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Vol.08, No. 2856
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
JUNE 1, 2014
Boko Haram: Confusion over FG amnesty offer President Goodluck Jonathan has also declared amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect. Series of integration programmes have been lined up for the members of the sect who would surrender their arms and embrace peace. -Minister for Youth Development, Boni Haruna
I don't think the President used amnesty, instead he spoke about those who are willing to renounce terrorism, those who are willing to embrace, opportunities have been created for them through the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflict in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. -Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati
Senegalese ‘mallams’ pray for Jonathan at Aso Villa AU, ECOWAS move to rescue Chibok girls –Pages 4-6 Why sect killed Emir of Gwoza - Security sources
Abiolasacrificed for Nigeria, saysObasanjo –Page 10
•First Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adeleke (waving from top of the bus) acknowledging cheers at the rally in Osogbo yesterday where he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC)
WHERE ARE THE CHIBOK GIRLS KIDNAPPED ON APRIL 15?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
2 Emir of Gombe buried
HE late Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar, was laid to rest on in his palace in Gombe on Friday evening. The Emir died on May 27 in a London hospital. The Chief Imam of Gombe Central Mosque, Imam Aminu Pindiga, led the funeral prayer. In attendance were Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar III, PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu'azu and Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State, FCT Minister, Sen Bala Mohammed, that of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar as well as the the Deputy Governors of Gombe and Bauchi, Tha'anda Rubainu and Alhaji Sagir Aminu-Saleh respectively.
â€˘A different take on the fall-out from the Chibok Schoolgirls abduction saga.
Source: The Times of London
HE great HungarianAmerican illusionist and firstname.lastname@example.org stunt performer, Harry Houdini, would be green with envy were he to be a contemporary of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani AlisonMadueke. While the former is indeed remarkable that the l e g a l i s t i c c o n t r i v a n c e . S h e extricated himself from many president could be drawn into the proceeded to another Federal straitjackets in the face of death, fray. But why not, when the High Court in the same Abuja to unaided by friend or foe, the latter president himself, in a media chat, seek relief from the House of is prising herself loose from tight had waded into the matter by Representatives probe. This time corners of all kinds, facilitated by rising stoutly to the minister's she wants the court to interpret the government conspiracies and defence, making sarcastic and constitution, which she and her general bureaucratic magic. When inappropriate comments on the lawyers claim predicates any it became obvious that the House Reps in effect accusing them of investigation on the president's of Representatives was harassing and distracting his approval. The case will be heard determined to press ahead with a m i n i s t e r s . S e e i n g t h a t t h e soon. The Nigerian president is probe of how the minister spent a president had been cavalierly already one of the most powerful whopping N10bn in two years on drawn into a case he should never democratically elected presidents chartered jets, she applied to a really be involved in, astounded in the world, far more powerful in Federal High Court in Abuja for and puzzled Nigerians have the brutal use of power than even respite from parliamentary begun to wonder what on earth the American president. By investigations. has come upon the Petroleum drawing him into the Diezani case, Between April 11 when the case minister. and asking the court to lend was filed and May 5 when Justice Unsure that throwing the constitutional cover to the Ahmed Mohammed heard the case and gave a number of orders compelled by the Reps to undergo weight of the president's name illegitimate use of power, the and adjournments, the minister's investigation without President around had the desired effect, the minister has clearly resorted to spin doctors sold the public a Goodluck Jonathan's approval. It minister swaddled her second p o l i t i c a l a n d j u d i c i a l contrivance with a matching, unconscionableness. dummy of their own making. Their first contrivance was to hoodwink the media by claiming that the judge had ordered the OR once, in many weeks, it is both for the conclusion the CDS armed services, through Air Reps to stop the Diezani probe. a relief that the Chief of drew from that fact and the Marshal Badeh, have encrypted Presto, someone in the Reps told Defence Staff (CDS), Air p o s i t i o n o f t h e J o n a t h a n their thoughts both on the Chibok the media that, indeed, the lower c h a m b e r h a d s u s p e n d e d M a r s h a l A l e x B a d e h , h a s presidency. It would be unwise to abductions and their capacity to investigations. But a thoroughly expressed hope that the faltering launch a military rescue effort, he rescue the girls. It is almost certain flustered and angry Justice war against Boko Haram in the suggested grimly, and many will that on the matter of whether to Mohammed exclaimed shortly Northeast could come to a happy agree with him that the only option fight to rescue the girls, as thereafter that he gave no such but sober end. The Nigerian left is negotiation. But the President Jonathan pluckily orders, and asked the Reps to military, he said, had identified the government will not negotiate, indicated in his call for 'total war', appear before him to show proof location where the abducted said the president tersely after or to find peaceful means of by what juridical adroitness they Chibok schoolgirls were being being buoyed up by the French extricating the captive girls from interpreted his order. The Reps, of kept by the insurgents. Since the and the British, and many will see the wolf's lair, as the CDS course, balked, and restarted the military is suspicious of the some sense in the moral import of t e m p e r a t e l y d i s c l o s e d , t h e patriotism of the media, it may be not negotiating with terrorists. But president will blink first. Ah, but probe. the And while Diezani was still inappropriate to pass judgement where does that leave the girls, there is a third option spinning her web in the courts, on the wisdom of disclosing that their parents, and the country as a expectation of a miracle. If a a n x i o u s t h a t o n e o f h e r sensitive information to Nigerians whole? Precisely where we were at miracle should be procured, it is the beginning: confused, inept and not impossible that President contrivances had been exploded, and insurgents alike. dismayed. Jonathan would celebrate and Let us instead focus on the one of her aides told the media and It appears, however, that the theologise it as political sagacity of the world that she could not be dilemma the information poses
Diezaniâ€™s many contrivances
If the Petroleum minister has nothing to hide, and is convinced she has done no profligate wrong, why is she afraid to be investigated? Can the Reps manufacture false evidence against her? In the case before Justice Mohammed, the minister's lawyers attached 41 exhibits showing proof of invitations extended to her and the NNPC by the National Assembly in the conduct of one probe or another since 1999. Perhaps this was why the president blurted out in his typical hyperbole that the minister had been invited more than 200 times. It remains to be seen whether the minister and her presidency allies can find a court to grant her the reliefs she is seeking. But in the light of previous Supreme Court rulings and in view of the ethical quicksand Nigeria has become in the eyes of the whole world, it may be difficult for the minister to do anything more than buy a little more time to prevent the indefensible rot in her ministry from being exposed.
Chibok girls fire Badeh's unusual enthusiasm
the first rank, perhaps even meriting his re-election. The
By ADEKUNLE ADE-ADELEYE
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
In memory, and for memory (On the passing of Yoruba Paterfamilias) O NCE again, the Yoruba people have been thrown into a state of joyous mourning, if ever there could be such an oxymoron. They are mourning the passing of some of their most respected and revered fathers who recently joined the ancestors. But at the same time, they are celebrating the lifetime achievements of these Yoruba avatars, and the honour and respect they have brought to their ethnic group and their nation. The grim reaper has been busily at work. One after the other, the old men have been falling, like the last lap of honour after a great race. At the last count, there were five of them who had bid the nation a final farewell, and in quick succession, too. When shall we see the likes of these great men again? When shall the Yoruba race be host to such exemplary individuals who made a shinning difference to their community and country at large? The youngest of them was the legal luminary, G.O.K Ajayi , who was buried at Ijebu Ode on Thursday on what should have been his eighty third birthday. Next was the urbane and quietly cultivated Sir Michael Otedola, a former governor of Lagos state, who was interred in his idyllic village of Odoragunse on Friday. Then there was Chief Degun, the distinguished civil servant. After them the duo of the nonagenarian OtunbaO.A Osibogun and the centenarian Professor C.O Taiwo. In Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi, you had the exemplary legal genius who deployed his formidable forensic endowment in the service of progressive social engineering. In Chief Degun, you had the quintessential technocrat and unblemished public servant who joined others in laying the foundation of Yoruba bureaucratic modernity. In Otunba Osibogun you had the exemplary community leader who left his society much better than he met it. In the refined and ever urbane Sir Michael you had a man of amazing grace and courtly civility who retreated in retirement behind a wall of statesmanlike rectitude and almost prudish decorum. In Pa Oledele Taiwo, you had a man who refused to deploy his outstanding intellect for selfish personal gains. They no longer come like these avatars. Of all these titans, it was perhaps G.O.K Ajayi who struck the cord of affection and wild adulation with the Yoruba public imagination. Yet he was ever so retreating, so self-effacing and so modest. He was a star lawyer in every material respect. He brought class, elegance and a natural distinction to bear on the profession. With his quiet imperial carriage and aristocratic bearing, there was something about the man which reminded one of an ancient Roman proconsul. He looked noble and acted like a nobility. His dazzling gifts could have propelled him to the highest echelon of politics. Yet he shunned partisan politics like a plague. After the epic battle to restore Chief Ajasin’s stolen mandate, snooper recalled the great man warding off with a polite but firmly disobliging frown the mob that wanted to carry him shoulder-high. He had merely done his duty to his profession, his community and country at large. It was time to go home. Thirty one years after, G.O.K has truly gone home to join his ancestors but the Yoruba people would not be in a hurry to forget this man particularly when recalling their electoral traumas in the hands of a diseased Nigerian post-colonial state. Yours sincerely attended Professor Taiwo’s final burial rites in his Oru Ijebu homestead. It was like the departure of a major royalty. The crowd would have been unprecedented for that rural community. From Ijebu Igbo through Oru and on to Ago Iwoye and Ilishan, the entire Ijebu outpost
nooping around With
• Ajayi rose as one to give their departing illustrious son a resounding send off. The reception that followed interment would have made even a bi-centennial egungun cringe in envy. Yet, It says something about the seemingly Sisyphean fate of Nigeria that after contributing so much to the development and upliftment of their fatherland these titans should depart at a time of great stress and strain for the nation. Nigeria is in desperate straits. The omens are not too good. The tumult and turbulence arising from the abduction of the Chibok girls is merely a sub-text for something far more threatening. These are mere symptoms of a deeper national malaise, an organic crisis of the state in which the main actors appear perplexed and disoriented, in which the very structure of the state is in danger of being overwhelmed by forces of adversity. As we have had cause to note once or twice in this column, an organic crisis of the state occurs when the ruling class fails in a fundamental national project. It may be failure to safeguard the territorial integrity of the nation, leading to widespread insurrection. It may be due to failure to sustain or valorize democracy leading to a situation of anarchy and disorder. It may arise from the endemic inability of government to satisfy the basic yearnings of the populace for food, shelter and transportation manifesting in widespread discontent and edgy distemper. It may also arise from the inability of the state to protect the citizens and the failure of the army to uphold the territorial sanctity of the nation. To be sure and to be fair, this organic crisis of the state preceded the Jonathan administration. In a sense, it can actually be argued that Jonathan himself is a product and manifestation of the crisis. To be precise, Jonathan himself looked originally like a polytechnic pawn on the vast chessboard of political intrigues. It is therefore no surprise that under him the organic crisis has worsened to include all the major indices of state failure. As usual with every major crisis of the state in post-independence Nigeria, the Yoruba have been caught in a double-bind in this one as well. It reflects a deep ambivalence about a Nigerian project that has turned into a horrific human abattoir; a roiling hell on earth. Going forward and oscillating between a rationally conservative Pentheus and a radically idealistic Prometheus, the Yoruba character as it has evolved over a thousand years of empire-building and empire-dismantling is also marked by a deep ambiguity. It is this ambiguity which is often a source of deep frustration and perplexity for their ethnic cohabitants in the Nigerian nation-space . It often leads to charges of double-dealing and perfidy. Historical evolution often
