Issuu on Google+

Ex-Super Eagles star, Christian Obodo, kidnapped in Warri Kidnappers demand N20million ransom –Page 4

Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

N200.00 SUNDAY ALLEGED $3BILLION SUBSIDY REPORT BRIBE

Vol.06, No. 2149

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

JUNE 10, 2012

Oil baron gave Rep $600,000 at Abuja airport Security agencies retrieve call logs, transcripts –PAGE 2 Allegation no excuse to dump fuel subsidy report –House Kogi: Trouble as Assembly rejects Wada’s LG Liaison officers –Page 4

Gunmen kill four in Kano •Two policemen among victims –Page 2

L-R: Alhaji Lai Balogun, National Publicity Secretary, ACN; Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, ACN Leader; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Prof Julius Ihonvbere, former Special Adviser on Policy and Strategy to former President Olusegun Obasaanjo and a gubernatorial aspirant of the PDP in Edo State at a rally of the ACN in Benin City, yesterday.

•Ehindero

Snooping Around –Page 5

Alleged N557 fraud: Ex-IG, Ehindero, battles ICPC over Jonathan donation

–Page 6


NEWS

2

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Gunmen kill four in Kano

G

UNMEN yesterday in Kano killed two policemen and wounded two civilians, in a separate attack in Potiskum, Yobe State, witnesses said. Two gunmen yesterday shot dead an official of the State Security Service (SSS), Aminu Isa, and fled, a resident said. Isa’s friend was shot in both legs and later died in the hospital, said the witness, speaking on condition of anonymity. Late on Friday, gunmen also shot dead a police constable outside his house in Boriya district on the outskirts of Potiskum, a neighbour said. “A nearby drug vendor was also hit and injured by the attackers’ bullet,” the neighbour said, that the vendor died later. No group has claimed responsibility for either attack.

Sahara pumps first oil, expands trade east

ALLEGED $3BILLION BRIBE: Oil baron gave Rep $600,000 at Abuja airport

T

HE $600000 alleged bribe given to a key figure in the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Probe by an oil magnate is now said to have been handed over to him at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja . The money was supposed to be the first instalment of the $3million allegedly offered to be paid by the oil magnate ostensibly to compromise the work of the committee. Already, security agencies have retrieved the call logs of the committee member and the businessman described as one the largest donors to the campaign fund of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. Following the highlevel of confidential data in the custody of the embattled committee member, a senior government official and some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party

• Security agencies retrieve call logs, transcripts • Allegation no excuse to dump fuel subsidy report –House FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi

(PDP) have been talking to him to keep quiet with a view to foreclosing a probe into the scandal. The man at the centre of the scandal, sources said yesterday, is contemplating opening up on what transpired between him and the oil magnate. The Representative is said to have been angered by what he sees as a plot to rubbish his hard-earned integrity. Some members of the Ad Hoc Committee are equally angry with their colleague for his conduct in the matter and may address the press to give their own account of the situation. The House of Representatives officially opened

up last night on the alleged scam and declared that while it would not condone corruption among members, the scam should not be used as an excuse by the executive to discard the report of the ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy. It said the recommendations contained in the report should be implemented to the letter. A member of the Ad Hoc Committee told The Nation on Sunday that the alleged bribe was offered to the Representative at the airport. The source said: “We have discovered that the oil baron doled out the $600,000 at the Abuja Airport. We were shocked about how the deal was done. But no member of the committee was in the picture until last week when it became an issue in the

N

IGERIA-based energy firm Sahara Group has started pumping its first crude oil and plans to expand trading activities in the Middle East and Asia, the chief executive of its trading division said, as the centre of world oil demand shifts east. Privately owned Sahara, which had a turnover of $8 billion in 2011, is along with Swiss-based traders Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore, one of the main independent exporters from Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, via term contracts with state oil firm NNPC. Already present in the African fuel distribution and power sector, Sahara this year started pumping its first oil. “We are currently focused in fully developing one onshore block (OPL274), where we believe to get soon a peak production of minimum 25,000 barrels per day,” said Fortunato Constantino in an interview. The firm also has stakes in several offshore Nigerian oil blocks, including OL284 and OL286. Sahara also expects to become a producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the next few years through Nigeria’s long-delayed Brass LNG project, alongside shareholders Eni and Total. “The plan of the shareholders is to take a final investment decision by the end of the year. We participate with a 2 percent stake and are willing to market a significant part of the 10 million tonne per annum plant production,” he said.

•From right: Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu congratulating the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Inumidun Akande on her retirement and celebration of her 1004 days in office. With them is Senator Oluremi Tinubu and Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye at the Judges and Recreation Centre, GRA, Lagos. yesterday.

House. Let the whole world know that members of the committee did not know about the deal. “This is why it was painful to us when senior government official and top officers of the PDP came to the House to meet with us to conceal it. They were behaving as if it was the government that sent the oil magnate to offer the bribe to the key figure in our committee. “It is unfortunate that we are all bearing the brunt of this bribe saga. We will not give up we are certainly ready to address the press on this matter.” Another member of the House chipped in: “To worsen the matter, a top government official, who had played a crucial role in the Senate in the past, came to douse the tension in the House over the matter. The PDP leadership also intervened. “Then, we became curious about their business in this matter. They said the affected oil baron is very close to the government and he had donated to the PDP presidential campaign in 2011.” It was gathered that security agencies are already in possession of the call logs of the giver and taker of the $600,000. “The issue has attracted security concern. The call logs of the two actors have been retrieved for insight into how the deal was struck,” a highly placed source said yesterday. In the next few days, the nation will hear much about this matter because it is already in the public domain.” The embattled coordi-

IATA says EU’s airline safety bans hinder Africa

A

IRLINES have urged Western governments to do more to improve safety in Africa, and accused the European Union of failing to grasp the continent’s needs by banning dozens of carriers. The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents most major airlines, said a list of operators banned from the EU included several that are safe, and the EU failed to aid others needing practical help. Plane crashes in Nigeria and Ghana have killed over 160 people in the past week, increasing concerns over Africa’s safety record. “The airlines on the EU

blacklist are on it because the EU hasn’t adequate confidence in the safety oversight provided by regulatory authorities, so the airline can be perfectly safe but the EU decides the regulator isn’t doing its job,” said IATA’s Tony Tyler, director general of the Geneva-based airline lobby. IATA says its members must pass a tough check-up called the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Airlines in the scheme, which also contains many nonIATA members, had a 53 per cent better safety record last year than ones outside it, Tyler said. “This is why we think

the EU banned list is a misguided approach. It is not helping anybody and it is not improving safety.” The latest EU blacklist includes 279 carriers from 21 states, 14 of which countries are African. The list includes a handful of IATA members including Sudan Airways and part of the fleet operated by Air Madagascar. IATA says African aviation safety improved from 2010 to 2011, but the continent’s accident rate is still the worst in the world. A Boeing McDonnell Douglas MD-83, operated by Dana Air, hit an apartment block as it was coming in to land in Lagos last Sun-

day, killing 153 people in Nigeria’s worst air disaster for decades. The crash came 24 hours after a Boeing 727 cargo jet operated by Nigeria’s Allied Air overshot the runway at an airport in the Ghanaian capital Accra and veered onto a street, killing at least 10. It was the first crash in decades in Ghana, whose airspace has a fairly strong safety record compared with other West African countries. A spokesman for the European Commission defended the system of banning airlines in countries with poor a safety regime.

nating member of the House Ad Hoc Committee may on his own, open up on the scandal to save his image. A principal officer of the House said: “I think we have reached a stage where the affected committee member may speak out. He has repeatedly maintained that he got the bribe money to serve as evidence. “Do not forget that even when the committee was sitting, he had repeatedly raised the alarm that there were attempts to either bribe or scandalize him. “So, he has a lot to tell the nation too. But the PDP leadership is asking him to keep quiet.” The House of Representatives through the Chairman of its Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Muhammed, officially reacted yesterday. Mr. Muhammed, in a statement said: “The attention of the House of Representatives has been drawn to reports alleging that one of its members, has in the course of his committee work as a member of the ad hoc committee which investigated the subsidy regime, allegedly received a gratification from an oil baron to exonerate his companies from complicity in the oil subsidy scam. “While we await investigation into these weighty accusations, we wish to state without equivocation that this House will never take sides with corruption and we will always stand on the side of the rule of law. “The reason we inaugurated the ad hoc committee to look into the controversial subsidy regime in the first place was to expose corruption in the sector, as such, we cannot, for whatever reason, support any underhand dealing from any quarter. “However, these accusations, whatever their merits, do not detract from the quality of the work done by the committee. The report of that committee was adopted by the whole House and we stand by the resolutions of the House. “The present House of Representatives will not relent in its efforts to render quality legislation and oversight functions to Nigerians. Today, we are gradually beginning to see the end of this monstrosity that has bedevilledSTO our progress as a nation for so long. “We hope that the Executive will not, because of this allegation, abandon its commitment towards bringing to justice, the culprits already identified in the committee’s report.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

3


4

Dana: UNN alumni condoles with victims From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

T

HE University of Nigeria, Nsukka Alumni Association has commiserated with the families of the victims of Dana plane crash. It said no fewer than three of its members- Professor Celestine Owuliri, Mr. Levi Ajuonuma and Mrs. Dennis Onyeagochadied in the crash The National President of the association, Dr. Nwanne Chioke, speaking at a press conference in Kano yesterday prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased, and for Him to give the bereaved families the fortitude to bear their losses. Dr.Chioke said: “This is a sad reminder to the stakeholders in the aviation sector that that the proper things should and must be done all the time. Now, it is clear that the negligence of one man or a company out there could be very costly and extremely tragic, such as what happened on Sunday.” The association expressed delight over the steps taken so far taken by the Federal Government to investigate the accident as well as the indefinite suspension of the license of the affected airline.

‘Niger State has no aircraft’

T

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

News

HE Niger State Government yesterday said it does not own an aircraft as reported by The Nation Newspapers on its front page last Friday. The report entitled “Panic over age of aircraft” was accompanied with a table which showed that the Niger State Government has a 34 year-old aircraft which currently flies the nation’s airspace. The table was sourced from planespotters.com But in a reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Mr. Danladi Ndayebo, described the story as untrue and urged the public to disregard it. He said the newspaper might have been misled by planespotters, the internet site from where it sourced the list of airlines operating in Nigeria and the respective age of the planes in their fleets. He said The Nation Newspapers might have mistaken Niger Republic for Niger State Government. He pleaded with media organizations to always crosscheck their facts before going to press.

I

TALY-BASED Nigerian football star, Christian Obodo, was yesterday kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Warri, Delta State. Obodo who has won several caps for the national team, Super Eagles, is in Nigeria on vacation. He was seized at about 9.20am in front of the Zion Ministry Church located on New Layout Road, off Jakpa Road, Effurun, Warri. The Udinese playmaker, who played for the relegated Lecce in the Italian Serie A last season, arrived the country a few weeks ago after the conclusion of the 2011/12 season. He was said to be driving alone in his car following a visit to a relative when he was abducted.

Ex-Super Eagles star, Christian Obodo, kidnapped in Warri • Kidnappers demand N20million ransom From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri

His abductors forced him to a stop and then transferred him into their own getaway vehicle, leaving their victim’s car by the road side. “His whereabouts are unknown but his car was left behind by the kidnappers. We are yet to receive any call demanding a ran-

som,” said a family member, who spoke under condition of anonymity. Obodo,28, last season played on loan at Lecce from Serie A side, Udinese. Lecce was relegated to Serie AB on May 13 after finishing third from bottom of Italy’s top flight. The brother of Everton defender, Joseph Yobo, was kidnapped before he was later freed, while most recently the father of Chelsea

midfielder, John Mikel Obi, was also abducted before he was freed after a police raid. A brief statement from Lecce said: “We hope the situation can be resolved as soon as possible in the best possible way.” Obodo’s brother, Kenneth Obodo, who is also a footballer in Italy and is currently in Nigeria, was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying, “Christian is fine. We are in touch with the kidnappers, who want some money. We can’t give them more than 100,000 euros( N20million)

Unfortunately, these things happen in our country.”. His brother-in-law, Obidike Okechukwu, was quoted by ANSA as saying that the kidnappers had asked for a ransom of 150,000 euros. He was said to have cruised around town on Friday evening in the same vehicle. “Apparently, his car’s registration may have attracted the kidnappers ,” one source said. The Police Public Relation Officer, Delta State Command, Mr. Charles Muka, said he had no information yet on the kidnap when he was contacted yesterday.

Dana: Crash comes despite air safety efforts

N

Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission staff registering Governor Godswill Akpabio to vote in Ukana Ward 1 during the Local Government Elections held yesterday.

IGERIA saw its worst air crash in nearly two decades when a passenger airliner slammed into a densely-populated neighbourhood in the country’s largest city, killing 153 on the plane and more on the ground, despite efforts in recent years to improve air safety and global recognition of the efforts. Aviation experts say it is too early to tell the cause of Sunday’s crash of the Dana Air MD-83, but they hope Nigeria will continue reforms it started after a series of fatal crashes more than

Kogi: Trouble as Assembly rejects Wada’s LG Liaison officers

T

HE honeymoon between the Kogi State House of Assembly and Governor Idris Wada appears to be over. The House yesterday rejected the appointment of liaison officers for the 21 Local Government Areas in the state by the governor. It told the governor to reverse the decision forthwith and allow the rule of law to prevail. But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Jacob Edi, said the liaison officers were appointed after due consultations with all stakeholders. There were indications that the governor might not change his minds signposting a crisis of confidence with the Assembly. In a statement through its House Committee on Information and Public Enlightenment, the Assembly faulted the governor for allegedly violating the nation’s constitution, especially Section 7(1). It said: “The Kogi State House of Assembly observes with dismay the purported appointment of liaison officers 1 and 2 for the 21 Local Government Councils in the state by the Executive Governor. “This unlawful action without regard for the rule

From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

of law was executed by the Governor of the State, Captain Idris Wada without the consent or recourse to this State Assembly which has the power to make law for the lawful government at the Local Government level. “Let it be known by all and sundry that the Kogi State House of Assembly hereby condemns this unlawful act of the Executive which does not receive the support of this Assembly because such action has no legal backing. “By virtue of Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Local Government Administration can only be run by a democratically elected Local Government Council and only the House of Assembly can make laws for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of a Local Government Council. “Also, the Kogi State Local Government Law 2000 (as amended) which was passed by this Assembly did not provide for any liaison officers appointed by the State Governor for the purpose of managing the affairs of the Local Governments in the states.

“Furthermore, the Kogi State Legislature has never lost sight and will not lose the sight of giving due respect at all times to the judgments and rulings of the State Judiciary. “Not more than six months ago, precisely on December 20, 2011, the Chief Judge of this state, Justice Nasiru Ajanah (in his considered judgment in suit No. HCL/57/2011 between Mr. Haddi Ametuo and six others and the Executive Governor of Kogi State and five others) declared to the effect that any structure formed for the governance of a Local Government outside a democratically elected Local Government Council, in whatever form or name is illegal, null and void and therefore unconstitutional” The Assembly asked the governor to reverse his decision in the interest of peace and respect for the rule of law. It added: “In consequence, therefore, the House of Assembly hereby resolved that those illegally appointed Local Government Liaison Officers by the Executive Governor of this state as mentioned herein should stop embarking on fake and fruitless journey.

“The Assembly therefore directs the Executive Governor, Capt. Idris Wada to dissolve these illegal appointments and postings. “This Assembly respects the rule of law. We implore the law-abiding citizens of this state to be calm while we look forward to the Executive Governor of this state to take to the right steps in accordance with the law of this nation and our state.” However, Edi, said: “The appointment of the Interim Management Team to be manned by liaison officers 1 and 2 was done in due and strict consultations with all the stakeholders in the state. It is not a caretaker committee. “In the absence of the Directors of Local Governments, who have overstayed their welcome, the liaison officers are to liaise between people at the local government and the state government pending the conduct of election into the local councils. “The Governor has directed the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put machinery in place for the conduct of election into local councils.

NEWS REVIEW five years ago. “There’s no question that we know a lot has gone on and I think you have to attribute some of this really good record up until now to that,” said William R. Voss, president and CEO of the Alexandria, Virginia-based Flight Safety Foundation. “I don’t know what will come out of the investigation. Were there lapses and oversights? We’ll find out.” The weather was clear and sunny at the time of the crash nine kilometres (five miles) north of Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The airplane’s pilot radioed the tower minutes before the plane slammed into the ground, saying both engines had failed on the aircraft. Officials at Dana have said the plane, once owned by U.S.-based carrier Alaska Airlines, had no major problems before Sunday. In a statement at the weekend, the airline said MyTechnic, a Turkish company, did routine maintenance on its aircraft. The Spanish airline Iberia, now owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, conducted maintenance on the Dana aircraft for certification until 2010, airline spokesman Santiago de Juan said. MyTechnic in Istanbul later took over that responsibility as well, said Andy Holdsworth, a Dana spokesman based in the United Kingdom. The Dana crash was the first major commercial airliner disaster in Nigeria since Oct. 29, 2006, when an Aviation Development Co. flight from Abuja to Sokoto crashed, killing 96 people, including the top spiritual leader for the nation’s Muslims. In the time since, Nigeria embarked on an aggressive attempt to take aging aircraft out of its skies. The nation revoked certifications for all airlines, allowing new airlines to take flight under increased scrutiny by a newly formed civilian aviation body, Voss said.


Column

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Cannibal capitalism in Nigeria

S

5

nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu

•Wreckage being removed from the Dana Air crash site

A

NINETEENTH century European diplomatic wag at the court of the Tsar of Russia was once asked what political system was in operation in Russia. According to the great diplomatic wit, Russia practised autocracy moderated by assassination. Around the same period, another diplomat was asked by his home government what he thought the Russians did best. “They steal!” the diplomatic spook muttered with epigrammatic brevity. What would these rogue diplomats have cabled back about contemporary Nigeria? Perhaps observing the fiscal anarchy and economic homophobia, they might conclude that Nigeria operates a strange kind of capitalism underwritten by carnage and social cannibalism. To some die-hard old Marxist cold-warriors, the very notion of cannibal capitalism may seem like soime modern malapropism gone haywire. What is capitalism if not cannibalism itself, they may sneer. But there is cannibalism and there is cannibalism. Unlike physical cannibalism which involves the actual consumption of human flesh, social cannibalism is even more precarious because it is marked by an absolute disregard for the sanctity of human life in the rush for monetary advantage. Once again, Nigeria is in deep mourning. There is distress and desolation in the land. There is weeping and gnashing of teeth in many homes. But these too will pass. Nigerians seem to have developed an infinite and elastic capacity to absorb pains and punishment. In all probability, there would be routine probes and routine enquiries. Then the findings will be neatly filed away in a cabinet of atrocities, and we shall all go home. Everybody will forget and laughter will resume. The dead will bury the living, that is until the living begin to bury the dead all over again. It will be foolish to imagine that this is the end of these calamities without catharsis or closure. They build up somewhere in the collective psyche of a nation. The traumas accumulate and amass in the national memory of mayhem, impairing our ability to fix the nation or move it forward. Their fathers having eaten sour grapes, our children’s teeth are already set at the edge. The present already compromised, the future itself is imperilled. These tragedies will infect the psyche of the children, producing generations of sociopaths that will be difficult to constrain or contain.

The youth stripping the dead of their valuables even as human flesh was roasting and amidst the carnage and chaos of Iju/ Ishaga last Sunday are not from Mars. They are our youth. They were also present twenty four hours earlier at Shagamu, degrading the dying and dispossessing the dead. It is cannibal capitalism at its most clinically gruesome. Al happy families are the same, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, Tolstoy famously noted. This aphorism should now be extended to nations. All happy nations look the same, but every unhappy nation is unhappy in its own unique way. Why modern capitalism seems to have gone spectacularly awry in Nigeria must remain a subject of deep sociological research. When Lord Lugard famously coerced and conscripted the overrun territory known as Nigeria into the capitalist economic orbit, it was ostensibly to bring the benefits of modernity and rapid modernisation. It was not borne out of noble or altruistic calculations. Left severely alone, there is some evidence that the people would have solved the problems of modernity in their own way. But evil has its beneficial uses. As Norman Mailer observed, there are some devils working for god.. In any case, it was not only Nigeria that was so coopted. But while other nations seem to have adjusted and moved on, Nigeria has unravelled in the primitive chaos and anarchy of carnage capitalism. This is not in keeping with the

A

N entire country weeps. It has been tears galore in many homes. It has been a fiery farewell from beloved ones. Once again, a thick pall of gloom hangs over the nation. Once again, an aircraft has turned out a vast mausoleum, an airborne abattoir, for many great and good Nigerians. Like a glutton for traumatic punishment, snooper has been poring over the pictures of the tragically departed. What a tragic waste of beauty and prospects! What a clinical decimation of the illustrious and the industrious! And oh those fetching military officers, three of them born between i968 and 1969! Snooper bids farewell to two friends and professional colleagues, Professor Emmanuel Obot and Professor Celestine Onwuliri, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of FUTO, Owerri. Snooper had not set

fundamental logic of capitalism. In its classical enunciation, capitalism had an inbuilt self-regulating mechanism which often reins in its grosser and more absurd excesses. While bringing rapid modernisation and modernity to essentially feudal societies, it also developed a regulatory logic and rationality which give it a certain order and predictability. All the social pathologies of inequity and excessive human greed arising from the contradictions between capital and the forces of production are substantially modulated by the system itself or by thinkers and reformers thrown up by the contradictions. The rapine, plunder and disorder are exported abroad to keep order at home. The metropolitan working classes have benefited immensely from the agony of colonised people and the venal follies of the political elite thrown up by colonisation. Yet as it has been noted by Samir Amin, the great Egyptian economist, certain countries and societies are able to rapidly solve the contradictions of feudalism and move on ironically because they belonged to the periphery of ancient feudalism. Old England readily comes to mind, and so does the United States which was created completely anew after the decimation of the indigenous cultures. These countries had an easy passage to capitalist modernity unlike more classical feudal formations such as China, Ethiopia and probably most of pre-colonial Africa

whose tough pre-modern contradictions require phenomenal human will and voluntarist exertions to overcome. In these countries, the persistence of old social and political contradictions under the rubric and template of a new economic order presents a historical conundrum which will require gargantuan upheavals and prodigious human creativity to overcome. This is probably the direction to look when confronting the problems of modern Nigeria and the solution to this. Here, colonial capitalist rationalisation was forcibly grafted on pre-colonial feudal and semi-feudal formations with varying and uneven stages of development and modes of political and economic productions without their first being worked over by a unifying and homogenising power. It is like bringing all the nations of Britain together at once to launch the Industrial Revolution. In the event, while some sections of the new amalgam eagerly—and sometimes too eagerly —buy into the new capitalist order but without imbibing its ethics and regulatory logic, a major section demurred even while craving and relishing the perks and perquisites that come with modern capitalism. The result is the unprecedented economic chaos and disorder such as we are witnessing. Yet these culturally, politically and economically differentiated communities are expected by colonial and post-colonial fiat to act in unison where national interests are concerned. It is a tall order. With such a tall order, air-weary aircrafts can and do fly very low indeed. Once again the wages and repercussions of carnage capitalism have been brought home to us in the chariot of fire which exploded over Iju last Sunday with much death and devastation. Planes that are no longer airworthy or that have passed their fly-by dates are routinely brought to fly in Nigeria. Conniving Nigerian officials sign the certificates of warranty and airworthiness of these airborne morgues once their palms have been greased. In effect, they sign the death warrant of many illustrious and not so illustrious Nigerians. The foreign nationals who conspire to bring these flying coffins into Nigeria know that they will never be allowed to do this in their native countries. But they are exploiting the logic

A fiery farewell eyes on Emmanuel since our days as undergraduates and aspiring dons in the seventies. But over the years, one had watched him morph into a grey eminence as he climbed the greasy pole to the pinnacle of his profession. Then he became the boss of a federal agency for wildlife conservation. Snooper had hoped to sit down with Emmanuel one day to relive our youthful days. This was not to be. In the case of Celestine Onwuliri, snooper ran into him a few weeks ago at the convocation ceremony of the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki which he attended as the representative of the NUC. He was a polite, courteous and charming gentleman. After a brief chat, we both discovered that apart from graduating the same

year, we had many mutual friends in common. One had been looking forward to hooking up with him one of these days. With death coming so cheap in Nigeria, one is now even more convinced that those of us who have chosen to live and die at the barricades of the mind have not made a stupid choice. We leave our grief-stricken compatriots with a memorable quote. If one were to resurrect all the victims that history has tirelessly put through its mill, that it has tortured to this day, what an endless procession…! Consequently, since he has realised that suffering is inevitable, man should at least be able to give some human meaning to his suffering…! From The Journal of Witold Gombrowicz

and loopholes of carnage capitalism. Suddenly Nigeria has become the carnage capital of the world where everybody comes to make a kill. What would earn an American or Indian business man prolonged jail sentences at home and a Chinese summary execution earn them instant adulation and even state privileges in Nigeria. It is not only in the air that death from cannibal capitalism hovers in Nigeria. It hovers on the land, the sea, the foreign food we take, the drugs for essential medication and even the air we breathe. The demon of unregulated capitalism is here with us. Anybody who was trapped in the chaos and anarchy of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway this past weekend would appreciate the meaning of Dante’s inferno. Having abolished rail transportation as the safest and cheapest means of overland haulage, the privileged members of the Nigerian ruling class have turned the major road leading to the economic capital of the nation into a major death trap. For several hours in the infernal gridlock, all vehicular movements ceased. Meanwhile, roasting carcasses of trailers clogged the main passage. At a point, yours sincerely stumbled upon a horde of decapitated pigs summarily done to death by their owners to prevent a more painful exit from choking and exhaustion. Passengers who fled their burning vehicles were said to have been pursued into the forests by armed urchins. It was carnage capitalism enacted as Homeric bloodletting on an industrial scale. There is not a single emergency clinic, drive-in resting place or a modern convenience mall on the entire stretch. This is what you get when you graft modern capitalism on the primitive ontology of hunter-gatherer political elites. What then is to be done, since it is obvious that we cannot continue like this without something giving very soon? As we have said, capitalism in its classical epoch developed an inbuilt mechanism and regulatory logic to moderate its own excesses. When all else fails, the contradictions throw up radical reformers and transformative thinkers to confront the evil system. Many nations on which western capitalism has been foisted simply turned inwards in order to develop their own inner strengths and natural advantages before confronting capitalism on their own terms. This is the mystery behind the success of contemporary China, Cuba, Vietnam and from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum , Japan and the Asian tigers. As cruel and personally detestable as Joseph Stalin was, it was said that he drove barbarism out of feudal Russia by sheer barbarity. It should be obvious that in order not to expire from the grave challenges of cannibal capitalism, Nigeria requires a truly nationalist elite that will enunciate the first principles of nationhood in the age of globalization and declining nationhood. Whether the current political structure can facilitate the emergence of such a nationalist group is the historic conundrum that will be answered in the coming months. Once again, this column extends its condolences to a nation in deep mourning.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

News

6

Okonkwo urges govt to act on aviation industry By Wale Adepoju

T

HE General Overseer, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Bishop Mike Okonkwo, wants the Federal Government to save the country’s aviation industry from degeneration. This, according to him, would forestall more air crashes. The church lost one of its pastors-Ayodeji Coleand his wife to the Dana air crash. Bishop Okonkwo told reporters yesterday in Lagos that he was directly affected by the crash with the death of his spiritual children. He said the late Pastor Cole was scheduled to travel with him to some African countries on missionary work before his untimely death. He said “I tried to get him to get in the flow. We were even supposed to go together to Congo Brazzaville this month. On this retreat, he was supposed to bring his international passport to the headquarters for visa before it happened. So, you can understand the disappointment I have over the event. “But as far as we are concerned, one thing I have always believed is that nothing happens without God’s knowledge. God has all the powers to prevent what has happened, whether the plane is good or not, He could have done something but if He chose not to I don’t have any choice than to trust him.” He added:”However, that does not exempt the Federal Government from looking into our aviation industry. We say this thing over and over. It is unfortunate that it is only when tragedy hits that everybody will begin to run like a frightened cat. Then we will be saying let us conduct probe, let us fire this or that. What were we doing before the tragedy? “That tells you how irresponsible people are when it comes to human life far as this country is concerned, we do not have value for human lives, otherwise, if we have value for human lives no matter how much you love to collect money, when it comes to human lives you should say no, I am not going to be part of killing somebody. That is where we are.” He urged the Federal Government to come up with some strong policies to sanitise the aviation industry, stressing that when a crash such as the one experienced last Sunday occurs its consequences will be grave. “It is not like a car that is parked. Once it happens it becomes a national calamity. So, I just pray at this point in time, the government will rise up and do what they ought to do on that industry,” he said.

Alleged N557 fraud: Ex-IG, Ehindero, battles ICPC over Jonathan donation FORMER InspectorGeneral of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero is embroiled in a litigation over a N557.9m assistance given to the police by President Goodluck Jonathan. The president donated the sum when he was the governor of Bayelsa State. Ehindero is asking a High Court in the Federal Capital Territory not to subject him to trial on the matter. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission is prosecuting Ehindero and a former Commissioner of Police (Budget), Mr. J.O. J. Obaniyi at the Abuja High Court. The ex-IG had, in a letter to the then Governor Jonathan, sought financial assistance from his government to buy arms and ammunition for the Police. Ehindero allegedly said the weapons would be used to beef up security in Bayelsa State and ward off threats by militants. The State government reportedly responded by approving N1billion although only N557.9million of the sum could be accessed by the police. However, the N557.9million ended up in fixed deposit accounts in WEMA (N300million on July 4, 2006)) and the defunct Intercontinental (N200milion on July 10, 2006) banks. The N16.5m interest said to have been generated at the

A

• Begs court not to put him on trial From: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

expiration of the tenor on the deposits was not remitted into the Federal Government’s account. Following investigations into the N557.9million arms deal, the ICPC, in April last year grilled Ehindero and some officials of the Ministry of Police Affairs. The investigations led to the filing of charges against the former IGP and a former Commissioner of Police (Budget), Mr. J. O.J. Obaniyi But Ehindero, in a preliminary objection through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) drew a battle line with ICPC. He said there was no basis for his trial going by Sections 6 (6), 36, 174, 251 (1) (a) and 251(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. He also based his argument for quashing of charges against him on Sections 19, 25, 26(1) (c) and 26 (2) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act CAP. C31 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (2004) and Sections 154 and 185 of the Criminal Procedure Code CAP, C42 Laws of the Federation. He said: “That the offence alleged is not disclosed by the statement of witnesses or proof of evidence and there is nothing linking the accused person

with the charge upon which he can be called upon to explain his own position. “That the charge is a complete abuse of Court process, as the Court apparently granted consent to prefer the charge in the absence of information linking the accused with the charge. There is no nexus how so ever between 1st Accused and the charge or any of the offences mentioned therein. “The counts in the charge are not tied to the of-

fending section of the Act to enable the court deal with specific criminal conduct. The offences are not known to law.” Ehindero also said that the Abuja High Court has no jurisdiction to try him. He added: “It is the Federal High Court that has jurisdiction to entertain the charge preferred against the 1st Accused/Applicant. Section 251 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution as altered gives the Federal High Court jurisdiction over civil matter relating to the revenue of the Government of the Federa-

tion in which the said Government or any organ thereof or a person suing or being sued on behalf of the said Government is a party, or is interested.” A reliable source in ICPC said: “The former IGP has the right to file preliminary objection but we will leave the court to decide accordingly. “We have initiated his trial in court and it is left to the Judiciary to make a pronouncement on his fate. We would reply him only on the point of law. But so far, he is facing trial.”

Cross section of women at 10th executive Walimatul-Qur’an and 9th Nigeria Muslim Merit Award in Abuja yesterday. Photo: NAN

Why I refused Court of Appeal appointment, by retiring Lagos CJ

J

USTICE Inumidun Akande, who retires today as Chief Judge of Lagos State, would possibly have ended her career in the Court of Appeal if she had not turned down an appointment to the higher court a few years back. Justice Akande who became a judge in 1989 said, on her swearing in, she dreamt of heading the State judiciary with a view to making it truly independent. “I vowed that if I became Chief Judge, I would correct a lot of injustices in the state judiciary,” she remarked yesterday on her final day in office. She regretted that some of these injustices were brought about “by judges themselves.” The Chief Judge spoke at an event to mark her 1004 days in office. According to her, before she assumed office, the judiciary depended on the executive for allocations; judges had insufficient official cars and officers’ retraining was absent. She said:”I decided that gone must be the days when the state judiciary goes cap in hand begging for sustenance; that gone must be the days when our judiciary is perceived as second fiddle, tossed from one end of the

• Hails Tinubu for judicial transformation By Adebisi Onanuga and Joseph Jibueze

divide to the other; that gone must be the days when the judiciary is unduly denied its statutory financial rights and independence. “These, I must note, have remained our convictions and the catalyst which has kept us moving.” She named the present self-accounting status of the Lagos judiciary as one of her major achievements. Another is “the transfer of the judiciary capital vote

to the state judiciary. Consequently, the Lagos judiciary has full control of both its capital and recurrent budgets as done by other judiciaries at the federal and state levels,” she said. Other notable successes are the review of the High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2004, building of the judges and magistrates’ recreation centres and establishment of the probate and valuation unit. She also upgraded infrastructure and improved staff welfare and training.

Justice Akande praised former Governor Bola Tinubu for his “inspired change and transformation of the justice administration sector” during his tenure. She added: “I must commend his sense of purpose, thoughtfulness and foresight that informed the choice of Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) as his successor. This ensured the continuity of the reform programmes to which the Lagos judiciary is a direct beneficiary.” Oba of Lagos Rilwan

Akiolu, who was a guest at the event, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission must be insulated from direct executive manipulation. “The solution is to get the National Assembly to completely remove the EFCC from the office of the Attorney-General,” he said. Other guests were Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos Attorney-General Ade Ipaye, incoming Chief Judge Justice Ayotunde Philips, Lagos Head of Service, Adesegun Ogunlewe, retired and serving judges, magistrates, among others.

Low turnout of voters at Akwa Ibom LG Poll

L

OW turnout of voters characterised the conduct of yesterday’s Akwa Ibom State Local Government Election. Electoral materials got to many of the polling stations late, according to reports from different parts of the state. Several journalists covering the council polls were brutalised by Policemen at the Eket office of the State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC). A similar incident occurred in Ibesikpo Asutan. A senior Police Officer in

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

Eket was said to have ordered his men to deal with the journalists after a brief discussion. The Policemen were said to have descended on the reporters and left them with serious injuries. Attacked were the District Correspondent of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Editor of News Net, an Akwa Ibom based tabloid. A team of reporters led by Akwa Ibom Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Joe Effiong and Vice Chairman

Mrs. Florence Umoetuk visited the Eket Police station to see their brutalised colleagues. Efforts by the NUJ Chairman to incident the brutalisation in the police record book were thwarted by the police. Speaking on the conduct of the election, Governor Godswill Akpabio said whatever challenges there might be in its conduct the public should commend AKISIEC for the peaceful nature of the polls. Akpabio, who addressed voters at Independence High

School, Ukana Ikot Ntuen in Essien Udim Local Government Area reiterated the need for free and fair elections. On what the return of unopposed candidates in some areas portends for democracy, Akpabio said: “I think that Akwa Ibom is different if election is about service delivery and about choosing the right people to do the job. “In Akwa Ibom, there is confidence in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the people were all waiting for who would be the candidates of the party,” he said.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10 , 2012

PDP event disrupted in Ekiti

S

USPECTED hoodlums yesterday disrupted an event organised by a youth wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State. The event, which held at lfelodun Hotel in Ado Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State was meant to honour PDP stalwarts including the Minister for Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (Rtd), former Governor Ayodele Fayose and former National Vice Chairman(Southwest) of the party, Chief Olabode George. Others were former Deputy Governors Mrs. Biodun Olujimi and Chief Bisi Omoyeni as well as Mr. Bimbo Owolabi. Senator Iyiola Omisore attended as chairman of the occasion. Initially billed for Queen’s Court Hotel located along Ajilosun-Ikere Road in Ado Ekiti, the event was relocated to Ifelodun Hotel as a result of ongoing construction work on the road. The State PDP Chairman, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, who regretted the disruption of the event, explained that some hoodlums he believed to be government paid agents were responsible. Ogundipe added that no amount of intimidation by anyone would cause the party to “lose focus on the resolve to regain governance of the state come 2014.” Government spokesman, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, who dismissed the allegation, however, added that “PDP must not go far to seek elements of mayhem as they reside aplenty with the PDP membership in the state and beyond.” Wondering “how could anyone have fired gunshots at a peaceful gathering, Afuye advised the PDP to “settle and reorder its scattered house rather than seek to unsettle a peace-loving and disciplined party.”

T

HE Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has raised alarm over a fake N2.6bn road project awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Edo State. Oshiomhole alleged that the Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolimenmen, deceived President Goodluck Jonathan and FEC into awarding the contract in Uromi, Edo State. The governor, who spoke at a rally of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ugbowo, Benin City yesterday, said the Economic and Financial

News

Oshiomhole raises alarm over fake N2.6bn road contract From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Crimes Commission (EFCC) must investigate the project. According to him: “I am inviting the President to come and flag off the construction of that road so he can see that the road does not exist. ‘’Our president has been misled by a Minister of Works who needs money to fund an election, but this

Lagos Assembly confirms appointment of new CJ

T

HE Lagos State House of Assembly has confirmed the nomination of Justice Ayotunde Phillips as new Chief Judge of the state. The confirmation was done at plenary last Thursday after screening her. Governor Raji Fashola had last Monday, in a letter to the lawmakers, explained that the incumbent, Justice Inumidun Akande, was due for retirement on Sunday, June 10, 2012. He then nominated Justice Phillips and urged the lawmakers to consider and confirm her appointment as the new Chief Judge of the state. Phillips, who appeared before the lawmakers yesterday during the plenary session, explained that she has served in the state service for 18 years. She added she will be 63 years next month, while also disclosing she became a judge in 1998. She told the lawmakers that her plans include making the judicial arm become Information Communication Technology (ICT) compliant in line with dictates of the 21st century. According to her:"I want a situation whereby the IT as-

7

By Oziegbe Okoeki

pect of the state judiciary will be stepped up so that lawyers can sit in the comfort of their office and file their processes without needing to visit the court to do same. ''Also I will make sure that our libraries become e-compliant, so that our children who are aspiring to become lawyers can read online and do whatever they want to do. "This is the time to move the judiciary forward and also I will ensure that staff welfare is well taken care of because Lagos State Judiciary is seen as the vanguard of the country's judiciary. I will ensure speedy dispensation of justice." Responding to questions from the lawmakers on capital punishment, Phillips, who explained that she would not want to be an advocate of killing criminals, suggested that state governments should be allowed to build prisons. According to her, "it should be removed from the exclusive list. We don't have enough prisons in the country.'' "I want to also visit all the prisons in the state and see a situation where we can release those prisoners, which we feel can be released.”

time, we will not keep quiet. “They have been doing it for a long time. Last year, they also invited the Vice President to commission a water contract but when the people of Uromi shouted that the contract was fraudulent and that they only pumped water into the overhead tank, the Vice President canceled the commissioning.”

Oshiomhole further alleged that the PDP leaders in Edo Central and Edo North were buying voters card rather than campaigning on how they intend to develop the state. ‘’Now that the PDP people have been caught red-handed, we want to see what punishment INEC and Jega will mete out to these

people,” he wondered. Former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Policy and Strategy and governorship aspirant of the PDP, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, who formally decamped to the ACN at the rally, said the PDP in Edo represents “oppression, intimidation, repression, retrogression and decay.”

Defend your votes, Tinubu tells Edo

T

HE National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has tasked Edo people to defend their votes in the July 16 gubernatorial election. He spoke at a rally in Benin City yesterday, which celebrated the defection of Prof. Julius Ihonvbere from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tinubu said the election called for utmost vigilance among Edo people to ensure that their electoral choice prevailed. “Adams Oshiomhole, our comrade-governor, is the Moses of our time,” he de-

clared to a thundering applause. “I have no doubt, given his superlative achievements, that you will all vote for him. But you must defend your votes, so that your electoral choice is not altered.” With Tinubu were Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi and his Ogun State counterpart, Ibikunle Amosun as well as the ACN’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. All of them, including the host governor and ACN candidate, Adams Oshiomhole, as well as Ihonvbere, wielded brooms as Tinubu broke into a song: “On your mandate we

shall stand, on your mandate we shall stand, on your mandate, Adams, on your mandate, Adams, on your mandate we shall stand!” The thundering chorus of the song galvanised the gathering into frenzy. Raising Ihonvbere’s hand, Tinubu welcomed the latest arrival into the party, describing him as a “bright mind from Edo.” Whipping the broom he was holding, Tinubu screamed to the crowd: “Join the broom revolution. Sweep away the rot called PDP! Let us use our broom of revolution to sweep away the rot that is PDP all over our country!”

•From left: Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba; Ogun State Governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun; ACN National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi during the turbaning of Sanusi as Dan Majen Kano, in Kano State, over the weekend

Obi knocks El-Rufai over criticism

T

HE Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday dismissed the assessment of his administration by a former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, as laughable. El-Rufai, the governor said, lacked the requisite knowledge to appropriately assess his performances. El Rufai described Anambra as the poorest state in the country, educationally backward and lacking in priorities while also suffering from infrastructural deficiencies. Reacting, Obi, who spoke at an interactive session with newsmen in Awka, said: ‘’I was voted to serve Anambra State and only the people residents here are the right people to judge or assess my administration.’’ ‘’How can somebody who

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

may have not been in Anambra and have not lived here stay in the comfort of his home to be a judge over my governance of the state when we have over five million people resident here?’’ On his score cards, Obi said, ‘’There was no industry here when I assumed duty as the governor of Anambra State but today industries are springing up everywhere like Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, South African Breweries, to mention but a few. ‘’There is no state in the Federation that has attracted the kind of direct foreign investment we have done for Anambra.’’ Obi further stated he has laid a proper foundation for solid growth of the state from a near zero situation. He regretted that some

people preferred to sit in the comfort of their homes to comment on what they did not know about. Obi said his government has nothing to hide and has always been open to assessment, which was why it became the first in the country to hold peer review mechanism for independent assessors. The governor recalled some of the revolutionary strides of his administration, including the state having the best road network in the country and the education and health sectors receiving unparalleled development. He particularly recalled the handover of schools to their former missionary owners and the take-off grant of N6b for their infrastructural development, a feat that was replicated in the health sector with handover of hospitals to mission owners.


8

News

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

‘Bayelsa Assembly crisis not yet over’

June 12: Ekiti declares Tuesday holiday By Sunday Oguntola

E

KITI State has declared next Tuesday a public holiday to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election won by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, said the holiday is in line with the decision of the Dr Kayode Fayemi-led administration to accord the June 12 election its rightful place in the political history of the country. The statement further said the seed that germinated into the current democratic dispensation in the country was sown and watered by the annulled June 12 presidential election. It urged the citizens to continue working towards the socio, economic and political advancement of the country in general and Ekiti State in particular.

•PDP intervention committee’s meeting ends in stalemate

T

HERE are indications that the Peoples Democratic Party’s intervention is yet to end the one-week old power tussle at the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. During President Goodluck Jonathan’s weekend visit, it was Sam Ateke, the Deputy Speaker, who led some of the lawmakers to pay a visit to Mr. President. Both Angaye, who had declared himself the Speaker and Mr. Kombowei Benson, who still insists he is the Speaker, were nowhere to be found at the function. Confirming the stalemate,

From Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

the House Committee Chairman on Information, Hon. Obiene Iniyobioyo, told The Nation that the crisis is not over yet as both sides have refused to shift their hardline stance. Iniyobioyo, however, said the impeachment of Benson was not an illegal exercise because a quorum was formed before it was executed. “On that day, quorum was formed as eleven members signed. It later rose to thirteen,” noted the House Committee Chairman in a telephone interview.

He explained that “out of this, ten members went into the Chambers. Quorum is eight, which is one third (1/3) of the House of 24 members, which went into the Chambers to impeach him.” He also informed that the PDP State Working Committee intervention meeting has been postponed to Monday as none of the aggrieved sides were ready to shift grounds. “No side was willing to step down for the other. Even during President Jonathan’s weekend visit to the state, no side was invited. So, it was Hon. Sam Ateke, the Deputy

Speaker that led a group of some of legislators to greet Mr. President,” he said, adding, “That is why I said it is not over yet.” But Angaye, the man leading the battle to take over the leadership of the Assembly refused comments on the issue as his phone rang out severally while text messages on the matter was ignored. However on the first day of the incident last Monday, Angaye had insisted that his colleagues in the House had mandated him to take over and that he would obey whatever he was asked to do.

Ten groups declare for ACN in Ondo community

From: Olugbenga Adanikin and Adeola Adeyoye, Abuja

I

N honour of the 153 victims of the Dana Airline crash, a firm, PR Company at the weekend held a candle light ceremony for the deceased. Relatives and friends of the crash victims were the given opportunity to pay their last tribute to the deceased at the Unity Fountain in Abuja. Most of the sympathizers who were on black attires, individually signed a condolence register and lit candles to pay their respects. Speaking at the condolence gathering, the Managing Director of PR Company, Mr. Jefferson Okoroafor, said, “We are trying to honour the dead because you will agree with me that what happened has actually affected everybody in one way or the other, so we have decided to create an avenue for people to come and drop flowers and pay their condolences and also support in one way or the other to their loved ones who had gone.

OYETUNDE

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS TOMI GRACE OYETUNDE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS TOMI GRACE OBAGBOYE. All former documents remain valid. Immigration services and the general public should please take note.

UZOWUIHE I, formerly known and addressed as MISS OGECHI LOVELINE UZOWUIHE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS AMADI OGECHI LOVELINE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

ANDOTAN

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS JUSTINA ANDOTAN, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS JUSTINA ACHICHOKWEN. All former documents remain valid. Federal Ministry of Agriculture Area 11, Abuja and the general public should please take note.

FAMOSINPE I, formerly known and addressed as MISS FAMOSINPE YETUNDE AYOOLA FOLASAYO, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ODIA FOLASAYO AYOOLA YETUNDE. All former documents remain valid. WAKANOW.COM LTD and the general public should please take note.

OGAH

T

Firm holds candle light for crash victims

ODEWUMI

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Odewumi Funke Elizabeth, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Awopetu Funke Elizabeth. All former documents remain valid. Universal Basic Board, Ekiti State and general public should take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as MISS OGAH MARIE, now wish to be known and addressed as MRS ELETA MARIE AINEGHBAODE. All former documents remain valid. The general public should please take note.

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

EN pressure groups in Ore headquarters of Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State have declared their intentions to join the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The groups include Democratic Youths Alliance (DYA), Victory Forum (VF), Lepa Peoples Forum (LPF), Great Achievers Forum (GAF), Titilayo Forum (TF), Ajegunle Forum (AF), Ademola Forum (AF), amongst others. Members of the group, mainly youths, lamented the high rate of unemployment in the state, saying: “We all supported the Labour Party (LP), thinking Governor Olusegun Mimiko will create jobs for the youths.” While receiving the defectors into the party, the ACN party chairman in Odigbo Local Council, Rafiu Gbadeyan, promised to accommodate the new members so that they would contribute their quota to the party.

