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NGF: Amaechi dares Jang over govs’ meeting


OVERNORS Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and his Plateau State counterpart Jonah Jang, are poised for a fresh test of their claim to the leadership of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) after Jang summoned a meeting of the governors. He wants them to discuss the stalemate over the monthly Federation Account Allocation. State Commissioners for Finance had walked out of the FAAC meeting on Thursday in Abuja. Jang is disputing last month’s election of Amaechi for a second term as chairman of the NGF. The Rivers gover-

•Plateau wants discussion on revenue allocation is not within the pur•Ameachi and co to boycott Meeting view of the NGF. Findings have also con•Jonathan may host Jang group firmed that President Goodluck Jonathan may reFrom Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

nor defeated Jang by 19 to 16 votes. Jang, however, insists that he emerged by consensus having been endorsed by the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF). Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the proJang forces in the presidency

MEND threatens attack


HE Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said yesterday that it was resuming what it called Hurricane Exodus to back up its demands including the release Henry Okah who was jailed in South Africa for terrorism. It claimed to have “stealthily attached portable military limpet explosives magnetically to two articulated tanker vehicles laden with petrol in a queue outside the NNPC depot in Abaji, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” yesterday to signal the resumption of hostilities. “The devices were timed to detonate simultaneously several seconds later. The outcome was predictable” it said. But the statement turned out to be a hoax as there was no such explosion. Mr. Nasir Imodagbe, spokesman for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said there was no bombing anywhere close to the NNPC facility at Abaji. The Police in the Federal Capital Authority also dismissed the claim as untrue. MEND, which the nation’s security community had earlier declared dead, claimed in yesterday’s statement that: “This segment of Exodus codenamed ‘Operation Touch and Go’ is targeted at the soft underbelly (downstream Sector) of the oil industry in Nigeria. “From today, every tanker vehicle we find distributing petroleum products including propane gas has become a legitimate target in our war against injustice, corruption, despotism and oppression. “Drivers of tanker vehicles continue to drive them at their own risk. “The public are hereby advised to maintain a safe distance from such vehicles as they can explode anytime and anywhere. Harassment on these tanker vehicles would be sustained until the following demands are met; Henry Okah, his brother Charles and other innocent persons set up as scapegoats and held over the October 01, 2010 twin car bombings in Abuja be released unconditionally. That an unreserved apol-

ogy be tendered by the Nigerian government to MEND for presenting a forged email letter threatening the South African government purported to have originated from us and used as evidence in the sham trial and conviction of Henry Okah. That a separate independent body outside Nigeria investigates the forged letter so as to ascertain its authenticity and make their findings public. That since our struggle has never been about a Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, nor about been beneficiaries of dubious pipeline protection contracts and other forms of bribery, a conference to address the injustice, underdevelopment, environmental degradation and outstanding root issues confronting the Niger Delta region must be fixed to hold within three (3) months.” It also called for the resignation of the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke.


HE First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday took a swipe at Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State when she said Port Harcourt, the state capital, has lost its attraction during the governor’s reign. Dame Jonathan who was in the city to attend the wedding of one of the five anti-Amaechi legislators in the State House of Assembly prayed for the return of the lost glory. “During the time of Chief Rufus Ada-George and Dr. Peter Odili as governors, everybody wanted to come to Port Harcourt, which was called the Garden City, but I pray that it will return to what it used to be, so that we and our children can be proud of Port Harcourt,” she said at the wedding reception. The governor who was scheduled to be the guest of honour was absent at the wedding-of Mr. Evans Bipi and former Miss Rhoda Sika- although he was represented at the church by his deputy, Tele Ikuru . Ikuru did not attend the reception having left for another function in his home town. However, scores of promi-

are taking advantage of the governors’ desire for cash flow to encourage the Jang faction to summon a meeting of the NGF. It was gathered that the forces in the presidency designed the plot to prove that Jang is actually in control. The factional meeting is also meant to finally determine the loyalty of the 23 PDP governors by the presidency and deal with the rebellious ones. But pro-Amaechi governors have made up their minds not shun the meeting because Federation Account Allocation

ceive the Jang faction in audience on Monday under the pretext of seeking the NGF’s position on the revenue sharing crisis. A source said: “The Presidency wants to use Jang faction’s meeting to prove that it is backing this camp. It is obvious that the meeting is at the instance of the forces in the Presidency. “They are desperately trying to secure the presence of at least 20 governors at the meeting because they were hurt that only 16 governors attended the inauguration of

Jang faction’s secretariat of the NGF in spite of the alleged claim that Jang won the election. “They have not been able to get up to 18 governors as at press time to undermine Amaechi. But they are unrelenting in their plot. They said they are out to seal Amaechi’s fate. “For PDP governors, especially those from the North, it is a booby trap to test their loyalty and determine who they voted for at the NGF election. “This will enable the PDP leadership to deal with them including the hijack of the party structure from the rebellious governors and their godfathers ahead of 2015 poll.” A governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “As part of the secret agenda of Jang’s meet-

ing, the factional NGF will later be hosted by Jonathan in order to confer legitimacy on Jang’s leadership. “Already, governors in Jang’s camp are aware of the plot to visit the Villa on Monday for legitimacy. The itinerary is known to only a few strategists of Jang. But the governors loyal to the authentic chairman have vowed not to attend the session convened by Jang. Another source added: “They are joking, they will fail in their bid to give NGF leadership to Jang through the backdoor. “Most of us will stand by the mandate we have given to Amaechi because he was duly elected. We will make sure they do not have the number. They want to be defeated the third time.”

•Former President Olusegun Obasanjo with former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk at the "New York Forum PHOTO: AFP Africa" held in Libreville, Gabon at the weekend.

First Lady blasts Amaechi •Says Port Harcourt no longer attractive •Holds meeting with anti-Amaechi lawmakers From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

nent politicians from the state including ex-Governors AdaGeorge and Odili were there, as were national and state legislators with the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, playing the chief host. The First Lady was full of praise for Wike for bringing together such an array of prominent citizens. She said: “I grew up in Rivers State, but I have never seen a gathering of the movers and shakers of this state like this. When I say I love Wike, people do not understand. If not for him, I would not have this opportunity to be here. “It is good to be good. Both Rivers and Bayelsa are one, because Bayelsa State was created out of the old Rivers State (on October 1, 1996) and nobody can separate the two states, but the people must come together

in peace and speak with one voice. Wike has brought us together.” Wike is currently locked in a bitter struggle with Amaechi for the soul of the PDP in the state. He is said to be the Presidency’s favoured candidate for the 2015 governorship election in the state. He is the chief supporter of the Obuah-led faction of the PDP in the state and enjoys the backing of the five antiAmaechi assembly men. The first lady’s presence in town practically shut down the city. Security was heavy and traffic paralysed especially in and around St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church, Hospital Road, venue of the wedding and Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, Moscow Road, where the reception took place. Several Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), soldiers,

policemen and State Security Service (SSS) operatives were deployed in strategic places. Mrs Jonathan, a native of Rivers State, had once openly clashed with Amaechi when she scolded him for demolishing shanties in parts of the state. It was gathered that she met last night with the antiAmaechi lawmakers. The governor is also not in the good books of the Presidency for his acts of ‘insubordination’ toward President Goodluck Jonathan. He is perceived as threatening the chances of the president for a second term in office by allegedly agreeing to run as vice presidential candidate to a Northerner in 2015. He has denied the allegation. He is also blamed for defying the Presidency by running for a second term as Chairman of the Nigeria Gov-

ernors Forum (NGF). He defeated the Presidency’s candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau in the election by 19 votes to 16. He is currently on suspension by the party Also at yesterday’s wedding were a former Minister of Science and Technology, King Ebitimi Banigo, now the Amanyanabo of Okpoma in Bayelsa State, the Amanyanaboelect of Ogu, Nicholas Nimenibo, former Governor Celestine Omehia and former Deputy Speakers of the House of Representatives Chibudom Nwuche and Austin Opara. Others were Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court, a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas; PDP National Women leader, Kema Chikwe; ex-Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe; Dr. Abiye Sekibo, factional chairman of PDP in Rivers State, Chief Felix Obuah; Senator Lee Maeba, the National President of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Chief Nkechi Mba; and the wife of the Bayelsa Governor, Rachael Dickson.



Why June 12 still matters


UNE 12!!!! Spring is in full spring. But it is not yet summer, at least not officially. There is something profoundly mystical about this date. There is something grandly metaphysical about its provenance. It feels very good around this time. But it also feels eerily daunting and tasking. The human fear of the after effects of climatic good fortunes has kicked in. Had General Babangida and his cohorts consulted astrologers, they would have been told to beware of the Ides of June. Let us play some zodiac games. In the Gregorian calendar we have 12 months that make up a year. June is in the middle, and the middle of nowhere. The twelfth day of June is in the middle of June, but not quite in the full middle. In other words, June 12 is in the near middle of the middle of nowhere. The in-between nature generates its own astral tensions. The twelfth night after Christmas is when merriment officially ends and serious business begins. Twelve is double six, and yet they say there is no difference between six and half a dozen. The number 12 has played a significant role in the political evolution of modern Nigeria. Just before June in 1967 and on the eve of the civil war, the then Major General Yakubu Gowon restructured the nation into a twelve-state federation. Twelve years later, it was the magical legal formula known as 12 2/3 which prevented the MurtalaObasanjo Transition from achieving full integrity and fidelity to democratic norms. The military and their civilian accomplices had insinuated the virus that will destroy their own baby. General Babangida probably never gave any thought to the zodiac import of the date when he lighted upon it. It was going to be another day for the permanent shuffling and reshuffling of the cards of transition which this author described then as “transfiction”. But there were enough astral signals to warn even political novices about the danger of toying with the destiny of the greatest conglomeration of Black souls in the world. As usual, it was the Americans that first picked the scent of political perfidy. Acutely aware of the political shenanigans going on in Abuja and the reality that IBB was about to abort the election , the Washington authorities caused a certain Mr O’Brien, their USIS chief of Bureau, to issue a stern warning that America would view such a move with great displeasure. For his pains, the USIS Bureau Chief was summarily expelled from Nigeria. The transition had arrived at terminus. The actual date itself was full of portents. The elements and the god of nations were warning those who had held Nigerians in military thralldom to let go. For a normally watery eyed month of June, not a single incident of significant rainfall was recorded anywhere in the nation on that day. And for a country with a global reputation for electoral mayhem, there was no record of any significant political disturbance throughout the length and breadth of the nation. Nigerians put up their best behavior to see off their military overlords. Everywhere was eerily calm. It is useful to situate this strange calmness on June 12, 1993 within the explosive and combustible background of the country’s political evolution. Twenty three years earlier in January, 1970, the country a three year civil war which was as bitter as it was savage came to a sudden end. The casualties figures were high and alarming . Thereafter, the country lapsed into hard-fisted military rule which many believed was nec-

(An almanac of national folly)



nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu


essary to lay the foundation of a strong, virile and united nation after the ravages and ruination of the Civil War. Between January 1970 and June 1993, the military had ruled Nigeria continuously with the exception of a brief civilian interlude of four years between 1979 and 1983. Between December 1983 and June 1993, military officers from a particular region ruled the nation continuously as a result of the overwhelming domination of the officer corps by that region. But there is time for everything. By 1993, a significant section of Nigerians, particularly the educated elites, were saying no to military rule in any guise or hue. But in spite of all the warnings and ominous portents, history teaches that those who play the game of domination and hegemony never know when and where to stop. In the first instance, if they are weak-willed, they would never have been able to retain their hegemony. But as compulsive political gamblers, they never know when enough is enough. In the process, they tend to lose everything. Are there lessons to be learnt from the June 12 fiasco? Of course there are signal lessons to learn and the tribal henchmen of the current hegemony must read the following carefully. Twenty years after June 12, 1993 and 43 years after the end of the civil war, an Ijaw president rules over Nigeria, taking his turn after presidents of Yoruba and Fulani extraction. Pontificating over the length of tenure of each is a foolish political exercise. What is significant is that 20 years ago when a structurally lopsided military was at the zenith of its power, such a development appeared impossible and

in fact unthinkable. This significant political development would have been impossible without the struggle for the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. The symbol of that struggle, M.K.O Abiola, was a most unlikely hero. The late business mogul was not everybody’s cup of tea, even among his fellow Yoruba political elite. There were many who hold the view that the tragedy of Abiola was the tragedy of a man who forgot his origins. He was a creation of the military that eventually destroyed him. Yet in a significant respect, Abiola typifies the saying that it is not how you begin that matters but how you end up. Abiola has ended on the right side of history. Erupting from the ranks of villains, Abiola ended on the side of saints. Martyrdom, especially with the eyes wideopen, is not an easy proposition for people of money and means. Abiola took his own on the chin. As he gradually passes into legend and folklore, he will be better remembered and much better regarded than most of those who have actually ruled Nigeria. It is important to restate this fact particularly in the light of those who will reduce the June 12 struggle to an ethnic affair, or are wont to see the continuing celebration of its memory as the annual ritual of Yoruba political disturbance of the nation. June 12 is about firm and founding principles without which a nation may never know peace, order and prosperity. The presidency of a country is not the birthright of an ethnic group. Neither is it the permanent possession of an ethnically derived political and military caste. It would have been easier for

“Yet in a significant respect, Abiola typifies the saying that it is not how you begin that matters but how you end up. Abiola has ended on the right side of history. Erupting from the ranks of villains, Abiola ended on the side of saints. Martyrdom, especially with the eyes wideopen, is not an easy proposition for people of money and means. Abiola took his own on the chin”

everybody and the nation if this lesson had not been learnt the hard way. But just as there are obstinate people, there also obtusely obstinate nations that can only learn the hard way. The struggle to establish foundational principles can be very ruinous for a stubborn nation. The casualties are often horrendous. The June 12 struggle cost Abiola his life. On June 8, 1998, it also led to the dramatic termination of General Abacha’s life in famously sordid and sorry circumstances. It led to the ruination of the old military establishment and its professional demystification. It led to the humiliation of the Sokoto caliphate and the decimation of its political authority. It has consigned many formerly powerful people to political irrelevance and a few self-important actors to figures of national scorn and derision. But as an avenging talisman for foundational principles, June 12 is not finished with the nation. As a direct and indirect consequence, 20 years after June 12, 1993, 43 years after the end of the civil war and 47 years after Isaac Adaka Boro’s rebellion was swiftly put down, a president of Ijaw extraction is presiding over the military and political pacification of the old north. Its hegemony having been exposed as a pious fraud by a radical internal rebellion, the old northern establishment is in a shambles. To anybody who had lived in this country prior to June 12 1993, particularly before and after the annulment of the presidential election, the current development would appear strange and inexplicable, the stuff of the fictional subgenre known as magical realism. To a political Rip Van Winkle who has slept for the past 20 years waking up to the vastly altered political landscape of Nigeria, the situation would have been as bewildering as it is disorienting. In ordinary political perception, it would have taken a major political earthquake to bring the mighty north so to heel. The irony is that the real earthquake occurred on June 23, 1993 when the military summarily annulled the freest and fairest election in the history of the nation thus setting the stage for prolonged and protracted national instability. The arbitrary decimation of the sovereign will of the fourteen million Nigerian electorate that performed their civic obligation 11 days earlier set the stage and opened the gate for radical and armed interrogation of the state which has proved very costly to the country’s dominant political structure. In retrospect then, perhaps the most significant lesson of June 12 is that those who cling to power in the name of privilege are destined to lose both power and privilege. If the establishment and enshrinement of the first principle of a level playing ground for all ethnic groups proved so costly to the nation, the second, which is the establishment of a level playing ground for all Nigerians irrespective of religion, creed or class, is about to prove even more costly. This is the second foundational principle that now has to be established, that all Nigerians irrespective of race, region or religion have a right to aspire to rule and preside over the affairs of Nigeria provided the electorate relinquish their sovereign authority by endorsing the aspiration. It is to be noted that while

the first principle involves an inter-elite but intra-class struggle and contestation for power, the second involves an anti-elitist and interclass struggle for power and hegemony. Nigeria cannot be said to be truly and fully democratic until the second principle has been established and the transition/transfer of power to the citizens has taken place. To our ultra-radical compatriots who pooh-poohed the June 12 struggle as an elite affair, we say that it amounts to infantile radicalism to believe that in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation with multifarious modes of political and economic production concurrently playing out, it is possible to crash the historic gear to the second stage without going through the first. If the dominant political elite of a nation can deny other members access to power based on narrow ethnic affiliations, one must shudder at the fate of the ordinary people. Struggle must flow from concrete and material reality and not from idealist constructs in the head. It is this second transition that must now take place under Jonathan’s watch. We can no longer rail about a feudal oligarchy. But the atmosphere is so fouled up that even normally liberal-minded Yoruba elite view the seeming chummy relationship between the dominant political tendency in their region and the old north with wary unease, wondering whether they are about to be sold to the “aulde enemy” all over again by a bewitched political leadership . If gold can thus rust, one can imagine the fate of iron. The ironic reality of the nation today is that the ethnic injury and abiding trauma of the transition from military despotism to civil rule has made the next potentially more costly and ruinous. But this transition must now take place. Fortunately for Goodluck Jonathan, he has two more years to convince Nigerians that true democracy has finally berthed on their shores. Unfortunately for him, the ethnic sabre rattlers surrounding him are urging him to resort to anti-democratic self-help on the grounds that having suffered the yoke of oppression for so long, the Ijaws must also hold on to power for as long as possible. Evil is permanent but truth is also constant. There are some prominent Nigerians who have become permanent fixtures of evil, having fought against the restoration of Abiola’s mandate, even as they are currently urging Jonathan on. But there are also many patriots who fought against the annulment of Abiola’s mandate who are also involved in the current struggle to deepen democracy in Nigeria. If Jonathan succumbs to the first mindset, he will most likely leave Aso Rock as a tragic failure, a principal beneficiary of a process who also became one of its principal casualties. We can now see why June 12 mattered and still matters. Perhaps the most significant lesson is that like human beings, nations also make history and progress but not under the circumstances of their choice. Societal evolution progresses by detours, diversions and digressions. It is often circuitous and mind-bending, but most of the time it is not without its own peculiar logic. May the noble soul of Moshood Abiola rest in peace.



Why they’re after Amaechi, by David-West


From Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt

ORMER Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam DavidWest, says the only reason Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State is being assailed by some political forces is his refusal to be anybody’s ‘Yes man’. Prof. David-West, speaking on a radio programme in Port Harcourt, also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to be wary of the Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF). He said neither of them is capable of making him win the 2015 election. He showered praises on General Muhammadu Buhari, who he said towers over and above President Jonathan in terms of achievement as Nigeria’s leader. Amaechi, according to him, has had to fight alleged injustice of ceding oil wells belonging to Rivers State in the Kalabari axis to President Jonathan’s Bayelsa State. This, he said has not gone down well with some people. He added: “I am not a politician. No amount of money in the world can make me to change my mind. I support causes, not persons. What has Amaechi done wrong? He has not done anything wrong. Professional praise singers are making millions of naira through the crisis. “Those who said Amaechi has received N2.4 trillion since he became Rivers governor, without commensurate projects on the ground, are talking rubbish. The Kalabari people fighting Amaechi are not serious. They are not more Kalabari than me. Amaechi has not disappointed Kalabari people.” Asked to assess President Jonathan’s achievements, he said: “I am an unapologetic critic of President Jonathan. I do not support you because you are an Ijaw person, from the South South zone or a Niger Deltan. I support performers. Twenty four per cent of Jonathan’s votes came from the South South. “It is completely illogical to say Jonathan must be reelected in 2015, because he is a South South man. Jonathan is not a South South President, but the President of Nigeria. “Clark, Dokubo-Asari and others cannot save Jonathan in 2015. In an interview in a national newspaper on June 15, 2012, DokuboAsari declared that Jonathan would not go beyond 2015 as President. Why is he speaking from both sides of his mouth? “You cannot compare one hundred Jonathans to one Buhari. I will always give my support to Buhari. He is the finest man I have ever known. Negative things that they say about him are not factual. I will continue to work for Buhari. “Corruption is the bane of Nigeria. Buhari is against corruption. Buhari is not corrupt. He is very clean and disciplined. Election rigging is worse than armed robbery. Buhari wants free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.”



ETAILED insights on the death of two former heads of state, General Sani Abacha and former President Musa Yar’Adua were given yesterday by a former medical director of the Military Hospital, Lagos, Brigadier-General Otu Oviemo Ovadje (rtd). Oviemo, medical doctor and internationally acclaimed Nigeria Army inventor who spoke yesterday in Lagos at a symposium also revealed how a former minister in the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet and a former Kwara State governor died due to lack of necessary medical facilities in the country. “The late Gen Abacha while in office could not undertake medical tourism but imported Filipino doctors to manage his condition. The Filipino’s made a mockery of his management by pumping steroids into him. “The President became bloated and was thought by the un-informed as improving and gaining weight. The President’s weight gain and puffiness was largely due to fluid retention. I was privileged as a celebrated Nigerian doctor at the time to advise but there were too many uninterested aides of the Head of State. It became too late in the day. He snapped and died,” Oviemo stated. He said it was unfortunate that the late leader could build a specialised centre to cater for his ailment, though there

How Yar’Adua died, by ex-military medical director

•Gives insight into death of Abacha, others By Lekan Otufodunrin

are more and better trained Nigerians who could have handled his case better, noting that it was profitable to bring in foreign doctors to spite the home grown, and for what is in it for them. Oviemo attributed the death of the late President Yar’Adua from brain damage caused by severe asphyxia to ignorance and poor management. “The presence of a sophisticated Air and Land Ambulance did not prevent him from dying from his condition just as the hospital in Saudi Arabia with all its gadgets could not reverse damage done to his brain during an acute deterioration of his health. “Imagine what could have happened to our very meek, humble and generally loved president when he suffered an acute relapse of his condition. He was rushed into the ambulance and a face mask was turned on with oxygen flushing over his face.” Oviemo stated that the late Head of State was “hypo-ventilating at the time and by the time he got to Saudi Arabia, he

• Ovadje

had suffered irreversible brain death. “Because Nigerians believe in the god of mammon and that money answers all things, they expected a miracle from the Saudi hospital. The truth is that if we had good centres back home in Nigeria, the late Head of State should have been stabilised before been flown out. Our usual first impulse is to fly out the sick and our experiences have shown that many patients die,” he said. He also recalled the death of an unnamed former Military Governor of Kwara State who had pneumonia, and he was called to attend. However, the said governor was flown abroad without his own

knowledge and the said former governor eventually died. According to him, “I met the big man sweaty, restless and confused due to carbon dioxide narcosis from his poor ventilation. I only adjusted his neck and positioned his head to enable him exhale properly and his condition improved. “I advised them not to fly him out immediately to allow him to be stable. I volunteered to fly with him at my own expense to support him on board. By the time I returned back from Lagos where I went for my passport, the man had been flown out. Early in the morning, I got a call from one of my highly placed mentors that “we lost him”. “I was told that he got to Germany but he died before he could gain admission to a hospital. The General’s condition could have been very well-managed in Nigeria but for the pleasure of medical tourism and the absence of identifiable/recognisable facilities and expertise. Money has robbed many privileged and affluent Nigerians of sensibility. They never see with you or take advice when

money talks,” Oviemo recalled. He added that during the second term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former minister died from asthmatic attacks which could have been easily treated if necessary medical facilities were available in the country. South Africans, including their top government officials according to Oviemo, hardly undertake medical tourism like their Nigerian counterparts, noting that former President Nelson Mandela was still being treated for a heart condition in his country when he could have been flown out for treatment. He said many Nigerians cannot afford the price of management in centres that are well-equipped, while some of the centres are entrusted to mediocre due to nepotism or political consideration. Oviemo spoke at the symposium organised by Mcnext Intellectual Property in collaboration with the Student Union Government of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos on the topic Where are we in the Global Plan? He also lamented the country’s decline in Defence Technology and Agriculture.

Insecurity won’t deter us - Sultan •Jonathan, others hail Bayero at Golden Jubilee T

HE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, declared yesterday in Kano that the security challenge in parts of the North will not be allowed to tie the people or the country down. He said the majority of Nigerians are already demonstrating their doggedness and resilience in the face of the adversity brought about by the crisis. He spoke at a grand Durbar to mark the 50th anniversary of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero on the throne. The Sultan whose audience included Vice President Namadi Sambo, state governors, leading politicians, traditional rulers and the business class, prayed for the restoration of peace to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, all of them currently under a state of emergency following the protracted Boko Haram insurgency. His words: “I would like to seize this moment to pray to Allah to bring peace, stability and succour to our brothers and sisters in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. “Despite the difficult period in their respective states, they are all here in Kano. We pray to Almighty Allah to bring peace and stability to all those areas. “We pray to Almighty Allah not to allow such a calamity to befall our state or any other part of the country. We will not allow whatever bad that has happened to tie us down because whatever that has happened is the will of Allah and we give Him thanks always for whatever that happens to us and a speedy return of peace and stability to the country.”

•Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero during the activities marking his 50th year on the throne From Kolade Adeyemi, Kano

Speaker after speaker at the event, including President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented by Vice President Sambo, hailed Alhaji Bayero’s contribution to national development and unity. President Jonathan called him a beacon of hope, comforter, nation builder, great counsellor, a pillar of Nigerian nationhood and a stabilising force. He said Kano has witnessed tremendous socio-economic development during the reign of the Emir.

The city, according to him, has been transformed into a modern metropolis of commerce, industry and innovations, making it one of the greats in Africa. He said: “The Emir of Kano is greatly loved by his people. I am glad to say that His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ado Bayero has not only maintained the age-long tradition of hospitality and entrepreneurial ship, but has become the embodiment of good and respected leadership in the entire country.” He also said by promoting

peace and peaceful co-existence, the Emir has turned Kano into a rallying point and home for people from all walks of life. Jonathan urged Nigerians to always respect the rule of law in whatever situation they find themselves. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano also lauded the leadership qualities of the Emir and asked the people to continue to offer prayers for peace and harmony in the country. In his remarks, the 83-year old Emir said he has forgiven

all those who may have offended him these past 50 years. Alhaji Bayero, who narrowly escaped death when terrorists attacked his convoy in Kano on January 19, said forgiveness is the backbone of peace and progress of the people and urged those he too may have offended by his action or inaction to also forgive him. He also prayed for continued unity and peace in the country. He hailed Governor Kwankwaso for the developmental projects being executed by his administration.


2015: Pressure mounts on Jonathan to overhaul cabinet From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja


PPARENTLY worried by threats of massive electoral misfortune in the 2015 elections, some key stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been mounting pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to overhaul his cabinet. The sources viewed majority of members of the cabinet as apolitical and a good number of them with little electoral value. This, they said, could whittle down the influence of the party and its electoral fortunes. Also, the stakeholders have impressed it on the president, the need for surgical operation on the present leadership of the PDP. This is with the view to taking precautionary steps to avert legal entanglements in which some members of the party's National Working Committee (NWC) have found themselves ahead of nominations for the 2015 poll. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had questioned the process through which eight members of the party's NWC emerged at the party's March 2012 convention. INEC had withdrawn recognition from the eight officials who emerged through affirmation rather than election, a development that has put a question mark of the eligibility of the officials for their various positions. Some aggrieved members of the party have taken the PDP to court to challenge the continued retention of the eight officials in the party's NWC. The implication of this is that candidature of contestants, emerging from conventions presided over by these officials could be voided should the aggrieved members have their way with the court process. A source in the hierarchy of the PDP who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity at the weekend, said it's high time the president identified what he described as the friends and enemies within the party. According to him, "the president and PDP need to define their friends and identify their enemies. The debacle in the Governors' Forum may not be bad for Jonathan after all. Now he knows who he can trust, who can deliver and those who can fight him till the end. "Even in identifying these enemies, the president needs to be careful so that he does not alienate potential friends and further dwindle his opinion poll rating in the process of rooting them out the enemies", the source added. Also of great concern to the stakeholders is the challenge posed by the emerging All Progressives Alliance (APC) that is gaining ground in the Southwest and the Northwest geopolitical zones. The current face-off between President Jonathan and some PDP governors in the Northwest has similarly been identified as a major setback for the ruling party, a fallout of which the opposition APC could make a political capital of.



Suntai: Video clips stir controversy S

OME stakeholders in Taraba State have met in Abuja to perfect their plot to remove ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai from office. They are of the view that the state is stagnating on account of the Governor's long absence from work on account of his hospitalisation, first in Germany and now the USA, for multiple injuries he suffered in a plane crash late last year. His supporters are pushing hard to frustrate moves to either cause the State Assembly to impeach him or the State Executive Council to remove him. They are believed to be the brains behind the circulation of pictures and video clips of the governor to give the impression that he is fast recovering. The Taraba Justice Forum (TJF) is not convinced by the pictures and video clips, dismissing them as fake. It challenged those circulating them to come up with credible evidence of recuperation or stop sharing false pictures and clips.

•Pictures, videos of governor are fake, says group •No, they are not- Commissioner Stories from Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation

The Nation gathered that the Taraba stakeholders, comprising some political leaders including federal legislators met between Tuesday and Thursday in Abuja on how to remove Suntai without rancour. A court is currently hearing a suit to stop the planned removal of the governor. Sources said that at a point, the stakeholders went to Kaduna on Wednesday for consultations with some influential citizens of the state. The priority of the stakeholders, sources said, is how to "guarantee a seamless transition for the acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar." One of the options agreed upon is "a comprehensive consultation with ethnic associations, Christian groups and the Muslim community in the state." A timeline of one month was set for the consultation be-

fore the removal of Suntai is effected. Similarly, the stakeholders agreed to present an action plan on the issue to the presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party any moment from now. One of the sources said: "We have agreed to replace Suntai with the acting governor in line with Section 189 of the 1999 Constitution. "Having met for three days, the stakeholders designed an exit plan for Suntai, including the readiness of the state to bear his medical bill. "We will present our proposals to the presidency and PDP leadership any time from next week." Asked if they were no longer interested in the legal process to remove Suntai, the source said: "Our political decision will even hasten the legal action in court. Once, we are able to build consensus, Suntai's fate will be sealed in court."

Justice Elvis Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja had, during the week, referred the suit to remove Suntai to the Federal High Court in Jalingo, Taraba State. He said the matter ought to have been heard in Taraba State in the absence of insecurity issues in the state. He declared that in line with the new policy direction of the Federal High Court, cases are to be heard in jurisdictions from where they emanate In dismissing the governor's pictures and clips shown on NTA, the general secretary of the TJF, Mr. Abulus John said the circus show would lead the state nowhere. ``The game started when a picture of Governor Jonah Jang with Suntai was released with the Plateau State governor assuring that Danbaba will soon return to the country to resume work. Four months after, Danbaba is yet to return. That is false propaganda one," he

•Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku (left), Governor of Oyo State Abiola Ajimobi and World Bank Consultant and Guest Lecturer, Prof. Oladipo Adamolekun at the 2013 Oyo State Public Service Forum Lecture held at Premier Hotel, Ibadan at the weekend.

said. ``Few months ago and on more than three occasions, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Emmanuel Bello, went on air to boast that he would put the governor on telephone once he reached Germany. Danbaba is well and he will soon be back, Bello told the whole world. The next thing we heard was that the governor has been flown to USA for intensive care ``Up till date, Bello has not put the governor on telephone for Channels or any other medium. The next thing was a picture of the governor and his wife and another of the governor cutting birthday cake. All such pictures confirm that all is not well with Danbaba." He added: ``The last circus show was on NTA. It was so embarrassing that even the NTA had to apologise that the audio quality was bad. Why will there be a good visual without good audio? The fact is that the governor cannot talk or converse correctly because he is brain damaged. ``If truly the governor is okay and recuperating why not take Channels and NTA along to USA so that they can independently interview the governor? Why are they bringing all these fake clips to further embarrass Taraba? "The fact is that the governor is not suffering from physical deformity but he is brain damaged and so medically incapacitated. ``This is the bitter truth that Bello and others are trying to cover up. But the matter can no longer be swept under the carpet." Responding to the allegation, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Emmanuel Bello, said: "The pictures and videos showing Governor Suntai are not fake. I don't understand. Are they saying anyone who visited the governor is also fake because all those who visited the governor took pictures with him? So, are they all lying? "In any case, those who say the pictures and videos are fake should prove their point. The onus of proof is on them. They are the ones making the charge."

Ministry defies National Assembly, concessions National Arts Theatre A MAJOR row may be brewing between the Federal Government and the National Assembly after the executive defied a stay action order from the House of Representatives and went ahead to concession the National Arts Theatre, Lagos. The concessionaire and the terms of concession remained a top secret last night with sources saying only a few government officials have the details of the deal. One source said it was doubtful if the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) was carried along on the issue. Following a row over plans by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation to turn the complex into a hotel, the House of Representatives had on April 8, directed the minister, Mr. Edem Duke, to stay further action on the concession. It also halted the planned ejection of three agencies from the Theatre Complex.

In a letter signed by the Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Chief Ben Nwankwo, the Reps said they ought to be briefed on the inherent public interest in the planned development of the Arts Theatre. Also, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Sen. Ahmed Barata faulted the minister by claiming that "interestingly, you have deliberately kept the Committee and National Assembly incommunicado on the action so far in order to deny her its legislative role." Although the two chambers of the National Assembly are still looking at issues involved in the concession plans, a letter from a Federal Government Committee has confirmed the action taken by the government. The confirmation of the

concession of the Arts Theatre was contained in a letter by the Federal Government Implementation Committee of the White Paper on the Commission of Inquiry into the Alienation of Federal Government Landed Properties. In the letter, the Secretary of the Presidential Implementation Committee, Mr. Kola Adeyemi, said government had decided to "relocate some agencies of the Federal Government that are currently located within and around the National Theatre based on the concessioning of the monument and that some of the agencies are to be moved to some offices at the Federal Ministry of Information Building, 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos which is in the custody of your office. "In view of this, you are to, please cooperate with of-

ficers who have been given the responsibility to handle the relocation so that this important national assignment can be concluded on time," he said. A government source, however, said: "Following media revelation about the secret concession plan, the National Council on Privatisation summoned the minister on why the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) was not carried along in the exercise. "The NCP took the step because as far back as 2006, BPE had short-listed two firms for the lease of the National Arts Theatre. The companies are Infrastructica and Jadeas Trust. "Infrastructica actually won the lease bid to pay the Federal Government N35billion for 35 years. But it could not raise the required funds. The offer was then set aside for Jadeas Trust.

"Instead of allowing Jadeas Trust to take over, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation attempted to turn the complex into a hotel until it boomeranged. "We don't know whether they have conceded the National Theatre to Jadeas Trust or not. We don't know if they are still going ahead with their secret plot which NCP aborted. It is strange to hear that a concession has taken place. "The National Assembly should assist Nigerians to know the truth on this concession they are talking about." The theatre was inaugurated on September 30, 1976 by the then Military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo. It was opened five months before the hosting of the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC '77) in January/February 1977.



Monthly allocation crises: Jang summons emergency NGF meeting From: Yusufu AminuIdegu, Jos


LATEAU State Governor and factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Jonah Jang, has summoned an emergency meeting of the Forum to resolve the financial dispute arising from the monthly allocation meeting. The emergency meeting is to hold at NGF’s secretariat located at no 2 Nana Close, off Nile Street, Maitama Abuja by 6pm tomorrow. The monthly allocation meeting held in Abuja last Friday between the Minister of finance and commissioners of finance of the 36 states ended in a chaos. The state commissioners in attendance walked out on the Minister of Finance within just thirty minutes into the meeting. They also reportedly turned down pleas by the minister to return to the meeting. The cause of the dispute was not clear but it was suspected to be over the sharing formula offered by the finance minister. A statement by Jang in Jos yesterday read: “In view of the impasse arising from the federal allocation account committee meeting, an emergency meeting of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum has been convened in Abuja.” The statement added that all the state governors will meet with President Jonathan by 9 pm on the same matter. It therefore urged all the governors to endeavor to attend the meeting in person.

NBA business law kicks off By John Austin Unachukwu


HE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Business Law (SBL) 7th conference kicks off in Lagos this evening with a welcome cocktail at the Eko Hotel and Suites. NBA President OkeyWali (SAN) and prominent leaders, including the General Secretary of the body, Emeka J. P. Obegolu, have expressed optimism and readiness to grace the event. The seventh annual conference of the SBL is the first conference of the section after the expiration of the tenure of its pioneer chairman and founding father, George Etomi. In a chat with The Nation, Wali (SAN) said: “The issue of continuing legal education is a very important aspect of my administration because that is what makes a lawyer. “I am very happy that this conference will greatly enrich the knowledge base of every lawyer that attends it and we will equally score the points for every lawyer that participates in it as part of our continuing legal education programme.” Chairman of SBL, Mr. GbengaOyebode, said that the SBL Conference scheduled to hold from June 16 to 19 at Eko Hotel and Suites will be a world class conference because adequate preparations have been concluded to that effect. The theme of the conference is “The legal profession in an emerging economy”.



2015: Over 73 million now in INEC database, says Jega


HE Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. AttahiruJega, has disclosed that 73.5 million Nigerians have been captured so far in the commission’s new database for 2015 elections with relevant information. The registered Nigerians, Jega said, now have their biometric captured with addresses, ten finger prints, photographs and telephone numbers. He spoke in Abuja when he led the INEC national commissioners to the National Population Commission (NPC) headquarters. Jega assured that with the development, Nigeria will have the largest database that is credible and fairly accurate beyond 2015. He said: “We have conducted the biometric data registration in order to establish a new resister of voters. We now have a data base of at lesst 73. 5 million Nigerians that have own their biometric captured with addresses, ten finger prints, photograph, telephone numbers, and I believe we will probably have one of the largest database that is credible and fairly accurate in this country.” He lamented that his job is challenging since he came in as the INEC boss in June 2010, noting that the registration of voters was carried out within three weeks.

‘My job is challenging’

From: GbengaOmokhunu, Abuja Jega said: “It has been a very challenging Job. We cannot underestimate the challenges, we have to continue to improve, refine and bring additional innovation into the electoral process so that 2015 will be much better than 2011.” The INEC boss revealed many experts told him the conduct cannot be possible while

many discouraged him. He vowed to do all within his power to ensure that 2015 election is better than what obtained in 2011. According to him: “What we have to do now is to continue to update that database and we have brought remarkable credibility into the Voters Register in the country.” The chief electoral officer asked the NPC to make the

demographic database of the country available for better conduct of the 2015 polls. The chairman of the NPC,Eze Festus Odimegwu, confirmed that the commission does not have a demographic database but promised to work with INEC to produce one soon. Odimegwu applauded efforts of the Jega- led INEC, pledging effective partnership to ensure a free and fair election in 2015.

•L-R: Chairman Arewa political group Lagos State, Alhaji Dandamma Yabo; Secretary General Arewa Community Lagos State; Alhaji Garuba Chede and Chairman, Mile 12 Market, Lagos, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed, during the June 12 anniversary celebration recently PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES

FG targets $1.3b from cassava chips export to China, Europe


IGERIA is to rake in about $1.37 billion before 2015 through existing contractual agreements with China and European nations on export of dried cassava chips. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. AkinwumiAdesina, gave the assurance at the 2013 Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) Mid-Term review at the weekend in Abuja. He said the Federal Government had already secured a contract to export 3.2 million metric tons of the produce to China.

From: Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja According to him: “Export opportunities exist for dried cassava chips as the world’s leading cassava producer. Nigeria is well positioned to benefit from this export market. “Based on existing contracts, Nigeria can earn between $802 million and $1.37 billion from dried chips exports to China and Europe.” He placed global market for cassava chips export between $1.5 and 2 billion dollars, adding that China re-

mains world’s largest buyer of the produce used for ethanol production. Speaking on the value chains which include rice, cassava, livestock, cocoa, oil palm, cotton, among others, rice production, he said, have received significant boost in last one year. He said within one year, the nation was able to produce about 690, 000 metric tons of rice and milled 1.1 million metric tons of the produce during its first dry season farming in 10 northern states. According to him, the dry season rice plantation sup-

ported 268, 000 farmers on 264, 000 hectares in Bauchi, Gombe, Jigagwa, Kano, Katsina and Kogi states. Others are Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi. To avoid post production losses of citrus, pineapple and tomato crops, Adesina disclosed that Teragro has invested about N1 billion in processing fruit concentrates in the country. He lamented that concentrates of citrus fruit juice produced internally were mostly imported while water remains the only local ingredient.

