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Slain UNIBEN student’s ordeal NEWS Page 59

•Last moments photo out

News Boko Haram: 6,000 flee to Niger P4 Sports Keshi sure of three points P41 Business Fed Govt, states in cash row P29 www.thenationonlineng.net

VOL. 8, NO. 2514 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

TR UTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM TRUTH

N150.00

PDP, Jonathan have failed Nigerians, says Tinubu ACN leader lashes govt on economy, security APC files registration request at INEC

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is confused about how to tackle Nigeria’s challenges, especially poverty and insecurity, a leader of the newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said. He said the Federal Government promised peace and security, but under its “unwatchful eye” insecurity has grown and Boko Haram “has turned large tracts of northern Nigeria into no man’s land”. But, a bright future, he said, is on the horizon as the APC, which he called “the

By Joseph Jibueze, Staff Reporter

government in-waiting”, would rescue Nigeria from its confused state. “As leaders of the new party and government in-waiting, we intend to pursue dynamic, time-tested and bold policies that will liberate our people by making sure our wealth works for us,” Tinubu said. Nigerians, said Tinubu, have become increasingly divided as a people because the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government continues to take faulty steps in addressContinued on page 4

June 12 alive, say NADECO, Soyinka, others

This current Nige‘rian government is a retrogressive one. Much of what they claim as growth is but the harsh redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top. The bottom gets squeezed while the top expands. They are serving us the salad of corruption

•Asiwaju Tinubu delivering his speech...on Monday

By Augustine Avwode, Asst. Editor

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HE undying spirit of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief Moshood Abiola was invoked yesterday in Lagos. The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which spearheaded the battle to restore the result of the historic election, organised a colloquium at Epetedo in Lagos where the late Abiola declared himself president in 1994. Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu reaffirmed that the 1993 election remained a watershed in the history of Nigeria. The Southwest zone is celebrating the 20th anniversary of SEE ALSO the election with PAGES 2, 3, I-VII a rash of activities. Public holidays have been declared by the governments of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states controlled by the ACN to reaffirm Continued on page 4

•ALL FOR JUNE 12: From left: National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) Secretary-General Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Chairman Rear Admiral Kanu Ndubisi (rtd), Mr. Fred Agbeyegbe, Mrs Dupe Onitiri-Abiola and Lagos State Commissioner for Transport Mr. Kayode Opeifa at the 19th anniversary colloquium on June 12, 1993 presidential election in Lagos...yesterday PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID

•BUSINESS P12 •SPORTS P24 •MONEYLINK P56 •FOREIGN P62 •CITYBEATS P58


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NEWS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 12

June 12... Heroes, heroine

• The late Abiola

• The late Enahoro

• The late Ajasin

• The late Adesanya

The ‘June 12’ battle was not for men of frail will. On the battle field were great fighters who dared the military. These democratic forces were scattered at home and abroad. Many lost their lives and property. When the fight became hotter, some developed cold feet, betrayed the cause and deserted the battle. However, many also endured the heat and fought to the end during the delicate period. Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU writes on the heroes and martyrs of the titanic struggle, whose persistent agitations heralded the restoration of civil rule in 1999. Abiola THE symbol of the struggle for democracy was the late Chief Moshood Abiola, the billionaire businessman, who wanted to use power to abolish poverty in Nigeria. Before he joined the race, he had established himself as a friend of top military brass and philanthropist. Apparently, the ruling military class underrated him as a presidential material, until it was too late. His credential was highly intimidating. Largely perceived as the liberator of the people from the military cage, Abiola received massive support, beating his rival, National Republican Convention (NRC)’s Bashir Tofa in his native Kano State. He pulled 8,341,309 votes, representing 58.36 percent of total votes. When former Military President Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election, there was sporadic protest. Up to now, the ghost of the cruel annulment still hunts the retired General. Abiola declared himself President-elect at Epetedo, Lagos Island. He was later arrested and detained by the Abacha regime. He fought on until he die in detention under Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, who succeeded Abacha.

Kudirat Abiola The late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was one of the numerous wives of the SDP presidential flag bearer. The annulment forced Kudirat into the pro-democracy movement. She developed a steely determination that dared military bullets. When her husband was in solitary confinement for claiming his presidential mandate, Kudirat confronted the military dictators. Her leadership motivated other pro-democracy groups to spring up and seek the actualisation of the election. In 1994, when the struggle got to a head, Kudirat was actively involved in sustaining the oil workers strike, which succeeded in crippling the nation’s economy and weakened the military government Kudirat had frictions with courts over her stance before her eventual release on bail. Despite this harassment, she continued her campaign. She and the late Chief Alfred Rewane funded the pro-democracy activities which unsettled the mili-

tary. When protesters were detained, she would promptly visit police stations to secure their release. Kudirat knew that she was operating in an atmosphere of danger. She was planning to process her visa to leave the shores of Nigeria before she was killed. On June 4, 1996, a few days to the third anniversary of the June 12 election, Kudirat was shot dead by assassins in Oregun, Lagos State.

Soyinka/Fayemi Prof. Soyinka, Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist, and implacable critic, is the first black African to bag the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. The former university don was one of the brains behind Radio Kudirat. Other frontline activists behind the opposition radio were Enahoro and Dr.Kayode Fayemi, who made broadcasts leaking plans by the soldiers to wipe out freedom fighters from Nigeria. It was the radio that alerted people to the plot to assassinate Ajasin and Adesanya. The Nobel Laureate was not new to prison walls through his activism. In 1994, Soyinka lived in exile in the US and France after leaving Nigeria. When the June 12 election was annulled, Soyinka played a key role in pressurising Abacha to rescind his decision. With his influence, he mounted a strong international campaign against Abacha’s dictatorial regime. In 1997 he was tried in absentia with other opposition members for a phony charge of bomb attacks against army. The Abacha regime sentenced Soyinka to death in absentia. He still lives to tell the tale. With Soyinka at the Radio Kudirat was the activist, Dr. Fayemi, who is now Ekiti State governor. His role in the struggle is well documented in his book Out of Shadows.

Ajasin Chief Adekunle Ajasin, former governor of Ondo State, doubled as Afenifere and NADECO leader. He was a principled fighter and moral voice who offered inspiration to the democratic forces. Already an old man, Ajasin, despite the threat to his health and safety, never wavered. The Owo

politician had objected to the participation of progressives in Abacha government, but Abiola, in his naivety, prevailed on him to give his consent. His bedroom was invaded by former Governor Ibe Onyearu-gbulem, who had the mandate from Abacha to make Ondo State uncomfortable for the NADECO forces. In August 1995, he took ill and on his return from his foreign medical trip, he renewed his quest for the revalidation of the June 12 mandate. In June 1995, he was arrested by the military alongside others for holding a meeting, but was released 24 hours later. Eventually, he passed on when the battle was still hot.

Rewane During the dark days, the late Pa Alfred Rewane used his pen and money to fight the military to a standstill. He was a pillar of financial support for all NADECO and many human rights activities. His motive was the de-annulment of the June 12 election. He also personally campaigned against official graft in high places, lack of accountability and gross violation of human rights by the military. But in October 6, 1995, he was murdered in curious circumstances which elicited wide outcry.

Adesanya The elder statesman, lawyer and former senator, Chief Abraham Adesanya became the leader of Afenifere after the death of Ajasin. His Personal Assistant was Rev. Tunji Adebiyi. Adesanya’s compatriots in the group who also fought the military were Chiefs Ganiyu Dawodu, Bola Ige, Lam Adesina, Ayo Adebanjo, Olaniwun Ajayi, Solanke Onasanya, Femi Okunrounmu, Olabiyi Durojaye, and Cornelius Adebayo. Some of them suffered bruises. Rev. Adebiyi was bearing a letter from NADECO leaders in Lagos to Ajasin at Owo when he was arrested at 10 pm at Maryland by the police. Persistent pleas by Mrs. Kudirat Abiola secured his release. Adesina was captured by soldiers during a protest at Ibadan as “prisoner of war”. Durojaye, Adebanjo and

Walter Carrington lent support to the fight for democracy in Nigeria. He stood resolutely with pro-democracy activists during the pro-June 12 agitation. He condemned Babangida for annulling the election widely adjudged free and fair. He expressed great concern over the abuse of human rights and the steady descent of Nigeria into a police state under the military. His remarks were weighty and they influenced America to mount pressure on the military to vacate power

Dawodu were detained. Assassins were also trailing Aremo Segun Osoba. He escaped been hit by bullets by whiskers. Death came calling in January, 1997, but Adesanya also miraculously escaped assassin’s bullets. He remained undaunted to the end. Under his leadership, Afenifere intensified the battle for promoting the virtues of minority rights, equality, federalism and nationalism.

Enahoro The late Chief Anthony Enahoro, nationalist and elder statesman was, no doubt, one of Nigeria’s foremost prodemocracy activists. He was the chairman of NADECO’s Steering Committee. In 1995, he was detained for almost three months without any charge by Abacha. Before he escaped abroad, he was a torn in the flesh of the military. He also chaired the Movement for National Reformation (MNR) and the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO). Enahoro was actually the leader of NADECO abroad.

Fawehinmi (SAN) The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi was

an outstanding lawyer and world-acclaimed human rights crusader. He was an advocate of de-annulment. For daring the military, he was detained for a long period by the military government. He provided legal, moral and financial support for freedom fighters. He was a target of liquidation by the military.

Akinyemi Among those who offered intellectual support for NADECO activities were Prof. Akinyemi, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Segun Gbadegesin, Ropo Sekoni, Ade Banjo and Adebayo Williams. They wrote numerous incisive articles denouncing the annulment, military rule and rights violation. They were targets of attacks by the military. They fled the country to continue the onslaught abroad. Banjo had purchased 3,000 riffles to launch a guerrilla war against Abacha. He was caught and detained before he escaped to Ghana. If the asylum proposed by Prof. Akinyemi had been accepted, Abiola may not have been killed. But the chief rejected the asylum, saying that the President-elect of the most


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 12

of the people’s struggle • Musa

populous nation in Africa could not be seeking asylum in American Embassy.

Kokori The oil workers strike rattled the late Gen. Abacha. The credit goes to Chief Frank Kokori, a fearless Labour leader and former Secretary-General of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). In 1994, the pro-democracy activist led the oil workers to a sustained strike over the annulment of the June 12, election, leading to the paralysis of the social and economic lives of the nation, to the embarrassment of Abacha’s junta. He was arrested on August 20, same year by the security operatives and was moved round different prisons, mostly in the northern part of the country. The incarceration, however, did not stop his activism.

Carrington An American diplomat, who served as United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Nigeria between 1993 and 1997, Walter Carrington lent support to the fight for democracy in Nigeria. He stood resolutely with pro-democracy activists during the pro-June 12 agitation. He condemned Babangida for annulling the election widely adjudged free and fair. He expressed great concern over the abuse of human rights and the steady descent of Nigeria into a police state under the military. His remarks were weighty and they influenced America to mount pressure on military to vacate power.

Ayo Adebanjo Chief Ayo Adebanjo is a fearless politician who does not hide his principled views, no matter whose oz is gorged. He was staunch member of NADECO who has played opposition politics for many decades. Despite the threat to his life and property, he was resolute in the fight for the restoration of Abiola’s mandate. It was ironic, because Abiola and his leader, Awolowo, never politically opposed to one another. Since he passed on, Adebanjo has been calling for the immortalisation of Abiola.

Dosunmu Former Minister of Housing and Environment, the late Dr. Dosunmu, was a close associate of Abiola from the NPN days. He was involved in the activities of NADECO from the scratch. He and Olufemi Lanlehin were in-

• Tinubu

structed by their group, Primose, which later became Lagos Justice Forum, to attend the inaugural meeting of the group in Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo’s Ikeja residence. He was a signatory to the memorandum submitted by Afenifere at the formative stage of the association. Dosunmu, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Omotilewa Aro-Lambo, Senator Ajayi from Ekiti, Hon. Adesina from Abeokuta, and Sikiru Shitta-Bey were also involved in the presidential declaration arrangement at Epetedo, Lagos Island.

Opadokun Ayo Opadokun was the General Secretary of the Afenifere and NADECO. He fought the military for democracy to flourish in Nigeria. For five years, he was in detention. By the time he was released, he had become a poor man. It is painful to him that, after the restoration of the civil rule, charlatans, military apologists and collaborators became the beneficiaries of the battle in 1999.

Ige The Cicero of Esa-Oke, the late Chief Bola Ige, had shunned the IBB transition programme, following Awo’s admonition to his followers to learn to dine with the devil with a long spoon. However, the entry of the late Chief Bola Ige, after the expiration of ‘siddon look’ period, inspired the pro-democracy agitators to fight on. He was a leading fighter under NADECO and Afenifere, where he was deputy leader. Ige had a caustic tongue, which he used to bite the Abacha regime. It was he who described the five political parties of that period as five fingers of a leprous hand. he was detained at Epe.

Oshun

Olawale Osun is a former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives. When the IBB regime cancelled the election, he was among the legislators who denounced the criminal act. He was one of the few people that planned the ‘Epetedo Declaration’ for Abiola. When Opadokun was seized by the military, he became NADECO secretary. He was later released, after which he fled abroad to continue the fight. He wrote his book, ‘Clapping with one hand’, in detention.

Ukiwe Ebitu Ukiwe, a retired Navy Commodore and Chief of General Staff

• Kanu

• Akinrinade

from 1985 to 1986, was one of the notable actors in the pro-democracy struggle in the beginning. Most Nigerians believe that Ukiwe lost his post due to his principled nature. Knowing that Ukiwe could not pushed around, Babangida replaced him with Augustus Aikhomu. However, Ukiwe reduced his participation when his life was on line.

Ndubuisi Kanu The former governor of Imo and Lagos states joined the democracy groups in retirement and was in the forefront of the agitation for the actualization of the mandate. Abacha was particularly worried at his involvement in the agitation to halt his inglorious rule. He once told him to deck his khaki and face him with his gun, instead of joining forces with civilians to rubbish him. When he persisted in his NADECO activities, his businesses were crippled by the military. His private residence was searched by security agents. He was accused of planning to importing arms and ammunitions.

Clement Nwankwo Among the organisations that formed NADECO was the Eastern Mandate Union (EMU) led by the irrepressible advocate of human rights and good governance, Nwankwo. He shared that virtue of consistency and bravery with Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who were prominent NADECO chieftains. A fierce speaker and prolific writer, Nwankwo was never afraid of detention camps.

Fasehun Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, a former SDP presidential aspirant, founded the Oodua Peoples Congress to press for the de-annulment of the election. He was one of the founding fathers of NADECO. He was detained for a long time by the military for fighting the cause.

Balarabe Musa The former governor of Kaduna State refused to join the bandwagon of tribal egoists. He believed that June 12 offered a redemptive option to the country in its quest for legitimate leadership. To him, the annulment was a national calamity and the struggle was not a sectional affair as wrongly projected by military spin doctors. On few occasions too, prominent northern leaders, in-

cluding the late Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, spoke forcefully against Babangida regime for foisting an avoidable crisis on the country.

Umar As military governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar (rtd), Admiral Ndubusi Kanu (rtd), had shown the tendency of a radical. The political scientist was of the view that the military had overstayed in power to the detriment of the masses. Col. Abubakar Umar Dangiwa (rtd) spoke forcefully in defense of the Abiola. To him, the symbol was not the main issue, but the seizure of the nation’s collective passport for a genuine flight to the horizon of democratic progress.

Bola Tinubu In the Third Republic, he was a senator. In the Upper Chamber, he was the rallying point for senators seeking an end to military rule. He challenged IBB to a duel. When the military leader annulled the poll, he demanded for explanations. Tinubu dared the military, urging the masses to resist the brutal act. He was briefly detained and released. After escaping abroad, he became one of the leaders and financial pillars of NADECO abroad.

Ondo NADECO These were NADECO members based in Ondo State. Prominent among the members of the group were Chief Segun Adegoke, a lawyer and Awoist and the late Adebayo Adefarati.

Falae The former Secretary to the Federal Military Government and Finance Minister was very active in Afenifere and NADECO. He was one of the ardent supporters of Abiola during the battle for the revalidation of the annulled results. Other Afenifere leaders who were active during the struggle included Senator Ayo Fasanmi, who resigned from the Constitutional Conference Commission set up by Abacha, Chief Supo Sonibare, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Baba Omojola, Chief Rafiu Jafojo, Chief S.K. Babalola, and Rev. Tunji Adebiyi. Before they joined Abacha government, the duo of Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Chief Ebenezer Babatope were also at the forefront of the clamour for the de-annulment of the june 12, 1993 election.

Adesina A disciple of Awo and former federal legislator, the late Alhaji Lam Adesina was always opposed to military rule. He had used his column to spite the soldiers of fortune who milked the country dry. For participating in the anti-military demonstrations at Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Adesina was ‘captured’ by the Military Administrator, Col. Usman, as a prisoner of war. He languished in detention.

Gbonigi The activist-cleric, Rt. Rev. Bolanle Gbonigi, was nicknamed the ‘NADECO Bishop’ because of his principled position on June 12. He decried the injustice from the pulpit and offered moral and spiritual support to the pro-democracy agitators.

Akinrinade Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd) was one of the leaders of NADECO abroad, who committed enormous time, energy and resources to the struggle for justice. His private residence at Ikeja was torched by suspected government agents. The same tribulation befell his compatriot, Dr, Amos Akingba, a former university don. He was harassed by the military. His residence was also attacked in Lagos.

Dan Sulaiman A gallant soldier, Sulaiman, a former Minister of Communications, joined the democratic forces in decrying the annulment and incarceration of the symbol of the struggle.

Labour, right groups and media Human rights leaders-Dr Beko Ransom-Kuti, his brother, Prof. Olikoye Ransom-Kuti, Femi Falana, Femi Aborisade, Chima Ubani, Joe Igbokwe, Olisa Agbakoba, Ayo Obe, Rev. Fr. Mathew Kukah, Ebun Adegoruwa, Clement Nwankwo, Felix Tuodolo, Debo Adeniran, Ima Niboro, Akinola Orisagbemi, who was Personal Assistant to Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, Innocent Chukwuma, Bunmi Aborisade, and numerous activists under the banners of the Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Medical Association, Nigeria Labour Congress, NUJ, PENGASSAN, NUPENG, Lagos Justice Forum, and NANS made invaluable contributions to the struggle.


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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

NEWS

•President Goodluck Jonathan (middle) with members of the National Space Council after their inauguration at the Presidential Villa in Abuja…yesterday

How Ezu River 19 were killed, by Senate report

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HE mystery surrounding the 19 floating bodies found in Ezu River in Anambra State has been uncovered. Senate Joint Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence investigated the discovery of the “strange dead bodies” on the river. The committee has given a graphic picture of how the youths died. The committee, chaired by Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu and Senator Mohammed Magoro, presented shocking autopsy reports of the bodies. The investigative report of the Joint Committee sighted by our correspondents in Abuja revealed that instead of 30, the victims of the gory incident were 19.

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

According the autopsy reports, 15 of the 19 bodies were seen. Six bodies had evidence of gun shots. The weapon used for all the shots is one type-long range rifle. Aimed areas of the body: Legs up to the knee cap and some up to the hips. All the victims dressed alike boxers or pants. Suspected cause of death Hemorrhage resulting from unattended gun shots. Though the committee submitted a detailed report, it could not establish who did the killings. The true identities of the victims were also not established

by the committee. The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) told the committee that the victims were its members who were in police custody. The police denied the claim. The Inspector General of Police told the Committee that on January 19, there was a report of 19 bodies floating on River Ezu, a boundary between Anambra and Enugu states, and that the Commissioners of Police in the states were informed through a phone call. He said the bodies were found to be clean-shaven, ablebodied young men but that they were already decomposed. Four of the decomposed bodies were displayed for eight days before they were taken for autopsy.

Nobody or community has complained that they have lost anybody, the IG said, but assured that the police were working with other Security agencies to get to the root of the issue. The Director General (DG) of the State Security Service (SSS) told the committee that on January 19, 18 bodies were found floating on Ezu River. He said the Anambra State Governor, who was informed immediately, cut-short a foreign trip and returned home to order the bodies to be removed from the river. He said the strange development led to several conjectures, such as that they: •were dumped by security agencies; •were hired to fight in a war Continued on page 5

6,000 flee Boko Haram to Niger Republic, says UN

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NTI-INSURGENT operations in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, have uprooted thousands in northeast Nigeria. No fewer than 6,000 people have fled to neighbouring Niger Republic for safety, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said yesterday According to the UN agency, those fleeing said they were leaving for fear of being caught in the military crackdown on insurgents linked to the Boko Haram sect, particularly in the

Baga area of Borno State, UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said in Geneva. “Refugees report that air strikes by government forces are continuing from time to time, and that planes are regularly flying over the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where the state of emergency has been in force since May 14,” he stated. “People arriving in Niger also mention the increasing presence of roving armed bandits in several states in Nigeria. Rising commodity prices coupled

with pre-existing food insecurity is also becoming a major concern for the populations of the affected States.” Niger Republic has so far received 6,240 people, comprising Nigerian nationals, returning Niger nationals and people of other nationalities, according to UNHCR. There have also been arrivals in Cameroon and Chad in the past weeks. “New arrivals are either renting houses or staying with host families, who are themselves living in very precarious conditions,” noted Mr. Ed-

wards. UNHCR staff who have visited many border villages hosting new arrivals also met some Nigerian families living out in the open, under trees. The presence of the newcomers is also putting a strain on meagre local food and water resources, the agency said, noting that Niger, a country in the Sahel, itself struggles with food insecurity due to years of drought. “UNHCR plans to deliver some relief to the new arrivals Continued on page 5

June 12 alive, say NADECO, Soyinka Continued from page 1

their belief that June 12 is the Democracy Day. The Federal Government marks May 29, the date Nigeria reverted to civil rule in 1999 as Democracy Day. At the NADECO Colloquium in Lagos yesterday, Mr. Fred Agbeyegbe delivered a paper titled “The need and modalities of a sovereign National Conference”. NADECO chairman Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd) said the colloquium was to x-ray the “current political landscape of a patently unhealthy polity of the country, Nigeria.” Among those at the event were NADECO Secretary Ayo Opadokun, Mrs. Dupe OnitireA biola (one of ABiola’s wives), Rev. Tunji Adebiyi, Mr. Baba Omojola, Mr. Tony Nyam, Dr. Tokunbo Ajasin and Alhaji Yerima Shetima Apart from the call for the Sovereign National Conference, the pro- democracy group criticised the 1999 Constitution, which it claimed was imposed on the country, as the instrumentality for the usurpation of the collective sovereign will of the people. “ Ultimately, the sovereign will of the Nigerian people got subjugated by the imposition of a Constitution which, to date, enslaves them at the hands of the very predatory forces behind the entire June 12 annulment. “This usurpation of the sovereignty is being pursued as to ensure that it is reinforced, legit-

imised and made permanent, via the instrumentality of the 1999 Constitution, wholly imposed by the aforesaid tiny, military - propelled power clique, a critical mass of who are part of those that now hold sway in our civil rule, pseudo- democracy”. NADECO claimed that the usurpation of the sovereign will of the people has led to grievances, anger, disaffection and dissatisfaction in many quarters throughout the country. The group listed eight provisions in the Constitution which it regarded as anti- people, saying they “inevitably led to and manifest in increasing grievances of the people of Nigeria towards and in a country they wish to have exist and prosper properly in its diversity”. It argued that the remedy for the numerous grievances in the land cannot be found in the amendment of the Constitution by any organ of government , committee or the National Assembly. It described as mere grandstanding the impression that the Constitution is being amended by one particular organ and that it will end in futility. “ For remediation, the grievances occasioned by these provisions clearly transcend the realm of amendments by whatever organ of government, be it Committees or National Assembly. All the grandstanding about amendments in the National Assembly remain an exercise in fuContinued on page 5

PDP, Jonathan have failed Nigerians, says Tinubu Continued from page 1

ing poverty and injustice. “They have ignored the cause and gone after the symptoms,” the former Lagos State Governor told a packed audience inside the Grand Committee Ballroom, Westminster Hall, House of Parliament, London on Monday. He identified failed policies on power, employment, economy and security as evidence of bad leadership. Tinubu, the keynote speaker at the British African Diaspora Conference, spoke on “Leadership, national development and the people”. He urged the Federal Government to apply a consistent policy of targeted law enforcement operations along with an active programme of economic development, negotiations and potential amnesty for penitent Boko Haram members. He said rather than take this step, the nation has been treated to series of government inaction and indiscriminate use of force, which culminated in the declaration of a state of

APC submits registration request to INEC

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HE stage is set for the emergence of a mega opposition party. Proponents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have submitted their request for registration to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) fused to form APC. Besides the major parties, some members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) are part of the merger. Spokesman for the APC Merger Committee, Chief Tom Ikimi, yesterday confirmed that the party- in-formation submitted its request to INEC on Friday. He spoke to reporters after a meeting of the committee in Abuja. According to the former Foreign Affairs Minister, the request was signed by the

emergency in three states. “The Jonathan government set up a special Committee on Boko Haram and Security matters, but sadly before they could perform, he declared State of Emergency in three Northern states: Yobe, Borno

Yusuf Alli and John Ofikenua. Abuja

national chairmen, national secretaries and treasurers of the merging parties as stipulated by the relevant registration requirement. “We were able to conclude work amicably on the choice of name, logo, slogan, symbol, constitution and manifesto. “The merging political parties held hitchfree conventions in Lagos, Abuja and Gusau,” Ikimi said, adding that there is no crack within the opposition coalition on the constitution of an Interim National Executive Committee for the new party. He said APC leaders were consulting on the membership of the executive committee. He said: “That (Executive Committee) is being discussed and it is being worked out and we need to consult further with our various parties in order to agree with those names. There are no disagreements and we

and Adamawa. “This is symptomatic of a confused leadership. If there is security in this jumbled policy, neither I nor the majority of Nigerians can find it!” To the fomer Lagos governor, if Nigeria is to mature as

as merging parties are working and we had a fruitful meeting this afternoon and we have made fundamental decisions. “One of the decisions is that we should now consult further with our various parties (on the names of those to lead the newly formed party). Each merging party and some sections of All Progressive Grand Alliance and the DPP have been mandated to report back to the leaders of their group on the matter. “ Ikimi explained that APC had gone far in its merger and would not disappoint Nigerians who are eager for change. He gave an insight into how the merging parties worked to produce the name of the new party, its logo, the slogan, the symbol, the constitution and the manifesto. He added: “To this end, we have all subscribed to our new constitution and it defines, quite clearly, the leadership structure

a democracy, its electoral system must be improved. He decried the fact that those who control the system manipulate elections with such impunity that they now see misconduct without sanction as a normal way of life.

Continued on page 5

Said he: “Look at the recent controversy surrounding election of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) chairman… A group comprising all the nations’ governors could not even conduct a simple 35-person election without a disput-

•Ikimi...yesterday

ed outcome. “With this recent experience, I fear the length those in power would go and the means Continued on page 5

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NEWS ‘How Ezu River 19 were killed’ Continued from page 4

•Ekiti House Speaker Adewale Omirin (third right) leading the ’A million endorsements not enough for Fayemi’ in Ode-Ekiti...on Monday. STORY ON PAGE 10

PDP, Jonathan have failed Nigerians, says Tinubu Continued from page 4

they would employ to manipulate results when the battleground is the entire nation and the stakes are the general elections in 2015. “The NGF debacle symbolises a disdain for democracy and the popular will. If we are to save Nigeria, we must rescue the electoral process from its abusers,” Tinubu said. In his view, a great philosophical gulf separates the government from the progressives. “This current Nigerian government is a retrogressive one. Much of what they claim as growth is but the harsh redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top. The bottom gets squeezed while the top expands. They are serving us the salad of corruption. “They consume our today and squander the nation’s tomorrow. For 14 years, the PDPled government cannot turn anything around. A new leadership is required to put a stop to this.” Tinubu criticised Nigeria’s economic policies, saying the economy is being reconstructed “as an oasis for a small few and a stark desert for the many” while the government pretends to endorse the same budgetcutting austerity policies as much of Europe.

“We are not Europe; we are a Third World economy. That these policies have failed in European nations with higher standards of living than Nigeria gives our leaders no concern.” Tinubu said the people live in dire straits, yet the government would rather waste the money than spend it on public benefit because they do not believe the people deserve it. He said the progressives would bring pragmatic solution to the country’s woes because in their approach to the political economy, they do not rely on textbook answers as they do not “live in textbooks. He said: “We live in the real world and thus seek answers from real world experiences. Here is a real world fact: No large nation has ever attained sustained growth without government running budget deficits to build the required infrastructure and without other government policies promoting development of the key industries that would become the spine of national development. “Here is another such fact: No populous nation ever attains prosperity solely by extracting its raw material to exchange them for the finished goods of other large nations. We must industrialise and diversify our economy

“It is for this reason – to save the nation from the stranglehold of permanent poverty and poor governance – that the members of the progressive opposition political parties have decided to put aside personal ambition (including my own ambition) to form a new party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). We do this because Nigeria has entered a critical state of economic depression.” According to Tinubu, because of the unfair nature of the electoral processes and the gross imbalance of its political economy, the people have been props in a drama for which they should have been the main characters. “We must change this,” he said. He said the progressives must move Nigeria away from a place where the whims and narrow wishes of self-centered reactionary elite dictate the fate of over 150 million people. “On our side, we will take our chances with a free and fair election, for we shall offer the people an innovative programme consisting of a national industrial policy that includes radical infrastructural development and employment targets,” he said. The former Lagos governor spoke of “the Glorious Nigerian Revolution”, which he said

has nothing to do with force of arms. His words: “The Revolution of which I speak has two major parts. First, is the peaceful conversion of our quasi-democracy into a full-fledged one. Second, is the implementation of policies turning the political economy away from its retrogressive, elitist bearings. “We seek policies pointing in a progressive direction affording the average person a chance at a dignified life. This will be through the provision of gainful employment, quality education and essential social services for those who need the helping hand of government to survive. “I see no shame in believing progressive government can improve the political economy and the lives of the people.” Groups and personalities at the event included representatives of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Business Council for Africa , the British African Business Alliance, Ministers from Nigeria High Commission UK7; an association of Nigerians in top British government employment – British Nigerians in Government (BIG) and Chairman, the African Professionals in the Diaspora (TAPID), Tope Olodo. •Full speech tomorrow

June 12 a watershed, say NADECO, Soyinka, others Continued from page 4

tility, of unintended self- delusion and a dissipation of everybody’s time along as the main Constitutional grievances remain unaddressed. “ NADECO claimed that only the naive would expect those who benefitted from the deformed Nigeria edifice to line up and dismantle the very basis of the illicit benefits. It called on Nigerians to hold opponents of SNC responsible should the country come to a violent dismemberment. “ NADECO asserts that all the violent agitations in Nigeria have their roots in these constitutional grievances and cannot be peacefully addressed otherwise than by a holistic engagement with the issues by way of a Sovereign National Conference of ethnic nationalities. In refusing to initiate this only plausible non- violent mechanism for addressing the Nigerian question, opponents of the SNC have pushed into a violent and disorderly debate of the same issues as now being conducted by the OPC, MASSOB, Egbesu, MEND, Boko Haram, and now Ombatse, probably others will follow,...Again,

let it be stated, loud and clear that the opponents, not the proponents, of the vital and inevitable Sovereign National Conference of ethnic nationalities of Nigeria, should and will be held responsible and accountable if the country comes to violent dismemberment”, it charged. Prof Wole Soyinka and Action Congress of Nigeria (AC N) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu have reflected on the June 12, 1993 presidential election and described those trying to wish away the historical day as time-wasters. In separate statements, the duo agreed that June 12 remains indelible in the memory of those who staked their all to enthrone democracy.The election, adjudged by local and foreign observers as Nigeria’s best ever, was annulled by military President Ibrahim Babangida. The playwright described the attempt to obliterate the day by some elements as futile as it remains “human spirit” that cannot die. Besides, the literary icon branded those playing up May 29 as Democracy Day above June 12 as run of the mill politicians. According to him, May 29

merely symbolises the day a compromised president took the baton of leadership following a compromised election. In his June 12 message, Soyinka described today as Nigeria’s real Democracy Day and a watershed in the nation’s history. In his view, it is unfortunate that those trampling on June 12 are those rescued from relegation, obscurity and the jaws of death and promoted to relevance and prominence by the June 12 spirit. The message reads: “We need to remind ourselves what June 12, 1993 represents. It is neither mere date, nor sentiment. It is simply – human spirit. What a futile undertaking it is then, when some individuals attempt to deny or crush it. “Yet it was the power of this very spirit that brought such out of relegation or obscurity, even from the jaws of death, and bestowed upon them relevance and prominence. “What June 12 possesses is exactly what May 29, or any other day lacks. The former was a spirit of unified purpose, the latter simply an egotistical appropriation of the gift of the former. “June 12 embodies unity of

purpose, equity and justice, the manifestation of the sovereign will of a people. It remains forever a watershed of Nigerian history, no matter what the future holds. “I urge you to try a simple experiment: narrate the story of May 29 to a child and watch his or her reaction. On that day – that child would concede – an individual was installed as a compromise president following a compromise election. So, what’s new? “Now move on to unfold the tapestry of June 12. Run your finger along its traceries of citizen resolve, upheavals, of individual and group heroisms, of sacrifices and martyrdoms, the timeless narrative of human resilience. “Watch the difference in that child’s responses. Yet, even the beneficiaries of that day persist in their futile effort to kill the date and supplant it with another. Why should we be surprised? “It is that unprincipled game of substitution that they have carried even to subsequent elections, substituting names of the rightful winners of elections with others who were never even in Continued on page 7

between Cross River and Ebonyi State where they were killed; but there were no signs of bullet wounds; •were cultists; •must have died from generator fumes in factories and were dumped there by private multinationals; and that •they were kidnappers who decided to kill others to carry the ransom. “All these were mere conjectures and that the result of the autopsy being awaited would expose the possible cause of deaths,” said the DG. The SSS said the bodies could not have been thrown into the river without the knowledge of the communities. On alleged complicity of the police, the DG told the committee that the service advocated an audit of suspects in police custody in Anambra and Enugu states. When asked by the committee whether they ever went on joint operation to Onitsha, the SSS chief said “they went and arrested about 17 persons who were charged to court, the following day and were granted bail.” The Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, corroborated the account of the Director General, SSS. On the number of bodies found, “security chiefs were unanimous that they were only 19, not 30 as was being speculated”. On whether they actually wore identical clothes, boxer shorts and t-shirts, “they responded that they were actually not wearing identical clothes as some wore wrappersa and pants etc”. According to the report, “the Igwe of Amansea told the committee that the bodies were first seen in the morning of January 19, by some indigenes who went to the river to fetch water. “The person who actually saw the bodies first could not be identified, the committee said. The Committee was shown the two graves where some of the bodies were buried but later exhumed. The Deputy Governor, Mr. Sibeudu, who represented Governor Peter Obi, told the committee that as a result of the seriousness the governor attached

to the issue, the government announced a cash reward of N5 million for information on the mystery, but that nobody came forward. The Committee visited the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Enugu, where they inspected detention cells and facilities. The Committee noted that after interactive sessions with several stakeholders and thorough investigations into the issue, it found: •That Ezu River flows down from a town called Agbaogugu through Ogwuoba and Amansea communities and empties into the River Niger. It is a boundary between Aniansea community in Awka North Local Government Area, Anambra State and Ugwuoba community in Oji River Local Government Area, Enugu State. •that the river is the main source’ of drinking water for the two communities. •that on the 19th January 2013, 18 strange dead bodies were found floating on the river. One more body was found on the 23rd of January, bringing the total member of bodies found to 19. •that the bodies were already decomposed at the time they were found, suggesting that they must have died some days earlier before they were dumped. •that all the bodies were brought out of the river on the instructions of the Governor of Anambra State. •Some were taken for autopsy; others were buried along the river bank, but were later exhumed for autopsy. •That there is a police checkpoint just about 100 metres away from the river on Anambra State side and another one five kilometers on the Enugu State side, and that this check point had been in existence for the past three years. The Committee recommended “that further forensic analysis of the bullet still lodged in one of the bodies should be carried out so as to ascertain the exact type of gun that fired it and where it is commonly found. “That the Anambra State Government should also be encouraged to carry out a more thorough DNA test on the bodies as requested by the pathologists.”

‘6,000 flee Boko Haram to Niger Republic’ Continued from page 4

as well as to the host community. We are also helping the local authorities to register new arrivals,” Mr. Edwards said. The UNHCR said the security situation in Nigeria remains

“extremely difficult.” It added that information about the humanitarian situation and displaced people in the northeast is limited since it is not present in the areas that are under a state of emergency, due to the prevailing insecurity

APC submits registration request to INEC Continued from page 4

of the party. “This principle underscores equality and fair play among party members without prejudice. “We will, therefore, strive to guarantee transparency and internal party democracy particularly at this stage of registration. “We expect all of us involved in the process to also subscribe to and respect the fundamental principles. Everyone committed to providing our country this platform of change must be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice.” ACN National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohamed allayed the fear that INEC might not register APC because of nonsubmission of the list of its Executive Committee members. Alhaji Mohammed said: “On

the list of the Interim Executive Committee, you will know in due course. Let me tell you one thing: nobody would stampede us and no amount of pressure would make us do what we know is not proper. “This is the first time such a merger is happening in Nigeria. We won’t be distracted because we know we are on right course.” Ikimi was accompanied by former Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau from ANPP and a former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Gadi from the CPC. Others at the meeting were Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa and a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Audu Ogbeh.


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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

NEWS NRC to link major sea and airports •From left: Senator Petr Bratsky, member, Committee on National Economy, Agriculture and Transport,Parliament of the Czech Republic Senate; Senator Jiri Uklein, Secretary-General, Parliament of Czech Republic Senate, receiving Senate President David Mark on his arrival at the Prague Airport... on Monday.

Reps to retain four years of two terms for President, governors •Arewa opposes six-year single tenure T THE Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information, Zakari Mohammed, has said the House will retain the four-year, two-term provision for the President, Vice President and governors in the constitution. The spokesman said this is the position of the House on the review of the constitution. Last week, the Senate submitted its report on the constitution review. It recommended a sixyear single term for the President, the Vice President and the governors. Mohammed told reporters yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, that the Senate’s recommendation did not come from all members of the National Assembly. He said: “We are bringing out our own report soon. In it, we have retained the structure of four years with two terms as it is in the constitution. When we present our report, of course, there will be a conference committee between Senate and House of Representatives. “If they (senators) don’t agree, there will be a conference, and it is about 360 members of the House of Representatives with 109 senators. At the end of the day, the position of the House will be in order. We went down to Nigerians - 360 federal constituencies - and everybody there wanted the retention of the four-year, two terms, as enshrined in the constitution. That

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin and Tony Akowe, Kaduna

is the judgment that we brought from the people. This is because our own constitution review was people-based and it was an opportunity to interface with our people. “Rather than mix it up, we need to be very clear. The Senate has submitted its report; ours is ready. By the time we come back from the break, we will present it at the floor of the House. It will come as a single bill. It will go through the process of first reading and second reading. Then a public hearing will follow. It will come back to the floor of the House and we will adopt the report. Then, it becomes a clean Act that Mr. President will assent to.” On the granting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2015 presidential ticket to President Goodluck Jonathan by the Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, the House spokesperson said: “That is undemocratic. Let everybody go to the field and test his popularity. It means that party men have a say again. The party men must be given the opportunity to select the best of their choices, those who can go in and face the other people. May be the

BoT chairman was quoted out of context, because I know he should know better. “What I know is that there must be time check after four years. People must be given the allowance to assess, if the administration is worth giving another chance.” Mohammed described the recent attack on Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal by the Osun State chapter of the PDP as act of small-mindedness. He said: “After elections, what we are facing is governance. What Tambuwal is doing is governance for the benefit of Nigerian people. I am speaking for him, but the Tambuwal I know is a bridge-builder. He is one Nigerian who has his friends and contacts everywhere. “This is the Number Four Citizen. Even though he belongs to the opposition parties, he cannot turn down a governor’s request to inaugurate a project. If he does that, it would be the height of pettiness. When you see a good thing, you appreciate it; when you see what is condemnable, you do it too.” The pan-North socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said yesterday it is against a six-year single tenure for the President and governors, as proposed by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.

The group said the plan has nothing positive to offer the nation. ACF’s National Publicity Secretary Anthony Sani told The Nation that there is no incentive in the proposed six-year single tenure that can motivate an excellent performance. He said motivation is necessary in managing human affairs, adding that the only incentive kin a single tenure would be the looting of the treasury. Sani said: “ACF is opposed to single tenure because it has no incentives that can motivate for excellent performance. This is because the good, the not-sogood and the feckless are put in the same bracket without any distinction. “We all know that in the management of human affairs, motivation is an instrument. In a single tenure, the only incentive would be the pillage of the state treasury. This is why most nations, including Russia and China, operate multiple tenure system. “As to the fear of abuse of incumbency, the National Assembly can consider the Chilean model, which allows multiple tenure that is not consecutive. That is to say, no President or governor would be allowed to conduct an election in which he or she is a candidate...”

‘Prominent Nigerians haven’t redeemed promises to relief fund’

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EVERAL prominent Nigerians, who promised to donate to last year’s flood disaster fund in the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan, have not redeemed their promises, six months after, it was learnt yesterday. Ironically, among the defaulters are those enjoying the tax incentives attached to the financial pledges. A Presidential Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Committee, co-chaired by business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and frontline lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), was put in place to administer the fund. It has threatened to publish the names of the defaulters should they fail to remit their promises on or before June 30. Advising the defaulters to respect their honour and integrity and pay up, the committee

vowed to publish defaulters’ names in national dailies in the next three weeks. The 34-man Presidential Committee, which targeted N100 billion, held a fund raising dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. On the occasion, donations and pledges made by prominent Nigerians amounted to N11.35billion. Dangote and the Federal Government led the list of donors with N2.5 billion apiece; Jim Ovia, Chairman of Visafone and Tony Elumelu donated N1 billion each. The Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke, and her Telecommunications counterpart promised to mobilise indigenous oil companies and telecommunications firms for the fund. The companies, though in-

vited, were absent at the dinner. President Jonathan announced tax incentives for corporate organisations that would donate to the flood relief fund, which is meant to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians who were affected by last year’s floods. A statement in Lagos by the co-chairmen said the committee would publish the names of defaulters in the newspapers and other social media blogs, if by June 30 they fail to redeem their promise. The statement, titled: Public Notice: Redemption of Pledges, reads: “The Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation expresses its profound gratitude and appreciation to all who answered the clarion call to be our brothers’ keepers through their generous

By Yinka Aderibigbe

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HE Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) will soon connect major sea and airports with an effective rail service, its Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje has

said. Baraje spoke in Lagos after members of the board completed a facility tour of the corporation’s installations in Lagos State. He said besides efforts to connect the nation’s major economic gateways, the management would also partner the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to convey containers across the inland container depots. The NRC chairman noted that this would reduce the burden on the nation’s roads. According to him, the board of the corporation is aware of the expectations of Nigerians for a seamless rail service and easy movements of passengers and cargoes across the country. Baraje said: “With the level attained by the ongoing modernisation, the corporation will soon get connected to all major sea ports, while the next phase of medernisation will be aimed at the airports.” The NRC chairman explained that the private sector would participate in the rail services when the programme is completed. According to him, the Federal Government cannot shoulder the financial responsibility alone, hence the need for private sector participation. Baraje expressed satisfaction with the new equipment at the Lagos workshops. He warned the workers to handle the equipment with care because “the public is anxious for results on the huge financial commitment of the Federal Government”. NRC’s Managing Director Adeseyi Sijuwade said the corporation was mindful of the high expectations of the public. He said this is the reason for the current drive to increase the number of train services across the country. The managing director announced the imminent take-off of a daily shuttle between Lagos and Kano. Sijuwade assured that the train service would be extended to the eastern axis before the end of the year. The engineer said the corporation was doing its best to meet the demands of freight customers who have shown preference for rail transport. He praised Lafarge Cement Company Plc, Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Oando Plc and Total Oil Limited reliable rail services for freighting their commodities. Sijuwade advised other corporate organisations to join the growing list of NRC’s corporate customers and clients.

Fed roads valued at N2.3tr From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

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HE Federal Government yesterday said Nigerian roads can be valued at N2.3trillion. The Minister of Works, Chief Mike Onolememen, quoted the figure during a visit by the Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General on International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Abuja. He said: “The ministry, in its capacity, cannot allow such huge investment on road infrastructure built by different tenures of government in the nation, to be wasted away by disasters, such as floods. Such occurrences can be mitigated. “The ministry is fully ready to work with any available expertise to formulate the way forward in protecting the nation’s key infrastructure in its domain. The ministry is ready to further partner the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in resolving the occurrences of this national consequence. “There is no sustainable development in any nation without sustainable infrastructure. There is need for a forum of nations with different disaster experience, where thinkers will come together to discuss how to avert natural disasters.” The leader of the group, Margareta Wahlstrom, said the group came to reinforce the message on natural disaster management. She said the gathering is a global agenda where people from different parts of the world with similar disaster experiences, like Canada, Japan, Australia and others, discuss and make contributions to help nations prone to natural disasters. Wahlstrom recalled the flood disasters that occurred last year in Nigeria during the rainy season, saying it could have been averted.

Nigeria tops nations with out-of-school kids

•Dr. Jonathan

donations and pledges at its fund raising dinner in November, 2012, for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims in Nigeria. We thank you immensely. “As we proceed to the implementation stage of the planned rehabilitation projects, we hereby call on all those who have not redeemed their pledges to please do so on or before June 30, 2013, as a mark of honour and integrity. The names of defaulters will be announced in all national dailies and social media blogs.

•UNESCO: 57m children out of school

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NEW report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has placed Nigeria top on countries with children missing out of school. The global figure for the number of children without access to schools has fallen to 57 million. These figures are for 2011 and show a reduction from an estimated 61 million missing school in 2010. According to UNESCO, the countries with most children missing out of school are: Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Indian, Philippines, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Niger, Yemen and Mali. The report also states that more than half of the children missing out on school are now in sub-Saharan Africa. The last annual report showed that in some countries, including Nigeria, the problem is getting worse rather than better.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS PDP crisis: Obio/Akpor Council case suffers a setback

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HE suit by the Caretaker Committee (CTC) chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area(LGA), of Rivers state, Chikordi Dike, over the blockade of the council premises yesterday suffered a setback. The matter fixed for motion on notice could not go on following the withdrawal of Justice Nganjiwa from the case. The judge disqualified himself after being accused of ‘already forming a decision’ against them by the defendants. The CTC chair had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP), the Commissioner of Police (CP) and others over the blockade at the council premises. The Judge expressed his decision to return the case file to the administrative judge for re-assignment. In an application for a reassignment by the defence Lawyer Donald C. DENwigwe, (SAN) supported by a motion, the defence accused the judge of being bias in his earlier ruling on the joiner motion by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the case.

From Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt

DENwigwe said the defendants had declared the Judge Functtuf Officio and as a result he was no longer relevant in their case. DENwigwe said “we earlier wrote a letter to the Judge asking him to disqualify himself from the case. “The reason being that he has already drawn a conclusion against us (the defence), when he threw out the motion filed by the People Democratic Party (PDP), to join in the case he used our grounds of defence against us. “Having already drawn conclusion against our defence, there is nothing again left for him to hear about us, hence he has become functuf officio, and can no longer hear our matter unbiased. Asked if they would recall the already dismissed case (PDP joiner motion), before the new Judge he said no.” At the sitting yesterday, the Judge after taking appearances from the parties wrote and declared “this matter was slated for hearing today (yesterday), but I’m aware that the defendants have filed petitions asking that the matter be re-assigned to an-

other court; in view of this, there is no need for me to continue with the matter. “I therefore withdraw from further hearing of the case. I will return the case file to the Administrative Judge for reassignment.” The House of Assembly on April 22 suspended Chairman of the council Timothy Nsirim, his deputy and 17 councillors on alleged financial recklessness. They were replaced the following day by a Seven-man CTC led by Dike. The development created tension in the area, resulting in the takeover of the premises by the Police, on May 3. The CTC group approached the court for intervention, asking that the Police be ordered out of the premises to allow them and workers of the council access to their offices, to enable them pay workers’ salaries for the April and May. Dike told the court that the Police presence at the council gate was illegal and should be ordered out. The Court urged the applicant to put the AGF and the Police on notice. At the next sitting the defendants appeared in court defending

their actions as right, insisting that they were securing government property. Represented by DENwigwe, AGF, Police challenged the jurisdiction of a Federal High court in a state matter. The ousted chairman Nsirim filed an application for joiner, saying that his was relevant to the suit, being the rightful elected chairman of the council. His application was dismissed by the court. The court later ordered the police to vacate their barricade at the premises to allow movement of genuine persons including workers and CTC members access to carry out their legitimate functions at the premises. Shortly after police pulled out their men from the premises, tension returned leading to the burning of the council generation house, by suspected youths loyal to Nsirim. The Police repossessed the premises and have been there as at press time. Cases related on the Obio/ Akpor issues are scattered in both the Federal and State High courts. The matter to be re-assigned was however not adjourned to any date.

No lesson learnt from June 12, says group

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HE Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum has criticised politicians for failing to learn any lesson from the annulled June 12 1993 election, 20 years after. In a statement yesterday, the group said events of today portend danger ahead of the 2015 polls. The Secretary General of the Group Mr Akin Malaolu said the Nigerian Governors Forum election “is a pointer to

what to expect in 2015 and a pointer to the fact that no lessons have been learnt from the June 12 matter.” “Nigerians should be very vigilant taking the NGF election into consideration because it is a fact now that those who annulled Chief Moshood Abiola’s victory in 1993 are stiil very much around and are ready to annul another good man’s victory in 2015,” the statement added.

Company signs oil deal

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FRICAN Independent oil and gas company, Taleveras, has signed a Farm-Out Agreement with a subsidiary of LUKOIL, Russia’s largest private oil company, for Block CI-504 in Ivory Coast. PETROCI, the national oil company of Ivory Coast, also holds interest in the Block. Block CI-504 is located in close proximity to the producing Baobab field. The area of the block is 399 square kilometers, water depth ranges from 800 to 2100 meters. In the south CI504 borders on block CI-205 which is already operated by LUKOIL. The committed work programme includes three periods, the first exploration period calls for the interpretation of historical 2D and 3D seismic data as well as additional 3D seismic acquisition by January 2014. Two other periods covering five years in

total provide for the drilling of two exploration wells. Taleveras signed an MOU with PETROCI for collaboration in upstream activities in Ivory Coast in July 2011. Since then Taleveras has signed Production Sharing Contracts with PETROCI for 3 exploration blocks offshore Ivory Coast. Taleveras is a diversified energy and infrastructure conglomerate concentrating on oil & gas exploration, production, trading and supply, with further activities in power and construction. Active across the globe, Taleveras’ offices are located in London, Geneva, Abuja, Lagos, Abidjan, Cape Town and Dubai. The company is privately owned. LUKOIL is Russian major international vertically-integrated oil & gas company. PETROCI has been the national oil company of Ivory Coast since 1975.

Building collapses, kills 3 children in Sokoto

A •From left: Founder of Otunba Tunwase National Paediatric Centre (OTNPC), Ijebu-Ode, Otunba Michael Subomi Balogun, President of Otunba Tunwase Foundation and GMD/CEO, FCMB Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun and the Chief Medical Director of the Centre, Dr. Fatai Feyintola, during the signing of the Deed of Total Gift of the OTNPC to the University of Ibadan. The ceremony took place at IjebuOde, Ogun State

June 12 a watershed, say NADECO, Soyinka, others Continued from page 5

contention. “It is this same mental compulsion that moves them to attempt to rob even a calendar date of its significance, its history, its potential for character formation and sense of national formation – and transformation. “We remain unshaken! Let others continue their sham ceremonies – after all, this is a democracy - or so we claim! “And that same Democracy mandates those who are dedicated to truth, who are tutored in the lessons of history, who understand that the human spirit is enduring, to hold fast onto the truthful anniversary, recognising none other, ensuring that this date is emblazoned across the sky, and takes root in the very earth that has soaked up the blood of our martyrs.” Tinubu, who took active part in the June 12 struggle, said the spirit of June 12 is not only alive but thriving. He said June 12 spirit will propel the process that will produce free and fair elections in future. Describing June 12 as Nigeria’s beacon in the dark, the former Lagos governor said the

thirst for change is thick in the air and millions of Nigerians desperately want their votes to count in the next round of elections. His words: “June 12 remains indelibly etched in our memory, though it stands as a ringing indictment to the military and their civilian travellers who conspired against the wishes of millions of Nigerians. Because what happened on June 12 is deep-rooted and genuine, the spirit behind it has refused to die”. In a statement entitled: “Nigerians poised to re-enact the spirit of June in the next elections,” Tinubu said: “This pervading spirit of patriotic zeal has reached a critical mass powerful enough to propel the engines of change and the demand for a truly free and fair elections.The core of the June 12 elections was the transparency and the free and fair nature the election held. Twenty years after, Nigerians deserve no less. “The quality of our elections in the past few years, has not attained the quality and transparency that surrounded the conduct of the June 12, 1993 elections. “The symbol of June 12 and

Nigeria’s Icon of Democracy, Chief Kashimawo Abiola gave to Nigeria a truly fine moment in history and taught us the lesson that Nigeria has all it takes to get it right and be great. “But we failed to recognize his mandate and heed the message of his victory at the poll.Rather, we rushed to crucify him and stifle the message of democracy for which he made great sacrifices. Since June 12, we have struggled to reach the level of democratic quality experienced at that moment. Today, we live halfway between sun and storm. We have yet to reach the democratic level of June 12. “The harvest time has come for Nigeria and Nigerians, but only if we imbibe the spirit of June 12 and abide with the lessons of that historic event. He said the present political circumstances is such that Nigerians must rally for change. “Beyond that, they must demand for reform in the electoral system, especially the use of full biometric system for our elections. “Across Africa, even in countries just stepping out of brutal

civil wars, governments continue to embrace biometric technology as a safeguard against election manipulation and multiple voting. “Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya to mention a few have keyed in. Nigerians must mobilize to demand from this current government the application of full biometric system. We on our part are committed to the struggle to make this happen.” Tinubu lauded the late Chief MKO Abiola, who was the symbol of June 12, saying that the business mogul will forever remain a source of inspiration for all lovers of democracy and an avatar for justice and the rule of law. He said: “This is why we must never forget June 12. We must never lose hope that we can attain the level of democratic practice of that day. “We cannot change the past; we cannot turn back the hands of the clock. However, we can dedicate ourselves to a better future. We can go forward to a new, more complete June 12 that has an ending as benign as it’s beginning.”

BUILDING has collapsed, killing three children of same parents in Adarawa area of Dange town in Sokoto State. The structure caved in as a result of wind and rainstorm that occurred in the early hours of Sunday. The victims of the disaster are: Zahara’u, Yusuf and Zainab Abu-Malam , aged 15, 9 and 7 years respectively. The Chairman of DangeShuni Local Government Area, Alhaji Magaji Bodai, told NAN in Dange on

Tuesday that two of the children died on Sunday while the third one died on Monday at a hospital following injuries sustained from the incident. He said he had since visited the area and condoled with the family of the victims. The chairman described the incident as an act of God and prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased and for the family to bear the loss. Bodai said he had ordered the immediate rehabilitation of the collapsed building.

MASSOB is sacrificing for Biafra, says Uwazuruike

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HE Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra MASSOB, said yesterday that it has sacrificed itself to liberate Igbo from marginalisation. MASSOB leader Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, said MASSOB is suffering for Ndigbo but rather than they being appreciated, their people have kept castigating them. The group insisted that hoodlums and other groups committed crimes that were linked to MASSOB. Uwazuruike, who spoke through his Personal Assistant, Emmanuel Omenka, in Onitsha said: “Last Saturday’s sit-at-home was in commemoration of six Igbo traders killed by the police at Apo Village Abuja and those killed by the Boko Haram, those killed and dumped at Ezu River, Amansea and others killed in Northern Nigeria. “MASSOB sacrifices itself for Ndigbo. Igbo, you have seen that MASSOB is suffering for you. It is left for you to know

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

if you will support MASSOB or not,” he said. He said soldiers allegedly killed about eight MASSOB members during the sit-athome protest, arrested many others and whisked them to Awka, the state capital. According to him, MASSOB is a non-violent organisation fighting for the actualisation of a Biafran Republic. He however expressed optimism that one day the dream would be realised adding, “I am happy at the extent of the successful observation of the sit-at-home by the Igbo, especially traders, civil servants, students and other professionals”. Omenka who is also the Regional Administrator of Ogbaru, in Anambra, warned that MASSOB would not continue to keep quiet while Igbo land is desecrated by foreigners. He described the killing of MASSOB members last Saturday as “deliberate by soldiers working for Boko Haram.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS

Protesting NIPOST ex-workers paralyse R activities over unpaid benefits

ETIRED workers of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) yesterday disrupted activities at the headquarters of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Area 11, Abuja. The ex-workers were protesting the non-payment of their entitlements. The protesters, who came with foods, bags of pure (sachet) water as well as personal effects, blocked the main entrance of NIPOST headquarters, carrying placards with various inscriptions. They vowed not leave until their benefits were paid. They accused the management of NIPOST of neglecting them after they had earlier tabled their demands before the Postmaster General of the Federation, Malam Ibrahim Mori Baba. Aminu Adamu, leader of the protesters, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the National Union of Pensioners, NIPOST chapter, quoted the Postmaster General of the Federation as saying that the benefits would be paid when the budget is passed, noting that nothing

SAN: Aondokaa’s suspension lifted From Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi

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HE Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee in Abuja has restored the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Mike Kaase Aondokaa. The committee suspended him for two years from using the title. A letter lifting the suspension, signed by the Secretary, Sunday Olorundahunsi and made available to The Nation, reads: “Since you have comported yourself in good and satisfactory manner during the suspension, it has been lifted forthwith.”

Polys gets N36b From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

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HE Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayatu Ahmed Rufai, has said the Federal Government has disbursed N36billion to polytechnics through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), to enhance their development. Prof. Rufai, who broke the news at the 17th convocation of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede Owerri, Imo State, said polytechnics have benefited from the N50billion intervention fund. She noted that the Federal Government, in its quest to ensure improved standard of education, has partnered the private sector, adding that 2013 has been designated as a year of technical and vocational education. The minister urged polytechnics to take advantage of the materials developed by the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Technical and Vocational Agency and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in their pursuit of academic excellence.

•Govt processing N1.7b entitlements, says NIPOST From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

has been done since February when they (pensioners) held a meeting with him. He said they would not leave the NIPOST headquarters until their demands are met, adding that the protest is a warning as other branches of the union will join nationwide. Said he: “NIPOST management has refused to pay us our benefits: arrears, pension, severance salary, harmonisation and others since 2011. “The 2011 salary has not been paid to us as I’m talk-

ing to you. We are all retired workers; those who retired in 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2007 are all here.” Addressing reporters on the demands of the protesters, the Postmaster General said actions are being taken by the NIPOST management to ensure that the pensioners’ entitlements are paid. The Assistant Postmaster General, Territorial Operations, Yacim Bitiyong, said the NIPOST management expressed surprise at the protest, noting that his team held a meeting with the leadership of the National

Union of Pensioners, NIPOST chapter, last week over the demands of the pensioners. He said a circular was issued at the end of the meeting. He expressed surprise about the protest, which according to him, ought not to have come up. The Postmaster General said NIPOST was aware of the contentious nature of pension in the country and lamented that the organisation incurred loss that ran into millions of naira when aggrieved pensioners shut down its offices nationwide.

He, however, assured that the Federal Government would ensure that pensionrelated problems were solved. The Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Pension Administration, Habila Tanko, said the severance allowances of NIPOST, right-sized in 2006, have been paid, noting that those shortchanged in the payment exercise would be adequately paid. He said the N1.7billion budgeted for the payment of entitlements of the pensioners is with the Budget Office, adding that NIPOST has facilitated the processes that will lead to the payment.

‘Three-tier federal structure an anomaly’

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SUN State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and renowned Professor of Law, Itsay Sagay (SAN), yesterday described Nigeria’s three-tier federal structure as a fundamental error and an anomaly. They said in a true federal system, no provision is made for local governments as federating partners. According to them, the centre and the states make up federating units, while local governments ought to exist as states’ administrative units. They said states, therefore, should be free to decide the number of local governments they want, when to create them and how to run and fund them. Listing Nigeria’s 774 local governments in the 1999 Constitution is therefore an aberration, they said. Aregbesola was the keynote speaker at the second edition of the National Public Discourse held in Lagos. It had the theme: Local Government Authority: How Autonomous? He said: “When we talk about local government autonomy, we should qualify it. In a federation, the federating entities are the states and the centre. “In a federation, therefore, autonomy makes sense only in the relationship between the states and the centre where we look at a spectrum that runs on the two extremes of unitarism and confederation. “In a federal system, there is no provision for local governments as a federating partner, and to talk of one is to engage in peddling ‘federalism fallacy’.” The governor said the issue of local governments’ autonomy should only come into play within the context of their relationship with their states. He said Nigeria has a fundamental problem with the structure of its federalism, which has negatively affected its development prospects.

•Aregbesola, Sagay speak at national public discourse

June 12: ‘Obasanjo wasted opportunity to redeem Nigeria’ From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

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NOTABLE public affairs commentator, Chief Deji Fasuan, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo failed during his tenure to take a lifetime advantage to set the country on the path of progress and development. Speaking yesterday at his home in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, about which, between ‘May 29’ and ‘June 12’ should be recognised as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, Chief Fasuan said: “It would be more beneficial to shift focus to more fundamental and beneficial issues.” The octogenarian, who retired as permanent secretary in the old Ondo State, noted that despite what might have happened during the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida administration, as the Head of State, Chief Obasanjo could still have used his time to make lasting amends. He said although Babangida made mistakes during his tenure, providence positioned Obasanjo to do the needful, but he failed to do so. Chief Fasuan said: “I have a more fundamental view of the tragicomedy in Nigerian history. My view is that irrespective of what happened during Babangida’s administration, and especially during the June 12 election, this country still had the opportunity to rectify the errors, especially during the Obasanjo administration. “Admitted, Babangida did all the acrobatics and plunged this nation into an avoidable tragedy, our own man, Obasanjo, had the opportunity of a lifetime to rectify things. He failed to do this for personal and ego reasons.”

June 12 is unforgettable, says Ashafa

A • Aregbesola at the event...yesterday. By Joseph Jibueze

He said it is not logical that the 1999 Constitution confers power to create local governments on states, but at the same time makes their creation invalid without National Assembly’s endorsement. “This is mainly due to tying the funding of local governments to allocation from the centre, because the Federal Government maintains an unhealthy stranglehold on the wealth of the nation,” Aregbesola said. He added that local governments cannot be autonomous as long as they are dependent on federal allocation for their funding, and as long as the power of states to create them is seemingly made largely

theoretical. Aregbesola attributed the anomaly to the inherited military unified control (garrison command) of the federation. Calling for fundamental changes, he said the creative talent of people would never be unleashed where the Federal Government maintains a stifling hold on the nation’s sources of wealth by taking over 50 per cent of the country’s wealth. Sagay said Nigeria is a federation, so the idea of having autonomous local governments makes no sense. “To have the local governments listed in the constitution is an aberration,” he said, adding that councils should exist as agencies

PHOTO: JOHN EBHOTA

of the states for development. “It should not be mentioned at all in the constitution. States should decide how many local governments they need and fund them. We don’t even need a Federation Account. “It is not the duty of the constitution to direct the state to create a local government area. A state should decide whether its local government officials should work on a parttime basis or not, or whether to run them like a parliamentary system. We don’t have to have the same system for all the local governments. “If you want autonomy for the local government, then kiss federalism goodbye,” Sagay said.

S Nigerians mark the 20th anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election today, the lawmaker representing Lagos East, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has urged citizens to recognise the day as the true Democracy Day. In a statement, he said the contributions of the late Chief MKO Abiola to the enthronement of democracy in the country could not be quantified. Ashafa, who is the ViceChairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said Chief Abiola sacrificed his life for democracy. “Abiola sacrificed his life to ensure the survival of Nigerian democracy. The courier was killed, but the message can never be killed,” he added. Senator Ashafa enjoined Nigerians to fight for justice, fair play and equity, adding that they should rededicate themselves to genuine democracy and work for a better Nigeria.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS Amosun eulogises ex-Olowu

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GUN State Governor Ibikunle Amosun yesterday said the former Olowu of Owu, the late Oba Olawale Odeleye, contributed a lot to the Nation’s growth. The late Odeleye, a former President of the Commonwealth Association of Architects, was the first African to obtain a PhD in Architecture. Amosun spoke at the African Church Cathedral in Abeokuta, the state capital, during the 10th memorial service for the monarch. He described the late Adeleye as “a scholar, an achiever par excellence, a highly cerebral leader and an epitome of courage”. Amosun said the late Adeleye was involved in the planning, design and development of landmark projects across Nigeria, including the New Surulere, FESTAC Town and 1004 Housing Estate in Victoria Island, Lagos. He said the late Adeleye, during his reign as the Olowu from 1993 to 2003, was instrumental to the completion of the Olowu’s Palace; development of the Owu Central Market in Abeokuta and the Regional Market at Papalanto; restructuring of Owu towns as well as fostering unity among the 13 Owu settlements across Yorubaland. Amosun said he enjoyed the confidence of the late monarch and “was one of the last people with him before he died”. The late Odeleye got a doctorate degree in Architecture in 1972 and became the 12th Olowu in August 1993.

Ekiti gets perm sec

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KITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi has approved the appointment of the state’s Accountant-General, Mr. Ayoola Owolabi, as a permanent secretary. Owolabi is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). His appointment takes effect immediately.

Ondo PDP mourns Aro of Akure From Damisi Ojo, Akure

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HE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State yesterday commiserated with the family of its former Publicity Secretary, Chief Adeyemi Adedipe, who died on Monday. The late Adedipe, who was the Aro of Akure, was 66. In a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wale Ozogoro, PDP described the deceased as a leader with exemplary qualities, “who impacted greatly on the society”. It said: “The party is grieved. We commiserate with the immediate family of the late Adedipe, Akure indigenes and the entire people of the state on this irreparable lost. “The late Adedipe was a true believer of good leadership, good governance and a welfarist par excellence. We shall miss his noble contributions to the polity and his prowess of letter. Most importantly, his role as the Aro of Akure, will be sorely missed.”

•Dr. Fayemi (right) watching as Erelu Bisi reads her speech...yesterday. With them are their son, Folajimi (left) and Bishop Ajakaye.

Fayemi’s wife marks 50th birthday on low key

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RELU Bisi Fayemi, wife of the Ekiti State governor, yesterday celebrated her 50th birthday low key. A church service was held at the Government House Chapel in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. In attendance were Governor Kayode Fayemi; his deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; House of Assembly Speaker Wale Omirin and the husband of the late former deputy governor, Lanre Olayinka, an architect . Also present were the Provost of the State College of Education, Prof. Francesca Aladejana, top government officials and dignitaries from within and outside the state. The governor said he owed his emergence as the state’s helmsman to his wife’s doggedness. He said: “If she had not been faithful, committed and focused, I most certainly might not be standing before you today as the governor. My wife was the pillar in the fight to reclaim our mandate. At a time, I thought of opting out of the struggle, but she encouraged me to continue.” Explaining that Mrs. Olayinka’s death was the reason for the low key celebration, Fayemi said: “My wife started planning for her 50th birthday over a decade ago. Last

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•Governor: Bisi is my pillar of support •She’s a gift from God, says Bishop From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

year, she reminded me that she would need the contact of an Ivorian musician she wanted to invite. “When her friend, Mrs. Joyce Banda, became the Malawian President, she told me she knew who would give the keynote address at her birthday. But things went the way God wanted and we give all glory to Him.” Erelu Fayemi thanked her late dad, Mr. Emanuel Akinola Adeleye, and her mother, Mrs. Emily Adeleye, for “the good upbringing and sound education” they gave her. She said: “I remember my parents for the lasting val-

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ues they instilled in me. I really have cause to thank God because since I was born, I have laughed more than I have cried and triumphed more than I have been challenged.” Mrs. Fayemi thanked her husband, who she described as “a friend, fellow comrade, brother, mentor and role model”, for his love and support. The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, the Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, said the celebrant, who is the founder of the Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF), a nongovernmental organisation, is a gift from God to the world. He urged Nigerians to emulate her philanthropic

gestures and use their Godgiven gifts to make positive impacts in the society. The cleric condemned Nigeria’s poor leadership, saying it has caused many to flee abroad, where they are faced with embarrassing situations. He said the humiliation suffered by Nigerians overseas was caused by the “irresponsible acquisition of wealth by leaders and their involvement in criminal acts”. Bishop Ajakaye urged leaders to spread love and unity, rather than focusing on material acquisition. He said: “Nigeria’s bad image is caused by the activities of our leaders, who are corrupt, and the in-

volvement of some Nigerians in criminal activities. Nigeria is what we make it to be in the eyes of the international community.” On the 20th anniversary of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bishop Ajakaye said: “That was a dark time in the history of this nation. After the annulment of the election, Dr. and Mrs. Fayemi, who were expecting a baby, were seen protesting on the streets of London. “This shows how far a child of God can go to ensure justice in the society. Let us search our minds and answer this question in line with the explanation of the term ‘golden’. Is Erelu Fayemi not golden in nature and character? Personally, I believe she had been acting goldenly even before attaining the golden age of 50.”

Assembly confirms Osun CJ’s nomination

HE Osun State House of Assembly yesterday confirmed the nomination of Justice Oyebola Ojo as the State Chief Judge. Governor Rauf Aregbesola, in a letter to the House, requested her confirmation. The Leader of the House, Mr. Timothy Owoeye, moved the motion for his confirmation and it was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Akintunde Adegboye. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam, said the House

From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

resolved to re-screen and confirm Justice Ojo’s nomination because issues of litigation and seniority about his nomination had been cleared. Salaam said facts that court cases against the State Judicial Commission had been discontinued and a correspondence from the National Judicial Council (NJC), indicating Justice Ojo’s seniority at the State High Court, had been presented to the Assembly.

Save us, church urges Ajimobi

CHURCH, the Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT), has urged Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi to save its International Gospel Centre in Ojoo, Ibadan, the state capital, from being demolished. In a petition to the governor, the church said officials of the State Task Force and others destroyed the church’s fence and gate last month and set up a motor park at the church’s entrance. It said the people operating the park have become a nuisance to the church, adding that they drink, smoke marijuana and harass members of the church. The church said it had occupied the site for over three

decades and co-existed with its neighbours peacefully. The petition, signed by its General Secretary, Pastor Ezekiel Ade Ojo and the Legal Officer, Mr. Sam Adegbite, reads: “We have lawfully and peacefully occupied our church premises overlooking the Ibadan/ Ilorin highway in Ibadan before 1979. This has been our national headquarters for long, before the construction of the new Ibadan/Ilorin dual carriage way. GOFAMINT is a peaceloving Christian body made up of law abiding members. “On the premises, we have a 10,000-capacity worship centre, a national sec-

retariat building, a press, a bookshop, a nursery/primary school, a prayer house, a hostel and some residential houses. We have lived happily with our neighbours for a long time. “The government officials came with a caterpillar, destroyed the church gate and took it away. They also destroyed the fence and beat up officials of the church, who questioned their actions. Unknown to them, their actions were recorded with a video camera. We attach herewith a video clip of some of their destructive activities to forcefully take over a land that does not belong to them. They have been in-

timidating our members, leading to a reduction of worshippers in the church and causing tension in the area. “As a church of God, with respect to the rule of law, natural justice, equity and good conscience, we have almost exhausted our patience in this matter. We cannot afford to continue to fold our arms and watch them threaten our lives and property, expose Nursery/ Primary school children to danger, mess up the church premises with faeces, block the church entrance, drink and smoke weeds at the entrance and carry out other activities that characterise motor parks.

•Ajimobi

“We urge you to speedily intervene in this situation, as the church’s leadership may not be able to continue to suppress the youths from exercising their right to secure their place of worship.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS Customs destroys 20,000 cartons of turkey From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

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•Fashola (middle); former Minister for Commerce Mrs. Nike Akande (left); Lagos State Head of Service Adesegun Ogunlewe (right); businessman Olorogun Goodie Ibru (second right) and the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral, Mr. Taofiq Tijani, at the inauguration of Eko Gas...yesterday. PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

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Lagos to rebuild burnt market

AGOS State Governor Babatunde Fashola has pledged to rebuild the Trinity Auto Spare Parts Market in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area, which was gutted by fire last Sunday. The fire, which started around 3:30pm, razed shops and property worth millions of naira. Fashola spoke yesterday when he visited the market. He said the rebuilding would require a synergy between the traders and the government. He was conducted round the market by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed and the Chairman of Zone E Plaza, Mr. Mike Ekeobi. The governor said: “Those who still have goods in the market should remove them now. We will move our experts here to take the drawing and begin construction immediately.” He urged traders to insure their businesses to minimise their losses when disasters occur.

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•Inaugurates Eko Gas, health centre By Miriam Ekene-Okoro

Fashola said: “It is only the building that can return but the goods will not. I urge markets and warehouse owners to insure their businesses with insurance companies. This is what insurance is meant to do for us. “If this place was insured, the people would have been talking to the insurance companies instead of the government.”

The traders urged the government to assist them. Also yesterday, the governor inaugurated the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as the Eko Cooking Gas, at Masha Roundabout in Surulere, Lagos. This is aimed at phasing out the use of kerosene stoves and firewood to curb environmental pollution. Fashola said: “The Eko Cooking Gas will eradicate

the hazards faced by residents in their search for kerosene, explosion and respiratory diseases associated with cooking with firewood and charcoal. That is the simple message. This was what we used when I was a child. We are back to the beginning. This was where we started. “This administration is committed to raising the standard of living. Cooking gas is no longer the preserve of

Family urges Fed Govt to immortalise Adedibu

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HE family of the late strong man of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, has urged the Federal Government to immortalise its patriarch “in recognition of his contributions to the nation’s political growth”. The family spoke during the fifth year Fidau for the deceased at his Molete home in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. They urged those who have benefited from the late Adedibu’s “political wisdom” to immortalise him. Speaking on behalf of the family, Senator Kamoru Adedibu, urged the Federal Government to name a street in Abuja after his father. He said hardly is there any political office holder today, who did not, in one way or the other, pass through his father’s home.

From Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

The senator said: “My father contributed immensely to political stability in Nigeria. Baba was part of the struggle that returned the nation to civil rule. Naming a street after him in Abuja is not too much, as well as a post-humous national award.” The late Adedibu’s former Personal Assistant, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi, urged the Federal Government to declare June 12 a public holiday in honour of the late Adedibu and Chief MKO Abiola, saying “they are both pillars of democracy”. He said: “Baba’s footprints in politics were rated higher than that of the late Abiola.”

Traders protest in Ibadan

‘A million endorsements not enough for Fayemi’

KITI State House of Assembly Speaker Adewale Omirin has said the endorsement of Governor Kayode Fayemi by various groups and individuals for a second term is not enough to appreciate his “unprecedented achievements”. He said the endorsements showed “the people’s faith in the Fayemi administration”. Omirin spoke on Monday in Ode-Ekiti, Gbonyin Local Government Area, during the council’s “Fayemi Endorsement Rally”. Leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) urged the governor to be ready to serve the state for another four years after completing his current tenure. Also at the rally were Chief Ibidapo Awojolu; Hon. Bamidele Faparusi (Emure/Gbonyin/Ekiti East Federal Constituency); Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Affairs Chief Aderemi Ajayi; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Paul Omotoso and the Caretaker Chairman of the council, Mr. Femi Awe. Describing as “magical” the

the rich in Lagos. We have intervened to make the cylinders available at affordable prices. “This project symbolises the move to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.” The governor also inaugurated a Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Itire-Ikate, where he stressed the need for family planning. He said the economic implications of having many children are far-reaching, hence the need for couples to plan their families.

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

transformation of the state by the Fayemi administration in less than three years, Omirin said “focus and transparency” were responsible for the change. He said: “Sections, constituencies and councils will continue to endorse Fayemi. One million endorsements would not be enough to fully appreciate what he has done. “The changes we have seen in Ekiti are more than commendable. Fayemi’s performance has been astounding, excellent and evenly distributed. He does not pretend or make up. Whatever has been reported done has been well done and can be confirmed. “Imagine how the doubting Thomases have been answered. Today, Ado-Ekiti is a state capital in every regard. The 183 public schools have been renovated; 20,000 elders get N5,000 stipend monthly, among other achievements.” Omotoso said: “It is time

people began to appreciate Fayemi for what he has done. We are more proud today to be from Ekiti than we were less than four years ago.” Faparusi said the governor has fulfilled all his electioneering promises. He said: “We urge Fayemi to kindly consider this plea from all of us. Wherever I go, people look at me and ask me how Fayemi has been doing it. There is no miracle about it. He has a plan and has stuck to it, despite impediments.” ACN leader in the council Chief Ibidapo Awojolu said the endorsement rallies across the state were to thank the governor and encourage him to do more. The party’s Chairman in the council, Alhaji Ajisola Ganiyu, said: “Our purpose is known. We are here to tell him to prepare to continue governing the state after the 2014 election, as he has to serve this state for eight years.” The speaker’s media aide, Mr. Wole Olujobi, said: “It is

D •Omirin

impossible to pretend that nothing is happening in Ekiti. The world has seen what we are seeing and has given credit to the governor.” Some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members were received into the ACN at the rally. Mr. Abiodun Eyinmenugun, who led the defectors, said their decision was based on projects executed by the governor in their villages. He said: “Fayemi has not rejected us. We did not vote for him and I know he knew it, but he has done a lot for us. He has given us roads and a hospital. We never had these before.”

ISPLACED traders at the Old Scout Camp Market in Molete, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday protested the alleged inequitable allocation of new shops. The traders, under the aegis of the Amazon Women Organisation, marched from the market to a nearby radio station, Splash FM, to register their displeasure. The peaceful protest hindered movement on the busy Molete road. Their spokesman, Mrs. Bukola Adegoke, said they learnt that a new list of traders was being compiled for shop allocation at their expense. She said: “We gathered that the Ministry of Environment and Habitat has hijacked the exercise from the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry, which was supposed to handle it.” The Information Officer, Ministry of Environment and Habitat, Mr. Cosmos Oni, said his ministry had nothing to do with shop allocation. “The allocation of shops at the Old Camp Market is the duty of the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry,” he added.

EN of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Osun/Oyo Command, yesterday destroyed over 20,000 cartons of frozen Turkey in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The banned items were intercepted on the Old Abeokuta-Bakatari Road. They were being conveyed in a truck marked LAGOS APP 770 XE. The Deputy Controller, Mohammed Usman, said they were concealed under iron rods. The items were valued at N98,600,00. Usman, who stood in for the Area Controller, Richard Oteri, urged people to stop eating frozen poultry products. He said they are hazardous to health and hinder the growth of the nation’s economy. “It frustrates the efforts of local farmers”, he added. The leader of the team that made the arrest, Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Joseph Alajogun, said: “The smugglers got information that we were on their trail and abandoned the truck by the roadside.”

Mixed reactions trail cremation law IXED reactions have greeted the Lagos State Cremation Law, which allows the burning of bodies in a crematorium by persons who wish to do so. A lawyer, Mr. Charles Audu, said: “This is a commendable effort by the governor. It will reduce the problem of mortuaries being filled with unclaimed bodies.” Another lawyer, Mr. Adewale Adeleke, said though the government signed the bill into law with good intentions, including decongesting morgues, some other things should have been considered. He said: “This is Africa where we have people with different beliefs, superstitions and traditions that could contradict cremation. These things should have been considered.” Mrs. Olaitan Aina, a teacher, said though the law was not binding on residents, the feelings of the masses should have been considered before its enactment. She said: “The act of cremating unclaimed b could have psychological effects on their families, if they later find out and think of what must have been done to the body. I just hope there is a form of counselling for them,” she said. Miss Adenike Sobowale, a trader, noted the novel idea behind cremating unclaimed corpses, but questioned what happened to those without the means for burying their relatives. “If we can’t keep the corpse at home and we have no money for a burial yet, are we now going to be forced to leave the corpse for cremation?”, she asked. The law empowers medical practitioners, with government approval, to cremate abandoned and unclaimed corpses, after a reasonable period of time has been given as notice.

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NEWS

Sponsors of terror are mostly PDP members, alleges ACN T HE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has rejected any attempt by the presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to portray the opposition party or its leadership as terrorism sponsors. It alleged that sponsors of terror in Nigeria are either within the PDP, or somehow associated with it. In a statement in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the presidency and the PDP should tell Nigerians the names of those mentioned as sponsors of Boko Haram in a well-researched article in the journal of the New York-based World Policy Institute, headlined: ‘Anatomy of African Terrorism: Boko Haram, Nigeria’s homegrown terror network.’

ACN said a perusal of the article shows a former Nigerian Ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe and a serving governor and members of the PDP as alleged terror sponsors. “Contrary to the blatant falsehood peddled by the presidency and the PDP, not one member of the ACN was mentioned in that document, which is available to those interested in seeking the truth than calling the dog a bad name just to hang it. “We abhor terrorism in all ramifications, and have never and will never support terrorism under any guise. But our stand on Boko Haram is also well known to fair-minded people whose thinking has not been clouded by

‘$1.6m fraud’: Ajudua to remain in prison custody till June 24 By Adebisi Onanuga

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USTICE Joseph Oyewole of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja yesterday ordered an alleged fraudster, Mr. Fred Ajudua, to be remanded in prison custody till June 24 when his bail application will be heard. The court gave the order eight years after Ajudua had absconded from trial for charges of fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The anti-graft agency in 2003 arraigned Ajudua and Charles Hijiudu before the court for allegedly defrauding two foreigners, Mr. Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of about $1.69million between July 1999 and September 2000. After absconding from trial, Justice Oyewole in December 2005 issued a bench warrant directing the police to arrest the accused and bring him to court. But the police have been unable to execute the court’s order. Ajudua appeared in court yesterday with his counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, who applied for his bail. But the prosecutor, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde (SAN), opposed the application seeking the bail and reversal of the order of arrest issued against the defendant. Oyewole held: “The first defendant ceased to be on bail since December 15, 2005 when his bail was revoked.” He, however, reversed the order of arrest, following the accused’s appearance in court. The judge noted: “The case against Ajudua has been held up for a long time as the agents of the Federal Government have been unable to execute the warrant of arrest issued on January 24, 2005.” Oyewole ordered that Ajudua, the first defendant in the suit instituted by the EFCC, be remanded in prison. He further ordered the Superintendent of Prison to ensure that the accused is given access to medical treatment, including being taken to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idiaraba (LUTH) as an outpatient when the situation warrants. Justice Oyewole, however, rejected an appeal by the defence counsel for the defendant to be remanded in the custody of the EFCC. The judge also declined another appeal to allow the defendant receive treatment as an outpatient at LUTH. Oyewole said since the accused’s bail has been revoked, it is left for him to convince the court if he is worthy of being released on bail. He adjourned the case till June 24 for hearing of Ajudua’s bail application.

Jonathan heads National Space Council From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

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HE Federal Government yesterday inaugurated the National Space Council to boost Nigeria’s space technology. Emphasising on the importance of space technology for every segment of the economy, President Goodluck Jonathan, who heads the council, said there is need to structure and drive the country’s national space programme. He urged the council to evolve initiatives that would fast track Nigeria’s industrialisation and make it possible for the country to build motor vehicles, boats and aircraft, among other items within a short time. Inaugurating the council, President Jonathan said: “Given the critical place of space technology in the areas of national security, communications, industrialisation and sustained socio-economic development, the need to structure and drive our national space programme cannot be overemphasised. “This informs why our administration has constituted this council with high calibre members. Three professionals are with us. They have reached the peak of their academic profession. They are professors in our universities.”

political considerations: Terror has festered in our country largely because of widespread poverty/economic deprivation, massive unemployment, injustice and alienation of a large section of the society, all products of years of bad governance. “For example, Nigeria is home to the largest number of out-of-school children in the world, according to UNESCO. What this means is that we are creating a large pool of possible recruits for terror. “While these problems date back to a long time, the rapacious PDP, which has ruled at the centre since our country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, and the painfully incompetent government of President

Goodluck Jonathan have not made things better. It is therefore clear that as these evil twins PDP/Presidency) point one accusing finger at the ACN, four others are pointing at them,” ACN said. The party expressed satisfaction at the speed with which the presidency and the PDP, in separate statements, repudiated the part of the Boko Haram/ Ansaru proscription order that is deemed to be at variance with the constitution. The assurances given by the two are what the ACN had demanded in its earlier statement that called attention to the fact that the vague and open-ended order could stifle the freedom of the press and tamper with the fundamental human rights

of the ordinary Nigerian. “After much rambling, the presidency’s statement on the issue said: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, the order is not meant to stop journalists from carrying out their duties or function of news gathering or reporting as they differ from terrorist activities. Rather, the order is out to criminalise acts of incitement by anyone, group of persons or institutions to commit terrorist acts through dissemination of terrorist information’. “When it is stripped of its now boring clichés, the statement from the PDP said: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, no section of the order stifled the press; violated or seeks to violate any provision of the constitution. Instead, the order reinforced the provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the security and welfare of all Nigerians’.

•Mohammed

“This clarification is exactly what we demanded in our statement, and we can now happily say our work is done. As usual, we choose to ignore the use of uncouth language, needless vituperation and accusations that are not empirically-grounded - which are now the hallmarks of a sinking presidency/ruling party,” ACN said.


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NEWS

Govt clarifies issues on plane crash victims’ compensation

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HE Ministry of Aviation yesterday clarified how the insurers of DANA Air should compensate families that lost their loved ones in the June 3, 2012 crash in Iju/Ishaga area of

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

Lagos State. The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, said the insurers of DANA Air are mandated by extant local and

international civil aviation regulations to pay per passenger, and not per family for those that lost more than a member. Speaking through, her media assistant, Mr. Joe Obi,

Oduah noted that there were some disturbing reports in the media quoting some family members of the victims of the Dana Air crash of June 3rd, 2012 as saying that the airline is reluctant or un-

willing to pay mandatory compensation to legitimate victims’ families per passenger. She said: “The reports suggest that Dana Airlines, in instances where more than one

family member was a victim of the crash, allegedly said it is paying compensation per family, not per passenger as required by law and extant local and international Civil Aviation Regulations.”

Banks back secondary bond market, mortgage refinance

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ANKS under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee yesterday registered their commitments to the development of a virile over-the-counter (OTC) secondary trading platform for bonds as part of efforts to deepen long-term capital and national development. At the end of the Bankers’ Committee’s meeting in Abuja, banks’ executives said they had supported the for-

From Nduka Chiejina, Assistant Editor

mation of the OTC trading platform for bonds being promoted by the Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA) because of the primary importance of a viable secondary bond market to the economy. The Bankers’ Committee also unveiled plans to fasttrack the ongoing agenda of establishing a Mortgage Refinance Company in con-

Chevron to sell two Nigerian oil blocks

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HE latest oil major seeking to dispose of assets in Africa - United States energy firm Chevron is selling its stake in two Nigerian shallow water oil blocks, the company said yesterday. The two blocks OML 83 and OML 85 hold an estimated 200 million barrels of oil and an unknown amount of natural gas but there has been no production yet, two industry sources told Reuters. Chevron did not give details of reserves. “As part of a continuous process of portfolio evaluation

and business prioritisation, Chevron Nigeria Limited ... has put forward its interests in two oil mining leases for auction,” a company spokesman said. “The assets are located in the shallow waters.” Chevron owns a 40 per cent stake in 13 shallow water blocks with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and also has several deep offshore assets. Its 2012 net daily production in Nigeria averaged 238,000 barrels of crude oil and 165 million cubic feet of natural gas.

SMEs to benefit from 700m-euro Dutch fund

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MALL and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria will benefit from the 700million Netherlands Euro growth fund, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, has said. The inclusion of the country among the beneficiaries came just as the Federal Government and the Netherlands commenced plans to set up a Dutch agro-industrial park in Nigeria. These developments transpired at the meeting between the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; and the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation,

Lilianne Ploumen, on the sidelines of the Nigeria-Netherlands Business and Investment Forum in the Hague, Netherlands. Ploumen, who said that his country was setting up a 700million-euro growth fund to help their SMEs invest in growth areas, said Netherlands had also agreed to the Federal Government’s proposal to put Nigeria on that list. A statement from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said It was also agreed that there would be possibilities for Nigerian SMEs to access the growth fund to expand their businesses and also invest in critical and thriving sectors. The fund will be launched in January.

Fed Govt roads worth N2.3tr, says minister

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HE Federal Government yesterday put the value of Nigerian roads at N2.3trillion. The Minister of Works disclosed this during a visit by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Abuja. He said the ministry in its capacity cannot allow such huge investment on road infrastructure built by different tenures of government in the nation to be wasted away by disaster such as flood, adding that such occurrences can be mitigated. “The ministry is fully ready to work with any

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

available expertise to formulate the way forward in protecting the nation’s key infrastructure in its domain. The ministry is ready to further partner with National Emergency Management Agency NEMA in resolving the occurrences of this national question. “There is no sustainable development in any nation without sustainable infrastructure, there is need for a forum of nations with different disaster experience where thinker will come together to discuss on how to avert natural disaster, “ he minister added.

junction with the Federal Ministry of Finance to make housing affordable to Nigerians. They agreed to make contributions towards financing the operations of the Mortgage Refinance Company, but did not say how much has been earmarked as take off capital for the company. The banks also expressed supports for the refinancing of the outstanding bonds of the Asset Management Cor-

poration of Nigeria (AMCON). AMCON had recently announced it would refinance some of its bonds. The Financial Market Dealers Exchange (FMDQ) has already received approvals from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It is expected to begin operations on August 1, 2013. Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Mr Yinka Sanni of Stanbic IBTC said the emergence of the

regularised OTC trading platform would help remove all major impediments in the bond market. He said such move was needed to facilitate the growth and development of the bond market and to channel available pool of funds for development of the economy. Sanni noted that the committee agreed to look for ways to engender and encourage the growth of the fi-

nancial sector, adding that one of the ways to do so was the development of the secondary trading platform for the bond market. Also speaking on the operations of the FMDQ, managing director, Access Bank, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede noted that the bond market is an extremely important component of the financial market that has grown quite exponentially in terms of size.


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COMMENTARY FROM OTHER LANDS

EDITORIALS

June 12: 20 years after

• The date remains at once a watershed and a mockery of Nigeria’s quest for democracy

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T was a day that was; a day for the history books and all the elements were in concert to hand it a landmark role in the annals of Nigeria. June 12 was a mere presidential election date that grew to become war song, a rallying call, a democratic ethos and a milestone from which Nigeria’s quest for popular rule must take its bearing. June 12 must pass for the very first affirmation that Nigeria may well be more than a geographical expression; it was the first attestation that the entity christened Nigeria has some chance under the blaze of the African sun to shine forth and blossom into a preeminent giant of a country ; the pride of all coloured peoples of the world. That is the power and symbolism of the date, June 12, 1993. Saturday, June 12, 1993 was the day of the great Presidential Election between Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC). The road to June 12 was itself a journey lined with landmines and treachery. Prior to June 12, 1993, the incumbent leader of the era, a serving army general who styled himself a president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) had held Nigeria under the jackboot for nearly eight years, using every trick and machination in the books to hang on to power. That June 12, 1993 had a reckoning at all in history must be put down to a combination of the divine, the desire of Nigerians to do away with military rule in line with the global trend of the time and, more important, the sheer charisma, political savvy and wide acceptability of a certain man called M.K.O. Abiola. June 12, 1993 was a culmination of an interminable and deceitful transition programme instituted by General Babangida, which was never meant to yield any fruit ab initio. In 1992, he had unilaterally cancelled a presidential primary election organised by his administration for spurious reason he called, “bad conduct” by politicians. June 12 could be said to have literally defied Babangida’s gun boats and tricksters, including a midnight court ruling the night before, orchestrated by the regime to stop the election. Instead, it rode on a momentum that even a military dictatorship could not comprehend. June 12 became Babangida’s waterloo. The National Electoral Commission, NEC, headed by a certain Professor Humphrey Nwosu went ahead with the election in spite of not-so-covert efforts to arm-twist him into calling off the election at the last minute. Remarkably, Nwosu’s NEC adopted what it called Option A-4 which required voters to queue behind the candidate of their choice. By this method, it was obvious that Abiola was going to win what was a free and fair election. Already, in a clear lead after 14 states had been counted, the military government inexplicably halted the counting, collation and announcement of the rest of the election results and kept Prof. Nwosu under house arrest. Ten days later, on June 23, 1993, the June 12 election was annulled by the Babangida administration.

