the medical records and let the public know the truth so that we can progress. “History will not forgive the acting governor if he fails to do the right thing at this critical point of the state history.”

Plot to suspend Nyako, Aliyu tears PDP apart G

OVERNORS Murtala Nyako (Adamawa State) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger) are next in line for sanction by the PDP for alleged anti-party activities, it was gathered last night. The plot to suspend them is already tearing the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party apart. The PDP has suspended two of its governors- Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), in the last two weeks for alleged insubordination and the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has warned that the party leadership will no longer tolerate indiscipline ahead of the 2015 elections. Nyako, Aliyu and Wamakko are believed to

By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor

have voted for Amaechi during the disputed election of the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). The party leadership and the presidency wanted the PDP governors to line up behind the official candidateGovernor Jonah Jang of Plateau State. Amaechi won the election by 19 votes to Jang’s 16 to the embarrassment of the Presidency and the PDP. It was gathered that NWC, during the week, received the report of a committee set up to look into some petitions allegedly written against Nyako and Babangida Aliyu by party members in their states.

The committee, which has as members leading chieftains of the party, according to sources recommended the suspension of the duo. However, some NWC members are alleging interference in the work of the committee by the presidency. They say they cannot vouch for the impartiality of the panel and are kicking against the recommendation that the governors be suspended. Besides, they believe that the party is courting trouble by thinking it can take on too many governors at a time. The pro-sanction group, led by Tukur is said to be bent on implementing the recommendations of the

committee. Sources said that if Tukur and his supporters have their ways, the two governors’ suspension will be announced anytime from now. Tukur is from Adamawa State and he has been having a running battle with Nyako in the struggle for the soul of the PDP in the state. A source familiar with the development said:”The situation now is that having realised that the current faceoff between the governors and the presidency is affecting the popularity of the party adversely, some NWC members are urging the leadership of the party to exercise refrain in further suspending the governors. “But there are those who are determined to imple-

ment the recommendation of a committee set up to investigate allegations against Nyako and Aliyu. The two have been recommended for suspension. “The argument of those opposing further suspension is that the party’s popularity is dwindling. There is also the argument that suspending Aliyu will pitch the party and the presidency against the entire north considering his position as the chairman of Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF). “For Nyako, his suspension will be seen as a fallout of his face-off with Tukur and this will not be good for the party’s image as a democratic organisation. But it appears the chairman and his supporters have a man-

date to deliver on the suspension move. They are determined. But those opposed to the move appear to be equally insistent. That accounts for the current stalemate on the matter,” an insider source explained. Sources said the presidency, which is not backing down on its desperation to have its loyalist, Jang, recognised as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), is behind the plot to axe Nyako and Aliyu. A few weeks ago, the Niger State governor publicly declared that President Jonathan signed a pact to do just one term with northern elders in 2011. His relationship with the presidency and the party has been strained ever since then.



The functions of state dysfunction


ECENT events, particularly the bizarre developments of the past fortnight and the unfolding fratricidal bloodletting within the ruling party, the PDP, make it mandatory to focus once again on the state of the Nigerian post-colonial state. The danger is not that the PDP might implode but that it might take nascent democracy and the nation itself along with its misbegotten debris. As it is today, the PDP is in total shambles, a power consortium bristling with buccaneers, political cannibals and other consorts of patronage and unearned privilege. It has never pretended to any higher ideal or superior nationalist agenda. It was born in perfidy and is dying in felony. Even by the miserable standards of party formation in post-independence Nigeria, this is quite a new low. At least its forebears withstood the ravages of their internal contradictions and remained essentially as parties until the military summarily disbanded them. But this is the first time in Nigeria’s history that a party is openly disembowelling itself for all to see. It is quite a gory sight, a gruesome enactment of political seppuku on a national scale. But as a people and a nation, we owe it a duty to posterity to prevent ourselves from being consumed in the inferno of its infamy. In its classical ideal, the state embodies and encodes the society along certain stern and immutable principles which guarantee the stability and survival of its territorial reach.. This means that the state orders and organises society for optimal selfactualisation. The more impersonal and transcendental the ideal, the more the state is able to function with impersonal rigour and transcendental efficiency. In some extremely well-organised and disciplined nations, the state radiates and emanates such rigour, ruthless efficiency and quiet terror that it often comes close to an Absolute Spirit or deity. In such societies, state worship becomes a national religion. The state is the Father and Lawgiver. For the citizens, the fear of the state is the beginning of wisdom. The entire society is suffused with its ideological apparatuses. It is the ultimate Kabiyesi, firm but just and fair. In the old Kongo before the Belgian king arrived to do his genocidal bit, it was not for nothing that the state was known as Bula Matari or crusher of rocks. Anybody that stood in its way risked being crushed. But it also acted as a benevolent and indulgent father. . The perversities of the Nigerian state in its current incarnation make it imperative to raise a few posers if only for the mental health of those trapped in its territorial hellhole. Is state disarray a cover for something far more sinister going on? In other words, can a modern state benefit and in fact profit from its own disorganisation and disorientation? In a cheeky and perverse manner, this seems to be the case with the contemporary Nigerian state. The more disorganised and dissolute the state appears to be, the better organised and resolute it is in discharging its primary obligation and fundamental raison d’etre of plundering and evacuating the resources of the nation. Those who designed the colonial state as a vehicle of metropolitan predation must be chuckling in their graves. The

(A call for a sovereign summit)



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu


Africans have managed to stay one step ahead. We have now come to the juncture in political theory where a functional value must be allocated to dysfunctionality whereby state dysfunction obeys only the logic of its own inner function as a scientific machine for primitive extraction and expropriation of national resources. A nation under such historic affliction acquires the veneer of modernity and civilisation whereas social cannibalism and Stone Age political savagery are the order of the day. Archaeologists of the future, while excavating the ruins of a

gifted but doomed Black society, will be amused to no end at the remains of primitives clutching modern GSM phones or of some later day Rasputin still clasping at indices of phenomenal economic growth even as supervised carnage and spiritual barbarity were the norm. Contemporary Nigeria is a classic illustration of state dysfunction as the organising principle and primary function of the state. We have left behind the concept of the order in disorder so beloved of some prominent African political scientists. In that scheme of things, the disorder is often accidental, purely

without design and the culmination of a march of folly of intellectually challenged rulers. In any serious and properly functioning democracy, a state of emergency is an emergency for the state. It means that the nation has entered uncharted waters, requiring extraordinary and out of the normal routine and measures. The entire political class and not just the ruling party must coalesce in a bipartisan front to confront the threat to the nation. But to treat a national emergency with the kind of grandiose buffoonery we have witnessed in the last fortnight points at some sinister wargaming. At the last count, three northern states have become a theatre of war and emergency. This is in addition to several economic, political and religious flashpoints across the entire country. With this dire exigency, you would have expected those in power to stop digging. But they have been digging furiously. Last week, they added the scalp of the Sokoto State governor, Magatarkada Wamakko to the hunter’s bag. What this means is that the entire northern fringe of the nation is a roiling cauldron of insurrection and insubordination. The Sokoto State chapter of the PDP is in open revolt. The PDP northern Senate caucus is up in arms. Governor Aliyu Babangida is rampart against federal authorities and rearing to go, even as Isa Yuguda of Bauchi makes discordant noise. As the entire north dissolves in political

Okon romances Bigfoot at Ife


O the lush, alluring and eternally enchanting OAU campus at Ife and its celebrated Staff Club with Okon in tow. Nestling among giant trees and overlooking a magical mountain range straight out of the fabled Igbo Irunmole, the OAU Staff Club remains a tribute to Hezekiah Oluwasanmi’s visionary genius. It was here in the seventies and eighties that some of the most brilliant debates about military rule and the fate of the nation took place under an iconic almond tree. The almond tree was still there this Friday afternoon—or was this an optical illusion? But the presiding deity was nowhere to be found. The deity in question, Professor Akintola Aboderin, a.k.a Akin Abod, supervised the debates under the tree while beer and much bile flowed. Aboderin was a Yale prodigy who was already turning in research papers as an undergraduate. But all that now belongs to institutional memory and aborted hopes. Okon had been dazzled and dazed by the architectural beauty of the landscape, But not to be fazed, the rummy lad immediately began running errant commentary. “Chei, Oga na god go punish dis wicked Yoruba people. So na here dem come sink all dem Oyel money?” the mad boy crowed. “Okon, watch your tongue. This is an important place.” Snooper admonished the mad


“So na important place go mean make man see dem truth make man no talk?” the rogue charged back. “Okay then” Snooper said ominously. This seems to have quietened the boy a bit. But all hell was let loose as soon as we entered the club\s premises. “Wey all dem yeye professors, abi werepe don finish dem for dem farm?” the mad boy charged. An embarrassed Snooper tried to hush the boy up. “You lunatic, I have told you these people are eggheads,” snooper cautioned. “Ah oga,” “na true, he get one of dem I dey see and him head come be like dem tolotolo egg.” The mad boy jeered. It was at this point that Luke, a veteran staffer of the club, hailed Snooper. “Ha Mr President.” Luke saluted. But the satanic boy quickly picked the scent of blood. “Chei, we dey pray make god give us better pikin. Oga, so na for here you come be president?” Okon chortled to Snooper’s seething rage. It was at this point that Charles Ukeje, an Associate Professor, reverentially guided Snooper towards a row of immaculate whitewashed chairs. Charles’ father, the late and much beloved Animalu Ukeje, a,k.a Comrade Animal, was Vice President to Snooper. “This is the elders, corner,” Charles intoned. “No wonder, but why dem

chair no get wheel?” Okon grunted sarcastically. It was at this point, and as if on cue, that the elders started trooping in. Welcome, Mr Sagay a.k.a S.O.G, welcome Professors Adewumi and Monone Omosule, welcome the ever urbane and courteous gentleman, Professor Aduayi, welcome Snooper’s buddy, Professor Owolabi Ajayi of Cobra fame and ,of course, welcome Dr Bunyamin Kukoyi, a.k.a Bigfoot, prizefighter and inimitable master of urban affray. It was Bigfoot that immediately caught Okon’s fancy. “Do you remember the day I wanted to beat you up at Ifewara for rowdy conduct?” Bigfoot asked a bemused Snooper without any sense of irony. The old pugilist immediately began regaling us with his duelling exploits, particularly his encounters with local thugs who always ended in hospital. One of these, a local toughie called Agbo, fouled his trousers after Bigfoot administered physical therapy. The most hilarious was the occasion in secondary school when he was sent home to bring his father after a nasty fracas. In place of his real father, Bigfoot rented a local Ijebu man who wasted no time in slapping him several times as the principal reeled out his offences. Okon was immensely impressed. He never uttered another word that afternoon. The fear of Bigfoot is the beginning of wisdom. It has been a wonderful afternoon, folks.

combustion, total emergency and possible civil war loom in the region. And this is going to be supervised by a Southern Commander in Chief and a Southern military commander. The ethnic sabre-rattlers and assorted power mongers who seem to have captured Goodluck Jonathan are egging him on. Their claim is that what is happening in the north is good and desirable for the nation, since the north has supervised the mismanagement of the country for so long. In the process, they have turned what is supposed to be a pan-Nigerian mandate into a narrow ethnic platform for the domination of Nigeria in perpetuity. Even if it were to be so that some northern leaders mismanaged Nigeria, the purveyors of this abject and objectionable canard have forgotten that their own forebears were permanently in bed with the oppressors while the particular ethnic nationality they now openly revile and traduce were in open and permanent revolt against injustice for as long as it lasted. In any case and unless their closet agenda is the balkanisation of Nigeria, they should realise that the current closure of the Nigerian state under the guise of equalisation of oppression can only lead to permanent warfare and instability. It will open the door to a new Robin round of terror whenever Jonathan leaves or is forced to leave power. The question that should now concern all patriotic Nigerians is why the nation is prone and vulnerable to periodic closures .under each ascendant group, particularly in post-military Nigeria. We saw this with Obasanjo and the pan-Nigerian cult of personality that finally unravelled his administration. We saw this with Yar’Adua and the provincial and backward looking feudal clique that attempted to seize power in the name of a mortally afflicted man. Now we are seeing its ultimate manifestation in the somnambulist farce of the Jonathan administration. History repeats itself indeed. We cannot blame a state for becoming a burden on a nation when this is what it was designed for in the first instance. This is the historic conundrum before Nigerians. The state is an alien contraption forcibly grafted on diverse and mutually incompatible nationalities and has continued to be so in all its post-colonial transformations and mutations. We must warn once again that elections alone cannot resolve the conundrum except as a tentative and token holding device to ward off the inevitable. In such circumstances, no genuine transformation can also take place without a fundamental reconfiguration of the state and a redesign of the nation. A sovereign gathering of nationals is inevitable for Nigeria. Whether we must continue to postpone it and prolong the misery and the biblical suffering of our people is an entirely different matter.



Boko Haram kills 13 in Maiduguri • Hides guns in coffin


USPECTED members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, who hid their assault rifles inside a coffin launched an attack against informants in Maiduguri on Friday, killing 13 people, witnesses said yesterday. The suspects were soon found out and shot by security forces. Soldiers, had on Thursday, also shot dead another eight suspected Boko Haram fighters in the city, leaving their bodies in a ditch in the restive city. Friday’s attack by Boko Haram targeted members of a new youth vigilante group that has sprung up in Maiduguri, pointing out suspected members of the sect to the military. The gunmen hid their Kalashnikov assault rifles inside a coffin draped in white cloth as if being prepared for a burial, allowing them to drive through the city’s numerous military checkpoints without being searched, witness Sheriff Aji said. When they approached the vigilantes in a van, they pulled the rifles out from the coffin and opened fire, killing the civilians, Aji said. “They continued shooting until they ran out of ammunition, then some courageous youth rounded them up and handed them over to the soldiers, who shot them dead as they attempted to escape,” Aji told The Associated Press. Aji said he counted eight dead suspected Boko Haram gunmen after the shooting. Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, a military spokesman in the city, could not be reached for comment yesterday as security forces have shut down mobile phone networks throughout the northeast as part of the offensive. The shooting comes after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on May 14 in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. Friday’s attack likely was retaliation for vigilantes pointing out eight Boko Haram fighters to soldiers on Thursday. A security official told the AP that soldiers shot dead eight of the suspected Boko Haram members on Thursday night. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to journalists.


HE Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), yesterday denied grounding the OAS helicopter that it recalled mid-air on Friday while carrying Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to Awka, Anambra State. The agency said it merely delayed it for some minutes with a view to enforcing air safety regulations in the country. The action generated more reactions yesterday with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Edo State saying it was pure executive misuse of power. The PDP in the state differed and said NAMA acted right as it owes the country a duty to ensure that airline operators follow the law. The managing director of NAMA, Nnamdi Udoh, said the helicopter pilot caused the problem by failing to file his flight plan and submitting the manifest as prescribed for such operations. Speaking through the general manager, Public Affairs of NAMA, Mr Supo Atobatele, he explained that the incident had nothing to do with politics, but purely an aviation matter bordering on rules and regulations. “We want to be emphatic with our declaration this afternoon that the safety and security related issues raised by our men on Friday at Benin Airport are about a flight plan and passenger manifest. It has no political undertone at all, but purely an aviation matter bordering on rules and regulation,” he said. He continued “Basically, as a matter of rules, we needed to know where the aircraft was going and how many people


NAMA: We didn’t ground Oshiomhole’s aircraft

• We only delayed it’ • ACN: ‘It’s executive misuse of power’ • PDP: ‘No, it’s not’ By Kelvin Osa Okunbor, Lagos and Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin were on board. NAMA by statute is covered by legislation to demand for all these. But the pilot or his employer failed to comply with this simple procedure. “It is a globally acceptable procedure for a pilot to file his flight plan and declare his passenger manifest before getting a start up. When this is done, there will be no delay while perfecting your documentation at the point of departure. “It was a minor issue that should not be given political colouration as being portrayed now. NAMA is never political in discharging its duties. NAMA is safety driven as safety does not respect status, what is applicable to ordinary citizens is applicable to very important persons, because accident does not discriminate.” Also speaking, the coordinating spokesman for the aviation agencies, Mr Yakubu Dati, said the chopper was never grounded as being alleged in some quarters. According to him, the chopper was only delayed for a few minutes because the pilot did not do what he ought to have

done, even as he denied that the crew were kept on ground for non payment navigational charges. Dati added that even pilots flying the presidential fleet are not exempted. He said the relevant aviation agency will sanction the airline and the pilot for violation of safety procedure. “Why did the pilot not comply with the safety procedure? They are used to taking things for granted. We will continue to ensure that we sink in the message,” he said. Also speaking, the general manager, NAMA air traffic control operations, Mr Chuks John Onyegiri said: “NAMA needs to know who is on board. It is purely security and safety issues. Nothing is wrong if the governor gives his name. “But, the pilot wanted to use executive connection. It is purely the fault of the pilot. We have to monitor every movement, from the take off of the aircraft to landing. “It is clear the pilot did not want to submit a flight plan and declare manifest. There is no more cutting of corners. After the pilot eventually complied, he hopped over to the airport for the flight plan.” The airspace manager of

Benin Airport, Mr Lawrence Okoye, said:”NAMA is not interested in the occupants of the aircraft. The aircraft owner and pilot must comply with safety regulations. They must not circumvent the law. “The pilot bragged saying I have a governor on board. The pilot failed in his duty to comply with safety regulations. The pilot was on ground for 55minutes at Government House, which was sufficient time to get to Benin Airport to file a flight plan. “The pilot must know that Government House, Benin is not an airport, where he wanted to take off from without filing a flight plan. The pilot should have complied and advised the clients to understand.” Reacting to the Friday incident, ACN’s National ViceChairman, South-South, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, wondered if it was not “executive misuse of power,” because the authorities at the airport were aware of the presence of the chopper; they gave it clearance to land and to pick the governor and it was possible for them to have paid whatever fee they needed to pay before or after the journey, but it is surprising that they were al-

Don’t drag Akpabio’s into Wammako’s travail, group warns


•R-L: Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun(Right); Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun(Middle);Ogun State Deputy Governor, Prince Segun Adesegun; and Project Manager, Keskstar Ifeaji; at the site of a Model School in Ago-Iwoye still under construction during the work-in- progress tour of projects in Ogun East Senatorial District…yesterday.

Kano explosion victims yet to get compensation T HE families of the March 18 terror attack on the New Road Luxury Park, Kano, are still awaiting compensation from the federal government, 82days after. The attack left 39 passengers, passers-by and traders in the area dead and 79 injured, according to official figures. The management of the park, yesterday decried what it called the nonchalant attitude of the federal authorities to the sufferings of the bereaved families.

lowed to take-off, only to be called back when they were already airborne and thereafter delayed them for hours. “This is not the first time a chopper will be coming to pick the chief executive of our (Edo) state, considering the terrain of parts of the country, where you cannot easily access by road or by direct flight, so I am surprised that this is happening now.” The National Youth Leader, ACN, Miriki Ebikina, described the incident as worrisome. He said, “The grounding of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s chartered helicopter 42 days after a similar controversial incident was carried on the Rivers Governor’s Bombardier jet, in Akure, is vexatious.” However, the PDP Chairman in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, dismissed allegations of federal government’s involvement in the matter as unfounded, saying Nigerians should rather commend the aviation ministry for steps taken in recent times to ensure safer airspace. He said, “The allegation is baseless and unfounded. There are rules and regulations covering the operation of aircrafts and helicopters. These rules are meant to be applied irrespective of whoever is concerned. I am surprised that people are now trying to politicise apparent flagrant disobedience of a Filipino pilot, who from the account of NAMA, flouted its rules. “In the interest of Nigerians who have to travel, NAMA applied its rules. I don’t see any issue here, except that it was Oshiomhole that was on board, and I want to use this opportunity to commend the effort of the minister of Aviation who is doing everything to bring sanity to the industry.”

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

The secretary of the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, Kano branch, Mr. Godson Nwokoma, said at a memorial service for the victims in Kano that while the state government intervened to foot the bills of the injured, no form of succour has come in from the federal government. The bereaved families, he said, are worried by the delay of the federal government in fulfilling its promise to as-

sist them. Nwokoma said: “We are aware that government has been doing its best on this issue, but much still needs to be done. We receive calls from the family of the victims and we have been assuring them that government will come to their rescue. We have also been receiving help from nongovernmental organisations, especially, the ECWA Church. “The church has been very supportive in terms of prayers and words of encouragement. They have also do-

nated food items and financial support to the wounded victims. As we gather here today, we have the hope that God will listen to our prayers and avert calamities of this magnitude. In spite of what happened to us, we do believe in the unity and progress of Nigeria. This is our country and we are determined to live in peace and harmony with the host community,” he said. Also speaking, Eze Ndigbo in Kano, Chief Boniface Ibekwe, commended President Goodluck Jonathan

for what he called “the decisive action he has taken by imposing State of Emergency in three states. This action by Mr. President has gone a long way to curtail the antics of the Boko Haram insurgents in this part of the country.” He said the Igbo “will remain in Kano and we will protect our investments. We will continue to live in peace with our host community,” despite the Boko Haram crisis. He pleaded with government to come to the assistance of the bereaved families.

SOCIO-POLITICAL group, Akwa Ibom Progressive Forum (AIPROF) has warned against linking the Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio with the travails of his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wamakko. The warning was in response to media reports that Wamakko was suspended by the PDP because he rebuffed Akpabio’s leadership of PDP Governors Forum. AIPROF, in a statement by Oduduabasi Umanah and Utibeabasi Umoren, president and secretary respectively, said Akpabio is known to enjoy the support of his colleagues, while he also gives them due respect. The forum stated that while it was happy that “the party had debunked the sponsored story calculated at rubbishing Akpabio and the PDP by the opposition, the people of the country should be aware of opposition shenanigans and their attempt to drag the name of Akpabio, a performer whose good works had been speaking for him, in the mud.”



EARING a backlash of the crisis sparked by the disputed election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has put its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on hold. There are fears in the party’s hierarchy of a brewing revolt against its national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, by aggrieved members. In the vanguard of the alleged revolt against Tukur are some governors elected on the platform of the party. The governors and other aggrieved members it was gathered want Tukur removed for his management style which they claim is fast eroding the party’s cohesion and strength. The anti-Tukur forces are of the view that except something drastic is done to stop Tukur, the party will crumble sooner than later. Their aim is to act at the next NEC meeting. The last NEC meeting of PDP was held in July 2012 contrary to Article 31, Section 4 of the party’s constitution which says that ‘NEC shall meet at least once per quarter.’ The G-84 comprises eight deputy members of the National Working Committee (NWC), 24 ex-officio, 37 state chairmen of PDP and some former leaders of the party had in January 9, 2013 raised the alarm over Tukur’s breach of the Constitution by not convening NEC meeting. They alleged that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party is turning into a cult with the exclusion of elected officers of the party. Investigation by our reporter showed that six months after the G-84 letter the PDP leadership is not disposed to convening the NEC meeting because of the crisis in the NGF. It was gathered that the party leadership has been receiving representations from NEC members that recourse to suspension of governors and party


ESTERDAY’S sit-at-home strike declared by the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) turned bloody in Onitsha, leaving two members of the group dead. Two vehicles were also burnt, according to official figures from the police. However, MASSOB claimed that 10 of its members were shot dead by security agencies. Other sources said six persons died and five vehicles, including a fully loaded petrol tanker, were burnt. The incident occurred on Bida road, Oba, on the OnitshaOwerri Expressway at about 8am. The MASSOB members were said to be driving around the city to enforce compliance with the sit-at-home order, when they sighted a Police Patrol Team. They panicked and made to escape from the area. The driver of the MASSOB vehicle, sources said, engaged the car gear on the high speed and in the process the vehicle somersaulted, killing the occupants. The police said the MASSOB members had attempted to block the highway with a luxury bus and a petrol tanker as part of the strategy to stop people from moving around. Security agents thwarted the plan. Spokesman for the State Police Command, Mr. Emeka



NGF crisis stalls PDP NEC meeting From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

leaders could compound the crisis in PDP. It was learnt that some leaders of the party also felt that the NGF crisis and the attendant political problems could lead to a vote of no confidence on Tukur and the National Working Committee (NWC) at NEC meeting. Accordingly, Tukur has decided to bid his time until it is “safe” enough to hold NEC meeting. A party source said: “PDP is charged at the moment with the spate of suspensions here and there. No one is sure of who is next. Tukur, under this tension, cannot afford to convene a NEC meeting because members may pass a vote of no confidence on him.”So, Tukur is being tactical until he is able to clear the Augean stable he created. Twice now, the party leadership has pledged to convene NEC meeting and it failed. “If PDP holds NEC now, members will revolt because Tukur’s style is strange. The leaders who can win election for PDP are being suspended like school children. The party is abusing the disciplinary clause in its constitution.” Findings confirmed that some PDP governors have started ganging up against Tukur ahead of the next NEC meeting. Some NEC members have also teamed up with the affected governors to “prove a point to Tukur that he does not own the party.” Another source added: “These governors are concerned about the fate of PDP in 2015. They believe the party is sliding; they want to get Tukur out. “Some of these governors, who are not happy with

•Governors in fresh gang up against Tukur •Suspension of governors won’t lead to mass exodus from party—Metuh

Tukur’s style, might use NEC members in their states to “spring surprise” against the PDP National Chairman. “So, the governors might lobby NEC members to upstage Tukur at any time the NEC is convened.” But Tukur, who is aware of the tension in the party and the plot against him, has decided to put NEC on hold. When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisah Metuh, said: “I am not in a position to say

when NEC meeting will hold. I think the best person to say that is the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, “We should have had the NEC meeting because it is a constitutional matter. But I know we are working towards it.” Asked if the NEC meeting was being put on hold because of the lingering crisis in the party over NGF election and the fears of Tukur being removed, Metuh said: “I don’t

think so. “I won’t talk about NGF election. NGF is for governors, not for PDP.” Metuh debunked the insinuations that NEC meeting is delayed because of disciplinary action against some governors. He said disciplinary action was taken to assert the supremacy of the party. He added: “We are not punishing to sever relationship. We expected the suspended governors to respect the supremacy of the party. “The PDP Constitution provides for disciplinary action. The steps we have taken will bring these governors closer to the party than send-

Turkish police in Ankara using tear gas and water cannon to disperse 5,000 people demonstrating on the ninth day of nationwide protests against the conservative Islamic regime. Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets of Turkish cities yesterday, challenging Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to end their civil uprising with a chorus of angry chants and a shower of red flares. PHOTO: AFP

MASSOB strike claims two lives

From Nwanosike Onu (Awka), Odogwu Emeka Odogwu (Nnewi), Chris Oji (Enugu) Sunny Nwankwo (Aba) Ugochukwu Ugoji-Eke Ogochukwu (Umuahia) Anioke (Abakaliki)

Chukwuemeka, confirmed that only two vehicles were burnt while two MASSOB members were killed in an accident. He said, “We had told them that they are not a parallel government and therefore should avoid violence. They have no right to block the streets and disturb people’s movement.” The police also said a hand grenade and a bus snatched by MASSOB members were recovered on Bida Road. The police team was led by the Onitsha Area commander, Ben Wordu, and the central police divisional officer (DPO), Tope Fasugba, who mobilised over 500 police men to all the flash points in the commercial city. Wordu said: “Everywhere is calm and people are going about their normal businesses without any molestation. Security operatives are on top of the situation.” Most shops in Awka, Ekwulobia, Onitsha, Nnewi and Ihiala in Anambra State were under lock and key for the better part of the day. But human and vehicular movements were generally

ing them away. “Although, these governors have done very well for the progress of the party, we have to invoke the disciplinary clause to make them to respect the party. “I don’t think any of the suspended governors will leave the party. As a matter of fact, each of the governors said he is not leaving PDP. The PDP only wanted them to understand and appreciate the supremacy of the party. We hope that after the suspension, they would have reconciled with the party. “We hope that very soon, there will be victory in Rivers, Sokoto and Abuja and we will all reunite as a party.”

•Onitsha, Nnewi shut down

•It’s business as usual in Enugu, Aba normal. Residents of rural areas like Nibo, Oko, Omogho, Ufuma, Ajali, Nawfija and Umunze, all in Anambra also complied with the local daily markets and shops closed. At Igboukwu, the market was closed and bonfire set in the middle of the EkwulobiaIgboukwu-Ichida-Nnobi road. Armed policemen and other security agents were deployed to strategic parts of the cities to ensure peace and order. It was, however, business as usual in Enugu, Umuahia and Aba with shops and other commercial outlets operating undisturbed. However, a splinter group of MASSOB known as Association of Igbo Youths Movement, called for the arrest of MASSOB leaders for allegedly threatening the peace. The group claimed that the sit-at-home declared by MASSOB was a flop as the people failed to obey it. However, MASSOB director of information, Uchena Madu, differed and said it was a huge success and that nothing would make it surrender its cause and the peaceful approach. He claimed that five members of MASSOB where shot and killed at Oba on the Onitsha-

Owerri road, while five others were shot at Bridge head and three others on Bida road in Onitsha. However, he said he was yet to confirm the incidents at Bridge head and Bida Road. He said: “We view the thousands of armed policemen, State Security Service (SSS), Civil Defence personnel patrolling the streets, roads, and the villages of Biafra as an act of cowardice. “They are jittery over MASSOB, influence and acceptance in Igbo land. Today, we stand to tell President Jonathan that he is so much insensitive to numerous killings of Ndigbo in Northern Nigeria; that enough is enough. Our wives and children have suddenly become emergency widows and orphans. “The level of compliance from Ndigbo to the sit-at-home order shows that no mountain can stop our move to freedom.” He also decried what he called the incessant killing of Igbo in the north by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. Vincent Eze, a business operator in Eke Awka, said that the people decided to comply with the MASSOB order because Nigeria has not treated Igbo well like other Nigerians. The sit-at-home order was

a flop in Enugu. Businesses went on as usual with all the markets in the town opened. This was despite the message passed round by market criers hired by MASSOB. All the busy areas of the town were equally open and it was business as usual. Even MASSOB members who had threatened to unleash mayhem on whoever flouted the order were no-where to be found. A trader at the one of the major markets in Enugu, Uche Ani who spoke to our reporter, said, “the MASSOB leadership has been misleading us in the past. I, in particular, will never heed their orders again.” Ani queried whether “Uwazuruike will send me money to feed my family if I stay away from market today.” A sales girl in one of the super malls in Enugu who simply gave her name as Nneka said as long as her working place was operating, she will never observe the sit-at-home order. “My first allegiance is to the place that pays my salary and not MASSOB,” stressed Nneka. The Enugu State police spokesman, Ebere Amaraizu, said that the police would deal with trouble makers. The situation was not different in the commercial city

of Aba, Abia State. The residents ignored the sit-at-home order. As early as 5:30 am commuters had begun to board vehicles at the popular Milverton Motor Park to their various destinations across the state and the country. Mr. Chike Ihechukwu, a commuter, told our reporter that “I am travelling to Port Harcourt so early to deliver these suits to a groom, his best man and the page. “The groom is getting married today (yesterday). I could not finish the suit yesterday (Friday). So, I have to go to Port Harcourt early enough to meet them and not because of the sit-at-home protest order from MASSOB.” The Ariaria International market and others were also bustling as usual. Mr. Kingsley Njinkeonye, a businessman said that if the sit-at-home order had been obeyed, it would have meant a breakdown of economic activities in the commercial city that is struggling to come back to life. Another resident, Kingsley Ibe, said for those who witnessed the Civil War “we do not want to be reminded about what we passed through during that period. Such memories are better forgotten.” The sit-at-home action was to protest the alleged killing of Igbo in the north by Boko Haram and the murder of the Apo Six by policemen at an Abuja police check point.



New drought, desertification control projects for 12 states From: Olugbenga Adanikin and Frank Ikpefan, Abuja


HE Ecological Fund Office (EFO)has approved a new drought and desertification control projects in 12 northern arid states. The states are: Adamawa, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno. The new project, which is expected to cost N480 million, is being executed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A statement by the Fund's Deputy Director, Press, Mr. Tolu Makinde, yesterday, in Abuja, stated the project was originally approved in 2006 to ameliorate drought and desertification in the 11 frontline states. According to him, the initial project, which should have been completed within 90 days, could not take off until it was revisited and rescoped this year. The Permanent Secretary of EFO, Engineer Goni Sheikh, reminded contractors and consultants approved for the project that ecological problems are dynamic and seasonal with propensity to get worse if delayed or ignored. He said: "The best way to solve such problems is to promptly address them, else they fester and get worse. Work assiduously to ensure their early completion." The Director of Drought and Desertification Control Department, EFO, Mr. Kole Oluwatuyi, advised all stakeholders to meet and agree on ways to move the project forward.

Mohammed takes over as ICAN helmsman


LHAJI Kabir Mohammed has been installed as the 49th President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). The installation took place at the Institute's council chambers in Lagos. While thanking his predecessor, Mr. Adedoyin Owolabi, for his invaluable services, Mohammed promised to take ICAN to higher heights. He said: "The council under my leadership will reinforce its mechanism for monitoring and enforcing compliance to professional ethics and practice standards. "We will continue to lead the drive for high quality financial reporting, benchmarked on global best practices and deliver more on our public interest mandate by meeting and surpassing expectations."


Iddo, Ebute Metta, seven other train stations for remodelling


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has approved the remodelling and redevelopment of nine major railway stations. The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, disclosed this in Abuja. He said the project, which will involve Public Private Partnership (PPP), will commence soon. According to him, the railways stations to be remodelled include Iddo terminal station, Lagos; Ebute Metta junction station, Lagos; Ilorin station; Kaduna junction station; Kano station; Port Harcourt station;

From: Vincent Ikuomola, Olugbenga Adanikin and Jane Maha, Abuja Enugu, Jos and Gombe stations. He added that feasibility studies have been carried out on new railway routes for 300 kilometres standard gauge line on East-West rail line including Lagos - Shagamu-Ijebu Ode-Benin City. The consulting firm is Team Nigeria Ltd with consultancy fee of N165,310,275. Other standard gauge lines are 615 Km Lagos-IbadanOshogbo-Baro-Abuja High Speed gauge awarded to CPCS

Transcom at N284,562,603. Umar also mentioned the 533Km Ajaokuta (Eganyi)Obajana-Jakura-Baro-Abjua with additional line from Ajaokuta to Otukpo to be handled by Siraj Nigeria Ltd at N443, 154,907.11. There is also the 520Km Zari-Kaura Namoda-SokotoIllela-Benin Koni (Niger Republic) by Team Nigeria Ltd for N214, 560,920.00 as well as the 500Km Benin-AgboOnitsha-Nnewi-Owerri-Aba with additional lines from Onitsha-Enugu-Abakil iki by Team Nigeria Ltd at N226, 816,661.63.

Others, according to the minister, are the 280Km Eganyi (Near Ajaokuta)Lokoja-Abaji-Abuja by CrestHill Engineering Ltd at N144,003,024.00 and 673 Km Niger Delta Region (BeninSapele, Warri-Yenagoa, PHAba-Uyo-Calabar-AkampaIkom-Obudu Cattle Ranch) by CPCS Transcom at N334,016,907.84. On concession of freight and passenger services, Umar said an Outline Business Cases (OBC) has been concluded by the Nigerian Railway Corporation and is awaiting approval for processing to the next stage.

According to him, transaction advisers would subsequently be appointed after which investors would be invited to bid for the concessioning of railways operations including procurement of rolling stocks on the Western and Eastern lines. To enhance safety on the water ways, Umar said about 25 boats including 13 armored boats and 12 conventional boats have been provided. He added that three additional armored boats are expected in the next few months.

Task Force intercepts boat-load of explosives in Rivers From Clarice Azuatalam, Port-Harcourt

T •L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; wife of former Osun State Governor, Princess Omolola Oyinlola; Diocesan Bishop of Osun North-East Anglican Communion, Right Rev. Bamisebi Olumakaye; son of the deceased, Engr. Yinka Adedeji; National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande; daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Adenike Ajayi and former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola during the funeral Service in honour of late Chief (Major) Adebayo Adeniji at St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Isedo, Ila-Orangun, Osun State yesterday.

Confusion as pipeline explodes in Ibadan community


HERE was pandemonium yesterday at Olorunkemi/Alaakia village along Elebu Ibadan in Ido Local Government of Oyo state when a deafening explosion occurred at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline located in the area. The fire, which according to sources started around 9.00 am, was allegedly caused by desperate pipeline vandals who stormed the area around midnight to scoop fuel. Residents of the community, who spoke with report-

From: Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan ers yesterday, lamented, that the activities of pipeline vandals have increased lately. Many of the residents ran helter-skelter on sighting billows of fire from the pipeline. One of them, Mrs. Oladele Funmilayo, said that she was inside her room when suddenly she heard a very loud explosion, which sparked off the fire. "I had to rush out of the room with my children. We were so scared that we didn't

know what next to do except to run away," she stated A woman, who simply identified herself as Mrs. Innocent, said many of them thought it was a bomb explosion. Director of the State Fire Service, Mr. Kareem Gafar, who led his men to the scene, also said the explosion was caused by suspected vandals. He added that the firemen could not easily assess the scene of the explosion due to the muddy nature of the road. "We had to pass the pipe

supplying water along the bush to ensure the fire is put off," he lamented. He said the fire service and NNPC officials combined to put the fire off. The Chairman of Ido Local Government, Professor Joseph Olowofela, said: "Though I have not confirmed the cause of the fire, I am sure it must have happened due to the activities of pipeline vandals. He called on security agencies to nip the activities of the suspected vandals in the bud.

FG pledges to tackle Olorunsogo power plant challenges


HE Minister for Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, has assured that the federal government would address poor funding of the Olorunsogo Power Station (Gas turbines) phase 1 Ogun State to enable the plant stay afloat and meet its 335MW installed capacity target. Nebo said the plant is very critical and supplies a substantial energy to the national grid, stressing that the federal government, states and local governments would henceforth strive towards working in synergy with power distribution companies to make electricity available to citizens. The minister also lauded SEPCO111, a Chinese electric power construction firm not only for supplying and installing the plant, but also for its maintenance, which he said, ensured that the facility is run-

From: Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta

ning. The Olorunsogo Power Station phase 1 was completed and handed over to the federal government via PHCN in 2009 in line with the agreements, but SEPCO111 has been maintaining the turbines in the last three years The Managing Director and CEO of Olorunsogo Power Plc, Engr Philip Ugwu, identified insufficient maintenance tools and equipment as well as poor funding as challenges facing the facility. Nebo assured that the challenges would be addressed by the federal government urgently. He spoke at the weekend after being taken round the facility with the Vice - President of SEPCO111, Mr. Sun Qili,

SEPCO111 Project Manager, Mr. Li Xianlai, and others. He said: "Funding has been an essential aspect of the difficulties within the power sector; we will do our best to address this situation and see what we can do to redress the very poor funding situation that Olorunsogo Power Station has been encountering.

The minister hinted of plans to establish the National Council on Power with representatives drawn from the three tiers of government to make room for synergy with power distribution companies. This, he explained, would ensure harmony of efforts for effective power supply.