determines national character. For example, as empire builders themselves, the conserving and conservative aspects of the Yoruba character may lead to the conclusion that not everything about empires is evil and abhorrent. It is not impossible that the Yoruba aristocracy nurse a deep fascination and even respect for the Hausa/Fulani power masters and their hankering after order, stability and societal coherence. But the obverse of the coin is that the libertarian and forward looking side to the Yoruba nature also harbours a deep admiration and approval of the fiercely republican ethos and the revolutionary dynamism of the Igbo society. No society can progress without its revolutionary firecrackers. Where the Yoruba seem to part way with the Fulani oligarchy is in the stagnant and stagnating vision of human society which abhors inevitable change and the transition to modernity. It is sheer bunkum to imagine that some group of people are pre-ordained to be slaves. On the other hand, the Yoruba will balk and shudder at the radical disorder, the anarchic steamrolling, the sheer human wastage and perpetual convulsion of the Igbo permanent revolution. It will be stupid in the extreme to argue for the superiority of one social model over another. Such analysis always comes with a freight of primordial prejudice. Nevertheless, it is often crucial and even critical to isolate these traits with as much analytical integrity as possible with a view to throwing light on the social contradictions that drive contemporary Nigeria. Had these major nationalities been independent nations, they
would have found within themselves the inner strength and internal resources to overcome these internal contradictions. For example, the flame throwing Yoruba dissidents of the First Republic had virtually succeeded in overthrowing their local tormentors but for the Federal might which kept the local tyranny going. But flame throwing was not nearly going to be enough to throw off their tormentors hiding under the federal might. It would require the radical republican daredevilry and fire power of midranking Igbo officers whose worldview could not abide stability and order anchored on feudal injustice. Yet a few months later when the Igbo leadership wanted to bid a precipitate goodbye to Nigeria, Chief Awolowo demurred. It was either out of the Yoruba traditional fear of the unknown or fear of radical anarchy precipitated by a revolutionary rupturing of the old order. This tact and restraint when the chips are down and the temple is terminally threatened, the measured discerning to know when to pull the plug on the rampaging mob, is what many neutral observers see as a reflection of Yoruba political sophistication. Others not so sanguine are not impressed. They see it as evidence of rank dishonesty. It is a classic conundrum. Since they know how much it takes and costs to conjure order and stability in any society, natural empire builders can never be natural revolutionaries. No one can accuse Awolowo and his lieutenants of political cowardice. They were very clear in their mind about the radical frontiers of human endeavour to be traversed in the Yoruba march to full modernity. Yet It is also the law of nature and logic of human evolution that in any society at a given point, the most radical segment and most natural agents of change are those with little or nothing to lose. This classic conundrum and historic ding-dong in which conservative fear of the unknown mixes with radical optimism about the future has shaped and framed the nature and terms of Yoruba engagement with Nigerian post-Independence politics. By paradoxical default, it is what has ensured a measure of stability for Nigeria and boosted its chances of survival. In times of stress, the howls of secession may loudly emanate from
certain Yoruba trenches, but it is also the very moment the hegemonic political leadership of the race act in concert with others to find a way forward for the nation. In coming months as the crisis of the state deepens, the Yoruba political leadership will be forced by historical pressures to take some decisive steps which may well affect the stability and continued survival of the Nigerian nation. For example, it is well known that the dominant faction of the Yoruba leadership has been trying to forge a fraught alliance with the core north in order to heave the country forward. But it is becoming clearer by the day that the forces of entrenched status quo in the old north are bent on frustrating this alliance by insisting it is either their way or the highway. With its political back to the wall, the old north is in no political shape to give preconditions or to suborn attempts to craft a consensus from contending contraries. The west has nothing to seriously gain from this alliance. It is borne of the typical Yoruba obsession that this nation can still be fixed. But if the west were to pull out of the alliance, it will leave the road very clear for the return of the inept and clueless PDP piranhas. Whether the country can then survive another four years of such rule is another matter. From a different perspective, is also clear that the few patriots who went to the so called National Conference with the forlorn hope of radically restructuring Nigeria have had their balls smashed by the forces of entrenched status quo. It is now clear that if Nigeria is ever going to be genuinely restructured it is not going to be at a tea party. With the hope of radical restructuring dashed and the door of political redemption closed, the continuous slide into anarchy and anomie now appear to be irreversible. The Yoruba mob is already abroad. The nostrils pick the familiar smell of Mushin circa 1965 with much trepidation. There may just be a new Omo Pupa around the corner. Oh Yello!!!! It is just as well that these Yoruba exemplars have gone to join their ancestors. They have made their mark. Only a glutton for punishment would insist on living longer with such grim conditionalities. It is well. Goodnight sirs.
The shoes of the fisherman
H boy, oh boy!!! We have noted several times in this column of life becoming a poor version of literature. But we are happy to report that it is not always a one-way traffic. There are times when it is the turn of life to imitate literature. Thus does the whirligig of time brings its own sweet revenge, as William Shakespeare would put it. Has anybody on these shores ever watched the 1968 film of the above title? Or better still has anybody read the 1963 novel of the same name by the Australian novelist, Moris West? It is a gripping read. The film version which begins with an apocalyptic scene of atomic destruction has the great actor, Anthony Quinn in toweringly magisterial form. The Shoes of the Fisherman chronicles the incredible rise to global prominence and papal stardom of Kiril Lakota, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Lvov. After twenty
years as a prisoner in a Siberian labour camp, he is suddenly and dramatically released like a terminal virus on the world by his former jailer who had become the premier of the Soviet Union. There begun an incredible series of events. Lakota was sent to Rome where he was immediately raised to the cardinalate by the elderly Pope Pius X111. Lakota is unsure of himself and very much aware of his own modest talents begged to be given “a simple mission with simple people”. The pope was adamant, insisting that he should immediately proceed to take his cardinal vow. Thereafter, the frail pontiff suddenly collapses and dies. In the race to choose the new pope, Cardinal Lakota began participating as an obscure and barely distinguished elector. This led to a deadlock in which the two leading candidates or papabili simply eliminated each other in a progressive politics of exhaustion. After seven dead heats, it was one of the two, Cardinal Rinaldi, who broke
the deadlock by suggesting that Cardinal Lakota should be elected pope as a compromise candidate. This suggestion received popular acclamation after the cardinals interviewed Lakota and were bowled over by his touching humility and amazing simplicity. Lakota becomes Pope Kiril. Sounds very familiar? Well. Snooper cannot claim credits when life imitates literature. In any case, has it not been said that the meek shall inherit the earth? Talent is not a talisman. The greatest genius may well be the person who is able to hide his genius. In Nigeria from Tafawa-Balewa, Shehu Shagari, Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and now Jonathan anybody who shows active interest in the presidency will never be allowed to get there. He will be lucky if his head is not used to smash the coconut of fortunes for others. Don’t ask how the novel ends. Go and read it.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Confusion over amnesty offer to Boko Haram members
ID President Goodluck Jonathan offer Boko Haram members amnesty on Democracy Day or not? This is the subject of a controversy now raging among top officials of the Federal Government.
V•Presidential spokesman, Abati, disputes Minister’s statement From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
At the centre of the controversy are the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati and Youth Develop-
Why Emir of Gwoza was targeted by Boko Haram- Security source
RESH facts on the killing of the Emir of G w o z a , B o r n o State,Alhaji Idrissa Timta on Friday by Boko Haram suggest that the sect saw him as a big obstacle to their operations in his domain. He was uncompromising in his objection to the activities of the sect whose leadership held him responsible for the arrest of some top insurgents by security agencies. Alhaji Timta was travelling to Gombe in the company of the Emir of Askira,Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammadu Askirama and the Emir of Uba,Alhaji Ali Ibn Ismaila Mamzawo when suspected Boko Haram insurgents opened fire on their car. It appeared the deceased was their target, security sources said yesterday. It was learnt that the Emir had received several death threats in recent months for making the operation of Boko Haram difficult in his domain. The remains were buried yesterday in Gwoza at a ceremony attended by Governor Kashim Shettima. A security source said preliminary investigation into the attack showed that said the late Emir was singled out by the gunmen. The source said: “The military and security agencies operating along Garkida-Tashan Alade axis have submitted reports of their preliminary investigations to the relevant authorities. “The preliminary investigation revealed that the Emir of Gwoza was actually targeted among the three Emirs because he had been having issues with the insurgents. “All the three Emirs would have been killed if Idrissa was not the person they were after. We suspect that the insurgents spared the other two Emirs because they had no issue with them yet.” A Borno State government source, who confided in our correspondent, said:
From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
“Boko Haram might have isolated the late Emir for attack because they had been having challenges in operating in his domain. “The deceased Emir had a firm grip on District Heads in the area and with the local community policing system he put in place, it had not been smooth for the sect in the domain which is host to Mandara Mountains. “The sect also believed that the Emir and some of his District Heads were behind the exposure of their members who were arrested by the military and other security agencies. “You will recall that in April, one of the District Heads working closely with the late Emir was killed in the same manner.” Responding to a question, the source added: “The late Emir was uncomfortable with the activities of Boko Haram in Gwoza Emirate and he had always provided vital information to the government on how to address insurgency in the area. He was good at local sourcing of information. “He also stood out among the Emirs for openly criticising Boko Haram for crippling economic activities in his domain. “So, the slain Emir had been under threats for a while and adequate police security ring was built around him. “Those who killed him actually took advantage of his trip outside the domain to lay ambush for him.” Security agents are already on the trail of his killers. Another source added: “The government has ordered the military and the agencies to arrest the gunmen behind the murder of the Emir. “A comprehensive investigation into the ambush on the convoy of the Emir has started. We are hopeful of a breakthrough.”
ment Minister Boni Haruna. Abati said yesterday that there was no truth in Haruna’s statement that President Jonathan had offered amnesty to the insurgents. Haruna , during a programme ‘A day with young leaders of Nigeria’ to mark the Democracy Day in Abuja on Thursday had announced that the President had offered amnesty to the insurgents in his determination to bring their violent attacks to an end. He said:”President Goodluck Jonathan has also declared amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect. Series of integration programmes have been lined up for the members of the sect who would surrender their arms and embrace peace.” He asked members of the sect to “embrace the government’s gesture and key into the amnesty programme.” President Jonathan, who spoke at the occasion after the minister,made no reference to the offer. Twenty four hours later,
Boko Haram, as if rejecting the ‘amnesty’ offer opened fire on three emirs in Borno State, killing one instantly. And yesterday, Abati declared that the President offered Boko Haram no amnesty. He referred to the President’s Democracy Day broadcast and insisted that nowhere in the speech was ‘amnesty’ used. He said: “If you read the speech line by line, you will see that it contains the very message that the President wanted to put across and in that speech if you look at it I don’t think the President used amnesty, instead he spoke about those who are willing to renounce terrorism, those who are willing to embrace, opportunities have been created for them through the factfinding committee, through the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Conflict in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. “So I will refer you basically to the speech by the President.”