Addressing a bemused nation in a longwinded speech on June 26, 1993, General Babangida said; “There were allegations of irregularities and other acts of bad conduct levelled against the presidential candidates but NEC went ahead and cleared them. There were proofs as well as documented evidence of widespread use of money during the party primaries as well as the presidential election. These were the same bad conduct for which the party presidential primaries of 1992 were cancelled.” It was obvious that General Babangida was merely prevaricating and full of equivocation. Naturally, the country was set on a tailspin as Nigerians who voted Abiola across the country and across ethnic and religious divides continued to agi-

tate for the election to be brought to its logical conclusion and the results announced. Babangida had promised to keep faith with his August 27, 1993 exit date by organising another election. But that was not to be as the pressure from home and abroad forced him to hurriedly flee from office on that date, leaving behind a contraption he called Interim National Government, ING, headed by a stooge, Chief Ernest Shonekan. On November 10, 1993, a Lagos High Court ruled the ING to be a sham and the mess was dislodged by Babangida’s life-long shadow, General Sani Abacha on November 17, 1993 in a ‘soft’ coup. Abacha, the goggled ogre rolled out the tanks against Nigerians seeking the validation of their vote; drove members of the National Democratic Coalition

(NADECO), the then symbol of mass resistance to military rule, out of town. Many Nigerians who protested the annulment of the election were killed and many others maimed. Abacha grabbed Chief Abiola who kept insisting on his mandate and clamped him into detention where he died on July 12, 1998. Before he died, his activist wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola had been assassinated in broad daylight in Lagos by Abacha’s killer squad and his businesses had floundered. Many others were killed by the squad. For four years during which Abacha held sway, Nigeria was a pariah among the comity of nations, was prostrate and comatose until his demise in 1998. General Abdulsalami Abubakar mounted the saddle, organised an election which ushered in a former General Olusegun Obasanjo, in 1999. Sadly, the story of the June 12, 1993 debacle has become Nigeria’s narrative for two decades. Her democracy founded on a fault line, has remained askew since then. Elections are still her very albatross as witnessed in the crisis that has engulfed the recent Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, election and democracy has merely wobbled on, lacking any roots. It is remarkable that ethno-religious crises in Nigeria which the Abiola mandate would have curtailed are even more alive and well today, ravaging the country now more than ever. Democratic space has continued to constrict over these decades with successive governments ignoring the basic tenets and conveniently neglecting to build institutions that would enhance civil rule and orderly conduct of governance. Perhaps most important is the fact that no lessons have been learnt from the missed opportunity that was June 12. Some of the chief protagonists and villains of that sad epoch, like General Babangida and Chief Tony Anenih, to name just two, are still playing the field, oblivious of the havoc their actions of two decades ago have brought upon the country. Nigeria needs to make atonement for June 12 and that may begin with the key actors coming clean and telling the truth about that election. Then, we need to properly situate that historic election, recognise and honour the winner even posthumously. That is the way to rest the spirit of June 12 once and for all.

‘Sadly, the story of the June 12, 1993 debacle has become Nigeria’s narrative for two decades. Her democracy founded on a fault line, has remained askew since then. Elections are still her very albatross as witnessed in the crisis that has engulfed the recent Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, election and democracy has merely wobbled on, lacking any roots. It is remarkable that ethno-religious crises in Nigeria which the Abiola mandate would have curtailed are even more alive and well today, ravaging the country now more than ever’

A real debate on surveillance

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OR years, as the federal surveillance state grew into every corner of American society, the highest officials worked to pretend that it didn’t

exist. Now that Americans are learning what really takes place behind locked doors, many officials claim they are eager to talk about it. “That’s a conversation that I welcome having,” President Obama said on Saturday. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that she was open to holding a public hearing on the subject now, a hearing next month, a hearing every month. This newfound interest in openness is a little hard to take seriously, not only because of the hypocrisy involved but because neither official seems to want to do more than talk about being open. If the president wants to have a meaningful discussion, he can order his intelligence directors to explain to the public precisely how the National Security Agency’s widespread collection of domestic telephone data works. Since there’s not much point in camouflaging the program anymore, it’s time for the public to get answers to some basic questions. Are the calls and texts of ordinary Americans mined for patterns that might put innocent people under suspicion? Why is data from every phone call collected, and not just those made by people whom the government suspects of terrorist activity? How long is the data kept, and can it be used for routine police investigations? Why was a private contractor like Edward Snowden allowed to have access to it? So far, no one at the White House seems interested in a substantive public debate. Ms. Feinstein said on ABC News’s “This Week” program on Sunday that a secret court order on the phonedata program (leaked by Mr. Snowden) didn’t tell the full story. Another court document explained the strictures on the program, but that wasn’t leaked, she said, sounding almost regretful that it remains under seal. Ms. Feinstein doesn’t have the authority to release it herself, but she could at least demand that the administration make it public. While they’re at it, some of the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that made these data-collection programs possible could be released. Ms. Feinstein was rebuffed when she asked the court for redacted summaries of its opinions; as chairwoman, she should use her power to demand that the administration find ways to make the court even slightly more transparent. For years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican of Wisconsin, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. last week, saying that, as the author of the Patriot Act, he didn’t believe that the collection of phone records was consistent with his interpretation of the law. But, over the years, Mr. Sensenbrenner has been repeatedly warned by critics that the law was so broad that it was subject to precisely this kind of abuse. Senator Feinstein has held several closed-door briefings for lawmakers. If she wants to hold hearings that are useful to the public, she should focus on the laws that fostered the growth of domestic spying, and the testimony should not consist of blithe assurances that the government can be trusted. The public needs explanations of how an overreaching intelligence community pushed that trust to the brink. – New York Times

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CARTOON & LETTERS

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IR: Nigerian lawmakers have once again passed a bill against gay marriage. The bill which bans same sex marriage and outlaws any groups supporting gay rights was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives. The bill bans any gay marriage from being conducted in a church or a mosque. “Gay or lesbian couple who marry could face up 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Anyone taking part in a group advocating for gay rights or anyone caught in a “public show” of affection also would face 10 years in prison if convicted by a criminal court’. Since 2006, there have been repeated attempts by the government to legislate against same sex marriage. But none of the bills has, as in this case, succeeded in scaling through both Houses of the National Assembly. So what we have seen in the case of the current bill is an unprecedented move to criminalize gay marriage. Here are reasons why I think President Goodluck Jonathan should not sign this outrageous bill into law. First of all, the repeated moves by lawmakers since 2006 to ban same sex marriage is clearly unwarranted. It is an indication of pervasive, persistent and obsessive homophobia among our politicians. And political homophobia is not consistent with the reason why the lawmakers were elected in the first place. Our lawmakers were elected to make laws that protect the citizens, not laws that harm them. The passing of the anti gay marriage bill is another sign that Nigeria

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IR: Parenting could be tasking especially with the economic situation in Nigeria. Many parents find it difficult to exert much control and supervision over their children since they are busy chasing money. But then the family needs the money in order to be able to take care of its basic needs so that life will be meaningful. No matter how you look at it, whatever a child will become in life is greatly determined by the parents. Parents can set the pace for the success or failure of their children by their actions or inactions as the case may be. Society will be better

EDITOR’S MAIL BAG SEND TYPEWRITTEN, DOUBLE SPACED AND SIGNED CONTRIBUTIONS, LETTERS AND REJOINDERS OF NOT MORE THAN 1000 WORDS TO THE EDITOR, THE NATION, 27B, FATAI ATERE ROAD, MATORI, LAGOS. E-mail: views@thenationonlineng.com

Jonathan should not sign anti-gay marriage bill not be interpreted to mean that the proposed law is good for Nigeria. No, it is not. Nigeria is a democracy, not a christian or an islamic theocracy. Democracy upholds the will of the majority while respecting the rights of minorities. This bill violates the rights of sexual minorities in the country. The provisions in this bill are not in accordance with Nigeria’s human rights obligations and commitments locally and internationally. The bill

makes some Nigerians criminals based on who they are, the persons they associate with and the opinions they hold. It gives legislative backing to acts of religious fanaticism, to gay persecution and witch hunt, to inciting violence against persons on the basis of their real or imagined sexual orientation. Again the bill is not compatible with our local culture and traditions as many have argued. The cultures and traditions in Africa are diverse,

IR:Though ATM might have been introduced more than two decades ago in Nigeria, it was not until the post-consolidation era in 2005 that the machines became popular. The innovation was first piloted in Lagos before being deployed nationwide. With the introduction of cashless policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2011, the use of ATM became imperative. Advantages of ATM are legion. It saves time and helps to decongest banking halls as more people prefer to use their Debit Cards to make withdrawals. It makes withdrawal possible beyond traditional banking hours. Most

banks in Nigeria operate between 8am – 4pm. However, ATM is available every hour of the day including weekends and national holidays which are off-days for banks. On the flip side however, Automatic Teller Machine brought with it severe pains, tears and sorrow. Until recently, there exist syndicates who specialise in cloning unwary bank customers debit card. The customers debit card details are cloned in such a way as to enable the scammers make successful withdrawals from the customer’s account. The method in use varies. Some of the syndicates send scam electronic mails to thousands of

people purportedly from Interswitch (debit card manufacturer) or the bank itself asking customers to update their records which are inclusive of their account numbers and debit card details. Once the customer supplies these details, they use it to clone cards and make withdrawal. Others go to crowded ATM pretending to want to withdraw and using the opportunity to steal peoples debit cards or memorise the details and later go back to clone the cards. Many have been arrested by the police and officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for this sharp-practice. It is common to hear

off if parents live up to their responsibilities towards their children. Crime and other social vices would be greatly reduced if children are properly nurtured in all ramifications by their parents who incidentally are their first teachers and first point of contact with society. When a family decides that the wife should become a full time housewife, there is nothing wrong with this to an extent. As long as the man of the house earns as much income as to cater for the family needs, the woman would do well to take care of the home front which incidentally is the exclusive pre-

serve of women. When one or both parents are working class, no matter their busy schedule, they should find time for their children once in a while to constantly monitor their progress and counsel them where need be. Can business or career success without a corresponding success at the home front be justified? Should the home front be sacrificed for the sake of business or career and if one is to be preferred to the other which would it be? I think that parents would do better to set their priorities right and do the right thing at the right time. As a parent, do you know the kind

of friends your child keeps? Have you one day paid an unshedulled visit to his school to know what is really going on there? Many bad traits children learn are usually from their friends and acquaintances. Parents should monitor their children closely and ensure they do not associate with the wrong kind of people who will negatively influence them. Children are God’s gift and parents should do everything possible to cater for their welfare without leaving anything to chance. • Tayo Demola, Lagos.

is governed and led by those who are not forward looking in their legislative thinking and reasoning; those who cannot make laws and policies that reflect the realities of the time and the actual needs and aspirations of the people. There is no doubt that the bill enjoys the popular support of the religious groups in the country. Both christian and islamic leaders have come out openly and expressly in support of the bill. But that should

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dynamic and tolerant in terms of sexual, marriage and family norms and values. They do not sanction hatred, intolerance, oppression, persecution, and discrimination against persons with different sexual orientation or lifestyle as this bill expressly does. Hatred and persecution of gay people are certainly not the ‘African values’ which many politicians are using to argue against gay rights and support the ban on gay marriage. Generations yet unborn would be ashamed and horrified to know that we- the current generation of Nigerians- stood by and allowed this homophobic bill to become a law. So I urge President Jonathan not to sign into law the anti-gay marriage bill. • Leo Igwe University of Bayreuth, Germany

Banks and the challenges of ATM

The business of parenting

of ATMs debiting customers for undispensed cash. There are also incidences of ATM swallowing bank customer’s debit cards during transaction. All these have decreased considerably. Replacement of stolen, lost or expired debit cards have also been simplified as I was able to apply and receive debit card same day recently. However, what has refused to improve is the difficulty in making withdrawals through ATMs. This is as a result of the epileptic power supply. The machines are powered by electricity either publicly supplied by Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Generators or Inverters. None of these three is totally reliable. The other shortcoming is constant breakdown of the internet backbone that networks one bank to the other or one bank’s branch to the other. Many of the ATMs are old and need being replaced with new ones. There have also been instances where bank staff in charge of ATMs also engage in fraudulent activities, helping themselves with some of the monies meant for the machines. ATM is desirable and has helped to revolutionise the banking industry. However, banks need to unite in finding lasting solutions to the aforementioned challenges faced by their teeming customers. • Jide Ojo Abuja.


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COMMENTS

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PPPs; Banks, loans and the naira; Police Service Commission affair

HO can forget today is June 12 when democracy was so callously killed at a huge cost to normal Nigerians who are yet to recover. Tony Governments should Marinho stop calling for public/ private sector partnerships before they themselves do anything good. Government should stop haemorrhaging so much wealth needlessly in corruption and deal with the poverty issues. Only then will the private sector come on board through CSR projects. Governments should not shirk their leadership role in this anti-poverty area. A slum is a slum and almost impossible to escape. Everyone in the slum needs water, toilets, security, education and a job just like those in the government reservation area or a mansion near the governor’s lodge. A poorly equipped school is a poorly equipped school. Poor people do not ruin banks. Rich people do with schemes and rich people’s unpaid loans. Bankers are rich men and women. Therefore they have no real right to talk about poverty alleviation especially since it is their policies which perpetuate that poverty in the land. How many poor Nigerians are victims of shylock lenders because the bank interest rates are too high and the bank loan is unavailable to the poor? Greed-eaten landlords demanding two or three years exorbitant rent for shabby gutter-close face-me-I-face-you or better put face-me-Idisgrace-you holes glorified with the name ‘rooms’ must accept their own responsibility in perpetuating poverty in the ‘failed state affair’. Lagos State has banned the taking of more than one year rent, but is that working? Landlords are just as guilty as bankers. In Ibadan, government has given notice that toilets are essential in all houses. Everyone needs a small loan at one time or another, even CBN governors. It is now realised that even a funeral or wedding can be turned into a business venture with projected profits after a short term investment in flashy IVs and infrastructure like wakings, wedding parties, canopies, lunch-

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HERE is a joke in legal circle that where an unsuccessful appellant at the Supreme Court of Nigeria remains dissatisfied with the decision of the apex court, he can only take his case to the “court beyond” presided over by the Almighty Himself. This common joke is in reference to the finality of appeals at the Supreme Court level. However, one ‘itinerant’ appellant found out on Friday, May 31, that even the Supreme Court was out of his reach when the apex court dismissed his appeal. Segun Oni, ousted governor of Ekiti State, had approached the Supreme Court to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin delivered on October 15, 2010, which nullified his election and on which basis he was sacked from office, and Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, was sworn into office. That decision of the Court of Appeal went on to generate a lot of controversy that led to the investigation by the National Judicial Council (NJC) of the panel of the Court of Appeal that sat on the matter and the suspension of the then President of the Court, Justice Ayo Salami. In the appeal he filed at the Supreme Court, Oni, through his counsel, Joe Gadzama, SAN, had urged the court to set aside the October 15, 2010 judgment of the Court of Appeal on the grounds of alleged like-

‘In the end, does one hail the judiciary which is not free of controversy for a ‘well-considered decision’ when in the past we have had judgments that seem to run against the tide of reason and justice?’

eon and well-placed N500,000 obituary adverts in newspapers and on the NTA nine o’clock news to bring the waking and wedding worms, www, out of the woodwork. The sympathy helicopters and jets, often paid for by government and therefore people’s taxes, scuttle from and to Abuja swarm like fat flies and mosquitoes darkening the sky and filled with the great, the good, the bad and the ugly to be seen with lesser mortals regardless of whether or not they knew the deceased or the wedding couple. When a loved one falls sick, name the bank which will give a troubled wife or husband tiding-over money for surgery, medicines, or school fees? Most banks worldwide would, but Nigerian banks would not, so what is the use of putting your salary there year after year for your working life. No trust or shared responsibility! Can the new Police Service Commission actually do anything? Remember the fate of the last Police Trust Fund meant to upgrade the police and with the likes of past IGP Tafa, of N19b fame, still giving advice to the current IGP, what hope have we in heaven of getting a police to be proud of? A sum of N5-10billion should be set aside now as we are at an intermediate stage between war and peace. The police need a higher visibility with more mobility and patrols. N1billion will buy 100-500 vehicles@N2-5m each. In most cities small cars costing N2m will suffice for corner parking and increased presence. The larger jeeps@N5-7m are for centralised police station back-up, convoys and interstate roads. Therefore if we allocate N5b to different sized vehicles costing N2-5m, we will triple the available vehicles on the country. Motorcycle patrols, in pairs are also valuable for around the police station and neighbourhood patrols. Instead of crushing okadas, perhaps it would be more useful to recruit the machines to this job although they are usually two stroke pollution generating engines. Each equipped police patrol motorcycle probably costs about N500,000. How many police stations are there in Nigeria? 5000? The annual maintenance budget is what? Investment in data bases, criminals fingerprint, photographic, occupational etc must to be pursued quickly as must a network of forensic laboratories. In these days of unemployment and entrepreneurship and SureP employing 5,000/ state or LGA, it should be obvious that

white collar computer jobs for photographic and fingerprint and personal records and DNA data base entry are needed. In addition hackers and other computer wiz kids, retired yahoo yahoo 419ers, digital still and video photographers, basic scientists, biochemists, food technologists, microbiologists, ballistic experts, forensic anatomists etc are all needed to make up a formidable forensic armament against corruption, fraud, crime and political devilry. Even accountants and banking experts are required to unravel the intricacies of bank fraud. You cannot employ such people on a silly salary scale. They should be treated as if on secondment from the private sector equivalent elsewhere to avoid being frustrated by police interested parties to any investigation. One cannot escape the conclusion that powerful forces have consistently paralysed good police work and police workers by deliberately refusing to properly elevate the forensic laboratory to international standards even though money was allocated annually in the budget. Someone should tell us how much that money is in total. Is it N1b in some Past IGP pockets? We can all see investigative forensic policing and crime detection on television, so we know our deficit. The 1930-style police station requires to be upgraded in design and content.

‘One cannot escape the conclusion that powerful forces have consistently paralysed good police work and police workers by deliberately refusing to properly elevate the forensic laboratory to international standards even though money was allocated annually in the budget. Someone should tell us how much that money is in total’

Fayemi’s final triumph (1) lihood of bias on the part of the panel of the Court of Appeal. Gadzama had argued that the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, who constituted and presided over the panel and also wrote the lead judgment that sacked Oni from office, had a close affinity with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the leader of Fayemi’s party, ACN. Gadzama cited section 36 (1) of the Constitution, which guarantees fair hearing of every party to a suit in a Nigerian court. He added that bias or likelihood of it makes a decision a nullity and is therefore a sufficient ground for the lower court to set aside its own judgment. Fayemi, who was joined with his party, ACN, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and three of its Resident Electoral Officers as the first to sixth respondents, filed a notice of preliminary objection along with the other respondents where their lawyers countered the submission of Oni’s legal team and contended that as at the time the governorship election was conducted in 2007, the Court of Appeal was the final court empowered to determine governorship election matters. Fayemi’s team relied on the provisions of section 246 (3) of the Constitution and urged the court to decline the invitation to meddle into an appeal that had been successfully concluded. They argued that by that provision, the apex court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain an appeal that emanated from a governorship election that was held in 2007. In a unanimous decision, the seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mohammed Tanko struck out Oni’s appeal and held that the apex court had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal on the grounds that the matter emanated from a decision of the Court of Appeal arising from the

2007 governorship election to which section 246 (3) of the 1999 Constitution was applicable. The court reiterated the submissions of Fayemi’s lawyers and said that by the provisions of section 246 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the Court of Appeal has the final decision on gubernatorial election petitions as at the time the appellate court sacked Oni from office. The decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the preliminary objection of the respondents has put an end to the protracted legal tussle between Fayemi and Oni since the elections in 2007. Fayemi had, after the 2007 governorship elections in Ekiti State on April 14, gone to the Governorship and National Assembly/ Legislative Houses Election Tribunal to challenge the declaration of Oni by INEC as the validly elected governor of the state. The tribunal, in its decision delivered on November 28, 2008, dismissed his petition. Not satisfied with the decision, he approached the Court of Appeal, Ilorin, which, prior to the amendment of the constitution, was the last court in governorship elections. The Court of Appeal, on February 2, 2009, delivered its judgement and allowed the appeal in part and ordered a supplementary election in 63 wards, leaving the result in six wards intact and to be added to the result of the supplementary election in the 63 wards affected. On May 5, 2009, both Oni and Fayemi contested the election with the candidates of other 11 political parties. When the result of the supplementary election was added to the result of the six uncontested wards, the first appellant (Oni) was declared the winner with 111,140 votes against the first respondent’s (Fayemi) 107,017 votes. Still not satisfied, Fayemi challenged the result of the election. In its majority decision rendered on May 5, 2010, the

tribunal annulled the result of the supplementary election in some wards but dismissed the petition. Fayemi appealed to the Court of Appeal, Ilorin against the majority decision of the tribunal and by its judgement delivered on October 15, 2010, the court allowed the appeal and set aside the majority decision and affirmed the minority decision which pronounced Fayemi the duly elected Governor of Ekiti State. From then on, Oni has been going from one court to another. There are certain points to this Supreme Court decision, which must be pointed out. First, contrary to some reports in the media, the Supreme Court did not “uphold” the decision of the Court of Appeal so to speak or decide the matter on the merits in favour of any of the parties. The apex court merely withdrew itself from hearing the appeal at all on the basis that it had no jurisdiction to hear it. Another point that must be pointed out is that the 1999 Constitution has since been amended and the final appeals from gubernatorial election petitions now ends at the Supreme Court. The crux of the Supreme Court’s decision is that at the time of the election, the amendment had not been made, and it would not be applied retrogressively. Oni’s lawyers tried to distance the issues on appeal from the 2007 election and focussed on the issue of fair hearing accorded to every citizen by section 36 of the Constitution. However, Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, in the lead judgment, noted that “the appellants’ entire case, when stripped of its extravagant build-ups and reduced to its proper frame, is simply an invitation to rely on Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution to strip the ruling of the Court of Appeal of the finality granted to it by Section 246(3) of the same Constitution.” As expected, reactions have fol-

Dele Agekameh lowed the decision of the Supreme Court, with Fayemi himself calling for the establishment of an electoral offences commission to punish electoral offenders and deter people who not only manipulate the electoral process but file frivolous applications to clog the judicial process. Femi Falana, the renowned activist who was part of Fayemi’s team, also took a jab at Oni’s lawyers by saying that their moral laxity had led to their encouragement of an appeal when they knew the law could not support it. In the end, does one hail the judiciary which is not free of controversy for a ‘well-considered decision’ when in the past we have had judgments that seem to run against the tide of reason and justice? The law has been so mangled in the past to accommodate predetermined outcomes at all levels of court that one can only hope that this decision, sound as it appears, is the product of genuine legal considerations and not influenced by other unseen factors as has happened so many times before. Hopefully, Nigerians will get to the point where second guessing the justice of every case will be unnecessary. (To be continued) Send reactions to: 08058354382 (SMS only)


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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

NEWS

Terrorism ‘ll soon become history in Nigeria, says Mark

•UN: Boko Haram insurgency displaces 6,000 people

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ENATE Presient David Mark yesterday assured the leadership of the Czech Republic’s Parliament that terrorism would soon become history in Nigeria. Mark spoke when he met with the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mr. Milan Stech and other principal officers. He said the operations against militants in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states would end terrorism, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Kola Ologbondiyan. Mark added: “The operation is being handled well and sooner than later, terrorism will soon become a part of our history. “We are conscious that fighting terror is difficult because of factors that dwell on human rights and collateral damages. But the operators of emergency that has been introduced in the areas will bring terrorism to its end.” He noted that Nigeria has played the role of ensuring stability in Africa and has always been a home to all Africans. However, the President of the Senate who is on a state visit to the European country regretted that the nation came under attacks from misguided extremists. “This trend became escalated by the situation in Mali, Niger, Libya and Chad. But the

From Onyedi Ojiabor and Sanni Onogu, Abuja

Federal Government tried to curtail this through appeal and other carrot approaches but this did not quite succeed until the introduction of emergency rule,” he said. He told the Czech parliamentarians that the National Assembly would continue to create legislative instruments that would deepen democracy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) yesterday said that more than 6,000 people have been displaced by anti-insurgency operations and general insecurity in Nigeria. UNHCR spokesperson, Mr Adrian Edwards dropped the hinty in a report presented in New York, United States (US). According to the agency’s report, those affected have fled to neighbouring Niger Republic for safety. UNHCR spokesperson Mr Adrian Edward said: “Those that have spoken to UNCHR say they fled for fear of being caught in the government-led crackdown on insurgents linked to the Boko Haram sect, particularly in the Baga area of northern Nigeria, close to the Niger border. “Refugees reported that air strikes by government forces are continuing from time to time, and that planes are regularly flying over the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa

where the state of emergency has been in force since May 14. “People arriving in Niger also mentioned the increasing presence of roving armed bandits in several states in Nigeria. “The people also spoke of rising commodity prices coupled with pre-existing food insecurity which is also becoming a major concern for the populations of the affected States.” Edwards added that Niger had so far received 6,240 people, comprising Nigerian nationals, returning Niger nationals and people of other nationalities. He said that many have fled Cameroon and Chad in the past few weeks. “New arrivals are either renting houses or staying with host families, who are themselves living in very precarious conditions,” Edwards noted. According to him, an official of the UNHCR, who has visited several border villages hosting new arrivals, also met some Nigerian families living out in the open, and some under trees. He stated that the presence of the newcomers was also putting a strain on the meagre local food and water resources. Edwards noted that Niger, a country in the Sahel, itself struggles with food insecurity due to years of drought.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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Life

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The Midweek Magazine E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

Text only: 08023058761

‘Achebe got a legend’s funeral’’ funeral – Page 27

‘It’s a dream come true’ – Page 28

Nigeria to exhibit at Economic Forum – Page 37

•Prof Soyinka

Soyinka’s Ake Ake:: From book to film


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

When the Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka turns 80 in July next year, one of his classics, Ake: The years of childhood, would have become a film. It will be a befitting bouquet for Kongi on his birthday, reports DAPO ADENIYI.

Soyinka’s Ake: From book to film

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O say that the very sites of the stories told in the childhood memoir of Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ake: The years of childhood would be completely transformed today, would be an understatement. After all, the events occurred between 65 and 75 years ago. Change has effectively impacted upon the landscapes. The veil cast by time has settled upon their radiant settlements. For me, the journey into the production of Ake began 25 years ago. I was only 24 years old, restless, eager and in possession of what you would call “the pen of a ready writer”. The original idea to film one of Soyinka’s works in order to honour the author following his award of the Nobel prize had been that of the The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). How the choice changed from Season of Anomy, one of the writer’s ‘’ faction” novels to Ake: The years of childhood is a narrative for another day. But the real surprise was the Nobelist’s election of a very young and next-to-unknown writer in the person of the present writer to transmute the material to a television series. The late Kalu Okpi of the NTA, could hardly believe his eyes when he encountered the young sprig who assured him that he was the bearer of the name that he had come to seek, down in Ile –Ife. We spent several days roaming the terrain of Ake, and Abeokuta as a whole, led by no other than the author himself. In our company was the author’s youngest sister, Mrs. Folabo Ajayi, who also filled us with insights about the various locations as we happened upon them. The majority of the scenes recorded in Ake occurred in an ambience recorded in the book as the Parsonage Compound. Prof. Soyinka, corroborated generously by Mrs Ajayi, pointed out the compound’s outer recesses, the now fallen perimeter fences, e.t.c The triangle shaped visage was and is still bordered at one edge by the Ake cenotaph and the St. Peter’s Church, both of which feature in the narrative. The other edge of that geography was and is still demarcated by the Ake palace and the road running in its very front. A prominent road even in the 1930’s and 1940’s when Soyinka was a child. On this road, the women of Egba marched when they rioted, led by Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (mother of the famous musician Fela as well as an aunt to the author). Among the prime-movers of the Egba women’s movement was Eniola Soyinka (the author’s mother also known in the story as the Wild Christian). The movement would inadvertently devolve into the wholesale agitation for women’s rights that included the abolition of the poll tax on women and the institution of the universal adult suffrage, laws still in force as a result throughout Nigeria even today. On that same road, one of the prominent chiefs of Egba, the Balogun, made an arrogant swipe at the rioting women, despising the lot as creatures who pee-peed by the rear. He gave an arrogant gesture with a kick of his right limb and lost his gait, fell, unable to rise from the ground anymore. It was on that same road that an aged Ologboni (member of the influential

•Scared Heart Hospital, Ake

• Centenary Hall, Ake, Abeokuta

FILM Ogboni cult) unmindful of the trouble brewing within the palace, swaggered along, attired in his priestly robes but was rescued in time by the young Wole and his mother, drawing him into the shop run by the Wild Christian, also rapidly stripping him of his telling regalia. On this same road, the scene in which Pa Adatan took on the white soldiers whom he mistook for the residue of Hitler’s army, played out. On that same road, opposite the Ake palace, you will find the Wild Christian’s shop. Right now, the building housing the shop is marked, soon to be bulldozed by the Ogun State government. On that road still, adjacent to the Wild Christian’s shop, is the Centenary Hall. Though still standing, it is now desolate, largely overgrown with weeds and very dusty within. Inside the Parsonage Compound, there was once the St. Peter’s School where Soyinka’s father was the Headmaster (HM). Within that space also the HM’s

family was quartered. There were other families there including those of the local bookshop manager, the local pharmacist (Osibo and Buko respectively), neighbours to the HM’s household. Their men formed the HM’s group of friends who engaged one other in intellectual banters, from the humorous to the downright scandalous, under the peering and inquisitive eyes of the young Wole. Today, the Parsonage retains only a shadow of itself, overgrown with weeds, the homesteads long abandoned, a hearth to geckos and domestic goats, the walls of the houses long paled and flaked. One of the fascinating discoveries during the location reconnaissance is the obsession of the period with a peculiar hue of the colour yellow, a mere stride away from the colour orange. It is evidenced from the applications on the walls of most houses belonging to that era. Most of the houses of that period still standing bask in that quaint daub of paint. Our production designers have caught the fascination of that era and are determined to restore structures implicated in the film

‘One of the fascinating discoveries during the location reconnaissance is the obsession of the period with a peculiar hue of the colour yellow, a mere stride away from the colour orange. It is evidenced from the applications on the walls of most houses belonging to that era’

to that pristine expression of beauty. Fortunately, the rocks overviewing the desolate buildings are ageless and immune to the machinations of time. Scenes where Wole went into isolation, wandering off all by himself and sought by his friend Osiki, the famed lover of the pounded yam (Oko oniyan) will be played successfully here. What about Uncle Sanya in the Wild Christian’s moonlight tale, where as a child, she went with other children and penetrated the fearsome rocks under the leadership of Uncle Sanya, into the haunt of the wood spirits, in search of snails! The Alake’s palace itself is a very key location in the whole saga. The interior spaces, the open courtyard. The storey building and its veranda are still conspicuous, and the upper deck where the Alake had his famous exchange with the enraged women of Egbaland. One look at the present composition of this arena and we could tell right away that Ake could not be shot there, unless we would pull down half the line-up of buildings! The oju ere, house of sculpture, which greet your eyes even as you burst into that front section now being remodelled into a voluptuous new structure, has fortunately defied the mutilations imposed by time. This would not do either. Reason being that it is already a conspicuous spectacle in Soyinka’s earlier movie Kongi’s Harvest shot in the mid-1960’s where he also played the lead role. Prof. Soyinka had given us a shot in the arm in an earlier conversation concerning the making of Ake: Do not insist on precision in terms of the actual locations, instead use auxiliaries where you have to. When he saw images arising out of the location surveys conducted towards the take off of this project, he expressed satisfaction at the effort that went into ensuring that the atmosphere for the stories are achieved. “This is gratifying,” he said. The film location for the Ake palace is now situated elsewhere, not far from the actual palace. The Sacred Heart Hospital retains its quaint architectural dignity but has recently been washed in truculent, extravagant colours of green and light gray. This is for the production designers to sort. Maybe we could kill the vociferous colours by shooting the scene where the exterior of the building is established in multiple tones. At Abeokuta Grammar School (AGS), the requisite buildings are in place. Now they are mildly defaced here and there by satellite TV dishes, wires and electric poles. That will be sorted, whether actually or digitally, by putting the period back in place. The main school hall where we would take the exterior scenes is also intact. The interior where we have the school assembly in which Ah-kenzy is caned publicly for impregnating a fellow student is reserved for the interior of the Centenary Hall. The residence of the Kutis also within the AGS is similarly in its primordial state and well maintained. At the Government College (GCI), Ibadan the pristine sections are intact, save for dilapidation, calling for extensive restoration work. Happily the GCI bell house is largely in place. Adopted locations especially for the District Officer’s residence and the Parsonage Compound are situated in Ibadan. They mostly require restoration. The scenes taking place in Lagos are the seaport and one or two Brazilian-styled streets, even as Mrs. Kuti arrives from England, driven in her period’s car. The film is employing late 1930’s models of three cars, one military truck and one bolekaja, mammy wagon transport truck, whose origins are in the colonial era. •Adeniyi is Executive Director of Ake Film Project


2013

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

‘Achebe got a legend’s funeral’ The Chairman, Chinua Achebe National Transitional Committee, Prof Uzodinma Nwala, has taken stock of the panel’s work. The Aime Cesaire Award for African Philosophy recipient, in this chat with EVELYN OSAGIE, speaks on the panel’s challenges, his relationship with the late Prof Chinua Achebe and family among other issues.

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HAT do you consider as Chinua Achebe’s major contribution to our democratic system? Achebe has been a great moral voice in the polity – the kind of voice that people like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Alexander Pushkin represent in South Africa. And whenever he speaks on international and national issues, people take him seriously. He is a moral voice that challenges our conscience as a nation; and helps us to have a rethink on some of the things we do as a nation. In the history of mankind, we have read about individuals who are described as the makers of civilisation, where we learn about great scientists, philosophers etc., like Isaac Newton, William Wilberforce, etc. Achebe is of that class. And he is not alone: I would think that people who fought for our independence are also in that class, and, in a larger horizon of Africa, great African leaders who sacrificed a lot to move the history of their people and continent forward. Indeed, Achebe’s contribution has put the nation on the world’s map and we can call him one of the makers of our civilisation. Given the role he played in the literary circle, he is a major element of our civilisation. Why was the word ‘transition’ used instead of ‘burial’; was it to highlight the immortality of the writer? We were not burying Achebe; we celebrated his transition. When we said ‘transition’, we meant he is still with us but not physically. We tried to make sure that within the ambit of our culture and civilisation, we immortalised him in the best way we could. We believe he is not dead but lives on. As chairman of the committee, what were some of the challenges you encountered and how were you able to overcome them? The challenges faced by the Transitional Committee were obviously enormous but at the end of the day, I am happy Achebe received the burial of the legend he was. Articulating a visionary transitional programme was ‘Number One’. We are happy we were able to produce one in which Chinua himself would have endorsed if he were alive; and the family expressed deep satisfaction with the programme. Implementing it was another matter: that was because it required resources not under our control. I was concerned that his burial was not politicised, because that is the last thing he would wish. This, of course, has nothing to do with any symbols of immortalisation which his countrymen may wish to create in his name. As the co-ordinator of Chinua Achebe National Transitional Committee (CANTC), I was approached by the family to play the role because of my longstanding relationship with Prof Achebe, particularly because of what happened during his last days. I would say that if Achebe were to have made a will as to who would coordinate arrangement for his burial or ‘transition’ as we called it, he would certainly have named me. Unlike, what was speculated by some the Federal Government did not setup the committee. However, as chairman of the committee, I had to confer constantly with the family in choosing other members of the committee; and had to relate constantly with them at every step of the way because it is their father we were burying. We also related constantly with the government (federal and state), friends of Achebe like his literary colleagues in Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), universities where he taught, Ohanaeze, diverse communities and groups that he related with. And to say the least, it was not an easy task but we are grateful to the Almighty that it was a well-accomplished one. A close friend of the late author, how would you describe his person, beyond what many think? To talk about the person of Achebe, I would like to go down memory lane when we first met. I retired from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where Achebe and I taught. I met him there in 1971, when he was Senior Research Fellow and I was Junior Research Fellow in the Institute of African Studies. And at that time his book, Things Fall Apart, had become a household work, including his other books. I was doing my

•Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Prof Nwala at an Achebe’s transitional event

INTERVIEW research on Igbo Philisophy, what I may call a “Paradigm of African Philosophy”, drawing a lot from the book which was a reflection of the culture of the Igbo. I believed that Africans had a philosophy, unlike what people were saying at the time that Africans had no philosophy. It was an acute global debate at the time that: “Is there an African Philosophy?” and I had answered in the affirmative and went ahead to put together what I called “The Igbo Philosophy as a Sample of African Philosophy” as at that time; and Achebe and I were exchanging discussions and views; and As is said that Philosophy is the spirit of a people’s culture. I was monitoring the spirit of that culture: the values, morals, political and social etc. which I tried to put together in my book, The Igbo Philosophy. In fact, the newest edition, published was in 2010, Achebe wrote a blurb, commenting on the quality of the work and its importance to the history of the Igbo. It turned out also that the early work at the time also made me to be regarded as the “father of Modern African Philosophy” because I initiated the teaching of African Philosophy - I am an ardent believer in the uniqueness of the African Philosophy and by extension that of the Igbos. Before then, nobody was teaching African Philosophy at the time. What you have is: “African Studies” all over the world. Years later, many of the university across Europe and America wrote me, asking for advice on how to offer such courses. But that is by the side. Aside that early connection that existed between the two of you, how was your journey of friendship with him? Since then, Achebe and I had continued relating. And during the 50th anniversary of Things Fall Apart, I organised what we called: Festival of Igbo Civilisation to reflect on history of the Igbo civilisation and its dynamics – pre-colonial and colonial and to see the crises that have attended the Igbos as a result of that courtship as dramatised in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. I organised his being brought back to Nigeria, even though he was on a wheel chair. And then, when his book, There was a Country was published and immediately generated a heated controversy all over the country. He called me to ensure the main thrust of the book was not distorted and that people do not focus on irrelevances without focusing on the main subject of what he was trying to bring out. And I asked him to give a summary of what he thinks was the canon of the work - because I had not read it - and his publisher sent me copies of the book few days later. So, we are very close. We saw last during the last Achebe Colloquium in Rhode Island - I went there with my wife, spent time with the family and discussed and the friendship continued thereafter.

‘Achebe is not an anarchist. He has no disdain for the government. He was a patriot, loved Nigeria and that was the pain he had. He is a believer in law and order and a respecter of the constitution of the land in which he was born and in which he lived – Nigeria or the United States. He loved his people’

When he died, his family called to inform me. At that time, it came as a tragedy; however, we are consoled by the fact that the man has really cut an eternal place in history. He was a very nice, friendly and warm man. His gestures, actions and articulations made him a very unique human being; and of course, his writings made him a much sort after writer. It was being reported that Achebe may be given a posthumous honour by the Federal Government, should it be accepted by the family? The question is what kind of honour. If they are those he had already rejected, I’m not sure if it is necessary again. Achebe is one of the major landmarks in Nigeria today. Now, that he is physically not part of us, there is nothing wrong with identifying certain specific historical points and naming them after him such as institution, university or streets. It is for our sake not for his. Even though such may bear his name, it is for the benefit of the living and for the cause of the advancement of human civilisation. But I think Achebe’s place in history is such that any place named after him today would become centre of a major tourist attraction. He rejected those honours due to certain conditions. Achebe is not an anarchist. He has no disdain for the government. He was a patriot, loved Nigeria and that was the pain he had. He is a believer in law and order and a respecter of the constitution of the land in which he was born and in which he lived – Nigeria or the United States. He loved his people – the Igbo and that was also the pains he had. So if he was alive and something is being organised in his name and the federal government sends a delegation to it, he won’t ask them to go but would welcome them. Speaking of national honours, Achebe had his first national honour in 1978/79, during the time of President olusegun Obasanjo he accepted it gladly and revered it until his death. He also holds a national merit award. The honours he rejected were at specific times in history because of certain conditions. He couldn’t have come to take honours at the time he was offered the honour in question under Obasanjo, rubbing shoulders, drinking and winning when Anambra State was in such a sorry state and the moral health of the country was in jeopardy. An example of what Anambra faced at the time was the story of Senator Chris Ngige, what one may call jungle justice that transpired at the time; and the way the state was handed over to somebody you wouldn’t have employed to run your office not to talk of being the man you hand-over the affairs of the state to. What do you think of the ideology of amnesty in the Nigerian context with regards to the religious sects Boko Haram? My take is that they should check the issue of Boko Haram. Boko Haram is an ideological problem. I once listened to the interview of Hillary Clinton on terrorism, when she was leaving office, she said ‘terrorism’ is one of ideology. That people are ignoring the place of ideology whereas there lies the solution to this problem. The ideology that influences and guides the thinking of the Boko Haram and other religious terrorism is one deriving from negative ancient values based on ignorance. At some point during the medieval period, knowledge about God was not as clear as we have it today. There were a lot of superstitions about God - God is in everything, anything you don’t understand or beyond your knowledge – and speculations. So that is the era within which all religions were born. Christianity had that problem. As science was coming to liberate mankind from this kind of thought, many great scientists were killed. •Continued on page 28


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

28

The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

Institute gets cultural clubs

T

HE National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Southsouth Zonal Office has inaugurated NICO Cultural Clubs in selected secondary schools in Bayelsa State. Speaking at their inauguration in Yenagoa, the state capital, the Commissioner of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, praised institute for its efforts in reviving the language and culture of the people. His ministry, he said, would support the Institute, not only in organising programmes for the clubs, but also partner the Institute on programmes geared towards the promotion and preservation of culture. Dr. Tuodolo said the state government, as part of efforts towards reviving the language and culture of the people, is working on a curriculum for teaching of Izon language in schools. The state Commissioner for Education, Salo Adikumo, said that the Hon. Seriake Dicksonled administration in Bayelsa is culturefriendly and has put the machinery in place to ensure that the language and culture of the Ijaw people are preserved, urging the students to be proud of their language and engage in activities that reflect the Ijaw culture. The NICO Southsouth Zonal Head, Mr James Imohiosen, said the purpose of setting up the clubs was to ensure that the nation’s cultural practices, values and languages were imbibed by the young ones during their formative years. He said the Zonal Office would not only take steps to sustain the clubs, it would also extend the inauguration of the clubs to other states in the Zone. The wife of the Executive Secretary, NICO, Mrs. Letty Barclays Ayakoroma, in her goodwill message enjoined pupils to take issues of their culture and language serious, as it is the only way they can know their language and culture and pass it to future generations. No fewer than 10 cultural clubs were inaugurated in the event that was spiced with scintillating cultural dances, traditional wrestling and drama presentations by some students of the schools.

‘Achebe got a legend’s funeral’ •Continued from page 27

That was the time of the inquisition when some were burnt at stake for saying other than what was in the ancient religion. And another worst accomplice of religion is superstition and ignorance. Islam was also born in that era. A lot of the thinking they have about God, heaven and blessing is all sprang from the ancient, primitive and medieval thought. Now, Christianity have had greater liberation from that because its alliance with Western science and capitalism. The three have been going together and gradually science has been conquering ancient religious beliefs and setting the pace. New discoveries in science are no longer changing the concept of God. They are now accepted by Christians willingly. Sometimes ago, even in Nigeria, some people were sacked as teachers for teaching the reproductive system in mission schools. But can you see what is happening today. So, Christian consciousness and ideologies are being refined through scientific development. But in the case of Islam it hasn’t had that kind of exposure with the fundamentals of modern science. That ancient thinking of what would quality you to go to heaven, etc. is still inbuilt. So, if we see the problem from this point of view, we can now see the need for ideological education and reorientation through basic education. The policy of the government to provide quality education to children who do not have access to it, especially the almajiris, is a very wonderful one and should be pursued. And as you give them education, try to provide jobs for them. Once they have been enlightened and their thought refined, they become independent and their thinking is bound to change. They would no longer be willing to sacrifice their lives. That is one solution than the amnesty because when you grant amnesty to people of today what about others who may still live in that consciousness thinking that the best way to go to heaven is to kill people.