HE National Taskforce (NATFORCE) responsible for combating illegal importation, smuggling of goods, small arms, ammunition and light weapons has intercepted a boat loaded with devices suspected to be explosives along the Andoni River in Rivers State. Its Director-General, Chief Osita Okereke, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt at the weekend, said that the explosives believed to have been smuggled into the country have been handed over to Rivers State Police Command. Okereke, however, expressed disappointment with the attitude of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, who he alleged refused to see him for over one hour when he came with some of his men and representatives of various media organisations to officially hand over the intercepted explosives. Mbu, he said, referred him to the Deputy Commissioner of Police after keeping him waiting with a promise to make a report to the Presidency and the Inspector General of the Police on his findings. This cold reception, he stated, has reinforced the perception that the State Police Command has ulterior motives. Okereke, however, revealed the smugglers could not be arrested because they took off the moment they noticed members of the Task Force from afar. He claimed men of the Task Force, who are also divers, immediately got into the river and brought out some of the explosives, which have been negotiated for N8million and were being transported to the unknown buyers.

'Jonathan not best choice for 2015'


FORMER vice president of the National Youth Council of Ni-

geria, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan is not the messiah for the South South. Unagha, an activist and resource control advocate, advised people of the region against resting their hopes and aspirations on the presi-

From Shola O'Neil, Warri

dent. He said Jonathan has "the right to contest come 2015 but he is not the messiah to the people of South-South." Speaking at an interactive session with journalists in Warri, he said the president squandered his goodwill in the region by playing ethnic

politics rather than developing the region. He lamented that all the political appointments for the zone are channelled to one ethnic group to the detriment of others. According to him: "President Jonathan cannot address the problem of the region; the south-south will be worst at the end of his administration."


Man kills ex-wife, hangs self in Ondo From: Damisi Ojo, Akure


RAGEDY struck in Olu Foam area of Akure,the Ondo State capital yesterday when a 47- year old, Lateef Jimoh, reportedly killed his former wife, Olufunmilayo. Few seconds later, he was said to have hanged himself. Sources hinted that it was the chairman, Landlords Association of Omoniyi Quarters, Akure where the deceased lived, that reported the incident to the police. The reason for the sad development could not be immediately ascertained as at press time since there was no suicide note. However, police spokesman,Mr. Wole Ogodo, who confirmed the story, said the police had visited the scene of the incident and took photographs. According to him, exhibits such as one knife with blood stains were recovered at the spot. He added that the corpses of the couple have been deposited at the State Hospital Mortuary for autopsy.

ECWA raises fund panel for varsity


HE Ever Church Winning All (ECWA) has raised a 21member committee to raise an endowment fund for Bingham University, Karu. It is headed by Dr. Gamaliel Onosode. Speaking at the inauguration of the panel held at the palace of the Esu Karu and Chancellor of the university, His Royal Highness Luka Panya Baba, the ECWA President and visitor of the university, Rev. Jeremiah Gado, said the idea of establishing the university was a noble one consistent with the church's inherited legacy as a leading promoter and sponsor of education in Nigeria. He urged members to be active and work for the success of the fund. The Esu Karu promised that members of the committee would do their best. Other members of the committee are: Senator Philip Aduda, vice chairman; Dr. Christopher Kolade; Deputy governor of Rivers State, Chief Teleyem Ikuru; Senator Solomon Ewuga, Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe and Dr. Phil Andrew. Others are Senator Esther Nenadi Usman, Mr. Caleb Achana Yaro, Senator Joshua Lidani, Chief Kola Jamodu, and Haroun Audu while Mr. Lumumba Auke is to serve as the endowment fund secretariat assistant.


Kaduna power plant land O ownersprotest WNERS of the land on which the 215 megawatts power station in the Kudenda area of Kaduna State is being constructed have staged a protest over government's failure to offer them alternative lands for resettlement. The land owners told the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, government has failed to resettle them four years after they willingly gave their lands for the power plant. Spokesman of the owners, Francis Nwobodo

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

said: "When he was governor, the Vice President came here and told us that the government was interested in this land and that the power plant they will build will benefit all of us. "He promised to give us another land and based on that, we willingly gave away our land. "Four years after, we have

not heard anything. The late governor Yakowa came here and promised that they will do something. Some of us have died and yet we are yet to be given another land". Nebo commended the land owners for the peaceful nature of their protest. He assured the government was willing to fulfill its promise of giving them another land, pointing out that something must

have happened to slow down the process. Nebo explained: "I will talk with the governor on this matter when we meet. "I want to assure you that I will talk with him. The power project that is being constructed here will give you more power than what you are currently enjoying". The power project was initially instituted by the Kaduna State government and was supposed to inject 10 megawatts of electricity into the national grid but later taken over by the Federal Government.


Air Force graduates 21 on intelligence gathering From: Uja Emmanuel


students of the Nigerian Air Force yesterday graduated from various courses on advanced intelligence gathering to contain the menace of terrorism in the country. The graduating students were presented certificates and awards of performance to signify the high premium the Federal Government places on anti-terrorism. The commandant of the Nigerian Air Force School of Intelligence (NAFSAINT), Group Captain B. A Omoyungbo, while conducting the ceremony at NAF Base Makurdi, explained the students were in the school for a 16-week course. The training, he said, is critical to the achievement of a terror-free nation. Omoyungbo noted the current global security threats has left government with no choice than to focus on social media intelligence, which he pointed was successfully experimented during the 2011 riots in the United Kingdom.

Mark, Ndoma-Egba, others for Inter parliamentary conference From Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

• Elderstateman, Alhaji Maitama Sule, commissioning one of the township road projects in Gombe State while the Governor, Aliyu Dankwambo, watches with keen interest... at the weekend.

Atiku's son weds exGov. Muazu's daughter M OHAMMED, son of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday took Malama Badariya, daughter of former Bauchi State Governor, Adamu Muazu, as wife. Atiku's son paid N1million and gave a brand new luxury car as bride price for his wife, setting a new record in bride price payment. The record is, however, a marked contrast to common Fulani tradition, for which Adamu Mu'azu, a Fulani cultured man is known. The wedding fathia was held in the exclusive reception hall of the Emir of Bauchi's Palace. Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, represented Mohammed while Mallam Isa Yuguda, Bauchi State Governor, and son-in-law to the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, was the Wali or representative of Mua'zu's daughter in accordance with Islamic rites. The ceremony, which drew Nigerians across political divides, was witnessed by several personalities among whom were the National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Bamanga Tukur; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Niger

From Austine Tsenzughul, Bauchi

State Governor, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu; Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo and Kano State

Governor, Musa Kwankwaso. Others were Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wammako; former Governor of Bauchi, Adamu Mu'azu (Father-inlaw); former Governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame

and former Governor of Kebbi State, Adamu Alero, among others. Also at the wedding were former Heads of State, General Abdulsalaam Abubakar and General Muhammadu Buhari as well as former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Comassie. Several prominent traditional rulers such as the Emir of Kano and Emir of Kaltungu Sarkin Kannam from Plateau state others were represented.

Kidnapping: Anambra communities resort to oath-taking


DREADED oath was y e s t e r d a y administered on the people of Anambra East and Anambra West Local Governments to stem the tide of kidnapping and communal killings. Known in local parlance as the kill or kidnap and die oath, the ceremony was performed in seven dreaded shrines. Seven male virgins were accompanied to the shrines for the oath-taking. The shrines were AroAmamerulu of Ivite Aguleri; Ayaya-Nwuru of Nando and Ebeagu of Umuikwu Anam. Others were Nengo of Nteje; Ovia Mmili of Umueri; Udude Onogo of Igbariam and Ochume Iwele of Umuoba Anam. It is widely believed the shrines and goddesses have the power to inflict calamities upon those who go against the dictates of the oath. It was gathered the oathtaking was informed by the killing of four persons in Aguleri/ Umuoba Anam

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

communal clash recently. An eyewitness, Chukwudi Chinwoba, said the Aguleri people mistakenly killed four people from Umuoba Anam, thinking they were from Olu. The incident, he said, forced the Umuoba Anam people to retaliate by killing four persons from Aguleri. The killings not only created tensions but also led to the takeover of the communities by security forces. The chairman of Anambra East traditional rulers council and traditional ruler of Igbariam, Igwe Nkeli Kelly; the Chairman of traditional rulers council, Anambra West Local Government Area, Igwe Sylvester Nnose; Igwe Chukwuemeka Eri of Aguleri and Barrister Stan Nwata of Anam represented the two councils at the ceremony. The oath -taking was also witnessed by the Chairman of Anambra East, Comrade

Chinedu Obidigwe and the Chairman of Anambra West, Chief Augustine Chukwura. There were also the Divisional Police Officer of Otuocha, SSS team and over 12 other traditional rulers, including over 40 representatives of the communities at the ceremony. The oath document titled ''Don't kill your brothers from Anambra East and West in any form again' directed Aguleri and Anam to stop further killings henceforth. A part of it reads: ''Any person from Anambra East/ Anambra West who engages in kidnapping in whatever means whether here or outside or even hold kidnapped person hostage in Anambra East/ West that shrine will kill the person. ''Both traditional rulers , PG's and indigenes of Anambra East and West who hear that anybody from this area Anambra East/ West will be killed without revealing it that shrine will kill the person.


RESIDENT of the Senate, David Mark, would today leave for Czech Republic for an Inter-Parliamentary exchange program with his counterparts in that country. On the delegation, according to a press statement by Mark's Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, in Abuja, are Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba; Chairman, Senate Committee on Inter- Parliamentary Affairs, Abdulazeez Usman; Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Chris Anyanwu and Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Domingo Obende. The statement reads in part: "On arrival, the Nigerian Senate delegation will pay courtesy visits on the President of Czech Republic Mr. Milos Zeman and the Prime Minister of the government of the Czech Republic Mr. Petr Necas. "Senator Mark will thereafter meet with the President of the Senate of the Czech Parliament, Mr. Milan Stech, where he will address the Senate at the Kolowrat Palace, the Green Lounge on the 'Nigerian democracy, the achievements and challenges.' "The Senate President is expected to hold talks with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mrs. Miroslava Nemcova. "Senator Mark will meet with the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, the Czech Republic -States of the SubSaharan Africa. "He will also undertake a guided tour of the Exhibition Hall of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Trcka's gallery. "Before returning to Nigeria on June 13, 2013, Senator Mark will address the Nigerian Community in Czech Republic."




Shareholders praise NPF bank

Ribadu to youths: Save Nigeria

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie


From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


ORMER Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday asked youths to rise to the challenge of rescuing the nation from those he described as retrogressive elements. Ribadu, who contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said contrary to the belief in several quarters, the nation cannot break despite the campaign by some unpatriotic politicians and ethnic jingoists to dismember the country. The former EFCC boss spoke at a public lecture organised by the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. According to him: “We are doomed as a nation the moment the youth get hoodwinked by the bickering of bitter politicians who ride to relevance on sentiments that only inspire distrust among citizens. “My experience so far in politics has taught me that age does not guarantee maturity to responsibly play the role of a patriot in an atmosphere of tensed political antagonisms.” In his paper entitled: “A New Approach...Youth: The fulcrum of every Society”, Ribadu canvassed for change that would lead to a functional nation.

Edo doctors vow to fight imposters From Osagie Otabor, Benin


OCTORS in Edo State have vowed to fight quacks and imposters among their rank with a view to redeeming the image of the medical profession. The doctors under the ageis of Association of Physicians, General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) said they want to restore public confidence in their profession. Edo State chairman of AGPMPN, Dr Otamere Aigbogun, stated this at a parley shortly after his inauguration as the chairman of the association. Aigbogun said they would collaborate with the state government to deliver quality and affordable healthcare services in the state. He noted that they would work to remove the notion of seeing private medical practitioners as shylocks who are out to milk the public of their money, adding that governments had a big role to play in ridding the profession of quacks.

•Accountant General of the Federation, Jonas Otunla; Chairman Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Ahmed Lawan, his House of Representatives counterpart, Solomon Adeola and lead public sector specialist World Bank, Jens Kromann Kriteensen and other members during the inauguration of Nigerian Association of Public Accounts Committees (NAPAC) in Abuja... at the weekend Photo Abayomi Fayese

Ekiti seals eight illegal pharmaceutical stores


KITI State Government has sealed off eight patent medicine and Pharmaceuticals stores for operating illegally in the state. The Monitoring and Inspection Unit of the Pharmaceutical Services Department of the State Ministry of Health which embarked on

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

an inspection tour of Emure, Ise, Ikere and Ado Ekiti communities sealed the shops for offenses ranging from operating unregistered medicine stores to failure to renew registration of their outlets. Speaking in Ado-Ekiti, capital of the state, on the de-

velopment, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Olusola Fasubaa, noted that the proprietors of the affected shops failed to comply with the operational guidelines in respect of the sale of medicine. He stated that some of them were also found to be in possession of unethical

Abia CJ grants four inmates pardon


HE acting Chief Judge of Abia State, Justice Shedrack Nwanosike, has granted pardon to four inmates of Aba Federal Prison in Aba, Abia State. The inmates are Uduma Eke, a native of Ohafia Local Government Area, Chukwuemeka Young from Aba South Council, Ugochukwu Friday (Osisioma) and Chinweoke Ahuchaogu both from Isiala Ngwa North Council. Nwanosike, who announced the gesture while on a visit to the prison, lamented the fact that the accused persons held in captivity would have served out their jail terms if they had been tried and convicted on the offences since 2010. He stressed that the accused committed minor offences of assault and malicious damage. He expressed displeasure with the attitude of keeping accused persons in detention for a long time without being tried. He called on the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the legal department of the Abia state Police Command to be effective in their duties and ensure that detailed information of the accused persons with their charges were filed inthe courts for quicker dispensation of justice. Others that benefited from the prerogative of mercy of Justice Nwanosike were Sampson Nnaluem, Nkire Chigozie and Jacob Okereke who were granted

From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

bail in the sum of between N50, 000 to N100, 000 and sureties with three years tax paper clearance. The acting Chief Judge charged the discharged per-

sons to be of good behaviour and avoid any act that would bring them into disrepute. He stressed that the full weight of the law shall be applied on them if found guilty of any crime in the future.

drugs. The commissioner added that some of the shop owners do not have license at all while the others have been operating for years without renewal. He warned that owners of the sealed shops that reopen without proper authorisation would be made to face the wrath of the law. Reiterating the commitment of the state government to ensuring a healthy society, Fasubaa said that the present administration would leave no stone unturned towards streamlining drug distribution in the state.

Okorocha rescues woman from mob


middle-aged woman was almost lynched yesterday in Owerri, Imo State capital, for allegedly breaking into a shop. It took the timely intervention of Governor Rochas Okorocha, who ran into the mob to rescue her. The governor was said to have pleaded with the mob to spare the life of the woman, who had been beaten to a pulp before his convoy ran into the tumultuous crowd. According to an eyewitness, the woman whose identity could not be ascertained took advantage of the sit-athome order imposed by the Movement for the

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to break into people’s shops. Unknown to her, the owner of one of the shops was sleeping inside the shop when she started carting goods away through the back door. But the shop owner, who was fast asleep, did not know that someone had broken into the shop until a neighbour drew her attention to the woman, who had almost emptied the shop. The source added that, “it was then that the shop owner apprehended the woman and raised an alarm that attracted

passersby who descended on the woman and almost lynched her before the arrival of the governor.” Okorocha on sighting the crowd was said to have pulled up the convoy and came down out of curiosity and was told that the woman broke into a shop but was caught in the process. The source said the governor, apparently moved by pity, appealed to the shop owner and the mob to forgive the woman, adding that the governor instantly paid the woman whose shop was lifted the sum of N100, 000 and offered to start a business for the suspect.

Traders hail Amaechi for commissioning market


RADERS in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, have commended Governor Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi over the commissioning of Town Market located at Creek Road, Port Harcourt. The ultra- modern market commissioned yesterday is first of its kind with facilities like fire service, police station, sick-bay and conference hall. While lauding the governor’s gesture, the trad-

From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt

ers said the new market has brought some reliefs for them, especially the stress of securing their wares during the raining season. Mr. Benson Ngele, who represented the traders during the unveilling of the market said: “We thank God for using Governor Chibuike Amaechi to change the status of traders through the facilities provided in the market.

“For this, we are grateful and will continue to support this administration to provide more for traders as the commissioning of the market has ended our many years of suffering and street trading.” Rivers Commissioner for Works, Victor Giadom, who commissioned the market on behalf of Governor Amaechi, said: We decided to provide a first class market for the people of the state.”

HAREHOLDERS of the Nigeria Police Force Microfinance Bank Plc have hailed the 10 kobo dividend payment approved by the bank’s board of directors. At the shareholders’ forum at the weekend, they said the bank has out-paid and outperformed its peers in the financial system. They also commended the board, saying it has done well, especially in growing the deposit base of the bank. The shareholders, however, implored the management of the bank to make loans accessible by removing all the barriers to the facility. They also urged the board to increase the bank’s branch network by giving it even spread that reflects its ownership structure. “The NPF has national spread and as such we want the bank to have presence in every part of Nigeria, especially in Onitsha, Aba, Uyo, Eket. “This branch networking will enhance the value of the bank and also increase its deposit base,” they reasoned. According to them, the leap from 2 kobo dividend paid last year to 10 kobo this year is a quantum leap, urging the board to do a rights issue for the shareholders. The chairman of the bank, Mrs. Florence Adebanjo, said the its resilience is evidenced by its ability to raise additional capital from the initial capital of N500, 000 to almost N2billion fully paid –up shares. She added the impressive growth of the bank is also evident in its unit office of about 10 staff at takeoff in 1993 to its current 13 locations across the nation with 271 staff strength and about 100,000 active accounts.

Indigenes laud Chime


NDIGENES of Nsukka, Enugu State, have passed a vote of confidence on Governor Sullivan Chime for what they described as his excellent democratic credentials. Giving this commendation on behalf of Nsukka indigenes recently was Chief Maxi Okuta. According to him, the governor demonstrated his statesmanship through the declaration that it was the turn of the people from Nsukka to produce the next governor of the state in 2015. Okuta, who spoke against the background of the just concluded Town Hall Meeting held in the capital city of Enugu, said: “My people are overjoyed.” He added: “The governor has kept this covenant and has shown that he is indeed a man of honour. Indeed a statesman, who keeps his word.” He also commended the governor for his avowed stance of supporting the creation of Adada State as one of the additional states to be created in Ibo land. Chief Okuta emphasised that Adada State was one of the oldest and suitably qualified both in land mass, mineral and human resources, had always topped the list of states agitation and ably positioned to be self-sustaining, peaceful.





HE image of a northern region largely pulling in one political direction has been unravelling over the last few decades. But in the aftermath of the botched attempt by President Goodluck Jonathan and his loyalists to oust Rotimi Amaechi as chairman of the Nigeria Governors, Forum (NGF), that perception is now well and truly shattered. The attendance at last Thursday meeting of the Northern State Governors Forum (NSGF) said it all. Out of the 19 individuals who would ordinarily have attended, only five showed up - the rest sending representatives. Of the absentees, the most vocal has been Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda whose bitter denunciation of his colleague, and NSGF chairman, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, was unprecedented. In widely reported comments in the media, accused Babangida of betrayal after they had all agreed to back Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang as the next NGF leader. To underline the depth of his feelings, Yuguda announced his withdrawal from the NSGF for what was left of his tenure. Interestingly, while he has been shouting at the rooftops, others have been largely circumspect. Some cynical observers have even suggested that the governor's outrage should be taken with a pinch of salt given that his past actions suggest a politician who is more survivalist than idealist. Irrespective of Yuguda's record, there's no running away from the fact that there's serious turbulence in northern PDP ranks, and the implications could be very grave

The open divisions that have emerged between northern governors in the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) could ultimately prove fatal for the region's aspiration to produce Nigeria's next president in 2015. FESTUS ERIYE breaks down the unfolding political chess game. for the region - given the high stakes of the next general elections in 2015. What is now manifesting as an open split is largely driven by undercurrents stirred up as personal ambitions clash with the wider regional aspirations. Senate President, David Mark, alluded to this a few days ago when he warned politicians against heating up the polity because of inordinate ambition. 2011 AS BACKDROP In order to properly understand what is unfolding in the northern PDP, we need to back up to the events that preceded the selection of the presidential flag bearer for the ruling party. Jonathan, providentially, found himself installed as president following the demise of Umaru Yar'Adua. Existing zoning arrangements within the party were responsible for the emergence of Yar'Adua in the first instance. Northern leaders insisted that it was only fair that the region be allowed to take advantage the constitutional second term that the late president would have been entitled to. Unfortunately, they had to contend with the reality that there was an incumbent who was not a northerner. This led to the formation of a powerful pressure group - the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) - led by

former Finance Minister, Adamu Ciroma. Such was the determination of regional leaders to stake their claim to the presidency that they managed to persuade the likes of former President Ibrahim Babangida, former Governor Bukola Saraki and General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau to step down their ambitions in favour of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who emerged as the consensus aspirant to carry regional hopes forward. The state was set for a major showdown within the PDP along regional lines. In the end, the party's governors who had come under intense pressure to back Atiku or face the prospect of being branded traitors to their regional cause, broke the deadlock by reaching an understanding with Jonathan and other party grandees. Back then it was an open secret that the deal involved supporting the incumbent on the basis that he would only serve out the remaining four years of what would have been a Yar'Adua second term. This breakthrough effectively ended the northern challenge for the PDP ticket because for all their bluster, the likes of Ciroma and company were not in control of the states party

machinery. These were firmly in the hands of the governors. We are still two years away from the 2015 election season. But over the last one year, it has become evident that whatever understanding may have been reached between Jonathan and the PDP governors in 2011 was not going to be allowed to obstruct the president from running again. This deal-breaker move is clearly what must have inspired Governor Aliyu's revelation not too long ago that Jonathan committed himself to serving only one term back in 2011. In an interview on pages 24 and 25 of today's The Nation on Sunday, Senator Jubril Aminu underlined what is one of the nation's worst-kept secrets. He said: "I know that President Jonathan is going to stand for 2015. I have always said this, but that is not the understanding of many other people from the North who alleged that they had a talk with him with regards to 2015. But I know that nothing is going to stop him. Asking the President not to run in 2015 has no legal provision in the Constitution. Even if you decide to pursue the matter up to the Supreme Court, there is no provision for him not to run in 2015. The only thing is that there will be a lot of bad blood."

PRETENDERS AND PROSPECTS In the belief that the North would have clear run at the presidency in 2015 based on the understanding of two years ago, the likes of the former VP returned to the PDP to prepare for another bid for the highest office in the land. Equally known to harbour political ambitions are the likes of Aliyu, Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and his Jigawa counterpart, Sule Lamido. Sokoto State Governor Magatarkada Wamakko is sometimes mentioned in the speculations. But for another tendency within the northern PDP, a second fouryear term for Jonathan may not be the end of the world. For them, four years is not exactly eternity. Better still, it positions them to inherit the mantle, given that by the unwritten rotation principle, it will be hard to deny another northern claim to the top job after eight years. Those who are identified with this category include Vice President Namadi Sambo. However, it is not a given that he will be Jonathan's running mate for a second time. That air of uncertainty has encouraged speculation that the likes of Katsina Governor, Ibrahim Shema, and Yuguda are in the frame for the number two spot. For many analysts, that would also explain their devoted defence of Jonathan's political interests so far. 2015: ANY HOPE LEFT FOR NORTHERN PDP ASPIRANTS? None whatsoever! Not one of the northerners whose names have been mentioned as potential rivals to Jonathan for the ticket stands a chance. He is an increasingly

•Contd. on page 69









SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2013

Talakawa Liberation Herald (16)

The “Arewa” North and our parasitic federalism and kwashiorkor democracy (2) (Being an open letter to Professor Itse Sagay)

BY BIODUN JEYIFO The gains evidenced by the creation of the NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry, Amnesty Programme, 13% derivation and even the Jonathan Goodluck Presidency have only meant more wealth for a handful of individuals in the region. Overall, the average Ijaw youth, for instance, is as distant from better life as he was when Major Isaac Boro was in the swamps fighting to defend the autonomy of the Niger delta Republic which he proclaimed. And therein lies the danger. A more ferocious army is gradually building up as the little gains from the long years of struggle continue to move in concentric circles of a greedy and insensitive elite class. Abraham Ogbodo, “New Militants For the Niger Delta”, The Guardian, Sunday, May 26, 2013


EAR Itse: Last week, I rather very briefly touched on an observation that the fiercest opponents of fiscal federalism based on resource control are Northern conservative supremacists, while Southwestern and Southeastern conservatives and centrists tend to be its lukewarm supporters. Permit me to now expatiate more substantially on this observation, given my strong belief that it’s historical and current ramifications lie at the heart of the crises of nationhood and community that not only threaten our existence as one country but is also at the base of the horrible economic and social conditions of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians in every single part of the country. As you pointed out several times in your piece that prompted this series, Nigeria at the moment of its emergence after political independence from British colonial rule was based solidly on fiscal federalism and resource control by each constituent region of the nation. I would add that as a matter of fact, this claim has a longer history, for Nigeria at the point of the amalgamation of the North and the South in 1914 was also based on fiscal federalism and regional resource control. Indeed, this historical fact is so central to your arguments in your article of May 26 in particular and, more generally to your thinking on fiscal federalism that you insist absolutely that we must revert back to this long history before our country took the wrong turn of doing away with fiscal federalism and constitutionally enshrining and politically enthroning the bloated federalism that has turned the states into fiefdoms controlled by a bloated and infinitely corrupt and wasteful federal government at the hegemonic centre of affairs in the country. Since this view or position is so central to your thinking as well as the thought of nearly all fiscal federalists, whether conservative or progressive, let me repeat it: we must go back to the long years and decades when the constituent, federating regions were considerably autonomous of the federal government that in fact substantially depended on contributions from the regions in form of taxes. In all seriousness and without diminishing the case for fiscal federalism at the present time, I wish to argue strongly that reverting to the past on the matter of fiscal federalism needs far more careful thought, far more rigorous theoretical analysis and historical interpretation than most fiscal federalists, whether conservative or progressive and democratic, have given it. To put the matter as simply and as concretely as possible even though we are dealing with a very complex set of issues that altogether have caused so much destructive violence, unsustainable and maladjusted development and crisis-ridden disruption of peaceable community in so many parts of the world, we did not move from the fiscal federalism of the past into the bloated and parasitic federalism of the present peacefully and in full



possession of the best parts of our human nature, individually and collectively. This is the heart of the matter and democratic and progressive fiscal federalists must realize that they must not - and indeed cannot - leave this issue out of their consideration. Permit me to expatiate on this observation, this claim as graphically as possible. Dear Itse, please let us consider the not so curious fact that the two most opposed regions of the country when it comes to fierce opposition versus equally fierce support for fiscal federalism in our country also happen to be the poorest and the least developed parts of the country. I speak here of the North and the South-south or the Niger Delta respectively. Additionally, let us think of the fact that these are the two regions of the country that have given rise the deepest and most ferocious armed insurrections against the Nigerian state, specifically in its incarnation in the bloated and wasteful presidency. I speak here of Boko Haram in the North and the “militants” in the Niger Delta. It so happens that these are also the two regions of the country with the widest gap, the deepest chasm between a demographically tiny but unspeakably wealthy elite and the rest of the population of the region. And let us not leave out of the equation the fact that the North and the Niger Delta are, in these matters, merely the worst manifestations, the most egregious instantiations of what is true of virtually all the other regions of the country: a small obscenely wealthy elite; extreme poverty and economic hardship for the vast majority of the population; insecurity of life, property and personal possession for all, rich and poor, the powerful and the marginalized. Democratic and progressive fiscal federalists cannot afford to make light of or worse, completely disregard these very widespread and even defining features of the

political economy of our country that came into existence with our move from the fiscal federalism of the past to the thieving, wasteful “barawo” and “jaguda” federalism of the present. Dear Itse, I write of these issues with a sorrowful but not pessimistic consciousness of the historic fact that these things that we are experiencing with our imploding and wasteful federalism have happened and are still happening in so many parts of our continent in particular and in other parts of the developing world in general. Nearly everywhere in our continent where an extractive economy has become predominant over either agricultural production of export crops and/or middle grade industrial production of light consumer goods for export, these same distortions of community and development have come in their wake. South Africa under apartheid and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in almost the entire period of its post-independence existence are the worst examples, but the list contains other serious cases like Gabon, Sierra Leone, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia and Guinea Bissau. And if the historical allusions in Joseph Conrad’s novel, Nostromo, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, are to be believed, this matter of extractive economies and the violence and disruption that come in their wake have deep roots in the 19th century in other parts of the world, especially in Latin America. I hope that the readers of this piece can deduce from the discussion so far that there are no easy solutions, no beguiling nostrums available to us with which to deal with the crises and challenges that we face in the historic transition from our past of fiscal federalism and regional resource control to the present nightmare of our bandit republic, our kwashiorkor democracy. The image of

“In all seriousness and without diminishing the case for fiscal federalism at the present time, I wish to argue strongly that reverting to the past on the matter of fiscal federalism needs far more careful thought, far more rigorous theoretical analysis and historical interpretation than most fiscal federalists, whether conservative or progressive and democratic, have given it”

kwashiorkor appeals to me because of the symbolic meanings that we can extrapolate from the bloated stomach juxtaposed with a main trunk and limbs that are atrophied, all supplanted by an oversize head. Both the distended stomach and the misshapen head contain no sustaining food for nourishment or thought; they become massive precisely on account of a deprivation that is so severe as to be almost inhuman. I cannot think of a better image or metaphor for the real “democracy dividends” our peoples have been given since the transition to civilian rule from the preceding military autocracies that were the dress rehearsals for the post-1999 period. Again, let me say that this kwashiorkor democracy finds its worst deformations in the North and the Niger Delta, the two extremely opposed regions of the country on the all-important issue of fiscal federalism and resource control. Dear Itse, let me in conclusion say that nothing I have said in this long open letter to you is a repudiation of fiscal federalism and resource control. My central argument in the series revolves around two major issues. First, I strongly believe that fiscal federalism cannot credibly and productively be invoked in our country without giving due recognition to the extremely violent conditions that accompanied and still sustain our historic transition to the present bloated, wasteful and exploitative federalism. When we had a truly federal system and the regions were relatively autonomous, this was largely because the surplus that sustained each region of the country and made them self-dependent came from cash or export crops produced in the regions themselves. With the emergence of an extractive, offshore and foreign-dominated industry as the mainstay of the economy, the basis of the regions’ and states’ self-dependence and relative autonomy have been more or less almost totally eroded. And we must never forget for one second that this historic transformation was accomplished by great violence, a violence that continues to this day in both statist and non-statist expressions. The second of my two concluding issues is far more complex than the first one. Let me state this as simply as I can without oversimplifying things. I believe that the only truly helpful and productive way that we can invoke fiscal federalism as an issue that can unite all true progressives, radicals, democrats and patriots is to link it with the fate of the vast majority of the poor, the looted and the marginalized of all parts of the country. I say this without sentimentality, with my feet planted firmly on the soil of realism and hope, pragmatism and idealism. If I am not mistaken, fiscal federalists and their opponents, routinely, even emphatically base their claims and counter-claims on the either principle of derivation (pro) or national unity (con). As far as I am aware, the only notable radical and progressive intellectual that has tried to combine these two principles of derivation and national unity is the late Yusuf Bala Usman. But he did so on the basis of an argument that was so bizarre that it more or less divided progressives of the North and the South. This argument rested on the claim that Niger Delta crude oil belonged to the North as its point of derivation because the oil of the Niger Delta creeks actually had their deep geological origins in the North, even though their point of extraction is in the South. It is significant that in this argument, Bala Usman never talked about those whose lives and futures have been blighted by crude oil extraction in the South and the North. Also significant is the fact that Usman made this argument in a debate with G.G. Darah who on that occasion did speak on behalf of the poor and the exploited, but only of the Niger Delta. Biodun Jeyifo



Comment & Analysis

I is trite and wrong to continue to hold the view long after Independence that we are still poor and disunited because the British created our country for selfish reasons without asking ourselves what good we have been able to make out of the creation. It really hurts to even contemplate the foolish things the elites have done with the country including corruption and squandering of resources since Independence. While it serves no use shivering in the rain where there are friendly shelters around, common sense demands a change for the better. The problem is that the country’s elites have been suffering from what Tatalo Alamu calls “intellectual slavery” or “mental laziness” and so could not make the desired impact even in period of freedom. Even a denial or rejection of our history as critics would like us have it cannot help. So weep not brothers and stop mourning, complaining and blaming 1914 amalgamation unduly for the nation’s current woes. Tatalo’s concept of ‘ intellectual slavery’ is important in understanding what went wrong as it helps in answering many relevant questions such as: why the country in spite of the natural and geographical advantages has not been able to throw off the yoke of poverty and underdevelopment since the departure of the British colonial masters? Or why it has been convenient for us to continue to blame an event of almost one hundred years old for our current predicaments today and our inability to change the situation? The answer is persistent mental slavery of the Nigerian ruling Elites. Otherwise how come the colonial masters were able to use the creation to achieve their end, and our nationalists were able to use sentiments and insights from same to nurture a spirit of nationalism and fight for freedom but the post Independence elites have failed woefully to develop the country they inherited from the British? Here is it not more proper to blame our failure as adults on poor management of resources rather than the date of our birth? In short the Nigerian elites should be ashamed of their dismal failure in the management and administration of the country since independence. While it is obvious that the Nigerian elites have not worn their creative thinking caps well, many of the reactions to 1914 reflect subtle attempt to deny or reject some aspects of our history as a people. There is feeling of shame or fanciful desire to black out that period of our history and where possible replace it with



1914 amalgamation not as bad as often projected (3) a rosier one perhaps as children of giants rather than dwarfs. But doing so would amount to intellectual fraud that adds no ounce of value to our well-being. There is no use attempting to write fake history because it could mislead and backfire as was the case in Russia after the demise of Stalin. I truly wish that we were created by Angels but the truth is that we are notToo bad perhaps, but as the saying goes ‘wishes are no horses’. The reactions to 1914 remind me of what Professor Jide Osuntokun calls the ‘ifs’ of history’ but as the renowned Scholars argues the Historian’s task is with facts rather than fiction leading to some well- drawn lessons of life. The truth is that no matter the circumstance, Nigeria of today is largely a product of the action of Lord Lugard on 1st January, 1914 and in few months she would be 100years old. Longevity matters and it justifies some celebration. As far as I know the house Jack built may not have been perfect or laid on very solid ground or foundation, but it is livable and we have indeed lived in it for nearly a hundred years now. Luckily that house is extra ordinarily endowed with vast materials of wealth and comfort for the occupants to strengthen, transform and sustain it to be among the best on earth. Unfortunately the inheritors have not lived to the developmental expectation. This to me is the problem and not the house per se or its background. It is high time we changed our perception, accord the amalgamation its due importance in our national history, identify and deal with what really went wrong with our country and celebrate our collective birthday as Nigerians. For practical purpose it must be admitted that many things went wrong after creation: poor management of resources, greed especially for political power, misrule, etc. The inheritors and managers of the affairs of the country after the exit of the white man failed to grow the country right and squandered our common inheritance. A milestone, home for all on equal basis

and rallying point for patriotism Otherwise 1914 represents an important milestone, a spring board to other good things and opportunity for worthy or useful contributions. Apart from the giant nature of the country it gave birth to, the creation served as a good rallying point for patriotic feeling and sentiments, nationalist struggle for independence, a large geo-political space to lay claims to, good platform to demand and fight for independence, a common reference point which the nationalists capitalized in their struggle for freedom from the British which became a reality in 1960. It serves as home for all the tribes amalgamated with equal rights and status of membership. In short the country created in 1914 by Lugard belongs to every Nigerian on equal basis. Consequently, Independence was fought for Nigeria and all the peoples in the amalgamated territory by Nigerian nationalists. The Nationalists fighting for independence saw themselves as Nigerians rather than tribesmen. The spirit of Nationalism engendered by 1914 is worthy of much emphasis. As it were before Independence it was propelling the nation to the high heavens. At least it created a great feeling of patriotism and ‘Nigerianness’ among the people and served as a kind of ideological bond for the collective struggle for independence. As Bala Usman observes that struggle was carried out on behalf of Nigeria by educated elites who saw themselves foremost as Nigerians- nationalists and not tribal bigots. In other words, the struggle for Independence by the educated Elites was not on behalf of their tribes or expired kingdoms or empires but on behalf of everyone within the boundary of a territory as defined and proclaimed in 1914. On this alone, 1914 deserves far more reverence than now obtains. And it could not have mattered who created Nigeria or where it was born- whether in a hut or mansion. Certainly without 1914 there would have been no Nigeria as we know it today. There are problems no doubt, but the country was

doing well on its nation building efforts until something bad happened to thwart progress. The virus of power politics set in to upturn the apple cart. Were there to be able men on the helms of affairs, the common identity and shared experience of conquest, creation, and struggle for Independence etc ought to continue to serve as source of inspiration and basis of unity and endless surge of spirit of nationalism and patriotism after Independence as they did before it. To recall such commonality of patriotic feeling and identity actually propelled men and women into progressive action that resulted in the country’s Independence in 1960. In other words from the common identity linked to the 1914 action emerged our collective sense of nationhood and burning spirit of nationalism that propelled a fight against the British for political freedom. This to me is the beauty and strength of 1914: the creation of a multi-cultural country of about 240 ethnic groups relating on equal basis and the subsequent growth of sense of nationhood and patriotic sentiment. The antics of the big tribes not withstanding each of them knows the fact that Nigeria belongs to each of the ethnic groups within the country created in 1914. Unfortunately instead of making progress, successive ruling elites flunked- misfired and misled the country into civil war 1967-70 and corruption, tribalism and so turned an otherwise beauty and golden opportunity into a monster or liability of serious proportion. The emerging Nigerianness that was so visible during the nationalist struggle for independence started to vanish rapidly. While there is nothing much to worry about the circumstance of creation, there is much to be ashamed about post independence failure- a life badly led and a country largely misruled and misgoverned. In this respect the reactions to government’s decision to celebrate 1914 are important because they remind us more of our collective weakness, failure or poor performance we cannot afford to ignore. We may not be proud of 1914 but the fact remains that it gave birth to a giant country with a bright prospect of greatness and resilience which unfortunately has been raped and mis-managed.