On the murder of the Emir of Gwoza on Friday, he said: “The President got the news and he was sad about it because what it means is that these terrorists who are threatening peace and stability in Nigeria, are desperate and they continue to show that desperation. “But as the President made it clear in his democracy day broadcast, that was his main message to Nigerians, that at the end of the day it is the people of Nigeria that will prevail, no matter how desperate terrorists may be and that his government is determined to rid the country of terrorism. “And the support solidarity the cooperation, the expression of partnership that we are receiving from our neighboring countries, the whole of the West African subregion, Africa and the entire world shows that this is the battle that the whole world is prepared to fight. So the days of peace as the President said in his speech is assured be-
cause this battle will not end until it is won and sustainable development is fully guaranteed.” Speaking on the ECOWAS meeting that ended in Ghana at the weekend, he said that the summit condemned the of terror in Nigeria. “Particularly, on the issue of terror, the summit condemned the activities of terror in Nigeria, the summit concluded that any threat of terror in any part of Africa or any part of West Africa in any country at all is a threat to entire sub-region and it is a threat to the continent and it is a threat to the whole of humanity,” Abati said, adding:”So the key message that came out with regards to the situation in Nigeria, was one of solidarity, partnership, cooperation and the heads of governments of west Africa states resolved that they will share intelligence and cooperate in every way possible, because doing so is to ensure stability within the region is to ensure sustainable development within the region and they spoke with one voice in condemning the terrorists activities in Nigeria.”
•President Goodluck Jonathan receiving the Head of the Tinaiya Sect, Khalifa, Sheikh Ahmad Tijani INYASS and other members of the delegation during a meeting between the President and Islamic clerics at the State House in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO AKIN OLADOKUN.
Insurgency: An administration’s many flip-flops T
HERE’S something very odd about the way the Federal Government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan has been handling the Boko Haram insurgency that has paralysed some parts of the northern region of the country. Its positions shift with each new crisis. In most cases they appear to have been taken based on political expediency, only to be retracted not long after. One of the most common criticisms about Jonathan’s handling of the war against the killer sect is that he seems incapable of making up his mind as to the approach to be used in
By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor
tackling what is now an obvious menace. Right from the very onset of the crisis it has been a tale of craven flip-flops. Here are some notable examples: Handling Boko Haram Flip: The Federal Government on April 27, 2014 speaking through the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the Boko Haram insurgency could be contained and insisted the country was not facing a wider conflict as it heads for elections next year. “There is no war ... there is an insurgency. We are not in a Colombia situation,” she said.
Flop: Few days later on the 28th of April, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the problem was beyond Nigeria and urgent assistance may be needed to handle it before it is too late. “I think what we need is international cooperation from the French, from the Frenchspeaking west African countries to work together to deal with this problem before it becomes a major problem for France, for western interests operating in west Africa,” he said. Classifying Boko Haram Flip: Early last year, the government loudly opposed a plan by the United States to clas-
sify Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO). Campaigns about Nigeria not being a terrorist state in spite of the presence of Boko Haram on its soil were mounted by government agencies locally and internationally. Flop: Last May 17, in far away France, President Goodluck Jonathan surprised many world leaders when he shifted his positions of many years and agreed with a point raised by French President François Hollande. “This group is armed, with heavy weapons of an unimaginable sophistication and the ability to use them,” Hollande had said.
“Boko Haram is acting clearly as an al-Qaeda operation,” said Jonathan, who had only reluctantly accepted outside help after years of insisting the group was a local problem. Negotiating with Boko Haram Flip: President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the Federal Government is still open to constructive dialogue with the Boko Haram sect to end insurgency in the North East zone of the country. Flop: President Jonathan barely a week later, during a two-day visit to Borno and Yobe States, the group’s hotbed, had ruled out dialoguing or
meeting with the group, saying they are “faceless.” “We will not dialogue with ghosts,” he said. Amnesty for Boko Haram Flip: Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Boni Haruna, last Thursday revealed that President Goodluck Jonathan has announced amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect as part of his administration’s youths-friendly policies. Flop: Barely 24 hours after the Minister gleefully announced the amnesty deal President Jonathan’s spokesman said there will be no amnesty for the fighters. Given previous patterns we have definitely not heard the last about this matter.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Insecurity: Senegalese Muslim clerics pray for Jonathan at Aso Rock P OPULAR Senegalese Muslim cleric, Khalifah Sheikh Ahmad Tijani Inyass, yesterday stormed the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to hold special prayers for President Goodluck Jonathan in a spiritual offensive against Boko Haram Khalifa Ahmad Inyass, grandson of the founder of the Tijjaniya sect, the late Shehu Tijani Ibrahim Inyass, led a team of about 10 Islamic clerics at the prayer session. He had been specially invited by President Jonathan in the face of ceaseless attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents. The prayers lasted about an hour at the First Lady’s Conference Room with emphasis
•As President also meets Malian President From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
on a speedy end to the security challenges in Nigeria and for peace and stability in the country. Spokesman for the group, Ahmed Tijani Sanni Alwalu, told State House reporters at the end of the prayers that the main purpose of Khalifa Inyass’ presence in Nigeria was Maulud celebration of Ibrahim Inyass Gombe but
was invited to Abuja by President Jonathan for spiritual support. He said that past Nigerian leaders including the late Major-General Johnson AguiyiIronsi and General Yakubu Gowon during their reigns also invited the sect to pray for Nigeria. He said: “It is a historic visit because it was done by his father with the then President, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Gen. Aguyi Ironsi. So, history is re-
peating itself and we came for the Maulud organised by Ibrahim Inyass Gombe and on his (Khalifa Inyass) way going home, the President requested a courtesy visit and Shehu granted that. “We gathered together, Muslims and non- Muslims, in peaceful co- existence for prayers so that we could all fight this insecurity in this country. “The main purpose of coming here is part of the prayers for peace in this country.”
Other clerics at the session were: Sheikh Muhammadul Makky Inyass, Sheikh Mansur Inyass, Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani Inyass, Sheik Bashir Inyass, Inyass Mustapha Inyass, Abdullahi Muhammad Maigemu, Sheikh Ibrahim Dahiru Bauchi, Aliyu Ibrahim, and Khalifah Shehu Nasiru Hamisu. With President Jonathan at the prayer session were: Vice President Namadi Sambo, Chief of Staff to the President, Brig- General Jones Arogbofa (rtd), Head of Service, Bukar Goni Aji; Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed; Justice Minister, Mohammed Bello Adoke; Minister of State for Health, Khaliru Alhassan;
Women Affairs Minister, Hajiya Zainab Maina; Minister of State for Agriculture, Asmau Mohammed. The President had earlier in the day met President Muhammadou Keita of Mali in Abuja on ways of resolving the problems of insurgency in northern Mali and Northeast Nigeria. Jonathan, Keita and other West African leaders also met in Ghana on Friday for an extraordinary security meeting of the organisation) on the security situations in Mali and Nigeria. Emerging from yesterday’s meeting,the Malian leader said wished Nigeria good luck in the fight against insecurity.
Jonathan condemns killing of Emir of Gwoza
•Calls for unity against terror
•Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Arunma Oteh, President, South-East/South South Professionals of Nigeria, Emeka Ugwu-Oju; and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc. Nnamdi Okonkwo at the just concluded African Development Bank (AfDB) meeting in Kigali, Rwanda
Blasts aftermath: Fear of cars grips Jos
HERE is a new phobia in Jos. It is car phobia,caused by the May 20 and 25 bomb blasts in the city. Over 120 people died in both incidents after Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted in cars went off, killing and maiming people. The popular Jos Terminus market was left in ruins after the first of the two explosions. One week after, many residents now look suspiciously at cars especially those parked by the road side for fear that they may be laden with bombs. Car owners risk being attacked by residents if they attempt to park in an area where they are not known. One such car owner, Vincent Daman, was almost beaten
HE Africa Union (AU) yesterday announced plan to engage Nigeria’s Federal Government and other stakeholders in a meeting,as part of the fresh effort to rescue the more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno. The AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, Mrs Benita Diop, told reporters at the close of the Conference of Ministers of Social Development in Addis Ababa that details of the ‘new approach’ would be discussed with Nigerian officials in Abuja tomorrow. Diop will be on the del-
From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos to death on Tafawa Balewa Street in Jos, while trying to park. “It was the police that saved my life when a group of people almost lynched me,” he said of his experience. “My offence was that I parked by the road side waiting to pick my wife from a saloon. While waiting for my wife I was making calls in the car. Some people who saw me approached me and demanded that I should move away. “As I made to get down from the car to explain my mission, they just started pummelling me, and calling me Boko Haram. “Thank God, while they were beating me, some of them
were already calling the police to come and arrest me. They told the police they had identified a car bomber. It was the police team that came promptly that saved me, otherwise, I would have been dead by now” He is one of many who have received a similar treatment more so after the security agencies challenged residents to be more security conscious and watch out for strange faces in their community. Owners of business premises now barricade parking spaces on their properties. Sign posts bearing messages such as ‘No Parking’ have been erected in many places across the city to prevent people from parking cars there. According to a senior po-
lice officer said: “You can blame people for behaving that way. There are rumours that Boko Haram members are in Jos ready to launch more bomb attacks. “No one is ready to take these rumours for granted. It will take time for people to forget the experience of the twin bomb blasts” Meanwhile, the Plateau state government has banned trading by road sides in Jos. Traders have been directed to relocate their business to the new Satellite market constructed by the state government at Rukuba road Jos. The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Barr. Olivia Dazyem, said the move is to prevent a repeat of the Terminus market blasts.