FG secures $500m to combat erosion


HE Federal Government has secured a $500 million facility to address some of the erosion projects in the country, the Minister of Environment, HajiaHadizaMailafia, has disclosed. The minister also informed of plans by the United Nations (UN) to set up REDD+ University in the country. The decision, according to the minister, followed the nation’s ability to preserve its forest reserve. Mailafia spoke at the 2013 Mid Term Presidential Media briefing at the weekend in Abuja. She said: “The major challenge we have now is multinational. To this effect, the World Bank has come up with a $500

•UN selects Nigeria to set up REDD+ University

From: Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja

million facility that will be used over a period of three years to address the enormous challenge of erosion. “Over the years, the South Eastern part of this country has been constantly bedevilled with major erosion occurrences. “We have issues of erosion in Akwa Ibom for over three years; it’s still there so Mr. President has decided to address this beginning with the big one. “I want to congratulate and tell Nigerians that the United Nations has approved for a REDD+ university to be built in Nigeria because of our efforts in preserving Nigeria’s forest reserves.”

She expressed fears that the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Federal Government might be unsuccessful if issues of flooding and environmental degradation are not considered. She identified the Kizito Erosion Control project, Imo, Nekede as well as the erosion control project in Abeokuta, Ogun State as few of the completed projects, which are awaiting commissioning. On oil spillage, Mailafia said the Federal Government has supervised the clean-up of over four hundred and ninety-seven oil spill sites in the country. She said the ministry also remediated 430 lead poisoned homes and four hectares of lead poisoned industrial sites in

Bagega village in Zamfara State. She blamed the large number of erosion sites in the nation on past administrations for not doing enough on erosion control. She said President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the upgrading of National Parks Service to paramilitary organisation with effect from January 2014. The Federal Government, the minister added, is set to privatise all the national parks in the nation. Mailifia said it was imperative for the Federal Government to tackle hazardous waste problems in the country especially those that involve the illegal importation and dumping of electrical and electronic waste (ewaste).

Teachers’ strike: We can’t pay beyond 15 percent, says Ogun From: Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta


GUN State government has said it could only pay 15 percent of the Teachers Peculiar Allowance (TPA) in its public primary and secondary schools and not the 27.5 percent being demanded by them. The teachers under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) had since last June 1 downed tools to protest the non- payment of the 27.5 percent TPA by the state government. But its rival, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), declined participation in the strike, which would enter the third week tomorrow. ASUSS also proceeded to alert the police and the State Security Service(SSS) of the increasing intimidation and harassment of its members by NUT in a bid to forcibly drag ASUSS into joining the on - going strike. According to the state chairman of ASUSS, Comrade Tunde Folarin, the decision by his members to stay off the strike called by NUT was reached at the end of its Central Working Committee after it agreed with the state government’s phase payment procedure, starting with the “payment 15 per cent by 1st of July.” The commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Segun Odubela, told reporters at the weekend that though the government is negotiating with the teachers, it could not afford to pay the 27.5percent being demanded. He noted that the government was ready to pay the 15 percent to all teachers in the state irrespective of the union they belong. He said: “Concerning the NUT strike, I can assure you that we have been having negotiations with them and of course the government on our part has agreed to pay 15percent. “You know they are agitating for 27.5 but the government is prepared to pay 15percent and this of course has been communicated to them.” Folarin said the body had to notify the security agencies so that measures could be taken to avoid “fracas” in schools should the ASUSS found itself compelled to engage in self defence against intimidations by NUT officials. He urged the ASUSS members throughout the state to continue discharging their lawful business as they await the final consummation of the 25.7 peculiar allowances.


Akwa-Ibom swears in four commissioners, special adviser From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo


KWA Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, has warned the four newly appointed commissioners and a special adviser to disrobe themselves of the fanciful idea of power and influence. He urged them instead to join hands in building a state that would create conditions and opportunities for Akwa Ibom persons to fulfill their aspirations. The governor gave the warning yesterday after swearing in four commissioners, a special adviser and chairman, Akwa Ibom House of Assembly Service Commission at the new Governor's Office, Uyo, the state capital. According to Akpabio: "If you came with fancy ideas of power and influence, I warn you that the principles of our administration are founded on loyalty, dedication, integrity, service and humility. "If you are a politician, remember that as from today you have disembarked from the boat of politics and joined the ship of statesmanship.” The new commissioners are Engr. Iboro Ekanem, immediate past Chairman of Akwa Ibom Rural Water and Sanitation Agency; Dr. Glory Emmmanuel Edet, former lecturer of Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Uyo; Prof. Atim Bassey Antai, former Dean of Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Calabar and Dr. Emem Baassey, former Chief Consultant, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo. The new special adviser is Akparawa NtukUdeh, a onetime International President of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio. The chairman is Obong Cornel T. Udoh, former Chief of Staff to Governor Godswill Akpabio and a retired Permanent Secretary.

Calabar agog for GE's manufacturing plant


ENERAL Electric (GE) has scheduled the groundbreaking of its $250 Million manufacturing and assembly plant for Tuesday in Calabar. The ceremony will be performed by the Vice President, Arch. Namadi Sambo. When completed in the next three years, the facility will be the biggest in Africa and will have an additional operating expenditure of about $1 Billion in the next 10 years. Besides, it intends to make Calabar the hub of its manufacturing activities in sub-Saharan Africa. Calabar is agog with various activities just as economists have been listing the impacts GE's arrival will have on the economy of Cross River State in particular and Nigeria as a whole. Prof. Ndem Ayara, the economic adviser to the Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, said: "The biggest infrastructure gap we have is in the energy sub-sector. “


Residents flee community over gas pollution S OME residents of O g b o i n b i r i Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa have fled their homes due to gas pollution caused by leakage from an oil rig. Former Chairman of the Ogboinbiri Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr. Newton Daniel, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa yesterday that the incident occurred on Thursday night till late Friday.

``The gas leak which started at about 8p.m. on Thursday, came from an oil rig owned by Agip Oil Company and covered the whole area. Everybody fled till late Friday,'' Daniel said. He said that the leadership of the CDC visited the scene shortly after the incident and met with some of the workers on the site, who confirmed that there had been gas

leakage from the rig. Daniel said the community had dispatched a delegation to meet with Agip officials, adding that the company had not responded as at the time of this report. The project officer of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), an NGO, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said the group had received report of the leakage. ``I have received the

report of the gas leakage, which they say is very serious and had forced many people in the area to flee their homes due to the pollution.'' He said the report reaching ERA indicated that the gas leakage was from a rig working on an oil wellhead in the community and promised to visit the scene. The spokesman for Agip Oil Company, Mr. Tajudeen Adigun, declined to comment on the matter on phone.

• Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, presenting a plaque to wife of Adamawa State Governor, Dr. Halima Nyako, during a courtesy call at the Governor's office, Uyo

Four UNIBEN students killed in cult clash F OUR students of the University of Benin have been reportedly killed in a renewed cult war between two rival cult groups. It could not be ascertained what led to the recent killings. Sources said two were killed at Osasogie Street close to the university main campus at Ugbowo along the Benin-

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Lagos Express Road. The source said several shots were fired in other areas around the university including the staff quarters. Apparently in a reprisal attack, another two students

were shot inside the university campus where students have queued for biometric registration at the University Sports Complex. One of the victims, who is a 200-level Mathematics student and simply identified as Snazzy, was shot in the neck. The attackers were said to have dropped the gun and

escaped in the ensuing stampede. The identity of the other student could not be ascertained as at press time. Snazzy was rushed to the University of Benin where doctors battled to save his life to no avail. The Public Relations Officer of the university, Harris Osarenren, did not pick calls made to his cell phone for comments.

committee set up on the issue. The President of the Students' Union Government (SUG) in the university, Lucky Inyang and the vice president of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Ubon Marcus, regretted the incident,

blaming it on miscreants who hijacked the peaceful protest. The State Police commissioner, Umar Gwadabe, said the 45 suspected rioters arrested are being screened, promising that those found culpable would be charged to court.

Akpabio seeks probe of students' riot


OVERNOR of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has demanded for an investigation panel to probe last Wednesday's riot at the University of Uyo. The authorities confirmed one student dead in the mayhem while four officials of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NANS) were killed in a road accident same day on their way to the institution to resolve the crisis. Engineering students of the university embarked on a peaceful protest against the N100 increase in transport fare from the temporary campus to the permanent site at Nsukara Offot. The protest turned violent and the police were called in to restore order. A 200-level geology student, Kingsley Umoette, died in the process. Akpabio, who was on an on -the- spot assessment of the situation, described the riot as criminal and premeditated. The governor, who was conducted round by the vice chancellor of the University, Prof. Comfort Ekpo, said the rioters took undue advantage

From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo

of the disagreement between the authorities and the students to destroy the school's academic records. According to him: "This act is a disaster. My observation here is that the destruction of the buildings was targeted at the 20-year-old school records and examination results. "It was a pre-planned arrangement by miscreants, who are 'professional students' using the opportunity of the peaceful protest to raze down buildings where the school's academic records were kept." He asked the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the case and suggested the involvement of visitor to the institution and the minister of Education in getting to the root of the crisis. He sympathised with the institution over the sad incident and pledged the state government's readiness to build and hand over two hostels to the university as soon as the school allocates a site for the project. The vice chancellor said the increase in transport fare was introduced with the knowledge of the students' representatives in a

SURE-P: ACN chieftain berates PDP for hijacking scheme


CHIEFTAIN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Ojie Ogwu, yesterday berated the Delta State Government for allegedly hijacking the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme(SURE-P) in the state. He spoke at Aboh, the headquarters of Ndokwa East Local Government. Ogwu, who said that the SURE-P programme is a people-oriented programme and not just for PDP, expressed shock that the transition committee chairman of the council has hijacked the programme meant for the entire state. Condemning the act, Ogwu stated the scheme has no party colouration and should be evenly shared for

From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri all and sundry irrespective of party affiliations. He said: "The money was not brought for PDP to empower few people or individuals for the purpose of election or to bribe some persons but the SURE-P is a programme for those that are buying fuel, traders and farmers in the area but they are not getting it." He went on: "The SURE-P is not a PDP affair but for all the people who are suffering from this subsidy removal. "They should ensure it spreads around the people instead of giving this money to a few people in the name of party and should not be tied to PDP because they are in power."


10 killed in Edo cult clash From Osagie Otabor, Benin


VER 10 persons have been killed in different parts of Benin City in a renewed clash between two rival cult groups in the state. The killings was said to have started on Thursday. A community leader in Egor Village identified as Odigie was among the latest victim of the cult clashes. He was said to have been traced to his residence and shot dead by his assailants. A resident in the area said several shops in the area were closed for fear of arrest or further attacks. "People in the street have become apprehensive. They are afraid of arrest," he said. A son of Benin Chief was said to have killed last Thursday. Victims of the latest killings, according to sources, included students, commercial bus drivers and businessmen. Spokesman for the state Police Command, DSP Moses Eguaveon, said several suspects have been arrested. He disclosed that some arms and ammunition were also recovered. According to him: "There are cult -related incidents in Benin metropolis. Somebody was shot in UNIBEN yesterday. Some arrests have been made in cult related matters. "We are putting measures in place to get to the root of the matter".

Kidnap: Three buildings demolished in Delta From Polycarp Orosevwotu, Warri


HREE buildings have been demolished in Ovara-Orogun community of Ughelli Noth Local Government Area of Delta State following the kidnap of the wife of the traditional ruler of Ughelli kingdom. It was learnt that two of the buildings demolished by the combined team of the men of the Nigeria Police, Army and the local vigilance group belonged to the kidnap kingpin. The kingpin said to be residing in Lagos built one of the buildings for his mother and rented the other to keep his victims. The wife of the traditional ruler of Ughelli kingdom, Queen Gladys Oharisi, was kidnapped last Thursday by gunmen who intercepted her and others on her way from school where she went to register her courses at the Delta State University, Abraka. The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Delta Central Area Command, ACP Awosola Awotinde, said: "As you have known, we started this demolition in EbohOrogun. We have done it in Warri, Ozoro and we will continue to do it anywhere the owner of any building allows his building to be used for this dubious job." A source close to the family said a ransom of N1.1million was paid to the kidnappers, a claim that Awotinde refuted.




Death of a matriarch


Abibat Mogaji passes on at 96

LHAJA (Dr) Abibatu Asabi Mogaji is dead. She died at the age of 96 at about 6pm on yesterday at her residence

number 10 Sunday Adigun, Ikeja, Lagos. The late Alhaja Mogaji, who until her death was President-general, Association of Nigerian Market

Women and Men, is the mother of the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola

Tinubu. She was this year honoured with a doctorate degree by the Ahmadu Bello University during its 50th anniversary. She was

honoured along with former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and former chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Theophilus. She will be buried today

at the Vaults and Garden, Ikoyi, Lagos, after prayers at the Central Mosque, Lagos at 10am. Reception will take place at Blue Roof, Ikeja.

Tambuwal: She was an uncommon gift


PEAKER of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, has described the death of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, mother of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who passed away yesterday, as a painful loss which has created a vacuum in the ranks of philanthropic Nigerians. In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Me-

dia and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal described the deceased as a committed nationalist who gave all for the unity, progress and development of the nation. Tambuwal said as family members, friends and associates mourn Alhaja Abibat, they should be comforted by the knowledge that the renowned market leader lived a life full of many indelible achieve-

ments and notable contributions to development of Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general. The Speaker said the deceased “was an uncommon gift to Nigeria. And we will continue to cherish her love and affection”. While praying to Allah to reward her good deeds with Jannat, Tambuwal prayed to God give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

She was a great woman, says Amosun


GUN State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has described the death ofAlhaja Abibatu Mogaji, the President General of Nigeria Market women and men, as a great loss to Nigeria. Amosun, in a statement signed his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, condoled

with the children of the deceased, especially the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), Senator Bola Tinubu, the government and People of Lagos State and the entire market women and men across the country. He said Mogaji led a fulfilled life and her footprints are endured on the sands of time. He recalled that Mama’s

sterling qualities, exemplary character and contribution to human development led to her being conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Human Letters (D.H.L) Honoris Causa by Ahmadu Bello University in 2012. “She was a great woman,” the governor said. May Allah grant Mama rest in Aljanah.

Aregbesola: We’ve lost a mother in a million


HE death of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji has been described as a loss of a mother in a million. Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said the death of the Tinubu matriarch would leave a big vacuum in the political and commercial sectors of not only Lagos

State but Nigeria at large. Aregbesola said Madam Mogaji led a life of substance worthy of emulation. “Mama Abibat Mogaji was a mother in a million. We commiserate with children, particularly Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and others for the great loss. “We commiserate with the Oba of Lagos, HRH Rilwan Akiolu, the Mogaji Family, the people of Lagos, particularly

Alhaji Femi Okunnu; the party (ACN); the government of Lagos, market men and women in Nigeria and Lagos in particular. “We pray that God gives them the fortitude to bear the loss and we pray God grants her Aljana Firdaus,” Aregbesola said. He also extended the condolence of the government and people of Osun to the immediate and extended families of Tinubu and other well-wishers.

She was an activist par excellence, says Fayemi


KITI State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described the death of Alhaja Abibat Mogaji as a great and monumental loss for the nation’s commerce. The governor said in a statement on that Alhaja Mogaji was a pillar of support for many people in her lifetime as she served as an oak of succour to the lessprivileged. The statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, described Mogaji as a legend, a colossus and a titan whose contributions would remain indelible in the minds of many. He however said he was happy that the late market leader lived to a very ripe old age and positively contributed to the nation’s economy as an investor, entrepreneur, employer of labour and a bigtime merchant. Describing Alhaja Mogaji as an “activist par excellence”, Fayemi recalled that the deceased used her position to mobilise market women to fight for their economic rights and empowerment.

The governor pointed out that Alhaja Mogaji was in the forefront of women emanci-

pation and participation in politics most especially in having a say in the election of their political leaders.

Mogaji: A tale of politics and commerce A T 96, the PresidentGeneral of the Market Men and Women Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Abibat Mogaji, died peacefully in Lagos yesterday. She left behind worthy legacies in politics, commerce and philanthropy. Her last public assignment was performed in her capacity as the Chairman of the Lagos State Market Development Board. For almost 70 years, her name was synonymous with the Lagos market, its pride, beauty, varieties, pains and prospects. There was never a time her leadership was disputed. She had also articulated the interests of the market men and women and pressed for welfare programmes for traders throughout the country. Mogaji had shown those traits and promise of leadership as a kid trader and apprentice learning at the feet of Madam Pelewura,

By Emmanuel Oladesu Group Political Editor

a successful and influential trader, during the colonial period. She achieved her freedom after serving her boss with loyalty, honesty, principle and faith. Immediately, she built on that time-tested trading reputation. When she started her own business, she became a household name in the metropolis, mentoring young leaders and organising them into associations and societies for interest articulation and aggregation. She taught the principles of profitable trading, diversification of commercial ventures and debt recovery. She also exposed many traders to variety trading, customers relations, confidence building, lending and borrowing with dignity and keeping of trading promise. Mogaji achieved fame by dint of hard work, self-sacrifice and commitment to the

goals of life. She was a focused trader and employer of labour in the informal setting. Many who came to her as trading apprentices later became so intimate with her and she treated them like blood relations. As a parent, she groomed people without sparing the rod to spoil the child. A rich trader, she became a philanthropist. She sponsored many indigent students up to tertiary institutions. She was also a pillar of support for many youths who ventured into small scale businesses. The prominent market leader has also sponsored many Muslims for holy pilgrimage to Mecca and Christians to Jerusalem from her pocket. Unknown to many, Mogaji was a politician. She had joined the Action Group (AG) led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the fifties, mobilising support for the party leader during the campaigns. She was an active

member of the AG Women Association led by the late Mrs. Olayinka Rosiji, mother of the late Chif Ayo Rosiji, the party secretary. Through her political activities, she became intimate with Mrs. HID Awolowo. Community historians recall that when the late Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu wanted to replace Basorun J.K Randle as a councillor in the Lagos Town Council, Mogaji was one of the eminent Lagosians who campaigned for him, despite the stiff opposition by the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) chieftains, including Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, Alhaji S.A Adewale (The boy is good), Otunba TOS Benson, Chief Adeleke Adedoyin and Dr. Ibiyinka Olorunnimbe. Mrs Mogaji was not a woman of letters. But, during the AG crisis, she rejected overtures from the late Chief Ladoke Akintola to desert Awo. Throughout the period

that Awo was in prison, she was always part of the partisan birthday ceremonies organised for the late sage. Alhaji Mogaji was among the party women who rallied support for Alhaji Lateef Jakande in 1979, who ran for the governorship on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), when he defeated Alhaji Ladega Adele of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and also in 1983. She was part of the Reconciliation Team to Kwara State to resolve the protracted crisis in the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) between Senator Cornelius Adebayo and Chief Sunday Olawoyin. As Mrs Awolowo recalled, women recorded success where the men failed. In this dispensation, old age had caught up with the Amazon. But in her old age, she did not mock her political antecedent. She had been a pillar of support for •Continued on Page 9




Death of a matriarch

•Late Abibat -Mogaji and Asiwaju Tinubu

•L-R:Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Femi Okunnu and Sen. Ibikunle Amosu.

•L-R: Chief Pius Akinyelure and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu •L-R: Prof. Yemi Latunji Bello and Mrs Abimbola Fashola

•L-R: Commisssioner for Transport, Lagos State, Kayode Opeifa, Hon. Ayodele Adewale and Hon. Femi Hamzat


•L-R: Chief Henry Ajomale and Hon. Muiz Banire PHOTOS: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL

A tale of politics and commerce •Continued from Page 8

progressives politicians in Lagos State, led by her beloved son, Senator Bola Tinubu. Many politicians had often run to her residence at Sunday Adigun Street, Alaus, Ikeja, for endorsement. She was said to be influential on her son, although she also had cause to disagree with him in the public once, while pleading for traders who were temporarily sleeping overnight in market in Lagos. While the former governor aid said that the practice was illegal, Mrs. Mogaji still pleaded on behalf of her primary con-

stituency to the governor to allow them to sort themselves out before applying disciplinary measures. During her life time, she was honoured with the chieftaincy titles of Yeyeoba of Lagos, Yeyeoba of Ikirun, and Yeyeoba of Kweme. She was also honoured with the Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa) by the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo. She was also conferred with the national award of the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) and Member of the Order of Niger (MON) by the Federal Government.






Monarch denies involvement in Cross River communal crisis From Nicholas Kalu, Calabar


HE Obol Lopon of Mkpani community in Yakurr local government of Cross River State, Obol Sunday Okoi, has denied rumours of his community's involvement in the recent communal crisis that claimed at least four lives. The Adun community, particularly Onyadama, in Obubra local government area recently allegedly invaded the Inyima community in Yakurr leaving death and destruction in their wake. Reacting to rumours that the people of Mkpani supported the invaders against Inyima in Calabar yesterday, Okoi said: "There is an ancestral bond of friendship between the people of Mkpani and the two warring communities to the extent that one would never receive unfair advantage against the other." He added: "In our estimation, the two communities are our brothers. When news of the crisis reached me I immediately rallied my council, leaders of thought, women and youth leaders and we took proactive steps to ensure that nobody does any act that will directly or indirectly link the community to what was happening. "My subjects were strictly warned to avoid rumours, misinformation and lies of the crisis or face dire consequences. These helped in no small measure to sustain the peace throughout the trying period. "That Mkpani's name is still dragged into the fray shows the malice and avowed desire of some people to malign and bring into disrepute the integrity of our name."

Nigerite achieves 95% waste recycling By OkwyIroegbu-Chikezie


IGERITE Nigeria Limited, a building material company, has achieved 95 percent of dry waste recycling in conjunction with Lafarge to make clinkers for cement production. Its marketing director, Mr.ToyinGbede, said the firm recycles all the wet wastes internally and re-uses them in the product processes. The firm, he said, also recovers all effluent water (wet wastes) from its machines during production. Gbede said: "We filter used oil and re-use same on our production lines. "In 2011, we recovered 39 tons of oil, 85 tons in 2012 and now 25 tons." Throwing more light on how the two firms manage solid waste, he said it is done through the differentiation of waste sorting basins for plastics, electronics, woods, iron and domestic wastes. On rainwater harvesting, Gbede said: "Sanitary, laundry and rain water are stored in storm water lagoon and treated before discharging into public drain." According to him, in addition to the synchronisation of the diesel and gas generators to reduce carbon gas emission, other processes engaged in are inhouse dust and noise monitoring laboratories.



Okada ban: Motorcycle dealers lament losses • Operators leave Edo in droves D EALERS in motorcycles and its spare parts have become the first casualties of the ban on the use of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada in three local government areas of Edo State. They said they have not recorded any sales since the state government announced the ban of okada riders in three commercial nerve centres in the state. Also banned from highways in the state is the use of tricycles popularly known as

From Osagie Otabor, Benin

Keke NAPEP. The ban would take effect from tomorrow (Monday June 17). Governor Adams Oshiomhole said the painful decision was reached after a meeting with heads of security operatives in the state. Many dealers said they just imported new motorcycles but were taken aback by the

ban on Okada. Those who spoke said “not a single person has come to ask the price of motor-cycle since on Wednesday when the announcement was made.” It was learnt that some dealers gave motorcycles out on hire purchase while some riders who collected have returned the motorcycles have absconded. Chairman of the motor-

cycle and spare parts dealers, Elder Dan Chukwukere, pleaded with the state government to extend the deadline. Chukwukere said the governor should expect to see many mad men on the street if the ban were not lifted or extended. According to him: “There is no way you can separate us from the Okada riders. This law is affecting us now more

than the riders. If he stops them from these local governments, there is no way we will sell. “Our business has been down. Nobody is asking us how much. Our sales have dropped. We borrowed money to buy these goods and nobody is buying. “Over 1,000 dealers are now affected. We have family. We are law-abiding and pay all government revenue. The government cannot wake up and remove our source of livelihood. He should look into the banning and lift it.” Some motorcycles mechanics said they would monitor the ban before they would know what to do. Some Okada riders were seen bringing their motorcycles for sales. They told the Nation they want to dispose them off before the Monday deadline and look for other means of living. Residents in border villages in the state said they saw several motorcyclists riding to other states.

NCP decries NGF crisis, sues for peace From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

•Anambra state governor, Peter Obi (middle) with the UN under Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency, Baroness Amos Valerie (left) and the UNDP Country Representative to Nigeria, Daouda Toure on tour of last year's flood affected areas of the state… yesterday

Flood: Plateau residents refuse to leave water ways


HE Plateau state government has raised the alarm over the refusal of some residents to flee water ways to minimise the effect of predicted flood in the state this year. The deputy governor, Ambassador Ignatius Longjan, who is also the Chairman Plateau flood relief management committee, said residents in the communities affected by last year’s flood have refused the advice to leave the water ways. The refusal, Longjan said might lead to a repeat of last year’s disaster. Speaking at a media forum over the weekend, the deputy governor said: “The alarm has become necessary as it is obvious some people are embarking on suicide mission by refusing the quit flood zones.” He explained that the last year’s incident killed over 100 residents and swept through 300 communities in southern Plateau. No fewer than 50 residents of Rikkos area of Jos metropolis also died during the disaster, which also destroyed 350 homes in the community, the deputy governor added. He lamented that “majority of the residents whose houses were swept away by the flood in Rikkos last year are busy erecting their houses despite the obvious threat of another predicted flood in this rainy season. “In the same way, some people in Langtang South who were victims of last year flood are insisting they

From YUSUFU AMINU Idegu, Jos will not vacate the danger zone thinking the flood will not occur again.” On the level of compliance with his committee’s advice, he said: “it is obvious the people whose lives are in

danger are not ready to heed government early warning. “Though some people have willingly complied with these preventive measures, many others are still insisting they will remain where they are.” He vowed government would not relent in its efforts

to continue sensitising people on the impending danger, stating it will be cheaper to prevent than manage a disaster. Investigations revealed some of those resisting relocation believe they are protecting their ancestral lands where they claimed they buried their grandparents.

NANS auto crash: Police denies culpability


BIA police command has denied being the cause of the auto crash that claimed the lives of the Senate President of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Donald Onukaogu, and four other officials of the union. Eye-witness account said the accident was caused by an alleged road block mounted by the police on the highway. The NANS officials were said to be on their way to Uyo to mediate in the crisis that engulfed the University of Uyo early last week over increase in some fees of some departments and transport fare for off campus students when their bus rammed into an oncoming truck at Ariam in Ikwuano LGA of Abia State. Speaking in a telephone interview, Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Usman Tilli Abubakar, denied that police road block caused the accident, saying that police did not mount any road block at any point on the road. Abubakar attributed the crash to bad road, explaining that according to the driver of the truck, with registration number Lagos XX 260 EKY, Nnamdi Onyekwelu, the

From Ugochukwu UgojiEke, Umuahia driver of the NANS bus, was trying to avoid a serious pothole on the middle of the Umuahia/IkotEkpene Federal Highway when he collided with the truck which was also trying to negotiate a sharp bend. The truck driver, Onyekwelu, who is in his mid50's, looked very nervous as he fielded questions from newsmen. According to him, the

NANS driver veered into his lane while trying to avoid the pothole, adding that he could not have avoided the collision as any attempt to dodge the bus would have taken him into the nearby valley. Onyekwelu, a father of four said that the accident was his first experience in his many years of driving with a popular haulage company, Trans Tabans, adding that immediately after the crash, he laid confused on the road until his conductor ran away to invite the police.


HE National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr YinusaTanko, yesterday castigated governors for the crisis in the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF). He said it was regrettable they allowed the election of the Forum's chairmanship on May 24 to create bad blood and heat up the polity. Speaking yesterday at the NCP's congress in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, Tanko opined that the governors should have held the integrity of democracy firmly during the exercise. According to him: "They should go back and work together and desist from washing their dirty linen publicly. "If 36 governors cannot amicably vote within themselves, what then should we expect from the general election in 2015? "I believe the crisis is borne of out their greed for power and most of them are power mongers." Tanko argued that the NGF should not be controlled by an individual but serve as a pressure group to ensure the executive arm do the right thing.

Fayemi congratulates Bayero


KITI State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has congratulated the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, on the 50th anniversary of his ascension to the throne. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, described Bayero as a bridge builder and a committed figure to the unity of the Nigerian federation. Fayemi noted that the Kano monarch is a highly

detribalised Nigerian who has used his position to assist governments at various levels to ensure stability in the polity. He pointed out that the Kano city has witnessed tremendous socio-economic development under the leadership of Bayero and has assumed a pre-eminent importance in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The governor further described the Emir as a selfless servant of the people of Kano Emirate and a compassionate

philanthropist who is ever ready to assist the less privileged. He stressed that the Emir has demonstrated this in his services to the country as a public servant, senior police officer, Nigeria's Ambassador to Senegal, royal father and a religious leader of international repute. Fayemi prayed God to grant Bayero more fruitful years on the throne and more selfless service to humanity.




Anambra 2014: 17 step down for consensus candidate

Imo Bishop saga: Monarchs plead caution From OkodiliNdidi, Owerri


From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi


HE 17 gubernatorial aspirants from Anambra North senatorial zone yesterday agreed to adopt a consensus candidate to enable the zone produce the next governor. Only eight of them, however, attended the meeting. They were Mr. Oseloka Obaze (APGA); Dr. Chike Obidigbo (APGA); Alex Obiogbolu (PDP); Nnamdi Ekweogwu (PDP); Barr Chinedu Idigo (APGA), Paul Odenigbo and Dr. Emma Okafor. They pledged to work with whoever is adopted as the consensus candidate of the zone. Chairman of Olu na Adagbe, Chief Shedrack Anakwue, said each of the major parties would present a candidate from the zone. The aspirants, he said, would endorse the consensus candidate at the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Progressive Alliance (APC). He handed over a sealed envelope to the Chairman of the Anambra North Traditional Rulers’ council and Chairman of Olu na Adagbe traditional ruler, Igwe Rowland Odegbo, for keeps.

Monarch battles community over abattoir From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


HE alleged illegal construction of an abattoir in Umunya, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, has pitched the community against its monarch, Igwe Chris Onyekwuluje. The said abattoir is sited at the Odumodu junction close to family house of some indigenes of the community. Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ndubuisi Menakaya, had written a letter through Dr D.I Obele to some stakeholders in the community that the government had not authorised any abattoir at the location. The reason, according to the letter dated May 8 2013, was its proximity to the EnuguOnitsha Expressway and many residential buildings within. It was copied to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Oyi Transition Chairman and Chairman, Anambra State Butchers Association. But despite the letter, the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Chris Onyekwuluje, went ahead to construct the abattoir with his foot soldiers. Speaking yesterday, he explained he pleaded with the people to give him some time to relocate the abattoir, adding the current location is temporary. According to him: “They complained to me, some people are yearning for the Abattoir for the past 12 years, only a few people are complaining about it. “They should allow them to settle for a while because I want to relocate them very soon. “There is no need to quarrel over a non-issue. I will soon return to Nigeria for us to sort things out.”

•Abia State governor,Theodore Orji(middle) with Mr. Ukaeje Uda, Brewery Manager, Nigerian Breweries Plc Aba with other officials of the company when the governor visited the company in Aba... at the weekend. PHOTO: IBEABUCHI ABARIKWU

Anambra 2014: Confusion as Ifeanyi Ubah dumps APGA for Labour


HERE was confusion yesterday over the alleged adoption of business mogul, Dr Ifeanyi Ubah, as the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Anambra State. Ubah, the owner of Capital Oil and Gas Plc, met with officials of the LP in his country home to finalise his defection from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). It was learnt Ubah requested to use the LP platform to actualise his governorship ambition, a demand, sources said, received a massive support at the meeting. It was also gathered Ubah might be declaring for the LP this weekend. A source at the meeting said: “His posters had no party

•NLC, TUC deny adopting him as candidate •LP: He is just an aspirant From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

tag and he has approached our party to be allowed to be the governorship candidate. “We accepted him and we met on the procedure to do the declaration first for Labour Party before any other thing follows. ‘’He dumped APGA for our party and we are watching how things will turn out because I know he has been automatically adopted as our candidate.” The state chairman of Labour Party, Chief Sam Oaregbunam, confirmed the party met with Ubah but de-

nied he had been adopted as the party’s candidate. Ubah, he said, has to go through the party’s primary, first as stipulated in the Electoral Act under the supervision of INEC before being declared as the candidate. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Anambra State chapter also distanced itself from the purported adoption. Its chairman, Comrade Patrick Obianyo, said that organised labour has not endorsed Ubah or any other candidate. According to him: ’’We are not Labour Party that was

speculated to have endorsed him. We are the organised labour and not the Labour Party. The state chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Justin Okoye, maintained the body cannot sell its stand on none partisanship for anything. ‘’We are workers and there is no way we would be partisan but we must be involved in making sure that the right person emerges as the governor of Anambra State. “There is no candidate for now but if a good candidate emerges from the Labour Party, we would support the candidate to become governor of Anambra State.”

Three robbers killed in gun duel with police


T was indeed a harvest of breakthrough for Ebonyi State Command of the Nigeria Police over the weekend as three robbers from two different gangs fell to the superior firepower of the command’s gallant and vigilant officers after separate gun battles. Three other gang members were equally arrested. The police also arrested four members of a notorious robbery and kidnapping gang that has been terrorising the state. A statement by police spokesman, DSP Sylvester Igbo, said one of the armed robbers killed had engaged the police patrol team in a shootout along Abraham Enyita Street in Abakaliki, the state capital, after robbing a guest house in the area. “In the ensuing battle, one Henry Chukwu popularly known as ‘Drama,’an exstudent of Ebonyi State University, sustained bullet injuries and later gave up the ghost while being taken to the hospital,” Igbo said. Three members of the gang, namely: Emeka Esegor, Ude Oko and Nwokporo William were arrested while various items including double barrel revolver pistol, machetes, locally made shot

•Six others arrested for robbery, kidnapping

From Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki

gun, axe, cartridges were recovered from them. Also two yet-to-be-identified gunmen on a Kymco motorcycle were killed by the police bank patrol and DCP patrol teams at Ishieke area of the city after another gun duel. The robbers, according to Igbo, had opened fire on policemen on duty at a branch of one of the new generation banks along Ogoja road and made away with an assault ri-

fle with 20 rounds of ammunition of one of the officers. But the police bank patrol team and DCP patrol team gave a hot chase to the robbers. “In the exchange of gunfire, one policeman was shot at the shoulder while two of the robbers were caught by the flying bullets and later died on the way to the hospital.” Items recovered from them include an AK47 riffle snatched from the policemen at the bank,

four rounds of ammunition, four rounds of ammunition, GSM Handsets, an ATM card, the sum of ninety thousand four hundred and eighty naira, a Kymco motorcycle. The command also said it arrested one John Uguru, a.k.a. ‘Solo,’ kingpin of a notorious kidnapping ring responsible for the kidnap of one Lydia Uduma at OsoEdda, Afikpo South local government area of the state and later rescued at Amasiri, Afikpo South Council last month.

Man, 22, runs mad, sets family house on fire


TWENTY-TWO-YEARold man, Emeka Ewenike, last week set the 6-bedroom house of his father ablaze, completely razing the building and property worth millions of naira. His father, Jeremiah, however, escaped being burnt to ashes. The incident occured at Umuazu village, Nise in AwkaSouth Local Government Area of Anambra State. Eyewitnesses said the fire started around 11.30pm last Wednesday. Economic trees, PHCH cables and other valuables close

•Father escapes death

From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi

to the building were also razed. But for the intervention of villagers, especially the inferno would have spread to other buildings since Emeka and his father strangely raised no alarm. Villagers said the father and son were watching the fire as the building and property went up in flames. The duo even reportedly started jubilating as the fire spread. When asked why he set the

building on fire, Emeka became incoherent. Villagers said he lost his senses after excessive consumption of Indian hemp. Efforts to speak with father and son proved abortive. Emeka was said to be cooling off in a centre where mentally deranged patients are treated at Nri in Anaocha Local Government Area. Though the Police Public Relations Officer in the State, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, was not reachable, a police source confirmed the incident.

RADITIONAL rulers from Mbaise Council Area of Imo State, at the weekend absolved themselves from the crisis that rocked the Ahiara Catholic Diocese following the appointment and consecration of Monsignor Peter Ebere Okpaleke as the Bishop of the Ahiara Catholic Diocese. It will be recalled that the newly ordained bishop whose appointment sparked off crisis in the diocese was locked out by aggrieved priests and lay faithful who insisted that an indigene of Mbaise be appointed the bishop. The monarchs urged the priests and laity faithful of the diocese to sheath their swords and embrace the new bishop in line with the directives of the Vatican to move the diocese forward. The Chairman of the Mbaise Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Chidume Okoro, while unfolding preparations, regretted that the lingering opposition by both the priests and the laity faithful of the diocese against Okpaleke has adversely portrayed Mbaise as a hostile community that does not tolerate strangers.

Imposition of tax: Traders petition Obi, Speaker •Threaten court action From Nwanosike Onu, Awka


EEVED over what they described as the arbitrary imposition of taxes and the outright closure of their community market, women traders at Eke Awka market have filed a petition against the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi and a traditional ruler of Awka, Obi Gibson Nwosu. Others also petitioned include the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chinwe Nwebili, member representing Awka North and South Federal Constituency, Emeke Nwogbo and the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Robert Okonkwo. The women numbering over 600 are threatening to take their case to court, if within seven days the state government fails to retrace its footsteps on the closure of the market. The petition was written on behalf of the women traders by their counsel, U.F.O. Nnaemeka, dated 12th June, 2013 and made available to The Nation yesterday in Awka. The petition was also copied to the President General of Awka Development Union of Nigeria (A.D.U.N). It may be recalled that over 600 women traders had last Tuesday protested against imposition of tax on them at Eke Awka Market by the state government. They took their protest to the state House of Assembly, where they barricaded the assembly complex before they were addressed by the member representing Awka South Constituency, Kenechukwu Chukwuemeka. He assured them that their issue would be looked into by the lawmakers within two weeks, describing the action of the government as unfair.



Talakawa Liberation Herald (17)

Endgame 2015: they are frenemies alright, but are they benign and/or deadly? [Being a secular sermon in a light mood]

BY BIODUN JEYIFO Frenemy: Alternatively spelled “frienemy”, the term is a portmanteau of “friend” and “enemy” that can refer to either an enemy pretending to be your friend or someone who is your friend but is also a rival. Oxford English Dictionary (online) Share de gari/Share de gari/Share de gari Share gari/Share gari/Share gari Share am/Share am/Share am! Wole Soyinka, “Etiko Revo Wetin?”