• This is the third part of the reaction to ‘Snooping Around’. Part two ran last Sunday. •Abhuere writes from Uromi, Edo State

•To be continued

Comment & Analysis



Power Reps shouldn't have It is not in the democratic spirit for the lawmaker to unilaterally kick out a President or Vice President


AJORITY of the members of the House of Representatives seeking to make it easier to impeach a President or the Vice President are clearly on a frolic of their own. Despite their claims that they are acting in the public interest, it is clear that the protagonists of the proposed amendment to the constitution are merely on a self-seeking adventure to garner more powers for the Legislature, at the expense of the health of our democracy. In our view, the process of impeaching a President or a Vice President, as provided in section 143 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), is just rigorous enough, and should not be made easier for a misguided cause. It is surprising that the bill was able to scale the second reading, despite the succinct arguments of the leaders of the majority and minority parties in the House, during the plenary. To show how jejune the reasons adduced for the proposed amendment are, one lawmaker, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, had posed what he considered a constitutional quagmire: 'how can the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who himself is an appointee of the President, be the one to set up a panel to investigate the allegations?' The sponsor of the bill, Mr. Yakubu Dogara compounded the irrationality thus: 'the essence of the bill is to hold the Executive accountable so that checks can be created, and it is not meant to target this term but rather to make the process less ambiguous on grounds of misconduct'. With these puerile arguments, the House accepted to subject this reckless bill to further legislative action. If we may ask, is it not elementary knowledge that the presidential system of government is built on the doctrine of separation of powers based on the tripod of the legislative, executive and judiciary arms of govern-


FTERMATH the election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in which Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State was said to have won with 19 votes against 18 (some say 16) votes that Governor Jonah Jang won, the powers that felt they were greater than Amaechi have been beating him up and down. The annoying thing is that they do not want him to cry. Any attempts he makes to express himself, they award him with one penalty or the other, not minding the chagrin on the masses’ faces bemoaning that democracy that was supposed to be for democrats have been hijacked by traitors. Where has that happened before that a child was beaten and the beater does not want him or her to cry? The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), being the party that Amaechi is a member, is only concerned about its Constitution and, not the Constitution of the Federal Government (FG). The party has been abusing the Immunity Clause in the FG’s Constitution, which the governor was entitled to enjoy. In a conspiracy on April 26, the governor was molested at Akure, where his state’s aircraft that he sojourned with, was blatantly seized on an ‘order from above’. Since May 24 that the NGF had the election and Amaechi was elected to continue the piloting affairs of the forum, it has been one intimidation or the other meted out to him by his party. The party does not

ment? Again, is Mr. Jime, by his argument suggesting that he is not aware that the Legislature shares constitutional responsibility with the President in the appointment of the Chief Justice? By accepting the reasoning questioning the impartiality of the head of the Judiciary, is the House suggesting that Nigerians should regard as prejudicial, all judgments of the highest court of the land, in any matter involving the Executive arm of government? The reason offered by the sponsor of the bill is indeed very self seeking, and a dishonour to his competence as a legislator. He had talked about checks, when by the contents of the proposals, the sole aim of the bill is to locate all powers over the impeachment of the President or his vice on the Legislature, while excluding the Executive and the electorate represented by the eminent panel of seven as provided in section 143(5). If the bill were to become law, then the Legislature will be the sole determinant of a misdemeanour by the President or his vice, the prosecutor and the judge, all by themselves; and that in the opinion of Mr. Dogara and his co-travellers will amount to checks. Except for purposes of misguided publicity, why would the proponents of the bill seek to


•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu

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

amend the constitution on their own terms, shortly after the 360 members of the House had publicly interacted with their constituencies, on the pending proposed amendments to the constitution? It is such conducts like the current one that give the impression to the public that most of our legislators are ill-equipped for the onerous responsibility placed on their shoulders by the constitution. For, if the proponents of this bill know their onions, will they not appreciate that such divisive bill like the one they are proposing will not be approved by a majority of the states, or even the upper chamber; or are they hoping to also exclusively amend the bill all by themselves, as they also wish to singlehandedly sack the President or his vice without any other authority looking into the genuineness of their conduct? For the purposes of emphasis, the possibility of a misguided Legislature sacking an Executive President elected by the entire electorate in the country must be made very stringent. Tragically, at the state level, the removal of the state governors and their deputies had been thoroughly abused, and we hope the House members are not wishing for such possibility at the federal level. Indeed, there have been clear cases of the National Assembly straying into the territory of the Executive, or even abusing their privileges; and if Mr. Dogara's wishes were to be realised, then for every time the Executive resists legislative interference, Nigerians may be gifted a new President. What even stops the Legislature from turning the presidency into a circus, if they get the powers they are seeking, as they could always impeach the President and his vice, to have one of their own take over, even if on an acting capacity?

LETTERS mind that he is a sitting governor. If anybody would say that this is not true, why was it reported that the National Working Committee (NWC) of his party has set up a committee to investigate the governor? Investigate him for what? Does he no longer enjoy the Immunity Clause or has PDP gone gaga with the prescription of Impunity Clause because of Amaechi? Regrettably, the cry that a smashed millipede was supposed to be crying, it was the person that smashed it that was crying. With what the PDP has been doing to Amaechi, it has now become very imperative to ask who the real violator of the PDP Constitution is. Is the constitution of the party su-


PON the socio-political and economic crises Nigeria is witnessing, I have a prophetic message in this 2013 that the federal Government need to declare a national day of prayers and fasting in order to seek God’s face for favour and mercy. Sincere prayers and fasting will change bad things to good and prayers will also influence God to turn the hearts of those in authority from doing evil. The National Day Prayer and fasting would connect Nigeria and her people to the power of God. The prayers would influence God to look down on Nigerians and heal the nation. Prophetically, the prayers of

The hijack of democracy

preme to what democracy entails? How come that an election said to have been won by the governor was hijacked? Yet, somebody is still calling Amaechi names and wants to send him to Golgotha. For what! If PDP continue like this, soonest, a sitting governor would be thrown into the prison, but let that person not be Amaechi. In a linear rear, it is not Amaechi that was caught in any anti-party activities, but those that do not want to uphold the tenets of Democracy. If there was any anti-party activities tag on Amaechi, from

what that has been playing out of the party against him, it is a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang her. But what is this anti-party activity about Amaechi all about? Is it the rumour from the mischief-makers’ mill that he had a vice-president ambition with a northerner as president in 2015? And so what! Is he not a politician aspiring for a greater height in his political career? Although, he had ascribed the statement as a ruse from those who did not want him and his political career to grow. The height of violation of

Nigerians need God

the saints had been holding this country together, as, things would have fallen apart. Also, collective prayers would aid Nigeria to overcome her problems and rise again, as, God would deal with the Pharaohs and Egyptians of the country. For God’s intervention, redemption and deliverance to manifest in Nigeria, Nigerians must humble themselves, pray and seek God face and turn from their wicked ways, as, these would move God to forgive Nigerians their sins and heal the country (2 Chronicles 7 : 14) Also, the Bible teaches us

that prayer and intercession be made for all men, including those in authority. If we do not pray for our government, the will of satan would be upon them. Prophetically too, our leaders should be warned that unfaithfulness and corruption will continue to make people frustrated and the more frustrated the people are, more problems should be expected in this nation. Our leaders in every sphere of any governance should read the handwriting on the wall and repent, hence, they should be expecting more problems for the

any Constitutions is the hijack of an election said to have been free and fair and won by Amaechi; for-this-reason PDP should abrogate the furtherance of its deceiving tactics where it had prescribed Amaechi in bad light before the unsuspecting and suspecting public that he was caught at a crossroad in an involvement in the violations and breaches of the party constitution. Hooey! With what the PDP is doing to Amaechi, it is no longer hidden that the PDP as a political party has not been setting any rightful precedence for the current democracy to have as nation, because – Proverbs 15 : 27 – “He who is greedy for gain, troubles his own house, but, he who hates bribe will live”. Also, Proverbs 14 : 34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” Therefore, let our leaders repent from their wickedness, selfish ways, so that, God can hear our prayers. When a country is well governed, there will be peace, prosperity and progress throughout the nation. Prophet Oladipupo Funmilade-Joel. The General Overseer, The Way of Reconciliation Evangelistic Ministries

its genuine base to spring from. Using the 2015 presidential election as defense, where some yesmen want to criminalize Amaechi for the incumbent president to contest, is an estrangement and, it is condemnable. How come that there is much desperation by the sitting president for the 2015, which has resulted in the PDP flogging Amaechi with an armoured cable, whereas in the past, the party was not intensively committed to consenting to the directorial and moral lapses on the part of its governors? The political hatefulness by the presidency against Amaechi is without doubt the return of totalitarianism in the country and it is creating opposition in the PDP, which is only beneficial to the opposition political parties if the later could make bet of the glaring opportunity. To Nigerians who are spiritual (not religious), it could be said that providence wanted to use Amaechi to expose the putrefaction that Nigerians have come to endure in the hands of this PDP for the past decade it has held power in Nigeria. What has been happening to Amaechi can be said is a life changing episode in the history of democracy in Nigeria. The bad news that PDP planned for Amaechi has made him to be relevant than ever. Odimegwu Onwumere Port Harcourt, Rivers State



Comment & Analysis

Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


HE title of today's piece has arisen from the view by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Review of the Constitution (SCRC) that devolution of powers from exclusive to concurrent list together must respect the need to have a strong federal government that can hold the country together. The other possible title would have been since when has the country been falling apart? What the argument about having a federal bureaucratic leviathan to keep the country together appears to be set to achieve is to justify keeping most of the provisions of a constitution that had no input from citizens in the first place and about which citizens in large numbers have complained in their call for a new or people's constitution. Most of what has been publicised as recommended amendments to the 1999 Constitution are basically Karounwi (just having something to talk about), rather than addressing the real issues. We said in this column several times in the past that the amendment exercise is likely to go the way of the Obasanjo Political Reform Conference: nowhere. The reason for the lawmakers to attempt amending the constitution has been sidelined in order to privilege the irrelevant and the redundant. All the talk about not creating new states, introducing a six-year term to replace the current renewable fouryear tenure, begging for a special status for Lagos, and passing the buck on revenue by derivation to Revenue Mobilisation and Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) amount

Femi Orebe femi.orebe 08056504626 (sms only)


LATUNJI Dare, the iconic satirist, would have titled this article MATTERS ARISING, being that which he has not only patented, but popularised in the Nigerian journalistic world. So much has happened within so short a time that concentrating on a single one, like that historic Supreme Court decision by which the PDP finally buried itself in Ekiti, no Yoruba land, grandiose as it is, would still have robbed my readers of something. After all, in spite of its tumultuous, literally asphyxiating existence, the PDP still managed to hold what it called a Family Party just as its one time Alpha and Omega did not only give its party a wide berth but managed to haul stones at the umbrella-loving party from nearby Dutse. Since then, Abuja has been planning a major putdown whilst Baba has himself roused his disillusioned, old reliables to Ota to try cobble together a rearguard response just in case the now famous suspension without defence lands on their laps. However, since the Holy writ says where thy treasure is, there also will your heart be, let us begin our raconteur with the heartwarming event of Friday, 31 May, 2013 which sent the entire Ekiti and every Omoluabi Yoruba, not to mention most democracy-loving Nigerians, into a delirium. I rode in company of the Deputy Governor, the First Lady, the Secretary to the State Government and the Chief of Staff from the State House into town and I could hardly believe the sea of heads, in assorted


How strong must our federal government be? The point at issue is that there is a need to share ruling and sovereignty between federal and state governments in a multiethnic polity largely to beating about the bush. The concerns of those who called for sovereign national conference and for constitutional conference, both of which the National Assembly tried to preempt by insisting that its charge or mandate includes constitutional amendment may at the end of the amendment exercise be ignored. Citizens who have been clear on the issue that the present structure cannot be used to create a new and more benevolent structure for democratic and efficient federal governance now have reasons, after going through the recommendations from the SCRC, to beat their chests and say “Didn't we tell you?" That the lawmakers have shown a myopic understanding of devolution in a federation comes out of SCRC's chairman's statement that the exclusive list is congested, cumbersome, and unwieldy, and that "there is therefore the need to decongest the exclusive list by maintaining only items of utmost importance to the federation as a whole, while transferring items of concurrent interests to the concurrent list." In the first place, the states are not begging lawmakers to shed load from the federal list to them, in order to have something to do. The point at issue is that there is a need to share ruling and sovereignty between federal and state governments in a multiethnic polity, which the authors of the 1999 Constitution had made up their minds to ignore. From the list of items SCRC has recommended for transfer to the concurrent list, there are three that are clearly stated: Prisons, Stamp duties,

and Railways. Is this to be interpreted that all the other 65 items on the list are about the federation as a whole? If this assessment is correct, then the concurrent list will now have 32 instead of the 29 in the current constitution while the federal government will have 65 items instead of its original 68 items, until we are told in plain language how many new items are added to the exclusive list.What is ironical about the cosmetic amendments announced so far is that states can now include establishment and maintenance of prisons and prisoners on their list of functions while they have no hand in law enforcement, including enforcing laws created by state legislators and violation of which can create population for the prisons. Fingerprinting is still on the exclusive list while Prisons will go to the concurrent list, should the Senate have its way. How can such disjunction lead to efficiency? The complaint that the current constitution had created too many problems for smooth federal governance in terms of the sharing of powers between the national and state governments may be negligible in relation to the confusion that is likely to arise if and when the call by the Senate for autonomy to local governments is approved by all the relevant bodies. In effect, this would mean that state governments would have no supervisory function over local governments that are part and parcel of them. The highlight of giving autonomy to local governments is that civilian governments have succeeded in raising local governments to the level of federating

uniforms, brooms in hand and all singing panegyrics that I had thought only Osun State A C N people were capable of. I had seen them in Osogbo and was completely bowled over during the swearing in ceremony of the people’s governor, the Ogbeni, in 2010, and I can never forget: 'inu igbo loyin ngbe (2ce) a ki nkole adete si gboro, inu igbo loyin ngbe (Bees will always be found in the bush, not amongst human beings), impliedly banishing some people from town. But that drive which took close to two hours from statehouse to Ojumoshe - a distance of less than 5km - was to be completely dwarfed the following day when the governor, Dr J K F -Just Keep the Faith-Fayemi, Ilufemiloye 1, of Ekiti, breezed into town to thank Ekiti people who, through thick and thin have said: A mo ti ruun ka i wa o, Ekiti kete -meaning, Ekiti has got what it wants/desires. His drive into town was simply awesome and for kilometres long, dancing and jubilating, grateful Ekiti citizens thronged him all the way. I have always said that the Yoruba know their leaders and are appreciative when, like immortal Awo, a government's concern is the happiness of the greater majority of the citizenry. The lesson of those two town rides, in my view, is that aspiring PDP gubernatorial candidates should be humble enough to set their gaze, not on the 2014 election, but, may be, the one after, in 2018 or thereabout because Ekiti spoke so loud and clear on those two days. All these, not because Fayemi is such a handsome young man, which he is, rather it is because this is a non obstructive, Omoluabi governor, almost self-effacing, who knows nothing other than burying his head, a minimum of 16 hours a day, in their service. The evidence of his achievement is everywhere. So we need not go into the details of Engr Oni's case which any serious lawyer should have advised would fall flat on its face as long as the legal doctrine of

Trending now

units, a thing that successions of military dictators could not achieve. With respect to the Senate's view on Fiscal Federalism/Derivation: "It is the Committee's view that fixing the present rate to reflect prevailing reality should be an administrative responsibility vested in the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission," there is the impression that the Senate conflates or reduces fiscal federalism to derivation. Derivation may be a part of fiscal federalism, but fiscal federalism is much larger than derivation, and there should have been some reflection of this understanding in the recommendations proposed by the SCRC. Wallace Oates, in his book, Fiscal Federalism, has said that the concept involves major devolution and fiscal decentralisation. This should include leaving to regions and states or provinces functions and taxation that can lead to efficient provision of goods and services to citizens, rather than keeping such powers and functions with a central government that has no direct constituents. The result of fiscal decentralisation is to increase citizens' impact on political outcomes and political participation, and to accelerate development. Does SCRC believe that transferring three items to the concurrent list while retaining the principle of federal legislative supremacy on such items as well as avoiding entrenching the principle of derivation in the constitution would take care of the many issues that led to demands for re-structuring? Our senators need to know that we had a constitution until 1966 that clearly stated that deri-

After all, in spite of its tumultuous, literally asphyxiating existence, the PDP still managed to hold what it called a Family Party RES JUDICATA has not yet been annulled by some Nigerian judges. Credit for that not happening, even in this case, must go to the Nigerian Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, to whom Nigerians, to the last man, owe a debt of gratitude for her daring do; her no-holds barred cleaning of the Augean stable one of her recent predecessors left in the judiciary. Nigerians know all too well that the roforofo that one left is still simmering, with a faultless Mr Justice Ayo Salami still out in the cold. Back in Ekiti, what name did the PDP people not drop; who did they not say had the ears of the 'oga at the top'; he who would merely dictate what he wanted for his party man? All that we in Ekiti could rely on were, first, the Almighty God, given that this is a country of anything goes; second, the fact that the case was long dead, concluded at the Ilorin circuit of the Court of Appeal, way back 2010, and thirdly, the fact that Justice Ayo Salami, who they never ceased to demonise, had been investigated by no less than three NJIC panels with him emerging from each smelling like a thousand roses. Only President Jonathan, his conscience and his advisers can answer fully as to why Justice Salami is yet to return to his post long after the NJIC has so requested of the President. As to reasons why Ekiti will always root for governor Kayode Fayemi, just two examples of his multi-sectoral achievements will suffice: His government's Urban Renewal project, which took off in the state capital and is being extended to other towns this financial year and his Tourism programme, which is a

critical part of his 8-Point Agenda.. Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, will confuse a returning visitor who last visited some 3 or 4 years ago. The urban renewal programme has completely rejuvenated Ado-Ekiti. The entire town is illuminated all night and the roads, all tarred, mirror the great and beautiful work governor Fasola is doing in Lagos. Take a trip out of town and see a completely re-engineered Ikogosi warm spring, the linchpin of the state's tourism programme. The Ikogosi Tourist Centre, decrepit and literally abandoned at the commencement of the Fayemi administration is today a wonder to behold with a total of 10,000 hectares of land dedicated to its wide life, golf course, apartments, conference centre etc, without any sexing up of the natural conjunction of hot and cold water which is its primary allure. The centre is already being developed into a destination of choice for local and international tourists, complete with good roads and internet facilities. The Ikogosi ecology richly showcases nature's endowments in the state. As a visiting writer recently put it: 'long stretches of green valleys, vast rain forest and mountain ranges dotting the landscape; Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort will simply take your breath away'. It already boasts of a well landscaped 116-hectare resort, one executive VIP chalet, three VIP villas, 12 western suites, 70-five standard rooms of various styles, and seven support staff quarters. Others include nature spa / beauty centre; gym/ fitness shop; herbal shop for local medication; arts and crafts shops for souvenir items; 300-seat multi-

vation would be 50% of revenue garnered from exploitation of petroleum and other natural resources. It would have been safer to put such important information in the constitution than to leave it for a body made up of political appointees. It is curious that SCRC has not shown any interest in looking at the percentage of revenue that is given to the federal government and the many functions that the federal government is billed to perform, even when such functions are more efficiently performed at lower levels of government in other federations. In case our lawmakers still have time to look more closely, there are, apart from Prisons, Stamp duties, and Railways, many more items that are better left to the jurisdiction of states:a). Establishment and maintenance of machinery for continuous and universal registration of births and deaths; b). Construction, alteration, and maintenance of roads declared by the National Assembly to be federal trunk roads should be a joint responsibility of the federal government and the state such roads pass through;c). Fingerprints, identification and criminal records; d). Fishing and fisheries in general; e). Insurance;f). ports;g). Mines and minerals, including oilfields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas;h). Patents, trademarks, trade or business names, industrial designs, and merchandise marks;i). Police and security services;j). Professional occupations; k). Public holidays; l). Formation, annulment and dissolution of all marriages;m). Establishment of a purchasing authority with power to acquire for export or sale in world markets agricultural produce; n). Inspection of produce to be exported from Nigeria and enforcement of grades and standards of quality in respect of produce so inspected; o). Establishment of a body to prescribe and enforce standards of goods and commodities offered for sale; p). Control of the prices of goods and commodities designed by the National Assembly as essential goods or commodities; q). Registration of business names. purpose conference hall, 120-seat and 50-seat meeting and function rooms; variety/shopping mall; amphitheater; double standard rooms for students on excursion and campers and 300-car parking space. As mentioned earlier, Tourism is a critical part of the governor's 8-Point Agenda to transform the state as it is programmed to be a major source of internally generated revenue. We conclude our pot pouri then with the totally ludicrous Nigerian Governors Forum brouhaha where, in our very face, they are trying to replicate another election annulment, probably as a precursor to what 2015 may portend. The most unfortunate thing here is the spectacle of Mr President, like he did when governor Gbenga Daniel inspired a legislative coup in the Ogun State House of Assembly in 2010, and the president on a visit to Abeokuta could say nothing of that illegality, he is today backing a man who was roundly trounced in a very transparent election which the entire world has watched on U.Tube. You will not but wonder whether they care a hoot about how the outside world views Nigeria. In all these, however, and like Snooper did not fail to mention in his column in the last edition of The Nation on Sunday, the greatest loser will most probably be governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State, who appears to have put his integrity on the line over this so obvious a matter. Incidentally, he is, as yet, not even officially a member of the ruling party. He is yet to stop questioning the bona fides of the election, even though he has not denied that he voted, nor has he stopped lampooning the video of the event. How convenient. However, anybody near governor Mimiko right now should please ask him the following question: Mr Governor, will you kindly explain to the Nigerian public, the morality behind the SSS Reports, as well as the Video Record plus the Waribi Idepe incidents in Ese Odo with which you made your case at the Election Tribunal in 2007-2008? Or has Mr governor forgotten so soon?

Comment & Analysis



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VEN Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo would have turned in his grave on June 3, when Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State presented 'Opon-Imo', the magic computer tablet that his administration has been working on for quite some time, to the world, at a well attended ceremony in Ilesha, Osun State. Not a few persons have acknowledged, and rightly too, that since the introduction of free education in the defunct Western Region by the late sage, Chief Awolowo in 1955, 'Opon- Imo' remains the second most revolutionary project in education, not just in the geo-political axis, but nationwide. The point is that only the mischievous will see an elephant and say it seems they just saw something; when we see an elephant, we should say so. 'Opon-Imo' is a milestone. That explained why Nigeria literally stood still for Aregbesola when he launched the computer tablet. The array of personalities that graced the event cut across ethnic, political and religious divides, which is something to cheer in a country where politics is being introduced into virtually everything, and in the most cynical, if not outright damaging manner. This was something that was killed in the June 12, 1993 presidential election (that would be exactly 20 years on Wednesday), but which was annulled by reactionary elements in the country.

Postscript, Unlimited! By

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HENEVER I have reflected on the skeins of sordid threads being woven into what goes for governance, particularly our democracy in this Fourth Republic of Nigeria, I feel more and more certain that the trepidation in my heart is not coming from too much coffee. I think it is because my ears are hearing too much, my eyes are reading too much and my mouth cannot say enough. So the surplus sordidness passes through my veins and arteries into my circulating blood, gives a thousand excuses for disturbing the blood flow, goes into my heart and makes it go 'Thump, Thump, Thump!' The other day, I had to go to the doctor to complain about those thumps, and I don't even live in a story building, I told him. Reader, I cannot begin to describe for you the mortifications I was put through to get to those thumps. First, I was poked beyond description, then half stripped (don't you go getting things into your head!) then told to begin to ride a stationary bicycle like the little boy I was, all in the semi-toto. Anyway, the good doctor, finding nothing, began to shake his head in perplexity. That was when I told him not to worry, he should just take the pulse of the nation's politics for a clue. Yes, things just seem to be going from worse to worse these days, don't


Welcome, Opon-Imo; goodbye, Igba Aimo As Osun people take 'Tablet of Knowledge', they should say 'never again' to PDP-type ignorance The Aregbesola administration state in the next few years. And, for

has no choice but to be creative in its handling of education in the state, if it must live to its billing as a progressive government. The government inherited a situation where only about three percent of secondary school leavers in the state had the requisite pass for admission into tertiary institutions. This was an unusual situation in a south-western state which called for an unusual answer. The government quickly held a summit of education stakeholders which looked into the state of education in the state and made far-reaching recommendations. Needless to say that 'OponImo' is one of the major responses by the government in tackling the problem. So, what is 'Opon-Imo'? I do not know whether it has a parallel in the world, but I know it is novel in the country, at least no government in the federation, whether federal, state or local has done such a thing. According to Aregbesola, "It is a virtual classroom containing 63 ebooks covering 17 academic subjects for examinations conducted by the West AfThe Yoruba, Sexuality Education, Civic Education, Ifa on ethics and life'. This section also contains an average of 16 chapters per sub-

ject and 823 chapters in all, with about 900 minutes or 15 hours of audio voiceovers". Aregbesola added, "In the integrated test zone of the device, there are more than 40,000 JAMB and WAEC practice questions and answers dating back to about 20 years. It also contains mock tests in more than 51 subject areas, which approximates to 1,220 chapters, with roughly 29,000 questions referencing about 825 images". In fact, there is so much to say for this computer tablet. But I would not dwell much on that because so many people have discussed these in some details. Suffice it to say that power supply is not a problem for those who might want to look at that aspect of our national life. Already, the UN organisation has said it would adopt 'Opon-Imo' as one of the major tools of its West African regional harmonisation efforts in education. This, as well as how 'Opon-Imo' affect governance is my concern. A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home. But shouldn't charity begin at home? You can be sure it won't, at least not when the issue has to do with progress; and especially so that

“It is instructive that this all-important computer tablet was launched at a time the country's ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was busy doing nothing, or at best going after some of its leading lights, celebrating and covering its laggards with the ubiquitous 'federal might' that the party's leadership and the presidency keep demystifying by the day�

the charity is coming from an opposition political party. It is instructive that this all-important computer tablet was launched at a time the country's ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was busy doing nothing, or at best going after some of its leading lights, celebrating and covering its laggards with the ubiquitous 'federal might' that the party's leadership and the presidency keep demystifying by the day with their actions and utterances. Rather than bring innovativeness into governance, the ruling party has continued business as usual. The other time we were debating how much to spend on the vice president's lodge. At a time when the government should be busy dreaming dreams for national development, the whole machinery of government was deployed to ensure the government's favoured candidate won the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) election. Just last Thursday, the PDP suspended another governor (in line with my prediction last Sunday that the party would deal with governors who refused to team up with it in voting for its failed candidate in the NGF election, Jonah Jang). We should expect more of such sanctions over frivolous matters, including governors being nailed over the inability of the party's leaders to successfully perform their conjugal responsibility on bed, should that suddenly happen. And this is the attitude that the party would carry to 2015 and still expect to win the election. If indeed knowledge is power, then one can start imagining what the impact of 'Opon-Imo' would be on educational performance in Osun

the benefit of many of our youths who mistake Obafemi Martins for Chief Awolowo due to our shambolic educational curriculum, it is important to stress that what is happening, especially in the south-western part of the country today is not novel to the region; they have their roots in the past. The former Western Region (now Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo states) was the pace setter under Chief Awolowo's premiership. The region has many firsts to its credit: the first skyscraper in the country (Cocoa House); the first region to implement free education; the first stadium in West Africa (Liberty Stadium, Ibadan; the first television station (WNTV) in Africa (forget the attempt by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the '80s to turn history on its head by claiming that the first TV station in Africa was established in Libya). We still have such people in the country today who would want to rewrite our unfolding history in their own image rather than in the image in which it occurred. If indeed Victor Huho is correct that 'He who opens a school door, closes a prison', then we can imagine how many prisons the Aregbesola administration must have succeeded in closing with its giant strides in the educational sector in Osun State. 'Opon-Imo' must necessarily remind one of the years of the locust that the PDP rule in Osun was. With 'OponImo', 'Igba aimo' (the time of ignorance) must have been over in Osun; it must never return. Osun people are not dogs that will always return to their vomit. This, the people will confirm when they go to the polls next year to retain their governor. Goodbye to jati jati.

Now, who's going to call us back from the brink?

This is the Federal Republic of Nigeria where black is white and white is black and Galileo's don't let us waste time on any more mathematics falls flat on its face except this last one. Have you noticed

they, particularly over this NGF thing? Really, the whole mess has left me wondering about a lot of things. To start with, when I began to hear about the Governors' forum, I thought it was to enable the governors to come together, compare notes over a bottle or two of beer and generally wind down after a good quarter's hard work. Then I began to hear that just about everywhere has one governors' forum or the other - national, regional, parties, gender ... What? No gender based forum That's because many of them are in mufti. Anyway, I really did begin to wonder - what the deuce are we doing with all these forums? Is that part of governance? Is it in the constitution? For goodness' sake, who is looking after me while their excellencies are busy seeing to the affairs of their forums? Forgive me. I err, I think, in thinking that these forums have not served a single purpose. If we look at it objectively, I'm sure we will find that they have been useful. Let's see. Have you noticed that in nearly all the states, minus a few serious ones, nearly nothing is happening except for a few stabs at governance? The lives of the people remain unchanged. Every morning, families still load their cars with jerry cans in search of water like in the primordial times (yep, they had some kind of mobility then); candle factories and lantern companies are still surviving though in fierce competition with generator companies for electricity just as in the cave times (they

also had some kind of fossil energy then); and yes, people are still moving around on pothole-filled roads (just as they were before those roads were made). So, mercifully, those forums are keeping our dear governors so occupied that they have not had time to look into these things. Who knows, if they had had the time, might they not have made things worse? So yes, we like our pain, thank you. The story I am about to tell you is true, painful and I have also told it umpteen times, but at this point, I don't care. There was a man who went to his Rabbi to complain that life was too difficult; nine of them lived in a room. The wise Rabbi asked him to go take in a goat and after one week, he should return. One week later, the man was prostrate. Nine of them plus one goat in a room was pure hell. He was asked to go and take out the goat and return after a week. He returned to exclaim that life indeed was beautiful; just nine of them in a room, no goat. So you see, it's all a matter of perspective. Let the governors have their forums and let us have the devils we all know so well. Life is beautiful, no electricity. Those forums also tell me that our governors are using their time most judiciously. The fact is that most of them have at least twenty or more commissioners, a hundred plus special assistants and about two hundred senior special assistants. Now with all those hands (and legs), what on

earth is left for the governor himself to do? As Obasanjo himself used to say, his ministers' achievements were his own achievements. So there, those blessed forums help to get them governors out of our hairs so we can go about our daily scratching. Thanks to our otherwise preoccupied governors, many really oouuuld women are still gathering a few firewood pieces they no longer have the necks to carry; families are still bearing the burdens of looking after their terminally sick relatives without governmental assistance, and much more. What do these matter, when the governor needs all the time he can get to travel abroad and see to those newly purchased houses, golf courses, girl friends, etc. Then, those forums actually help to protect our governors against sudden attacks of say ... poverty. Everyone knows there is safety in numbers. When they all know what the other is doing through those get-togethers, there is little chance of anyone straying too far from the fold and doing too much good for his people. Oh no, not a chance. Such a one can quickly be reined in and told in very certain terms that governance is not about governing but appearing to govern. That one is quickly shown that governance is about motions and gestures rather than achieving. Achieve! What is the world coming to if governors are now to achieve?! I tell you, those forums are super useful. There are many other reasons but

how they all have kept us riveted to the news these past few days, so that we all are more concerned now about which governor is really the chairman of the NGF rather than what each governor has done for his people? Have you? We all are now so distracted we can hardly eat. Many of us cannot believe that our governors cannot count; many of us cannot believe that the president would have a hand in joining others not to be able to count that we let our foods burn on the stove, poor as they are (the food that is, not the stove). We are all seeing that nineteen votes are counted for one person, and sixteen for another and who struts around with the president's medal of recognition? Your sixteen, of course. Now, imagine James Earl Jones intoning this: This is the Federal Republic of Nigeria where black is white and white is black and Galileo's mathematics falls flat on its face. Newton's Law of gravity also don't mean a thing. Just because a building falls and hits you on the head does not necessarily mean it is obeying the law of its weight. It may just be obeying our president. So, what does it matter that the role of those blessed forums does not exist in the constitution? They can still take our time, wring out our hearts, confound our senses and generally distract all of us to a point of frenzy where we chew out our heads and pull out our hairs. Problem is, who is going to pull us back from the brink?


Comment & Analysis


Ajimobi: Nemesis of Ibadan ‘ancients’ G

OVERNING Oyo State is very complex but governing Ibadan is more complex. The paradox that makes the city more complicated to rule than the state can only suggest one thing; that Ibadan is a primitive city that will not easily and positively be receptive to any idea of transformation or modernisation that amputates a part of them that is ancient. Or it can also suggest that Ibadan and its people will be ambivalent towards any policy, idea or action that will deny a part of them that is tied to their culture, habits, idiocies and behavior. In the midst of this dilemma, there is that residual expectation that Ibadan should be transformed and developed if it was to rank with other advanced and developed cities of the world. But over the years, the governors that had ruled Oyo State, whether in Khaki or agbada, had behaved like timid administrators, pampering the people and treating them with kid gloves thus encouraging them to continue to indulge in their old habits for whatever reason(s). The emergence of Abiola Ajimobi as the governor of Oyo State was later to change the city’s landscape. He came with a transformative agenda that will change Ibadan and instill a new culture of discipline into the people. Drawing up an agenda for Ibadan is one thing, perfecting such agenda requires a strategy that will align with the realism of Ibadan “peculiar mess”. J.P Clark’s poem on Ibadan written in the late 1960s or early 1970s talks about Ibadan’s “splash of rust and gold”, but even the gold of Ibadan had been contaminated and polluted by filth that permeates the city. The filth, the rust and the rot of Ibadan have all grown to a blinker that competes with the “seven hills” Clark refers to in his poem. So, the first “peculiar mess” that Ajimobi had to contend with was the customary filth and the heaps of refuse that dot the landscape of Ibadan. Without a blitzkrieg on the filth and the dirty habit of stooping to poo anywhere it grips them, there cannot be a new image or any sensible transformation. Knowing that the development of Ibadan in all its ramifications needed to be driven by an aggressive attitude, policy, character and action, Ajimobi established two strategic agencies to tackle Ibadan’s filth and traffic. The first agency is Oyo State Waste Management Authority (OYWMA) and the second one is called Oyo State Road Traffic Monitoring Agency (OYRATMA). Anybody who is familiar with Ibadan’s past cannot but commend the aesthetic appreciation of Ibadan landscape. Today, the roads are clean, garbage dumps are gradually disappearing, street trading that used to be the source of refuse generation on the streets has been outlawed but has not been totally eradicated. Ibadan is experiencing a new landscaping culture and all road medians and kerbs are well painted. Though, when you climb the Bower’s tower to have a panoramic view of the city, the rust of the corrugated metal sheets looms large, you can only feel the freshness of a new Ibadan when you walk its streets. The ancients that are used to the habit of indiscriminate garbage throwing are gradually being swept away by the tide of change. It is an open secret that off-loading of faeces is like a carnival In Ibadan among the ancients who still prefer the gutter-side method and the “Abe Igi style” because of the natural cooling system of the environment especially in the heat of ejecting the waste from the “underground zone”. But today, things are changing because of Ajimobi’s tough environmental laws. The irresponsible habit of littering Ibadan metropolis with ‘power-pack’ faeces in different colors of polythene bags and leaves is now forbidden. Traffic in Ibadan is still hellish.

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Why teachers matter


• Ajimobi By Dapo Thomas

Driving against traffic excites an average Ibadan driver. But there is hope that things will soon change. The roads are now being expanded, dualised and upgraded. Traffic lights now work in Ibadan. Broken down motor vehicles are towed without delay. There is a new traffic order. The OYRATMA whose duties are not different from LASTMAs now go about with the new traffic mantra of the state so that all motorists can operate within the ambit of the law. Driving within Ibadan is chaotic today because the entire city is now a construction site. The Mokola flyover also known as “Mokola Miracle” is a very creative remedy to the gridlock at Mokola roundabout. For years, no administration ever came up with any idea as to how to solve the challenge of the Mokola traffic chaos. In less than two years, Ajimobi not only came up with the idea, he also ensured that the flyover was completed in record time. The transformation of Iwo road and its beautification is another major testimony to Ajimobi’s giant strides in road management. For so many years, Ibadan people and regular users of Iwo road were held hostage by the Iwo Road gridlock. But now, Iwo road is free of the usual traffic jam as traffic now flows without obstructions. The OYRATMA always go round to ensure that those who contravene traffic regulations are apprehended for possible sanctions and penalties. Ajimobi has really shown that he is a warrior, a reformer, a moderniser, a transforming agent and the nemesis of the Ibadan ancients. The so-called untouchables have been touched. Those who contravened building laws are being dealt with. To accomplish his dualisation projects, Ajimobi had to demolish some buildings. But instead of doing it indiscriminately, he adopted a PPDP approach meaning PublicPrivate Demolition Partnership-a consensual policy or action which encourages violators of set-back rule or affected victims of government demolition exercise to engage in selfdemolition of their structures in public interest without the active involvement of the government. All that can be traced to the government is just the marking of affected structures. It was unthinkable that any governor would have contemplated dualising the roads around Onireke, Dugbe, Golf club, Eleyele, Jericho and

Aleshinloye considering the massive human congregation and business ventures and structures scattered all over these places. But Ajimobi did. He even went as far as Isokun and Owode in Oyo where another dualisation is going on in addition to the one at Abiodun Atiba Road and Palace Road. The road dualization/expansion that generated furore was that of Challenge-Iyalode Efusetan-Toll-gate interchange. The controversy centred around the personality of Yinka Ayefele whose studio/office would have been consumed by the dualisation project. But on compassionate ground, the government spared the gigantic office as the road project only chopped off part of his fence and security house. For the people of Ibadan to enjoy the benefits of these new roads, all street traders are to be relocated to neighbourhood markets being constructed in scout camp, Temidire Motor Park, Nitel, on old Ife Road, tollgate Ibadan, Akinyele, Molete and Samonda, a private sector driven initiative. The Ibadan ancients who see street trading as a cultural activity are being told to start getting used to diplaying and selling their wares in the ideal place-market. Ajimobi’s audacity, candour, truculence, daring exploits, political aggression, war-like tendencies and tempestuous adventurism place him in the same league with past Ibadan warriors like Basorun Oluyole, Basorun Ibikunle, Basorun Ogunmola and Aare Latosa. A city like Ibadan whose source of strength and existence lies in the many wars of consolidation fought by these great warriors could not have prayed for a better leader at a time when underdevelopment was posing serious threat to its very foundation. Ibadan was almost caving in to maladministration, inept leadership, corruption, owambe governance, and administrative complications when a new warrior emerged to fight a war of his life in order to save Ibadan from obvious paralysis. Ajimobi may be wearing agbada but his vision is like that of a warrior on a mission to salvage whatever was left of Ibadan before it finally crumbled. But he did not only save Ibadan from disintegration, he reproduced the tenacity of Oluyole, the bravery of Ibikunle, the fearlessness of Ogunmola and the shrewd diplomacy of Are Latosa to reconsolidate Ibadan and put it on the path of greatness and fame so that it would not be “like broken china in the sun”.

was recently invited to give a talk to some English students at a University on career prospects for them. Their first option should be teaching but I know it is the last option for many graduates. Even for some who read Education related courses, they would do anything to avoid taking a teaching appointment except they have no other choice. In listing my options at the lecture, I said l would like to start with the one I know they don’t like to hear about and asked the students if they could name what it is and expectedly they all chorused ‘teaching’. At one stage or the other, we have all been taught by teachers and want good teachers to teach our children, but ironically not many graduates want to become teachers. Most parents, even teachers themselves dream that their children become Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers and some other choice professions for reasons not unconnected with the poor image of the teaching profession and the poor remunerations they earn. The on-going strike by members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers in nine states which have not paid the 27.5 per cent Teachers Enhanced Allowance, and the minimum wage of N18,000 is indicative of the contempt the affected states have for teachers. According to the National President of the NUT, Micheal Olukoya, “while some state governments, after much struggle, have come to terms with the provisions of the agreement, it is regrettable that 5 years after, nine states are still in their season of prevarications.” Considering the crucial role of teachers at all levels of education, teachers need to be adequately and promptly paid to ensure that they perform their duties. Unfortunately, teachers are one of the poorest paid professionals. The joke has always been that teachers have to wait till they make it to heaven to get whatever reward they are entitled to. It is indefensible that the nine states in question have taken this long to implement the demands of the teachers. All state governments always claim to be committed to improving the standards of education but what this strike has shown is that they may well be paying lip service to whatever commitment they have or are not getting their priorities right on education. If some state governments have complied, there can be no justification for others not to do so if they appreciate the need to have well motivated teachers who will not be forced to resort to staying away from classroom to get what they deserve. For the affected state governments, their lukewarm response to the strike suggests that they don’t care for how long the strike continues. They probably would have taken the strike more seriously if some other workers in their states like civil servants and doctors were the ones on strike. Academic staffs of polytechnics nationwide have also been on strike without the federal and state governments seeming too bothered about their complaints. The strident pleas of the students who are the worst hit for an amicable resolution of the disagreement have fallen on deaf ears. We need to stop treating teachers as second rate professionals. But for teachers, many accomplished professionals, including the governors may not have attained whatever status they lay claim today. The defaulting states should pay up and not complicate the already sorry state of education in the country.