AU in fresh effort to rescue abducted Chibock girls egation of the AU to the Abuja talks. The envoy, who addressed the meeting on AU’s effort to secure the girls, said the continental body would continue to evolve mechanisms to protect the girl-child through robust policies on education, among others. The AU Ministers, under the auspices of the Fourth Conference on Social Development convened with stakeholders to review efforts toward ending child marriage in Africa. The African Union Commission had announced that
39,000 underage girls were sent out for marriage daily in Africa and urged for more efforts to tackle the practise and allow such girls to face their future through adequate education. The AU had during the justconcluded meeting launched a campaign tagged “End Child Marriage Now’’ where it called for urgent measures to tackle the growing spate of the cultural practise that had hit the continent with daily record of 39,000 victims. The campaign would be carried out in 10 selected countries of the continent, where the
culture of child marriage is highly practised. The continental body listed Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone and Zambia among the first set of countries where the campaign would hold. The campaign is being supported by AU partners, including UNICEF, UNFPA, UNECA, Plan International, the Canadian Government, Save the Children, Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and DFID.
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday condoled the government and people of Borno State and Northern Traditional Rulers on the murder of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta. He also condemned the murder of the Emir. The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media,Dr.Reuben Abati , said that “ the brazen attack and the wanton slaying of the respected traditional ruler reinforces the vital need” for all patriotic Nigerians, “ irrespective of where they come from, their religions or political loyalties, to come together and work with urgency and complete unity of purpose to
From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja
quickly end the murderous attacks by terrorists and insurgents that continue to threaten the security, cohesion and well-being of the nation.” He pledged that the Armed Forces and security agencies will continue to “receive all the empowerment and support they require from the Federal Government to speedily give maximum effect to his orders that they take all necessary action to stop the insurgency in the country. “ The President prayed that Almighty Allah will receive the soul of the slain Emir and grant his family and subjects the equanimity to bear his loss.
West Africa Nations Vow to Combat Terrorism
•Seek Mali Accord
EST African nations are determined to intensify their fight against terrorism, sharing more intelligence and partnering with countries in the centre of the continent. Leaders from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, who met in Accra, Ghana’s capital,on Friday , will ask the United Nations Security Council to strengthen the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Mali, according to a closing statement read out by Kadre Desire Ouadrago, president of the Ecowas Commission. President Goodluck Jonathan and Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita were among leaders in attendance. Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama said earlier that West Africa won’t allow Islamist militants to destabilize the region. “Our vision is for us to work together to consolidate the peace in Mali, to bring Guinea Bissau back into an era of democracy and prosperity and to support and solidarise with Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram,” Mahama said. “To ignore our responsibility for the eradication of terrorism is to risk eco-
nomic and developmental potential of our individual nations.” Nigeria is struggling to ward off almost daily attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militants that have killed more than 4,000 people in the last five years. The group kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the northeast last month on the same day it set off the deadliest bomb attack in the capital, Abuja. The attacks have spilled over into neighbouring Cameroon, where foreigners including Chinese and French citizens have been abducted by suspected militants. Six Malian government officials and more than 50 soldiers were killed in northern Mali this month in an attack by separatist that have received support from armed groups linked to alQaeda. Mali is seeking to restore stability in the north after separatist rebels and Islamist militants seized half of the country’s territory last year, before being pushed back by a French air and ground offensive. ECOWAS also called for “inter-Malian” talks to be held, and for the prompt establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, according to the closing statement.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
States grumble as Jonathan fails to fill slots in cabinet
Stay away from politics, Sultan warns traditional rulers
•President considers Bafarawa, Tangwamen as Gulak’s successor
HE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday warned traditional rulers to steer clear of politics. Abubakar gave the warning during the turbaning of three new district heads and two traditional title holders in Sokoto. Represented by the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Ilyasu Bashar, the Sultan said “traditional rulers should be fathers to all, irrespective of any religious, ethnic or political differences. “Leadership in any form is a trust and all leaders will be accountable for their stewardship.’’ The monarch said that the new traditional rulers and title holders were chosen based on merit and their wealth of experience and urged them to focus on the welfare and comfort of their followers. The Sultan also warned against greed, moral decadence, corruption and vices, which he described as the bane of the contemporary Nigerian society. He appealed to Nigerians to collectively and fervently pray for sustained peace and unity in the country. Among those turbaned was Alhaji Bala Abubakar III, the state’s Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Commissioner for Budget, who became the Durunbun Sokoto. Also, Alhaji Sa’idu Maccido, the immediate past Director of Information in the state’s Ministry of Information, was turbaned as Dan-Buram Sokoto. Maccido was recently appointed by the Sultan as his Personal Assistant Secretary.
FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
•From L-R: Publisher/ Editor–in-Chief, Yes magazine, Azuh Arinze; His Royal Majesty, Onipora of Iropora Ekiti State, Oba Joel Ajayi Iropora; former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Aleke; the Author, Mr. Adesina Adetola, during the book presentation of Midnight Whispers in Lagos in Lagos yesterday. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN
2015: North to insist on presidency, zoning
By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor
ORTHERN political leaders and elite are not about to give up the claim of the North to the Presidency in 2015,The Nation can report today. They are insisting that the Presidency should return to the North next year after President Goodluck Jonathan would have completed his current term. Chieftains of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF); Arewa Reawakening Forum (ARF); Arewa Research and Development Project, (ARDP); Northern Union (NU); Middle Belt Forum (MBF); and the Code Group,at a meeting in Kaduna on Friday resolved that it will not be in the interest of the region for Jonathan to be reelected in 2015. A source at the meeting said:” We all insisted that the North must produce the President in 2015. The parley was called to discuss the state of the North at a time like this. Though the major issue we wanted to discuss was the security situation of our part of the country
today, the various contributors spoke of the need for the North to be politically re-awakened if it is desirous of solving its security problems. “We observed that the North has never been this divided. We have never been this disorganised. And after examining the reasons for our division, it was discovered that the 2015 presidential ambition of the President is behind the crises in the North, hence, it was resolved that in the interest of the North and the country as a whole, the North should insist on fielding a candidate that will emerge as the next president of the country in 2015.” Asked what would be the reaction of the region should the ruling party refuse to field a Northerner, the source said it was decided that the North should go all out and ensure that it deploys its numerical strength to produce the next president. “Our position is very clear on this renewed demand. There was an agreement on rotating the presidency and now, we
Southern African region in eradicating Tse-tse Fly,he stressed, would be applied to mosquitoes to eradicate Malaria. Minty said that after the research, the commission would source for finance to put the research result into use to urgently tackle the scourge of malaria on the continent. He stressed the need for more efforts by African nations to use technology for development and faster growth in the areas of agriculture, science, health and other economic sectors. The AFCONE chairperson said “the use of nuclear technology will assist the continent in jumping some steps in our development and industrialisation effort.’’ The Third Conference of States Parties to the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone
Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba concluded its twoday meeting with a call for commitment to use nuclear technology to enhance development in Africa. The Conference was attended by parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba and to its Protocols, as well as by relevant regional and international organisations. Some of the participants included the IAEA, the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) and the Forum for Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA). The Conference reviewed the activities of AFCONE, including the implementation of its programme of work and its budget. It also deliberated on the operational status of the AFCONE Secretariat established by AU, which is based in South
want to warn that if the parties to the pact fail to adhere to it, the North would use its numerical strength to ensure that power returns to it in 2015. That is the position arrived at the meeting,” the source said. “The meeting is just the first of many more that will follow. This is not about ACF or NU or the Middle Belt. It is a new, more vibrant mass movement that was not planned but emerged to redirect the North. We are not making the idea public yet because we don’t want it to be hijacked or infiltrated. We will keep it closed until we achieve the level of mobilisation we desire. “But as I said earlier, chieftains of all leading organisations in the region were part of the discussion in Kaduna and they all endorsed the new direction that will see us insisting on producing the President in 2015. Another reason why we are not out there talking about it yet is the current mood of the nation. We don’t want to be seen as talking politics while the nation burns. But we must talk politics.”
Another source who claimed he was invited but could not attend the meeting said there is nothing new in the outcome of the meeting as the North has never, for once ,abandoned its plan to produce the next president. “We are just bidding our time. At the right time, those who want to, out of selfishness, drag Nigeria back would be told where the North stands. Not that the North is power- hungry. We are arguing based on the rational agreement that is on the ground today. “It is morally wrong for President Goodluck Jonathan to contemplate contesting in 2015 since he is aware that such a pact exists. The North is determined and is insistent that the leadership of this country will rotate to it in 2015 and I am making that very, very clear to you. “The North, on the basis of one man one vote, can keep p o w e r indefinitely.Demography shows that the North can keep power as long as it wants because it will always win elections.”
Malaria: Nuclear mechanism against mosquitoes underway - Commission
FRESH plan to tackle malaria in Africa is underway courtesy the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). The commission,according to its Chairperson,Ambassador Abdulsalam Minty,will deploy nuclear radiation on mosquitoes to combat malaria in the continent. Briefing reporters at the end of the commission’s Third Conference in Addis Ababa,Minty said AFCONE would be collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct researches to evolve a nuclear radiation mechanism on mosquitoes to curb the spread of Malaria. The success recorded by
Africa. The African NuclearWeapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) was adopted at the 31st Ordinary Session of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), held in Addis Ababa between June 26 and June 28, 1995. It was signed in Cairo on April 11, 1996. The Treaty however entered into force on July 15, 2009. Currently, there are 38 States Parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba, including Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, GuineaBissau, Guinea and Kenya. Others are Libya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria,
Rwanda, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Available information obtained by NAN shows that Angola, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Liberia, Morocco, Niger, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan and Uganda have signed but have yet to ratify the Treaty. The Treaty requires States Parties to renounce nuclear explosive devices, particularly to refrain from conducting research, developing, manufacturing and stockpiling. So far, South Africa is the most advanced African country in nuclear technology, with Algeria and Egypt following.