•Ronke

“I

•Iya ni Wura sweet mum

‘It’s a dream come true’

GREW up appreciating the value of hard work, and that through hard work, perseverance and determination you can accomplish anything you set your heart to do. I am very passionate about what I do in the bank, which is very demanding, am also passionate about art. I discovered a few years ago that out of my busy scheduled I needed to create time to paint. And what I am doing today is a product of passion, determination and tenacity.” There was the response of Mrs Ronke Aina-Scott on how she manages her busy job schedule at Fidelity Bank and studio practice to produce paintings for her debut solo art exhibition, Colours on my mind’ holding at MyDrim Gallery on Norman Williams Street, Ikoyi Lagos on June 22. For Mrs Aina-Scott, a graduate of Fine Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, the solo exhibition featuring 50 paintings is a big deal. She said: “It is for me a like a dream come true.” Since her childhood days being an artist was what appealed to her. Spoke to art writers at a preview session last week in Lagos. She said her choice of theme for the exhibition, Colour on my mind, is a reflection of her mood and fascination by colours and a way to encourage other women to show their talent and admiration for couor. She said although she had participated in two other group exhibitions her solo was a way of serving as a touchstone for other women to come out of their ‘selfimposed limitations’ and show their creativity. According to Aina-Scott, “As a little girl, my colour pencils were the most prized of my earthly possessions and whenever they got missing, which was very often, I was usually reduced to tears. ‘’Painting fills me with a sense of accomplishment and I am most at peace with myself when I am at work on my canvas. Art for me has proven a most amenable vehicle for translating inner vision to outer reality.” Asked how she copes as a banker, she said: “I feel joy working on canvas. It is not as if I am not fulfilled working in the banking hall. However, I feel my other side as a creative artist should not be sacrificed. I work long hours in the office and get back home and still get to my pastel and paint. That is the level of my devotion and commitment to painting and my canvas. “ She confessed that it has not been easy to cope with her family (she is married

By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor Arts

VISUAL ART with a set of twins- a boy and girl), playing a mother, wife and bank worker and artist, at the same time. Among the exhibits for display include Where are the trees? And there are none… Iya ni Wura & Iya mi, Aje o! Aje ni ya Amokoko, “ Egwu Umu-agbohor, Ariya, Agogoro Eyo, African Masks, Mo yo fun e, and mo yo fun ra mi, Mrs Aina-Scott said she struggled to divide her time well to manage all the “stakeholders” that she has to take care of. “I give credit to God and the understanding of my employers (Fidelity Bank) for the understanding to cope with my job.” My art is to emphasise the contribution of women to building the society. The Special Guest of Honour and Chairman of the event is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi. Other dignitaries expected at the opening ceremony are IK Mbagwu; Onome Olaolu; John Obi; Chijioke Ugochukwu; Nnamdi Okonkwo and Mohammed Balarabe, the Executive Directors of Fidelity Bank. On the event, the Group Head, Marketing and Communication, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Emma Esinnah, said: “I have had the privilege of seeing some of Ronke’s works and can confidently attest that her strokes are as strong as her

‘I feel joy working on canvas. It is not as if I am not fulfilled working in the banking hall. However, I feel my other side as a creative artist should not be sacrificed. I work long hours in the office and get back home and still get to my pastel and paint. That is the level of my devotion and commitment to painting and my canvas’

character and the diligence she shows in the office is carried over to her paintings. The colours are vibrant and the images speak to issues of our time”. The collection of art works are rendered in various arts forms of pointillism, acrylic, pastel and pen and ink, mostly abstracts, is an expression of various aspects of African culture. Mrs Aina-Scott was born in the 70s and encouraged by her mother to take interest in art. She began drawing with colour pencils and crayon as a young girl at home. Her talent blossomed in primary school and while in secondary school, she won many awards in Art. She participated in other exhibitions such as Best of Ife ’95, MinajTV Exhibition (1997) and Naija Woman Exhibition by Tourshop (2007). Before she joined the corporate world, Aina-Scott was one of the founding graphic artists at the Daily Independent Newspaper, from where she moved to FSB International Bank. She heads the Design and Production Unit of the Marketing and Communication Group, Fidelity Bank. She is a prolific artist whose works, inspired by the role of the African woman in society, tend to be simple, yet diversified. As an artist, Aina-Scott is very versatile, she is able to exhibit dexterity in the use of oil paints, pastel, acrylic, gouache and even pen and ink as a medium and her technique leans towards the abstract. On why she is coming up with a solo after years of leaving school, she said: “I have actually been painting. Back then, shortly after leaving school, as a struggling artist needing to make ends meet, I ended having to sell my paintings. “I was never really able to have a large collection of works to exhibit, so having a solo exhibition back then seemed a daunting task. I participated in a few group exhibitions and I have quite a large number of paintings in private collections both here in Nigeria and abroad. I have actually been able to sell quite a lot of my artworks online.” Continuing she said: “The demand on my time got more intense when I got married in 2005 and had a lot on my hands; I had the home front to take care- off coupled with the demands of a banking job. I had my hands full to the brim when I had my twin babies! I had lots of things battling for my attention and I had to put off the idea of going back to the canvas. My passion had always being in the creative industry and I knew it was just a matter of time before return to the canvas.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

BUSINESS THE NATION

E-mail:- bussiness@thenationonlineng.net

Forecasts Niger Insurance Gross Premium - N2.73b Profit after tax - N212.95m Mutual Benefits Gross Premium - N2b Profit - N885.633m Regency Alliance Gross Premium – N812.596m Profit after tax – N256.437m Learn Africa Turnover - N1.06b Profit after tax - N58.336m Total Nigeria Turnover - N46.676 b Profit after tax - N942.1m MRS Oil Nigeria Turnover - N51.20b Profit after tax - N712 m Eterna Turnover - N27.64b Profit after tax - N563.834m Okomu Oil Palm Turnover - N2.667b Profit after tax - N1.044b Stanbic/IBTC Bank Net operating income N16.805b Profit after tax - N2.737b ASL Turnover - N1.084b Profit after tax - N101.355m GT Assurance Gross Premium - N3.892b Profit after tax - N710.62m Cornerstone Insurance Gross Premium - N1.223b Profit after tax - N80.01m Oasis Insurance Gross Premium N562.500m Profit after tax - N79.868m African Alliance INS Gross Premium - N1.215b Profit after tax - N107.213m Berger Paints Turnover - N976.303m Profit after tax - N88.258m SCOA Nigeria Turnover - N835.0m Profit after tax - N18.200m Dangote Sugar Refinery Turnover - N38.251b Profit after tax - N3.49b Studio Press Nig. Turnover - N3.375b Profit after tax - N20.422m Julius Berger Nig. Turnover - N80.125b Profit after tax - N2.55b Intercontinental Wapic Ins Gross Premium - N1.41b Profit after tax - N250.450m Equity Assurance Gross Premium - N2.45b Profit after tax - N287.283m Standard Alliance Insurance Gross Premium - N2.142b Profit after tax - N475.964m Continental Reinsurance Gross Premium - N6.917b Profit after tax - N805m PRESCO Turnover - N2.60b Profit after tax - N800.9m RT Briscoe Turnover - N4.553b

29 NLNG is one of the biggest success stories in our country. From what I am told, the company has invested $13 billion so far since inception, and has become a pacesetter in terms of revenue generation for the government. -Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga

Fed Govt, states bicker over FAAC arrears F

EDERAL and state governments are bickering over the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) arrears for February and March this year that have remained unpaid. As the date for the FAAC meeting draws near, a commissioner of finance told The Nation that states have been denied their arrears on the pretext that there are no funds. Trouble, the state commissioner said, started after the passage of the 2013 budget. In the case of the February arrears, it was learnt that the Federal Government was constrained to pay because it had initially released $1 billion to the states on request. The argument of the Federal Government is that since the $1 billion was drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), financing the February ar-

From Nduka Chiejina, Assistant Editor, Abuja

rears will also be drawn from the ECA, which is being depleted. However, the Federal Government agreed to offset the February arrears in installments through augmentation so that ECA could recover the $1 billion that had already been withdrawn. Most states, according to information, agreed with the Federal Government. But it was learnt that the Nigerian Governors Forum will be discussing the issue at its National Executive Council (NEC). However, the March arrears was a bitter pill for the Federal Government to swallow. For the past three weeks, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation have been promising the states that the

money would be paid. But this was to no avail. One of the commissioners of finance told said this would be the major source of contention between the federal and state governments at the next FAAC meeting. According to the commissioner, both the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation have attributed the non-payment of the March arrears to “technical hitches”. The FAAC, the commissioner disclosed, used 2012 figures to make disbursements to all the three tiers of government until the 2013 budget was passed and signed in April. “Since a new figure was used in the 2013 budget, this means that all the tiers of government were to be paid the arrears for February and March 2013,” the commissioner said.

He disclosed that when the issue came up for discussion, the Federal Government’s team made up of the minister of state for finance, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) and revenue generating agencies, told the commissioners of finance that there was no fund for the payment of the arrears. Another commissioner of finance, who confirmed the development, said the next FAAC meeting would be stormy as the states had resolved to get a firm commitment from the Federal Government on when they would be paid the arrears. He admitted that FAAC owed the states February and March 2013 arrears because the 2013 budget was passed late in the year. As a result, the states are spoiling for war since they have been repeatedly told that

there is no money. The commissioner noted: “That is why there is a deliberate attempt to hold FAAC meetings at night so that states will rubber stamp decisions at the meeting.” The states he said would try to resist holding the meeting late in the night so that the issue of the arrears would be trashed out adequately. However, when the spoke with the spokesman of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) Mr. Charles Nwodo, he denied knowledge of the arrears, insisting that he had records to show that there was no outstanding arrears accruing to the states. Nwodo told the newspaper that he has the template to show that states were paid what was due to them at all the FAAC meetings held.

•From left: Group Treasurer, United Bank for Africa (UBA Plc, Mr Emmanuel Onokpasa; Managing Director, The NASD Limited, Mr. Bola Ajomale; and Vice Chairman/CEO, ICON Stockbrokers Limited, Mr. Chike Nwanze, during the signing of agreement between the NASD, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and settlement banks in Lagos.

F

Foreign investors raise stakes on Nigerian equities

OREIGN investors have regained dominance as the major investment blocks in the stock market as portfolio investors trucked in large funds into the swirling bullish market that had seen many indigenous investors opting for profit-taking. Latest foreign portfolio investment report by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) indicated steady increase in the proportionate percentage contribution of foreign portfolio investors over the last two tracked months, upstaging the dominance of the domestic investors in the previous two months. The report, which tracked the four-month period ended April 30, this year, showed that while investments from investors had slowed consid-

By Taofik Salako

erably since January, foreign investors have gradually increased their stakes. The latest figure showed that foreign investors accounted for 64.48 per cent of total transaction value at the NSE in April, the last available data. This is a substantial increase on 52.78 per cent the foreigners recorded in March when they displaced domestic investors as the most influential investment block. Urged on by the huge return in 2012 and early bullish rallies, domestic investors had dominated the stock market in the first two months of the year, although their proportionate stakes were on the diminishing scale. Domestic investors accounted for 63.11 per cent of

total value traded on the NSE in January and dropped to 60.35 per cent in February. Besides the dominance of foreign portfolio investors, the report underlined increasing retention of foreign capital in the stock market. While total foreign inflow for the fourmonth period stood at N191.78 billion, total outflow was N148.76 billion. Breakdown analysis of the flows showed that inflows stood at N40.96 billion, N39.34 billion, N43.13 billion and N68.35 billion in January, February, March and April respectively as against outflow of N20.50 billion, N36.63 billion, N37.01 billion and N54.62 billion within the same period. The Nation had earlier reported that foreign portfolio investors had staked about

AMCON is major equity High lending rate scares holder in ICT firms borrowers, says CBN - P 30 - P32

N4.3 trillion on quoted shares between 2007 and March 2013. Foreign portfolio investment flow at the NSE between 2007 and March 2013 showed that foreign investors gradually and consecutively increased their investments in Nigerian equities from about 15 per cent of total market turnover in 2007 all through till a high of about 67 per cent in 2011. Foreign portfolios were particularly the main drivers of transactions on the NSE in the past two years, with foreign investors accounting for average of two-thirds of equity transactions between 2011 and 2012. The report underlined the early positioning of the foreign investors, who had saw through the prospects of Nigerian equities amidst the

downtrend and the rampant herd instinct of the domestic investors, who mostly usually look at recovering market. The two-way flow of foreign portfolio investments showed that while foreign investors flowed in about N2.01 trillion during the period, they equally took away about N2.17 trillion. Foreign portfolio transactions increased from N615.6 billion in 2007 to N787.4 billion in 2008. These trimmed down to N424.6 billion in 2009 before rising consecutively to N577.3 billion and N847.9 billion in 2010 and 2011. Foreign portfolio trades stood at N808.4 billion in 2012 and were reported at N215.6 billion by March this year.

SEC reviews demutualisation of NSE

- P32


30

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

MONEY

High lending rate scares borrowers, says CBN

T

HE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said huge cost of lending may discourage borrowers from patronising financial institutions. The development, it said, might affect the realisation of the financial inclusion’s objective. CBN adopted the policy to enable more people to access financial transactions for the growth of the economy. Speaking at a Credit Reporting Conference in Lagos, the Director, Other Financial Institutions Department (OFID), CBN, Mr Olufemi Fabanwo, said when the cost of obtaining credit is too high, depositors’ especially small savers would be reluctant to approach banks for transactions. He said: “Coming to the bottom of the pyramids, there are borrowers who would not be able to access banking facility because of huge cost of servicing loans. When the cost is high, people would not go for loans or other services being rendered by the banks. This might affect the financial inclusion strategy.” The guidelines of Credit Bureaux, which, compel banks to exchange data with at least two credit bureaux, would drive the growth of

Stories by Akinola Ajibade

the industry and the economy in particular, he said. Besides, he said the exchange of data from credit bureaux would help banks to know the credit history of their borrowers, among other vital information. Fabanwo said small borrowers may not see the benefits of obtaining credit reports from two institutions because of the nature of their operations. This, he said, would create problems for such operators and the economy in the future. Operators that failed to comply with all known credit guidelines, he said, stood the risk of creating problems in the industry. Fabanwo advised operators irrespective of their sizes to document the transactions made at any given period. “In accessing mortgage loan or micro credit, what is coming to the household is very important. The lenders must know this among other relevant information. If you do not have the knowledge of the income of the borrowers, it is a problem. Also, banks must explain the issue of cost of lending to their customers. This is very important when it comes to people that are at the base of the pyramid,” he said. The CBN director said more serious-

ness is expected from banks because they play a key role in the economy. “What kills banks early is loans. If you feel you want to continue to grant credit without calculating the risk, you are on your own,” he added. Fabanwo advised credit bureau organisations to do their jobs well, noting that they constitute an important element in the financial industry globally. In a related development, the former managing director, XLS Credit Bureau, Mr Ubong Awah, has urged credit bureaux, banks, among other stakeholders, to work for the growth of the economy. He said credit reporting is very important, noting that any economy that does not have good credit reports will not grow. He said the rate of default is usually low when credit bureau agencies are allowed to do their work effectively. He said the banking watchdog has made a good start by licensing three credit bureau outfits, stressing that such efforts must be complemented for the growth of the economy. He urged borrowers to provide an up-to-date information to banks, saying that this would reduce problems relating to the granting of loans in the industry.

Banks facilitate FDIs, says minister THE roles of financial institutions in bringing Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to the country cannot be under-emphasised, the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Lawan Ngama, has said. Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, the minister said when banks are doing well, they woulds attract investors from different parts of the world. He said the growth recorded in FDIs could be attributed to banks among other operators in

the financial chain. The minister said the banks’ capacity to play in the foreign markets where they either have offshore branches or quoted in some of the renown Exchanges have helped in boosting the confidence of investors in the economy. He called for a proactive approach to problems facing the economy. He said the sub-region has the capacity to grow its FDIs greatly, if the member states work together to promote trade and commerce.

Bonds for biggest economies may decline THE world’s leading economies will have $220 billion less sovereign debt to refinance in the year, cutting supply after every major government bond market rallied for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. According to Bloomberg report, the amount of bills, notes and bonds coming due for the Group of Seven nations plus Brazil, Russia, India and China will drop to $7.38 trillion from $7.60 trillion in 2012. It said Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil will see a decline, while the United States, Canada, Russia, India and China will face an increase. “While high debt loads are

blamed for curbing global economic growth, bond investors are encouraged by signs that some nations are starting to rein in spending as they extend the average maturity of their obligations. Instead of rising, borrowing costs are falling as supply decreases, inflation remains in check and central banks from the United States to Europe cut interest rates to record lows,” it said. Deutsche Bank expects German bonds to outperform French debt even as it forecasts German 10year yields will probably reach 2.25 percent at the end of theyear, from 1.32 per cent at the end of December and compared with the average over the past five years of about 2.85 per cent.

Standard Bank pushes for African expansion STANDARD Bank has said it will press ahead with plans to open another 30 branches in subSaharan Africa this year, aiming to cash in on booming loan and deposit growth even as the costs of such investment hit its bottom line. Africa’s biggest bank by assets, Standard Bank is 20 per cent owned by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. It blamed a below-forecast nine per cent increase in first-half profit on costs of investment. “It really has been growing rapidly and we’ve continued to invest, which is part of the reason for the cost growth that

you’ve seen,” Chief Executive Jacko Maree told Reuters Insider, referring to its 16 operations across the continent. “But if you look at the profitability in Africa you saw the profits growing by some 80 per cent, just looking at the on-theground banks on the continent, which is a very big jump.” He pledged to do all he could to control spending after a 17 per cent rise in the six months to the end of June but said costs would continue to climb as the bank seeks to cash in on an estimated 30-40 per cent rise in loans and deposits across the continent.

MfBs urged to comply with IFRS • Managing Director, Netherlands-African Business Council, Mr Van der Bijl; presenting the first NABC Distinction in Public Service Award to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Consolidated supervision: Banks’ examiners O actualise the objectives of preventing crisis from snowballing consolidated supervision, the financial system.” for training inThis the training of banks’ examis one of the ways of prevent-

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iners will soon begin, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said. The training will be undertaken by the Financial Regulatory Service Sector Commission (FRSSC) comprising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and National Pension Commission (PenCom). Director, Banking Supervision, NDIC, AdedapoAdeleke, told The Nation that the framework for the implementation of the scheme is in the pipeline. The regulators, he said, had agreed to come up with examiners who will be trained on how to implement the guidelines. He said the training of the examiners was crucial to the implementation of the guidelines on consolidated supervision, adding that each regulator would provide examiners to meet the needs of its sector. Adeleke said the CBN was at the vanguard of driving the initiative for its overall success. He said con-

solidated supervision would help in diagnosing sectoral problems, monitoring them, and providingcommon and proactive solutions. NDIC, he said, was working with the CBN to ensure proper supervision of the banks and also ensure that the industry’s problem does not spill over to other arms of the financial services’sector. He said: “We are working with other regulatory bodies to foster the growth of the consolidated supervision project. We found out that there are banks that have subsidiaries that are not in the mainstream banking. This would hinder the supervision of the industry. Though no date has been fixed for the training of such examiner, all the regulators will have their own examiners. “Different areas in the financial service system require supervision. We have set up a consolidate supervision such that any bank, insurance company, stock broking firm, quoted companies, among others, that are exposed to risk would be quickly checked. The idea aimed at

ing a re-occurrence of the crisis that rocked the capital market and the banking industry in 2008. “Consolidated supervision would help in seeing, checking, and proffering solutions to problems in each sector. Its framework would be executed by the examiners trained by the regulators,” he explained. Adeleke said the FRSSC would be able to intervene in any part of the financial services sector that is having problem, without going through the National Assembly for solutions. He said when this happens, the growth of the financial service sector and the economy would be fast-tracked. He said the commission would do a good job, stressing that it would not get involved in politics. On Savannah Bank, Adeleke said the NDIC does not have much role to play on re-opening the bank, arguing that CBN has the capacity to determine the fate of the bank. “With respect to the issue of Savannah Bank, NDIC cannot pay its depositors. CBN is still persuading the bank to pay the necessary fund before it can reopen for business,” he said.

THE National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMBs), Southwest Chapter has advised its members to keep to this year’s deadline for the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards. The body, in a statement, said failure of the operators to adopt IFRS promptly means that they would be able to integrate into the global best practices in financial reporting and disclosure. According to its Chairman, Mr Olufemi Babjajide, operators will get more recognition when they fully comply with the standards. He said: “We would ensure that our members adopt IFRS. We have told our members to do everything possible to comply with IFRS. We said as from 2013, it would not be good enough if they fail to use the internationally acceptable standards.”

Babajide said the motive was to enhance market discipline and preparation of accounting statements that would be internationally compatible. He said the apex bank had given microfinance banks up till last March to comply with the standard and that the association would begin to sensitise operators from April. The chairman said many operators initially thought that the adoption of IFRS was meant for only quoted companies, “But now, microfinance banks have been directed to comply by 2013 as no sector will be exempted,’’ he said. He said IFRS would be a major change for the banks because it would lead to major changes in internal systems, business processes, performance management, and external communications.

Investment summit holds Saturday THE city of Ago-Iwoye is set to receive people from different parts of Nigeria and other parts of the world who are expected to participate in the first Economic Summit scheduled to hold this Saturday. Speaking ahead of the summit, Chairman, Organising Committee, Seye Awojobi, said the event with the theme: Unlocking the economic opportunities and potentials for development is being put together by

the Egbe Gbobaniyi AgoIwoye and will hold at the Ago-Iwoye City Hall. He said the summit is part of the efforts to make Ago-Iwoye a modern and economically stable city that can achieve sustainable economic growth and prosperity among the comity of societies. Special Guest of Honour will be Senator Ibikunle Amosun, among other dignitaries.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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FINANCE

Assessing Sanusi’s four years at CBN

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, kick-started a reform of the banking sector when he took over the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) four years ago. COLLINS NWEZE looks at his performance within this period.

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IVEN the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a financial and economic adviser to the Federal Government, the imperatives for effective leadership and management of this institution cannot be over-stressed. This is because of the apex bank’s mandate, which is to instill sanity in the financial system and build a framework for managing a modern economy. This brings into marked focus, the giant stride of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who has been in the saddle for the past four years. Mallam Sanusi has variously initiated and taken decisive policy decisions with tremendous impacts on the financial system, corporate governance and the real economy. The Sanusi-led CBN management undertook comprehensive Banking Reforms with the amasing results of no failed bank, no loss to depositors or creditors, and at minimal fiscal costs, as the banks themselves were persuaded to bear some of the costs. Today, capital adequacy ratio averages over 20 per cent, while non-performing loans are down to under-five per cent. As acknowledged locally and internationally, Nigerian banks are no longer mere fora to purchase government bonds and fund bluechip companies; but are increasingly focused on the real sector (including long-neglected agriculture and manufacturing) where jobs are created and meaningful growth occurs.

AMCON

As a broad resolution strategy to tackle the challenges of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was established in 2011. It duly acquired the initial NPLs from banks valued at over N1.2 trillion and injected some N1.6 trillion to further absorb other toxic from the banks. More revealing is that the national treasury did not fund the exercise. Under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee, AMCON’s operations are financed by 0.3 per cent of banks’ annual profits and CBN’s N500 billion spread over 10 years. The Recapitalisation Policy of the CBN was concluded in 2011.

Macro-economic stability

The Sanusi dispensation has ensured a MacroEconomic Stability through strengthening its regulatory structures and functions. Some aspects of this regime include review of Prudential Guidelines to boost lending to the real sector; enhanced reporting standards & uniform year-end financial reporting; compulsory disengagement Bank CEOs with 10 years’ service; strict enforcement of the 12-year tenure limit for non-executive directors, mandatory appointment of fresh external auditors after

10 years; and improved liaison with such other relevant regulators as the Securities and Exchange (SEC), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for system stability. The CBN’ Financial Stability Committee works closely with a re-invigorated Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee - the umbrella platform to co-ordinate activities of the various financial regulators in the system. Happily, all stakeholders appreciate the need to integrate regulations among various subsectors of the financial sector.

Growth of banks

Today, Nigeria boasts of one of the most advanced financial sectors in Africa even as quite a number of its banks now operate branches in other countries. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank acknowledge that the Nigerian economy posted one of the fastest growth rates (6.5 per cent) above the global rate of 3.5 per cent and project it to grow at some seven per cent in the year. Indeed, the country has a current account surplus equivalent to about 8 per cent of the GDP even as its Debt—GDP ratio is less than 20 per cent.

Low inflation

For the first time in many years, the CBN has achieved low Inflation rate. As at endFebruary last year, Nigeria recorded a 9.5 per cent inflation rate vis-a-vis the December 2009 figure of 13.9 per cent. The CBN has consistently held the Monetary Policy Rate (reference interest rate) at 12 per cent, such that enterprises can decently plan in anticipation of stable business environment. It also introduced the Cashless Policy to change our cash-driven economy and ease operational costs usually passed on to customers. The policy is operational in Lagos State, and will soon be extended to Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Kano, Rivers and Ogun states.

Stable exchange rate

With improved macro-economic stability and for two consecutive years, the Nigerian Naira Exchange Rate averaged N158.30 to the US$ and remained stable against other major currencies. In the same vein, there has been an upward trend in the nation’s external reserves, which hit $49 billion in the first quarter of the year. This is the first of its kind in the last three years. The boost in foreign reserves is readily measured by the increase in the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and portfolio investments into

the Nigerian economy.

Non interest banking

The introduction of Non-Interest Banking by the Sanusi management provides more opportunities to attract some erstwhile unbanked persons and organisations into the banking community. There is also Financial Inclusion strategy to reduce the number of adults without access to financial services from 46.3 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020. The scheme affords access to such services as credit, payments, savings and products; including channels like the ATMs, PoS, retail agents, DMB branch network, among others. The tiered Know Your Customers (KYC) policy is also further boosting financial inclusion and reducing the incidence of identity fraud in the system. Meanwhile, the entry barrier for low-income earners desirous to operate bank accounts has been reduced with the elimination of some stringent requirements. With its massive Interventions in the Real Sector, the CBN is actively involved in such special schemes and Funds as the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS), Power and Aviation Fund (PAIF), Restructuring & Refinancing Fund (RRF) and Nigerian Incentive Based-Risk Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (ain collaboration with UNIDO and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). The Sanusi-led management is very sensitive to Women Empowerment. The Bankers’ Committee declared 2013, the Year of Women Empowerment as the banks collectively agreed that by 2014, 40 per cent of senior management, and 30 per cent of board level positions should be occupied by women. The CBN is also engaged with Entrepreneurship Development Centres as part of efforts to create employment, empower people, grow small enterprises, and accelerate Nigeria’s economic growth. Similarly, the NYSC Venture Price Competition was introduced to sensitise and create awareness in youths, awaken their entrepreneurial instincts, and orientate serving youth corps members towards seeking alternative employment options, in particular, self-employment. In the knowledge that Corporate Governance is crucial to modern economic management, the Sanusi-led CBN implemented a Corporate Governance Project. This is steadily strengthening governance practices, eliminating ambiguities in due process and aligning with current realities and

• Sanusi

global best practices. The banking system relies on the effective operation of a range of integrity systems to hold institutions and their managements transparent and accountable. The Shared Services project is to reduce costs in the financial sector by about 30 per cent over the next three years. Elements of this project include sharing of data centres, infrastructure, ATMs, banking applications and power supply. An informed commentator on historical and contemporary issues, Mallam Sanusi has regularly inspired public discourse on societal development. At a recent forum on the way forward for the Nigerian economy, suggested a range of cost-reduction measures among which are public service rightsizing, drastic pruning of executive and legislature expenditures; and scrapping of Local Councils. At another forum, he had further alarmed public treasury leeches with his panacea to check abuses in the Government (fuel) subsidy regime. Recognition for this accomplished Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria has flowed from across the world. Recently awarded Africa Central Bank Governor for 2013, his other honours include: Central Bank Governor for Sub-Saharan Africa, 2011; Global-African Central Bank Governor of Year 2011; African Leadership Person of Year 2011; Listed in TIME magazine 100 Most Influential People of 2011; and turbaned Dan Majen Kano by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Dr. Ado Bayero. The dispensation at the CBN has gone a long way to instil sanity in the nation’s financial system; and hence, help chart the path to economic sustainability. Mallam Sanusi’s courageous and pragmatic initiatives have upset the apple cart of entrenched predatory interests. He has aimed at many targets and scored several direct hits — demonstrating sterling leadership, which is in short supply in the management of Nigeria’s public affairs. His four years in the saddle of the CBN has indeed been value-added.

Samuel J. Samuel, who turns 44 today, is the Chief Executive Officer of Origin Group Limited. The firm, which sits on a sprawling estate in Surulere, Lagos, plans to transform agriculture and agribusiness, making them to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reports SIMEON EBULU, Deputy Business Editor. model from other clines, we must should be able to increase his output.

A rising entrepreneur

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HE dictum, ‘smooth operator,’ aptly describes Samuel J. Samuel of the Origin Group Limited. An emerging big-time player in the agro-allied business, yet seemingly faceless. He can pass incognito in a crowd of five, yet he is a colossus in the contest of contributors to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). His worth and rating is not in his size; it is in his dreams. He is not just dreaming big, he is acting big. For proof, check out the Origin Group. It is into agric, bigtme, producing tomatoes (vegefresh), tractor sales and hiring and furniture manufacturing, among others. At 44, you’ll agree, he has accounted for every year he has been around He sees the future of Nigeria in agriculture. “There is a lot we can do here and the way to go is agriculture. Getting answers to Nigeria’s agric problems require that we look inward,” he said, adding that the government should be ready to engage Nigerians. He said those in authority should look to agriculture to stimulate the

economy, and not infrastructure, as it is often the case. “I think like you have in other developed countries, when they want to stimulate their economies, they look to infrastructure, but in Nigeria, no matter how we want to stimulate our economy through infrastructure, the challenge still remains, because what is required to address that ends up in importation,” he further said. But, in agriculture, Samuel argues, it’s not so.. “If you do maize, soya beans, vegetable, you end up exporting it to other countries, but not so with infrastructure. The challenge with stimulating our economy with infrastructure is that we import virtually everything. So, attempts to stimulate the economy ends up promoting foreign economies. But in agriculture, the reverse in the case. Whatever government puts into developing agriculture, remains here with us, so agriculture is the way to stimulate the economy,” he insists, adding that “government is becoming more responsive to agriculture, and that is a very good start.” He admits though that there are

• Samuel

several initiatives by government to encourage agriculture, saying the collaborative efforts of the government and the Bank of Industry (BoI), and the various reform measures to decongest the ports, are all commendable, but regrets however that many companies have not directly benefited from any of these initiatives. “We’ve had a lot of planning and designs that are patterned after foreign culture. If we are bringing a

take the literacy level of our people into consideration, otherwise it will be difficult to sustain such initiative,” he says. The Origin Group chief, said collaboration between governments and the private sector remains the way forward in deepening the agribusiness sector. He proffers land acquisition and clearing as the starting point, pointing out that a tractor hiring programme can be a veritable way of assisting farmers to increase production. He says the model is already operational in Kano. He speaks also of the necessity for governments to establish farm estates, saying the model that will work in Nigeria will require greater partnership between the government and the private sector. He said the government can open up farm estates where it will be required to provide tractors to clear the land, and thereafter, share the land among a given member of farmers who will tend it, adding that when it comes to harvesting, the private sector will come in and accomplish that. Samuel said at Origin Group Limited, the goal is to put 10 tractors in every local government; by so doing, he argues, every farmer

Hear him: “Before, farmers use their hands to prepare the ground, but a tractor there. Will do an average of six hectares per day, some can do 60 hectares. If we can take away the labour of these people and give them the tractor, we’ll be able to increase Nigeria’s level of output. That was what China did. They put one tractor to every village. Today, China is self-sufficient in food production. “It can be done here,” he insists, saying that pushing the idea is where the challenge is. We are trying to involve state governments in this. Paying for the tractors is where government needs to come in. There are challenges, but we are trying,” he added Samuel said the youths in Nigeria have a responsibility in this endeavour. If they refuse to rise up to the challenge and pay the price now, others will pay it, but warns that we don’t have any better option, he said. “For me, agriculture is the reliable option, or rather, the best option that we have. Go and check it, those who built America were farmers, peasant farmers, sugarcane farmers, miners. The question is whether we are ready to pay the price. Either way, it’s our interest and passion that will determine the outcome,” he added.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

32

THE NATION INVESTORS

AMCON is major equity holder in ICT firms

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SSET Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) owns large equity stakes in most of the information and communication technology (ICT) firms listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Reliable market sources indicated that the bad-asset resolution company has several large equity interests in ICT firms. The equities arose from bad loan-purchase deals that transferred the underlying equities that were used as collaterals for margin loans by banks and counterparties to AMCON. In a document obtained by The Nation, AMCON has the majority equity stake of 10.54 per cent in a high-profile technology innovation company. Besides, the corporation also has joint interest in another 7.51 per cent equity stake in the same firm, bringing its direct and indi-

By Taofik Salako

rect equity interest to some 18.05 per cent. The document indicated that AMCON and its related parties were the only entities with shareholdings above 5.0 per cent in the company. Companies are required to indicate shareholders with 5.0 per cent or more equities in their statutory filings. There were also indications that AMCON has significant equity stakes in other ICT firms, especially two highly indebted firms which had recently undergone debt restructurings and acquisitions. AMCON is reported to be the second largest holder of quoted equities after the pension industry but the specific shareholdings and extent of control are not known. AMCON had invested some N3

trillion in the purchase of non-performing loans and recapitalisation of banks. With the bad debts taken over by the corporation, it now has assets spread across the country including real estate properties and shares that were used as collaterals for loans. AMCON also has shares in nearly all banks and several quoted companies. The newspaper had earlier reported that AMCON had become the second largest shareholder of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc following indirect acquisition of equity stakes in the agro-allied company. Impeccable source indicated that AMCON became the second largest shareholder of the company af-

ter it acquired provisionally bad loans related to the shares of the company. According to the latest shareholding analysis of the company, AMCON has 13.96 per cent equity stake, the second largest stake after 25 per cent equity stake held by the managing director and founder of the company, Mr Abiola Aderonmu. An Executive Director, Mr Akin Laoye, holds the third largest stake of 7.5 per cent. With the acquisition, AMCON owns about 307.23 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of FTN Cocoa Processors, which places the bad loans management special purpose

vehicle within the few shareholders that control the direction of the company. Some 0.41 per cent of the 5,676 shareholders of FTN Cocoa Processors control 70.53 per cent of the equities of the company. Besides AMCON, other strategic shareholders included Mr Aderonmu, who holds 551.9 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each and Mr Laoye, who holds 165 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each. Altogether, the three main shareholders hold 1.02 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, about 46.4 per cent of the total outstanding shares of 2.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each.

Chams grows profit by 107%

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HAMS Plc appeared to have started reaping from recent restructuring programme as the information and communication technology company rode on the back of substantial growth in turnover and improved internal efficiency and cost management to deliver impressive returns in the financial year ended December 31, 2012. Audited report and accounts of Chams Plc for the 2012 financial showed remarkable improvements in turnover, profitability and financial strength of the company as it pulled away from a net loss of N1.24 billion in 2011 to record a net profit of N87.5 million in 2012. Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director, Chams Plc, Demola Aladekomo, said the results were proof of unwavering commitment towards refocusing and consolidating the group’s businesses during the year. According to him, the performance was as a result of continued commitment to providing customers with competitive and high quality services. “After recording a resilient year in 2011, we are delighted by the significant growth achieved in our revenues and profitability respectively in 2012. The fundamentals of our business remain solid and we are confident we have the right strategies in place to ensure continuous future growth and profitability,” Aladekomo said. He added that Chams would continue to leverage on its stateof-the-art technology solutions, well trained and experienced personnel and the expertise of its global affiliates as it strives to be the leading end-to-end technology solutions provider to the public and private sectors in Nigeria. In the 2012 financial year, Chams Plc turnover rose by about 60 per cent to N2.84 billion in 2012 as against N1.78 billion recorded in

By Taofik Salako

2011. Top-line performance was driven by the group’s identity management solutions business, which recorded 249.3 per cent increase from N700 million to N2.45 billion. Strident cost management and internal efficiency initiatives being implemented by the management impacted positively on the top-down profit structure of the group with appreciable improvements from gross profit to the net profit. While cost of sales dropped by 51 per cent from N1.09 billion to N534 million, gross profit jumped by 235 per cent from N687 million to N2.30 billion. Operating expense remained muted at N2.45 billion compared with N2.14 billion while interest expense was almost flat at N230 million compared with N226 million in previous year. Remarkably, Chams Plc broke away from recent losing streak with a profit before tax of N170 million in 2012 as against pre-tax loss of N1.20 billion in 2011. After taxes, net profit stood at N87.5 million in 2012 as against net loss of N1.24 billion in 2011, representing an increase of 107 per cent. Chams thus replaced its basic loss per share of 26 kobo in 2011 with modest earnings per share of 3.0 kobo for 2012. The group’s net asset per share also increased from 85 kobo to 95 kobo. Chams Plc is consolidating its position in Nigeria as a diversified business with innovative technology end-to-end solutions and proven track record of deployment and support services. The company is leveraging its excellent Nigerian pedigree while exploiting the skills, economies of scale and synergies that come from affiliation to global technology solutions providers to continuously deliver value to its public and private sector clients.

•From Left: Chairman, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr. Emeka Madubuike and Executive Director, market operations and technology, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Adeolu Bajomo at the maiden Annual Capital Market Night organised by ASHON in Lagos.

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SEC reviews demutualisation of NSE

HE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reviewing recent proceedings on the demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Demutualisation is the process of transforming the NSE from its current status of member-owned entity into shareholder-owned Exchange. It will allow the Exchange to be listed and its stocks traded daily by investors. A source close to the Commission said that the new board of SEC had set up a committee to review demutualisation guidelines presented by stakeholders. According to the source, the committee presented the guidelines to the

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asset creation. “We will also continue to drive regional synergies across our various jurisdictions and leverage our unique technology platform to offer value added services to our customers across Africa ,” Oduoza said. He noted that the performance of UBA in 2012 was the outcome of some bold and strategic initiatives noting that the bank recorded marked improvement in the contribution of its African subsidiaries to group performance, deepened penetration in the e-banking market, along with significant wins in the critical sectors of the economy. Chairman of UBA, Chief Israel Ogbue, also noted that the 2012 financial year ushered in a new era

SEC board at its last meeting in May. The source said that after the board’s consideration, the guidelines would be circulated to stakeholders for further contributions. It was also learnt that SEC board had increased the number of its meetings from the stipulated four times a year to every month to address backlog of issues in the nation’s capital market. During his inaugural visits to capital market stakeholders, the new board and reconstituted management of SEC had assured that it would not exert any influence on the demutualisation of the NSE, leaving the crucial decision on the future man-

agement of the Exchange in the hands of stockbrokers and members. Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Suleyman Ndanusa, said the Commission would not play any roles in the demutualisation or otherwise of the Exchange beyond its statutory roles of setting guidelines and operating rules for capital market activities. In what represented a major shift in approach to the vexed issue, Ndanusa said members of the NSE would be the ones to decide on the necessity or otherwise of demutualisation and the modality and timeline for such decision. He said SEC’s main role would be to set the guidelines, which the Commission is ready to do at anytime.

Women brainstorm on economic empowerment

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OMEN in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), a Nige-

‘UBA has entered new growth phase’

ANAGING director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr Phillips Oduoza, has said the bank has entered its next growth phase that will further unlock values for all stakeholders. According to him, the bank has commenced on a new growth trajectory with clear immediate priorities that would further entrench the bank as the leader in terms of industry position and value creation. He outlined that in the new growth phase, adoption of an enhanced customer centric approach to market and service delivery will be the key driver of the bank’s strategic thrust, with focus on low cost deposits mobilisation and quality

By Tonia Osundolire

for UBA, with the consolidation of its-African expansion. “I am delighted with the progress our Bank has made and the concerted efforts in delivering strong returns” Ogbue said. Meanwhile, shareholders of the bank have commended the board and management for the terling performance and dividend payment to investors during the financial year ended December 31, 2012. The shareholders, who approved the payment of N0.50 per share at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Abuja noted that the restructuring and transformation of the bank, have been beneficial to investors just as it confirmed UBA as a leading pan-African Bank.

rian based non-profit organization, has reiterated the need for Nigerian women to unify their efforts in creating veritable empowerment for the womenfolk. The group recently held a roundtable business lunch in Abuja with plans to hold two more before the end of the year in Ibadan and Port Harcourt. The Roundtable Lunch which has been running successfully in Lagos since 2006 provides a popular platform for dynamic female executives to share experiences, discuss ideas on pertinent issues that affect them, develop opportunities to give back to society, bridge generational gaps and create networking opportunities. The theme for the maiden edition in the capital city was, “Straight from the heart” and had Mrs. Ifueko Omoigu Okauru, former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as the keynote speaker while Mrs. Omobola

Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology and a founding member, Board of Trustees, WIMBIZ hosted the event. Commenting on the importance of bringing empowerment channels to women nationwide, chairperson, WIMBIZ, Mrs Adeola Azeez, said the group’s unique business lunch has always been met with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm from its numerous speakers, sponsors and attendees. “The women of Nigeria deserve platforms like this that enable them to come together, unified in their efforts to effect change for their gender. Our job as an organization is to listen and make the channels to effect the changes available and accessible to all women nationwide. We look forward to bringing together the many women looking for substantive discussions of realworld solutions to key issues facing women in Nigeria today at these events,” Azeez said.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS 2OTH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 12 Assistant Editor, LEKE SALAUDEEN writes on the voyage of the pro-democracy crusaders to Epetedo, Lagos Island, where the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, declared himself as the President.

Abiola’s day in Epetedo O

N June 11, 1994, the ac claimed winner of the an nulled June 12 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, declared himself the lawful President of Nigeria in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, an area populated by the down trodden. The declaration was the peak of the struggle to retrieve the mandate freely given by the 14 million Nigerians that voted for Abiola in an election, which the local and foreign observers rated the most credible in the history of Nigeria. It was the last outing of Abiola as he was later arrested in his home at Ikeja on the orders of General Sani Abacha, then Head of State. The implications of self declaration notwithstanding, Abiola took the bull by the horns after all entreaties to make the military government headed by General Ibrahim Babangida to de-annul the election and allow him to reclaim his mandate failed. On the election day, Abiola waited patiently under the sun to vote. Unknown to him, the powerful forces within and outside the military who were not comfortable with him would scuttle the poll results. The election was peaceful nationwide without any hitch or disturbance. While the vote count was on with Abiola comfortably leading, General Babangida struck, he ordered the Electoral Commission to stop further announcement of the results and on June 23, 1993, he annulled the election adjudged as the freest and fairest in the country. What followed were spontaneous reactions with violent protests, mostly in the Southwest. Lagos led the protests with high death toll. When the heat was too much for him, Abiola fled the country to canvass for international support. Babangida too had to ‘step aside in August 1993 and installed a lame duck interim government led by Chief Earnest Shonekan. On June 11, 1994, when Abiola stormed the rustic settlement , Epetedo , the people were not expecting him. But once they sighted him, they came out in droves to listen to his message. Before a sizeable crowd, Abiola justified his action in his address titled: ‘Enough is Enough,’ in a tone laden with emotion. He said: “People of Nigeria, exactly one year ago, you turned out in your millions to vote for me, Chie MKO Abiola, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But politicians in uniform, who call themselves soldiers but are more devious than any civilian would want to be, deprived you of your God-given right to be ruled by the President you had yourselves elected. “These soldier politicians introduced into our body politic, a concept hitherto unknown to our political lexicography, something strangely called the “annulment of an election perceived by all to have been the fairest, cleanest and most peaceful ever held in our nation.

• The late Abiola addressing the press.

“Since that abominable act of naked political armed robbery occurred, I have been constantly urged by people of goodwill, both in Nigeria and abroad, to put the matter back into the people’s hands and get actualise the mandate they gave me at the polls. But mindful of the need to ensure that peace continues to reign in our fragile federation, I have so far tried to pursue sweet reason and negotiation. “My hope as always been to arouse whatever remnants of patriotism are left in the hearts of these thieves of your mandate, and to persuade them that they should not allow their personal desire to rule to usher our beloved country into an era of political instability and economic ruin. All I have sought to do, in seeking dialogue with them, has been to try and get them to realise that only real democracy can move our nation forward towards progress, and earn her the respect she deserve from the international community. “However, although this peaceful approach has exposed me to serve censure by some who have mistaken it for weakness on my part, those whom I have sought to dialogue have remained like sones, neither stirred to show loyalty to the collective decision of the people of their own country; nor to observe Allah’s injunction that they should exhibit justice and fair-play in all their dealings with their fellow men. “Appeals to their honour as officers and gentlemen of the gallant Nigerian Armed Forces, have fallen on deaf ears. Instead, they have resorted to the tactics of divide and rule, bribery and political perfidy, misinformation and (vile) propaganda. They arrest everyone who disagrees with them. Even the 71year old hero of our nation, Chief Anthony Enahoro was not spared. How much longer can we tolerate all this? “People of Nigeria, you are all witnesses that I have tried to climb the highest mountain, cross the deepest river and walk the longest

mile, in other to get these men to obey the will of our people. There is no humiliation I have not endured, no snare that has not been put in my path, no “set up” that has not been designed for me in my endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate you bestowed on me one year ago. It has been a long night. But the dawn is here. Today, people of Nigeria, I join you all in saying , Enough is Enough.” The finest hour came when he declared: “From this moment, a new Government of National Unity is in power throughout the length and breadth of the Fedral Republic of Nigeria, led by me, Bashorun M.K.O Abiola, as President and Commander-in-Chief.” He reminded his audience about his campaign promises and assured them of his commitment to fulfil them when he said: “People of Nigeria, during the electioneering campaign last year, I p resented you with a programme entitled “HOPE 93”. This programme was aimed precisely at solving the economic problems that have demoralized us all. “We are plagued by periodic balance of payment crises which have led to a perennial shortage of essential drugs, that has turned our hospitals and clinics into mortuaries. A scarcity of books and equipment has rendered our schools into desolate deserts of ignorance. Our factories are crying for machinery and spare parts and raw materials. But each day that passes, instead of these economic diseases being cured, they are rather strengthened as an irrational allocation of foreign exchange based on favouritism and corruption becpmes the order of the day, “I toured every part of Nigeria to present this programme to you, the electorate. I was questioned on it at public rallies and press conferences and I had the privilege of incorporating into it much of the feedback that I obtained from the people. Because you knew I would not only listen to you, but deliver superb results from the programme. You

voted for me in your millions and gave an overwhelming majority over my opponent. To be precise you gave me 58.4 per cent of the popular vote and a majority in 20 out of 30 states plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja”. Worried by the state of the nation, Abiola said: “I am sure of you cast an eye on the moribund state of Nigeria today, you ask yourselves: What have we done to deserve, when we have a president-elect who can lead a government that can change things for better? After proclaiming himself as President, he was declared wanted and was accused of treason. Abiola was arrested on the orders of General Sani Abacha who sent 200 police vehicles to Abiola’s residence in Ikeja to bring him into custody. Abiola was detained for five years in solitary confinement with a Bible and Qur’an and fourteen guards as companions. During that time, Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Desmund Tutu and human rights activists from all over the world lobbied the Nigerian government for his release. The sole condition attached to the release of Abiola was that he renounce his mandate, something that he refused to do, although the military government offered to compensate him and refund his election expenses. He became extremely troubled when former United Nations scribe and his counterparts in the Commonwealth, Kofi Annan and Emeka Anyaoku reported to the world that Abiola had agreed to renounce his mandate after they met with him to tell him that the world would not recognise a five year old election. A sociologist Frank Adesunloye said what Nigeria lost in denying Abiola the mandate freely given him by the Nigerians at the poll cannot be recouped in the next 50 years. According to him, here was a man who promised to stamp out hunger and poverty in Nigeria. Besides, he also promised gainful employment for the youths and reactivation of the economy among others. These problems are still with

‘If Abiola had been allowed to rule for only four years, Nigeria could have changed for better. The impact of his administration could have been felt in other African countries because his mission was not only to rebuild Nigeria, but to assist other African countries so that the black nations would be accorded global respect’

us. It was even worse than it was in 1993. Adesunloye who witnessed the Epetedo declaration said it was a tultumutous and a very exciting outing where a messiah brought the message of hope for the people who had lost confidence in the leadership and the system. He spoke further: “If Abiola had been allowed to rule for only four years, Nigeria could have changed for better. The impact of his administration could have been felt in other African countries because his mission was not only to rebuild Nigeria, but to assist other African countries so that the black nations would be accorded global respect. “His programme tagged “HOPE ’93 is much relevant now in solving Nigerian problems. Twenty years after the programme was scuttled through the annulment of June 12 presidential election won by Abiola, nobody, be it civilian or the military regimes has come up with anything close to Abiola’s blue print on rescuing the nation. It is not enough for President Goodluck Jonathan to recognise Abiola as the winner of June 12 election but he should incorporate Abiola’s programmed as enshrined in “HOPE ’93 if he want to succeed. The pro-democracy fighter present at Epetedo were Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd), Chief Fred Agbeyegbe, Hon Bob Nwosisi, Chief Ayo Opadokun, Dr Wahab Dosunmu, Chief Ralph Obioha and Hon Omotilewa Aro Lambo among others. On the choice of Epetedo for such historic event, Opadokun explained that it was to further prove that Abiola stood for the masses. “He was a man of the people, he was voted for by the people, he couldn’t have chosen any other venue than where the masses are living. He decided to make the declaration within the confine of the ordinary people.” Opadokun said Abiola knew he would be arrested after the declaration. His words: “Certainly , we had prior knowledge of what would happen. We had the intelligence report on their preparation to arrest him if he declared himself President. “That was one such occasion when a man of integrity should stick out his neck in order to reclaim his mandate. That was what Abiola did. He had done nothing contrary to what democrats all over the world would have done,” Opadokun stated. Was it an error of judgment on the part of Abiola and his strategists to have declared himself President and announced the formation of a government headed by him, when a military jaunta was still in power? Opadokun said: He (Abiola) had to take that action. He won the peoples mandate. But the military deprived him. Not only that the peoples’ democratic right to choose their leader was breached by the military dictators. Abiola made a sacrifice by challenging the military that they did not have the right to deny people their wish as Nigerians did by electing him as president in June 1993. If not for Abiola’s sacrifice, perhaps there would be no democracy in Nigeria today, he added. Legend had it that Abiola defied his first wife, Simbiat, whom he had promised never to venture into politics having being a successful businessman. This was after he was denied the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) presidential ticket in 1983. He was told by the Kaduna mafia that held the NPN soul that the party’s ticket was not for the highest bidder.