Trouble brews in Taraba over Tukur’s committee


ROUBLE is brewing in the northeastern State of Taraba again over the necessity or otherwise of a committee recently set up by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The committee, which was inaugurated last week by the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is to investigate an alleged political tension generated by the long absence of Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State because of the injuries he sustained in an air crash last year. Sources within the ruling party told The Nation that the coming of the committee to the state may have scuttled the relative peace witnessed in Taraba since the unfortunate air mishap of October last year that incapacitated Governor Suntai and led to the emergence of his deputy, Alhaji Garba Umar as acting governor. Inaugurating the sevenmember panel headed by Senator Hope Uzodinma, Tukur said the party’s National Working Committee set up the team because of happenings in the state. He listed the committee’s terms of reference to include

The decision by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to set up a committee to ascertain the true health status of acting Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, is ruffling feathers, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan. finding out and reporting the extent of political harmony or otherwise among the stakeholders in the party in the state, interacting and establishing the most effective approach to resolving contending issues among them. The team, he also said, should fast track the process of constitutional adherence as “it affects the status of the office of the governor of the state”. “The committee must ensure that in all practical implications, the PDP Taraba emerges stronger and more united in responding to all the partisan challenges arising thereafter in the state.” “Consider and report any other matter that is in the opinion of the committee, relevant in the resolution of the political condition of the state,” he added. Other members of the committee are Ahmed Gulak, Shittu Mo-

hammed (former chairman of deregistered Republican Party of Nigeria), Bala Buhari, Prof. Richard King, Mrs. Bolajoko Doherty and Senator Abubakar Garda (secretary). The committee was given two weeks to submit its reports to the national secretary of the PDP. But the move appears to have polarised the PDP in the state into two groups of those in support of the committee and those opposed to the entire idea. These two groups are now at each other’s throat even before the arrival of the committee in the state. Chieftains of the party opposed to the committee’s work are accusing Tukur and other supporters of the committee of planning to destabilise the state. They argued that the inauguration of the panel by Tukur, if not immediately checkmated, is capable of galvanising the entire

state into a frenzy of confusion as well as divide the citizens along religious and tribal lines. But the camp of those supporting the committee says there is no reason for anybody to be agitated over what it described as ‘a move by the leadership of the party to strengthen the PDP in Taraba State ahead of the forthcoming 2015 general elections.’ According to a chieftain of the party, Cephas Kunini, the current opposition to the inauguration of the committee smacks of bad politics and disloyalty to the party on the part of those agitating against the move to reposition the party. “There is no reason why we should have members of the PDP or even citizens of our dear state opposing such a good move. It is only those who are benefiting from the present leadership crisis in our state that would say the National Chairman has done something bad by inaugurating this committee,” the former lawmaker said. Sources said the two camps have already intensified efforts to ensure they have their way in what political observers called a battle over the job of ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai’s job. While those opposed to the committee say Tukur and others are out to permanently remove Suntai

from office on account of his absence from the state, promoters of the committee’s work say those complaining are benefiting from an alleged leadership crisis created by the absence of the governor. “The PDP in Taraba State as it is now is divided. While Suntai’s supporters and allies are opposed to the idea of the committee, his opponents and critics are in support. Even the government is polarised along the line of those supporting Suntai and those supporting Umar. “The whole issue is about whether Umar should be confirmed as substantive governor or he should simply continue as acting governor. There are those who feel the present arrangement is okay for the state but there are also those agitating for a permanent arrangement on the premise that Suntai is permanently incapacitated and cannot return to his seat as governor. The national leadership acted on the several petitions they received from the state over the issue. But as it turned out, the action has generated more confusion within and outside the ruling party than expected. The committee is even yet to start sitting,” a party source said. But a chieftain of the party, Abubakar Bawa Ibi, accused Tukur of acting without any complaint from the state. While urging President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse the National chairman’s action in the interest of peace, Ibi said Tukur is out to kill the PDP in Taraba State. “This move is capable of savagely puncturing the umbrella of our great party in Taraba State in the manner it was done in Adamawa State. The said committee is to wade into a very simple matter which both the State Assembly and the nation’s constitution have already taken care of. This is curious and suspicious. Nobody in Taraba petitioned him. “He asked the committee to fast-track the process of constitutional adherence as it affects the current status of the office of the governor of Taraba State. This is a very inflammatory statement. Our legislators have ensured adherence already. These people want to create crisis where there should be none. “The move to alter the current arrangement that has kept the state at peace since last October is capable of galvanising the entire state into a frenzy of confusion as well as divide the citizens along religious and tribal lines,” Ibi said. In his own submission, Stephen Terlumun, another chieftain of the PDP, said there is no reason for the inauguration of the committee since the deputy Governor has already been confirmed as acting, Governor by the Assembly. “The current status of the Governor of our state is very clear and one wonders what our leader meant when he inaugurated this committee. The arrangement we have here is strictly in adherence to the constitution of our country and the people are satisfied with it. •Continued on Page 21




2014 Anambra: Andy Uba back in the fray Contrary to insinuations in some quarters, Senator Andy Uba is still interested in contesting the 2014 governorship election in Anambra State, Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor reports

had asked the appellate court to declare him the duly nominated candidate of the PDP in the 2011 senatorial election. In a lead judgement, Justice Inyang Okoro ruled that Ukachukwu had lost his “right of action” against Uba and could therefore not sue him over a pre-election matter. Although a similar suit is against Uba at a federal high court in Abuja, the judgement by Justice Okoro, being from a superior court is believed by Uba’s men to have effectively settles the matter thereby encouraging the Senator to return to his gubernatorial dream with more concentration. “The Abuja High Court case is no longer a problem as a higher court in Owerri has effectively settled the issues argued in the case. With this, Uba’s election has been affirmed,” one of Uba’s counsels told The Nation. It would not be the first time Ukachukwu would be losing in his bid to oust Uba from the Senate. Last January, the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital dismissed his request to be declared as the duly nominated candidate of the PDP for the senatorial election which was won by Uba. In the suit no CA/OW/180/2012 between Ukachukwu and others versus INEC and Uba, the court had ruled that Justice J. Umar, then of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, was wrong to have transmitted the ap-



ENATOR Andy Uba has resonated as a political factor in the politics of Anambra State largely due to his bid to govern the state since 2007. The Senator who represents Anambra South in the National Assembly, The Nation can now reveal, is still very much interested in ruling the southeast state. Though Uba’s name has featured prominently among those of other likely aspirants in the countdown to next year’s governorship election in the state, his interest or otherwise in the race has remained a subject of intense debates within and outside the state. Uba’s cautious approach to questions about his next political move and the fact that he is yet to publicly declare his interest in the race prompted the thinking that he may be uninterested in the governorship contest which has already gathered momentum with politicians crisscrossing the state to propagate their candidacy. But following Uba’s penultimate Friday judicial victory over his long time political opponent, Mr. Nicholas Ukachukwu, in a suit meant to determine who is the duly nominated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2011 senatorial election in Amanbra South, there are strong indications that he is now oiling his political machinery to make a strong bid for Governor Peter Obi’s job next year. Besides, an ally of the senator told The Nation that Uba has summoned a meeting of all his associates and allies to discuss his next political aspiration. The meeting, according to our source, focused on how Uba’s governorship aspiration would be. A chieftain of the PDP in the state said “The then unending judicial battle over his seat in the senate was one major factor why his governorship aspiration was not clearly spelt out. We were interested in knowing how that was going to end. This is politics and the result of the litigation will surely have an impact on his politics. “But now that we know he is the duly nominated candidate of our party and he is the rightful occupant of the Senate seat, there is nothing to distract us from the next project which is the governorship. I can tell you authoritatively that from now on, Andy Uba is the man to watch out for in the Anambra guber race. “We are already back to the drawing board to map out the strategies with which we will corner the PDP ticket and then go ahead to win the election again just like we did in 2007. The people of the state know their leaders. They know the man we need now is Andy Uba. They voted for him in 2007 and they are ready to vote for him again.”

plication to the Court of Appeal. The court further held that Ukachukwu had no grounds of appeal on the real issue in question and therefore refused to exercise its power under section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act to decide on who was the nominated candidate of the PDP. The Court of Appeal, therefore, ordered that the substantive suit pending at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, be transferred to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment. Earlier in September 2011, the Court of Appeal, Enugu division dismissed a petition filed by Ukachukwu challenging the election of Uba for the Anambra South Senatorial Zone. The court presided over by Justice Abubakar Jega held that the petition brought by Ukachukwu was a pre-election matter which raised intra-party dispute. Consequently, the tribunal struck out the petition and upheld the ruling of the election tribunal sitting in Akwa. Ukachukwu had gone to the court to challenge the April election of Uba and his subsequent declaration by the Independent Electoral Commission [INEC]. A cost of N30, 000 was awarded against the respondents in the case. Uba had in January 2011, won the PDP senatorial ticket for the Anambra South Senatorial District in a keenly contested primary election that featured Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu, Dr. Andy Uba and Hon. Barr Nnamdi Ezike. Uba polled 1766 votes to Ezike’s 72 votes to emerge winner. Ukachukwu had 68 votes. With that victory, Uba went into the general elections where he matched up with Hon. Chumah Nzeribe who contested on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and a number of other candidates. Uba defeated Nzeribe and his other challengers to emerge the winner of the 2011 senatorial election. However, his victory was challenged and INEC had to conduct a re-run election in the district a year later. At the March 2012 senatorial re-run election, Uba and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Chuma Nzeribe and the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA). Official results released by the INEC indicated that the former domestic aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo, polled approximately 42,804 votes, beating his main opponent, Nzeribe by some two thousand votes. Pundits say Uba’s entrance into the governorship race in Anambra will alter all previous permutations on the race for the gubernatorial ticket within his party, the PDP as well as on the general election.

Though Uba’s name has featured prominently among those of other likely aspirants in the countdown to next year’s governorship election in the state, his interest or otherwise in the race has remained a subject of intense debates within and outside the state.

•Obi Uba, who was sworn in as governor after the 2007 election, but removed few days later through a court order which faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting election in the state when Governor Peter Obi’s tenure was still running, has had to endure a long judicial challenge from Ukachukwu after the 2011 senatorial election. But the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Friday May 31, ruled against Ukachukwu who




‘Why Nigerians don't believe in govt programmes’ F

ROM where the micro credit scheme started in 2007, where are you today? I’m much fulfilled and I feel quite happy because the programme started on a very cynical mood. Cynicism came from those the programme was meant for - the socalled ordinarily man. People were very skeptical, because they were not sure if the government would actually live up to what it promised. The good thing for us was that in conceiving the programme, the governor made it a bottom-up model meaning that we have to go down to the people. The programme is not run from the office; it is basically a field affair. Trust is very critical, because every development expert will tell you that for any programme to succeed, the people must believe in it and be part of the project circle. The level of cynicism, for me, was justified because programmes like this have failed in the past. Do you have the wherewithal to meet the expectations of the people? Yes that’s the interesting thing about programmes like this. If you run them very well, you have a way of attracting outside assistance. When this programme started, we didn’t go to anybody to ask for assistance. We said let us run it assiduously and eventually let us see what we can achieve and our achievement would be the track record that would attract for-

Until her appointment as the Delta State Commissioner for Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Anthonia Ashiedu worked as a development expert with international organisations as UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank. She spoke with Shola O’Neil on the state government’s micro-credit programme.


eign assistance and recognition. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation

(UNIDO) sought us out and is collaborating with us to create a leather works village, to create

some of these beautiful shoes you see. We have produced, even belts and anything that has to do with leather. So we are taking the programme from the level of micro businesses to a lot higher. The partnership with UNIDO was announced months ago, what is the level of the union now? When the governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNIDO, he told them that land would be provided immediately and that land has been provided; 2.6 hectares of land have been provided for the purpose. He also said that money required for the work and action plans to be put in place would be provided. That money, as I speak to you today, has been paid to UNIDO’s headquarters. In a couple of weeks, action will start on the site because all the work plans, action plans from both parties have been met. You have various agric support programmes, what are the measures you have to ensure that they do not end up with this administration? That can only happen to a programme that is built on quick sand, lacks structure and not popular with the people. It would

Hurdles before Anioma’s quest for governorship


S the 2015 Delta State gubernatorial elections inches closer, so is the increase in subterranean activities by political gladiators eyeing the top job, which becomes vacant in 2015. Judging from the utterances of the leading lights of the party and its principle of zoning offices, it is speculated that the ruling PDP may have zoned the gubernatorial slot to Delta North which comprises of the nine Ibo-speaking areas. But who among the Anioma politicians stands the best chance of clinching the governorship ticket? Will the Aniomas rally round a figure to realise its group interest? Will infighting amongst the large number of eminently qualified candidates of Anioma extraction not truncate their ambitions? But Chairman, Anioma Agenda (AA), Mr. Alex Onwuadiamu, denies that political actors in Delta North are disunited and are uncoordinated in their approach to clinching power in 2015. He said the Anioma people will ensure that the PDP abides by the principle of zoning and rotation of public offices, claiming that these were enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution and the Constitution of the ruling PDP. His words, “ What we are saying is that the principle of zoning and rotation of public offices as enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria and the Constitution of the PDP be adhered to. The governorship of Delta State has gone to Central Senatorial Zone, it is now in the South Senatorial zone and by that principle come 2015, and it will be the turn of Anioma people to produce the governor for Delta State. That is all we are asking for.” Onwuadiamu disagrees with the perception of complacency and perceived disunity among politicians of Anioma stock, stressing that the Anioma people will soon begin the process of sensitising the populace.

By Okungbowa Aiwerie Despite the above sentiments, agitations by some sections amongst the Anioma people have continued. Recently, a socio-political pressure group, Ndokwa Unite, argued that ethnicity rather than zoning should be used in apportioning public offices. Dr Bonnyface Opia, Barr. Greg Ikoko and Mr Mathew Emeni, who are members of Ndokwa Unite Board of Trustees, urged other senatorial districts to support an Ndokwa governorship candidate. His words: “Delta Central did eight years in Government House, Delta South will complete theirs in 2015, as such, it is imperative that Delta North produces the governor in 2015, not only because of the zoning formula of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but to ensure fairness and equity.” The group advocates that the gubernatorial seat should go to Ndokwa ethnic nationality. “Ndokwa is the only ethnic nationality that has cultural affinity with the Ijaws, Itsekiris, Isokos, Urhobos, Ikas, Aniochas and the Oshimilis,” the group noted, adding, “an Ndokwa man as governor of Delta State will not be biased and will work for the overall interest of Deltans. Ndokwa is the stabilising factor for 2015.” Furthermore, the party remains deeply polarised despite the highly published rapprochement between camps sympathetic to Governor Uduaghan and Chief E.K Clark. Gov Uduaghan, undoubtedly, will be interested in who succeeds him. And this may invariably set both politicians on a collision course. To make an already difficult matter worse, the opposition Democratic Peoples Party, (DPP) headed by an Anioma son, Chief Tony Ezeagwu, is up in arms against such an arrangement..

He says his party will support any Deltan that emerges through a democratic process, stressing that DPP will not turn its back on any aspirant on the basis of ethnic consideration. Another big obstacle to the realisation of the Anioma dream is the considerably large number of wealthy and influential potential contestants within the PDP who may refuse to step down for each other, thus leading to bitterness and rancour within the party. This may force many to seek their political fortunes elsewhere with the resultant effect of a dilution of Anioma block vote. Despite assurances of rapprochement between the Uduaghan and Chief Clark’s faction, political analysts are of the opinion that the 2015 Delta gubernatorial election is a struggle for political power between these


two factions in Delta State than simply a struggle by the Anioma ethnic group for power.

be a political hara-kiri for any new administration in this state not to build on the micro credit programme because the people are taking ownership of it. Do you intend to help your clients export their produces outside the country? We are very proud of our products, especially our spices. If you go to any Shoprite in Nigeria or Africa, you will see our products. This is one thing that gives me joy. If I enter Shoprite in Lekki, I go straight to the spice corner because I am proud to see them on display. Also the ones in Enugu, Abuja or Ikeja and I have been told authoritatively that they sell it elsewhere now. During the last Olympic Games in London, we had the opportunity to take these products to London and the acceptance was so good, especially for the spices. For the other products, what we have done is to try and get them registered with NAFDAC. For us to succeed, what we tell everyone in the programme - we call our people clients of the programme, we don’t call them beneficiaries so that they don’t think it is another national cake - is that we must compete with anybody doing same business with us. In competing, you must raise the bar of whatever you are doing. We must also make sure that we comply with the regulations. Many DMCP clients are going into palm oil farming; do you have a data on volume of oil palm they produce? We have a lot of palm tree estates in Delta State. It didn’t just start now; this is what our forefathers have been doing. Now, we have pumped in a lot of money into palm oil production for all our groups who are into palm oil production. I would give you an example of one of our groups in Agbor. You need to see this group when they are loading trucks of palm oil; destination is the North, even across Nigeria, sometimes Cotonou and Ghana. They also supply a lot of palm oil to the East. They supply to Onitsha. Keep in mind that we are also fortunate to be located near the biggest market in West Africa, that’s Onitsha, which serves as a good distribution point for us.

Trouble brews in Taraba

• Continued from Page 19

We have an acting governor who has all the powers of the governor of the state. This was done 21days after the governor’s accident, as dictated by the constitution. It is a very clear unambiguous thing. The constitution did not provide a time lapse for when he would act as governor. This matter is simple and not rocket science. This move by Tukur is, therefore, strange and unconstitutional,” he alleged. Checks by our correspondent revealed that a recent report alleging that the Suntai had suffered significant brain damage that rendered him incapable of recognizing visitors, including members of his family, is at the root of the new move to permanently replace him. “There is a new and genuine

report on the health of the governor that says he has suffered significant brain damage that rendered him incapable of recognizing visitors, including members of his family. The acting governor and the party leadership discussed this new development and it was agreed that something should be done. This is why this committee is being set up. As politicians, we cannot continue to deceive the people. We must brace up to tell the people the true state of things sooner or later. This is a step in that direction,” a lawmaker in the state told The Nation on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, The Nation gathered that politicians from the southern part of the state have vowed to oppose the alleged plot to make Umar a substantive governor since such a move may truncate the zone’s struggle to produce the next governor of the state in 2015.

“The whole idea is to deny southern Taraba our turn to produce the governor. Governor Danbaba Suntai already gave us his support so we are not going to agree with any arrangement that will rob us of the chance. “The northern part of the state ruled for eight years through Jolly Nyame. The central part is about completing eight years through Suntai. The south should be allowed to produce the next governor. Umar is from the north and should not be positioned to seek another term in 2015. “For us in southern Taraba, we will not accept anything less. That is why we want to warn those behind the ongoing move to desist from doing anything that can polarise the state along tribal lines,” Ishiaku Adi, leader of the Southern Taraba Mandate Group (SOTAMAG) said.




Enugu 2015: Pendulum swings as Chime endorses Nsukka The recent declaration by the Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, to back the aspiration of Enugu North Senatorial Zone for the 2015 governorship race, the battle on who wins the governorship ticket of the People Democratic Party (PDP), may have begun in earnest, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan. FTER months of prevaricating on the issue, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State last week threw his weight behind the agitations for zoning ahead of the 2015 governorship election in the state. In a move that elicited widespread jubilation amongst the people of Enugu North Senatorial District, the governor pledged his support for the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial flag bearer from the zone for the forthcoming governorship contest in the state. Chime, who made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting in Enugu on Wednesday, said his decision to support the agitation of the zone is based on an earlier understanding within the ruling PDP. The governor stated categorically that he would work to ensure that his successor comes from the Nsukka cultural zone. While the governor’s announcement is expected to douse the tension created by months of fierce agitation for and against zoning in the state, his decision to announce his support for the Nsukka zone is being interpreted in some quarters as a move to truncate the rumoured but denied gubernatorial aspiration of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. There have been apprehensions in the state over speculations that Ekweremadu, who is from Enugu West, was putting in motion machinery to contest for the governorship. His posters have flooded some major streets of Enugu and Nsukka though he was yet to make a formal declaration of his ambition. Expectedly, Ekweremadu came out boldly to fault the governor’s claim that there was an understanding within the party that supports zoning of the governorship position. While announcing officially for the first time that he is not interested in the guber race, the deputy Senate president said no zone should be given preference in the contest. The supporters of Ike Ekweremadu had few weeks ago pasted his posters around Enugu North, indicating his interest to contest in 2015. The posters had been pasted at strategic places like Odenigbo Round About, Ogurugu Road, Nsukka Main Park and the University of Nigeria Road. Consequently, there has been widespread criticism of an alleged plot by the Old Enugu cultural area, comprising Enugu West and Enugu East senatorial Zones, to marginalise the people of Nsukka in the race to the Government House in 2015. Recently, angry youths of Nsukka went round the state removing Ekweremadu’s posters while the elders released a protest statement against the senator’s reported ambition. The statement read “Nsukka Cultural Zone Elders’ Forum has just met to review recent political developments in Enugu State, especially as it affects our cultural zone. The appearance of the campaign


• Chime

posters of the respected and respectable Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, signifying his interest in the governorship race in Enugu State in 2015 naturally engaged our attention. These posters (with inscription Enugu State Dream 2015) ostensibly pasted in the night of Saturday, March 9, 2013, adorned major streets of Enugu and Nsukka metropolis by Sunday March 10, 2013. Even though these posters were quickly cleared from the streets by persons suspected to be angry youths, the appearance of the posters generated quite some concern in political circles in the state.” “The governorship seat has been in old Enugu zone since 1999 and by 2015, it would have been 16 years in that zone. Nsukka Cultural Zone which is 52 percent of the voting population in the state has been held down for the two senatorial zones of old Enugu Zone to have their turn of eight- year tenure each consecutively as governor of Enugu State,’’ the statement which was signed by Chief Maximus Ukuta, Chief Nick Ojike, Professor Damian Opata, Dr Chuka Ezema, Chief Emmanuel Alachi, Sir Albert Nnamani and Major General Godwin Ugwoke (rtd), read in part. However, Ekweremadu insisted that there was no zoning arrangement in Enugu State as being bandied about in some quarters. “There is no zoning in Enugu. I am not aware and nobody is aware. I have been in politics in Enugu since the beginning of this particular dispensation. People from every part of the state have vied but somehow, somebody would win. “So, I am sure that our brothers from Nsukka understand that clearly. I stand to be challenged. “I want anybody to tell me a document or a meeting where the Governorship of Enugu has ever been zoned since 1999. I will be happy if somebody from Enugu North becomes governor but not on the basis of zoning. Probably they are the only one that has not produced the governor of the state but like I said, it has nothing to do with zoning.

• Ekweremadu

“There is nothing like zoning in Enugu as at today. Until zoning is done, I don’t think anybody who wants to run from other parts of the state can be stopped. But for me, I am not running for governorship,” he said. But Governor Chime said the state has operated unwritten rotational arrangement in the selection of its governors since it s creation in 1991. According to him, it would be the turn of Enugu North to occupy the highest office in the state after the expiration of his two-term tenure in 2015. Chime even added that the ruling PDP in the state already have an arrangement to pick its next flag bearer from Enugu North. Chime added that contrary to speculations in some quarters, he is certain that whoever the PDP picks as its standard bearer from Nsukka, will win in the state, being predominantly PDP. Since the governor’s announcement and Ekweremadu’s official statement that he is not eyeing the governorship, there have been insinuations in some quarters that there was actually a plot to stop the deputy Senate president by Chime’s men. The decision by the governor to publicly back the zoning arrangement to the detriment of Ekweremadu is seen as the first step in the said plot. But allies of the governor denied the existence of such a plan. “The governor made it clear that if Ekweremadu eventually decides to run, nobody will stop him, but he was trying to let him know that in the 2011 elections, no Nsukka person contested the election on Nsukka banner. Those who decided to test their individual strengths, expectedly, were defeated. “We now expect the people of Enugu zone to also keep their side of the bargain, otherwise, any action that is taken at variance with this postulation would, no doubt, culminate in an unimaginable crisis in Enugu State. That is what the governor is trying hard to avoid,” a source noted. The Nation also learnt that the move by Governor Chime to publicise his resolve to support Enugu North may have further

widen the gulf between his political camp and that of the Deputy Senate President. Insinuations that Chime’s camp may have resolved to back the gubernatorial aspiration of Senator Ayogu Eze in 2015 has also added to the political tension between the two camps. Rumours of Ekweremadu’s intention to contest the 2015 governorship election had earlier bred political suspicion between Senator Eze and the Deputy Senate President’s political camps so much so that clashes between the supporters of the two erstwhile allies have been reported on a few occasions. Many watchers of Enugu politics have looked forward to what appeared as an impending gubernatorial war between the two serving senators at the governorship primaries of the ruling party. But if Ekweremadu make good his resolve not to contest the election in 2015, the much anticipated clash of titans would have been averted. Eze, currently representing Enugu North, has been consulting with Enugu elders and other stakeholders in his bid to garner support for his governorship ambition come 2015. He is said to have gotten the governor’s temporary nod recently during a meeting of party elders in Nsukka. “It is true that Senator Eze was presented to the Governor at a stakeholders’ meeting recently and he encouraged his aspiration largely because he is from Enugu North. Don’t forget that one of the reasons why the people of our zone voted for Chime in 2011 was the promise he gave them that he would support someone from that zone come 2015,” a PDP chieftain from Nsukka told The Nation. However, Senator Ayogu Eze is not alone in the contest from Enugu North. To emerge as the PDP flag bearer in 2015, he would have to surmount political hurdles posed by the aspirations of the likes of Hon. Eugene Odo, present Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly; Ambassador Fidel Ayogu, Chief Vita Abba, PDP Chairman in the state and Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwunayi, amongst others.



Still on Akala, Ladoja alliance




HE recent rapprochement by two former governors of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao Akala and Rashidi Ladoja, seems not to be going down well with some major stakeholders in the Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A few days ago, Akala and Ladoja constituted a 10-man committee, with a brief to work out strategies to stop the re-election of incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi. Many PDP members, it was gathered, are kicking against Akala’s decision to go into the alliance on behalf of the party without adequate consultation. Leading the opposition are key disciples of the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, led by Senator Teslim Folarin and Azeem Gbolarumi.

Silence is golden for Sekibo


INCE the beginning of the crisis in the Rivers State PDP, one person who has refrained from making comments on the issue (at least publicly) is Senator George Sekibo. There are insinuations that the lawmaker’s neutral stance could be a tactical move to remain in the good books of the factions involved in the crisis. But it remains to be seen how Sekibo’s non-aligned posture will affect his alleged 2015 governorship ambition.

Abia yet to feel the 2015 heat

e states where N almost all th se rv in g th ei r g o v er n o rs ar e race for the 2015 second term, the ti o n h as b ee n el ec g o v er n o rs h ip m in th e la st fe w ea st g bia g at h er in e exception of A months with th at has pervaded the State. The lull thd other opposition ruling PDP an be giving politicians parties is said touse for concern. in the state a ca

I What next for Gemade?


HOUGH Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has not formally declared his intention to contest for the Senate in 2015, indications have emerged that it is just a matter of time before the lawyer-turned-politician does so. But what becomes of Chief Bernabas Gemade, the man Suswam would replace if he wins the senatorial election in 2015. The former National Chairman, sources revealed, may be offered an ambassadorial position as compensation.

Ekwunife not ready to shift ground


F you are one of those doubting the seriousness of Hon. Uche Ekwunife to give her governorship ambition her best shot, you had better perish the thought. Feelers from her camp indicate that in the last few weeks, the federal lawmaker has practically relocated to her home state, Anambra, to put structures in place for the big battle ahead. The female politician, sources disclosed, is not willing to step down for any aspirant as it is being insinuated in certain quarters.


Political Politics turf

with Bolade Omonijo

What is Maku up to?


HEN information minister Mr. Labaran Maku voluntarily elected to lead a group of journalists and civil society activists on an elaborate tour of the federation for the ostensible reason of showcasing the performance of the state governments, he ran into a hail of criticisms. It evoked memories of the jamboree organized by Professor Jerry Gana who, as Information Minister similarly moved a crowd round the country ostensibly for the purpose of assessing performance of the state governors and propagating the gains of democracy. No longer did the earlier scheme take off than it was discovered to be a fraud. State governments were made to pay the entourage and were scored based on their “performance”’ The first person to cry and opt out of the Maku scheme was Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. It is obvious that both men are well known to each other, yet Oshiomhole deprecated the moves. He said he was willing to receive the party if it came to the state and was willing to pay a courtesy visit, but should not be expected to pick the large bills being incurred. That was enough to tell the story. Maku turned to his counterpart in the Federal Works Ministry who gladly hosted the men and women to a lavish champaigne party and took them round the very few federal projects in the state. The chapter was closed there. But, Oshiomhole was not the only person who found the idea repugnant and distatesful. Mr. Raji Fashola of lagos, too, could not fathom the rationale and wasted no time in telling the whole world. Fashola is too busy performing the task of giving Lagos a facelift. He was not elected to host parties for visiting journalists led by an idle minister. Fashola is enjoying sufficient mention in the media and did not require a Maku to assist him in mobilizing his people to see what he has been doing in the past six years. Anybody familiar with Lagos would know the challenges facing the governor. The population is one and infrastructure needs a tune up to meet the 21st century standard. No doubt, Lagos is not yet there, but the governor is doing a lot. It is thus distressing that a minister would leave his watch and choose to comment on what is not really his business. Maku is not from Lagos and the government does not need his endorsement for anything. He is from Nasarawa State where he served the Abdullahi Adamu government for eight years, first as a commissioner, and then as deputy governor. Few people from Nasarawa State that I have met have commendations for that government. Today, Adamu may be a Senator, but he is also facing charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). As minister, how well has Maku performed in revamping the Parastatals under his watch? How well has his principal performed? There is no doubt that the welfare and security of the citizens, the primary responsibilities of the federal government have suffered greatly under the Jonathan administration. It is difficult to see the Labaran Maku I used to know in the current minister. The one I used to know was a firebrand who shared the concern for ordinary citizens with other patriots and revolutionaries. The Labaran of the 80s would not play Goebel to anyone. He would not suffer fools gladly. Then, I could vouch for his selflessness. Then, he saw a lot wrong with private accumulation of wealth and appropriation of the commonwealth by a few. Then, I would have said Maku would only function in a government that would sincerely tackle corruption and give the bloody nose to those playing monkey with the national wealth. But, what do we have today? A different man bearing the same name. Was Maku briefed before he made those statements? Was he told about the BRT? Does he know about the Lagos-Badagry road? Is he acquainted with the new Ikorodu road under construction? Is he aware of the Fashola miracle in getting the private sector to contribute to a Security Trust Fund? He should ask the Lagos State Polic Command what the state government is doing in funding federal security agencies in the state. Maku could also turn to the brand new “chairman” of the Nigerian Governors Forum, the embattled Air Commodore David Jang. He was once in Lagos to seek tutorials on how to run a state. My friend, Mr. Maku should be reminded that in a democracy, it is the electorate who have the final say in assessing a governor. The people of Lagos State spoke during the 2011 election by handing their governor a resounding victory at the poll. One task that Maku can perform is get the federal government to pay up what he owes the satte and leave the people of Lagos to decide their future.




‘State of emergency timely, but not sweeping enough’ Professor Jubril Aminu was Minister of Education and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources respectively, from 1989 to 1999. A professor of Cardiology and one-time Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Aminu was elected, senator of the Federal Republic, representing Adamawa Central between 2003 and 2011. He was also Nigerian Ambassador to the USA from 1999 to 2003. In this bare - knuckle interview with LINUS OBOGO, Assistant Editor, Aminu speaks on the political crisis in his home state, Adamawa, his regrets, the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, and sundry issues.


RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. How far reaching is the measure in putting down the violent activities of Boko Haram sect in those states and particularly in the North? It was an expected action, and therefore, one was not surprised. As a matter of fact, I think someone in the Aso Rock Villa appeared to have spilled the beans. And in the broadcast by the President, he appeared to have been very angry and disturbed and he wanted to make sure that the step taken, if it would be effective, would largely contain the security that appeared to have gone haywire. It also appeared that it was widely accepted, because usually, the problem presidents are likely to have in declaring a state of emergency is to have a two thirds majority of the National Assembly to endorse it and for it to be effective in law. It also looked to me like an extensive consultation was done. Now, the question will be what will be the reaction of the political parties and the people from those localities where emergency law has been declared? I think that apart from the political jiggery-pokery associated with measures such as this, the measure will be accepted, pending what effect it will have. There is no doubt that the affected states and people will give the state of emergency the benefit of the doubt. I could understand why the President has not gone far enough. It is very simple to apThe measure is not preciate and it is simply politics. Ordinarily, it would have been sweeping enough, expected that the two tiers of govwith the governors, ernment would be suspended legislators, and and military administrators be put in place. This was not done local government and so, I fear that the current chairmen in place, measure will affect the effectiveness of the state of emergency in the measure cannot the affected state. As I said, it is be said to be all politics. This is 2013 and very soon, it will be 2014, with the sweeping. But general elections coming on the again, politics is heels in 2015. You know, we are in a country where political parinvolved. The ties suspect each other very President did not much. The opposition will suspect that the President will want want to create room to take advantage of any declafor suspicion that ration of a state of emergency to the opposition remove the governors. Do not forget that two of the affected states were the states do not belong to the PDP. target, just as he The PDP would have been happier if things were done more also wants to enjoy thoroughly. Like Adamawa, for the goodwill of the instance, where the sitting governor lost the local government PDP state. election very woefully and obviously, does not enjoy the confidence of the people, removing such a governor from office would appear to go down well with those who have lost confidence in him. If a leader no longer enjoys the confidence of his people, how can they cooperate with him in making the law effective? They will rather want to depend on the federally controlled authority. We may just have to wait and see. But I would have preferred the emergency declaration to be more thorough so that the effect will be on the insurgents and maybe on the politicians. Like now, it looks to me that it is only the security agencies that have been gingered up and their heavy might will ultimately fall on the ordinary people. Of course, they will want to do their job by controlling the people and controlling the movement of the people in the affected states. I wish that we will not see some of the things we used to see in the past. However, I still think that unless care is taken, once more, the people who will feel the effect most, apart from the insurgents that they are looking for, will be the ordinarily law-abiding citizens. In summary, I think the emergency law will be accepted by the people, but then, let us wait and see. By allowing the political status quo to remain, what implications will this have on the effectiveness of the emergency law in the affected states? The measure is not sweeping enough with the governors, legislators, and local government chairmen in place, the measure cannot be said to be sweeping. But again, politics is involved. The President did not want to create room for suspicion that the opposition states were the target, just as he also wants to enjoy the

goodwill of the PDP state. How timely or belated was the President’s declaration of the state of emergency? This is the kind of question you should be asking those in opposition and not a member of the PDP like me. I am sure you want me to make an editorial on the President’s action. In my opinion, there is no problem in the timing. Rather, there is a problem with the extent or scope of the emergency. Your state, Adamawa has been enmeshed in political crisis for some time now, with the governor pitched against the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. And now, more salt has been added to the injury with the imposition of state of emergency. What collateral damage has this on the politics of the state? You are asking me to comment on what you already know what my position is. It cannot be any worse than it is already. The latest development can only make things better for the people. As for the political implications of the crisis between the governor and the PDP National Chairman on the state, the people of Mayo Balwa Local Government Area, where the governor hails from, have demonstrated their unhappiness with the state of affairs in their area by voting massively against the governor’s candidate in the last local government election. What that means is that thank God, the PDP in Adamawa is no longer in the governor’s hands. You may not agree with me, but the governor went and hired a candidate from an obscure party called Kowa Party, which in Hausa, means ‘Everybody’, but which I will prefer to call ‘Bakowa’ Party, meaning ‘Nobody’s’ party. He was squarely routed or defeated in the election despite all that went on before and during the election. That, in itself, was a massive plus for the people of Adamawa. I feel that if this type of restorative measure is continued, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. As one of the key political gladiators and stakeholders in the Adamawa State, what have done in your capacity to bring about amity in the simmering political crisis? Why do you refer to me as a gladiator? I thought we were already two thousand years since the Roman Empire. There is really no gladiator in all of the crises in Adamawa State. The governor just took his sword and has been shoving it in the face of everyone. All we have been trying to do is to ensure that Adamawa is okay while the governor has been doing what he likes. You asked me what I have been doing. Call us whatever you like, elders or stakeholders, the important thing is that we are working together for our national chairman, Bamanga Tukur. We have been working hard and with the cooperation of the National Working Committee of the PDP, we have elected a new executive for the state and also carried out new registration for members. Unfortunately, one of the state House of Assembly members died. But this provided a sad opportunity for us to show who enjoys the support of the people. And we had an election in the governor’s local government, which was an opportunity to show his standing in the state, unfortunately he lost scandalously, despite going out to rent a candidate from another party. It was obvious he had no viable candidate to foist on the people and he had to go and rent one who was roundly defeated in the election. The election was monitored by INEC and observers from other states. The emergence of Governor Murtala Nyako on the state’s political firmament was through your instrumentality. Any regrets for propping him up? I am full of regrets for my action and I have since apologised many times to the people of Adamawa State. I came to realise that I did not know Nyako very well. He is a brother. That is fine. But as a politician and a leader on whom the trust of the people has been placed, I did not know him very well. A lot of people were surprised that he could do the kind of things he has been doing. He was a military governor once and one-time Chief of Naval of Staff and now governor again, but he has not justified the trust and confidence of the people of Adamawa State. How exactly do you mean by people were surprised that he did the kind of things he did? It’s been all over in the papers. I do not think I can capture all of them now for you. I cannot say it eloquently like the Adamawa people will. You represent a great paper like The Nation, so, I expect that you should go there and take a look at the situation for your paper. There is nothing I will tell you here that will make much sense to you without being accused of bias. You just go to Adamawa and see things for yourself. Ask anybody in the state and they will paint a picture of the deplorable situations in the state for you. Suffice it to say that Adamawa is today the worst administered state in Nigeria. They have not received anything by way value for the money, votes and trust invested by the government and the people. If you say you did know him, was the first four years not enough to have done a checklist on him to ensure that he was not returned to leadership position in the state? After his first term, he contested and won, following which the

•Continued on Page 25

court annulled his election. So, as faithful party members, we were all with him when a fresh election was ordered by the court. We supported him and ensured that he won his rerun election. But things soon began to change and the man started showing his colour, much to the surprise of everyone. He was no longer doing what we elected him to do. And we parted ways because I could not go on deceiving myself that all was well with the way the state was being run. Do you feel betrayed by Governor Murtala Nyako? I felt I had made a serious mistake by pushing him into the heart of the people of Adamawa State and I have severally apologised. Do you imagine former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar having the last and best laugh? Do you think we have finished laughing? We have not finished laughing yet. And as for Atiku, I have no reason to apologise to him, because he was the one who transgressed against me. I was just sitting down in Abuja doing my job as a senator when he decided to use his vice presidential powers to remove me. Fortunately, the Constitution of Nigeria was there to make recourse to and I escaped