CHANGE OF NAME

KALU I,formerly known as MISS.KALU AMARACHI now wish to be known and addressed asMRS. AMARACHI EKE UDOCHU. All former documents still remain valid. Federal Medical Centre Umuahia,School of Nursing Umuahia,School of Midwifery Abiribaand the general public please take note.

ALVAN I formerly known and addressed as Miss Bridget .O. Alvan, now wish to be known as Mrs. Bridget Etarigbenu. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

SUNDAY I formerly known and addressed as Miss Patience Sunday, now wish to be known as Mrs. Patience .M. Koko. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OKEKE

•LEFT, Son of the deceased, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa; his wife, Yemisi, World Bank Country Director, Marie -Francoise Nelly and Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Folorunso Adewole at the burial of Mrs. Kehinde Okunmadewa in IIesa ,Osun State, at the weekend.

Ezeife, Uwazuruike, Ojukwu root for Igbo presidency •As MASSOB commissions Biafran War Veterans’ settlement

T

HE leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike, has disclosed that the movement will support and ensure that a president of Igbo extraction emerges in 2015. Uwazurike said the position of Nigerian president is the right of Ndigbo and will be vigorously pursued despite the agitation for a sovereign Biafra. Uwazurike, who stated this during the commissioning of the Biafran War Veterans’ Settlement in Okwe, Imo State, however said that the resolve to support Igbo presidency will not compromise the agitation for Biafra. According to him, “it is the turn of Ndigbo to rule Nigeria; it is a right and not a privilege and we will clinch it even though Biafran Republic will soon be achieved”. Also speaking, former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said it

From Okodili Ndidi, Onitsha

is only a president of Igbo extraction that can redress the injustice against the zone. In her speech, widow of late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Amb. Iyom Bianca Ojukwu, said Igbo presidency is achievable if the people can come together and form a united front. Describing the commissioning of the

settlement as a dream come true, the visibly elated Bianca charged Igbo politicians to take up the challenge of repositioning the zone to reclaim her place in Nigeria. She commended Uwazurike for the initiative, while assuring that the benefits of Biafran war veterans, promised by the Federal Government will be paid soon. While calling on illustrious Ndigbo to support

the initiative, Bianca, who opened the Veterans’ endowment fund with N5 million, said the sacrifices of Ojukwu for Ndigbo will never be in vain. Other dignitaries at the event included First Republic Minister of Aviation, Mbazuluike Ameachi; former Speaker of old Anambra State, Ifeanyichukwu Enechukwu, Senator Chris Anyanwu. Others were the Publisher of Champion Newspaper, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Chairman, South East Council of Traditional leaders, Igwe Cletus Ilomuanya, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, among others.

‘PDP government has failed Nigerians’

A

N Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF) has flayed the Peoples Democratic Party-led federal government, alleging that it has failed to give Nigerians the much awaited dividends of democracy in the last 13 years. A press statement signed by the chairman of the forum, Augustine Chukwudum, lamented that “in spite of the huge resources available to

Nigeria, prices of commodities are going high daily and no sector of the economy is working because of high level of corruption in government.” The group also regretted that President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise of building three new refineries in Lagos, Kogi and Bayelsa States is still a mirage, wondering why he is more interested in increasing the pump price of fuel above the reach of the

common man. “Our question now is, when will Nigerians enjoy the much awaited dividends of democracy that the PDPled administration promised the masses for the past thirteen years,” the group asked. Ndigbo Unity Forum therefore called on legislators at the National Assembly to wake up to their responsibility of serving as check mating the excesses of the executive.

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Ifunanya Assumpta Okeke, now wish to be known as Mrs. Ifunanya Assumpta Ochieze. All former documents remain valid Spie Nig. Ltd and general public please take note.

ONUBA

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Peace Amaechi Onuba, now wish to be known as Mrs. Peace Amaechi Eroamaka. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

HAMILTON

I formerly known and addressed as Hamilton Amarachukwu Njoku, now wish to be known as Hamilton Amarachukwu Anthony. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

NNALU

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Nnalu Ogbonnaya Ajala, now wish to be known as Mrs. Nnalu Mabel Anthony. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note.

OMOKEMI

I formerly known and addressed as Miss Omokemi Titlope Oyenike, now wish to be known as Mrs. Sonubi Titilope Oyenike. All former documents remain valid. general public please take note.

CORRECTION OF NAME I OLOKPA ABIDEMI PHILIP name was wrongly written as OLOKPA EBIDEMI and OLOKA PHILIP that all certificate remains valid WAEC, Delta State Polytechnic, NYSC and general public take note. LOSS OF DOCUMENT The genral public is hereby is inform of the loss of Certificate of Occupancy of the property situated and lying at Block L Plot 6 in the Ojota Ogudu GRA Residential Scheme in Kosofe Local Govt., dated 17th May, 1983 and Reg. as No. 58 Page 58 Volume 1983D in the Lagos State Land Registry, Alausa belonging to Engr. Isreal KolawoleShonubi. Lagos State Lands Registry and general public take note.


NEWS REVIEW

9

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

•A destroyed building between Harvest Filled Church and Living Faith Church

T

HE spate of bomb attacks on churches was witnessed in Bauchi last Sunday when the Boko Haram sect launched attacks on two churches in Bauchi. However, the death of 153 persons on board a Dana Airline that crashed in Lagos on the same day as somehow turned attention away the gruesome attack. On that fateful day, a lone bomber in a blue Honda Civic car loaded with bomb drove to Yelwa, a Christian and students’ dominated suburb of the state capital, but because he could not reach his target the Living Faith Church (Winner’s Chapel), he off loaded the explosives in front of Harvest Field Church, which is barely 52 meters away from his target. After the bomb exploded 21 persons, and the bomber lost their lives, while several others were injured. The Yelwa bomb blast was the first of such in Bauchi. The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) in the state, Reverend Lawi Pokti, later told journalists that “A total of 45 persons have been confirmed wounded, out of which 25 were wounded by bomb blast, while 20 sustained various degrees of injuries from gun shots from the military who went to the blast scene in order to maintain law and order.’’ He lauded the prompt intervention of the state government but condemned alleged extra judicial killings by the military. The military team that went to the scene of

•Kyauta Haruna Numa Student

•Hole created by the bomb

Bauchi’s under reported tragedy Austine Tsenzughul in Bauchi writes on the killing of 21 persons last Sunday in a Boko Haram attack on a church- an event overshadowed by the Dana plane crash in Lagos on the same day. the incident was alleged to have opened fire on aggrieved relations of the victims of the blast. The wounded included women and children. Extra judicial killings Pokti in condemning the military said “At the site of the bomb blast the security has no moral, ethical and empirical justification to open fire on the assembled women and youth who came to mourn their slain loved ones.” CAN demanded that Military authority be held responsible for the killings, adding that victims should be compensated. The association appealed to Christians not to embark on any reprisal attack, or try to avenge, as that will be a violation of Christ’s teachings.

Pokti’s advice was re-echoed by Pastor David Oyedepo, General Overseer and Founder of Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) Worldwide when he visited the affected church on June 4. Ironically, while officials of Red Cross Society, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) said the hospital had received 16 dead bodies and about 40 wounded, the Police Commissioner Mr. Mohammed Ladan insisted that nine persons died from the bomb blast and 27 were injured. He also confirmed that “on June 2, 2012, sustained joint internal security intelligence revealed that there will be a multiple attack on churches within Bauchi metropolis”. And it was based on the secu-

•Christopher Samuel Jariyu (20yrs) allegedly shot in the thigh by soldiers.

rity report that security personnel were deployed to likely targets. In a similar denial the Chief Medical Director of ATBUTH Dr. Muhammad Alkali said no victim with gun- shot wound was received by the hospital. This statement has riled many of those who survived the attack. Alive to tell the tales Some of the survivors, while narrating their experiences however said they have forgiven the perpetrators of the dastardly act. Deacon Barthmoore Mayaki who works in the Medical Department of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, said “I was early in the church and after the first service, I went to move my car out so that others who came for the second service could park theirs. I saw a black jeep near me, while I

•Deacon Barthmoore Mayaki

was trying to park. Suddenly, I heard a loud sound and something hit my car and the whole place became instantly dark. I was thrown from the driver’s seat to the empty space on the back seat. I felt blood draining from my head down to my toes. I called but did not get any response as both police and the soldiers took to their heels. Thereafter I called on God, because I saw death. I saw my car on fire.” Also, Christopher Samuel Jariyu, 20, a staff of Triac Nig. Ltd., a construction company explainsed that “I was at Yelwa market when I saw the crowd and decided, I should find out what was happening. I got near Living Faith Church and suddenly I saw soldiers shooting. The bullet narrowly missed my manhood.” Bernard Olayemi, 35, a Winners Chapel Volunteer SecurityWatch was at the barricade when the suicide bomber arrived but cannot remember what exactly happened. All he could remember was that “there was explosion from the blue car. And the mobile Police man with him fell in front of me when the blue car exploded with loud noise and blood was all over his body.” He later found himself in the hospital. As the state continues to grapple with this security challenge, there are fears that the economy of the north will continue to suffer.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

News Review

10

Grief unlimited, pomp in Kano a 159 die confirmed dead in Lagos plane crash

A

TOTAL of 159 people were confirmed dead after a Dana Airline plane crashed into the densely populated Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb on Sunday last week as it made to make an emergency landing. The plane was on a regular flight from Abuja when it apparently developed a technical problem. All the 153 people on boardpassengers and crew members- died. About 10 other persons, suspected to be residents of the area also died. The Federal Government declared a three-day mourning and President Goodluck Jonathan visited the scene on Monday to personally assess the situation.

21 killed in Bauchi church bomb attacks

S

UICIDE bombers on Sunday last week unleashed terror on two churches in Bauchi- the Living Faith Church and Harvest Field Church-leaving 21 people dead. The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, the Reverend Lawi Pokti told newsmen in Bauchi that “Twelve died from the bomb blast while eight were shot dead by the military personnel drafted to the scene to maintain law and order.

UNILAG students sue Jonathan over name change

S

TUDENTS of the University of Lagos are asking a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to void the recent change of the name of the institution by President Goodluck Jonathan. In a suit filed on Monday, the students population represented by 10 of their members want a declaration that the University of Lagos being a creation of the National Assembly -University of Lagos Act 1967 (as amended)- cannot be governed except in accordance with the provisions of the Act. They want a declaration that the power to change or amend the university’s name belongs to the national legislature. The President, on Wednesday, sent a bill to the National Assembly to rename the University of Lagos (Moshood Abiola University), Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike (Michael Okpara Federal University of Agriculture), and Federal University of Science and Technology, Yola (Adama Modibo Federal University of Science and Technology.

NOT TOUGH ENOUGH Egypt’s ex-President Hosni Mubarak has been jailed for life over the killing of demonstrators last year. Crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against the verdicts, and protests were also held in Egypt’s second city Alexandria, Suez and Mansoura.

Jonathan names airlines audit committee

P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday constituted a nine-man Technical and Administrative Review Panel to audit all airlines in the country with a view to forestalling further air crashes. The committee is headed by Group Captain John Obakpolor (rtd), an aeronautical engineer. Also on the panel are: Captain Austin Omame, Capt Dele Sasegbon, Dr.O.B.Aliu, FC Onyeyiri, Capt Mfon Udom, Capt Muktar Usman, Dr. Tony Anuforom and Capt A. Mshelia. The Federal Executive Council held its weekly meeting on the same day which it dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Dana plane crash. All FEC members wore black dresses.

ARRESTED

Mega-church pastor, Creflo Dollar, held over domestic violence

A

MERICAN megachurch pastor, Creflo Dollar, has been arrested after authorities say he slightly hurt his 15-year-old daughter in a fight at his Atlanta home. Fayette County Sheriff’s Office investigator Brent Rowan says deputies responded to a call of domestic violence at the home around 1 a.m. Friday. Rowan says the 50-year-old pastor and his daughter were arguing over whether she could go to a party when Dollar ‘got physical’ with her, leaving her with ‘superficial injuries.’ The 15-year-old was the one who called authorities, and her 19-year-old sister corroborated the story, Rowan said. Dollar faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children. He bonded out of Fayette County jail Friday morning.

Dana Airline grounded

T

HE Federal Government on Tuesday withdrew the Air Operators’ Certificate of Dana Airline as a fall out of the Sunday crash of the company’s plane in Lagos in which 159 people were killed. The Ministry of Aviation termed the action precautionary. On the same day, the Senate resolved that the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren should step aside; all airlines in the country be investigated; and all reports of previous air crashes in the country be released forthwith.

NO DEAL

Boko Haram denies dialogue with FG

B

OKO Haram leader, Imam Abu Muhammad Abubakar Bin Muhammad Shekau, has denied ap pointing Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi to “resume dialogue” with the Federal Government on its attack campaigns in the North. Shekau disclosed this in a statement by the sect’s spokesman, Abul Qaqa, made available to the media in Maiduguri, Borno State. The statement said that the sect had vowed not to resume dialogue with the Federal Government, adding that it would soon “dismantle” the Federal Government and replace it with the Sharia Legal System in Nigeria. The sect also claimed responsibility for the killing of a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna Ningi in Kano on Tuesday.

Ex-Bayelsa gov, Sylva, docked

F

ORMER Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa state made an unexpected appearance before a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, slammed with a six-count charge of money laundering and Advance Fee Fraud involving N6.5billion.It was his first public appearance since he lost out in the struggle for power in the run up to the last governorship election in the state. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was remanded in EFCC custody until Thursday for the court to rule on his bail application.

GRAND SLAM

Sharapova Wins French Open

M

ARIA Sharapova overcame Sara Errani on Satur day to triumph in the French Open, 6-3, 6-2. The win completes a career Grand Slam for the Russian tennis player, having previously come out tops in the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. The champion fell to her knees and looked toward the sky after her victory, her first major title in four years. Her Italian opponent suffered from a difficult start, and never quite picked up momentum a g a i n s t Sharapova, who took a healthy lead.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

News Review

o and Sylva surfaces ASUU gets new President

D

R. Nasir Isa Fagge of Bayero University Kano has emerged the new President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the 17th National Delegates’ Conference of the union. The new executive team of ASUU comprises of Biodun Ogunyemi Onabanjo as Vice President, Dr. Victor Osadeke Financial Secretary, Dr. Ademola Aremu Treasurer, Dr. Ngozi Iloh Welfare Officer and Dr. N. Wurugii as Legal Adviser to the ASUU national body. Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’I in Abuja, Thursday, in a congratulatory message urged the new executive to improve on the performance of the previous Exco. She said the immediate past President, Ukachukwu Awuzie, brought about transformation in academic unionism, particularly fostering healthy dialogue between government and the union.

50-year-old AbakpaNike Bridge collapses in Enugu ACN, CPC merger talks still on-going, says Buhari

T

HE presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, said Friday the merger talks between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the CPC was yet to be concluded. Buhari, who spoke at the coronation of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alhaji Lamido Sanusi as the Dan Majen Kano, said the talks were still in progress adding that it would be made public when all the ropes are tied. “I can tell you that the merger talks are on but the outcome is not yet for you. No deal yet on the merger talks. As soon as the deal is struck, you will know. We met in Kaduna on Thursday but no decision was taken,” he told reporters at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) in company of the ACN leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

APPOINTED

Amina Az-Zubair named UN Special Adviser

U

NITED Nations SecretaryGeneral, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has appointed Mrs Amina Az-Zubair a former Senior Special Assistant to President Jonathan on MDGs, as his Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, and Parfait Onanga-Anyanga of Gabon as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB). Mrs Az-Zubair brings to the position over 30 years of experience as a development practitioner in the public and private sectors as well as civil society, according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. The Special Adviser is currently the Chief Executive Officer and founder of the Centre for Development Policy Solutions, a think-tank focussed on addressing policy and knowledge gaps within the government, parliament and private sector in development and civil society for robust advocacy materials. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, New York, and her past experience which, includes serving as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

HE heaviest rain so far in the year has led to the collapse of 50-year-old Abakpa Nike bridge in Enugu. No life was lost, but the collapse of the strategically located bridge at the entrance of the densely populated Abakpa area caused heavy traffic jam that kept motorists several hours on the road. The downpour which lasted for over two hours did not help matters as it flooded the roads, causing vehicle breakdown and worsening the traffic jam.

T

THE WEEK IN QUOTES “With what is happening in this country, I want us to realise that we have no leaders. If we have leaders, especially traditional rulers, we could have had people who would call these Boko Haram people to order and Boko Haram would obey them. But we have no leaders; politics has taken over the mind of everybody.” —Former police commissioner Abubakar Tsav on the security situation in the country.

“A revolution is about to be unleashed in the electric power sector. This revolution will produce more profound results than we have seen in telecommunications since 2001 following the sector’s liberalization.” —Professor Barth Nnaji on the reform in the power sector.

“The Niger Delta militancy, when it started, we failed to nip it in the bud. It cost the nation a lot of money. We were told in this chamber that when Boko Haram started, we failed to do what we were supposed o do. Every day, we read that Onitsha Bridge will collapse one day but nothing has been done. If it collapses, we will come here to mourn the dead and say it is an accident.” —Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu on the inability of relevant agencies to prevent the Dana plane crash.

“Our airspace is very safe. I hear people say our airspace is not safe: that is not true. We have the safest airspace in the world; we are very safe. What happened had nothing to do with the safety net of our airspace.” —Aviation Minister Stella Oduah reacting to last Sunday’s air crash in Lagos.

•Oduah

•Nnaji

TURBANNED

CBN Gov, Sanusi, becomes Dan Majen Kano

T

11

HE ancient city of Kano, erupted in ecstasy of celebra tion Friday, as Nigerians from all walks of life con verged there to witness the turbaning of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as the Dan Majen Kano, by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. The historic event, which was well attended, was well policed by security agents, apparently because of the rising threats of insecurity in the north. Sanusi was turbaned a few minutes after 10 am, as his friends and family members watched with admiration. The venue could hardly accommodate those who had thronged the place as early as 6am. “We have bestowed on you the title of Dan Majen Kano) in recognition of your experience and exposure as well as your good character. We are aware of your good work not only in Nigeria but also abroad. “We are also aware of your patriotism and cordial relationship with the people as well as your support to the less privileged,” the royal father said.

•Tsav

•Ekweremadu

NEW CHIEF JUDGE

Lagos Assembly confirms Phillips as CJ

T

HE Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Justice Ayotunde Phillips as the new Chief Judge of the state. The confirmation was in response to a letter forwarded to the House by Governor Babatunde Fashola, which was read by the acting Clerk, Segun Abiru. Justice Phillips, 62, would replace Justice Inumidun Akande, who is retiring from the state Judicial Service Commission. The lawmakers said Phillips was a good choice, promising her of their support. They urged her to fast track the dispensation of justice and also address the congestion of prisons in the state. Justice Phillips had worked with the state Development and Property Corporation as the Company Secretary before she was transferred to the Ministry of Justice in 1989. She had worked in the Judiciary Service Commission for 18 years.


12

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

News Review DANA AIR CRASH

‘Shylocks have taken over aviation sector’ Captain Eric B. Sule is a retired Squadron Leader of the Nigerian Air Force. He was a Fighter Jet Pilot in his service days. He is at present on contract with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf spoke with him on the aftermath of the Dana air crash among other issues

T

HE question on many people’s lips now is that the Nigerian airspace is not safe anymore. Is it safe to fly? I started operating in Nigerian airspace in 1977 as a pilot with Nigerian Air force. I can recall vividly that from that year up till the mid-90s we had very few ground aids (VOR, NDB, DME or Radio Station frequencies) to guide us to our destinations. In fact, most of the aids available then, were misleading rather than directing because they were not very accurate if serviceable. But today most aircraft are equipped with state-of-the art navigational aids besides highly efficient ground aids coupled with the total Radar Coverage. To be precise, the safety of our airspace today can compare favourably with other airspaces of advanced nations, if not there’s no way we could have earned the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) 1A status. Many people believe that at the centre of the crisis in the aviation sub-sector is the problem of corruption. As an expert what do you honestly think is wrong with the sub-sector? In as much as I accept that corruption is the bane of our society, I am at a loss when you say crisis in the aviation sector. I will be more comfortable if you use another word besides crisis; because aviation sector has been very stable in the last six-seven years. In case you need to know, on the average, America records not less than three mishaps every week but you dare not mention that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of America is in crisis. However, there is no gain hiding the reality, you can’t compare our civil aviation with FAA of United Kingdom or America. These nations are already stabilised in the aviation business after so many years of trial. The greatest problems of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are in two phases. The first one concerns operators. Here I mean the owners of the equipment (aircraft) and those who fly for them. Most of the aircraft owners are not the ones that fly them. The owners are mostly businessmen who are mainly concerned about making gain in any investment, that most times they undermine

M

AKING good well publicised threats on boycott, teachers in both primary and secondary schools across the 16 local government councils in Ekiti State refused to write Teachers’ Needs Assessment Test (TDNA)last Monday, 4 July. They stayed off all 39 designated examination centres spread across the 16 local government areas off the state as appointed exam officials waited all day long without the candidates in sight. Journalists who moved round some designated centres both in Ado-Ekiti, capital of the state and Ikere-Ekiti, an adjoining township, noticed general compliance by teachers with directives of their parent unions, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) The teachers had argued TDNA (test) was a mere façade to cut down on the number of teachers in the state. This has been their position from the outset. It would be recalled that before the final

•Sule

PHOTO: ABAYOMI FAYESE

“Aviation business is every expensive, this has forced the businessmen aircraft owners to opt for older pilots instead of training the younger ones for the job. We cannot have improvement in the manpower development when we have shylock businessmen who are only keen in making gain at the expense of humanity and the nation” the professional advices of the crew. This conflict of interest in this regard, usually jeopardizes the success/safety of our aviation sector. The other concerns the regulator. Namely FAAN, NAMA and NCAA are three brothers of the same parent, Federal Government of Nigeria through Federal Ministry of Aviation. FAAN – is a service organisation statutorily charged to manage all commercial airports in the country and provide services to both passengers and airlines. NAMA – is to provide safe and functional air navigation services. NCAA – is statutorily responsible for the

safety and economic regulation of the civil aviation industry. The three sectors are expected to work in tandem to provide a safe aviation platform for all aviators within Nigerian airspace. But since the organisation was granted autonomy, there had been tendency by each sector to generate money at all cost thus compromising safety standards. This is not healthy for our aviation sector. A lot of people, especially the travelling public were beginning to have confidence in our airspace until the Dana air mishap which claimed hundreds of lives. What can be done

Ekiti tug of war over test Despite assurances from government that TDNA was not meant to prune teachers number in the state and appeals from notable public, Ekiti State teachers on Monday, 4 July 2012 boycotted the test. Sulaiman Salawudeen here examines the issues. date of Monday 4 June, the test had been postponed twice mainly not just because the teachers, through their unions, had vehemently stood against it but especially because government busied itself devising means and methods to get the teachers reconsider their stance. In separate reactions to queries from the media, teachers had contended that “similar examinations were held last year for some top

level officers of the Local Government Service Commission and principals of public secondary schools, consequent upon which some of the affected officers were either sacked or demoted.” While accepting that the sector abhors certain rots which had overtaken it lately and which needed to be fixed, the teachers reasoned that getting round the problem would require a different regimen of solutions

to restore their confidence? I sympathize with our people for the psychological trauma being experienced anytime one wants to travel. But it is sad to note, that the travelling public do not require much confidence restoration. If one considers the unsafe nature of our roads- armed robbery, bad roads, reckless drivers, rickety vehicles amongst others. More so when one remembers that a journey of about an hour from Lagos to Ibadan, you might be on that road for twothree days that is if you survived the fire of a burning trailer. Or a movement from Abuja to Lokoja, one will not arrive at his destination in two days, because students are rioting against government decision and come out to block the road or that a trailer had fallen across the road. As long as there is no safer alternative means of transportation than by air, the confidence would be restored within few weeks. Many have also blamed the crisis on the ineptitude and abdication of responsibility by the regulatory agencies in the sector. Do you share such sentiments? You have come again with this word “crisis.” I don’t want to overflog my dislike for the use of that panic word “crisis”. As a seasoned pilot that has tasted the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of Nigerian aviation industry, I am bold to say, the nation has never had it this glorious. I feel for the loss of the great souls that perished in the ill-fated Dana Air crash, but can you believe that at the head of NCAA is Dr. Harold Demuren, who had performed so well to the admiration of the founders of the aviation business, to a point that he is today the President of ICAO. First black man to be so honoured and you are talking of ineptitude and abdication of responsibility of such a man! Well it is said a prophet is not recognized in his community. You were one of those who set up the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT). But today we understand that we have dearth of professional pilots. For several years now, NCAT has not been able to produce pilots. What is the problem and what can be done to address this shortfall in manpower? Correction, as a military pilot, I had no business with NCAT. I had my ab initio-flying at Nigerian Air force Primary Flying Training Wing in Kaduna, there after I proceeded to England for my professional flying courses. However, I take great interest in the activities of NCAT. I stand to be corrected, but I believe NCAT, is suffering from what our national universities are passing through, poor management, paucity of funds, lack of adequate facilities, no patronage among others. Aviation business is every expensive, this has forced the businessmen aircraft owners to opt for older pilots instead of training the younger ones for the job. We cannot have improvement in the manpower development when we have shylock businessmen who are only keen in making gain at the expense of humanity and the nation. What is the average lifespan of an aircraft? And at what point should an aircraft seize to fly? It is very difficult to wear an aircraft out. This equipment’s life span is based on hours they operate. There are aircraft that have flown over 90,000 flying hours and still have the potential to continue •Continued on Page 67

aside forcing them to write “a humiliating test.” They contended it would offer no basis to litigate upon if it were to be only a promotion examination which Oyo, Ogun, Lagos and osun States had equally subjected their teachers and on which theirl promotion was based. But, top officials of government, including both Governor Kayode Fayemi and his deputy, Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka, had at various fora allayed fears of the teachers. They said TDNA was meant to serve quality improvement/ assurance purpose rather than the touted intent of cutting down on the teachers’ 16,000 figures in the state. Commissioners both of the Ministries of Information and Civic Orientation and Education had equally joined forces to clarify official position of government. Jointly and separately, the commisssioners stated the test was a culmination of the efforts of government to overhaul observed •Continued on Page 65


COMMENT and ANALYSIS

13

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Laughter as Nigeria’s medicine Festus Eriye

Laughter and stoicism are the fuels that propel Nigerians through dark days in a country that is hard to understand

Otufodunrin@thenationonlineng.net 08023000621 (SMS only)

Harvests of death

efestus2003@yahoo.com

M

08052135878 (SMS only)

E

VEN in the darkest of moments Nigerians always find something to laugh about, or a reason to laugh at themselves. I am reminded of a very sad event several years ago. A day after he learnt of the death in Spain of his wife, Stella, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, sat at a reception in his home in Abeokuta surrounded by family and associates who had come to condole with him. The organisers of the very somber event thought if fit to inject a comic skit into the grim proceedings to wring a smile out of the face of the bereaved president. It was a tough call for the young stand-up comedian who had to strike a tricky balance between sounding funny, and still remaining appropriate for the occasion. He pulled it off as Obasanjo and those gathered managed a couple of wan smiles. In the aftermath of the tragic crash of the Dana Airlines flight last Sunday, you would think that the national mood was too dark for anything light to penetrate. Think again! A friend sent me this SMS commentary on the tragedy that was making the rounds. “You travel by road a tanker will catch fire. By air, the plane crashes… You sit in your house the plane will come and meet you there. You go to church Boko Haram will attack you. You go by sea militants will attack you. You finally run to your village and you are kidnapped! No safe place in Nigeria. What a life!” This fine bit of black humour might force you into a smile, but when you think of the message that smile will be swiftly extinguished. Put simply the prankster is saying that Nigeria is sick. Nothing works; nothing makes sense. In this country people think you are mad when you do the right thing! So how do we carry on amidst all the chaos? Stoicism is one explanation. It is a trait which Nigerians have in generous reserves. We appear to have an extraordinary capacity to take suffering. Little wonder, Chief Ernest Shonekan, back in the days when he held sway as Head of the Transitional Government, and later Interim National Government, once said Nigerians were ‘shock absorbers.’ We not only deftly absorb the most crushing of blows; we are past masters at grinning and bearing it. We are optimistic where there is very little to be sunny about. We have cried for so long, and realising that salvation is not in sight – we do the next best thing: laugh. I was at an event the day President Goodluck Jonathan chose to honour the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola. What was supposed to be a cheery dinner was suddenly dampened by the moaning of ex-Akokites over what they considered the desecration of their cherished UNILAG brand. They were still inveighing furiously against Jonathan when someone drew our attention to the latest joke on the social media. Apparently some wit had suggested that the president go a step further by naming the University of Port Harcourt as Patience Ebele Jonathan University (PEJU). For good measure, he could also call the University of Ibadan Lamidi Adedibu University or Alao Akala University of Technology. That certainly got a few laughs! Amidst all the grieving after last Sunday’s crash the name of our president’s controversial missus got dragged inevitably into the mix. Clearly, some Lagosians have not for-

Lekan Otufodunrin

•ENTERTAINMENT FOR SOME. Soldiers disperse onlookers at the scene of the crash of the Dana Airline plane. PHOTO: EMMANUEL AREWA

given the First Lady for the monster traffic jam she caused the last time she swept into town with her entourage. As revenge, someone malevolent fellow floated a theory that the Dana plane crashed because it could not reach Lagos airport on time – the airspace having been allegedly shut down for over two hours in honour of Dame Patience. Wiser after the roasting she received last time, madam had chosen to lie low in the general vicinity of Victoria Island and Ikoyi. Not even 153 souls crashing down to earth in the same city could rouse her to make a sympathetic detour to the scene of the disaster. Well, maybe she didn’t want to cause another traffic jam. Knowing how explosive this rumour could become, the Presidency quickly rushed out a denial saying Mrs. Jonathan was not airborne on Sunday. We were still trying to deal with the introduction of a farcical dimension to a somber event when all manner of apostles, prophets and sundry seers started popping out of the woodwork claiming responsibility, sorry… claiming credit for predicting the crash. One claimed to have sent his prophetic message several times to Aso Rock, only to have the tome chucked back at him. Can’t say I blame the chaps at the Villa. What was Jonathan supposed to do? Summon a conclave of seers? Perhaps the prophet should have prayed hard. Hasn’t he heard what the Scripture say about effective, fervent prayers of a righteous man availing much? And then you have the gurus. Nigeria has

“You travel by road a tanker will catch fire. By air, the plane crashes… You sit in your house the plane will come and meet you there. You go to church Boko Haram will attack you. You go by sea militants will attack you. You finally run to your village and you are kidnapped! No safe place in Nigeria. What a life!”

all one hundred and fifty thousand varieties of them – experts in everything from football to plane crashes. They all have a way of popping up on television talk shows after some new tragedy – deploying that potent tool – hindsight. Some of these experts said since the aircraft’s distress began 40 minutes before the eventual crash, the pilot ought to have made an emergency landing in Ibadan. It just sets me thinking what it would have been like in that cockpit. What would have going through the minds of the petrified crew as the plane dropped like a stone out of the sky. Pure, undiluted, paralysing terror! How I wish the pundits were there to propound their ‘detour to Ibadan’ theory. At times like this everyone wants to be seen to be taking decisive action in response to the dark mood of the nation. Not surprisingly President Jonathan did what he does best: set up another committee. The only problem was no one remembered to tell him that standard global practice is to allow the standing Air Investigation Bureau conduct the probe – and not some new contraption populated with individuals linked to past air disasters. Given the bloodcurdling cries for retribution it is not surprising that this is also the season of denial. First, Dana Airlines kept insisting that their craft didn’t have any issues – even when their own staff were anonymously telling the media the opposite. They also initially denied engine trouble only to do a swift pirouette. For Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, briefly hailed as a redeemer of sorts, it all ended in tears on Sunday. She would go on to make the astonishing claim that ours was about the safest of airspaces on earth. Just makes you wonder whether madam minister does not need a rest from all the stress. Cut away from the Executive branch for a moment and zoom into that bastion of democratic energy – the National Assembly – where lawmakers hopping mad over the tragedy are demanding some heads on a plate. All week they have been dishing out orders about who should be sacked or hanged – even before we’ve had a chance to make sense of what has just happened. It never ceases to amuse me when I hear legislators, who clearly lack such powers, barking out orders to employees in the Executive Branch – commands which would never be obeyed. But then this is Nigeria where tragedy often intersects with comedy – leaving us with only the option of laughter in the face of unspeakable horrors.

Y heart goes out to the victims of last Sunday’s Dana airline crash in Lagos. We are all victims of the crash in a way. Those who died on board, those killed and wounded on the ground, those who lost their properties, families and friends left behind to mourn the tragic loss and every Nigerian, because of the collective sense of loss of a national tragedy like this. Reading reports on the crash about the passengers on the flight and the incalculable damage to the residents of the area where the plane crashed has really been a traumatic experience for me. Young (including babies) and old Nigerians made to suffer such a painful death. Many dreams shattered and orphans and widows left with uncertain future. This crash has to be properly investigated to ensure that the real cause is established and necessary measures taken to safeguard our flight operations. Aviation regulatory authorities have to ensure strict compliance with guidelines for airline operators. Even without being aviation experts, there are things we see at our airports and on board of some local airlines that does not give passengers enough confidence that all necessary safety guidelines are being adhered to. It does not have to take a crash for the government to wake up to its responsibility of ensuring that the aviation sector, like every other is in good shape. Before last Sunday’s crash, passengers have had various frightening experiences on local flights which when reported, were not taken seriously as they should. From the reactions of some government officials, they were not unaware of complaints about the state of Dana airline, but it has taken the loss of more than 150 innocent lives to speak up. Their criminal silence speaks volume of the value we attach to lives in our country. Many accidents in Nigeria are avoidable, if only everyone responsible for one thing or the other are alert to their duties The outpouring of grief over the crash is understandable, considering the number of persons killed in one single incident, but deaths of greater magnitude over time have been recorded in road accidents but not much concern has been shown by government. We equally have to ensure safety on the roads and compensation for the victims to avoid giving the impression that the lives of air travelers are precious than victims of other accidents. So many people die daily in roads accidents and there is not enough documentation of who they are or any response by the government. In many cases victims of road accidents are given mass burial before their relatives get to know about their death. Death has become so cheap in the country that people sometimes have to share testimonies in churches when they return from journeys. Accidents do happen worldwide, but what is lacking in Nigeria is adequate means to prevent avoidable cases and the required response when the need arises. My prayer is that God will grant the families of those who died in the crash and hundreds of faceless Nigerians who have died in road accidents the fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones. I pray that God will touch the hearts of officials responsible for ensuring safety of lives in the air, road and other means of transportation in our country.


14

O

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Comment & Analysis

N March 15, 2012, the Deputy Inspector General of the Nigerian Police, Haruna John, perished together with three other police officers in a helicopter accident after hovering over the skies of Jos to monitor the ongoing religious fighting. Unbelievably, that accident left Nigerian police with only one helicopter. The Jos incident was merely the opening for worse to come in a country where aviation accidents are becoming a norm. First, it was on Saturday in the neighbouring country of Ghana when a Nigerian cargo Boeing 727 plane originating in the Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, crash-landed at 7.10pm local time near the airport in the capital, Accra. The plane, which was operated by Allied Air, hit a minibus on the ground after overshooting the runway. The tragedy killed ten people in the minibus but four crew members survived. Nobody really took it as a warning. On Sunday before noon, less than 24 hours after the Accra incident, people were crying all over Lagos when a passenger jetliner, McDonnell 83, crashed in a densely-populated area killing 153 on board and at least another 40 on the ground. The Data Airlines plane was flying from Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Sunday’s crash was one of the worst in either Nigerian skies or related to Nigeria airlines. Based on various sources, the deadliest happened in 1991 when all 261 passengers on board a Nigerian Airways jetliner died after its landing gear caught fire shortly after take-off in Saudi Arabia en route to Nigeria. Another worst time for Nigerians

How safe are Nigerian skies? By Mobhare Matinyi

was towards the end of 2005 when over 220 people were killed in two crashes in Nigeria. It first started on October 22 when a Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos killing all 111 passengers and six crew. Then on December 10, a Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines jetliner, DC9, from Abuja crashed on landing in Port Harcourt, this time killing 106 people, half of them schoolchildren on their way home for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Sadly, Nigerians, who are considered by pollsters as among the world’s happiest people, have witnessed over 1,300 of their loved ones perish in aviation accidents since 1991. Neither has the military been spared as on September 26, 1992, an Americanmade Air Force C-130 crashed minutes after taking off from Lagos airport killing almost 200 soldiers. In fact, ten major accidents have taken place in Nigeria in the last two decades. One of them happened on November 7, 1996, when a Boeing 727

operated by Nigeria’s ADC crashed on its way from Port Harcourt to Lagos and none of the 142 passengers and nine crew survived. Another accident occurred on May 4, 2002, when a Nigeria EAS Airlines BAC 1-11 crashed in Kano killing 75 on the plane and at least 73 on the ground. Again, on October 29, 2006, an ADC airliner with 114 passengers on board burned after take-off from Abuja killing 96 of them. This number of accidents in one country is an awful lot. To put it in other words, before an average Nigerian even gets married, they will hear about ten serious incidents of aviation accidents in their country. One may argue that Nigeria is a sub-continent with over 160 million people living together in a country the size of Tanzania, but how about the United States, which has 310 million people and the world’s busiest skies and airports? Consider this, in almost the same period, that is, from 1997 to 2007, the US has reduced the accident rate from one fatal accident in 2 million in 1997 to unprecedented

“This number of accidents in one country is an awful lot. To put it in other words, before an average Nigerian even gets married, they will hear about ten serious incidents of aviation accidents in their country”

one fatal in 4.5 million departures. But Nigeria is not the only country in Africa with such a huge number of deadly aviation accidents. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is another dangerous place to fly, and speaking of airlines, Kenya Airways is another airline to watch as in the last 12 years it has killed 284 people in two accidents. Not long ago, on May 5, 2007, Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 with 114 on board crashed in Douala, Cameroon killing everyone on board including a Tanzanian female military officer who was coming home from a peacekeeping mission in West Africa. The worst Kenya Airways accident occurred on January 30, 2000 when an Airbus A310 carrying 169 and ten crew members crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Cote d’Ivoire after take-off from Abidjan. Only ten people survived and again one Tanzanian, a senior official with the African Development Bank in Abidjan, lost his life. This Nigerian incident, in which the plane flown by an American pilot aided by an Indian co-pilot and an Indonesian flight engineer, crashed on buildings when both engines failed, reminds us of the seriousness of aviation safety measures, which for some reasons are wanting in Africa. Why in Africa? Why? Matinyi is a consultant based in Washington, DC Courtesy: thecitizen.co.tz


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Comment & Analysis

15

Time to overhaul NCAA (1) Dana Air crash calls to question the competence of the regulators

I

T was perhaps expected that the Federal Government would take to overdrive in the wake of the Dana Air Flight June 3 crash which claimed 164 lives. It came as no surprise that it ordered the grounding of Dana aircraft fleet; there were in fact, initial reports of the suspension of the airline’s licence, which has since been denied by the airline. Also, the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday emerged from its weekly meeting to name a nine-man Technical and Administrative Review Panel headed by Group Captain John Obakpolor (rtd) – to “determine the remote and immediate causes of the crash”. It came with a promise by President Goodluck Jonathan that “where clear dereliction of duty is established, firm action would be taken”. On its part, the aviation ministry also announced some new and notso-new measures to prevent a recurrence of such mishaps, and to reposition the aviation industry in general. Going down the memory lane, the Dana Air crash would be the 34th of such incidents since the 1959 crash of a DC 10 in Lagos, in which the 87 people on board were killed. In every successive air crash since, similar panels had been established to unearth their “immediate and remote causes”. Indeed, if there is any lesson to take from in more than half a century of crashes, it is one of failure of governments to implement the recommendations of the ensuing probe. The lesson of the past two decades would seem to stand out. September 27,1992, a military transport plane carrying soldiers crashed into a swamp shortly after take-off in Lagos. All on board perished. The reports were never made public. Barely 10 years after, on May 4, 2002, BAC 111500 aircraft operated by EAS Airline on a Lagos Kano flight crash-landed in Gwammaja, a residential area of Kano city, killing 64 of its passen-

F

OR some time now, the move by the Federal government to increase electricity tariff with effect from June 1, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has continued to generate varied reactions. Expectedly, a large spectrum of the Nigerian populace has rejected it as another move by the government to further impoverish already poor Nigerians. However, while the government is resolute on going ahead with the new tariff structure, the people on the other hand are equally bent on resisting the move to the very end. As usual the Nigerian media has not been left out of the debate, and has been very professional in its duty of throwing up the core issues involved. To start with, it is quite an interesting scenario to see Dr. Sam Amadi, the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission passionately trying to convince Nigerians on the need to embrace the new tariff and it’s only remarkable to say, that his passion is worth saluting, however that is not the real issue. The real issue is that as at today, about 70% of Nigerians are still extremely poor, with many more already made poorer by the partial removal of the fuel subsidy, and now a new policy is coming to worsen their economic misery. In the words of Dr. Amadi, about 50 Private Independent Power Projects (IPP) have been licensed to produce about 20,000 megawatts of power in

gers and at least 74 civilians on ground. Although the investigators blamed pilot error for the crash, they also found, among others, that the aircraft in question had been grounded on two occasions over issues of maintenance and safety. Three years after – on October 22, 2005 it was the turn of Bellview Airlines at Lisa village in Ogun State. The crash led to the death of the 117 passengers and crew on board. Investigators found that the 49-year old pilot has had a long break from flying. In fact, it was discovered that the pilot had been shot in the head by armed robbers during his long break from flying, which calls to question the judgment of those who engaged him to fly. As if to fully establish the year as one of multiple air tragedies, a Sosoliso Airline flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt also, on December 10, that year, crashed. The US Federal Aviation Administration would later blame the inclement weather for the accident. Less than a year after, on October 29, 2006, an Aviation Development Company aircraft from Abuja to Sokoto also crashed, killing 96 people. Although bad weather was fingered in the accident, the pilot was said to have reacted inappropriately. While it seems premature at this time to speculate on the possible cause(s) of the ill-fated Dana

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

•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

flight, what is of interest to us at this time is what is clearly the regulatory lapse in allowing an aircraft, which under the NCAA rules ought to have been grounded. ‘We refer here to the law banning aircraft of over 20 years from flying in the country. It is puzzling that the DANA MD-83 aircraft which crashed is actually more than 20 years old. Instructively, the Sosoliso aircraft had actually flown for 32 years at the time of crash. More revealing is that the average age of the fleet in Dana Airline is said to be 21.4 years. The Dana Air case has since been discovered to be the rule – as against being an exception - in an industry where most operators have learnt to cut corners while the regulators look on. That is why we are minded to ask: why is it so easy for our regulators to look away in the face of such brazen breaches of laws? Without prejudice to the argument that a well-maintained aircraft can be airworthy for 50 years or more, we consider it appalling that a so-called regulator would feign impotence, or rather indifference in the face of impunity, more so that the regulations in question were by- products of national exigencies at the time. As it is, the chickens have merely come home to roost. Clearly, we do not see anything that the Obakpolor committee would unearth that those before it had not brought to light. What has been lacking is the capacity to implement the specific findings. The challenge at this time would seem to us as one of lack of depth or discipline by the regulator – the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). It is the lack of depth and technical capacity that oftentimes invites the meddling by the aviation ministry. It seems about time the Federal Government embarked on a swift surgery to overhaul the NCAA. We say – enough of window dressing.

LETTERS

The increase in electricity tariff low, but then how come the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), which is supposed to be the only existing structure on which this system is to take off, is still rolling out new pre-paid metres even up till now? Just last year, electricity tariff was silently increased from N4.20K to N7, without any significant improvement in power generation and distribution, except for myriad of excuses about

how the government couldn’t get gas to the various power stations or how water level continue to go down in Kainji. It is quite ridiculous that Nigeria, as a country that started generating electricity in 1896 from Ijora, still continues to shoulder the burden of an epileptic power sector, more than 100 years after! To make matters worse, even the State House is powered by generators. How can

a government that continues to budget whopping amounts of money yearly for diesel and generator to power the State House, come before Nigerians to pretend to be serious about reforming the power sector? If the Federal government is indeed serious about reforming the power sector, it should continue in its drive to build more power plants and the necessary infrastructure all over the country. When this is done and electricity supply becomes at least conveniently stable, it can then go ahead and increase the tariff.

the near future and his argument is that, if these plants are not cost effective, then the ultimate investors will not invest as expected. He also argued that the NERC is looking at regulating the price now, so that in the near future none of these licensed power companies will suddenly exercise a change of heart and distribute power at a price higher than the set price. Does this not in itself

run contrary to the spirit and letters of private sector investment/capitalism which is the direction in which the power sector is heading? Dr. Amadi has talked about the new metering system in which Nigerians will no longer have to pay for metre as the cost of it would have been included in the new tariff structure. That again may suffice as another convenient argument to swal-

T

Re: Ikuku and his police connections

HE attention of the Abia State Government has been drawn to two stories published in The Nation of Sunday of June 3, 2012. The two stories captioned “L.G. Chairman’s Democracy Day N4 million loss” and “Ikuku and his police connections” are false and untrue in every material particular. On the issue of the purported missing money, the alleged victim as per your own story denied that his money got lost. If the intent of the report was not to create mischief and disaffection between government and her citizens, what purpose does your reporter want to achieve in insisting that a man lost his money when the person allegedly involved denied it? On the second story titled “Ikuku and Police connections”, the story which is false,

malicious and libellous portrays Chinendu Orji (Ikuku) as a violent man. Without a shred of evidence, your reporter accused Chinedu Orji of thuggery and criminal conduct. It is a very serious matter to accuse anybody of illegal and unlawful conduct without a scintilla of evidence. You have attempted to demonize Chinedu Orji as a violent man who uses thugs to disrupt meetings and lock up venue of political meeting without proof. Your story that “Just before the meeting some heavily armed policemen and others, later identified as thugs invaded the proposed venue and locked it up” is un-

true, spurious and unsubstantiated. For the purpose of this rebuttal, did anybody produce any evidence to show a nexus between the purportedly heavily armed policemen and Chinedu Orji? Your attempt to insinuate that Chinedu Orji has control over conduct of policemen is a wicked attempt to send policemen on a collision course with this humble, intelligent and law abiding youngman. The access that Chinedu Orji has with the police is the same access every other Nigerian has with the police. Furthermore, Chinedu Orji is a private citizen. What proof does your paper have that he was behind the purported disruption of purported meeting place and locking up of same?

Your attempt to paint him as a violent man started when you stated “after the embarrassing story of his involvement in the shopping misadventure that ended up in a mafia-like general beating”, evidences lack of professionalism. Beer particular gossip, rumours and innuendoes are elevated to fact. Your story is a lie from the deepest part of Hell. The use of the word “mafia” connotes gangsterism and the worst form of criminal behaviour in any place. Chinedu Orji is neither a gangster nor a criminal. Does it mean that your stories are neither verified nor cross-checked before publishing? Did you make any attempt to speak

Olusola Adegbite, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

with Chinedu Orji to get his own side of your none-story before publication? It is a pity that a respected newspaper like yours publishes innuendoes, fabricated and unsubstantiated stories. Your faceless reporter is engaging in character assassination of a young man without remorse. The attempt to malign and demonize Chinedu Orji and by implication his father (Governor T.A. Orji) will fail. The two reports are unashamedly partisan attempt to detract from the positive news emanating from Abia State. James Okpara Special Adviser on Public Relations to the Governor of Abia State.

SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 500 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS: sundaynation@yahoo.com


16

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Comment & Analysis

DANA Air: a scapegoat for a national malaise? Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni @thenationonlineng.net

N

IGERIA is currently mourning the tragic death of some of its best men and women who died in Iju-Ishaga without any illness last week but because of the crash of an airplane operated by Dana Air. Nigerians, as expected, have shown that no other culture or society mourns better than their own. To confirm this, all one needs to do is to look at faces of people on the streets. Those waiting for Okada and Molue, as well as those in their own vehicles wear long faces that indicate their sadness on account of their fellow citizens who have lost their precious lives to what seems like a mechanical fault. No better place to see the rich texture of the country’s mourning culture than in the Federal Executive Council. Ministers and advisers known for over dressing in flamboyant parti-coloured dresses appear in black, the colour of premature death in most of the country’s cultures. Our public servants have not taken any back seat in expressing their condolences through newspapers and visits to

The cause of most accidents in the country is criminal neglect of maintenance in all aspects families of those bereaved. Two of the country’s power centres; the executive and the legislative are already falling over each other in calling for investigations of the recent accident and for standard and quality assurance in the entire aviation industry. The fact that Nigerians are mourning and at the same time angry is demonstrated in the calls in newspapers for probe of the air crash, for audit of other airlines operating in the country’s domestic air space, and in calls for cancellation of the operating license of Dana Air, as well as for firing those who should have taken all precaution to avert this magnitude of national tragedy. Grieving over the death of victims of Dana Air crash will certainly be with the country for a long time. But what must not be forgotten as we continue to mourn the sudden death of 159 innocent citizens is the governmental, corporate, and individual culture of neglect of details that increases the chance of tragic accidents in the air, on the road, at work, in the house, etc. As Nigerians mourn the untimely death of their fellow citizens, they must not forget to pay attention to the cause of most accidents in the country: criminal neglect of maintenance in all aspects.

To visitors in our country, our general lack of interest in details is unmistakable. Even 100 hundred years after our contact with industrial culture, we still act like children and grandchildren of subsistent farmers of antiquity who saw everything from the perspective that nature has infinite capacity to repair itself and other things over time. Most of the objects that cause accidents: airplanes, trailers, cars, ships and boats, motor-cycles, and even bicycles are man-made and require ever-present attention, if they are not to become sources of danger to human beings. This is the first lesson that mankind learnt from the industrial revolution. Our country is not behind in creating the right laws and regulations. There is a Consumer Protection Council that is charged to do several things that can reduce the level of danger that industrial goods can cause. The Consumer Protection Council has not been dormant for long. In 2011, it threatened to create a bye-law that would make flight delay or cancellation an offence! It would have been better for the council to have insisted on regular audit of air worthiness of airplanes by the Civil Aviation Authority. The country has parastatals

for every activity under the sun: Road Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection agency, Building Construction, etc to regulate quality and standards. is an agency that is designed to reduce accidents our roads. It is not the dearth of good intention that troubles us; it is the commitment of those charged to regulate that is the recurrent problem. It is hard for anyone to say with pride that these safety-promoting organizations are doing their job efficiently and effectively, if one considers the number of accidents on our roads, in the air, or even inside buildings. Many people would argue, like General Buhari, that corruption makes it impossible for all agencies designed to protect consumers of goods and services to do their job. Corruption starts at the point of obtaining license for any activity. It endures until the licensed operation creates problems for the society. Corruption also often makes it impossible for rectification to be done, as proprietors and officials are more enthusiastic about collecting envelopes than in saving the life of citizens that they are employed to protect. Despite the obsession of our public officials with gadgets of modernity: state-of-the-art cars,

private jets, oversize mansions, and ostentatious dresses, they harbor a pre-industrial mindset; a superstitious attitude that allows them to think that ignoring maintaining machinery or even buildings is not by itself a problem. It is this mindset that allows public officials and managers in other sectors to have the courage to waive important regulations after they have been suborned by providers of goods and services to citizens. Should anyone be surprised that owners of airlines are already complaining about the call by the legislature for audit of existing airline companies? Ironically, those who are enthusiastic about growing the aviation industry in the country do not think that safety of life of their customers may be the best way to grow the industry. The mindset of don’t ask don’t tell is already at work in the domestic aviation industry a few days after the crash of Dana airplane. Dana Air may just be the unlucky one. The life of our citizens are daily endangered by the roads we have, the vehicles we allow to ply them, the airplanes that we fly, the buildings that we are allowed to live in, by corruption, and by our attitude to maintenance and quality assurance. Where is the country’s National Orientation agency?

Dana crash: A premeditated multiple murder Femi Orebe femi.orebe @thenationonlineng.net 08056504626 (sms only)

I

T will be impossible to feign ignorance of, or be unsympathetic to President Jonathan for his multiple multi-sectoral problems, none of which appears anywhere, nearing a resolution. No, not after seeing pictures of their sombre Federal Executive meeting of Wednesday, 6 June, 2012. And, anyway, how much flak can an individual take, no matter even if the buck truly stops at his table? I think the time has come for us, as a people, to take a fresh look at ourselves to know where exactly our problems lie. We, especially the press, daily rail on politicians believing they alone are the cause of our many problems. I doubt if that charge will stick to even the vacuous Peoples Democratic Party, bereft as it is, of the finer nuances of good governance. In the instant case of the unfortunate Dana air crash which I prefer to describe as a premeditated multiple murder given the many avoidable lapses, two critical questions to ask are: where exactly was the NCAA, our airspace regulatory authority, and how come it was completely deaf to the many reported odysseys of that plane, especially in the month immediately preceding this horrendous crash which chose to snuff life out of multiple members of the same family? It is paradoxical that this is happening under the watch of its current Director-General who is widely regarded as very competent and one of the best in the business. The flying coffin which dropped on poor, innocent and unsuspecting souls in the Iju area of Lagos in

The Federal Government failed to take action on the reports of investigations into past air disasters the scorching sun of Sunday, 3 June, 2012, would never have been certified to fly, even in the remotest part of India where the proprietors of Dana Airline come from. But given that some Indian businessmen are reputed to be capable of bribing even the dead, and, in a country where, even if you do not offer, government officials would shamelessly demand bribe, nothing could have stopped the crash. It was one more crash waiting to happen as has become the norm in Nigeria in the past decade. I last wrote on the parlous condition of the Nigerian aviation sector around 2006, at a time when planes were dropping like nine pins from our airspace. Since then, and with all the outlandish claims of the NCAA regarding progress and certification by international aviation authorities like the U.S Federal Aviation Administration, nothing has really changed. It is only insincere observers of goings on in that sector who would not have smelt the putrefying odour from our aviation sector. Indeed, so bad had things become that a perceptive Teju Cole, (as quoted in an online article) a Nigerian totally unconnected to the Nigerian Aviation Sector beyond probably being a constant air traveler, recently twitted as follows: ‘Like Noah’s birds before the flood subsided, inbound flights circled Abuja Airport, unable to land. Power cut. A seven-part garland for Nigerian aviation: 1. There have been several sudden power outages in the past few months at Lagos and Abuja airports, including two in the past week. 2 Airport electricity comes from the unreliable Power Holding Company of Nigeria. There are standby generators. They are unreliable too.

3. There was a major security breach in Lagos last month when, a homeless, mentally ill man got as far as the international boarding gate. 4. Three commercial airplanes crashed in Nigeria between 2005-2006. Many prominent Nigerians and dozens of school children died. 5. A recent report indicated that one of those planes was piloted by a man who had once been shot in the head during a robbery. And then, rather prophetically, he wrote: 6. Ring a ring o’ roses. It’s hard to shake off the feeling that soon, too soon, another Nigerian plane will fall from the sky. 7. And it’s easy to believe that when it happens, the President and the Minister of Aviation will look suitably mournful, and then… move on.’ Cryptically implicit in that twit are most of the problems plaguing the Nigerian aviation sector and they all continue to be watered, manured and fertilized, by the unremitting corruption, and man know man, that continue to hobble and, is most likely to serve as the last nail on the coffin of this otherwise great country. Impunity reigns supreme or who, in any of the cited instances in the twit above, has been punished for culpability? They do not get punished unless the authorities want to deliberately, politically witch hunt, as happened when one of the best ever Engineers in the history of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr Sakpere, was peremptorily eased off as Director of Operations because of a spurious fire incident, supervision of which was not directly under his watch. This is precisely why, for my Lordship the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, the

Most Rev Felix Femi Ajakaye, the Federal government should be held responsible for failing to take action on the reports of investigations into past air disasters. It must be said, however, that this is a carry over from the Obasanjo days of indescribable impunity. The result is that grievous offenders do not only go unpunished, they are promoted to higher positions of authority with their inefficiency following them like a birth mark. This is another area in which ethnicity and political affiliation have combined to further cripple the country. So much has come to light since the crash that a pro-active NCAA should long have got that plane off our air space. On a Channels Television early morning programme the day after the crash, a distraught staff of the airline, whose face had to be shielded, was moved to tell it all and surprised the listening public with the plane’s many near mishaps in the recent past. It is true that we Nigerians are now beyond shock, however gruesome, but why will a captain and his crew agree to fly an ailing plane? Was it fear of the loss of a job, terrible as unemployment may have become, multi-sector ally, all over the world or could it be the result of an excessive love of money, believing nothing will happen to the flight? How much information about the state of a plane does a young air hostess have? Is any captain permitted to throw us all into this bind by agreeing to fly a plane that ought really to be grounded as was allegedly the case here? All told, there will be no better way to end this article than to quote,

at some length, the jeremiad of a gentleman who has had firsthand experience of how these Shylock Indians have routinely treated Nigerians even before the crash. Wrote Aniedobe in his article: The Last Dana Flight: ‘there is enough blame to go around and I am asking fellow Nigerians to take more than a passing, academic, or philosophical interest in this matter. This was not God’s doing. We should therefore leave the Devil out of our corrupt ways for now. Our fellow country men and women have just become innocent victims of the corrupt and negligent operations of civil aviation in Nigeria. You could be next. The Dana crash is symptomatic of a society that is destined to crash if civil society does nothing and our prayer warriors keep cursing the Devil for nothing. Leave the matter alone in the hands of a corrupt government and you get the same results. There must be something we can do to make this the last crash’. ‘Civil aviation authorities, from the Minister of Aviation to NCAA officials must be held accountable by a class action lawsuit for negligent supervision of Dana Airlines. The owners of Dana Airlines must be held criminally liable for reckless endangerment of passengers. Not only should they be hauled to court, their entire fleet must be liquidated to source funds for settling wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the victims. The Civil Society must then send an urgent message to the President informing him that we are sick and tired of all the happenings around us’. May the good Lord rest the souls of the departed and comfort the families they left behind.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Tunji

Adegboyega tunjade@yahoo.co.uk 08054503906 (sms only)

F

OR African leaders who have ears, the convictions of former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, and former Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor, should be a humbling lesson about the transient nature of power. Mubarak was sentenced by an Egyptian court on June 2 while Taylor was convicted by an international court on May 30. The convictions are also a powerful reminder to the leaders that whoever finds himself behind the steering wheels should ‘drive ‘responsibly. Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in the murder of around 900 protesters in February 2011. The judgment said the former President “knew that the murders were to be committed and did nothing to prevent them.” This conviction is remarkable in that Mubarak was the first leader of a country visited by the ‘Arab Spring’ to be found guilty of atrocities against the protesting civilian population. It is also important in that he was found guilty under the principle of superior responsibility. This is a manner of incurring responsibility distinct from actually ordering the commission of the crime. Liability under this principle is where a President, among others, knew that a crime was about to be committed and did nothing to prevent it. Taylor, on the other hand, was convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sierra-Leone by rebel forces under him

Comment & Analysis

17

Mubarak and Taylor have learnt the hard way But will other leaders learn? between 1996 and 2002. Taylor is the first former head of state to be convicted for war crimes since the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II. He financed his acts of terrorism with money realised from what has now become famously known as ‘blood diamonds’. Indeed, witnesses during the trial spoke of how child soldiers were used to rape old and young women alike, and about other mass killings they committed, using machetes. About 200, 000 lives were wasted within the brief period for which the former Liberian warlord was convicted. Such were Taylor’s atrocities that even the judge thought the maximum punishment for the crimes was a slap on the wrist. “The prison term of 50 years of imprisonment for some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history seems woefully inadequate and incomplete.” Although the two former leaders are likely to spend the rest of their lives in jail, the verdict in the trial of Mubarak was an interesting contrast to that of Taylor. Mubarak, unlike Taylor, was convicted by a court in

his home country. And unlike the verdict and sentencing in Taylor’s case which was greeted with almost universal acclaim, the verdict in Mubarak’s case was greeted by protests in Tahrir Square. Just as the judge commented in Taylor’s case, some people thought Mubarak’s punishment was inadequate; they felt he should have received the death sentence. Yet, others did not understand why Mubarak’s sons and the government officials on trial with him were acquitted. The media in Egypt published images of Mubarak detained in a prison cell, albeit in a prison hospital. This is as it should be. The law should be no respecter of persons. As a matter of fact, some accounts have it that the former Egyptian leader has not been enjoying robust health since the trial started. I also do not think anyone should lose sleep over that because whoever knows the extent of damage most of these so-called leaders in Africa do to their peoples would not pity any of them, no matter the circumstances in which their actions and inactions in government eventu-

“I look forward to a day when leaders, serving or former, will be put to trial not just for war crimes and similar charges, but even for mismanaging people’s lives and ruining destinies through bad governance … If this is done, many Nigerian leaders who are still (unfortunate to be) alive when such a time comes, will have to explain why we still have this serious infrastructural deficit despite the huge sums allocated for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure; they have to explain where our oil billions have gone!!!”

ally landed them. For me, former African leaders who travelled the same route like Mubarak and Taylor but are dead today are very lucky indeed. But those of them who are still alive have everything to fear. If we are agreed that ‘a fish rots from the head’, then I look forward to the day when former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for instance, would be put in the dock to explain why planes dropped in the Nigerian skies as frequently as they did during his time, as if the country was under a spell, among other atrocities. Perhaps if General Sani Abacha had not died, we should have explored the possibility of seeing him tried by the international courts or tribunals for the atrocities committed during his era, especially those pertaining to the June 12 protesters mauled down by the country’s security forces. I look forward to the day when President Goodluck Jonathan would be docked to explain why corruption is so rampant in his time. As we all know, the crimes for which Mubarak was convicted were not necessarily committed by him but by those armed by him and whom he knew were going to use the arms to commit crimes. I look forward to a day when leaders, serving or former, will be put to trial not just for war crimes and similar charges, but even for mismanaging people’s lives and ruining destinies through bad governance. A time when leadership performance will be juxtaposed with the quantum of money the leaders spent while in power, to see whether the results justified the investments. If this is done, many Nigerian leaders who are still (unfortunate to be) alive when such a time comes, will have to explain what they did with the enormous resources put in their

care. They will have to explain why we still have this serious infrastructural deficit despite the huge sums allocated for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure; they have to explain where our oil billions have gone. Africans have the world to thank for this new development that makes their former leaders account for whatever they did in power. Gone were those days when the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU) charter forbade interference in member states’ internal affairs. The world is now a global village and whatever happens in a particular country has consequences for some others. I am not saying that leaders in the developed countries are inherently better than their African counterparts; the difference lies in the fact that there are structures that work in those places. Such do not exist in Africa. When people are fed up with an administration in the developed countries, they remove it through the ballot. This is what makes the difference and it counts for much. In Africa, the leaders want to stay put, even when it is clear the people are fed up with them. They rig elections, maiming, raping and killing in the process. Perhaps the next accused to face trial is Syria’s president Bashar alAssad. It would be interesting to see how this despot would end, considering the number of lives that had been wasted to keep him in power. He is only postponing the doomsday, though. No one can take the world for a ride for so long the way Assad has done without facing the comeuppance. Like a fowl desecrating in a pot, Assad is only spoiling his final resting place. His end might be worse than that of Saddam Hussein or Muammar Ghadaffi. And it is nigh.

State of electricity: too little, too late? Postscript, Unlimited! By

Oyinkan Medubi 08187172799 (SMS only) puchuckles7@gmail.com

D

URING the week, the announcement came on the radio from the board in charge of energy in Nigeria, I think, that any town or city, local or state government, that had a mind to could develop and distribute its own electricity. And I thought, wow! that’s a little too little, coming much too late! I mean, the significant thing I can see in this development is that the state is owning up to its complete helplessness and crying for assistance from the people. In any case, why were the villages left out? Come now, it is not as if the government (past or present) had not foreseen that there would come some serious expansion in demands that it may not be able to meet. Any number of people had said as much and much more to those past governments, and asked that they should not wait till when the expansion took place to do something about it or even plan for it. But no, our governments were much too wise and strong-headed to heed commoners’ advice. Thus, we all had to wait for the ceiling to come crashing down on us before attempting to fix a roof that had long since escaped. The question is, what happened to make

The government of this country, past and present, owe us the Nigerian people an apology for having put us through unnecessary pains these decades the energy company cry ‘Help!’? The signs were ominous, and they were there for us all to read. They began with ECN-sponsored apologies for some planned power interruptions which would be for about one hour and all inconveniences were deeply regretted. That happened in the 1960s and 1970s. Usually, we would hiss at that great inconvenience of going without electricity for one whole, big hour out of twenty four. Somehow though, we coped with those minor irritations since they were infrequent and came but once in a year or so, like Christmas. Then came the eighties, and the irritations grew. From asking us to turn a blind eye, so to say, to their misdemeanour of one hour, the electricity company jumped to two hours and more. It asked us to tolerate several more hours of darkness once or so in a long while, just to rectify some technical fault. We were somewhat surprised, but, level-headed and educated us, we did no more than mumble. But the savvy among us began to see the unhealthy development and to warn that bigger things were coming unless we moved quickly. We turned to the government for its own reaction and were told not to worry, things were all right; they were only technical faults. It was just the water level at Kainji Dam that had a nasty habit of fluctuating. I still have the cartoons that documented these excuses, and more; there is nothing like history to put you in remembrance of the truth. By the nineties, things began to turn really ugly. Then, it was possible for us to be told to hold our breaths for

up to as much as four hours at a time for electricity to return. Then we suspected we were in trouble, but again the government only turned our querying eyes towards the Kainji Dam? Was it not going down?, it asked. ‘It was’, we all chorused, like choristers at a rehearsal. When the water goes, it goes and there is no ‘damn’ (pardon me please; but the pun is too good to pass over) thing you can do about it. That was when the technical ones among us began to plead that it was time to turn elsewhere for electricity because it was too important a matter to leave to just one capricious river. Not so, said the government. No power on earth (pardon the pun again) was going to make us abandon River Kainji. By the 2000s, of course, things had gone really out of hand. More hours of darkness were condoodled out of our innocent lives, and, rather than look for a solution, the government just looked elsewhere for blame. Yes, the Niger Delta militants were interrupting the gas supply and we gaped as that gas supply dried up bit by bit. Now, my home in my city has not seen more than a blink of electricity these last three weeks. When I complained, someone said they had not seen a blink in over three months. And the bills never failed to arrive. I had two interesting conversations on this subject of electricity supply, the company and Nigerians; three actors, one story. In the first conversation with a group of interested Nigerians, businessmen inclusive, I was told that a number of things stood in the electricity company’s way to any credible performance. It was the fact that there was a string of very powerful

Nigerians whose livelihood depended entirely on the company; they therefore held it by the jugular. Releasing their hold on it would jeopardise their own lifestyle; it was therefore better for the nation to suffer than for that to happen, God forbid. Another theory, I was told very, very seriously, was that for some reason, a very angry demon from the depth of hell had taken control of the electricity company and so, nothing tangible would ever come from its propellers, do what you might. At that, I politely chuckled. I mean, what demon from hell would bother to sit on our own electricity company when it had enough of its own demons working inside the company? I mean, what are those people from the electricity company who cut off power supply at any suspicion? What are those people who go from house to house putting their ugly hands in people’s pockets by threatening to cut off power supply? You think they are human? Not on your life! Anyhow, that’s neither here nor there. In another conversation, and recently too, I asked why electricity seemed to be going more and more out of this part of the planet and yet it is the first thing anyone sees when they get to other parts of the planet earth. I was told that nothing would happen in Nigeria’s energy company until the old people sitting atop of it were removed and younger, more intellectually stimulated people were put in their place. Then I knew. The demon theory was not too far-fetched after all, in spite of my disbelieving chuckles. Obviously, since the 1960s,

leaders in and out of government have raided, raped and plundered the energy company to their fill through the connivance of those sitting atop of it (whether demons or not), and now, tired and hopeless, it stands on the brink of the cliff, just waiting for the last push. But wait, have the top demons bailed out? Yes, they have, now we can push. This then is why we heard that announcement. The government of this country, past and present, owe us the Nigerian people an apology for having put us through unnecessary pains these decades. People have died, revenues have been lost and developments have been slow because of the electricity company’s failures. Anyone could see right from the seventies that there was a need to begin the diversification of energy sources to cope with rising demands. People were migrating constantly, industries were being built (even if they were only carpenters’ shops), and lifestyles were changing. To have waited for the demand to rise before attempting to tackle it was and is a sign of gross irresponsibility. Someone should apologise for it. No one should just wake up one day, go on air and ask us to go look for our own electricity, not after waiting for so long on the government’s promises. Remember OBJ’s and Yar’adua’s very many temporal ‘destinations’? Truth is, Nigerians are really good people (someday, we’ll talk about this). Else, they should have consigned many of their governments to the dung heap for electricity failure. After all, governments have fallen for less in other lands. 23

This piece was first published on March


18

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012


19

POLITICS THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Nineteen years after the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, takes a look at the impact of that event on the polity, especially the influence of the late Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the election, who died in detention fighting for actualisation of his mandate.

B

Y Tuesday this week, it would be 19 years since the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was annulled by the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida. As at the time Babangida annulled the election, which, since then has been described as the freest and fairest in the history of the country, the results confirmed that the presidential candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, convincingly won the election. As would be expected, his teeming supporters from across the country could not be intimidated even by the armoured cars that were rolled out as the masses protested the decision and trooped to the streets, demanding the declaration of Abiola as the duly elected president. The military government was not cowed either. What followed was pandemonium that claimed many lives across the country, especially from the south-west geopolitical zone. As fate would have it, both Abiola and General Sani Abacha, the military Head of State, who held him in detention after the exit of Babangida, suddenly died in very mysterious circumstances. First to go was Abacha. At his demise, Abiola’s supporters thought it was only a matter of time before Abiola would walk out of detention, a free man and his mandate handed over to him. That was not to be for his mysterious death in detention was soon announced to a shocked nation. Since then, his supporters have continued to remember him as a democracy martyr. They have therefore been calling on the federal government to bequeath on him a well deserved honour and recognition as Nigeria’s hero of democracy. Abiola and the politics of honour The call to honour the late MKO Abiola is a major demand that has fueled the politics of June 12, which in Nigeria can be described as the most sustained political battle in recent times. During the eight years of the civilian government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, June 12 advocates thought Obasanjo would acknowledge Abiola’s election and should have gone ahead to honour him by at least recognising him as a former president. Their expectation, according to Comrade Segun Akin, was predicated first on the fact that the Obasanjo’s government was the first after the military annulled the

•Abiola

•IBB

•Nwosu

•Jonathan

Abiola factor and June 12 politics June 12 election and the fact that Obasanjo was from the same SouthWest zone as Abiola and is believed to have emerged civilian president at that time partly because of Abiola’s ultimate sacrifice. Since this was not done until 19 years after, there has been mixed reactions since President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan decided to honour Abiola, by renaming the University of Lagos after him. The controversies that have trailed the renaming of the University of Lagos confirmed Abiola’s political relevance up till date. While all agreed that the task of honouring Abiola is of prime importance, most June 12 advocates said naming of the University of Lagos after Abiola was neither appropriate nor legitimately done. Some are insisting that he deserves an honour that will clearly show that he was a national hero, not a regional champion. But some others have acknowledged the wisdom in honouring the acclaimed winner of June 12 presidential election. For example, the immediate family members of the late MKO Abiola, in a letter of appreciation to the president, said, “We wish to publicly offer our profound appreciation for your unprecedented recognition of the late Chief MKO Abiola, the ideals he lived by and the noble cause he died for. As you honoured him, we honour you. We have watched in dismay and bafflement, the futile efforts of previous governments to bury the uncommon heroism of MKO Abiola.” June 12 and other elections: Nineteen years have passed but the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was highly commended by the international community, has been described as a model and the freest in the history of Nigeria. Till date, that election, supervised by Professor Humphrey Nwosu-led electoral body, has remained the reference point for other elections in the country. Its Option A 4 strategy, which implied open balloting, amongst other innovations, was both novel and practical enough to reduce rig-

ging significantly. Today, common Nigerians, experts and activists alike, still identify the conduct of the election itself as one of the greatest breakthroughs in the country’s democratic journey. One of them told The Nation that it remains a puzzle why Nigeria’s government has refused to develop and use that model. “Both Nwosu and Babangida should be commended for conducting such an election, but it is unfortunate and strange that Babangida chose to destroy the good work midway, when he stopped the winner of the election from actualising his mandate. It is both unfortunate and strange. To me, it remains a puzzle why the government seems reluctant to study the 1993 electoral model with the view to perfecting it for all our future elections.” This was the view of Dr Israel Nnaemeka, a political analyst in Lagos. He contended that the outcome of all the elections that have been conducted ever since 1993 suggest that Nigeria would need to

go back to the Nwosu model as it seems to fit into the country’s unique temper. Acknowledging Abiola’s undying political influence ever, he supports the call to declare June 12 as Democracy Day but added: “the argument that June 12 be recognised as Democracy Day is not only because Abiola eventually died fighting first election that tribalism, or more importantly religion, failed to count much. The Muslim-Muslim ticket and the unique way the 1993 elections were conducted, according to Nnaemeka, are pointers that “both the winner of the election and the overseer, Nwosu, must be properly honoured and until this is done, we cannot move forward.” In his assessment, Olayinka Bamidele, a lawyer and social commentator, said June 12, 1993 represents “the day Nigeria overcame ethnic inhibitions and became a truly united modern nation. But unfortunately, since the annulment, deterioration has set in. Today, it

has once again become difficult to achieve the kind of unity we achieved in 1993, when SDP fielded a Muslim-Muslim ticket and won; where Abiola from South-West won elections overwhelmingly across the country. Today, it will be difficult for General Muhammadu Buhari to win in Yenegoa if he contests with Goodluck Jonathan. Also, it will be difficult for Jonathan to win in Kano or Kastina if he contests with Buhari. We overcame such inhibitions in 1993, but because of the annulment, we are back to pre-1993.” Bamidele explains that it is in this context that Abiola and June 12 remains very relevant to the assessment and future growth of Nigerian politics. “If we want to move forward as a nation, we must not only honour Abiola and Humphrey Nwosu, but invite Nwosu and his team of electoral experts with the aim of tapping from the innovative system they used in the conduct of 1993 general elections,” he said. The debate continues.

MKO’s family should be compensated —Orisagbemi Comrade Akinola Orisagbemi was the personal assistant to the late MKO Abiola’s wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. He was at Epetedo when Abiola made the declaration. He told Taiwo Abiodun that he went with the late MKO Abiola from his house in Opebi-Ikeja to I remember that Bill Clinton, the eral governEpetedo and back home.

“W

HEN we got to Epetedo, there was a huge crowd that went with MKO. I knew everything was risky but I was ready to die with him. I was arrested 18 times and with the grace of God I was not killed. After the MKO’s declaration the late military dictator, General Sanni Abacha, declared MKO wanted and placed a price tag of 50,000 dollars on him. I was also at home with him when about 600 policemen and soldiers came to his house to affect his arrest. I remember one of them called Kehinde. I went to tell MKO that I did not want him to go but he said the late Abacha was his friend and would give him his mandate. He came downstairs around 1:30 am.

American President then, called him that night and asked him not to go but he insisted. We all went with him to Alagbon. When we got there, they gave him some forms to fill, which he did. Then he was flown to Abuja, accused of treasonable felony of which he denied since he was fighting for the actualisation of his political mandate,’’ said Orisagbemi. Of course, Orisagbemi did not forget in a hurry the scars that will be with him till he goes into the grave; he said “Up till now, I cannot walk straight. I received 16 bullets from the military boys, and I was almost killed, if not for God I will not be alive today. He believes the Federal government has not done enough to immortalise MKO, and said “the fed-

m e n t should refund all the money the late MKO spent on his campaign and give his children contracts or political appointments in addition to the renaming the University •Orisagbemi of Lagos after him,’’ he said. •Continued on Page 20


20

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Politics

Democracy progressing at slow pace – Okowa

EPETEDO Where Abiola made presidential declaration •Eleganzer Sports Comlex Epetedo, Lagos where MKO Abiola, the winner of June 12 election declared himsel president Photos: MUYIWA HASSAN

E

PETEDO is in the heart of Lagos. But its environment can be compared with suburbs like Mushin and Oshodi. It is thickly populated, mostly filthy. Street urchins called omo Eko, are seen smoking weeds suspected to be Indian hemp. It could be observed that the houses in the vicinity are rather too close to each other and without good ventilation. It is difficult to find good drainage here for this is typical Isale Eko [Lagos Mainland]. Interestingly, this was the area where the late MKO Abiola declared himself as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on June 23, 1994. He was said to have chosen this venue for the epochal political declaration in order to identify himself with the masses he was fighting for. Some analysts also said he may have chosen the venue because of the belief that it would be difficult for security agencies to make trouble with residents of Epetedo. Alhaji Ahmed Ope, 73, who was present at the declaration, told The Nation, “the day the late MKO came to this Club (Eleganza Sports) to declare himself as the President and Commander In Chief of Nigerian Armed Ruling Forces was indeed a great day. I was with some of my friends in the evening, playing Ludo game when the man, MKO, came in and was introduced to us that he was

Taiwo Abiodun paid a visit to Epetedo where Abiola declared himself the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He also spoke with some Nigerians now bearing June 12 as their first names. His reports:

•Ope

the MKO we voted for and that he had come to declare that he was the president. He came to us. Later, he went to the Hall and declared that he was the President we chose to lead us. I remember that a lot of people gathered and were following him. He came in his Mercedes Benz car. He wore a very simple dress and I remember that everything was highly organised and carried out in a jiffy. He had gone before the security men came here to look for him. He recalled:“He left the venue with the Nigerian Coat of Arms and Nigerian flag on his car, and was followed by a large crowd as he rode to Surulere and

Opebi his house. Till date, the building is there,’’ he said in an emotion-laden voice. Pa Ope, however, bemoaned the condition of the complex and said’’ here is the moderate but unkempt Eleganza Sports Complex Hall that could contain over 2,000 people. This was where the late MKO addressed the World Press to announce his new status then. Today, the paints on these buildings had faded but the big Hall still retains its fame and glory.” Today, the Eleganza Sports Complex houses many buildings and are being used for Computer Training Centre, for the Epetedo North CDA, Redeemed Christian Church, Premier Palace Club, The Mosque, Epetedo United Youth Movement, Eko Youth Congress and many other purposes. It is also used as parking lot for the Club members. In addition there is an old unused incinerator that constitutes nuisance to the environment. The septuagenarian added: “I am appealing to Lagos state to

My name is June 12 A

T home I am called June 12 : Oluwabunmi Salvage is an undergraduate in the Department of Biochemistry at the Lagos S t a t e University [LASU]. Her birthday is June 12. She •Salvage was born on June 12, 1990. She said “since my birthday falls on June 12, my mates and colleagues call me June 12. At home, I am called June 12. So, I celebrate June 12. In fact, I feel honored being called June 12. Only very few people know my real name. I am happy to be identified with the late MKO Abiola’s struggle. I am praying to have so many things to do on June 12.”

‘I am Mr. June 12’ Mr. Olalekan Adesina is a businessman, whose office is behind Mandillas in Central Lagos. He said not many people know his name again as he is called June 12. “During the June 12 struggle, I defended MKO Abiola in the market, and public places and I w a s always going to places w i t h him. I knew the late MKO very well. I went w i t h t h o s e activists a n d students •Adesina f r o m Balogun to Ebute Metta. In fact, in my complimentary cards ,June 12 is printed as my name .

•Lawal–Tajudeen

‘I dwell in June 12 House’

At Igbobi Sabe Street, Yaba, there is a two- story building simply known as June 12. It seems nobody knows the original house number again. It is now named after June 12 struggle. A woman living in the house, Madam Ajoke Lawal – Tajudeen, told The Nation that she was living in the house before the June 12 election and said she participated in the election and never thought it could be canceled. She said, “The name June 12 cannot be erased from Nigerian history. This house is known as June 12 and that cannot be wiped out.”

Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa represents Delta North Senatorial District in the Senate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with Assistant Editor, Augustine Avwode, he said Nigeria’s democratic progress has been slow. Excerpts

I

T has been 13 years of democracy in Nigeria. As an active participant these years, what would be your candid assessment of the journey so far? I think as a nation, we are moving forward even though at a slow pace. One thing we must thank God for at the moment is that, at least as at May 29, we marked 13 years of consistent democracy. We never had it before, that means we are moving forward. But our leaders must, in my opinion, take stock of our successes and challenges and note the lessons we can learn from them. It is important so that we can move this country forward. In these 13 years, democracy could be said to have grown but we must ask ourselves if we really have a democracy at the moment that is sustainable? Can we really boast of internal democracy within the various political parties? Have the tenets of democracy been actually tested within the various political parties such that we can say yes, the parties have matured over the time? I think these are the issues we need to examine. Can we say we have fared well at the level of governance? At the level of governance there have been some positive results but we have had our challenges, too. One can say this given the revelations from the various probes carried out by the National Assembly. I think the various probes that have taken place in the last few months have opened our eyes to the fact that beyond the politicians, there is the administrative class, the civil service and that a lot is being done at that level that have helped to run down the government. Do you think we have been utilising our resources appropriately in Nigeria? I think we have a challenge in that aspect. You must have realised that our recurrent expenditure has grown in proportion to the capital expenditure. While the recurrent expenditure kept growing, the capital expenditure has continued to go down because once the recurrent goes up, capital must come down for everything to add up to 100 percent. This, in itself is a warning to us because the capital expenditure is the development budget. How would you assess the Transformation Agenda? It is one year down the road and so I believe it is too early to assess what is going on but to some extent you can see that the principles that underline this Transformation Agenda of Mr.

•Okowa

President demand that we quickly put things together to ensure the success of the Transformation Agenda. But looking across the country, there are lots of things going on. A year at the National Assembly, how has the experience been? I think it has been quite interesting because the legislature itself has been maturing over time. This is the 7th Senate and I do believe that by all standards, from what I have seen, a lot have been done by the 7th National Assembly. I think the National Assembly is living up to expectation, doing what it has to do and I must thank the leadership of the National Assembly for showing the way. Tell us what you’ve done at the personal level? At the personal level, I have participated fully in all the activities in the Senate and I have been able to move a bill pass the Second Reading. At the moment, I still have three bills waiting for Second Reading because there are lots of bills out there. But I have also made my contribution in the various committees that I found myself working in. And I have been able to use the opportunity afforded to get some projects for our people. In particular there is this bridge that has for long been abandoned that connects Edo State going to Ubiajia; it has been brought back into the budget now; it is about N700million in the budget.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Politics

Outcry over Rivers Pension Act

Political Politics turf

with Bolade Omonijo boladeomonijo@yahoo.com

2015: A call for caution

T

•Amaechi

Assembly. The National Treasurer of the ACN, Chief Kenneth Kobani, however, expressed displeasure over the Act, which he described as the height of injustice and corruption. The Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, George UkwuomaNwogba, however, described the Act as a step in the right direction, which according to him, would go a long way in preventing looting by public office holders, whose future would be guaranteed. “We have witnessed former chief executives, who died without places to bury them. The Act is not only for Governor Amaechi and Ikuru alone. Their successors and others will also benefit,” he said. In the Act, through the bill sponsored by the House Leader, Chidi Julius Lloyd, the governor and deputy governor, after leaving office, will have 100 per cent of annual basic salary of the incumbent governor and deputy governor, which will be reviewed every five years or when there is salary review of political office holders. The Act provides amongst others

Political

ripples Fayemi’s victory and burden

E

T the time the case was closed on the last general elections, I did not imagine that I would have to write about the 2015 polls so soon. At best, I could have weighed in at the level of advocacy for free, fair and credible elections. I could have called for concerted efforts on the part of all, citizens and government, to ensure that the world no longer sneers at us on account of bizarre developments during electioneering. I felt sad that the 2011 elections followed the pattern of previous ones, so much that we could not really say who won and declare true figures. In the presidential election, all that those who should know, but are sympathetic to the current federal government, say is that no one else could have won. But, was the electoral commission empanelled to hazard a guess on who could have won? Could anyone who truly believes in the truth confirm that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) candidate, truly won the millions of votes credited to him and his party in the South East and the South South in 2011? Why is Nigeria still lagging far behind South Africa and Ghana in Africa? Even Sierra-Leone and Senegal have succeeded in conducting elections adjudged free and fair globally. So, what is wrong with us? There are still so many issues involved in the conduct of our elections. The so-called 2010/2011 reforms fell short of expectations. I find it difficult to understand why the President has to appoint the chairman and members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Beyond that, the law also empowers him to pick those who would serve as Resident Electoral Commissioners in the states. Dr. Jonathan has demonstrated why such powers should not be granted one man. He appointed members of the ruling party, people who have held party positions into the sacred offices. Or, how does one interpret the decision to appoint Lawrence Nwuruku, a former PDP minister and ambassador as an INEC national commissioner? How does one explain the choice of Gabriel Ada, a former Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly as a Resident Electoral Commissioner? These are not the only atrocious, indefensible choices. There are others. What the President simply did was to terminate the appointment of Maurice Iwu and appoint Attahiru Jega with a view to placating the public and gaining public acceptance. Thereafter, he launched into the PDP book of tricks to ensure that the party won an election in which he was participating. But, today, my concern is not about the electoral system. I am disappointed that barely one year after a hotly disputed election that provoked riots in parts of the country, the gladiators are back. There is nothing wrong with planning for the future. I expect that each party would have launched an investigation into what went wrong and where it got it right with a view to drawing critical lessons for the future, starting from 2015. However, I do not think it is healthy that presidential candidates and governorship hopefuls are beginning to emerge. If I were President Jonathan, I would not only have distanced myself from the campaign, I would have disowned the cheerleaders in a tone that leaves no one in doubt where I stood on the matter. Besides, I would have categorically declared that I had no intention contesting in 2015. The man is probably the luckiest Nigerian ever. When no one gave him a chance, he was picked as deputy governor of Bayelsa State in 1999. At the time, he had never served in a political position and had very little by way of pedigree. Yet, he served under Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and went on to replace him as governor. Again, when no one reckoned with him, he was made running mate to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in the 2007 presidential election. Unfortunately like Alamieyeseigha before him, Yar’Adua had to give way for Jonathan to emerge President. All that the President has to prove now is that he is capable of delivering good governance; that he appreciates what God has done for him and could wipe the tears of many children who are also going to school without shoes and bags. This has not been demonstrated. Rather, I can see an attempt to play God in many ways. It is not about Jonathan alone. General Muhammadu Buhari who had the mandate of his party, the Congress for Progressive Change, to contest last year is back on the tracks. He raised the debate at a press conference in Abuja where he sought to debunk the suggestion that he had quit the scene after three failed attempts at moving into Aso Rock. Buhari, who would be 70 in December, tacitly responded to queries about his eligibility for another shot at the presidency. 2015 is about 36 months away; lovers of Nigeria should prevail on political combatants to play the game behind the curtains for now. It is not time to raise a debate over who is suitable or not. Nigeria must survive till 2015 for anyone to aspire to leadership. As the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo warned about 30 years back, the ship of the nation is approaching a rock, but the captains are fast asleep. May the good Lord save us from impending doom.

A

Bisi Olaniyi in Port Harcourt captures the criticism that has trailed the recent Rivers State Pension Act. HE Rivers State Public Office Holders (Payment of Pension) Act, 2012, which was recently signed by Governor Rotimi Amaechi is literarily tearing the state apart. The Nation learnt that many concerned stakeholders made their protests known to the 32 members of the House of Assembly before the bill was passed into law and assented to by Amaechi. One of the issues bitterly criticised is the plan to build houses for the governor, his deputy and their aides. But one of the lawmakers (names withheld) claimed that the issue of building houses for the governor and deputy governor in Port Harcourt and Abuja was not considered and that the bill was an amendment. These claims were faulted by Rivers State Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Jerry Needam. He hinted that the opposition party will challenge the Act in court, in order to ensure sanity and justice. Chairman of the House of Assembly’s Committee on Finance, Josiah John Olu, in the report on the bill, before the passage, stated that the committee conducted a public hearing on the bill on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the Main Auditorium of the

21

KITI State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, is currently carrying a burden placed upon him by the fact that his government is performing above expectation. The burden, for his admirers, is the growing demand for him to declare interest for re-election in 2014, but for the governor, it is the need to do more work. The governor, who has been dodging to comment on the issue of re-election in 2014, could not help it again when on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, the Ekiti State House of Assembly passed a vote of confidence on him, with members publicly singing his praises and demanding that he should come out for re-election in 2014. Reacting, he said: “By your vote of confidence today, you have placed a big burden on me to do more and ensure that all facets of the state’s economy are given a facelift. But let us limit the encouragement you are giving to the vote of confidence and forget about second term or 2014, because I have a lot of work to do for our people now.” •Fayemi

that there will be one residential house each for the governor and deputy governor at any location of their choice in Rivers state and one residential house in the Federal Capital Territory for the governor on two consecutive terms. On transport, there will be three cars for the governor, in addition to one pilot and two back-up cars, to be replaced every three years, while there will be two cars for the deputy governor, in addition to one pilot and one back-up car, to be replaced every three years, amongst other juicy benefits.” The ACN in Rivers State, while condemning the Act said: “The thrust of any bill or law should be to promote the welfare of the people and reduce their suffering, adding that “If all the provisions outlined in the law are made, what else is left to cater for the teeming unemployed youths and thousands that graduate from hundreds of tertiary institutions in the country,” he asked? Amaechi’s spokesman, David Iyofor, declined to comment, but the Rivers State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Gogo Levi Charles, maintained that the law will ensure that persons who served the state meritoriously, especially the governors and deputy governors, will not leave in tears or go empty-handed.

For Amosun, an unusual endorsement

T

HIS is indeed a season of accolades for Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. You will recall that since he marked his one year in office few days back with the commissioning of various lifetouching projects, including a six-lane road in Abeokuta, the state capital, tongues have been wagging about the Egba-born Senator. This has been unsettling his political opponents, especially within the PDP and PPN in the state. But if •Amosun these angry politicians were hoping that succour will come their way recently when some of them visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta recently, they surely got more than they bargained for. Reliable sources at the parley, which was meant to discuss some recent court judgement and their implications to the PDP in the July council election in the state said that after listening for nearly an hour as his guests took turns to deride Amosun’s administration and projects, Obasanjo asked them if they have seen the six lane road constructed within a year by the governor. And when nobody would answer him, OBJ told them to leave Amosun alone and mind their businesses because if he (OBJ) has not seen any other good thing about the ACN government in Ogun State, he has seen and even drove on the six lane road. The meeting ended on that sorry note for the visitors.


22

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Politics

Mimiko’s agenda is to be PoliticsWeek vice president —Abraham ...Next week’s issues, events and persons

sundaynation@yahoo.com (08023165410 sms only)

Chief Olusegun Abraham is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State. In this interview with Dare Odufowokan, he spoke on the politics of the state, Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s political agenda and how ACN is preparing for the October 20 governorship contest. Excerpts

Y

OU are an engineer with bias for road and water projects, what are your views about the projects embarked upon by the current administration in Ondo State? I construct roads so I know about these things. When you go to the sites of Mimiko’s projects, you know that they are projects set up to defraud the state. The parameters used to determine viable projects are not there. Look at Ondo-Akure Road, Ondo-Ore Road and you will see that they are just clearing the wings of the roads and doing cut and fill. Governor Mimiko recently said the southwest development agenda cannot work. What is your take on this? Many of Mimiko’s statements are now embarrassing to me as his friend. How can he say a system that produced professors and intellectuals like Soyinka and others has failed? How can you say Yoruba unity cannot work? If he says Ondo will not be part of the Southwest development agenda, what he is saying is that the children from Ondo will be slaves and errand people to the children from other states in the future. That is what we will not allow him to do. He is saying all these because he has a personal agenda to use Ondo as a stepping stone to project himself into the position of the Vice President of Nigeria. That is his game plan. And they will also use him as a destabilising factor in the Southwest. That is why everybody in Ondo should know that this contest is not between ACN and LP but a fight for the future of our children. You recently denounced a publication. What really happened and why did you allege that the story was planted? First and foremost, it is not even about me. It is about the unity

•Abraham

amongst all the aspirants and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as a party. As far as I’m concerned, whatever affects Mr. A in ACN affects Mr. B. What is your relationship with other aspirants within the ACN? Our relationship is more than cordial. We are brethren. We are focused on a singular mission, which is to win the election and form the government in Ondo so as to return the state to the path of greatness. That is our mission. All other personal ambitions are subsided in the interest of that collective goal of defeating Mimiko. How will you describe the many attacks on you and your campaign? From the analysis of the situation so far, we can say the attacks are out of fear. They cannot silence me. They cannot reduce my popularity; rather the whole thing is

working against them as everybody is now watching them. Why are you alleging that you are singled out for attacks more than other aspirants? It is very obvious that I am their target and this is understandable. One, I know the present governor in and out. We have been together for a while. We were together under Baba Adefarati. So they know I will upstage him. He cannot have five percent of the votes if I am picked as the ACN flag bearer. What are the chances of your party in this election, speaking realistically? Bright, very bright! First we have many aspirants because the people have observed that anybody that emerges as ACN candidate will floor Mimiko. Then, what is the performance indicator saying. On employment generation, what has Mimiko done to get the youth gainfully employed in the last three years? There is no way ACN will have less than 90 percent of the votes across the state. But the governor said he has the support of traditional rulers. Is that not grassroots support? Yes, he is going round to lobby, beg and even threaten the Obas to declare support for his re-election. But that will not help him. What are the cardinal programmes of the ACN ? Human capital remains the greatest asset to any society. ACN governors are moving their people from the house of thuggery to the house of dignity and virtue. They are making better people of their citizens. As an aspirant, what are the new things you are bringing to the table for the people? When you give people opportunity to develop their potential, you are giving them hope.