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• Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi played a critical role in the struggle for the enthronment of democracy– which started with the June 12 struggle. He writes on the need to always remember the lessons of the struggle

June 12: 20 years after – remembering not to forget P RESIDENT Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously declared December 7, 1941 – the day on which Japanese forces carried out their attack on Pearl Harbour – “a date that will live in infamy.” There are dates that stand out in the annals of time, often because they carry such import that they can simply not be forgotten. Every nation has those dates that live on, as it were, in perpetuity beyond their first appearance in a calendar year. For us in Nigeria, June 12 is one of those dates that refuse to go away quietly. It is a date that clings on stubbornly to our national memory resisting all attempts to usher it into irrelevance. One of our great failings as Nigerians is that we do not remember enough; we do not rigorously fulfill the civic duty of memory, a duty of care that is incumbent upon us to guard our own history and keep alive through remembrance events of national importance as eternal flames of consciousness. Without a sense of history, not only shall we consistently prove prone to repeating the tragedies of the past; we will also be perennially incapable of seizing the future. A sense of history gives us a vital narrative context within which to situate our journey as a nation. It is through history that we find our bearings and navigate the terrain of national evolution, for within our history lies our hope. One of the alarming developments of our time is that history is no longer rigorously taught in our schools, and a generation has arisen that knows next to nothing about June 12; of the great sacrifices that were invested to secure the freedoms that we are now enjoying. They have heard nothing of the perfidies and betrayals orchestrated by the highly placed at the time or the epic courage of ordinary people who voted in Nigeria’s freest and fairest election, and taking to the barricades when their votes were casually nullified. We have as a nation almost completely forgotten the atmosphere of terror that suffocated life under the darkest era of military dictatorship in Nigeria’s history; the crude totalitarian abbreviation of liberty and life by overzealous security agents and murderous death squads. The stories have all faded from our collective memory - of intrepid journalists who went underground to continue their calling to publish truth as guerilla journalists risking the harassment of the wives and children they left behind; of brave activists that fled into exile and those unfortunate ones that were abducted, disappeared into the regime’s dungeons or assassinated. Yes, we commemorate certain days such as Independence Day or Democracy Day or May Day. But these commemorations have been reduced to empty rituals and shallow pageantry lacking contemplative depths. They do not inspire us to reflect on the sacrifices and toils of those whose courage and patriotic selflessness made these dates worthy of commemoration. Behind each of these national days, we will find stories of heroism, hope and faith starring Nigerians that gave their lives both figuratively and literally for a better future for their children. Sadly, the spiritual and ethical capital they stored up is inaccessible to much of the younger generation because they have not been taught. Our national anthem proclaims that the labours of our heroes shall never be in vain yet an alarming number of young Nigerians have scant idea of who these heroes are or what their labours were. Thus, we cannot draw inspiration from the past with which to contemplate our future. This devaluation of historical knowledge is worrisome if only because of the place of remembrance in the construction of a national ethos. The great nations of the world are distinguished by their assiduously maintained reservoir of national memory. The horrors of the holocaust are branded in the Israeli national consciousness. Americans look back at the words and deeds of the founding fathers in determining the contem-

‘In commemorating June 12, we are doing more than celebrating the life of Chief Moshood Abiola although his life is certainly worthy of celebration. It is impossible to discuss June 12 without dwelling however briefly on the man who was most closely connected to that date’

porary essence of the American dream. South Africans can look back at a rich tapestry of suffering and struggle under apartheid that finally gave birth to a new democratic nation. Collective memory and a shared history is one of the pillars of nation-building. ation-building is the work of generations each trans mitting the wisdom and epiphany accumulated from their life downwards. With this bequest of inherited memory and wisdom, each generation is progressively wiser than its forebears because of the gift of hindsight. It means that we need not reinvent the wheel and that we can recognize pitfalls on our path and avoid them. A lack of regard for history breaks the continuum of collective wisdom, rendering us both blind to our past and to our future. A lack of historical awareness does not simply diminish the quality of education our children are receiving; it also impoverishes public discourse. Much of the tenor of public commentary and punditry on our shores these days is needlessly negative and pessimistic, largely because there is no larger contextual sense of where we are coming from. We must seriously begin to remedy this deficit in how we raise our children and in how we frame public discourse. What the commemoration of June 12 does, therefore, is that it avails us of an opportunity to interrogate a seminal event in our history, to seek out new dimensions of wisdom that can be gleaned with the benefit of hindsight. It offers us an opportunity to reflect upon how far we have come and how far we have yet to cover on the road before us as a nation.

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Beyond Abiola

In commemorating June 12, we are doing more than celebrating the life of Chief Moshood Abiola although his life is certainly worthy of celebration. It is impossible to discuss June 12 without dwelling however briefly on the man who was most closely connected to that date. Indeed, his personal odyssey helped imbue that date with its significance. Abiola was known as one of the wealthiest tycoons of his day, with friends and traditional chieftaincy titles from everywhere across the nation. His generosity was legendary as were his philanthropic exploits. Because his rise was a quintessential rag to riches story, it resonated with Nigerians who believe that no condition is permanent or that the circumstances of one’s birth need not necessarily dictate the opportunities of his life. Ever mindful of his beginnings, Abiola retained an earthy, empathic disposition towards the less endowed that made him accessible to the lower strata of society. His own life’s journey which had taken him from the clutches of poverty to the heights of wealth and fame also made him a complex public figure brimming with contradictions. He was a capitalist as well as a populist, as

•The late Abiola adept at boardroom maneuvers as he was with engaging with market women. He was fluent in the corporate-speak of the rarefied heights of the business world, on good terms with the civilian and military elites and had friends in every corner of the globe. Yet, he had an admirable facility with proverbs that endeared him to the common people and made him an impressive communicator. When he sought the highest office in the land in 1993, that pursuit put him on collision course with the forces of martial tyranny. The nullification of his victory and subsequent incarceration until his demise formed the final chapter of a full, eventful and accomplished life. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to see June 12 as being simply about Abiola’s politics. It is more than that. His pursuit of power intersected with the popular Nigerian yearning for democracy. He became the symbolic vessel of a popular discontent with the failed promises of military dictatorship. So for us today, remembering June 12 means more than reflecting on Abiola’s quest and his heroic adherence to principle even when all hope of regaining his mandate seemed to have been extinguished. It means contemplating the eruption of democratic energies that propelled Abiola to victory and sustained a prodemocracy movement for years until the end of military dictatorship. Some observers have referred to June 12 in almost mystical terms. For example, my friend, the journalist Dapo Olorunyomi wrote in 1994: It is unlikely if politics, ethno-national relations, and social discourse can be the same again after the events of 12 June. Here is an instance of what philosophers are wont to characterize as the sudden leap in history – the turning point of time. In comparative intensity only the anti-colonial struggle and later the Nigerian civil war threw up as much passion and emotion. If there was one idea therefore that could pave the path to a Nigerian nation and by consequence, its literature and culture, 12 June had the full potential.1 In a similar vein, the renowned essayist Adebayo Williams remarked: “For Nigeria, then, 12 June is the equivalent of a midnight child, a monster infant. As we have seen, it is a date imbued with mystical portents. It is a destiny. How we handle it will surely determine Nigeria’s survival.”2 These turns of phrase towards the metaphysical and the spiritual were simply ways by which the writers sought to convey the transcendental significance of June 12 and the momentous events that followed in its wake. n the months after the nullifi cation of his victory, Abiola himself came to realize that June 12 transcended his entirely legitimate and rightful claim to the presidency. The quest to actualize his mandate had morphed into a broader movement embodying larger ques-

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tions such as where sovereignty resides. Indeed, in one sense the June 12 debacle can be summed up as a struggle over the true location of sovereignty in Nigeria - whether it was in the bowels of a bankrupt military establishment or whether it lay with the people. The coalescence of disparate civil society actors and political players of various shades under the umbrella of a broad pro-democracy movement sought to answer that question in favour of the people. The unyielding message of the pro-democracy movement was that sovereignty belonged with the people not with a military cabal. Only the people – the authentic repository of popular will – could legitimize authority through the exercise of electoral choice and their democratic bequest of power to those they had anointed. These were some of the issues that were thrown up by the June 12 debacle. These issues transcended Abiola and account for why the pro-democracy movement did not wither away after his incarceration. In this regard, it is fascinating to observe the evolution in the way June 12 is commemorated. At first, any event marking June 12 was inevitably an event celebrating Abiola and placing his persona in entirely understandable focus. Yet as the years have gone by, June 12 commemorations have shifted from Abiola, becoming less about his struggle than about Nigeria’s quest for freedom.

June 12 Then and Now

There are those who still persist in asking why June 12 continues to endure in our collective memory. Why has it refused to go away? What is the fuss about this date? To begin with, the polls of June 12, 1993 were a seismic shift in the nation’s political consciousness. It will be recalled that the election was contested by Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention and Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party. Tofa picked as a running mate from the south east, an Igbo Christian in compliance with the unspoken rules of religious and ethno-regional balancing that formed the conventional wisdom of Nigerian politics. This wisdom held that for a party’s ticket to be electable it must offer an equilibrium of ethnic, regional and confessional identities that bridges our historic fault lines and offers an all-inclusive sense of belonging to all. Hence, in the most simplistic rendering of this ethno-religious equation, Tofa as a Northern Muslim had expectedly picked a southern Christian. Abiola as a southern Muslim was largely expected to pick a northern Christian. Indeed there was no shortage of groups offering counsel on who Abiola should pick as a running mate. In the end, he boldly violated this supposedly sacred rule of Nigerian politics and chose the running •Continued on page III


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June 12 transcendedAbiola’ confessional lines. This is simply false. This is the dynamic that made June 12 possible. It is the same dynamic that makes it possible to envisage a time when political discourse will be much more framed around ideology than identity, and candidates will be judged much more by how they intend to address the practical challenges of life. Politicians will have to run on the platform of practicalities not the theatrics or sentiments of feigning identification with the electorate at a primordial level. At that point, one’s tribal marks or facility in a local language will prove less important than a proven track record of performance and integrity. That time is not as far off as some people think. June 12 was remarkable because it was a game changer, a political paradigm shift that broke the mould clearly and decisively on such a scale that it became necessary to revise assumptions and stereotypes about the electorate.

The Legacy of the Annulment

•Dr Fayemi mate that he felt would bring the most to his political campaign. He picked Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, a Northern Muslim. Pundits weighed the chances of an all-Muslim ticket in a climate of politicized sectarianism and concluded that Abiola had erred. But he gamely argued that his choice represented the most logical and rational option. Refusing to be swayed by sectarian and provincial sentiments, he had picked the man whose merits for the job were unimpeachable. It was a statement of intent and a demonstration of faith in the sort of Nigeria he believed was possible – a country where the best could lead regardless of their creed or ethnicity. It was a statement of faith in the Nigerian voter that with all of the facts before him, he would be able to scrutinize both tickets and make an intelligent choice. It was a daring, even radical gambit but it paid off. On June 12, 1993, Nigerians voted in defiance of ethnic and religious dog-whistling and elected the two men they believed the most capable, disregarding the coincidence of their religious beliefs and other sectarian notions of equilibrium. They made a choice that was informed, intelligent and supremely rational. In this sense, the first remarkable thing about June 12 is how it inspired Nigerians to reach for the highest peak of their political consciousness and invest their aspirations in the ticket they believed represented their best chance of building a better country. Abiola’s campaign slogan was “Hope” and his was a simple message of populist hope that electrified many. It is no over estimation to say that since that time, no candidacy had been able to galvanize Nigerians in a similar fashion. his is a point worth stress ing because it is generally believed that electoral choices are so distorted by the politics of identity as to be exercises in tribal selection or in-group solidarity affirmation. It is believed that ethnic and religious sentiments overwhelm all other instincts and calculations at the ballot and render political contest and discourse a bitter competition for primacy along lines of primordial identity rather than ideology. For the avoidance of doubt, no ethnically and religiously diverse nation can escape the dynamics of identity and provincial sympathies at the polls. Heterogeneous countries far older than our republic and far ahead of us in their practice of democracy continue to grapple with themes of diversity, tolerance and pluralism. It is fair to say that Nigeria’s challenges in the political management of diversity and plurality are not uniquely Nigerian. In the United States, race is an inevitable factor in politics precisely because of that country’s racial diversity and its chequered history of race relations. In quite the same way, Nigeria’s history means that ethnicity and religion are political and electoral factors. But it is far from accurate to depict Nigerians as being so bound by provincialism that they cannot but vote along ethnic and

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June 12 did not just showcase the better angels of o ur nature; it exposed the ethical and ideological vulnerabilities of our institutions and politics. The annulment of the freest and fairest election in our history by the military, the cavalier disregard for the toil of Nigerians who had withstood difficulties to cast their votes patiently without any untoward incident and the callous disinterest in the nation’s future represented the high watermark of authoritarian impunity. Historically, Nigerian military regimes seized power proclaiming their readiness to fix the ailing economy and bequeath a functional political order to civilians. By the early 1990s, there was a growing sense that the military were no experts on economic management. The economy was reeling from the adverse impact of Babangida’s Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and social institutions were in decay. But even at this point the military could still have salvaged some credibility by handing over to duly elected politicians. The annulment of the June 12 election represents the complete breakdown of trust between the military and the society, the highest point in alienation between both spheres and the military’s total loss of institutional integrity and legitimacy. The infamous midnight court judgment of the late Justice Bassey Ikpeme suspending further release of the election results signified the subversion of the judiciary and the degradation of critical public institutions by the forces of tyranny. The June 12 debacle also revealed the crisis of conviction and principle among Nigeria’s political class with many elites choosing to go along with the military dictatorship effectively aiding and abetting a manifest injustice, instead of joining the pro-democracy movement. These elites saw the impasse as an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. Isn’t it an irony that even Abiola’s running mate later accepted to serve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Abacha military government? Twenty years after the annulment, it is permissible to argue that the most grievous damage was done to the psyche of ordinary

•The late Abiola

Nigerians. Those who witnessed the subversion of institutions by their custodians, for instance, the compromise of some traditional rulers, the supposed custodians of our traditional values, in favour of the annulment had our faith shattered. In fact, the most destructive legacy of the annulment is a long term distrust of government. The Babangida regime annulled those elections after an already convoluted transition process characterized by broken pledges to hand over. Nigerians still preferred to give the state the benefit of the doubt but the annulment of June 12 proved to be the last straw. From that moment, Nigerians have approached their governments with a mixture of cynicism, pessimism and disbelief. The political class inherited these burdens and, given some of the tragic spectacles of our democracy, it is fair to say, that we have not done too much to dispel these attitudes. Public institutions require the lifeblood of public trust to function. The biggest challenge facing us as democrats is to rebuild trust between the state and society. The relationship between both spheres is often needlessly adversarial owing to a lack of trust. The fact that even in a climate of openness, the media still hues to the combative guerilla journalism of the 1990s is as a result of the fact the sense of broken trust that still pervades state-media relations. Simply put, Nigerians do not trust their governments and this has made it difficult, indeed in some cases, impossible, to build mass citizen movements for a fuller democratic engagement. Residual distrust of power feeds apathy, disinterest and cynical disengagement. The people distrust their governments but not enough to actively check them and avert excesses of power. Rather, they distrust them so much that they desert the state and many simply do not care enough about the public realm. This indifference is dangerous for democracy. Democratic institutions cannot survive or be strengthened in a climate of antipathy nor can politicians long retain their legitimacy under such circumstances. If the price of a free society is eternal vigilance, then apathy will carry a severe penalty for our republic.

1999: False Dawn or Little Beginnings

While the elections of 1999 were generally welcomed both in Nigeria and abroad as a crucial turning point, the optimism in some quarters was more cautious. Considering our long history of military tyranny, it seemed prudent to emphasize the distinction between holding elections and implementing genuine democratization of structures and systems that had been shaped by totalitarian instincts for almost two decades. At the time, I was personally of the view that real democratization would require more than voting; it would require a complete rethinking of how our society was organized. hen, there were all kinds of hopeful analogies being drawn between the democratic transition that had occurred in South Africa and the one emerging in Nigeria. Some observ-

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‘It would be grossly inaccurate to say that Nigeria has not made progress since 1999. We live in a far greater conducive climate of freedom than those of us who came of age during military rule can recall. There is generally more respect for civil liberties and human rights’ ers expected that just as the African National Congress, the hub of the liberation movement had rightly assumed the reins of power in South Africa after the collapse of apartheid; a similar transference would occur following the end of military dictatorship and see the pro-democracy movement morph into a ruling party. This fantasy failed to materialize for a number of reasons. Firstly, the analogy was imprecise. While the ANC was a movement that was several decades old, with an ideological fervour and coherence sharpened on the front lines of suffering and struggle, the pro-democracy movement was younger, far more disparate and far from ideologically coherent. The pro-democracy movement’s assortment of activists and politicians mainly wanted the military out of power. The politics of taking over power was a secondary consideration. As such, the pro-democracy movement was in no shape to comply with the organizational demands of a nationwide campaign for power. There were also genuine disagreements over the way forward by key elements of the movement. Some favoured entry into field to contest for power in the post-military era. Others wanted a continued struggle to realize far-reaching constitutional reforms. While some opted out entirely, preferring to boycott the transition process until their demands for deeper constitutional and structural changes were implemented. Thus divided by significant disagreements on tactics and strategy, the movement could not reconstitute itself into an effective political actor. Moreover, at the end of military dictatorship, the movement was too weak, exhausted by the stress of confrontation and the enormous toll that the struggle had taken, to really mount a realistic political challenge. For these reasons, when the shape of the 4th Republic emerged, it seemed that those who had worked the most to enthrone democracy were sidelined while those that had been beneficiaries of and collaborators with military regimes took center stage. On hindsight, it may be said that the pro-democracy movement suffered from a lack of strategic definition in terms of articulating the next phase of the struggle. We were so pre-occupied with getting the military out of power that we did not have the time to devise appropriate tactical and strategic responses to that very eventuality. In the event, the all-consuming haste to get the military out of power also framed some of the troubling birth defects of the 4th Republic, chief among them being the fact that the constitution – the guiding document of the republic was not generated through a popular democratic process but by a conclave that edited past constitutions. Indeed, the 4th Republic commenced before anyone actually saw the constitution. But at the time, the overriding imperative was to get the military out of power. Concerns about the provenance of the constitution were deemed nitpicky or churlish worries that could prolong military rule. No one wanted to give the military an excuse to stay a day longer especially when the regime at the time was minded to make a swift exit. The late Chief Bola Ige once observed that what occurred in 1999 was not a transition from military dictatorship to democracy but from military rule to civilian rule. By this he meant that 1999 had not ushered in democratization in one blow but rather a phase of demilitarization that would ultimately •Continued on page IV


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‘This democracy must be for the people’ •Continued from pageIII lead to democracy. My own sense of the transition in 1999 was that it had been shaped significantly by the manner of Abacha’s exit and the arrival of General Abdulsalam Abubakar who eventually handed over to the elected civilian government. The dominance of the ruling party’s hierarchy by retired army generals and civilians with close links to military elites set the tone for party formation and resulted in an authoritarian presidential leadership rather than authentic democratic governance. I have once argued that, in essence, the nature of the transition did not ensure a transformation of the political culture that would have led to a complete overhaul of our systems and structures; it merely effected a rearrangement of the political space. The politico-cultural fundamentals that inform the conduct of elites remained the same. The widespread euphoria that accompanied the exit of the military and the entry of a civilian government prevented a sober appreciation of how entrenched the military had become in all aspects of Nigerian life. Apart from their obvious prominence in politics, it was the case that almost every financial institution was headed by, or had a board director with a military background. Serving and retired military officers owned factories, breweries and farms. Under these circumstances, what emerged in 1999 was not civilian rule but a new militarism. It was, in effect, a transition without transformation. rue enough, the Obasanjo era bore the imprint of military era impunity and manifested the discredited authoritarian habits of the past. Executive lawlessness was very much in fashion with the administration selectively obeying court judgments against it. Elections were characterized by chicanery and fraud often officially sanctioned at the highest levels. These symptoms were crowned by the ultimately abortive effort to amend the constitution to enable President Obasanjo run for a third term in office. The defeat of that proposal on the floor of the legislature was a necessary victory for democratic forces. Regardless, it is important not to understate or devalue what occurred in 1999. A transition did happen. However lofty the expectations of the citizenry may have been regarding the advent of democracy, no realistic student of power dynamics could have imagined that democracy would flower so quickly in Nigeria given the long decades of military rule which had warped public consciousness and institutional instincts. It is, therefore, far more useful to see the 1999 transition as a case of humble beginnings and baby steps on the way to democratic maturity rather than a false dawn.

T

The Struggle Must Continue

It would be grossly inaccurate to say that Nigeria has not made progress since 1999. We live in a far greater conducive climate of freedom than those of us who came of age during military rule can recall. There is generally more respect for civil liberties and

•The late Abiola

human rights. The demilitarization of politics has widened the space within which democratic reforms are occurring. Those who are profoundly pessimistic about the Nigerian enterprise continually cite the absence of economic dividends which might serve to “validate” democracy in the eyes of ordinary Nigerians as a major risk to the sustainability of democracy. In times past, the mismanagement of the economy by democratic regimes was cited by military adventurers who seized power from civilian governments. Arguably, the period between 1983 and 1999 served to dispel the myth that military dictatorships were better economic managers than democratic governments. More importantly, the cure for a retarded democracy is yet more democracy. Proper economic policy which embodies the hopes and aspirations of the people can only be forged in the furnace of a widening democratic space and a revival of the lost democratic art of public conversation. Perhaps the major problem with 1999 and the disenchantment with the pace of change since then is perceptual. From the onset, the exaggerated expectations of the citizenry, which was encouraged by cheap populism on the part of politicians, was primed to disappointment. The scale of decadence was enormous; the range of structural deficiency and institutional dysfunction, too vast to be remedied by the magical appearance of elected officials. Indeed, many of those elected at the time gravely underestimated the scale of the problem and overestimated their own curative powers. Democracy is a journey and not a destination. We need a shift in consciousness from the inflated and fantastic expectations of a democratic destination to a wayfaring mindset that interprets our condition at any point in time in evolutionary terms as a continuing struggle. We have to reject the agonizing generalizations of Nigerian life that casts a blanket of stagnation over every sector. The notion that nothing has changed since 1999 and that things have in fact grown worse is cynical, misleading and self-defeating. They are also discouraging to many conscientious and patriotic Nigerians in the public service who have committed themselves to rebuilding this nation. From the tone of negative reportage about Nigeria, one would think that such Nigerians do not exist, but they do! The fact is that there are pockets of progress all over this country where change-minded Nigerians have opted to light candles instead of merely cursing the darkness. Over the past decade, the quality of those at the forefront of politics has improved. There are more progressive-minded actors in the field. That quality and quantity can be expected to rise in the coming years. There are places where transformations in the way we live and govern ourselves are proceeding quietly, slowly and steadily despite the odds. It does no justice to the patriotic men and women who have chosen this path, for the rest of the country to continue the popular and simplistic vilification of everyone in government as corrupt. hat these negative com mentaries do is rein force the notion that we have reached the democratic destination and discovered it as a mirage. They stem from the idea that May 29, 1999 marked the end of the struggle when in fact it marked the end of one phase of the struggle and the beginning of another. If there is a slogan that summarizes the imperatives of our time it is the popular rallying call of student and trade union activism – “Aluta Continua” i.e. “the Struggle continues.” My own personal odyssey that led me from the place of activism to the place of public

W

•The late Abiola service informs my sense of our democracy as a journey and a struggle. I had returned from exile in 1999 discerning that a new phase of activism required a more direct engagement at home with the new dispensation. My work focused on building bridges between the government and civil society that would enable the national leadership benefit from the talents and ideas of citizens within and outside the country. In time, however, I became convinced that the efforts required to reform the system are not necessarily the same as the efforts necessary to transform it. I faced two choices. I could remain on the sidelines as it were with my engagement restricted to a theoretical and low-risk involvement in the unfolding dynamics of power and politics in my country. Or I could become an actor in the political system, attaining a more practical understanding of what it would take to effect transformation, and thereby function as an agent of change from within the system. I opted for the latter as I had no intention of remaining on the sidelines as an eternal critic of the system. In 2005, I decided to run for public office and announced my candidacy for the governorship of Ekiti State, Nigeria. My journey to that office, beginning with my being at the receiving end of chicanery unprecedented even by Nigerian standards in the 2007 elections, through a protracted legal battle to reclaim my mandate and an election rerun which I won, were an invaluable education in the byzantine ways and means of Nigerian politics. It took three and a half years of legal proceedings before my electoral mandate was restored by the courts. It however did not end there; the electoral robbers and their collaborators had the effrontery to institute a most ridiculous case at the Supreme Court challenging my governorship. This case was only just decided in my favour on Friday May 31, 2013, over 6 years after the substantive election was held! Such impunity as I have argued is due to the gaps in our judicial system that makes no provisions for the punishment of those that subvert the people’s sacred mandate. Despite the onerous difficulties involved in my epic struggle for justice, I am resolute in my conviction that Nigeria belongs to those who are prepared to stand up, stand firm and take control of their destinies. Our young democracy can only be enhanced by testing our institutions to their limits. In my case, my successful recourse to the judiciary, protracted though it was, suggested that there are embers of hope for our democracy that have to be stoked by the discipline of committed and focused engagement. It needs to be added that there have been several other instances in which activist judges reversed ill-gotten electoral gains and undid injustices wrought on Election Day by

‘But there is a fundamental truth to the saying that politics is too important to be left to politicians. It is about redefining politics itself, transforming it from a rarefied craft reserved for a select few professional politicians, to the protocols and relationships that undergird personal, communal and social wellbeing’

political gangsters. Mine is not an isolated case. The presence of such spirits on the bench is another harbinger of hope for our country and is one of the reasons why it is simply not right or fair to say that public service remains the province of brigands. If part of the tragedy of the annulment of June 12 was the subornment of the judiciary as an instrument to negate the will of the people, then it is fair to say that conscientious judges have gone some way towards redeeming the honour and integrity of the judiciary. Such spirits are fellow wayfarers in the quest for a just and prosperous nation; their presence in various sectors of our national life recommends a more positive appraisal of our country’s prospects.

Conclusion

What we established in 1999 is the right to choose our leaders via the ballot. The current phase of the struggle is about maintaining the sanctity of the ballot, holding those elected accountable and stimulating civic engagement in the public realm, in a way that democratizes ownership of this democracy. We must banish the idea that governance is something performed by a team of gifted performers or strong men, while the rest of the citizens are spectators or complainers. During the days of military rule, some soldiers declared with more than a touch of hubris that politics is much too important to be left to politicians. By this they meant that the military had the right to be political players since politicians had generally proven inept. Ultimately, the military proved to be no better at politics and governance themselves. But there is a fundamental truth to the saying that politics is too important to be left to politicians. It is about redefining politics itself, transforming it from a rarefied craft reserved for a select few professional politicians, to the protocols and relationships that undergird personal, communal and social wellbeing. In other words, politics is the management of human relationships, interactions and aspirations in the service of the common good. It is not something mysterious that only “politicians” do; it is how citizens operate. Politics is a civic responsibility. It is how we engage with each other. The pursuit of good governance means that politicians can no longer be left to their own devices. Seen in this light, the mutual estrangement of government and civil society will end. The civil society will continue to express the communal instinct to regulate power but the chronic antagonism that poisons relations between the state and civil society will be replaced by mutual respect and positive tension. Civic engagement means that the state can access a much larger pool of wisdom and knowledge made available by a new rapport with civil society. In return, participatory governance will become much more practicable across all levels of governance. Looking back on this occasion of the 20th anniversary of June 12, it is instructive to note that only civic movements mobilized in the context of larger patriotic interests can overwhelm the forces of impunity. It is the discipline of civic engagement that will keep at bay those who wish to turn back the hands of the clock and return us to the dark days of totalitarian rule. The struggle we are engaged in is dedicated to making this democracy truly a government of the people, for the people and by the people, and by so doing honour the memory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and all those who paid the supreme sacrifice pursuant of our common aspirations for the good society.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

V

NEWS 2OTH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 12 On Saturday, June 11, 1994, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) preidential candidate in the June 12, 1993 election, the late Chief Moshood Abiola declared himself as the President and unfolded his plan for a Government of National Unity (GNU) at Epetedo, Lagos Island.

‘Enough is enough’ P

EOPLE of Nigeria, exactly one year ago, you turned out in your millions to vote for me, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But politicians in uniform, who call themselves soldiers but are more devious than any civilian would want to be, deprived you of your God-given right to be ruled by the President you had yourselves elected. These soldierpoliticians introduced into our body politic, a concept hitherto unknown to our political lexicography, something strangely called the “annulment” of an election perceived by all to have been the fairest, cleanest and most peaceful ever held in our nation. Since that abominable act of naked political armed robbery occurred, I have been constantly urged by people of goodwill, both in Nigeria and abroad, to put the matter back into the people’s hands and get them to actualise the mandate they gave me at the polls. But mindful of the need to ensure that peace continues to reign in our fragile federation, I have so far tried to pursue sweet reason and negotiation. My hope has always been to arouse whatever remnants of patriotism are left in the hearts of these thieves of your mandate, and to persuade them that they should not allow their personal desire to rule to usher our beloved country into an era of political instability and economic ruin. All I have sought to do, in seeking dialogue with them, has been to try and get them to realise that only real democracy can move our nation forward towards progress, and earn her the respect she deserves from the international community. However, although this peaceful approach has exposed me to severe censure by some who have mistaken it for weakness on my part, those with whom I have sought to dialogue have remained like stones, neither stirred to show loyalty to the collective decision of the people of their own country, nor to observe Allah’s injunction that they should exhibit justice and fair-play in all their dealings with their fellow men. Appeals to their honour as officers and gentlemen of the gallant Nigerian Armed Forces, have fallen on deaf ears. Instead, they have resorted to the tactics of divide and rule, bribery and political perfidy, misinformation and (vile) propaganda. They arrest everyone who disagrees with them. Even the 71-year old hero of our nation, Chief Anthony Enahoro, was not spared. How much longer can we tolerate all this? People of Nigeria, you are all witnesses that I have tried to climb the highest mountain, cross the deepest river and walk the longest mile, in order to get these men to obey the will of our people. There is no humiliation I have not endured, no snare that has not been put in my path, no “set-up” that has not been designed for me in my endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate that you bestowed on me one year ago. It has been a long night. But the dawn is here. Today, people of Nigeria, I join you all in saying, “Enough is Enough!” We have endured 24 years of military rule in our 34 years of independence. Military rule has led to our nation fighting a civil war with itself. Military rule has destabilised our nation today as not before in its history. Military rule has impoverished our people and introduced a dreadful trade in drugs which has made our country’s name an anathema in many parts of the world. Even soccer fans going to watch the Green Eagles display in America are being made to suffer there needlessly because Nigeria’s name is linked with credit card and fraud and “419.” Politically, military rule has torn to shreds the prestige due to our country because of its size and population. The permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council that should be rightfully ours, is all but lost. For who will vote for Nigeria to get the seat if Nigerian military rulers do not respect the votes of their own people? Enough of military rule. We are sickened to see people who have shown little or no personal achievement, either in building up private businesses, or making success of any tangible thing, being placed in charge of the management of our nation’s economy, by rulers who are not accountable to anyone. Enough of square pegs in round holes. We are tired of the military repetitive tendency to experiment with our economy: Today, they say “no controls.” Tomorrow; they say “Full controls”. The day after, they say “Fine tuning”. The next day, they say “Devaluation.” a few days later, they say “Revalue the same naira upwards again Abi?”

• The late Abiola casting his vote.

All we can see are the consequences of this permanent game of military “about turns;” high inflation , a huge budget deficit and an enormous foreign debt repayment burden, dying industries, high unemployment and a demoralised populace. Our youths, in particular, can see no hope on the horizon, and many can only dream of escaping from our shores to join the brain drain. Is this the Nigeria we want? We are plagued also by periodic balance of payments crises, which have led to a perennial shortage of essential drugs, that has turned our hospitals and clinics into mortuaries. A scarcity of books and equipment has rendered our schools into desolate deserts of ignorance. Our factories are crying for machinery, spare parts and raw materials. But each day that passes, instead of these economic diseases being cured, they are rather strengthened as an irrational allocation of foreign exchange based on favouritism and corruption becomes the order of the day. Enough is enough of economic mismanagement! People of Nigeria, during the election campaign last year, I presented you with a programme entitled “HOPE ’93?. This programme was aimed precisely at solving these economic (problems) that have demoralized us all. I toured every part of Nigeria to present this programme to you the electorate. I was questioned on it at public rallies and press conferences and I had the privilege of incorporating into it much of the feedback that I obtained from the people. Because you knew I would not only listen to you but deliver superb results from the programme, you voted for me in your millions and gave me an overwhelming majority over my opponent. To be precise, you gave me 58.4 per cent of the popular vote and a majority in 20 out of 30 states plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Not only that, you also enabled me to fulfil the constitutional requirement that the winner should obtain one-third of the votes in two-thirds of the states. I am sure that when you cast an eye on the moribund state of Nigeria today, you ask yourselves: “What have we done to deserve this, when we have a president-elect who can lead a government that can change things for the better? Our patience has come to an end. As of now, from this moment, a new Government of National Unity is in power throughout the length and breath of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, led by me, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, as President and Commander-in-Chief. The

‘People of Nigeria, ourtime is now. You are the repository of power in the land. No one can give you power. It is yours. Take it! From this day, show to the world that anyone who takes the people of Nigeria for fools is deceiving himself and will have the people to answer to’

National Assembly is hereby reconvened. All dismissed governors are reinstated. The State Assemblies are reconstituted, as are all local government councils. I urge them to adopt a bi-partisan approach to all the issues that come before them. At the national level, a bi-partisan approach will be our guiding principle. I call upon the usurper, General Sani Abacha, to announce his resignation forthwith, together with the rest of his illegal ruling council. We are prepared to enter into negotiations with them to work out the mechanics for a smooth transfer of power. I pledge that if they hand over quietIy, they will be retired with all their entitlements, and their positions will be accorded all the respect due to them. For our objective is neither recrimination nor witch-hunting, but an enforcement of the will of the Nigerian people, as expressed in free elections conducted by the duly constituted authority of the time. I hereby invoke the mandate bestowed upon me by my victory in the said election, to call on all members of the Armed Forces and the Police, the Civil and Public Services throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to obey only the Government of National Unity that is headed by me, your only elected President. My Government of National Unity is the only legitimate, constituted authority in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as of now.” People of Nigeria, these are challenging times in the history of our continent, Africa, and we in Nigeria must not allow ourselves to be left behind. Our struggle is the same as that waged by the people of South Africa, which has been successfully concluded, with the inauguration of Mr. Nelson Mandela as the first African President of that country. Nelson Mandela fought to replace MINORITY rule with MAJORITY rule. We in Nigeria are also fighting to replace MINORITY rule, for we are ruled by only a tiny section of our armed forces. Like the South Africans, we want MAJORITY rule today, that is rule only by those chosen by all the people of Nigeria as a whole in free and fair elections. The only difference between South Africa and Nigeria is that those who imposed minority rule on the majority rule whether it is by black or white, remains minority rule, and must be booted out. I call on you, heroic people of Nigeria, to emulate the actions of your brothers and sisters in South Africa and stand up as one person to throw away the yoke of minority rule for ever. The antics of every minority that oppresses the majority are always the same. They will try to intimidate you with threats of police action. But do not let us fear arrest. In South Africa, so many people were arrested, during the campaign against the Pass Laws, for instance, that the jails could not hold all of them. Today, apartheid is gone for ever. So, let it be with Nigeria. Let us say goodbye forever to minority rule by the military. They talk of treason. But haven’t they heard of the Rivonia treason trial in South Africa? Did those treason trials halt the march of history? People of Nigeria, ourtime is now. You are the repository of power in the land. No one can give you power. It is yours. Take it! From this day, show to the world that anyone who takes the people of Nigeria for fools is deceiving himself and will have the people to answer to. God bless you all.Long live the Federal Republic ofNigeria.Long live the Government of National Unity.


VI

THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

NEWS 2OTH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 12 Third Republic Governor of Edo State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigi-Oyegun believes that Nigeria is yet to recover from the missed opportunities offered by June 12. He spoke with AUGUSTINE AWVODE.

Nigeria yet to recover from June 12, says Oyegun A S one of the major actors during the June 12 saga, what do you consider as its significance to the country? I think it is a political watershed for this nation in its struggle for true democracy. As a matter of fact, without June 12, we will not be where we are today. And if it had been revalidated, and the winner of that election, the late Chief M K O Abiola allowed to take over the rein of power, we would have been better than where we are today in terms of democratic practice. It sounds like a contradiction but it is not. June 12 was the freest, fairest election at the presidential level just as ours was the freest and fairest at the gubernatorial level in terms of transparency. But, June 12 did not happen. If it had happened, we would have been much better in our efforts at entrenching democracy. But because it did not happen, and because the winner was not sworn-in, the democratic ethos that had started, which was a detribalized, non-religious politics that produced Abiola changed dramatically to the Ajasco kind of politics that we have today. Nigeria has not recovered from June 12. But the only benefit is that it made us realise, I mean those of us who truly believe in democracy and found ourselves in National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), that unless we get rid of the military from Nigeria politics, we will never truly be on the road to entrenching democracy in this nation. So, while we lost the battle to revalidate Abiola’s mandate, we won the battle to get rid of the military from Nigerian politics. However, we did not get rid of the evil that followed their martial reign and we are yet, as we speak, to get rid of that evil left behind by their martial reign in Nigerian politics. But fortunately, the forces for change are today, stronger that ever. Curiously, the forces of change did not step forward to claim the treasure at the exit of the military. Why? Forces for change in post Abacha regime were very weak. So, those who took over power were those who had organized OneMillion-Man-March then; those who made money from trying to hunt pro-democracy people in NADECO down. They were those who emerged to rule over us. Little wonder we are where we are today. But I must say that we are fortunate again. The progressive forces are now strong enough to begin the processes of meaningfully coming together to salvage the nation and get us back to the path of democracy, true progress and attaining our manifest destiny as the world’s largest, most resources endowed black nation on earth. The champions of June 12 are yet to be properly recognised by successive administrations in post the military era. How do you feel about this? Personally, I feel much fulfilled because even though we did not attain immediate victory, but what we stood for has continued to be in the front burner of national discourse. I am a student of History, and I know that it is very rare that those who start a revolution get compensated by it. Usually, before the revolution matures, they get consumed by it. Fortunately for us, we have not been consumed by it, we are still alive and here even though we have been heart broken by what have been happening in the last 14 years. But thank God, the light is beginning to shine, and we can see the end of the tunnel. If that is the only fulfillment and compensation that we get, that is good enough. What we stood for did not die or has become irrelevant; rather it is daily assuming the real truth in our polity. June 12, like you pointed out, remains a watershed in terms of free and fair election…. (Cut in) In the course of the history of this nation; not just in terms of free and fair election. We were on a golden path, but after June 12, most unfortunately, it was diverted into a dark alley, and this is where we are still in anyway. It is a watershed in many ways in that it marked the beginning of the exit of the military from Nigerian politics even though it is important from the point of view of a free and fair election. What is important about June 12, is the fact that it brought about change in the Nigerian polity.

• Oyegun

‘In fact, when you think of what happened then, a lot of people will come to tears because it was a golden period in Nigerian history. But the powers that be then just took it and threw it away for no just cause. If Nigeria had followed that path, we would have been a different country today; totally different. Today, tribalism is at the fore-front; today, religious sentiment is at the forefront, so much so that we have even started killing ourselves in the name of religion’ If we use it as a yardstick for free and fair election, do you see Nigeria getting it right very soon? Ah, no. Not very soon, but may be some day. There can’t be any election like that. Apart from being free and fair, ordinary Nigerians were able to over come religious sentiment because we had a Moslem-Moslem ticket. Ordinary Nigerians were able to over come ethnic and tribal sentiments because Abiola won in Kano where the opposition candidate came from. In fact, when you think of what happened then, a lot of people will come to tears because it was a golden period in Nigerian history. But the powers that be then just took it and threw it away for no just cause. If Nigeria had followed that path, we would have been a different country today; totally different. Today, tribalism is at the fore-front; today, religious sentiment is at the forefront, so much so that we have even started killing ourselves in the name of religion. Today corruption is consuming all of us, today insecurity is almost threatening to destroy the nation. So it was a watershed of many dimensions. I hope that historians will one day be able to record and report the significance of June 12 and what it has do to this country. I also pray that sometime in the future, we will get as mature again, as the Nigerians who participated in the June 12 election. There is the argument that the symbol of June 12, the late MKO Abiola has not been properly honoured. What is your opinion? I think a lot of streets and institutions, though not of much note have been name after Abiola. One fitting case was that of

UNILAG but it was revoked because its approach was wrong and it generated controversy. May be the University of Abuja can be named after him, that will be a capping glory. But my deep reservation and deep anger which I still nurse is the case of Kudirat Abiola, the late wife of the winner. She was just shut out, as it were, from all discussions about June 12. But frankly, if I am given a choice today as to who should be immortalized, it would be Kudirat. The reasons are very clear. She stood for something noble; she stood for the best in womanhood; she stood for the best in loyalty, and took the mantle of her husband and was ready to die for it and she died for it. I don’t particularly understand why women organizations have not picked up her case. I plead with our women; if there is a case to be made for her it should be very strong. She was very loyal to her husband, loved this country and she deserved to be immortalized. Today, like you have said, the progressives are picking up the pieces and we now have the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the making. But it has been suggested by Dr Doyin Okupe that before 2014 runs out, APC will fizzle out. How would you react to this opinion? Whatever he has said is his own business, and don’t forget that he is paid to talk and sometimes he talks totally out of focus and tandem. What he has said is his own opinion. In any case, anybody who is in a house that is on fire, the way the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is right now, should concentrate on putting out the fire in his house. APC is a beautiful work of construction that is still going on. We don’t need anybody’s

opinion or judgment in the APC, the party is forging ahead. In another one month, may be, Nigerians will be exposed to a launching of the birth of a party the like of which they have never seen before; a party that will totally address, all the pains that they have been having all this many years. So let all skeptics just sit down and watch. What makes the APC tick? If I tell you, you may not believe it. It is the pains of Nigerians. That is what makes the APC tick. I mean the pains, the anguish, the sorrow, agony and disappointments of the Nigerian populace. For a long time it has been politics as usual. But for anybody who has a conscience and who believes in the welfare of the people, as the number one goal and cardinal duty of government, that person is they kind of person the APC is for, and that is what makes the APC tick. We are coming together in response to the pains of Nigerians and we are going to offer ourselves to them as the ones who are going to address those pains and agony that have been imposed on them all these years. And we are going to do so beginning from may be another month. And in any case the picture is already clear, from the performance of the APC states, beginning from Lagos, through the entire Southwest, Edo State, when the Comrade Governor is performing a lit bit of miracle. And from here, it is already permeating to other states. You can see that people of good will in the PDP, who admire, recognize what is going on and are honest about what is happening in the APC, are those seemingly in trouble today. But not to worry, the house that we are building will be solid enough to contain all the people. If you were to look into the future, do you see the progressives forming the next government? Well, I am not God, but talking from the perspective of a human being, my answer is a resounding yes. I hate using the name of God in vain unlike many of our politicians are wont to do, but I cannot but say that there is the hand of God in a lot of things that are happening today in this nation. I see the hand of God in all. And what have you to say about the crisis that has engulfed the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF)? I have alluded to it tangentially by saying that I see the hand of God in some of these developments. It was not just the Governors Forum, although the NGF and even the Northern States Governors Forum, there seems to be major crisis, un-resolvable confusion, irreconcilable differences and the party is in a precipice. But by the time the dust settles, the result will be very clear. What is the future of Nigeria politically? Whichever party is going to rule this country, we have difficult days ahead. I fully expect the APC to brace up for it because there has been so much damage has been done that it will take time to fix and repair. But what we can give the Nigerian people from day one, from the very day of the launching of the party, is that valuable thing called hope. It is a valuable thing which they have lost. We have to restore it to them, without hope there is no need to live. You must have hope, look forward to something and be convinced that come tomorrow this is how things will be. You must be convinced that the governor you voted for is addressing your problems and that tomorrow will be better. That is what we can give them from day one. We would work energetically to address issues like security, the infrastructure that have totally decayed, issues like power that is basic. We keep saying we are growing at seven percent economically; tell me, how do you grow the economy without power? But we are going to address all that, primarily, security is going to be our number one, power will be number two, education of course, then agriculture. These things we will address energetically from day one because it is only through them that we can now influence and ameliorate the terrible unemployment situation that is posing a big challenge to our youths. I will not say more than that, but let me just end by saying to Nigerians, get ready.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

VII

NEWS 2OTH ANNIVERSARY OF JUNE 12 The personal physician to the late Chief Moshood Abiola, Dr. Ore Falomo, has made a case for public inquiry into the circumstance that led to the death of the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election. He spoke with LEKE SALAUDEEN.