T is well, compatriots. Stay blessed, countrymen and women. The shortest book in the Bible, the holy book of Christians, is the Book of Nahum. It is also the one and only book in the Bible that, from the beginning to the end, is filled with curses, imprecations and maledictions, some of them so bitter and violent that you wonder whether this book is indeed part of a holy book. But the Book of Nahum is in the Bible exactly in the manner in which, if you go today to the houses of worship and nights of vigils in our country, you will feel as if you are in the world of the Book of Nahum. This is because a great part of both the prayers and the sermonising in these times and places of worship is devoted to calling the wrath of God and Jesus against “ota ile” and “ota ode” (enemies known and unknown; enemies within one’s own household and enemies lying in wait for one outside the home). In these devotional and prayerful contexts, there are only friends and enemies; there are no frenemies at all. This is why the topic for our lay, secular sermon this Sunday is precisely this enigmatic category of individuals, groups and political parties, frenemies, a category that defies and confounds an easy separation between friendship and enmity as we can see in the dictionary definition of the word in the first epigraph to this “sermon”. There are three questions at the centre of our “sermon”. This is the first one: Why are our religious practices and discourses filled with a clear separation between friends and enemies while, if you look beyond the claims and counterclaims, the dire warnings and predictions that our politicians hurl at one another all the time, what you see are so many frenemies amongst whom it is virtually impossible to separate friends from enemies, bitter foes from loyal allies? Secondly: if in our contemporary religious worldview there is a clear separation between friends and enemies while there are only frenemies and no true separation between friendship and enmity among our politicians, does this mean that there is a gap, a contradiction between the inner movements of religion and politics in our country? Thirdly: What do these questions have to do with the looming elections of 2015 about which even the most optimistic among us are already feeling great foreboding? For Nigerians under the age of 40, it may come as a surprise to learn that politicians of the First Republic for the most not only remained permanently in one party, they had considerable loyalty to their parties. And it was a common thing that they felt an allegiance, even a pride in the ideologies and policies of their parties. The phenomenon of carpet-crossing from one party to another was not unknown, but it was rare, so much so that it always caused a great stir anytime that it happened. Who amongst us does not know that defection from one party to another is so rife now, so banal in post-1999 Nigerian politics as to be the order of the day? Regardless of what reputation you have as a politician, regardless of either your expressed views or, conversely, your absolute



lack of any views, all our political parties without exception will throw their doors open to you if you defect from another party, another coalition of parties. If, compatriot, you are still dubious about my claim that there are only frenemies and no real separation between ally and foe among our politicians and political parties, this is the clearest sign of the claim, the phenomenon. Compatriots, this is not a sermon from a religious pulpit that is steeped in sacred catechisms of faith and moral and philosophical absolutes. Nothing in our contemporary politics is foreordained, nothing happens in a transcendental time outside history and human practice in which, as diehard religionists among us put it, “God is in control” no matter how bad a mess our leaders have created and are continuing to create. I do not in the least expect that things will always stay as they are now. Moreover, I do readily admit that within the overwhelming blurring of ideological, moral and policy lines between our political parties, there are pockets of talented and visionary leadership that could, under a different political order, make a difference. But we must face the facts of the present, brutal as they are: other than where their ethnic and regional bases are, other than the invocation of the principle of performance as an ultimate value in political governance, there are no real or significant philosophical, ideological and policy differences between our political parties. This is why our present political ethos is overwhelmingly dotted with frenemies who are willing to forego any and all moral, ideological and policy differences as long as power at federal or state level is within reach. At this point in our “sermon” we must address the question posed in the title of the sermon: “they are frenemies alright, but are they benign or deadly?” This is because so far in the discussion we have engaged the issue of the non-distinction between friend and enemy, ally and foe only with regard to philo-

sophical, ideological and policy differences between our politicians and political parties. The truth is that these are not the only or even main grounds around which individuals and groups within political parties draw lines of alliance and opposition, friendship and enmity. All over the world and throughout history, it is a well documented fact that politicians base their friendships and enmities not only around philosophical, ideological and policy differences but also around the prize at the end of their electoral and electioneering activities, these being the material and symbolic spoils of office. It is also a recorded fact of political history throughout the world that where the “prize” is so big, so monumental as to leave losers in dire circumstances, the stakes become so high as to make bitter enmity a prevalent, perhaps even defining aspect of politics. Definitely on the African continent, perhaps in the whole of the developing world, the “prizes” of electoral politics that are sedimented in the Nigerian presidency and the states’ executive governorships are without equal in their actual and symbolic concentration of power, authority and patronage, thanks largely to our oil wealth. To put this in very blunt terms, for as long as the oil wealth lasts, the scions of federal and state political power in our country seemingly have to do nothing other than simply collect and share amongst themselves the rents from crude oil production as the principal and in many cases the only source of their power, influence and authority. And this is why, even though there are no real or deep enmities on philosophical, ideological and policy grounds between our politicians and political parties, there is an ocean of bitter and nation-wrecking enmity around who gets the “prizes” and how to share them. In other words, here we are in the universe of the Book of Nahum in which there are enemies everywhere in the struggles over the spoils of office among Nigerian politicians and political parties. Thus, we can see that the inner movements of contemporary Nigerian

“Reducing the great concentration of power in our current bloated presidency and its arrant re-inscription in the thirty-six governorships in the country will take electoral politics in our country away from the bitter negative regionalism that surrounds it at the present time”

religion and politics are, in their essential contents and logic, completely congruent. It is well, compatriots. Stay blessed. If you look carefully at the quoted lines from Soyinka’s 1983 song in our second epigraph, you will find, dear reader, that by the time you get to the last line, the repeated inscription has become more compact – and frenzied: “share am, share am, share am!”. I suggest that by moving from “share de gari” that plays on the name of the President at the time – Shehu Shagari – to the more colloquial and demotic “share am, share am, share am!” Soyinka moves us from the bitterly divisive and nation-wrecking brinksmanship of sharing the spoils of office among our political elites to sharing the national wealth and patrimony equitably among all groups and classes in the nation. The major way, perhaps the only way that this can happen is by deconcentrating the vast accumulation of power, authority and patronage in the presidency and the executive governorships in the states of the federation. Additionall, reducing the great concentration of power in our current bloated presidency and its arrant re-inscription in the thirty-six governorships in the country will take electoral politics in our country away from the bitter negative regionalism that surrounds it at the present time. Let me put this in plain language so that the essential point that it entails may be fully grasped: no politician and no political party will be prepared to tear the whole fabric of the country apart, as so many now do, if the office that he or she is seeking either at the federal or state level does not have the vast concentration of power and authority that that the presidency and the governorships now have. To those who think that this is the pipe dream of an idealistic sermoniser, I say, quite simply, that among the nations of our continent and the developing world, Nigeria is not typical but is an aberration in these matters. “The South has had two successive presidencies, so it now the turn of the North”. “The nation’s wealth comes substantially from the Niger Delta, so what is wrong in a man from the Niger Delta seeking a second term in the presidency especially since this is the very first time that that exalted office has gone to a person from the region”. “All the governors in the state have come from the north senatorial district since 1999; it is now the turn of the south senatorial district”. These are the sorts of slogans, the rhetorical gauntlets that are being thrown at the country and the world by our politicians and political parties as we approach 2015. John Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, in his widely debated book, Nigeria: Dancing at the Brink, expressed this same sentiment in dire predictions for the future of the country. There must be a balance between the “Christian South” and the “Moslem North” in the sharing of presidential power in our country, Campbell warns, otherwise Nigeria will never know peace or may even break up. Apart from the fact that the “South” is not all Christian and the “North” is not all Moslem, Campbell completely ignores the fact that the first problem with the Nigerian presidency is that it contains a vast, wasteful, and corruptive concentration of power. But no single ruling class party in our country has taken the reformation of this malformed instrument of misrule as a vital part of its vision and mission. Stay blessed, compatriot. It is well. Don’t lose hope, even though there is and there will be much suffering in the land before and after 2015. Nigeria will not break up. It is the presidency and the executive governorships that will eventually break up so that equitable distribution can at last take place in our country and restitution replace the great suffering in the land, God willing, Inshallah! Biodun Jeyifo


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Comment & Analysis

IGERIANS are loud, opinionated and impatient. Ordinarily, those traits should make for a vibrant and fascinating democratic adventure where freedom of expression and choice, as well as transparency in public affairs would take root. But for a people who are quick on the draw when expressing their views, recent events are evidence that we would also be content with a system of governance where a maximum ruler lays down the law and his loyal subjects fall obediently in line. Over the last two weeks we’ve been celebrating democracy with two symbolic dates. May 29 speaks to an uncommon longevity of civil rule – an unbroken run of 14 years. June 12 reminded us of the subversion of the very ideal we claim to hanker for. How interesting that the celebrations took place in the shadow of the bitter battle to elect a new leadership for the influential Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF). While it was fun for a while reducing what happened to a David and Goliath contest in which an increasingly overbearing president received his comeuppance at the hands of a Lilliputian governor, there are deeper issues at play here. Thirty-five governors locked themselves in a room and willingly subjected themselves to a democratic contest. When the dust settled, two “chairmen” emerged in a contest that could only produce one! The winner had a majority of 19 votes; the other claimant had a majority of pre-polling endorsements but only 16 votes. How telling that 20 years after General Ibrahim Babangida and his military co-conspirators annulled the results of the June 12,

Maximum leader, minimal democracy 1993 election, Nigerians are still being made to endure a brazen attempt to annul what was a clear-cut victory by Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi. Many governors who until now had been posturing as democrats have been exposed as they sought to deny what had happened by explaining that there had never been an election in the NGF, or that the polling should never have been filmed. Today, everyone has a version of the history of forum; how it had always chosen its leadership by consensus. One wonders where all the historians were in the run-up to the election. How come none of these custodians of the NGF folklore never piped up with a word of dissent all those months when it was clear that the next leader would emerge through balloting? One of the most disgraceful aspects of the NGF fiasco is the meddling by President Goodluck Jonathan. Following the defeat of his preferred candidate, Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, the president and his aides have sought to distance him from the mess. But then there he was recognising and addressing the “loser” as chairman of the governors forum at some Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) event in Abuja. What sort of example is that? Of course, he had never hidden the fact that he was opposed to Amaechi’s return. But then he’s president of Nigeria, not of the PDP and ought to elevate himself above certain things because of the exalted position he holds. When it suits them, those around Jonathan are quick to flay the opposition

for “playing politics with everything.” They are also known to deliver lectures pointing out that elections had been held and won, and now was the time for governing, not politicking. That sermon was clearly lost on Jonathan who ought to have done everything he could to insulate himself – at least publicly - from the bitter politics of the NGF. By endorsing Jang and refusing to recognize the man who won the election on the night, Jonathan and the PDP have behaved in the same fashion as those who refused to accept the electoral outcome of June 12, 1993. The ‘annulers’ equally had reasons for refusing to concede. If Jonathan and his henchmen have refused to lead and set an example with something as simple as the NGF election, why should they expect the opposition accept any electoral outcome that isn’t favourable to them? In the same breath why would anyone believe that PDP, given their conduct in this instance, will accept anything short of victory in 2015? Put simply the bane of Nigerians elections which is mutual suspicion of the participants and the electoral umpire has only just been tragically reinforced. In the aftermath of the collapse of the PDP strategy to impose its man on the NGF, the party has gone overboard as it sought to exact revenge against the “traitors” who torpedoed its agenda. Both Amaechi and Sokoto State Governor, Magatarkada Wamakko, are out on their ears – the latter suspended for the most flimsy of reasons: refusing to take party chairman, Bamanga Tukur’s calls.

“If the governors are less powerful than they are now, the president simply becomes a Frankenstein monster no one can rein in. Even with the checks and balances in our system a reckless occupant of Aso Rock can unsettle the leadership of the states and National Assembly. Things even out when all sides realise there’s a balance of terror”

Whatever may be the sins of these two men, it is evident that their greatest fault is refusal to toe the party line one hundred percent. In democratic practice there is certainly a place for enforcing the supremacy of the party. But truly democratic parties also allow room for dissent otherwise they would be no different from the old Communist parties in the USSR, China or Cuba. I may add that this flaw is not a failing of only the PDP. So instead of beginning to build a democratic culture with robust parties with internal traditions of vibrant and open disputation, what we now see is debate being driven underground. Parties are being split along the lines of ultra loyalists and the band of Judases. Debate and dissent are now dangerous foreign bodies to be stamped out at all cost. In this setting, the president or whoever is the maximum ruler at federal or state level simply lays down the law, and the rest of the cadres fall in line. In other words, the president has become the party. Amidst all the sentimentality that has trailed the NGF polls, the incongruity of trying to create of a new maximum ruler in a democratic environment seems lost on even the most sober of us. I have heard very intelligent people argue that governors had become too powerful and needed to have their wings clipped. Let’s hold this thought for a moment: if the governors are less powerful than they are now, the president simply becomes a Frankenstein monster no one can rein in. Even with the checks and balances in our system a reckless occupant of Aso Rock can unsettle the leadership of the states and National Assembly. Things even out when all sides realise there’s a balance of terror. In the end having these various centers of power is not so bad after all. Decisions can be arrived at on a more consensual basis. The different tendencies in the country would be carried along, and people wouldn’t feel too alienated. But beware the fake democracy where one man’s word is law.


Comment & Analysis


State of the Nation Address Rather than foot-drag on the bill, the President should see it as God-sent to showcase his achievements


HE altercation between the Presidency and the National Assembly over the bill on the State of the Nation Address 2013 that proposes to compel the president to present, annually, his scorecard before a joint session of the federal lawmakers is gratuitous. The Senate has threatened to over-ride the president's veto if President Goodluck Jonathan refuses to sign the bill into law before the July date that he is expected to make the maiden edition of the address. The Senate and the House of Representatives in May passed the State of the Nation Address Bill 2013 into law and immediately transmitted it to the Presidency for the required assent to meet their projected first week of July date for this year's maiden edition. Ita Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business expressed the frustration of the upper legislative house regarding the perceived foot-dragging in presidential assent despite the fact that the president is still within the 30 days required to study the bill and append his signature or send it back to them. He said: "…. by the time we shall be resuming from the two-week recess, the 30 days must have elapsed and if by that time the bill has not been assented to, we are most likely to override him by way of veto, since the bill emanated from us in the first place, in the interest of the nation." President Jonathan should endeavour not to unnecessarily delay this bill. He does not have to wait for the expiration of constitutional timeframe before signing it. If he has any objection (since he is allowed to have reasoned objections to aspects of any bill), he should do that


HILE presenting the midterm report on the performance of his government on Democracy Day, May 29, 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan averred: “Nigeria is indivisible.” Since the assertion was not supported by proof, it could be taken in good faith as mere wishful thinking, especially in the light of its outright negation of the odious reality on the ground. Centrifugal forces tearing at the heart of the country are so many that they overwhelm efforts by government to contain and control them. The mantra of Nigeria’s indivisibility has been recited by virtually all our military heads of state and civilian presidents since the end of the Civil War in 1970. By sheer force of reiteration, it seems to assume a semblance of truth. Yet, it is at best a grand delusion with which Nigerians can live as long as crude continues to flow in the oil pipes in the Niger Delta and the booty blinds us to the truth of our collective impotence. Let oil cease flowing tomorrow and the sliver of hope and optimism with which the mantra is hung will snap and the cold reality of disunity and ethnic hatred will stare every one of its believers in the face. But then, the crust of deception will fall off and the necessity to be properly organised as a society and be productive as sane human beings will take its place. For Nigeria to remain as one indivisible country, the

in concert with his retinue of aides in diverse areas of specialisation in good time; and not necessarily wait for the cessation of the constitutional 30 days. The president can alter the bill's modalities since there is nothing sacrosanct about the July date set by the National Assembly, but he cannot reject such an important bill. This Bill on State of the Nation Address is one that should have been in existence a long time ago. In our view, there is nothing wrong if the president is legally compelled every year to come before our law makers, foremost government functionaries in the executive and the judiciary and, more importantly, a big crowd of other credible Nigerians, to give account of his stewardship. To foster true democracy, the need to provide a platform to engender accountability, probity and transparency in governance is non-negotiable. Such a forum, to a large extent, will dissuade dangerous speculations within the polity because the needed light would have been shed on cloudy aspects of governance that Nigerians have misgivings about. At any point, the public should be certain of what is officially being done to fight corruption, TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

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

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

minimise unemployment or ensure that elusive electricity is made constant, and whether the right steps are being taken to provide Infrastructure. At such crucial moments, the president can be challenged for not leading by example. More fundamental is the need for Nigerians to be more apprised of steps taken to nip insecurity in the bud. What the National Assembly is urging the president to do through this annual address of the entire country, using the instrumentality of the law, is good. It is a tradition that has endured in well established democracies. It should not be politicised or turned into an instrument of ego tripping by the executive and the federal legislature. We want the president to see the bill as one that is capable of goading the government to see social justice and preservation of fundamental rights of citizens as one salient ingredient of democracy. Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, deployed the State of the Union Address to convince the Congress and the American public. President Barack Obama is using it to rally the American people round his presidency while Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom is doing same before the House of Commons. President Jonathan should sign the bill and grab the opportunity presented by it to enlighten Nigerians on his plans and programmes for them and to boost his approval ratings through his well touted but invisible transformation agenda. Otherwise, the National Assembly should go ahead to over-ride the President on this bill if he does not assent to it within the 30 days that he is expected to do that.

LETTERS irrefragable fact that the modern nation-state is a secular construct must be recognised and inscribed boldly in its Constitution. No instrument of state, however exiguous, must be used to advance interests of any religion, which in saner societies is severely kept at bay as a private affair between every individual and their Divinity. Whatever church or mosque currently stands on the grounds of Aso Rock should be converted into some other function. Nigeria reeks of religion, but it is one of the most corrupt countries under the heavens. Neither


HE political situation in the country has for some time taken over some aspects of this country and other notable socio-cultural development meant to advance the course which brings glory and satisfaction to douse the tension facing the country’s teeming problems. The sport activities which bring relief and thus unite this country have faced some neglect for some time now, allowing political quagmire to dominate various front burners in the country at present. The crises bedevilling the broadcasting right of transmitting Nigerian Super Eagles matches have given the sport-loving Nigerians cause for concern and by depriving them the enjoyment of Super

On indivisibility of Nigeria God nor the world is deceived! To insist that Nigeria is not a secular state, as former President Olusegun Obasanjo does, is to acknowledge the right of Boko Haram people to demand that an Islamic state be carved out of the country as currently constituted for them, for it is a legitimate right of a people to ask to be governed under the laws established by their faith. It is morally binding on a nonsecular state to honour and grant such a holy and innocu-

ous request. Indeed, it is a sacred duty that should not require a plebiscite. Democracy or theocracy? Perhaps, to remove any confusion or dilemma that might be thrown up by the poser in the minds of doubters, a national referendum on the issue is helpful, if not needful. It would definitely reduce the amount of intellectual energies and human and material resources wasted in the land. It would also clear away a great cloud of obfuscation that con-

founds us and hobbles the development of our polity. I have a sneaky suspicion that the virulence of culture war that grips the contemporary world is a resurgence of the great unfinished struggle between democracy and theocracy that started in Europe in the wake of the Enlightenment. Let the intellectual debate and the war rage on. Some stubborn defenders of theocracy might even end up in the Devil’s Party, in spite of their avowed hatred for its relent-

Black out of Super Eagle’s matches Eagles’ matches in the comfort of their homes for some time now. Since Nigeria won the last Africa Cup of Nations’ tournament in South Africa, there appears to be a board room war between the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), whose responsibility it is to bring matches to the comfort of Nigerians, the inability of the organisation to transmit to all the sport-loving people of this country remains a huge disappointment, which needs to be avoided in all its entirety. It’s embarrassing that the Nigerian government would not intervene to stem this ugly trend of not allowing Nigeri-

ans to view most of the matches involving the country’s national team. During the last Nations’ Cup in South Africa, many Nigerians looked forward to watching the national team matches being relayed live by the local station, but only to be disappointed due to the meagre amount of money which could be written off by the Nigerian government. Nigerians both within the country and outside have to rely on foreign television stations to view the matches either in their homes, or poor Nigerian had to resort to visiting viewing centres across the country to enable them watch their darling team play, which

made the viewing centres to smile to the banks due to huge profits they made at the detriment of local stations in the country. Also commendation should go to some corporate organisations who mounted big screens outside some spots across the country to enable Nigerians watch such matches. The organs responsible for entering into partnership with some of these broadcasting stations that CAF and FIFA gave broadcasting rights should start early negotiation with them to have an understanding on the fees to be paid, not at last minutes before starting rushing into a hasty, failed negotiation. Also the broadcast-

less quest for power and shameless asseveration of pride, for freedom is a fundamental human need. Indispensable like food, it is its own justification. Conversely, some fervent fighters for democracy – Western capitalist or Eastern socialist - might ultimately get disappointed that the alluring, old dame promises more than she can actually give, and so they will turn away in disgust from a mad pursuit of beguiling but elusive liberty and seek a better balm for their wounded souls in Paradise that is not built by hungry human hands. Segun Adekoya Department of English Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife ing station that accrues the broadcasting right should take into cognisance the economic reality of such country by not demanding higher fees. They should understand the responsibility that rests on them for allowing the teeming fans of countries’ national teams view their teams play and equally enjoy it in the comfort of their homes. We hope Nigerians would be given the opportunity of watching matches involving the country’s national team, whether competitive or friendly, in order not to only monitor them but also assess them for positive contribution on the way forward for the country’s team. Bala Nayashi Lokoja.



Ropo Sekoni ropo.sekoni


WENTY years after annulment of the presidential election of June 12, 1993 and the struggle for democratization that raged for four years against the dictatorship of Sani Abacha, the country has not made substantial progress in terms of responding to demands for democracy of and for nationalities in the country. But in terms of electoral democracy, the country has made some strides in the direction of de-militarization of the polity. Beyond conducting elections at intervals and electing officers to conduct the business of government at the federal and state levels, one crucial element of the struggle against military rule has been left unattended: the demand for restructuring of the polity. Since the coming of civil rule in 1999, there have been media and political debates on the topic of restructuring without sincere efforts to really address the problem with the hope of solving it. In the fashion of the proverbial Nigeria factor, debates on the issue of re-federalizing the country have been so cacophonous and suggestive of efforts to debate in order to prevent proper debate and deliberation. The process started with General Olusegun Obasanjo. During his first term, he referred to those asking for sovereign national conference as indi-

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Comment & Analysis

T is settled amongst progressive academics and intellectuals, of not just Southwestern Nigeria extraction alone , but the world at large, that the fundaments of Yoruba politics remain: A liberal, democratic state governed by competent, cerebral leaders, founded on social justice, equity, equality, enlightenment and freedom. Look around today, even in the nonconformist Ondo State, and you will see that deep down, this is an undeniable truism though some basic differences remain, especially in the latter's obvious readiness to play the spoiler to mainstream Yoruba sociopolitical aspirations. That though, is for another day. Today, we are celebrating a key member of that class where the Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, is captain. Go to Edo, find your way to Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos and you will not but be euphoric at the multi-sectoral building blocks being laid by the clear-headed and focused leaders the good Lord has gifted Yoruba land with, especially at a time the country, under a dissembling PDP, is itself weighed down by totally avoidable crises, and visibly tottering. I speak here of none other than the Ogbeni governor, Engr Rauf Aregbesola, the restless, prodigious and ever thinking governor of The State of Osun, who seems daily to come up with something new. In his article of June, 9, 2013: 'Is Osun Truly At The Onset Of A Revolution?, my friend, Tunde Fagbenle, the withering journalist and farmer rolled into one, wrote: 'There's been a flurry of activity in the State of Osun in the last few weeks

20 years after June 12: Noise without deliberation Against the backdrop of June 12, we must find ways to elevate the discourse of federalism viduals that wanted the country to break. In his second term, he organized what he called Political Reform Conference. At the end of the conference, nothing substantial was achieved. This again induced fresh calls for people's constitution. President Umaru Yar'Adua did not have time to worry about addressing calls for restructuring, if he at all paid attention to them. But he succeeded in setting up a police reforms committee. The committee recommended that the central police system should be funded from the federation account, without giving any space of authority to the states which along with the central government own the federation account. As one area considered by federalists to be crucial to restructuring, those calling for a people's constitution came back to the podium to drum up their demands. Then President Goodluck Jonathan emerged. He too was quick to pontificate that Nigeria's current constitution has no serious problem and that the structure of the polity is in order. Shortly after saying that, he formed a special committee to look at the 1999 Constitution and make recommendations on how to improve the country's union charter. Knowing that the recommendations of the Belgore Committee did not address the issues raised by committed federalists about the current constitution, citizens continued to make the same demands that include calls for a people's constitution to be determined at a sovereign national con-

ference or a constitutional conference. On its own part, the National Assembly expressed readiness to amend the constitution. Over sanguine federalists took this to mean that federal lawmakers would make recommendations to make the current constitution more federal. The process has been on for almost two years without any promise about when it will end. But from information released by lawmakers, the constitution, after amendment, is more likely to look more unitary, as we observed in this column last week. The purpose of the short historical journey since 1999 is to inform our readers about the failure of the country's postmilitary political class to embark on de-militarizing and re-federalizing the polity. All efforts to make civilian rulers realize that continuing to govern the country with a constitution and a governance architecture that have no input from citizens is dangerous have not led to proper deliberation, even though they have generated a lot of noise. Efforts by federal legislators to amend the constitution notwithstanding, two types of discourse have emerged and have been raging for the past one year: Unity discourse and Diversity discourse. Those who control the unity discourse insist that the current constitution is perfect. To them, what is wrong with the constitution is the quality of those who use or supervise the use of the charter. The

core of the unity discourse is that if Nigeria is able to get good leaders, all its problems regarding managing its diversity optimally would be over. This school of thought also affirms that devolving more powers to the states is capable of causing disintegration of the country and that recognizing the county's nationalities in the constitution as Ethiopia has done successfully is capable of breaking Nigeria. Centralists are quick to affirm that should Nigerians insist on electing a man or woman of higher quality than we have had since independence, constitutional problems that militate against peace and progress will disappear. In other words, the problem is lack of benevolent leadership. But Diversity discourse focuses on the role of cultural plurality in the politics and economy of a multiethnic state. They ask for constitutional intervention in the management of the country's diversity. Leaders calling for recognition of diversity insist that culture has a significant role in political and economic development and that cultural differences in the country are not likely to disappear and are also not injurious to the country's unity, if well managed. Federalists insist that Nigeria may have bad luck that prevents it from having good and benevolent leaders, especially at the federal level. But they affirm that lack of benevolent leadership is not as impactful as lack of benevolent governance structure and institutions. They argue that many coun-

tries that have similar multiethnic character have created peace for the purpose of progress by adopting federal arrangements: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America, to name a few. Some federalists are even saying that the problems of Boko Haram partially result from failure to address the national question in the design of the country's governance structure. In short, federalists believe that the problem of the country is not one of benevolent leadership versus benevolent structure; rather it is a combination of both. They also think that a humanist approach to governance suggests that it is easier to work at benevolent structure than to create benevolent leadership. Political systems are not about creating personalities that can create political miracles; they are about creating institutions that are conducive to enriching the performance of average political leaders in office. The challenge as we begin the third decade after June 12 must continue to include wishing the heroes who died while struggling for democracy in the country: MKO Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola, and many others to rest in perfect peace. It must also include finding ways to elevate the discourse of federalism that is almost being drowned by the thinking that says an imposed constitution is not as much of a problem as finding supermen to rule Nigeria.

O'odua children’s day celebration: Aregbesola dazzles them again

to invite the attention of Nigerians everywhere and raise the curiosity of many a serious thinker - what is all these about? Is there much substance to it or is it more of noise and make-belief?'. Tunde is from Osun State but because I have a bragging rights here, I can tell him without equivocation that he is seeing the real thing. Here, without a scintilla of doubt is a revolution, albeit in the making, because you dare not take a bet on what next is coming from that prodigious mind. Ogbeni is simply unfathomable, and here I do nothing of making him a god. My bragging rights? Okay, I know Engr Aregbesola a long way back and even as the marauders held tight to the mandate the good people of Osun had long given him, he never stopped engaging me with his plans, not only for the state of Osun but the entire Yoruba land. You see him at his most enthusiastic and gregarious, telling you what a million things leadership can do in this clime to banish poverty from our midst and make us count among the civilized world where he contends the Yoruba nation rightly belongs. These discussions therefore led me, way back, 12 January, 2011 to put my views of Aregbesola on paper in this very column in an article I titled: AREGBESOLA: Osun State Has Turned The Bend. I shall quote moderately from that article because today's focus is the totally unprecedented, culture ennobling O'Odua Children's Day the State of Osun celebrated on Monday, 27 May, 2013 with children and royalties from as far afield as Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Kwara, Kogi, Edo and Delta States of Nigeria; West African countries of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Sierra Leone; South American countries of Brazil, Argentina and Colombia; Cuba; Caribbean; and the United States. It will be interesting now to know which of these countries Osun PDP clowns would say Aregbesola

The world should expect more monumental innovations from ACN governors wants to overrun Nigeria with. Last year it was Cuba.. That article began as follows: ' 'Given the breath of fresh air in Osun state today, all its citizens, young and old, must thank God that He made nonsense of the counsel of Ahitophel on the state of the living spring. They must not even begin to imagine what the state would be like today had the PDP succeeded itself in the 2011 general elections. Just cast your mind back to the era of Senator Iyiola Omisore as Deputy Governor in the state; recall the many horrendous consequences of a young man's unrestrained political ambition and begin to imagine him as state governor.' We cannot thank God enough. The article goes further: 'Go to Oshogbo today and you will not believe this was the 'gangster' state where a poor 16- year old girl was serially gang-raped by political roughnecks, with neither the First lady nor the Deputy Governor, mothers for that matter, saying a single word in condemnation. Nor will you believe that mere queuing up at the gas station to buy fuel had once become fatal in the state, courtesy the same PDP political thugs'.The article then went into a discussion of the governor's plans for agriculture; how he had built up a synergy between the state and the Nigerian railways which will evacuate farm products as well as bring to the state manufactured goods that would sell at Lagos prices. He was not only keen but eager to get the state to supply a huge chunk of the billions worth food items consumed in Lagos daily. On another occasion, as a member of the Afenifere Renewal Group delegation to present the Dawn Document to him -we could not see

him in his office until about 11pm he dropped snippets of the Opon Imo - the revolutionary, standalone learning tablet that provides the senior secondary school students with the contents required to prepare for the school leaving examinations and providing 3 major content categories in text books, tutorials and past questions. A total of 150,000 students will benefit in the first instance and would thus have access to learning regardless of means, location or status. Like Chief Awolowo's free primary education programme, the Opon Imo will be talked about for generations. But I am probably the very first columnist to ever write about it because it is so unique I could not hold on to the newsbreak and promptly wrote about it in the article under reference, even at a time Ogbeni was still holding it to his chest. I wrote as follows on Opon Imo: 'As the governor told a recent delegation of the Afenifere Renewal Group on which I was present, his government will soon unveil what it calls OPON IMO (Tablet of Knowledge). This is a computer system, in the mold of an IPAD which will contain the curriculum of about 39 subjects offered at the School Certificate level complete with past questions and answers and divided into subject areas with students accessing relevant course areas. Apart from exposing these young minds to basic computer literacy, the Opon will enable students study anywhere without the burden of having to carry text books around. To this year's children's day celebration then. The purpose of this year's

O'odua Children's Day celebrations according to Ogbeni's are multifarious: The State of Osun, has decided to give their children the solid educational and moral foundation that will enable them to be wellrounded adults in the future. **They are of the conviction that the realisation of the sociocultural and economic integration of the Yoruba race can be greatly enhanced by imparting that vision into the children. Indeed, such a cultural renaissance agenda, they believe, cannot succeed without including the children, for they are a key factor in its success. The Yoruba cultural integration can only be meaningful if the children, who would carry on the culture are properly socialised into it, along with the inculcation of value underpinning it. ** They also want to deliberately re-awaken the cultural and value consciousness of Yoruba people to make them realise the beauty of Yoruba virtues and to give them a sense of pride in their culture. It is such consciousness and reawakening that can generate the willingness to reach out across the barriers of space and borders to others with the same culture and thereby foster integration among the Yoruba peoples, home and abroad. Children are therefore given their pride of place in the agenda. Like his other colleague ACN governors, sans those of Lagos and Edo, Aregbesola is only in his first term. From these men, like the stratospheric Fasola and awesome Oshiomhole, the world can only expect much more monumental innovations as they do not believe in the 'share the money credo'. For any of them, there is going to be no dull moment.



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Y message in this column on April 7 titled 'The Faleye metaphor' was like all media messages; it was addressed 'to whom it may concern'. In the piece, I highlighted the plight of a young Nigerian who was compelled by circumstances to travel to China to further his studies in electronics and telecommunications engineering, after graduating from the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, with a diploma. A few months to the end of his studies, he ran into financial storm as plans did not go the way his aged parents had thought. A little over one million naira stood between him and his dream of a first degree. Some Nigerians were moved by the story; and one of the early persons to respond was Prof Adeleke Ojo of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, who donated N100,000 after he had got in touch with Seun Faleye, the student, in China, and confirmed the authenticity of the story. After that, one Mr Isimi chipped in N1,000 and another person, Mr Adetunbi Omoniyi gave N2,000; their widow's mite, you would say. These donations were commendable but they were like a drop in the ocean, considering the over one million naira target. All remained quiet for more than two weeks and it was when one would have thought hope was lost that a miracle occurred: I got an email from DHL Corporate Social Responsibility Committee on April 23 inviting

Postscript, Unlimited! By

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HE annulled June 12, 1993 election stands for many things to many people. To some people, the date is all about M.K.O. Abiola's unrealised mandate. To others, the date is a reminder of loved ones lost and gone: the ones who died when news of Abiola's win was being relayed, the ones who died when the tanks were rolled out on the streets in the protests that followed the annulment, and the ones who died when the resulting upheaval necessitated some travelling to 'go home'. To the surviving relatives of all these departed ones, that date will continually bring sad memories. To many of us 'others', it stands as a continual beckon of ever receding hope, still there, still being chased but getting ever fainter and fainter. That fading light is no other than that Nigerians can manage to agree on something when they put their minds to it. That something could of course be an election candidate (like Abiola), a pet peeve (politicians), a favourite colour (food), or a 'national' dish (pounded yam I think). The trouble is that we have failed to move from the point at which June 12 met us. At that point, we were wondering who we were as a people, either just odious or plain ogres. Then, we killed and maimed each other recklessly in the name of

Comment & Analysis


Uncommon fraternity DHL staff have set a record in 'employees corporate social responsibility' me for a chat with the father of the student, Pastor Samson Faleye. I could not make the appointment due to official engagement. But Pastor Faleye was there and it was then I knew the power of columns. He told me that after interviewing him on how things went awry with his son's school fees, and they were convinced that the case merited intervention, they promised to help. The panel that conducted the interview comprising representatives of the company's Employees Corporate Social Responsibility Committee told him they developed interest in the matter just because it came out in my column. The interesting thing is that these are people I do not know from Adam; but they said they have been following my write-ups and were fascinated by them. One has to go this far for some reasons. One, this case was brought to a happy denouement courtesy of members of staff of DHL, and not by the company as I initially thought. Perhaps it would not have attracted this much attention if the initiative had come from the company as an entity because it would have passed off as one of those corporate social responsibility initiatives that respon-

sible companies do. But there is only a thin line between DHL doing it and the members of staff who have done it. As I was told, the 'Employees Corporate Social Responsibility Committee' which eventually approved the more than one million naira required by Faleye to complete his studies in China represents all members of staff of the company, from the least to the managing director, from whose salaries one percent is being deducted monthly to fund the initiative to help the needy. This might not be novel because I do not have any fact to support that assertion; but it is still something that is uncommon in our part of the world. Many people come together here in most cases to do evil. Yes, we are familiar with companies giving back to the society part of what they made from it (they call that corporate social responsibility), but not workers pulling resources together from their own salary, to help those in need, when they have their own needs to meet too. But that precisely is what the DHL staff have done. And it is marvelous in my eyes, just as I am sure it is in the eyes of Faleye and his parents whose investments, monetarily and otherwise, could have

“The DHL staff and those who gave their widow's mite have set a good example; definitely, this country will be a better place for us all if we can be our brother's keeper; if we can make our shoulders available for people in need to lean on. I mean we will all be better for it if we can have more of such assistance signed, sealed and delivered. “

gone down the drain if help had not come when it did. In a country where many people, including public functionaries care only about 'me, me', and where very big people make pledges without fulfilling them, this is something to celebrate. The point though is that God is key in this matter because He it was who laid it in my heart to use this little space, not knowing that was what would ultimately settle the matter. My original plan was to get the story published in a bigger space as a feature story. I had thought the bigger the space, the bigger the attention. I now know things don't always work out that way. A friend has always said, though jocularly, that teeth do not have to be many or big; that even if they are only two and they can crush stockfish, that is enough. I now believe him. Again, from what I was told, Faleye is the first individual to draw from this well of generosity. The fund from where he was assisted was initially set up to assist with UNICEF projects before it was changed when the contributors decided to take charge of affairs themselves and be able to monitor directly what the money is spent on. If the original idea had been kept, there is no way it would have been possible for Faleye to benefit from it. I do not know how many other companies would want to take a cue from the DHL staff after this story would have been published. But I know of at least one multinational that may be interested in the paradigm, following discussion with one of their senior members of staff that would want to read the story to have a good grasp of what the scheme entails. I have been maintaining columns

in the last two decades plus. All this while, I thought it was only about influencing government and policy makers. I now know it is much more. But gratitude goes to God Almighty for using this column as a means to wipe the tears off the eyes of Faleye and all those who had been looking forward with excitement to the time he would be graduating in China. One could not have been happier being used as a vessel for this purpose. Personally, it is gratifying that what started as mere exchange of emails between me and the DHL committee on April 23 culminated in the remitting of N1.01million naira (excluding N171, 376.00 earmarked by the committee for Faleye's flight ticket upon completion of his studies) to him on May 16. I have had to cut short my presence at a funeral involving a friend's spouse to make the trip to the DHL office on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos on May 10, where I faced the committee's team to clear some grey areas on the matter. The outcome is soul-lifting. Again, my gratitude goes to the DHL staff for this uncommon generosity, the same way they thanked me for bringing '‌this to limelight'. But what if I brought it to limelight and they did nothing about it? I thank them for their abiding faith in this column. What they have done can only make me do one thing: keep up the good work. The DHL staff and those who gave their widow's mite have set a good example; definitely, this country will be a better place for us all if we can be our brother's keeper; if we can make our shoulders available for people in need to lean on. I mean we will all be better for it if we can have more of such assistance signed, sealed and delivered.

June 12, sociopaths, and the many plagues of Nigeria

God, and we starved ourselves of needed development for ethnic reasons. Life after that point has been no better; we are still wandering around our national sub consciousness as the Israelites of yore wandered over Palestine, only now without their shame and repentance. We are still killing and maiming each other, and still starving ourselves of much needed developments; the only reason for that now is that we have collectively adopted the psychology of sociopaths. A sociopath, says my dictionary, is a person with an antisocial personality disorder, exhibiting antisocial behaviour that usually is the result of social and environmental factors in the person's early life. The only common factor I see in the early life of us Nigerians is this high level of ignorance mixed with a little bit of poverty. However, I don't think poverty has much to do with the monumental waste by people in positions of authority that we are witnessing in Nigeria today; I think it's all that very, very toxic ignorance that got mixed into our corn cereal when we were young. It has made us all sociopathic. That's right; the nation has been seized by many sociopathic plagues, as it did Pharaoh's Egypt. Shall I name them, or have you been reading the handwriting on the wall too? For exercise, oh do let me; I promise to make it more fun. Our first plague is the government that perpetually oscillates between somnambulism and somniloquism. It jerks its knees only when you hit it with a patella of criticism. Seriously, I know my medical subject, thank you very much. The problem is that everything revolves around good governance, and it is not coming from our gov-

I don't think poverty can explain the monumental waste by people in positions of authority we are witnessing in Nigeria today; I think it's all that very, very toxic ignorance that got mixed into our corn cereal when we were young ernment. Good governance interrupts evil instincts and directs us all to what is good for the sake of everyone. It insists that everyone tempers his/her sociopathic tendencies with something closely resembling good sense. Rather than slap my neighbour with a law suit for leaving his tree branches to shed leaves into my compound, therefore, I learn to grin, bear it and plant my own tree near the wall. When I find that the driver of the car in front of me has stopped to hold a meeting with his long lost friend coming in the opposite direction, I don't 'accidentally' run into the said car from behind. If I do, I'm only giving way to my sociopathic tendencies. Instead, the government should help me to be able to point him to a law that says I deserve to get home early too after a hard day's work without anyone stopping in front of me to talk about their village. So, please help us government to help ourselves because sociopathic tendencies have got us something terrible. The second plague is that this country is peopled with monkeys with fish brains who have absolutely no inkling of what it means to be real human beings. That includes me of course. Just the other day, I heard the story of how an Okada man hit a taxi and, rather than apologise, hid his fault behind the support of his fellow Okada riders

who one by one stopped by to lend a hand in the quarrel. The union support was so much that another Okada rider was said to have pulled up on the opposite side of the road, jumped across and slapped the taxi driver before asking what happened. We have become that lawless. Can you also tell me why else someone would take a look at his parent's house and set fire to it because his parents refused to give him a certain amount of money? Or, how can one explain why an individual would spend his section's entire subvention on a car for a girlfriend? Yesterday, I heard a new one. A man, someone said, would even go so far as to buy an air-conditioned car for his girlfriend while he and his family would use a non-air-conditioned one. Now, I have heard the common saying that people give out only what they have but surely this is loving one's neighbour more than oneself. My third plague? Take a look at the Nigeria Police Force. Why would our Nigeria Police perpetually confront unarmed protesting civilians with heavy artillery that are usually not available when armed robbers strike? Even though the University of Uyo incident is still not clear (no one seems to be able to tell with any certainty whether Mr. Kingsley was killed within or with-

out the campus), it has happened too many times. It is certain though that there have been too many other loose-trigger incidents involving the police. Why, the Kwara State affair, in which a police bullet said to have been meant for a taxi driver who did not leave the way in time for a bullion van, found a Polytechnic student instead. I say that affair is still fresh in every one's memory, and so is the young man's wound for that matter. Now tell me, how much more sociopathic can we get? Shall I go on with the plagues? Try the (un)civil service... the (a)public service... teachers... students... politicians... Niger Delta... boko haram... and... Oh, what's the use; it will just be one plague after another and we will be no wiser at the end of the day, like Pharaoh. We are in dire straits then, caught between the absence of good governance, and those plaguing plagues. A shucks to them things! Many of us have carried on as if this fourth republic democracy is built on the blood and sweat of June 12, and so it is. Actually, to claim otherwise would be hypocritical, and we get enough of that from our pastors and Imams and other religious pundits, thank you. Let us wise up. One would have thought such monumental losses of human resources as happened around the June 12 matter would sort of knock some sense into us and bring us, at least, to the edge of self-realisation instead of down this labyrinthine path of self-interest and self-gratification. Self-realisation as a people is the only way we can define who we are as a nation, a people and a kind. Hopefully, it would also assist us to determine our goals, purposes and place amidst this troubled brood of vipers and generations currently peopling this world.