•Continued from Page 24 being removed by whatever means Atiku wanted. That was long ago. There are really no differences between us to settle. He is my younger brother and he will always be my younger brother. We are back and working together. What is going on in Adamawa is not a matter of who is going to have the last and best laugh. I never, in my wildest imagination, thought that Nyako would do the sort of things he is doing in the state. There are insinuations that the festering crisis between Nyako and Tukur in Adamawa State is as a result of the struggle to install or impose their sons on the state as governor, come 2015. Is this truly the undercurrent? I do not exactly think so. But it might as well be so. But I doubt strongly if that is Bamanga’s problem. Do you know what Bamanga’s problem is? He is a national chairman who was elected in a very hostile atmosphere. Everything under the sun was done to stop him being made chairman. I do not know what they had against him. But with regards to his son wanting to be governor of the state, the young man has been a politician for a very long time now. He was a member of the House of Representatives in 1999. He was acting minister for a brief period at a time. He was Chief of Staff before Nyako’s election was annulled. So, he has been a politician in active politics all the while. He does not come across as one who is being prepared to be governor by somebody. But in contrast to Governor Nyako’s son who was in the Navy and who, up till now, we cannot say whether or not he has left the service or not. But he relocated from Lagos to the Government House in Yola. We saw that as very odd. He was always seen in uniform. I do not know if he has retired. But today, they say he is the chief and leader of all youths in Adamawa State, appointed by a certain chief. He goes around as if he has already been elected governor with siren and security escorts. Up till now, no one can say what kind of job he has in government. Absolutely, there is no comparison between Tukur’s son and that of Governor Nyako’s. But the trust is no one knows who will win the governorship election in the state when the two come head to head against each other in 2015. Is there any prospect of the I know that Presicrisis in the state chapter of the dent Jonathan is going PDP ending anytime soon? to stand for 2015. I As far as I can say, we have virtually resolved the crisis in have always said this, the party in the state. The party but that is not the unis supreme and it has won the election to constitute the state exderstanding of many ecutive. And what is more, it has other people from the won the local government election in a key council area. So, we North who alleged are on the way to resolving the that they had a talk crisis. By 2015, when the PDP wins the governorship in the with him with regards state, the party would have fito 2015. But I know nally resolved its differences. And it would not matter that nothing is going to whether it is Tukur’s or Nyako’s stop him. Asking the son who wins the election and… (Cuts in) You are trying to President not to run in be mischievous now. If you have 2015 has no legal proany more questions ask me, or vision in the Constituelse, we call it a day. Another seething issue in the tion. Even if you depolity today is 2015, with the cide to pursue the matNorth menacingly poised for a showdown with President ter up to the Supreme Goodluck Jonathan. What is Court, there is no proyour understanding of the unvision for him not to folding power game? The problem with politirun in 2015. cians and ditto, Nigerians, is that they do nothing other than to speculate and take position on the next general elections. Now we are talking about 2015, it will amaze you to know that there are already people who’re jostling for 2019. That is what Nigeria has become. People take a job but they are not ready to do the work. They use the current job to look for the next one without bothering about what they were first and foremost elected to do. Nigeria is gradually turning to a country where electioneering is a permanent preoccupation. That is not good for democracy. Democracy is not all about electing people to show that you have a democracy, but to ensure that they work for the electorate. But this is not happening. Are you in sync with those who insist that President Jonathan cannot vie for second term? The Constitution is very clear on the qualifications for the office of the President of Nigeria. It is not the prerogative of anyone to ascribe. Of course, I know that President Jonathan is going to stand for 2015. I have always said this, but that is not the understanding of many other people from the North who alleged that they had a talk with him with regards to 2015. But I know that nothing is going to stop him. Asking the President not to run in 2015 has no legal provision in the Constitution. Even if you decide to pursue the matter up to the Supreme Court, there is no provision for him not to run in 2015. The only thing is that there will be a lot of bad blood. Everybody should be free to stand for elections, so long as you are constitutionally qualified. The outcome of the election is what matters at the end of the day. It is not everybody who stands for an election that gets elected in the end. The outcome of the election will resolve whatever issues that may exist. And I want to seriously warn that we must bear in mind that most of the crises we have had in this country were occasioned by election outcomes. That is why we must be guided by what we say in the run up to elections. Pressure is also being cranked up in the polity by the body of governors, under the aegis of Nigerian Governors’ Forum. They have carried on literally, like pressure group and constituting a formidable force against the Presidency. How politically healthy is the development? I have maintained that the governors cannot constitute themselves into a parallel government to the one at the centre. There is no

•Aminu constitutional basis for that. They have been behaving like an opposition government or a tier of government. But of recent, they have tried to behave themselves. However, the ongoing rift between the Rivers State governor and the Presidency is not good. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The two are sister-states. I cannot see how our governor can mobilise opinions and press against the Presidency just to create a situation of tyranny or to paint the Presidency as a tyrant. That is not good enough. You cannot find this elsewhere, not even in our neighbouring countries. Outside Nigeria, nobody knows anyone as leader of the governors’ forum. In effect, he is challenging the President all in the name of the leadership of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. What is governors’ forum and which section of the constitution is it found? Why would they take a mere consultative body and make it look like a statutory body? After all, we have the National Assembly, which is a body to check the President and not the governors’ forum. As a former Minister of Education, you enunciated the Nomadic Education policy. Years after your stewardship, how alive is the scheme and how would you rate its success or otherwise? It was successful and is still very much alive. There are children of the cattle Fulani herdsmen who are students of the scheme. What has pleased me with the programme is that the children of the herdsmen are the ones who are defending it today. If you start anything new, make sure that the beneficiaries are the ones who would want it to continue. I am not saying that there were no problems with the nomadic education policy. There were bound to be and there are still bound to be. I am not happy with some of the things going on with the policy. But nomadic education was established under the law and you cannot wake up one morning and want to abolish it. The policy is still on but not like a wild fire that I would have liked. There are always appropriations for it in the budget and approved by the Senate Committee on Education. Do you know any of the graduates of the policy or school that you can point at and say yes, these are the graduates? Of course, yes. There is one who comes to my house and there are many others who are graduates of the policy.

You mean cattle Fulani beneficiary graduates come to your house and you happen to know them as beneficiaries of…? (Cuts in amid laughter) Do you want them to come to my house with herds of cattle for me to recognise them as beneficiaries? Critics of the policy insisted then that it was introduced apparently to benefit your fellow Fulani kinsmen. Would you say that was a fair criticism? It was an unfair criticism because I could not have introduced nomadic education to favour the Igbo. There were no nomads and there are still no nomads among the Igbo. What about the Ijaw fishermen, were they beneficiaries as well? Of course, they were also targeted. They have their secretariat somewhere in Aba. Did you expect me to have gone to your state (Cross River) to introduce nomadic education when you do not have nomads among you? There was a revelation in the Senate recently that the North controls 83 per cent of Nigeria’s oil blocs. How many of these did you award to your Northern brothers and sisters during your spell as Minister of Petroleum? How many did I award to myself? How many did I award to myself? You should have asked me how many I awarded to myself. Go and find out how many I awarded to myself before you ask me that rubbish question. You described my question as rubbish? Yes, it is absolute rubbish. But you awarded oil blocs during you time as minister, didn’t you? I awarded to everywhere, not only the North. But with the majority to the North? It is not true. If that was the case, I would be feeling very bad about it. But it wasn’t the case. Definitely, not during my time as minister. Maybe it was after my time and under what circumstances, I wouldn’t know. So the revelation from the Senate may be true, but I doubt it.





No external interference in Rivers PDP crisis-Nwuche T

HE crisis in the Rivers State PDP seems far from being over. How did the party get itself enmeshed in an intractable crisis? People who are not familiar with the state are misreading the situation. Some insinuate that the problems are from outside the state, others ascribe it to different parties. But the crisis has a logical build up. It was as a consequence of injustices meted to party bigwigs and members. From the time of party primaries through the elections to now, no governor no matter how popular can win a state overwhelmingly without the support of stakeholders. In Rivers State, the governor had all the stakeholders on board for his election and the stakeholders spoke to the masses to support the governor. He won with a landslide in the state. After his victory, he became inaccessible to all the stakeholders and excluded them from the policy-making process and governance. These are the issues. When you said that the governor became inaccessible, what exactly do you mean? What I meant is that stakeholders could no longer have access to the governor. You cannot govern a state by yourself. You cannot govern a state alone, you cannot do that. First of all, it is not right, because you didn’t get there alone. People gave you the support to govern them, to get to where you

Former Deputy Speaker of the Representatives, Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, recently spoke to Assistant Editor, Onyedi Ojiabor in Abuja on the crisis rocking the PDP in Rivers State and the alleged second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan. are. And you must consult widely the interest groups in the state. The crisis has also linked to the alleged vice presidential ambition of Governor Amaechi. What is your take on this? That is neither here nor there. Every person is free to aspire to any position. But for the people of South-South that have been marginalised for so many years, we have reached a consensus that we would appeal to Nigerians to see the fact that we have produced the country’s wealth for the past 51 years. We haven’t had the chance to rule the country. And for the first time, our son Goodluck Jonathan is the president of the country, that we should allow him to complete his two terms in office. It is an appeal to the country. It is not by blackmail; it is not by stampede. The South-South’s interest today is to have Goodluck Jonathan run his full tenure and to seek the support of other regions to help us. Are you aware of any plot to impeach the governor as some people are alleging? No, no. The PDP in Rivers State before the new executive came into

being, for eight years called no meeting of the party. How do you have a party in which for eight years, you don’t have a meeting? After election, no meeting was called. None was called to say we have won now, how do we govern the state? What are your inputs, what idea do you have? Should we do road, water, light and others. You hold a mandate for people on their behalf. It is because Nigerians are not aware. If they are aware, you are supposed to consult those whom you are governing constantly. If you consult the people, they will follow you and have a stake. But when you sit down to rule the state alone, the people will not buy into the policies of the state. They will not have a stake in it. Imagine that this new PDP Executive in the state in just under two months have called many meetings talking to people. Some say what is playing out in the state has much to do with 2015 elections. Do you share this view? I don’t see the relevance of this to the crisis. People have the right to aspire. But I won’t aspire to a national office when the SouthSouth has the president. I will look

at the mood. What we want now, we want the president; we don’t want the vice president. We want all our governors to stand behind Goodluck Jonathan. But you said that the governor has the right to aspire to any political office. Yes! But you see, you must base that aspiration on the sentiments of people, because they are the ones who gave you the mandate to go there to represent them. When the time comes, we will appeal to other zones; we will speak to them. Those people that have been left out for too long should be allowed their time Some people say the president is uncomfortable with Governor Amaechi’s position as Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and wielded his weight at the last NGF election. What are your views? I am not a governor, but if you ask people in the South-South what are their problems, if you ask them between poverty, unemployment, lack of health care, development, and the Governors Forum, which one they will choose, I’m sure Governors Forum will be the last thing in their considerations. For us as a

people, it is irrelevant who is chairman of Governors Forum. If you ask us in the South-South our problems, we want development. We want a transparent application of 13 per cent derivation to take care of education or infrastructure development. So, I don’t understand how this forum has become so important. And besides, we have the president of the country from the South-South zone, so the chairman of the forum should come from another zone. I don’t know what happened in the forum but if you ask me, the chairman should go to another zone. So, how will the crisis be resolved? Well, I know that the PDP has an internal mechanism for conflict resolution and adjudication. I’m sure that at the right party levels, they are consulting and I’m sure that at the end of the day, the matter will be settled amicably. 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 matters in Rivers State because he is busy. May be because the President considers River State to vital to be left to someone he does not trust. No, no. the truth that is coming out is what I have told you. The problem is entirely internal. Look at those who have spoken for the new party structure in the state; people like Lee Meaba, people like Austin Okpara, people like Sergeant Awuse. Will you count them as nobody in Nigeria?


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VER time, since the turn of trend in global business practice, in line with notional, regional and global business practice and engagement, Nations and people have been concerned with re-inventing rules of business engagement, with focus on professionalism, value appreciation, principles for competition, taxation, economic/finance environment liberalization (lending, cost of lending, profit repatriation/transfer of earnings) trade best-practices and human resources management, engagement and reward. All of these details for consideration fall within the ambit of regulatory bodies and authorities across nations, regions and global spread. Citizens and peoples across the world are equally concerned and affected. Since 2010, The World Economic Forum has had to direct its focus on businesses around the world in line with the underlying elements listed above, with a view to properly aggregating the impact and import of every business engagement in contribution to global wealth. Wealth of nations is now the basis for international relations. Details of global economic development, parts of which are trade, industrialization and over-all businessespractices, have become important to all. That explains why the theme for World Economic Forum, 2013, is Global Competitiveness among nations. The terms of reference under the theme, Global Competitiveness, are the issues we started with, in putting this paper together, as stated above. It is only logical that since economic development (business, trade and practice) has replaced politics and military might in the value and measure of strength and relevance among peoples, the rules of engagement must be carefully defined, for the good of one and all. Sequentially, and consequent upon the new status of wealthand its direct effect on global relationship, multi-lateral organizations structured for policy development and adherence monitoring, world-wide, have also stepped up their involvement and impact in ensuring fair and democratic application of set-rules again, for the good of all (and world peace). In applying this global change within individual nations, governments have also engaged in aligning with the global shift in paradigm - paying more attention to economic issues as the fundamental basis of interpersonal relationship (corporate and individual), fairness, economic development, engagement & reward for human resources. Agitations among groups within any given nation in today's world are stirred by the influence of money. That explains the evolution and design of new models for business operations, corporate inter-relationship and terms of engagement, even within nations (including Nigeria). But in driving for economic development as the new global value measure and indication, there has come to be, a new corporate person of THE STATE. So, in global presence, nations (STATES) now posture as corporate entities for the good of its immediate and primary stake-holders. GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS therefore is a creation of the new world economic order. Global Competitiveness runs on certain terms, chief of which is 'individual advantages'. Global competitiveness is a challenge for creative investment of limited resources for 'personal' gains, versus the competitive bodies/persons/institution in the presence of comparative advantages open to all. The first implication of the above is that the onus is on all individual




Trade Liberalisation, Global Competitiveness and Local Market Regularisation

•President (Dr.) Goodluck Jonathan

competitors to determine how best to USE own-resources for optimal gains, benefits or advantage, knowing that the options and opportunities are open to all. That is the exciting thing about GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS. Nations, as corporate individuals, are primarily charged with gainful investment of own scarce resources, for the benefit of their people. In one of our papers on Outdoor Advertising business in Nigeria, we did list the consequence and implications of the then 'new' government policies on the business and practice of outdoor advertising in Nigeria, with particular emphasis on excessive and multiplicity of taxation, hoarding/display locations, permit, dues and consequent cost of operations on businesses and practitioners. We listed, as consequence of the change then, loss of jobs (increase in unemployment), closure of over 60% of business within the sector, loss of revenue (even to the government itself), increase in fragmentation and in some cases total destruction of families (as a result of breadwinners' disengagement from productivity), and the damage to outdoor advertising practice in Nigeria. But all the above negative impact put together, do not measure up with the negative implication of TOTAL

DEREGULATION of our local business space for direct foreign entrants (into) OUTDOOR ADVERTISING BUSNESS IN NIGERIA. To begin with, we must see our local market as our local resource of immense value, which must be carefully and profitably invested for the good of every stakeholder, for the common good of one and all, according to known rules of engagement, going by GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS. We are yet to see the benefit for Nigeria, among the committee of nations, if, for instance any corporate body in South Africa can come to Lagos or Abuja to open shop and start operation as an outdoor business owner, based on the terms that are simply same with a Nigerian business in same industry, when same opportunity is not open to a Nigerian investor in same field, in South Africa. This does not stand up to any good reasoning. More-so, it does not show a demonstration of adequate awareness for, and internalization of the rules of engagement for favorable global competitiveness. As it stands presently, there is a need to protect our local outdoor advertising space from abuse and plundering by foreigners who do not intend to add value appropriate for fairness, and in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. Firstly,

their presence in this market tilts the competitiveness to their advantage so unfairly, local practitioners lose out completely. The playing field is never level, because they come into this market as satellite investments of corporate bodies back home, with much more abundant investible resources that put them in advantage position in the market. Frontally, they sell sophistication and appreciated value offering, but in real terms, what they do is exploit the environment for their competitive advantages, so as to establish their hold and then-on, continue with exploitation. Our local outdoor advertising industry is suffering under the exploitation of our over liberalization by foreigners, we need to consider a change. Apart from capital flight, these foreign corporate players do not have commitment to improving the local environment; they will not take on any investment capable of enduring benefits such as human capital development, nor environmental protection. In protection of our market space as our local resource for our global engagement, we should, at least ensure a regime of corporate rules governing foreign participation similar to what obtains in nations of intending entrants, for our own good. The nation, the business and practice of outdoor advertising in Nigeria will the better for it.







With Joe Agbro Jr. 08056745268


Hello Children, Hope you are all doing fine after observing mid-term breaks. Do continue to enjoy yourself as you tackle the various games we offer.

How many words of three or more letters, each including the letter at centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram? We've found 29, including one nine-letter words.

PUZZLE • Some students and staff of Olashore International School, Iloko-Ijesa, Osun State at the point of no return at Ouidah, during an educational trip to Benin Republic recently

1) Mama glory has four children. One of them is Sun,the other is Moon,the third one is Star,so what is the name of the last child? 2) Some are poor some are rich ,but what makes everybody equal? 3) In a dream you where climbing a very tall tree. On getting to the top of the tree you saw a big snake that wants to bite you,at the process of escaping down you saw a hungry lion waiting for you. You are now trapped on the tree so what will you do? •Paul Sunday Nyiam Doctor’s quarters, Kasuk Qua Town, Calabar


NE professor of a newly established university was formally introduced to the students in Kauna Hall, department of Pure and Applied Physics Faculty of Science. The students were glad to have him as their new lecturer. Meanwhile, the professor had to resume duty the next hour. Here goes the dialogue between the professor and the students: First day Prof: Hello students Students: Hello sir, we are glad to have you, welcome sir. Prof: Do you know the topic we are to treat today? Students: No sir. Prof: There is no need teaching you what you don’t know, and he left the class.


Half-baked professor have already known, and he left the class Third day: Prof: Hello students Students: Hello sir. Prof: Do you know what we have today? Students: Yes sir, No sir, they all replied in confusion. Prof: In that case, those who know should teach those who don’t know and he left the class. • Sanni

Second day Prof: Hello students Students: Hello sir Prof: Do you know the topic we have today? Students: Yes sir. Prof: There is no need teaching you what you

By Adinoyi Mustapha Sanni, Government College, Ibadan, JSS 3 ANSWERS 1) Glory 2) Death 3) Wake up from the dream


At the local model boat club, four friends were talking about their boats. There were a total of eight boats, two in each colour; red, green, blue, and yellow. Each friend owned two boats. No friend had two boats of the same colour. A l a n didn't have a yellow boat. Brian didn't have a red boat, but did have a green one. One of

the friends had a yellow boat and a blue boat and another friend had a green b o a t and a b l u e boat. Charles had a yellow boat. Darren had a b l u e boat but didn't have a green one. Can you work out which friend had which coloured boats?

SUDOKU To play Sudoku:

Fill the box with the numbers 1 to 9 in a way that •Each column must contain all of the numbers 1 through 9 •Each row must contain all of the numbers 1 through 9 •Each block must contain all of the numbers 1 through 9 •No two numbers in the same column, row, or block can be the same.


1 8






8 3

6 2






8 4 1 Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to




3 5


7 6






By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

The reader’s writer Good day sir, I apologise for the timing of this message. I am enthralled and enchanted by your essays every Sunday. Somehow, The Nation newspaper has been so fortunate as to be blessed with stellar, hard-to-copy writers: Idowu Akinlotan, Brian Browne, Tatalo and not least, you sir. You writers always make my Sunday experience ethereal. Sir, I want you to guide me on how to become a legendary writer (how does one get to that point where words spill out, dripping with substance and style that relegates the shameful mediocrity in most Nigerian writers to the depths where they belong?) … I hope to hear from you, sir. Tosin A., 19. +2348093511***



THE GReggs

THE AVID reader and budding writer would find useful previous writing advice thus reproduced. It precedes long-intended counsel on advanced writing. For the benefit of the faithful reader and others with similar bent, I don the cloak of a writing expert with the permission of literary masters at home and abroad from whom I have gleaned much. For the obvious constraint of space, I cannot afford detailed explanation and must assume the reader’s familiarity with the basic rules of grammar and writing. I warn though that this composition, intended only as introductory material, is by no means exhaustive of the subject matter. And I begin by admonishing the concerned reader to peruse a variety of literary matter, from African writings to classical works from overseas. Study the different styles. Observe the movement and effect of verbs, the work of adjectives and adverbs, and lively function of all the other parts of speech. To succeed, you must reprise their roles in the fashion of your favourite writers or as your fancy leads, but subject to the rules. Let your essays, articles, short stories and other writings breath life, for much like the artist, your work is better appreciated if it connotes existence. Except when exercising poetic license, leave your audience in no doubt as to the setting of your story for a clear idea of scenes, people and places involved. Introduce conversation when you can, but ensure a logical sequence of speech. While you may experiment with imagination, remember that your goal is to ultimately inform and entertain the reader. To start with, write from experience, for your story is most credible when it sounds factual. Write fiction if you must, but be sure to ask and answer questions for the reader as you go along. Not sure of which to choose? Fret not. As the masters note, as long as humanity exists and experiences count, no literary piece is entirely fact or fiction. It’s a question of creating the right mix for the purpose intended. Now that you are ready to write, how about the right topic – a memorable experience, perhaps? A journey, dream, personality or favourite food, maybe. The subject can be anything, but better something you are qualified to comment on. So go ahead, in as many words as possible, or to the limit stipulated in case of publishing or competition, do justice to the topic. Arrange your ideas in logical paragraphs and alternate long sentences with short sentences while carefully using metaphors, similes and other figures of speech as well as some Latin or French expression for more colourful writing. Avoid repetition, redundant words and clichés, except when deployed for effect. Cross your ts and dot your is as you reread for grammatical mistakes and once you are satisfied you’ve got something worthwhile, put aside for some period to fallow. Now you are ready for a more objective revision. Read and reread sharply for possible reconstruction, or errors of commission and omission. At the point where the good first draft reverts to fair, your final draft emerges. Satisfied? Better reread once more. Good. Your serving is ready for consumption, but like the most inventive dish before a cynical gourmet, it may not entice. Nonetheless, you will improve, as great writers do, with criticism and effort. Who knows, that unforgettable poem, great short story or good book lies inside you, waiting to be read and reviewed worldwide. So, good luck to you. If you succeed, please mention me.

Jokes Humour Not So Helpful THE elevator in a building malfunctioned one day, leaving several people stranded. Seeing a sign that listed two emergency phone numbers, one lady dialled the first and explained the situation. After what seemed to be a very long silence, the voice on the other end said, “I don’t know what you expect me to do for you; I’m a psychologist.” “A psychologist?” the lady said. “Your phone is listed here as an emergency number. Can’t you help us?” “Well,” he responded in a measured tone. “How do you feel about being stuck in an elevator?” The Marriage PAULINA’S mother anxiously awaited her daughter at the airport. Paulina had just come back from a trip to an exotic island full of pristine white beaches, palm trees, beautiful natives and witchdoctors. As Paulina exited the plane, her mother noticed a man directly behind her dressed in feathers with exotic markings all over his body like a whitchdoctor’s and carrying

a shrunken head. Paulina introduced the man as her new husband. Her mother gasped out loud in disbelief and disappointment. “I told you to marry a rich doctor … a Rich Doctor!” Leaning Close ON a trip to the zoo, a visitor strolled by the cage of a laughing hyena and noticed that something didn’t seem quite right. A young man leaning over the bar at the edge of the cage appeared to whisper something in the animal’s direction. The visitor stepped closer. He heard the youth say, “Did you hear the one about ...” Lasting Secret ONE couple lived together for 60 years without a single argument. Their secret? They shared the same hearing aid.

QUOTE Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable. —Francis Bacon •Adapted from the Internet


SPARKING Writer ’s Fountain Y O U R DIALOGUE: One sign of a fine directions to convey to the reader, perhaps cabinetmaker is the deftness with which subconsciously, who is speaking and – sometimes – in what mood or manner. The he handles his nails. Each nail should do its job without modern convention is that inquits should calling attention to itself. The same might be invisible, like carpentry nails. To also be said about the dialogue tags we decorate our dialogue with colourful tags use when writing fiction, for example, ‘he like ‘he snortled’, ‘she chortled’, ‘they fumed’, or worse, ‘she beamed’, is perceived added, quickly’. Technically called ‘inquits’ or ‘turn today as clumsy. The reader trips over ancillaries’, dialogue tags act as stage them and falls out of the story. True, elaborate tags can be used to Animal notes: good effect when writing comedy or farce. •Cows are incapable of putting their lips “”Really, I kind of missed you, Elizabeth,” together to make sounds like humans, so he voiced in pretense’. But if you don’t they are actually saying “OOOOO” intend to be funny – or the humour doesn’t instead of “Moo” and they are usually work – the reader will yearn to hide your found lying down before it starts to rain, thesaurus. while they sweat through their noses. Step One: Don’t use dialogue tags at •Goldfish has visual acuity that enables all if it’s obvious from the context who’s it to differentiate between humans. speaking. If it’s not obvious, a volley of •Blood sucking hookworms inhabit 700 innocuous inquits like ‘he said’, ‘she said’, million people worldwide. and the like, may be forgiven. They’re stage •Dogs can’t decipher size. That’s why directions, supposed to be invisible. But little dogs are mean. they’re boring. Sometimes, you do need to •Bulls are colourblind. It is the motion convey the manner in which a character of the cape by the bullfighter that angers speaks, and without using too many them. adverbs – the sign of an amateur writer.



Egbin, a community living at the edge

—PAGE 53

Traffic jam ‘supermarket’ Nigeria gives rise to new things on a daily basis. For many, commuting daily from home to work is time consuming. Precious time is usually wasted and this is characterised by traffic congestion. Yetunde Oladeinde and Olamide Lois Akiode take a look at ‘traffic supermarket’ which is one of the fallouts of the daily traffic jam.


OHNSON Alade is a company executive. He works with one of the oil companies in the Lekki axis of Lagos and lives in Ikorodu. He has been working with the oil firm for over 15 years, although when he joined the company his pay was big compared to his colleagues who joined the other sectors of the economy. He decided to quickly invest in building a house to his taste. He bought a piece of land in the outskirts of Ikorodu, the land is made up of three plots. On it he got an architect friend to landscape and design a modest house for him and has been living there for the last 10 years. Although now as a senior executive in the oil firm he works for he could afford to rent a house in Lekki or Victoria Island, he decided against this because he felt his own property that he designed for himself to suit his taste is enough. He, therefore, decided to live there despite the inconveniences he had to go through to get to and fro office on a daily basis. To cushion the effect he employed a driver so he could sleep throughout the trip. Due to this tough schedule, he spends most of his time in the traffic commuting from Ikorodu to the Lekki corridor on a daily basis. Alade is not alone. Mrs. Joke Oluwatise, a mother of three is a secretary working at the head office of a new generation bank at the Victoria Island. She leaves her house in the Sango area of Ogun State at 5am daily to meet her 8am resumption time and may not get back home until 9 or 10pm on a daily basis. Alade and Oluwatise are the typical 8to5 workers in Lagos who spend most of their time in traffic and have to juggle their time between the hectic traffic and fulfilling their responsibilities as parents - either as wife or father. For them the weekend is usually a time to rest and catch up with other family engagements that might have escaped their attention during the week. It is also the time they use to do some little shopping and buy things. Most of their shoppings are done in the ubiquitous Lagos traffic jam! A supermarket for all things So what can you shop for in traffic? Many residents Lagos do their shopping on the streets in the traffic. Sesan Ajayi, a trader said, “Never underestimate the power of the traffic supermarket. You can get almost everything sellable under the sun.

•Street hawkers

From bottle water, belts, boxers, phone chargers, blenders, doormats, basketball set, dog chains, books and even toilet seats.” Interestingly, it also includes street stalls where you can quickly buy a recharge card. “When you buy recharge cards in the traffic, it is because you want to reach out to someone urgently. Unfortunately, a number of the recharge cards sold in traffic are not good. By the time you realise this, it is almost too late and you just cannot trace the person again,” Ajayi added. Many articles are on sale in the Lagos traffic. Colorful sunglasses and other victual and

the price can be as cheap as they come. A pair of a colorful sunglass can go for as low as N500 from a first price of N3000! In the heavy traffic a young man appears from nowhere and pushes a pack of rat poison across advertising its efficacy: “ Dis one na kill and dry. Na bomb!” As he opens his mouth to convince you further, you notice that his mouth smelled strongly of local gin (ogogoro). “Na wah o! You people dey do as if you no get rat for house. You better buy one and stop all this yeye shakara wey una dey do,” he advises. The traffic eases and he was gone. Guess

it was good riddance for all. But he was not alone; here you find another set of hawker quaffing the stuff with their wares nearby. They all run towards the vehicle and simultaneously they ask if you want to buy whatever it was that they were carrying. A lady swoops on the car in front of ours with a set of kitchen knives for sale. The driver is startled and he quickly pulls up the car glasses. You are at a bend and the road is quite narrow, cars, buses and the motorcycles (okada) are jostling for space. It also affects pedestrian flow and there is confusion in the air as those affected hurl abuses at each other. In the process, a teenage girl hawking oranges is pushed over. Oh dear! She squats low to pick the dirty oranges in a polythene bag but some were just ‘irredeemable’. Next you wonder if she was going to take them home to report the loss or was she going to find water to wash and later sell them off. You can be sure that she is most likely to do the latter. A middle aged man shows up this time around and guess what; he is selling door mats, belts and napkins. As if she was reading your mind, she says “If you don’t need this one I have other things”, she says in Yoruba thrusting a pack of pants in your face. Embarrassed? “No that is not the motive. They just want to sell something to somebody as fast as possible”, an older woman says apologetically. The traffic flows once more and you are spared from the ordeal of buying oversized pants that you do not need. The traffic is faster now but the supermarket is not yet closed. A motorist who is obviously starv•Continue on Page 54




Egbin, a community living at the edge Egbin community in Ikorodu, Lagos State is home to Nigeria’s biggest thermal electricity plant. The community sees rays of light on a daily basis but does not enjoy the luxury. Taiwo Abiodun visit the community and reports N the streets of Egbin, a semi rural community on the outskirts of Lagos, electric cables dangle on poles while transformers dot the landscape. Going further into the community, the splashing sound of the lagoon sounds as natural music for the environment. There is no doubt that the thermal station has made the community famous. But beyond the fame and despite hosting a large thermal station it lives in pitch darkness. At night residents see rays of light illuminating surrounding high brow communities such as Lekki, Ajah, Victoria Island and some others in bright illuminating lights while they live in darkness. They have resorted to purchasing generators to power their electric gadgets. The darkness has made residents to cry out for attention to save them from perpetual darkness. A few said they have resigned themselves to fate. “For weeks our bulbs did not blink. In fact, we don’t seem to be living in the 21st century. We are still living in a Stone Age”, a mechanic who begged for anonymity said amidst roars of laughter. He added “I don’t know when last I ironed my clothes. Our foodstuff in the fridge have spoilt while we have exhausted our purse from buying fuel everyday for those who can afford it. This is no thanks to lack of electricity.” Ironically, at night they see bright ray of light at the other end of the lagoon, while the town that supplies the light is in pitch darkness! Egbin Thermal Power Station supplies light to others but cannot do same to its host community. A tale of two settlements Egbin fate reminds one of Kainji Dam, Niger State the dam which is located in New Bussa did not supply its host town light for many years but was supplying other towns, cities and countries. In Egbin, according to Ade Ahmed, artisans have turned into Okada riders, while those who cannot afford to buy one have become idle or turned to crimes.

•An area in Egbin community




“Those running restaurants have either abandoned the business while generators of all sizes and make are competing with one another. We are battling with their noise and air pollution here, the air is polluted, and the question on everybody ‘s lips are what is Egbin thermal doing here? We are being cheated as they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg,” he lamented. Mama Chukwudi, a hair dresser said, “We are really suffering and here we are complaining, nobody has listened to our plight. That is the situation in Egbin, a suburb that distributes power but has never enjoyed it even for a day!” She added, “They did not give us meter yet they collect meter maintenance and I don’t know what they are maintaining.” She believes the community is neglected because the authorities think more money can be generated from other surrounding communities than in Egbin. Mr Ibrahim Malomo in annoyance said, “When we see


the vast mass of water one would be seeing Lekki with full electricity at night at the other side. It is just the opposite while we who generate light do not see any to consume, the mighty ones at the other end are consuming it, is this fair?” Another hair dresser who identified herself simply as Mama Caroline said the neglect of the community was due to the fact that they are poor. “Lekki, Ikoyi and Ajah axis always have electricity supply because of the rate of their consumption of the power. There, they have companies that can consume the electricity and that is why they give them light always but here in Egbin we only have our television sets , radios and few things that could consume power, so we are not very important to be given light!” “Artisans are suffering mothers are feeling the heat while the town is in total darkness. This same Egbin few years ago was supplying neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Cameroon and Togo light” lamented Toyin Akin who

said she sells bags in the area. “Although I sell bags and don’t need electricity for that but what of when I get home? This is too bad. Yet there’s nobody out there to pity us.” Mrs. Iyabo Ologundudu who runs a restaurant in the town said “we suffer from lack of light here. There has been no electricity for three weeks. In fact, all what we have in the freezer have all been destroyed. My sales have dropped. Before I used to make over N35,000 a day but now with lack of light I make only N5,000! Whereas the Egbin PHCN would have light for 24 hours. It was funny when few weeks ago they came out with their megaphone to announce to the public that there is no light in their compound , and that we should bear with them as if we had light before. Few hours later when their light was restored they did not say anything again and we were left in total darkness “ Kehinde Muritala , a welder said , “we are at a loss when there is no light in this community we are really suffering, when there is light I don’t make much gain not to talk of when there is no light.

The type of generator I can use for my job costs about N1.2million and I cannot afford to buy such.” Uncooperative attitude of Egbin Staff However, a staff of the Egbin Thermal Station confided in this reporter that the station only generates power while Ikorodu, Ikeja and some stations are those that distribute what is generated from there. He added, “The power to distribute the light lies on the distributors. These distributors are directed by the ogas at the top where to distribute their light to. The command is from the top. Do you know that some of these senior bosses here are just figure heads as they have no power to either complain or react to many issues like where they should supply power?” This is not the first time the community members are complaining. Last year the youths, chiefs and community leaders protested against not having light and did not allow members of House of Representatives Committee on Power on inspection tour led by the chairman Patrick Ikhariale in order to examine the state of the plant and the level of implementation of the project earmarked in the 2012 project thermal, the irate youths stopped them from entering the town saying the station has for a long time not given them light while Mike Uzoigwe, an engineer and chief executive officer of the station escaped being lynched by the irate mob. When The Nation reporter visited the station, he was directed to see the Public Relations Officer but she said she has no power to talk to the press and directed the reporter back to the CEO. However, when the reporter contacted the CEO’s secretary in his office she again directed him back to the PRO, who in turn insisted that her boss is in charge. After series of telephone messages and phone calls to the CEO without any response, the reporter left the premises in frustration. Meanwhile, residents of Egbin continue to live in darkness, a classical case of living at the bank of a river and washing the hand with spittle.




ALWAYS thought love was love, no matter where you were in the world. I learned differently when I was based in New Delhi for two months in 2006. On my fifth day in the country, one of my new colleagues told me he was in love with me and had been from the moment I walked into the office. This conversation took place in a hotel room in Agra. I had mentioned on my third day at work that I wanted to see the Golden Triangle (the cities of New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal) that weekend. My colleague volunteered to accompany me. Actually, he didn’t volunteer. He said: “I’ve never seen the Taj Mahal. I’ll go with you.” It was a little weird, but mostly I felt relieved. I’ve traveled on my own a lot, but India is a tricky place, especially for a single white female. Having a local accompany me on my first adventure sounded great. It wasn’t until we were in the train heading to Jaipur that I realized he might have motives other than seeing a monument an hour away that he hadn’t bothered to visit. But I wasn’t averse to a tryst. I had come to India in part to get past my last relationship, which had not ended well. A fling on my first weekend in the country seemed like a good start. Nothing happened the first night. On the second night, in Agra, we decided to split a room to save money. Before long we were kissing, and it occurred to me that we should discuss our relationship before things went further. We worked together, after all, and it could be awkward on Monday if we didn’t set some ground rules. So I stopped him and said we needed to talk. He said, “Yes,” and then, “I love you.” Needless to say, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I asked him how he could possibly love me when he didn’t know me. He said he didn’t need to know me. I said I was a difficult, complicated person. He said he didn’t care who I was. In retrospect, that admission should have bothered me more than it did. Instead it felt romantic and exotic and like something one didn’t say no to when one was in India for two months and trying to mend a broken heart. A week later I started to have reservations. When I told him I wasn’t sure this was going to work out, he looked distraught, drew me to him and said, “Don’t leave me.” Given how little time we had spent together, I didn’t even realize I was in a position to leave him, but I couldn’t do so then. I put my arms around him and told him not to worry, that everything would be O.K. And that’s how I ended up in a serious relationship with someone I barely knew, and who seemed to have little interest in really knowing me. And how I learned that love is not a universal language after all. It’s cultural and it’s specific. In India, at least for my new boyfriend, love didn’t lead to commitment; love was commitment. It was a leap of faith made by two people to stick it out no matter what. From that first conversation in Agra, it seemed like a crazy approach to me. And yet there I was: 40, single, a string of broken relationships. The wait-and-see strategy wasn’t exactly panning out. I decided to try it his way for a change. It was certainly more romantic, at least in the beginning. My Indian boyfriend fed me the loveliest lines, the ones only the heroines in movies get, that you never hear in real life. And though he may have borrowed every last one of them from Bollywood, or his pirated Hollywood DVDs, I think he meant them. That first night, for example, I told him I was probably too old to have children. He told me he didn’t care; families come in all shapes and sizes. (A little cheesy, perhaps, but my last serious relationship had ended over the child issue. He claimed he wasn’t ready. I felt like I was running out of time. I loved him, so I waited, and waited, until it finally dawned on me that running out of time, for him, was the whole point.) So I admit it, I was moved. The next morning we woke at 5 a.m. to see the Taj Mahal, a universal symbol of everlasting


What’s alikeness got to doxwith it?