Abiola’s family deserves compensation’ T

HE police officer in-charge of Chief M.K.O. Abiola’s security and welfare while in detention ASP Theodore Zadok stated in his statement before the Justice Oputa panel that Abiola slumped after taking a cup of tea served on him by a United States official. Could he have died as a result of the tea or was it a coincidence? We have heard a lot about the tea story. What is important here is the presentation of ASP Zadok. The normal thing is that as the officer in-charge of Abiola’s security, he should have tasted the tea before passing it to Abiola but this did not happen. But Zadok was not around when Abiola was offered tea. According to him Abiola was taken to Aguda House from his detention camp around 3.00 p.m.on the fateful day to meet delegates from the United States. After Abiola was taken to where the delegates led by Susan Rice and Thomas Pickering were waiting for him. Zadok said he was handed away from Chief Abiola. By the time he returned to him, he had been offered tea. Zadok admitted before the Oputa panel that he committed a serious omission of his duty. On that day Abiola was very alert. He recognised Susan Rice whom he saw last in 1982. The Americans came with a flask containing tea. That flask had three layers. Why should they come down with their own tea, special tea. The two security men who brought Abiola from detention did not taste the tea. Abiola took about half cup of the tea; soon he was having pains in the chest. According to the Americans, they asked somebody to get his pain tablets. How did they know that Abiola had pain tablets? Who was the doctor that prescribed the pain tablets and at what time? At that time Abiola had become very restless. He said he wanted to go to the toilet; may be that would make him feel better. Abiola went to the toilet he didn’t come out on time. Nobody accompanied him. He should have been accompanied by a security guard so that he would not harm himself. When he came out, he was so restless. He was holding his chest. Then he slumped. His breathing was very shallow. He was writhing in pains. Then they called on personal physician to General Abdulsalam Abubakar, a very nice, decent doctor. When he came Abiola was already dead by the time he was asked to attend to him. It is now left to all of us to find the cause of Abiola’s death after taking tea. He died 15 minutes after the tea. My conclusion is that the tea is probably fundamental to his collapse and his sudden death. Until a detail investigation is carried out, the death of Abiola would continue to generate controversy, supposition, reasonable and unjustified conclusion for a very long time to come. Abiola died in government

custody. It is the duty of government to unravel the cause of Abiola’s death after a cup of tea. You were reported as saying that Abiola’s heart was three times bigger than the normal size of a human heart at the time he died. What could have been responsible for this? The autopsy report showed that the heart was enlarged. It is not true that it was three times bigger than the normal size of a human heart. I don’t know where they got that report. It was superfluous. Those with enlarged hearts still manage them and they live long. It was not a surprise that Abiola’s heart was enlarged. What do you expect when someone was kept for over four years without allowing him to do physical exercise, he ate three times daily definitely it would reflect on the size of his heart. They didn’t allow him to talk to anybody. He was kept in solitary confinement for over four years. I told him to watch the quantity of food he took and should perform some exercises in his room to keep him fit. We were able to keep him alive until he was killed. As M.K.O’s personal physician, were you allowed to visit him and observe his health all through before his death? Initially, good arrangement was made for me to visit him thrice in a week. I was being assisted by one Dr Bako whom I praised for his professionalism He suffered for not doing the biddings of those in power. He refused to do anything that was unprofessional and he paid for it. I enjoyed free access to Abiola under the Abacha regime. But later things changed particularly under General Abubakar. On many occasions, permission to visit Abiola was cancelled for no just reason. Frequent visits to see Abiola were no longer permitted. It was reduced to once per week. There were series of speculations on this udden change. We thought it was because they wanted to release him or they didn’t want his persona Physician to come near him again. Later on, it became clear that they had a plan known to Abubakar and those close to him. The change in visits became noticeable shortly after Abacha’s death. Did you make formal complaint when you noticed there was a reduction in the number of time you were allowed to visit Abiola in a week? On July 4, 1998 when I attended American National Day, I had to com-

•Dr Falomo

plain to the United States ambassador in Nigeria that the military government headed by General Abubakar granted foreigners permission to meet Abiola which he (Abiola) did not request for but the same government disallowed Abiola’s sympathisers such as members of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), human rights groups, muslims and Christian associations in Nigeria to pay him visits. It was then the ambassador arranged for some NADECO members to join the American delegates at NICON-NOGA Hotel, Abuja. I organised the NADECO team late Senator Abraham Adesanya, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun. They got to NICON-NOGA at 12 0’ clock. They said they wanted to have a chat with Abiola, General Abubakar said no. That was where the politics started. NADECO team decided to go back to Lagos and went to the airport. The American delegation went to Aguda House to meet Abiola who was not told he was going to have visitors. They woke him up at about 3.00 p.m. to meet the visitors. Late Adesanya and his group were yet to board their plane for a return journey back to Lagos before Abiola died. Two of them (NADECO members) are still alive today to bear me witness. Would it be right to say that Abiola had good time in detention under Abacha compared with Abubakar’s tenure? The last one month of Abiola’s life under General Abubakar was agonising for him and those of us that were closed to him. His welfare was not properly taken care of. Feeding became a problem because funds for his up- keep were not released. Abubakar could not claim ignorance

of Abiola in government custody. What prompted him to invite the Abiola’s family to visit him a day before he died? Did they have the knowledge that Abiola would die on July 7, that necessitated the invitation of Abiola’s family- two wives and first daughter? Such visit had never been allowed over the years when Abiola was detained. The family members were still in Abuja when Abiola died. What was thr purpose of inviting them? Why were they allowed access to Abiola before the American visitors met him? Who should be held responsible for the death of Abiola? Federal government under General Abdulsalam Abubakar should be held responsible. We were not afraid of Abiola’s life under Abacha. It was an irony of fate that the jailer (Abacha) died before the jailed (Abiola). There was a haste in getting rid of one those giving them (America) headache and MKO followed. What was the result of the autopsy that you and expatriates conducted on Abiola? The autopsy report showed that there were fatty layers in the vessels that supply blood to Abiola’s heart. The layers narrowed the space of the blood vessels. The amount of blood been supplied to the heart was reduced because of the narrow space. There was no area of occlusion (blockage) in the blood vessels. Nothing had stopped the supply of blood to the heart but the quantity had reduced. Nothing stops heart from functioning once it’s getting adequate blood supply. Have you submitted the autopsy report to the Federal Government?

‘The autopsy report showed that there were fatty layers in the vessels that supply blood to Abiola’s heart. The layers narrowed the space of the blood vessels. The amount of blood been supplied to the heart was reduced because of the narrow space. There was no area of occlusion (blockage) in the blood vessels. Nothing had stopped the supply of blood to the heart, but the quantity had reduced. Nothing stops heart from functioning, once it’s getting adequate blood supply’

There were two copies. I kept a copy and sent one to the Federal Government. I have distributed copies to eminent Nigerians for safe keeping. A copy was also deposited in the bank. Federal government has taken no action on the report. Much as we supported the idea of setting up the Oputa panel, no one has seen the report or the White paper if any. The objective of the Oputa panel was to reconcile aggrieve parties. Unfortunately, reconciliation has not taken place. Don’t you think that the Federal government should compensate Abiola’s family since he died in government custody? Federal government is morally bound to compensate Abiola’s family for letting him die in their custody. For detaining him, government denied the family his patrimonial attention for more than four years. Abubakar promised to compensate the family when he paid them condolence visit after Abiola’ death. That promise has not been fulfilled. It’s a good thing that President Jonathan has recognised the June 12 presidential election and that Abiola won the election. He should tell us how much Federal Government owed Abiola before his death? When would the government pay his family? We have facts on this matter which are willing to release at the auspicious time. How best do you think Abiola could be immortalised? Naming ornaments after Abiola is not the only way to honour him. Any government that wants to honour MKO should implement all his campaign promises. Abiola promised to banish hunger and poverty if he assumed office as President of Nigeria. He made the promise 20 years ago and today the standard of living of ordinary people is worse than what it was in 1993. If Abiola had been allowed to rule the level of poverty would have been drastically reduced. He would have invested massively on agriculture such that we would be self sufficient in food production and even export to other countries. Apart from food production agroallied industries would sprig up all over the country thereby creating job opportunities for the unemployed. Prior to oil boom era, Nigeria economy was based on agriculture. Then, we didn’t have problem of balance of payment. Nigeria didn’t belong to the club of debtor nations. Abiola had wanted to revolutionise agriculture and thereby diversified the economy. Remember, Abiola as a businessman had big farms all over the country. He knew what it takes to change farming method. We have millions of university graduates roaming the streets in search of jobs that are not there. How many of them can be absorbed in government establishments? The manufacturing sector, a major employer of labour is dying. Most of them have closed shops while others have relocated to neighbouring countries because of high cost of production. Abiola would have created enabling environment for industrialists to operate and as well encourage foreign investors to come and do business in Nigeria. Unemployment would have been tackled headon by the Abiola administration. Nigerians in their millions voted for Abiola willingly and happily. Students, artisans, market men and women even police and army voted in their barracks for a President of their choice but the powerful forces used the brutal force to reverse the Peoples verdict. Was Abiola just a client or a friend to you? He was more than a friend or a patient. He was a confidant and also an in-law. His philosophy of touching peoples life is worthy of emulation. Abiola’s philanthropy transcends religious or ethnic divides.


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THE NATION INVESTORS

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UACN seeks new investor for UPDC

AC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc has advanced discussions with potential new equity investor in its real estate subsidiary, UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc, as the conglomerate seeks to consolidate its business in the capital-intensive property and development market. A strategic intent document obtained by The Nation showed that there are ongoing discussions between UACN, the majority core investor in UPDC, and potential equity investor. UACN holds the controlling 46 per cent equity stake in UPDC while other sundry Nigerian shareholders hold 54 per cent. The equity investor would be expected to provide UPDC with new amenable funds to reduce its financial leverage and finance its business growth plan. With the downtrend at the primary segment

•Sells Registrars

By Taofik Salako

of the capital market, UPDC has relied largely on debt issues to support its business expansion programme. This has built up substantial financial leverage, with attendant negative impact on overall business performance. A market source said UACN may favour issuance of special private placement to a new equity investor to inject new equity capital into UPDC, without necessarily undermining its majority controlling stake. UACN had also recently used the instrument of special placement to acquire controlling stake in Livestock Feeds Plc. In search of new funds, UPDC had recently floated a real estate investment trust (Reit). The UPDC

REIT sought to raise N30 billion through issuance of 3.0 billion ordinary units of N10 each at N10 per unit through an initial public offering (IPO). The result of the IPO, which was concluded in April 2013 is yet to be made public. The UPDC REIT seeks to invest a maximum of 75 per cent in real estate, 25 per cent in real estate related assets and 10 per cent in liquid assets and cash. The potential injection of new equity funds into UPDC, sale of non-core business interests including UACN Registrars and winding down of below-average businesses were all part of strategic initiatives by UACN to refocus on highgrowth business and unlock values across the business chain. The conglomerate at the week-

end announced that it had executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) on the sale of UACN Registrars to Africa Prudential Registrars (APR) Plc, a spun off of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, which made history recently as the first share registration company to be listed at the stock market. According to the SSPA, APR would acquire 100 per cent equity stake in UACN Registrars. Full equity acquisition would subsume UACN Registrars into APR. The completion of the acquisition is however, subject to the fulfilment of all conditions precedent outlined in the SSPA including approval by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). UACN had recently entered a share sale agreement to sell 49 per cent equity stake in its whollyowned subsidiary- MDS Logistics

Activist urges SEC, NSE to tighten regulation

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•From left: Regional Director, Ikoyi and Lagos Island, Skye Bank Plc, Ms. Nkolika Okoli; new Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Mustafa Pulat; and Head, E-Channels, Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Chuks Iku, during a courtesy visit to the ambassador in Abuja.

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Plc, to Imperial Logistics, the international logistics and supply chain arm of the South Africabased Imperial Holdings Limited. The share sale agreement indicated that Imperial Logistics will acquire 49 per cent equity in MDS Logistics while UACN will retain 51 per cent majority stake in the company. MDS, previously a Division of UACN, is Nigeria’s leading provider of integrated supply chain while Imperial Logistics, a division of the Imperial Group, is an international logistics and supply chain leader. UPDC is projected with total income of N6.86 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, 2013. According to forecasts by directors, the real estate company is expected to pool profits before and after tax of N827 million and N660 million respectively for the three-month period.

SHAREHOLDER activist, Mr. Abayomi Obabolujo, has urged Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to tighten their regulatory frameworks in order to uplift the Nigerian market to desired world-class standard. Speaking at the maiden meeting of his newly inaugurated Association of Avid Shareholders (AAS), Obabolujo, who presides over the association, decried the inadequacies in the current regulatory system of the capital market. According to him, there is an urgent need for SEC and NSE to further explore new ideas, in order to achieve a desired world-class standard for the market. “SEC and NSE are not doing enough to defend the rights of the shareholders. This association is formed on the basis that it is only the shareholders that can fight for their rights themselves,” Obabolujo said. Explaining the goals of the association, he said the association was ready

By Tonia Osundolire

to tackle the rot and other forms of perceived irregularities bedeviling shareholders in the country. “Our target is to ensure that managers of quoted companies sit-up and do what they are expected to do. We want to ensure that Nigerian investors don’t put their money in the companies and record loss anymore,” Obabolujo said. He noted that the Nigerian capital market is on verge of picking up again after previous years of decline, which led to losses that caused apathy to investors’ interest. According to the president, the fast rate of recovery in the last couple of months has necessitated proactive measures to ensuring that the past does not repeat itself. While explaining the strategy to be adopted in running the affairs of the association, Abayomi disclosed that Avid is currently targeting to have at least 1,000 investors in Lagos and more from other regions across the country.

Public offerings may resume, say analysts

HE sustained increase in shares prices at the stock market may encourage companies to consider issuance of new and supplementary shares as means of raising funds from the general investing public. Besides, markets pundits said the bullish run at the stock market, which saw the market opening this week with average return of 40.91 per cent, might be the antidote to the inactive public offering market. M a n a g i n g Di r e c t o r , C o w r y Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, said the upward pricing trend would overtime correct the undervaluation of shares of companies and encourage the companies to issue new shares based on their assessed fair values. According to him, the boards of directors of several companies had shied away from issuing new shares due to investors’ apathy and undervaluation of their shares. He said companies would naturally move towards equity issues when they realise they could raise new funds at fair prices. Managing director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, said quoted companies traditionally issue new shares when prices are high, noting that share prices at the Nigerian

By Taofik Salako

Stock Exchange (NSE) have now reached their highest levels in several years. According to him, low equities’ prices and poor investor confidence had discouraged is-

suers from raising capital in the public markets, which then made companies to show preference for debt financing and rights issue. He pointed out that the continuing success of rights issues in recent period has renewed

‘Besides, markets pundits said the bullish run at the stock market, which saw the market opening this week with average return of 40.91 per cent, might be the antidote to the inactive public offering market’

optimism of public offering of new equities. Many companies had shelved earlier immediate plans to raise new capital from the capital market due to the lingered recession have restarted discussions about prospects of accessing new equity funds from the market. From a whooping N1.3 trillion in 2007, the recession that started in 2008 had withered enthusiasms for new issues, especially equities, as new issues dropped to about N86 billion

Okomu Oil to build the biggest oil mill in Africa

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KOMU Oil Palm Company Plc has said that it will build the biggest oil mill in Africa to strengthen its leadership position in the palm oil and rubber industries in the continent. Speaking during the company’s 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Abuja, the company’s Chairman, Mr Gbenga Oyebode said the development will double the production capacity of the firm from 30 tonnes per hour to 60 tonnes per hour. Oyebode said the expansion of the mill is scheduled for completion before 2014. Other plans include replanting of 402 hectares of oil palm in 2013, planting of 600 hectares of rubber in 2013, and an-

By Simeon Ebulu

other 700 hectares in 2014. He said the company recorded a combined consolidated turnover of N10.1billion in 2012, in spite of the lower than average commodity prices and trade volumes occasioned by the continuing worldwide financial crisis and uncertainty in the Euro zone and the United States. He said: “Commodity prices, as a result of this crisis, dropped significantly, especially rubber prices, and this among others, had an influence on the company’s profit in 2012. North withstanding these challenges , the company managed to perform admirably and this can

be seen in the record highs achieved by our share price over the period,” According to him, the steady rise in the Okomu oil share price and its nomination as one of the best performing companies on the stock exchange in 2012. This shows that the market has confidence in the Board and the management to steer the organisation in the right direction, even under these trying economic conditions,” He, however, said that the firm face significant challenges on daily basis in form of disruptions by militants and the kidnapping of its personnel, adding that the management has adopted proactive measures to survive.

in 2009. It has since declined consecutively with no primary new issue in recent years, with the exception of rights issues, which were motivated by large core investors seeking to recapitalize their companies. However, reports by boards of directors of several companies had indicated that companies were constrained by their inability to source new equity capital due to the meltdown at the capital market while recourse to high-interest bank loans depressed probable returns to shareholders. Reports by quoted companies highlighted the twin-problem of high cost of fund and liquidity squeeze on corporate earnings. Not less than 11 companies had earlier indicated interests in raising new equity funds. These included companies such as Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), May and Baker Nigeria, Fidson Healthcare, RT Briscoe, DN Meyer, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (Nahco), Lafarge Wapco Cement Nigeria Plc and UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc. Two prospective new listingsPromasidor Nigeria Limited and Notore Chemical Industries Limited, had also mulled plans to float IPOs. While some of the companies had diverted to debt issue, most shelved their new issues pending favourable market conditions.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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INTERVIEW

‘Our partnership with Sterling Bank has been rewarding’ Eight years ago, Mr Ola Oresanya was appointed the Managing Director of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). In this interview with AKINOLA AJIBADE, he speaks on the agency’s partnership with Sterling Bank, which he said has made the implementation of its (LAWMA) mandate easy. He also highlights his achievements, challenges and other issues.

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AWMA under your leader ship has just marked eight years. How has the journey been so far? In the past eight years, we have succeeded in finding the pathway for improving the strategy in waste management. We came from minus zero and we have been able to re-align our progression line. What we have been doing in the last eight years has been developing a template that would take the organisation to the next horizon. We are doing something that would take the agency to the next century and make it one of the best in the world. We are trying to make it a force to reckon with in the area of waste management worldwide. The challenge ahead is to be a distinct brand when it comes to waste management worldwide. What are the achievements that you have recorded in the past eight years? We have recorded several achievements over the years. First is to restore what can be best described as dignity in labour by making people believe in what they are doing to earn a living. Secondly, we have been able to change the attitudes or perceptions of people toward jobs. A typical Nigerian worker, especially in the public sector, is known to be lazy and lackadaisical in his/her approach to work. We have succeeded in changing that at the LAWMA. Wherever you see LAWMA’s workers, you see them working with dignity, showing resilience and commitment to the assignments given to them. To me, that is one of the greatest achievements so far. We have been able to change the psyche and attitudes of people to work. Other achievements include making the city of Lagos cleaner and beautiful. We have been able to achieve that goal as evident by the cleaner environment Lagos is boasting of today. You once mentioned the issue of neighbourhood approach to waste management at the last interactive session you had with the media, can you give more insight into how it works? Apart from the government–led initiative to make the state look cleaner, brighter and conducive for living and business; we also have a concept called the three Cs, an acronym for Community Clean Up Campaign. Through this, we allow communities to evolve their roadmaps or needs on how to ensure a health friendly environment. We allow them to start clean up exercises and we meet them half way as part of efforts to make the environment hygienically fit for living. This is mainly applicable to poor communities where they seem to be helpless on the issue of waste control and manage-

ment. In these communities, you will see a kind of resentment towards government’s programmes because they believe that they have been rejected one way or the other by the state government. But we are not looking at it from this perspective. Rather, we believe the problem is due to lack of communication, a fall-out of the top-down approach to solving issues. So, we are helping communities to drive the cleanup initiative, as well as allowing them to come up with their agenda while meeting them half way to achieve the objectives which LAWMA was set out for. LAWMA pays for most of the services, but what we are doing now is to allow them employ people among themselves for the cleanup agenda. An example is Makoko –Obalende. People were employed from Makoko to clean up their own streets. Besides, they have recycling centres where the refuse are recycled to achieve certain socio-economic objectives. So, they have a set of cleanliness agenda because they want their areas to be very clean. We established recycling centres in those communities for people to recycle bad products and give back to society. Beyond these, what other benefits have the initiatives brought to the affected communities and Lagos in particular? The initiatives have culminated in a drastic reduction of diseases in the affected areas, criminal activities, provision of employment opportunities, among others. We ensure that idle hands, especially youths were employed for the jobs. We ensure that churches, mosques, among other organisations contribute their own quota on the issue of making the state cleaner. The profitmaking organisations such as banks in those communities are made to contribute their own quota as well. They pay half and we pay half to ensure that the job is done. The women sweep the road, while the young men police the areas to prevent unnecessary dumping of refuse. It has been a very effective strategy for us. What are the challenges facing

the agency, especially in the area of changing the psyche of people towards ensuring a cleaner environment? Well, we do face challenges. The problems are still there, especially the ones relating to the habits of the people. We are changing them gradually. We are employing education and enforcement as tools to change the psyche of Lagosians to cleanliness. We educate, sensitise people and establish a lot of publicity outlets to make people aware of dangers of living in a dirty and unsafe environment. We have various strategies for our community hygiene programmes. When we see that residents are recalcitrant and unyielding, enforcement follows. This is used in changing or taming the habits of people towards hygiene. Government has a lot of financial commitments or projects, a development which means that LAWMA may not be getting enough funds as it should. Do you get support from the private sector to fund your projects? Well, we have partners locally and internationally. Like you rightly said, the government cannot fund everything. One of our major partners is Sterling Bank Plc. The partnership is very solid. The bank supports our clean up exercise programmes and also has its own initiatives in the area of environmental cleanliness. Twice now, the bank organised its members of staff to clean Obalende and Ikeja in Lagos. And I’m told that this did not only happen in Lagos but in the entire federation. When Sterling Bank embarked on the cleaning of Obalende for instance, their staff in other locations throughout the country did the same. That tells you how conscious Sterling Bank is in this area. And again, where you see a LAWMA worker on the street, you see them with Sterling Bank logo on their overall. If you are going to talk about a cleaner Lagos, you cannot but mention Sterling Bank as one of the prominent organisations that has been supporting us. Even in this community clean-up campaigns, most of the uniforms provided by Ster-

• Oresanya

ling Bank are being given to these communities. Everywhere, people now know the bank as a major supporter of a cleaner and safer environment. We have international organisations such as the Clinton Foundation, World Bank, DFIB, among others, supporting us. It has been a rewarding support. Apart from what we generate internally, we have these supports that have been making things visible for us Then, would you say that your partnership with Sterling Bank has been rewarding? Yes, in fact you just hit the nail on the head. Our partnership with Sterling Bank has been a success story, highly rewarding. Apart from the Lagos State government appreciating it, Nigerians too are appreciative of what the bank is doing in the area of environmental cleanliness. The bank gives us about 25,000 uniforms annually. This is not a joke. We provide a pair of uniforms for each cleaner. We have about 12,000 sweepers on the roads. The bank has taken it upon itself to give a pair of uniforms to each sweeper on the road. That would have cost us millions of naira. Indeed, this is laudable. To me, what Sterling Bank is doing is to preserve lives. When you look at primary healthcare, you will observe that the bank looks or sees life preservation as key to the growth of the society. The bank’s CSR is channelled towards supporting

‘If you are going to talk about a cleaner Lagos, you cannot but mention Sterling Bank as one of the prominent organisations that has been supporting us. Even in this community clean-up campaigns, most of the uniforms provided by Sterling Bank are being given to these communities. Everywhere, people now know the bank as a major supporter of a cleaner and safer environment’

life; that is why it is supporting LAWMA’s initiative of making Lagos environmentally safe. The bank took a major risk by putting its name and logo on uniforms of a government organisation. We really appreciate that. Not many banks can take that risk. It is a bank that believes so much in us; they believe in our strategy, and they have taken all the risks to make sure that they support us. And we do not have any regrets. How can you describe the bank’s CSR, vis-à-vis its support for LAWMA? The bank’s CSR programme is not only laudable, but shows how a responsible organisation should relate with its community. If a bank is supporting the well-being of the citizens, that means that the bank wants people to be healthy to work. It is like taking it from the bottom angle, and walking up the stairs. I think the bank has done well in that regard. That is very okay. The whole world now looks up to the bank. Once you get to Lagos state, the moment you see a LAWMA staff, you see Sterling Bank. Can you list some of the achievements of Waste to Wealth programmes of Lagos? The waste to wealth programme is doing well. We have the biggest compose site in Africa. It is located in Ikorodu, Lagos. There, we convert the substantial quantity of market waste into fertiliser. Also, we have waste being converted to electricity. We have a buy-back programme where we buy nylons from people and turn it back into a product. We have tyres that are being turned into rub mats. By and large, we have close to 22 per cent of Lagos waste daily being converted into something useful. We are targeting 50 per cent in the next few years. What should we expect when your 10 in office? Africa would be proud of LAWMA; ditto Lagos as a centre of excellence.


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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

I NSURANCE

Six states comply with Contributory Pension Scheme

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...PFAs now IFRS compliant

IX states - Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Kaduna, Niger and Jigawahave fully complied with the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). This means that they have maintained life insurance in favour of their employees for a minimum of three times their yearly total emolument as contained in section 9 (3) of the Pension Reform Act, 2004. While six other states have their own pension arrangements for their employees, 24 states are yet to have any pension arrangement for their workers. President of Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PENOP), Dave Uduanu, who made this known at a media parley in Lagos, said the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and the association are worried by this trend and have devised measures to enlighten the non-compliant states to key into the scheme. He, however, said operators were sensitive about the management of the fund. According to him, the scheme is young but growing, making its safety critical in meeting its key objectives, which is to ensure that workers (contributors) have access

Stories by Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

to their funds at retirement. Uduanu said this was why operators were wary of where to invest, despite pressures from all corners, that pension funds should be used to develop projects such as infrastructure. He said: “We have quite a lot of investment windows approved for us by our regulator, but still, we are buyers of securities, we are buyers of investment instruments and not a charity organisation that would repair roads and electricity. “If roads are to be built for tolls, or other liquid investments, where we are sure that retirees’ funds are safe we can be part of it.” Chief Executive officer, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited, Demola Sogunle, while speaking on regulation of the industry disabused the minds of many who continue to say that the industry is over regulated. He said: “We cannot be talking about over-regulation in a young industry that has to do with contributors’ emotions, an industry that is about retirees’ vulnerability. “It is important that the industry

• Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator Limited, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni; Managing Director Leadway Pensions Limited, Ronke Adedeji and Udeanu, at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of PenOp in Lagos. is properly established for safety of the funds.” He added that there would be guidelines from time to time, to define codes, ethics and conduct of the operators. Managing Director, Legacy Pension Managers Limited, Misbahu Yola, said the accounts of PFAs are International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) compliant in line with the deadline set by PenCom. He said: “On International Finan-

Fatai Lawal is CIIN President

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HE Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) will on Friday swear in Mr Fatai Kayode Lawal as its President and Chairman of Council. Lawal, who is also the Managing Director of Sterling Assurance Limited, will become the 45th President of the 54-year-old institute. Chairman, CIIN Presidential Investiture Committee, Adeyemo Adejumo, who announced the preparations for the event in Lagos, said: “The focus of the incoming president will begin from where the outgoing president has stopped; that is to improve on the level of education for the insurance industry in Nigeria, strengthen the examination system for measuring skills. We have mapped out strategies where we can take this education not only within the industry but all over the country to the higher institutions, secondary and primary schools.’’ He said they would enlighten every Nigerian on the benefits of insurance, noting that this, among others, would be the principal focus for the industry. Outgoing President, Dr Wole Adetimehin, in his farewell address, said the lofty goals set on assumption of his Presidency in June, 2011 have been substantially fulfilled.

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He said the College of Insurance and Financial Management is almost completed and that it would move to its permanent site in the next few months. He said: ”Lofty goals set on assumption of this Presidency have been substantially fulfilled. These were hinged on the theme, “Repositioning the insurance profession”, and included, strengthening the relevance of insurance profession in Nigeria, enhancing the quality of insurance education in Nigeria, recognition of excellence in insurance awareness and public enlightenment. “The first significant step taken by the governing council in this direction was the constitution of a formidable industry team which, examined the issues related to the national budget and arrived at useful decisions, which brought to the fore the opportunities for economic growth and, in particular, the expectations from the insurance sector.’’ He added: “We have also continually canvassed the need for a genuine national consciousness on the efficacy of insurance, especially with the spate of insecurity and the wanton destruction of lives and property as a result of growing insurgency as well as natural disasters such as floods and storms.’’ As the industry’s educational

SA Life begins awareness programme

O deepen insurance in the country, Standard Alliance Life Assurance Limited, said it has partnered with Almond Finance and Wealth Report to enlighten the public on the need for insurance. Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Nelson Egboboh, in a statement, noted that the company has picked the challenge of sponsoring enlighnten-ment programme on the electronic media one of which is anchored by Almond Finance and Wealth Report

on a local channel. He said the underwriting firm also went ahead to sponsor more programmes, which is aired on both local and international channels. He added: “A situation where below two per cent of 160 million Nigerians subscribe to insurance is discouraging and unacceptable.” He said: “This is why programmes of this nature must be supported by insurance companies to help Nigerians come to grasp with the value of insurance in their lives

cial Reporting Standard (IFRS), the compliance deadline for all operators was December 31, 2012. A number of our results are already out, which are in compliance with the IFRS. We have all complied.” The Federal Government had informed operators in the economy that IFRS will be the new basis of financial reporting with effect from January last year. The adoption of IFRS would likely result in high quality, trans-

parent and comparable financial statements based on internationally accepted modern accounting principles and concepts. IFRS are principles-based standards, interpretations and framework adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Its overall objective is to create a sound foundation for future accounting standards that are principles-based, internally consistent and internationally converged.

Niger Insurance assures of efficient services

P • Lawal arm, we have also initiated suitable and relevant training programmes aimed at equipping practitioners with the necessary tools for underwriting the emerging risk exposures such as kidnapping and terrorism. We are also gearing up at promoting the development of pool formations, which can contain these catastrophic risks and guarantee greater confidence from the insuring public’” Lawal joined the governing council in 2001. Born on October 6, 1960, he is a Fellow of the institute. Mr Akintola Williams, a chartered accountant will be the chairman while special guests of honors are Abdulfatah Ahmed, Governor of Kwara State; Babatunde Raji Fashola, Governor of Lagos State, and Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos. and businesses.” “We, at Standard Alliance Life Assurance, are concerned about making Nigerians across the different class divides know much about insurance and its important place in their lives, “We also believe that Nigeria with such a huge population ought to be the biggest market for insurers in Africa if only the people are fully aware of what they stand to benefit from subscribing to any applicable form of insurance.” Egboboh explained that the desire of the company is to ensure that no losses are suffered by Nigerians and the need to enlighten the public on the crucial role of insurance.

OLICYHOLDERS of Niger Insurance PLC have been assured of full compensation should the need arise. In a statement, its Managing Director Mr Kola Adedeji, stated that the firm’s primary business is to satisfy its customers. Adedeji, who acknowledged that the level of disposable income in the country was low, pointed out that with the population of the country in excess of 160 million, there exists huge insurance potential. He stressed the company’s resolve to ensure prompt payment of benefits to policyholders, the reason for opening a dedicated account for claims and commission payment to prevent undue delays in claims administration and settlement. He said the underwriting company was being reengineered for better services and more innovative products, which would better meet the needs of the insuring public and endear insurance to them. He noted that though the organisation has ensured that its customers were properly catered for, it focuses more on the need for customers to know their specific needs, meet those needs and surpass clients’ expectation. He said: “The company is striv-

• Adedeji ing to ensure that more members of the public embraced insurance culture while concerted efforts are being made to enlighten them so they would know what they stand to benefit by patronising the insurance industry. “A building was devoted to the agency operations of the company so that people can have access to insurance products and services offered by the insurance firm wherever they might be in the country.”

USAA launches tour to curb texting while driving

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SAA has launched a nationwide tour including more than 10 military installations to demonstrate the dangers of texting and driving. USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.6 million members of the United States military and their families. The tour, an extension of AT&T’s “It can wait” campaign, features a

simulator that demonstrates the impact of texting and driving ability. Texting, for instance, takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That’s like driving the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour blindfolded. USAA encourages members and employees to take the “It can wait” pledge to not text and drive. Earlier this year, 6,500 USAA employees took the pledge.


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SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENUERSHIP Olusegun Onigbinde, an IT professional, is crazy about developing tools that will help e-governance. His passion is paying off, reports DANIEL ESSIET.

Living off his passion

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VEN as a kid, Oluseun Onigbinde, co-founder and Lead Director of BudgIT, a civic startup company that focuses on promoting good governance by simplifying the Nigerian government’s budget, was creative. But, he never realised that his passion could be turned into a profitable business. Now at 27 and a graduate of Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Onigbinde after leaving school, worked in the financial sector including two banks. After spending three years on the entry grade without promotion, he became convinced that he needed to pursue a project aligned with his objective. He was really ambitious and knew what he wanted. Onigbinde began to think about his strength and weaknesses and reached a conclusion. His strong point was being knowledgeable about public and project finance. He felt the desire to share the knowledge by analysing the budget and other public data for the people. The turning point was when he launched his company, which has put him in the limelight. That made him realise how important project is become to Nigerians. The idea was conceptualised and developed at the Tech-In-Govern-

ance event, a 48-hour boot camp organised by the Co-Creation Hub in February 2011. It was launched on September 13, 2011. The company’s name was previously “Budget4u” . But he didn’t feel comfortable with that name and changed it during a forum in Lagos, to BudgIT. His project simplifies the budget, using info-graphs, maps, mobile applications, and various new technologies. His company makes public data more understandable, accessible, and transparent to the average Nigerian. “The inability of Nigerians to hold their government accountable has led to years of excessive waste, improper planning, and corruption,” Onigbinde said. BudgIT is funded by Indigo Trust, a United Kingdom grant-making foundation that sponsors technology-driven projects focused on social change. He started the company because he wanted to make an impact. To date, over 20,000 users have visited the website, interacted with various applications, and made decisions on the budget. Today, the enterprise has the prospect of becoming a global IT social business. Since its inception, Onigbinde has made contacts in many countries, working with everyone from govern-

ment to churches. The staff of the company are young people, which is important to him because he also supports projects that help young people set up their businesses and achieve their goals. His target market is Nigerians. He is particularly interested in helping Nigerians interpret available government data. He plans to expand from analysing the government’s budget to supporting nongovernmental organidstions and other institutions. Onigbinde said the enterprise is funded by Indigo Trust UK and the Open Society for West Africa. With the capacity he has built, he now provides consulting services to the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Nigerian National Assembly Budget and Research Office. He is a 2012 World Summit Youth Award winner, and an Ashoka Fellow. He contributes to the Data Journalism blog and is a member of the Open Spending Wiki Group, an initiative of the Open Knowledge Foundation based in United Kingdom. His company BudgIT was recognised by Forbes Magazine as one of the top five African start-ups to watch out for. Onigbinde’s dream is to lead a

• Onigbinde

thriving public policy think-tank, while his long-term plan is to grow the BudgIT platform, using open technologies. He aims to interpret the budgets of various African governments into a more interactive and creative document and is thinking about developing a framework for participatory budgeting across the continent using different technological tools and offline forums. At the moment, he faces several challenges. The first is getting data from the government. The government is very unwilling to release data. The second is meeting the expectations of citizens excited about data, good governance, and transparency. Another challenge is funding. His team consists of eight people and he plans to expand. Only four members of the team work full-time. Good developers are costly, but despite these challenges, as a career he re-

mained undeterred. His advice for youths considering entrepreneurship is that they start small and more importantly, keep their eyes on delivering value. Also, there is something called, “reputation quotient” which means, using the power of networks. He said: “If one’s idea is brilliant and one is persistent enough, someone will come out and buy the products or services. He is happy that he has created jobs for young Nigerians. BudgIT was incubated at a technology hub and what could have been serious challenges in the early stages of a startup, issues related to funding, goal definition, market strategy, and so on were easily backed. Onigbinde said: “We need more hackathons, co-creation hubs, living labs, and I strongly believe these nodes can unleash talent in a communal way. Our grandfathers supported each other because they recognised the power of collaboration and community. We need to do the same and join our strengths together with our eyes on a common goal. I am sure we can surmount challenges and do great things. BudgIT is developing a model around public sector intelligence for banks. This will allow banks to gain quick and refined access to the government contracts, monthly allocations, and budgets. It is still an evolving process and still in the idea phase.” He has gone through the process of rebranding as it is important for any entrepreneur to reevaluate their business plan. The BudgIT boss has a hard-working and dedicated team of passionate entrepreneurs who believe they can make a difference.

NASSI tasks entrepreneurs on skills

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•From left: Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed; Minister of Trade and Investment,Olusegun Aganga and CEO of Ben Television UK, Mr. Alistair Soyode, at the NIgeria-Netherlands Business Forum, at the Hague.

SMEs urged to improve on packaging

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CONSULTANT, Mr Saheed Akinrinade, has urged small businesses to improve on packaging to survive in the face of competition . Akinrinade, the Principal Partner of Macfortune Consulting, an auditing firm said a product that is not branded and well packaged would not survive. He spoke at the vocational training graduation of the Oshodi Noble Heritage (ONH), a community based organisation at the Oshodi/ Isolo Local Government Secretariat in Lagos. Akinrinade said: “Branding is a vital tool to business, it is useless if you get money to manufacture a product, which the customers will not buy, so you need to do the right branding for your business to grow and be acceptable in the market.” He advised the participants to try their best in ensuring that the skills they acquired during the training is put to effective use. He also advised them to cultivate the good habit of branding and

By Amidu Arije

packaging of their products. “Packaging is also very important in the life of business, the first attraction of a buyer goes a long way in helping your product sell in the market, for new product going into the market you must distinguish yourself from the existing products for you to remain in the market,” he said. He told the participants the benefits of branding their products. “What branding will do for your product is that it will deliver your message clearly, confirm you credibility, connect your target prospects emotionally and motivates the buyer of your product,” he said. One of the participants of the training, Mrs Musa Kudirat Abeni, said she doubted the advertisement in the first instant, but on getting there, she was dazed with what she was trained on. For her, well packed products for exhibition on the day made her the best trainee.

“I first doubted the advert when I saw the posters, but I said let me try it first, on getting there I was amazed with the classical training we received during the training, I really thank God and the organisers of this training,” she said. The Coordinator of the ONH, Mr Hakeem Ishola, urged the participants to make proper use of what they have learnt. He said his organisation aimed at reducing poverty level in the community and that was why they embarked on the training. It was the fifth edition. The Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Chairman, Hon Bolaji Muse Ariyoh, was represented by his Special Adviser on Community Development, Hon Ade McCarthy. He thanked the organisers for their effort at complementing the government’s effort in alleviating poverty in the community. He urged participants to make good use of the skills they have acquired.

MALL scale entrepreneurs need more skills to become globally competitive, Chairman, Lagos Zone of Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr Segun KutiGeorge, has said. He spoke at a workshop organised for members of the association on Writing a bankable business plan. He said healthy competition was important for businesses to grow as no small business intended to remain small forever. “Many other people are doing the same business with you; so, what one needs to have an edge over others is to cultivate some skills that will be peculiar to you and your business. “Excellent communication and customer service skills, self discipline, time and people management skills and skills in packaging of business plans are essential now for business growth. “While competition is one of the challenges that business owners complain about, whereas they don’t know that it

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is healthy for them,” Kuti-George said. He also advised small business owners to imbibe some of the business qualities of renowned businessmen and women. A speaker at the workshop, Dr Olatunji Dawodu, said it was not good to rush into a business without passion for the venture. He said making necessary findings about a business and understanding how established businessmen survived in such a business were necessary for survival of such ventures. “It is not everyone who cannot get a job that is capable of doing business. Without adequate preparation, businesses failed,” he said. He urged banks to produce templates of business plans to assist small business entrepreneurs to get loans from them. Dawodu lauded women for their efforts in harnessing their business potential to assist their husbands to sustain their homes. “I urge our government at all levels to invest more to support the Nigerian woman,“ he said.

Group to host forum on July 19 HE Bridge Leadership Foundation (TBLF) third Career & Founder’s Day holds on July

19. The event, according to a statement, is scheduled for the Cultural Centre, Calabar, Cross River State. As a national platform, the forum is one key event, which will allow the local entrepreneurship community to tap into ideas and contribute to the discussion on how we can make entrepreneurship effective—not just in driving the economy, but also social good. The career day seeks to inspire and empower young people in choosing the right career paths and making informed decisions.

The aim of the event is to provide a platform for young Nigerians and graduates who are; seeking to enter the job market, at the start of their career or aspiring to be entrepreneurs, to learn from accomplished entrepreneurs and professionals (home and abroad) that have made major achievement in different sectors in the society. The career day event will also offer a message of hope, while providing participants with practical examples to help them shape their leadership abilities, inspire their creativity to become thought leaders in their personal, educational and career lives.


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E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

Nigeria to exhibit art works at Economic Forum

First Lady calls for supports for art expo

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IGERIA will create a one-stop cultural village that will exhibit quality artworks when it hosts the World Economic Forum (WEF) next year, Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Minister Chief Edem Duke has said. He said the works that would make the forum would emerge from this year’s African Art and Craft Expo (AFAC), which opened on Monday at the Eagles Square, Abuja, with the theme: Leveraging on the arts and crafts industry for job creation and economic empowerment. “At AFAC, we are going to keep our eyes open for those whose exhibits will be world class for the exhibition at the World Economic Forum holding next year. This will provide exposure, new audience and market for the exhibitors,” he said. The minister told reporters in Abuja that no fewer than 17 foreign countries and 250 foreign exhibitors will participate in this year’s African Art and Crafts Expo, which was declared open by wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience. The countries include Gambia, Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Egypt, Niger, Mali, Republic of Benin, Togo and Guinea Conakry. Others are Cote D’Ivoire, Pakistan, South

•From left: Duke and Maidugu at a briefing in Abuja By Ozolua Uhakheme Assistant Editor (Arts)

VISUAL ART Korea, China, Sudan, Chad, and Liberia. Almost all the states of the federation and local government areas are expected to showcase their works at the expo that will run till June 15. Duke said the expo is to showcase talent and creativity in the areas of product design, finishing,

packaging and presentation. “The expo is bringing together artists and craftsmen within the African region and beyond on a platform on which they can expand and grow the business of the art s and crafts industry. It is also to share ideas and network with other practitioners in areas that relate to their competence such as production, marketing, packaging and presentation techniques; and meet with prospective investors among other benefits,” he added.

•From left: Evans; Gqola and Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Wael Ammar

Writers play for big bucks

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•£15000 Etisalat prize to promote literature

OR budding creative writers in Africa, it is time to showcase their talents for the big bucks. Etisalat Nigeria has established a £15,000 literary cash prize with other mouthwatering offers for them. The prize is coming on the heels of others encouraging writers and boosting creative writing on the continent. The first edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature was unveiled in Lagos and the entries for Fiction Novel category opened last Wednesday. It was graced by men and women of letters within Nigeria and Africa. According to Etisalat’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Steven Evans, the pan-African prize in literature, which will honour excellence in writing and writers of published fiction novels, is in line with its vision of promoting passions, nurturing talent and providing a platform for communicating ideas. After promoting the entertainment industry for a long while, stretching its tentacles into the promotion of creative writing is long overdue, many have said. And in choosing to chart this course, the telecommunication giant has added its pen in the ink of time. For time immemorial, literature has being a major agent of change and revolution. And this is one of the reasons Etisalat is establishing the prize. Evans said: “We believe literature has the potential to effect change and serve as a catalyst for promoting a cultural revolution. We are pleased to have initiated this important project that celebrates literary

By Evelyn Osagie

LITERATURE excellence and creativity in Nigeria and across Africa. And the prize, which is the first ever pan-African prize applauding first time writers of published fiction novels, aimed at recognising and celebrating writers and other members of the literary community across Africa.” Literature, according to him, is one field that has been relegated to the background, adding that this has made African fiction writers to look to international awards for recognition. Hence, he added that the prize would serve as a viable platform for the discovery of new creative talent from the continent and promote the growing publishing industry in Africa. “It is our objective to encourage creative writing throughout the continent. Etisalat operates in 15 countries around the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and 10 of those countries are in Africa. The prize is our way of sharing in the passions and aspirations of young and upcoming writers and breathing new life to the literary society,” he said. What would its establishment spell for literature? Former Minister of State for Education Dr Jerry Agada said: “The move shows that literature is becoming more popular and acceptable nationally and internationally; and this will encourage more practitioners to develop the art more to be able to win the

From Bukola Amusan, Abuja

prize.” Founder Ebedi Writers’ Residency and former Association of Nigerian Writers (ANA), Dr Wale Okediran, said the gesture is commendable, noting:”It is good news for literature. It is another addition to other efforts at moving literature forward in our great country.” Culture activist Ben Tomoloju said the organisers should make “quality” their a watchword. “It is a splendid move by the telecommunication company - The more; the merrier. But the emphasis should be more on quality than quantity,” he said. The prize shall be awarded in two categories. The first is for full-length debut novel of a minimum of 30,000 words published in English in the last three years which has as cash prize of £15,000, along with Samsung Galaxy Note or ipad, Etisalat-sponsored book tour (book reading/signing) in three major cities; scholarship/fellowship at University of East Anglia (the pre-eminent school for creative writing) and Etisalat-engraved Montblanc Pen. Its panel of four judges is chaired by Pumla Gqola, associate professor in the Department of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa). Other are Zaks Mda, Prof of Creative Writing at the University of Ohio and winner of the Commonwealth Prize, Billy Kahora Managing Editor of Kwani Trust, of the literary Journal Kwani and Sarah Ladipo Manyika, writer and academic. They will select the longlist and, then, a shortlist of three novels and the winner who will be announced in February next year. The second category is for the best flash fiction (Short Stories) of less than 300 words (also in English) to be launched towards the end of the year and driven entirely via social media with £1,000 cash prize among other gifts.

IRST Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, has called on Nigerians to invest more in ventures that will help revive the creative industry. The First Lady, who spoke at the opening of this year’s African Arts and Crafts Expo in Abuja on Monday, said the exposition initiated six years ago has grown steadily to become a platform for mobilising youths and women towards demonstrating and showcasing their talents, skills and creativity. She said the theme of the exposition, Leveraging the arts and crafts industry for job creation and economic empowerment is in agreement with Federal Government’s desire to change the productive capacity of our economy and encourage the growth of creative talents and keep our women and youths productively engaged. “As we are aware, women are major drivers of the arts and crafts, such as textiles, ornaments, jewelry, beauty care products, decorative items, pottery and leather works to mention some. “We will forever remember with pride women such as Ladi Kwali, the renowned potter who brought international fame to our nation through their craft,” she added. Mrs Jonathan said the arts and crafts sector if properly explored can offer limitless opportunities and potentials of turning many Nigerians from being job seekers to becoming job providers. “This sector can also help in reducing youth restiveness while greatly increasing the contribution of the non-oil sector to our Gross Domestic Product, GDP,” she added. While commending the spirit of creativity and enterprise of the participating craftsmen and women from various country, the First Lady said they have offered themselves as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria’s beautiful, rich and diverse cultural industry. The Executive Director of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Malgwi Maidugu, said the exposition was aimed at contributing to the Federal Government’s efforts towards job creation, youth and women empowerment and rural economic transformation. He added that the exposition aims at building a platform towards promoting the business of the Arts and crafts industry in Nigeria and the African continent at large. “It will also open up opportunities for investors to invest in this viable emerging sector and also serve as an avenue that will stimulate job creation, poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of our teaming unemployed youth and women. “It will also be a platform for developing and promoting tourism in Nigeria and to also promote Regional unity and socio economic integration in line with the African Union Charter,” he added.