EVERAL states and at least one geopolitical zone are unhappy with President Goodluck Jonathan for the continued delay in filling their ministerial slots . Kwara,Ekiti,Delta,Yobe and Anambra States are wondering why the President has not replaced their indegenes who were dropped from his cabinet. The Northwest’s quota too is yet to be filled. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the affected states are unhappy that they have no representations in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) contrary to Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution. However, it was gathered that the President is bidding his time to reduce pressure on him and avoid unnecessary bickering over available slots in some states. The President is said to prefer working at his own pace to being stampeded by office seekers. It was also learnt that the delay might have been due to likely changes in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) soon because of the governorship aspirations of some ministers. Although some attributed the delay in fully constituting FEC to security challenges distracting the President, a Presidency source dismissed such insinuation. Ministers said to be interested in becoming governors include Chief Nyesom Wike (Education) and Senator Bala Mohammed(FCT). A highly-placed source said: “Some states are unhappy with the President for not filling their slots in the FEC. This is a constitutional requirement which the President owes the said states. “Some of the states, especially those not being controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are feeling marginalised in the scheme of things. “A few others who defected to the PDP because of ministerial appointment are getting wearied that the promise made to them is not being fulfilled. “We are being told that the President is yet to make up his mind on some candidates he had short-listed.” Another source said: “Ministerial appointment is not a privilege at all, it is a constitutional duty which the President must fulfill as required by Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution. “Delay like this does not help the system to run well. We do not want the President to short change some states. “We also have instances where some ministers are overseeing two ministries. This is untidy.” Section 147 reads in part: “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President. “Any appointment to the Office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
CHIBOK ABDUCTION SAGA
Use of force will kill Chibok girls - Jemibewon T
ODAY, we have lots of security challenges in Borno State and the military appears greatly troubled. As a top army general, how would you want Nigeria to tackle this problem? What is happening in the country today is very sad. I just imagine if I were still in the army as a young man, what would I have done? I don’t have what I may call total solution. It’s just to express a view based on your question and then also to work on the suggestions being put forward by most Nigerians. I think it’s unfortunate but we must understand that conventional war is slightly different from the situation we have today. It’s not exactly a total war because in a war, you know your opponent and your opponent knows you. Even by the uniform he wears and by the weapon he carries, you will know your opponent. So that when you hear the shooting of a gun, by your experience, you can almost say this is the calibre of the gun that is being shot. But now, you won’t know who is a member of this group. So, to say that our soldiers are not well equipped, not well armed, based on the few things in the papers are not appropriate statements. But I can understand that many people who do the writings or who make the statements never had any form of military training and this is why in some societies they advocate compulsory military training. If everybody had gone through military processes, they will know that this is not total war and that makes it more difficult to fight. So, I am just hoping that solving this problem will require a combination of most of the suggestions being put forward by various Nigerians; that is that it would be solved through dialogue, negotiation and through a little bit of application of force and action. Again, we must realise that with these girls abducted in Chibok, if we apply full military force to attempt to liberate them, they would be killed. So at the end you will ask yourself what have I achieved? Most people are of the view that Boko Haram insurgency would have been tackled earlier if Nigeria has done enough in the area of intelligence gathering. Do you support this view? I will ask you, what is intelligence gathering? Intelligence gathering is simply information gathering before and during events and then you project into the future to see what is likely to happen. For example, I will expect that some people ought to be assembled somewhere to be thinking what would happen if this Boko Haram crisis comes to an end because it will still have some after effect. It is just like what we are doing in this workshop, trying to promote peace before, during and after the election. Perhaps, our problem as a nation is that we did not anticipate what is happening so as to get prepared for it. But now that it has happened, how do we get information, analyse the information and also anticipate that when this will come to an end, what should we do? This is important because even when it ends, something will come out. We ought to learn some lessons. For example, how are we going to rehabilitate those who are bereaved and what actions are we going to put in place to prevent re-occurrence of such attacks? Intelligence comprises of many things. For example, those giving us headache today, it must have taken them some time before they acquired the strength they have acquired, the weapons they have acquired. They live within human beings. Soldiers were not based in those areas. If these people had come to the appropriate authorities to say we are seeing some strange faces in these areas, etc, that is intelligence. How do you respond to comments that military intervention is responsible for Nigeria’s problems? That sounds ridiculous to me because
General David Jemibewon in this interview, held in Ado Ekiti, told Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, that though terrorism is a difficult form of war, Nigeria will ultimately win the Boko Haram war. The retired army general offers hints on how to win the war and the post terror challenges, advocating the establishment of what he described as Security Trust Fund. He also spoke on other national issues. Excerpts
•Jemibewon it is similar to the general statement that the British created the problem of Nigeria. If over 50 years after independence we are still blaming the British, then I feel sorry for that. I have told many people subject to what is being discussed, that a lady can go to the hospital to have a baby. Perhaps the father of that baby has died. In the course of birth the woman may die, the child that is born could still grow up and become an important personality, not just in his country , in fact he can be known worldwide. Sometime ago, reports said America predicted Nigeria’s break up in 2015. Don’t you think current security challenges in the country are a prelude to that predicted breakup? I read that report at that time. They did mention it. At that time, many people wrote in the newspapers, insulting the source of the information instead of working towards ensuring that it didn’t happen. So, I am praying that the country doesn’t break up. As I said in terms of intelligence, that was the kind of information we ought to have worked with, but unfortunately, we didn’t. Do you think the ongoing national conference can stop the feared break up, as some insist it is imminent? I wouldn’t say break up is imminent in Nigeria. But in any case, what we have to do is to work towards ensuring that the prediction does not work. And to ensure it doesn’t come to reality is the responsibility of all of us to promote peace, promote understanding. And in this regard, the press becomes a very vital organ.
A lot of people are talking about restructuring, saying it is the only basis on which Nigeria can move forward… Perhaps they should let us know what they mean by restructuring and the nature of that restructuring. You see this shirt that you are wearing that some persons are admiring you that you are wearing a neat shirt, if you don’t take care of it by washing it, cleaning it, some people might run away from you because of the odour that will come from it. Your washing your shirt is restructuring it; keeping it clean to make it good, which is also making you good, is restructuring. So, even in a country you may assume is perfect, there is also need for discussion to make what is good better. So restructuring will always, in my view, occur on the basis of what I have just said. So, the country requires restructuring. There was a time there were no states in Nigeria. Then, we started with 12 states. We went to 19. Now, we have 36 states. That is restructuring. So, I don’t think the people advocating restructuring are wrong. But let them come out with what they mean by restructuring and how to do that restructuring. But by merely making statement about the demand on restructuring, I cannot say it is right or wrong. But the South-West delegates said the minimum requirement for them to remain in Nigeria is devolution of power to the regions… I want to believe other regions could also have their positions. But what does an association mean? It simply means a group of people who have agreed to form
that association. There will certainly be discussions one or two will disagree with and at the end, if they really cherish their coming together, there must be a way by which they reconcile their differences by coming to a consensus for the good and unity of that association. You can see in Africa, we started with the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) but each country still exists on its own. What about United Nations? So, there will always be disagreements. So the fact that some people say except this, we are not going; now they are in a conference, they have to sit down. They must be some trade off if they still want the existence of this country- one way or the other. What will be surprising is if they are so rigid not to be flexible. There is what we were taught about the principle of war. One of those things is that you must have an aim. What are you fighting for? You must maintain your aim. But also we have what we call flexibility. As such we do not say any position is wrong. We only look at advantages and disadvantages in relation to other people’s opinion. Sometimes, we do not go for the position, solution or what appears to be the best. This is because what appears like the best position initially may have serious consequences towards the end. So, if some persons have taken a position, all we expect is that they must be amenable to discussion to listen to others and at the end, find a means through which we can proceed. Some people are not happy the way the military is reacting to the issue of Boko Haram insurgency and the comments they are making. For instance, they said they had located where the Chibok girls are; the other time they said they were close to Sambisa forest. Contradicting comments are being made by government agents and functionaries. How do you view all of these? It is difficult. Sometimes if you criticise you will be making things difficult. I think there ought to be a central point where information must go to and where decision, as to what goes out or is to be disseminated, is taken. But I know that there are competent people there that probably know better. But to answer your question, I think there ought to be a central control. However, what we need to do now is to encourage the military and wish them well. I am using this oppoturnity to put forward a suggestion. I have sat down to look at it critically. If we all believe that what is happening is a national tragedy, something that every Nigerian should be concerned about, then we ought to make an effort at the national level to support our security men. I deliberately didn’t use armed forces but security men – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Civil Defence, DSS, Police, etc. During the Nigerian Civil War, some people came up with the Troop Comfort Fund and it encouraged us. The fund raised was applied in many ways providing food and other needs. So, I advocate the setting up of a Security Trust Fund at the national level. All those involved will know that the Nigerian society sympathised with them and know how this money will be used. Now, many of our troops, including the police, may come back with amputated legs and hands. This money can be ploughed into a central medical centre for the rehabilitation of those who would have been maimed or injured during this crisis. And the fund will be such that every Nigerian who believes that what we are facing now is a big tragedy will contribute to the fund. This is my idea. We need a National Security Fund to assist our security men in this operation, particularly if you believe that this is a national problem and needs the support of everybody.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
HE Bishop of Ondo Diocese (Anglican Communion), Rev. Latunji Lasebikan, has urged politicians in the country across all divides to support President Goodluck Jonathan in tackling the menace of insurgency in the country. Rev. Lasebikan, who is also the Archbishop of Ondo Ecclesiastical Province, gave the admonition in his homily at the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen, Ondo in Ondo West local government area of the State. It was during the funeral service in honour of the late Mrs. Felicia Modupe Adeniyi, mother of the wife of Ondo State governor, Mrs. Olukemi
Victims of abuse assured of police protection
Unite to fight insurgency, Anglican Bishop urges politicians From Leke Akeredolu, Akure
Mimiko. The Clergy, who lamented the incessant killings of innocent people, particularly in the Northern states, attributed the insecurity situation to the level of iniquities in the country. He noted that this could have been averted if people move closer to God and obeyed His commandments. The Archbishop also warned politicians from
playing politics with the issue of insecurity, urging them to unite against the activities of the Boko Haram sect. Lasebikan described late Mrs. Adeniyi as a devoted Anglican Communicant in the community and a mentor, whom he said lived a fulfilled life during her lifetime. According to him, the deceased was a teacher, singer
and a social person whose footprints would remain indelible in the community. The clergy further noted that the calibre of personalities from different walks of life that came to attend the occasion from within and outside Ondo State was a clear testimony of the kind of person she was during her life time. The event was witnessed
by eminent personalities in the country, including the Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Brig. Gen. Oladehinde Arogbofa (rtd), who represented the President; the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was represented by former Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Aro Lambo; Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil; Minister of Communication for Information, Mobolaji Johnson amongst others.