Obi, Umeh, APGA and the South East

W

HAT is brewing in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) currently is not in any way unexpected. Suffice it, therefore, to say that crisis is part and parcel of healthy politics in so far as the major actors in the scene have the competences to turn the so-called crisis into gains. And how can they do that? First, they must ask themselves pertinent questions about where they are coming from, where they are at present and where they are headed. Second, they must be able to listen to the voices of those they are leading, including those who are not members of their party as the case may be. We shall return to these shortly. I have taken my time to study the recent development involving Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, the National Chairman of the APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, and others, who are major stakeholders in the party and I have every reason to conclude that the so-called crisis within the APGA is being or-

By Amanze Ubochi

PERSPECTIVE chestrated by unseen hands to alter the template which Obi utilised to make a difference in the governance of Anambra State for about eight years now. No doubt, APGA’s journey over the years has been tortuous. Or if you like, the journey has not been without issues. For example, even during the tenure of the pioneer Chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, there were issues that tended to tear the party apart, but reason prevailed and made it possible for the party to be retrieved from the hands of those who were out to drive the death nail on the head of APGA. Incidentally, all these were happening while the spiritual leader of APGA, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was still alive and active in the party. Is it, therefore, a surprise, that what we are witnessing today in APGA is taking place no sooner Ojukwu died and was buried than

the actors resumed their duty? One may want to argue that the party met recently in Enugu, but was the parley called before insinuations of “face-off” between Obi and Umeh or after it has gained momentum? The answer is that, the meeting held in Enugu on May 26 was simply an attempt by some persons to further undermine the overall interest of the party. Why do I say so? Such a very important meeting should have been at the instance of the APGA National Working Committee (NWC), in which case, the NWC would have been mandated to sensitise members on the need for such an assembly. If they go ahead with the implementation of the resolution they reached at that meeting, will it not compound the already precarious situation in the party? This is not the time to recall who did or did not do what. The issue at hand now should be how to tell those who have been striving to kill APGA that they have met another brick wall. • Ubochi wrote in from Owerri

People on the podium:

F

OR this week, Senate President, Senator David Mark and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, will be on the podium, following the controversy at the National Assembly over President Goodluck Jonathan’s alleged delay to assent to the bills passed by the legislature. Last week, some members of the House reportedly threatened to over-ride the presidency if bills passed to it are not assented to after 30 days, as required by law. There are also reports that the Senate may be unable to move against the presidency on this matter, since, according to Senator Ita Enang, chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, most of the affected bills were passed by the sixth National Assembly, not the present assembly. • Also to be on the podium is former President Olusegun Obasanjo, because the faction of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state believed to be loyal to him appears to be gaining the upper hand in the face-off within the state chapter of the party. It would be recalled that on Thursday, last week, an Abeokuta High Court dismissed a case brought before it by a faction of the party in Ogun State, praying the court to declare it the authentic PDP in the state. With that dismissal, insiders in the party said Obasanjo is poised to dominate the party as it prepares for the forthcoming local council elections in the state.

•Mark

•Tambuwal

•Obasanjo

Issues: The much talked about coalition talks between Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) will continue to dominate political discussions during the week. This is following last week’s return visit to CPC leader, General Muhammadu Buhari, by ACN chieftains, led by the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Already, some reports alleged that merger talks between the two political parties was top of the agenda, but Tinubu told newsmen pointedly that they merely paid a return visit to the former Military Head of State. “This is a return visit to the general, who paid us a courtesy visit in Lagos, particularly myself, and that is all,” he said.

•Tinubu

•Buhari


23

COVER THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10 , 2012

DANA AIR CRASH

Pain, anguish seven days after T

HINGS certainly will never remain the same again for the numerous residents of Iju-Ishaga, the location of the recent Dana aircraft MD-83 crash. The tranquility and serenity of living in the area is gone forever. For Popoola Street by Ariya Bus stop, the most affected of the neighbourhoods, it is farewell to obscurity. The neighbourhood has been the centre of attraction since last Sunday when the crash occurred, killing all 153 passengers and another six on ground. Last Friday, when this reporter visited, the street was reeling under the weight of visitors from across the nation. Residents wore long faces, yet to come to terms with the devastations around them. Many declined comments, feeling exhausted from a week of horror they had witnessed. The few who spoke were incoherent, looking ruffled and disturbed. ‘’We are devastated, completely shattered,’’ one Emeka volunteered. Massive devastations He needn’t say it. The massive devastations were there for all to see. A large expanse of land full of debris had taken over the space previously occupied by buildings. Those buildings were occupied by neighbours with whom those who survived the crash were familiar. Some had died while many others had either disappeared or become displaced. One way or the other, the dead and livings were victims. Gone were a two-storey building, a duplex, two warehouses and a 6-flat apartment.

Living has become traumatic and horrible for residents within the thickly populated crash site, reports Sunday Oguntola There were no more tears or wailings. Residents and sympathisers gathered in clusters, discussing the calamities. There were lots of consolations and occasional reminisces of times spent with the departed. There were also flashes of how the plane crashed; remembrance of how quick emergency response could have saved the day. For them, they were lots of regrets, horrors and losses to recall. The trauma of living ‘’I saw everything live and direct,’’ Olalere Adekunle, a part-time student of the Lagos State Polytechnic began. Adekunle was in his shop just a street away that fateful Sunday. ‘’I was preparing my generating set to watch Nigeria-Namibia match when the plane appeared. We thought it was stunt or something. But when it came too low, I became curious and started running after it. ‘’I traced it to the point where it hit a tree and then the affected buildings. About twenty minutes later, there was an explosion and then the outbreak of fire. Everything is still like a child’s play to me. It was really traumatising’’. Trauma has been the bedfellow of the residents since last Sunday. Every family on the street and indeed the entire Akande Community Development Area (CDA) has

a form of trauma or the other to relate. Mrs. Chindima Iloka looked pitiable last Friday. Her husband was in their two-bedroom apartment on 6, Popoola Street with their 3year-old daughter. There was also her 25year-old immediate younger brother. The latter was fast asleep on a visit. He never woke up after the crash. ‘’My brother is gone. He was visiting us. My husband tried to rescue him but he too became injured. I am in distress. If you touch my heart, it is shattered. You are only seeing me but I am dead within,’’ she lamented. Her husband has been hospitalised from severe injuries sustained from the crash. The 3-year-old daughter has been in and out of hospital since last Sunday. Speaking almost to herself, she said, ‘’We are homeless now. What a life!’’ Survival with bitter tastes Fifteen year-old David Adeyemi is still in utter shock. He hasn’t fully come to terms with being so close to death. But for the restoration of electricity by Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the ill-fated Dana Air MD-83 plane that crashed last Sunday would have crushed him to death. His father had sent him to buy recharge cards across their 3, Okusanya Street , off Iju-Ishaga, Lagos residence. The bubbling

PHOTO:

MUYIWA

HASSAN

lad was on his way when shout of ‘’Up NEPA’’ rent the air. Time was 3.45pm. His father, who was earlier anxious to call an expected guest, suddenly changed his mind. Fearing another unexpected disruption of electricity supply, he directed his son to quickly iron his uniform. ‘’I was done with my shirt when I heard a loud sound from nowhere. I rushed outside and saw a plane hitting our mango tree. The tree diverted its direction and the plane rammed into the buildings across us. That was exactly where I was going to buy recharge cards from my car,’’ he recalled panting. Pastor Daniel Omowunmi arguably suffered the most material loss in the crash. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Daniel Design Options Ltd is yet to fully value his losses. His two warehouses, a duplex with penthouse, a bungalow and four fish ponds were lost to the crash. Omowunmi’s Xterra Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) was also burnt to ashes. So were six containers of educational materials and another five containers of utensils. All the properties were on four plots. A distressed Omowunmi said: “I left home a landlord but returned homeless. Everything is gone. All I have now are the clothes on me that Sunday. I was in church when I was called and informed that something had happened. I came here and saw all my sweat in flames. Everything is gone. •Continued on Page 24


24

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Cover DANA AIR CRASH

L

IKE a flower that blossom in the morning and withers in the evening, Madam Grace Adekunle, a 75-yearold landlady and victim of the Dana Airline crash woke up last Sunday morning full of life and feeling like a 30–year-old. But by evening of that day, she had lost all the vivacity, looking emasculated like a branch cut off from the stem. Earlier that day, she had gone to church in the company of friends and well wishers in the morning of that fateful day in far away Epe, for a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the success of the first son’s wedding that took place the previous day. Without any premonition of the disaster that was waiting back at home, she danced her heart out and shouted innumerable Halleluiahs to seal the annihilation of the forces that never wanted her to see her children get married in life. After the wining and dining that followed the thanksgiving service, the Oyo State-born widow boarded the available vehicle with the hope of going back to her house, which she left in good condition few days earlier to relax from all the stress she had gone through in the course of preparing for the wedding. Animated by the success of the wedding, Madam Grace and other occupants of the vehicle she boarded drummed and sang tirelessly as they happily journeyed back to their residence at Iju Ishaga. The singing and dancing was however brought to an abrupt end few metres from their house, when they saw raging fire in their neighbourhood and sympathizers trooping out of the area. The house, her major source of income, had been vandalized after the Dana passenger aircraft crashed into the neighbourhood and wrecked havoc of monumental proportion killing over 150 people. At first, she heaved a sigh of relief to see that her house was not totally destroyed as her apartment and few others narrowly survived the disaster. But before she could get into the building to remove her belongings, some hoodlums had found their way into the house and carted away everything, thus compounding her woes. When The Nation correspondent entered her room, a large cut suspected to have been made by the hoodlums was seen on the roof and it was evident that the cupboard was forcefully broken. She said they took away all the money, clothes, and other valuables that were in the house without leaving anything behind for her to fall back on. “I am finished. Who have I offended? Why did God allow this to happen to me at this critical stage of my existence? This is obviously the plan of the devil to spoil the joy that I have been savouring since my son got married few hours ago. The building is about my only source of income and as you can see, it has been destroyed. I traveled to Epe for my son’s marriage on Saturday and was on my way home on Sunday with my family members and tenants when I was informed of the incident. Fortunately for me, and some of my tenants, our apartments were not totally destroyed but before the security personnel could allow us to go in and take our belongings, some criminals had gone in and carted away all our belongings. “While traveling for my son’s wedding, I left a substantial some of money that I wanted to use to meet some pressing needs back at home. I left the money at home to avoid lavishing it at the wedding. Unfortunately for me, this disaster gave those criminals the opportunity to invade my room and make away with all the money. If I had known, I would have traveled with the money. It would have been better to spend it there than lose it to unscrupulous men. Apart from the money, they also carted away all the carton of La Casera, Viju milk and other goods that I had to sell in my shop. They also took all my clothing and remaining jewelry that were in the room. If you look at the roof, you will see that they opened it up and probably came in or escaped from it. “I have moved from being a landlady to being a homeless person. If it is only the house that was destroyed, my problem would have been limited to how I would get an accommodation but where do I start from now that miscreants have carted away everything I laboured for in life. All that I have left are the few things that I took along to my son’s wedding. Another unfortunate thing is that most of my tenants owe me house rent.

First came the crash and then hoodlums As if the trauma of the fatal crash was not bad enough, a 70-yr -old widow and several other residents lost their property to heartless hoodlums; Innocent Duru reports.

• Madam Grace Adekunle looking helplessly at the razed building

• Adebayo Bidemi

• Fatai Jimoh

They promised to pay the rent as soon as I returned from my son’s wedding but see the havoc the devil has wreaked. Some of them lost all their valuables to the plane crash while the rest had their apartments burgled by touts. Is it sensible to ask such people who are in deep agony for money? It is certainly not possible. “I should not be left to lick my wound all alone. I want to appeal to Governor Fashola and President Jonathan to come to my rescue because I am a poor widow. I lost my husband several years ago and have been solely responsible for my children’s upkeep. They should make sure that the airline operators compensate us for the enormous loss we have suffered. I wonder why I would be a victim of this kind of calamity when I have never boarded plane all my life and do not even know where their park is?” she said. But one of the tenants, who gave his name as Fatai Jimoh, was full of praises to God for attending the wedding that made him not to be at home when the plane crashed into their house. “I have every cause to thank God for

using that wedding to spare our lives but the hoodlums that raided my room have caused me untold set back. When we arrived and saw the whole place on fire, we made efforts to go in and take some personal effects but the security men did not allow us to go in. They whipped us mercilessly as if we were making false claims. At the end of the day, they could not safeguard our properties. When they eventually permitted us to go in, I discovered that my apartment had been ransacked. They stole a sum of N130, 000 cash that I wanted to use to pay my house rent, aside other valuables worth over N700, 000,” he said. Adebayo Bidemi, a female tenant was among the lucky survivors. She told our man that she was sleeping in her room when the Dana plane crashed into the building. When she heard the deafening sound in her deep sleep, she narrated that she mistook it for a bomb blast and with just her bra and pants on her body; she jumped out of her bed, scaled the fence and ran as far as her legs could take her. With bruises all over her body, she told our man that it took the generousity of her

neighbours before she was able to cover up her nakedness. “I came back from church that very day feeling very tired and decided to sleep. It was as if God gave our pastor the vision of what was going to happen because all the prayer points he dished out that very day were against calamities and sudden death. In fact many of our members were almost tired and complaining because it was an unusual stormy prayer session that very Sunday. At a point, I felt like leaving before the end of the church service but my spirit told me to wait till the end. I never knew that the whole exercise was for me and my family. “I was in a deep sleep when I heard a thunderous noise in the neighbourhood. Without knowing what the problem was, I jumped out from the bed and ran outside. Immediately I got outside, I saw smoke everywhere. The next thing that came to my mind was to jump the fence instead of passing through the exit door. As at that time, I was half naked but all that was in my mind was how to run to a safe place. When I eventually ran far away from the affected places, some kind hearted neighbours gave me something to put on and that is all I have now. Before I was allowed to go back to the house, some criminals had burgled my apartment and made away with everything in the house. If it were fire that burnt the whole thing, I wouldn’t have been this troubled. But it pains me that some people could be so heartless to the extent of burgling our houses,” she said. Another resident and survivor, who gave his name as Tobi, said he probably would have died in the incident if not for his son that alerted him of the impending danger. The son, according to him, was playing outside and playfully called him out to come and see a plane hovering around their area. Few minutes after he left his room, the plane crashed. “I was getting ready to watch the Super Eagles and Namibia match when my five year old son started calling that I should come and see a plane in our area. I thought it was the usual movement of planes in the sky and ignored him. Almost immediately, he continued calling that a plane was coming very close to our area and that I should come and see it. At that point, I left the house and went out to see what he was talking about. When I saw the manner the plane was moving, I suspected that something was wrong with it. Luckily for me, a friend called and said I should come and watch the match in his house. It was not quite long after I left the scene that the disaster happened. My apartment was totally destroyed by the fire ignited by the plane crash. “I am very grateful to God for sparing my life and that of my family. If not that my son ignorantly alerted me of the danger, I would have remained in the room to watch the game,” he said. The story was not different for Saidi Salami and Lawal Taiwo. They narrowly escaped death but had their apartments burgled. Out of anger, the victims rained curses on the hoodlums and called on the government to come to their aid. “I still don’t believe this has happened in our community not to talk of a building I lived in. I was at home till about 2:40pm and had no premonition that this kind of calamity was waiting to happen. When I a co-tenant called to inform me of the disaster, I thought he was joking. I wondered what could make plane to come to our community. But it dawned on me that the whole thing was true when I got to my neighbourhood and found the whole place on thick fire. I was later relieved when I saw that my apartment was not affected by the fire. “But when I was permitted to go in to take my valuables, I found that the room was totally empty. Some criminal minded people had sneaked into the building and made away with our things. They carted away every property in all the apartments that were not affected by the air crash. It is unthinkable that some people’s interest in this kind of situation is all about how they would steal the property of the victims. I want to appeal to the government for speedy help because we have been striped of all we had,” he said.


Cover

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10 , 2012

25

DANA AIR CRASH

I

T was a sober mood as tears came rolling down the cheeks of both the old and young. The entire church auditorium was jam-packed. It was an unusual gathering. The attendance outnumbered the usual church services. It took the calmness and the pro-active measures of the traffic unit of the church to avoid a chaotic situation. The ushers in the church also had hectic time directing people and organising for chairs for the worshippers who turned out in their numbers. There were more visitors to the church compared to the normal church service days. The attendance was awesome. The time for the programme was 5.30.pm and it was a service of song for late Pastor Akinola Anthony Adelaja Olumodeji, House on The Rock Church, Aka, “The Refuge,” located at James Wolfensohn Drive, alongside the popular Games village, Abuja. He was among the 143 passengers that died in the last Sunday ill-fated Dana air that crashed into a building in Lagos. As early as 4pm, those who were able to beat the usual peak hour traffic gridlock along the airport road rushed to the church, while others who were unfortunate were in it for up to one hour, coupled with the threatening rain. Yet they were ready to bear all for a man who had abandoned a well paying job in an oil company for the service in the church of God against the wish of his parents. Besides, he was not just a pastor; he was able to impact on lives by his preaching and life style. He is survived by his wife Toyin and two daughters, Hillary and Inioluwa Olumodeji. To take care of those he left behind, a trust fund was instituted in his memory, “Akinola Olumodeji Trust Fund.” Pastor Akin, as he was popular called, was born to the family of Late Group Captain (Rtd) Rev. Dr. O.A Olumodeji and Mrs. Lucky Malomo Olumodeji on the 8th of January, 1973 in the city of Lagos. He hails from Ijummu Local Government Area of Kogi state. He attended the Nigerian Airforce Primary School, Victoria Island between 1977 and 1983. He attended Federal Government College Ogbomosho between 1983 and 1985 and transferred to C & S College/Secondary School, Sabooke, llorin, Kwara State. He later attended University of Ilorin and moved on to Federal University of Technology, Minna, in 1993/94 where he bagged a degree in Geology (Remote sensing). He was a man of many parts on campus. He was vibrant and a much sought after Master of Ceremony (MC). He held many leadership positions in his campus fellowship before he ultimately rose to become the Pastor of the Rhema Campus Fellowship at the end of his 300 level. Under his leadership the fellowship attendance grew from 30-40 membership to over 120 on Sundays. He was so effective and relational in ministry that he held the record as being the only campus pastor that

•Continued from Page 23

‘Cleric had premonition of his demise’

•Pastor Akinola Anthony Adelaja Olumodeji, From: Vincent Ikuomola and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

preached in all the campus fellowships. He was very innovative and pioneered a lot of ground breaking events on campus. One such events, tagged Revolution, attracted an attendance of over 3000 people. Even during his NYSC camp year, he continued the exploits for God and Pastored the Believers Love World Corpers Fellowship. Pastor Akin moved to Abuja almost immediately after his national youth service with Exxon Mobil Petroleum in Eket believing strongly that the Lord had led him to join House on the Rock there. He joined Ministry of The House on The Rock under Pastor Paul Adefarasin and Pastor Goodheart Obi Ekweme. He rose through the ranks till he became one of the most trusted and respected Associate Pastors in the Church, holding the dual port-folios of Special Assistant to Pastor GoodHeart and Director of Media Operations. Pastor Olumodeji seems to have premonition of his death according to accounts. Those closed to him said he has

been saying and acting like a man who was time bound and always in a hurry to accomplish his assignments. He was in a hurry to impact on those under him. He never stopped to check their level of preparedness to assume leadership. He was a giver, a counselor, a mentor. He preached in the church monthly programme, Morning Glory service on Saturday morning, a day before the unfortunate incident. In his sermon, “my countenance shall no longer be sad,” he encouraged those who want to weep to do so, he however admonished them not to dwell on whatever problem that might have weighed them down. Relaying the message on Thursday further elicited more tears from the congregation. In his account, a resident Pastor from the House on the Rock, Makurdi Center, Pastor Abel Uloko revealed that Rev. Olumodeji, had a premonition that he was going to leave soon. Uloko was among other four people who confirmed this during a Service of Songs held for the late clergy at the House on the Rock, Refuge Center in Abuja. He said after he got to Abuja, Rev. Olumodeji

invited him to his home to discuss some issues among which he (Uloko) perceived strange. According to Uloko, Olumodeji said: “Uloko, I have got to move on. That is the reason I am teaching these guys so that they can catch and interpret the vision given to the man of God. “These few days, I will go to church and like two days, I don’t want to go out. I want to sort out some things.” Uloko added that after his visitation, he told the deceased that he was to leave on Monday; the clergy said to him, “You may go since we may not be seeing again.” In his sermon, titled: “For the Evil that is to come”, Pastor Barnabas Arastus from House on the Rock, Kaduna City Church admonished the congregation to thank God because Rev. Olumodeji was taken away ahead of evil. He added that God was aware of the crash and He was capable of preventing the incident. However, God remains supreme. Arastus praised the deceased for his generosity noting that Rev. Olumodeji bought him his first fitted suit. His elder brother said the clergy had proposed a family meeting during his last visit to his house. He described the deceased utterances as strange during their conversations, adding that Rev. Olumodeji had to inform him as he was about stepping out that he should take care of his children, Hillary and Inioluwa Olumodeji. He noted that Rev. Olumodeji has fought a good fight; he lived a good life. He touched so many lives and left a great legacy which is faith. The brother of the deceased Mr. Segun Olumodeji, said he used to be the best dresser and fashionable. “We will miss him so much and I know you are with the Lord. He was a friendly and lively person. His own kind of Christianity was a happy one that encouraged all of us to give our lives.” Pastor Temmy Odejide of House on the Rock, said this is one of the times you don’t know what to say, with Akin what you saw is what you get. He was a Pastor of many colours. He was a Pastor, a husband to Toyin, a father and a mentor to lots of people. The widow sat throughout the service of song sometimes shedding tears, and in between forcing a smile. The deceased’s bossom friend, Mr. Femi Esho, said Akin like taking pictures and documenting them and when he asked him, his answer was, ‘You will not understand‘ unknown to me he was documenting his life because he knew he will not be here for long. He lives in our hearts and he lives on. Pastor Ekwueme said Akin was many things to him. He was a loyal friend and confidant, a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Pain, anguish seven days after

It is such a terrible world.’’ Mrs. Ramota Akinwusi (Alias Ojasope Alhaja) is the landlady of 1, Popoola Street. Her residence has been paying hosts to sympathisers since the crash. She is happy to have survived but utterly distressed. Her pit toilet has been severely damaged by the intensity of the crash. Her fence is down and out. Tenants have deserted the 11-room apartment. Akinwusi, who showed our correspondent round the building, said: “This is my 18th year in this neighbourhood. It was a peaceful, serene environment. Now, everything has happened. My tenants have run away. They fear the building may collapse. My shop was looted. I am more or less exposed. I don’t know where to start again.’’ Mrs. Grace Adebayo is the landlady of 7, Popoola Street. She has not slept in the 9room apartment since Sunday. Adebayo, who was returning from her son’s wedding in Epe Ijebu when the crash occurred, has become homeless. All her belongings were inside the nearby MISPEM Bible Church. The 58-year-old widow was in anguish last

Friday. “Where do I go at this stage? I am in pains. My life is shattered. Only God can save me now.’’ Her tenants too have disappeared since the boys’ quarter collapsed. The roof of her building has been severely damaged, leaving the house vulnerable to collapse. Shock, trauma and pain Survival for the living comes at a high cost. They are psychologically and emotionally drained. Many of them are still in utter shock and trauma. Bidemi Adebayo, 27, was asleep when the plane crashed into her apartment. She escaped by the whiskers, running to several miles completely naked. “I am still in shock. I am not yet myself. I don’t believe I am still in the same world I used to know,’’ she stated. Many of them who spoke with our correspondent shared similar psychological disconnect. They said the sound of planes frighten them to death. “When planes fly over our building now, I am hypertensive. Everything that happened, floods back to me. It’s like there will be another crash,’’

James Ojo, another resident said. Another resident who identified herself as Beatrice said the sight of planes places her on red alert. “Since Sunday whenever I see planes above, I run inside. I don’t ever want to see them again. They keep reminding me of that black day. I don’t know how I will ever get to fly planes in my life with what I have seen. I will be dead scared, fearing it would come crashing like this one,’’ she said. “Walking around the neigbourhood now is scary. I am bothered that I am stepping on grounds where the dead lived and a street where people were killed in a crash. It is so frightening that I dread nightfall now,’’ Chidi, a 30-year-old resident added. These concerns raise serious issues about post-traumatic counseling and rehabilitation. After living so close to such utter devastations, it is hard to imagine how they will survive without therapeutic treatment. Experts are also bothered that Nigerians are never prepared for emergency. As soon

as the crash occurred, the neighbourhood became completely impassable. Everyone moved to the crash site to catch a glimpse. The crowd surge delayed emergency operations until 8pm. Residents said many dead victims on ground would have been rescued if help came early enough. Our correspondent observed many looters having a field day. The textbooks in the warehouse and personal effects in adjoining buildings were looted. Overwhelmed security operatives watched helplessly. A cow in one of the affected compounds was killed by the wing of the plane. Despite the inferno, hoodlums descended on the cow, slashing every part possible. Rather than cordon off the crash site, policemen merely watched on. Looters pounced on homes, the crashed plane and everything valuable on sight. The situation would have been saved had policemen cordoned off the site and pushed back the surging crowd. Last Friday, the residents generally said the neighbourhood will never be the same again.


26

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Cover DANA AIR CRASH

U

NTIL last Sunday, the Dana Group, arguably one of the largest conglomerates in the country proudly operated Dana Air, among other business portfolios. It has its hands in automobile, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, electronics, chemicals to mention just a few, without as much as attracting much attention. But circumstances, which are far beyond their control, in a manner of speaking, may have literally forced the once reserved and conservative company to open itself up for public scrutiny. A rising conglomerate From its advent in pharmaceuticals manufacturing in the mid-80, the Group diversified into bulk importation of industrial chemicals, polyethylene. With the commissioning of a plastic plant in 2000 soon followed the setting up of a pharmaceutical formulation plant and a table water bottling plant in 2003. The Group also forayed into the manufacturing of food products with an Instant Milk Plant under the banner of Danaco Milk and an Instant Noodle Plant under the banner of Dana Sun Yum Noodles in 2007, and a Rice Milling Plant too, using state-of-the-art food processing equipment from the world leaders in their fields. Dana Group also acquired the former Katsina Steel Rolling Mill to produce debars and wire rods in 2006. Its latest and most exciting venture has been its entry in the air industry with the launch of Dana Airline at the end of 2008, serving domestic routes with daily scheduled flights and charter operations. According to analysts, the contribution of Dana Group to the national economy has been immense and beyond doubt. Apart from making many people gainfully employed either directly or indirectly, it has established itself in the country’s business community. A rising profile The company presently exports products to other African countries such as The Gambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritania and Mauritius. Dana Industries Limited, makers of Danaco Full Cream Milk, Sun Yum Instant Noodles, and Aquadana water has increased the choices available to consumers in its products areas. Its brand of noodles has penetrated deeply into the Nigerian market in only one year of operation. Its Aquadana brand of table water is also rising in the market. Dana Foods Limited, the rice production arm of the conglomerate is set to boost local rice production in Nigeria with long term plans to standardize the country’s rice grains to ensure easier production process and guarantee self sufficiency in rice manufacturing. The company has a fully automated 20TPH

T

O help in unraveling the circumstances that led to the crash of Dana Airlines last Sunday, President Goodluck Jonathan last week raised a panel to probe the crash. However, the composition of the membership of the panel has made many to ask whether the panel is not already compromised by its composition. The panel which is headed by Group Captain John Obakpolor (rtd), an aeronautical engineer and the pioneer President of the Aviation Roundtable, an aviation industry thinktank, also has as members, the Director General of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Dr. Anthony Anuforom; a former Director of the defunct ADC airline, Captain Austin Omame; Nigeria’s representative at the council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Dr. Babatunde Aliu; ex-Nigeria Airways pilot, Captain Mfon Udom, a former DG of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Fidelis Onyeyiri, an engineer. Questions are being asked whether the membership is not too involved to be able to come out with a report that would not be colored by their own prejudices and interest. For instance, why

Inside the Dana empire JONATHAN:

Dana Group of Companies Plc, the parent company of Dana Airlines, which was involved in the ill-fated crash last Sunday, in the last decade, has established itself not only as a major player in the real sector but as a conglomerate with interest in the commanding heights of the economy, reports Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

•Ramesh Hathiramani, DANA Chairman at the scene of the crash

•Jacky Hathiramani, Managing Director and CEO of Dana Air

•Francis Ogboro,(L) and Suhail Farooqui of Dana Air

brown rice polishing facility in Lagos. Dana Steel Rolling Mill in Katsina represents the Group’s commitment to Nigeria’s industrialization. The com-

pany produces re-enforcing and general-purpose steel from billets for construction. The factory currently has an installed capacity of 207, 000 metric

tonnes per annum. Dana Steel has invested about N9 billion on the expansion of the firm within the last two years. The company says it expects to commit

Questions and queries over audit panel By Remi Adelowo

include in the panel a former top player in an airline that had been involved in a crash and another chief player in the industry that was sacked by a previous government? Is this a reward for his ‘wrongful’ sack or a vote of no confidence in the administration that sacked him? Ayuba Keyare, an engineer and Captain Isaac Balami, criticized the appointment of Obakpolor as the chairman. Keyare, who is a retired top official of the defunct Nigeria Airways said, “I have my reservations about the appointment of the chairman (Obakpolor) of the panel in particular. Apart from the fact that he is a technical consultant to NCAA, we are also questioning his practise background.” According to him, “Obakpolor may be an expert in military aviation, but he is not in civil aviation. The issue of his experience is a cause for concern”. Another member of the Aviation Roundtable, Captain Isaac Balami also frowned at Obakpolor’s headship of the probe panel. He said, “Obakpolor should

not have been appointed to probe the crash, but the Federal Government must have its reason for choosing him.’’ He added, “An air crash is caused either by the pilot’s error or technical error. In this wise, active pilots and engineers should have been on that panel. There is a difference between just an engineer and a maintenance engineer, who is versed in all aspects of handling aircrafts.” However, a pilot with a private airline company, Captain Sheriff Gbadamosi and the former Director of Operations, Nigeria Airways, Captain Dele Ore are of the opinion that based on the rules and regulations guiding the aviation industry, the probe panel was illegal and should be disbanded. According to Gbadamosi, “If the probe panel was set up to probe I, that is okay, but to probe the cause of the crash is absolutely wrong. The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) should have handled the probe because that is what they are trained to do. I think we are not getting our priorities right and just duplicating duties. And the problem is that

we have a Presidential Adviser on Aviation (Captain Shehu Iyal), who is not advising the government well. Ore was more scathing in his criticism. He thundered, “What panel are you talking about? It is illegal and ultra vires. AIB is legally empowered to carry out the probe, why can’t it be allowed to do its job. What the Federal Government ought to have done is to set up a judicial panel of enquiry to investigate the cause of the crash.” Also, Dr Steve Mahonwu, Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the committee was uncalled for because the panel might usurp the functions of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB). According to him, the AIB was the department of the Ministry of Aviation that was saddled with the responsibility of investigating air crashes and submitting reports to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation. “So, the panel is un-procedural, unprofessional and cannot hold water because the Constitution has roles for those who investigate the immediate and re-

more funds to the project this year. Dana Group has also diversified into the aviation sector with the launch of Dana Airlines. Since its entry into the aviation sector it has raised the bar in service delivery. In all, the Dana conglomerate generates direct employment for over 1,800 people and indirect employment for many more. The Group also touched stakeholders’ lives with its numerous CSR initiatives which includes sponsorship of orphanages and donation of products to the less privileged Most of the Group’s charity is undertaken by the Sri Sai Vandana Foundation for Rural and Community Development, which was established in 1995. The Foundation is involved in natural resource management, livelihood support or the building of a health and education infrastructure, with full support and participation of Central, State Governments and NGOs concerned, for the success of programmes or projects undertaken for the realization of the Foundation’s goals. Ownership structure The company though has some Nigerian on its board, is owned jointly by the Hathiramani family from India. The patriarch of the Hathiramani family, Ramesh, who sits atop as Group Chairman of the conglomerate commenced trading operations in the early 70s and some years later, laid the foundations of his first pharmaceutical manufacturing unit. The seed of what was to become the Dana Group of Companies was sown and over the years he began diversifying into new fields, specialising in the field of industrial chemicals. Further expansions into new industries continued alongside a growing portfolio of trading operations, popularising the Dana brands in Nigeria and the Sub-Saharan region. His business enterprise and acumen have resulted into a well diversified and financially strong Group of Companies recognised in Nigeria. However, with the crash of its airline last Sunday, the company’s growing profile and with allegations of violation of labour laws and cutting of corners made by some unidentified staff , the conglomerate has a lot to do to regain its image. But in business, such misfortunes are not uncommon. It is one of the elements of growth, and as William Shakespeare was won’t to say “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Perhaps, this adversity would make the group stronger and learn from it. mote causes of air accidents under the Ministry of Aviation. “We have the Directorate of Investigation Bureau that has the constitutional authority to investigate accidents and report its findings to the president through the Ministry of Aviation,’’ He maintained that there was no constitutional provision for any committee or panel to do the job of the AIB. “Setting it up now is politically motivated and would amount to a duplication of effort,” he said. Meanwhile, the Take back Nigeria group, has demanded a full scale investigation into the crash. In a statement, the group demanded that the investigation must look beyond the Dana airline’s operations and address the culpability of individuals and agencies as well as contributions the system made into the unnecessary human waste that occurred. It said “A public inquiry must be instituted to determine the true cause of the crash, the level of complicity be regulatory agencies and what manner of neglect occurred in the day that could have prevented the crash” The statement was signed by Odoh Diego Okenyodo, Oluwole Elegbede, Gbenro Olajuyigbe, Tunde Aremu and Jaye Gaskia


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Me, a big star? Not yet! —Helen Paul Pages 36-37


32

Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

•Doris Simon

•Lanre

•Lilian Bach

•Model

•Vixen

A floor-length stunner A

simple, floor-length dress in a bold colour or print will look gorgeous on the red carpet (see the amazing Lilian Bach). However, it also can be dressed down with flat sandals and a casual handbag during the day. The slip dress

silhouette works best on tall, lithe figures. Empire-waist and halter maxi-dresses are super flattering on curvier bodies. For petite ladies who want to look taller, they can opt for a solid colour from head-to-toe.

•Stephanie Okereke

•Lanre Dasilva Ajayi

•Grace Egbagbe


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

The biggest part of the muchanticipated concert, Oleku Concert, was when the stars and celebrities pulled out all the stops in the style stakes. Who got it spot on the red carpet,and who fell flat on their face? Kehinde Falode reports

•Toro Johnson's apparel is very figure-flattering and ageappropriate. Kudos!

•The details on the jacket were fabulous and with simple hair and makeup, it was a great age-appropriate too'. Kudos to the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka

33

•Lola Okunola looked simply gorgeous! See how good you can look when you know how to rock the floral trends.

•Gorgeous colour, simple but flattering iro and buba to die for. I couldn't take my eyes off her when she was on the red carpet. Kudos Tosin Obasa

•I have not been the biggest fan of Ayomide Oshitogun shoes choice. Her garb was simple and had great colour but rubber sandals on the red carpet... Nah nah. Oops!

•Bolaji Giwa, a shawl to cover those pimping toms would have been nice but you still make it work. Kudos!


34

Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Popular Nigerian rapper and Channel O award-winner, M-Trill, reveals his favourite things to Mercy Michael

1 2

7

Two tone Marc Jacob

10

Favourite shoes designer

Nike

Okazi and semovita

Favourite actor & actress

Chiwetel Ejiofor & Rosario Dawson

Favourite wrist watch

6

Police

Creed

Dogs

Favourite food

5

Favourite perfume

Favourite pet

"When in doubt wear a blazer" you'll never be over or under dressed

4

Football

8

Favourite sunglasses

Favourite style quote

3

Favourite sport

M-Trill’s

top

0 1

9

Favourite bars Bogobiri, SSlounge, Swe & Rodizzio-They all pop


36

Entertainment

She started exhibiting the traits of a comedienne by entertaining small groups of peers and neighbours as a child. Having spent her formative years with her mother and grandmother (both disciplinarians), who both live in Lagos, humility-imbued Helen Paul later began her journey into the world of entertainment when she worked at Eko Reelmix Studios, Radio Lagos/Eko FM as a front desk officer. She revealed more about her life, her marriage, her profession and future plans in this interview with AHMED BOULOR.

A

RE you by any chance going into music because some comedians are into it now? If you have any gift, it is better for you to use it; showcase it and see what God can also do through that. There is nothing bad trying to bring out different talents inside of you. Could you recall how your journey into the world of comedy started? I started when I was in UNILAG, now MAULAG. I didn't know I was going to be a comedienne actually. It happened that someone was having a show and the comedian that was supposed to show up did not come, so I suggested playfully to the organizers that I could do it, and that was how it started. Gradually, I was moving on with the show and the audience loved me. After the show, someone walked up to me, requesting that I come and anchor a wedding, but during that week, I saw an interview of Alibaba where he talked about how to anchor a wedding, I did it and it was fantastic. Before long, I started getting calls to come anchor weddings and other occasions. Was it your dream to become a comedienne? I wanted to become a lecturer or a teacher but not a comedienne. I never saw myself as a comedienne because aside the fact that I play a lot, I have this sanguine attitude, though I am choleric. But people enjoy the sanguine part of me more. I had it in mind that I was maybe going to be an actress or someone who was going to sing or lecture children someday; that was my dream but when this happened, I said fine; that's good. I thank God comedy is still part of acting and all that. How do you now cope with the trend, since you didn't plan to be a comedienne? I will just say it's God at work. When they invite me for shows,

Why we diversified AfricaMagic —Biola Alabi W

—Helen Paul If you have any gift, it is better for you to use it; showcase it and see what God can also do through that

I wanted to become a lecturer or a teacher but not a comedienne. I never saw myself as a comedienne because aside the fact that I play a lot, I have this sanguine attitude, though I am choleric

Do you still have any plans to become an actress? Yes, I really want to be an actress. It is not an easy thing because sometimes you go to a location for a period of time as planned, but you end up staying longer. I am still trying to get prepared; I have done one movie with someone I admire so much in the Yoruba movie industry. That is Funke Akindele; she cast me for a role and I was selected. What differences were there while you were a spinster and now that you're married with a son? There is a difference. Then my fiancé would come and check me in school, he would bring cornflakes, Milo and all sorts of things. Sometimes it would be raining and I would tell him to hold on while I quickly apply my powder and rush to see him downstairs. But now, I will be the one to cook in the house. And when he's coming home, though he still buys apple, orange and what have you, the beauty that your boyfriend bought you ice cream and your room mates are screaming 'he loves you' is no longer there. So I miss that (laughs). But I am enjoying myself now because every woman wants to be married. Being a mother is also one of the best things that have happened to me. Though it is quite challenging, God has given me the strength to continue, so I'm happy. How did you meet your hubby? He used to be called 'brother' and now he's 'Femi' (laughs). We met through some friends and uncles. He heard some of my jobs and he was like, 'are you sure she's not a small girl?' And from there, it was like Brother Femi, bawo ni? (How are you); we courted for a while and the rest like they say is now history. How did you feel the day he asked you out? I was laughing. I was like Brother Femi, are you serious? Are you playing? But before I knew it Brother Femi had taken me far and we are now living in the same house. At what point did you decide to give your heart to him? Give my heart to him? Brother Femi is nice, he's good. So there is no woman who would see him and would not want to give her heart to him.

How do you carry yourself among your colleagues? I just try to be respectful. Everybody can't possibly like you, so I just enjoy myself. I am freespirit-minded and a happy-golucky girl. Who are your favourites in the world of comedy? I have many favourites and they all have their qualities. For Koffi, I admire his maturity at handling issues. For Julius Agwu, I admire the fact that he doesn't want to believe he's old so he's still keeping on with the young ones. For Alibaba the daddy, I admire him for bringing people together as one. Omobaba, fine boy, I admire him so much, especially the way he plays with himself. I also love watching Lepacious Bose and Princess; they all have their uniqueness. How far should we expect you to take your career in the coming years? I really don't want to boast, but I don't see myself as an ordinary being. I see

HELEN PAUL

37

One of the rare brands of screen figures in Nigeria, Biola Alabi is the Managing Director, M-NET Africa. She comes with high business acumen evident in her recent selection as a member of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum. In this chat with OVWE MEDEME, she talks about her career, her passion for charity and a host of issues bordering around entertainment.

Me, a big star? Not yet!

I just see the crowd and flow with it. I think I just like to play on stage. And before I know it, things would have started happening. What I just know is that it's not by power but the grace of God. There are no 10 secrets or 20 ways to become a comedian that I read. I am a spontaneous person; right there and then, I just look at you and crack jokes. Have you encountered any difficulty in handling your rising profile? Well, I have not started seeing myself as a big star yet because I still walk freely on the streets and I know stars who can't walk freely on the streets. The challenge basically is that some people expect more. May be they expect so much from you but they don't get it. And they forget that you are human and that the fact that you perform on stage doesn't mean you don't have attitude. How were you able to combine your art and studies while you were still in the University? Most of the time, I would say to myself that God should just let me do the right things at the right time, at the right place and with the right set of people. So, when it was time for lectures, I went for them. Though it was not easy, I tried to make sure I didn't miss lectures. However, it is not every time that you have events or engagements to honour. So at such times, I sat down and read or went for Arts rehearsals, we do more of practical so you need to be around. And I was always enjoying my practical. So things were just working together for the better. How did you become an on-air-personality? That, I did not also know I was going to do. I went to visit a friend, Matthew, in the studio and he said ''Helen we can use your voice to play an Amebo, why don't we use it to do something,” he said. I was actually dreaming of it too. Everything was just falling into place one by one and I believed more were still coming.

Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

myself as a great blessing to my generation, and five to 10 years from now, I will be standing strong, making things happen because God is going to use me; that much I know. You don't need to be a pastor before God uses you. I want people to see me and say 'God, I thank you for this girl.' That is what I want. How fashionable are you? I don't know about fashion oh! I just wear my clothes and go my way. Some say I am fashionable and some say I am not. All I know is that I just wear my clothes and remain happy with myself. Some people are not happy with what they wear, but I am always comfortable with whatever I am clad in all the time.

ITH M-NET recently increasing its local content, how challenging has it been finding materials to showcase? Finding local content has always been challenging because you are creating platforms and distribution outlets where there wasn't one before. Maybe it's also the difference in the rate at which content on some of these platforms are being consumed. However, people are creating more content as there is thirst for local content. People love the fact that the content is very specific to them because of its cultural and linguistic relevance. These are factors that are so important to people. So far, how has the market responded to your kind of content? The market is responding, though there are still challenges in meeting some of those standards. We are working very hard with communities, producers and our stakeholders. Last year, we had three fora where we engaged stakeholders. We also had capacity building where we trained writers and producers in order to enhance quality in the industry. That sort of engagement will continue as it is crucial to our work; it's not just beneficial to us, but to the industry as a whole and that's the kind of impact we want to be making. What informed your decision to create additional AfricaMagic channels? We intend to meet the needs of our subscribers and that is the centre of what we do. It involves providing the subscribers with relevant entertaining, informative and educative content. At the end of the day, that is what we are hoping to do with our content. By creating more channels especially with some of the new channels we launched, we believe that we would be able to achieve that. You were recently selected as a member of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders. What does this recognition mean to you? It is a great honour to be recognised by an international organization like the World Economic Forum. I am extremely grateful for being given such a platform, where they choose about 200 people every year. To be one of those people is really an amazing honour. I hope it will become an opportunity to do something really awesome and also make an impact in people's lives. That's the whole essence of this. What attributes earned you that honour? I'm not really sure because the World Economic Forum has its own process and they don't tell you what the process is. One of the things they look for in people is their passion for what they do, passion for their chosen fields, those doing things that

My advice to young people is to find someone who they can look up to always, not necessarily knowing such role models physically are different and also people that WEF believes can be responsible leaders for tomorrow. I think one of my strong attributes is that I am very passionate about what I do. I love the media, the power of the media and the fact that the media has an immense opportunity to shape the way people think, behave or live. I think it's important to have that passion. I have also done a lot of work in educational media and I think those are some of the factors that may have influenced the decision. They don't make this decision based on one part of your career but the things you may have done over the years. How would your work at YGL affect youth development in Nigeria? It is a great opportunity for the work we are trying to do in Africa. At the end of the day, the work we are trying to do is to elevate and create a global platform for African content, not just Nigerian content but at the thrust of that, there is also Nigerian content. I am a Nigerian and therefore I am very passionate about Nigerian content and the promise that the content has to deliver to the world. It's one of my platforms. Also to bring in awareness issues and also where there

are opportunities, to collaborate and innovate.I hope those opportunities will be presented. You are also affiliated with a nonprofit organisation. Does your work in the entertainment industry tie into the NGO? I am a human being with interests outside of work and I know that is very tough to believe. It's important that when you see things in your community, if you have the opportunity to act; then you should. Hospitals for Humanity does medical missions where they bring health to people that don't have access to health, or people in very remote areas and I participate in certain missions. One of the missions that I was a part of was the Makoko Medical Mission, which was dear to me and very close to my heart. I'm very interested in issues around health. I have always been and would continue to be. As a woman in a male dominated world, what keeps you going? The first thing is to always be yourself and always be close to your God. I think God is the best director you could ever have in life. God has been instrumental in my life, I don't think there are any accidents, but I do believe that there are opportunities and it is important to be able to take up opportunities when they are presented to you. My advice to young people is to find someone who they can look up to always, not necessarily knowing such role models physically. I try to surround myself with people that I can learn from; I never assume that I know it all. I believe one should always be open to learning and always seize any opportunity when meeting someone you admire. Everyday, I meet women who I admire and they influence and make positive impact on my life. So far, what has been the highpoint of your career? I really can't say that there's anything called the greatest achievement. I believe that every day you wake up, there's more to achieve and there's more to do. I think that there are a lot of things that we have done and are proud of. I won't ever say that it's me because if you ever go on the set of any of our shows, you'll see that it takes literarily a village to do a show. I won't take the credit for anything. I am proud of our achievements as a team and I would say some of our achievements that we are very proud of are the work we have been able to do with Tinsel. Some people may think it's easy because it's shown every day. But not only do we produce a show every day, we make sure the show is on air and it's of high quality. Do we make mistakes? Yes, we make mistakes once in a while but in all, Tinsel is an amazing show.


38

Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

What manner of Goodwill Ambassadors? The list of Nigerian celebrities being appointed United Nations' Goodwill Ambassadors seems to be growing longer. But are these appointees really living up to the billing? AHMED BOULOR attempts a critical review of the performances of Nigerian celebrities who have bagged this appointment in comparison with their foreign counterparts.