Promoting culture among youths By Seun Adeyemo and Olushola Orebajo

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MULTIPLE events featuring cooking competition (edikang-ikong soup and garri, gbegiri soup and amala, painting competition on My new Lagos (how the children want Lagos to be), march past and the display of hairdo at the National Museum, Lagos. It was this year’s Children Day celebration organised by the National Museum, Onikan Lagos with the theme, An agent of creativity and social change. The event was designed to promote Nigerian cultural values among the youths. It featured children who were drawn from primary and secondary schools in lagos State who demonstrated, how to receive a traditional ruler, how he should be respected and honoured in the society. Curator of the museum, Mrs Judith Ekunke, said it was essential to celebrate children and inculcate in them norms and values of our tradition ‘because they are the future generation’. According to Ekunke, “we use this event to celebrate the African child, inculcate into our children the things of tradition because they are like the carrier of our tradition”. She urged the children to appreciate the nation’s heritage and preserve the cultural patrimony. This year’s theme is coined from the International Museum Day theme: Memory plus creativity equals social change.


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•Ikenegbu

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

•Bond by Moses Ibanga

In honour of Chinua Achebe

Being a paper titled: ‘Chinua Achebe. Historical lineaments of an icon’ presented by Okey Ikenegbu at the opening of a group art exhibition, tagged: Chinua Achebe –Visual Expressions held by some professional artists in Enugu to celebrate the late Prof Chinua Achebe.

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N this brief article there is no room and no need for me to write generally about this great man’s life and work. Obviously, this has already been done admirably, notably in obituaries and the encomia delivered by great people of all over the world since his demise. I am compelled to quote from his foreword to Igbo Arts, Community and Cosmos: Another reason why it is important to the Igbo to renew their art frequently is their view of the world as never standing still. “No condition is permanent” is the contemporary assertion of this view. In Igbo cosmology even gods could fall out of use and new forces were liable to appear without warning in the temporal and metaphysical firmament. The practical purpose of art is to channel a spiritual force into an aesthetically satisfying physical form that captures the presumed attributes of that force. It stands to reason, therefore that new forms must stand ready to be called into being as often as new (threatening) forces appear on the scene. It is like “earthing” (grounding) an electrical charge to ensure safety1. This above expression is necessarily apt to appreciate fully the subject of this reminiscence. Essentially, other contributors in times like this will have written of Achebe’s understanding and encouragement of African literary arts; I shall confine comments to Achebe’s love of visual arts, his skill in using the richness of the English language; his way with words. He was a formidable master of words. There is no doubt that in the field of literary art, Achebe was always larger than life, enjoying every minute and every encounter. Most people may well think of Achebe as a specialist in the visual arts of Africa. Achebe’s impact on the field of visual art is infused with intense sensibility and creative inspiration. Achebe always spoke eloquently about the power of objects to move us as well as the peoples of the society within which were created. He held that the visual arts are symptomatic of cultural values and that they are for the most part oriented positively, that is, toward man’s search for a secure and ordered existence. Chike Aniakor sums up the Achebe’s most critically acclaimed classical novel – Things Fall Apart, as a vivid picture of an Igbo society in its historical encounter with colonialism, by enthroning a sense of cultural and ideological consciousness, of both human freedom and history, in place of preceding colonial distortions of Africa. That, provided the historical benchmark for liberation of the African consciousness so that a man would know where the rain began to beat him. Similarly, Edith Ihekweazu in a perfect foreword to Achebe Celebration Exhibition Catalogue writes that Achebe’s artistic use of language, his wealth of imagery and symbolism, his recreation of a proud and dignified concept of African history and culture, and his unrelenting exposure and rejection of myths of racial superiority have helped in paving the way for the present achievements of Nigerian artists. Essentially, the Nsukka Art School is playing a major role in the emergence of modern artistic movements. She remarked that the exhibition was a land mark and a forecast of a new movement which counts Achebe’s works among its sources of visions and inspirations.

CELEBRATION It is significant to note that artists have drawn inspiration from societal life and experience while creating works as part of national development. Achebe’s contribution to visual art history was characterised precisely by his ability to see beyond the constricted and sometimes pedantic web that (we) spin for ourselves, and also his ability to contextualise a discourse of and about visual art within wider discourses – wider in terms of form, medium and time and place. Indeed, he nurtured the view that the greatest acknowledgement of the aesthetic power of a work of art is that it can still move us when it is presented totally both in and out of context. When confronted with the role of masquerade in Igbo cosmos, Achebe notably remarked, “What makes the dance and the masquerade so satisfying to the Igbo disposition is, I think, their artistic deployment of motion, of agility which informs the Igbo concept of existence. The masquerade (which is really an elaborated dance) not only moves spectacularly but those who want to enjoy its motion fully must follow its progress up and down the arena. This seemingly minor observation was nonetheless esteemed important enough by the Igbo to be elevated into a proverb of general application: Ada akwu ofu ebe enene mmuo, ‘You do not stand in one place to watch a masquerade”. You must imitate its motion. The kinetic energy of the masquerade’s art is thus instantly transmitted to a whole arena of observers. With Achebe’s death, literary and visual arts lost their most distinguished spokesman. Oke osisi a da go – A great tree has fallen. Oke mmanwu a naa – The big masquerade has gone. Nnukwu azu efue na mmiri – A big fish has disappeared from the waters. Ugo belu a daa n’elu oji – The eagle has fallen from the iroko

‘Achebe’s contribution to visual art history was characterised precisely by his ability to see beyond the constricted and sometimes pedantic web that (we) spin for ourselves, and also his ability to contextualise a discourse of and about visual art within wider discourses – wider in terms of form, medium and time and place. Indeed, he nurtured the view that the greatest acknowledgement of the aesthetic power of a work of art is that it can still move us when it is presented totally both in and out of context’

tree These metaphors used by the Igbo to announce the demise of an important person, aptly describe the vacuum created in the arts by the death of Chinua Achebe. Notably, Achebe has a wonderful way with proverbial and traditional metaphors. In recognition of this, Dennis Walder a writer and critic notes, “As ever, Achebe brilliantly manipulates the style he has made his own, introducing proverbial and traditional metaphor, the ‘palm oil with which words are spoken’ in Ibo society, to enrich his meaning throughout,— and it is evident that no other African novelist currently in production comes near this level of achievement”. For the Igbo proverbs serve as speech embellishments, to fabricate and furnish firm and solid platforms on which social institutions and behaviors grow. In his works Achebe used proverbs and metaphors to keep the minds of readers on the alert. While his passing on Friday, March 23, 2013 in a foreign land was profoundly sad for all lovers of literary and creative arts, his life line of achievements and his enduring legacy in the fields of literary and visual arts are causes for celebration. Chinua Achebe was a true Igbo son. His interests were catholic, extending from ideas to politics, creative art to performance. It is the cherished thought of every Igbo man to die well. To die well means to be mourned for, in other words to have people around to mourn for one. This in its turn implies association. Igbo folklore teaches that he who possesses a relation is preferred to him who is in possession of great wealth. I consider myself extremely fortunate not only to have been part of visual artists who celebrated Achebe while alive, but also that of his epilogue6. As a special tribute from visual artists, this current exhibition in honour of the fallen iroko tree – Chinua Achebe has been mounted in appreciation of his role as a dynamic source of inspiration for artists both at local and international levels. Everything in life shall perish but not ideas. This exhibition is a harvest of creative energies from life experiences. It is indeed bold salute to the withered Rose. Of course, Achebe would certainly have agreed that a debt may get moldy but it never rots. I conclude with lines written by Achebe himself … his words on the marble:“You cannot plant greatness as you plant yams or maize. Whoever planted an iroko tree – the greatest in the forest? You may collect all the iroko seeds in the world, open the soil and put them there it will be in vain. The great tree chooses where to grow and we find it there — so it is with greatness in men”. In Igbo land Ugo the Eagle portrays a remarkable audacity of greatness. The eagle depicts success, and an outstanding achievement. It means excellence, first, purity and eminence in all ramifications. And so, there was a man! A man of the people, a man of the arts! …who acted the strong and clean, and withstood creative turbulence. He has fallen asleep. The eye is not harmed by sleep, as the great giant has joined the ancestors not on dead men’s path. Achebe did not die, don’t let him die. Chinua Achebe has merely passed on. •Ikenegbu is Director, School of Communication Arts, IMT, Enugu.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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The Midweek Magazine

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

The travails, triumphs of a U S A L V I missionary T R A politician (2)

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HAPTER 3 titled “GENEALOGY” contains elaboration and elucidation on the family trees of Pa Ajayi in his four cities. The chapter naturally includes description of the lineage, as well as the distinctive values and unique virtues of the father of the autobiographer, Moses Ajayi. Though from a lineage of medicine men and warriors, Moses Ajayi “veered off the family line of traditional medicine as he got converted to Christianity very early in his own life ...” This chapter highlights the age-old issue of land tenure system in Nigeria. Pa Moses Ajayi (because his father came from Erinmo and his mother from Efon) was a virtual stranger in Ilara, so “he had to beg for land to farm.” It is a strange irony that, in Nigeria, no matter how many years you have been resident in a land outside the birth place of your parents, you are still considered a settler who must beg for land or pay through the nose to acquire land for farming and housing purposes, even when you yourself might have been born in your current location outside your ancestral roots. This forced the author’s father to go secure farmlands in distant locations and virgin forests like Omimeje, “where no one was landowner and vacant land lay plenty.” However, apart from the long distance and the huge trees that a farmer needs to contend with in the pristine forest of Omimeje, there was also the menace of wild beasts, such as monkeys, baboons and wartdogs that devastated farm crops. So, only sticklers of a rare genre could farm in Omimeje jungles in those days! However, the autobiographer gleefully informs readers that those brutes (jungle beasts) met more than their match in his father, who was “a formidable fighter and a sharp shooter of a hunter.” He recalls with admirable nostalgia: “We ate bush meat to the point of losing some of our teeth.” It is hyperboles like this that Pa Ajayi, an enchanting story teller, generously deploys to breathe life into the otherwise dry bones that are recipes of historical narratives. Unfortunately, he concludes the genealogy of his paternal lineage with the death of his

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BOOK REVIEW Title:

Adventures in Courage

Author: Reviewer:

John Ayanfe Ajayi

Pagination:

561

Femi Ajayi

strong and dedicated father under mysterious circumstances that he, as a practical psychologist, attributes to assassination through “mental suggestion”. The Ifa diviner, called Epipukan-gidi, who visited the author’s home without invitation, told them of the need for conducting sacrifices and rituals to ward off imminent death. The family cooperated with him and provided the materials for the sacrifice, which the diviner dutifully performed with all the razzmatazz associated with such rituals. A couple of weeks later, the author’s father came back from the family distant farm, Omimeje, shivering with severe fever which, within three days, degenerated into a distended abdomen accompanied by acute pains. The intervention of the village nurse who administered an enema provided temporary relief, as the author’s father defecated “but as comfort replaced pain, he grunted and breathed his last.” The tragedy occurred, in the inimitably dramatic language of the author, “at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday September 21, 1943; and there was a great tumult, then a great calm; and I became fatherless, bedevilled by a life of struggles.”

Chapter Four, titled: “The Birth of a Revolutionary”, describes the political import and impact of the obnoxious British policy of indirect rule on Nigeria as a whole, as well as the regions, provinces and other sub-units of the country. Indirect rule introduced the concept of paramountcy of some traditional rulers (Obas, Baales, Emirs, and Obis) of big towns and the consequent political subjugation and social marginalisation of rulers of relatively smaller towns unilaterally put under them.” Rightly believing that “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God,” it was the tyranny and injustice that the concept of paramountcy constituted to the people of Ilara and other villages and towns in Ifedore community that compelled the autobiographer to go into political activism and later politics proper. Given the seemingly accidental but carefully predestined circumstances through which he was introduced to and became engrossed with the fight to free his people from the oppression of the Deji of Akure, Pa Ajayi identifies his historic destiny as the liberation of the people of Ifedore from colonially inspired slavery. In his own words, “There is a clear indication that my mission in life is to fight for liberation and it was easy to realise that the scourge I came to combat was also ready for me.” The author recalls how he was sucked into political activism by a seemingly innocuous assignment of helping certain Itaogbolu traditional rulers to write a letter, which turned out to be a petition to British administrative officers, against the imposition of an Oba or Baale on Itaogbolu against the wish of the chiefs. Pa John Ajayi innocently wrote the protest letter at the behest of the chiefs and it was dutifully forwarded to the Native Authority. The Native Authority police reacted by arresting the chiefs, who revealed the identity of their letter writer, and subsequently picked up the then young and politically naïve John Ajayi for writing a subversive and seditious letter. He was dumped half-nude in a dingy cell and later charged to court. Needless stating that rather than discouraging or demotivating him, this baptism of fire into political activism whetted his appetite for the liberation struggles that he later spearheaded in Ilara. Chapter Five is devoted to “My Religious Life”. The academic rigour and polemical essence of this chapter are testimonies to the intellectual sophistication and spiritual depth of the autobiographer. This recommends this chapter, and several others like it, to theologians and polemically inclined academicians. The chapter takes the reader

down memory lane on how the author was born a consummate “omo awo”, into a family of warriors and veritable medicine men, who were reputed, revered, envied and persecuted in the same breath for their sorcery, wizardry, juju, efficacious herbs, voodoo, necromancy, hypnotism and mesmerism. He goes on to say, “So, in all the meanings and connotations of the term, I could be said to be an omo awo indeed,” asserted Pa John Ajayi. Largely due to intellectual curiosity and inquisitiveness, the author, as a youngster, devoted ample time to collecting and memorizing ofo or ogede (incantations), as well as compiling herbal recipes and antidotes for common ailments, such as fever, aches and snake bites. He also took special interest in herbal ingredients and incantations for ofe (burden lightener or body lifter) and isoye (memory enhancer). Yet he abhorred, resented and shunned divining and elements of traditional medicine “requiring consultation with or conjuration of any god and idols.” In the same vein, he resented, “the concoctions and decoctions prepared and administered by the dirty hardly-ever-washed hands of awo dispensers” oftentimes forced on him to drink to treat sicknesses that are less nauseous than the dirty hands and repulsive activities of omo awos. He recounts sickening and unwholesome rituals, such as “the sight of blood oozing out of the neck of a fowl whose head was pulled out to supply blood for one medicine or the other” and the scene of “miniature gourds (ado) and statues sprinkled with blood of fowl or other animals.” Yet, he retained his interest in incantations and made a habit of collecting ofo and ogede on all problems or challenging situations that could require them. Perhaps to warn the reader of the limited reliability of incantations, the author, in his inimitably dramatic manner, recalls how “one day during high jump at a school meet” he put ofe to use and commanded it to lift him up, only for him to crash down and break his right wrist!” In his words, “Ofe, rather than bear me up, had let me down. It marked the parting of ways between ofe and me, and largely too between traditional medicine and me. At any rate, even while writing notes on herbal medicine recipes and collecting incantations for deployment in several trying situations, he said, “yet I did not worship the gods of the awos or babalawos.” He declares, “I never for one day deviated from my belief in and loyalty to the one God, though I had problems of not knowing how to benefit from His power!” •To be continued

Making a difference in today’s world

R. Isokari Francis Ololo’s The Quest for Distinction – The Odd Discovery is an inspirational and spiritual book heavily laced with timeless wisdom, life philosophies, illustrated with personal experiences and management concepts; all tailored towards encouraging readers to deal with mediocrity and stand out in every sphere of their life pursuits. Specifically, the 125-page book discusses eleven principles that could assist individuals and businesses discover their uniqueness and use it to achieve enduring success. The subject-matters are exhaustively discussed in eleven chapters, highlighting the mind of the true and steadfast believers, which the author calls ‘Odd Mind’, in relation to service, talent, insight, niceness, Godliness, temptation, honesty, exceptionality, righteousness, unity and thinking. As stated in the first chapter, the book was inspired by “the need to encourage sincere Believers to identify who they are (Odd people), what their goal is (the heavenly kingdom), and therefore be able, against all odds, to stand, if necessary, until they are rewarded by the Father of all sanctified peoples”. Discussing the nature of man within the context of service, the author observed in several sections of the book that by their nature some people, who he described as the ‘Even Mind’ do not like work and consequently do not like to serve, stressing that “this is in contrast to God’s purpose for man”. On the other hand, there people, according to the author, who love to serve, (the Odd) “who deliberately allow a shift in their former thinking pattern and attitude”. While the Odd are few in number, the Even, who persist in their former thinking pattern and attitude, are greater in number. The author took quite a number of pages to identify and categorize the people with the ‘Even’ and ‘Odd’ tendencies, and then used a

BOOK REVIEW Title:

The Quest for Distinction (The Odd Discovery)

Author:

Isokari Francis Ololo

Reviewer:

Ojo Bakare

Publisher:

FriesenPress, Canada (2013)

greater part of the book to admonish mankind on the best way to succeed in life here on earth and in the hereafter. In Chapter One he says: “Every true Believer must love to serve, taking a cue from Christ Himself.”

In another section, the author stresses, “You do not need to advertise yourself as a Believer. The level of service you give will tell that about you. It is easy for those you serve to judge you to be a true Believer or as someone who is not a true Believer. “Those who are not true Believers behave and do whatever the larger group of society does. They do not have defined standards to guide their behavior. They are like water that settles on the bottom of a canoe that is tossed to and fro by the force of the waves of the sea. They serve just for the sake of serving God.” This warning and admonition run through all the chapters, with particular stress on the theme of each of the chapters. For instance, in Chapter Two, which deals with human tendency to succeed or fail while using his talent, he discusses the need to put natural endowment to positive use. He observed that talent, which is a natural ability in man that aids him to do something outstanding such as motivating others with unique works of art, should be used to please God and serve mankind rather than towards exploiting others to nurture oneself. To this end, the author says in Chapter Two: “Talent is intrinsic and, to be of value to mankind, it has to evolve in a form from which society will benefit. Talent on its own will mean nothing unless it possesses some value.” Talent and insight complement each other in a way that yields positive results. Hence, the author uses the third chapter to discuss the symbiotic relationship and how it should be utilized in the service of God and mankind. “Insight helps the Odd to make sense of chance happenings around them and seize the available opportunities. The quest for synchronicity makes the Odd unique and opens unimaginable doors of opportunities and possibilities for them to showcase their distinctiveness.” Other characteristics discussed in subsequent chapters include kindness, honesty and how the positive attributes could aid man in his quest for

distinction. On the negative attributes such as temptation, the author has this to say in Chapter Six: “Here, the lust for women and men is greatly pronounced. Generally, temptation first of all appeals to the human senses. Where the heart is guarded, the force of the temptation fizzles out, but where the heart is not guarded, the desires giving rise to the temptation become actualized.” And in Chapter Eight he warns against dishonesty, emphasizing the need for sincerity. “We must not deceive ourselves; rather, we must discover our oddity through the trait of honesty and accept it as a way of life. That way, we will always be the models we are created to be.” The eleventh chapter, which is the last, but not the least, dwells on the power of thinking and the need to use it positively. In the author’s view, “Mental activity directs our reflection, imaginations, opinions, or notions. Humanity survives through the process of thinking and acting out. The quality of thinking separates the Odd from the Even as it brings the Odd to the limelight and finds a unique class for them. Thinking widens in-depth knowledge and insight. Thinking is not stagnant; it shifts. As it shifts, it expands and begets action, triggers another thought, and begets further action. When we stop thinking, we set limits to our knowledge and development, and there will no longer be any paradigm shifts.” This is no doubt very eloquent philosophical postulations that could be hardly found in other motivational works. In addition to Dr. Ololo’s gift of eloquence and intelligence, his writing ability is equally remarkable. The wellresearched and scripturally sound book, written in American English spellings, is crafted in such a simple and flowing language that makes reading a great delight. The book is a must read for those who want to positively stand out of the crowd, and use the unique position to further the cause of humanity.


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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

The Midweek Magazine Stakeholders back PHOTO OF THE WEEK quality art education

E-mail:- ozoluauhakheme@yahoo.com

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RESIDENT of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Mr Oliver Enwonwu, has described art as an authentic expression of the minds, which encompasses literature, playwriting, painting and craft of the people. He said through art the identity of the people can be revealed. “Art can be used to proclaim the power of the kingdom and show the identity of the people,” he said, noting that art plays a vital role even in religion by using it to show the greatness of God. Oliver spoke at the yearly United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) international art education week organised by the International Society for Education through Art in collaboration with the Society of Nigerian Artists. The theme of the event held at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, was Art is beauty, wealth and the soul of a nation. It featured art talk and art exhibition of selected Nigerian artists’ works. The art education week is to increase global awareness about the importance of quality arts education by showcasing projects and practices, along with reinforcing cooperation with principal stakeholders such as artists, patrons, collectors, gallery owners, art lovers, art teachers, schools and students in order that the potential of culture and cultural diversity are fully realised. Former Provost, Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, Dr. Filani, who spoke on art education, said art is an expanded discipline that involves everybody and that it is significant to be creative enough in everyday life in order to make right selection. “Art gives utmost satisfaction. It is very significant and it measures the civilisation of a

•From Left: Prof Adinarayana, Dr. Filani, Prince Shyllon, Dr. Demola Azeez and Dr. Kunle Adeyemi By Seun Adeyemo

country’ he said. He added that art assist in creating a total person. If you lack the intellectualisation of activities of art, you will not realise full sensation,” he added. Filani urged artists and art teachers to generate new collectors while young to encourage everyone to understand and appreciate art because appreciation is a vital part of art. Founder, Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Art Foundation (OYASAF), Yemisi Shyllon, urged students to take art seriously saying that art gave him the ‘ability to reason in many dimensions, to be creative, to have expanded nature

about life, ability to develop the basic instinct in me as a person. If you try and develop your instinct in art, you will have nothing to regret’ he said. He described art education as the beauty and soul of a nation which is not measured in terms of physical wealth but in terms of human capacity. According to him, Nigeria needs to develop human capacity which is very important in any nation. Among the renowned artists at the event were former Dean School of Vocational Studies, Federal College of Education (Technical) Dr. Demola Azeez and former vice president of SNA, Dr. Kunle Adeyemi.

Entries open for writing contest

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•A scene from the competition

100 years of Nigeria through children’s eyes

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HEIR stories were diverse as the ages. But the thrust and format were same. They all told the large audience their views about their country, Nigeria at 100 years using the dramatised storytelling competition. For the students who were drawn from 13 primary and secondary schools in Lagos State, it was a rare privilege to air their feelings as the nation marks its centenary celebration next year. It was the grand finale of the second edition of the competition organised by the National Troupe of Nigeria in collaboration with Beeta Universal Arts Foundation. Venue was the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos last Wednesday. The theme was NIGERIA: A hundred years of existence- Our story so far. The participants who made it to the finals competed in plays depicting various ethnic cultures, religion and languages in Nigeria. Their presentations urged Nigerians to abide in brotherhood, live in unity irrespective of cultural and religious differences for peace and harmony to reign. The Director (Drama), National Troupe of Nigeria and Project Coordinator, Josephine Igberaese, described the power of storytelling as unquestionable. “Through years of scientific research, analysts believe that storytelling is our most powerful tool of effective communication and it can be used to educate, celebrate and present the community’s aspirations to promote mutual co-existence,” she said. She added that this year, ‘our children are challenged to tell the story of our hundred years of existence in a complex entity called NIGERIA. It is my hope that as these stories are enacted, our youths and children will come to the realisation that our lives and stories are intertwined on a giant stage in which everyone is an actor, the story can only end well if we learn to promote understanding religious tolerance and mutual respect for one another”

By Seun Adeyemo

DRAMA The special guest, Mrs Emilia Aig-Imoukhuede said the quality of the performances was beyond what she expected. She added: “I am not suprised because the national troupe has a history of good performances perhaps a number of this children are participants in their holiday training but they might not be but I’m impressed by the outcome of today,there is great hope for Nigeria, there are talents in this country’’ “Every one of them who participated spoke with understanding and delivered their lines with understanding and you could see exactly what has transpired in the history of Nigeria and what is currently going on now. What they have emphasised are things that would bring Nigeria close and united; the leaders should explore to bring the nation together and not go into areas that would disunite us and make us go backwards.” According to Imoukhuede, the programme should be sustained because it is healthy for the people especially the young ones as the future of any country is the young people. Liham Preparatory School, Onike-Yaba, which got the award for the best costume, best props and best set design came first in the primary category while Ijero Baptist Church N/P School, Ebutemetta emerged as first runner up. University of Lagos Women Society School, Akoka emerged the second runner-up.

HE Splendid Literature & Culture Foundation has called for entries to select and publish the best six unpublished stories by writers of children’s literature aged 11-21 years. The organisers say the stories should entertain and enlighten, with strong Nigerian/African content, adding that its judges will assess each entry on the depth, originality and quality of the writing and the story’s appeal to its intended audience. “Above all, these stories are to stimulate the imagination of the readers to think and problem-solve in novel ways. All entries must be original, unpublished stories in English. Plays and poems are not eligible. Entrants are not expected to illustrate their stories unless they wish to do so. This will not affect the assessment,” they said. Entries, they added, must fall within Junior and Senior categories. For those entering for the junior categories, their unpublished story in English for children between the ages of eight to 12 should be original and up to 3,000 words; while those for the senior categories should be an original unpublished story in English for young adults between the ages of 13 and 17 that is up to 6,000 words. The best three stories for each category, according to the orgainsers, will be selected for publication by the foundation’s judges, adding that the usual royalty and publication terms will apply to every story published by the foundation. “The publishers reserve the customary rights regarding all publishing decisions. The copyright of each entry will remain vested in the author, unless otherwise agreed in writing between the entrant and the Foundation.” Interested writers are expected to submit typewritten or legibly handwritten, double spaced on numbered pages. Entries submitted online should be in clear and legible fonts. Illegible entries will be disqualified, it was learnt. Entries should include passport photograph, name, residential address, phone number and email address on the title page of the manuscript, with only the full name of entrant on each numbered page of the submission. Entries must be submitted under the entrant’s real name. Pseudonyms are not permitted. And it is not more than one entry per entrant will be accepted. Six copies of the entry manuscript should be submitted to Splendid Literature & Culture Foundation: 31, Alhaji Tokan Street, Alaka Estate, Surulere, Lagos or P.O Box 7328, GPO, Lagos. And it should be accompanied by evidence of Nigerian citizenship (photocopied/scanned copy of birth certificate, Nigerian passport or Nigerian ID Card). The organisers say there is room for online submission, however, entrants should ensure that they attach their entries and e-mail it to: entries@splendidfoundation.com. The closing date for all entries is August, 31. Any entry that fails to meet one or more of the conditions above (including the deadline) will be disqualified. For details, visit our website: www.splendidfoundation.com. Members and employees of the Splendid Literature & Culture Foundation are not eligible.


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MONEY LINK

Unilever, Nestle raise bubble concern on valuation

Naira declines as bond yields rise

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HE Naira fell against the dollar and bond yields rose to an almost nine-month high on speculation investors sold debt amid concern the U.S. Federal Reserve will ease stimulus that boosted emerging-market assets. The currency declined 0.4 per cent to N159.45 per dollar by 3:06 p.m. in Lagos. Yields on domestic bonds due January 2022 rose to the highest since Sept. 24 on Monday, adding 26 basis points to 13.83 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Emerging-market debt funds are starting to face redemptions and may be forced to reduce their exposure to Nigerian debt,” Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Plc’s London unit said in e-mailed comments yesterday. “It’s in line with the correction in emerging-market debt rates” and “domestic investors are tracking the positioning of foreign investors,” he said.

•NSE CEO, Oscar Onyema

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NVESTORS are valuing shares of Nestle Nigeria Plc (Nestle) and Unilever’s Nigerian units at about twice the level of their European parents as faster growth in Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) lifts consumer stocks to record highs. The 53 percent surge in Nestle Nigeria this year according to Bloomberg, pushed shares to 33 times estimated profit, almost double the ratio for Zurich-listed Nestle and up from a discount last year. Guinness Nigeria Plc is trading at a 53 per cent pre-

mium relative to its parent, Diageo Plc. Unilever Nigeria has a price-toearnings multiple of 38, compared with 18 for Unilever, which is based in London and Rotterdam. Guinness Nigeria Plc is trading at a 53 per cent premium relative to its parent, Diageo Plc. While bulls say the gains in Nigeria are justified by the economic expansion, Hermes Fund Managers Ltd. and Renaissance Asset Management see the valuation gaps as a signal shares are too expensive. All three units reported profit declines in the period ended March as accelerating inflation and an Islamist insurgency in the north curbed spending by the nation’s 170 million citizens. “There may be a correction,” Lanre Buluro, the head of research at Lagosbased Primera Africa Securities Ltd., said by phone on May 23. “People will start looking to re-evaluate and move this money somewhere else.”

The Exchange is valued at 13 times estimated earnings, the highest level since December 2010, after rallying 42 per cent this year. The MSCI Frontier Markets Index, the benchmark gauge for nations with an average market capitalisation of $34 billion, has a multiple of 11 after gaining 14 percent in 2013. Local investors have piled into Nigeria’s stock market, accounting for 57 per cent of trades in March, compared with 39 per cent in all of 2012. Growth in the $269 billion economy, Africa’s largest outside South Africa, will quicken to 7.2 per cent this year from 6.3 per cent in 2012, International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections show. That compares with an estimated 5.6 per cent growth rate for SubSaharan Africa. The euro area’s economy will probably contract 0.6 per cent this year, according to the European Central Bank. “Many asset managers around the world, who are not experts on Africa or on frontier markets, want to get into these markets at any cost and they’re just choosing a name which is familiar and which they perceive to be safe,” Sven Richter, who oversees about $260 million as managing director of frontier markets at Renaissance Asset Management, said by phone from Johannesburg May 13. Net foreign inflows into Nigerian equities amounted to N29.3 billion ($184 million) in March, compared with N93.8 billion in 2012, according to the Exchange. Richter, whose Renaissance African Sub-Saharan Fund has outperformed 95 per cent of peers tracked by Bloomberg during the past 12 months, said he doesn’t own shares of Guinness Nigeria, Unilever Ni-

Union Bank grows Q1 pre-tax profit by 40%

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NION Bank of Nigeria Plc has said its first quarter pre-tax profit rose 40.33 per cent to N7.69 billion compared with N5.48 billion in the same period last year. The lender which gave the detail to Reuters did not give any reason for the rise. However, its gross earnings dropped marginally to N29.79 billion from N29.84 billion the same period last year, the bank said in a statement. Also, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) disclosed that it expected its pretax profit for the third quarter to hit N20.7 billion, compared with N21.9 billion in the same period last year. The lender said gross

•.GTBank forecasts N20b Q3 profit By Collins Nweze

earnings will be N41.25 billion in the three-months to September 2013, down 42 per cent from N70.52 billion in the same period a year ago, it said in a filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). GTBank also did not gives reasons for the falls earnings and profit. Stanbic IBTC said its pretax profit for the third quarter is expected to hit N4.38 billion, compared with N3.14 billion in the same period last

year. The lender said gross earnings will be N21.52 billion in the three-months to September 2013, up 17 per cent from N18.4 billion in the same period a year ago, it said in a filing with the Exchange. It equally gave no reason for the increase in earnings. Meanwhile, Diamond Bank has asked France’s BNP Paribas and Afrexim Bank to lead an investor road show to Europe, the United States and Asia for a Eurobond that could go up to $550 million, Reuters said.

FGN BONDS

DATA BANK

Tenor

Amount N

Rate %

M/Date

3-Year 5-Year 5-Year

35m 35m 35m

11.039 12.23 13.19

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

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

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

NIDF NESF

Price Loss 2754.67 447.80

INTERBANK RATES 7.9-10% 10-11%

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

Amount 30m 46.7m 50m

Rate % 10.96 9.62 12.34

Date 28-04-2012 “ 14-04-2012

GAINERS AS AT 11-06-13

SYMBOL HONYFLOUR MAYBAKER PAINTCOM AIICO FO CCNN DANGSUGAR PRESCO FLOURMILL NASCON

O/PRICE 3.40 2.80 1.40 1.00 15.40 10.60 11.60 34.00 95.16 12.15

C/PRICE

CHANGE

3.74 3.08 1.54 1.10 16.94 11.66 12.76 37.40 104.67 13.36

0.34 0.28 0.14 0.10 1.54 1.06 1.16 3.40 9.51 1.21

MORISON PORTPAINT IKEJAHOTEL ETERNA OANDO CONTINSURE MCNICHOLS NB WEMABANK FIDELITYBK

O/PRICE 2.23 4.78 1.02 3.99 15.07 1.25 2.08 177.00 1.20 3.29

C/PRICE 2.01 4.31 0.92 3.73 14.17 1.20 2.02 174.00 1.18 3.24

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

Current Before

C u r r e n t CUV Start After %

147.6000 239.4810 212.4997

149.7100 244.0123 207.9023

150.7100 245.6422 209.2910

-2.11 -2.57 -1.51

149.7450

154.0000

154.3000

-3.04

152.0000

153.0000

155.5000

-2.30

153.0000

154.0000

156.0000

-1.96

DISCOUNT WINDOW Feb. ’11

July ’11

MPR

6.50%

6.50%

12%

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

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 1.00% 12.10%

8.50% 4.50% 25.00% 2.00% 12.10%

9.50% 5.50% 30.00% 2.00% 11.8%

July ’12

NIBOR Tenor 7 Days 30 Days 60 Days 150 Days

NSE CAP Index

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

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

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

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

Movement

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

% Change -1.44% -1.44%

MEMORANDUM QUOTATIONS Name

CHANGE 0.22 0.47 0.10 0.26 0.90 0.05 0.06 3.00 0.02 0.05

Exchange Rate (N) 155.2 155.8 155.7

CAPITAL MARKET INDEX Year Start Offer

LOSERS AS AT 11-06-13

SYMBOL

Amount Sold ($) 150m 138m 113m

EXHANGE RATE 6-03-12 Currency

OBB Rate Call Rate

geria or Nestle Nigeria. Most multinational companies listed on the Nigerian bourse are majorityowned by their parents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “We can’t figure out how they should be valued so highly,” said Gary Greenberg, who has invested in developing nations since 1989 and runs the $320 million Hermes Global Emerging Markets Fund, which has outperformed 91 percent of peers so far this year. Greenberg favors Nigerian lenders such as Zenith Bank Plc, which trades at 8 times estimated 2013 earnings. That compares with a multiple of 29 for Guinness Nigeria, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The first Guinness brewery outside of Ireland and Britain was started in Lagos in 1963 and listed its stock on the bourse in 1965, according to the company’s website. Adeola Adejokun, a spokesman for Guinness Nigeria, declined to comment on valuations. The increase in Unilever Nigeria’s shares reflects the return investors expect they can get, Yemi Adeboye, a spokesman for the company, said in a May 22 e-mailed response to questions. Unilever’s roots in the country date back to 1923, when it started as a soap manufacturing company, according to its website. Nestle Nigeria’s valuation is “well balanced in relation to the fast-moving consumer goods sector,” Martin Woolnough, the company’s outgoing Lagos-based managing director, said in an e-mailed response to questions May 23. Nestle has been importing products into Nigeria since at least the 1920s and started a local unit in 1961, according to its website.

Offer Price

Bid Price

ARM AGGRESSIVE GROWTH 9.17 9.08 KAKAWA GUARANTEED 1.00 1.00 STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE INVE 141.44 140.94 AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUND 165.11 163.93 LOTUS CAPITAL HALAL INVES 0.80 0.78 BGL SAPPHIRE FUND 1.16 1.16 BGL NUBIAN FUND 1.14 1.13 FBN MONEY MARKET FUND 100.00 100.00 FBN FIXED INCOME FUND 1,000.00 1,000.00 NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL DEB. 1,817.23 1,808.06 PARAMOUNT EQUITY FUND 14.39 13.69 CONTINENTAL UNIT TRUST 1.39 1.33 CENTRE-POINT UNIT TRUST 1.87 1.80 STANBIC IBTC NIG EQUITY 12,263.63 11,904.80 • ARM AGGRESSIVE • KAKAWA GUARANTEED • STANBIC IBTC GUARANTE • AFRINVEST W.A. EQUITY FUNDARM AGGRESSIVE • OPEN BUY BACK

Bank P/Court

Previous 04 July, 2012

Current 07, Aug, 2012

8.5000 8.0833

8.5000 8.0833

Movement


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

57

EQUITIES NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE

Investors opt for penny stocks

DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 11-06-13

I

NVESTORS turned to relatively low-priced equities otherwise known as penny stocks yesterday as the uptrend at the stock market pushed most equities to higher prices and set the benchmark return index above the 40,000 points. Turnover volume at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) was above average, but this was substantially driven by major transactions in several low-priced stocks including IHS Plc, Wema Bank, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria and Resort and Savings Loans Plc. Total turnover stood at 988.04 million shares worth N5.70 billion in 7,842 deals. The four of IHS Plc, Wema Bank, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) and Resort and Savings Loans Plc accounted for 621.8 million shares, representing 62.9 per cent of aggregate turnover. IHS recorded turnover of 299.18 million shares valued at N598.40 million in eight deals. Wema Bank recorded a turnover of 170.55 million

•Index returns to 40,000 mark By Taofik Salako and Tonia Osundolire

shares valued at N202.92 million in 50 deals. Transcorp ranked third with a turnover of 103.91 million shares worth N135.13 million in 173 deals. Investors staked N24.1 million on 48.2 million shares of Resort Savings and Loans in three deals. Market analysts said investors appeared to be taking positions in the penny stocks in consideration that they may be the next value drivers as most mid and high-cap stocks spiral to historic prices. They noted that low-priced stocks with good operational potential would become increasingly attractive as high prices thin out yields on mid and high cap stocks. The market remained overtly bullish with about three advancers to every decliner. The main index at the NSE, the All Share Index (ASI), rode on the back of widespread gains to again

cross the psychological 40,000 points at 40,012.66 points as against its opening index of 39,737.80 points. Aggregate market value of all equities also improved by N88 billion to N12.854 trillion as against its opening value of N12.766 trillion. Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc led the advancers with a gain of N9.51 to close at N104.67. Guinness Nigeria and Total Nigeria followed with a gain of N5 each to close at N293 and N170 respectively. Presco added N3.40 to close at N37.40. PZ Cussons Nigeria rose by N3.02 to close at N56. Cadbury Nigeria gained N2.95 to close at N59.95. Forte Oil improved by N1.54 to close at N16.94. Ashaka Cement added N1.48 to close at N29.98. National Salt Company of Nigeria (Nascon) increased by N1.21 to close at N13.36 while Dangote Sugar Refinery rose by N1.16 to close at N12.76 per share. However, Nigerian Breweries led 16 other stocks on the losers’ list, dropping by N3 to close at N174. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria trailed with a loss of N1 to close at N98. Oando dropped by 90 kobo to N14.17 while Portland Paints and Products lost 47 kobo to close at N4.31.

NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY SUMMARY AS AT 11- 06-13


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

58

CITYBEATS 'I weep whenever I remember June 12' ‘... the reason I lost A my leg and liveli-

BIODUN Mustapha was an obscure Nigerian until 20 years ago when ill-fate changed his story. A bullet from a trigger-happy policeman's gun hit his right leg, prompting a hard-fought battle to save his life. The grim effort succeeded, but he lost the leg. Today, he remains indignant, but not because he was rendered a one-legged creature. His grouse: The gun man did a "poor" job. "The policeman should have done a "perfect job" by aiming at either my head; rather, he did me more havoc by leaving me to live a hellish life here on earth," Mustapha told this reporter on Monday. It was in the Awoyokun area of Ilupeju, Lagos, where "June 12" has become a household name. Armed with his crutch in front of a shop, he cut a living image of hunger mixed with sorrow as he fought tears, while recounting his descent to the abyss of deprivations. July 6, 1993 it was, a few minutes before noon. Then 29-year-old, the Offa, Kwara State-born faircomplexioned tailor encountered an ordeal, which gave him June 12, a sobriquet that has since remained his identity. Sound in wind and limb, he was on duty at his Awoyokun abode where he lived with his family. That "black" day, ex-President Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) stepped on his nerves by announcing the annulment of the presidential poll held on June 12, earlier that year. The fair election, convincingly won by the late business mogul, Bashorun MKO Abiola, was adjudged unprecedented in the nation's annals. Nigerians rose to look IBB in the face for the unpopular decision. Hence, Mustapha abandoned his job and joined them to swim in what later turned a consuming tempest. Till today, he lives with the scars. It did not occur to him an adventure when he stepped out to be counted among unrepentant activists, notably Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and the late Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti, who dared to take their grievance to the streets. Chants of "we no go gree" were on their lips as they got atop the Third Mainland Bridge, near Alaka in Surulere. Suddenly, the devil bore its fangs. Unexpected gunshots tore into the crowd of patriots from some unknown policemen. Pandemonium took over and before one could say Jack, Mustapha and Akin Orisagbemi, ex-personal assistant to the late Abiola's wife, Mrs. Kudirat Abiola (now late), were blood-soaked. Mustapha woke up to find himself on the sickbed at a Teaching Hospital in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the next day. He eventually left the hospital, but without his right leg in place. Their occupancy of the infirmaries over, both activists hit the streets as beggars to fight hunger. Desperate for ways out of the labyrinth of want, both nearly cried their hearts out to Good Samari-

CITYBEATS LINE: 07059022999

Murder victim's family seeks justice From Precious Dikewoha, PortHarcourt

THE family of Anthony Osio Aghogho, a welder, who was last Wednesday murdered by yet unknown gun men in Delta State, yesterday urged the police to fish out the killers. The Aghogho, it was learnt, was about settling down after relocating from Port Harcourt to his native Iwhrekan community in Ughelli South of Delta, when he was shot at in the afternoon at Jakpa Junction, Effurun, by one of two armed men. It was said to have happened a few minutes after he withdrew N500,000 from a bank along PTI Road. Ovie, the victim's son, said the gun men who intercepted his father at a shop alighted from an Audi 80 salon car, shot at him a bit above his waist and carted away his cash, while onlookers ran for cover. "He was left bleeding helplessly for several minutes before a traffic warden, aided by his colleagues who ran into the scene, rushed him to a hospital on Jakpa Road, where he died," Ovie recalled. The late Aghogho was the Welder Foreman at MAKON Engineering and Technical Services. He was also serving pioneer Chairman, Nigerian Welders' Association, Ughievwen/Udu Unit.

hood has not been realised. The poor ... have remained in helplessness’ By Dada Aladelokun, Assistant Editor

tans for succour; no dice, save for quite a few who, as Mustapha put it, "managed to look our way out of pity." "I have been living from hand to mouth in a society peopled with supposed humane beings," in tears, Mustapha once told this reporter. In June 2007, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola hosted him and Orisagbemi with other "heroes of June 12, 1993 struggle." He offered them inspiring warmth and recognition. But afterwards, Mustapha and his partner-in-grief had to carry their cross in search of ever-elusive soft pillows of sympathy. Despite his ordeal, Mustapha did not wave bye to politics as he remained loyal to his “dear” party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). When reminded during the Monday encounter that another June 12 celebration was here, he chuckled and asked angrily: "What is there for anyone to celebrate? Is it the ever-worsening plight of Nigerians in the midst of plenty?" "In fact, I weep on every June 12 and indeed, whenever that date crosses my mind because the reason I lost my leg and livelihood has not been realised. The poor, like me, have remained so in helplessness. By now, one expects free education at all levels, good roads, employment opportunities and more. The less-privileged have remained at the receiving end of callous administrations ever since. "Our leaders have, by their actions, assaulted the memory of MKO Abiola and others who sacrificed for what we call democracy today. Look at my case; it is even more pathetic. If the economy has been better, my situation would have been better for it. Sadly, those who should have lifted somebody like me from the pit of want are also deprived because things are not working for them," he said. He was profuse in praises for Fashola, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon (GOS) of Lagos West and Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa, for their efforts so far on him.

SPAN holds graduation

• Mustapha ... on Monday

PHOTO: DADA ALADELOKUN

"GOS has since remained a good and caring father to me; otherwise, I possibly would have been helped into my grave by hunger. Oga wa, Opeifa recently sighted me during a Beko lecture at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeje. He was moved by my plight. There, he promised to get me artificial legs; he also promised to present my case to the state," he said. Mustapha, with his wife and four kids, now need a roof over their heads as they squat with a friend around in Ijaiye, a suburb of the state. Besides accommodation, he is in dire need of empowerment. But now, as he put it, he hinges his hope on the saying: With God, all things are possible.

THE maiden graduation ceremony of the Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN), a non-governmental organisation, aimed at providing world-class standards for performing arts education in Nigeria, will hold at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos, on Friday. The high-point of the evening will be the launch of a Special Health Fund for students to aid the growth of artistic experience, sense of humanity and social responsibility. At an interactive session, SPAN's founder, Mrs Sarah Boulos, said the centre aims to create a creativity hub, "where the richness and diversity of Nigerian culture and tradition can be nurtured, preserved and showcased for all to see." Sponsors of the event include: Indomie SCOA, 7up Bottling Company, Cool FM, Mountain Dew, I.T.B Nigeria Limited, Tropic Ice, Audio Visual First (AVF), GON, Chellarams, Aleeco Nader, and Netcom among others.