Culled from New York Times By LAURA SILVERMAN

love, in the first light of day. Two months later I returned to the United States, and four months after that, drawn by a job offer and my Indian boyfriend, I moved to Mumbai, where he soon joined me in an apartment I had rented. Little by little, we got to know each other. In India, had we married, we would have been able to tell people ours was a “love marriage” as opposed to an arranged one (it is a surprisingly common question). But other than not having been introduced by our parents, I saw little difference. Living with this practical stranger, I felt like a character in a Jhumpa Lahiri story, slowly getting to know the likes, dislikes, habits, and quirks of this man who was sharing my bed, bathroom and life practically from the word hello. But had it been a Jhumpa Lahiri story, the budding knowledge would have morphed over time into a mutual fondness, and, incrementally, into love. This didn’t happen to me. Instead, as time wore on, I became increasingly aware of how different we were. When I went back to New York for a visit and realized that all of my friends, even the relatively recent ones, understood me better than my boyfriend, I knew there was a problem. But every time I broached the issues in our relationship, he wouldn’t hear it. In his mind, we had made our choice, we had made a commitment to each other, and he

wasn’t going to let my shallow Western desire for a shared sense of humor or common way of seeing the world tear that apart. We started to fight a lot, and each time it came down to the same thing: Did we have enough in common? (That would be me.) Did it matter? (That would be him.) In the end, I always gave in. He made some good points. We had built a home together, one with pleasant routines and ample socializing. We got on with each other’s friends. We loved to travel and traveled well together. But more than anything he ever said, I think what made it so hard for me to leave was the sheer force of his commitment. In my whole life, nobody had ever fought so hard for me. It was unfortunate that the person doing so didn’t get my jokes or know what to say when I was down. On the other hand, to be able to do or say anything, no matter how horrible (and I was horrible — I said hateful things) and still be forgiven, and know I would be forgiven ... I had never felt so secure in a relationship. He didn’t get me, but no matter what, he would never let me go. Until he did. To be fair, I pushed him away. After two years in India, I moved back to the United States. My mother’s health had taken a bad turn, and I wanted to be with her. He wanted to come too, of course, but I needed time away. I couldn’t sort through

my feelings while he stood in all his absolute certainty right next to me. It was too seductive and too confusing. So I left him in India, with vague protestations about needing to clear my head and figure things out and all manner of clichés that made absolutely no sense to him. He said O.K. (what choice did he have?), but as soon as I arrived home, he was calling and sending text -messages, wanting to know where we stood and when would I get my head cleared out and what was going on anyway? With the distance, and back in my own cultural landscape, his determination came to feel more obsessive than romantic. I cut his calls short, refused to talk about our relationship. When he forced the discussion, I told him it wasn’t working. I started to contemplate other men, and fantasize about his meeting someone else, just so he would back down. I wanted it to be over. But on a deeper level, I must have believed that wasn’t an option and that he would be there no matter what I said or did. I guess in some way I was relying on that fact. Because when his e-mail arrived one morning saying he had met another woman and was ready to move on, I felt punched. Did I ever love my Indian boyfriend? I don’t know. I do know that I was smitten with his love for me.

Traffic jam ‘supermarket’ •Continue from Page 51

ing sights a ‘gala merchant’ having his siesta under a tree and beckons. The vehicle moves on before he gets there and frantically, the hawkers runs after his potential customer in frenzy. He falls with wares spilling all over and drivers that could be compared to modern day Good Samaritan applied their brakes allowing him to pick the pieces together. Luckily, he does this in a jiffy and still manages to catch up with his customer. Another treat was close by, it was a trailer honking like a lunatic and he quickly crossed over to the other side. Well, the stress was worth the while; he had sold over a dozen pieces in less than three minutes. Regina Okpofe, a banker tells you that she hardly finds time to shop because of her busy schedule. “So most times, I do all my shopping in traffic. The Mallams now pack items like tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots in polythene bags. It saves me a lot of time but the only snag is that sometimes the items are not as fresh as you would have

loved them to be”. Like Okpofe, Tolu Akinsola tells you that she has been a victim a number of times and so she has vowed never to shop in the traffic again. “There was a day I saw this lovely wrist watch in traffic and I bought it. Unfortunately, when I got home, I realised that it wasn’t working and in the place where the batteries should be, I found some stones.” Akinsola continues: “One other place that I have vowed never to buy things is in the bus. Here you find a number of people hawking all kinds of miracle drugs.” Convincingly, he marketed it this way: “This is a golden opportunity. This drug is not just a blood purifier; it does many things at the same time. It is just N100 for each sachet; you can never get it for the same price in the market’, Unfortunately, I bought something that totally disorganized my system. Of course, they put expiry dates on some of these items but you can sure that those dates were forged”. The bespectacled lady goes on to tell you that things are better now than they were in

the past. “I think things are getting better. In the past, people hawked all kinds of things and it was common to find blood touts on streets close to public hospitals. They were always loitering about waiting for anybody who needed human blood. I know that the government has tried to bring sanity to street trading but you see they exist because there are needs to be met.” In some parts of the world street and public trading is well managed and consumers have a level of protection. They issue licenses to traders and check that they follow certain guidelines to operate. These guidelines are usually set out in the country’s local bylaws. In legal terms a hawker is defined as ‘any person who carries or takes about any goods, wares or merchandise for sale not in pursuance of any invitation.’ Alade and Oluwatise would continue to shop in traffic for as long as their work places does not allow them to get home early and visit their chopice supermarkets except during public holidays.




EOPLE here once were loud and travelers left afterglow trails


Whispering for more Y

OU made the shortlist for the Caine Prize this year. How would you describe the event leading to the shortlist? because there was Well, I don’t know where to much bread start. I suppose you could say it and much more to breed started with me writing the story memory threatened memory and that was a long time back. Almost 10 years ago, actually not the flux variety when I was an undergraduate. I of turbulence forgot about it thereafter until a but the boon rivalry of good times flexing to overthrow friend, several years down the line, asked me to do something about good times the story because he read it and couldn’t forget it. So I picked it up you inscribed style and grace and dusted it and added it to my to which the mind collection of short stories. I was forenthralled tunate to find publishers who are waited to imitate absolutely passionate about puboverwhelmed lishing and who believed in local lay prostrate to knowledge talents, if you like, and we worked on publishing my collection of for Africa short stories. We thought it would you anointed yourself be nice to enter it for the Caine a worthy John the Baptist Prize and that was what hapof neon paths pened. And now here we are. parting ways with the shrines The Whispering Trees sounds of a time-honoured past arresting. How did you come to that title? charting new vistas Well, the first time I wrote the to illuminate new spots story, I titled it ‘Redyscovery’, with for memory a ‘Y’ in the middle just as in Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones now you burden Are Not Yet Born. I was just being your chronicle stylish, of course. But when I dewith a sullied spoon cided to pick it up and work on it several years later, I thought the in every nook and cranny stasis served original title was ridiculous so I we strive in vain to see the ghost changed it to The Whispering Trees of past blazes because that is where the main character Salim goes and discovwhy did you maim ers himself; it is the special place your god of innovation where he goes to find his life’s and lance the promise purpose and I think all of us have of your birth marks? that special place where we find our purpose in life, perhaps in our on refuse-strewn streets hearts or elsewhere, and I thought we lament the cracked that would resonate with people. edifice I would like to think we all have in you The Whispering Trees inside of us, history disables prophesy waiting to be discovered, if we haven’t discovered it yet. Eventurather ally, when my short story colleclet the neon times of old tion was going to be published by ignite our forest of dreams Parresia, it seemed like an appropriate title for the book, it was a special story to me for some sentimental reasons. So we went with EITHER mercy nor love it. counted which I abbreviated your day If you win the prize, what will I have neither to give you do with it? Well, I really don’t know bemy soul perpetually longs cause I haven’t allowed myself to amidst parched brewers think that far ahead. The way ask my father or mother things are, four other people have or the guardian of the street a very good chance of winning it, of my breeding including my good friend, Elnathan John, who has tried hard every meal and has never won anything. And and every night of sleep that is kind of depressing, I am soaked with blood trails sure, so I am keeping my fingers I, a potential prey daring dens crossed for him. I docked the feints of fate In any case, it would be akin to in creeks of terror counting ones chicks before they bread and butter proceeded are hatched. What happens if you neither from God nor scripture make plans for when you win and but from my bare-handed you end up not winning? I think adventures the disappointment would be twofolds. For now, I am keeping my so weep or whimper head down and facing the reality, little girl which to me includes doing my but I have no ears job, finishing my novel, which I faint I have no pharmacy have been working on for some speak time, and living my life. I have no philosophy Parresia almost opened her doors with your book. What is your tears and tragedy are my debt of gratitude to them? vital tools for toils They didn’t almost open the I’m sorry Poems by Sam Omatseye door with me; they opened the warriors, merchants, idealists stoked your pot


Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s The Whispering Trees made the shortlist of Caine Prize for African Writing for this year. Abubakar, who is published by Parresia books, in this online interview with Edozie Udeze and Hannah Ojo, bares his mind on African fiction, the idea behind the Caine Prize and lots more




door with me. When they approached me they had not published anything at all so I was a bit skeptical. But I thought it was bold on their part to reach out and say ok, this is what we want

to do and we want to start with you. Azafi and Richard have so much passion for books, they have so much faith in my work and I have faith in them. I am happy that this story has been

“But then a year later, a Nigerian wins it and the year after there are four Nigerians on the shortlist. For me, personally, it is quite remarkable to put the country in the news for the right reasons, to give Nigerians reasons to believe in this country, in themselves. I am quite pleased to be part of that”

shortlisted; it is a vindication of their faith and their passion in what they do. We have so much potential in this country and I think what we need is to believe in ourselves. So yes, of course, I am grateful Parresia and I found each other and I am very pleased that we have come this far. The fact that this is the only story on the shortlist published in Africa also makes it special. With four Nigerians on the shortlist, what do you think it says about Nigerian writers? I think it says what we’ve always known, perhaps a little more vivaciously, that there is so much talent in this country; that there is hope for us as a people, that there is a future for Nigerian literature that with the right structures in place, this country and its citizens can excel. But then again, such things are not always easy to determine. In 2011, there wasn’t a single Nigerian on the shortlist and many people felt it heralded a bleak period in our literary growth. But then a year later, a Nigerian wins it and the year after there are four Nigerians on the shortlist. For me, personally, it is quite remarkable to put the country in the news for the right reasons, to give Nigerians reasons to believe in this country, in themselves. I am quite pleased to be part of that. When do we expect your next work of fiction? My next work? Well, I have been working on a novel for some time and it is almost ready. My publishers, Parresia, are looking forward to bringing it out early next year, first quarter of 2014, so possibly it will be out by then. But then when it comes to books and publishing, there are so many dynamics involved which makes it difficult to say for certain. But in any case, my part is to write the novel, which I have done. The rest depends on the dynamics of publishing, but for now, I would say early next year, as Parresia would want it. Is fiction writing really interesting to you? That is a curious question. I suppose you could say it is my life, essentially. I do a lot of nonfiction writing in my day job, which is characterised by long, irregular hours. I get home, sometimes quite late, and I sit down and write fiction late into the night, I imprison myself over weekends to write fiction, when I am not travelling or engaged in other activities. So for one willing to sacrifice his sleep and his weekends to write fiction, I think it is quite clear that fiction does not only interest him but drives him. So at the risk of sounding like a freak, I would say fiction writing does not only interest me, it is this wild, raging passion that defines who and what I am.




Using culture to curb insecurity

•Children performing at the occasion

For the nation to surmount its many security issues, culture of dialogue, respect for one another and more can be imbibed in the youths on time. Edozie Udeze writes on the role of culture in curbing insecurity in the land as espoused in children’s cultural performances organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation in Lagos last week


HE Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, has said that for the nation to make meaningful progress and impart the culture of respect in the youths, there must be total emphasis on hardwork, diligence, honesty and trust. He made this remark penultimate week in Lagos, while addressing school children during the International Children’s Day cultural programme, organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC). With the theme of the celebration as: Does culture have a role to play in curbing insecurity in Nigeria?, Oba Kiladejo charged parents, teachers and government at all levels to foster programmes that will keep the children on the right track. He said: “To make the kids what we want them to be for the benefit of all, we need to train them well, we need to inculcate in them the culture of respect, transparency and love for one another. It is what we give to them that they will plough back into the society.” The programme which saw over sixty schools in attendance offered the children the opportunity to engage in debates, poetic recitations, dance drama and other cultural performances. The whole essence was to encourage them instill positive habits, attitudes and behaviours necessary for change that will make them better leaders of tomorrow. When the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) instituted the Children’s Day many years ago, the whole focus was on the need to re-engineer efforts towards ensuring that the children were given the appropriate values for their future. This was why the theme was chosen to identify areas of societal problems as they concern family values, governance and societal well-being.

•L-R: Dosumu, Babawale, Bolarin and Kiladejo at the occasion

According to Professor Tunde Babawale, the Director-General of CBAAC said, “we are doing this in appreciation of the importance of children to human society and development. Our interest and investments in children and youth programmes are also encouraged by the fact that children are malleable. They can be shaped and turned into positive torch-bearers of society who can help in facilitating societal growth and development.” In consonance with this principle, the topic for the debate indeed generated a lot of steam. The school children who marshalled out their points with a lot of confidence and articulation told the gathering that if government does the right things, the youths will be too busy to engage in crime. To them, an idle mind is a playground for the devil. Through the debate, the kids challenged the government to look inwards to right the wrongs of the past by providing water, light, jobs, good education, hospital facilities and more, to make the society a better place for all. Good governance and peace, they argued, go together. When there is culture of fear and respect in the society; when the children can copy good conducts from their elders, when truth becomes the norm and people are made to work for the money they earn, there will be less emphasis on greed. Then the society would have been built on the foundation of transparency. This was the centre-piece of the argument presented by the schools. However, in commending the schools and their parents for the large turn-out, Babawale opined: “Our kids must be made boys and girls of good breeding as demanded by our culture. Such properly bred individuals are de-

scribed in Igbo as Ezigbonwa, in Hausa as Mutum Kirki and in Yoruba as Omoluabi… So, we need to build in them these attributes of dialogue, reconciliation, peaceful co-existence and accommodation which usually characterise our culture. This is why their submissions today will be taken to government to enrich government’s response to the problem besetting this nation, both now and in the nearest future.” In his address, the Minister of Culture, Chief Edem Duke, noted that the topic was carefully chosen to let children see the futility of crises and the benefits inherent in a peaceful co-existence. “In many ways, culture can arrest the drift of our society to chaos. Culture can create and promote positive constructive engagement through dialogue which in turn can facilitate reconciliation, peace and societal stability.” Believing that the application of culture can help nip violence in the bud, Duke said: “culture tourism can also create jobs and build societal cohesion. Through cultural activities that can constantly engage young people, values are transmitted, dialogue is enhanced and peace is entrenched within the society.” In the end, schools that emerged the best were awarded prizes and gifts. They included Topgrade Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos which came first. It was followed by Mbari Mbayo Secondary School, Jibowu and New Star Rays College, Badagry which came second and third respectively. Some of the culture eggheads present at the occasion included: Erelu Abiola Dosumu, Oba Dakun Abolarin of Oke-Ila, Osun State, Sarah Boulos, Jimi Solanke whose band entertained guests, Lady Vicky Njoku and many more.

Giving meaning to ‘madness’


OETRY is subjective, a romance the poet engages with himself. But, when 18 undergraduates with diverse backgrounds and just a unifying thread amongst them come together to express the innermost thoughts in a poetry anthology, then such collection can only be eclectic. Such were my thoughts as I read Our Legacy Of Madness, an anthology produced by The Weavers Club of the University of Lagos. As the most personal form of literature, poetry becomes the first romance burgeoning literature enthusiasts engage in. The book is expressive of the dreams, desires, and life which the youth, future leaders of tomorrow, find themselves. And with no central theme, poems in the book range from cherry dispositions to melancholy, from city hustles to the rural inclines of nature, these poets bare their minds, offering a plethora of vistas to life, nay Nigerian life. For instance, it is easy to visualise Nigeria and Nigerians in Olumide Ayodele’s poem, Our United-Dividedness. He writes: In the past/ Many mouths tasted much meat from many hands/ And many bellies smiled in unison/ Whistling me/ Whistling us/ Whistling us/ At present/ A thousand tongues are scarred/ By the skin of soured grapes/ Their bellies testified to the festering worms within/ Screaming me/ Skimming you/ Goat-footedly apart. Also, Chinaza Amaeze Okoli, expresses oneness with nature in his poem, On The Niger Bridge, with lines like I long to watch you spurt/And leap above my eyes. However, in another poem entitled, Name In The Rear, he bears a forlorn frustration at his country, and encapsulates how the pains


By Joe Agbro Jr.

of citizenship is made light with jokes. And reflecting on man’s life on earth, Yemisi Onanuga’s poem, Choice, simply evokes a sense of humanity’s freedom. Onanuga writes that ‘one thing is constant and that is choice.’ The poet then contends that, ‘And even choosing not to choose is a choice of decision.’ So diverse are the expressed themes in the anthology, as multifarious as life itself, that finding a poem to connect to, is not too difficult. And being young people, there is also of touch of adventure, perception of history and the reality of living the present. These are perhaps the main ingredients that make the book tick. No doubt, we live in maddening times and the potpourri of voices in Our Legacy of Madness perhaps confirm one thing – this is a season of ‘madness.’

Playing on love

WO Plays written by Femi Onileagbon situates two plays that took place in a society where love is neither true nor false. Each story plays on love in a funny way as to lampoon a people who do not really understand the true concept of love. While in the first play entitled Killed Love, we see Marie, Ife’s fiancée killing love in a family where there was peace before her arrival. In the second play entitled The Marriage, love moves from the arena of the common man to the palace. Marie is a modern day woman whose love is not only to win and take over, she goes all out there to take over Ife, line, hook and sinker, bewitching him and sucking his blood in the process. As love progresses in their day-to-day activities, Marie is not content with love alone but how to hoodwink Ife to forget his people or even forget himself to be hers completely and unrestrainedly. Even when people around them are not convinced about this type of love, Marie is hell bent on ensuring that no one ever interferes in her love affair with Ife. In the end, Ife loses his life in the process. Then the playwright asks: “Is it true the love that kills to live? Marie says so too after Ife has given up the ghost: “Now he is completely mine”! Now no one can take him

By Edozie Udeze

away from me. Not his family, not the women, not the supermarket, not the phone calls, not the rain, not even you can take him away now. Love is forever mine now!” In The Marriage, Princess Faderera falls in love after many years of being too choosey. But it is the palace jester who makes the play a pleasant one. He tells the King about the suitor and how the Princess manipulated him to submission. Yet is delights the King, Ipadeola, that his precious daughter has now chosen to settle down to start her own home. However, the way the clown or palace jester goes about the story intrigues the King to no end. The spicing gives life to the play. This is a total story of love where there is a conviction that a Princess has finally discovered love. Akanni, the jester surmises it like this: “In the end, there is plenty to eat and drink. Oh, by the way, you too are invited to come and chop’. This is a story of a people long engaged in wars, but again true love has conquered all that now. Princess Federera’s marriage has now ushered in moments of peace for the Kingdom. Onileagbon, a poet and playwright says the play is done to help encourage the rebirth of dramas in secondary and primary schools in Nigeria. “This is the highway to getting the standard of education back on track,” he says.



'My efforts to reform Celestial Church' Prophet Israel Ogundipe is one of the young, dynamic leaders in the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC). The shepherd-in-charge of Genesis Model International, CCC , Alakuko, Lagos spoke with Sunday Oguntola on how he is trying to change ''barbaric practices and doctrines" in the church. Excerpts:



OU were in the banking sector. Why did you leave? Yes, I was in the bank for three years. The last place I worked was Gateway Bank Plc in Abeokuta before it went under. I came back to Lagos then and concentrated on tilling. I had passion for tilling because when I was in school, I used proceeds from it to keep body and soul together. Can you talk briefly on your background? I attended Universal College of Technology, Ile Ife, Osun State. Even when I graduated, I was still into tilling. I did it until I was called in 2000. I was actually born into a Muslim family. My Muslim name was Wasiu but my parents got converted. They joined Christ Gospel Apostolic Church (CGAC) and my mother became a deaconess. My father happened to be a deacon there too while I used to play instruments in the church. But I used to attend this Celestial Church and the man in charge was like a father to me. His name is Prophet Femi Shoyoye. He loves children and youths. I was playing in-

Nihinlola heads Baptist seminary

struments that day when I went into a trance. Later, the gift of prophecy came and miracles started happening. How easy was it for you to run a Celestial Church considering your pentecostal background? I never desired to have a church but people started gathering. They suggested we start a fellowship, which we did. But it was challenging from day one because I wasn't born into the Celestial Church. I was operating differently from what people expected. I added my pentecostal background to what I met on the ground, which elicited a lot of criticism from the people on ground. When they started seeing the hands of God and found nothing incriminating about me, they started becoming more open. And your parents accepted the movement without any fuss? A lot of CGAC members, of course, met them and said they should kick against it. But my father is a liberal Christian. He stood his ground and said he believed God must have sent me to the CCC for a


reason. He believes there is no Church in heaven. So, they accepted it and support me 100 percent. So, how well have you assimilated the CCC culture? I believe the Church has its own doctrines but, of course, I have seen some barbaric beliefs among some CCC members too. Some people brought in what the founder did not receive. So, I have been close to the leaders and realised there are good doctrines here. I know the rules, especially major things like why we are not wearing shoes and the use of white garments. They are all in the Bible. My own is raising a people of values and preparing them for transformation. There are things, however, that we don't do here. Like what and what? We don't restrict people to come based on whether or not they have white garments. If you come here during service days, you will find more people with muftis. Some of them were in the CCC before but left when they saw some abuses. They are comfortable worshipping with you now. We don't do stream-bathing or cleansing. I believe that it's barbaric and uncalled for. You may bath, but can you bath away bad character? If you lack values, it is all a waste of time. What kinds of reformations are you bringing to the CCC? Well, I am just trying to change the notion that the Church is barbaric and fetish. Before we applied more energy but now we need more strategies. When you apply strategies, you do more creativity and spirituality. We teach people a lot of the Bible here. We do marriage seminars, youth empowerment, women fellowship and run a leadership school. We just graduated some people from courses like management, finance, delegation and personal development. We tell people not every problem is caused by witches and wizards. So, we ask people to be value-driven and be purposeful. Being here was never my choice; it was the will of God. I believe that what I am enjoying is the grace of God. I have embraced wisdom and allowed God have His way. We also do not do spiritual isola-

tion for people. Once we finish services, everyone goes home. When we have special retreats, people are encouraged to take hotel accommodations around and never sleep in the Church. There is nowhere here that people cannot go to. We only have our altar, which is always not accessible to everyone in other churches too. We don't have any shrine or special praying ground. We are just guarding against the many abuses that have been seen in the CCC. You are one of the most criticised preachers in CCC. Why is that? You know when you are trying to introduce reforms, you will be singled out for attacks. We love rumours and grape vines. We love celebrating people's shames and pulling down those on top. Since we don't go to streams, we start our Sunday Service for 10am and end 12noon, there are bound to be criticisms. We also empower women and youths so they are sure to misinterpret our intentions. Nobody likes those who are ahead. They want to do everything to assassinate your character. Are you still in touch with your pentecostal root? I have many friends in the pentecostal churches. Some of them have been here to minister. I also get invitations to minister in pentecostal churches. I minister with my sultana, not because I have to but because I always like people to know who I am. I tell them if they are not comfortable with my sultana, they can let me be. My mentors are Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, Bishop T.D Jakes and Pastor Paul Adefarasin. So, you will know my pentecostal roots are still intact. I read a lot because a reader is always a leader. Many people thought I was going to change the church to pentecostal when we started but here we are today. I am a reformist and I am prepared to step out of the comfort zone. Tell me what really happened about the case of the people who were involved in a fire accident in your Church that went viral in the media? The Bible says by their fruits, you will know them. Anytime you want to go to a


OREMOST ministerial training institution, The Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS) Ogbomoso, Oyo State has a new president. He is Dr EmiolaNihinlola, who until the new appointment was the Rector,

Baptist College of Theology, Lagos. Born on September 12, 1958, Nihinlola attended Ilorin Grammar School for his West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination (WASCE) from 1973 to 1977. He proceeded to the

ObafemiAwolowo University, Ife where he bagged a BSc degree in Biochemistry. He bagged his Bachelor of Theology, first class degree and Masters and his PHD specialising in systematic Theology from NBTS, Ogbomoso.

new level, one must expect a new devil. We are not into going to trance in this church. But this lady came and said she was in a trance. I was not around then but a reception was held for her. There was a perfume spread on her while she had a burning candle in her hand. It caught fire and she and others suffered burns. They were taken to a private hospital and referred to the General Hospital. We spent close to N1million on all of them. In the process, some people started suggesting to the lady who went on a trance to get more money from me. I have never touched Church funds in my life. I don't charge but live only on what people give me. While the others celebrated our gestures, she became greedy. She asked us to rent her an apartment, which we did. We even furnished the house for her. We gathered she refused to be treated again. Others got well while her burns became severe. She apparently wanted to use that to get more money. She asked for surgery, which they declined. We placed her on a weekly allowance of N5,000 and she went to a private hospital somewhere in Ijoko, Ogun State to get a bill of N1.5 million for surgery. I refused to pay because one cannot even operate a chicken in that kind

of hospital. We would found out she had a plan to get N500,000 while the doctor pocket N1million. I started getting threat text messages and she took me to Labe Orun, a Yoruba programme on TV. I went and succeeded in exposing all her lies. People are always like that and we have moved on. How about the evangelist who was reported dead a few weeks after the gift of a new car from you? The man was one of the most loyal workers. So, when he died, I felt a sense of loss. He was a good evangelist. But I don't see a Church where people don't die. This man should have been 50 next year. But we never knew he was hypertensive. He was sick for a while. One day, he had an attack and was rushed to the hospital. His BP was over 200. He took a drug, which aggravated the condition. Before then, I gave him a Peugeot 406 and people celebrated him. He died and we did his funeral. We gave his wife money, sold the car and returned the proceeds to her too. When I read that a fellow in this church threatened to deal with him and that was why he died, I was baffled. These are just speculations. The devil will fight back when you are a reformer and we shall overcome.


AD E R T S U 50 M N NIGERIAAN I CHRIST R S AUTHO Are you a Christian author? Are you bothered about poor exposure at bookshops and limited patronage? The Nation is offering you an unbeatable opportunity to showcase your books and talk about your passion. The 2-in-1 project involves an advert supplement backed with a profile story on each participant. Kindly contact Sunday Oguntola on 08034309265 or for advert details and participation. You will be glad you did!





RCCG lifts kids with N1million prize


O fewer than ten talented kids have bagged NI million cash prize at the grand finale of God's Children Got Talent (GCGT), an initiative of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Lagos Province Four. Others made away with prizes such as musical instruments and N750,000. GCGT was birthed in the City of David of the RCCG as a platform to provide an atmosphere for families to celebrate talented children. One of the programme coordinators, Adedoyin Odunfa, said it's an initiative designed to identify, promote, encourage and develop the talents that God has endowed the children with in furtherance

By Simeon Ebulu of the gospel. She said the programme is assuming a province-wide dimension with about 97 parishes participating for the first time. It started with audition in March 2013 with 768 children at the Nigerian Law School, she said, adding that the numbers were eventually pruned to 57 after going through various stages of trials She said five key talents, including dancing, singing, musical instruments, and the non performing arts, - writing and drawing were on display. Adedoyin said the children featured in the age group of 5 - 6 years; 79years; 10-12years; 1315years and 16-19years. She said the initiative will culminate in a talent

development programme. On future plans for the initiative, she said: "We are going to enroll some of them in a talent development programme in the areas in which the teens showcased their talents in this competition. "We are going to find schools that can train the children in their various talents, and we will enroll them there. "We will pay for one year schooling for them and they will go through that one year and develop their talents further." She said with time, the programme would go national and eventually attain international outlook. Some of the Judges were Joke Sylva, Sir Nwokedi, a well known orchestra-classical music guru, T.Y. Bello and Femi.

•Kids with thier prizes at the grand finale

'How God saved me from ritualists'


KENE Igwenagu, a member of the Lord's Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries Lagos, has recounted his gripping escape from ritual killers in Kwara State. Igwenagu, at a two-day conference of the Church last weekend in Lagos, recalled how he boarded a commercial vehicle from Oshodi heading to the Ijeshatedo headquarters of the Church for a weekly service, a journey that should not take more than 10 minutes. Instead of alighting at the Church, he and other passengers found themselves in a forest in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State. The testimony that elicited shouted of Halleluyah held members spell-bound for over an hour. Igwenagu recalled: "On Thursday, 28th March, I boarded a bus from Oshodi to take me to the weekly deliverance and counselling service. "As we approached IyanaIsolo, I noticed an uncommon eye talk between the bus driver and another passenger at the back. "Immediately, it occurred to me it was a 'one chance' vehicle. I told the conductor that I would alight at the next bus stop to obey my hunch but was told that the State Transport Management Authority would impound the vehicle if it stopped there. "I just found I lost consciousness. The next thing I knew was we were being transferred to another vehicle

•Igwenagu but I was unable to complain or utter any word." When the vehicle finally came to a stop, he found that they have been blindfolded and had no idea where they were. From what he heard from their abductors, they were working for different paymasters and each captive needed to be properly assigned to the correct 'owner' to get paid. "I remembered our GO also asked us to declare when in troubles, 'I am a Chosen. God of my pastor, where are you?' It was a declaration he never believed. But he started to reconsider. "While in that forest, I told them I was son of 'Baba Ijesha'. That set them thinking who I was. I saw a lady tied up. The hatchet man raised a sharp big cutlass and severed her head at once. It was horrifying. "To further intimidate me, they took me to see fellow 'passengers' being hacked to death. After each execution, I was blindfolded again.'' When it was his turn, he

claimed seeing an angelic being "in the likeness of our G.O; he was looking angry." At the death chamber, he met his supposed executioner, a dwarf. Another man, a giant, in contrast, appeared from the inner chamber. They had some argument whether or not to shave Ekene's hair, believing the power surrounding him was there. The executioner boasted that nothing would save the victim from his hands, ordering the hapless young man to walk up to him. "I remembered the trance and declared 'I am a chosen' three times and followed by 'The God of my pastor, where are you?' "Immediately, a fierce wind blew into the large space, lifted the huge man and flung him to the floor. It was a spectacle. "The whirlwind took the man up from his feet the second and third time crushing him hard each time till he bled from the mouth and nose. "In a total daze, the executioner asked that I be released and taken away to freedom. I was led to a bush path and slumped. "When I regained consciousness, an elderly man met me and asked where I was going. I told him Oshodi and the man asked me, 'Which Oshodi? "He was the one who told me I was in Kwara. He arranged my fare and I came back to Lagos alive to the glory of God."


Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo

Engaging the power of faith to fulfill prophecies (2)


AST week, we learnt about what prophetic words are, what faith is and how we can fire up our faith. This week, I will be teaching on what to do to see prophecies fulfilled. 1. Inject your faith into that prophetic word: You inject faith by reading every prophetic word, aligning them to scriptures, and aligning relevant testimonies with them. When you build your faith into every prophetic word, you bring it to fulfillment. Until you mix it with faith in you, prophetic words will never deliver (Hebrews 4:2). 2. Expect to see them fulfilled: What you don't expect, you are not entitled to experience. Expectation is the pregnancy that births your manifestations. If you don't expect it, faith cannot deliver it (Hebrews 11:1). 3. Engage the power of the Holy Ghost to facilitate delivery: The Holy Ghost is a facilitator of fulfilment of prophecies. He converts the Word to flesh. He turns the way against your adversaries (Luke 1:34-35; Isaiah 34:16). You must invoke the Ministry of the Holy Ghost to accelerate and facilitate the fulfilment of the prophetic word in your life. Forces behind the Prophetic Word: The reason some of us have problems experiencing the fulfilment of prophecies

is, we do not understand the forces behind the prophetic word: God speaks according to Himself, not according to us (Genesis 22:16-18). Only a divine hand can deliver a divine agenda, because divine agenda is according to divine status, and that is not ours (Genesis 22:16-18). •God speaks according to His capacity, not according to our limitations (2 Kings 7:12, 19). •God speaks according to His power, not our weakness. The Bible says: He ruleth by His power forever... (Psalm 66:7). •God speaks according to His authority. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 14:27). •God speaks according to His wisdom. God's wisdom is creative because by wisdom, He founded the earth and by understanding He established the heavens (Proverbs 3:19). •God speaks according to His resources. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts (Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:10; Psalm 24:1). •God speaks according to His integrity. When God says a thing, and you believe it, you have committed His integrity to perform it. He speaks according to His in-

tegrity; He cannot deny Himself (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). •He speaks according to His unlimited ability. God fed the Israelites with two meals per day for years and gave them water from the rock. He speaks according to His Almightiness and Omnipotency. In our quest to see prophecies fulfilled, we must also understand that when God speaks, everyone and everything hear. When God speaks, all opposition clears off the way. The Prophetic Nature of the Word: God's Word is absolutely prophetic. God speaks to the lives and destinies of His people through scriptures. Every Word of scripture is prophetic and ordained to be fulfilled (Isaiah 34:16). Every scripture is a more sure Word of prophecy. When you discover what is written concerning you, pick it, believe it, and God will confirm it. Do you know how the bone of a baby develops in the womb (Ecclesiastes 11:5)? If you cannot tell, how can you know the ways of God that made all things? You just believe it, and God will confirm it. Well, I have good news for you: God has ordained this year for your "Double Portion and Next Levels." Therefore, welcome to your month of unlimited possibilities! Jesus is Lord! Friend, the power to see prophecies fulfilled is the preserve of those born again. You become born again as you confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. If you are set for it, please say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with your precious Blood. Today, I accept you as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now I know, I am born again! I will continue with this teaching next week. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail:


NGF crisis needless distraction, says cleric



HE raging brouhaha over the disputed Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairmanship election is an unnecessary distraction that will adversely affect governance and delivery of democratic dividends, the Parish Priest of St. Peter's Anglican Church, Lekki, Lagos, Rev. Asoliye DouglasWest, has declared.

By Sunday Oguntola He said governors should concentrate on transforming their states instead of dissipating energy and attention on the Forum, which he described as a mere pressure group. Douglas-West, in a statement titled NGF and the uncalculated consequences of misgovernance, said: "The escalating prominence of NGF and its convoluting activities have become a source of offensive distraction. "The primary area of jurisdiction of any governor is the state where he was elected as governor. Each governor has a constitutionally-imposed obligation to harness efforts and resources directed towards accomplishing the ideals of good governance. "Getting embroiled in electioneering and sustaining the grip on the instrument of NGF leadership would in-

volve huge expenditure of resources in time and treasury. "The distraction that comes with a deep involvement in the secondary politics of NGF has its own consequences." Douglas-West lamented that the horse trading in the Forum has cost states the attention of their governors and developmental resources. The cleric added: "There is a tendency that resources would necessarily be (mis)appropriated and/or diverted. Every decision has an inherent opportunity cost. "So a governor decides to invest more time and treasury resources to actualise his personal proprietary ambition at the expense of his electoral mandate, then governance will suffer." He advised governors to concentrate on delivering on their electoral mandate instead of politicking over the Forum's activities.





Far from the centres of media focus, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi is quietly changing the face of the capital city and other parts of the state. FESTUS ERIYE who once lived in Ado-Ekiti for a year reports on trying to find his way around a city he once called home.


HE viciously cold Harmattan that December in the mid-80s was a harsh introduction to Ekitiland as I made my first visit to the town where I would spend the next 12 months as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). As I remember it, Ado-Ekiti was a sleepy town bisected by a couple of two-lane roads. Federal presence was thin on the ground – existing in the form of a polytechnic in the middle of the forest – far from town. The other symbol of a relationship with the centre was an ancient prison that sat side by side with a weather-beaten state government-owned hotel at the Government Reserved Area (GRA). As a twenty-one-year old who had looked forward to an NYSC year full of excitement, I was less than chuffed when I was handed my call-up letter and discovered my destination. There was not a lot to do as the town went to sleep at the first sign of darkness. After a month of stifling boredom, my friends and I decided to take matters into our hands by breaking ourselves into two groups that would organise night parties on alternate months. That was a lifetime ago. In the

Catching up with time in Ekiti

intervening years I have had reason to venture into Ekiti for family engagements. But they were not visits that took me to my old haunts or afforded me the chance to really appreciate how things had changed. Mid last week I got a chance to do so when a mutual friend invited me to visit with state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Incidentally, my first encounter with him and his wife, Bisi, happened way back in 1999 when his organisation, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), held a 3-day seminar at the then NICON NOGA, Abuja, on Nigeria’s new civil rule experiment. Somehow I didn’t remember to mention it in the course of our chat sessions last week. Back then none of us at the event could have imagined that the organiser would one day end up as the chief executive of one of Nigeria’s 36 states. I doubt if such thoughts ever even crossed his mind back then. In the event, today he sits in the seat of governor, and the challenge for him is to stand and deliver. Has he done that? It will be difficult for me to comment with much authority on what he has done in education, health care or social welfare – given the brevity of my visit. I will just limit myself to my impressions of the changes that have

occurred – and those that are in the works – given that for much of the 16 years of the state’s existence a lot of the things I saw had been left undone. Clearly, all who have sat on the gubernatorial seat in the state –from the military officers to the likes of Niyi Adebayo and Ayo Fayose – had their input in altering the state’s rustic landscape, but there’s no question of the impact Fayemi has had in two years. Having lived in Ado-Ekiti I was confident I could find my way around unaided. My first surprise was the old Iyin Road where I had to park my car and ask directions because in place of the old narrow two-lane job, a dual carriage way with street lights now traverses the city – running beside the popular Fajuyi Park in the general direction of Ikere-Ekiti. The same is the case for the Hospital Road that runs down towards Iworoko. The investment in infrastructure is changing the capital in other ways. In the heart of the GRA, a new multi-storey government house – complete with a helipad – is rising atop one of Ado’s many hilltops. Standing at the zenith of the construction site you are favoured with

stunning views of the city below. Another emerging landmark in a civic centre being built by Chinese contractors just a stone throw from the governor’s office. It sits on the same location as the old federal prison. The state government had to construct a new one at a different place and evacuate the inmates, to make way for the new structure. Interestingly, a cell block from the old gaol is being retained as a museum right at the very heart of the new center. Also under construction not too far from this development is a new pavilion akin to the Eagle Square in Abuja – although not necessarily in dimension or scale. Fayemi defends this as necessary given that after 16 years of existence, state functions were still being held on the grounds of the famous Christ School. When completed the structure will seat a couple of thousands and will be used for parades and similar things. Without question, the high point of our short trip was the visit to the famed Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort. Tourism development is one of the signature items in the Fayemi administration’s eight point agenda. So expectedly he set about restoring the state’s best known tourism site which was virtually broken down when he took over. The state has so far spent over N1.2 billion on redevelopment of the Ikogosi project to meet international standards and make it a source of revenue. The rebuilding of the tourism asset is being done in conjunction with the well known South African hospitality group – Mantis Collections. Beyond what has been done in this first phase, the development will ultimately have a golf course, five-star hotel and a wild life sancutuary. Land measuring 10,000 hectares beyond the Ikogosi forest has been reserved to serve as a buffer zone for the wildlife. So far over 100 chalets of different categories have been developed. An amphitheatre has been built, and a wooden walkway skirts the foliage around the warm springs. Fayemi says they picked up the idea of the walkway from Elmina in Ghana. Potentially, Ikogosi is a tourism gold mine which Ekiti can use to boost its internally generated revenue. Coming from the madness of Lagos, the serenity of Ikogosi was like a balm. I was surprised therefore that the state was not marketing its prime asset with same aggression that Cross River does its December carnival and the Obudu Ranch Resort. I asked the governor why this was so. Fayemi says they were marketing the location locally and internationally, but were pacing things in line with the development plans of their South African partners. When the Ikogosi development is full-blown it could transform the economic fortunes of the corridor between this quiet town and the state capital, and put the state among some of the world’s preferred tourist destinations.