Comment & Analysis

Who are the Yoruba people? (Part 3) U

P until 1292 BC and the ascension of King Menpehtyre Ramesses, all the Pharaohs of Egypt were black. These include some of the better known ones such as King Horemheb (who preceeded King Ramesses), King Khafra (who was depicted by the Great Sphinx of Giza), King Tutankhamun (the young Pharoah whose tomb was discovered with enormous riches and a terrible curse by a British archeologist and explorer called Howard Carter), Queen Cleopatra (whose beauty was enchanting, who captured the emotions of Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, who divided the Roman Empire and whom this writer honoured with a poem titled ‘’The Nubian Queen’’), Queen Nefertiti (who was the wisest of the wise and the most compassionate of all the Egyptian monarchs), King Piye (who was the conqueror of Egypt, the master of Nubia and the greatest of all the Cushite warrior kings) and the two Pharaoes that the biblical Moses and the biblical Joseph knew respectively and that had such a great impact on Jewish history and the fortunes of the Jewish people. All these Pharaohs were black African Nubians who were to be later referred to as the ‘’Sudanese’’. The fact of the matter is that right up until the establishment of the 19th dynasty and the coming of King Ramesses in 1292 BC the rulers of Egypt were all Nubians and not the ‘’brown and olive-skinned’’ Euroasiatics and Arabs that the Ramessesian era ushered in. The Nubians not only ruled Egypt for thousands of years but they also constituted the majority of those that made up the Egyptian middle class and intelligensia including the clerics, theologians, artists, writers, poets, medics, artesans, builders, architects, astrologers, mathmatecians and professionals. The Ancient Egyptians themselves referred to their homeland as ‘’Kmt’’ (which is conventionally pronounced as ‘’Kemet’’). According to the celebrated historian Cheikh Anta Diop, the Ancient Egyptians referred to themselves as “Black people’’ or ‘’kmt’’ and ‘’kmt’’ was the etymological root of other words, such as ‘’Kam’’ or ‘’Ham’’, which refer to ‘’black people’’ in Hebrew tradition. Diop, William Leo Hansberry, and Aboubacry Moussa Lam have argued that ‘’kmt’’ was derived from the skin colour of the Nile valley people, who they claim were black. And they were absolutely right. These are the facts though some western and Arab Egyptologists find it hard to accept and often seek to deny it. Yet whether anyone likes to accept it or not the fact remains that the greatest civilisation that the world has ever known, which is the Egyptian civilisation, was led and established by people of colour and those same people were the custodians of the deepest mysteries and secrets of our world and of the human race. The final batch of ancient Cushites that remained in Arabia for thousands of years after all the others had left and that had refused to leave those lands for Africa with their Ethiopian brothers and sisters eventually migrated to the Egyptian Nile Valley from Mecca and Medina. Thousands of years later this last wave of Cushite migrants were to be referred to as the ‘’yoruba’’. Yet for thousands of years before the word ‘’yoruba’’ was even conceived and after their arrival in the Nile Valley these same people constituted an essential and vital part of the ruling and middle class of the Sudan, Nubia and Ancient Egypt. The Cushite forefathers of the yoruba were a learned and mystical people that were well versed in philosophy, the arts, history, the mysteries of the age, science, anthropology and the secrets of the spirit realm and human existence. Their contribution to Ancient Egyptian culture and art was second to none. Most importantly the pantheon of gods that they had worshipped, guarded jealously and served for thousands of years whilst in Mecca and Medina before their migration to the Nile Valley were accepted by the Egyptian ruling elite and were fully integrated and superimposed on the Egyptian religious stratosphere. As a matter of fact those gods were not only accepted but they eventually became the cornerstone and foundation of Ancient Egyptian culture and religion. That is the level of input that the yoruba made into the affairs and development of Ancient Egypt. In our quest to further explore the ancient Egyptian roots of the yoruba permit me to qoute copiously from an excellent contribution titled ‘’YORUBA- THE EGYPTIAN CONNEC-

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Public and private universities graduates OR some time now, there have been concerns about the quality of graduates of higher institutions in the country. Employers have lamented that many of them are not employable as they most times lack necessary knowledge to perform tasks expected of them. Simply put, many cannot defend their certificates and employers have had to resort to all kinds of tests to shift the grain from the chaff among the crowd of unemployed graduates who usually bombard them with applications for employment. The low quality of graduates is not unconnected with the poor standard of education offered by the higher institutions. Lack of necessary resources and commitment by lecturers has made it impossible for the institutions to produce top grade graduates as in the good old days. Instead of admitting that the problem cuts across federal, states and private institutions, I am disturbed by some claims that graduates of government universities are better than those of private universities. Chairman of Energy Group, Jimoh Ibrahim, was recently quoted as saying that the standard of graduates from private universities is very weak and that they are almost unemployable. He claimed that the poor standard of graduates of the private universities is the reason why, according to him, it is not easy for any alumnus of the institutions to make significant impact. Last Wednesday, Comrade Frank Kokori at a lecture in Lagos also derided the quality of graduates of private institutions particularly because of the high number of first class graduates in comparison with old public universities where he said it was not easy to make such grades. Based on my personal experience and interaction with graduates of public and private universities, I find it difficult to accept the claims by Mr. Ibrahim, Comrade Kokori and any other person who shares their position on this issue. Many federal universities are simply living on past glories and cannot claim to offer better education than some of the top private universities in the country. Most of the state universities are worse and do not offer their students much for them to compete with graduates of even the average private universities. With the poor state of many public universities in the country as confirmed by a recent finding by a visitation panel, many Nigerian parents, just like they do for secondary education, now prefer sending their children to private universities in the country or abroad. Despite having more qualified lecturers, students of public universities do not have the advantage of being taught better as some of the lecturers hardly come for lectures. There are cases where lecturers in public universities barely take five lectures in a semester. What is the use of having some lecturers who don’t teach or teach outdated topics from outdated books? Interestingly, some of the lecturers in the private universities also lecture in public universities. Unfortunately, while they take their lectures in private universities seriously due to the close monitoring by the authorities of the institutions, they can be very casual with lectures in public universities, when they attend. Whether in public or private universities, there is an urgent need to ensure an improvement in the standard of education the students are getting. The students must be ready to learn, the teacher should be ready to teach and the government and proprietors must provide necessary and enabling academic environment.


•Pharaoh: Any Yoruba link with Egypt? By Femi Fani Kayode

TION’’ which was written by Olomu and Eyebira. The write-up is utterly fascinating in terms of it’s depth and research. In the section titled ‘’The Oduduwan Revolution’’. The authors wrote the following‘’In this chapter, we shall talk of a possible migration from ancient Egypt. Many traditions point to a fact that an alien group (Egyptians) immigrated to Yoruba land and mixed with the original population.Many oral traditions are replete with these stories. The Awujale of Ijebu land has shown that the Ijebus are descended from ancient Nubia (a colony of Egypt). He was able to use the evidence of language, body, scarification, coronation rituals that are similar to Nubians’ etc, to show that the Ijebus are descendants of the Nubians. What the present Awujale claimed for the Ijebus, can be authenticated all over Yoruba land. The Awujale even mentioned (2004) that the Itsekiri (an eastern Yoruba dialect) are speaking the original Ijebu language. Since the Nubians were descended from the Egyptians, the Ijebu, and by extension, all Yoruba customs, derived from the Egyptian as well. Many traditional Yorubas have always claimed Egypt as their place of original abode, and that their monarchical tradition derives from the Egyptians. Apostle Atigbiofor Atsuliaghan, a high priest of Umale-Okun, and a direct descendant of Orunmila, claimed that the Yorubas left Egypt as a result of a big war that engulfed the whole of Egypt. He said the Egyptian remnants settled in various places, two important places being Ode Itsekiri and Ile-Ife.Chief O.N Rewane says “Oral tradition has it also that when the Yorubas came from South of Egypt they did not go straight to where they now occupy. They settled at Illushi, some at Asaba area – Ebu, Olukumi Ukwunzu while some settled at OdeItsekiri,.” (O.N. Rewane Royalty Magazine A PICTORIAL SOUVENIR OF THE BURIAL AND CORONATION OF OLU OF WARRI, WARRI 1987). Since these oral traditions are passed on by very illiterate people, we can augment whatever is recorded with written sources. Concerning the migration of some of the Yoruban ancestors from the east, Conton says: ‘’The Yoruba of Nigeria are believed by many modern historians to be descended from a people who were living on the banks of the Nile 2,000 years ago, and who were at the time in close contact with the Egyptians and the Jews. Sometime before AD 600, if this belief is correct, these people must have left their fertile lands, for reasons which we can not now discover and have joined in the ceaseless movement of tribes west wards and south-wards across our continent.We can only guess at the

many adventures they and their descendants must have had on their long journey and at the number of generations which passed before they arrived. All we can be certain about is that they were a Negro people and that one of the many princely states they founded on their arrival in West Africa…..was Ife’’- Conton. Although we agree with Conton that some of the Yoruban ancestors migrated from Egypt, we tend to toe the scientific line of Cheik Anta Diop, that the ancient Egyptians were pure Negroes. Aderibigbe, an indigenous scholar, also accepts that the Yorubas migrated from Egypt. He says:”The general trend of these theories, most of them based on Yoruba traditions, is that of a possible origin from “the east”. Some scholars, impressed by the similarities between Yoruba and ancient Egyptian culture – religious observation, works of art, burial and other customs – speak of a possible migration of the ancestors of the Yoruba from the upper Nile (as early as 2000BC – 1000BC) as a result of some upheavals in ancient Egypt”. (AB ADERIBIGBE 1976). Unlike Conton, Aderibigbe was able to pinpoint a cause for the Yoruban migration – war. Olumide Lucas did a lot of job to show similarities and identities between the ancient Egyptians and the Yoruban peoples. The date that Aderibigbe gave (2000BC – 1000BC) is much earlier than that given by Conton. Aderibigbe’s date corresponds to that of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt 2000-1500BC. On the possible eastern origin of the Yorubas, Tariqh Sawandi says:”The Yoruba history begins with the migration of an east African population across the trans-African route leading from Mid-Nile river area to the Mid-Niger. Archaeologists, according to M. Omoleya, inform us that the Nigerian region was inhabited more than forty thousand years ago, or as far back as 65,000BC. During this period, the Nok culture occupied the region. The Nok culture was visited by the “Yoruba people”, between 2000BC and 500BC. This group of people was led, according to Yoruba historical accounts by king Oduduwa, who settled peacefully in the already established IleIfe, the sacred city of the indigenous Nok people.This time period is known as the Bronze Age, a time of high civilization of both of these groups. According to Olumide J. Lucas, “the Yoruba, during antiquity, lived in ancient Egypt before migrating to the Atlantic coast”. He uses as demonstration the similarity or identity of languages, religious beliefs, customs and names of persons, places and things. In addition, many ancient papyri discovered by archaeologists point at an Egyptian origin’’ (Tariqh Sawandi: ‘’Yorubic medicine: The Art of divine herbology). (TO BE CONTINUED)




• Tambuwal

Tambuwal 2015: Where will the Speaker port? F

OLLOWING his surprise emergence on the national political terrain of the country in 2011, Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has remained one of the major players in the unending power games played in the corridors of power. The Sokoto-born politician became the Speaker of the House of Representatives following the defiance to the zoning arrangement of his party, the Peoples' Democratic Party, (PDP) by the majority of the lawmakers elected on the platform of the ruling party. To successfully defy their party's directive, Tambuwal and his co-travellers teamed up with opposition lawmakers. This coalition succeeded in thwarting an arrangement by the PDP to force Hon. Mulikat Adeola from Oyo State in the Southwest geo-political zone on the House as its Speaker. From his first day in office as Speaker, Tambuwal did not leave anyone in doubt that he intended to be his own man.

A cloud of uncertainty currently hangs over the political ambition of Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the House of Representatives. Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan, takes a look at the various options open to the Sokotoborn politician. From criticising the government and hobnobbing freely with opposition political figures, the young politician has ensured that his actions in and out of office are not determined by party affiliation. Of course, he became controversial in a way as many of his actions and utterances generated discusses. That same controversy appears to be dogging his step ahead of the 2015 general elections in the country. This is because it is still uncertain which of the many options before him he will settle for eventually. For one, Tambuwal's yet-to-bedenied presidential ambition is reportedly heating up the political camp of many presidential

hopefuls from the northern region. Pundits say many northern politicians with presidential ambitions are waiting on the Speaker to either declare or deny his rumoured interest in the race before going public with theirs. On the other hand, the Speaker's supporters back home in Sokoto State are calling on him to come and be the next governor of the north western state. Sources within the ruling party in the state even told The Nation that at a time, Tambuwal was adjudged as a consensus candidate by party elders and the various factions within the PDP in the state. Yet, there are those who swore that the Speaker's plan is to seek

another term in the lower assembly so that he can retain his position as Speaker in the next political dispensation. Although he has not declared his presidential ambition, analysts claim recent moves by Tambuwal give the impression that he is a likely candidate in the 2015 presidential contest. .Several groups and organisations across the country went viral with requests that Tambuwal should join the presidential race. Individual politicians were not left out as the Speaker was endorsed for the presidency by political heavyweights within and outside his party. Finally, in what political observers called an apparent response to speculation that the Speaker may be gearing up to run for president in 2015, the House of Representatives announced that it would back Tambuwal's aspiration if he decides to run. Deputy spokesman of the House, Hon. Victor Ogene (APGA, Anambra), told Nigerians that Tambuwal had displayed worthy leadership qualities that show he

would make a fine president and that if Nigerians asked him to run for the office, he wouldn't turn the request down. "As it stands today, Tambuwal has displayed good leadership in the House of Reps. It is only left for Nigerians to determine who will lead them in 2015. Though he has not told us about this, leadership is done by the people. "If he decides to achieve the dream, we will support him. Tambuwal is not a PDP Speaker; he is the Speaker of the House of Reps. He can relate with any party in the best interest of Nigerians," he said. Hon. Ali Ahmad (PDP, Kwara) and Chairman House Committee on Justice also confirmed Tambuwal's eligibility for the 2015 presidential contest, when he said, "Anybody who knows the Honourable Speaker and the way he has steered the House in the last two years and the way and manner he has been able to hold firm the House, will know that not a single pen has been thrown in this Assembly. "That shows you glaringly the quality of this man is better than what I will say about him. So anybody can judge his capacity to control and manage people with different ideas and disposition. So a man like that has what it takes •Continued on Page 21




Heavyweights up against Okorocha The scenario that played out in the 2011 governorship election in Imo State may be reenacted if the current political realities in the South East state are anything to go by, reports Remi Adelowo


ROM all indications, the 2015 governorship election in Imo State promises to be a keenly con-

tested race. At the last count, over 10 aspirants, considered as heavyweights in the politics of the state, are currently oiling their machinery to challenge the incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha, who is likely to contest for another term in office. In spite of the fact that Okorocha is perceived by many Imolites as having justified his mandate so far, those angling for his job are not perturbed that they can still pull the chestnut out of the fire by trouncing Okorocha at the polls. The Nation gathered that while many of these aspirants have not come out openly to declare their ambition, a few others have been very visible at several political fora, while others have surreptitiously embarked on secret campaigns by inaugurating structures across all the wards in the state. Among the aspirants being mentioned within the state's political circles include the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; Speaker of the Pan African Parliament and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bethel Amadi. Others are Senator Chris Anyanwu; Okorocha's immediate predecessor, Ikedi Ohakim; senator representing Imo West, Hope Uzodinma; a former senator, Ifeanyi Araraume and Chief Martins Agbaso, amongst others. The big question being asked by political stakeholders in the state is: who among these aspirants can defeat Okorocha, who, against all odds, defeated the then incumbent governor, Ohakim? The race is crowded in PDP Ihedioha the frontrunner A three-term federal legislator, the political profile of this 48-year-old politician has been on the rise since he was elected into the House in 2003. From the Owerri zone, Ihedioha is credited with the few federal projects in the state, a factor analysts say may work in his favour at the next election. However, the general perception of his being arrogant and inaccessible are considered as his major weaknesses. Amadi also favoured From Owerri like Ihedioha, Amadi is also a threeterm lawmaker and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). An in-law of business mogul Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Amadi also has the advantage of having a prominent chieftain of the party and member of the Board of Trustees, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, as his political godfather. A source told The Nation that what could count against Amadi is his alleged distancing from his political base and perceived nonchallant disposition to affairs of his party. Uzodinma yet to decide Having contested elections into various political offices, from governorship to the Senate in the state since 1999, Uzodinma finally succeeded in 2011 when he defeated Senator Osita Izanaso in the PDP prima-



ries and proceeded to trounce a former governor of the state, Chief Achike Udenwa, for the Imo West senatorial seat. Though quite popular across the state, the unwritten zoning formula in the state may work against him, as he hails from Orlu like the incumbent governor. Ohakim staging a comeback His defeat to Okorocha in 2011 brought unexpected political reconfiguration in the state, resulting in the jettisoning of the unwritten zoning arrangement allegedly reached in 1998 by major political stakeholders in the state. From the Okigwe zone, the failure of Ohakim to win a second term in office, sources say, truncated the desire of the Owerri senatorial zone to produce the governor in 2015. The former governor, it was gathered, is banking on his structures which have remained intact even after his exit from office to enable him stage a comeback to the exalted office. Araraume stands a slim chance Once touted as a possible successor to Udenwa who ruled the state from 1999 to 2007, Araraume's lifelong ambition, according to sources close to him, is to govern Imo. Currently a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), on which platform he contested for the governorship in 2011, sources alleged that it is only a matter of time before the Okigwe-born senator returns to PDP. His close relationship with the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Anthony Anenih, is one advantage many believe Araraume is banking on, not only to smoothen his return to PDP, but to clinch the party's governorship ticket. Is Agbaso moving to PDP? Though he has denied reports that he has been fraternising with the leadership of the PDP, The Nation, however, gathered that Agbaso, whose younger brother, Jude Agbaso, was impeached as Okorocha's deputy a few months ago, is considering joining PDP and contesting the party's governorship ticket.

But how he plans to achieve this objective, considering the array of aspirants in the party, remains to be seen. Ihenacho also interested A successful shipping, oil and gas magnate, Ihanacho served as the Minister of Interior under the late Umaru Yar' Adua, but was later removed under controversial circumstances. From Ezeogba in Owerri North Local Government Area, unconfirmed report has it that he is weighing his options before deciding whether to throw his hat into the governorship race. Other aspirants in the PDP include Emma Ojinere, who though is popular among party members, but is said to lack the structures to prosecute a successful campaign. Besides this, another factor likely to count against him is the fact that he hails from the same Mbaise zone like Ihedioha and Chris Anyanwu. Eye on Chukwueke The other aspirant enjoying generous mention among PDP members in the state is Jerry Chukwueke. A governorship aspirant in the party in 2007, the businessman has been in a political wilderness of sorts until recently when he donated a bus to the party, a gesture many have interpreted as a subtle way to indicate his return to the mainstream of the party. Will Anyanwu contest the APGA ticket? The impending registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Governor Okorocha as one of the prime movers, sources pointed out, has provided an opportunity for Anyanwu to vie for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). A two-term senator, Anyanwu proved her political worth in 2011 when she crossed over to APGA after she was denied the PDP's senatorial ticket for Owerri zone and defeated the PDP candidate, Dr. Kema Chikwe, in the general election. Independent-minded and outspoken, opinions are divided in the state as to whether the senator can make history by becoming the first female governor of the state.

Other aspirants in the PDP include Emma Ojinere, who though is popular among party members, but is said to lack the structures to prosecute a successful campaign. Besides this, another factor likely to count against him is the fact that he hails from the same Mbaise zone like Ihedioha and Chris Anyanwu.



S the Director-General of Ibom Medallion rooting for the governorship aspiration of the current SSG, Umana Umana, how far have you gone to sell his candidacy? Very far! But you know it is about strategy; it is about cause and effect. Ibom Medallion only came to set the stage. I think God helped us to have succeeded in doing that beyond expectations. We are glad that a majority of our people are elated to identify or side with this humane brand. Umana Okon Umana is easy to sell. Let me add that very soon we are going to return to set stage number two. We are just waiting for the right time to set the tempo for the next stage and I think that should begin from next month. You once supported zoning of the governorship in the past, why are you not supporting it for 2015? Yes, it is true that I went for election in 2011 and it is also true that I had a position on zoning then. I still maintain that position only that because of what happened, I have now gone ahead by removing that ambiguity on zoning. Now, I am on zoning but I want it to be to the best man. Zoning can only throw up mediocrity. And in any case, why waste time? You can never stop people in other zones from contesting. In the United States, nobody talks about zoning; it's just about excellence. So for me, that is why I have reengineered my position on zoning. I am not saying zoning is not good, but please zone it to best man. Why are you backing the aspiration of the SSG? The man is vast in experience. Have you ever imagined the reason Governor Akpabio did not just hit the ground running from day one; but that indeed he hit the sky flying from 29th May, 2007? The secret was his six-year experience in the previous administration. He knew the loopholes, so as soon as he returned to the field of play as captain, he changed the complexion of the game by simply overlapping through flanks he had



‘Zoning of A’Ibom governorship will throw up mediocrity’ Michael Bush is the Director-General of Ibom Medallion, a group rooting for the emergence of Umana Umana, the current Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Akwa Ibom State, as the next governor in 2015. In this interview with Kazeem Ibrahym, he speaks on the politics of the state and the controversial zoning arrangement.

•Bush marked out. That's the power of experience. I think that is the same thing Umana will do. Opposition parties are merging to give the PDP a run for its money in 2015. How is the PDP in Akwa Ibom and Mr. Umana preparing for this challenge? Well, I don't speak for PDP. But if you know PDP as I do, you will

realise that it has a way of reinventing itself. PDP is even better anytime there is something you call crisis. I'm not sure they even call it crisis. They know what they call it, something like family affair. And you know every family that resolves its crisis always comes out better and stronger. The party is sharp enough to know that it will

need the best man in Akwa Ibom for 2015 because, again back to the issue of zoning, you would have heard that All Progressive Congress (APC) is not considering zoning. It wants to put up the best against PDP. Is PDP going to do zoning and present a candidate that is not popular or loved by the people?

There have been unconfirmed reports that Mr. Umana Okon Umana was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan by Governor Godswill Akpabio as the next Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2015, but that the president rejected him. As an insider, can you clear the air on this? There are a number of things I will want to say on this issue. Number one is: as journalists, have we observed that anytime people, particularly those interested in 2015 governorship open their mouths to speak, their target is Umana Okon Umana? Have you ever wondered why this is so? I think it shows you clearly that he is the man to beat. By the way, I am not in government, so I am not speaking for the governor on this matter. I am only telling you what I know as somebody who should know. The first line is that it never happened. Of course you know that things don't happen that way in politics. In fact if something like that were to happen at all, there is no way a governor, in the mould of Chief Akpabio, will take somebody to the president and the president would say no. So I want it to be on record that it never happened. I can confirm to you that Umana Umana will not only stand for the governorship ticket of the PDP, but he will grab it and by the grace of God, go on to win the governorship election in 2015.

Tambuwal 2015: Where will the Speaker port? • Continued from Page 19

to be the president of this country. "He could be one of the front runners because I know there are many people who will come out to contest in 2015, including those who have done so in 2011. If I am the repository of the decision of Nigeria, if I were the embodiment of the 160 million Nigerians and if Tambuwal expresses his desire to contest, I have to say 'if' because now he is concentrating on this House and we don't want him to digress because now we have two years to go with serious business to do. But if he decides and I am the embodiment of the 160 million Nigerians, I think he will be our next president." In spite of all the agitations and endorsements for his presidential candidacy, mum has been the word from the Speaker. But his close associates and followers said he is currently engaged in widespread consultations and discussions with leading politicians across the country. "The Speaker is talking to people across the country. He is conscious of the fact that he will have to seek the support and votes of all Nigerians across the states when the race is declared open. That is why he has chosen

• Tambuwal to seek the approval of as many leaders as possible before stepping out. "Tambuwal has all it takes to be president and I am sure it is just a matter of time before he publicly declares his interest in the job. Once we get all the approvals and encouragement we seek, we will come out and tell Nigerians what we want them to do for us in 2015," an aide of the Speaker told The Nation. All these and more leave no one in doubt that Tambuwal's name has crept into the roll call for the presidential race. Many analysts believe that what is just left is for the 47-year-old politician to publicly announce his readiness

to contest the next presidential election. Meanwhile, admirers of the lawyer-turned-politician in his home state of Sokoto want him to come back home and rule the state in 2015. For them, the presidency shouldn't be the next port of call for their illustrious son whose wealth of experience, they claim, the state requires at this time. The argument is that since the incumbent governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako, would be reaching the constitutional limit of two terms having been first elected in 2007, the state should put its best man on the job to consolidate on the achievement of the outgoing governor.

Tambuwal's chance of winning the governorship race, according to sources, is also made more attractive by the zoning arrangement in the state as well as the support he is said to be enjoying from Governor Wammakko in the crowded race to the Government House. Sokoto south, Tambuwal's senatorial district, is the only zone yet to produce a governor for the state and there is currently a strong agitation by the people of the area to have a shot at the plum job in 2015. The Speaker is expected to be a beneficiary of this agitation should he decide to opt for the job. But the recent suspension of Governor Wamakko from the PDP, which is already being viewed in some quarters as an attempt to frustrate Tambuwal's governorship ambition, may adversely affect an attempt by the Speaker to seek to replace the governor in 2015. "Tambuwal is to use Governor Wamakko's political structure to run for governorship in 2015, while the governor will seek to go to the Senate and represent Sokoto Central. But with this move by the party at the national level to take the control of the party away from Wamakko, it is left to be seen how these two allies will achieve their ambitions in the state," a PDP chieftain in Sokoto explained. This perhaps explains why

some analysts feel the best option for Tambuwal would be to seek another term as a federal legislator with a view to retaining his speakership. His chances of doing this, they argued, remain bright considering his hold on the House since he became the Speaker. "Tambuwal will find it easier remaining the Speaker beyond 2015 than gunning after the presidency or even the governorship of his state. He has a firm hold on the House and he enjoys the support of opposition lawmakers, who would rather have him on the seat than any other PDP member. "The PDP is not likely to lose its majority in the House in 2015. In such a situation, a repeat of the 2011 scenario where the opposition and rebellious PDP legislators went into a coalition to produce a Speaker would play out again and Tambuwal will defy the odds to remain as Speaker," Fred Ogunba of the Centre for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) analysed. With just a little more than a year to the commencement of the general elections, many politicians within and outside the Speaker's political party are impatiently waiting for him to tell the world where he intends to port politically in 2015.




‘I’ll rather educate the average Gombe citizen’ The Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, recently spoke with a group of journalists, Deputy Editor, Nation’s Capital, Yomi Odunuga, was there. Excerpts:


OW would you describe your experience in governance, two years on? Well, we are a state that was nowhere in the last 16 years; a state that receives one of the least funds from the Federation Account, without even facilities that can generate revenue because what is different in some other states is that facilities are there that can be used to tighten the control and generate revenues. I don’t need to build Victoria Island again. I don’t need to build Ikoyi again. The houses are there because the government built them there. So, anytime I wake up and impose all sorts of taxes, they don’t have choices, they have to pay and that is just it, tell them to pay and they pay. I don’t have such leverage of facilities in this place. I cannot charge for even water unlike in some other places where water is already provided, dams have been built, water has being piped, all I need to do is take control around revenue collections. But here in Gombe, I don’t even have the water. So how can I charge water rate? Also there are some things that work for other people that do not work for this kind of settlement but we are not lamenting because we are coming up too and one day we will get to where they are. The most important thing is that we are optimally using the little resources we have to maximize benefit for our people. Our objective is to target the generally uplift the people and take care of their welfare irrespective of whatever anybody says, irrespective of the politics that is being played. We are doing our best

to get the best for our people. We will not be diverted and we will not assume that things are okay. The most important But we know that, with little effort and with the support thing is that we are we have around, we will all optimally using the muster these little resources and optimise the needs and little resources we requirements of our people. I must say it is not easy and, have to maximize the last time, I agitated that benefit for our there are some facilities which basically should have people. Our been provided as a threshobjective is to target old to all entities. I am not saying that they should the generally uplift give anybody bonus or they the people and take should give anybody support that is not required. But care of their welfare for government to function, irrespective of such a government requires certain things and these whatever anybody things are basic. With the meagre says, amount that accrues to the state from the Federation Accounts and going by the number of projects that your administration has embarked upon with little Internally Generated Revenue, you may end up piling up the debt profile of the state by the time you leave office? I think what is very important to know is that we have very pragmatic financial management system and we tie our projects to cash flow. We are not that indebted. We inherited a lot of debt and what we did was to restructure the debt so that we create space for development. We have a robust financial management system that we use and I want to assure you that, as at today, there is no single certificate of valuation that is submitted to Gombe State that is not paid. I am not saying that we have all the funds to pay but we do little financial management to ensure that our obligations are paid as at when due. Having done so much in the education sector and some other areas, what will be your next focus? There are still a lot of things to be done in the education sector because, in some places in Gombe, students are still seen studying under trees. So, we still have a lot to do. We still have a very poor teacher-student ratio, poor science and art ratio in terms of personnel in the schools, we still have a lot of gaps because all these will manifest in the future into additional little bit of cost of also running the institutions. In the next one or two years, the school may be due for painting, so it is a continuous investment in education. But the most important investment, going forward, is in teachertraining and retraining; in books investment and supply. Also, we are looking forward to a situation where we will partner, be it PPP or some other forms of financing, for the supply of steady books to

•Dankwambo the children in Gombe State. What is very different about Gombe is that in certain parts of Gombe, we still have to attract the children to school and keep them. There are some places in Gombe where we have good schools but the children still decline but we still try to attract more. Recently, we have attracted some of them back to the schools including girls. All these are things we will put together in going forward. When we came, we set up an agenda that will run for a long period of time and this agenda was endorsed by Gombe people and the agenda will be carried by anybody that comes to lead Gombe whether me or anybody else and we all agreed that, from time to time, we will sit down and review the agenda for development. It is not only for education, it is the same thing for health, infrastructure, trade and tourism. It is virtually the same thing for all the sectors of the economy. Some of the projects you have seen are the quick and short term deliverables. Is there any specific measure being taken to encourage these girls to take them to higher education considering the cultural issues that take them out of school early? Is the government also thinking of ending then out of the country for studies? Like I have said, what keeps them out of school was even because there was no school and now I think we are at an advantage because there are schools around. So, at least, they will be encouraged to go to schools. Gombe has a state university, federal university, and we are also establishing a polytechnic, we have a college of education. What I am saying is that, may be the incentive then for them to go to school was not there. Now, the schools are here. In those days, there were few universities that could entail travelling out of the state and very few parents will allow their children to travel maybe because of traditional and cultural things that are all involved in taking decisions on a girl. Also some states which had universities before us have some advantage. I think there are enough incentives for them to go and for now, we will try as much as possible to give encouragement to certain courses that are not taken in the universities like medicine. And I know that, in the next two to three years, the faculty of medicine will be fully functional in Gombe. On foreign studies, I feel that the resources that will be used to sponsor one or two children can still take about ten ordinary people in the society so that everybody will benefit from what Gombe is doing and as much as possible discourage this foreign university because of some of their experience that we know about. We know that in foreign university, if you take a boy of about 12 years with a different upbringing, when you take him to another place and he is seeing free life and little control, you know that the parental issue involved in raising a child particularly at that age and you

also know the nature of our society. So, by the time I say I am giving scholarship, no matter how much I control it, you will find out that the son of this and that will be the ones that will go no matter how the card is played. But when you have money as a parent and you want your child to go to the United Kingdom or the United States to school, all the best. But the ordinary Gombe man will school in Gombe. It is obvious that the problem of water is endemic in the state, what is your administration doing to address the matter? Fortunately or unfortunately for us, there are some places where you cannot get borehole water and you will go as far as 500 meters in some places in Gombe. So the only solution is to get a dam or treated water which is piped. Fortunately, we have a dam in Gombe but it is about 45 to 50 kilometres, so we are drawing the water little by little and it is a huge investment. The first one we did was when the water came into Gombe, we had to distribute it in and around Gombe and that cost us about N4.2 billion. The next thing was to extend it to certain areas. In these areas, if you drive, it is like you are getting to almost the border of Gombe where there is no ground water at all. So we have succeeded in extending up to 78 kilometres of pipeline towards that side and that cost additional N1.8 billion. If you leave the Government House and go towards the airport, there is no ground water too. So Gombe is situated in a kind of place that is so difficult and what we are doing is to take them as we are able to get the required cash flows. But the most important thing is not to take all of them at the same time but take them as the available resources are there to take care of them and so far so good, the Gombe reticulation is almost 90% to 95% completed. Also when you take dam water, you are also adding to the cost of treatment and cost of maintenance. When I came, we ran the dam at about N90 million a month. As at today, we pump the water four times and monthly or quarterly, the cost of maintenance is about N242 million and we used to pump the water only once but because of influx of people into Gombe from the neighbouring states who are in one kind of situation or the other, we pump the water four times now on a daily basis. So, these are the kind of pressure that are on us and that also reduces our effort to ensure that other areas that do not have water have. I could have easily dug borehole but you cannot even get borehole water here and it is a challenge. You said you met a lot of debt, can we know the figure and how much have been paid? It is also interesting to know why someone who, as the Auditor-General of Federation, sitting over billions and distributing it could resign and contest for a gubernatorial position. Could you tell us what the attraction was? •Continued on Page 69




ripples Kamil Akinlabi in cold war with godfather


HE once cordial relationship between Hon. Kamil Akinlabi, the member of House of Representatives representing Oyo Federal Constituency and his godfather, a foremost South West traditional ruler, has gone cold. The lawmaker and the monarch, until now, have enjoyed an excellent relationship that has endured for over ten years, a factor that has contributed to the lawmaker's meteoric rise in the politics of his hometown. Reasons for the split are still unclear, but sources squealed that it may not be unconnected to the alleged failure of the lawmaker to redeem some political I.O.Us.

Ochei parries question on governorship ambition


HE event was a media briefing held by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Victor Ochei, in commemoration of the second year legislative session. Close to the end of the event, a reporter asked the Speaker to clear the air on his speculated governorship ambition and the statement by elder statesman, Chief E.K Clark, that he (Ochei) cannot be the next governor of the state. Eyewitnesses at the parley told •Ochei Ripples that the Speaker was Second, he added that he was diplomatic in his response. solely to talk about the activities not ready to join issues with a First, he told the inquisitive of the Assembly and not his respected leader like Clark, whom reporter that the briefing was rumoured ambition. he said was entitled to his views.

Jumoke Akinjide still interested in governorship

C Tukur goofs again ESPITE reported efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan to pacify some aggrieved PDP governors, it appears he is not on the same page with his party's national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. A few days ago, Tukur was quoted to have said that the Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wammako, can leave the party if he so desires. Ripples gathered that this statement has not gone down well with top members of the party, who are concerned about whether Tukur is working on a script to bring down the party.






Political Politics

Ifeanyi Ubah dares Obi

ROM his body language and comments by his aides, it is obvious that Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, is not disposed to the governorship ambition of controversial businessman, Ifeanyi Ubah. But from all indications, Ubah seems not perturbed by the governor's position and is forging ahead with preparations for his underground campaign to win the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the general election. Ubah, it was gathered, has been busy in the last few months marketing his candidacy to traditional rulers, opinion leaders, youth and women organisations in the state.

ONTRARY to rumours that the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, has dropped h e r governorship ambition, Ripples can reveal that t h e contrary is the case. Close associates of the minister disclosed t h a t Akinjide has been •Jumoke quietly building her structures in her home state, Oyo, in the last two years. However, it is not clear if Akinjide is preparing for the 2015 governorship race or working towards 2019. As part of her strategies to consolidate on her structures in the state, sources say the minister has leveraged on her position to dispense patronage to members of her party, PDP.


with Bolade Omonijo

APC: The real hurdles


HE All Progressives Congress (APC) has finally applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration. This marks the attainment of a high degree of preparation for contesting the 2015 election. Hopefully, with that move and the consequent INEC decision, the controversy over which is the real APC would be resolved and a higher gear engaged by the political association. By this, I am not being simplistic. I am not unaware that issues could always crop up requiring attention and impeding movement. But, it is my contention that registration represents only one real hurdle: fulfilling the legal requirement. The party has already done what is expected of it at this stage. It has painstakingly gone through the process of agreeing on a name, a logo and flag. The issue of officers and how they are to be picked has, also, been presumably settled. The ball is now in INEC's court to prove if it is indeed an extension of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Thereafter, the matter could be tackled. However, the registration hurdle is the lowest. The real hurdles are political. The requirements to make APC a potent political force and an alternative to the PDP are legion and more difficult to handle. It pushes the political association (that is what it is until it is formally registered) to a terrain laced with landmines. First, it is faced with the challenge of bonding with the people. The only concrete antidote to rigging and manipulations by the dominant ruling party is obtaining the confidence of the people. It is not a feat to be attained overnight in a country where cynicism is a religion. Many, and there is merit in the argument, believe that there is little to distinguish one set of politicians from another. After all, many of those in the APC have traversed the entire party corridor. Many were pioneer members of the ruling party and only left when handed the short end of the stick. It is an uphill task convincing the electorate that the APC is any different. Second, the people need assurance that the APC stands a ghost of a chance to displace the PDP. Otherwise, some of those who may be sympathetic to its cause could decide to be apathetic to the process. All that the PDP strategists have to do is drum up the message that the party controls the federal executive, the federal legislature, 23 of the state governments and more than two-thirds of the local government councils and put up a nice argument that no other party could possible stand the PDP might in the run up to 2015. Again, it is left for the APC captains to prove that the battle is not for the mighty and there have been cases when such giants fell; if not in this clime in others around us. Third, there is one question to be answered: is there a real difference between APC and PDP? This can only be answered in action. The campaign must be shifted to issues. Up till now, save regular rancor and acrimony, no one knows what the PDP stands for. Its governments cannot be held to anything. This is the common feature of the current party system. The APC needs to toe the line of the Action Group and Northern Elements Progressive Union in the period leading to independence. Both canvassed support based on a social ideology that located the people, the governed at the heart of policy. The AG that was reputed as the best organized in Africa had a policy paper on every issue. When it was coming up with the free education programme in 1955, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Dr. Awosika and Professor Sanya Onabamiro and others had to work to produce a blueprint with the tiniest of details. It had similar policy frameworks on the Justice, economic, agriculture, industrial and health sectors, among others. The Unity Party of Nigeria built on that in the Second Republic with the famous four cardinal principles. This is a difficult but inescapable precedence for the APC. Fourth, the cost of maintaining a solid structure required by a mass party must be staggering and enormous. But it is the only road to travel. The branches, chapters and cells of the APC must be visible and working. Its federal and state organs must function and the impression must not be given that it is owned and run by one or a few oligarchs. One responsibility that the aspiring party can take up immediately is exposing the hollowness of the PDP government. Its men must take up the party on major issues of the day. Alhaji Lai Mohammed of the ACN has been doing a lot for the party, so has Rotimi Fashakin of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), but this is not substitute for structured responses and expert analysis. At best, the public sees Mohammed's and Fashakin's views as partisan responses, not detailed analysis on social issues. On national development, where does the APC government stand? On federalism and restructuring, would an APC government convoke a national conference- within what period? Would an APC government introduce free education or insist that qualitative education must cost parents money? How would education be funded? What about scholarship schemes? What about state police? These are issues that the people deserve to know and should know. The APC stands at a vantage point now. This is a unique opportunity to arrest the rudderless and inept leadership of the country. But the party needs to assure us that it is dependable and the future of the country could be entrusted to it. Otherwise, the search has to continue.