ICTIMS of domestic and child abuse can now speak out and be sure of getting the support of relevant authorities. The Nigeria Police gave this assurance at a conference on safeguarding Nigerian children with the theme: Building a Child Protection System fit for 21st century, organised by Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) and the Centre for Children's Health and Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-Hope) held in Lagos. A police representative, Mr. Monday Agbonika, a Chief Superintendent of Police, said the police is presently partnering with Ford Foundation, medical experts, psychologists and counsellors under the Family Unit Initiative to ensure better support for victims of child abuse and domestic violence. Aware of the fear of stigmatisation by victims, Agbonika disclosed that a unit has been set up in each police formation, which ensures the privacy and confidentiality of victims. Agbonika stressed the need for parents to teach their children sex education early, while imploring the public to always report any criminal act to the Police.
'Over 500,000 women die yearly to child delivery' From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan
HE Community Living Option (CLO) of Adeoyo Maternity Hospital Family Planning Clinic, Alhaja Bashirat Abiola Giwa, has revealed that over 500,000 women die every year as a result of child birth due to lack of family planning. She made this known at a public health service delivery by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Initiative (NURHI) to women to administer on them various contraception method of family planning. The event held at the popular Ayeye Market in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. She said the programme is for women, adding that NURHI has brought so many professionals together under its platform to achieve its objective, which is to reduce maternal mortality rate. Giwa maintained that since NURHI came on board, it has afforded women access to good and free medical services.
From left:Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola; former governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke; Osun State first lady, Alhaja Serifat Aregbesola; interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande at the formal defection of Adeleke from PDP at the Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo... yesterday
Osun to establish first Automotive Institute
â€Ś.sponsors 30 for training in Germany
N its continued quest to make life more meaningful for the citizens, create more job opportunities for youths and enhance their capacities the Osun State Government has almost concluded plans to establish an Automotive Mechatronics Specialist Institute christened "Bola Ige Mechatronics Institute (BIMI). In a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the institute, to be sited at the Osun State College of Technolgy, Esa Oke when completed, will be the first in Nigeria. He pointed out that the institute will deal with the latest technology involved in modern vehicles, which consist of combined electro-mechanical systems with fully automated controls termed "mechatronics" that reduce use of kilos of wires making way for light weight and greater efficient vehicles. The statement also revealed that the state has concluded arrangement to send 30 indigenes of the state to Germany to master the technology. The governor's spokesperson added that fund for the project is an intervention soft loan provision by the National Automotive Council using part of its Auto Development Fund Loan Scheme domiciled with the Bank of Industry (BOI). He said, "Osun is the first of all States and Federal Institutions to establish this
world-class Automotive Skillgap Bridge in Nigeria meant for promoting skills needed for employability of our graduates, technicians and improvement for artisans in the sector.? "End-user training and associated maintenance support for two years was integrated to allow Osun workers master the repairs and routine maintenance under a leadership understudy scheme. "Following due process, advertisement was placed to attract qualified automotive, mechanical and electrical engineers and technicians who were tested/recruited and shall be going for a twomonth in-plant, end-user training at LN, Germany from 5th May to 30th June, 2014 before returning to participate in the installation and commissioning at Esa-Oke." Okanlawon added that the local experts after the completion of their training in Germany will, in turn, serve as train-the-trainers to train other Nigerians at EsaOke. He emphasised that the exercise is purely a practical delivery project as trainees shall be tested and certified before graduation from the centre. He added, "We plan to offer through the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and National Universities Commission (NUC) approval for the upgrade of the Polytechnic syllabus, a degree course on Auto Mechatronics using the facilities in future."
Godfatherism, strength of Nigeria's democracy, says lawmakers By Oziegbe Okoeki
GAINST the backdrop of the negative influence of godfathers in Nigerian politics, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Kazeem Alimi, has described it as a phenomenon that has strengthened democracy in the state. Alimi made this observation during the weekly programme organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly Correspondents tagged 'Time out with the Press' at the Assembly Complex in Ikeja. Voicing his support for the practice, he said. "As far as African context is concerned, there is no way godfatherism can be completely eradicated. Godfatherism has its own advantage; Lagos State for instance, is politically stable because of the fact that we believe in our leaders." Sharing his personal experience, Alimi recalled how he was asked to step down in 2003 by the leadership of his party despite enjoying popular support, adding that the leaders also ensured his return to the House in 2011. While answering question on the secret behind the unity prevalent among Lagos lawmakers, Alimi stated that "the issue behind our success is also the effect of godfatherism. If there is any crisis, the leaders of the party would come in and resolve it since we believe in them.â€?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Alcohol kills every 10 seconds -WHO
Lab scientists flay victimisation by teaching hospitals
By Joke Kujenya
LCOHOL kills approximately 3.3 million people yearly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. It also said that about one person dies every 10 seconds from the substance. In a statement last week, the WHO noted that these deaths are more than those from HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined. In its 2014 global status report on alcohol and health, the WHO said about 5.9percent of deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol. About 7.6 per cent of these deaths, according to the global agency, are shockingly among males, major alcohol consumers. Describing alcohol-related deaths as "perfectly legal drug", the WHO said HIV and AIDS was responsible for only 2.8per cent with tuberculosis just 1.7per cent and violence a meagre 0.9per cent global deaths. WHO Assistant DirectorGeneral for Non- communicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr. Oleg Chestnov, said that more needs to be done to protect the world from negative health consequences of alcohol consumption. He called on governments to conduct national awarenessraising campaigns and provide treatment services for alcoholics. The report, which shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol, noted: "This should really change because alcohol abuse is a global pandemic and governments need to take action to protect their citizens." It suggested higher taxes, raising legal drinking ages and regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages to reduce alcohol consumption. The WHO report noted that most deaths from alcohol arise from associated cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as cirrhosis and increased susceptibility to disease. India and China, according to the report, are increasingly becoming victims of alcohol while Eastern Europe and Russia in particular were singled out for particular concern.
Samsung launches Galaxy 11 campaign
AMSUNG Electronics West Africa has kicked off its Galaxy 11 campaign in Nigeria with series of consumer engagement activities at the Ikeja City Mall. Consumers participating in the activation on June 5 stand the chance of winning fantastic gifts, freebies and prizes, including the new Galaxy S5. Samsung's brand ambassadors, Banky W and Kate Henshaw, as well as other celebrity star attractions will also visit the activation site on select days to engage attendees at the weeklong event. Galaxy 11 is a multi-platform global marketing campaign that deploys elements of fantasy in telling the story of attempts by 13 international football players to save the planet from alien domination in a virtual "winner takes Earth" match. The Managing Director of Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Brovo Kim, said the Galaxy 11 campaign represents the latest example of Samsung's approach to developing innovative promotions that leverage its people-inspired technology while uniting fans' passions and helping to enhance their everyday experiences in new ways.
From Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos
â€˘From left : Founder/Patron, Nobelhouse College, Chief (Dr.) Olatunde Abudu; Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Alake of Egba, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan and Chairman, Board of Governors, Nobelhouse College, Dr. Ganiyu Soyoye (behind) during the official commissioning of the newly built Obafemi Awolowo Hall to commemorate the 4th Founder's Day of the college and 85th birthday of Abudu in Abeokuta, Ogun State yesterday.
Doctors to FG: Don't tamper with teaching hospital act M EDICAL doctors have warned the federal government not to tamper with the University Teaching Hospitals Act. They argued that amendment to the act will further degrade the training of medical students and medical research. Briefing reporters in Abuja yesterday, President of the Medical and Dental Consultants' Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Dr Steven Oluwole, said the attempt to amend the act is targeted at throwing the headship of hospitals open to any hospital staff. For those agitating to throw the headship of teach-
From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
ing hospitals to every health professional aside from medical doctors, Oluwole said it is a dangerous trend, which will end up destroying the sector. He explained the position is not against the efforts of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) but an effort to ensure quality training of medical research and development of medicine. He stressed that the operation of teaching hospitals is more technical and should not be politicised. The MDCAN president said: "The call to repeat or amend this act has the sole objective to throw open the headship of hospitals to any
member of hospital staff. "While we recognise that there are hospitals outside of Nigeria that are headed by non-doctors, we contend that wholesale application of that to all hospitals is faulty. "Teaching hospitals, which the Act specifically addresses, are usually headed by academic doctors. This is only appropriate since these hospitals were established to serve the universities that they are named after. "They are primarily training institutions expected to research and develop as well as provide quality services. They are not for-profit-hospitals that are run by managers, who have primary financial interests."
He warned that should government repeal the act, the health sector will experience paralysis. Oluwole, who also spoke on JOHESU demands on career progression for support staff, said his group is not opposed to it but hinted "no staff of tertiary hospital should hold nominal or titular office that will hinder functions of other staff." He further added that appointment of multiple directors in tertiary hospitals will induce chaos in a system that requires well defined chain of command. On salary of honorary consultants, Oluwole said the allegation of double salary is disingenuous.
Boko Haram: Carrot and stick approach best option, AANI tells Jonathan
HE Alumni Association of National Institute for Strategic Policy (AANISPP) has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to adopt the carrot and stick approach to end the Boko Haram insurgency. Its President, Major General Lawrence Onoja (rtd), and the Secretary General, Issa Aremu, spoke with newsmen at the AANI Secretariat in Maitama, Abuja at the weekend. Onoja said Jonathan can
By FANEN IHYONGO, Jalingo
apply the carrot and stick approach, particularly in the efforts to bring back the over 200 students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, abducted by the Boko Haram sect many weeks ago. He said: "Our position on this is that we need the combination of all the strategies; there is nothing wrong in using a dual approach -the carrot and stick. "I remember vividly that
even in solving the problems of Israelis and the Lebanese, sometimes, prisoners were exchanged in order to restore peace. "All we want is peace and if there is anything the federal government can do, in addition to what it is already doing to bring peace and bring these children back to their parents will, be welcome. The former Military Administrator of Plateau and Katsina States emphasised
that Jonathan must combine the strategy of constructive engagement with all stakeholders including traditional rulers. "This requires the cooperation of people as well as complimentary security delivery by the government," he said. The association also visited victims of the Nyanya bombings in various hospitals and condemned the acts of terrorism across the country.