Collapsed building kills baby

I

T was another moment of tears in Lagos yesterday. Disaster struck in the Mushin axis of the metropolis, as a three-storey building collapsed, killing a nine-month-old baby girl. At exactly 3.00 pm, after a mild rain, the imposing structure at 353, Agege Motor Road, Challenge bus stop, gave way and sank deep into its swampy ground, trapping about seven persons in the rubble. Though rescue agencies arrived at the scene in time, their efforts were hampered by lack of equipment. The location of the house also made rescue operations difficult. High-rise dilapidated buildings stood in the way of rescuers who had to meander through dangerous labyrinth of houses to arrive at the scene. In the absence of coordinated rescue work, neighbours and other sympathisers mobilised to rescue those trapped in the debris, but their efforts were slow and painful. "How can all these agencies say they cannot get sledge hammers to break through these walls? There are people still trapped inside; all we need is a sledge hammer. Look at us; we are using bare hands and this is tedious," Lanre Adeoti, one of the rescuers, said. According to the men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), five individuals had been rescued from the building as at

‘I was inside with my child when I saw dust everywhere ... I raised my hand and called for help; then strong hands pulled me out’ By Seun Akioye

4.00pm, while an unspecified number of persons were still trapped. The situation almost degenerated into violence as sympathisers became desperate to break through the rubbles, flinging out occupants’ belongings. Chairman, Mushin Local Government, Mr Babatunde Adepitan appealed for calm, assuring that he had called for rescue equipment. At 5.00pm, two sledge hammers were brought by the works department of the Mushin Council and the wall was finally broken down. The collapsed structure and three others surrounding it, The Nation was told, had been subject of intense government scrutiny in the past. Williams Olamide, the Council's Supervisor for Environment, said the state government had served occupants of the building with quit notices because it was defective. However,

• Scene of the tragedy ... yesterday

while some heeded the warning, seven occupants remained. The building was said to belong to Baba Jeba Olowora, now late, who also owned the three properties surrounding it. Nojeem Bello, an occupant, said: "They just increased the rent on a room to N4, 000. Mine expired last month; I was about to pay for another one year when this happened. My wife and son were trapped, but they were rescued." Narrating her escape, Mrs. Bello said: "I was inside with my child

PHOTO: ADEJO DAVID

when I saw dust everywhere. I then discovered there was no way I could leave the house. I saw a small wedge between the buildings, raised my hand and called for help; then strong hands pulled me out." Rescue operations were called off at 5.30 pm after it was confirmed that there were no more trapped bodies. Hakeem Odumosu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), led a team of Rapid Respond Squad (RRS) men to the scene. Deputy Superintendent of Corps, Olanrewaju Abati who led the Nige-

ria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to the scene advised: "The most important thing is the security of lives and property; we have cordoned off the scene. We advise people living in old buildings to report signs of cracks or distress to the authorities." Also at the scene were: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), State Environment Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU) and the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LSBCA).


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

59

NEWS

T

HIS year’s world congress and general assembly of the International Press Institute (IPI), the 63-year global press freedom advocacy organisation, took place in Amman, capital of Jordan, between May 19 and 21. Few Nigerians may have heard of this organisation even though it partly funds the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, the country’s premier journalism trainer, and even though some of the most prominent Nigerian journalists and publishers including Alhaji Lateef Jakande who once presided over its affairs, Aremo Segun Osoba, Mr Sam Amuka, Mr Felix Adenaike, Malam Kabiru Yusuf and Alhaji Ismaila Isa, have been among its leading members. Naturally the organisation believes that press freedom is “the right that protects all other rights.” Consequently it has tried to defend press freedom everywhere in the world in several ways, including through its annual congress and general assembly where leading journalists, editors and media executives gather to discuss major contemporary issues. Among the variety of issues discussed this year were the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the terrible civil war in Syria, the safety of journalists reporting in conflict situations, the implications of internet regulation for democracy and press freedom and reporting on religion. This journalist was on a panel of three – the others were Steven Pollard, editor of the London based Jewish Chronicle and Monjuru Ahsan Bulbul, the CEO of a private television station in Dhaka, Bangladesh who was a last minute substitute for Jeffrey Sharlet, a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine and faculty member of the Centre for Religion and Media, New York University, who failed to make it to Amman - which discussed the last subject. The moderator was Ms Maria-Paz Lopez, a senior religious writer with La Vanguardia, Spain, and chair of the International Association of Religious Journalists. A little bit more about this presently. Meantime a bit of my impression of Jordan. For me a more classic study in contrast between the country and Nigeria will be hard to find. Here’s a country in the middle of a harsh desert with no oil, no water, with a population of little over two million and in the frontiers of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict which is at the heart of so-called clash between the West and Islam. Yet a visitor to Amman and several of the towns and villages a few hours’ drive from it which we visited would be forgiven if he mistook them for towns and villages in advanced Europe or America. All the highways we travelled along were tarred, all the towns and villages we visited had electricity and water and not once did the lights go out throughout our stay in Amman. Of all the barren country’s advances in spite of an almost total lack of natural resources none fascinated me like its ability to provide water to all its inhabitants. According to Na-

People and Politics By MOHAMMED H ARUNA ndajika@yahoo.com

Some thoughts on media and terrorism from Amman siru Aminu, a senior diplomat at our Amman embassy and a friend, in all his several years in Jordan the taps in his house have never gone dry. Yet, the country, he said, relies almost entirely on harvesting rain water. However, for me even more interesting than the ability of the country to satisfy the water needs of its inhabitants in the middle of a desert was the pattern of water supply among the poor, middle and high income neighbourhoods of the towns; the poor are supplied daily, the middle thrice weekly and the rich only once, said Nasiru. Here in Nigeria the reverse would’ve been the case. The secret of Jordan’s relative wealth, said Nasiru, is its investment in the education of its people. This is evident from the country being a leading destination of medical tourism in the world, raking in more than two billion dollars annually. It is also the Information Technology capital of the Arab Middle East. Jordan is, of course, no El Dorado. As a kingdom, and for that matter one on the frontiers of the Middle East conflict, its citizens can do with a lot more freedom than they have. I am certain, however, that few Jordanians, if any, would want to exchange their relatively gilded cage for Nigeria, the majority of whose citizens have been left free to live in abject and grinding poverty, almost totally abandoned by a state whose officials are generally too venal, selfish, power-hungry and incompetent, etc, to give a damn about public opinion. Back to the IPI congress and general assembly, the liveliest session for me was none of the eight that were held between the morning of May 20 and the evening of the following day. The liveliest for me was the pre-congress town hall meeting in the evening of Sunday May 19 moderated by the well known CNN International anchor and correspondent, Jim Clancy. The subject looked simple enough; “Who is a journalist?” However, not surprisingly, the answer proved elusive. The debate that followed the introductory remarks

of the four panellists on the questions whether in today’s digital age where anyone with a computer or a mobile phone who can send pictures and stories to news outlets and bloggers can be called journalists was truly hot and in the end there was no single answer. There was, however, one interesting remark from the floor which was that today’s so-called “citizen journalism” was making mainstream journalists lazy by giving them an excuse to abdicate their responsibility for cross-checking the accuracy of news items before publishing. This, said the gentleman who made the remark, bodes ill for the future of professional journalism. I couldn’t agree more. Finally to the discussion on reporting religion of which I was a panellist. My submission was that the dominance of the Nigerian media by the private sector in spite of the heavy presence of government in the broadcast media - a private sector dominance which, for historical reasons, does not reflect the ethnic, regional and religious plurality of the country - has led to a reporting culture which is heavily biased against Muslims and Islam. This, I said, was in turn a reflection of the global media which has been essentially anti-Islam. Nowhere is this bias as glaring as in the reporting of Boko Haram insurrection which has caught the attention of the world because, of course, Nigeria, with at least 160 million people, is one of the most populous in the world and the biggest in Africa, reportedly almost split in half between Muslims and Christians, and because, of course, Nigeria is a leading world oil producer. The evidence of this anti-Muslim and anti-Islam bias of the Nigerian media is pretty clear in the way it has grossly under reported the human rights abuses of ordinary law abiding Muslims by the military and security forces in their fight against Boko Haram. Two recent reports by Adam Nossiter, the West African correspondent of The New York Times, have captured this journalistic blind eye

like no other. The first in May entitled “Bodies Pour In as Nigeria Hunts for Islamists” and datelined Maiduguri, made very grim reading. “A fresh load of battered corpses,” Nossiter said in his introduction, “arrived, 29 of them in a routine delivery by the Nigerian military to the hospital morgue here. Unexpectedly, three bodies started moving. ‘They were not properly shot,’ recalled a security official here. ‘I had to call the J.T.F.’ — the military’s joint task force — ‘and they gunned them down.’” Nossiter’s second story this month in the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states makes as grim reading as the first, perhaps even more so. “The first independent accounts of the military offensive (since the emergency)”, said Nossiter, “spoke of indiscriminate bombing and shooting, unexplained civilian deaths, night time roundups of young men by security forces.” You will search most of the Nigerian media in vain to see any expression of concern about this indiscriminate use of force by our security forces in their war against Boko Haram terrorism. Certainly you would not see the sort of vehemence with which the media rightly condemned the Odi and Zaki-Biam massacres of the Obasanjo’s era. Yet what has happened in the North-eastern strongholds of Boko Haram is worse than the two combined, if only because both were one-off military invasions. In a recent well argued defence of President Jonathan’s state of emergency declaration in the region, the respected constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, called it “a masterstroke indeed.” Without debating the merit of his position – this is a matter for possibly another occasion – it is obvious that the professor believes the consequential military operation against Boko Haram will bring a definite, if not quick, end to its terrorism, regardless of how the soldiers go about their operation. The professor’s “masterstroke” only reminded me of what President George Bush Jnr said when he invaded Iraq. It was, he said, going to be a “cakewalk”. Today, we all know that it was anything but. Right here at home the late President Umaru Yar’adua said more or less the same thing when he sent the soldiers after the sect in 2009. This too has, sadly and tragically, proved anything but a cakewalk. It seems to me the lesson of relying mainly on the use of indiscriminate force to solve a problem even as criminal as terrorism, whatever its variety, has not been learnt by our leaders and media pundits. Certainly the Nigerian media has not used its freedom as a shield that, to rephrase IPI’s principal objective, should be used to protect the rights of others.

NEWS

Edo bans okada

Pictures of slain UNIBEN student released

P

ICTURES of Ibrahim Momodu’s last moments with the police were yesterday made public. The late Momodu was a final year student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), who was killed by policemen on May 27. In the picture reportedly taken by policemen at the scene of the killing, there was no bloodstain on the ground, an indication that the late Momodu was alive when he was demobilised. He was reportedly shot by the Divisional Police Officer of Ogbai Police Station, Mrs Carol Afegbai and was buried at the 3rd cemetery. His body was exhumed for post-mortem examination and it was discovered that Momodu was shot thrice from the back. This was against Mrs. Afegbai’s initial claim that Ibrahim was shot in the legs and died on the way to the hospital. The family’s lawyer, Jefferson Uwoghiren, said some policemen and residents have volunteered to talk about what happened that night, including police activities in the area. He said it was wrong for the police to send the case to the Department of Public Prosecution for legal advice without wait-

•Govt stops panel of enquiry From Osagie Otabor, Benin

ing for autopsy report or conducting proper investigation. A video that went viral on the internet also showed as Mrs. Afegbai watched a suspect bleed to death on the street. The suspect was saying he was innocent but a gun and two bullets allegedly recovered from him were placed on the ground. Afegbai later put them into her handbag. Governor Adams Oshiomhole has halted the setting up of a judicial panel of enquiry. Oshiomhole, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, said his decision was based on police submission of the case file to the DPP. He said it would amount to duplication of efforts since the Director of Public Prosecutions is a government official in the Ministry of Justice. “Government is therefore of the view that it is sufficient at this point to wait for the outcome of the investigation and advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions before any other step is taken,” the statement said.

•Oshiomhole

T

HE Government of Edo State yesterday banned the use of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in three local government areas. Also, the government has identified some houses used as kidnappers’ hideout and vowed to demolish the houses in the next few days. Governor Adams Oshiomhole said this yesterday after the State Security Council meeting in Benin City. He said the affected local governments are

Ikpoba Okha, Oredo and Egor, which constitute the Benin Metropolis. He said it was now evident that Edo is gradually becoming a haven for all bike riders. “I am convinced that we cannot continue to allow this situation. It is a settled issue that investors will not be in a hurry to go to any state that the level of crime has risen beyond acceptable level. “We have resolved as a government, effective from next Monday, bike riders will not be allowed to operate in any part of Oredo, Ikpoba Okha and Egor local government areas. “These three local governments constitute the heart of Benin City. The law enforcement agencies have been informed accordingly and directed to strictly enforce this law,” he noted. The governor said the other 15 local government areas will not be affected by this law. “Should the situation deteriorate in those areas, we will meet and review the situation and take the next step.

ESUT sacks five workers

THE Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) has sacked five workers, including a senior lecturer, for altering students’ grades. A statement from the university said four lecturers and one computer operator were involved in the scandal. It listed the affected staff members as Ibiyemi Ariyo, Senior Lecturer; Dr Ikechukwu Onah, Lecturer II; Chikezie Aneke, Assistant Lecturer; Nnamdi Okomba, Assistant Lecturer, and Mrs. Christy Okoro, Computer Operator. The statement by the university’s spokesman, Ossy Ugwuoti, said the affected persons were from the Department of Computer Engineering. It said Onah, who was the head of the department, engaged the others in the alteration of the grades submitted to him by lecturers during the computation of final year results. The statement said the ESUT Governing Council took the decision at its 129th regular meeting.

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THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

NEWS

Women march on Anambra Assembly •Protest multiple tax payment •Market closed, police cordon off area

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OMEN-TRADERS from Eke-Awka market in Anambra State yesterday marched on the House of Assembly to protest multiple taxes imposed on them by the government. No fewer than 500 protesters carried placards denouncing the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Robert Okonkwo. The police cordoned off the market. Its spokesman, Emeka Chukwuemeka, said the action was taken to prevent breakdown of law and order. He said: “The command is not interested in anything being agitated for by any person or group, our interest is to keep peace and that is why we deployed our men to the market.” At the market, several gunshots were fired by the police to prevent traders from

From Nwanosike Onu, Awka

entering. The women’s spokesman, Mrs. Praise Moneke, said they were protesting because such a thing had never happened in Anambra State before. “How can people in local market pay outrageous fees in the name of tax; we also pay five other taxes. “We pay storage tax, security tax, development fee and others and now they have brought traders tax, which is N3,500. “If they want us to continue paying like this, let them build us an international market because we built this market ourselves. “We contributed N50,000 each to build it,” Mrs. Moneke said. A human rights activist and coordinator, Transform Nigeria Movement (TNM), Obi Ochije, said it was wrong

•The closed Eke-Awka market ...yesterday

to ask the women to pay multiple taxes. He said majority of the women are returnees from the North and widows, who need help from the government. “This injustice must be fought to a standstill, all the rights groups will fight for the women in this state. Weep no more,” Ochije assured them. The member representing

Awka South 1 Constituency, Kenechukwu Chukwuemeka, assured the women that within two weeks the issue would be solved. “You are not importers, but retailers, we do not want destruction of property in this state and that is why I am praising you for your peaceful conduct. “I want to assure you that

Erosion cuts off Anambra–Kogi-Abuja road

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BOUT 25 communities in two local governments in Anambra State may be cut off by erosion. The erosion is threatening to cut off the asphalted section of the Anambra –Kogi– Abuja highway, which is being built by the Federal Government. The road is the only road used by communities in Anambra West Local Government Area to link Otuocha, Onitsha and other parts of the state. The project was progressing, though at a slow pace,

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

until last year when the local government was submerged by flood. The contractor, Nigercat Nigeria Limited, left the site for unknown reasons. The Nation observed that sequel to the rains this year, erosion started “eating up” parts of the road. One bridge at Kilometre 8 has been almost washed off. The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Special Duties, Tony Nwabunwanne, said Governor Peter Obi, who visited

the site, offered to pay the contractor to correct the defects. “But as I speak with you, the contractor has not given him the quotations. He said he is waiting for approval from the Ministry of Works before the cost can be given to the governor,” he said. Commissioner for Finance Mrs. Ngozika Okoye has called on the Federal Government to intervene before it becomes too late. She said: “It is urgent. It is an important road. It will cost more if help comes too late.

“We are crying now because we are used to letting things get bad then we begin to pay for our negligence.” The member representing Anambra West in the House of Assembly, Victor Okoye, pleaded with the federal and state governments to help make the road motorable up to Inoma, the boundary with Kogi State. "All the money used here will be a waste, if immediate intervention is not done. “As it is now, we cannot access the local government headquarters at Nzam, except by boat through the River Niger.”

our speaker being a woman will want this issue sorted out without delay, the House will deliberate on it without delay,” he said. Commissioner for Information Joe Martins Uzodike said income tax is not only meant for men but for women. “We are only asking them to pay N3,000-N3,500 annu-

Imo flays detention of Okorocha’s aide

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HE Imo State Government yesterday raised the alarm over the continued ‘illegal’ detention of the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okorocha on Project Monitoring, Mcdonald Akano, whose whereabouts has remained unknown. Briefing reporters in Owerri, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Chinedu Offor, said it has remained unclear, which security agency is holding the official, who was whisked away about two weeks ago in Owerri, the state capital.

Obi hoists beam of longest Anambra’s longest bridge

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NAMBRA State Governor Peter Obi has hoisted the beam of the longest bridge in Anambra State. The bridge is being built on the Ozubulu-Atani road. The governor said he came to perform the function to reassure the people of his commitment to the project. Obi said the idea of engaging two contractors, working from opposite directions, was to complete the road before the end of his tenure. The governor also visited some on-going projects at Iyiowa-Odekpe road and Obodoukwu Road, Okpoko. He expressed satisfaction at the level of work, especially the giant culverts being built on some portions of the road to prevent flood.

•Obi (right) with Commissioner for Works Callistus Ilozumba (left) and the representative of TAMAD Construction Company, Tony Mady during the hoisting of the beam ... yesterday

Ubah not qualified to judge Obi, says aide

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HE Senior Special Assistant to Anambra State Governor Peter Obi on Media and Publicity has called on Nigerians to ignore oil magnate Ifeanyi Ubah’s assessment of Obi’s performance. Valentine Obienyem said Ubah was not qualified to pass judgment on Obi. Obienyem said it was wrong for Ubah to consign Obi’s achievements to the pages of the newspapers. “Yesterday, for example, the governor inspected the on-going Iyiowa-Odekpe Road, Obodoukwu Road at Okpoko and three bridges on the Atani- Ozubulu Road. “These projects are there for everybody to

Ex-Edo SSG’s comment faulted From Osagie Otabor, Benin

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

see. If Ubah is sure of what he was saying, I challenge him to name one project Obi claimed he has done that he did not do,” Obienyem said. The aide said Ubah should tell the people what he would do for them, if elected. Obienyem asked: “Let us face it, which Ubah are we even talking about? Is it not the same man who is living at the mercy of injunctions that will not last forever? “ It is only in Nigeria that people like him, who should be hiding in shame, will open their mouth and speak unadulterated nonsense.”

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ally. It is not up to the amount they squander in beer parlours or on other things. “ These people should appreciate what the government is doing. Schools are functioning, roads are working, among others, so it is not too much,” Uzodike said.

HE Edo Youth for Truth and Transparent Government and the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday faulted comments by Pastor Osagie IzeIyamu on why the administration of Lucky Igbinedion was a failure. Ize-Iyamu, who was the Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State Government during the Igbinedion administration, attributed poor finances and crisis in the PDP as reasons for Igbinedion’s failure. PDP Chairman Dan Orbih said Pastor Ize-Iyamu should apologise to the people. Orbih said the problem of Igbninedion’s administration was not the PDP as a party but that of the principal actors who had no knowledge of what to do in government.

From Okodili Ndidi, Owerri

Offor said the governor’s aide has been denied access to his family, attorney and medical care, describing his arrest and detention as a plan designed by the enemies of the state to harass and intimidate government officials. “Let the agency make public his offence and try him in court or release him immediately,” he stated.

Ondo proscribes farmers’ groups From Damisi Ojo, Akure

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HE Ondo State Government yesterday proscribed farmers’ associations. The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Olusegun Mimiko on Union Matters, Mr. Dayo Fadahunsi, expressed concern over the proliferation of farmers’ associations and inaugurated a Technical Committee on the Re-organisation of Farmers. The five-man committee, headed by Mrs. Mosun Adesuyi, will examine the existing farmers’ associations and determine their suitability to act as the apex body. The State Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr. Joshua Oladele, said the government has no power to proscribe the association. Oladele said: “When we got the letter that the government wanted to proscribe the association and set up a committee, we went to court to challenge the move and the case was adjourned till July 15.” But Fadahunsi said the proliferation of farmers’ groups was counter-productive and has created acrimony among farmers. He said: “The proscription will help farmers have one virile and formidable group. This would facilitate prompt dissemination of information and sharing of inputs. “The government has always taken it upon itself to intervene in the troubled associations. Nobody is above the law. The government will rather deal with one body instead of factions.”


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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NEWS Kano Hisbah arrests child ‘trafficker’

Kwankwaso spends N250m to train 215 youths

From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

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HE Kano State Government has spent over N250 million on the establishment of the state’s Corporate Security Institute to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths and enhance security of life and property. Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso spoke yesterday at the Government House during graduation of the 216 youths of the institute and offer of appointment to newly employed youths under the “1005” and “1006” employment schemes into the state civil service. The governor noted that some people were recruiting old, unqualified men to guard their homes and complexes, adding that such people lack exposure to modern trends in security management. He said the Corporate Security Institute is a step towards revolutionising security management in the state.

•Governor Kwankwaso presenting a certificate of excellence to a graduating student of the institute in Kano...yesterday. From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Kwankwaso explained that because of the dire need for the corporate security men, the government resolved to employ all the 216 graduates of the institute to serve in government agencies and establishments. According to him, various private organisations and

agencies have indicated interest to employ them to replace their current “watchmen”. The governor said the graduating security personnel were given three weeks intensive training in security management to enable them meet the demands of their jobs in a changing world. He added that the next batch of 300 students has been selected and will be resume soon.

Kwankwaso assured that his administration would continue to create opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in Kano. The governor congratulated the beneficiaries but cautioned them against indolence and corruption. He explained that because the government has enough money to pay the entitlements of its civil servants, his admin-

istration will inject new blood into the service for enhanced productivity. Kwankwaso stressed that new mechanisms have also been adopted to check stagnation in the service. State Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Umar Shehu Minjibir, described the employment of over 5,000 fresh graduates in two years as unprecedented in Nigeria.

Kwara police probe man’s death in Street brawl

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HE Kwara State Police Command has begun investigation into the cause of the death of a 25-yearold man in Ilorin, the state capital. The deceased, named Kolawole Olanrewaju, was said to have died after a brawl with Bashir Aduragba, a primary school teacher. Police spokesperson Olufe-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

mi Fabode said the police were awaiting the report of a postmortem on the deceased to ascertain the cause of his death before the matter is taken to court. The police began investigation on how Olanrewaju died “mysteriously” after he fought the teacher in Ilorin, the state

capital. It was gathered that the deceased and Aduragba engaged each other in a fisticuff following an argument over the dumping of refuse at a site. The site is said to be close to the room of the deceased, near the school Aduragba teaches at Oke-Aluko area of the town. It was learnt that the deceased, whose wife was recent-

Ex-aide regrets abandonment of Abiola’s ideals

Jang condoles with ex-deputy Tallen over father’s death From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos

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LATEAU State Governor Jonah David Jang yesterday visited his former deputy, Dame Pauline Tallen, over the death of her father, Pa Paul Katiem. He was 102. Jang led a high-powered government delegation to Dame Tallen’s home in Rayfield, Jos, the state capital, at 11.30am. Jang and her erstwhile deputy had not met since 2010, when they fell apart over political ambitions. They shook hands yesterday at Mrs Tallen’s sitting room. The governor was received by the most senior member of the Katiem’s family, Pa Anthony Homsook. Jang expressed the condolences of his administration and the people of the state to the bereaved family. He said: “The people of Plateau State and the Geomai people should be celebrating the death of late Pa Paul Katiem for lasting over 100 years on earth. “The late Pa Katiem accomplished his life’s desires before death; he was no doubt the oldest man in the state until his death. And he died in the Lord...”

It was learnt that when the pupil narrated what happened to the teacher, Aduragba reportedly came to Olanrewaju’s house and challenged his action. An argument between them was said to have degenerated into physical combat. The teacher’s colleagues reportedly support him and a face-off with the neighbours of the deceased ensued.

Vatsa’s son attacks Buhari

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ISA Olu Akerele, a Special Assistant to the late Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola, has said the death of the winner of the presidential election held exactly 20 years ago but annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida military junta, may be in vain. The former aide to the business mogul said the purpose of Abiola’s incursion into partisan politics has not been achieved. He noted that all the indices that propelled the late philanthropist into the presidential race have reduced dangeriously, “where our hospitals, for instance, have deteriorated from consulting clinics, as they were then described, to death slabs”. He regretted that “the political class, in desperation for filthy lucre has paid little attention to the ideals of the Abiola dream”. Akerele said education standards has fallen precariously since June 12, 1993, despite the purported huge public investments in that sector. According to him, the school environment has become hostile to low income earners who can no longer afford the high cost of educating their children and ward. Akerele said poverty still pervades the land, adding that most people do not know where their next meal would come from. The former aide said majority of the residents of urban slumbs and rural areas still live in abject poverty. He decried the rise in unemployment, saying several graduates now accept menial jobs.

ly delivered of a baby, decided to clear the site with the expectation that nobody would again dump refuse there. But it was gathered that a pupil dumped refuse at the site, not minding that it had been cleared. The action allegedly infuriated the deceased, who reportedly beat the pupil and warned him not to dump refuse at the site again.

A 25-year-old man was yesterday apprehended by officials of the Kano Hisbah Board for alleged child trafficking. The board also confiscated fake drugs worth over N5 million from a dealer in Sabon Gari, Kano. The Director-General of Hisbah Board, Mallam Abba Sa’id Sufi, told The Nation that the suspect confessed that he specialised in kidnapping children and selling them for between N35,000 and N60,000 per child. Sufi quoted the suspect as saying that he has a buyer in Katsina State but could not explain what his accomplice does with the children. The suspect was yesterday handed over to the police command for further investigation and prosecution. The Hisbah chief said the suspect hails from Gwale Local Government Area of Kano State, adding that his name would not be disclosed until the conclusion of investigation. Sufi said the suspect was caught with a five-year-old girl, who the man said he was taking to Dawanu on Katsina Road where somebody else would pick her up and settle him. The suspect reportedly confessed to being involved in the crime for about three years.

From Tony Akowe, Kaduna

•General Buhari

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HE son of former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, the late Maj.Gen. Mamman Vatsa and National Coordinator of Concerned Arewa Youth Forum (CAYF), Jibril Mamman Vatsa, yesterday urged former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to resign from politics and allow a peace to reign in the na-

tion’s politics. In a statement in Kaduna, Vatsa described as unfortunate a recent statement credited to the former Nigerian leader that the government was killing Boko Haram members and destroying their property while treating the Niger Delta militants with kid gloves. The statement reads: “The statement made by retired General Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday, where he accused both President Goodluck Jonathan and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, is

unfortunate. “That the CAN President is ‘keen on helping the electoral fortunes of his friend, President Goodluck Jonathan’ is baseless, especially when weighed against the national and security implications of his earlier statement that the Boko Haram sect members were being killed and their houses destroyed while Niger Delta militants were being trained and given employment. “Indeed, we would have expected Christians to rise up against Pastor Oritsejafor, if he had not reacted the way he did, being the leader of the religion in Nigeria whose members were being killed. And if as he said, he is not in the mould of leaders who do not match their

words with deeds, then Nigerians and Nigeria are in for greater insecurity if Buhari ascends the highest office in the land. This is because with a religious bigot in the saddle, Nigerians do not need any other enemy. “We disagree with Gen. Buhari that Oritsejafor’s statement ‘is lacking in facts’ as presented by him. As northerners, who are concerned about the terrible state of the socio-political and economic activities of the North, we expect to see northern elders sitting up to put their house in order. But what we have are northern elders screaming at imaginary enemies of the North while our once thriving and dominant region is becoming the problem child of the nation.

Court grants Kogi lawmaker bail

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ETAINED member of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Friday Sani (aka Makama), and one other detainee got a reprieve yesterday as an Abuja Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone II granted them bail. Sani and his alleged accomplice, Job David, were charged with alleged unlawful possession of fire arms, ammunition and police walkie-talkie. They were arraigned last Friday before Magistrate Usman Shuaibu, who ordered them remanded in prison. Although the defence lawyer, J. O. Adele said the suspects were arrested and had been detained since May 31, the pros-

From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

ecution said they were arrested on June 4. Ruling yesterday, Magistrate Shuaibu granted Sani bail at N5 million and one surety in like sum. The magistrate said the surety must be an Abuja civil servant of Level 15, whose position must be verified by the police. The magistrate ordered that the bail could only take effect from June 14. Sani is to report to the police daily from June 18 till 21. David was admitted to bail at N1 million with one surety in like sum. Sani chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Pub-

•Sani ...yesterday lic Account. Magistrate Shuaibu upheld the argument by Adele that by virtue of Section 130(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the court cannot further remand an accused at the termination of a First Information Report (FIR) by the prosecution. He held that although Section 129 of the CPC allows the

police to apply for permission to further remand an accused person pending investigation, it must provide compelling reasons to warrant the grant of such request. The magistrate held that in this case, the prosecution represented by Simon Lough failed to make out sufficient case for the court to grant its prayer.


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

62 PUBLIC NOTICE

PUBLIC NOTICE

I, formerly known and addressed as Akataobi Obinna Smiles, now wish to be known and addressed as Iheoma Charles Sonny. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Gandonu Nafisat Bukky, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Osinowo Nafisat Bukky. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.

FOREIGN NEWS

Turkish police move into square

PUBLIC NOTICE IMPORTED ITEMS FOR SALE.. 1998 MECEDES 4143 ACTROS DUMP TRUCK (TRI AXLE). 2000 TEREX RT335,CRANE. 2004 INGERSOLL -RAND AIR COMPRESSOR. 2008 SULLAIR 225 AIR COMPRESSOR. ATLAS COPCO XAS 97. 75 HP SULLAIR AIR COMPRESSOR. 2006 IVECO TRAKKER AD380T38W(BOX TRI AXLE) MECEDES BENZ AXOR 1823 (BOX 4*2 AXLE) PRICE RANGE STARTING AT 300,000.(COMPRESSORS) HUBBLE TERMINAL,TIN CAN ISLAND PORT. 015873210,08185292858,08067814147,FAX015873565

CAVEAT EMPTOR! THE PROPERTY known as 1A, AINYEMI WAY, OFF RING ROAD BEHIND OWOADE HOUSE BELONGS TO DR SAMUEL OLALEKAN AKINYEMI AND MRS IBILOLA ENITAN EYITAYO NEE AKINYEMI IS NOT FOR SALE OR LEASE. ANY ONE WHO NEGOTIATES A SALE OR LEASE OF THE PROPERTY DOES SO AT HIS OR HER OWN PERIL. BE WARNED!!! For further information please contact: Adollo O. V esq, Esquires @ Lex, 15, Abbi Street, Maryland, Lagos. 08023362276, 08053256844.

•Erdogan

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URKISH riot police yesterday moved into the central Istanbul square at the heart of 10 days of anti-government protests, firing tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of protesters armed with rocks and fireworks. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared he would not yield to the protesters. In a further sign of the effect the crisis has had on financial markets, the central bank

said it would intervene if needed to support the lira. “They say the prime minister is rough. So what was going to happen here? Were we going to kneel down in front of these (people)?” Erdogan said after the action began. “If you call this roughness, I’m sorry, but this Tayyip Erdogan won’t change.” Police backed by armoured vehicles moved soon after dawn into Taksim Square, site of the initial protest against government construction plans 10 days ago which sparked the worst unrest in decades. Bulldozers cleared barricades, but by early evening hundreds of protesters remained on one side and black smoke from bonfires of rubbish and plastic mingled with tear gas. Demonstrators skirmished with police.

•PM adamant Tear gas drifted into the lobby of an upmarket hotel, overwhelming some guests who were moved to the basement. What began as a protest at redevelopment plans for Gezi Park, a leafy corner of the square, has grown into an unprecedented challenge to Erdogan. Victor in three consecutive elections, he says the protests are engineered by vandals, terrorist elements and unnamed foreign forces. His critics say his unyielding talk has made the crisis worse. “A comprehensive attack against Turkey has been carried out,” Erdogan told a parliamentary group meeting of the AK Party he founded in 2001 and led to power in 2002. “The increase in interest

rates, the fall in the stock markets, the deterioration in the investment environment, the intimidation of investors - the efforts to distort Turkey’s image have been put in place as a systematic project,” he said. Thousands packed into Gezi Park, now a ramshackle settlement of tents at the edge of the square; among their number leftists, environmentalists, liberals, students and professionals who see the development plan as symptomatic of overbearing government. Despite the street protests against Erdogan, he remains unrivalled as a leader in his AK party, in parliament and on the streets. Many protesters call for his resignation, but others say they just want to moderate his exercise of power.

Russian Duma passes law banning ‘gay propaganda’

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PUBLIC NOTICE CAVEAT EMPTOR This is to inform the general public that the family of late Chief Emeka Gabriel Amachaizu Amadi (JP), of Umuagwu, Obiohia, in Omuma LGA of Rivers State has not decided to or mandated any person or persons to sell the family property known as and situate at No. 10, Isiokpo Street, D/Line, Port Harcourt. Consequently, any person who enters into any sale transaction with any member of the said family purportedly on behalf of the said family does so at his or her own risk. SIGNED: Ms Platinum Law Firm Legal Practitioners #30, Stadium Road (Wisdom House) Port Harcourt (Solicitors to Mrs. Deborah Amadi)

•The blast scene in front of The Supreme Court building in Kabul ... yesterday.

Al-Qaeda more lethal than ever, says U.S

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L-QAEDA in the Islamic Maghreb is now thought to possess the SA-7, a surface-to-air missile in the category of MANPADS, or man-portable air-defense systems. Since 1975, 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by MANPADS, causing at least 28 crashes and more than 800 deaths around the world, according to the U.S. State Department. Here are some incidents involving commercial planes. March 12, 1975: A passenger plane, operated by Air Vietnam, crashed into Vietnamese territory after being hit by a MANPAD, killing 26 passengers and crew. Sept. 3, 1978: An Air Rhodesia Vickers 782D Viscount passenger airliner crash-landed after being hit by a MANPAD, fired by forces from the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army, killing 34 of the 56 passengers. Dec. 19, 1988: Polisario Front fighters opened fire on two DC-

7s chartered by USAID to spray for locusts over Morocco. One crashed, killing all five crew onboard. Sept. 22, 1993: An aircraft operated by Transair Georgia was shot down by Abkhazian separatist forces. It crashed onto the runway and caught fire, killing 108.

April 6, 1994: An executive jet carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and its French flight crew was shot down over Kigali, killing all aboard and sparking massive ethnic violence which marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide.

USSIA’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, has passed a law imposing heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18. The measure was passed unanimously and will become law when approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, a virtual formality. Gay rights campaigners clashed with anti-gay activists outside the Duma. The lower house also passed a bill imposing up to three years in jail on those who offend religious believers. The law comes in the wake of the imprisoning of members of the punk band Pussy Riot for performing an anti-Putin protest in an Orthodox cathedral in February 2012. Two band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, are currently serving two-year jail terms.

Escorted by his bodyguards, pro-reform Iranian presidential candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, middle, a former vice-president, arrives at his campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, on Monday. The PHOTO: AP presidential election will be held on Friday

Zuma: ‘all are praying’ for Mandela

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OUTH African President Jacob Zuma says Nelson Mandela is “very serious but stabilised” in hospital and that “all are praying” for his recovery. Mr Zuma said the doctors were doing a “very good job”, adding that the former president was a “good fighter”. The 94-year-old is spending his fourth day in a Pretoria hospital suffering from a recurrent lung infection. Relatives, including his exwife Winnie MadikizelaMandela, visited the ailing

former leader on Monday. The former president has been in intensive care since he was admitted to the hospital on Saturday for the third time this year. In December, Mr Mandela spent 18 days undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones. Referring to Mr Mandela as “the father of democracy in South Africa”, Mr Zuma said: “We need him to be with us and I’m sure all the messages that have been pouring in to wish him a speedy recovery are

highly welcome. “And I’m sure, knowing him as I do, he is a good fighter. He will be with us very soon.” Mr Zuma was speaking in a televised interview broadcast yesterday evening, having been given a “thorough briefing” on Monday by Mr Mandela’s doctors. Mr Zuma said: “I was very confident that they know what they are doing and they are doing a very good job, whilst he is very serious but he is stabilised and we are all praying for him, really, to recuperate quickly.

•Zuma


THE NATION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013

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TODAY IN THE NATION

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

VOL 8 NO.2,514

‘‘In the end, does one hail the judiciary which is not free of controversy for a ‘well-considered decision’ when in the past we have had judgments that seem to run against the tide of reason and justice?’’ DELE AGEKAMEH

COMMENT & DEB ATE EBA

“I

T was the best of times; it was the worst of times”. These words from Charles Dickens befit the 20th anniversary of the most bittersweet event in the history of Nigerian electoral politics – the June 12, 1993, Presidential election. For a fleeting moment, we tasted a precious thing: free, fair and honest elections where the people truly elected who they wanted as their leaders. We thought that historic election would bring the best of times. Just as we tasted the euphoria of the moment, it was snatched from us for reasons we shall never understand; its annulment cast the nation into the worst period of military dictatorship. June 12 showed the people’s capacity to exercise political wisdom; it also showed the folly that brews when a powerful few believe they know what is good for the people better than the people themselves. June 12 shined the light of hope; its termination enveloped us in darkness. Some claim we regained civilian democracy in 1999; that claim is not completely true. What took place in 1999 and what is taking place now is but a shadow of June 12. Things are such that many wonder if we, having lost this great chance, will ever revisit the fullness of that moment. I pray we do. The fate of the nation and the over 150 million people occupying it hang in the balance. The past has not always been kind to us; we hope the future does what the past has not. Two decades have elapsed since Nigerians cast their votes across ethnic, religious and regional divides for Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola. Despite the passage of time, June 12 remains etched in our national conscience. It symbolises Nigeria. A day that began with full promise, ended in twisted disappointment because a cunning few thought their interests paramount to the wishes of an entire nation. Since June 12, we have struggled to reach the level of democratic quality experienced that moment. Today, we live halfway between sun and storm. While better off than the bleak days of reactionary dictatorship, we have yet to reach the democratic level of June 12. This is why we must never forget June 12. We must never lose hope that we can attain the level of democratic practice of that day. We cannot change the past; thus, we cannot return to correct the bad turn taken. However, we can dedicate ourselves to a better future. We can go forward to a new, more complete June 12 that has an ending as benign as its beginning. The annulment of June 12 and the regression to full-scale dictatorship hurled the country into a severe crisis of legitimacy. June 12 reminds us that, although the vast majority of us want democracy, reactionary elements work to stifle these aspirations. These elements are not always in uniform. No military dictatorship could do to us what they have done without having its full complement of civilian lackeys and courtiers. Against these forces, the people struggled for democratic restoration at great costs. Many of our compatriots spilled their blood and lost their lives. As such, the struggle for internal democracy has proven more costly than our quest from colonial independence. Sadly, if

T

ODAY marks 20 years since the result of the presidential elections won by the candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief M.K.O. Abiola, was annulled by then President Ibrahim Babangida. The events of June 12, 1993 traumatised a nation struggling for balance. Part of the scandal lay in the fact that the military authorities were never able to dredge up a rational excuse for cancelling what has come to hailed as one of the fairest and freest electoral exercises in Nigerian history. So instead of receiving acclaim for conducting such a poll, Babangida who signed off on the diabolical directive to scuttle a transition process on which billions had been spent, has been burying his head in shame ever since. Stopping short of apologizing for a treasonable act against the people of this country, he has managed to say he took responsibility for the action. But just as the name of former United States

OPEN FORUM By ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU

June 12: A beacon in the dark

•The late Abiola

asked the identity of our worst enemy, all we can do is point into a mirror. After fourteen years of civilian rule, June 12 is not nationally commemorated because of the power of these reactionary forces. Chief MKO Abiola deserves a posthumous honour recognising him for being so stalwart in his democratic beliefs that he refused to forfeit his mandate. At the costs of personal deprivation and his life, this man stood his ground. In doing so, he stands as our tallest hero in the cause of Nigerian democracy. Many of those who have come to power since 1999 try to belittle June 12. We must not sweep the lessons of that day under the carpet. Those things will only reemerge later, in ways uglier and more resistant than the first time. We must imbibe these lessons that they may keep us from tragedy’s repeat and move us to finally realise the full blossoming of our political democracy. Those who discount June 12 don’t do this because of regional chauvinism or anti-southwest motives. June 12 belongs to all Nigerian except a certain class frightened by what full democracy would mean for them. This has nothing to do with region, religion or ethnicity. It has everything to do with a person’s view of democracy. Reactionary forces detest June 12 because it reminds them their days will be numbered should the people’s will ever be respected. At its essence, June 12 serves as a reminder that the struggle for democracy is never-ending. Just as there are heroes willing to lay down their lives and livelihoods to secure the peo-

ple’s future, there are still elements that would rather snuff out democracy than let the people attain freedom’s stride. When we talk June 12, we talk not about dead heroes and dead evil. We talk not about ghosts. We talk about today and the future to come. At some point, this government must ensure appropriate national recognition for Chief MKO Abiola and those who sacrificed to protect the mandate so openly and freely won that day. We must safeguard one-manone vote, which made June 12 a watershed. We must ensure electoral integrity where the sovereign right of the people prevails. If things continue as they have for the past 14 years, we shall never attain the quality of elections or the promise of good governance June 12 represents. The country has drifted for too long. The current government is long on problems, short on solutions. We have too much poverty, too much unemployment, too much violence, too much hunger, too much corruption, insecurity and disease. We have too little electricity, jobs, progress, justice and hope. If we are the giant of Africa, it is a masochistic fellow who revels in shooting himself in the foot instead of feeding his starving children. There are many lessons to draw from June 12. Here, I would like to focus on three of them. First, the current one–party dominance of the political economy rewards bankrupt governance and corrodes the national fabric. A more balanced system featuring a countervailing progressive party to oppose the ruling retrogressive promotes democratic competition that augurs great change. This is why agents of the inefficient status quo busy themselves casting roadblocks in the way of the formation of the new party instead of focusing on good governance. They have opened their bag of tricks to thwart the merger. But, there is no stopping an idea whose time has come. Let them waste their time. After all, they have wasted so much of the nation’s. The other clear lesson from June 12 is, given their free choice, the masses prefer progressive government. Thus, Nigeria is politically bifurcated nation. We have a hard working and progressively-minded citizenry under thumb of an unabashedly retrogressive political elite. The only way this is sustainable is for the elite to impose themselves as a quasi-elected mod-

ern aristocracy. Third, June 12 was a product of an open, fair electoral process. Despite marginal improvements in the current process, we still have a grossly unreliable voters register. This is because the current hybrid, half electronic, half manual system is both engine and fuel for malpractice. To solve this obvious problem, we must demand a fully integrated biometric voters’ register that guarantees accuracy and eliminates multiple voting. The use of the biometric system for elections in Nigeria should be non-negotiable. Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Liberia employed forms of the system and it worked in these cases. It is modern and reliable. Nigeria should not be different. Additionally, the National Assembly must pass measures deepening electoral reform by enhancing INEC’s autonomy and ensuring electoral tribunals are reconstructed to have truth and respect for the rights of every citizen as their objective. Currently, most tribunals and the legal processes they employ are constituted in a way that legitimates misconduct instead of punishing it. Nigeria today stands with one foot on the rock and one in the rising waters. We need to decide whether we want to stand or sink. Nigeria is trapped by a defective federal structure that promotes underdevelopment for the many in the guise of the vast enrichment of the few. Twenty years after the happy June 12 election and its dismal termination, sufficient lessons should have been learned. I know that the conspirators now must have their regrets. But there is yet hope for redemption. The only way for redemption is for them to embrace a new thinking that will reflect the will of the people. They must now join hands with the progressives to propel a people-oriented government to office. Then the dream of June 12 would have been fulfilled. Because those in power look the wrong, undemocratic way, they have learned the wrong, undemocratic lessons. They have learned not to give the people the chance to truly express their political will. The current system does not foster the public’s will. The system squeezes it. The system is so corrosive that even an election among 35 governors for the chairmanship of the governors forum becomes an exercise in blatant mischief where the loser is tagged the winner because he is a well-paid courier delivering to those in Aso Rock as they wish. In the end, there is no end. That is the essential lesson of June 12. A nation never keeps democracy except it continually fights for it. To slumber is to lose. We remember June 12 so that one day Nigerians from all walks of life and all parts of the nation can describe an election as, “It was the best of times,’’ and mean it as the full and complete truth. This is the Nigeria we seek. For today and for tomorrow. •Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State, is the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) •See Mohammed Haruna’s column on Pg 59

•For comments, send SMS to 08023211188

HARDBALL

•Hardball is not the opinion of the columnist featured above

Tofa and the ghost of June 12

still celebrating ‘the dead issue’ as idle. The fact that Tofa refuses to admit that something terrible happened on that day does not erase the reality or the place of those polls in Nigerian history. It also does not erase from the memory his role in the drama. Even worse, there are many like Tofa who are only too quick to move on to the next political blunder without analysing and learning from the past. The election is only free and fair where they are declared the winners. That is the tragedy of Nigeria and it makes the 20th anniversary of the annulment more poignant given the recent case of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) election and the brazen attempt of losers to overturn an unpalatable outcome. This refusal to accept electoral outcomes is proof that the ghost of June 12 still roams the land. For as long as such despicable conduct continues, Tofa and all who participated in that chapter will continue to answers questions they would rather avoid. And that’s a fact!

President, Richard Nixon, will forever be overshadowed by the disastrous legacy of Watergate; everything that Babangida achieved in his nine odd years in office – even the irony of superintending one of the freest polls in our history – will always be stained by the date “June 12.” The former military president does not deny that an election took place on that day. If the event were “fictitious” then there would have been no need to annul a “fiction.” Instead, he has over the years tried to justify the annulment by claiming he was blackmailed into doing so. At other times he would hint darkly that allowing the result of the poll to stand would have resulted in dire consequences for Nigeria. For another central figure in the bizzare events of 20 years ago, the chairman of the defunct

National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof Humphrey Nwosu, the scuttling of his crowning achievement by the casual decree of one military dictator, was no fiction. So devastated was he that for 15 years he disappeared from public view . His vow of silence was only broken in 2008 when he emerged to confirm the obvious – that Abiola won the election fair and square. For him the matter was no “fiction” otherwise he would not have written a book about it. Of all the major players of that sordid chapter of Nigeria’s political history, only one figure remains resolute in living in denial – the former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, (NRC), Alhaji Bashir Usman Tofa – Abiola’s opponent. Addressing reporters in Kano last week, he described ‘June 12’ as fiction and dismissed those

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The Nation June 12, 2013  

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