Nigeria threatened by terrorist cells – Horsfall

Chief Albert K. Horsfall is the former Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Chairman of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC). In this interview with JOHN BASSEY, he shares his views on the current insecurity rocking parts of Nigeria and some other issues.


HAT is your take on the current state of the nation? Nigeria is going through a period of severe political and security stress. Clearly, not many people realise in this country that the apparent ambition of the Boko Haramists for instance is to mount a territorial claim on Nigerian sovereignty and integrity. From all indications, the terrorists intend to stay in this country, establish themselves and then pursue a political agenda. In the past we have dealt with such terrorist elements like Maitatsine, etc. The ambition of those earlier groups appears limited compared to what is happening to the present Boko Haram insurgency. The Boko Haramists have clearly been heavily infiltrated by outside forces and external terrorist groups whose objective is to take over parts of Nigeria as they seem to have done in Mali before French forces flushed them out of northern Mali. No country worth it sovereignty will allow a terrorist gang to occupy its territory and thereby diminish the sovThe threat of an inereignty and territorial ausurgency has recently thority of that country. The current developbecome a major factor ment in parts of northern in our national politics. Nigeria is clearly the manifestation of such threats. The Let us take those of the terrorist cells and Niger Delta which organisations ousted from ended a couple of years different parts of the Middle East and North Africa in parago. Apart from the ticular, including Sudan, Sofew truly nationalist elmalia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, etc. are all at ements among those present busy looking for militants, a lot of crimiplaces and territories to house themselves and fonal and self seeking elment their nefarious activiements took advantage ties. It is therefore important for all concerned to realise of the genuine dethe magnitude of the threats mands of the Niger which the country faces Delta militants and defrom those terrorist armies and co-operate to defeat the stroyed both human terrorists and not play poliand material propertics with these truly dangerous events. ties as well as deDo you think the declastroyed the lives of inration of state of emergency in the three states is the right nocent citizens living thing to do? in their community. The declaration of the state of emergency by the President and Commanderin-Chief did not come soon

enough. But thank God Mr. President has now decided to take the bull by the horns. The declaration had indeed become inevitable. It is either the Commander-in-Chief did so now, or he allows the terrorists to settle down and the issue of terrorism would have become endemic in Nigeria. We pray not. Having taken the bull by the horns, the correct and wise thing for Mr. President to do is to chase the terrorists out of wherever they may infiltrate into, in parts of this country. We must not allow them any breathing space or respite. Any such lack of relentless pursuit will allow them to find a foothold somewhere else in this country and continue to threaten the national security, integrity and sovereignty. A state of emergency is a state of emergency. It must be pursued fully and relentlessly. Therefore, this is a time for all Nigerians to rally round the leadership of the President and ensure that our country is rid of this threat to the national sovereignty. We must equally rally round our armed forces, the police and the security services.

•Horsfall Do you think the insecurity in the country today has anything to do with politics? The threat of an insurgency has recently become a major factor in our national politics. Let us take those of the Niger Delta which ended a couple of years ago. Apart from the few truly nationalist elements among those militants, a lot of criminal and self seeking elements took advantage of the genuine demands of the Niger Delta militants and destroyed both human and material properties as well as destroyed the lives of innocent citizens living in their community. Such is the consequence of these acts of insurgency and terrorism once started. Sometimes, the consequences which flow from such acts are based on political, ideological or religious differences as we have seen in recent times. We have also seen that many times such security threats are started by political agitation and encouragement and pronouncement of a few vocal self-seeking elements within society but once the fire of insurgency has been lit these elements who ab initio started the agitation find themselves incapable of putting out the fire they had started. Such is the case in parts of the country at present as was the case of the recent Niger Delta militancy. Therefore, whilst addressing the cases of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the government should equally and quickly look into the disturbances in Nassarawa, Taraba, Benue and particularly Plateau which has lasted for too long. The defence and secu-

rity forces should also be directed thereto as soon as their present task is done to flush out the seemingly endemic disturbances in those states. There are also a lot of political crises in the country today. What do you think is responsible for this? Side by side with the security threat at present raging in parts of the country we have to contend with the number of political issues which have kept the polity in high gear. Yes, politics is about argument, discussions and sometimes quarrel but some of these like the one between the Presidency and the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) are clearly avoidable. They are avoidable because the NGF is not a constitutional organ and having started by doing some good jobs they seem to have now constituted themselves – with permanent secretariat and Director-General – into a parallel political group which tends to rival or check-mate the federal government on national issues. The truth of the matter is that each of the 36 states governors has a territory to administer within their constitutional authority. They are not independent states, therefore their limits are clearly defined by the constitution and the law. For them to constitute themselves as a parallel national political organ to check-mate the FGN and to make pronouncements, especially such pronouncements that go against the FGN’s authority on matters within the •Continued on Page 25



executive branch of government, but the legislature and the local government in some cases, try to influence the judicial branch through appointments, etc. are clearly moving out of steps with the intendment of their constitutional role. They already have enormous powers indeed and are trying to capture more through the back door. And having all these powers they are now trying, through the NGF, to encroach on powers of the FGN as they demonstrated in the matter of the recent emergency declaration, etc. by advising against such action by the FGN. Indeed by taking such actions they could be guilty of provoking avoidable constitutional crisis. In this regard I can’t agree more with Professor Jubril Aminu that the country should be protected from the overbearing authority of the state governors. Sir, between Jonathan and Amaechi, who are you supporting? You call for a straight forward answer and I will give you one! Amaechi and Jonathan are my ‘sons and brothers’. Jonathan is my Ijaw brother and Amaechi is my Ikwerre brother! I am not taking sides with either of them. I am rather on the side of the Nigerian nation and treating the issues involved as an elder statesman who should speak forthrightly and truth“Politicians are fully in the national intergood at starting est. As a young SB officer of twenty-five years I had wars, not ending fought most relentlessly to them. Before you maintain the security and unity of this country. With finish one war, humility and pride I recall that under the leadership of they are busy Alhaji M. D. Yusufu I estabsowing the seed of lished all the security stations and establishments of another one.” One what is today’s Rivers and hopes that this will Bayelsa states and other places in neighbouring not be the case states. Thereafter, I made with our emergent major contributions in building up Nigeria’s first situation and our security service, the NSO. I current crop of single-handedly set up the nation’s Intelligence Service politicians. following its establishment by law; and after which I was returned to the internal security organ, the SSS, when it fell under severe stress to revamp it into the solid service it is at present. I therefore feel not only qualified, but duty bound to speak up not only for myself as an elder statesman and non-partisan politician, but perhaps also speak the minds of other elder statesmen who had contributed immensely to the rebuilding of this country following the Civil War, at a time like this, when the country is once, again, coming under severe security and political stress involving our territorial integrity following the invasion of foreign and local terrorist groups. In regards to your question as to the behaviour of our politicians at this time of national emergency, I can only reply you with a statement quoting a famous American war-time General, GEORGE S. PATTON, at the end of the war when he was asked to comment on the behaviour of the then allied politicians. He said: “Politicians are good at starting wars, not ending them. Before you finish one war, they are busy sowing the seed of another one.” One hopes that this will not be the case with our emergent situation and our current crop of politicians. I have to address issues frankly in the manner that will ensure the continued unity and indivisibility of the country and not to take sides with either party in this matter. That is my stand. After all Gov. Amaechi has done some marvellous job in stemming the tide of insecurity in Rivers State and in terms of developing infrastructure in the state which is a big boost for his party, the PDP. It is sad that once, again, Rivers State, with thanks to Gov. Amaechi’s efforts, only recently recovered from near anarchy, has been turned to a fresh battle field in the matter of the internal PDP struggles to bring down Gov. Amaechi, with series of pro and counter demonstrations including the unleashing of militants, who had only recently retired, back to the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs to remind innocent citizens that they are still lurking around and driving fear into the hearts of the peaceloving citizens from going about their legitimate businesses. What is happening in Rivers State at present confirms the saying that ‘it is the grass which suffers, when elephants fight’! I would like to plead with all concerned that Port Harcourt and environs, which have only recently recovered from the trauma of militancy, be left alone in all of these pro and anti Amaechi demonstrations and allow the prevailing peace in the land to be sustained. And on the state of emergency issue, are you for it or against it? I thought I had treated this matter earlier. I believe the state of emergency became inevitable once the Boko Haramists got involved in territorial ambitions, not just religious agitations. Not to have declared the emergency would have exposed the president to the charge of betraying his oath of office. The Central Bank recently warned the federal government against spending too much money on the current security challenge. What is your take on this? National security is not a matter of theory nor simple economic argument or academics. It is the duty of the defence and security services to protect and preserve the territorial integrity of the nation and I believe this requirement should assume necessary priority, side by side with the welfare of the people. The soldiers, police and security officers, fighting and dying to protect the sovereignty of the country are equally Nigerians and need to be properly equipped and welfared to do their job! These two necessities must be fully taken into account in any economic argument. In this context, let me say that good as the reported presidential order that suspects recently arrested under the emergency should be released may sound, care must be taken of the need for proper screening and re-orientation by the appropriate Islamic religious authorities in effecting such release. I must also advise that care and consideration should be given to protect the morale of the defence and security forces who are fighting and dying to bring this situation under control and restore peace and normality to the country.

•Continued from Page 24 authority of the federal government is to subvert the constitution and create avoidable friction within the polity. To say the least, such situations are totally uncalled for. It is my firm opinion that the present crisis between the federal government and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) is as a result of this clear encroachment by the NGF into federal territories. Do you think the judiciary has a role to play in the war against terrorism in the country? The problem with us in this country is that we enjoy sensationalism and hyperbolism. Almost every issue that threatens security at present had been tackled and highlighted in my previous lectures and interviews. I quote a piece on judiciary in the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)-sponsored lecture of 13th January, 2013: “The judicial arm, in particular, has a major duty to perform in this matter. The dispensation of justice is on the shoulders of the judiciary and the least one would expect from the judiciary in the matter of violent terrorism, economic “terrorism” and corruption, is to emulate the action taken by their Indian counterpart, a commonwealth country like us, to set up special courts to deal with these dangerous cases that are capable of destroying our country. It will be recalled that following the gang rape of a twenty-three- year-old young lady by six Indian youths, the judiciary in that country has designated special courts to rapidly dispense justice in that outrageous criminal matter. In my opinion, so should the Nigerian judiciary do by immediately designating special courts to rapidly deal with persons under trial in these matters!” But the responsible persons and institutions do not appear to pay heed. The main reason is that I am not one of those hyperbolic presenters of issues and narratives. Rather, I am an expert and I present the issues in their true perspectives. There are already a number of Boko Haramists and other insurgents held in our prison custody awaiting trial. One or two of them are taken to court from time to time and for one technical reason or another are returned to the cell, their cases having been further adjourned! When will these cases be dispensed with and justice done, to the state or the individuals or groups concerned? What about consideration for the morale of the officers and men who labour tirelessly, and risk their lives day in and day out in an attempt to bring these alleged culprits to book? These alleged culprits remain in custody under terrible conditions while those who had striven to bring these suspects to book feel frustrated while judges, lawyers and press men practice their trade and profession, and delay their cases not minding the plight and frustrations of these suspects and those who had Were it not for its worked so hard to bring negative posture the them to trial. In my humble opinion, face-off between all that the judiciary needs to do even if that needed the Gov. Amaechi and introduction of a new law, the presidency need and I do not believe it does, is to designate special courts not, in my opinion, or judges to fast-track and to have happened in deal with these cases and those of fraud and corrupthe first place. Presition expeditiously and pundent Jonathan is ish the guilty and free the innocent! The Indian JudiGov. Amaechi’s pociary, a commonwealth and litical leader. All I common law jurisdiction like ours, did a similar arthink he needs to do rangement when a twentyone- year-old medical stuand should still do is dent was gang-raped. Why to invite Gov. can’t our judiciary produce such innovation if we can Amaechi to a little smuggle the issue of Plea chat and talk him Bargain into our law to favour the rich and priviout of the NGF conleged? frontational stance Still on the crisis within the Nigerian Governors’ or, if that failed, use Forum, what do you think the party as a whip is the way out? The posture of the Nito call the governor geria Governors Forum (NGF) on matters of naand the rest of the tional security and goverPDP governors in nance is sometime rather shocking. On 14th May, the NGF to order or 2013 the NGF released a ask the party to communiqué after one of its regular/emergency withdraw its govermeetings advising or rather nors from the NGF warning the federal government not to issue a state using the Party of emergency in any of the Whip. North East states where Boko Haram was nesting. Later that night the FGN broadcast the state of emergency in the three North Eastern states! Did members of the NGF have prior hint of the impending FGN pronouncement or indeed merely anticipated it? If it was the former – that they had prior hint – then they could be accused of divulging official secret which they are sworn to protect! If it was the latter – then they might have been expected to channel their advice through official channels to the FGN or expose themselves to constituting the NGF into a hostile pressure group by offering such negative and contrary advice to the FGN on a matter touching the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation, which they, as governors have equally sworn to uphold! It must be observed that each of the governors is responsible within his constitutional limit, for a chunk of Nigerian territory. But the federal government is responsible for protecting the entire territorial expanse and limits of Nigeria. The NGF is not a constitutional body. It is sadly promoting its

affairs and activities as if it is part of the organs of government created by the constitution. Were it not for its negative posture the face-off between Gov. Amaechi and the presidency need not, in my opinion, to have happened in the first place. President Jonathan is Gov. Amaechi’s political leader. All I think he needs to do and should still do is to invite Gov. Amaechi to a little chat and talk him out of the NGF confrontational stance or, if that failed, use the party as a whip to call the governor and the rest of the PDP governors in the NGF to order or ask the party to withdraw its governors from the NGF using the Party Whip. SHIKENA! As for the governors, I maintain that they have assumed and are continuing to assume powers well beyond their constitutional limits. In an earlier press interview in 2012, I had given detailed information regarding the absolute powers of some of our governors in their respective states. I made similar references about some of the governors’ attempt to exercise absolute power and authority within their scope. I might add that in the present case, for instance, the governors who already have ‘Full Power’ in their states, where they control not only the





• Aregbesola

• Omoworare

• Omisore

Aregbesola, Omisore and I T

HE political drumbeat of the 2014 gubernatorial election in the State of Osun is, no doubt, gathering momentum. It is weird and surprising that those at the forefront of the opposition drumbeats have refused to come out with concrete programmes to challenge the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and my party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). As a student of politics, democracy and good governance, elections are (meant to be) won with laudable programmes, peoples' appeal, and acceptance; not boastful claims without substance and willful distortion of facts. Unfortunately and surprisingly, Senator Iyiola Omisore is at the forefront of the opposition drumbeat, doing all he could to gain media presence. I thought it was not worth giving him any response, but it appears that this posture of silence has resulted into unabated, conceited and ignominious ranting of a misguided soul. From the boastful misadventure of threatening to stop the convoy of the governor in the Nigerian Tribune interview of Sunday, 10th February, 2013, and the usual Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) beer parlour misinformed remarks, silence seem to be no longer golden. In a nutshell, Iyiola Omisore has made futile attempts to launder his image, flaunting integrity and pedigree he does not possess and making unsubstantiated political rhetoric. Omisore has been so blindfolded by his inordinate ambition that he fails to realise that the people of Osun's parameter for gauging political reliability has left the days of United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) when you had to be an Abacha's friend; and the barometer of measuring trust and performance are no more where they left it, when it was just a question of posturing. The people have had the opportunity of juxtaposing two governments and have clearly chosen that which meets their real and felt needs. Led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the ACN in the State of Osun sought and obtained the Almighty God's consent to liberate the people of Osun. We consulted far and wide; drew up our plans, programmes and manifestoes from both bureaucratic and technocratic perspectives. Between 2005 and now, we have campaigned into the nooks and crannies of the State of Osun with a clearly defined manifesto to show for it all the way. We also taught the people how to

defend their votes and ensure the same count. In Osun East senatorial district from which I was elected, we did not only campaign in the cities, we traversed the rural areas. Not at one time did we meet the PDP campaigning. They were still under the spell that guns and machetes would be used to snatch ballot boxes and write results. Without equivocation, the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in the State of Osun has performed well. This is clear to all and sundry except sworn critics, blind politicians or those craving for "Abuja attention". Infrastructure under the Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led administration was dilapidated to say the least. The governor has successfully taken the state from its disorganised state of nature where we met it and has put it on the path of ideal governance. In this day and age, I can't imagine how PDP managed the state without a Waste, Traffic, Signage, Hygiene Management Agencies, amongst others, to say the least. At the moment, 20 inter-city roads (294kms) are either under construction or are completed. 61 major township roads are either under construction or are completed (128kms, including the important Omi-Okun Road in Ile-Ife that is said to have been already contracted by PDP and abandoned). A super highway from Old Garage in Osogbo to Ila-Odo in Kwara State is ongoing (47kms) and Osun is being connected directly to Ogun and Lagos States through Gbongan/Ikire/OrileOwu/Ajegunle/Ijebu-Igbo (74kms). Under the supervision of the state government, the 30 local government areas are constructing an average of 300kms of roads. Is Senator Omisore aware of the qualitative leap in the Education Sector with the phenomenal and second to none Tablet "Opon-Imo", with 56 tutorials and free text books covering about 17 subjects and over 40,000 practice questions for students in SS1 SS3? What about the free uniform given to every student, free quality and nutritious lunch for 254,000 elementary school children provided by 3,000 women recruited by the state government, properly kitted and groomed for that purpose? About 90 monumental school structures are springing up across the state. These are exceptional dividends of democracy that can be least imagined by Senator Omisore and his ilk. Agriculture is now a profitable and lucrative business in the state, farm support, inputs and markets are readily

By Babajide Omoworare provided by the government to encourage farmers. Take a tour of the farm settlements that were wastelands when the PDP was in governance and see tremendous transformation. Water production capacity of Ede Water Works has been improved from 17% to 30% with a commitment to make it 100% by the end of this year. Rural water supply has received a boost with massive repair of dysfunctional water pumps and provision of about 122 new hand pumps for 61 communities. The first sets of 20,000 OYES cadets have successfully been absorbed by the economy and the government, contributing meaningfully to the economy from various sectors. Another set of 20,000 is currently on the scheme gulping about 200 million naira every month. We have the Green Gang, Traffic Marshals, Paramedics, Public Works Brigade, Sanitation Czars and the Sheriff Corp, which are productively engaging our youths as against the past orientation of preoccupying them with political violence and other abuses. They are off the streets and no more readily available as tools for political violence. What are we talking about here?

The only free and fair election Iyiola Omisore won was as a running mate to Chief Bisi Akande in January 1999. In that government, Omisore represented gross insubordination. He abjectly subverted, serially undermined, extremely defiled, rudely disobeyed and obviously disrespected the old man (his boss) even before they were sworn-in on May 29, 1999.

The State of Osun hosted the PDP-led federal government when the OYES project was studied for replication. Even the SURE-P blueprint used the picture of OYES in a parade for its youth development programme. Improvement in the health sector has been tremendous with over 74 new primary health centres built to proliferate healthcare to all communities within the state. We give free healthcare to all without discrimination on any condition and almost concluding renovation and equipping our state hospitals and comprehensive health centres. As we speak, there are about 115 medical students from the state currently undertaking their clinical studies in Ukraine; they were admitted to study medicine in Osun State University by the PDP administration without clinical studies facilities. The PDP in the State of Osun has recently been fed with tissues of lies that Senator Iyiola Omisore's woeful loss and my victory at the Osun East (Ife/Ijesa) senatorial district polls of April 9, 2011 is subjudice, i.e. a subject of litigation. The truth is that I won that election squarely, in a free and fair atmosphere, largely devoid of the usual vote-stealing, ballot boxsnatching, violence (the people of Ife refused to be provoked when 5 people were killed in a Church on the eve of the election at IsaleAgbara in 2011. Our Polling Agent was killed in Ojoyin in 2007) and result-writing. I scored a total of 119,652 votes, while Iyiola scored 51,315 votes, winning with a margin of 68,337 votes. For record purposes, Iyiola Omisore did not win his Moore Ward in Ife East Local Government. He scored 1,084 votes, while I scored 1,131 votes. He did not even file a petition in the Electoral Tribunal. At least, I was not served with any court process and I did not appear at any tribunal. Election tribunals are open to the public and the only petition filed in Osun State Electoral Tribunal in 2011 was Oluwole Oke (PDP) Vs. Nathaniel Agunbiade (ACN). The PDP petitioner in the afore-cited case lost at the tribunal and lost his appeal. Omisore also did not win in 2007 when I first contested against him. If the compilers of the World Guinness Book of Record had been observers at that election, that election would have gone down in the annals of history as the most rigged election in the whole world. I showed a video to the tribunal where 3 young men (names

withheld) cast 1,350 votes for Omisore at the Odo-Eran (Abattoir) polling unit of Ajebandele Ward in Ife Central within 1 hour. The Court of Appeal ruled in my favour on October 29th, 2009 that the election was fraught with malpractices and violence and ordered a fresh election. In the wisdom of my party, we decided not to participate in that election so as not to waste the lives of our polling agents since we did not trust the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Prof Maurice Iwu. Free and fair elections were also not held in 2003 when he claimed victory from prison detention. Results were written. How could he have won Uncle Bola Ige's polling unit in Esa-Oke? Furthermore, Omisore will still have to explain among other things if and how the Commissioner for Oath visited him in prisons to sign his INEC Form in 2003. For the avoidance of doubt, under the relevant provision of the Electoral Act, a Notary Public cannot endorse an INEC Form; only a Commissioner for Oath could. Statute of limitation does not apply in criminal matters. The only free and fair election Iyiola Omisore won was as a running mate to Chief Bisi Akande in January 1999. In that government, Omisore represented gross insubordination. He abjectly subverted, serially undermined, extremely defiled, rudely disobeyed and obviously disrespected the old man (his boss) even before they were sworn-in on May 29, 1999. I sincerely hope that Senator Omisore knows the difference between popularity and notoriety. For academic purpose, popularity amounts to being liked or admired by many, while notoriety is being famous for some bad qualities. Yoruba people and indeed all Nigerians are teaching the new generation to look deeply into qualities, substance, deliverables and tangible proofs of service before they brand public office holders as idols, heroes and leaders. My secret prayer is that PDP fields Omisore in the next gubernatorial election against Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Like the Americans say, "bring him on"! Since 2006, I have requested for a public debate with Iyiola Omisore on any national network of his choice and I am still keeping this humble challenge open. Omoworare is senator representing Osun East.







•L-R: Gov Rochas Okorocha, Mrs Okonkwo, her son and Sen. Annie Okonkwo

•Mr. Mrs. Tony Elumelu

•L-R: Mr Iju Nwabunike and Alhaji Kashim

•Chairman, Chaldon Group, Mr and Mrs. Charles Odunukwe

•L-R: Emeka Ugwu-Oju and Mr Leo Stan-Ekeh

By Olusegun Rapheal

•Dr and Mrs. Austhbeth Ajagu

Groom’s parents, Bishop Chioma Grace Dauji of Amazing Grace Pentecostal Church with the couple, Mr. Olayinka Hammed and wife, Oluwayemisi Adekemi during their traditional wedding recently. Uche and Juliet, during their wedding ceremony at Signature Manor, Sugarland, Houston, Texas.



OSTURING: it is a period of renaissance for Nigeria’s economy and indeed the economic development of African region. At the turn of the millennium, it seem as though, some form of cosmic force sparked-off to energize what some analysts describe as a natural crave for change within Africa’s economic environment. Perhaps the spark could be attributed to persistent hunger growing in dimension, or increase in awareness among the people, but towhatever the reasons could be, CHANGE is evolving. A truth: Crave for economic development and the manifestation of CHANGE in the economic space is total across Africa. Equally interesting, the force propelling this evolution is cohesive. More Africans are becoming literate and educated in line with global standard, creativity and competitiveness is gradually manifesting among a slow but steadily growing population of men and women in Africa, equipped for high standard training. Add to that, political leadership is gradually experiencing business-minded policy development procedures, capable of instigating measurable economic gains. Sadly, however, the CHANGE we are experiencing is still within the traditional frame-work of base economic engagement. In the face of global economic advancement based on technological advancement, supersonic human capital equipment, aggressive innovativeness, economic diversification, and regional alignment, Africa’s persistent reliance on commodity trading means little within the ambit of global competitiveness. The CHANGE we experience in Africa cannot be described as enduring and impactful. The other worry is that as a result of the basic nature of our economic engagement, African resources are open to exploitation by the technologically superior economies. So, the explorative tendencies of developed economies and the emerging markets, drive deeper, the weakening power of nations within the African region. According to World Bank’s World Economic Indicators for 2012, since the turn of the century, Africa’s aggregate economic growth has recorded about 120-150% increase. Sadly, however, this recorded growth is insignificant in global rating. In the first place, in juxtaposition with other growing economies such as East Asia, Africa’s progress so far is a joke. Secondly, the registered growth for Africa is only as a result of boom in commodity trading. While, as at 2010, Africa represents 2.73% of total world output, East-Asia is posted 20.69%. In the area of total world export, Africa’s showing was put at 3.33%, while East Asia posted 17.8%, same period. In the calculation of GDP per Capita (US $), Africa, as at 2010 was recorded at 1,701, while East Asia was on 8,483. Without driving Africa’s ambition too far, the above record paints a picture of a region in dire need for


NEXIM BANK within Africa Regional Economic Renaissance

•Okonjo- Iweala

economic re-engineering. Some African Nations have connected with this need for meaningful economic development, to drive paradigm shift, for actualization of sustainable economic growth and development. Nigeria has made some good showing in the establishment of economic structures with potentials to stimulate and propel inherent potentials towards productivity and gainful engagement. The hope, however, is that Africa is united towards driving for CHANGE. At the close the 50 th Anniversary of the African Union, there was a need for African leaders to quicken themselves in the resolve towards implementation of AU 10-yr development strategy, which objectives are (1) regional economic integration, (2) infrastructure financing, (3) skill & technology development (4) private sector development, (5) governance and accountability. In agreement, African nations, can, through a concerted effort, drive the change process towards actualization. This cohesive push should see Africa through. Nigeria’s contribution towards this all-inclusive regional economic development is very important, for

reasons of its potentials. Besides her population and oil resource, the vast untapped solid mineral deposits, the growing creativity of her youth and the hunger for industrialization among her youth population all add up to challenge her to action. To us at MC&A DIGEST , Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) serves to propel Nigeria towards playing its crucial role in both Nigeria’s industrialization and economic development on the one hand, and the nation’s meaningful contribution towards the economic development of the African region. By reason of its mandate and engagement, NEXIM bank is directly aligned with the national and regional economic growth strategic focus. Among her present engagements is diversification of the nation’s economy. NEXIM’s support for investments in non-oil sector and those areas that have remained un-touched and termed too risky for commercial banks’ involvement, have all come together to open up new opportunities for Nigerians in the private sector. Principally, NEXIM Bank is championing investment in solid minerals mining. Add to that is her aggressive involvement in agriculture

and processing of agricultural products for export. Still on diversification of the hitherto monolithic economy, NEXIM Bank is supporting the creative industry through its support of the film and home video industry. This initiative has immensely helped to stimulate growth in private sector employment and enabled foreign exchange earnings, aiding the presence of our local film products in foreign markets. On Private Sector Development, a lot can be drawn from the institution’s involvement listed above. In addition, NEXIM’s support for private initiatives in the area of manufacturing and industrialization (primarily for export trade) has greatly influenced development of the privatesector. A good number of private manufacturers today, came to be by reason of NEXIM’s assistance. Such success stories have given rise to employment, foreign exchange earnings and diversification of economy. Our position is that NEXIM Bank represents a driver for Nigeria’s participation in the economic development of the African region, her own internal economic development and her launch pad towards her relevance in global economy. Recall the economic growth strategic direction set by the AU for African region; the common front for all individual nations in Africa, which focal points are same with that of our NEXIM Bank. NEXIM Bank’s posturing as an aggressive driver of sustainable growth connects with Africa’s craved economic renaissance. It is easy to deduce Nigeria’s commitment to her national economic development and that of African region, by the establishment of NEXIM Bank. However, it must be noted that this commitment cannot be said to be total without adequate equipment of the new structures being established. We have also noted in an earlier edition of this page, there is a need to adequately fund the NEXIM Bank, for it to properly function and actualize its potentials. In our subsequent write up on the activities of NEXIM Bank, we shall endeavor to take a more focused look at the areas the NEXIM Bank is not adequately expressing itself, only because it does not have the funds to drive throw with such initiatives of enormous economic growth potentials. It becomes even more so imperative to drive Nigeria’s investment in an effective and efficient economic development institution such as the NEXIM Bank, considering its strategic position in the African region. African region appreciates the uneven spread of resources and capabilities among member-nations, and will depend on Nigeria and such other comparatively better-positioned members to champion the CHANGE or economic renaissance. If the funding policy for NEXIM Bank improves, the nation and Africa will gain more.




Pollution risks and women •Donna Vorhees and a colleague in Nigeria

When you hear yourself crying for help

Solutions to real life relationship issues



With Joe Agbro Jr. 08056745268


Hello Children, Science is fun as students of Debiruss College, Lekki, Lagos have shown at their Science Day which held last Tuesday. Do read their story and be inspired.

Science Day at Debiruss College

How many words of three or more letters, each including the letter at centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram? We've found 68, including one nine-letter words.

PUZZLE AT the local nursery school, I was chatting to my daughter’s friends and noticed a number of things. Jessica has mousy coloured hair and the girl with black hair was wearing a green dress. Lucy is not blonde and Lauren does not have brown hair, Chloe was wearing a blue dress. The blonde girl was not wearing red and Lauren was not wearing green. I can’t remember which girl was wearing a yellow dress. • Success and Boma (in white lab coats) dissecting the white rat.


T was really exciting as Debiruss College Lekki Lagos had her Science Day celebration last Tuesday (11th, June 2013) at the school hall. The programme commenced with an opening remark from the college Principal, Mrs. Obodoshike Caroline, and a spectacular performance by the College Orchestra. The tension-soaked primary school quiz competition was lightened by jokes from the MC, Mr. Mbagwu Magnus. Participating schools were Child of Promise Primary School, Lekki Lagos, Kiddie Quest Primary School Lekki, Lagos, White Horse Montessori, Lekki, Lagos and Debiruss Primary School Lekki Lagos. At the end, White Horse Montessori came fourth, Child of Promise was third, Kiddie Quest was second while

SCHOOL DAY By Qudus Aguda

Debiruss Primary School came first. Thereafter, students of Debiruss College presented their projects. Semilore John and Bolu Adesoye (SS2) gave a general back ground and the history of the white rat. However, the most scintillating part was the dissecting of the white rat by Success Esuola and Boma Tam-George, both in SS 1 (Year 10). The duo dissected the white rat showing the students organs such as the rat’s heart, intestine, liver, kidney, diaphragm, among others. They also highlighted their functions and responded to questions asked by the audience, for which they received a resounding ovation. Other presentations were made. Damilola Ipinyemi (SS

2) and Daniel Ukaji (SS1) created a home network sharing centre on the Personal Computer. Christy Beture (SS1) made an electro-magnetic buzzer. Others were electric bell by John Abiola, production of CO 2 by Eniola Adewunmi, Bolu Adeoye and Elohor Igho-Najevwe. Other projects showcased included bleach making, perfume making, solar car, electric motor, wind indicator among others. The college quiz was among Edidot College, Badore, Lagos, Chalcedony School, Lekki, Lagos and White Dove College, Lekki, Lagos. Chalcedony came first, White Dove was second and Edidot was third. The orchestra using clarinets and saxophones and led by Daniel Ukaji and Teniola Akinmoladun ended the pro-


gramme with an Afro musical performance. Idinma Ezenwa a student of Debiruss primary school said, ‘The programme is highly educative, but the competition was much tensed.’ Antony Brown of Chalcedony School year 9, said, ‘I commend the organisers of this programme. This enhanced our knowledge of science. I suggest that more schools should be involved.’ The Head Boy of Edidot College, Kingdom Nwaibi said, ‘The programme is interesting and the jokes were okay. Altogether, it was excellent.’ Nnesi Chinedu of Child of Promise Primary School added, ‘The programme was awesome because of the orchestra. It was excellent.’ •Aguda is an SS1 (Year 10) student of Debiruss College, Lekki, Lagos

Can you determine the colours of the girl’s dresses and their hair? Name Jessica Lauren Lucy Chloe

Dress Colour

Hair Colour

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

8 3 2






9 6



2 4 4




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








1 9






ATHEMATICS is a fascinating subject for people of all ages. Without the aid of mathematics our daily lives would have been very very intricate and complicated. Mathematics has not always been my area of interest. I was very poor at it till my sixth year in primary school. I started gaining interest in the subject from JSS 1 onwards. I like mathematics because I find it simple and understandable when

A •In the Malay language, orangutan means "person of the forest."

•A female orangutan has a baby, on average, only once every eight years.

•Adult male orangutan can weigh up to 100 kilogrammes—females weigh about half what males do.

•Young orangutans may stay with their mothers for 11 or 12 years.

•Equipped with very long, powerful arms and hookshaped hands and feet, these apes climb and swing from tree to tree with ease. •On the ground, orangutans walk on all fours.

•Male orangutans have territories that they defend against other male orangutans. •Orangutans live in the wild only in Borneo and northern Sumatra.

•Orangutans eat fruits, nuts, bark, and other parts of plants and trees.

•Orangutans live to be about 35 years old in the wild; in captivity they can live 50 years or more.

•Adult orangutans are solitary animals, generally coming together only to mate.

•Orangutans are considered to be highly intelligent animals.

SPIRING to become an art student, my best subject is Literature-in-English. Literature on its own is written information produced by a person who wants to pass it on to others. Therefore literature can be defined as the artistic art which involves the use of words for the transformation of imaginative ideas into concretive work of beauty.


Y favourite subject is English Language. The first reason I love the subject is that it is the official language of Nigeria and most countries of the world. The second reason I love the subject is that it enables the people of Nigeria irrespective of their individual


problems gives me relief when I feel stressed. Mathematics is one of the subjects in which one can obtain full marks which I would like to call "out of out" And I would like to become a proud Mathematician (Engineer) like Aryabhatta.

By Johnson Obabori

compared to other subject like French and Geography. Mathematics is my favourite subject as it is all about understanding the concepts. Once you are thorough with the concepts, you can solve any mathematical problem. I also love mathematics because I aspire to become an Engineer when I grow up LIT.-IN-ENGLISH By Ibrahim Oyindamola My best topic under literature is figure of speech which falls under literary appreciation. Figures of speech are devices used in literature to create vivid pictures of a particular thing or things. Irony, Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Oxymoron, Paradox, just to mention a few, ENGLISH LANGUAGE By Hannah I.D. Okebiorunkosi

languages to communicate with each other. Thirdly, without the ability to speak and write English it will be difficult to find a white-collar job in any part of the country Fourthly, a bulk of the books published in Ni-

• Obabori

and mathematics is a prime factor for Engineering. Solving mathematical

•Obabori is an SS 3 student of Oluyole Estate Grammar School, Ring Road, Ibadan, Oyo State

are all figures of speech. Literature as a subject has many uses, some of which are: It is used to broaden our knowledge of speech. It is used to contribute a great deal to vocabulary development and it helps develop one’s writing skills. It serves as a social commentary on the society. It helps preserve and transmit culture from one generation to the other, it helps

to cultivate good moral value and most especially its entertains. Literature being my best subject makes me rest assured that writing any article is not any problem. Literature is life.

•Okebiorunkosi, 12 years old, is a JSS 3 student of St. Pesak Group of Schools, Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Lagos

SNAKES are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Many species of snakes have skulls with many more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes’ paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other


• Okebiorunkosi




• Oyindamola, 13 years old, is a JSS 3 student of Tai Solarin University of Education Secondary School (TASUESS), Ogun State

geria are writen in English. Also, most books used in the school are writen in English , even mathematics books, for all Nigerian students to understand.





instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Living snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and on most smaller land masses — exceptions include some large islands, such as Ireland and New Zealand, and many small islands of the Atlantic and central Pacific. Most species are nonvenomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense. Some possess venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans. Nonvenomous snakes either swallow prey alive or kill by constriction.

Fill in the spaces to get the correct words using the clues below

1. N - Y - Y - D - W • The capital of Myanmar

2. R - P - E • The currency used in India

3. G 3.- G - R - N • He was the first man to enter space


Do you fancy yourself as a writer someday? Stop dreaming and start writing. A topic will be presented here every week and you’re encouraged to send in entries in not more than 150 words. The best original story will be published from time to time, so get cracking! Entries should be sent to and should be accompanied by the writer’s photo, name, age, school and class. This week’s topic is : “My town”

R -


•The capital of a south-eastern Nigerian state

5. G 5.- O - L •The world’s biggest internet search engine


- 6.W -

L - W -

• A late Nigerian statesman

7. A 7.- K - R -


Write for The Nation!

- 4.W -

• A popular Nigerian fabric material

8. P 8.-


- E

•A gathering of lions




- P - R -

•A place where aeroplanes land and take-off

10. G10.-


- A -

•A musical instrument






By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE 08060343214 (SMS only)

Kologba’s epiphany



THE GReggs

KOLOGBA couldn’t understand the ways of the city. Fresh from a lengthy spell in hospital following a catastrophic thespian turn, he yearned for fresh air, as only a stroll through the concrete jungle would bring. Managing to assure his sceptical host of the diminished likelihood of further mishap after gaining ‘vital’ city experience, he launched out. But the venture was easier imagined than experienced. After surviving maniacal steering from cyclists and drivers beating potholes and traffic jams, and no doubt dodging a few bullets from trigger-happy policemen on the trail of invisible felons, he opted by late evening for more conventional transport and promptly encountered a serpentine queue at the bus stop. He joined up for a listless hang about. Vehicles whizzed by. Dust from their muddied wheels wafted in the rainy atmosphere. Kologba coughed; a wet raspy cough that suggested further rest. Then he sensed commotion about. He turned to see a livid, lean, light-skinned woman leading a child and hurling invective over her shoulder as she walked to the back. Apparently as rash, her opponent, a short man spotting dark chinos trousers, black tee-shit and a backpack, returned the disfavour. Pirouetting, the defiant woman stopped to spit a shocking invite to her challenger. “If you come here I’ll slap you! Just come here and see if I don’t slap you!” Some rabid, cerebral virus must foul the air. Kologba shook his head at the mismatch. He watched as the man snapped the bait. In five short paces, he caught up with the mouthy madam and throttled the cursing, fairly upsetting her fragile frame. As susceptible to quick temper, he looked even meaner. “You’ll what? You’ll what?” “Yeh! You’ll kill me, today! If you don’t kill me today, I’ll …” Her wig fell off. A sympathiser handed it back. Her kid bawled. Others pulled the brawlers apart. One had stepped on the other. Counsel prevailed. Tempers waned. The crowd melted. A bus emanated. The line shortened. **************** KOLOGBA scanned faces on the bus. Many looked hardened; even the children looked menacing enough, a trait perhaps coded in their genes from years of dwelling in the rough parts of the city by their ancestors. Nearly all posted the ‘so-what-else-is-new’ expression Kologba had lately began to recognise – a peculiar defence mechanism that warned adversaries, real and imagined, not to mess with the owner. To kill time, Kologba played a game in his mind: placing a passenger’s mug beside the possibility of a short fuse, until conversation around distracted him. Two women beside him talked about a road accident from the day before. “Ah, that accident was something else. Only one person died, and it’s someone I know,” said one of the women, slightly more overweight than the other. Her companion spoke in a thin voice tinged with irony. “Everyone ran off; the Okada man, the policemen who caused the accident and the tanker driver. Just the man who died was left at the scene!” The bus stopped for some passengers to get down and a man got on board. Not long after, another bus swerved dangerously close to Kologba’s. All exclaimed. The new man inadvertently linked the thread of conversation, “Look at that driver, cutting in front like that. That was how they caused an accident around here yesterday. Four people died.” “Hmmn … you don’t mean it?” said the woman with the thin voice. “Yes, I was there. I went to buy materials for my job,” said the new man. The driver cut in. “That’s not true. Only one person died and he was a pedestrian. See how people spread rumours.” The new man shrunk in his seat. “Well, one indigenous language newspaper said four people died.” An elderly man who had been quiet all through offered the last word. “That is how people make things worse. They go: ‘four people died, six people died’. The city is twisted, and many people too.” More wisened to the ways of the city, yet farther from deciphering the people, Kologba disembarked at his bus stop, and barely missed being run over by a cyclist speeding in the wrong direction with a police van in maddening pursuit. What inscrutable people, he thought as he walked home, the old man’s words ringing true.