•The Ezems


RS Uchenna Kalu gave all praise to her God. She had been suffering from a protracted ailment that has defied all medications. Her limit had been stretched. She is a widow and mother of four. Her husband left absolutely nothing behind when he passed on five years ago. “I have passed through all pains in the course of bringing my children up. I won’t call it pains because God Almighty has been very faithful. My only problem has been how to sustain a healthy life. My failing health has been the bane of my dream. Medical doctors have given their advice, but it all boils down to money. But I remained optimistic that God has a way of helping His people, most times through other human tools.” This was the fate of Kalu, 62, of Olokoro, Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State, until March this year. Her optimism for a better tomorrow was answered when a ‘son of the soil’ and founder of the Lively Hope Outreach, a faith-based organisation with core interest in the welfare of the downtrodden, Rev. Benson Ezem, came to the rescue of not only Mrs Kalu, but the entire people of Umuahia South LGA in furtherance of his philanthropy.

A different kind of wedding anniversary By Chas Nwam

Hitherto, the outreach had focused on education, accommodation for the less privileged, and general succour for the indigent. At the last count, the outreach was sponsoring over fifty undergraduates in various higher institutions of the federation, and had built two bungalows for two widows. The health-rescue mission of Ezem, an architect, which took place between 23rd and 30th March 2013, happened in Olokoro, Ubakala and Umuopara areas of Abia State. The outreach involved treatment of over 2,500 sick people in the areas and beyond. Ten specialist medical doctors, fourteen nurses and four pharmacists were engaged to execute the project. The significance of the event is remarkable. It coincided with the commemoration of the silver jubilee of the marriage of Ezem and his wife, Patricia. In his words: “We want to use the little God has given us to bless society. It is a source of joy for us in the Lively Hope Outreach to see these people get medical care to remain

Russian leader’s divorce sparks jokes

active in what they do and contribute to the development of our society.” The turnout at the one-week event was unprecedented. Children, women and men who had until then been unable to access medical care were privileged to have a first-hand contact with dedicated, and informed medical personnel. Mrs Ochiagha Madume said: “I know that God does not sleep. I have been suffering from a chronic ailment, and never had the chance to consult medical personnel because of my finances. So when I heard that we would access free medical services through him. I knew that my sickness was gone. Our son has become a tool in the hands of God.” The kind gesture of Lively Hope World Outreach is still reverberating in Umuahia South and Abia State in general. Governor Theodore Ahamefulem Orji physically graced the occasion of the 25th wedding anniversary of the Ezems. The couple said the free medical outreach was to complement the efforts of the state government in providing quality health for the

less privileged. “The success stories of our governor in the health sector informed our decision to do this. We are simply complementing his efforts in providing quality health services to our people,” Ezem said. Charity begins at home, and that is probably why the free medical service took place in Umuahia South, home of the founder. Still, the tentacles of the outreach are also being felt in Niger, Kano, Rivers and Plateau states. More states and areas will soon be factored into the project. Chairman of Umuahia Local Government Area, Jerry Uzosike, commended the outreach. He said: “I have cried out for our people to come forward and assist the government in developing our place. Rev. Ezem has been in the forefront and this health initiative is another milestone. Posterity will remember him.” His Royal Highness, Eze Aguoha, Evulu Ukwu 1 of Umuozu Autonomous Community of Ubakala, described Ezem as a Godsent man to the people. “This is not his first assistance to us in this magnitude. He has given many of our sons and daughters

The Russian blogosphere has been awash with quips and comments since President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila announced that they were about to divorce


ITHIN hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila announced their divorce on state television on June 6, jokes about their separation became a big hit on social media, particularly on the microblogging site Twitter. Here are a selection of some of the more notable tweets and comments. 1) “According to the law Lyudmila Putina now will get half of Russia,” read one popular tweet, playing on the widely held belief that the Kremlin leader has appro-

priated the country’s wealth. 2) “Putin accepted his wife’s resignation and appointed her ‘acting wife’ until the election of a new wife” read another, referring to the “resignation” of Sergei Sobyanin as Moscow mayor this week. Russian commentators say Sobyanin, whom Putin appointed “acting mayor” after his resignation, made the move in order to secure his reelection in a snap poll that his opponents will have little time to prepare for. 3) “Medvedev will marry Lyudmila but will divorce her after

• Putin and his ex-wife Lyudmila

four years, and Putin will remarry her,” quipped another tweet. This is a reference to the constitutional ploy Putin used to remain president after serving two terms by ceding the Kremlin to immediate past president, Dmitry Medvedev, for a fouryear interregnum before returning to the Kremlin. The Russian Constitution restricts presidents to two “consecutive” terms. 4) “Lyudmilla Putina has rejected

a third term. She respects the constitution,” also played on Putin’s ploy of returning to the Kremlin for a third term. 5) “Now Putin can get a new surname and a chance of running for office for another 16 years in office,” was another tweet that poked fun at Putin’s longevity in office. 6) “This is the result your friendship with Berlusconi,” referred to Putin’s close relationship with former

scholarships; has given succour to the widows. We will continue to empower him so that more of these will come.” The occasion was rounded off on April 2, 2013, when the Board of Trustees of Lively Hope World Outreach honoured Governor Orji and his wife, Chief Udochi Orji for their performance in the health sector and providing succor for the less priviledged. The governor in appreciation said, “The outreach has done marvelously in giving hope to the hopeless. It has helped the state government because it is the primary role of the government to provide health and other social amenities to the people. If you tell a sick man that you are putting asphalt on the road, he will see you as a mad man because you are adding salt to his injury. It is only the healthy man that knows about physical infrastructure. So far, the state government has laid much emphasis on the health sector.” In Ubakala, 699 persons were treated of various ailments, Olokoro centre witnessed 816 treated, while Umuokpara equally experienced a large turnout. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is widely reputed to be a womaniser and who recently divorced his wife Veronica Lario. 7) A photograph of graffiti that riffed on the opposition slogan, “Rossiya Bez Putina” (Russia Without Putin). The graffiti reads “Lyudmilla Bez Putina” (“Lyudmilla Without Putin”) was also widely shared on Russian social networks. 8) “Putin said his children live in Russia. Was he talking about his children with Lyudmila?” read a tweet that referred to widespread rumors in Moscow that Putin has fathered children out of wedlock. 9) “Could Lyudmila become the next Hillary?” asked one tweet, referring to former U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, who went on to become a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and is considered a potential candidate for the presidency in 2016. 10) “Lyudmilla is the only Russian who managed to liberate herself from Putin,” read another popular and widely shared comment. Courtesy: Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty



HE Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has said that Nigeria ranks 26th in the world production of palm oil and hardly satisfies her domestic demand. He made the statement during the stakeholders meeting towards the successful hosting of the 1st International Palm Produce Conference (IPPC) held at the weekend in the ministry’s headquarters, Abuja. In his address read by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Dauda Kigbu, Dr. Ortom said that the inability of meeting local demand in palm oil production was a clear indication that the fortunes of the Palm Oil Sub-Sector have declined significantly.In his word, “It is in this regard, that the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) in collaboration with my ministry proposed to organise a conference to serve as a platform for interaction with stakeholders in the oil palm industry globally to review and widen contacts as well as foster development al strategies to address the entire Oil Palm value- chain with stakeholders in order to resuscitate the lost glory of the oil palm industry in Nigeria. Ortom said the conference was coming at a time the ministry was setting building blocks in the transformation of the oil palm industry as a catalyst for economic development and prosperity. “It is also timely, as the forum intends to send strong signals to investors/stakeholders of existing opportunities in the palm oil industry in Africa with participation of more than 40 countries worldwide:. He reassured the stakeholders that the ministry will continue to put in place policies that are needed to facilitate a rapid development of the commodities sector along the value chain in order to restore the lost glory of palm oil industry. Ortom urged the stakeholders, government agencies, corporate bodies and others to contribute generally towards the success of this historic occasion which will open up new

Nigeria ranks 26th in oil palm production-Ortom By Bukola Afolabi

investment opportunities and a roadmap for tackling the challenges facing the development of the oil palm industry in Nigeria. In his remarks, Director, Commodities and Produce Inspectorate, Mr. Joseph Apanishile, charged stakeholders to be committed to the hosting of the international conference which will serve as an avenue to attract investments from the large turnout of investors. He recalled that Nigeria was be-

fore 1965 the world’s largest producer of palm produce but has ceased to contribute to the world’s export of the commodity since 1974 except palm kernel. Earlier, the President, National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, Engr. Henry Olatujoye, had pointed out that the ministry has built a robust support for the association for the development value chain in the sector. According to him, “Palm produce is a business in 24 states of the federation. We cannot say we have

had a synergy of relationship in the area of cooperation within ourselves to promote and drive the value chain in the sector and we in the private sector were apart. This conference is majorly to bring us together to contribute to the process of policy development by government.” He noted that Nigeria produces 1.2 million metric tones which were consumed locally with local shortage of 700,000 metric tones and participation in this conference, he said would enable them to exchange ideas and experience to meet local demand.

•From left: Mr. Sakirudeen Odusanya takes oath of office as one of the executives of new ICAN Lagos State Public Service Chapter being administered by ICAN President, Mr. Adedoyin Owolabi at the third annual public lecture and chapter inauguration in Lagos recently. PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

NDIC to sanction unruly staff T

HE Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has threatened to sanction any of its staff who fails to take positive advantage of its academy. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the NDIC academy in Abuja over the weekend, the chairman

From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor), Abuja

of the corporation, Ambassador Hassan Adamu, stated that “Those who do well will be recognised and those who come to waste time will be sanctioned.” Ambassador Adamu expressed

the desire to see the academy become “a centre of excellence dedicated to the training and development of not only NDIC staff but those of other sister agencies and stakeholders in the financial services industry.” Also speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director of the NDIC, Alhaji

BOI asks SMEs to present viable proposals


HE Bank of Industry (BOI) has enjoined operators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria to have well- packaged bankable proposals before seeking funding support from development finance institutions. This is in addition to equipping themselves with enough information about any funding agency they intend to approach for support so that they are fully armed and abreast with questions that may follow suit. Ms. Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director of the bank, gave the advice during a programme organised by Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University (Lagos Business School) for business executives, entrepreneurs and start-ups. She observed that the inability

of most SMEs to secure funding for their businesses lies in their inability to present proposals that are rich and convincing enough for banks to fund. Oputu said entrepreneurs are not adequately equipped with the necessary information needed to secure loans, saying some who have approached the bank in the past are not even aware of the mandate and objectives of the bank. She assured that the bank will continue to support the SMEs sector, which she described as the engine room of growth of any economy because of the potentials of the real sector to generate massive employment. In his presentation, General Manager, BOI, Mr. Mohammed AbdulGaniyu, informed the gathering of entrepreneurs that the bank which has

managed series of intervention funds aimed at repositioning the industrial sector, has so far saved about 8,070 jobs in the textile sector. According to him, this has led to the turnaround of 38 textile firms from imminent collapse. He advised that entrepreneurs who are into similar line of production could form themselves into a kind of cooperative group to access funding from the bank, saying it is easier for them to have cheap access to infrastructure through the industrial cluster initiative. Abdul-Ganiyu said as a way of increasing funding to the SME sector, the bank in 2006 through its paradigm shift initiative, dedicated 85 percent of its resources to the funding of the BOI tasks SMEs on bankable proposals.

Umaru Ibrahim, stated that “with the current emphasis on risk-based banking in Nigeria and the global concerns for the supervision and regulations of SIFIS and domestically important banks, the NDIC cannot afford to ignore the training and retraining of its staff to ensure on a regular basis, adequate supply if highly skilled and professional staff that will enable it cope with the emerging supervisory challenges in the financial system.” The choice of the rented property that will serve as the temporary base of the NDIC academy Umaru said is meant to mitigate the disruptions the corporation’s academy in Lagos suffers, allow for maximum concentration of all participants and lead to cost savings. The training programme being conducted by the academy he said are based on a revised and updated curricula designed to cater for both the technical and managerial competencies of the staff. To this end, the academy has two schools, management and technical schools with qualified resource persons drawn from both local and international institutions. The academy, Umaru added, would be equipped with state of the art teaching aids with plans to install a digital library.


'Competition in cement sector, a welcome development' -- Page 65

Briefs Firm boosts e-payment with innovative product


HITHUB Limited, an e-commerce platform has raised the bar in e-payment transaction with the introduction of Chitbox, an innovative product which offers variety of services. At the formal unveiling of Chitbox, in Lagos recently, Managing Director, Chithub, Mr. Michael Agbogo, while decrying the absence of legacy companies in the country, argued that a number of factors led to the extinction of companies, such as sustainability among other limitations. According to him, the country has had a run of misfortune with so-called big businesses like Nigeria Airways, Albarka Air, Okada Air, NITEL, and many others going into a extinction and thus ending an otherwise promising journey on a sad note. Gloomy as this may seem, Agbogo's company is nonetheless willing to take up the onerous task of growing sustainable businesses in the country by leveraging on technology solutions like the Chitbox. Shedding light on the unique selling point of Chitbox, Agbogo said: "ChitBox is an infrastructure that will change the way most commercial businesses are run. It is a device that will be used to deliver service through the ChitHub platform to organisations in Nigeria with services ranging from payment for intra-state travels bus tickets, airline tickets, satellite TV subscriptions, utility bills payment, airtime vending, lottery ticket payment, sports bet tickets payment, hotel reservations, cinema tickets among others." Justifying the need for the product, Mr. John Obiekwe, Deputy General Manager, Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, said the Chitbox is an innovative product that is poised to change the face of business in the country considering its e-payment platforms. "As a Point of Sale terminal Chitbox will change the way most commercial businesses are run. It is a device that will be used to make payments for services rendered by organisations in Nigeria." At separate interview with Chief Fred Ison, who doubles as company secretary and legal adviser, he said one of the features of 21st century is the technology across all frontiers, adding that it behooves Nigerians to come to terms with this and plug into the opportunities ahead.

Coy begins executive coaching programmes


TRANSACT Partners, a professional services firm, has announced commencement of its Executive Coaching Programmes. The firm plans to launch this in July with a two-day class on Essential Business Secrets in Dubai. The executive coaching team will be led by Eben Akinyemi, an Associate of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. Akinyemi said: “Stransact Partners has discovered that businesses die in Nigeria because they lack the ability to create values. And since we know the secrets to value creation because we have helped many struggling businesses regain stability, it is therefore necessary for us to coach desiring executives on how to create values for business growth.”






•Naira notes

Much ado about intervention funds

Opinions are divided as to the propriety of some of the intervention funds declared by the Federal Government in recent times, with many arguing that such funds may not have been well-thought out. Bukola Afolabi takes a look at the contending issues Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), approved a take-off grant of N75bn to boost agriculture businesses. The Head, Project Implementation of NIRSAL, CBN, Mr. Jude Uzonwanne, reportedly said N45bn from the N75bn had been set aside as loans to the farmers, while the balance would be used to train and insure them. Furore over intervention funds Irked by the situation in which government’s interventions have had little or no impact on the economy, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), conducted a survey and found that only six per cent of industrialists accessed the funds. NACCIMA said this at the presentation of the survey report to stakeholders in July 2012. However NACCIMA President, Dr. Ademola Ajayi, said the intervention funds were faced with the problem of accessibility. According to Ajayi, despite the FG’s N100bn textile bailout fund, less than 25 per cent of textile manufacturers were operating above 50 per cent capacity utilisation. Apart from inability of stakeholders to access the

government’s intervention funds, there have been discrepancies in the administration of the funds. While some of the funds have been diverted to other uses, parts of the funds can no longer be accounted for. According to Florence Seriki of Omatek Computer who is a beneficiary of CBN / BOI intervention fund let us know that the intervention fund through BOI was assessable if you follow the procedure, some people said if you don’t know them in BOI one on one you cannot get the loan but it is not true. The names Munira Shonibare, Mr. Suren Mirchandani a foreigner, are some of those who have benefitted from past interven-

tion fund. Meanwhile, an anti-corruption group, Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), said Nigerians had yet to see the impact of the funds on their lives. The Executive Chairman, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said, “The funds are meant to settle the boys, the political elite. It is just a palliative to hoodwink people into believing that the government is helping them. “The solution is not to dole out funds but to make sure jobs are generated and infrastructure is developed to encourage small and medium-scale industries. There should be micro-credit facilities for entrepreneurs to increase local content. Most in-

Apart from inability of stakeholders to access the government’s intervention funds, there have been discrepancies in the administration of the funds. While some of the funds have been diverted to other uses, parts of the funds can no longer be accounted for

HETHER on the airwaves or newspaper pages, Nigerians are continuously assaulted with stories and reports announcing one intervention fund or the other, but the irony, however, is that people hardly stand the chance to get the carrots being dangled, a development, which leaves many wondering if the futility of the exercise is worth the trouble. Diary of Intervention funds under Jonathan The Federal Government, under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, has spent at least N1.732trn on intervention funds in different sectors of the economy, investigation has revealed. The figure represents the sum of the amounts approved by the government as intervention funds between 2010, when Jonathan became President, and December 2012. Some of the intervention funds include the N200bn Small and Medium Guarantee Scheme, N200bn Restructuring and Refinancing Facility Scheme and the N300bn Power and Airline Intervention Fund. Others are the N75bn Grooming Enterprise Leaders Business Intervention Fund, N32bn Entertainment Intervention Fund and N10.71bn Commercial Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme to six banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria. That is not all. Also on the long list of intervention funds, are the N300bn approved for the hotel and leisure sub-sector in 2012; N200bn for indigenous pharmaceutical companies and N100bn textile industry bailout. Also in 2010, the FG reportedly disbursed about N7.9bn to 25 companies from the National Automotive Fund. The money was for the production of vehicles, motor cycles, bicycle tyres and other accessories. An additional N3bn was earmarked for disbursement to nine companies before the end of that year. As at July 2011, the Bank of Industry had reportedly disbursed N195bn out of the N200bn meant for the refinancing of the manufacturing sector to 518 companies across the six geo-political zones, while N83bn out of the N300bn for the power and aviation sectors had also been disbursed to companies in these sectors. The Federal Government also disbursed N126.1bn as export expansion grant between 2010 and 2012. That same year, the FG approved N330m grants to assist 20,000 farmers in Lagos state in July while. In November, 2012, the FG, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, disbursed a soft loan worth N9.4m to members of the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Nasarawa State chapter. As part of FG’s intervention in education in 2012, it approved N95.653bn for public tertiary institutions in the country, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. Within the period under review, the FG disbursed several funds through the Universal Basic Education Commission. One of such was N94m disbursed to 125 communities in Bayelsa State, in September, 2011, for self-help projects. In the agricultural sector, the CBN, through its Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk


tervention funds are a wrong step in the right direction. The government is just chasing shadows. The funds will not make people face the reality to be creative and productive.” Another group, SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), said it was improper for the government to approve intervention funds for private enterprises, citing the example of the aviation sector. The Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “If the government allocates funds for public institutions, provided it is properly accounted for, it is acceptable; when such funds are for private businesses, it is not acceptable. Why use the public funds to intervene in private enterprises? It is unreasonable and unjustifiable. “Spending on private businesses sounds fraudulent. Monies have been spent without proper account for them. The government can only give financial intervention, provided funds would be spent transparently and accountably.” Lawmakers raise red flag The Senate Committee on Public Accounts, last year, raised the alarm over a missing N44bn from the FG’s Special Intervention Fund on Solid Minerals. The committee discovered the missing funds


during an interactive session it had with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Office of the AccountantGeneral of the Federation. The committee said despite the fact that the fund was created by the FG as a special intervention fund to develop the non-oil sector of the nation’s economy, no project had been accomplished in the sector. According to the Senator Ahmad Lawan-led committee, the records of the Federal Ministry of Finance and that of the CBN could not properly account for about N44bn, out of the total figure of N873bn, between 2002 and May 31, 2012.The committee also found that part of the funds had been used to finance projects in other sectors. Defence The Director, Development Finance of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Paul Eluhaiwe, has said that the intervention fund for real and power sectors to the Bank of Industry (BOI) is being utilised properly by the companies. Speaking during the CBN and the BOI joint monitoring visit to Western Metal Products Company (WEMPCO GROUP) and Aero Contractors in Lagos recently Eluhaiwe said that the intervention fund for Western Metal was used to build a 52 mega watts power plant to power factories of different production lines. The Director noted that the visit to the factory had given them insight into how

Continued on page 64



Much ado about intervention funds Continued from page 63 the fund has been utilised and its benefit to the company. According to him, about 1000 Nigerians are employed at Western Metal whose products include tile rod steel, flat sheets, nails and ceramic tiles. “The CBN-BOI intervention has helped in the employment of about 1000 Nigerians in this place alone. The fund is to help in the industrialization of Nigeria and if we can have three or four of this kind of project we could be producing automobiles in the country as the flat sheets produced here can be used to manufacture cars and some of the components,” he said. For Paul Ofu, BOI General Manager, Risk Management Division, the intervention fund was provided at single digit interest rate with long tenure. According to him, the joint monitoring team is happy with the power plant by Western Metal which can power all their factories in 24 hours. Reality check A recent survey conducted by NACCIMA in collaboration with Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for a Better Business Environment (ENABLE) showed that of the 358 respondents, 62 businesses, representing 17 percent, attempted to access the funds, but only six percent succeeded. The survey revealed that the top three reasons for unsuccessful applications were cumbersome application processes, inability to meet requirements, and financial constraints. It also showed that 24 percent of respondents perceived the entire process as difficult, while 57 percent claimed that it was very difficult to access the funds. Analysts say a combination of factors is responsible for the minimal impact of the intervention funds which often include a flawed design for the funds, market failure, fraud and a lack of creativity by deposit money banks, which are often the transmission channel for such funds. “A big issue that holds banks back from developing more innovative products is the lack of the specialised skill set that can structure in a risk appropriate way for these sort of products,” Kayode Akindele, Partner at 46 Parallel, a Lagos based investment firm, said. “There is a lack of human capital with the requisite credit and risk management skills required. Banks that try and develop these products without the right staff or risk systems to monitor them properly are putting the financial standing of their institutions at risk.” CBN’s volt face The CBN has in the past said that Nigerian banks do not have the necessary skill sets for agriculture lending, yet the same banks are the CBN’s partners in its Agriculture Intervention Fund. Nigeria’s private-sector credit growth is up a meager 2.99 percent this year, to N15.12 trillion in October, from N14.68 trillion in January. About 80 percent of Nigeria’s private credit goes to

sectors of the economy that account for only 23 percent of real GDP growth, according to data from the CBN and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).Agriculture for example, is responsible for almost 30 percent of real GDP growth; however, only 2 percent of credit extended goes to the agriculture sector. Two other important drivers of growth, trade and communications (and transport), which are responsible for 26 percent and 22 percent of growth, respectively, also receive relatively low shares of private credit – 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee investigating the crash of Dana and Allied Airlines aircraft in July 2012 alleged that the N300 billion Aviation Intervention Fund, was diverted by the industry’s operators. Some major intervention funds made available by the FG and CBN to increase access to credit for private sector businesses include the N200 billion Small and Medium Enterprises Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS), which was launched in April 2010. The N200 billion Restructuring and Refinancing Facility (REF) scheme, approved by the CBN in 2010, aimed at fasttracking the development of the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy. The Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) was also launched in 2011 with a view to providing farmers with affordable financial products and reducing the risks of such loans to the benefitting farmers. The Commercial Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme (CACS), established in 2009, in collaboration between the CBN and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, aimed at supporting finance for the agricultural value chain (production, processing, storage and marketing).The scheme is financed through a N200 billion ($ 1.25 million) 7 year bond raised by the Debt Management Office (DMO).There is also the Power and Airline Intervention Fund (PAIF), introduced in September 2010. Rather than address critical national needs, intervention funds in Nigeria have become facilities meant for political associates and their cronies. Given the peculiarities of our country, it thus looks like the solution is really not to dole out funds under the guise of special intervention. What Nigeria really need is for the government to put in place structures that would lead to job creation, by providing infrastructure that will encourage small and medium-scale industries to thrive. Besides the fact that most intervention funds are misdirected, there is the tendency that the funds will make people less creative and productive, the situation which the country can rarely afford at this critical time. In the view of analysts, what the country needs is a well structured and properly managed micro-credit facility for entrepreneurs to increase local content and not one bogus intervention fund that will ultimately end up in the pockets of the few greedy Nigerians.


Nigerians to pay for amenities financed with Sovereign Wealth Fund


IGERIANS will pay to use infrastructure financed from the investment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund. This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji, recently in Abuja. Orji insisted that "these are commercial infrastructure so we will charge for their use." One of the reasons for charging Nigerians for the use

From Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor), Abuja

of these infrastructure he said is because "we are investing with co investors, some of them are other Sovereign Wealth funds, some are private equity investors; it's not a charity. If you look at infrastructure funds around the world most of them earn on the average six to seven per cent. We will invest in areas where there are commercial returns."

He said Act establishing the Authority "allows us to earn commercial returns. This is a self sustaining enterprise and our three principles are financial sustainability, independence of decision making and transparency." The NSIA, he said, "will invest in areas where we will make returns, that is why it is called Sovereign Wealth Fund. Other intervention programme's like the budget will

be done with the budget, here we are investors, that is the difference between what we do and what other arms of government do." However, the returns or profits that will accrue from Nigerians paying to use these infrastructure, he explained, "are for the Nigerian people, at the end of the day this money goes back to Nigerians, it goes back to the three tiers of government that own it."

•From left: Project Manager, Mobile Number Portability, Etisalat Nigeria, Olabode Ogunmola; Head, Mobile Number Portability Project, Etisalat Nigeria, Ishtiaq Ahmed and Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans at the Etisalat Mobile Number Portability Media Roundtable, held at Raddison Blu Hotel, Lagos, recently


XPERTS are ill-at ease over the already gloomy unemployment situation across the globe judging by the new report released by the International Labour Organisation, ILO, which indicates that the number of unemployed persons in the world could rise to 208 million by 2015. According to the World of Work report released in Geneva, Switzerland, the ILO revealed that global unemployment was expected to hit 208 million in 2015, a rise from the current 200 million unemployed people across the world. The report also added that “long-standing labour market imbalances, such as high levels of labour market informality in developing countries and long-term unemployment in advanced economies, will remain acute.” In Nigeria where unemployment is on the increase, the ILO suggested that to check the trend, countries could benefit from well-designed social protection and a boost of labour income. The ILO report stated that “too low a level reduces the relevance of minimum wages; too high a level runs the risk of firms refusing to comply. Importantly, the report highlights the point that regular updates and the engagement of workers’ and employers’ organisations in minimum wage setting are crucial to leveraging the benefits of minimum wages and ensuring that they pave the way for decent work opportunities.” Tagged: “Repairing the economic and social fabric”, the report recommended “In-

Experts lament ILO’s projected 208m unemployment rate

By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

vestment in key infrastructure projects, along with measures to facilitate the transition to formal employment and to expand well-crafted social protection and minimum wages that would help to further that objective.” The report added that “Such policies would not only boost growth now, but would also consolidate the emergence of a large and growing middle-income group –which is essential for ensuring genuinely autonomous economic growth.” Relating minimum wage to unemployment, the ILO report stated that “About half

of the 151 countries for which data are available do not have a comprehensive system of minimum wages. And, in those countries where minimum wage legislation does exist, stronger action is often needed to improve compliance.” Reacting to the report, Dr. Abel Umeh, an economist, said, the employment situation is a serious cause for concern. On the implication on the nation’s economy, Umeh said, “It is certain that the country is not prepared for the worst. You can be sure that the government will pay scant regard to this whole report. In saner climes, such report will gal-

vanise them to action but it is the reverse here.” Echoing similar sentiments, Tayo Olapade, a financial analyst, noted that the ILO’s projection on unemployment should be a wakeup call to government at all levels to see how to mitigate the unemployment situation in the country ahead of the set date. “Even without the ILO projection what we are already contending with is a huge crisis if you consider the spate of youthful unrest and terrorism threat in different parts of the country. So the government can only fail to heed the call at its own peril,” Olapade stressed.

and convenience in the payment system. Tagged: “Shared Services: Optimising Payment Systems in Africa”, the Card, ATM & Mobile Expo 2013 objective is to create the much reduced awareness for the CBN cashless policy especially as it relates to the creation of a Central Switch agent banking in Nigeria. “We will also have sessions on how successful shared-services implementations across the world can share their learning points with Africa,” it said. The event is expected to attract Deputy Governor of Central Bank, the Managing Director of NIBSS, Managing Directors of Banks as well as other and leading e-payment

service providers from Nigeria and overseas. “Over 50 exhibitors from countries like Portugal, China, Egypt, France, UK, Dubai, Morocco etc. will exhibit the latest technologies in electronic payment. Members of the public who are interested in having a better understanding of the cashless technologies cannot afford to miss this as admission to the exhibition and general assembly is free. “Some of the companies are; SIBS International, Master Card Worldwide, JCB, Samsung, Airtel, HPS, etc. The major Nigerian banks like Diamond, Zenith, Skye, Access etc. will also be there along with Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.

Expo focuses on central switch


HE need for improved shared-services and creation of central switch will top the agenda at this year’s card, ATM and Mobile expo holding from 11 to 13th June at Eko Hotel, Lagos. In a statement, Intermac Consulting, the organisers, said the event has the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System. It said cards and e-payment have now taken centre stage in the economies of most African countries. It said that banks and other financial institutions are consistently looking for solutions and are coming to terms with the reality of modernisation with the benefit of security, speed




'Competition in cement sector, Beyond Talent a welcome development' C

EMENT marketing and distribution in the country have become fiercely competitive such that the pattern of consumer buying behaviour has changed considerably. But to Joseph Hudson, who sits atop as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, one of the major dealers in the sector, that is a welcome development. "I would say that competition is good for everyone. It's a good thing, I think when the land saves so many industries in this country, this would bring positive change and it would herald that normal day. We come from a labour market for production and bring our production to the market which is very exciting, I mean a lot of the companies that used to go out and pay other governments and other people outside the country, but we do not go outside the country. We stay in the country because we are creating jobs." Hudson also talks about the challenges and infrastructural development needed to make things better. "We really have the success. The cement industry is much more successful, though there is still much work to be done. The result clearly testifies to the effectiveness of the various initiatives deployed throughout 2012 and we are assured that management will continue to leverage on the improvement and cost efficiency initiatives that made the organisation proud in the year under review." He added that Lafarge WAPCO's ReadyMix business has continued to grow and has remained profitable. "To drive product and commercial innovation, the company has keyed into the Lafarge Group performance improvement initiative codenamed: "EXTRA MILE". Lafarge WAPCO plans to continue to look for opportunities to expand its operations and markets through introduction of innovative building material products that will help deepen the reach to customers and differentiate the company from competition." While attempting an assessment of the cement industry, Hudson observed that currently there is low consumption but this could double to about 50 million metric tons in consideration to the country's large population. He, however, recognised the amazing consumption growth of about 10 million metric tons in the last 10 years, saying that there is nowhere in the world where there has been such an incredible expansion. He was, however, quick to add that Nigeria is yet to attain the peak in terms of cement consumption. In order to make effective use of the opportunities available, Hudson stressed that there is need for the distributors to do things differently so as to increase consumption levels.

By Adetayo Okusanya

Joseph Hudson, a Briton, is currently the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc. Hudson, a graduate of Exeter University, UK, was appointed to the company's board on 16th March 2001, and has almost two decades' experience, majority of which he spent working in different African countries. In this interview with Bukola Afolabi, he speaks on the competition in the cement industry, among other issues


"We need to work together to increase consumption and make it affordable for all. We want cement to get to the nooks and crannies of the country and we will partner to achieve this. We are ready to provide support to you in this regard." He also informed that the backward integration policy introduced by government in 2002 has gone a long way to consolidate the growth and gains of the cement industry where the production capacity of the nation has moved from 2 million metric tons about 12 years ago to 28 million metric tons today. "Nigeria is making progress. In 2002, the major priority of the country's Backward Integration Policy was about cement production from limestone," Hudson said as a matter of fact. Hudson goes on to talk

about some of the other empowerment programmes that have been put in place by his organisation. "For instance, the Supaset Block Makers Empowerment Programme is designed for young school leavers and small scale block makers to assist them in expanding the scope of their dreams by acquiring the necessary technical skills and the zeal to venture into block making. It is our strong belief that this programme will help the willing and committed block makers to either start up or expand their businesses and move from unemployment or small-scale artisans to medium-sized entrepreneurs and employers of labour." This programme, he added, is being run through dual partnerships with SEAP Micro Finance Bank which will give the necessary sup-

port and administrative framework which includes training, mentoring and monitoring of beneficiaries. "We also work with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and they will guide them on technical standards and adherence. Most of the beneficiaries of the programme are largely drawn from our communities in Sagamu and Ewekoro while others are from communities within Ogun State." Expatiating, he said: "We also have the Lafarge Apprenticeship Scheme. This is an 18month intensive programme designed for science-based school certificate holders. This initiative is intended to enable youths from our communities to acquire the necessary technical skills in the field of Electrical, Mechanical and Automation with plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience within our operations." The graduates from this scheme, he disclosed, "will be awarded with the Lafarge WAPCO Diploma Certificate which is the minimum requirement for employment in our organisation. The apprentices who may not be automatically absorbed into our system are at a liberty to use this certificate outside Lafarge." Talking about empowerment, Hudson recalls some of the projects that have been done for the community in line with its social responsibility duties. "Apart from the Block Makers Empowerment Programme and the Lafarge Apprenticeship Scheme, another 107 Ewekoro youths have been equipped with various working tools. It is our belief that empowering our youths will assist in improving the economic power of the communities and at the same time, keeps them focused in life."

•From left: Mr. Teslim Busari, President and Chairman of Council, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN); Mr Dele Togunde, Registrar/Chief Executive and Deacon Bamidele Adeisa, immediate past president, during the 39th Annual General Meeting of the Institute held in Lagos over the weekend


A stick in the mud will get stuck in the mud


T always amuses me when random forgotten memories from my childhood rise into my conscious mind. They take me back to my childhood days and I remember how much fun it used to be, to be a child. The life of an adult is so complicated, and making your way through life is serious business. This week’s childhood memory is the game “Stuck in the Mud”. The game is played by kids, outdoors. One of them is nominated to be Mr. or Mrs. Mudd and their goal is to chase the other kids, catch them and freeze (immobilize) them until another player unfreezes them. Playing stuck in the mud is fun and cute when you are seven years old, but not so much when your age can be divided by twenty and somewhere in the result is an integer. Many of us knew this, which is why as we grew older we gave the game up…or so we would like to think. My theory is that we never really stopped playing “Stuck in the Mud”. We just graduated to a life-size version of the game, where the stakes are higher. We are no longer running helter-skelter outside trying to avoid being stuck, rather we are franticly getting mentally, emotionally and professionally stuck. The reason why the game lingered in my mind was because of the conversation I had with one of the participants in the leadership workshop that held this past week. It was an eye opening experience for him to go under “the hood of his personality” to learn why he behaved in certain ways and what the implication of those behaviors were for him, at home and at work. He said he came to the class with default settings and the class made him realize that to improve, grow and become better he had to “change his settings”. I thought that was very instructive and we both had a light bulb moment. Many of us buy gadgets and equipment to make our lives easier and better, but a lot of us still have the default settings which came from the manufacturers. We do not study the manual to see and take advantage of their true potential, nor do we bother to exercise the option which comes with most gadgets today, i.e. the option for custom settings. A good example is the workshop on time management I facilitated a few weeks ago, for entry level professionals. During the workshop I demonstrated how they could better plan,

track and manage their time using the Calendar Function on their mobile phones. It was the first time that many of them had used that capability on their phones, yet they carry it around every day and can hardly go five minutes without checking their “BB” or text messages, or tweets. Here lies a powerful technological tool in their hands, that can transform them into highly effective and highly productive professionals, yet they have relegated it to an instrument of often meaningless conversation. Unfortunately, this underutilization of capacity is not limited to our gadgets. Many of us are grossly underutilized. We are operating significantly below the boundaries of our human potential because we have been operating with the same settings for too long and have become “stuck in the mud”. If you have been in the same role, doing the same thing for more than five years, you are definitely stuck in the mud. If you have not attended any training program to upgrade your knowledge and skills set in the past three years, you are indubitably stuck in the mud. If your performance appraisal says the same thing about your areas of development for two years in a row, you are likely stuck in the mud. If the reason why you will not quit a job you hate is simply that the money is good, I dare say you might be stuck in the mud. If fear of failure is the only thing stopping you from launching out on your own, then you are likely to get stuck in the mud. The half-year mark is around the corner. One hundred and forty five days and forty percent of the year has gone by. What is your scoreboard telling you? Are you on track, behind or ahead? Will you be playing the same old ring tone at the end of the year, “I could have; I should have; I would have”? Do you need to change your settings? You can change your settings by seeking advice from trusted colleagues, friends, mentors and coaches, investing time in reflecting on alternative courses of action and their cost-benefits, selecting the best solution for you, and taking action. Every day you spend stuck in the mud, is time and opportunity stolen from you. It is time to stop being a stick in the mud, so you don’t get stuck in the mud! Read more of Adetayo’s articles athttp://

• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge




Indigenes laud Chime

Ribadu to youths: Save Nigeria


NDIGENES of Nsukka, Enugu State, have

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna


ORMER Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday asked youths to rise to the challenge of rescuing the nation from those he described as retrogressive elements. Ribadu, who contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said contrary to the belief in several quarters, the nation cannot break despite the campaign by some unpatriotic politicians and ethnic jingoists to dismember the country. The former EFCC boss spoke at a public lecture organised by the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. According to him: “We are doomed as a nation the moment the youth get hoodwinked by the bickering of bitter politicians who ride to relevance on sentiments that only inspire distrust among citizens. “My experience so far in politics has taught me that age does not guarantee maturity to responsibly play the role of a patriot in an atmosphere of tensed political antagonisms.” In his paper entitled: “A New Approach...Youth: The fulcrum of every Society”, Ribadu canvassed for change that would lead to a functional nation.

Edo doctors vow to fight imposters From Osagie Otabor, Benin


OCTORS in Edo State have vowed to fight quacks and imposters among their rank with a view to redeeming the image of the medical profession. The doctors under the ageis of Association of Physicians, General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) said they want to restore public confidence in their profession. Edo State chairman of AGPMPN, Dr Otamere Aigbogun, stated this at a parley shortly after his inauguration as the chairman of the association. Aigbogun said they would collaborate with the state government to deliver quality and affordable healthcare services in the state. He noted that they would work to remove the notion of seeing private medical practitioners as shylocks who are out to milk the public of their money, adding that governments had a big role to play in ridding the profession of quacks.