T

HE frequency of the United Nations' honorary appointment bestowed on Nigerian celebrities by the UNICEF has prompted many to wonder what yardsticks were used in the selection process. This is much so because most of the recent appointees may not have done enough in the past or in recent times to muster support for children in need, the general public and within their industry. Aside lacking the unique ability to touch people's hearts with their passion and commitment, some of the appointees can be said to be morally bankrupt and as such may not in any way qualify to be referred by such a noble title. Perhaps the tag 'Peace Ambassador' which adds to the usual razzmatazz and hype that most Nigerian celebrities crave for is making quite a number of them lose sight of their responsibilities, thereby making them contribute very little or nothing to support social causes. The current state of the Nigerian nation is in need of exemplary celebrities who by virtue of their status as 'Messengers of Peace' should use their good offices to positively impact on the lives of scores of Nigerian's in need of a shoulder to cry on. It is needless to say that being a Goodwill Ambassador comes with loads of responsibilities and commitment to humanitarian causes, but most Nigerian Goodwill Ambassadors seem to be revelling in the hype of being referred to as such, while losing sight of their primary responsibilities. Such instances now cast doubts about the eligibility of some of the so-called Goodwill Ambassadors who have left much to be desired in recent times. Who are Goodwill Ambassadors? NICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are well-known personalities, willing to do their utmost to mobilize support for children among the general public and within their industry. These volunteers have a unique ability to touch people's hearts with their passion and commitment. Some have worked with UNICEF for a long time, demonstrating high level of commitment to children and to the organization. Most represent specialized fields in the arts, sports and contemporary culture. Goodwill Ambassadors are expected to be committed to the values and principles set forth in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Child and other humanitarian guidelines championed by UNICEF, among other things. Since the programme was established in 1998, successive Secretary-Generals have appointed over a dozen celebrated personalities who gracefully lend their names, reputations and energy to press for a more peaceful world. International celebrities such as Daniel Barenboim, George Clooney, Paulo Coelho Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall, Midori Goto, Yo-Yo Ma, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Eli Wiesel and Stevie Wonder have been variously appointed

Ambassador-an appointment which requires that she joins hands with other Ambassadors in making the world a more peaceful place to live in by getting involved in aid-giving programmes in areas of unrest. For Nollywood actress Chika Ike who was appointed UN Ambassador for Peace in December 2011, being an appointee doesn't give any room for laxity. “It is an obligation; it is a commitment. It is not a trophy; it is work because you have to give back to society in order to make it a better place. I am working toward organizing workshops and probably seminars in the near future. “Being a UN ambassador doesn't give room for any form of laxity; it is an office that keeps you on your feet because you constantly have to think of how to make your immediate environment conducive for others. I have to create a peaceful atmosphere where there is war; I also have to be careful of how I comport myself out there because most people see me as a role model,” she added. Also recently, three of Nigeria's entertainers, Susan 'Goldie' Harvey, Weird MC, and Sound Sultan were appointed UN ambassadors for Youth and Peace in one fell swoop, thereby increasing the list which also includes comedian AY and actors Ramsey Nouah and Ini Edo. Are they living up to expectations? ITH a population of more than 160 million people and over 70% of its population struggling to meet up with global living standards, coupled with the spate of bombings, communal clashes, political unrests, hunger and uncertainty; Nigeria is surely in need of Goodwill Ambassadors willing to do their utmost best to mobilize support for the general public and most especially children in times of great need. But the million dollar question is: have these Nigerian appointees lived up to the billing? Controversial actor Jim Iyke is a recent appointee. According to reports of his recent engagements, he will be picking a list of less-privileged children from Somalia and Gambia who will be provided with quality education in America. Another question on the lips of many is why someone who has a court case to answer over an alleged N15million fraud should be given such an appointment? These days, Africa's celebrated idols harness the “currency of celebrity” to impact social change on many levels. For instance, Ethiopian-born supermodel Liya Kebede has leveraged on her celebrity status to raise awareness about maternal health issues. She currently serves as the World Health Organization's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. She also founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality rates in Ethiopia and around the world by funding advocacy, training and medical programmes. Also, Ivorian soccer star, Didier Drogba, has used the cult-like following he enjoys at home to call for peace in his war-torn country. Cote D'Ivoire had been enduring a civil war since 2000. After he led the Ivorian national team to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba famously made a plea to the combatants, requesting that they drop their weapons in pursuit of peace. They listened. A few days later, there was a cease fire. Apart from playing a pivotal role in the peace process, Drogba also donated a $5 million endorsement fee he earned from Pepsi to construct a world-class hospital in his hometown of Abidjan. There are only a few Nigerian Goodwill Ambassadors who have leveraged on their celebrity status to raise awareness on certain humanitarian issues and developments. Asides comedian AY who continuously preaches peace through his comedy show 'AY Live', Timaya who constantly preaches peace through his songs, the satiric, Sound Sultan and actress Chika Ike who have all put their offices to good use, the same cannot be said of the other appointees thus making one to question why they were selected in the first instance.

W

U

Messengers of Peace. They have in-turn, through their public appearances, contacts with the international media and humanitarian work help expand understanding of the ideals and objectives of UNICEF. Nigerian appointees… NTERTAINMENT personalities in Nigeria have a fair share of appointments; 'Koko Master' D'Banj was recorded as the first Nigerian to be appointed by United Nations as a Youth Ambassador for Peace. In apparent recognition of his propagation of peace in the restive Niger-Delta region, consistent hit maker, Enetimi Odom, popularly known as Timaya, was also appointed Peace Ambassador by the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace, IIFWP- a division of the United Nations. According to Dr. Hak Ja Haan Moon, co-founder of the IIFWP, Timaya was especially chosen for this honour because

E

he is “one of those individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others, and who dedicate themselves to practices which promote the founding ideals of the IIFWP.” Reacting to the honour, Timaya says, “I am happy. Honestly, I am. This goes to show that the ideals I am using through the instrumentality of my music to preach are not in vain. I have said it in my music and at different fora that Nigeria can only progress unless the Federal Government pays more than lip-service to the agitations of the people of Niger-Delta region. It is even a good thing that the President is from that region which means that things will surely get better. I thank those who deemed it expedient to make me a Peace Ambassador and I promise not to relent in this struggle.” Sultry Nollywood's actress Oge Okoye also joined the list of appointees months ago, when she was conferred a UN Peace


Entertainment

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Lancelot Imasuen owns up to tussle over Adesuwa

D

IRECTOR of celebrated film, Adesuwa, Lancelot Imasuen has shed light on the purported news making the rounds that there is an ongoing clash over the ownership of the film. “I would ordinarily have not reacted to this issue because it is infantile. All over the world, it is common knowledge that a Director owns a movie and in the case of Adesuwa, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is the director and producer of Adesuwa. John Sources Films is the Executive Producer. They brought about 65 per cent of the money while my company Lancelot Imasuen Media Network provided the balance as dictated by the contract.” Lancelot said. Recent reports say signs that all was not well began to show some weeks prior to the Abuja premiere of Adesuwa in March when the Executive Producer, John Abua, accused Imasuen of taking the shine off him especially in the media. He said his role as the Executive

Producer was not being highlighted and that he was also not getting a fair share of the media publicity Imasuen was enjoying through the film. Imasuen, was said to have advised him to get a media company to handle his publicity. Lawyers of the parties were called and the issue resolved. Reports say, the Executive Producer thereafter got the attention he sought at the Abuja and Lagos premiere shows when he was specially introduced to a resounding applause as the financier of Adesuwa. But the whole issue took a dramatic turn some days before the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in Lagos when the Executive Producer still smarting from being left out of the perceived media swirl, rushed to the AMAA office and collected all the invitation cards for the nominations Adesuwa got. He insisted that AMAA should have created an award for the Executive Producer. He went to press lamenting that he was being sidelined by everybody and not getting all the attention he deserved as the financier of a movie that got 10 nominations in AMAA. Just last week, he caused the police to arrest Imasuen alleging he was duped and threatened by the filmmaker. But at the Force Headquarters in Asaba, Delta State on Wednesday, the police got a clear picture of the case after both parties narrated their stories. Imasuen's lawyer, Chief Mike Ezekome (SAN) said the contract will be followed to the last letter. All pleas by the police fell on deaf ears even as some top Nollywood stars, including Delta Commissioner of Culture, Mr. Richard Mofe Damijo, RMD had intervened.

Hunger Games nicks four Golden Popcorn awards

T

The contract, in Article 9, was said to have read in part: “The Producer/Director and the Executive Producer/Co-producer has agreed to a fifty-fifty sharing formula after deductions of investment from gross income as generated by the movie, Adesuwa (cinema release, VCD and DVD sales, TV right sales)”. Imasuen noted that aside the premieres in London, Abuja and Lagos, which were none paying shows, Adesuwa has not generated any income aside the meager sponsorship money (N1 million share after all expenses) which the Executive Producer got. “He (Executive Producer) went to the press claiming he gave me N18 million naira when in actual sense, his investment in Adesuwa is N6.5 million of which he has got a million back. So far, I have spent 28 million naira and he is crying over his balance of N5.5 million. The contract is there for all to see. I have told him to be patient and allow Adesuwa to go through the normal channels of release for us to make our money back, but he is more concerned about media attention. I have told him also to go and act, direct or produce a movie if he so loves the attention of the media or better still get signed on to a media company like most of us did.” Imasuen said a new cinema release date will be announced soon. “We apologized for not honouring our May 4 cinema release date that was announced all over the country. The young man botched the plans when at the last minute he went to the cinema houses threatening them as the owner of Adesuwa. We both own Adesuwa as interpreted by the contract and a director owns a movie. It's sad that he did that because by now, we would have sorted out all monies invested and be talking about profits.”

Paparazzi crowds Rachael Oniga

S

POTTED recently at the premiere of Married but Living Single, popular crossover actress, Rachael Oniga, was bombarded by paparazzi as her appearance on the red carpet last Sunday was a rare occurrence. Looking stunning in her evening dress, the actress who is hardly seen gracing events in the industry revealed her mission; “The reason I'm here today is because I was invited by the

Director of the movie, Tunde Olaoye. I know him very well. I know that he does very good jobs, so that's why I'm here.” When asked if she has finally abandoned Nollywood English movies for Yoruba genre, she stated thus; “I've always been there. It is just that for some reasons, I decided to pitch my tent with the Yoruba language sector. But I've not gone anywhere. I'm still part of them.”

39

•Rachael Oniga

HE audience at the “2012 MTV Movie Awards”, staged at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, were immersed in the magic of movies with unexpected moments from a stage fashioned as a futuristic drive-in. Master of Ceremonies Russell Brand set the tone for a night of surprises, which saw the most wins of the night going to “The Hunger Games”, which scored four wins in the Best Female, Best Male, Best Fight and Best OnScreen Transformation categories. Second up was Bridesmaids, which won two awards; in a fitting close to the Harry Potter franchise, Emma Watson was on-hand to accept Best Cast and the first-ever socially-voted Best Hero popcorns for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

•Shailene Woodley

First-time Movie Awards winner Shailene Woodley was chosen by a special academy of film directors as this year's Best Breakthrough Performance winner for “The Descendants,” and Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson took home her fourthstraight win in the Best Kiss category for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.” This year's newest categories also saw big wins, with Jennifer Aniston being honoured in the On-Screen Dirtbag category, the cast of “Bridesmaids” taking home Best Gut-Wrenching Performance (for the flick's infamous food poisoning scene), and LMFAO winning Best Music for “Party Rock Anthem” in “21 Jump Street.” The original party animal Charlie Sheen emerged onstage to pay tribute to the greatest party films of all time, bestowing “Project X” as the next in line to become an Instant Cult Classic. Wiz Khalifa then took to the stage to perform his new single “Work Hard, Play Hard,” inside his very own house party, complete with kids dancing, and streamers and red cups flying. Throughout the telecast, DJ Martin Solveig re-invented classic movie soundtracks, bringing a beat to everything from “Jaws” to “Pulp Fiction” to “Star Wars.” The final award went to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” in the Movie of the Year category.

Fashie Fizzie hits the studio for Dana crash

P

OPULAR Ibadan-based clothier turned singer, Fashogbon Abiodun David, otherwise called Fashie Fizzie, has decided to pursue a career in the music industry. The young and energetic clothier recently declared his intentions to take over the Nigerian music industry with his brand of music. Starting with a therapeutic love song entitled Oleku, Fashie Fizzie is leaving no stone unturned in releasing his debut album before the end of this quarter. The fresh entertainer, who just wrote a song for the victims of the Dana air crash entitled Black Sunday noted that it's time for his music career to take a new dimension. In his words, "Music came

as a result of pain and release from it! Music heals my heart and everything I touch turns to gold. Music is a release from pressures and pains. As long as I have breath, I would continue to sing. Music is a longing fulfilled and it is a business that helps and business! Fashion, marketing communication and entertainment are really interwoven! Build businesses that help your business." On why he wrote a song, Black Sunday, he said, "I recorded Black Sunday because of the burden upon my soul and great empathy for those that lost their lives in the plane crash. A Black Berry broadcast from Fela Durotoye knocked me down, made me flat in pain and I just have to hit the studio.”

•Fashie Fizzie


40

Entertainment

BIG

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

CINEMA GUIDE LAGOS

PICTURE Supported by: SILVERBIRD CINEMAS

Dark Shadows: Eccentric vampire tale

T

HE sequence begins in the late 18th century, as handsome socialite Barnabas Collins (Depp) has an affair with a housemaid called Angelique (Eva Green). But because of class divisions, he despises her in favour of a beautiful young virgin (Bella Heathcote). The housemaid turns out to be not just a woman scorned but a vengeful witch, making Barnabas's inamoratas throw herself off a cliff and sentencing him to endless suffering as a vampire. As if that's not enough, she also has him buried alive.

Dark Shadows was a longrunning soap on American daytime TV between 1966 and 1971, and now Tim Burton has made an expensive, specialeffects-strewn homage to the old series, building up the comic elements and turning it into a star vehicle for Johnny Depp. The movie starts out as if the young governess will be the heroine, but forgets her as soon as Barnabas wakes from the dead. There's no satisfactory explanation of her relationship to the 18th century, and her love affair with Barnabas must be somewhere on the cutting-room floor.

Titanic Featured Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane Genre: Drama Running Time194 min Trespass Featured Actors: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman and Cam Gigandet Genre: Comedy Running Time: 91 min Dr Seuss'- The Lorax 3D Featured Actors: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time86 min 21 Jump Street Featured Actors: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube Genre: Comedy and Sequel Running Time109 Mins Machine Gun Preacher Featured Actors: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time129 min Phone Swap Featured Actors: Wale Ojo, Nse Etim Ikpe, and Ghanaian Superstar, Lydia Forson Genre: Comedy Running Time Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam

Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 99 min Best Exortic Marigold Hotel Genre: Action/Adventure Contraband Genre: Action/Adventure John Carter Featured Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time132 min Man on a Ledge Featured Actors: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time102 min

ABUJA

Men in Black: A comic date with Will Smith

Genre: Action/Adventure Dr Seuss' the Lorax Featured Actors: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Drama Running Time: 86 min Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 99 min The Scores Featured Actors: Aremu Afolayan, saheed balogun ,Eniola olaniyan , Olumide Trespass Bakare,sunkanmi omobolanle Featured Actors: Nicolas Cage, Genre: Drama Nicole Kidman and Cam Phone Swap Gigandet Featured Actors: Wale Ojo, Genre: Drama Nse Etim Ikpe, and Ghanaian Running Time: 91 min Superstar, Lydia Forson True Citizens Genre: Comedy Featured Actors: Uti Man on a Ledge Nwachukwu, Alex Usifo, Featured Actors: Sam Brian Okwara, Clareth Worthington, Elizabeth Banks Onukogu, Keneth Okolie, and Jamie Bell Clara Iweh, and Melvin Odua. Genre: Action/Adventure

PORT HARCOURT

W

HEN his partner K is erased from history, Agent J must time travel to 1960s New York to save him and prevent an alien invasion. The series returns with great eye candy, good 3-D and more sci-fi comedy. Will Smith is funny, but Josh Brolin as young Agent K is so exceptional at mimicking the tight-lipped Tommy Lee Jones that he steals the show.

The first follow-up to Men in Black was ten years ago, and revisiting the characters of Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) and their alternate-reality version of New York City is enjoyable. The population is dotted with bizarre-looking aliens. The screenplay is cleverly done, forcing Smith to journey back in

time to the year 1969 in order to undo an incident that has affected Jones ever since. More enjoyable is the use of 3D, which was executed in postproduction, and looks great, with some bravura shots that are meant to be enjoyed. It's that spirit of fun that permeates Men in Black 3 and makes it so much fun.

The Ides of March Featured Actors: Paul Giamatti, George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman Genre: Drama Running Time: 101 Mins True Citizen Genre: Drama Running Time: 97 Mins 21 Jump Street Featured Actors: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube Genre: Comedy and Sequel Running Time: 109 Mins Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Featured Actors: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 86 Mins Trespass Featured Actors: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman and Cam Gigandet Genre: Action/Adventure Running Time: 91 Mins Wrath of the Titans Featured Actors: Sam

Worthington, Liam Neeson and Rosamund Pike Genre: Action/Adventure Phone Swap Genre: Drama Running Time: 70 Mins Machine Gun Preacher Featured Actors: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon Genre: Action/Adventure


41

Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

‘Losing my daughter changed my life’ Arguably rated as the biggest promoter of modelling in Nigeria, Joan Okorodudu, a former beauty queen in the 80's and fashion designer tells Remi Adelowo and Kehinde Falode what drive her passion and her style signature

Y

OU run one of the best modelling agencies in West Africa, how did the whole thing start? It started out of desperation after the maiden edition of Nigeria's Next Super Model (NNSM). I was looking for agencies to send my models to in South Africa and when we got there, we knew from the way we were received that the girls were a hit and after couple of days, we decided to open our own agency. I went with Juliet Morgan to do the paper work and chose the name Mode Models and for my second choice, I chose ISIS Models from my name Isioma. Isis is the name of a Greek goddess. You are into so many things, what really inspires you to be a hyperactive person? I guess I have got too much energy in me and most importantly, what brings out the best in me is to be fully engaged always. You have been running the Nigeria's Next Super Model for many years, how have you managed to sustain it? I believe God has given me the grace to come this far. Secondly, I am blessed with a husband that is so supportive. He is my rock and after 30 years of marriage, this man has remained simply the best. Also, another reason is the tenacity and audacity to create something out of Africa that is at par with any show in the western world. What do you gain from all of these? Hopefully soon, we will start to make money, because we are through with the investment period. However, it has been tough because to have a model get to the top, you must invest in that model and this is why it has been difficult to sustain things like this in Africa. Someone recently asked me, 'was it your girls I saw at the BET RIP THE RUNWAY SHOW’ and I said yes. Bunmi Ademokoya opened the show followed by Aisha Bello and Tinuade Adejokun. All together, I had five girls in the show. In 2010, Bunmi opened the Afric fashion week in Johannesburg, South Africa and we have also seen my girls on Fashion TV and most recently Glamour, Elle and Marie Claire and Pride magazines. How do you combine your busy schedule with the home front? When I have had enough of work, I simply take off on vacation with my hubby and of course, I don't have little children, so I am a bit flexible. But I can tell you that I don't joke with my family in anything I do. They come first. Is one suffering for the other? Not really. Is there any particular experience that has shapened your life? Well, I have had so many experiences in life, but one that really hit me hard was losing my daughter as a new born. What lesson has life taught you? I have learnt so many lessons, but the most significant is always to be cautious and never let anything stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. Is there something you still long to achieve in life? No other thing except travelling to space. How do you react to stories that you are controversial? I have not heard of such, but if some people say so, all I can say is let God deal with it. What does style mean to you? Simplicity!

Describe your style in one word. Simple. What determines what you wear? What I wear at any point in time all depends on my mood. How do you unwind? Watching CNN and Fashion TV

What would you consider to be your greatest challenge in life? It is having to work twice as hard in Nigeria compared to one's counterparts in the western world. What qualifies a lady to be part of NNSM? She must be tall, beautiful and blessed with awesome features.


Glamour

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

43

Stories by ADETUTU AUDU

Kaffy marries amidst heavy downpour

Ex- Bank PHB's Olu Akanmu joins Airtel

O

LU Akanmu, an accomplished marketing professional, motivational speaker and seasoned manager, is now the Chief Marketing Officer of telecommunication service provider, Airtel. Akanmu has over 23-years experience spanning marketing, banking, telecommunications and consulting, manufacturing, advertising, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. Prior to his appointment, Akanmu was the Executive Director, Retail and Consumer Banking, Bank PHB, where he was responsible for the delivery of the retail business annual profit across 97 dedicated retail branches and additional 90 business co-location branches nationwide. He also worked at MTN Nigeria where he spent half a decade as General Manager, Consumer Marketing in charge of consumer business strategy.

T

Funke Akindele rechristened Khadijat

S

ULTRY Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele is now Khadijat Almaroof, SC can reveal. The just married awardwinning actress who got married few weeks ago, is right now on sabbatical leave with her hubby Kehinde Oloyede Almaroof. A few days after their wedding, the couple jetted out to the United Kingdom for honeymoon, which would last for about two weeks. Informed sources also disclosed that they plan to spend one week in Paris before the actress returns to locations for movie shootings.

HE early morning downpour of June 2 last weekend was not enough to stop Danceathon winner, Kafayat Oluwatoyin Shafau's wedding. The celebrated dancer finally tied the nuptial knot with the father of her baby, Joseph Ameh, the P-Square's live band drummer, in a four part ceremony (nikkah, traditional, church wedding and a reception). The events took place at Bespoke Centre along Lekki-Epe Expressway. Personalities at the star-studded ceremonies included former beauty queen and rapper Muna, singer Waje and TV personality, Yvonne 'Vixen' Ekwere and Sound Sultan. Other celebs present included gospel singer Nikki Laoye; R&B sensation, Tiwa Savage; Project Fame music instructor, Ben Ogbewi, producer Tee-Y Mix, Sammie Okposo, Channel O VJ, Denrele Edun, top comedian,Tee A among others.

OBJ's former daughter-in-law, Moji, smiles again

T

HINGS are definitely looking up for Moji, the former wife of Gbenga Obasanjo, eldest son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Moji, now happily remarried to Dr. Biodun Akinkunmi with a child as product of the union, has also joined the league of landlords at the super-rich abode, Banana Island, Ikoyi. While Moji seemed to have recovered quite fast and has gotten her groove back, her ex-husband has completely gone underground, with little or nothing heard about what he has been up to.

Uche Jombo returns, flaunts wedding ring

N

OLLYWOOD actress, Uche Jombo, who took all by surprise with her wedding in Puerto Rico, is back. The diva came into the country last weekend, and was sighted at the Nollywood Movie Awards at Civic Centre, Lagos last weekend. No doubt, marriage looks good on the screen goddess, as she was glowing and proudly flaunting her wedding ring. But trust busy bodies with their side talks, as a few were heard speaking in hush tones that Uche returned without her Oyinbo hubby, Kenny Rodriguez. “She returned almost the same way she left for the wedding a few weeks ago. The only difference is the glittering ring on her index finger,” remarked one of them. Uche caught many by surprise with her wedding. It was hushed from the beginning, and when the information leaked, the actress merely announced that Wow Magazine had the exclusive right to cover the event. Many recall how the actress was dumped by Super Eagles player, Uche Kalu, last year after a 10-year relationship, before she got her act together and finally got married last month.

•Kaffy


44

Glamour

&

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821) raphseg2003@yahoo.com

At Shan George’s movie premiere in Lagos

•Chico Ejiro and wife, Joy

S

HE'S been off the movie scene for quite some time, however, Shan George remains a respected figure in the Nollywood industry. Some days ago, the mulatto actress re-launched her career with the premiere of her new movie at the Silverbird Cinema on Victoria Island, Lagos. Expectedly, the event was graced by leading actors and actresses, reports Olusegun Rapheal

•L-R: Nkiru Sylvanus and Racheal Oniga

•L-R, Desmond Elliot, Chioma Akpotha, Ini Edo and Emem Isong •L-R: Tonto Dike and Kemi Otegbade

•Lilan Bach

•Anita Hogan

•Chidi Mokeme

•Shan George

•Steph Okereke

•L-R: Monalisa Chinda and Zaki Adze

Peace Okonkwo celebrates 60th birthday in style By MUYIWA HASSAN

L-R: Miss Uche Okonkwo, The Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission(TREM) Dr Mike Okonkwo, and his wife Peace , Pastor Genet Cheneir , from US , and the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Abimbola Fashola

•Wife of former Lagos State Governor, Senator Oluremi Tinubu

•Archbishop and Bishop (Mrs) George and Dupe Amu

S

OME days ago at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Pastor Peace Okonkwo, the better half of Bishop Mike OKonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), was the cynosure of all eyes at an event to mark her 60th birthday. A recipient of several awards, the celebrator who is also the founder of Women of Global Impact, in company of her husband was in a convivial mood, as she played host to many dignitaries within and outside the body of Christ who came to felicitate with her.

•L-R: Pastor Genet Cheneir , from US and Vice President Pent costal Church, Dr . Mercy Ezekiel

•Onyeka Onwenu , entertaining Guests at the occasion


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

47

VOL 1 NO. 037

F

When airline brands fly too low (1)

ROM my experience with the service delivery quality, brand support and management efforts and car, anyway, the air travel brands need to learn so much about brands management. To mention in a hurry, the first and most important lesson they need to internalize is the fact that customer experience is the single most effective contact between any brand and its target market. Put in another way, consumer experience remains the most efficient and effective way to sell any brand. Unfortunately, this all-important formula is most often taken for granted. Plenty has been said about our local airline industry with special mention of their quality of service delivery, customer service, competitiveness and all such marketing indices, over the years, but more and more it all seems the downward decline is ordained, perhaps by some divine powers. The other very important lesson players in this sector need to know is that the market place is so dynamic, it is near impossible to safely make long term permutation – no matter the near exact nature of market research. Otherwise, our local stock market would not have taken even those who prided themselves expert stock market traders, i n v e s t m e n t managers and asset management experts as furiously and as sudden as it did (though some of us lesser mortals did warn from our uncelebrated corners that the doom was sure to come). Even in the so-called developed economies, permutations and strategic plans are being upturned almost quarterly. Put clearly, no market condition is eternal or endures forever. The cliché goes thus “change is constant”. It may tarry for a long while. Otherwise, the LEHMAN BROTHERS would still have been alive and well today. World leading news magazine brands did not see the threat posed by digital media and social media platforms coming, until the new trend in news consumption, news source re-evaluation, appreciation and market engagement happened on them. In our local market environment, who anticipated the changes that happened on the banks and financial intuitions market before Sanusi's tsunami came sweeping? So, change at the market place, is also constant. It could be understood, how far away air travel operators are from this truism, on the basis of their small mindedness towards the critical but seemingly small issues of brand personality appreciation. They carry on in similar manner with artisans. I can put hazard a hypothesis to say that 80 to 85% of human resource within the air travel industry see taking air passengers across destinations as the beginning and end of their business.

Little wonder they are not known to expressly engage in other related service offerings such as hotels, entertainment, tourism and even industry personnel training. So, all that concerns the ground staff is to painstakingly load-in passengers' luggage (even without the passenger – if e like make e miss im flight, n aim sabi), hurriedly close the manifest and manage to wait for the Pilot to just go with his/her 'cargo'. The ticketing officers are something else. I was badly molested by one ticketing officer in one of the airlines in Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, two weeks

identifiable along the lines of differentiation, following from their individual names in an industry operating in an environment of free and competitive market, there are bad marketing, compromised branding and disrespect for target customers. That is exactly what happens in the airline travel market. None of our local airline industry players post sign of appreciation of the basic elements of customerfocused brand ownership and management. That explains why Arik Air will not bother to announce altered flight schedule, Aero will just wake up to say passengers lucky to fly with them should be ready to buy even water airborne or remain quiet – in a socio-cultural environment built on good neighborliness, friendliness and hospitality. That is the most daring and damning move I have ever seen any brand taken in developing economy. It is unimaginable the difficulty Arik Air passengers pass through to buy flight ticket; the unfortunate prospective passengers will take position in a long and confused queue obstructed by touts, for so very long. At the head of the queue he/ she meets with unfriendly two tired people (one

back, just because I disturbed her by asking her the airline's flight schedule for that day. God! She took her time to waste my time, under mind my presence, provoked me to anger by all sorts of girlish mannerisms, before asking me Oga any problem? Hmm! I ill rather that I skip more details of the sad encounter at this point. But the crux of the matter is that the most staff personnel of our local airline operators do not demonstrate enough reasons for one to think they receive training on courteous behavior, customer relationship management, brand representation and selling. A few tips on brand management at this point will do. A BRAND IS NAMED VALUE-OFFER. Talking about differentiation, it goes beyond mere identity. It is about expressing an identity that tells a story and makes a promise, unique, different and primarily identified with the given brand. We should begin to look at the name element in branding as a mere identification for the purpose of identification (though that is the primary reason, ordinarily). So, the import and essence of their different names of two-same market brands should not just be about their distinct manifest identity, but greatly involving of psychological import of their different personalities, desired image, outreach and character. Following from the above, there from, in a situation where competing brands are not readily distinctively

the bank rep who collects monies or pay-ins without care what happens after and then-after the ticket issuer who sometimes behave as if the payment teller written right beside her or him is questionable, reluctant to write out the ticket. Because of the inappropriate conduct on the part of these staff and touts, it takes so long to finish with one customer, that one can on that same queue and miss a planned flight if the ticket is for same-day travel. I think it is partly in providing for such wastages that so much emphasis is given to day-before ticket purchase. We cannot exhaust the anomalies bothering on poor customer service put up by these airlines, in one edition, but we must establish the fact that the market is taking note. Perhaps the required initial investment and cost of operations is checking the speed possibility of new market entrants, but see what Air Nigeria is already doing to those who up till only a month ago assumed the position of the almighty. Change will definitely come the way of this aviation/air travel market. RELIABILITY. There is no way any brand will toy with the character element of reliability, if survival at the market place is the marketing objective. Reliability as an expression of responsibility and commitment to customer satisfaction for any brand's own interest, is sacrosanct. To be continued next week.


48

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

‘Single parents who date for fun risk looking silly’

promote me and that is how within that short period, I became the general manager. Ms. Olutoyin Being a general manager, did you face Adeola Osibogun challenges while relating with your and how did you handle it? was the General Manager at employees Yes, I must say I did face challenges! As a manager, you are a team leader and you are the United Trading dealing with people with different values and Company (UTC) Nigeria backgrounds. However, the most important thing is first of all, always try to differentiate before becoming an between personal issues and task issues. Once you are able to let them know that you are executive management focused on the job and you are able to have interpersonal skills, which is a key aspect of trainer at Tom Associates. building, you will be able to get over it. Having spent years leading team As a woman who occupied a top position in your company did you face sexual a major conglomerate, she harassment and discrimination while rising through the cadre? shares from her wealth of that if you work hard, you tend not experience with Rita Ohai. toI believe have people coming to you for sexual favours. Maybe I was lucky because at the time I started my career, we had expatriates working with us but in the process, I found OW did you get into the personnel that the minute people can see that you are development profession? hardworking, they would not want to disturb I entered UTC as a management trainee who you because they do not want to lose you. studied Zoology. While I was there, I rose On the other hand, if you compromise your through the ranks to become a general standards, you will be giving room for sexual manager. I tried my best possible to maximize harassment. Also the woman has to ensure all the opportunities that came my way by that she is not creating the room to be harassed going to all the programmes I by dressing wrongly, or in her was nominated to go to. That is mannerism. how I was able to grow the skill It is largely believed that in management training and women find it harder to advance First of all, for in their careers than men, what this has been putting food on my table ever since. you think is the contributing me as a single do factor and how can it be What were the things you did mom, I do not resolved? to rise from the position of a graduate trainee to that of a believe in dating I think there are two sides to manager? coin. When you slip in your for fun because that duties and when you create a lot I work really hard and I am passionate about what I do, this you will end up of excuses for not being at the top helps me to stay committed. making yourself of your game at work, those could be reasons. However, Obeying the rules and look silly. I think that regulations of the company is is Before you also key. In the early stages of my career, I constantly sought to really decide to make myself relevant by being creative. It was important to do date, the couple things differently so that I got should put the promoted and when I got the cards on the promotion, I had to meet the budget. Whenever I was sent for table and state a training, immediately I came what they want back I tried to start to achieve. implementing the things I learnt and when they saw how serious I was they were eager to

H

chan ging because we are beginning to find a lot more women occupying top p o s i t i o n s i n organisations across the country. Women are beginning to realise that they can get those positions if they cut down on the excuses they give in the office, focus on their jobs and make a difference. That way they are able to function as well as the men and earn a salary that is commensurate with the position. From experience, how do you think women are able to handle the demands of the home front and still be effective at work? It is a very tough one. You have your children to think about and you have your husband to care for. If you have an understanding husband, it will be easier. I have been lucky because my parents have been there for me as a single mother. When I travel or I need to go to work, my parents step in to help. Other people have effective nannies of siblings to assist and most women who are in managerial positions already have children who are adults. Do you think society has been fair to single parents? I think it depends on the individual. I believe that things are bound to happen. The important thing is to take advantage of the position and make the best of it. It is not a bad thing. Look at the other side of the table and imagine if you end up not being able to give birth to any more children. Once you have values as a single parent and you let people know that it has happened but you are ready to move on and stick to your values, you should be fine. Let your child know the position you have f o u n d yourself in, let t h a t

child trust you and be proper in your morals. The moment you are able to have high morals and integrity, you will find that people will respect you. Some people say dating should be left for the youths, what is your take on geriatric relationships (i.e. elderly people who date)? First of all, for me as a single mom, I do not believe in dating for fun because you will end up making yourself look silly. Before you really decide to date, the couple should put the cards on the table and state what they want to achieve. I have my son to show examples to, especially because he is in his teenage years. It will not be proper for him to see this man coming today and another man coming tomorrow. But if you see that the relationship is something that will last long, then I do not mind. With respect to the plane crash that happened last Sunday in Lagos, how do you think the government can stem this tide of accidents? In any organisation, there are rules and regulations. There are regulatory bodies and international operational manuals with set standards. If these standards are not compromised, then such things will not happen. It could have been any one of us on that plane. The government needs to let people believe in whatever they are doing by making sure that regulatory bodies comply with international standards. There are a lot of rumours about that crash and nobody really knows the truth but if the probe is allowed to be thorough, a lot of secrets will be exposed and the transformation will take place.


New WOMAN

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

D

EALING with in-laws can prove tricky for both, men and women. However, sharing a good relationship with your in-laws is vital. For one, if you live with them, you will be spending a lot of time with them. Secondly, they will be instrumental in instilling values in your children. Last, but not least, excessively involved or detached in-laws can put pressure on a marriage. A good rapport with the in-laws, then, is always a boon. It can be especially tough in the first year of marriage. But, with a mix of tact, straightforwardness and 'healthy selfishness', it is definitely possible to deal with them successfully. First, let's look at issues that crop up and affect the wife.] The mother-in-law According to psychologists, tension between a wife and motherin-law results when both of you start 'competing' (albeit subconsciously) for the affection of the same man. This causes the most problems in marriages. The wife is not seen as the 'first' woman in the man's life. There may sometimes even be a somewhat emotionally claustrophobic relationship between a mother and her son. Handling an overbearing, controlling and manipulative momin-law can be difficult. So, what do you do if your mom-in-law is possessive or bossy? One way of dealing with this is to let your dear husband know she upsets you and let him deal with it. Your husband's role A rule of thumb when dealing with in-laws: the husband should deal with his family, the wife with hers. This is so because families can easily forgive their own family members, not an 'outsider' (as you may still be perceived). So, instead of dealing with your spouse's family directly, talk it over with your husband and do your best to win his support and understanding. If you are strong-willed and fiercely independent It's possible you may not be your in-laws' wife. They may find you too ambitious and less 'homely' than they hoped. In that case, try explaining to them how important your career is to you, and that, by pressurising you to only be a homemaker or behave in a certain way, they are hurting you. Share the details of your job with them so they feel involved in your life in every way, which could also help them be more empathetic towards you. Joint family: How to divide chores Traditionally, housework isn't considered work -only something a woman is required to do compulsorily. Thus, few people in the family appreciate what a woman does for the home or understands why she seems tired and irritable. The timetable of a working mom can be choc-a-bloc. Working women, especially, are in a state of continuous stress, which shows up in symptoms like fatigue, feeling irritable, headaches, body aches and gastro-intestinal problems. Obviously, the correct treatment is to reduce the burden on the working mother. Here, the family, particularly the spouse, plays the most important role. Helping your working wife out with domestic chores and sharing the burden of parenting can really help. Discuss with your own partner the role/responsibilities you would like your in-laws to take too.

49

Relationships Deola Ojo 08027454533 (text) Pastordeegfc@yahoo.com

Your questions answered Continued from last week

Living with in-laws: The wife's perspective Setting boundaries Making a list of 'non-negotiables' can help a young couple deal with an extended family. Keeping personal topics out of bounds helps improve in-law relations too. There should be a 'no-telling policy' when it comes to personal information that we feel can be used to control our lives. We simply avoid discussing subjects about which they could form a strong opinion. Your in-laws could be anxious too Even though a son's marriage is one of the most joyous moments in any parent's life, they also realise there is another person in his life who is going to be the centre of his attention. Sometimes, this can make parents feel vulnerable and be on the defensive, even without provocation. Maybe this is why some mothersin-law don't allow their daughtersin-law inside the kitchen for a long time as they are afraid of 'losing control. Trust will take time to develop, but you must try and bridge the distance yourself. How to build bridges Forge a strong bond with your husband. Sincerely focus on your relationship with your spouse and do whatever you can to strengthen your bond with him. Communication is the key. Also, try not to criticise your spouse's relationship with his parents, as it may only lead to bitterness Make an effort to know more about your in-laws, their lifestyle, and what they consider to be acceptable behaviour.

Forge a personal bond with your in-laws. Try a few activities together and you may find that you have more in common with them than you thought. Be polite. This doesn't mean you have to change your personality to please your in-laws, simply respect rules and traditions that are important to the older generation. If an in-law doesn't react positively to your well-intended gestures or comments, don't take it personally. Just let it go when it happens. Then discuss solutions with your partner later. Consider alternatives. Try to compromise and be flexible, rather than not budging. Don't be swayed by stereotypes. Make an effort to observe and understand your in-laws, then deal with the situation. You might feel like an intruder in the house initially, but give it a few months and endear yourself to the family before making decisions or changes in the house. If you act as if you're the boss right from the first day, your mother-in-law will definitely resent it. Take your in-laws out shopping and eat out with them once in a while. Laughter is a great binding agent, so rent DVDs of a few comedies and watch them together. Go over old photo albums together in your spare time. The bottom line? If you have wonderful in-laws, give them a great big hug. If you don't, remember that you're not alone. Remain positive and try making the best out of your situation!!! Source: Racha Pant on Rediff.com

Masturbation is something that many people struggle with. Generally speaking, many people engage in it either because they do not have opportunity to have sex with someone, or because they do not want to have sex with someone. It can be quite addictive, and sometimes become a lifetime habit if care is not taken. It is easy to assume that this is something that you are doing because you are still single, and that once you get married, you will stop masturbating. Some people get married and find out that they still indulge in the act. This not only makes them feel bad but also makes their spouse feel terrible. Should a Christian masturbate? The bible says your body is the temple of the living God. “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful to me, but not all things profit. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly and the belly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body. And God has both raised up the Lord, and also will raise us up by His own power. Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot? Let it not be! Or do you not know that he being joined to a harlot is one body? For He says, The two shall be one flesh. But he being joined to the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits fornication sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.� (1Cor.6:9-20) Some Christians argue that there is no direct scripture that forbids masturbation and therefore believe that it is okay to indulge in it. There are enough pointers in the scriptures to let us know how God expects us to live our lives to glorify Him. Fornication is sleeping with someone you are not married to, while masturbation is having sex with yourself. Because your body belongs to God, you want to present it as a living sacrifice, a holy and acceptable temple for God to use. Masturbation brings you under its power. The scripture above says we should not be brought under the power of food or any other thing that wants to take control of our lives because we now belong to God. You mentioned that you engage in masturbation to relieve the pressure, while that is understandable, it is not wholesome. It is better to find other worthwhile activities to pour your energy and your emotions into. Sexual pressure becomes more intensive when you expose yourself to things that stir your emotions. For instance, movies that depict sexual acts or show naked flesh of the opposite sex. Books, magazines and especially the internet has become another source of temptation. Another reason why you should steer clear of masturbation is because it can lead to homosexuality. As a Christian, you definitely do not want to engage in homosexuality. We are living in an age of extreme permissiveness where we think that we can do anything and that God does not mind whatever we do once we have accepted Him. This is not only erroneous but it is also heresy. This is why the Bible warns Christians not to be deceived. It is so easy to hide under the grace of God and begin to live our lives without restrictions. God loves us so much that He put loving limits in all the blessings He has given us. Parents love their children and yet they will not allow them to do things that may become harmful or detrimental. God is not trying to prevent us from enjoying our lives when He put limits to our freedom and liberty. It is possible to lose the salvation that we once gained when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior. A genuine Christian does not continue to sin or engage in acts that displease God. The good news is that there is forgiveness in God. If we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Is it possible to overcome masturbation? Yes it is possible. We delete a bad habit by replacing with a good habit. What are the things you enjoy doing that are not sinful? Do you enjoy playing or watching sports, listening to music, taking strolls, or reading? You need to fill your time doing worthwhile and profitable things. You also need to look for very spiritual friends who will help you in your Christian walk. After you have overcome this habit, please consider getting married. If you ask God for a spouse, He will provide a prudent wife. I pray that God will give you strength to overcome and live your life in a way that will glorify you. Finally, do not condemn yourself, we all make mistakes and usually have one area of our lives that we feel we need to improve on. God is interested in us getting better and glorifying Him in every way. God bless you. I read your article on page 49 of The Nation of 13th May, 2012 with great pleasure and enthusiasm. May the Lord continue to bless your intellectual horizon. Your calling will continue to be meaningful in Jesus name.


50

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Arts & Life

SUNNY SIDE

Cartoons

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

POLITICKLE

A modern dictionary

CHEEK BY JOWL

OH, LIFE!

THE GReggs

Not to be taken seriously in its entirety, the ensuing collection aims to enlighten and entertain while challenging the norm. Abdicate v.: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. Adult n.: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle. Antique n.: An item your grandparents bought, your parents got rid of, and you’re buying again. Avoidable a.: What the molue or danfo driver could not do. Bathroom n.: A room used by the entire family, believed by all except Mom to be self-cleaning. Beauty Parlour n.: A place where women curl up and dye. Boss n.: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early. Cannibal n.: Someone who is fed up with people. Chicken n.: The only animal you eat before it is born and after it is dead. Committee n.: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours. Courtesy n.: The art of yawning with your mouth closed. Creditn.: See debt. Dictionary n.: The only place where success comes before work. Doctor n.: A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his bills. Debt n.: See credit. Egotist n.: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation. Emergency Numbers n.: Police station, Fire Department and places that deliver food and other necessities. Etc. abbrev.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do. Eternity n.: The last two minutes of a crucial football match. Fable n.: Today, a story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew. Family Planning n.: the art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster. Feedback n: The inevitable result when the baby doesn’t appreciate the food. Flabbergasted adj.: Appalled by how much weight you have gained. Full Name n.: What you call your child when you’re mad at him or her. Gossip n.: A person who will never tell a lie if the truth will do more damage. Grandmother n.: A baby-sitter who doesn’t hang around the refrigerator. Grandparents n.: The folks who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right. Shopping List n.: What you spend half an hour writing, then forget to take with you to the store. Hairdresser n.: Someone who is able to create a style you will never be able to duplicate again. Hearsay n.: What toddlers choose to do when anyone mutters a dirty word. Independent adj.: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say. Inflation n.: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper. Judge n.: a law student who marks his own examination papers. Justice n.: A decision in your favour. Kleptomaniac n.: One who helps himself because he can’t help himself. Monitor v.: Keeping an eye on the kerosene or wood stove. Miser n.: A person who lives poor so that he can die rich. Mosquito n.: An insect that makes you like flies better. Nail Polish n.: Part of an assortment of make-up items such as lipstick, eyeliner etc. which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look “like a tramp.” Opportunist n: A person who starts taking a bath if he accidentally falls into a river. Ow exclamation: The first word spoken by children while with older siblings. Politician n.: One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after. Puddle n.: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it. Quiet n.: A state of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and after the last child has left for a higher institution. Refrigerator n.: Art gallery and air-conditioner combo for the kitchen. Secret n.: Something you tell to one person at a time. •Concludes next week

QUOTE

All intellectual improvement arises from leisure. — Samuel Johnson

Jokes Humour

Blind sight IN ASIA long ago, bamboo-and-paper lanterns were used with candles inside. A blind man, visiting a friend one night, was offered a lantern to carry home with him. “I do not need a lantern,” he said. “Darkness or light is all the same to me.” “I know you do not need a lantern to find your way,” his friend said, “but if you don’t have one, someone else may run into you. So you must take it.” The blind man started off with the lantern and before he had walked very far someone ran squarely into him. “Look out where you are going!” he said to the stranger. “Can’t you see this lantern?” “Your candle has burned out, brother,” said the stranger. Air Excuse A LITTLE guy gets on a plane and sits next to the window. A few minutes later, a big, heavy, strong, mean-looking, hulking guy plops down in the seat next to him. The huge man glares threateningly at his neighbour, crowds the little guy so much that he’s flattened against the window, and immediately falls asleep.

After the plane takes off, the little guy starts to feel a little air sick, but he’s afraid to wake the big guy up to ask if he can go to the bathroom. After a few attempts, he realises that he can’t climb over him, and so the little guy is sitting there, looking at the big guy, trying to decide what to do. Suddenly, the plane hits an air pocket and an uncontrollable wave of nausea passes over the little fellow. He just can’t hold it in any longer and finally pukes all over the big guy’s chest. About five minutes later the big guy wakes up, looks down, and sees the vomit all over him. “So,” the little guy says brightly, “are you feeling better now?” War and Dog TWO MEN are approaching each other on a sidewalk. Both are dragging their right foot as they walk. As they meet, one man looks at the other knowingly, points to his foot and says, “Civil War, 1969.” The other points his thumb behind him and says, “Dog poop, nine feet back.” •Culled from the Internet

W

HEN to Writer’s Fountain turn short story into novel: Many times, it happens recurrence of some story you read somewhere that we write a short story and someone points or is it truly fresh? The truth of the matter is that out how it is dying to be elongated; how the the human mind generally revolves around two world that it encompasses is too big for its short or three stories. So you have to make sure that length. It is then that we realise that our short your story has a different theme before trying story idea is actually a novel in disguise. The to present it without the general stereotypes. Has someone told you that your story has question that arises is ‘how can we identify these symptoms?’. Here are a few questions that you the potential to become a novel? If any of your readers comes up to you and can ask yourself for starters: says that he/she would love to read more of it, Is your idea appropriate for a novel? First of all, analyse your idea. Is it just a be impressed and happy for this means that the story has the potential to increase its length. Earth matter: You can think about turning it into a novel then. •Lake Baikal, in Siberia, is the deepest lake in Do you have a large number of characters in the world. your story? •Canada is an Indian word meaning “village” If your story is in dire need of a number of or “settlement”. characters and there is absolutely no way in •The city of Seoul has been the capital city of which you can eliminate them, then you can be Korea for more than 600 years. sure of turning it into a novel. •Thirteen percent of the human population Is your original idea underdeveloped in the reside in deserts. short story? •Jupiter is the fastest rotating planet, which After you have written the story and you can complete one revolution in less than 10 feel like you haven’t been able to convey the hours. theme completely and would need more space, •If you were standing on Mercury, the Sun then you have another sign that shows that your would appear 2.5 times larger than it appears short story is yearning to be elongated into a from Earth. novel.