Jokes Humour Direct Interpretation A MAN one day found his friend writing something slowly. The man asked: “Why are you writing slowly?” Said the friend: “I’m writing to my six year-old son. He can’t read fast.” Chewed Gum A LITTLE fellow was found standing at the bottom of a shopping mall escalator. Intently looking at the handrail, the small boy would not take his eyes away. A salesperson asked, “Are you lost? In reply, the boy said, “Nope. I’m waiting for my chewing gum to come back.” The Wish A JUNIOR manager, a senior manager and their boss were on their way to a lunch meeting. In the taxi, they found a lamp. The boss rubbed it, and a genie appeared. “I’ll grant you a wish each,” the genie said. Grabbing the lamp from his boss, the eager senior manager said, “I want to be on a fast boat in the Bahamas with no

worries.” And, poof, he was gone. The junior manager couldn’t keep quiet. He said, “I want to be in Las Vegas, with beautiful girls, food, cocktails and lots of money.” And, poof, he was gone. Finally, it was the boss’s turn. “I want those idiots back in the office after lunch.” No Cooking, Please COOKING appears to be an endangered activity. These days, supermarket shelves are filled with instant foods ranging from soup and coffee to complicated precooked meals that microwave ovens can prepare in just minutes. It was no surprise therefore that someone overheard a mother chiding her son in the produce section of the supermarket. “Put that back,” she said, “it has to be cooked.”


Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” — John Wooden •Adapted from the Internet


SPARKING Writer ’s Fountain Y O U R DIALOGUE: Step Two. hilarious. Instead: ‘“Sir, you insult me!” His Characterise the speaker, and mark who’s speaking, by using a variation of eyebrows lifted with menace.’ Or ‘The the Pathetic Fallacy. This is the poetic shadows darkened in his face.’ Or ‘The device of granting human emotions to room grew cold.’ Or ‘Thunder crackled in non-human phenomena or objects. It’s the hills. The storm was growing closer.’ It is now clear from the obliging also a clever little trick when writing behaviour of the environment both who is dialogue. Not: ‘“Sir, you insult me,” he speaking and in what manner. The glowered.’ Properly speaking, ‘glower’ Pathetic Fallacy has come to our rescue. Step Three: Let characters convey their cannot be used as a verb for a speech act. We’ve all done this at one time or the other, moods with actions rather than adverbs. Not: ‘“That is very foolish,” she said, and worse, but – if overdone – it becomes reprovingly.’ Diamonds on the mind: Instead: ‘“That is very foolish.” She •Diamond is the hardest naturally made a close inspection of her fingertips.’ occurring substance, and is also one of the Or ‘She clicked her ballpoint pen.’ Or ‘She most valuable natural substances. Diamonds bit her chicken pie in half.’ are crystals formed almost entirely of We have replaced the adverb carbon. ‘reprovingly’ with action. The scene has •Because of its hardness, the diamond is the acquired energy plus a little extra most enduring of all gemstones and among characterisation. the most costly jewels in the world, partly Use this device too often though and because of its rarity. readers will remark ‘how well he or she •Only four important diamond fields have writes’ rather than ‘what a good story’. been found in Africa, South America, India Nevertheless, an over-written story might and the former Soviet Union. just win a major prize.


Quitting caffeine is now a mental health disorder


—PAGE 57

Amman: City of undulating hills

•The picaresque hillS of Amman, Jordan


AVE you been to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State? Or Tel Aviv in Israel? If your answer is in the affirmative, then, you are in a familiar terrain. Then, hop into this flight and let’s cruise to Amman, the capital and the largest city in Jordan. Like Dutse, like Tel Aviv, Amman is a city of enthralling contrasts. A unique blend of the old and the new, this fascinating city is situated on a ring of hills located between the desert and the Jordan Valley. It’s undulating topography, its unique architecture, its temperate climate and air of prosperity that swirls everywhere, and its people’s hospitality are some of the delightful features that not only make your stay enjoyable but tempt you to want to come again and again. For 10 days last month (precisely between May 17 and 27), I had the rare privilege of savouring the beauty and alluring ambience of this distinctive elegant city that accounts for half of the population of Jordan. The privilege came my way courtesy of the International Press Institute, (IPI), which held its 62nd annual congress there. Although, it sits right in the midst of countries touched by the fire of revolution that swept through some Arab countries until recently, otherwise known as Arab Spring, Amman

By Folu Olamiti

is unfazed. In contrast, the city wears a quiet mien and beckoning tranquillity that could be likened to calm in the midst of storm. Majority of the citizens give thumbs up for their American/ British trained-monarch, King Abdullah II-who was crowned as King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7, 1999, and has used his education and management acumen to transform the country and meet the yearning of his people. Despite that, his people still daily call for democratic change. In a speech he delivered to over 1,000 media executives for the congress on May 20, Dr. Abdullah Ensour, Prime Minister of Jordan, underscored this point when he said: “The past few years have been momentous in our region. The Arab Spring has opened new opportunities, created new needs and added more urgency to old ones: Generating jobs, especially for the youths that form the majority of Jordan and this entire region’s population, developing transparent and inclusive governance. Ending the injustice that the Palestinians have been suffering and that has kept the region in crisis. Mobilizing help, global help, for the Syrian refugee emergency; and for a political solution

in Syria, to stop the bloodshed and maintain unity and territorial integrity.” In case you didn’t know, Amman shares borders with Lebanon, Syria and Israel, and, as it has been stated, it is built on a ring of as well as a plateau. Moving round the city, you are confronted with a scenic view of several mountains, rings of hills, and caves that were inhabited by people till the early 1970s. If you are a Christian and familiar with the great Bible stories, you would see vividly how biblical sages, like Abraham, Esau, Jacob, Saul and David, had wondered among mountains and deserts. They lived in caves and had tents on dusty plains. Our tour guide told us that Amman was the capital of the Ammonites, popularly referred to, in the Old Testament, as Rabat-Amman. One of the revealed sites is named Jericho. Hitting Amman At the start of the trip, I had left Nigeria on May 17 aboard Ethihad Airways for the 12 hour-flight to Jordan, with a stopover in Abu Dhabi, capital of United Arab Emirate (UAE). By the way, Ethihad Airways is the national carrier of United Arab Emirate while Emirates Airline is privately owned. In the aviation world, these two airlines are rated and proudly referred to as “5-Star Airlines”. Flying in and out of

Nigeria two times daily, Ethihad Airways has many brand new planes in its fleet and boasts of one of the best in-flight services you can get anywhere in the world. There was no waiting on my arrival at the imposing Queen Mia International Airport in Amman as a taxi was already waiting to take me to my hotel - Le Royal which also doubles as the venue for the IPI Congress. As I settled down in my room on the 17th floor of the hotel, I intuitively peeped out of the window and was struck by the enthralling beauty of this city that seems to fall behind the mountains as the sun recoils into its shell at sunset. Apart from these, one cannot but be overawed by the culture of the locals who showered us, and other tourists, with profuse affection at every point. Political administration At the head of Jordanian Administration is a king. Known in full as the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, he is Jordan’s Head of State and monarch. He serves as the head of the Jordanian monarchy. According to Wikipedia, the Hashemite Dynasty of Jordan was established in 1921 by Abdulai bin Al-Gysseub Ali. He was succeeded, in 1951, by Talal, his •Continued on Page 54



•Continue from Page 53

eldest son (1902-1972). Fate, however, scuttled Talal’s reign, as he had to abdicate in 1952 due to ill health. He died in 1972. King Hussein became the first crowned King of Jordan in 1953 at the age of 18. He died in 1999, and was succeeded by the incumbent monarch, King Abdullah II. He was crowned the second king in June 1999. Culture and worship In Jordan, Muslims constitute 95 percent of the population while the rest are made up of Christians. The working week begins from Sunday while Fridays and Saturdays are free days, strictly devoted to Islamic worship. The city virtually shuts down during these two days while almost all social and commercial activities grind to a halt. Jordan, like most countries in the Arab world, has its own peculiar charm and its own set of rules. And whether written or unwritten, cultural differences abound here too. To avoid any problem, IPI, organizsers of the congress, alerted and ran participants through some of the norms as follow: Greetings/salutations Man Greeting Man: Men usually greet one another using the phrase ‘Salaamu Aleikum’ (meaning: ‘peace be upon you’). The appropriate response is ‘Wa’aleikum assalamma’ (meaning: ‘and peace be unto you’). This is accompanied by warm handshake (always use the right hand.) This will follow with a series of three to five kisses to the cheek. WOman Greeting Woman: Women greet each other in a similar manner to men. Handshakes (always use the right hand) and kisses are common. MAN GREETING WOMAN: Social interaction between non-related members of the opposite sex is not common. Consequently, handshake is usually not included in the introduction. You will be able to tell if the person you are introduced to is leery of a handshake as they will fold their hand up and across their chest to let you know they do not intend to shake hands. Always wait for the woman to initiate, if at all. It is important to note that when meeting a group of people, greetings start with the person on the right and continue on to the last person on the left. Women do not sit in front seat of taxis. And it’s uncommon for an unrelated man and a woman to be seen alone together as this can lead to awkward or potentially dangerous situation. Please, note that preaching about any religion other than Islam or speaking negative words against the royal family and the king is a serious offence. Tourism as oxygen Despite the booming of guns and mortar fires in neighbouring countries, Jordan is a country enveloped in peace. It is a country with huge potentials that could make lessendowed countries turn grey

•Tourists walking through Petra

Amman: City of undulating hills

•Folu Olamiti (left), Alison Bethel Mickenzie (IPI), Galina Sidorova (IPI) and Prof. Kwame Kariri (Ghana ) at the conference.

with envy. It is not an oil- producing country yet it taps enormous wealth from tourism to keep the economy afloat. Of course, Jordan does not allow anyone to monkey with taxation. It ensures that every citizen pays his or her tax. It boasts of a strong currency as one US Dollar exchanges for 70 Jordanian Cents. It is also worthy of note that crime rate is very low in the country, but advance fee fraud is nearing epidemic proportion. The city called Petra After the congress, the organisers took us on a guided tour of an old ancient city called Petra which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), renamed The nine wonders of the world. The inhabitants, called Nabateans, were moved from their enclave and abode inside rocks and resettled outside the enclave in modern estates and

jaw-dropping buildings that had been furnished to the hilt with basic amenities. Little wonder UNESCO turned the once habited enclave into a money-spinning tourist destination for Jordan. Petra is a city carved in stones by Nabateans in 400 B.C. A huge rock formation that grew from the ground forms an alley way to Petra city. Horses and carriages line up on both sides of the way, waiting to transport people who could not walk down and up the alley into Petra. In order to savour the scenic scenes spread ahead of us, I decided to walk with my colleagues-Maida Wada, Publisher/CEO of Peoples Daily, Kabiru Yusuf, Chairman/CEO Trust Newspapers and Garba Shehu, a prolific journalist and tested columnist. We also had in our company, Jim Clancy of the CNN and others. Walking around PEtra helps

to appreciate the awesome power of God, especially the wonderful manner He employed nature to protect the early inhabitants. How they comfortably lived in caves, got water running from rocks saved in rock shaped cisterns to cook their meals with make-shift cooking utensils, remains a marvel. On the average, our guide told us, more than 1,000 people visit the site daily. Our entourage also visited other areas like the Dead Sea, the Baptismal Site and the Nebo Hill where Moses went and never returned. Over all, and from whichever perspective one looks at it, it was a soullifting and unforgettable historical experience. Postscript I flew Ethihad Airline for the first time and was highly impressed by its services. I have flown many airlines in my numerous travels around the world. However, flying Ethihad


was a thrilling experience. As I said earlier, it is the national carrier of UAE while Emirate Airline is privately owned. But the two are blazing the trail in air travel. Both operate two flights everyday from Lagos. If these two airlines are flourishing from UAE and are enjoying rocksolid support from their homegovernment, I can’t see any reason why the government of Nigeria should not support Arik Airline and a few other private airlines that are doing well to expand and succeed even more. Up till now, Nigeria is yet to have a national carrier, a luxury that smaller and struggling countries like Niger take for granted. It’s time the incumbent Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, translated her promise to assist private airlines into reality. Though I appreciate her vision to remodel and transform the nation’s airports, the situation is still far from what it should be. This country still needs another international airport and a national carrier. Those who designed Murtala Muhammed and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airports in Lagos and Abuja, respectively, were so myopic that they never thought of future expansion. See how transformation of major airports in the world is being pursued on a daily basis. Nigeria should join the bandwagon of getting a befitting International Airport. The cosmetic renovations going on in some of our airports are insufficient. Let the Federal Government find a big virgin land for this structure. Jewellery shop You may be wondering what took me to a jewellery shop on my way to Nigeria on May 27. I had a six-hour stopover at Abu Dhabi International Airport. To ward off boredom, I decided to go window-shopping. I got to a jewellery shop where a Nigerian lady asking for the price of a pin-sized gold earring attracted me. The seller brought out his calculator to convert the price in local currency into dollars, and announced without looking up: US$8000. Holy Moses! Eight Thousand what? I became curious. And I paused to watch the lady’s reaction. I thought she would hiss and walk away. How wrong was I! She calmly took out her Visa card and handed it over to the cashier who swiped it and smiled. Our young lady had paid US$8000 in a jiffy. I was dumbfounded. Involuntarily, I looked at my wallet; I had less than US$600!! The point I’m making is this: If I didn’t witness that purchase, there was no way I could have cast a second look at that lady, especially to see those earrings. Even if I looked at the earrings, there was one chance in a million that I would, on the surface, know that she was wearing a fortune. That means that our ladies that adorn themselves with gold jewelleries are actually wearing a fortune on their fragile ears. Imagine what you can achieve with US$8000. Imagine how far you can go in providing shelter for some poor people in your neighbourhood. Lord have mercy!!!





HE lecture was indeed a befitting one to mark the 50th anniversary of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA). But more than that, the choice of Romuald Hazoume was even more apt. Hazoume, a native of Porto-Novo, in the Republic of Benin is not only a renowned and iconoclastic artist, he is reputed to be one of Africa’s foremost and most celebrated contemporary visual artists. And so with the title of the lecture as: The role of art in national transformation, Hazoume, was able to dig deep into the shortcomings of an average Nigerian artist whom, he declared, “does his works mostly to suit the taste and whims and caprices of the white man.” The artist, who is widely known for his revolutionary approach to and views about artistic revelations in Africa, descended hard on his Nigerian counterparts, describing them as people who have lost the dynamism of true traditional African artistic spirit and originality. Hazoume, who did not have a formal education in the art but has been honoured in all notable art exhibitions across the globe, opined that for the people and the society to transform their environment, there must be that urgent need to understand that art itself helps the reputation of the entire society. “Yes, art serves as the basis for our development. But we must draw and paint to suit our culture. It is only when we do so that we can really bring our society to international consciousness,” he stated. He, however, lambasted Nigerian artists for being too quick to sell off their art works to foreigners in order to make fast money. This approach, he reasoned, is not good. “Let’s face it; we need many art museums and foundations to keep our works. We need to preserve them. We need to let the world see the totality of our culture, our traditions, our historical heritage and all, in our artistic experimentations,” he argued. An artistic work of national importance and historical value, he contended, should not be sold in a hurry. He said, “When we do so, we devalue not only our own efforts, but the core value of who we are. Therefore, we should concentrate more on the development of the artistic essence here in Africa to project the value we have and cherish. These values define our art.” Hazoume, who traced his Yoruba ancestry to Abeokuta in Ogun State and as a priest of Ifa who has also been influenced a great deal by the masquerade spirit in PortoNovo, noted that the pride of an artist is to shine from inside. “The way to do so is to have respect for the artist. African leaders too have to live pure and honest life and try to treat artists with some level of dignity. It is artists who bring honour to the society,” he stated. But from inside, African artists of all genres should endeavour to put their houses in order. By this, they must always realise that it is their responsibility to accord respect to their profession. They need to do works that showcase their level of commitment and seriousness so as to demand same from the people around them. It is you who will make your profession who you are. Recycling of wastes Known for his love of using wastes to form most of his works, Hazoume challenged artists to think deeper every day. In PortoNovo where he has one of the largest and best structured art studios in Africa, he is known as a waste collector. “You see,” he said smil-





‘Make art speak for the people’ He is known globally as an iconoclastic visual artist whose love for the recycling of wastes is legendary. Romuald Hazoume is also known for his mask series which has taken him to all the major art exhibitions across the globe. This was why members of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) engaged him to deliver their first distinguished public lecture series which took place in Lagos last week. With the theme: The role of art in national transformation, the artist pointed out a lot of wrongs and shortcomings for the attention of Nigerian artists. Edozie Udeze reports. ing disarmingly, “most of the jerry cans, empty containers and so on I use for my works are dumped in town by Nigerians. Nigerians come to PortoNovo in droves. On the streets, they discard these empty cans and for me they form my greatest source of the art”. Making reference to what he termed art of turning rubbish into life, he said: “We need to build big houses. We can also drive big cars. But they cannot follow us to paradise. A little of what we have can go into the art

and then this can provide a lot of jobs for the people. Art is life and it is an endless legacy that can always outlive all of us.” Hazoume described one of his works done with rubbish as the face of the people. “If you show me your refuse dump”, he squirmed, demonstrating, “I will be able to know the type of person you are. Therefore I am an artist steeped in the embodiment of rubbish and I love it. All over the world, my art is shown in choice galleries but on my own

terms because the white man can not dictate to my style, form, theme or medium. I can never compromise the authenticity of my African art, concept and idea.” Style, escapades and challenges In an exhibition in the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin in 2011, Hazoume was dubbed the artist who is the voice of his community. That work, he told the audience, was a reenactment of the 1789 image of the slave ship named Brookes. “Yes, slavery has not ended in Africa. It is the

job of an artist to say so and point out the reasons. The recycling shows us as a snake crawling from one side to the other. We do our things in circle and do not necessarily make progress. When we try to do at all, we sell our conscience to the West. That, in essence, is what my work does in global art market.” As an artist, he believes that the primary role of every artist is to work for the good of the society. “That means that his voice and views should be visionary and representative and form positive ideals for proper transformation. And since Nigerians have too much money, it is much better to plough that into the art for meaningful progress and development. You cannot transform the community, when the art itself is still in the doldrums,” he said. Reactions The occasion witnessed the presence of many prominent artists, art patrons and buyers in Nigeria. Among them was Chief Arthur Mbanefo who commended the artist for his forthrightness and zeal for the art. “As a young man, we can see that truth and transparency propel what you do. As for the reason why we are here, it is a significant milestone in the life of SNA which was formed in 1963. Two of those who formed it in the persons of Uche Okeke and Bruce Onobrakpeya, two of the Zarian rebels are here. For us therefore, this calls for celebration. When they exhibited their first 12 works that year art was not as popular and well accepted as it is today,” he said. Also speaking on the importance of the lecture, Bruce Onobrakpeya recalled how it was very tough in 1963 to form the society. “Yet, we knew that we did it for posterity. Art was not appreciated then, but we didn’t mind. Today, we still ask government to enact a law whereby an artist can be paid royalties once his work is auctioned. This is one of the ways to reward him for his sweat and hard work.” Although the issue of rewarding an artist when his work is auctioned dominated the reactions, Abdul Muku, the Director-General of the National Gallery of Art (NGA) drew artists attention to the role of NGA in encouraging them to do their best. He said, “This noble idea offers us more opportunity to discuss how to develop art in Nigeria. Our works should not depend on studio works alone. This is time for us to strengthen the relationship between artists and the NGA in order to prosper the trade.” Rasheed Gbadamosi advised Nigerian artists to hearken to the voice of Hazoume who told them that there is more to be done. In this respect, he said, “our new artists, therefore, have to be prolific, deep and pay respect to the older ones. Arts is ever evolving and we need to follow the trend but not necessarily lose the core virtues of the art. It is also our goal to continue to work to ensure that we have a big art museum in Lagos or Abuja. It is a way to truly reconnect artists.” Remarkably, Hazoume’s presentation redirected attention to the state of art galleries in Nigeria which he said were of low standard. “The few I visited were too poor to be called art galleries. Honestly, you guys have a lot of work to do to establish what can be regarded as standard art galleries. This is not necessarily a government show. Since Nigeria has a large art market, you are the ones to do it. That’s the honest truth,” the mask artist stated, and quickly added, “let’s all make art speak for us and for the people.”




A tale of travails of love C CHIMAMANDA Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a story of trials and love. The appellation Americanah was inspired and influenced by the challenges the author encountered while living in the United States, before coming to stay in Nigeria after which she relocated back to the United States. The author tries to explain how hard life can be for a struggling black American. She explains in a rather subtle way to her readers the connection between the characters and an average black American. The book is a prose fiction that tells a rather electrifying story of love. The book focuses on a more educated audience. The book makes use of technical words that certainly defines it’s kind of audience. Adichie is brave enough to allow the story to unfold with a distinct straightforward simplicity that never loses its edgy intellect, by employing the use of coherent and original words to exquisitely unfold the book. The appellation doesn’t precisely adopt the chronological form as it unfolds the events of the novel; it, however, achieves its goal in building a lasting connection with her readers. Americanah is a highly recommendable text to the world at large. The book draws its theme from love and race. The thesis of the book can, therefore, be seen from the side of the apartheid, love and its undying feeling. The author presents word-pictures of scenes and events by giving specific details that appeal to the reader’s imagination. Adichie presents the background of the story through the narrative technique. Americanah explores racism in America, but is equally concerned with hair, though, as Adichie points out, the two subjects are often intertwined. This new approach by the author is well justified. The book opening at a salon goes to emphasise the importance of the pride of the human hair. The book makes use of flashbacks. Americanah, a story of love and race is centered on a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the country they seem to call a home. As teenagers in a La-



Title: Rauf: Hero of the Peo-

Publishers: Tuwanide Books Lagos Authors: Olusegun Mayegun and Abosede Florence Kalejaiye Reviewer: Chijioke Uwasomba Year of publication: 2013


By Agbeyeke Deborah

gos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country. Ifemelu, beautiful and self-assured, departs for America to study with the hope of being joined later by Obinze, her love. Obinze is held back by the post 9/11. Ifemelu left to face a new world on her own, suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships; all the while enduring the weight of racism. Obinze, after being prevented from going to America, plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London, and after dissolving his marriage, moves back to a newly democratic Nigeria. Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion for their homeland and for each other. They, however, will face the toughest decisions of their lives. The book is set in America and Nigeria, and they both play a very significant role in the lives of the characters. Once again, Adichie excels with her depiction of Nigeria. Her observations

about race are fresh and incisive. The book gives readers the chance to visit three continents, observe a wide array of subcultures and meet complicated and interesting characters. The book rates an 8 out 10, and is highly recommendable to anyone who wants to have a good time. The author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie the awardwinning author of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun,’ a powerful story of love, race and identity, was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Aba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy. She then moved to the United States to attend college, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State with a major in Communication and a minor in Political Science. Adichie has published books like Purple Hibiscus, The Thing Around Your Neck and half of a yellow sun. Deborah is a student of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State

Students encouraged to pursue writing career STUDENT Writers Series that would encourage students to write stories, poems and plays for publication will be launched soon. Disclosing this recently at a workshop in Ikenne, Ogun State, as part of activities to mark the World Book Day, Pastor Tosin Onayiga, the workshop convener, said the series will not be limited to Ogun State alone as the mode for entry for students from other states will soon be made known to the public.“ Also speaking at the workshop with the theme,

The man who makes the difference

'How to write, publish and sell your books' the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Barrister Segun Odubela, represented by the Zonal Education Officer for Ikenne Local Government, Mrs. Taiwo, stressed on the importance of the day and workshop as impetus for all students to discover their talents so as to be useful not only to their schools but the state and their country at large. Also in attendance at the workshop organised by the International Restoration Crusade of The Ransomed Christian Centre as part of

their annual crusade, were award winning actress Sola Onayiga (Ireti of Fuji House of Commotion and Mrs. Etuk of Tinsel fame) as well as film director, Segun Obadare-Akpata and Olu Okekanye, representing Association of Nigerian Authors.“ Meanwhile, Sola Onayiga has been appointed a judge by the National Troupe of Nigeria for the National Dramatised Story Telling Competition for Secondary School Students which runs from May – June 2013 at the National Theater, Iganmu Lagos.“

HE politics and personality of Rauf Aregbesola have become a reference point by both his admirers and political enemies alike since the late 1970s when he joined the political fray of the country as a progressive students’ union leader. Since his immersion in the politics of the country, he has not looked back with his creative and astute mobilisational engagements and activities. These have opened for him a floodgate of linkages and contacts with a broad spectrum of progressive politicians, opinion leaders, social workers, market leaders, professional organisations and other social movements within and without. It is not surprising that through his political forays he ended up establishing robust working relationships with the like of Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose eight- year leadership of Lagos State outstandingly changed and remade the state for the better. The implication of the above is to demonstrate that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is a product of history and tendency that seriously pay attention to issues that concern the down-trodden of the society. It was with that mindset that he entered the hot race to contest the governorship seat of Osun State (State of Osun). His two and a half years as the captain of the ship of state in the State of Osun speak volumes of achievements in all facets. It is in recognition of the sterling performance of Rauf that Olusegun Mayegun and Abosede Kalejaiye, two patriots who have been monitoring his activities, took it upon themselves to document the people’s governor as the hero of the people. The Nigerian society has been hijacked by the decadent and corrupt - minded forces to such a level that cynism and despair have become the order of the day. And so where there is a deviation as can be seen in the character and achievements of the current governor of the State of Osun, it deserves to be documented and celebrated with a view to instilling good values and virtues in the youth who ultimately will be the future leaders of the society. The second chapter draws the attention of the reader to the family background of Rauf. Born on May 25, 1957, to the Aregbesola family of OgbonArogbo of Ilesa, he was given a good home training and made to imbibe principles of simplicity, selflessness, humility, hard work and sincerity, as a child. His wonderful parents, who were widely travelled, made him to spend most of his childhood at Ikare in the present day Ondo State of Nigeria where he received his primary and secondary school education. With this solid background, he was able to proceed to the Ibadan polytechnic in 1976 to study Me-

chanical Engineering and graduated in 1980. It should be noted that Rauf’s family training aided his development in life, affording him the opportunity of searching for knowledge in all areas of human endeavour as he went all out to expand the horizons of his mind’s inquisitiveness through personal readings. As a student at the Ibadan Polytechnic, he was active in students’ politics and was committed to other progressive students’ movements and tendencies world-wide. Still at the Ibadan Polytechnic, he became the Speaker of the Students’ Union Parliament He was also instrumental to the formation of the key agencies in Lagos State which include the Kick Against Indiscipline (K A I), Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) and the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA). In chapter three, the authors note that as a result of the high level of mis-governance witnessed in Osun State, Rauf, after having consulted fully with a broad spectrum of social workers, artisans, community leaders, politicians and professional organisations, indicated his strong desire to liberate the state by throwing his political hat into the ring. He adopted the name of ORANMIYAN, the youngest of the seven princes of Oduduwa, as his political movement. Oranmiyan, it should be remembered, was a courageous and successful nation builder and statesman. Chapter four of the book which is titled ‘A New Society and a New People’ encapsulates the Six- Point Action Plan upon which the election of Aregbesola was fought and won. The Six- Point Action Plan bears enumerating: (1) Banish Poverty (2) Banish Hunger (3) Banish Unemployment (4) Restore Healthy Living (5) Promote Functional Education (6) Enhance Communal Peace and Progress. The six-point Action Plan was taken seriously by the people who turned out enmass to vote in Rauf as their governor on April 14, 2007. He had the highest number of votes in 17 local government areas. In spite of these overwhelming votes, the powers-that-be denied him access to the State House until Friday, November 26, 2010, when he reclaimed his stolen mandate through the judicial process. In the words of the authors, since assumption of office, ‘Rauf Aregbesola has been

working on the promises that he made by executing his plans to raise Osun to a place where human dignity, rule of law and people-centred development are the order of the day’ (65). The state has been rebranded as ‘Ipinle Omoluabi’; agriculture has been revived with the provision of improved methods of farming and the application of scientific knowledge and technology to increase productivity. Measures have been put in place to ensure the security of life and property. Other activities and achievements include but not limited to the following: Setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Construction and rehabilitation of over 12,000 kilometres of roads in the state; Rehabilitation of the water corporation; Rescuing of many abandoned road projects; Opening up of many rural areas; Making the railways to function again; Beautification of the environment; Resettling of destitutes and the homeless; Relocation of market and stalls to appropriate places; The institution of the O’Meal programme for thousands of primary and JSS pupils; Creation of inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony; Provision of thousands of jobs to the youths through the O’YES and other employment generating programmes; payment of N19,000 minimum wage with N1,000 over and above the approved federal government rate in 2010 and the restoration of the rights of the people. The authors are not done yet as they reel out more achievements of the government of Ogbeni Aregbesola within a short time: Support to farmers as they now form themselves into co-operative societies and the provision of transport for easy movement of farm produce by farmers; Reduction of fees payable by students of higher learning by 50 percent; Increase in budgetary allocation to education as primary and secondary education is made free, functional and qualitative; Special allowances for teachers in the rural areas; Construction of about 170 model schools; The provision of ‘Opon Imo’ (Tablets of Knowledge) to secondary school students; Free health programme, etc. Through the O’Reap programme, over 7,500 acres of land have been cultivated. What emerges from the foregoing is that with the coming of Aregbesola into the political terrain of the state, the state cannot be the same again. A man with such an immense transformational capacity is a hero who embodies all that is good, noble, polite, patriotic, fair and just. His values deserve to be emulated. To this extent, this book should be translated into Yoruba and in the immediate future be translated into other major Nigerian languages. Uwasomba is of the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.



'My life at 50' F

OR those who are not yet 50, how does it feel at that age? Well, it is a good feeling. At 50, you are consolidating. At 50, you are no longer looking at who to marry. At 50, you are looking back and thanking God for what He has done for you over the years. At 50, you are thinking of how to do much more for God. At 50, there is no cause for anxiety. You are only looking ahead to a brighter future. How will you assess your life at 50? I would be more comfortable if you had asked people to do that. But with all sense of modesty, I will say God has been faithful, especially since He came into my life. One has been able to do so much through His help. I have been able to transform lives, by His grace, in Nigeria and abroad. The changed lives and testimonies are there. So far, it's been wonderful and we can only pray for more grace and strength to accomplish more for Him. At 50, there must be new goals to pursue. What would that be for you? Well, one of the things I did just when I knew I was nearing 50 was to review my relationship with God. It is possible to have a thriving ministry without a thriving relationship with God. It is a dangerous stage to get to and I do not want that. So, I want a more thriving and robust relationship with God now. That was the decision I have taken after the celebration and euphoria were over. I have gone back to seek the face of God in this direction. So, my decision is to know more of God. I believe I can do much for God when I am more with Him. That is my objective. I want to walk more with God to be able to do more with Him. It is good to make projections but one needs God to do everything. With the benefits of hindsight, are there things that you would have done differ-

The Senior Pastor of Life Changers Assembly Lagos, Pastor Gbolahan Dada, clocked 50 recently. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on his life, the church and the nation. Excerpts: ently if you were to do them again now? I am somebody that is very slow in taking decisions. I'd rather wait for God rather than going ahead of Him. Walking in steps with God keeps away from mistakes and regrets. Once I am sure I heard from Him, there is no stopping me. So, I hardly have regrets because I take my time to get directions from Him. You have been outside the country recently. What has been occupying you over there? I never had any desire to be junketing about. One of our senior ministers told me several years ago to stay in my primary place of calling and watch over the sheep. He said I should seek to know and not to be known. So, I concentrated on working based on what God called me to do and as the works begin to speak for themselves, people began to call me for ministrations outside the country. I have been to places like Estonia, Finland, India and the former Soviet Union. I found out what I have are needed over there. So, the apostolic ministry has taken off. I also travel a lot within Nigeria for revival services and leadership conferences. You also clocked 25 years in ministry‌ Yes, 25 years of impact, God's faithfulness and witnessing transformation of lives among people. I get to places where people will come and say, 'Pastor, bless you. Do you still remember my daughter?' and I will say 'no'. And they are like 'you did the christening 23 years ago and now she is a graduate'. Such encounters make one feel fulfilled. You started quite early, did you feel short-changed back then especially when


your contemporaries were pursuing careers and you left for ministry? I was practising as an architect back then and ministry was not something I went out for. I was a Muslim and did not have any relationship with Christianity. I happen to be the first generation Christian in my family. I was in my room one day when God showed up and asked me to serve Him. So, I was left with no choice than to follow Him. So, I have no regret at all. The best way to live is to

contribute. If I were to continue with my career, I would be seeking of what to grab and all that with no fulfillment. But I have found fulfillment serving God. Most of my colleagues are pursuing careers but I have been making impact and fulfilling destiny. By the grace of God, looking back now, I am not a pushover in their midst. Was there ever a time in your life you felt God was far away? You know when I gave my life to Christ, I had a rela-


Adeboye to business owners: Draw close to God


HE General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has advised business executives to draw closer to God for lasting success without sorrow. He spoke last Sunday during a special service for business executives and owners. Adeboye said they will experience unusual breakthrough in life and business by dedicating their lives to God and following His pathways. X-raying the committed life of King Solomon despite

By Adeola Ogunlade his adulterous background, Adeboye noted that he showed appreciation to God for the past and expressed gratefulness for the present. He told the business owners: "Thank God for the present so that your future can be glorious." The cleric said the wisdom of God stood Solomon out, asking the business owners to also seek for divine direction that will make them outstanding. Adeboye challenged the congregation not to relent in seeking for wisdom that will

bring about promotion in their chosen careers. He pointed out that all Solomon requested for was not for selfish interest but "to serve God". This, he said, should be the ultimate of all Christians in business. Speaking to reporters after the service, the chairman/chief executive officer, Shebah Oil Services Ltd, Joseph Adenuga, said only business men with the fear of God can deliver quality services and resist the temptation of cutting corners. According to him: "When we get it right in the spiritual

angle, we can do better in the physical things. "The services we render must be done in a friendly manner such that they add value for the exchange. "Quality service should be rendered to those who demand for it, with the fear of God as guideline because whatever we do unto fellow human beings is directly unto God." He added: "If we are going to succeed in anything in the world, we must have an ally. And the greatest ally is God and doing things in God's way will definitely bring an impact."

tionship with convictions with God. I had a deep encounter that made Him more real to me. I don't ever doubt Him despite the challenges that I have had to go through. I just believe that every challenge gives me an opportunity to know Him more. Every challenge has been an inspiration and not a discouragement. The issue of succession has been a challenge in the Nigerian church. Why is this so? I believe, like the Bible says, that two cannot walk together except they be agree. If you have new converts, they will soon become disciples if you follow them up enough. With their loyalty and integrity proven, one should be able to open up to them. They no longer relate as boys but partners because they now have direct access to your ministerial exploits. But I found out that a lot of our church leaders have things to hide. For me, I have nothing to hide. I try to trust people easily until they give me reasons not to. But once you don't betray a trust and we are on the same page, I don't have any issue with you at all. What will people find in Life Changers that might be difficult to find elsewhere? In Life Changers, we do not adulterate the word at all. I was raised by Dr Tunde Joda, who preaches the word of God with integrity. In this

place, we do not have to impress anybody or embellish the word. We deliver the word unadulterated. People don't have to go through me to access God. They can reach Him on their own and get the same results that we got. So, we make the word peoplefriendly and the atmosphere too so that people's hunger for God can be met. Personally, my wife and I have gone through challenges especially in the delay for children, but we stood on the word and got results. How many years did you have to wait? We waited for eight years to have our children and I will tell you it was not funny at all. You should ask my wife how it was like. God, however, has used our testimonies to challenge people within and outside our church. What do you have to say on the nation? I found out that Nigerian people are one of the easiest to lead in the whole world in the sense that we are obedient and we respect authorities. If our leaders will value the trust and confidence that followers have in them, Nigeria will be a better place. Ironically, our leaders take us for granted. They think we are fools and docile. We are not fools, but as Africans we have natural respect for authorities and leadership. But if you push Nigerians to be wall, they will react. So, our leaders should remember God and have Nigerians in mind because with what we are seeing now, posterity may not forgive some of them based on their attitude to leadership and power.


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






Obadare for burial in multi-million naira casket


ENOWNED evangelist and founder of World Soul Winning Evangelical Ministry (WOSEM), Prophet Timothy Obadare, who died on March 21 at 85, will be buried in a casket with the same design as the ones used for popular American musicians, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. This was disclosed last week by his eldest child, Dr Paul Obadare, during an interaction with reporters. The younger Obadare said nothing was too much or glamorous to celebrate the deceased preacher who touched many lives worldwide. He said: "If carnal men are given the best burials, I see nothing wrong in celebrating a man who gave God and humanity his best through soulwinning." Describing the late preacher as a global citizen with international impact, Obadare said arrangements are in top gear to host dignitaries for the funeral pro-

• Goes home on August 17

Stories by Sunday Oguntola gramme. The programme commences on August 15 with services of songs in Ilesha, Akure, Ibadan and Lagos. On August 16, there will be a lying-in-state at Ilesha and wake service. An interdenominational service holds on August 17th before his burial at a mausoleum at the WOSEM conference ground at Ilesha-Ife Expressway, Ilesha, Ogun State. Obadare said there will also be documentaries on the several powerful crusades of the renowned evangelist with testimonies of about 500 people. No fewer than six governors, royal fathers and church leaders across the globe are expected at the funeral events, he added. Obadare further stated that Osun State Governor, Ogbeni

Rauf Aregbesola, has agreed to support the funeral programmes, stating that the governor has begun the construction of Bolorunduro Road leading to the late evangelist's residence. The mausoleum, he stated, will become a Mecca of sort for those willing to offer prayers and seek the face of God. Speaking on WOSEM after its founder, Obadare, who is the general overseer of the ministry in America and Europe, said the senior Obadare laid solid structures that would see the ministry through. Obadare said: "Baba instructed us to stick to soul-winning and never be involved in church politics. "He said if we do this, we would be fine, but if not, we would be in trouble." He said WOSEM's leaders would meet after the funeral to chart the way forward and define the leadership structure of the organisation.

•From left: Dr Obadare, Vice Chancellor Littoral University Benin Republic, Prof Reuben Ayeni and Senior Pastor of Living Waters Unlimited, Rev. Ladi Thompson at the briefing

RCCG parish seeks bigger auditorium in UK


F things go as planned, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Living Faith Connections, United Kingdom will soon relocate to a more befitting auditorium. This was disclosed by the pastor-in-charge, Chris Adeoye, during a fund raising dinner and choir album launch last week in Lagos. Adeoye shared how the church secured the current facility in a restricted industrial area in 2005 after serious battles with government officials. The facility on 23, Thames Road Barking UK, he stated, has since become too small for the ever-expanding scope and membership of the church. "It has become difficult for us to have ministry expression. We have outreaches and community projects that cannot be accomplished in our current space," Adeoye informed. Making a strong appeal for a bigger space, he said another facility within the same neighbourhood has been offered to the church for purchase. Negotiations, he stated, are on for the facility where he said an eatery, a studio, a gym and office complexes

Living Faith

with a 2,000-seater auditorium and storage facilities would be sited. Adeoye added that a youth academy and conference rooms would also be part of the facility when completed. He appealed to Kingdomminded Christians to support the church's quest, promising them of divine interventions in returns. The general overseer of Agape Generation Church Akure, Bishop Felix Adejumo, said such projects offered Christians another opportunity to enjoy divine provisions.

Reeling out his personal testimonies of giving, Adejumo said givers can never lack or be backward in life. According to him: "God is not looking for your money but channels through which He can supply His blessings." He solicited support for the project, assuring that such visions would always become realities. The church's choir also presented its new album beyond the noun with delightful renditions from the work. The evening was spiced up with music by Gbenga Adenuga, Evangelist Toun Soetan and Muyiwa Olarenwaju from the UK.

• L-R: Adejumo with Adeoye at the dinner

By Dr. David Oyedepo

Engaging the breakthrough power of faith!