•Accountant General of the Federation, Jonas Otunla; Chairman Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Ahmed Lawan, his House of Representatives counterpart, Solomon Adeola and lead public sector specialist World Bank, Jens Kromann Kriteensen and other members during the inauguration of Nigerian Association of Public Accounts Committees (NAPAC) in Abuja... at the weekend Photo Abayomi Fayese

Ekiti seals eight illegal pharmaceutical stores E

KITI State Government has sealed off eight patent medicine and Pharmaceuticals stores for operating illegally in the state. The Monitoring and Inspection Unit of the Pharmaceutical Services Department of the State Ministry of Health which embarked on an in-

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

spection tour of Emure, Ise, Ikere and Ado Ekiti communities sealed the shops for offenses ranging from operating unregistered medicine stores to failure to renew registration of their outlets. Speaking in Ado-Ekiti,

Abia CJ grants four inmates pardon


HE acting Chief Judge of Abia State, Justice Shedrack Nwanosike, has granted pardon to four inmates of Aba Federal Prison in Aba, Abia State. The inmates are Uduma Eke, a native of Ohafia Local Government Area, Chukwuemeka Young from Aba South Council, Ugochukwu Friday (Osisioma) and Chinweoke Ahuchaogu both from Isiala Ngwa North Council. Nwanosike, who announced the gesture while on a visit to the prison, lamented the fact that the accused persons held in captivity would have served out their jail terms if they had been

tried and convicted on the offences since 2010. He stressed that the accused committed minor offences of assault and malicious damage. He expressed displeasure with the attitude of keeping accused persons in detention for a long time without being tried. He called on the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the legal department of the Abia state Police Command to be effective in their duties and ensure that detailed information of the accused persons with their charges were filed inthe courts for quicker dispensation of justice.

Shareholders praise NPF bank


HAREHOLDERS of the Nigeria Police Force Microfinance Bank Plc have hailed the 10 kobo dividend payment approved by the bank’s board of directors. At the shareholders’ forum at the weekend, they said the bank has out-paid and outperformed its peers in the financial system. They also commended the board, saying it has done well, especially in growing the deposit base of the bank. The shareholders, however, implored the management of the bank to make loans accessible by removing all the barriers to the facility. They also urged the board to increase the bank’s branch network by giving it even spread that reflects its ownership structure.

By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

“The NPF has national spread and as such we want the bank to have presence in every part of Nigeria, especially in Onitsha, Aba, Uyo, Eket. “This branch networking will enhance the value of the bank and also increase its deposit base,” they reasoned. According to them, the leap from 2 kobo dividend paid last year to 10 kobo this year is a quantum leap, urging the board to do a rights issue for the shareholders. The chairman of the bank, Mrs. Florence Adebanjo, said the its resilience is evidenced by its ability to raise additional capital from the initial capital of N500, 000 to almost N2billion fully paid –up shares.

capital of the state, on the development, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Olusola Fasubaa, noted that the proprietors of the affected shops failed to comply with the operational guidelines in respect of the sale of medicine. He stated that some of them were also found to be in possession of unethical

drugs. The commissioner added that some of the shop owners do not have license at all while the others have been operating for years without renewal. He warned that owners of the sealed shops that reopen without proper authorisation would be made to face the wrath of the law. Reiterating the commitment of the state government to ensuring a healthy society, Fasubaa said that the present administration would leave no stone unturned towards streamlining drug distribution in the state.

passed a vote of confidence on Governor Sullivan Chime for what they described as his excellent democratic credentials. Giving this commendation on behalf of Nsukka indigenes recently was Chief Maxi Okuta. According to him, the governor demonstrated his statesmanship through the declaration that it was the turn of the people from Nsukka to produce the next governor of the state in 2015. Okuta, who spoke against the background of the just concluded Town Hall Meeting held in the capital city of Enugu, said: “My people are overjoyed.” He added: “The governor has kept this covenant and has shown that he is indeed a man of honour. Indeed a statesman, who keeps his word.” He also commended the governor for his avowed stance of supporting the creation of Adada State as one of the additional states to be created in Ibo land. Chief Okuta emphasised that Adada State was one of the oldest and suitably qualified both in land mass, mineral and human resources, had always topped the list of states agitation and ably positioned to be selfsustaining, peaceful.






Umeh remains authentic APGA chairman, says Ekwunife



Misquoting Abiola Ajimobi


ATIONAL MIRROR Front Page sub-headline of June 6 joined in governors’ childish theatricals: “NGF: Legal fireworks begins (sic) next week” Now the inside pages starting with advertorials: “This is yet another landmark in the life of a philantropist” (Full-page advertisement by Sheperdhill Security Ltd.) Spell-check: philanthropist “Generousity (sic) per (sic) excellence again.” (Source: as above) There should be no full stop because it is not a sentence. A rewrite: Generosity par excellence again “Ajimobi hails police for returning peace to Oyo” Is National Mirror insinuating that the police took away ‘peace’ in Oyo and are now returning it with Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State as the crown witness? The police are merely restoring peace— not returning it! These Jimoh Ibrahim ‘boys’ can misrepresent someone! We move to the Views Page: “Some of them go about on (in) private aircraft with security agents at their beck and calls (call).” Education Today pages are next: “Adeola Odutola College alumni inaugurates (inaugurate) lecture theatre” “Recent crackdowns on e x a m i n a t i o n malpractice…has (have) led to hundreds of prosecutions and scores of convictions.” “Tuition: EKSU students laud instalment payment” Campus News: instalment plan (not payment) Let’s vacate National Mirror of June 6 after this journalistic trademark: “….reports that majority (a majority) of Nigerians are going through….” The word ‘followership’ is a Nigerian coinage. The approved entry is ‘following’ or ‘followers.’ An example: The APC has a large following or many followers. Also note that ‘witchhunt’ is not a verb as many people often use it! It is a countable noun. (Contributed by Uncle Kola Danisa/07059188542) The Guardian Editorial of June 4 posted a sentence wrongly: “So could the instances of delayed tax remittance and clear failure by FIRS to mete out sanctions on (to) defaulters….” “Service can only be enjoyed on MMS enabled (MMS-enabled) phones that have the correct MTN data settings.” (Full-page

advertisement by MTN) Still on THE GUARDIAN: “Borno engages 64,000 youths in poverty reduction schemes” Appointments: poverty-reduction schemes “The federal government must, therefore, set up a special task force to monitor all its activities, projects and make sure that they are commissioned (inaugurated) on time.” “Explore the possibilities of world class (worldclass) education within the country at Elizade University.” (Full-page advertisement) “…in addition to sitting for our post UTME (post-UTME) scheduled to hold on….” (Source: as above) Last week’s edition of this medium fumbled on five occasions: “Saraki’s media aide added that after the closed door meeting….” Truth in defence of freedom: meeting behind closed doors (not closed door meeting)! “According to him, the video was not an official recording of the forum, and, as such, remained untameable (untenable).” “Real reason Olu Akanmu quits (quit) Airtel” “The estranged couple, we gathered, still remains (remain) friends for the sake of their four children.” Lastly from this platform: “Firms’ profits reopen (reopen) cement glut claims” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation. THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER of June 1, goofed: “Even before this season roundedoff (rounded off), players and coaches (coaches’) transfer news have (had) even overshadowed some matches….” Global soccer summer transfer: ‘news’ is uncountable “Below are photographs of personalities at (on) the occasion.” (Source: as above) “Don’t miss out on the thrills and anxiety (anxieties) every week as thousands of talented singers battle for the grand prize of N24 million and the career changing (career-changing) Sony Music Contract.” (Full-page advertisement by glo Unlimited) “Count me out of governors (governors’) leadership crisis, says Jonathan” This is sheer gobbledygook by our President! Such prevarications are best for the marines! It is better to be silent at a time like this than to be misleadingly loquacious and manifestly daft! Most Nigerians are

not dullards. Otherwise, why is GEJ solidly backing the Jang affront? “School holds inter house (inter-house) cultural competition” “Fraud free (Fraud-free) immigration to Canada” “South-South Monarchs (Monarchs’) Forum” “Quality all purpose equipments at GOOFA Nigeria Limited” A rewrite: Quality all-purpose equipment (uncountable) Wrong: “Go and on/off the generator”; right: Go and put on/off the generator Wrong: “Wash hand basin”; right: Finger bowl Wrong: “Use the packer to pack the dirt”; right: Use the dust pan (not ‘packer’)…. (Sent in by Uncle Danisa) The next two blunders are from Stv Early Morning News Scroll of May 21: “Preventing external agression” Spell-check: aggression “Aviation workers suspends (why?) strike, FG intervenes” “Clearing drainages in Delta” (THE NATION ON SUNDAY Headline, May 26) ‘Drainage’ is non-count and is a system of drains— the right entry here should be ‘drains’ and not their collectivization. THISDAY of May 18 offered readers three juvenile errors: “Court winds-up (winds up) firm, jails officials over My Pikin mixture” “Churning out series (a series) of life-transforming soap operas endeared….” “The group though had fought against government and its agencies on many occasions but came into the nation’s consciousness when….” The Saturday Newspaper Cover: ‘Though’ and ‘but’ cannot function in the same environment—‘it’ should take the place of ‘but’ to foreclose lexical insurgency! “It is not that I see Igbo land as an (a) hostile region….” “Jos, the capital of Plateau State (another comma, please) is one of the few cosmopolitan towns in the country that have (has) enjoyed peaceful co-existence relatively.” “…the president and other stakeholders in the nation’s well-being rubbed minds (brainstormed, exchanged ideas/views.…)” It is not possible to ‘rub minds’! “He had ordered more soldiers posted to the troubled (trouble) spots of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa with an instruction….”

GOVERNORSHIP aspirant under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Hon Uche Ekwunife, yesterday declared that the party has no factional chairman. She said that Chief Victor Umeh remains the authentic national chairman of APGA having been recognised by the Appeal Court in Enugu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Addressing newsmen yesterday at Awka, Ekwunife, who is the Chairman House Committee on Environment, admitted that APGA has some issues which would be soon sorted out. She however, denied the existence of factional chairmen as believed in many quarters. The House of Representatives member said: ‘’Umeh is recognised by both the Appeal Court and the INEC and therefore, we

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

don’t have two national chairmen in APGA. ”The Appeal Court in Enugu still recognises Umeh as the chairman and he remains so until otherwise. ”On factions in the party, she said: ‘’I don’t know whether APGA has a faction but we have one APGA and that is where I belong and I have no intention to leave APGA.”It is a peaceful party and I am in love with APGA. The current APGA government led by Governor Peter Obi has done well and we will improve on the foundation he has laid. “Ekwunife said zoning would not determine who emerges the next governor of Anambra State.The state politics, she stated, has overgrown the issue of semantics, stating that good governance and purposeful administra-

tion are what count. She rejected the notion that her aspiration was to enable her clinch the deputy governorship slot.A visibly infuriated Ekwunife said: ‘’I don’t know where you get that from because nobody runs election for deputy governor. Deputy Governorship is by appointment. I am not running for running sake but I am running to win and make a difference in the state. She added: ‘’I can’t be spending the kind of time, resources and awareness for just a deputy governorship slot. Please I don’t know where you get those things from but I am contesting to win and render service to my people.”On her readiness to govern the state, she said: ‘’I have what it takes to be governor of Anambra State.”I am running to win the governor of Anambra State. I believe God that I will win the election.”

•Inhabitants carry belongings through the floods of River Elbe in Magdeburg, eastern Germany, Saturday June 8, 2013. German News Agency dpa said people in Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt …more were anxiously awaiting the crest of the Elbe river on Saturday, while residents further upstream were starting to clean up the debris that was left along the river. In Magdeburg, authorities evacuated a nursing home and turned off electricity in several parts of the city. High water levels were also reported from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, while thousands of people in Austria were busy shoveling away the mud left by the receding floodwaters of the Danube. (AP Photo)

Aregbesola gives Osun CAN N10 million for secretariat


SUN State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has presented a N10 million cheque to the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the completion of its secretariat at Owode in Osogbo, the state capital.Presenting the cheque on behalf of the governor, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Hon. Sikiru Adetona Ayedun, urged the body to promote unity, harmony and peaceful coexistence with other religious faiths in the state.He noted that some mischief makers were trying to disrupt peace in the state through their campaign of calumny against the A r e g b e s o l a administration.The commissioner enjoined the body led by its chairman, Superior Evangelist Abraham Aladeseye, to avoid anything that could cause religious disharmony and rancour with other religious bodies and their

From: Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo.

members. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Oladipo Soyode, dispelled

the rumour that Aregbesola was planning to Islamise the state.Aladeseye expressed gratitude for the gesture, promising judicious use of the money.

Career fair postponed


HE Ogun International Opportunity Career Market scheduled to hold on the 14th June at the University of Lagos main Auditorium has been postponed.A statement by the organiser, Tosin Adesile, said the postponement is to


bring more partners on board.It said the fair, which is expected to attract Mr. Tunde Lemo, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Mr. Gbenga Adeyinka, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin and Prof Rahman Bello, among others will hold at a date to be communicated.

Nigerite holds Green Lagos Season 2

HE grand finale of the Green Lagos Season 2 prizes and awards ceremony sponsored by Nigerite Ltd, holds on Tuesday. The event slated for Shell Hall, Muson Centre, is the climax of a four- month keen competition amongst junior and senior secondary schools involving over 100 private and public schools in Lagos State.

The Marketing Director of Nigerite, Mr. Toyin Gbede, said the projects initiative is at the heart of “Nigerite’s Youth our Future” campaign. Lagos State Education Commissioner, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye and her environment counterpart, Mr. Tunji Bello, are among guests expected at the ceremony.

World News



Making the world a hungry place •Contd. from back page Already, GMO’s threaten the long-term existence of small and medium-sized American farms as much as do natural disaster or economic downturn. What it spells for cash-strapped small farmers in developing nations is pure doom. Without access to banks and capital that small America famers enjoy, African farmers would have to give up, selling their lands at dirt cheap prices to speculators and big agro-business. Already this is happening in large parts of East Africa. Soon, this mean transition will come to west and southern Africa. As this phenomenon spreads, it may give large companies control over the global food supply. They may come to control nations and people in ways that assume the strangling attributes about which the revelatory chapter of the Bible warns. Created ostensibly to feed people, but funded in reality to enrich a few, technology is being perverted in ways to starve people and hurl portions of the world’s population into an epoch of displacement, starvation and despair. Working in tandem with this mean technology are large international investment firms and hedge funds. Learning lessons from the 2008 recession, the speculators have turned to food commodities to make sure profit. After all, people may not need to own homes but they certainty need to eat. Thus, they have invaded this strategic arena of human endeavor and necessity. They now rearrange global agricultural activity and our food chain, not to make production more effective and cheaper, but to reap the highest profits. Over time, this means cash crops will be preferred. In many instances, land will be reallocated from growing food to growing more expensive non-food items. In turn, the resultant lower supply will increase food prices. These hedge funds will cause price to further increase by hoarding food and by hyper-speculating in commodities futures contracts. Over time, their activities will increase the costs of farm land and the expenses of farming. Drowning under swelling debt, small landholders will sell their lands or be evicted to make room for large agricultural combines. These combines will use GMOs; these artificial crops will invade nearby farmland. If this process is allowed to unfold, we shall be faced with the prospect of a few, large agricultural firms and investment houses controlling a significant portion of the global food supply, thus controlling the lives and destiny of much of the world. This may be the dream of these companies but, for the rest of us, it is a nightmare not worth having. Despite its potential impact, this danger is not being discussed because most people do not realize it is even occurring. Ignorance is not bliss. It is doom. The news that we regularly watch is not a tool of enlightenment. It serves largely to tantalize by diverting our attention toward sensational things but away from the practical issues most important to our welfare and future. Over the centuries, humankind has battled itself and the natural elements to lift people from hunger and starvation. It would be a shame if we allowed the combination of perverted modern science and age-old greed to thrust us into an era of contrived hunger and scarcity. Let that be food for thought. 08060340825 sms only

•Sweden's Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill kiss outside the Royal Chapel after their wedding ceremony in Stockholm, yesterday AP Photo

Mandela back in hospital


OUTH Africa's former president, Nelson Mandela was back in hospital yesterday in a "serious but stable" condition, triggering an outpouring of concern the beloved national hero at home and across the globe. Mandela, who turns 95 next month, was admitted to a Pretoria hospital in the early hours suffering a renewed lung infection, his fourth hospital stay in seven months and the third this year. "The truth of the matter is a simple one. Madiba is a fighter and at his age as long as he is fighting, he'll be fine," presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP, using Mandela's clan name. His wife Graca Machel was with him at the hospital after calling off a trip to London earlier this week. "This morning when Madiba was hospitalised she accompanied him and she is with him at the hospital," said Maharaj. The revered anti-apartheid icon, who has long had problems with his lungs, was once again suffering pneumonia after being admitted to hospital in March for 10 days for the same condition, he said. "His condition deteriorated to the point where it was found necessary to hospitalise him," said Maharaj, who served time with Mandela at the apartheid prison

on Robben Island. "But I am told by the doctors that he is breathing on his own, so I think that is a positive side," he added. The ruling ANC called on South Africans and people around the world to keep "our beloved statesman and icon, Madiba" in their thoughts and prayers. The Nobel peace laureate is revered around the world as a symbol of peace and forgiveness after leading South Africa into multi-race democracy as its first black president after decades of apartheid rule. His readmission to hospital, and the acknowledgement that his condition is serious, sparked concern at home and around the world, as South Africans grappled with their hero's increasing frailty. "My thoughts are with Nelson Mandela, who is in hospital in South Africa," tweeted British Prime Minister David Cameron. "Getting too frequent and concerning, he is 94," tweeted Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of Cosatu, the powerful labour union allied to the ANC. Mandela was receiving care at his Johannesburg home when the lung problems returned. He was diagnosed with early-stage tuberculosis in 1988

and also has had treatment for prostate cancer and suffered stomach ailments. The government has not disclosed where he has been taken, although in the past Mandela has been treated at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in the capital Pretoria which attracted a media camp on Saturday. In December 2012, he was hospitalised for 18 days for a lung infection and for gallstones surgery, his longest stay since he walked free from 27 years in jail in 1990. In March he was admitted for an overnight scheduled check-up before returning later that month for a 10-day stay. President Jacob Zuma's office said Mandela was "receiving expert medical care and doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable". The presidency wished Mandela a speedy recovery with a request for his and his family's privacy to be respected. Mandela is still a powerful symbol of peace and unity almost 20 years after taking power. But he has not been seen in public since the World Cup final in July 2010. After serving just one term in office he turned his energy into the battle against AIDS and resolving conflicts particularly in Africa, before announcing in 2004

at the age of 85 that he was stepping out of the public eye. In March, Zuma appeared to prepare the nation for the passing of the father of the "Rainbow Nation". "In Zulu, when someone passes away who is very old, people say he or she has gone home. I think those are some of the things we should be thinking about," Zuma told the BBC. The release of television footage in April showing a frail, distant and unsmiling Mandela being visited at home by leaders of the ruling ANC sparked outrage and accusations that the party was exploiting him. The African National Congress, facing elections next year, has lost much of its Mandela shine, amid widespread corruption, poverty and poor public services. Mandela's own family has also been locked in a feud over control of various companies. "It's sad because he's our icon," said Faith Mashaba outside the Pretoria hospital. But there was also growing acceptance of his age. "I think we must not worry that much about his health," said Calvin Netshifhefhe, saying it was normal for elderly people to get sick. "But I think people just love him, they just want to see him alive."

ticket proposal for Jonathan. But we will wait to see how it goes; if the party should have a re-think on the proposal and offer the north the presidential ticket in 2015, we will support them. But anything contrary, we are out of it. Power must return to the north in 2015 and the region is ready to align with any political party that will offer the north the presidential ticket." THE APC ALTERNATIVE In the end there are not many options left for the disaffected wing of the northern PDP. As of today, the only other broad-based and viable platform to challenge for the presidency is the emerging All Progressives Congress (APC).

All permutations indicate that the most plausible for the new party to enter Aso Rock is for it to pick its presidential flag bearer from the north. By so doing, they can mine into regional discontent and make up the electoral requirement elsewhere in the country. Whether they are anti or pro-Jonathan, the vast majority of the regional political elite would love to see the presidency back in northern hands. Achieving this common goal may well be the first step toward healing a region embittered by its failings in the political wars of 2011, and devastated by the mindless Boko Haram insurgency. Would APC be the glue that stanched the widening cracks in the House of Arewa? Only time will tell.

Cracks in the house of Arewa

•Contd. from page 9

assertive incumbent who has firmly seized the party structures - north, south, east and west. He has shown through the suspension of Amaechi and Wamakko that he will brook no opposition to his aspiration. He and his enforcers have successfully broken up all potential bastions of resistance like the NGF and NSGF. In carrying out the demolition job, Jonathan is fast turning out to be a competent practitioner of the 'divide and rule' principle. In the last 30 days, he has put the camp of those who could potentially oppose him in disarray. A while back, the party's Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman, Chief Tony

Anenih, at the PDP's Family Dinner suggested that Jonathan and the governors and other incumbents be given automatic ticket. Anyone who believes that the man called "Mr. Fix-It" was trying out some new political theory needs their heads examined. This was the unveilling of the roadmap to Jonathan's second coming. Only fantasists would continue to delude themselves that anything representing the northern challenge for the presidency can still be mounted on the platform of the PDP. WHAT DOES THE NORTH WANT? A while back the answer would have seemed obvious. Today, it's not so clear. Ethnic and religious tensions, exacerbated by

communal killings in Plateau State, as well as the brutal Boko Haram insurgency and the attendant declaration of a state of emergency in three states, have muddied the waters. Northern state governors, who once represented a formidable front so much so that that their intervention broke the political deadlock over the 2011 presidential ticket in PDP, are now squabbling among themselves - even vowing never to work with each other. With the House of Arewa well and truly divided, the way is paved for a triumphant Jonathan to snatch the ticket a second time. Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango

Abdullahi, however, insists that the gloomy scenarios notwithstanding, the region will settle for nothing less than the presidency in 2015. In a recent interview with a national daily, he acknowledged the fact that not all major players have bought into the regional agenda. He said the forum had told the northern governors, who were not ready to back the 2015 "Northern Presidency" project, to prepare for a challenge as there was no alternative to it. He admitted that the region was weighing its options in the light of what was happening in the ruling party. He said: "As it is now, it appears that PDP has closed shop for a northern candidate with Tony Anenih's automatic




Ikoyi Club partners NSF on grassroots development


HE squash section of the Ikoyi Club 1938 are planning a partnership programme with the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF), as they organized a six-day competition which ends today. The competition is powered by Prime Atlantic, and started on Monday at the Ikoyi Club. About 65 participants registered for the competition, and they were categorised into groups A,B,C, and D. It also feature the ex-professionals, the women, and veteran categories. Speaking in a press conference staged to herald the competition, Chairman of the Squash section, Ikoyi Club, Tokunbo Ogundipe said the main focus of the section is to develop the sport from the grass root and discover budding talents. "Our facilities are in good condition, there's much more interest among members of the section. We've also tried to reach out to the younger members of the section. The coaches are doing bit of small trainings and generally its having its impact on the game. "The Nigeria Squash Federation is in charge of squash in the country, ours is only within the club, so if we are to make any impart nationwide, more so now that squash has been approved for the Olympics.”

Odoh, Abimiku triumph at CMCL Open By Taiwo Alimi


HE 15th edition of the annual CMCL Open golf championship; a tournament put in place to mark the birthday of the Chairman of CMCL Golf Tours Limited, Otunba Olusola Adekanola, came to a thrilling end at the IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja with the duo of Andrew Oche Odoh and Abimiku Francis emerging winners in both the professional and amateur categories. While Odoh ran away with the N500, 000.00 first prize cheque after edging visiting Vincent Torgah by 2-shots and Port Harcourt-based Willy Gift to the second and third positions respectively, Abimiku earned for himself a giant trophy and other consolation prizes. For their effort, the three top players in the professional category also got extra cash prizes from the Chairman of CMCL Golf Tours Limited. While the trio smiled to the bank, Abimiku relishes his top position in the amateur category. Playing in a field that included the likes of Tim Ayomike, Ade Ade-Young, Moses Anabui, Frank Momoh, among others, Abimiku netted a score of 155 over two days, beating his closest rival, Motgatte V, who also netted a two-day score of 155 on count/back. Abimiku started his game shooting an opening 77 and closed with 78 to come top in his category. Higgin K and Ade-young ducked in the third and fourth positions respectively.


Oboabona, Mba vow to break Namibia


UPER Eagles' duo of defender Godfrey Oboabona and AFCON 2013 hero, Sunday Mba, have vowed to break the resolve of Brave Warriors of Namibia in Wednesday's crunch 2014 World Cup qualifier slated for the Independence Stadium in Windhoek. Namibia 's coach, Roger Palmgren, has said his wards can upset the Super Eagles come June 12, though the Super Eagles are very much confident of victory in the Battle of Windhoek. “We are already looking forward to the game,” said Oboabona. “We have strived hard to get to this stage and it will be very painful to lose focus in a game like this.

Sunday Mba (r) against Mexico


Local Elephants brace up for Eagles


OTE d'Ivoire have started their preparations for the crunch Africa Nations Championship qualifier against Nigeria by arranging a friendly match with Ghana. Both nations will face off in a two-legged friendly encounter, and the home-based Black Stars will assemble on Monday for the up-coming double international friendly. The Ivorians will arrive in Ghana on Sunday for the matches

scheduled for June 12th and 14th at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium and the Len Clay Stadium. The first leg will be played in Kumasi on Wednesday at 4pm. Coach Dauda Lutterodt's 26-man squad for this friendly will return to camp after the weekend's round of Premier League matches. The next edition of the CHAN tournament will take place in South Africa next year, and Nigeria has never qualified for the finals.

Fabregas fires Super Eagles warning


ESC Fabregas says Spain will treat the upcoming Confederations Cup 'as a World Cup' and that could mean stiff test for the Super Eagles as they are grouped with the World Champions in Group B alongside Uruguay and Tahiti La Roja are the world and European reigning champions with the prelude to Brazil 2014 being the only tournament they

have still yet to win. Fabregas, 26, insists victory is something that the players and fans are dreaming about. "We will treat the competition as a World Cup or a European Championship, that feeling that you can finish your career after taking the European Championship, the World Cup and the Confederations is very important for us and for the fans

Superb Serena powers to French Open title *Nadal faces Ferrer in men’s final today

Ronaldo demands £32m per year from Madrid


RISTIANO Ronaldo has shocked Real Madrid by demanding a staggering £32million-a-year deal to stop him from returning to Manchester United. The Madrid superstar is considering his options at the Bernabeu and knows United will welcome him back with open arms, but the Spanish giants are adamant that Ronaldo will not be leaving them this summer. They are now trying to agree a deal to keep their Portuguese idol for the rest of his career, however, the 28-year-old Portuguese is determined to cash in on his iconic status. He is essentially looking for a mega deal to make him the highest-paid footballer in history: First up, he wants an annual wage of £17m from Madrid, which works out at about £345,000 per week.

“Our focus is still very much intact, and our belief is to win in Namibia irrespective of their challenges. We won't leave anything behind to ensure victory at all cost,” Oboabona assured. Similarly, Mba has declared that the Super Eagles are not going to handle the Brave Warriors of Namibia with kids' gloves, stressing that victory on Wednesday will make it a special day in Nigeria. “I know we are facing another tough side because Namibia plays good football. We just need to keep our head straight. “They mean business too but the best way to prove superiority is on the pitch. We will all do our best to get all the maximum points,” he added.


ERENA Williams proved an irresistible force once more as she powered past Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-4 to win the French Open for the second time yesterday - 11 years after her first triumph. Defending champion Sharapova threw everything she had at the 31-year-old Williams but came up short as the American became the oldest woman to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since tennis turned professional in 1968.

Williams, who extended her current winning streak to 31 matches, took her haul of grand slam singles titles to 16 from the 20 finals she has contested. "It was very difficult," Williams said. "After 11 years, it's incredible. Thank you to the crowd. I want to come back here and win again. I think I'm Parisienne." Sharapova said: "She's been playing so well throughout the year and throughout the tournament. Congratulations to her. This court has brought me so many nice memories - last year was so special. I'll be back next year to try to win again." The Russian walked on to a muggy Chatrier Court trying to overturn a 12-match losing run against Williams, and things started promisingly as she recovered from 0-40 down in her opening service game and then broke for a 2-0 lead. Sharapova took heart from some early Williams errors, and a second-serve ace helped her to 4015 and within a point of a 3-0 lead. World number one Williams hit back, though, with some thumping drives and broke serve with a solid overhead. After holding for 2-2, Williams engineered more break points as Sharapova again went 0-40 down, and this time Williams did not let the Russian off the hook, nailing an unreturnable forehand winner that left Sharapova scrambling.


even more," he was quoted as saying by AS. Fabregas also spoke publicly about Spain captain Iker Casillas, who he claims remains positive despite having found himself out in the cold at Real Madrid in recent months under former coach Jose Mourinho. He continued: "I can see that he's very well, as ever, the most important thing is his attitude and that's always very positive. I've known him for seven years and he's a great captain. In bad moments, he always is [positive]." The Barcelona attacker also admitted he is unsure what position he will play for his country, having featured as both a midfielder and in a 'false nine' role in previous Roja encounters.

Polo ambassadorial role excites Kanu


WANKWO Kanu, erstwhile Super Eagles' captain, has described his appointment as a Charity Ambassador by foremost private polo club, the Kadunabased Fifth Chukker- as a welcome development. Kanu's choice it was learnt was strategic and instructive having established the wavemaking Heart Foundation that has catered for hundreds of kids with heart-related diseases. As the Fifth Chukker's Charity Ambassador, the former Nigerian international is expected to visit schools to give life-changing lectures amongst other things. “I thank God for this recognition by the Fifth Chukker and it shows that it is not only football people that notice what I'm doing outside football,” Kanu said. “I actually started work as the Charity Ambassador when I

visited a school and I spoke with the kids about peaceful co existence as Nigerians as well as giving them some life tips.” On the Kanu's entourage at the event were top officials from Access Bank as well as UNICEF where incidentally, he's also an Ambassador for goodwill. “The kids were very excited and I was equally thrilled to be in their midst,” noted Kanu who captained Nigeria to win Africa's first soccer Gold medal at the Atlanta'96 Olympics. “Of course, it is always a delight for me working with the kids and I'm ready to serve kids in any capacity.” Kanu said he was impressed with the idyllic setting of the Fifth Chukker Polo Ground which has fuelled his love for the game usually reserved for the rich and famous.



QUOTABLE "Power must return to the North in 2015 and the region is ready to align with any political party that will offer the North the presidential ticket. As it is now, it appears the PDP has closed shop for a northern candidate, with Tony Anenih's automatic ticket for (President) Jonathan. But we will wait and see how it goes; we have made it clear to our governors on the 2015 ‘Northern Presidency’ project and we will continue to remind them because we will not budge."



HIS past week, international news networks have spent inordinate time reporting on leaks of confidential American government information concerning two massive surveillance programs operated in the alleged war against terrorism. First, the National Security Agency has been gathering information from one of America’s largest telephone services. The NSA basically collected information on all American calls using this service. While apparently not eavesdropping to discern the contents of the telephone calls, the program was still intrusive. It collected information concerning the identity of the parties, their locations at the time of calls, and duration of the calls. While this might seem harmless, such information can become dangerous in unscrupulous hands. It can be mined to uncover more sensitive information about people. The second aspect of the revelation is that the NSA gathers pervasive information from nine of America’s large internet companies, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Youtube. This time, the retrieved information includes the content of transmissions. There are two sides to this story. Both sides are ugly but in starkly different ways and measures. To the chagrin of his liberal allies, President Obama vigorously defends these programs, claiming they strike the correct balance between an individual’s right to privacy and the imperatives of national security. He claims the programs have prevented terrorist attacks. While the presidential words sound reassuring, we shall never know if they are true. Because the programs are shrouded in secrecy, we are ignorant of the scale by which their effectiveness is measured. Since there is no independent and public oversight, we know not if the programs are being abused. We do know the temptations of power. Whenever a large bureaucracy is given nearly unbridled power, the bureaucracy inevitably abuses its office. This has been the case since the beginning of civilization and will be an enduring feature. As long as man is mortal, some of us will be seduced by the power given to them. Where power and money are concerned, the tool often becomes the master. Consequently, President Obama’s assurances fall to the floor. Most likely, the program has been abused and used for things outside the already wide scope of its stated mission. More to the point, the intended mission of these programs troubles many Americans. The American national character values freedom and personal privacy. Americans historically have seen privacy from government interference or surveillance of their personal affairs as the main fulcrum hoisting the freedoms that constitute American constitutional democracy. Modern technology now brings traditional notions of personal privacy into question. Advances in communication technology help us interact in ways impossible two decades ago. These advances are mainly used for decent purposes. However, a minority element employs them in mean, dangerous ways. Thus, prudent law enforcement uses elements of the same technology to checkmate the possible harm. These leaked programs are stinging reminders that different aspects of that same technological advance may not only be used to fight crime, they may well impair old freedoms to communicate while affording us new abilities to communicate. This is the dilemma of government and modern communications. It is a dilemma neither America nor any nation that aspires to constitutional democracy and protection of human rights has resolved. America would not be grappling with this dilemma in such dramatic fashion but for 9/ 11. That tragic event altered the America mindset. Openness has diminished and safety has become the first order. Most Americans will now tolerate a level of government intrusiveness prior generations would have rebuked. Given the terrorist threat, the President and many people believe they made a pragmatic decision to tip the scales a bit more toward safety and away from unmonitored freedom. While the changed

—Spokesman, Northern Elder Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, reiterating the resolve of the north to reclaim the presidency in 2015.

Making the world a hungry place •Hunger is the eager devourer of the poor; it is the poor man's constant fear and closet companion

• US President Barack Obama


BROWNE equation seems reasonable in the abstract, human experience shouts caution. Whenever too much freedom is sacrificed for the sake of safety, eventually both are lost. At this juncture, America has not sacrificed too much freedom. However, these programs signal America may be headed toward those troubled waters. This brings us to the second untoward aspect of this story. Why blow the whistle during Obama’s term? Ulterior motives to paint Obama as a transplanted African dictator are part of the play. Sadly, Obama may have traipsed into his opponents’ snare by being too lenient with the national security apparatus and being a bit too pliable to the demands of this vast, faceless machine. Loathe to being seen as weak on defense and not wanting to take any heat should a terrorist attack occur, the President has given the national security network all it wants which is probably more than it needs. Politically, this has served him. When the Boston Marathon attack occurred, subterranean leaks did not emerge from the national security agencies that the president had deprived them of the means to conduct their business of protecting the American public. He could not be blamed for lack of vigilance. Yet, the price for his political cover is being paid in the coin of the civil liberties for all. In fairness, what confronts him is one of the toughest tests a leader must face. I fear he may have placed too much trust in the national security machinery by giving them too much latitude. He may sincerely believe these people will not abuse the expansion of their surveillance domain. History speaks against depositing such trust in those who see their mission as spying on fellow citizens. Every clandestine organization is infiltrated by a dark element that enlisted in that agency not to do heaven’s work but to do hell’s labor. They join because the clandestine nature of the agency provides them a cover of legitimacy under which they may pursue otherwise criminal inclinations. Some of the mankind’s most depraved criminals have worn police uniforms. The present situation is no different. If Obama actually believes in

the fidelity of his snooping machinery, he has been had. In a sense, the disclosures will benefit Obama in the long-run, although causing him short-term heartburn. The leaks should make him more vigilant in constraining the domestic snooping apparatus. For a period, even this vast, anonymous bureaucracy will be more circumspect. Hopefully, public scrutiny will recalibrate the balance now struck between liberty and security so that it reflects America’s traditional presumption of freedom and no longer leans toward the intrusive national security state. This brings us to the second part of this story. These recent disclosures of potential government overreach seem to be an installment in a larger pattern of attacks against the Obama Administration. Just weeks ago, Congressional Republicans launched broadsides at the White House, alleging scandal in the Benghazi tragedy, the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department. That these new revelations walk so quickly in the footsteps of the prior allegations is not coincidental. A foul air wafts through the corridors. While right-wing critics speak of a sinister Obama conspiracy to undermine American democracy, some of these critics are chin-deep in conspiracies of their own. They seek to depict Obama as the archetypal ruthless African dictator come to trample the roots of American freedom. It is the latest version of the tale that a black man has a tail. Obama might wear a suit and bear a Harvard education; but he is nothing but Daniel Arap Moi or Idi Amin in the making. Thus, these revelations. The disclosures are made in the name of civil liberties. To the extent this is true, the leaks are condign. However, an ulterior motive is in play. Conservatives want to scuttle the boat. They detest the very idea of black leadership and fear what it represents for the future. Their task is to make things messy, even ungovernable, so it looks like a black man is incapable of governing the nation. Disclosure of these surveillance programs has

been a surprisingly long time coming. The programs began in the Bush years but were keep secret. However, they now explode in Obama’s face as if he prepared the admixture. Without proof Obama directed these extant programs into a more nefarious turn, he deserves no more flak than his predecessor. Since Bush was not scathed, neither should Obama suffer. In this regard, Obama should be judged by the standard applied to Bush, no more and no less. However, Obama suffers the special infirmity of race. When they see his black face, many critics see red. They are more foe than critics. Many serve in the Administration itself as career civil servants. That they are careerists does not divorce them from racial or political bias. Many present senior civil servants came into government during the Reagan era and adhere to the ideology of that era. They tell themselves they work for the American government but Obama can never be their boss. It is an abomination to see him as their superior. Thus, they undermine him. The constant leak of sensitive information helps accomplish this task. For Obama, more than any other president, the civil service upon which he should rely is not always reliable or even civil toward him. In it, exist fifth columnists working to undermine him. Some of his worst enemies man offices nominally in service to him. While this story is salient, a more profound story has goes unreported by corporate media. Steadily, large corporate combines and hedge funds act in concert to seize vast tracts of agricultural land and control the food supply. The net result will not be more food at lower costs. The result will be more artificially modified foods; however, the total food supply will contract and the price of it all shall increase so as to profit those who now engineer this new method of imposing hunger on much of the world’s already supine populations. In the northwestern United States, unapproved genetically modified wheat was discovered growing on a farm. The culprit was the international corporation, Monsanto. Yes, the same company that told the world the deadly pesticide, DDT, was safe to spray around children, pregnant women and on crops. Discovery of genetically modified organisms (GMO) on a farm seems minor. Not so. It should scare people. It already frightened wise governments in Japan and several EU nations to halt American wheat imports for fear of contamination of their natural food crops and supplies. So quick to make a profit, Monsanto and other companies have introduced GMOs into the food chain without understanding the long-term effects of this experimentation. We know not what consumption of these unnatural combinations does to the human body. We equally should be concerned what the proliferation of GMOs might do to the earth. Evidence suggests these crops, if not monitored, could spread like weeds or wildfire. By wind, bird, human activity or odd happenstance, seeds could spread. Once spread, they might overwhelm and choke off the more natural strains of a crop. From a few accidental seedlings, a farmer could see his fields decimated, inexorably changed from a natural harvest to this man-made complexity. The change entails more than a different variant of a crop. GMOs require materially different types of fertilizers and care than do natural crops. Most of these fertilizers and other materials are unaffordable to most peasant farmers. They also can only be purchased from a handful of companies. Once GMOs invade, a farmer is left helpless. He must go to Monsanto or a similar company to pay their toll or risk losing all. As such, introduction of GMO is the equivalent of turning decent farm land into a cocaine addict: Unless it gets its GMO fix, it becomes useless. This shall be the plight of the farmer’s worldwide should this danger be let loose.

•Contd. on page 69


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ISSN: 115-5302 E-mail: Editor: FESTUS ERIYE

The Nation June 09, 2013  

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