SUNDAY INTERVIEW

51

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

DANA AIR CRASH

•Captain Dele Ore

‘Aviation industry needs an intervention fund’

HAT do you think of the incessant crashes that we’ve been having in the aviation sector? You will call it incessant but in the world of aviation, we talk about how many travelling hours and how many accidents. The International Air Travel Association (IATA) last year gave a very good, reasonable, degree of improvement. It is not limited to our continent. Unfortunately, our continent record the average is very poor. And we need to work very hard on that. But in Nigeria, I would rather say that we were having crashes per second per second up till 2005, 2008. It was a very bad average but we got it right later with some re-arrangement, reappointment and all that. And then, there surfaced Dr. Harold Demuren, who put a very good team together and with the help of God, things started going the right way. We started climbing acceptable standards. And what is incessant? It is the level of acceptability by the public. It is the public that determines which one is incessant and which

W

Against the backdrop of the recent air crash involving Dana Airline, which claimed 153 lives, a former Director of Operations, Nigeria Airways, Captain Dele Ore spoke to Remi Adelowo and Joe Agbro Jr. on the challenges and way forward for the aviation industry one is frequent. But we thank God that was in the past. In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, no accident took place until one little Beechcraft aircraft operated and owned by The Wings Aviation got missing. We had a few aircraft that are not scheduled, operated domestic carriers, and there are registered aircrafts like the police aircrafts, coastguard, customs and all that. Those people have aircrafts and helicopters and all that. We’ve had a few of these crashes, but these cannot be described as incessant. But, the cry of the industry is zero accident, zero fatality. Now, the question is; what must have gone wrong again? Are we going downhill again? If we don’t do

something now, we will go down, down, down because an accident does not just occur. The current air crash involving Dana, I will not like to talk about it before the preliminary report comes out but we will talk about matters arising from that accident. You can see that if an accident is going to happen or it has happened, usually, it doesn’t have just one cause. There are so many causes – remote cause and probable cause. And it could have been something way back. However, we must know whether we want to investigate an accident or we just want to punish people. I recall the president saying that they are going to deal with people and I

say, ‘well, I hope those people are his assistants who are the presidential advisers. We do not investigate accidents in order to punish people; we investigate accidents so that there is no re-occurrence. If people know that they are going to be punished, you will never found out what caused the accidents. They will cover their tracks; they would hide facts; they will completely distort facts. And we should not run away from the fact that the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is the legitimate body that should investigate the accident in Nigeria. In this country, we get carried away by sentiments. Nobody has any legal power to probe the Dana crash except AIB. So, what’s your view on the committee just set up by the president because some of these members are also stakeholders in the industry? Do you think they can do a satisfactory job? My understanding is that this committee was set up to probe latest crash. If it is •Continued on Page 52


52

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Sunday Interview DANA AIR CRASH

‘Aviation industry needs an intervention fund’ •Continued from Page 51 so, it is illegal. If it is so, we have no right to do so under the international laws; we have no right to do that under our own laws. The Civil Aviation Act gives the power to probe accidents to AIB. And I listened to the terms of reference and I know definitely that the panel was not set up to probe this accident. But if they go ahead with the assignment, then it is ultra vires. They (the committee) don’t have that moral and technical right. Now, as to the composition of the panel and its terms of reference, the truth is we don’t need a whiz kid or a genius to do what they want to do. But, I insist that what they want to do is illegal under our laws, because the only person that the Civil Aviation Act 2006 as passed by the National Assembly and signed by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, confers the power to set up the committee is the DG, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), because it is the purveyor of safety and economic regulation. We need to be quite clear on that. And, if he is the one that set it up, why is he not the one telling the world? Why must it be the president or minister? Something is wrong there. This means that there is interference with the safety and regulatory activities of the industry and that is exactly what International Civil Aviation Organisation says we must not do. There must not be political interference; there must be a measure of autonomy for the NCAA. And the regulatory authority must be empowered with such a strong character who must be allowed to do his job. All these, I believe we seem to have thrown overboard and we’re fiddling and meddling with the duties and responsibilities, functions and powers of the regulatory authority. Sometime ago, the US awarded the Nigerian airspace a Category 1 status. What exactly does this entail? The Category 1 status is not easy to come by. It is not something that anybody can achieve. That Nigeria achieved it and we have sustained it till now, we must first of all commend ourselves. But, if we meddle around with the regulatory authority, we would lose the status. Don’t forget that Ghana achieved this same thing a few years ago, but they lost the status after just a year, but we have managed to sustain the status for two years. What does it portend? Way back in the 70s and 80s, I was one of those that opened a direct flight from Lagos to New York. And a measure of it meant that we met these standards that we are just talking about now. If we did not meet that standard, the US would tell you ‘no, as an airline, your country does not meet the category 1 status. And which means that we’re not quite sure of the type of aircraft, what kind of oversight activities, how the crew are licensed and also the security. Is the airport secured to such an extent that we cannot have unlawful interference with aircraft and equipment? We put all that together, then the air traffic systems and manpower requirements. If we feel you’re okay, you can leave with your own registered aircraft, operate it from your own base, and come directly to the US, because once you take off, we then believe that before departure, all that needed to be done has been done. But, if you didn’t meet that status, your own Nigerian registered aircraft, operated by your own Nigerian carrier would not have that kind of luxury. They must go to a place and land there first. And the pre-departure formalities would now take place before you are allowed to fly to your final destination. What this will entail is that you will pay for landing, pay for parking, pay for navigation. You will also uplift your catering from there. It’s a lot of expenses plus the fuelling costs. How would the Dana crash affect our Category 1 status? It is a temporary setback. The system they are looking at is not that aircrafts must not crash. They are looking at what did you do to prevent it? Is it your regulation that caused the accident? Is it your sys-

• Ore tem? Is it that there is a weakness somewhere? And you look at the accident itself. Did you go in line with internationallyaccepted law instruments, which are the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Annex 13? Did you go into Annex 12? Did you comply with the procedures for accident investigation? Did you do the correct thing in search and rescue operation? They look at that totality. They will also look at what measures you are putting in place to forestall a re-occurrence. But in this particular case, what more could NCAA have done? Do you think NCAA has done enough? They couldn’t have done more than what has been done already. That’s what the law allows them to do while we are now investigating. They are just onlookers. They don’t form part of the investigating team. But, I need to mention that if Dana had had two types of aircraft, the type that crashed is the one normally NCAA would have grounded, but the airline would have continued with its operations if it has another model of aircraft as long as NCAA has satisfied itself that the crash was not caused either by an internal sabotage or management problem. But, unfortunately they had only one type of aircraft. Is there a failure of regulation by NCAA in properly regulating operations of the airlines? I mentioned earlier that NCAA is not even part of the team that would probe the accident. Internationally, it is accepted that the regulatory authority could also focus on accidents. And that is why another completely independent body, in our own case, the AIB should probe accidents. But it is very remote that failure of regulation could have caused it because these same regulations are the one that have been passed under ICAO audit, because that is the first thing they looked at in 2006. And we came out in flying colours. In fact, they called on other developing countries who don’t

know how to do it to take Nigeria as a model. From time to time, inputs are there to amend these regulations. Just three weeks ago, the same industry was calling on the regulatory authority to relax the regulations and I was saying to NCAA ‘you need to re-regulate more stringently. These tight conditions to certify aircraft operators’ activities is only for the fit and proper; it is only for those who have the financial muscle; it is only for those who would not cut corners because they cannot have the economic muscle to change tyres when it’s due; to replace worn out brakes; to change an engine; to send aircraft for maintenance as at when due. When an accident occurs, let us probe before we start speculating. But I need to say that the whole world is watching what we are doing and they are interested because it was not just Nigerians that died in that crash. Foreign nationals also perished. And even if foreigners are not involved, the aircraft manufacturers are interested. The country where the aircraft was manufactured is interested. And a whole lot of people who are bereaved are interested. And we can only get it right by allowing AIB to do its job. But because of the enormity of this calamity, the proper thing for the government upon receiving the report of the AIB is to constitute a judicial panel of enquiry. That is the only way we can get to the root cause of the problem. Otherwise, we would sweep things under the carpet as usual. You can hear people asking ‘what has the government done with the report of the previous accidents?’ We’ve never heard of it. The judicial panel of enquiry would have a Supreme Court justice, a justice of the Court of Appeal, or a judge of the High Court or Federal High Court would be appointed as the chairman with two assessors who are experts. They could be more, to assist the chairman. If they know that Captain Dele Ore knows so much and he has refused to submit memo-

“I recall the president saying that they are going to deal with people and I say, ‘well, I hope those people are his assistants who are the presidential advisers. We do not investigate accidents in order to punish people; we investigate accidents so that there is no re-occurrence. If people know that they are going to be punished, you will never found out what caused the accidents. They will cover their tracks; they would hide facts;”

randa to public and I fold my hands and do nothing, they can subpoena me. They now bring you as a witness and you swear according to your religious belief. And when you do that, about 30, 40 lawyers would start working on you. The judicial enquiry could charge you to jail for perjury. We have had two of such enquiries in this country, one headed by the late Justice Mohammed Bello who ended up being the Chief Justice of the country and Justice Ishola Oluwa. Justice Mohammed probed the aircraft crash that was returning from Jeddah in 1973. The probe panel on the F28 crash in Enugu in 1983 that claimed the lives of 53 people was headed by Justice Oluwa. We were there to provide all the information to Justice Bello. The second one, I was actually the Director of Operations in the Nigeria Airways. The accident had happened and they brought me back to come and be director of operations. I was on the witness seat for two weeks. Thirty eight lawyers quizzed me. The people who fuelled the aircraft, air traffic controllers, the people who put food on board, who loaded the aircraft – everybody would be called. You cannot run away. Overall, in terms of regulation, equipment, and personnel are you satisfied with the state of the Nigerian aviation sector? I’m in good support of the aviation minister, Princess Stella Oduah when she said aviation is the safest mode of transportation. But I beg to disagree with the minister when she said Nigerian airspace is the safest in Africa. Maybe, I didn’t hear her properly. Our airspace is safe but it is not the safest. But, we can make it safer. Almost every day, we have been having air misses. An air miss is an accident just prevented by God. At the Aviation Roundtable, we have our members who are still flying. We’re not just only a bunch of retired people as they make people believe, we run our own business. And when our members come, they have the luxury of giving us reports. And when somebody comes and says ‘I’ve just cheated death today. They know the status of our equipment; they know exactly what and where the deficiencies are. And when we tell people about the deficiencies and the system, government believe we are unnecessary interlopers just criticising. If the people who know about this business, if one of them is appointed as minister, they don’t need to go on a familiarisation tour like people do to know what’s on ground. We know already. Unfortunately, by the time they know and get comfortable, it is time to reshuffle the cabinet again. This is the 34th minister I am witnessing. And they •Continued on Page 67


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

53

I predicted the crash Primate Ayodele —PAGE 54

•Yusuf Ali, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

I

WAS savouring the stillness of Sunday, a cherished day most Nigerians always look forward to for a little respite from the hustle-bustle of life. Having been burdened in the week, I had cancelled all engagements including a trip to Lokoja for the wedding of a Personal Assistant to Senator Smart Adeyemi and another to Lagos to relax with a close friend whom I had not visited in the last four years. I could not reconcile my schedule to be in two places at the same time and return to Abuja early on Sunday for production. Armed with an exclusive story in my data bank, I knew I could file my report anywhere but the two extreme ends (Lokoja and Lagos) were just irreconcilable, even when I had designed a workable timetable. But intuitively, I had a premonition that it won’t just work. It was a day all steps went wrong, all programmes crashed. Having resigned to fate, I opted for a quiet Sunday with three friends- the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, who had invited me to a dinner in honour of a former VicePresident of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili by the Board, the Editor of Leadership, Suleiman Uba Gaya and the Group News Editor of the paper, Tony Amokeodo. In deference to the Editor, Amokeodo had opted to have a breakfast session with me in my house in order to enable me to meet with his Editor later in the afternoon. As Amokeodo was trying to find his bearing to locate my house, my cousin, Sheriff Yusuf, who is a Youth Corps member, got injured while mopping the floor. I could not withstand the rate at which blood was gushing out from the deep cut in his toe. And once I discovered that the First Aid treatment had failed, I rushed him a private hospital in Abuja. None of us waited to mop the blood on the floor. I only

•Yusuf Ali SAN

Lt. Col Ali Yusuf

DANA AIR CRASH

The burden of a name

As Nigerians are battling to cope with the pain of last Sunday’s Dana Air crash, it has been different strokes for some people. In this piece, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Yusuf Alli, narrates the ordeal he went through over name semblance with one of the victims, the late Lt. Col Ali Yusuf.

PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

•Site of DANA plane crash

mustered courage to call Amokeodo to make a detour to the hospital. That experience ended the breakfast session. Aborted breakfast Upon returning to my resi-

dence, the best I could offer Tony was biscuit and a small pack of juice which he never ate again. While setting the table, a security source called to break the news of a suicide bomb explosion in a church

at Yelwa Tudu. With relevant contacts to call in Bauchi, the newsman in me and Amokeodo set us to work. We succeeded in getting preliminary report to tweet for Nigerians. We wanted to be first with the

news and parted mutually without discussing outstanding issues we had jointly set as agenda during the week. I sent my brief to the Managing Editor/ E-I-C, Mr. Victor Ifijeh, (who defied church service momentarily to respond to a call to duty); my Editor, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso; Editor, Online, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin; and the Group News Editor, Mr. Adeniyi Adesina. Within one -and -half hours, the Bauchi story was ready. Yet, I was determined to stick to my schedule. At about 2.30pm, I left for Leadership Newspaper to honour an appointment with the Editor. We barely sat down with his pretty younger wife when the spokesman for the House of Representatives, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, an investigative journalist and an intimate friend, asked if I had heard the news of a plane crash. I said: “Honourable, you are already out of the newsroom, keep your peace. There was only a crash in Ghana involving a cargo plane from Nigeria.” Mohammed, who just returned to Abuja from Lagos, said: “I am not talking of the crash in Ghana; we have recorded another incident in Nigeria. I got an alert from a friend but since you people are in the newsroom, kindly crosscheck.” As Mohammed hung up, a former pupil of mine, Mayowa Afolabi, whom I taught in primary school 24 years ago in KD School in Bagido-Isanlu in Kogi State, broke the news from Lagos. His house in Lagos is a stone throw from the scene of the crash. A panting Mayowa betrayed his emotion, wept on the phone and wanted help for the trapped victims beyond breaking the news. A pall of silence cast a shadow on the hitherto lively office of the Editor of Leadership. I asked the Editor, who was interested in Nigeria-Namibia match in Calabar to change the station from •Continue on Page 54


54

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Life DANA AIR CRASH •Continued from Page 53

NTA to either Channels TV or AIT. The Editor, who was visibly distraught, could not effect the change but his wife (sensing how we had turned away from her) grabbed the decoder to hook up with the private TV stations. The news was not immediately aired by these stations. Although I am a lover of Pastor Tunde Bakare’s preachment and jibes on the state of the nation, it was not a day for such. Shuffling through Channels, AIT and Al-Jazeera, the sad news of a Dana Air plane crash finally came. As a matter of fact, I am a fanatical customer of the airline and I never blinked an eye to recommend it to my friends and bosses. But on Sunday, it spoilt my joy. Again, my visit to Leadership Editor came to an end unceremoniously. Duty calls As I was hurrying out of Leadership, my MD/E-I-C came on line with a tall order: “Alli, do not let any newspaper beat us to it, you must get me the manifest.” The directive spurred me to head to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja instead of The Nation’s office in Zone 3. As I was driving, I remembered the phrase “NEVER WALK ALONE”. I put a call to one of our correspondents in the Senate, Sanni Onogu to alert him that I was on my way to the airport. Coincidentally, he had been detailed with two others by the Abuja Bureau Chief, Yomi Odunuga to capture the mood at the airport. The drama at the airport As I was approaching the airport, I called Onogu to locate which of the Dana Air offices was the Help Desk. A hardly audible Onogu said: “Come over to the old Domestic Terminal under construction, they have released the manifest.” Immediately, I left the international wing for the old terminal. As I was trying to wade through the heavy traffic at the international end, Onogu’s cell phone was still on and I could hear the roll call one after the other. I barely got to the parking lot when I heard Ali Yusuf called as one of the victims. A deafening shout of Oh! Oh! Oh!, overwhelmed the Help Desk with many exclaiming “Alhaji is gone.” The roof of the small and stuffy desk was almost brought down with murmurs like “He was a fine journalist”, “Na that man wey dey The Nation”, “Abi una no know that tall man?” “Where was Alhaji going?” The urge to file my report did not allow me to know the import of hearing one’s obituary. I felt the psychological pang after I had finished my work for the day. But I could immediately appreciate why the late President Nanmdi Azikiwe virtually cursed those who announced his death when he was alive. While they were still agonising in the thick of the roll call, I emerged in an immaculate white dress like a ghost. The first grieving journalist I came across while climbing the staircase almost shrunk as if he had seen a ghost. It was as if I rose from the dead. With my iPad, I quickly joined in taking shots and compiling the list. But journalists at the Help Desk were not done: Who was the Yusuf Ali killed in the plane? I placed a call to a namesake, Yusuf Ali (SAN), who has been a longstanding friend and role model. He spoke confidently that he was in Asaba, Delta State for a legal conference. I was relieved that my friend was not in the ill-fated plane because we could be mistaken for each other. I shrugged off the emotional challenge of hearing my name as a victim of an air crash to weave the story alongside my colleagues Sanni Onogu, Austin Ehikioya and Gbenga

T

HE spiritual head of the INRI Evangelical Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has said he warned the country against a major air disaster but his warning was ignored. He blamed Christian leaders and President Goodluck Jonathan for allegedly shunning his predictions. According to him, as far back as February this year he had predicted the crash and laid out the steps to be taken to avert it. Displaying a copy of the 2012 edition of his yearly prophetic book called ‘Warning to the Nations’, which was released in February, he claimed that on page 46 of the book , he had prophesied that the country may witness a fatal plane crash in the month of June unless a national prayer summit was convened. He said “We did all we can to avert such a disaster but the federal government turned

Mistaken identity

PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

•Soldiers at the site of the DANA plane crash

Adanikin. Without light at the parking lot of the old terminal, I put on my car’s headlamp and sat on bare floor to write the story of the day. But were it not for my colleagues that were around, I would have filed the copy late as my lines were overwhelmed with calls to know my whereabouts. The first to get in touch was my father-in-law, Alhaji Suleiman Afolabi, who has remained a loving dad since I lost my biological father in 2001. A panting father-in-law put a call through and simply asked: “Alhaji, are you the one on the line?” With a deep breath, he added: “I thank God” and was short of words thereafter. Every other caller insisted on talking to me but I was desperate to meet the deadline, I was out of reach. I could recall that less than 10 minutes, I got more than 50 calls and the lot fell on Onogu to manage the clearing house. But the calls kept on coming such that while driving from the Airport to Abuja City, I asked Onogu to switch off. I told him: “With these calls, we could crash on this expressway which could eventually confirm that I was involved in the air mishap.” Mistaken identity The temporary switching off of all my phones compounded my woes as those who could not locate me had assumed that I was dead. Some had devised ingenuous ways of feeling the pulse of my wife, Hajiya Muinat to either find out my whereabouts or break the news to her that I was dead. None of the tricks worked on my wife until she told a sleek caller the home truth by simply declaring as follows: “Why are you stammering? Are you not after the plane crash news? My husband is alive, he did not travel.” The caller was dumbfounded as he expected the worst to break big news. But I went through hell with over 2000 calls between 9pm on Sunday night and about 5am when it was inevitable to put off

my phone to say Subh (early morning prayers). I did not sleep for up to 30 minutes. Each time I attempted to doze off, well-wishers will call. Based on the advice of my Managing Director (Ifijeh) and the President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Gbenga Adefaye, not to switch off my phones, I also spent the whole of Monday and Tuesday responding to calls or text messages. It reached an embarrassing point that the Abuja Bureau Chief of THE NATION, Mr. Yomi Odunuga, took advantage of a review programme on AIT to clarify that I am alive! Even at that, a revered political analyst and seasoned journalist, Austin Agbonsuremi, voluntarily used the Political Platform on Ray Power to clear the air that I was safe. If I was under siege, it was a small matter compared to what close friends/ colleagues such as Odunuga; Taiwo Adisa, Onogu; Deshola Komolafe, an Advert Executive Hajiya Ganiat Ogunyemi; Bukola Amusan, Ibrahim Yusuf and others went through from those who wanted to ascertain whether I was on board of the Dana Air or not. When the pressure was so much, Bukola Amusan insisted she must hear my voice to douse tension and anxiety over my fate. On the whole, I got over 3,750 calls within 72 hours. I also spent over N25, 000 to buy recharge cards on all my three lines. Due to the heavy weight of the loss, most friends, colleagues and associates did not bother about how names were written. Only few friends were cocksure that I was not on board because each time I was going out of Abuja, I will make my movement known to everybody in my office three to five days before. Some also took time to allude to the fact that I use double “LL” for my own version of Yusuf Alli. They felt there could be error along the line in the entry of Dana Air. At last, it has been established that the late Ali Yusuf on the board of the Dana Air

plane was a Lt. Col. in the Nigerian Army. Lt. Col Ali Yusuf, who was until his death the Commanding Officer, 93 Battalion, Takum in Taraba State, was going to Ibadan to attend the Second Commanding Officers Seminar. Lessons of the mistaken identity In the last one week, I have been able to appreciate the enormous network of contacts and friends that I had built over the years. I could also feel the enormous goodwill of Nigerians. I had a cupful of this generous goodwill when the air disaster occurred and I won’t be surprised if Nigerians are rated the most caring and happiest people in the world. As for me, I have been over-tasked to sustaining this network of friends. A friend in need is a friend indeed. But I also realised that Nigerians could be impatient in reporting disaster accurately, especially names of victims. While the manifest was still being read out, I was shocked to read all manners of names on the Internet, which were far-cry from the reality. Overall, I am proud that a good name is worth more than gold and silver. None of the Yusuf Alli or Ali (either dead or living) has been a notorious criminal. Instead, each Yusuf Ali has made his impact judging from the star performance of a former Olympic Medallist (Long Jump); the respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria and the leadership role of ex-National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Commanding Officer, 93 Battalion, Takum in Taraba State, among others. The burden of a name is heavier but it is lighter if it is a good name. I had a fair share of the challenges of bearing Yusuf Ali, I am, however, consoled by the reality that it is an untainted name that can open doors and attract sustainable goodwill. May the Lord bless the souls of those who died in the Dana Air crash.

I predicted the crash - Primate Ayodele deaf ears to the directives of God. I want to use this opportunity to warn world leaders who think they are above the directives of God to have a rethink. Look at the carnage caused by the refusal to listen to God. God revealed this thing to us as far back as December last year and we documented it in our book.” Asked what he did after the revelation, he explained that efforts were made to get the Presidency to convene the needed prayer sessions as directed by God, adding that copies of the book of predictions were sent to the Presidency five times. “I sent this book to the President five times. It was delivered at Aso Rock five times and the delivery was acknowledged. I also wrote to

the Presidency on what should be done. I didn’t say it must be done by me, but they refused to listen. All we had to do to avoid this was pray as a people.” He added that his warnings were ignored. “ At the beginning of this whole thing in 2010, we said Jonathan will win but there will be crises unless he can seek the face of God. He won but did not seek the face of God. That is why we have Boko Haram, kidnapping, plane crashes and the likes.” He called on Christian leaders and all to return the country to God, saying, “Nigeria needs to be cleansed. Our revelations as contained in the book was not to create any panic.”

•Primate Elijah Ayodele


Life

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012 SINGLE file of women holding waxen staff shaped like paddles, some bearing mirrors, preceeded the singing and dancing, in supplication for peace as the women swung their miniature paddles in uniform arcs. The significance of this, the reporter learnt, was to waft in blessings. On their heels, decked in sparkling whites, with a red cap perched on his head, and flanked by high-ranking members of the sect, His Eminence Oboaga Ubiesha, leads over a thousand followers similarly clad in white apparels. To the sect, white symbolises purity and the procession which culminates at the market is to cleanse the town and ask God for protection and blessings. At this year's procession which was held in May, adherents of Orhe Ubiesha Akpeje (OUA) religion looked immaculate as they meandered slowly along Market Road in Kokori, a semi-rustic community in Ethiope-East Local Government Area of Delta State. OUA also known as Igbe (dance in Urhobo language) was founded by Ubiesha Etarakpo in Kokori in 1858. Etarakpo, born in Awirhe in Agbara, had two wives and children and engaged in trading in elephant tusks which he bought from Benin. After that business failed, he started farming. But, one day, at the age of 35 in the year 1858 on his way to farm, he heard a voice call him thrice but he did not see anything. Upon asking who was beckoning to him, the voice said He is Oweya, which means God in Urhobo. The voice directed him to carry the 'mother chalk' and told Ubiesha that He was going to teach him to establish his religion. Subsequently, he became a vagrant and started singing and dancing by himself. Upon return to the town's environs after 27 years, Ubiesha's wives and children deserted and he was thought to be 'mad' and ostracised but for a woman, Erukanure who cared for him. Ubiesha finally married her. However, at that time when he was being perceived as mad, he would tell people what was about to happen to them and some people began to recognise his gifts of prophecy. At the headquarters of OUA at number 11, Egbo Street, Kokori Inland, Delta State, two single storey buildings, one in front, one at the back, places a large courtyard in the middle. An aisle stretches to the Ugwa (Temple). To the left is the 'hospital', a small room where Ubiesha Etarakpo was buried. Inside are mounds of Orhe (native chalk) which adherents use to combat various afflictions. On the

A

T

he wife of the Oyo State governor, Chief Florence Ajimobi, has taken her enlightenment campaign against juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, and other vices, to Oyo East Local Government Area. The advocacy programme, which was held at Owode Motor Park, was attended by all the wives of 33 local government chairmen, and commissioners in the state. The event was part of activities to mark the one year in office of the present administration. In her message, Mrs. Ajimobi said as mothers, women bring up the young ones as future leaders, adding that they do that through the socialisation process by nurturing them, and passing unto them leadership values of the society. Getting correct information She said, “These values will also include health education, sex education, and how to adjust and cope with changes associated with maturation. Some women shy away from educating their wards on sex education, and these children seek information from elsewhere, and fall into trouble because they do not get the right information. Hence, there is prevalence of juvenile delinquency, unwanted pregnancy among the teenagers, drug abuse, and other vices inimical to national development.” The wife of the governor stressed the need for mothers to educate their children, pointing out that, morally, children must be taught good habits to desist from telling lies, stealing, cheating and other vices, as education at this level is essentially dealing with charac-

55

Igbe - An Urhobo dance worship A religious organisation with roots in Kokori, Delta State thrives on dance, Joe Agbro Jr. who recently 'worshipped' with them writes

• Paying homage to His Eminence Oboaga Ubiesha

• Women in the procession along Market road walls, scores of animal skulls, mirrors as well as lanterns hang - paraphernalia of worship. The grave site of Ibodje Ubiesha, the founder's son who took over as spiritual head after his father's death occupies another corner. According to Onori Igbradidi Ushere, the General Secretary of the religion, Igbe worship has been fraught with lots of misunderstanding, even amongst people from the Urhobo from where the religion originated. While singing and dancing still plays a dominant role, the use of the native

chalk is also paramount in the worship. "It is like our holy communion,' Ushere said. Uku Festus Ikoba, who also hails from Kokori was born into OUA but in his adolescence, left to become a Baptist. "If my dad wanted to see me, he would have to come to the church," Ikoba said, describing himself as a "core Baptist." He rose to hold executive positions in his church but in May 1984, after attending the Baptist Annual Convention at Ogbomoso, he left the Baptist and returned to practice

• Women dancing in the Ugwa

• Gathering for prayers at the market square (annual thanksgiving) over a thousand devotees attended, bringing offerings of live goats, tubers of yams, sacks of garri, rice, beans, kegs of palm-oil, big pieces of fish, salt, and a wide range of provisions. And in an orderly manner, contingent of worshippers from different places such as Abraka, Ughelli, Warri, Benin, Ondo, Port-Harcourt, Ukwuani, and Lagos presented their gifts at the altar before the grandson of the founder, His Eminence Oboaga Ibodje who reclines on a white bed in the Ugwa.

Igbe. In fact, while doing his postgraduate degree in Sociology, he decided to research into the intrigues surrounding Igbe. According to him, "A lot of ignorance surrounds the religion." After belonging to the Baptist for long he is now an Igbe religion! Igbe leans heavily on Urhobo traditions. And though majority of Urhobos, the main residents of Kokori, no longer practise the religion, the annual Mecca is one they are familiar with. On ordinary days, what transpires in the Ugwa is a normal service. But, for the Ore Isi

A vote for the future

An initiative which emphasises the importance of good upbringing was recently launched in Oyo State, Bode Durojaiye, who witnessed the event reports

•Mrs. Ajimobi (right) with Caretaker Chairman, ,Oyo East Local Government, Alhaji Mutahir Adekunle

ter training, in order to bring them up and be upright, honest, kind, and helpful to others. Also speaking, the wife of the caretaker chairman, Oyo –East Local Government, Dr. Aishat Abdulkareem

Adekunle noted that the task of child upbringing facing women may vary depending on the circumstances. She attributed personality, human nature, time and resources, both financial and materials, as some of the great

challenges confronting women, especially working mothers in providing sound upbringing to their children. “Nevertheless, mothers should be ready to provide convincing answers to all the questions the child may ask

her. The choice is therefore for the women and mothers, whether to face the task before them seriously for effective functional education of the child, or leave the child at the mercy of societal institutions.” Aishat commended the wife of the governor for the just concluded threeday skill acquisition seminar organised for women in the 33 local governments. She urged non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) to complement the gesture and vision of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, by organising systematic trainings on effective parenting for women, who lack the competence of discharging effective roles to their children. “In our complementary role as government at the grass –root, women in the local government areas have formed themselves into formidable groups from ward to ward in order to combat juvenile delinquency and drug abuse, by organising visitations to different groups, mosques and churches, educating them on the need for the youths to live a drug free and responsible life,” she observed. Aishat, a medical doctor advised that, “Childhood education is a solid foundation that every child needs to be effective physically, mentally, socially and morally later in life. What a child learns and practices in later life originates from the very early lessons and exposure of his life, with the mother playing a dominant role. If mothers are adequately equipped to give their children a good foundation for a sound academic endeavour, the family, and the society will be a better place.”


56

Your HEALTH THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

When a cough

goes bad If you have been coughing for more than one week, it might be something more serious than a minor irritation. Rita Ohai explores this phenomenon.

W

ITH the noticeable increase in rainfall and a drop in the temperature of the weather across the country, more individuals may become susceptible to this illness. Although a cough is usually regarded as a mild health disturbance, it is often an indication that the body is fighting a serious infection which goes undetected until it reaches an advanced stage. According to a World Health Organisation report, over 133,000 Nigerians die annually from tuberculosis, a silent killer with cough as a symptom. Explaining this health condition, Dr. Eunice Alegbe of Health Sinai Clinic said, “Coughing is a reflex action that there is something in the respiratory system that shouldn't be there. It is actually one of the body's defence mechanisms against things like dust, liquid or other kinds of particles from entering the lungs such that the lungs constrict and force air out so that the disturbance can be expelled. “Normally, a case of cough should not exceed two to three weeks at the maximum. So when a person keeps coughing much longer than this time frame, it could be a sign that either the cough is not being properly managed or the cough is a symptom of a much more complicated illness that the patient and doctor do not know about,” she concluded. While the patient battles with the illness, medical practitioners say that it is important to be vigilant in order to identify the relevant causes and avoid them as a preventive measure in future. Citing some of the causative factors of cronic cough, Dr. Toyin Gboyega stated, “Most patients who have a common cold come down with a cough because the body is trying to get rid of the excess mucous lining the lungs. Other people could begin to cough as a result of some of the bad habits like smoking or sniffing drugs. It may also be due to a bacterial, viral or fungal infections which can be found in pneumonia, bronchitis or whooping cough patients.” Sharing some of the symptoms of severe respiratory diseases, he continued, “If a person who is suffering from a respiratory irritation or cough notices that the phlegm or mucous has a strange colour or it is bloodstained and foul smelling, when there is a presence of chest pain, wheezing, sudden weight loss and even fever, it is time to go to the nearest hospital for a sound check up because you might be carrying a communicable disease like tuberculosis or a non-communicable one like asthma.” If your cough doesn't go away, or if you tend to cough frequently, health professionals say it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Here are some severe cough diseases; Tuberculosis This is an infection, caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is spread usually from person to person by breathing infected air during close contact.

TB can remain in an inactive (dormant) state for years without causing symptoms or spreading to other people. When the immune system of a patient with dormant TB is weakened, the TB can become active (reactivate) and cause infection in the lungs or other parts of the body. Smoker's cough This is medically known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)and occurs when the airways and air sacs in the lungs become inflamed or damaged, most often due to smoking. In COPD, the lungs produce excess mucus, which the body reflexively tries to clear by coughing. The habit of smoking can lead to tissue damage making it particularly difficult to expel air from the lungs, after which you feel short of breath. Respiratory tract infection Coughing is one of the most common symptoms of colds and flu and other respiratory tract infections. The other symptoms that accompany colds and flu, such as stuffy nose and a fever, are tell-tale signs that a viral infection is causing your cough. However, a cough can outlast all those other symptoms, perhaps because the air passages in your lungs remain sensitive and inflamed.When this occurs, it's called chronic upper airway cough syndrome. Pneumonia A more serious respiratory tract infection is pneumonia, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses. A cough, often producing greenish or rust-coloured mucus, is one of the characteristic symptoms of the illness, along with fever, chills, chest pain, weakness, fatigue, and nausea. These symptoms may present differently depending on your age; older adults may not experience a fever, for instance, or they may have a cough but no mucus. Whooping cough This disease which is also known as pertussis, is a bacterial disease with symptoms that include a slight fever, a runny nose, and, most notably, a violent cough that can make breathing difficult. Most infants receive a pertussis vaccine, but its effectiveness subsides after about 10 years. Inadequate vaccination for whooping cough in most parts of Nigeria is one reason why the bacteria are making a huge comeback.Attempting to inhale air into the lungs between coughs can produce a distinctive, high-pitched whooping sound. After the initial stage, many people do not have a fever, but the chronic cough that accompanies pertussis can last for many weeks. Asthma Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the airways in the lungs are prone to inflammation and swelling. Along with chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing, coughing is a characteristic symptom of asthma, one which tends to intensify at night or in the early morning. When the symptoms of asthma flare up

Home remedies for coughs

suddenly, it's known as an asthma attack. Although it can begin at any age, asthma usually develops in childhood. Asthma triggers are different for everyone, and they can include exercise, colds, cigarette smoke and other airborne irritants, and certain foods. Asthmatics usually also have allergies. Even in people without asthma, inhaling pollen, dust, pet dander, and other airborne irritants can trigger allergic rhinitis, an allergic reaction that can cause coughing, along with symptoms such as stuffy nose and sneezing. You may be able to determine whether your cough is caused by allergies by keeping track of whether it comes and goes in certain situations. If your coughing magically stops when you step into an airconditioned room on a dry, pollen-heavy day you probably have allergies. If you're not sure what's triggering your allergic cough, your doctor can give you a skin test or blood test to pinpoint the allergy. Bronchitis If you're on the verge of recovering from a cold and suddenly develop a hacking, mucus- releasing cough, you probably have acute bronchitis, a condition in which the passageways in your lungs become infected and inflamed. In addition to coughing and chest congestion, bronchitis can produce fever, chills, aches, sore throat, and other flu-like symptoms. These symptoms usually disappear within a few days, but the cough can persist for weeks.

Being bugged down by a cough can be very discomforting and sometimes getting immediate medical help might be a long shot. As a temporary and in some cases, permanent measure, preparing a remedy at home could be helpful. These are some tips: Grapes Eating grapes can help in enhancing lung conditions. This is also an effective expectorant which allows you to get rid of sticky phlegm. Try making grape juice and mix it with some honey before you drink it. Garlic Garlic is known for its antibacterial and antimicrobial components. The spice is emerging as a natural solution to fight off infections and is used as an antiviral and antifungal by many natural health practitioners. Boiling cloves of garlic and drinking it like tea will not only make it easier to breathe, but it will also help to alleviate itchiness which could cause you to cough continuously. Aloe juice Mixing aloe juice and honey will also help to clear your passageways. Drinking warm aloe juice is usually more effective. Hot Milk with honey This is a good solution for dry cough, specifically. The combination of warm milk and honey may help to ease the roughness and chest pain you may be experiencing. If consumed before bed time, you would unlikely wake up in the middle of the night to cough as well. Ginger Ginger has not only been recognized as an effective cancer fighter, but is also one of the most famous natural cures for cough. The ginger has to be partially sliced and boiled and to ensure potency, should be crushed a bit before boiling. This will help to draw out the active ingredients. Drinking ginger as a tea will ease sore throat, non-stop coughing and even congestion.


57

BUSINESS

‘I don’t enjoy vacation in Nigeria’

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

N

IGERIAN waterways have since gained notoriety as “unsafe.”This was further orchestrated by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report which raised the red flag over what it described as the insecurity of the Nigerian territorial waters. Specifically, the IMB in February released a report through its Piracy Reporting Centre headed by Noel Choong, sent a warning signal to other nations to avoid Nigeria waters owing to some pirates’ escapades. “This place, 90 nautical miles south of Lagos, Nigeria, is dangerous to sailors. Vessels should stay clear off the attack vicinity since the pirates are still in the area,” Choong said. Since the report was released it has become a subject of debate among maritime watchers. Interestingly, the body charged with the management of maritime operations including safety and security in Nigeria, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has lost no sleep over the report, describing it as mischievous and handiwork of saboteurs. While the Director-General of NIMASA, Ziakede Akpobolokemi sees the report as an ill-motivated one lacking substance, it is in another sense, according to him, a deliberate attempt to embarrass Nigeria. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to discountenance the report as it has no effect on the traffic of vessels on Nigeria waters since it was released. He stated: “They should also come out with the number of vessels that have stayed away from our waters since they made that report. What I am saying is that if the report is valid we would have felt the impact on the numbers of vessels coming into our ports. “How many vessels carrying barrels of petroleum products have been so far stopped since the report was made? Do you think Agip, Shell and other multinational oil companies would want to take a risk by allowing their vessels to come into the country? Most of these companies operations are offshore. So, nobody should bother himself with the generalized report,” the Director-General stated. The DG said, “It is unfortunate that our people would allow their individual interest to push them against the corporate interest of the nation. That is why they don’t like NIMASA but we owe nobody any apology as long as we are discharging our responsibility as much as it is expected of us. “There are some practices antithetical to the law being perpetrated. And we will insist that right thing should be done always as long as we are here. For instance, by the time fish trawler sell the items to defraud the owner the next thing they do is to raise an alarm that the ship is attacked by the pirates.” Other sharp practices occurring on the sea, a source said, involve ships attempting to shortchange Nigerian authorities by floating on international waters instead of anchoring. This prac-

Chasing pirates off Nigerian waterways With the commissioning of the first locally-built warship of the Nigerian Navy, NNS Andoni by President Goodluck Jonathan recently, analysts believe this will further boost the nation’s waterways as well as dispel fears of insecurity, reports Tunde Busari. With additional report by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

in collaboration with NIMASA and Marine Police are in control of Nigerian waters, assuring that the Navy is winning the war despite the occasional interruption by the pirates. Also baffled by the IMB report, Omodara stated that if Nigeria waters was unsafe for voyage, about 14 countries could not have taken part in an international training exercise held in Lagos between February 27 and March 2. According to him, some of the countries that participated in the exercise include: US, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Ghana, Cameroon, Benin Republic, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe. They were all gathered in cooperation towards the safety of international waters, especially the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria paraded five ships; namely NNS Thunder, NNS Obula, NNS Wambia, NNS, Zaria and NNS Burutu. Head of Department, International Relations of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr Funso Adeola said Nigerian waters ranks far behind the Somalia’s as regards pirate’s escapades. “This is known to the entire world. The developed world is always worried by the activities of sea pirates in that territory, especially as they affect their economic interest. Nigeria may have also witnessed a pocket of such incidents but it is not as pronounced and noticeable as that

Briefs CBN cashless initiative may affect Lagos

C

ENTRAL Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) cashless initiative may have adverse effect on Lagos, the Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru has said. He said much as the state is proud to be at the forefront of the cashless policy implementation, it would nevertheless like to see that all states of the federation are drafted into the scheme for a quicker buy-in to ensure the state is not jeopardised by any transaction flight as a result of the avoidance of the attendant penalty on heavy cash users. Citing CBN sources, he said the scheme was put in place to mop up the 65 per cent of cash in circulation estimated at about N1.4 trillion outside the banking system. He said the state was chosen for the pilot scheme as a result of its position as the commercial and industrial hub of the nation. The commissioner also said the state readiness as confirmed by CBN is due to its robust IT platform which has been in use having achieved the collection of taxes through the revenue banks and payment to contractors through automated processing the state. The commissioner hinted that government has completed the public finance modeling for the state which will expire in 2023. Abiru said the idea is to put fiscal initiatives, budgetary processes and sector strategies in perspective for a robust development.

La casera launches a new product

•The locally made defence boat (Inset: Akpobolokemi)

tice is allegedly carried out with the conspiracy of some Nigerian agents. However, the glossy picture of Nigeria waters painted by the DG is not classifying it as entirely safe territory. The attack leading to the IMB report was said to have claimed the life of the captain of the vessel and another passenger. Inside source disclosed that the captain could have been spared by the rampaging pirates but his refusal to allow the pirates an access into the ship practically provoked them into forcing their way inside with a sustained heavy fire power. This made him the first target when the pirates eventually overpowered the crew. “They shot him and he died instantly. The other crew member who later died was not shot. He dived and hit his head against an iron for the fear of gunshot. The accident did not occur on Nigeria territory but it was Nigeria Navy that later went to rescue the ship”, the source said. Information Officer of Nigeria Navy, Jerry Omodara, a Lieutenant Colonel also confirmed that Nigeria acquired NNS Burutu and NNS Zaria in 2010 and just acquired in 2012 another NNS Thunder from the US while other acquisitions are also being expected to further fortified the operation of the Navy. He maintained that the Navy

-- Page 59

of the Somalis,” Dr Adeola said. NIMASA’s blessed assurance, notwithstanding, the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Olufemi Ogunjimi, has decried the criminal activities in the country’s waterways, saying the situation could deny Nigeria a lot of economic benefits if this is not checked The Naval officer spoke during a meeting with maritime operators in Calabar, Cross River State recently. Ogunjimi said since over 50 percent of Nigeria’s oil income comes from the command’s operational area, everyone must be involved in ensuring its safety. Mr. Tunde Ayeni from Ocean Marine Services urged the Federal Government to properly fund the Nigerian Navy to enable it to secure the territorial waters. Thankfully, the authorities are not leaving anything to chance in their quest to secure the nation’s waterways. The inauguration of a threemetre locally-built warship of the Nigerian Navy, NNS Andoni, to mark the 56th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy in Lagos by President Jonathan, analysts argue is a right step in the right direction. The Chief of Naval Staff, ViceAdmiral Ola Ibrahim, described the building of the ship as a landmark for the Nigerian Navy. He said it was a result of diversified researches.

L

A Casera Company Limited, makers of carbonated drink has again launched a new carbonated drink called “Latina.” Latina, a unique proposition product that lightens up contains real fruit juice that comes in two deserving flavours which are Spanish pear fruit drink and real fruit cocktail drink and the two flavours are sugar free. The Chief Operating Officer, La Casera Company Limited, Mr. Prahlad Gangadharam, at the product launch, said that the company has unveiled a unique proposition product which is very refreshing as consumers lighten themselves up with the product and it will give satisfaction to every consumer. He added that since the drink is sugar free, it will thus help improve health status of many consumers who could be diabetic and he expressed gratitude to their trade partners. The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Joseph Odumodu, represented by Mrs. Oluremi Ayeni, while unveiling the product congratulated the company for the new innovation and their efforts, adding that any product that gives satisfaction to consumers is sure to have a sustainable growth. Also speaking on the new product, the General Manager, Marketing, Mr. Dave van Rensburg described Latina sugar-free fruit drink as a niche brand in the carbonated soft drink and first of its kind in Nigeria offering a whole new unique experience in CSD consumption with fruit juice content and great taste. On the marketing plan for the brand, Mr. Van Rensburg revealed that series of activities have been lined up to engage the consumers and engender acceptability for the brand ridding on the ‘Lighten Up With Latina’ theme. He urged consumers to be on the lookout for the various activities which will be rolled out soon.


58

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Business News

PHOTO SHOP

WAUTI, FIRS seek improved taxation in Africa

T

HE West African Union of Tax Institutes (WAUTI) is discussing with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on ways of ensuring that taxation is given a prime position in Africa. Both bodies had during a visit by WAUTI to FIRS agreed to work together to enhance improved tax education and awareness in the continent. WAUTI has also in this directive, decided to enlist the support of critical stakeholders in its activities and programmes aimed at ensuring taxation is given a principal place in the region of West Africa.

•From left: Representative of Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industries, Mr. Wale Raji,Managing Director, Nycil Ltd., Mr. Palaniappan Sridharan and Managing Director, Mouka Ltd., Mrs. Peju Adebajo, during the 33rd Annual General Meeting of Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employers' Federation (CANMPEF) in Lagos, recently. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

The visit which coincided with the 14th Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) created a platform for the body to highlight to the leadership of the FIRS achievements WAUTI has have made in recent times towards achieving its set goals and objectives. The acting chairman of FIRS, Kabir Muhammed Mashi said the agency will continue to support of WAUTI to achieve its objectives. He also noted the significant progress made by the union within the short period of its existence.

He promised to support the Union to the extent that it can towards promoting taxation profession in the region of West Africa. The WAUTI President, Rasaq ‘Kunle Quadri who was accompanied on the visit by the Vice President of the Union, Felix AhimaAdonteng from Ghana, Mr. Ronald MacDonald Garnett from Liberia, the Honorary Treasurer, Mr. Adesina Adedayo, Chairman Tax Conference Committee, Ms. G.O. Simplice and the President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Mr. John Femi Sunday Jegede congratulated Mashi on his appointment.

CEO proffers recipe for healthy lifestyle

T

HE best way to fight executive stress is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Mr. Cornelius Tay has said. Tay, who is the Managing Director, Forever Living Products, gave this warning in Ibadan, at one of the series of lectures to mark the company’s monthly success showcase and customer forum recently. Speaking earlier, Dr. Titilola Duro-Aina, a medical practitioner, lamented the

alarming rate at which people in the developing world, including Nigeria, now suffer and die from heart-related diseases which could easily be prevented or managed with appropriate supplements. “Recently, the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe, suffered and died of heart attack. This is the ugly trend that Forever Living Products wants to stop. 73. 7 per cent of deaths that occur nowadays are due to preventable

diseases”, she said, adding: “What is killing people today is ignorance.” On the prevalence of these diseases, Tay said one of the reasons for the monthly success showcase programme is not only to celebrate FLP’s esteemed distributors and commend their great efforts to make millions of Nigerians happier through good health, but to bring nature’s best health and beauty products closer to everyone.