ECOGNISE that faith is a personal responsibility! For your faith to work, it has to be operated by you. It's only your faith that will make you become what God says. God has vowed, yet it takes your own faith to become what He has declared (Isaiah 14:27). Two things brought about the fulfillment of the prophetic word in Sarah's life: her faith got the job done, and she did not only believe that it would be done, she also believed in the set time (Gen 21:1-2). Every prophecy is ordained to be fulfilled at the set time, because we serve a God of appointed time (Habakkuk 2:3). God is committed to His timing. When you are in line with the appointed time, your next levels will come. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…(1 Chronicles 12:32). If you don't have an understanding of the time, you stand to be messed up. God's nature in the prophetic • God speaks according to Himself (Genesis 22:17-18): He speaks according to His power to deliver, His wisdom to cre-

ate solution, and His unlimited resources to make happen anything He says. God speaks according to what He can do. Without faith, God cannot move on your behalf (Hebrews 11:6). Whosoever wants to see God work in his/her favour, must believe that God is what He says He is, and will do what He says He will do. • God speaks according to His strength, and strength is the trigger for exploit (Psalm 24:7-8). His strength means that no gate can be shut against Him. His strength is for your conquest, which forces every door open. The Breakthrough Nature of Faith: • Faith is sharing responsibility with God in the face of scriptures, so as to commit Him to make good His promise: Any faith that seeks to make God absolutely responsible for the outcome of your life, is an irresponsible faith. Real faith makes you take responsibility to see God in action. Until your part is played, God is not committed. • Faith is the spiritual virtue that establishes partnership with the invincible God, thereby empowering us to do the impossible: Every


time your faith comes alive, God's partnership with you on that issue of concern is established. So, it is your faith that establishes your partnership with God in dealing with the issues of your life. Every time you believe God, you commit his partnership with you, which empowers you to do the impossible. • Faith is not just reaching out to God who is in heaven; faith is bringing God down to where you are: You are both on the battlefield. His name is called the Omnipotent God, and with the breath of His nostrils, He will slay His enemies. • Faith is putting God's word to work, believing (Proverbs 23:7): You must maintain a thought pattern that is in line with what you believe. • Faith converts the Word into flesh (John 1:14): It converts the spiritual to physical and the immaterial into material. • Faith is not just getting God to do something; it is securing God's partnership in getting things done: Faith brings you into partnership that makes you dare the undareable, speak the unspeakable and deliver the impossible (1 Corinthians 3:9). Friend, the power to see prophecies fulfilled is the privilege of those saved. You get saved as you confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. If you are set for it, please say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now I know, I am born again! I will continue with this teaching next week. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail:

'Churches are empowering lives'


HURCHES are bridging the gap by providing succour and complimenting government's effort, the general overseer of Love of Christ Chapel Ministries, Prophet Peter Olowoporoku, has declared. He lauded churches for providing quality education and hospitality to people government ordinarily cannot access. Olowoporoku noted that many churches have distributed relief materials, medical supplies and put smiles on the faces of millions. He assured the church would be actively involved in the agricultural and housing sectors in the nearest future. Olowoporoku said despite bad elements within the body of Christ, some churches have been used as a connection between God and men. The cleric spoke during the national women retreat of the church where he urged leaders to go back to God. Speaking on the theme "Rooted and grounded in Him," he lamented that every segment of the country is not functional. According to him: "The government can't keep telling us the economy is better on the papers when it is not evi-

By Nneka Nwaneri dent in the lives of people.” No fewer than 13 women received empowerment resources such as grinding and popcorn machines free of charge.

The wife of the general overseer, Mrs. Grace Olowoporoku, explained that the empowerment drive was borne out the high level of poverty among women, some of whom, she said, are just fulltime house wives.


All Believers' conference kicks off


HEMA Christian Church and Towers, Sango Ota, Ogun State, will on Saturday hold a conference to empower Christians for the end time. Tagged the All Believers Fire Conference, the event with the theme "fire for endtime impact," kicks off by 10am at the church's cathedral. Bishop Victor Akilla is the guest minister. The Presiding Bishop of

the Church, Bishop Taiwo Akinola, stated that the conference becomes imperative considering the perilous state of affairs in world. According to him: "We have to prepare people to survive and overcome the endtime. "The times are tough and hard but God's grace is ever abounding for Christians and believers who care enough to look up to Him."

Church clocks seven


5-day programme has been designed by the Living water parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Ogba, Lagos to mark its seventh anniversary. "God of perfection" is the theme of the event, which holds from 16-21 July at the church's auditorium. Some of the activities lined

up include bible study, perfection prayer, praise and thanksgiving service on July 21. The host pastor, Assistant Pastor Charles Imuzeze, noted that the anniversary will also serve as an opportunity to honour past pastors of the parish whose selfless service, dedication and strong foundation have helped in sustaining and leading it to greater heights.



'How to succeed in Nigeria’s business environment' -- Page 63

50 Dutch firms takeover ailing Nigerian Briefs PATHS2 textile firms T HE hitherto moribund textile industry is about to enjoy a breath of fresh air, courtesy of a proposed management buyout by some prospective investors abroad. According to information made available to The Nation, about 50 companies from Netherlands have hinted of plans to pool their investment into some of the nation’s ailing textile companies. Confirming this development, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Netherlands, Mrs. Nimota Akanbi said, the cheery news is the result of the painstaking search for foreign di-

Interswitch creates holding company to drive regional and international growth

Stories by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf

rect investment by the Jonathan administration. Speaking, a Business and Investment Forum in Netherlands, Akanbi said government will continue to woo foreign investors, adding that this should be supported by encouraging local manufacturers to expand and invest more. The Minister of Trade and Investments, Dr.Olusegun Aganga, who was excited about the devel-

opment, said what Nigeria needs now is job creation, adding that government will be ready to encourage any investor ready to create jobs for Nigerians. One of the foreign investors, Vlisco Group, revealed its plans to acquire not less than four of the ailing textile factories in the Lagos axis of the country. The company is also set to establish tailoring academies to train hundreds of Nigerians. In his remarks, Managing Director, Vlisco Group, Mr Hans

Oujendendijk, said besides sourcing of cotton locally to stimulate the economy as well as help to revamp some factories in the country more jobs would be created. Specifically; he disclosed that 1000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs are expected to be created in Nigeria stressing. The Minister and the Ambassador also held a meeting with top management of APM Terminal Netherlands led by Christian Moller Laursen who said his company would be constructing a multi-billion naira multipurpose port in Badagry, while expansion work on Apapa would cost more than $100million.


NTERSWITCH, a pan-African integrated payment processing and transaction switching company, has announced the spin-off, of two of its core divisions: Verve International (“Verve”) and Switching and Processing, as separate, autonomous businesses. In a statement by the Interswitch, the company said the rationale for separation is driven by the company’s strategy to orchestrate the next stage of sustainable growth through empowering the various line businesses to broaden and deepen their solution and service offerings to better serve their customers across Africa. Separation, they stressed, will enable Verve to leverage, to the maximum extent, its recent strategic alliance with the ‘Discover’ network, providing new business opportunities in over 185 countries around the world. The change also brings Interswitch’s corporate structure into line with the guidelines of the Payment Systems Vision 2020 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”), Verve International and Interswitch Switching and Processing to have separate management teams. Verve International is to be led by Mr. Charles Ifedi, while Interswitch Switching and Processing will be managed by Mr. Akeem Lawal. Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch Transnational Holdings commented: “It has always been our desire to evolve into an integrated payments holding business where the various parts of the business are driven to deepen and broaden their relationships with their various customers by creating innovative products and services of real value. Creating the right governance structure to herald this new phase of sustainable growth has been the focus of the board and management in the last few months. I am elated that we have successfully completed this separation, which took effect from April 1st 2013.”

•From left: Director, Technology, West Africa, MasterCard, Ladi Ogunsulire; Head, Mobile Financial Services eBusiness Group First Bank, Mike Ogbalu; Director, Acceptance Development, West Africa, MasterCard, Kamil Olufowobi; and Director, Account Management, West Africa, MasterCard, Obi Okwuegbunam, at the 13th edition of Card, ATM & Mobile Expo Africa, held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, recently

World Bank forecasts promising economic outlook


HE turmoil which attended the global economy as a result of the lingering recession has eased and growth is firming up, despite ongoing contraction in the Euro Area, says the World Bank in the newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. The Brentwood Institution, however, said the pick-up in developing countries will be modest because of capacity constraints in several middle income countries, According the world body, glo-

bal GDP is expected to expand about 2.2 percent this year and strengthen to 3.0 percent and 3.3 percent in 2014 and 2015. Developing-country GDP is now projected to be around 5.1 percent in 2013, strengthening to 5.6 percent and 5.7 percent in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Growth in Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa and Turkey has been held back by supply bottlenecks. While external risks have eased, growth in these countries is unlikely to reach pre-crisis rates

unless supply-side reforms are completed. In China also, growth has slowed as authorities seek to rebalance the economy. Looking at broader region-wide trends, the East Asia & Pacific region is expected to grow by 7.3 percent this year; Europe & Central Asia by 2.8 percent; Latin America & the Caribbean by 3.3 percent; Middle East & North Africa by 2.5 percent; South Asia by 5.2 percent; and Sub-Saharan Africa by 4.9 percent.

CIBN boss restates commitment to banking


N a bid to bridge the gaps in the banking and finance industry, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria has concluded arrangements to collaborate with FITC with a view to improve the competency level in the financial sector in Nigeria. This is coming on the heels of the stakeholders’ engagement with the company at its Corporate Headquarters led by Mr. Segun

By Bukola Afolabi

Aina, President/Chairman of Council. Aina noted that the engagement was part of familiarization and bridge-building efforts to dialogue with major stakeholders in the banking and finance industry. He observed that the industry was so large and replete with many value adding opportunities

and there was room to make an impact without any hindrance. He called for collaboration and cooperation between CIBN and FITC in areas of common goals and interest. An elated Dr. Lucy Newman, Managing Director/Chief Executive, FITC, thanked the institute’s proposal on research saying that it required huge amount of resources and time.

partners TLC Media on MDG


ARTNERSHIP for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS2), a UK-Department for International Development (DFID)-funded initiative in Nigeria has signed a cooperation agreement with TLC Media, as part of efforts to attain key Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets of reduction in maternal and child mortality, education, poverty reduction, among others. This was disclosed at a press conference in Lagos recently. Justifying the need for the cooperative agreement, Ijeoma Inen, who is the Community Mobilisation Officer/Behavioural Change Communication coordinator in PATHS2,informed that the partnership was in line with PATHS2’s core value of strengthening health systems as well as improving lives among the rural poor. PATHS2, she further informed, would be providing technical assistance for the Gbogbo Eko project for an initial six months period covering June-December 2013. Echoing similar sentiments, Mr. Lanre Alabi, Knowledge Management Officer, PATHS2, who cited a recent World Health Organisation (WHO), report which ranked Nigeria as the second worst place to be born on earth out of 169 countries surveyed, said, there was need for concerted efforts to ensure drastic reduction in maternal and child mortality, a major target of the MDG. Speaking earlier, Mr. Jide Ojo, Director, TLC Media, said his organisation decided to collaborate with PATHS2 and BlackNights Entertainment, UK, on the Gbogbo Eko project in order to ensure that the less privileged in the society can also enjoy improved quality of life, healthwise. Ojo, who has being involved in the production of several public service announcements and campaigns, geared towards community mobilisation, said a number of activities including a tour, dance/drama competition, free health services, awards, among others, have been lined up in aid of the project. Corroborating Ojo, Loretta Egueze, Artist Manager/Events Coordinator TLC Media, said her organisation intends to deploy multimedia to drive the Gbogbo Eko, hence, it was partnering with both popular and upcoming artistes to provide the required entertainment value for the project.




Horror stories from your ATM

Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf in this report recounts the harrowing experiences of customers of money deposit banks who in recent times have suffered a run of misfortune from using the automated teller machines (ATMs)

•Crowd of anxious customers besiege ATM at Abeokuta, Ogun State. (inset: A customer using an ATM in Lagos over the weekend).

tify to this,” said Mrs. Akanbi. Echoing similar sentiments, another customer, Rachel Okeke, a trader, said she had dashed to the ATMs last Monday in order to raise money for some pressing family commitment but ended up disappointed because most of the machines were not functioning. Sharing his own experience, Fred Adenuga, said he had visited one of the banks sometime last month hoping to get some money and proceed to Akure for a job interview, but that was not to be. According to Adenuga, “I visited over 10 banks and none of their ATMS was working and to make matters worse, I was not with my pass book, as such I was now forced to borrow money from one of these money lenders at outrageously cut-throat rate just to enable me keep my interview appointment. It was not a pleasant experience at all for me.” Another customer, Mr. Wasiu Alabi, a student, also said as a result of the poor ATM services he almost missed his exams last week. “Last week, I put my card to withdraw money, they did not pay me but the bank debited my account that I have been paid,” he said. “It took three days before

they could credit back the money. Since then, I have been borrowing money to feed and write my exams.” Only recently, another customer who withdrew money from an old generation bank’s ATM and headed for another bank few metres away to deposit part of the money was shocked when the cashier told him that some of the N1000 notes were counterfeit. Efforts by the unsuspecting customers to explain the source of the money were rebuffed, as the bank officials threatened to arrest him. Customers of various commercial banks in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, have also had to swallow the bitter-pill as a result

of frustration from using ATMs. For the past two weeks, ATM services of most of the commercial banks in the city had been malfunctioning, thereby leaving customers stranded, sources said. In many of the commercial banks visited, inscriptions such as “no service”, “out of service”, “visit other banks” had become common while customers wore long faces thinking of the next option. At a programme which the Consumer Advocacy Forum of Nigeria recently, Akeem Awe, a businessman and a customer of Zenith Bank, shared his experience on how he lost all his savings to ATM fraudsters in less than 20 minutes.

In the last couple of weeks, it has been practically impossible to use the ATMs in my neighbourhood. Just last week, some of my staff went to get money at one of the bank’s ATM in Adeniran Ogunsanya. After a tireless wait of three hours on the long queue, at the end of the day, they could not get cash because the machine ran out of money before it was their turn


O say that the introduction of the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) revolutionised electronic payment in the country and is generally acceptable to the banking consumer public is not in doubt. This is because, ATM, a self-service machine, dispenses cash and performs some human teller functions like balance enquiry, bills payments, mini statements and so on. ATM transactions are carried out through the use of a debit/credit card which enables the card holder(s) to access and carry out banking transactions without a teller It is, however, an irony of fate that this same ATM technology that offers a world of convenience to customers and provides banking services well beyond the traditional brick and mortar service period is gradually becoming a source of worry to many users. In the last few weeks, banks have been inundated with complaints by customers who have suffered one form of misfortune or the other as a result of using some ATMs belonging to some of these money deposit banks in different parts of the country. From Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Akure, Uyo, Port Harcourt, Kano, Lafia, Calabar, Aba, Owerri, to mention just a few, bank customers have sad tales to tell. Some of these complaints range from ATMs dispensing counterfeit N1000 notes or short-changing customers outright, poor service, just as a majority expressed frustration with banks crediting their accounts without cash remittance from ATMs, loss of cards on dysfunctional ATMs, among others. Tales of woes A visit by our correspondent to some ATM points in Lagos metropolis and environs revealed that not many of the ATMs were dispensing cash. Some of the customers, in separate interviews with The Nation, lamented that the situation had made banking a very unpleasant experience. They contended that the epileptic services may defeat the objective for the introduction of ATMs. According to them, the development was a big threat to CBN‘s cashless policy. Recounting his experience, Mrs. Titilayo Akanbi, a school proprietor at Surulere axis of Lagos, said, “ATMs are a big frustration these days. Imagine customers travelling from one machine to another to get cash, simply because most of them are out of service. “In the last couple of weeks, it has been practically impossible to use the ATMs in my neighbourhood. Just last week, some of my staff went to get money at one of the bank’s ATM in Adeniran Ogunsanya. After a tireless wait of three hours on the long queue, at the end of the day, they could not get cash because the machine ran out of money before it was their turn. “It is really frustrating using the bank ATMs these days. Many customers can tes-

“I got an alert on my phone that a transaction of N490,000 was made. I didn’t understand the text because I never withdrew any money. Immediately, I called my account officer to inform him. As I finished talking to him, a new text came in that another N490,000 had been withdrawn. I called the account officer back and told him the latest development. He asked if I had misplaced my ATM card, and I said no because the card was with me,” Mr. Awe narrated. He said that the bank officer immediately promised to notify Interswitch, the ATM service provider, so that the card could be blocked. He said further: “About 10 minutes later, another alert came in that N80,000 had been withdrawn. In total, N1,060,000 was withdrawn from my account on the same day. Initially, the bank acknowledged the case after writing through my lawyer, but for several months now nothing has been done on the matter. When I went to the bank in Apapa to challenge them, they used armed security men to force me out of the bank premises. I’ve gone to human rights activists and the EFCC for help but nothing has been done till date.” The lawyer added, “The


position of the law is that the banks have a mandatory duty to protect customers’ fund. Banks are to protect funds by ensuring that there is no manipulation on customers’ account or unauthorised withdrawal. In the event that a customer loses money, or occasions that the bank fails to protect the fund, the customer can bring a legal action of a breach of contract against the bank. “In developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America, when a customer of a bank loses money, the responsibility shifts directly to the bank unless investigation reveals otherwise. In Nigeria, it’s the other way round. We really don’t address product liability that shifts defective products to the manufacturer.” Mr. Onyiuke said that victims could also press charges in cases where ATM fraudsters made unauthorised withdrawals that are above a bank’s maximum limit for daily withdrawal. The lawyer said that he recently discovered that the banks go for cheap teller machines. “One of the card companies told me that banks had options on the types of cash machines to use but decided to go for the cheap one,” he said.

Continued on page 62



Horror stories from your ATM Continued from page 61 Meanwhile, discoveries have shown that most times, ATM fraud occurs in isolated places around 12 midnight on Fridays to midnight on Sundays. Experts have advised banks to have a 24-7 hour call centres where unauthorised transaction, when reported especially on weekends, could be quickly blocked. They encouraged the banks to embrace the international practice for financial institutions on product issuance, which demands that any product like ATM card going to the citizenry must have insurance policy. Tochukwu Onyiuke of Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, confirmed that of the over 700 ATM scam cases he is handling, none of the banks involved has shown genuine interest in rendering assistance to the victims. “Banks in Nigeria are fond of pushing blames to the customers even before investigating. Banks always claim that the customers compromised their Personal Identification Numbers (PIN). But most times, we have discovered through investigations, that the claims were false,” said Mr. Onyiuke. He said the practice whereby banks are just issuing ATM cards to customers without their consent is unprofessional. He added that some of the leading banks in many of the cases he is handling include BankPHB, Intercontinental Bank, and Union Bank. ATM fraud global phenomenon According to Dr. Johnson Olabode Adeoti, Business Administration Department, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria, “The problem of ATM frauds is global in nature and its consequences on bank patronage should be of concern to the stakeholders in banks.” One of the frequent causes of fraud, Adeoti stressed, “is when customers are careless with their cards and pin numbers as well as their response to unsolicited e-mail and text messages to provide their card details.” He further observed that the current upsurge and nefarious activities of ATM fraudster is threatening electronic payment system in the nation’s banking sector with customers threatening massive dumping of the cards if the unwholesome act is not checked. The economist identified different ATM-related frauds as follows: “Shoulder Surfing, a fraud method in which the ATM fraudster uses a giraffe method to monitor the information the customer keys into the ATM machine unknown to the customers. Lebanese Loop, a device used to commit and identify theft by exploiting Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Its name comes from its regular use among Lebanese financial crime perpetrators, although it has now spread to various other international crime groups,” he stated. The use of stolen cards, he added, is a situation in which the ATM card of a customer is stolen and presented by a fake presenter, just as card jamming. Use of duplicate ATMs,

where fraudsters use software which records the passwords typed on those machines. Thereafter duplicate cards are manufactured and money is withdrawn with the use of stolen passwords. Meanwhile, a recent research, carried out by Cambridge University, revealed that nearly 10 percent of fourdigit ATM PIN codes used for banking purposes could be guessed by an opportunistic thief before the card is blocked. In what appears to be the first study of its kind, the researchers say that the widespread usage of dates of birth as PIN codes is primarily to blame for the weakness. The researchers used a combination of leaked data from nonbanking sources (specifically 200,000 smartphone unlockcodes and the 1.7 million entries in the RockYou dataset) and an online survey as the data set for the research. In the survey, 1,300 people were asked if their ATM PIN code fell into one of the general categories the team had identified (no, they were’t asked for their PIN codes!). But Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, managing director of Interswitch, said that much has been put in place to ensure that issues associated with the smooth connectivity between banks are addressed and that debit errors experienced by customers are being reduced, with collaboration with the banks. And Mr. Tunde Shofowora, spokesman of First City Monument Bank Plc, said that system failure is occasional and not yet trendy in banks. Insisting that his bank does not have such a hitch, he explained that customers have alternative outlets outside the banking halls such as on-line ATM to do their banking businesses. He also revealed that banks are currently upgrading their IT networks which involve increasing security features essentially to ward off hackers who might attempt to enter their systems. A head of corporate affairs in one of the banks, who pleaded anonymity, did not rule out the handiwork of people he described as ‘bad elements’ in the system. According to him, there is need for the banks to take extra vigilance on personnel uploading cash into the ATMs and double-check bundle of currency notes being up-loaded in ATM by the tellers. Apparently reacting to the development, CBN said it does not have the responsibility for the supply of cash to ATM, noting that ATMs are owned and deployed by banks, as well as independent outfits. To adequately address the challenges facing the implementation of ATM, the apex bank on 17th May 2010 issued standards and guidelines on ATM operations, spelling out conditions for liability for ATM fraud. The CBN also mandated banks to ensure online monitoring mechanism to determine ATM vault cash levels, monitor and report suspicious transactions on agreed format and time frame. The way forward, according to analysts, is for all hands to be on deck and ensure that all available loopholes are blocked to ensure users are not fleeced.


SMEDAN to create 5m jobs through NEDEP


HE Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, has hinted of plans to create five million new jobs through its National Enterprises Development Programme, NEDEP before 2015. Director-General of the agency, Alhaji Bature Masari, disclosed this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, stating that with NEDEP, it would be easier to implement the One Local Government One Product, OLOP scheme across the country. He said, “NEDEP would cover all states of the federation and Abuja with a view to

From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja

conducting survey of every products being produced in each local governments as part of the strategies mapped out by SMEDAN to achieve the goal. “Our objective is that within the few years of implementing NEDEP and other programmes to be initiated, we will generate an estimated five million direct and indirect jobs. “I came here with a mission. My mission is to contribute immensely to the growth of MSMEs all over the country. MSMEs play the lead role in creating additional employments, wealth genera-

tion and poverty reduction. “Part of our strategy is to create new clusters of businesses based on competitive and comparative advantages already identified through the OLOP initiative and raw materials mapping in the 774 local governments.” He added that SMEDAN, which will identify skills of each youth, would work in conjunction with the Industrial Training Fund, ITF which would train them and the Bank of Industry, BoI, for finance. The D-G disclosed that the pilot scheme has started in Kano and Niger states, this will develop to create jobs, generate wealth and eradicate

poverty in the country. This, he said, would be done through the micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, sector for effective skills training and acquisition as well as business services development. SMEDAN had just opened new offices in 11 states and we want to cover all states before the end of the year. SMEDAN is being reorganised to make it more effective. The Federal Government is planning to launch the National Council of MSMEs, comprising the federal, state and local governments to manage the economy for rapid development of the country.

• From right (front row): Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Acting Director, Shipping Development, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Mr Ziakede Akpobolokemi, Director General NIMASA; a beneficiary; Prof. Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School; and Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, NIMASA, at the sent-forth of beneficiaries NIMASA's Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) who travelled to India for studies recently

• From left: Chief Operating Officer, Pharmacy Plus, Mr. Chukwuemeka Obi, Chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (AIPN), DR. Lolu Ojo, Chairman of the occasion, Dr. (Mrs.) Dere Awosika, Ag. Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Mrs. Gloria Abumere at the Reload Multivitamins stand, during the 32nd annual National Conference of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) held in Calabar, Cross River, recently

Promasidor, Shell, others submit entries for CSR awards


OME big names like Promasidor, Shell, Olam, Total, Diamond Bank and 27 others have submitted entries to contest for the coveted awards of the most responsible Corporate Social Citizen being organised by TruContact Ltd. In a statement made available to The Nation by the organisers, they said the firms submitted their entries well ahead of the May 2013 submission deadline for the 7th edition of the SERAs. Over the past six years, TruContact Limited has implemented the SERAs in collaboration with key partners including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON). From inception, The SERAs team has made it a standard practice to verify all

entries. This year’s verification of over 30 companies has commenced. The 2013 edition of the Nigeria CSR Awards is scheduled for September 21, 2013 at the MUSON Centre in Lagos. This year’s theme, ‘Shaping the Future Through Innovative Value Creation: Mak-

ing a World of difference’, will continue to identify key players and showcase how business is creating shared value in a manner that benefits the business enterprise as well as its various stakeholders. According to Managing Partner of TruContact, Ken Egbas, “This year, we are in-

creasing the stakes by promoting innovative thinking and strategies that explore the less trodden paths. We are looking for businesses that are creating value while differentiating their brand; and who are bold, deliberate and not afraid to stand apart in a bid to rewrite history.”

positioned to bring together government ministries, industry stakeholders and key oil and gas professionals. Participation in this important event is part of SkyVision’s efforts to expand its corporate services into the fast-growing oil and gas industry in Africa, and in particular, in Nigeria. For over a decade,

tablishment of hubs and PoPs in Lagos and Abuja to provide seamless fiber/VSAT connectivity for customers in the region. “As a longstanding local provider, SkyVision is proud to be participating in this important industry event in Lagos,” comments Doron Ben Sira, SkyVision CEO.

Firm launches new corporate voice, data and KYVision Global Nethas focused on the video services SkyVision works Ltd, a leading gloNigerian market, with the es-


bal provider of IP connectivity over satellite and fibre optic systems, on Thursday announced the upcoming launch of its new corporate voice, data and video services at NOGTech 2013, Nigeria’s fourth annual oil and gas technology exhibition and conference. The event is strategically




• Erosion at NDDC project in Cross River State


T was a very damning report submitted by the Chief Isaac Jemide-led Presidential Monitoring Committee on the NDDC, even President Goodluck Jonathan was dazed. The report card of the commission, which motto is, 'Making the difference', showed that it abandoned 46 per cent of projects it awarded between when it was set up and 2011. The damning report, which surprised the president, merely highlighted the realities confronting people of the oilproducing communities. It was also a tip of the iceberg because the other 54 are not delivered - only ongoing. Our checks revealed projects in the urban areas, particularly in states' capitals and major cities, do not suffer as much as those in core riverside communities. Mr. Dan Amraketa, an activist, said it is a ploy to deceive. "When you see short roads constructed in the city, it tends to give the false impression that the commission is working." Investigation by our reporter revealed that the high rate of project neglect may not be unconnected with the mode of their awards. It was gathered that, like most public projects, the contract sums are usually far less than what is received by the contractor. "If you recall, there was a time when NDDC contracts are hawked like akara (bean cake) at the Diette-Spiff Headquarters of the commission. Staff, high and low, relatives of board members and their spouses are randomly allotted projects which they take to the 'open market' for sale to the highest bidder," one of the contractors handling a road project in Cross River State told our reporter. At the end of the day, our source added, the funds available to execute the project are usually so small that they are left with very little margin of profit. "The only option available to get reasonable profit is to delay

NDDC: Labouring under N2 trillion abandoned projects From the waterfronts of Arunton, Ugborodo (Escravos) through Kokodiagbene, Oporoza, Kurutie in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, through communities in Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross Rivers states, about N2 trillion worth of rotting projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) adorn landscapes of communities in the Niger Delta. In this report, Shola O'Neil, Nicholas Kalu, Osewengie Ben Ogbemudia and Okungbowa Aiwerie examine the commission's legacies of broken promises. the project and call for upward review or simply take what you get of the mobilisation fee and go." DELTA STATE Oil-rich Ugborodo community has lost a sizeable chunk of its land mass in the past 10 years to a rampant ocean surge, despite the NDDC awarding a multibillion project nearly a decade ago to save the town that is home to the multibillion dollar Chevron Oil Terminal and Escravos Gas To Liquid project, from being swallowed by the sea. Nine years down the lane, hundreds of millions down the drain, gigantic rocks scattered on the seafront are the only pointers of that project. Attempts to get the contractor handling the project proved abortive. NDDC's commissioner, Chief Solomon Ogba, did not take the persistent telephone calls to his mobile phone. A stakeholder in the community, Mr. Victor Omunu, told our reporter that mobilisation funds released to the

contractor was squandered. "Our people have been left at the mercy of the sea." A few miles away in Kokodiagbene, a reclamation and sand filling project awarded at an initial cost of N59m to Ayemedi and Sons in 2001remains in its infant state. The delay combined with reviews and change of design and scope of work has seen the sum skyrocketing to a staggering N4bn. Sheriff Mulade, a former secretary of the community, told our reporter that his kinsmen have met with NDDC officials and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, over their plight. "This is a project that is so dear to our heart, that is why we have tried everything possible to get it going. We have met with NDDC officials and even the minister (Orubebe), still we have nothing to show for it," he lamented. In Okpealama community in Warri SW LGA, it was gathered that the contractor handling the N1.8bn piling and sand

filling project is gradually demobilising from site, after collecting N1.5bn. Investigations by our reporter revealed that the contract was awarded at an initial sum of N900m in 2007 but was later reviewed to N1.8bn. The contractor (names withheld) recently revealed to newsmen that he had been paid N1.5bn (about 85per cent) of the contract sum. Our checks revealed that barely 40 per cent of the total work, comprising mainly the easier part of sand filling, has been concluded. A member of the community said: "Hardly any of the piling work has been and we are aware that the contractor is now gradually removing his things." The Agbarho community internal roads project, in Ughelli North L.G.A, which was awarded at a total cost of N2.4 billion does not exist. The 23-km roads' project has not begun despite series of protest letters written to the federal Continued on page 65

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2013 Continued from page 64

interventionist agency. It could not be ascertained how much has been paid to the contractor. When we visited the offices of Agbarho Improvement Union (Inc), the President General, General Dominic Oneya (rtd), said his predecessor made several representations to the federal government on the need to construct internal roads in the community but to no avail. CROSS RIVER The situation is not much different in Cross River State, where our investigations revealed that about 35 percent of 196 projects earmarked by the NDDC have been abandoned. Over 70 of such projects, including interventions in the area of roads, buildings construction, pipe-borne water, electricity projects, solar lights and erosion control, are abandoned. It was further gathered that of 70 road construction projects awarded since 2000, only two had been completed, 21 others were ongoing; five stalled and work yet to commence on 32 others. Three NDDC model classrooms blocks, two water projects, five rural electricity projects and an erosion control project in the state. The NDDC model University of Calabar hostel awarded in 2004; construction of 6.359km Ugep-Idomi Road in Yakurr; the 13km Ekpiri-Ikang-Natunda Road in Bakassi are all abandoned Equally abandoned are Creek Town Okonyong Road; the construction of 10.07km Adim-Abanyong roads; 10 km Odukpani-Akim-Akim Road in Odukpani and Ikom-Agbokim Waterfall Road awarded since 2009. Officials of the NDDC office in Calabar refused to make any comment in the absence of the director who was said to be out of town for the week. Efforts to reach the commissioner representing Cross River State on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Hon. Dominic Aqua Edem, also proved abortive. SUFFERING AND SMILING IN PRESIDENT JONATHAN'S BAYELSA In Bayelsa home state of President Goodluck Jonathan, there is suppressed anger against the NDDC but the people were afraid to speak with The Nation because, in the words of one community elder, "we do not want to be seen as speaking of underdevelopment when our brother and son is the President." But the stalled construction of a foreshore wall to protect Kaiama from the anger of the River Niger is an indication that the state is not insulated from the plague of the NDDC. The historic Ijaw town is dear in the heart of the Ijaw. It is the place where the historic Kaiama Declaration, was made. The construction of the wall was one of the conditions given by militants to sheathe their swords during the Niger Delta crisis. The people of Nembe, one of the major oil producing areas where former Minister of State for Energy, Dr. Edmund Daukoru is the traditional ruler, are some of the most aggrieved in the state. The subjects of the former Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are currently at war with the NDDC Commission in the state over an abandoned shore protection project. The Chairman of Oil and Gas Committee in the kingdom, Chief Nengi James, told our correspondent that the project was abandoned immediately it was awarded six years ago to a contractor. James, who is also the state Chairman, Civil Liberty Organisation, said the commission also abandoned water and road projects in the community. He said, "Over six years, this contract has been on, nothing has been done. There are abandoned water projects, road projects and many other projects in Nembe kingdom. These contracts are never done. Most of the projects in the state are abandoned. There is no identifiable project being done in our



Legacy of failed projects

• Jonathan

• Orubebe

• Oboh

area despite our oil producing status. "The NDDC presently is a disappointment to the Niger Delta people, especially the people of Bayelsa State. NDDC contracts are becoming elephant projects in our communities. NDDC is supposed to be an interventionist project but it has turned itself to a political jamboree where contracts are awarded for political patronage," he said. Also, the Okoloba people in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state have raised the alarm that the abandoned shore protection project started by NDDC in 2008 had caused many landslides in the community. The paramount ruler, Chief

Orumobiri Woyergikuro, said the community had lost property worth millions of naira to the disaster owing to the failure of NDDC to complete the project. Oba Erediauwa unimpressed with NDDC in Edo State The Oba of Benin Kingdom, Oba Erediauwa, rarely speaks, but when he does, his words are careful and weighty. He made his feeling about the NDDC known recently when the commissioner representing the state on the board, Mr. Henry Okhuarobo, visited him. He said, "We want development in the Niger Delta and we should get it through NDDC, which is saddled with that responsibility."

Officially of the commission and a contractor handling the 24-km Obazogbe- Abudu Road a fortnight ago also heard from angry residents when they allegedly attempted to inaugurate a project that was since abandoned. Although the cost of the project was not immediately known at the time of this report, a source at the scene said angry youths where peeved by the plot even though the contractor allegedly abandoned the project at Obagie, a few kilometres from the take-off point. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole's state is credited with a massive N6bn worth of 86 abandoned projects spanning the last nine years, according to the Jemide Committee report. There were similar protests in Iguorhokho community in Ovia North East LGA, where the NDDC allegedly made to inaugurate an uncompleted electrification project. The people of the area said part of the project was completed through communal efforts because the contractor left out three of the benefiting communities, including Igo and Urhokhokho. According to Eric Obaisiagbon, a leader of the protesting youths, "This project started six years ago and the contractor abandoned it, the community had to sell land to raise money to complete it, and until we are paid by NDDC, nothing will happen here today." In his response, NDDC Commissioner, Okhuarobo, promised that the people of the state would see a new NDDC. "We will not commission what is not done; we will not be part of any scandalous arrangement. The moment a project is earmarked for your community, consider it done. What we are doing in NDDC is a complete turnaround, and we have over 380 ongoing projects in Edo State." The Edo commissioner blamed the high number of projects abandoned on paucity of funds. He said: "It is not as if we are abandon projects; it's just that we have some challenges such as funding because as we all are aware NDDC budget is still before the National Assembly and that is delaying execution of projects in the region." SELF ASSESSMENT In his reaction, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC, Dr. Christian Oboh, said the current board has performed credibly well in line with the directives of President Jonathan to the board to give directive to all abandoned projects in the region. Speaking through his media adviser, Honour Sirawoo, the MD said his board inherited most of the projects. In spite of that, he said the board is diligently working towards tackling the myriad projects, particularly the shore wall projects and NDDC model hostels. "The board is giving serious priority to these projects and they are being fast tracked. Some are almost completed. You will recall the Ibeno Bridge, which was awarded in 2001, has now been completed. We have also restart work on the Kaiama foreshore wall project. There is no local government area of the region that has not received attention," he said. Sirawoo scored the Dr. Oboh board high on performance, stressing that if the past boards did half of what it is currently doing the region would have been more developed than the situation it inherited. On the downside, he conceded that the current board of the NDDC cannot complete all projects that were abandoned since the establishment of the board in 2000, adding, "The commission needs trillions of naira to complete all ongoing and abandoned projects - since we came, we have not received that kind of money."

Continued on page 65



Mandela remains in hospital


ELATIVES of Nelson Mandela have visited the former South African president in a hospital where he is being treated for a lung infection. Zenani Dlamini, one of Mandela's daughters, was among those visiting the 94year-old anti-apartheid leader yesterday, his eighth day in a Pretoria hospital. President Jacob Zuma said Thursday that Mandela was continuing to improve but remains in serious condition. Mandela spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule. He was freed in 1990 and became South Africa's first black president in elections in 1994.

Bomb on Pakistani women's university bus kills 11


bomb tore through a bus of female university students in southwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing 11, officials said. As family and friends gathered at the hospital another blast went off, followed by a flurry of bullets that sent bystanders running for cover. At least 19 other students were wounded when the bomb went off near the bus for a women's university, said police officer Mir Zubair Mahmood. Television footage of the bus showed a blackened hulk with twisted pieces of metal and articles of women's clothing strewn about. The second blast occurred at a hospital where the dead and wounded were taken later yesterday. The police chief and the chief secretary of the province had arrived at the hospital when the blast went off in a corridor of the hospital's emergency room, said Fayaz Sumbal, a senior police officer in Quetta. Sumbal said at least four people were wounded.

Turkish protesters refuse to leave park


URKISH protesters defied government calls to leave an Istanbul park yesterday after more than two weeks of occupation, despite a promise by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to hold a vote on plans to redevelop the site. Hundreds of people camped out in tents in the mudsoaked Gezi Park adjoining Taksim Square said they would keep their campaign going after the government failed to meet their demands, including for the release of detained demonstrators. The unrest which began two weeks ago, in which police fired teargas and water cannon at stone-throwing protesters night after night in cities including Istanbul and Ankara, left four people dead and about 5,000 injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association. "The government has ignored clear and rightful demands since the beginning of the resistance. They tried to divide, provoke and damage our legitimacy," the Taksim Solidarity Platform, an umbrella group for the protesters, said in a statement.

Moderate cleric Rouhani, wins Iranian election


RAN's interior minister says moderate candidate Hasan Rouhani has won the presidential vote, handing a victory to the cleric who gained support of many reform-minded Iranians looking to claw back a bit of ground after years of crackdowns. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said at a press conference yesterday in Tehran that Rouhani obtained more than 50 percent of more than 36 million votes cast in Friday's election. Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, a conservative candidate who had been running far behind in second place, conceded defeat. The powerful showing by the former nuclear negotiator, which allowed him to avoid a runoff, demonstrated the strength of opposition sentiment even in a system that is gamed against it. Ruling clerics barred more

prominent reform candidates. Many reform-minded Iranians who have faced years of crackdowns looked to Rouhani's rising fortunes as a chance to claw back a bit of ground. While Iran's presidential elections offer a window into the political pecking orders and security grip inside the country - particularly since the chaos from a disputed outcome in 2009 - they lack the drama of truly high stakes as the country's ruling clerics and their military guardians remain the ultimate powers. Election officials began the ballot count after voters waited on line for hours in wilting heat at some polling stations in downtown Tehran and other cities, while others cast ballots across the vast country from desert outposts to Gulf seaports and nomad pastures. Voting was extended by five hours to meet demand, but also as possible

political stagecraft to showcase the participation. The apparent strong turnout - estimated at 75 percent by the hardline newspaper Kayhan suggested liberals and others abandoned a planned boycott as the election was transformed into a showdown across the Islamic Republic's political divide. On one side were hardliners looking to cement their control behind candidates such as Jalili, who says he is "100 percent" against detente with Iran's foes, or Qalibaf. Opposing them were reformists and others rallying behind the "purple wave" campaign of Rowhani, the lone relative moderate left in the race. The greater comfort level by the theocracy and Revolutionary Guard sets a different tone this time. Opposition groups appear too intimidated and fragmented

to revive street demonstrations, and even a win by Rouhani - the only cleric in the race - would not likely be perceived as a threat to the ruling structure. Rowhani led the influential Supreme National Security Council and was given the highly sensitive nuclear envoy role in 2003, a year after Iran's 20-year-old atomic program was revealed. "Rouhani is not an outsider and any gains by him do not mean the system is weak or that there are serious cracks," said Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian affairs analyst at Strayer University in Virginia. "The ruling system has made sure that no one on the ballot is going to shake things up." Yet a Rowhani victory would not be entirely without significance either. It would make room for more moderate voices in Iranian political dialogue and display

their resilience. It also would bring onto the world stage an Iranian president who has publicly endorsed more outreach rather than bombast toward the West. The last campaign events for Rouhani carried chants that had been bottled up for years. Some supporters called for the release of political Pro-Berlusconi prisoners including rally in Italy draws opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavijeers and Mahdi cheers, Karroubi, both candidates in 2009 and now under house arrest. "Long live reforms," some cried at Rowhani's last rally. The rally was awash in purple banners and scarves the campaign's signature hue in a nod to the single-color identity of Mousavi's nowcrushed Green Movement. "My mother and I both voted for Rouhani," said Saeed Joorabchi, a university student in geography, after casting ballots at a mosque in west Tehran. In the Persian Gulf city of Bandar Abbas, local journalist Ali Reza Khorshidzadeh said many polling stations had significant lines and many voters appeared to back Rowhani. Just a week ago, Rohani was seen as overshadowed by candidates with far deeper ties to the current power structure: Jalili and Qalibaf, who was boosted by a reputation as a steady hand for Iran's sanctions-wracked economy.

Syrian jets hit rebels awaiting promised U.S. weapons

S •Iranian moderate presidential candidate, Hassan Rouhani (C) flashes the sign of victory as he leaves a polling station after voting on in Tehran during the first round of the presidential election. AFP PHOTO

Protesters confront tight security in Belfast G8 rally


ORE than 1,000 trade unionists, environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners confronted heavy security in Belfast yesterday to voice their anger at G8 leaders who meet in Northern Ireland next week. Stilt-walkers, drummers and protesters in Halloween masks chanted slogans against everything from U.S. foreign policy to local government cutbacks as they snaked their way through the city, flanked by hundreds of armed police. The rally in Belfast was small and peaceful but revealed the concern of British authorities to protect the world's most powerful leaders. "Corporations are running the world, not the people," said Tom Wright, 55, a Belfast protester carrying a

metre-tall model of an oil derrick painted with the slogan "No Fracking Way!" The G8, he said, represented "pure and total evil". The summit, which will include the first private, faceto-face meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for a year, will take place at a secluded hotel near Enniskillen. Top of the agenda will be Syria, with Obama facing tough talks with Putin, the government's most powerful ally. Leaders will also consider coordinated global action on tax avoidance and evasion. Yesterday's marchers came overwhelmingly from Ireland, north or south. Organisers said many protesters from abroad had been put off by the location of the summit and the

reputation of Northern Irish police as among the most militarised in Europe. "There used to be a large number of anti-capitalists who travelled to these protests, but there isn't the appetite now," said John Molyneux, 64, a veteran of G8 protests from Dublin. "Now people are more focused on the struggles in their own countries: Greece, Spain, Turkey," he said. The next major protest is planned for Monday, the first day of G8 meetings, when activists plan to march to the boundary fence of the security zone outside the hotel near Enniskillen , 80 miles (130 km) west of Belfast. The meeting will bring together the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia

and the United States, as well as senior European Union officials. At least 100 armoured jeeps were parked in side streets along the protest route and officers took photographs and videos of the protesters. Police formed a human chain outside a city centre McDonalds, whose restaurants have been attacked at previous G8 meetings. Some 3,600 police have been sent from the British mainland to reinforce 4,400 from Northern Ireland protecting the event. Northern Ireland police regularly deal with sectarian rioting involving Catholic youths, who want Northern Ireland to unite with the Republic of Ireland to the south, and Protestants who want to remain part of the United Kingdom.

YRIAN artillery and warplanes pounded rebel areas in Damascus yesterday as President Bashar alAssad's foes pleaded for advanced weapons from the United States, which has promised them unspecified military aid. Western powers have been reluctant in the past to arm Syrian insurgents, let alone give them sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles that might fall into the hands of Sunni Islamist insurgents in rebel ranks who have pledged loyalty to al Qaeda. Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Salim Idriss told Reuters on Friday that rebels, who have suffered setbacks at the hands of Assad's forces in recent weeks, urgently needed antiaircraft and anti-tank missiles, as well as a protective no-fly zone. "But our friends in United States, they haven't told us yet that they are going to support us with weapons and ammunition," he said after meeting U.S. and European officials in Turkey. A source in the Middle East familiar with U.S. dealings with the rebels has said planned arms supplies would include automatic weapons, light mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Russia, an ally of Damascus and fierce opponent of outside military intervention, warned yesterday against any attempt to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria using F-16 fighter jets and Patriot air defense missile systems from Jordan.



I formerly known and addressed as Wusu Omotunde Taiwo, now wish to be known as Agbogunlori Omotunde Taiwo. All former documents remain valid. Badagry Local Government, Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese and general public please take note.


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Nigerian presidency and the northern death spell



Morphological tragedies


ATIONAL Mirror of June 13 committed multifarious offences: “Fatai on the hospital bed….” Tribute: Fatai in the hospital bed “The bill has stirred quite a lot of controversy (controversies).” “…is against the spirit and letters of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution….” My view: either the spirit of the law or the letter of the law (the Nigerian 1999 Constitution) “The commissioning (inauguration) of the ultramodern building complex….” Another oddity from National Mirror: “The Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin-Ladi, on Friday matriculated 4,800 new students admitted into various courses for the 2012(?)/2013 academic session.” Posers: Do old (returning) students matriculate? And this: admission into various courses! Would they all have read the same course? This way: …matriculated 4,800 (students) for the 2013/2014 session. “Fire outbreak averted in hostel” Campus News: Fire averted in hostel “Pan African (Pan-African) varsity commences operation in Nigeria” “Effect of security in socio economic development in Nigeria” A rewrite: Effect of insecurity on (not in) socio-economic (take note) development in Nigeria Still on National Mirror: “Global investments in renewable energy drops (why?) by….” “Iredia condemns police intolerance to (of) media” “…just as the service would be opened (open) to any brand or model of handset.” Finally from NATIONAL MIRROR Back Page: “…they are in every strata (stratum) of society….” And, of course: all strata/stratums. “FG approves border free (border-free) trade zone for Borno” Last week’s muddle: “Jos, the capital of Plateau State (another comma) is one of the few cosmopolitan towns in the country that have (has) enjoyed peaceful co-existence relatively.” Get it right: Jos…one of the towns that have—not has!—enjoyed peaceful co-existence relatively. Instead of bracketing ‘have,’ the columnist put ‘has’ in parentheses! What a morphological tragedy! Please, accept my apologies.

More contributions to last week’s edition: ‘Followership’ has been in existence since 1928. Also, ‘witch-hunt’ is both a noun and an adjective. Source: Word Book Dictionary and Webster’s New Encyclopedic Dictionary. It is also listed in Oxford Dictionary of Current English. (From Bayo O g u n t u n a s e / 080561800046) This columnist notes that most dictionaries and reference books, like the 2012 Longman Advanced Dictionary of Contemporary English and Roget’s Thesaurus, do not, however, list the contentious word. ‘Finger bowl’ is different from ‘wash-hand basin.’ The former is the plastic moved around for washing of hands, while the latter is usually affixed on a wall or metallic contraptions. (Intervention by Sunny Agbontaen/ 08055162531) “Moro, who exonerated the Interior Ministry of capability (culpability), revealed….” (Sunday Vanguard, June 9) (Sent in by Kola Danisa/ 08028233277) Yet another input from Uncle Danisa taken from last week’s edition of this medium: “…some NWC members are urging the leadership of the party to exercise refrain (restraint) in further suspending the governors.” All well-informed readers are free to contribute to this column, too. The essence is to exchange robust ideas on the English language. “Interior Minister swears in immigration boss, third on (in) the saddle” (AIT News Scroll, June 11) The Guardian Editorial of June 11 offered its esteemed readers a schoolboy howler: “Had the said term been imposed in (on) any of those corruption cases involving public office holders, ears would not have tingled in the least.” “Samsung Galaxy Reach for the Star contest all expense paid trip to Dubai for 10” (10 x 5 advertisement by Samsung, THE GUARDIAN, June 11) Get it right: all-expenses-paid trip! THISDAY of June 10 disseminated advertorial and editorial gaffes: “Introducing Fidelity Managed SMEs….” (Full-page advertisement by Fidelity Bank PLC) We keep our word: what about Fidelitymanaged SMEs? “…road traffic accidents and transport related crimes and criminalities.” EDITORIAL: transport-related crimes

and criminalities. “…patients at LUTH are being turned down for shortage of bed space (spaces).” “FG to pay-off (pay off) PHCN casual staff” “The Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation expresses its profound gratitude and appreciation to all who answered the clarion call to be our brother’s keepers through….” For the attention of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation: brother’s keeper (fixed expression irrespective of number)! “This appointment is well deserved, an attestation of (to) the transformation you have ignited in the Nigerian youth….” “I believe such road (such a road) with large number (a large number) of vehicles….” Finally from THISDAY: “Wada: Fulani herdsmen, farmers clash major security challenge” News extra: …farmers’ clash, major security challenge Last week’s edition of this medium committed a few blunders starting from its front page: “Govs in fresh gang up against Tukur” Truth in defence of freedom: gang-up “Traders hail Amaechi for commissioning (inaugurating) market” Now the Editorial: “Majority (A majority) of the members of the House of Representatives seeking to make….” “…people from the North who alleged that they had a talk with him with regards to 2015.” The Sunday Interview: with regard to or as regards “…which is one of the fallouts of the daily traffic jam.” Life: ‘fallout’ is uncountable. Finally from the business section of THE NATION ON SUNDAY under review: “While some of the funds have been diverted to other uses….” Away from commercialese: ‘Diversion’ means to other uses other than the original purpose/intent. So, ‘diversion to other uses’ is sheer verbosity! THISDAY Front Page Banner of June 8 goofed: “NAMA recalls Oshiomhole’s already airborne chopper” If a helicopter is airborne, it is airborne—there is no need for ‘already’! The last headline rape by THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, June 8: “Navy personnel ups (up) the ante in weapon handling, marksmanship”

HE Presidency of any Nation determines the course of such society; hence, Wisdom is essential to leadership. A particular dimension of Wisdom apparently unknown to the Nigerian political leadership is the way of understanding and utilising the spirituality and power of iconic art forms that may come in literary, sculpture, or other art craft models through adoption of functional and regenerative metaphysical and aesthetic intelligence. A principal art form of particular reference in this piece is the Nigerian Coat of Arms and its connection with the ‘proposed’ and ‘adopted’ Bayelsan Coats of Arms. When these iconic art forms are not understood, the human consciousness in material creation may be subjected to the directions of lower astral ambience. Hence, the mental state of human consciousness, which is higher than the astral, is subjected to leadership of the lower astral ambience and man is cut off from the purity in the plane of spiritual ambience of God through the sub-conscious bridge. Consequently, there is a reversal of roles in the directions of the power of thought and will. The place of God is given unto astral forces which are lesser than man. Due to the subjection of human mental ambience, there is bound to be a problem of bankruptcy in reasoning, consequently raising issues of ethical concerns in the course of statecraft. Human behavioral patterns would expectedly reflect instincts of lower animals. Hence, in socio-political philosophic theory, the organised human society finds a befitting definition according to Thomas Hobbes’ State of Nature. By 2008, in the course of a private study of the evolution of the Nigerian Coat of Arms in direct relations to the course of social-political and economic evolution of Nigeria, I discovered that the Nigerian Presidency was operating under a degenerative spell emanating from the Coat of Arms—particularly from its Northern space. It was then presumed that the adoption of the Coat of Arms in 1975 was a ‘State suicide’ which shut the doors of Nigerian presidency against good leadership. The suicide was deemed to be the correct astral foundational root cause of majority of Nigeria’s current problems that God had revealed to some churches but which their leaders did not understand and erringly arrived at the disastrous conclusion that God was referring to FESTAC 77. What is more, it was presumed that even in the event of an ascension of a good leader by chance to the Presidential throne, such leader will not last long in the position. Presently, the problems of the Presidency has increased by the influence of the adopted Bayelsan Coat of Arms in association with one of the proposed versions which was also briefly used by some Bayelsa State online outfit as the Coat of Arms. This version operates in stronger cosmic dimensions by virtue of the replication of the Red Eagle from National Coat of Arms on its apex. To validate propositions made so far, I shall state reality incidents of Nigeria’s evolving but mutable metaphysical history, from the ‘death of Yar Adua’

•Bayelsa official coat of arms By Olumide Okunmakinde

to the ‘enthronement of Goodluck Jonathan’ and the ‘death vibrations threatening the current first lady’, the ‘death of Kaduna State Governor’, the ‘permeating of international cosmos of nations through the British cosmic lot’, and the ‘potential martial cataclysm by the evolutionary ghostly clash of talons and the water beast’. At this moment in time and history, the Red Eagle on the Nigerian Coat of Arms spells doom for the entire country. However, the worst doom is spelt for the North to which it has attracted ‘self destruction’. In order to properly lay a foundation for the proposition of evolutionary danger and the Red Eagle nature, it is necessary that I refer to a write-up by the present author, titled ‘An Artistic Analysis of the Nigerian Coat of Arms’, which was published by The Nation News paper on July 2, 2007. In the write-up, the author made preliminary historical interpretations devoid of deep metaphysical considerations of, and reference to, inherent futuristic prognosis. Summarily, of the eagle, I wrote that “it is a mythological bird that symbolises the sun and regenerates its energy from it through a fasting-ritual in which the eagle focuses on the sun…The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. However, the Nigerian eagle, in a fixed state, faces the West where the sun sets...Worse still, it is colored red…In esoteric science, the West hemisphere is the abode of water. Naturally, eagles’ motion towards that aquatic direction is for food. It is readable from this perspective that the will to power and leadership in Nigeria is governed by the appetite and vices of lower self. This is a formidable astral foundation of rabid greed and corruption in Nigeria”. The eagle positioning was also noted to be the “determinant of Northern educational incapacity, symbolic curse and cause of extreme poverty…” The down-south does not have any animal symbolic representation like the North (Eagle), East (Horse) and West (Horse). The down-south, determined by the wreath, is like a non-entity and imaginary beast of burden on which the East, West, and Northern structures rely on for subsistence. Unfortunately, by the 21st century astral evolution of the Red Eagle, a deathly art spell is evoked from the Northern cosmos upon the destiny of all other cardinal zones of Nigeria. The anti-intellectual eagle positioning sets the course of a cosmic curse of degenerative witchcraft and glories’ destruction upon the land. The error of mystic art has transformed the Eagle into its opposite: the Vulture. What is consequently attracted to the Nigerian presidential space and social space (in secular, economic and spiritual activities) is the manifestation of

the spiritual culture of the Vulture (Eye Igun) which thrives on deadness and exudes stench and filth magnetism. These are translatable to mean a mutable predestined degenerative social, religious, political, economic intelligence

Thenortherndecline and Yar’adua’s death

The Red Eagle’s decline from its cosmic plunge in 1999 physically translates into a terminal decline of Northern Nigeria. The region began its journey down the abyss from year 2000 without any hope of recovery so long as the Nigerian Coat of Arms is in force. There are worse indicators for the Northern destiny in the 21st century through renewals of nature cycles at periodic crossovers that spell doom for Nigeria. Presidency headed by a Northerner ceased by May 29, 1999, during the closing periods of Nigeria’s 38th year of self rule. By October 1, 2000, which is the beginning of the 4th decade of self governance, the presidency was headed by a South-Westerner, Rt. General Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2007, he handed over to a Northerner. By 2009, a Northern President faced serious health crisis that was attracted to his spirit by the etheric vibrations of the Coat of Arms. By the cosmic evolution of the Eagle’s fate from the vibrations of Nigerian Coat of Arms, it was determined that the late President Yar’Adua was never going to survive the luminous evolution of 2009 which was to complete the prism of 2000 and 2009—both being the first complete set of foundational luminous prisms for the 21st century human existence. The millennium began in 1999, and not 2000, on a count of 1. 1999 is 1+9+9+9=28 that transforms to 2+8=10; i.e., 1+0=1. Automatically, the proceeding number from 1 is 2; hence, the proceeding year from 1999/1 is Year 2000/2. 2+0+0+0=2. A symbolism of 2, from the Jewish mystical tradition, is of illumination as the biblical theme of divine act of creation where Jehovah or Jah commanded that ‘let there be light’. The more intense of these luminous numbers was bound to manifest in 2009; i.e., 2+0+0+9=11. 11 transforms to 2 as 1+1. In this period, the intensity of cosmic light was bound to dominate the space of leadership, and every spiritual art directing national fate but which is creatively inclined to darkness will be drained of energy and vanquished. The presumed physical evolution of this cosmic agenda was expected to manifest in the form of an emaciated cadaverous being in prism with the Northern Iconic eagle. •Okunmakinde is Artiste-in-Residence Institute of Cultural Studies, OAU, Ile-Ife Tel: 0813 818 3456





THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2013 •Continued from Page 22 I was not the President. It was the President that was sitting over billions. I was only helping him to manage the funds as a custodian. So, I wouldn’t know how to spend it because I did not have that kind of responsibility. On debt, when we came, we attempted to know and reconcile the exact liabilities and I want to tell you that this kind of reconciliation is continuous because the financial management was not as robust as it is now and we do not want to take it as a task to say ‘let us reconcile first, know the exact date and move forward.’ What we have attempted to do is to continue to reconcile as we progress and I am sure as soon as we finish establishing the number because I will soon inaugurate a committee to reconcile pension liabilities. Recently, committees were set up for states and local government on pension liabilities. In Gombe alone, pension liabilities are up to N2 billion plus and the local government is almost the same. So, if I say it is this and it is later reconciled and you find out it is lower, it will not be nice. But I assure you that it is not a problem because we have restructured our debt and we are within a very comfortable limit of debt revenue ratio. So we are very comfortable with that. There is a Nigeria/Russia gas power plant in Gombe to explore gas power reserves in the area. Can you shed more light on it? I am not very familiar with the project because these are some of the problems sometimes that we have. If it is a project and programme of the Federal Government, I may not be in the best position to shed light on it. I know also that the Federal Government has deliberately taken ef-


HOUGH badly managed, yet Nigeria has continued to enjoy the respect and patronage of the rest of the world due to the immense potential and many advantages conferred on her by the amalgamation, especially huge population and vast land with rich mineral resources. She is dominant in the African continent and a force to reckon with in global affairs for its large geographical landmass, oil, thick population with brilliant people who are found all over the world making useful contribution to the advancement of humanity. She is the Current winner of the African cup of Nations and occupies a large chunk of mother earth. It is thus unfair and a mark of misplaced aggression to continue to blame today’s problem on the circumstances of birth as though history has been stagnant ever since. As Miller (1969) observes “It is not what happens but your reaction to what happens that determines your degree of happiness or misery”. The Nigerian Elite’s reaction to 1914 has been unhealthy, poor, negative and unimaginative. It has to be changed for the better. What has been lacking is effective management of the country by the successive ruling elites since Independence. It is not the creation day but greed, incompetence and ineptitude of Leaders thereafter that are to blame. Otherwise Nigeria by 1960 was heading high to the skies until something odd began to happen and to strip her elites off creative energy, power of imagination and to put asunder to our collective sense of nationalism. The mental slavery Tatalo wrote about took the centre stage and they became incapable of original thinking and fruitful engagements beyond crass materialism. The main problem was politics- the brutal struggle for political power by the educated Elites. Adverse consequences of blaming 1914 unduly There had been adverse consequences of blaming 1914 wrongly. One of such consequences has been the dwindling dearth of patriotism in Nigeria. It is hoped that the celebration would pave way to self discovery and rekindling of our spirits of patriotism and nationalism which suffered considerable setback since the attainment of independence due to the ineptitude of the Nigerian elites. Most of the citizens especially youths have grown up with poor knowledge of history and wrong notion of the country. There has been growing lack of faith, much hatred and scorn for the nation-state ostensibly because of the so called circumstances of its becoming. Citizens grow up with little or no love and commitment to fatherland as a result of the persistent wrong reference to 1914. As most of the citizens lack due appreciation of the history of the birth of their country especially the real reason for the fall of their otherwise brave fore- fathers before 1914 to the white man’s army, they had been less inclined to correct the defect of the past. Rather there had been blurred vision and misplaced priority in policy making. The necessary bile, anger, fire, awareness and wisdom from lessons learnt to avenge and overcome our historical challenge had been missing. There is therefore over 100 years’ old pain to kill or ameliorate defined in terms of poverty, un-


‘I’ll rather educate the average Gombe citizen’ fort to develop our coal reserves through the same channels. I am not sure of the arrangement but I know it is in one of the plans about 1000 megawatts of coal power is in the pipeline. I am also aware that the Minister of Power for State came to inspect the dam water project and she has made some comments especially on the way the concessionaire handled the project before and they are determined to determine the project and complete it and fetch us up to 40 megawatts of power within six months. If we can get 40 megawatts of power in Gombe, I assure you that Gombe will not need PHCN and we can come out and guarantee power supply. I also know that there are initiatives with the Germans too on solar firm and the pattern of financing is still being worked out. But this huge gas reserves within the borders of Gombe and Bauchi is there and I am sure that they are making plans and as soon as they finish, maybe we will know because they will require at least our support and contribution. One thing I have to say is that, whichever way they come in, this kind of programme and project, we are ready to support them to ensure that we don’t have a blackout in Nigeria. We want a bright Nigeria. Let’s look at the ongoing work at the Gombe– Kanawa road. We understand that the road is a federal road and you have almost finished the project. What effort is being taken to ensure that the money is retrieved from the federal government so that the road can be extended to other areas?

They said I should submit the bill and I will submit it. Getting refund from the Federal Government is multitasking and I want us to reach a comfortable level and then we will put in the papers. But from day one, we have carried them along. When we started the road, we did the ground breaking together and till today, we are still working with their engineers. What I assume they will do is that when they have a commitment with us; because we told them that we will do the work and just like we are executing the work, they should also plan on how they will pay us. Even if I submit the whole bill today, with the system of Federal Government and if they don’t have budget for that, they will just add up to the whole stock of so many other debt and work that are being done not by only me but by others. What is, however, important in the area is that that it is the most fertile part of Gombe. It is the area where we have about three dams at a stretch; it is an area where we have about 50,000 acres of irrigated land. The channels and canals are already there and, if properly managed, it can maintain Gombe in terms of food supply 24hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can farm on that area and that is why it was very important for us to take over that road and from the few numbers that we have seen with the road clearance that has already being done, we have seen improvement in that area. Last year, we had a lot of cotton that was spoilt. After harvesting the cotton, because of the dusty road and they carried the cotton, it was infiltrated by dust and


1914 amalgamation not as bad as often projected (4) der-development and poor technology. It is embarrassing to observe that today Nigeria has not made the desired progress since her creation. In terms of technology she is still inferior: the elites are not in a position to defend her territorial integrity better than our forefathers. They are lacking in confidence, knowledge and technology relevant to Nation-building. This is important because over 100 years ago our forefathers lost their crowns and territories not because of lack of courage, bravery or valor but due to poor technology. They fell to European advanced form of weapons of war– superior technology-what Beloc calls the ‘maxim gun.’ The importance of technology cannot be over- stressed. As Kamil Idris of WLPO observes technology is critical to progress. According to him in the last ‘100 years or so, technological leadership has become a determining factor in wealth creation and has fired the growth of nations’ p.11. The relevant question here is: what level of development imagination have the elites applied to the Nigerian project since Independence? In particular what have they done to meet the challenge of technology deficiency? As Dudley Seers would have asked: what have they done to poverty, unemployment, infrastructure and human basic needs over the years? What checks are in place today to match technology for technology should the European countries including the USA decide on a second colonization of the African continent? Is it 1914 that has prevented creative thinking and good governance in Nigeria? There has been obvious confusion over the way forward and much time has been spent on crying over spilled milk. The worry is that like pre-colonial times Nigeria is still very weak technologically and thus highly vulnerable to prospect of physical re-colonization by foreign powers. And there is no serious effort dedicated to preventing a repetition because the elites do not know much about the background to our very beginning and are not appreciative of the gift and blessings of 1914. There is therefore a knowledge gap to be filled by celebrating our one hundred years. Certainly a better consciousness of our beginning would emerge to fire the imagination and creativity of citizens including the youth for national growth and development. The centenary celebration shall represent the first major attempt to really appreciate the essence of 1914 and to put our historical development in the right perspective. For too long, majority of citizens especially the youths have been misinformed and improperly educated about 1914. The celebration is thus a renaissance of sort which should provide opportunity for self appraisal and for many citizens especially the youth to be properly educated

and well informed about their country. It should lead to self discovery and awareness that might help emphasize the need for citizens to be more patriotic, creative, committed to the nation-state and to safeguard the country from another round of defeat and colonization. That historical event is catalyst to our unity and development. Not alone There is much to celebrate about the gift of life- much more so a long life of one hundred years. Nigeria is not alone in the league that started low or rough. While the experiences of Singapore and the United States of America are relevant here, history shows that people celebrate what they think is important to them. The 1914 amalgamation is important because it is the cradle of Nigeria as we know it today. The joy is her survival where others had petered which provides cause to glorify God for his mercies and opportunity living together as one country since that time. The gift of life is to grow and improve the environment. Even if we were born of slaves or poor, we should be able to grow to overcome those pre-natal problems or teething obstacles. History is full of stories of rag to riches. According to the bible our beloved Jesus Christ was born in the manger but grew to be great son of GOD revered and worshipped all over the world by Christians as king of the universe. The story of Jaja of Opopo is well known: the great king is said to have risen from the bottom to the top. There have been great leaders in the USA such as Jackson (1829) who became President of USA from humble beginning. Singapore is as multi-racial as Nigeria but it is far more developed than our country. Left in the lurch- poor and backward, Singapore rose to be a success story within few decades of independence through dogged, determined and visionary leadership. The Black Americans are doing their best in spite of their historical circumstance of slavery. Obama with undeniable links to Kenya is today a two-term president of the USA. Thus it is not the circumstance that country, but the good we make of life Perhaps the USA is the best example here in Nation-building. Like Nigeria, she started roughly and fought a civil war after their Independence within the first 100 years. Her background is multilingual and multi-racial- in short a country of immigrants from different parts of the world. But unlike Nigeria, the USA is a country with development-conscious Elites, extra- ordinary imagination and limitless capacity for nation-building from A-Z. They are well-known for ever inventing measures to promote patriotism, trade, agriculture, communication, Technology, welfare of citizens and well-being and development of their society through intelligent utilization of private

instead of the cotton to be in grade A, it turned to grade D and instead of getting maybe N10 per tonne, you get maybe N2 per tonne and it discourages one from farming next time. But all those things are gone now. It is also an area that is rich in tomatoes. You will find out that when they farm, a lot of harvest is done on tomatoes and before you bring the tomatoes to the road because of the nature of the road, the tomatoes get spoilt and apart from discouraging you to doing more, it also deters you from even doing the small one because you cannot recoup the investment that you have done and that is why sometimes during the season, tomatoes can be sold as low as N10 per basket and all these are the type of things that we have done. Also, because this is an agrarian state, we have a robust plan to recreate or to establish a commodity market. The market will be made in such a way that we can trade in and farmers get the maximum benefits from the investment they have done in such a way that in the market we can guarantee prices. Prices are not guaranteed today because we don’t have a centralized market. Today, you guarantee prices of crude because the market is centralized, you guarantee prices of coffee because the market is centralized but we cannot guarantee basic crops here because it is a distorted market. Presently, the market is distorted and that is why we don’t know what the price will be and that will result in artificial scarcity and once you create scarcity, you raise the price.

and public resources. However by 1876 when the USA clocked 100 years things were very rough with the country. Yet she celebrated the centennial birthday with gusto and gratitude to God for having lived as a Nation run on principles of democracy for so long a time. According to Remini, the USA was faced with many problems within her first 100 years but she ‘braced up to many challenges of nation-building’. An example of such problems was moral depravity as exemplified by large scale “corruption in public life during the gilded age”. He notes that the gilded age was ‘profoundly corrupt, poor in purpose and barren in result’. And “Bribery, conspiracy, conflicts of interest, blackmail and associated crimes were common place” during the period 1870-95. Neither the economic sphere nor the political domain was clean. Elections were rigged in Florida, Lousiana, and Southern Carolina in 1876 which led to the subsequent declaration of Hayes as President after a ‘great deal of fraud and intimidation and manipulation’. There was for instance the economic panic of 1873 that brought depression, hardship and widespread suffering that lasted up to 1879. And the North was reportedly “tired of the Southern question” and so focused on making money, ’ However, the American spirit for nationbuilding rose with stoic determination to emerging challenges by punishing evil and strengthening public institutions rather than the individual to save the situation. And so “Grant administration ended on a happy note in 1876 -the centennial year of the Republic. The nation celebrated the centennial year – 100 years of trial and triumph” and of independence in democracy and of intensified sense of nationhood, spirit of nationalism and great pride in their country.” There is no reason to be ashamed of our poor beginning. The winter for all its coldness has its use. 1914 marks the beginning of the existence of the geographical space known all over the world as Nigeria, the fifth or so largest producer of the black gold- oil. It is therefore not evil and should not be reason for perpetual state of regrets and inaction like the Ishan proverbial bird- Ukpolinmovien which according to traditional accounts spends its life mourning the death of its father, doing nothing else and so remained thin and sickly. For too long the Nigerian elites failed to manage our collective inheritance well. The centenary celebration is thus in order at least for being able to live together for so long a time. It should offer opportunity for critical reflection and selfrenewal. We should move on with courage and determination to change for better, the face of the world we inherited and make Nigeria truly great. The celebration which should be intellectual and ideological in thrust should not be for a whole year lest it loses focus and essence and becomes a wasteful jamboree.

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






QUOTABLE "The problem didn't start now. PDP governors who became chairmen of the forum over the years turned it to a campaign platform - a platform for occupying national political space; a platform, when necessary, for promoting personal ambition, a platform also for promoting the ambitions of others. It didn't start now; it didn't start with Governor Rotimi Amaechi, even before him that was the tradition. So there was the urge of the Chairman of NGF to want to become the President or Vice-President."



AST week, this column warned of impending danger to the global food supply due to the benighted tandem of perverse technology and that stubborn perennial: greed. Global financial and agricultural combines now acquire vast tracts of land around the world, including Africa, displacing traditional farmers in their wake. Global companies claim this process will increase productivity and yields. It might increase corporate profit yields; the guaranty is bogus that overall food prices will diminish. For these companies to profit, the opposition effect on prices is more likely. Much of the world needs more food. However, slanted economics will reallocate that food and other agricultural outputs to countries already in surplus and away from the places and people most in need. The world bids fretful welcome to the 21st century face of that age-old scourge: starvation. Ironically, haughty British PM David Cameron announced this week’s G-8 summit will devote a significant portion of its agenda to remedying world hunger. Taken in isolation, the announcement appears benign. Placed in full context, it looms as an act of aggression against weak, vulnerable people living in weak, vulnerable nations. Those of you who thought the high-brow Tory PM had located his heart might as well toss that fanciful notion into an abyss. The place where his heart should reside remains occupied by a lump of cold iron. The man is as estranged as ever from compassion. His call to feed the foreign poor conflicts with his policy of snatching food from the poor at home. It is illogical to support the former yet seek the latter; thus Cameron’s foreign largesse is a contrivance. For him, charity should not exist at home and thus should not begin anywhere. His concern for feeding the alien masses is a front, the legerdemain of an insensitive manipulator skilled at doing the opposite of what he states. Instead of standing as the leading statesman of one of the world’s most influential nations, he acts as the pitch man for large business interests. In the hands of this man, the once-revered office of PM has been become the hired megaphone for business interests that slink about in the dark corners so as to avoid public glare yet control the backrooms where the important decisions are made in the today’s western democracies. Cameron has no more interest in feeding the struggling African than he does in walking alone down the streets of Brixton. The key to Cameron’s ruse is his espousal of a “private sector” approach to the problem of hunger. What he means by private sector is not small- and medium-sized farms. A stampede of mammoth global firms is what he has in mind. At the G-8, Cameron will push for intensified foreign agro-business penetration of Africa. For him, this is a good thing. For the African, it is not good fare. The large companies will control expanses of African land to sate the economic demands of western nations, all to the neglect of the needs of the people from whom the lands have been purloined. Some African nations already cooperate in their own pillaging by implementing policies allowing the rapacious companies to seize vast portions of fertile land. Even more ominously, huge agrobusinesses now do their best to nip inchoate African democracy and commercial agriculture in the bud just much the same as these large firms have atrophied democracy in western nations. They spend inordinate sums lobbying and enticing governments to enact laws inimical to the people they govern. At least one African nation, Mozambique, now considers a rather ominous twist of legislation giving preferred status to seeds produced by these large companies. This law will also prohibit the seeds most farmers traditionally have sown. If the issue were just seeds, it would be bad enough. The practical effect of the legislation far transcends the question of seeds. It mortgages the future of the small farmer. Seeds produced by the large companies are not of the hardy variety that needs minimal care; they are not the stock on which small-scale farmers customarily rely because such seeds lower overhead costs and guarantee minimal yields. The seeds produced by these global firms demand payment of hidden costs because they usually require the use of relatively expensive inputs such as specialized fertilizers. In other words, the legislation will force low-end farmers to increase overhead expenses to purchase the fertilizers and other items required to bring these seeds to harvest. This places farmers between the knife and claw, the tooth and nail. With their dilemma assured, their demise is preordained. Guided by the forlorn hope of having no other alternative, poor farmers first will borrow at exorbitant interest rates in order to pay for the seeds and related items. Descending into the swell of debt, many farmers will be forced to sell their land at distress prices to cover their financial obligations. If fortunate, they may satisfy the debt. But they will be farmers no more. They shall be landless and

—Govenor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State comenting on the crisis in the Nigerian Governors Forum.

Leaving the black race

behind: No manufacturing, no prosperity He who doesn't recognize he is in a race is bound to lose it.

• Cameron



unemployed. Some will become indentured sharecroppers on the land they once owned. Others will wander — homeless, penniless, and unprepared — into the cities where they will merge into the rising dregs of the urban underclass. As this morbid process unfolds, farming and agriculture in Africa will be performed less by African farmers and will inure less to the benefit of the African public. Africa is being larruped on two fronts. While the quiet, but effective, war against African agriculture walks relentlessly toward its mean objective, Africa’s future also is being compressed because it has not joined the global pursuit of manufacturing to which economically astute nations now adhere. Manufacturing is to the city and the modern, dynamic economy what farming is to the countryside and traditional society. As a general rule, nations that manufacture the least are those that suffer the most. The 2008-09 global recession brought this lesson into clear focus. Sadly, Africa remains blind to the immutable fact standing before it. A major objective of all G-8 nations has been to revive or expand their manufacturing bases to accommodate domestic consumption and export abroad. This is how they seek to maximize growth. They have relearned what past generations understood: Creating items of economic value is the key to sustained prosperity. The nation that exports finished goods, wins. The fewer finished products a nation exports, the more that nation knows the idleness of poverty and unemployment. Thus, mature economies plot like mad schemers to devise ways of igniting their domestic manufacturing prowess. The austerity embarked upon by the EU and UK is not actually incorrect economic policy. It is the application of appropriate policy in pursuit of inappropriate, inhumane objectives. Conservative elites in Europe and UK have always detested the social welfare state. Now, they actively engineer its destruction. It affronts their sense of plutocratic entitlement to think that the struggling and poor should be entitled to a bit of assistance. The push to austerity also has a less visceral, yet equally misanthropic, secondary rationale. The EU was never meant to improve the lives of the bulk of the people. It was expressly fashioned to make the region a competitive trading bloc.

The elites love austerity because it produces unemployment in addition to cutting the benefits of the unemployed. This turns many into urban serfs so desperate for work or to keep work that they will accept even the lowest wage. Lowering wages is a key objective of the moneyed elites. By suppressing wages, they hope to make the EU the competitive international trade bloc of their dreams. They have made the conscious decision to tilt their region toward this international trade objective instead of making it a region more reliant on internal growth, demand and consumption that benefits all economic classes within the EU. To make the EU more competitive with China, the EU now lowers the living standards of the common people to make their lives more like the harsh lives of Chinese workers. Meanwhile, China has embarked on a twopronged policy aimed at maintaining its competitive edge. Domestically, it suppresses wages. One way it achieves this is through the westward expansion of manufacturing. Heretofore, development has been along the Pacific coast, concentrated in the massive cities in this region. Now, the government pushes economic activity inland where the bulk of the people reside. There are roughly a billion people still relatively untouched by the growth the nation has experienced the past two decades. China is now bringing the people of the hinterland into the mix. Tapping into this vast pool of rural labor, the nation will calibrate labor costs and wages in a manner allowing it to maintain its competitive trade advantage. Additionally, China will consciously keep its currency devalued, making its exports cheaper and thus more attractive to other nations. Also, America has embarked on a sustained program of currency devaluation, making its products cheaper and more competitive in the world markets. America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, has engaged in a policy called quantitative easing whereby it purchases bonds and other securities, thus putting greater amounts of currency into economic play. The principle objective of this policy is to boost asset prices in the United States. However, another conscious objective is a dollar devaluation making American manufactured products more competitive in the global marketplace. Also American businesses have been manic in squeezing labor costs and milking every ounce of productivity from the American

worker without a commensurate increase in wage benefits. Again, a high unemployment rate is a boon to the elite. Again, the model used is an unbalanced model whereby the gains in manufacturing go to moneyed elite and these gains are achieved by undermining the economic lot of everyone else. Africa stands idly watching this dynamic unfold. African nations are not making the timely adjustment to events and policies of these other nations. The EU canvasses African nations seek bilateral agreements that, in reality, will open Africa to European manufactured goods while maintaining Africa’s peonage as a source of cheap raw materials to further fuel western industry. Many nations have signed these agreements. They have consigned themselves to perpetual underdevelopment for a small stack of Euros that will rapidly disappear as the nations pay for the costly imports from Europe. The fate of the continent’s economies, particularly its urban denizens, tilts in great jeopardy because of the lack of verve in government policy to establish manufacturing as the fulcrum of urban growth. Already our cities teem with the poor, the unemployed and with the social afflictions these conditions wrought. To understand the bleak future that looms should this dismal course persists, all Africa need do is to look at its brethren in urban America. America is the land of plenty but the black community is in the land but not really of it. The black community is a place of higher want, depravation and the strife that such things bring. Fifty years ago, although poor, the black ghetto was not as unregenerate as it now is. Then, numbers of young black men gained employment in the bustling factories of their times. This introduced them into the labor force, taking them off the streets. It also introduced them to the hope of joining middle-class America. Over the intervening decades, through no fault of these people, the factories disappeared. With that, so did the economic hopes of many urban blacks. The ghettoes they inhabit have become super-ghettoes, a more virulently underdeveloped, decaying form of their prior selves. With the major chance of employment fading, cityscapes have transformed into urban tundra of joblessness, poverty and frustrated idleness that beget all forms of human mischief. Living in isolated wastelands amidst a sea of plenty, the people of the super-ghettoes lack the requisite political cohesion and social accord to unite to dig them from the pit. Perpetual lack renders them mutually suspicious. It has them clawing against each other for the meager crumbs that fall their way. While a new era of industry and manufacturing may come to America, it will not visit these cities to revitalize them. Unless government launches a radical program of urban economic transformation, these people will become permanently invisible. Many black people will come to live forgotten, broken lives. They will survive in the urban equivalent of the destitute rural backlands known as the Indian reservation. This is the plight of urban blacks in the land of plenty. Given the lowly overall state of Africa’s economic development, the fate of most African city dwellers will be even worse. It will be a turbid one of heavy penury unless we change course and do so quickly. We must begin to understand the importance of manufacturing. First, it provides the jobs and related business needed to employ a large percentage of the people. This is not just about the creation of jobs. We must come to understand that true wealth lies in the creative process of using human ingenuity to forge a valuable item out of various ingredients so that the end-product is a greater thing than the sum of all its parts, if considered separately. Also, manufacturing creates a positive worldview. It helps people believe the political economy can expand and overcome its limitations. As such, the political economy ceases to be a zero-sum environment where one player always views another person’s gain as his loss. This change will engender greater cooperation, growth and, hopefully, democratic good governance. In the end, mainstream talk of Africa experiencing an economic surge is the stuff a mountebank says when he is trying to fleece you. It is not so much that Africa is experiencing a great economic awakening but that foreign exploiters are experiencing a boom in Africa, at the expense of Africa. Agro-business now pinches the African farmer. Global finance and big business want Africa to eschew manufacturing so that it remains a supply depot of raw materials. If this is the best economic revival the world can offer the continent, then Africa should demand a refund for all the labor expended and misery endured at the wrong end of an unjust global political economy. The people deserve better. 0806034025 (sms only)


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

The Nation June 16, 2013  

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