BOI boosts Nigerian investors at regional exhibition

T •From left: Sapphire Manager, Mrs. Nene Lawani, Mr. Cornelius Tay, Managing Director, Forever Living Products and Prof. Uchenna Onwudiegwu, during the Monthly Success Showcase organised by the company in Ibadan, recently

HE Bank of Industry (BOI) and medium scale entrepreneurs received a major boost recently during the annual meeting of the African Development in Arusha, Tanzania. Chief among the beneficiaries were small businesses which operate in the cotton, textile and garment industry sector. Some of these operators who displayed their wares at the Marquee of the Arusha International Conference Centre, behind the registration centre and at the New Safari

Hotel, most of which include homemade fabrics including the adire range and aso oke as well as Nigerian prints, with full complements of ladies hand bags, shoes, IPad cases, conference folders and other accessories produced from locally. BOI's Arusha initiative is designed to identify export markets for the highly talented Nigerian entrepreneurs most of whom are women, youths and owners of small businesses who reside in rural communities. It is envisaged that the pro-

cess would potentially assist in boosting intra-African trade that presently stands at less than 12 percent. The BOI Managing Director/Chief Executive, Ms Evelyn Oputu, while justifying the support by company said the presence of the small and medium enterprises at the forum which had ministers, policy makers, leading bankers and captains of the private sector in attendance, observed that the forum provided a platform over 80 countries made up of potential buyers within and outside Africa.

UK’s exports to Nigeria hit N1.3b

T

•From left: Jaco Vilijoen, Head of Personal Markets, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Demola Aladekomo, President, Lagos Business School Alumni Association (LBSAA) and Prof. Pat Utomi, Director, Lagos Business School, at the 2012 LBSAA President's dinner 2012 in Lagos, recently

M

ARBLE and granite are both very popular options for high quality home projects where new building materials are needed. Decorating with Marble and Granite gives texture and classic style to your home. Homeowners tend to choose granite or marble because they are the best materials for flooring, countertops and similar locations. Their natural look and qualities place the stones above ceramic options, both in quality and price. When compared, granite and marble prices remain very close, although marble tends to cost slightly more. Marble Marble, like travertine, is a type of limestone that has absorbed other elements and then hardened into a more durable rock. The other elements in the marble give it the classic striations that many people prefer when choosing marble in their homes. Marble tends to come in lighter colors than granite, but is available in the same tile and slab options, and can be used in the same areas of the house,

HE value of the United Kingdom’s exports to Nigeria has increased from N535million in 2000 to over N1.3billion in December 2011. The Chairman, British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Architect Thomas Awagu, disclosed. Speaking on the “June 2012 Trade Mission to United

Kingdom”, in Lagos, Awagu attributed the development to the growing interests of Britain in Nigerian economy. He said imports from Nigeria were worth N95million in 2000, adding that it rose to N900million in 2011. He said: “ With United Kingdom’s cumulative investment of several billion pounds by Shell, British Gas and

Centrica in the oil and gas sector and other large British companies active in Nigeria including Guinness, Unilever, PZ Cussons, AstraZeneca, Cadbury, British-American Tobacco, Glaxosmithkline, JCB, Jaguar, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and many new investments in the country, the figure above is expected to grow, going forward.”

MARBLE AND GRANITE Marble vs granite prices including floors, counters and walls. Granite Granite is a stone made from volcanic activity. It combines quartz with feldspar, mica and many other minerals to form a variety of shades and patterns. Overall, granite is a hardier material than marble, and will neither stain nor shatter as easily. When comparing long-term costs, granite tends to require less maintenance and repairs, saving money years down the line. Countertop Costs Countertop costs range widely. The most inexpensive granite countertops cost N5, 000 per square foot, while marble costs a few more. The real price is in the installation. There are additional cost for professional installation, more than floors. Install-

ers must cut countertop tile more carefully and install extras like edges and backsplashes, which can cost more to create than simple tile. Floor Costs Stone floors are installed in tile, and like all stone tile, marble and granite usually come in tile sizes a foot wide or greater. Marble floors tend to cost higher for materials and installation while Granite floors cost less. Floors are usually simpler than countertops when it comes to edging and spacing, which makes installation cheaper. Slab Slab granite and marble are large sheets which are installed on countertops instead of tile. Slab stone is

thicker than tile and must be installed more carefully so that it doesn’t crack or damage the counters. This slab stone costs several more than tile, and again marble will cost several more per square foot. For more information on Marble/Granite Care, Sales and Delivery contact: Mike Anazodo – Email: info@maldinimarbles.com, Tel: 01-8934967 . Maldini Marble and Granite Company


59

Business

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

‘I don’t enjoy vacation in Nigeria’

•Odutola at his desk

W

HAT time does your typical day begin? My typical day begins at 4am in the morning. I try to look at my computer to see any mails that may have come in overnight and any pressing issue that is part of unfinished business of the previous day. And I do that till about 5.30am. Then I’ve my quite time till 6am and I brush, shower and get ready for the day. At 6.30am, I’m out of the house. I get to my desk 7.00am or 7.15am in Apapa. So, that’s how I start my typical day. How long have you maintained this daily routine? I’ve maintained this daily routine since I became the Chief Executive about 13 years ago. Do you also engage in any form of exercise? Yes, before I go to the bathroom. I have my scale in the bathroom. I skip jump 100 times every morning. But on Saturdays when I’ve more time, I do press-ups up to 20 times just to keep fit. That’s all. Then sometimes, I play table tennis because I have a good table tennis in the house, especially when there are visitors around or my boys are around. But they are all away from home now. They’ve got married and have all gone away. Do you follow any particular regimen for your exercise? Every day, I skip jump 100 times, that’s every morning, and anywhere I’m in the world. I believe this exercise pattern keeps me warm and keeps me alive. But on Saturdays when I’ve more time, I do other exercises like press-ups, sit-ups then I play table tennis. I used to play lawn tennis. But I don’t see myself driving to lawn tennis courts anymore. Still talking about extra-curricular activities, do you have hobbies? Yes, of course. Like travelling, photography, meeting people. Due to my work at the Bible Society of Nigeria, I meet top heads of government in different parts of the world. Like two months ago, I was with the President of Burundi, where I gave him a copy of the anniversary bible. Two years ago, I was with the President of Ethiopia, I

Rev. Dr. Fred Odutola is the General Secretary/Chief Executive, Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN), where he has served for 13 years. Odutola who is billed to retire in July next year, speaks with IbrahimApekhade Yusuf on his daily routine outside the office, among other isYes I try to go on vacation because even sues

INTERVIEW

also gave him the anniversary bible. I meet quite a lot of people on the job. Like I said, I also take photographs. I like landscaping, sightseeing and all those sort of things. But my job allows that very well because it involves a lot of travelling. Then I read as well. I read a lot because a leader is a reader. I read any good book. These are just my hobbies. What was the last title you read? The last title I read was “360 Degree Leader” by John Maxwell. The book refers to a leader that is leading anywhere in the organisation. It’s a very interesting book. It is not only for the managers, but it is for everybody who wants to be a leader even a leader at home. It says if you’re leading and nobody is following, you’re just taking a walk. So that means a leader must be an influencer, who will impress people to follow him. As a top executive, do you belong to any elitist club? I used to belong to Rotary International up to 1992 when I was going for my postgraduate diploma in journalism at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos. After a year, I stopped being a member. But today, I belong to the Institute of Directors, Nigeria; I belong to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, as a lawyer and arbitrator too. I belong to professional bodies like the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). But to answer your question directly, I don’t belong to any particular elitist club like the country Club or all those other clubs. I don’t think I’m active in them again because my work doesn’t really allow me to socialise a lot. Do you go on vacation?

God stopped working on the seventh day. So I try to go on vacation. But the problem is when I’m in Nigeria, my vacation is not as good as vacation. How often do you go on vacation really? Once in a year, I’m entitled to six weeks or thirty working days. Sometimes, I spend three to four weeks. But most times, I spend my long vacation in England, may be when I’m attending a conference there. And I will just go under, where people can’t phone me or get me anywhere. That’s when I really enjoy my vacation. I love it that way. Where was your last vacation destination? That was in South Korea. We had meeting there. So, I came back and we went to Brussels, which is by the sea. I enjoyed it very well because I was with my wife. That was the last one. For somebody who hobnobs with the movers and shakers of the society, what lessons have you learnt from them thus far? Well, I have met different sets of people in the corridors of power. And for some of them who are genuinely concerned with the problems of the country, I pray for them always. But for some who are just there, I pity them. We placed bible on the table of everybody during the last breakfast meeting which held in October. You know in that audience, you’ll find the president, the governors, senate president, his deputy and many others. But some are there to just count how much money they can make. As an individual, what are the set of values that guide you in life? First and foremost, I want to delve on the title of my golden jubilee book, entitled “He Served”, which happens to be autobiography. I want to be remembered when I’m no longer on earth as someone that rendered services to humanity. I believe that

leadership is service. That’s one thing. Secondly, I believe in the integrity of a leader. I want to come back and look at everybody in the face and ask like the biblical Samuel that whose ox have I taken? I want to be seen as somebody who is transparently honest in all my dealings. Another thing is that, I want to positively impact the lives of those around me. I want to see everybody around me smile. I want to add value to everybody lives just as I believe that they can also add value to mine as well. These are my set values and they have really helped me in running this organisation thus far. Talking about values, what legacies do you want to leave behind at the Bible Society of Nigeria? I think I’ve been doing that already. I have been grooming other leaders because, like I’ve learnt, a good leader trains other leaders. Elijah’s ministry, as we’re told in the bible, did not collapse because he had a successor in Elisha. But Elisha’s ministry collapsed because after him, he never trained any other leader that we heard of. So, every leader must as a matter of necessity train others. So, I want to be remembered for training other leaders. I’ve made myself less important in this organisation now. I make sure that everything I’ve, I pour it out to them. They know as much as I know, especially those ones that I’m propping up, about three of them like that. And that’s one of the things I told our former president, Olusegun Obasanjo when I met him at a time. I said, I wished he had a good successor. Just look at Tinubu. Call him any name you want to call him, he has given us Fashola. So a leader should have a better successor. I think that’s also the legacy I want to leave behind. One more thing, I’m also leaving behind assets and not liabilities. By the end of this year, we would have paid the last loan we took for the Abuja Guesthouse, which is N150million. We have paid the 8th instalment already; we are going to pay the last instalment by September this year. So, when I’m leaving this place July 13th, next year, by the grace of God, I’m only leaving assets.


60

Business

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2011

ARNOLD EKPE AND OLUSEGUN AGBAJE

Beyond Talent By Adetayo Okusanya Email: adetayookusanya@hotmail.com

Seven reasons why you did not get promoted (2) •Continued from last week

•Ekpe

•Agbaje

Ekpe, Agbaje win African Banker awards H

ONOUR came the way of two top Nigerian bankers, namely Arnold Ekpe and Olusegun Agbaje, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and Olusegun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank respectively in far away Arusha, Tanzania recently for distinguishing themselves in the financial service sector. The event was part of activities to mark the 6th edition of the African Banker Awards, under the patronage of the African Development Bank. Among those who attended this prestigious pan African event, which for the first time was held under marquees on an open field in the shadow of two of Africa’s most magnificent mountains, Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjo, were the Ministers of Finance of Djibouti, Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, as well as a number of central bank governors and high profile bank CEOs. The occasion which was meant to reward outstanding talent and achievement in Africa’s financial sector, saw Ekpe clinching the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ekpe, now regarded as a living legend among the continent’s bankers, was presented with the award by the founder and chairman of IC Publications, Afif Ben Yedder. Ekpe, who has been the Group Chief Executive of Ecobank Transnational Inc., between 1996 t0 2001 and from 2005 till date, has over 26 years of African and international banking experience having also

BUSINESS PROFILE Top Nigerian bankers, Arnold Ekpe and Olusegun Agbaje, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Transnational Inc. and Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank respectively, were the cynosures of all eyes last week at the African Banker Awards which held at Arusha, in Tanzania, where the duo earned accolades and recognition for distinguishing themselves in their careers. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf writes, with agency report worked in Europe, South Africa and West Africa for Citibank and First Chicago. Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria scooped the prize for African Banker of the year. He was presented with his trophy by Tim Turner, Director of the Private Sector Operations of the African Development Bank at the picturesque Frangipani Gardens, where the Awards ceremony took place. The African Banker Awards are organised by African Banker magazine, IC Events and BusinessinAfrica Events. It is a landmark event that celebrates excellence and best practices in African banking and finance. Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC) was the Platinum sponsor for this year’s African Banker Awards. Other sponsors included Bank of Industry, Harland Financial Solu-

tions, Ecobank Nedbank Alliance, Giesecke & Devrient, Air Charter Logistics, AfreximBank, Africa Re, Africa Finance Corporation, and the Tunisian based BIAT. As the 450 guests enjoyed their dinner in one of East Africa’s most spectacular landscapes, with the world-famous Ngorogoro national park only a few hours’ drive away, Omar ben Yedder said: “We have recognised some superb individuals and institutions tonight. Africa’s financial sector is a major vehicle for driving the economic growth that has become the talk of the investor community around the world. We have honoured individuals who are prepared to take the bull by the horn, to carry out well thought-out visions and who have raised the bar and in some cases taken difficult decisions to deliver on their agenda. Good examples are the Central Bank Governor of

Tunisia and the Finance Minister of Guinea. The winners this year represent a good mix of francophone and Anglophone Africa, big and small countries. They reflect the achievements in banking and finance all over Africa.” While commenting at the 2012 African Banker Awards Dinner, Agbaje attributed his receipt of the award and the Bank’s varied achievements over the years to discipline, a defined operating strategy, hands on knowledge about the various markets the Bank operates in and the passion of GTBank employees, who constantly strive to give 100% above customer expectations every single time. Agbaje is a well respected professional with over 20 years experience in various aspects of banking. His belief in hard work, innovation, discipline and excellence have enabled him steer Guaranty Trust Bank plc to become the most profitable and respected Bank in Nigeria today. The Bank is the most capitalized bank in Nigeria in terms of market capitalization (US2.7 billion as at March 7, 2012) and its stock the most highly priced for any Nigerian financial institution. In addition, the Bank has continued to consolidate its position as a foremost African brand through enviable financial performance, adherence to the highest corporate governance principles and the introduction of innovative products and services. Under Mr. Agbaje’s leadership, Guaranty Trust Bank has received numerous accolades within the last 12 months that include the 2011 Best Bank in Nigeria Award from Euromoney, the 2011 Bank of the Year Award from The Banker Magazine and the 2011 Best Bank in Nigeria Award from EMEA Finance.

3.You are not visible enough You get to work at seven in the morning and leave at seven at night. You do your best to get your job done and your work day is ruled by your job description. You are not inclined to seek responsibilities, or extend your influence, outside your team. You never volunteer to lead or support high visibility cross-group committees set up to tackle important business challenges. You believe in flying under the radar, blending into the environment and doing no harm to your team members and the organization. Your motto is “Don’t rock the boat!” and you refuse to engage in what you perceive as “office politics”. Networking at work is a concept that is foreign to you, so you do not actively seek to meet and engage corporate executives or colleagues that work in other parts of the business. Here is the challenge. You have become an expert in making yourself forgettable. You spend fifty hours of your week doing work which is not visible to or appreciated by key influencers and decision makers in your organization. No one outside of your team knows or cares about who you are and no one outside your team talks about the work that you do for the organization. More specifically, no one on the executive leadership team knows your name and the value you contribute to the organization that they lead. It is no surprise therefore, that when leaders meet to discuss promotion and talent development opportunities, you are never top of mind. Every time your manager brings up your name, all he elicits are blank stares. Kehinde who? Okon what? The room becomes quiet because no one has anything positive or negative to say about you and the work that you do. You have no name recognition or goodwill in the room full of executives. If truth be told, besides your manager, no one in the room can remember ever meeting or working with you. He soon gives up, and is silently relieved when another name is raised and energy and conversation return to the room. Congratulations! You have mastered the fine art of being a wallflower. You must invest in standing out from the crowd and being valuably different, if you want to be considered for limited promotion opportunities. The more people, especially influencers and decision makers, are aware of your abilities, competencies, track record, potential and value to

the organisation, the higher your chances of being promoted and asked to take on more responsibilities. 4. You are not promotion material You do your current job very well and your manager constantly assesses you as “meeting performance expectations”. Your work outputs are always detailed, accurate and on time, and you have a good working relationship with your colleagues. When your boss receives routine requests from stakeholders, you are the first person he calls. You surround yourself with your peers, helping and supporting them, and you take full advantage of your organization’s informal dress code. Here is the challenge. What got you here will not get you there. Your skills are a perfect match for your current position but they fall short when compared with the required skills for success at the next level. You never take on stretch responsibilities and your job scope remains the same, year after year. In essence, you have invested so much in making and keeping yourself great at your current job, instead of outgrowing it. You dress for your current level and not the next. Your network is homogeneously made up of your peers and you have not developed the ability to hobnob and learn from colleagues at job levels that you aspire to. Consequently, all your manager has is a 20:20 vision of you at your current level because you constantly feed him with mental entrees of you in your current capacity. He is unable to visualize you at the next level since you have never given him a mental dessert of what you are capable of doing at that level. Congratulations! You have mastered the fine art of maintaining status quo. You must invest in taking your knowledge, skills, capabilities and job experiences to higher levels if you desire to be promoted to the next level. Put differently, if you wear size eight shoes and want to fit into size ten shoes, you must of necessity outgrow your current shoe size. Continued next week….

• Okusanya is CEO of ReadinessEdge


61

WORLD NEWS Suicide bomber kills four French troops

A

Taliban suicide bomber wearing a burqa killed four French soldiers and wounded five others yesterday in an attack on a NATO-led patrol in eastern Afghanistan, officials said. Speaking after the attack, French President Francois Hollande, who has promised to bring combat troops home by the end of the year, announced that the withdrawal will begin next month. “In the meantime, everything must be done for our troops to meet their obligations but with the highest level of security and with the greatest vigilance for the lives of the soldiers,” he said. Three of the wounded were in critical condition after the attack in the Nijrab district of Kapisa province, where most of France’s 3,500 soldiers in the country are stationed. It was the first fatal incident among the French since Hollande took over as head of state last month, and the president said France would pay “national homage” to the dead. These are the first French deaths in Afghanistan since January 20, when an Afghan soldier fired on unarmed French trainers, killing five and wounding 15. The death toll for French troops now stands at 87.

Yemen clashes leave 11 dead

A

L - Q A E D A militants have killed two soldiers in Yemen’s Abyan province, prompting troops to shell jihadist positions and kill nine extremists, military and local sources said yesterday. “Al-Qaeda militants opened machinegun fire on an army post on the western outskirts of Jaar,” an Al-Qaeda stronghold the army has been trying to retake since last month, “killing two soldiers and wounding four others,” a military official said. Troops responded to the late Friday assault by shelling Al-Qaeda positions on Jaar outskirts killing “several militants,” the official told AFP. A source in Jaar confirmed the shelling saying “we have buried nine Al-Qaeda militants in the town’s cemetery,” adding that five other jihadists were also wounded. Yemeni forces launched an all-out offensive on May 12 aimed at reclaiming towns and cities lost to Al-Qaeda during the past year, including Abyan’s capital Zinjibar. Since the beginning of the attack, 457 people have been killed, according to an AFP tally combined from different sources. This includes 342 Al-Qaeda militants, 70 soldiers, 26 local armed men, and 19 civilians.

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

Libya postpones June election

Intense shelling of southern E Syrian city kills 17

S

YRIAN troops shelled the southern city of Daraa early yesterday, killing at least 17 people, activists said. And in Damascus, residents spoke about a night of shooting and explosions in the worst violence Syria’s capital has seen since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began 15 months ago. The nearly 12 hours of fighting in Damascus suggested a new boldness among armed rebels, who previously kept a low profile in the capital. It also showed a willingness by the regime to unleash in the capital the sort of elevated force against restive neighbourhoods it has used to crush opponents elsewhere. For the first time in the uprising, witnesses said, regime tanks opened fire in the city’s streets, with shells slamming into residential buildings. The latest escalations in different parts of Syria are another blow to international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which aims to end the country’s bloodletting. Annan brokered a cease-fire that went into effect on April 12 but has since been violated nearly every day since and never properly took hold. The U.N. said several weeks ago that at least 9,000 people have been killed

since the crisis began in March last year while Syrian activists say the violence has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people. The Damascus violence was a dramatic shift, since the capital has been relatively quiet compared with other Syrian cities throughout the uprising. Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, the country’s largest, are under the firm grip of Assad’s security forces. “Yesterday was a turning point in the conflict,” said

Maath al-Shami, an opposition activist in the capital. “There were clashes in Damascus that lasted hours. The battle is in Damascus now.” Blasts shook the neighbourhoods of Qaboun and Barzeh until about 1:30 a.m. yesterday. “We spent a night of fear,” one resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. The resident said the shooting and explosions in the capital “were the worst so far.” As tanks fired shells,

troops clashed with rebels in the two neighbourhoods, alShami said via Skype. He said at least four people were killed. The battles in the two neighbourhoods began during the day Friday, when troops opened fire on antiAssad protest marches, witnesses said. Also Friday, troops clashed with rebels from the Free Syrian Army in Damascus’ Kfar Souseh district in fierce fighting sparked when the armed fighters attacked a military checkpoint in the area.

• Syrians carrying the body of a youth allegedly killed in a Syrian government offensive, during his funeral in the town of Kfar Nubul in Idlib province on Friday. AFP PHOTO

UN peacekeepers killed in Ivory Coast

E

IGHT civilians died in southwestern Ivory Coast in the attack that killed seven UN peacekeepers, the United Nations said yesterday. “As per our information, at least eight civilians were killed, including a woman,” Anouk Desgroseilliers, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told AFP.

She added that Friday’s simultaneous raids on several villages near the town of Tai close to the Liberian border sparked an “immediate” exodus. “Hundreds of people have arrived in Tai, and one can imagine that thousands of others are on the road,” she said. “Thirty-five families have crossed the border” into Liberia, she added. The UN peacekeepers

from Niger killed in an ambush on Friday had been patrolling in an area between two villages after hearing rumours of an imminent attack on communities in the region. Ivory Coast’s west, by far the most unstable part of the country, has been plagued by deadly attacks since a political and military crisis that started at the end of 2010 and left some 3,000 people dead throughout

Prince Philip leaves hospital

B

RITAIN’S Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, left hospital yesterday after five days of treatment for a bladder infection that sparked concerns for the 90-year-old’s health.

The prince shook hands with staff, smiled and nodded when asked if he was feeling better as he walked out of King Edward VII Hospital in central London just in time to celebrate his 91st birthday today.

•Prince Philip, waving as he leaves the hospital yesterday

Britain’s longest-serving consort was taken to the hospital on Monday with a bladder infection in the midst of huge celebrations for the queen’s diamond jubilee, less than six months after treatment for a blocked coronary artery. Wearing a sports jacket and beige trousers and a pink patterned tie, he walked slowly but without help from the hospital yesterday to be whisked away in a Land Rover with police escort, seemingly in good spirits. But it was unclear whether he would be able to carry out a hectic schedule of royal engagements in the coming week, and he appeared fragile as he entered the vehicle, grimacing before recovering to smile and wave at well-wishers.

the country. It was the biggest loss suffered by the 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast since it was first deployed in 2004 in the country divided following an unsuccessful coup against then president Laurent Gbagbo. Desgroseilliers said aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Danish Refugee Council and local groups were on site to assist those displaced, including supplying food and water. OCHA was trying to coordinate the response to the situation with local authorities, she added. The UN Security Council “condemned in the strongest terms” the deadly ambush and called on the Ivory Coast government to “work with all relevant parties to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice.” UN leader Ban Ki-moon said he was “outraged” by the killings of the peacekeepers and warned that more UN troops “are still in danger.” “Even tonight, after the attack, more than 40 peacekeepers remain with the villagers in this remote region to protect them from this armed group,” the UN chief said. “My thoughts are with these brave peacekeepers and the community they are protecting.”

LECTIONS for a constituent assembly, originally set to be held by June 19 as Libya’s first such vote for four decades, are to be postponed, electoral commission members said yesterday. One commission member, on condition of anonymity, said the postponement until July or later had been decided for logistical reasons, mainly to allow time for appeals from candidates who had been ruled out of the contest. “Several dates have been proposed, but most discussions are pointing to July 10,” the official said. The chairman of the electoral commission, questioned by AFP, would say only that “an announcement will be made tomorrow (Sunday) at a news conference.” Another member of the electoral commission said the postponement had been decided in consultation with UN officials working with the commission who had “proposed a date during the first week in July.” “But if we are not ready by that date, the election will be postponed for the month of August also, until after Ramadan,” the Muslim holy fasting month which this year starts in late July, the official cautioned. More than 2.7 million Libyans, or around 80 percent of eligible voters, have registered to participate in what marks the first national poll after four decades of dictatorship under Muammar Gadhafi, toppled last year.

Somali militants mock US bounty

S

OMALIA’S Al-Qaedaallied Shebab rebels yesterday mocked a US offer of up to $33 million for tip-offs enabling the arrest of its top leaders, saying they would give 10 camels to anyone who helped locate Barack Obama. The highest price put up by the US State Department on Thursday was for Shebab chief Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed — more commonly known as Godane or Abu Zubayr — with a $7 million bounty for information on where he is hiding. “I can assure you that these kind of things will never dissuade us from continuing the holy war against them,” said another senior Shebab leader, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, or “Shongole”, in a message carried on several websites. “There is nothing new in the fact that infidels pay to have Muslim leaders killed. They already did that by offering camels for the head of Prophet Mohammed, and the dollar is the camel of today,” he said. He was referring to an offer of 100 camels made for Mohammed when he was fleeing Mecca for Medina, according to the Koran. Khalaf added: “Whoever informs the mujahideen fighters of the place where Obama can be found will get 10 camels and for (US Secretary of State Hillary) Clinton, we will offer 10 roosters and 10 hens.”


62

Union leader alleges threat to life From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

T

HE National President of Ikenga Ogidi Union, Rev. (Dr) Emmanuel Obianagha has raised the alarm over a planned attack to his life by people he described as opposition to his leadership of the community. Addressing newsmen yesterday, Obianagha appealed to the Inspector General of Police and the Anambra State Commissioner of Police to provide him security and ensure the people trying to destabilise his leadership of the community against the peoples’ wish are prosecuted. He said, “I’ve handed my life over to the Nigerian Police and I am letting the whole world to know that should anything happen to me, the Nigerian Police should be held responsible because I have written over 20 petitions to the Area Command, Ogidi on this issue yet nothing has happened, while the threat and molestation thrives against my people.” This was coming as youths numbering over 1,000 at the weekend destroyed property worth several millions of naira as they protested the death of a 26-year old boy, Arinze Ajaekwu of Obodoekwe Ikenga Ogidi family Union, Idemmili North, Anambra State purportedly in the hands of opposition to the Ikenga Ogidi leadership allegedly backed by the Nigerian Police. The youths carried the slain body of Arinze to the compound of their National President, Rev (Dr) Emmanuel Obianagha, but it turned violent when the storey building of one of the alleged arrowheads of the people being accused as killing Arinze was torched and property worth millions destroyed.

Akpabio tasks council bosses on service delivery

G

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

News

OVERNOR Godswill Akpabio said he believes in ensuring justice in the elections conducted for chairmanship and councillorship positions in Akwa Ibom, maintaining elections were about service delivery. Akpabio, who was addressing voters yesterday at Independence High School, Ukana Ikot Ntuen in Essien Udim Local Government Area reiterated the need for free and fair elections. The governor, who was observing the local government elections at his polling unit, told independent observers to visit all nooks and crannies of the state to ascertain the conduct of the exercise. He reasoned that though there may be some challenges facing the elections, the public should commend the Akwa Ibom Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) for conducting peaceful elections in the state. According to him, ‘’The real election was deciding on who will be the candidate of PDP. In all those local government areas, there was no need to fill in the opposition because they felt that ‘since it is PDP, the candidates will perform’ like Godswill Akpabio.”

Oyo Assembly passes 28 bills in first year T

HE seventh Oyo State House of Assembly has passed a total of 28 bills in its first year of operation. The Speaker, Hon. Monsurat Sunmonu, disclosed this while speaking on activities of the Assembly in the last one year. Sunmonu, who is the only female member of the House, emphasised that the Seventh Assembly was out to address the legislative needs of the state. The Speaker, who thanked God for taking the Assembly this far, also expressed gratitude to major stakeholders in the state for allowing an atmosphere of peace needed to galvanize

From Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

the abundant resources in the state for desired development. According to her, the Seventh Assembly has many reasons to celebrate. She stated that the House is made up of 32 members from three political parties, the Action Congress of Nigeia (ACN), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Accord Party. Despite that, Sunmonu said that members have not, for once, been embroiled in violent crisis or bitter fights over principles or resources. She also explained that the Seventh Assembly has

worked with the constituents and other arms of the government to enthrone good governance and prosperity of the state in the last one year. In its one year review, the Assembly has passed 28 bills, including giving legal teeth to six new ministries created by the current administration. They include the Oyo State Security Trust Fund bill, the bill for the Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency and that establishing the Oyo State Office of Disability to take care of the disabled in the state. While the Assembly is still fine-tuning nine other bills including the one for-

•Sunmonu

bidding residents from blocking roads during ceremonies, it passed 200 resolutions, conducted two public hearings and undertook constituency projects.

•L-R: Medical Director, IBB Specialist Hospital, Dr Mohammed Makun-Sidi; former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) and his wife, Fati during the flag off of free cataract eye surgery as part of activities marking Abubakar's 70th birthday in Minna… yesterday

Two UNIZIK students in police net

T

HE Anambra State Police Command has arrested two young men claiming to be 200 level Marketing students of Nnamdi Azikwe University (UNIZIK) Awka. The duo were rounded up for allegedly duping an unsuspecting businessman of goods worth over N3.7 million. The suspects are Ozioma Nnabuchi from Urum Village in Awka North Local Government area of Anambra State and Ikem Okafor (23 years) from Enugwu-ukwu in Njikoka Council area of the

•Dupe traders of N3.2 From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

state. They allegedly swindled one Uche Ezeyili from Ogidi in Idemili North Local government of bundles of Cameroun zinc at the building materials market in Onitsha. The suspects were said to have introduced themselves as Engineers Sunday and Williams. The Nation gathered that the suspects had already used

N1.2 million of the proceeds to purchase an ash-coloured Peugeot 406, which was equally recovered by the police. The state police command, through its Public Relations Officer, Emeka Chukwuemeka, confirmed the incident at the weekend. According to him: "These two students of Nnamdi Azikwe University went to the building materials market in

Be wary of aides, cleric warns Jonathan

A

SSOCIATE pastor of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Agege in Lagos, Pastor Tunde Okunade, has warned that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan may be toppled. He spoke last week in Lagos. Jonathan, the cleric stated,

By Sunday Oguntola

may lose the presidency. He advised the president to be vigilant and wary of aides around him, saying there are surreptitious moves to scuttle the current administration. According to him, ‘’God showed me that there are people working to change the

government. ‘’I saw they succeeded but God promised he will restore the presidency to Jonathan’’. The cleric, who predicted last Sunday’s plane crash and the invasion of terrorists group as far back as 2007, advised the president to pray against forces working for his downfall.

Anambra North insists on governorship slot in 2014

S

TAKEHOLDERS from Anambra North Senatorial zone yesterday reiterated it is their turn to produce the next governor. They vowed not to compromise their stand on the 2014 governorship position in Anambra. This position was taken by a pressure group, Olu na

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

Adegbe People’s Assembly, during a strategic meeting on 2014. The stakeholders insisted that the quest to govern Anambra in 2014 has nothing to do with partisan considerations. A quality candidate from

Anambra North, they insisted, must emerge as the next governor. The movement comprises of people with cultural affinity in no fewer than nine local government areas of Anambra state. They vowed to stop at nothing until the zone produces the next governor.

Onitsha and requested to buy Cameroon zinc. ''After haggling with the owner over the price, the business was sealed. They demanded the account number of the man, which was given to them. "The following day, the man got an alert that N3.7million had entered his account. The SMS equally carried the man's previous current balance from First Bank and how these boys got that account is also subject to further investigation.'' Chukwuemeka went on: "The man quickly went to the bank to make a draft apparently to procure another contract. But surprisingly, no money was paid into the account and the man fainted and when he regained himself, he contacted the police. "We picked up the matter and unraveled it in Imo State and in the process, we arrested the suspects when the buyer of the goods in Imo State, made a call to them that their balance of N500,000 was ready after receiving the initial N1.5million". Public Relations Officers of UNIZIK, Emma Ojukwu, at the weekend said the school was not aware of the incident. He said: ''We do not condone evil in our great institution and that has been the singsong of our Vice Chancellor, Prof Boniface Egboka. ''Those boys should show the public their identification cards to confirm actually that they are our students''.

Access Bank launches financial literacy campaign By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

A

CCESS Bank Plc has launched Nigeria’s first fun-filled interactive financial literacy campaign for kids. The campaign is in partnership with Nickelodeon, a global family entertainment brand. Tagged: “Access Early Savers Financial Literacy for Kids”, it is targeted at kids between four and nine years old and a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to the activation of its financial inclusion strategy which seeks to cater for the unbanked in the society. Access Early Savers Account is designed to simplify banking by making it fun and adding enduring benefits (financial literacy) as a feature of the account for children, parents and guardians. In his opening remark, the Group Deputy Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe said, “The core component of the campaign is a series of interactive lessons conceived by Access Bank, and designed by Nickelodeon with input from education experts in South Africa, United Kingdom and Nigeria, which explore financial topics in an engaging and age-appropriate way.” Expatiating, Wigwe said, the initiative is part of the bank’s contribution to the development of a sustainable economy by educating young children about finance with a view to empowering them make sound money-related decisions as they grow up.

Group initiates scholarship

S

OME Nigerians who benefitted from foreign scholarship about 50 years ago have decided to reenact the programme to help other citizens. Dubbed Scholars Sponsorship Programme, the scheme is an initiative of beneficiaries of the African Scholarship Programme of American Universities (ASPAU), which began with 24 Nigerians. The private initiative will be managed by Manemi Nigeria Ltd. A statement by its chairman, Prof John Amoda and Chief Executive, David Coker, said “selected awardees’ scholarship will cover the total costs for a 12month Master’s Degree programme inclusive of full tuition, accommodation, stipend,and roundtrip ticket.” It added that most of the beneficiaries of the ASPAU now in their 70s decided to team up to give the younger generation the benefit of the quality of education they enjoyed in a “stress-free socially supportive environment for full concentration on academic studies.” The programme is to be financed by funds raised in the private sector. It is, however, to concentrate on post graduate studies.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

63


64

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

65

EBERE WABARA

O

WORDSWORTH 08055001948

ewabara@yahoo.com

Disdain for lexis

VERHEARD in the morning of June 7 as I was sun-bathing in my sabbatical circumstance: “How is children”? From time to time, I get to hear this tragic salutation! Please, how are your children? The Guardian Editorial of June 5 goofed: “The decision by the Federal Government to once again increase electricity tariff against public disapproval, and despite the poor power supply situation, smacks of obduracy and disdain to public feeling.” Before the irresponsible hike: disdain for (not to) public feeling. You do not need to be a lexicologist to know this. The PUNCH of June 4 published multifarious improprieties on the Lagos plane crash: “As at 8.15pm (8.15 p.m.) (‘when’ is missing at this point) our correspondent left the area, the policemen were still keeping guards (guard).” No callousness intended in this season of national grief. “My children and I escaped death by the whiskers (by a whisker). My son…who is 13 year (why?) was just about to step outside to buy recharge card (what of the article ‘a’?) when the crash occurred.” “Suddenly (a comma) I heard the sound of the plane; it was too close, so I look (looked) out of the window….” “I heard a loud bang.” The woman (that’s the respondent) heard a bang (not ‘a loud bang’!). It is the reporter’s (and the editor’s) responsibility to check for basic grammatical lapses in an interviewee’s response—even if it is verbatim reportage! I stand challenged on this twist. Mind you, communication is dynamic. No convention in language deployment. Lastly from The PUNCH under review: “…there is (are) also a two storey (two-storey) building and a storey building.” And this: single-storey and twostorey buildings to avoid structural clumsiness. Let us welcome back Sunday Sun to this column after its long absence from our lexical court. Its June 3 edition threw up a couple of er-

rors: “The best way of to (sic) describe the wedding of ‘Jenifa’ star, Funke Akindele (another comma or none after ‘star’) last week Saturday….” Beyond entertainment: last Saturday or Saturday, last week. “Bimbo Akintola, Gbenga Adeyinka, Funsho Adeolu shines (what?) at May Celebrity” “Our leaders should be sworn-in (sworn in) with traditional objects” “Sexual (sic) transmitted diseases” Humanity has moved from sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) to sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), just as we have moved from total quality management (TQM) to total quality improvement (TQI) in health and management science scholarship. “Two epoch making (sic) events” (Full-page Colour Advert by Government College Ughelli Old Boys (sic) Association, THE GUARDIAN, June 5) Keep the Ship sailing: Two epoch-making events and old boys’ association. THE GUARDIAN of May 31 disseminated two shibboleths to round off the month: “…I think what the country requires at the moment is to amend the law that would empower INEC to begin gradual use of the equipment culminating into (in) what will be perfection.” “Mixed reactions over CBN’s cash reserve ratio” My reaction to (not over) this is that a publication of THE GUARDIAN status should not commit juvenile blunders! “Some people have in recent times been advocating for a sovereign national conference” No government in power (and authority) will allow such a convocation that has the potentialities of invalidating its constitutional mandate. By the way, ‘advocate’, as a verb, does not take ‘for’. “…the prospects of bilateral military co-operation between Nigeria and the US in the troubled spots of West Africa.” One of the fascinating aspects of the English language: trouble spots. “…the first to establish a coloured television in sub-Saharan Africa.” Creating a new NTA: colour TV.

“The truth or otherwise of these allegations were put on different occasions to both….” The truth was (not were). “The untimely and avoidable death (which one is timely and unavoidable?) is another bloody feather on (sic) the cap of drivers of trailers and other haulage vehicles.” Another lexical feather in the cap of my ‘cousin’, Mr. Bayo Oguntuase, who marked his 74th Birthday on May 25. The second half of your time has just begun! Still on the Dana Airline fatality; take note that it is contradictory and blasphemous to say: “With gratitude to God for a life well spent, we regret to announce the death of our.…” It is impossible to be grateful to my Almighty Father and in the same breath express regret, sadness, grief.... If your emotions overwhelm your spirituality and belief in eternal life, then swallow your gratitude. In that case it becomes: “With grouse about the Creator and disappointment in all He stands for, we regret to announce the untimely (excuse the trite expression) demise of…! “It must also be remembered that the party made an effort to integrate with either of the two parties....” No riot: either of the parties. ‘Either of the two parties’ can lead to avoidable morphological brouhaha. “The players were now absorbed in the game when somebody ran into the yard, towards the backyard and breathlessly dashed passed (pass) them.” “Oil prices hit $33, Iraq accuses U.S. of double standards” Conscience, nurtured by truth: double standard (not standards). “Iraq…continues to point accusing fingers at its major adversary, the United States, over alleged double standards (sic).” Fixed expression: point the finger. “Students of the University of Lagos yesterday demanded for immediate and unconditional restoration of the institution’s brand name, insisting that the equity is beyond political placation.” ‘Demand’ does no admit ‘for’ except when used as a noun.

•Continued from Page 12

decrepitude in education in the state. It would be recalled that an all encompassing stakeholders meeting had held Friday 20 April in which the iSsues were laid bare. At the forum chaiired by State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka was the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr. (Mrs.) Eniola Ajayi who convened the meeting; Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu; Provost, College of Education, Professor (Mrs.) Fransisca Aladejana; Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof. Patrick Aina; and Chairman, Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). Others were representatives of ParentTeacher Association Executive in the State; the NUT Exco led by Chief Wale Oyeniyi, National Principal Assistant Secretary (NUT); ASUSS Exco led by Comrade Sola Adiguun; and TutorsGeneral for the state. Both the Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adewole and Alaaye of Efon, Oba (Dr.) Emanuel Aladejare led other monarchs to the forum. Speaking at the forum, the Deputy Governor noted government was bothered by dwindling fortunes of education in a state that once prided hersself on being the Fountain of Knowledge. She appealed to the teachers and other stakeholders, especially members of Parent-Teacher Association, NUT, ASUSS and allied unions in the State to join hands with the state government to address the rot in the education sector. She assured that government would not foul on any law to ensure that it continued to be the model for other states in the attainment of the highest possible standards in education. Olayinka then cautioned the teachers not to carry their grouse too far, adding that the competency tests being planned for them must not be seen as a scheme to punish or sack anyone, but a means of identifying need areas for teachers. Olayinka appeared to strike the right cord when she observed that the controversy around the test was precisely on the appropriate modality for fixing existing problems in education in the state. The Education Ccmmissioner in her own presentation, said the TDNA is a means of quality control aimed at bringing the desired improvement to the education sector in the state.. She recaptured the steps so far taken by the state government at reversing the dwindling fortunes of education in the state, starting with the stakeholders forum held early last year; which led to the re-articulation (merger) of junior and senior secondary schools into one whole schools; the merger of all three state owned universoties into one; and the latest and recent distribution of free solar-powered laptops to students of secondary schools. As a way of proving the necessity for the assessment

Ekiti tug of war over test

•Fayemi

test, Dr. Ajayi displayed examination scripts of five primary school teachers who sat the promotion examination last year and who performed badly. She said such a disappointing performance from such teachers left a lot to be desired, adding that every evidence regarding their lack of suitability as teachers were revealed on the scripts. National Commissioner and Principal Assistaant Secretary, of the NUT Chief Wale Oyeniyi expressed bitterness at the decision of the Education Commissioner to display scripts of the five teachers, adding that the display itself violated the International Labour Organisation’s law which says the professional integrity of any wirker should be orotected. He explained just five who did not do well out of nearly 2000 that sat the test promotion test was not a sufficient proof that the teachers were not competento award. The Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adewole and Alaaye of Efon-Ekiti, Oba (Dr.) Emanuel Aladejare advised the state government to be diplomatic in pressing ahead with the exam, noting that “if the teachers are saying they don’t want that which is good for them and for everyone, government only needs to spare more time to explain better to them. Every meaningful personality from every quarter have joined in the campaign to cure the teachers of what someone perhaps rightly described as ‘testophobia’ (phobia for test). Despite all efforts, the situation of a cliffhanger has remained as the world continues to await the end of the tangle between government who sees solution only in teachers submitting to the TDNA and the teachers arguing TDNA carries a motive which goes beyond official declarations. The experience of 4 July seems to have led to a new phase in the roiling impasse., however. While initial concerns have revolved round official obstinacy regarding the test,,queries have lately mounted against what many have seen as unbridled penchant of teachers to antagonise over issues that ordinarily should not unsettle anyone in the first instance.

Questions have moved from needs by government to re-pattern the nature of the exam and mould it in a form of Continuous performance improvement training as people now aske what other assurances do the teachers need aside those already given by no less personalities than the governor, his deputy, commissioners, members of the state house of assembly and the royal fathers, who all voiced in one accord. Wondering if it is not unionism carried too far, the public have queried possible legitimacy of what they termed ‘unfounded fear of an examination which would centre on the teachers’ professional ambit.” They asked if it means the teachers are not exactly sure of themselves? They wondered should the test not even be seen as evidence of sincerity and readiness of government to co-opt the teachers in the task of causing long desired reverses in the education sector? Some even related an experience in which an English language teacher helped a candidate to write an examination on English language and the student could not make a useful grade in the subject! “Why should they fear to write tests if they are sure of their own conpetence?” They queried. People wonder what alternative way the government has to gauge both moral and intellectual sufficiency of teachers in the project of overhauling clearly decadent education setting? Despite all said and done, there seems to be no progress as government and teachers seem stuck to their guns as modalities for the execution of the TDNA for teachers across the scools in the state remains as yet elusive. New efforts have however been underway as notable traditional chiefs have picked the gaunlet to broker useful and workable accord. How far this will go still, as yet, remains to be seen as official position of government remains that teachers must submit themselves for the test while teachers’ unions seem stubbornly stuck to declared stance of unexaminable competence. Where and when the cliffhanger will end seems as yet unpredictable.


66

THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012


67

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Sunday Interview DANA AIR CRASH •Continued from Page 51

go and come. We are the constant. Whatever we are doing is for posterity. If we destroy this industry, there would be no future for our children. That’s why we are concerned. Why is it that at any particular time, I can go in with a 747, DC 10 aircraft, and close my eyes and land at Heathrow Airport. Just a small harmattan here, you cannot land. What’s role does corruption play in all of these problems? It’s not corruption. Everybody keeps talking about corruption. If we can’t do anything about corruption, why don’t we allow the professionals to just do their job? I am saying that our airspace should be safer. We need all these equipment so that we’re not just limiting ourselves to Category 1. We need Category 3. Some countries have Category 3C, but the highest category is 3D. We are talking about a system whereby the facilities are not even protected, because we’re either fighting some land owners and if you fence round the airport, they will break it the next day. And we say our system is the safest. How on earth do you find a pilot landing and he sees 20 cows on the runway? What kind of system is that? How on earth would a pilot be landing and the runway light goes off? And the next thing you take the switch. A pilot might ask that a runway light be dimmed or at least be intensified in illumination. The control of that switch should be with the control tower. That’s what we’ve been asking for over the years. And we’re saying that we are safe. We cannot be safe because if we want to say ‘yes’, we are up to standard, when the main source of power goes, within two seconds, alternate back-up should start. The frequency must be right. The finesse of that power source must be good. Even the manpower... how many of them are competent? When you ask them, they say we’ve trained 1, 000 people. Maybe, you need 10, 000 why are you telling me about 1, 000? If we have sufficient number, then people can go on holiday. If you have radar and you are looking at that thing under pressure and you’re talking, after one hour, you should go and rest. When you don’t have enough people, you find people who stay on the job for five hours, looking. After two hours, he’s just looking at the screen seeing nothing. The pilots should be able to enter our airspace and be able to talk to any station upon arrival. A lot of efforts being made on automation should be quickened. But our headache is that when something costs N1m, they turn it into billions. People say the MD-83 which crashed has been phased out in some countries. Is it true? That is not correct. It is unfortunate if I say this airline is my favourite. If I have a choice to fly, Dana is always my first choice. And if tomorrow you ask them to fly, I would put my entire family on it and go to bed and sleep. The aircraft is the type that is modern enough. It is economical and fuel efficient. There were times when we had flying coffins in this country. One minister once said all we have in this country are flying coffins and it is his job to remove the flying coffins. But we thank God that in our airspace today, we have modern fuel-efficient aircrafts. Age is very immaterial in the performance of an aircraft. The MD-83 that I know of, Mc•Continued from Page 12 for more hours. Aircraft are phased out mostly when they lose their economic viability and it is no longer cost effective to keep such an aircraft in the air. As long as there is money to maintain the aircraft and make it airworthy, the owners will find a way and means to overhaul or refurbish them as required. However as new technologies come on line newly designed aircraft are developed which do better what the older aircraft could do for less money. The new technology costs big, so most developing nations, Nigeria inclusive, hang-on on the old ones. So it is fairly intricate to put age limit on how long an aircraft should be in the air.

‘Aviation industry needs assistance

•Captain Ore donnel Douglas before they were bought over by Boeing, are beautiful aeroplanes. That aircraft, I am telling you is good. They are silent on board and fuel-efficient. But I get so carried away when people make noise that these aircrafts have been dephased by Alaska Airlines. I know Alaska very well. Alaska tried to re-organise their fleet. They must find the type that is more suited for holiday. They are such that if they have aircrafts, they would fly it to the last day. When another buyer comes, they deliver. As far as I know these people (Dana), they bought their own from Alaska, they cannot get their aircrafts to seat on ground. Here, we say all aircrafts must not be above 22 years. It is only in Nigeria you see such kind of laws. It is very ridiculous. There is an international legal instrument that allows operators now to get modern aircrafts. Can our airlines afford these aircrafts? Our airlines don’t need to buy aircrafts. Aircrafts worldwide belong to the banks, insurance companies, financial institutions and all that. They only just need to lease it from the owners. The owners just need to see that your airline is well-run. They want to see your record for the last five years and they lease aircrafts to you. If you default, the DG of NCAA by that international law instrument has the power to take it away from the operator and deliver it to the rightful owner. During the Obasanjo era, the floating of an aviation intervention fund was

mooted, but nothing has been heard since. Can you recommend such programme whereby such airline complaining of hard times can merge and become a bigger airline? Intervention fund as at that time was one of the recommendations made by a panel headed by Air Marshall Paul Dike. I made representations to that committee. We finally decided that the industry needed help, not the airlines per se. Infrastructure that were decaying, the training school (NCAT) could no longer graduate people, FAAN had problems. The recommendation was that N47 billion should be provided, but the government gave N19 billion or so. You want to ask if the money for the intervention fund. It was given out and some people are still in trouble over it today. The people are now going up and down in the court today over the same issue because the money was not spent where it was required and the people who needed the money like NCAA, NIMET, NCAT, even AIB, they didn’t get a kobo. In between NAMA and FAAN, the fund disappeared. What are your suggestions on the way forward? The ECOWAS parliament once recommended that all the member states should not have an aviation ministry and that they should not appoint anybody as aviation minister because they know the peculiarities of the sub-region. First, we can never get a technocrat who knows about aviation to be appointed as the minister.

‘Shylocks are in charge’ Worldwide, the industry needs 9, 400 pilots in the next 20 years if the industry is to meet the expected growth. How prepared is Nigeria? The law of demand and supply will soon catch up with us. The time is fast approaching, that the owners of the aircraft will be forced to train younger pilots that will take over from the retiring pilots if they must remain in the business of flying. Why do you think the Federal Government has not made public the outcome of airline crashes that have been investigated by the Accident Investigation Bureau these past years?

The essence of Accident Investigation is not necessarily for public consumption rather it is for operational reasons. If reports of past crashes are made available to you now what are you going to do with them? But for a pilot or engineer of the aircraft he will study them with the hope of applying the knowledge to avoid making the same error in future operations. Most of those reports are made available on basis of need- to -know. There is a growing fear that expatriates are taking over the nation’s aviation subsector. Is this fear unfounded or not? It appears to be so because some of the aircraft being operated within Nigerian

So, it has to be a political appointee. We recognise that. But I don’t agree that any time we have a Minister of Aviation who is not an aviation personnel, the person cannot perform. He can perform! First, he must recognise that there are people on ground who knows the in and out of this industry; he must recognise that the people in the ministry who have misadvised the last 10 ministers are still there; he must reform the Ministry of Aviation. We must look at all the reports of committees and their recommendations and implement them. Secondly, we should not overheat the industry. If we start grumbling that we need another DG of NCAA in the interim, another accident would happen. Let the status quo remain for now. Also, the government should spend more prudently all the monies that suddenly appeared now to re-model 11 airports. Every sector in the industry needs to be re-financed. You cannot say that NAMA, FAAN should fend for yourself. We have seen FAAN now that they cannot fend for themselves. They can’t even embark on any medium term project. And they would not be able to pay their staff. Once you are not motivating staff, accidents are waiting to happen. They are no longer motivated to come to work. Ask that question ‘why do we have most of our accidents during the weekend?’ The answer is simply because supervision is most lacking at that period. So, people must wake up to their responsibility. The industry I heard has already carried out what we call personnel audit and I was shocked. I think I am a stakeholder in the industry long enough that if such a thing is going on, I would hear about it. So what they have done to me is a nullity. What they should be doing as an audit is that everybody must show his or her papers. We have touts in the industry. The touts that we are worried about in the terminal who just want to collect some money, those are not the ones that are our problems. In fact, those are my clients. The real touts are not at the terminals but in the boardroom. They call themselves captains when they have never seen an aircraft. They call themselves managers when they are the damagers of the industry. If they want an audit, I can do it free of charge for them because the integrity of the industry is about the quality of the people managing the industry. Finally, the government must come out with a project ‘catch them young.’ Train more Nigerians that would join this industry in future. We must give scholarships to them. I was trained by the people and government of this country in 1963. As a 20year old, I was sent to Scotland. Why has that kind of a programme stopped? The people who would run this industry in future in every facet – economists, lawyers, doctors, as well as air traffic officers, maintenance engineers, pilots. The industry cannot run if we don’t facilitate a major maintenance base where people can take their aircrafts to Nigeria. This industry cannot move forward if they keep buying fuel at the rate they are buying it. The airlines would continue to be broke and they would not be able to service their aircrafts. airspace today are largely acquired through wet-lease arrangement, that is to say, they hire the aircraft with the crew. On the other hand the owners believe it is cheaper to employ the services of readymade pilots than training younger ones from on set. But it is just a question of time things will be reversed. The ICAO in the past blacklisted the country when we experienced regularity in airline crashes. Do you think we might be liable to sanctions this time around following the ill-fated Dana air crash? Accidents are not peculiar to Nigeria. Yes there was at a point in time the crashes were one too many, but for today, ICAO has great confidence in our airspace that this singular Dana air crash is not enough to justify meting sanctions on us.


68

WORSHIP THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

NEWS

Dana Crash: Oritsejafor seeks better aviation policies

T

HE National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has urged the federal government to implement policies that will reduce ‘’the margin of errors in traffic air signals, mechanical faults and bad weather.’’ Oritsejafor was reacting to the crash of the ill-fated Mc Donald (MD) 82 aircraft belonging to Dana Air in Iju-Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos, last Sunday. He said such policies will help reduce air disasters in the nation. In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Kenny Ashaka, Oritsejafor said the crash ‘’shows that take-off and landing remains the most dangerous aspects of flying in Nigeria’s aviation industry’’. He also called for periodic investigations of the financial base and repair history of airlines operating in the nation to discourage them from adopting short-cut policies that could endanger air travellers. While condoling with families of victims, the cleric prayed for fortitude to bear the massive loss.

•From left: Rt. Rev Oladapo Babalola, Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Sir Remi Omotoso, Sir David Soremekun, President, Men’s Christian Union of Williams Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Ago Ijaiye, Lagos, during the 70th anniversary celebration of the Union recently

Why plane crashed, by Ayodele

T

HE crash of the ill-fated Dana Abuja-Lagos flight 9J-92 in Iju-Ishaga Lagos would have been averted had President Goodluck Jonathan called for a day of national prayer, The founder/ spiritual head of Inri Evangelical Spiritual Church, Lagos, Primate Babatunde Ayodele, has declared. Ayodele predicted a crash in his annual Warning to the Nation (WTN) publication, a copy of which he said he made available to the presidency. He had suggested declaration of a national day of prayer to avert air disaster in the book. The cleric lamented that Jonathan did not call for the prayer, saying such disregard for revelations will continue to land the nation in troubles. ‘’It is so sad that this crash happened. It is even sadder that God revealed it and told us what should be done to prevent it. ‘’Unfortunately, our government keeps ignoring such revelations. They think one is looking for attention or money,’’ he said. The cleric added: ‘’If we had prayed as a nation, I am confident we would have averted the disaster in the spirit’s realm. ‘’We would have saved ourselves the heartaches and the pain of losing over 160 precious lives’’. He advised government to always obey divine instructions, saying it would save the nation from preventable troubles. ‘’When we warn, the government should listen and take actions. They don’t have to ask us to come. ‘’They should just do whatever God says and save the nation from further disasters,’’ he appealed.

INTERVIEW

H

OW did you find yourself in the ministry? Some 18 years ago, I was the home fellowship leader of the Fountain of Life Church and the fellowship thrived. This was after the man formerly leading the fellowship left. I remember we were always picking people with buses to church from our area. I can say we were the first to do that in Lagos. Then God spoke to the pastor that a church should start in Ijesha and that was how we became the first branch of the Fountain of Life Church. However, it was not easy for me to step into the pastoral office. When Pastor called me and said the branch would start, I was happy and willing to support whoever was chosen as the pastor. Then he threw the bombshell that I would be the one. I totally and publicly rejected it. It took me one year to get convinced. I started dodging pastor but he is very patient and wonderful. He pursued me until I became convinced. One day he told me that I was rejecting the call of God but I told him God had not told me anything. Around that time I travelled and my wife had to take the home fellowship on my behalf. She was preparing for a service when she saw the vision of a board from heaven with 2 Timothy 4 inscribed on it. When she cross-checked, it had nothing to do with what she was supposed to teach at the home fellowship. The board appeared three times and when she told me, I knew I had to answer the call. So, a year later we started the church. Then…? We were reorganising Fountain of Life Church then and I was not in the country. But I participated through calls, texts and mails. Eventually, the decision was taken that people who were willing should go and make the branches a stand alone. When I came back, I called my branch’s leaders and told them everything. They felt we should go on because some people may not be able to fit in any church again. So, we decideed to continue with the Church in the present name and I became the Head Pastor. As the Head Pastor, how easy has it been? It has not been easy my brother. Hiding under Fountain was very easy. But standing on your own and not being on full time is challenging. At Fountain, whether we failed or succeeded, all was down to Fountain. But now, you have to take your own cross. As soon as I became the Head Pastor, there was elevation in my secular office. I got engage in a lot of travel, working for government. That added to my challenges. I remember years back while still with Fountain because I was not getting the level of fulfilment as a part-time pastor, I wanted to go full time. I

‘My challenges as a part-time church leader’ Pastor Sunday Babalola is a Petroleum Engineer and Head Pastor of City of Life Church, Ijeshatedo Lagos. He contested for the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State. Babalola spoke with Sunday Oguntola on why he is not a full-time church leader and his foray into politics. Excerpts:

• Babalola

went to meet pastor but he counselled I should not, if God has not told me to. I felt I was not giving my all. I went to ask God. What did he say? I isolated myself for seven days but he answered me within four days. He said a capital NO. Did He tell you why? No. He did not explain to me why. As soon as He spoke, I called my wife to come pick me from the isolated place. My attitude is that when God is ready, He will ask me to go on full time. Can you imagine why He said no? Over the years, I can see why He said no. God has helped me to bear the burden of the church efore adding more people who are now doing same. Without being immodest, I am the main financier of the church at a time. If I had been on full time, I wouldn’t have been able to do many other things. In 2010/ 2011, I contested the governorship of Kwara State. If He had said yes, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I was an Assistant Chief at the time I went to ask God but now I am an Assistant Director. God has used me to mentor many people in the office. When I look back, I can see reasons why He asked me not to resign. Don’t you think the church would have done better had you been on full time? It is a very difficult question to answer. I believe God will do whatever He will do regardless of us. I can’t say It

will be helpful or not. But since God said no, I believe it must be the best decision for now. I don’t like half measures. I know I am not doing enough. You need full time attention to do a great job. I know and sometimes I ask God to forgive me. Sometimes there is a conflict within me if I am serving God enough but I am convinced I heard Him well enough that day, saying a no. Would you be willing to go full time if God asks you to anytime? I will resign immediately and serve God with all my heart. God has set me up so much that I believe I will survive on full time. If He says yes today, I will not be in any economic disadvantage. My family has a thriving farm and other businesses. What informed your decision to join politics? I sat down one day in a friend’s house in Abeokuta, discussing the nation. I was wondering when Nigeria will move forward. I heard a distinct voice that Nigeria will not move forward until good people join politics. I ignored the voice but it kept coming. I then faced my wife and announced I was joining politics. I did not know anything about politics then. I knew nothing about building a structure; I was not even with any of the party. But I started the ground works and became the main issue in the PDP primary then. I was coarsed into stepping down for the preferred candidate of the former governor. My family became afraid for me and mounted so much pressure on me. I did not step down until about 5:30pm on the day of the primary. The primary election was delayed until I stepped down. Why was the primary held in the night? I was not approached for

any form of compensation. Maybe I have accepted if I was asked to nominate some people that can move the state forward. But certainly, I would not have accepted financial compensation. Did that discourage you? I am not discouraged at all. I went there without knowing anything but I now know better. It was a school that I attended. The experience was so invaluable. Nobody thought I was serious when I started but we pushed the ambition until I could no longer be ignored. Will you try your luck another time? I will rather not discuss that now. Time will tell. You don’t have any qualms as a Christian being involved in politics? You see if you don’t get involved, then others will. Politics is dirty because the players are. If good men get involved, it will change for good. I went there to cause a change and I am happy we did. I was told I had no godfather but I said God is my father. I am happy with the campaign and so many things that happened, which I can’t go into now. What is God saying about Nigeria now? To be honest, God has not told me anything about Nigeria. There is no point saying He said something when He has not told me anything. But I believe there is hope for Nigeria. This country would have ended long time but for divine agenda. I believe it is time for Christians to stop praying and start getting involved. We can continue the prayer but we must do something to change this nation. We should wake up and get involved. We can’t keep complaining for ever. It’s time to take positive actions to turn this nation around.


Worship

69

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

NEWS

Okonkwo spares a thought for women at 60 S

HE walked into the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos to a standing ovation. Many dignitaries, including the Lagos State First Lady, Dame Abimbola Fashola; Senator Oluremi Tinubu, The Senior Pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, Taiwo Odukoya, the Vice President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev (Mrs.) Mercy Ezekiel, Onyeka Onwenu and others, acknowledged that the celebrator deserved all the attention. While soaking in the encomiums paid on her, The Resident Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Bishop Peace Okonkwo, would choose to celebrate her 60th birthday drawing attention to an ailment plaguing womanhood. This was why the celebration coincided with launching of the Providing Early Attention for Cervical Cancer Everywhere (PEACE) concert. The concert was to draw attention to cervical cancer through the Woman of Global Impact Initiative founded by the celebrator. Okonkwo explained cervical cancer has become the second commonest in the world. According to her, no fewer than 300,000 women die annually from it globally

• The celebrator(3rd left) flanked his husband, Bishop Okonkwo; daughter, Uche and Mrs. Fashola cutting the cake. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN By Sunday Oguntola

with developing countries such as Nigeria accounting for over 80 percent of the deaths. “This health problem is preventable yet it is not prevented in Nigeria, she be-

gan. ‘’About 4-6 new cases are recorded at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).’’ She added: ‘’It is common in Nigeria because of the low level of awareness about the disease.” She said cervical cancer

is the commonest among northern women while it is second only to breast cancer in the south. Still reeling out the statistics, Okonkwo added that cervical cancer is an important cause of death in women

Youths can lead Nigeria to Promised Land, says cleric

Christian booksellers seek end to piracy

C

HRISTIAN Booksellers drawn from across the nation recently held a three-day training and worship seminar in Lagos. The training was organised by the Christian Booksellers Association of Nigeria (CBAN) in collaboration with the Christian Trade Association International (CTAI), Colorado, United States of America (USA).The CBAN’s Executive Vice President and CTAI Board Member, Segun Asaba, explained that the seminar under the association’s Professional Retail Institute for Book Sellers is aimed at updating booksellers on strategies for effective marketing of Christian literature and other materials.He said the workshop was for

By Sunday Oguntola

leaders, senior church workers, decision makers, managers, frontline staff, accountants and everyone involved in the book selling chain.Asaba said through the training, the skills of the booksellers and their workers will be developed and improved upon for greater successes and satisfaction of their customers.Former CBAN President, Mrs. Esther Aworinde, called on participants to make good use of the training, adding that the programme is a value- added initiative of the association.She noted that the lead facilitator, Jack Scott, is a teacher and marketer with a lot to offer from his experiences on the field spanning over 30

WHAT AND WHERE? Kolade, Odukoya for Men Summit

T

HE former Nigeria’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade and Senior Pastor of Fountain of Life Church, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya are the guest ministers at Men Summit 2012 of the Christ Chapel International Churches (CCIC). The conference, which opens on Thursday in Lagos, has as its theme rediscovering manhood.

It holds at CCIC, Surulere Centre Okanlawon Ajayi Street, off Masha, Surulere, Lagos. Rev Dr John AkachieAhamzie, the senior pastor, Holy Fire Overflow Ministries and presenter of a weekly radio programme, “What’s all this noise about sex” will also minister at the summit. The summit will run eight sessions and ends next Sunday.

years.Scott described Nigeria as unique, saying that marketing of Christian literature needs a lot of vigour as people have developed reading culture, which makes for competition and growth.For Christian booksellers to be successful, Scott said he must know how to source the products and make them available for the readers. Such bookseller, he added, must be adaptable to changes and sensitive to happenings around him.Scott called for concerted efforts by governments, church leaders and teachers to wage war against piracy, which he said, makes inferior goods available to readers at cheaper prices to the detriment of the original owners of the works.

between 45-65 years in Nigeria. Over 60 -75 percent of women with the disease, she added, are rural dwellers. On how to overcome the challenge, she said “it is very important to provide

early attention for this disease, which is why Women Of Global Impact Initiative has therefore set a target which is the provision of medical screening of 10,000 rural women of the disease across the length and breadth of this nation.” Dame Fashola described the celebrator as a true servant of God, who has been using her position and wealth to bring smiles to women in Nigeria. She applauded the decision to raise awareness on cervical cancer, which she said has been quite overlooked. Praising the concert, Fashola said, ‘’this PEACE concert is a step towards creating awareness for this slow but silent killer and every woman must see it as a challenge to spread the news so that people go for the screening in time.” Senator Tinubu declared that Okonkwo has always been a compassionate woman who continually strives to empower the womenfolk. She said: ‘’She is a strong-willed servant of God. Her focus is on the empowerment of the women. ‘’She has initiated so many programs with the sole objectives of giving the less priviledged women in the society a reason to serve God. I really thank God for her life and I want to believe many women will say the same thing.”

By Sunday Oguntola

•Inyang

T

HE President of Excel Africa and Presiding Pastor of Sure Word Assembly Lagos, Dr Dennis Inyang, has challenged youths to provide the right leadership to move the nation forward. Youths, Inyang said, have what it takes for the nation to overcome the challenges of poverty, insecurity, corruption and backwardness. He spoke at a youth summit held at the MEGALife Centre, headquarters of the

church, recently. Inyang decried the recycling of old men and women in the nation’s political space, contending that Nigerian youths have the potential to lead the nation to the Promised Land. Addressing hundreds of youths, he advised them to begin to see themselves as leaders and work harder to develop their abilities. According to him: “You do not need any position to lead; begin to lead wherever you are.” He challenged them to shun vices, accept responsibilities and strive to be the best in whatever they do. Some of the participants expressed concerns that

youths have been written off as uneducated, unemployable and lazy. They complained that the nation’s political culture is hostile and not youthfriendly, according to Inyang. Inyang encouraged them to react positively by developing themselves and seizing every opportunity to prove cynics wrong. Arguing that the proof of success in every field is in effective and qualitative succession, the cleric also challenged leaders to deliberately mentor youths under them. “Any leader who cannot effectively replace himself or herself with competent and credible leaders is a failure,” he said.

Ministry proposes 2-million seater auditorium in Osun

T

HE founding President of Return to Your Creator Outreach Mission, Prophet Isaac Alabi, has canvassed support for a 2-million seater interdenominational Praise Camp in Osun State. He spoke at a media conference recently in Lagos to kick off fund- raising activities for construction of the ecclesiastical facility. According to him, the camp is intended to sup-

By Adeola Ogunlade

port evangelising rural communities and providing a platform where people from around the world can worship God. He said that the camp ground will sit on multiple acres of pristine land and is expected to cater for the spiritual, social and material needs of the Christians from across the globe. Alabi, who started the ministry 22 years ago in

Ibadan, said the land for the project was acquired from four communities including Songbe, Olori in Ejigbo Local Government, Iwoye and Iragberi in Egbedore Local Government in Osun State respectively. The camp will boast of facilities such as pastors’ office and residential quarters, banks, a seminary, hospital, police post, shopping arcade, sporting facilities, schools and other recreational facilities.

Stating that the project is estimated to cost over N20 billion, Alabi explained that it will be done in phases with the first including the church auditorium, pastors’ quarters and printing press. He stated further that the camp will host millions of people to a city, wide crusade in October for which over 3,000 evangelists from across the country will receive free training in July.


70

Worship

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012

Power of agreement in marriage Dr James Iruobe

MARRIAGE & DESTINY

I

WELCOME you to this wonderful platform on marriage and destiny, I want to thank you for your response so far and pray that the good God will establish your homes. In response to those who have been requesting for the past discussion on this column, you can log on to my Blog address written at the bottom of this column and read all that you requested for. God bless you. Today, we will be discussing a very important topic that is very germane to the healthy and sustenance of marriage and that is ‘Power of Agreement in Marriage’. Marriage as we know involve more than one party, hence the need for parties involved to agree on salient issues relating to their common goal –marriage. The word Agreement as defined in Dictionary means: v Harmony or accordance in opinion or feeling; a position or result of agreeing. v A concurrence in an engagement that something shall be done or omitted; an exchange of promises; mutual understanding, arrangement, or stipulation; a contract. v State of agreeing; harmony of opinion, statement, action, or character; concurrence; concord; conformity The Bible says in Amos 3: 3, “Can two walk together except they are agreed? The answer is NO. Also, in Matthew 18:19 “Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on Earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in Heaven.” The above scriptures

clearly show that God Himself wants us to understand the absolute power in agreement, especially in agreement in marriages. I choose not to care about how much you love each other. If you fail to agree on certain issues, there is bound to be conflicts. What I know is that if you do not agree on issues I do not see your love for each other lasting and robust. The Power of agreement is one of the most important themes we find in the Bible. This is particularly true when it comes to marriage. Words like “Oneness,”, “unity”, “One body”, “One flesh” and “covenant”, are meant to show the uniqueness of agreement. Can two walk together except they are agreed? The answer is, no, Jesus said “If two of you shall agree on anything on earth, my father in heaven will do it. That is the power of agreement. Wherever there is agreement, there will be unity and peace. The Bible says, “One will chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousand” that is what happens when you and your husband agree on issues. When there is unity, your prayers become more potent and powerful. You receive quick and better answers. The importance of agreeing on issues is the subject matter I treated extensively in my book ‘Four things intending Couple must agree On Before Marriage ‘I meticulously wrote the book because it will help in establishment of your marriage and enhance your relationships. Mutual agreement on pertinent issues is a sure way to reduce debates and arguments when certain issues inadvertently arise in homes. It is important to note that, we will always be in agreement with something or someone. Nothing we think or decide is ever exceptional. We choose daily with whom we associate or what we will align.

When we approach the subject of marriage from the standpoint of agreeing with what God has already set in order, we will reap the victorious, rewarding relationship He has planned for us. Since Satan understands these scriptural principles so well, he constantly attacks Christians marriages. He seizes upon every opportunity to cause damage. And he knows that the first place to start is in the area of agreement. If the devil can cause the husband to begin to disagree with the wife, and the wife to not see her husband’s point-of-view, then he can begin to make in-roads. This is not to say that husbands and wives should be robots, agreeing quickly with everything that comes out of their spouse’s mouth. But it should show us that, when decisions are ultimately reached, they are reached together by both spouses, and the decisions are carried out and supported by both. Instead of husbands and wives fighting and arguing, and basically battling for the upper hand in their marriages, they should be agreeing, and praying, and honoring the God of their salvation. In so doing, they would begin to see that the “happiness” factor, that so many seem to pursue, would come into their lives, and into their marriages, and into their homes. To be continued next time For counseling on marriage and other pressing issues, you can reach Dr James Iruobe through El-shaddai Covenant Ministries, 7, Social Club Road, New OkoOba, Lagos .Tel 07034183333, 08083001752 or e-mail .iruobe@gmail.com.You can follow him on www.drjamesiruobe.blogspot.com, t w i t t e r . c o m / jamesiruobe,www.facebook.com/ drjamesiruobe

Passing on the generational blessing (1) Archbishop Sam Amaga

Family Heritage

G W

HEN it comes to transferring generational blessing to the next generation, it is important to know that the mouth of fathers carry a patriarchal covenant. That means they can speak as patriarchs unto the lives and the future of their children. Many nations today are becoming fatherless, and fatherless nations always do not thrive. Fatherless nations crumble after a long time. There is a place of father in families that science cannot take away. Godly fathers carry patriarchal anointing to shapen future destinies of children thus affecting the future of the nations. A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:20-21 The words you speak upon them shall determine whether they will experience distinction or delays and even sometimes disasters, because words can bring blessings or curses. Many people are struggling under the yoke of curses, struggling to break spiritually locked doors. It is like they are locked behind iron gates. But today, God will break the iron gates and take you into the blessings hidden from you. For the scriptures says; I’ll go ahead of you, clearing and

paving the road. I’ll break down bronze city gates, smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances. I’ll lead you to buried treasures, secret caches of valuables—Confirmations that it is, in fact, I, God, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. Isaiah 45:2-3 (Message) It is important to eliminate curses from your family and establish God’s blessings in your family, because blessings are generational as curses are also generational. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:5-6 When people in families start misbehaving towards God by giving their hearts to strange gods and spend more time doing strange things, they attract curses upon themselves. It is not uncommon that in families, some fathers are promiscuous preferring other women to own their wives. Sometimes you see cousins, brothers and sisters defiling themselves in sex. All these attract curses. But when in humility you cry unto God, you will be forgiven and the old doors will be shattered. That is why you must establish the blessing upon your family, because the blessing is more powerful than the curse. The blessing is stronger than the curse. The effect of curses in a family goes to a 3rd and 4th generation, but the effect of the blessings of God upon a family goes as far as a thousand generations. So, if you establish the blessings of God in your

family, it wipes out the curses even if you are in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation – This is strong. TAKE NOTE OF THESE Ø When you keep disobeying the word of God, you are actually bringing a curse upon your family. When children keep disregarding parents and disobeying them. It attracts a curse. Ø But when they start obeying Godly parents, curses are lifted. Ø When fathers refuse to love wife or children and start misbehaving outside, they are bringing curses on their families. But when they change, obey the word of God and begin to love their wives and children and start speaking the blessings, God’s blessing will come upon their families. Ø When a mother starts retaliating what the husband is doing and start going out with other men, she brings a curse. When parents start speaking the blessing constantly, it will come. TERRIBLE EFFECTS OF CURSE v It brings sickness and death. v It brings delay and stagnation. v It brings confusion and delusion into people’s lives. v It makes people go round in cycle. v It makes people struggle so much in life and do not see enough harvest. TODAY, any curse of man or of the devil to bring disaster, delay, disease and death upon your life and family is destroyed in Jesus name. Contact: Archbishop Sam Amaga @ Salem Mission House, Mabushi Abuja. Phone: 08023018836, 08074450763

NEWS

Group empowers seven

T

HE Counselling Ambassadors Organisation (TCAO), a faith-based non-governmental organisation, has empowered no fewer than seven persons with fund and professional tools. The presentation was during the 6th annual thanksgiving praise concert of the group recently in Lagos. The TCAO’s founder, Mrs. Iyabo Obasa, said the gesture was in continuation of the organisation’s commitment to providing ‘’ succour in every, any and all respect to the people especially the rejected, hopeless, irrespective of race, tribe, religion, colour and gender.’’ Recalling the previous efforts of the organisation, she said: “since its inception in 2006, TCAO has paid millions of naira on school fees for indigent students at all levels within and outside the country. ‘’On health, the organisation

By Sunday Oguntola

had paid bills for people with various health problems for treatment within and outside the country especially ailments like hernia, heart- related diseases and limbs ailments.’’ Obasa added the group has also counselled over 12,000 people, empowered widows with more than 20 deep freezers, sewing machines, grinding machines, hair dressing and barbing equipment. A beneficiary, Mr. Jagun Dina, received N60, 000 for treatment of hernia. He explained he has been suffering from the ailment for over 10years. According to him, “a friend invited me to the weekly meeting of the organisation. ‘On my third visit after a general prayer, Mrs. Obasa made the announcement that someone in the group was suffering from her-

nia.

‘’So, I signalled that I was the one. I never solicited for their help. I just went there to observe things. “That act convinced me that Mrs. Obasa is a genuine servant of God. I thank her and her organisation because now I can get relief from this ailment.” Mrs. Adejoke Folarin also received financial aid for a surgical operation on her 4-yearold son with a swelling on the right side of his neck. Others include Otie idowu, a widow, Tinuade Asioye, a student and Kehinde Zaccaheus. The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, eulogised Obasa’s gestures. She said TCAO is an organisation worth emulating and commended the organisation’s persistent efforts to empower lives.

• L: R: Deputy Shepherd, Apostle Kehinde Sowemimo; Youth fellowship host, Pastor Dr George Ogunleye; Church Secretary, Pastor Johnson Toriola and Deputy leader,Prophet Sunday Korede at the unveiling of youth fellowship 25th anniversary of Cherubim and SeraphimMovement Church Surulere DisPHOTO: BAMIGBALA ADEKOLA trict Ayo Ni o.

She described Obasa as an amiable unassuming woman with a compassionate heart. “I have known her for a very long time and she has always exhibited this tendency of compassion.

‘’I wish other well- endowed women will be like her. She has consistently used her position, wealth and connections to assist the less privileged in the society.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2012

SPORT EXTRA

71

2014 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

EURO 2012

Malawiholds Nigeriato1-1draw

Gomez deflatesRonaldo’s ego with 1-0 win

T

HE Flames of Malawi on Saturday held Nigeria's Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw at the Kamuzu Banda Stadium in Blantyre in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The Malawians made sure that they maintained their strong show at home by avoiding defeat having suffered just a loss since coach Kinnah Phiri took charge in 2008. Nigeria fielded the same starting line-up that won 1-0 against Namibia in Calabar six days ago. The opening 45 minutes was an almost even contest but the Flames created the better chances with Robin Ngalande hitting the crossbar once. The teenage striker, Ngalande did prove a handful afterwards for the Nigerian back line. Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was also forced to make a great save at a point in the game. Ikechukwu Uche's effort in the first half also stung the palms of Simplex Nthara in goal for Malawi. In the restart, the Malawians looked the more likely to open score in the first five minutes and even had a penalty appeal turned down from a corner kick. On 66 minutes midfielder Robert N'gambi had a clear

sight of goal but shot wide. Ike Uche had another chance to put Nigeria ahead but headed weakly into the hands of Nthara. Super Eagles' head coach, Stephen Keshi decided to throw in Uche Kalu, Raheem Lawal and Ahmed Musa to add pace and guile to the attack of the West Africans. And on 90 minutes, midfielder Gabriel Reuben headed Nigeria in front off a free kick won by Musa. Nigeria's lead lasted for few seconds as substitute John Banda drew the Malawians on level terms inside the added minutes by squeezing his effort past Enyeama. Keshi's team now have four points after two games and lead Group F of the Fifa World Cup qualification until Namibia play hosts to Kenya in Windhoek.

M

ARIO Gomez made a surprise start and headed in the lone goal for Germany on Saturday in a 1-0 victory over Portugal in Group B of the European Championship. Gomez was moments away from being substituted, with Miroslav Klose already waiting on the touchline, when he rose to knock in a deflected cross from Sami Khedira in the 72nd minute. Klose did come on the 80th •Keshi

•While Flames receive N30,000 each From Patrick Ngwaogu Blantyre, Malawi while the Super Eagles got a whooping sum of N1.5million.

Christian Obodo abducted in Warri

N

IGERIAN midfielder, Christian Obodo has been abducted by unknown gunmen, SuperSport.com can report. The Udinese playmaker was seized on Saturday at about 9.20am local time (10.20am CAT) in front of a church in Efunrun off Jakpa Road in Warri, Delta State. A top official of the Delta State government, who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed to SuperSport.com that Obodo was taken away from his car with a special registration number tagged 'Obodo 5.' The abductors took the occupant but left the car in front of the church and zoomed off in their own vehicle which they had used to tail the footballer. The 28-year-old, who played on loan last season at Lecce, was said to have gone clubbing on Friday night in the same vehicle in Warri before his kidnap on Saturday. "Yes he has been

kidnapped," said the official to SuperSport.com. "The details are still sketchy but I was told he was on his way to church this (Saturday) morning with his car that has registration number 'Obodo 5.'" "Apparently his car's registration may have attracted his kidnappers

because he went clubbing last (Friday) night in the same car." The official also said the kidnappers are yet to get in touch with any of the player's relatives or friends as at the time of this report. Obodo's kidnap is the first high-profile abduction of a footballer.

According to those who spoke to us in the Eastern African country, "it is unbelievable that you can pay your players that amount for a match. $10,000 is just too much for a player. Each of our player gets $200 for any match they play. Nobody can pay them that amount in Malawi. Where do we get such an amount to pay a player. Your players are very lucky. They even fly in chartered flight to their matches. That is unheard for in our country. I don't think anybody with exemption of the President of the country can fly on a charted flight in this country" they said.

Be focused, Maigari charges Eagles

N

FF President Aminu Maigari has advised the Super Eagles’ players to remain focused on the task ahead in the quest to qualify for both the African Nations Cup and the 2014 World cup in Brazil. Maigari who spoke to NationSports in Blantyre, immediately after the Super Eagles were forced to a score draw by the Flames of Malawi on Saturday, said "though we had expected a win for that match, but a little loss of concentration in the defence line cost the home team to get

Germany 1 - 0 Portugal Holland 0 - 1 Denmark

FRENCH OPEN

•Djokovic, Nadal chase history

Eagles get NI.5m bonus T I

EURO 2012 RESULTS

Sharapova completes career grand slam

MALAWI/NIGERIA STALEMATE

T may sound incredible, but it was real. The Malawian players that held the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a score draw at the Kamuzu Banda Stadium on Saturday got an equivalent of N30,000 as match bonus,

and got to play on his 34th birthday, but not before Gomez nearly got another goal. Nani hit the crossbar in the 84th, the second time Portugal struck the frame in the match. And Silvestre Varela shot straight at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from close range in the 89th.

From Patrick Ngwaogu Blantyre, Malawi

the equalizer. It is not a bad result, but we would continue to work hard to ensure that the team is provided with all the logistic support they need to qualify for the two competitions. I think it was not a bad result, but a win would have been better. One thing that is basic is that nothing can be taken away from the Malawians, as they gave a good account of themselves. I appeal to Nigerians to continue to give the team all the

needed support, as the boys are ready to return smiles to our faces". In his reaction to the match, the President General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club Rafiu Ladipo described the draw as a bitter draw "If it had been a goaless draw, it would not have been painful. But scoring at the dot of time, and allowing an equalizer almost immediately, was very painful. Our players need all the concentration at every point in time, and they should avoid any lackadaisical attitude while on the pitch of play".

HE picture she posed for at the beginning foreshadowed a mismatch in the making: the 188-centimetre Maria Sharapova standing at the net, towering over an opponent 25 centimetres smaller than her. The pictures snapped at the end told a different story: Sharapova, down on her knees after a tougher-thanexpected win, head buried in her hands, celebrating after completing a comeback three years in the making and cementing her name among the greatest in tennis. The Russian star won the French Open on Saturday, defeating her tiny Italian opponent, Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2 in the final at Roland Garros to complete the career Grand Slam. "I believe in my game," Sharapova said. "I think that's one of the reasons I'm sitting here with my fourth one and winning Roland Garros, because I always believed I could be a better player." Second-seeded Sharapova, who was guaranteed of moving to No. 1 in the rankings regardless of the result, jumped to a quick 4-0 lead against the 21st-seeded Errani, who was in her first Grand Slam final. But Errani battled back on a cool, blustery day in Paris, turning what had the makings of a blowout into

an 89-minute endurance contest, filled with long rallies that forced Sharapova to find another gear. Eventually, Sharapova's bigger serve and bigger groundstrokes wore down Errani, who is 163 centimetres tall. "She won many points with her serve or in the first two or three shots," Errani said. "It was difficult. I couldn't play long points like I wanted to play." Sharapova won the trophy at Roland Garros about three years after dropping as low as 126th in the rankings after shoulder surgery that threatened her career. She rededicated herself to the game and made a special effort to improve on red clay, the surface on which she moved to 16-0 this year. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal square off in a record fourth successive Grand Slam final on Sunday with the French Open title and a place in tennis folklore at stake. A win for world No 1 Djokovic, playing in his first Roland Garros final, will make him only the third man in history — and first in 43 years — to hold all four majors at the same time. Victory for world No 2 Nadal will mean becoming the first man to win seven French Opens, moving ahead of Swedish legend Bjorn Borg, who he is currently level with on six.

Publisher lauds Fashola’s sports initiative

T

HE Publisher of B o g i E x p r e s s Community News, Mr. Biodun Lawrence-Ogidan has described the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola as the best thing that ever happened to sports development in the history of Lagos state. Ogidan, who is the patron of Lagos state Baseball and Softball Association stated that

the recently concluded States Sports Festival, otherwise called Ibile Games is an indication that the government’s policy on sports is working, adding that the priority it has placed on sports will give the state a good outing in the forthcoming National Sports Festival that the state is hosting later in the year. Lawrence-Ogidan, who is a sub-committee member for

marketing and sponsorship of the sports festival, also expressed satisfaction with what the Lagos sports Ministry Commissioner, Mr. Enitan Oshodi is doing to develop youths in the state. "Fashola has people of integrity to manage sports affairs in the state, sporting activities have been intensified, while the interest of youths is getting more provoked, amateurs are

presently being appreciated and celebrated so as to discourage the use of mercenaries in competitions" he said. He claimed that with the creation of more associations, talents will be discovered from metropolitan and grassroots competitions which will eventually assist the state to have a pool and reserves of capable athletes and sportsmen.

•The HOD, Education, Mr. Banjoko Oladaisi, right, presenting the Ibile Games trophy to the Executive Chairman, Bariga LCDA, Hon. Akeem Sulaiman, whose council won the second position in the Lagos State Sports Festival


http://www.thenationonlineng.net

QUOTABLE "I employed Dr Goodluck Jonathan as he then was, in the OMPADEC based on his performance at the interview and on merit”

SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2012 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 6, NO. 2152

— Former OMPADEC Chairman, Chief Albert Krubo Horsfall speaking on his tenure at the commission.

P

RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s unsolicited and heedless renaming of the University of Lagos (Unilag) has achieved the distinction of obliterating the divide between progressive thinkers and their reactionary counterparts. It is now difficult to tell who is whom, with reactionaries heartily condemning the president for renaming the 50-year-old university after Chief MKO Abiola, a hero of Nigeria’s struggle for democracy and winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and progressives uncharacteristically and embarrassingly supporting the president’s atrocious decision. What is becoming increasingly evident is that many so-called progressives are actually progressives either as an afterthought or because it is fashionable. There is neither depth to their progressivism nor, as we now see, reason or conviction. In some ways, too, it does appear that the population of free thinkers, those who whimsically attach themselves to points of view as their instincts tell them, is much bigger than we imagine. Since the president announced a new name for Unilag, opinions have been divided along the lines of those who on one hand are indifferent to the intrinsic value of names and those who on the other hand jealously guard the import of names, and along the lines of those who have a sense of history and those who do not have. The dichotomies are truly weird. It must indeed be amusing that Jonathan’s supporters and defenders suggest that there is really nothing to a name, and that a name, like any woman, plain or ugly, has an acquired taste. Just like a man grows to like a woman he interacts with in the neighbourhood or workplace, and even begins to find her plainness enchanting, it is argued that those of us angered by the name change would grow to like it with time. For after all, they continue, a tertiary institution is not ennobled by its name but by the quality of its research and scholarship. They cite a long list of great universities which have experienced renaming to illustrate their position. But as the box below shows, the circumstances that led to the renaming of Unilag are quite different from those that led to the renaming of American universities cited by the pro-

Analysts play mischief with Unilag

•Jonathan

• Ahmed-Rufai

Jonathan group. For example, Columbia University was not changed in 1784 for whimsical reasons but because of the desire of leaders of the American Revolution to erase the bad memory of colonialism. Columbia had been founded as Kings College upon the promulgation of a royal charter by King George II in 1754. Johns Hopkins, another example used reprehensibly by the Jonathan apologists, was founded posthumously in 1876 by endowment bequeathed for that purpose by Johns Hopkins who died three years earlier. It was his money; it was his name. The Jonathan supporters studiously avoid mentioning great universities that have kept their illustrious names and continue to flourish under those names and even inspire many

generations of educationists, scientists and political leaders. Much more crucially, the pro-Jonathan group accuses us of lacking a sense of history for opposing the renaming of Unilag. But who really lacks a sense of history? According to the pro-renaming analysts, the contributions of Abiola to the democracy being enjoyed today are so invaluable that they are shocked many anti-renaming people seem to have forgotten. You have a sense of history, they say, when you support the honour of name change for a man who nearly two decades ago sacrificed so much for all of us. But in the first place, it is dishonest to suggest that opposing the renaming of Unilag is synonymous with disavowing Abiola’s sac-

Renaming foreign universities: The devil is in the detail

H

ARVARD Harvard University is an American private Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. It was founded by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Initially called “New College” or “the college at New Towne”, the institution was renamed Harvard College on March 13, 1639. It was named after John Harvard, a young English clergyman from Southwark, London, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge (after which Cambridge, Massachusetts is named), who bequeathed the College his library of four hundred books and £779 pounds sterling, which was half of his estate. CORNELL Cornell University is a private Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and experienced educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. PRINCETON Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. It is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, as the College of New Jersey, the university

Readers are invited to recognise that the universities discussed below are privately owned, and changed their names almost at infancy. None changed name after they became famous. Harvard was renamed after three years; Cornell after its founder; Princeton after 10 years of existence in honour of its host town; and Yale after just 17 years, etc. But Oxford, Cambridge and many more have kept their history and their names moved to Newark in 1747, then to Princeton in 1756 and was renamed Princeton University in 1896. YALE Yale University is an American private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Incorporated as the “Collegiate School,” the institution traces its roots to 17th-century clergymen who sought to establish a college to train clergy and political leaders for the colony. In 1718, the College was renamed “Yale College” to honor a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company, in order to increase the chances that he would give the college another large donation or bequest. DUKE Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. Duke started as Brown’s Schoolhouse, a private subscription school founded in Randolph County in the present-day town of Trinity. Organized by the Union Institute Society, a group of Methodists and Quakers, Brown’s Schoolhouse became the Union Institute Academy in 1841 when North Carolina issued a charter. The academy was renamed Normal College in 1851 and then Trinity College in 1859 because of support from the Methodist Church. In 1892 Trinity moved to Durham, largely due to generosity from Julian S. Carr and Washington Duke, powerful and respected Methodists who had grown wealthy through the tobacco and electrical industries.

In 1924 Washington Duke’s son, James B. Duke, established The Duke Endowment with a $40 million trust fund. Income from the fund was to be distributed to hospitals, orphanages, the Methodist Church, and four colleges (including Trinity College). William Preston Few, the president of Trinity at the time, insisted that the institution be renamed Duke University to honor the family’s generosity and to distinguish it from the myriad of other colleges and universities carrying the “Trinity” name. At first, James B. Duke thought the name change would come off as self-serving, but eventually he accepted Few’s proposal as a memorial to his father. OXFORD The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or Oxford) is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096. The University grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. In post-nominals the University of Oxford was historically abbreviated as Oxon., from the Latin Universitas Oxoniensis, although Oxf is now used in official university publications. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled northeast to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two ancient English universities have many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge. In addition to their cultural and practical associations, as a historic part of British society, they have a long history of rivalry with each other.

rifice and legacy. The controversy, they must be reminded, is not whether he should be honoured or not, but what kind of honour. By opposing the renaming of Unilag, the anti-Jonathan group is not suggesting that Abiola is either worthy or unworthy of being honoured with Unilag’s name. In fact, it is precisely those who support renaming Unilag that egregiously lack a sense of history. The pro-renaming analysts fail to mention the illustrious histories of Oxford and Cambridge universities, and how it never crossed the minds of British statesmen to honour their greatest sons with the names of those great citadels of learning. Nigerians – I almost said blacks – unlike the English are too emotive and impulsive. It does not occur to them that at the rate they are going, renaming institutions and places, they could soon run out of landmarks to name after their fancies. Oxford was established in 1096 and, by keeping its name, has emblematised British education, history, politics and all that is stable and noble about that country. Unilag is to Lagos what Oxford is to Britain. If our leaders had a great sense of history, and the pro-Jonathan people had any sense for sense, they would recognise that there are other excellent ways to honour Abiola without necessarily obliterating a part of the history of Lagos. And as readers will discover from the box below, most of the renamed universities dishonestly used by analysts to justify Jonathan’s abhorrent decision were private institutions, barely out of their infancy, and had not acquired the reputation associated with them today when their names were changed. Jonathan’s decision on Unilag is obviously a political, not altruistic, one. It typifies his often byzantine love for scheming and intrigues. He was probably unnerved by the uproar that greeted the renaming of Unilag, but he is much more likely to be irritated and angered by the tendency of the Southwest to contest every decision he has made since assuming the presidency. He will not put the challenge down to the considerable advance the region has made in political organisation, education or law; he will, as he is wont, assume that the challenges bore the trademark of the region’s long-standing arrogance. This may account for the speed with which the usually lethargic president worked on the Unilag bill and accompanied it to the National Assembly with a request to retroactively approve the renaming in 2000 of the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, and the renaming in 2011 of the Federal University of Technology, Yola. The obnoxious bill itself repudiates the jaundiced position of those who argue that the powers conferred on the president as visitor entitled him to change their names at will. Jonathan is apparently a little bit more sensible about his powers than his ignorant supporters think. But there is no doubting his mischief, just as there is no doubting the dubious intentions of many of his ardent supporters. Jonathan, we will recall in the Justice Ayo Salami case, has a penchant for undermining the rule of law. In the Unilag case, he has sought to entrap the National Assembly by sending a bill to them when the matter was already filed before a court. He hopes the parliament would misconstrue its powers by deliberating on a matter before the courts. It is hoped the parliament will neither connive at this folly nor undermine its integrity by rising to the bait. As I suggested here last week, Abiola should be honoured appropriately. Unilag is not the way to honour him, for it means obliterating one history in order to give life to another history. But what worries me the most is the intransigence of the Jonathan presidency. Too reluctant and sometimes quite unable to do what is right even by mistake, he has equally found it too eager to sustain what is wrong. He has allowed himself to be seduced into thinking that those who spontaneously oppose Unilag’s renaming were playing politics, when in fact it is his presidency that is undermining the country and overwhelming it with bad decisions and crass politics. From all indications, he is sworn to following through this bad decision on Unilag. I shall henceforth also dedicate myself to joining hands with all men of goodwill, including Gen Muhammadu Buhari, if it comes to that, to voting the president out of office. We must make it clear that the president must at all times be smarter and more patriotic than the average Nigerian, not the other way round.

SOURCE: Excerpted from Wikipedia Published by Vintage Press Limited. Corporate Office: 27B Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Lagos. P.M.B. 1025, Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: Switch Board: 01-8168361. Editor - 08033510610, Marketing: 4520939, Abuja Office: Plot 5, Nanka Close AMAC Commercial Complex, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Telephone: 07028105302 E-mail: sunday@thenationonlineng.net Editor: FESTUS ERIYE


The Nation June 10 2012