Chibok girls: Jonathan's speech belated, says Melaye
FORMER member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan's speech on rescue efforts for the abducted over 200 Chibok school is belated and pathetic. He said it was unfortunate it took over 40 days before the president could think of pulling resources together to rescue the girls. He spoke at the symposium organised by the #Bringbackourgirls protesters with the theme: Citizens, accountability and democracy. Melaye said: "His comment
From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
is not only belated but has demonstrated a high degree of insensitivity towards the missing girls. "To start with, the response of the federal government towards this satanic manifestation of Boko Haram came 19 days after the abduction. "It is laughable, myopic and porous. It does not show seriousness. For the president to make a comment forty- something days after giving powers to the military to go after the abductors is very laughable; it is a shame."
He went on: "We have resulted to celestial means of bringing these girls back and that is why we are here. That is why we are praying and doing what we are doing." On the attack against the group, the human right activist said: "The truth of the matter is it is a style of this government to confront violently any opinion that will expose their inadequacies. "What government did by hiring thugs on defenceless, harmless Nigerians is not new. The same methodology was applied during the Occupy Nigeria protest in 2012. So, it is al-
ready a known strategy. "What they want to do is weaken this group. To stop the media attention that #bringbackourgirls is generating. But honestly speaking, we are not discouraged or intimidated. "Their action has only strengthened us because the battle to bring back this girls is a battle of no retreat, no surrender. "We are not afraid of anything and we cannot be afraid of anything. We shall not be intimidated or cajoled. For me personally, I have overcome fear."
ABORATORY scientists in teaching hospitals have alleged undue victimisation by medical directors of the institutions. They particularly said the managements of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Federal Medical Centre Ido Ekiti and Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital Ogbomosho have engaged in flagrant abuses of their colleagues. The President of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Dr Godswill Okara, told reporters in Jos yesterday that authorities of the teaching hospitals have been persecuting their members. He said: "Managements of these hospitals have developed a culture of lawlessness, arbitrariness, impunity and incessant harassment of workers in the health sector for no justifiable reasons." He specifically accused JUTH of refusing to reinstate seven of its members unjustly sacked by the Professor Edmund Banwat-led management despite a court judgment restraining it from terminating or suspending them. Okara explained: "We have noticed the illegal demotion, punitive posting and humiliation of confirmed medical laboratory scientists by the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Ido Ekiti and the management of Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital Ogbomosho without recourse to public service rules and procedures." Such acts of provocation and intimidation, Okara said, portend danger to the healthcare industry, law and order and members of the public He noted that the politicisation of the headship of hospitals through Decree 10 of 1985 as the root of the decay and decline in the health sector. According to him, the only way to prevent the situation from degenerating further is to professionalise the management of hospitals like in the 1950s.
Why fuel scarcity will linger, by PENGASSAN
By Jide Orintunsin, Minna
HE proposal by the federal government for total withdrawal of subsidy will not address fuel scarcity, former zonal chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Mohammed Sa'idu, has warned. Sa'idu said that the construction of new refineries and increase in local production of refined products will stop the long queues in filling stations. He spoke at the 4th triennial zonal conference of Kaduna zone of the association in Minna. He said: "Fuel scarcity will continue to linger in the country even if government decides to make a total withdrawal of fuel subsidy due to wide gap between local production and our daily consumption." The union leader argued that the optimal production capacity of the nation's refineries is 17 million litres per day while the country's daily local consumption requirement is in the region of 40 million litres.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Bayelsa Assembly summons commissioner, others From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
HE Bayelsa State House of Assembly has summoned the state Commissioner for Education, Chief Salo Adikumo, his permanent secretary and the Executive Secretary of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) over alleged rot in the state's education system. The affected persons are expected to appear before the lawmakers next Tuesday to explain the decay in the system. Also to appear before the House, include the Chairman of the Senior Secondary Schools Board and the Special Adviser and the Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Education Matters. The House also ordered the officials to come along with their nominal roll of teachers and other employees under their control. It was also gathered that the officials have been asked to list the current positing of teachers to various schools under their supervision. Governor Seriake Dickson had ordered the arrest of some SUBEB officials over issues bordering on alleged financial mismanagement. Investigations by the House of Assembly revealed that there was about four to one disparity ratio in the teaching staff of schools in the urban centres and the rural areas. The discovery was said to have forced the lawmakers to wonder why there were more employees in the deep rural areas than in the urban areas.
Adeleke defects to APC in colourful ceremony F S
Seven suspected killers of policemen arrested
IRST civilian governor of Osun State and former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) in the Senate, Isiaka Adeleke, yesterday defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) with thousands of his supporters. Adeleke, a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was received with his supporters by the APC leaders, including the party's national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, as well as Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti). The colourful ceremony was held at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park. Addressing the huge crowd, Akande congratulated Aregbesola for Adeleke and his supporters' decision to come into
From: Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
the APC. He noted that Adeleke's father was a renowned progressive politician with immense contributions, adding that he was glad to join other APC leaders to receive the former governor into the party. Among the defectors that followed Adeleke into the APC were Mufutau Ayinde, Kamoru Adegoke, Kamoru Ajisafe, Bashir Salam and others. All of them said they resolved to leave the PDP because of the violent nature of many of its chieftains and join the APC because of its progressive nature. They also cited the performances of Governor Aregbesola as another decider for them.
Adeleke and his supporters were formally received and given the APC flags in place of that of the PDP, which was burnt. The former governor narrated how he was violently attacked by the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore; Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan, and others at a public function. Adeleke, who said he did not have any problem with the PDP, maintained he left the party because he found it difficult to work with the criminals whom he said dominated the PDP in Osun State. He said: "I can never work with criminal and violent people. My advice for the people of Osun State is that they should not vote for the criminals. They cannot do better than Aregbesola." Acknowledging
Aregbesola's performance, he assured him of his support for the second term. Aregbesola berated the PDP for misrule, saying the people of Ede are progressive and cannot work with "those who have got nothing to offer them." He recalled the late sage Obafemi Awolowo's prophecy that "the good people would be separated from the bad" and noted that Adeleke's defection has made the prophecy very relevant. Some of those in attendance at the event included the interim national legal adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire; the APC acting chairman in Osun State, Elder Adebiyi Adelowo; the governor's wife, Sherifat; members of the National Assembly and the state House of Assembly and others.
ROMINENT kinsman of President Goodluck Jonathan and erstwhile Security Adviser in Bayelsa State, Mr. Richard Kpodo, has asked the president to declare for reelection in 2015 or his kinsmen will be forced to do it for him. Kpodo also alleged that the spate of bombings and increased violence by Boko Haram were intended to stop the president from seeking reelection. Kpodo, who served under Jonathan's administration in Bayelsa State, as Senior Special Assistant on Strategy and Policy Monitoring, said: "There is no better time for the president to declare than now. "We have studied elected presidents from the time of the Second Republic to the military and discovered that the style of administration of Goodluck Jonathan is unique. He has remained calm despite provocation and temptation." He wondered why northern leaders have been at the forefront of attacking Jonathan's administration after bungling many opportunities to develop the north in the past. Kpodo called on Jonathan to shun the antics of Boko Haram and its sponsors and declare his intention to run in 2015 without further delay.
EVEN members of suspected gang of illegal oil bunkerers that allegedly killed nine policemen in a coastal community at the boundary of Ondo and Ogun states have been arrested by men of Gallery Security Services (GSS), Agadagba-Obon in conjunction with the Joint Task Force in Ese-Odo local government area of the state. The suspects were arrested at different locations in the area following a tip off by members of the communities. A gang of pipeline vandals and illegal oil bunkerers had allegedly killed the nine policemen who were on patrol at Abule Egba, a riverine community between Ondo and Ogun states carting away their rifles in the process. The chairman of GSS, Bibipiri Ajube, informed members of the JTF, who immediately swung into action after receiving a tip-off that the suspects had arrived the town with the slain cops' nine rifles. Ajube said: "When we got information that the boys had come to town with the guns, we informed the JTF, which gave us some of their men and we went after the suspects." The seven suspects arrested are Felix Iyayu, Austin Ebioye, Izufaye Legbe, Agabara Tiewe, Tanmara and two others. During their interrogation, the suspects confessed that they were involved in the business of illegal oil bunkering but denied involvement in the killing of the nine policemen.
Umana's group alleges reign of terror
Kinsman to Jonathan: Declare or ... From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
â€˘Mr. Chas Nwam congratulating the recently crowned Chief Anthony Nwabuotu, the Ide of Issele-Uku, Delta State... recently
Obasanjo, Alake: Abiola died for Nigeria
RESUMED winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Abiola, paid the supreme price for the country, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, said yesterday. The duo lamented that Abiola's failed mission to reclaim his stolen mandate stopped Ogun State for producing the third President of Nigeria. Apart from Obasanjo, who ruled Nigeria as a Head of
By Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
State before winning the 1999 presidential election, former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, also from the Gateway state, presided over the affairs of the nation. Obasanjo and Alake spoke yesterday at the 4th founder's day of Nobel house College, Abeokuta and 85th birthday celebration of an industrialist and philanthropist, Chief Olatunde Abudu. This was ahead of the 21st anniversary of the 1993 presi-
dential election believed to be the freest and fairest in the nation. Obasanjo, who was a guest at the event, was reacting to a remark by the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, that Ogun State could have produced three presidents if not for 'bad belle.' Obasanjo said: "As Kabiyesi has said that Ogun State would have produced three presidents if not for 'bad belle.' I want to agree with him that Abiola sacrificed for the nation. "Indeed, Abiola contrib-
uted to the development of this country. He sacrificed everything for the development of this country." Last December, Obasanjo also noted that the office of the President of Nigeria should have been permanent for Ogun state's deserving sons and daughters. The former President lamented that were it not for "bad belle," the state would have had the rare luck of producing three leaders at the centre but the prospect of achieving that feat was aborted by persons not disposed to it.
Dickson lavished N2bn on AMAA, APC alleges
HE Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, of allegedly squandering N2bn to host the just concluded African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). The 10th edition of AMAA, which has been hosted since its inception by the state, took place in Yenagoa, the state capital, last weekend. But the APC in a statement signed by its Publicity
Secretary, Mr. Fortune Panebi, claimed that the last edition of AMAA was an "erected conduit" through which scarce public funds were drained. The party said the funds would have been deployed to tackle needed areas and alleviate the sufferings of the people of the state. The party noted, "Governor Seriake Dickson, who was a major critic of AMAA when he was in the National Assembly, is yet to identify that the state has not made any progress, neither has it reaped
any corresponding benefit for all that it has expended in the hosting of AMAA over the past 10 years. "This is a noisy carouse. We condemn the wastage, particularly at a time when the government has confessed of economic hardship confronting the state and its inability to meet with genuine rights and privileges of civil servants. "We therefore demand convincing explanations from the state government on existing tourism sites that should warrant the continu-
ous hosting of AMAA and the commensurate gains people of the state have derived so far." The APC said it was disturbed that the state was busy jubilating despite the security challenges that had bedevilled the country and had kept it in black books of the international community. But the governor in a "Thank You" advert said the programme was not bankrolled by the state government but corporate organisations and individuals.
From Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
HE Umana Okon Umana (UOU) Political Network has alleged reign of terror and political assassination in Akwa Ibom State ahead of the 2015 governorship elections. Speaking at a briefing in Uyo, the state capital, the Director of Research and Publicity of UOU Political Network, Ita Awak, described as a charade the recent exercise in which the Department of State Services (DSS) Akwa Ibom State Command, paraded five suspected armed robbers who were alleged to have attacked Mr. Soni Udom, the DirectorGeneral of the network. "They also disclosed that they were all arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State a couple of days after their operation in Uyo. The gangsters further revealed that they were recruited in Port Harcourt by a link man named, "Anas" for a "special job" in Uyo. "It is important that we get to know the true identity of "Anas" as this is the only way we can get to know the chief reason why he hired the 5-man killer gang and brought them to Uyo." When contacted, the Commissioner for information, Aniekan Umanah, dismissed the allegations. He explained that it was only the security agents that had the competence to speak on the matter.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
US solider freed from captivity in Afghanistan
Egypt criminalises dishonouring anthem, flag
GYPT'S outgoing interim president, Adly Mansour, issued a decree making dishonouring the Egyptian flag or not standing for the national anthem a criminal offense, punishable by sentences of up to one year in prison and a fine of more than $4,000, his spokesman said yesterday. Presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi told reporters the decree states that the national anthem and flag are "symbols of the state that must be respected and treated with veneration." Egypt is witnessing a rising wave of nationalist fervour following the July military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after mass protests against him. The decree increased previously suggested penalties from late last year, which were set at a maximum six months in prison and over $700 in fines. The decree also bans raising the flag if it was torn, its colour faded, or with distorted design. Criminalising disrespect of the national emblems appears rooted in recent controversies around the national flag and anthem during Egypt's last three years of turmoil.
HE only American solider held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is back in U.S. custody after nearly five years of captivity, U.S. officials said yesterday. The officials said the Taliban agreed to turn over Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The transfers happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the government of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans. In a statement, President Barack Obama said Bergdahl's recovery "is a reminder of America's unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield." Officials said the Taliban turned over the 28-year-old Bergdahl yesterday evening, local time, in Afghanistan. Several dozen U.S. special forces were involved in the exchange, which took place in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity in order to describe the details of his release. Bergdahl is expected to be transferred to Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, then on to the United States. Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, had been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009.
Four Afghans killed in Pakistani border strike
N airstrike by Pakistani forces along the Afghan border killed four civilians yesterday, officials said, as a Pakistani offensive against Taliban militants continued despite protests by the Afghan government. Pakistan launched its first major offensive in years against insurgents near the Afghan border on May 22 after several rounds of government-led peace talks ended in failure. "A Pakistani army helicopter strike in Dangam district killed four civilians and wounded ten others," said Abdul Habib Sayed Khel, police chief of Afghanistan's Kunar province, adding that 124 rockets had landed in the province on Saturday alone. Afghanistan says hundreds of rockets and bombs have landed in Afghan villages close to the border since the offensive began 11 days ago. Anger over the strikes prompted Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday to demand the Pakistani government take action to stop its military killing Afghan civilians. Pakistan said the airstrikes had targeted Taliban militants conducting attacks on Pakistani soil from across the Afghan border, but agreed to investigate claims that civilians had been killed.
•Meriam pictured holding her new born baby, to be freed
Sudan death row woman T 'to be freed' T HE Sudanese woman sentenced to death earlier this month after refusing to renounce her Christian faith will reportedly be freed in the next few days. A foreign ministry official told the BBC that Meriam Ibrahim, 27, is guaranteed religious freedom in the country, despite a judge's earlier ruling that she should be hanged for apostasy. Ibrahim gave birth to a girl early Tuesday at a prison clinic in Omdurman, near Khartoum, one of her attor-
neys told FoxNews.com by phone. She also faces 100 lashes for adultery – for being intimate with her husband, Daniel Wani, who fled to the United States as a child to escape the civil war in southern Sudan, but later returned. International outrage against Ibrahim’s sentence has grown significantly in recent weeks, as more than a
million people signed online petitions protesting the sentence. One such effort on Change.org has garnered more than 630,000 signatures as of Friday, and Amnesty International officials have characterized the punishment doled out by a judge to be a “flagrant breach” of international human rights law. It’s also a violation of Sudan’s own Constitution,
according to the State Department. It is not clear what diplomatic pressure the U.S. can bring to bear on Khartoum. Although American taxpayers send roughly $300 million per year in economic aid, the help is largely in the form of food and medicine. Cutting it off would only hurt the people, and not the regime of President Omar alBashir, who has been indicted as a war criminal by the International Criminal Court.
N Korea sentences S Korea missionary to life of hard labour
ORTH Korea has sentenced a South Korean missionary to hard labour for life, after he was convicted of spying and setting up an underground church. The state news agency said the man, named as Kim Jong-uk, had confessed to all his crimes. Pyongyang is still holding another missionary, US citizen Kenneth Bae, who re-
ceived 15 years hard labour in 2013. Religious activity is restricted in the North, with missionaries arrested on multiple occasions in the past. "Mr Kim tried to infiltrate into Pyongyang after illegally trespassing on the border for the purpose of setting up an underground church and gathering information about the internal affairs of the
DPRK (North Korea) while luring its inhabitants into South Korea and spying on the DPRK," the KCNA news agency said. The prosecution had reportedly been seeking a death sentence for the 50year-old missionary. The ruling comes three months after Kim read aloud a public apology on North Korean TV for his "anti-state crimes".
He was arrested after crossing into the country from China last October. Earlier this year, Australian missionary John Short was deported from North Korea after being detained for allegedly distributing religious material. Tensions are running high between the Koreas, following a recent exchange of gunfire between both countries' forces
Iran Guards commander killed in Syria
COMMANDER from Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been killed in Syria, media said yesterday, a disclosure that runs counter to Tehran's insistence it is not fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Reports that Abdollah Eskandari died while "de-
fending" a Shiite shrine emerged earlier this week but neither the elite military unit nor Iran's foreign ministry have passed comment. However, the Fars news agency reported that a funeral service would be held for the commander today in the city of Shiraz. Eskandari was formerly a
commander of the Guards' ground forces and also headed a state-run charity in southern Iran that helps war veterans and families of fallen soldiers. Neither the circumstances of his killing nor details about his role in the Syrian civil war -- where Iran has staunchly backed the Assad regime -have been officially con-
firmed. Since the conflict's outbreak in March 2011, Iran has provided Damascus with intelligence, material and military advisers. But Iran insists it has never sent combat troops to Syria, rejecting such claims made by mostly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.
India gang rape inquiry stepped up
HE chief minister of a northern Indian state where two teenage cousins were gang raped and hanged has recommended a federal inquiry into the incident. The move comes after alleged police inaction sparked outrage in Uttar Pradesh state. Three suspected attackers have been detained, along with two policemen accused of dereliction of duty and criminal conspiracy. The girls were found hanged from a tree in Badaun district earlier in the week. The victims' families say it took police more than 12 hours to respond to reports they were missing. The father of one victim earlier told the BBC he was ridiculed by police when he sought help in finding his daughter. He said that when policemen found out he was from a lower caste, they "refused to look for my girl". "The chief minister has decided to recommend a probe into the Badaun incident as demanded by family members of the victims," the office of Akhilesh Yadav said yesterday. He had come under attack for earlier remarks mocking female journalists who asked about the rising number of rape cases at a news briefing. "You are safe, why are you bothered?" the chief minister had said. Yesterday's announcement follows a pledge by the government to set up a fast-track court to deal with the case. Divisions between India's castes run deep, and violence is often used by upper castes to instil fear in lower castes, correspondents say.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Ukraine: Befuddling those who would rule the world
RESIDENTIAL elections took place in Ukraine last week. The elections did nothing to quell the growing unrest. If anything, the elections exacerbated the tension between Kiev and the eastern region. The nation has graduated from the stage of violent protests to open fighting between government forces and eastern insurgents that have all the trappings of incipient civil war. The new president, a manufacturer of confections, seems destined to have his administration defined by the sourness of war. Meanwhile, the United States and other Western democracies oppose the quest of the easterners to seek greater autonomy or liberty from a central government that they believe means them no good. On the other hand, Russia, never known to be gentle in its conquests, now bristles at the Kiev government’s strongarm methods to impose its will on the easterners. All along the battlements, irony abounds. I have written extensively about the Ukrainian predicament because it conglobates the major currents in the global political economy into one rotund mess. While the crisis plays out in the Ukraine, it has much to do with how the world order will be defined in the coming years and thus has much to do with all of us. This global dimension makes Ukraine the most important and, potentially, the most dangerous of our day’s conflagrations. While other conflicts stand more violently, this particular dispute is freighted with deep consequences the others can never portend. First, this is a battle of large powers for influence and control over a rich, and fertile but weaker nation. Second, it is a contest to reestablish the contours of a balance of power in Eastern Europe. A balance of power is only required where there are two or more rival powers. Implicit in this new reality is that Russia now asserts her traditional role as the Czar of Europe’s eastern reaches. However, this affronts the American/Western European myth of the Cold War permanently resolving the issue of a European balance of power in their occidental favor. For Russia to challenge this is to unfairly challenge the verdict of history, the West believes. These nations arrogant assume a fortuitous chain of events is to forever be recognized simply because those events placed advantage in their hands. They want every other nation and their peoples to believe history should now and forever stand still. They fail to understand as long as man exists, history will be made and unmade, not necessarily in their preferred image. Third, this is a battle to dominate the flow of oil and gas on the Eurasian land mass. Fourth, it is a battle whether America can continue to exploit the dominance of the dollar not only to control economic matters but to reverse the strategic foreign policy of another sovereign nation via imposition of sanctions. From the Russian viewpoint, it is an attempt to free itself from American “dollarism,” plotting a course where it and other nations begin to conduct their international transactions without absolute reliance on the dollar as the means of global exchange. Fifth, and most importantly, this is a battle whether the world will remain a “unipolar” one dominated by the lone superpower or will it revert back to the more historically-common multipolar constellation where several powers hold sway over their geographically limited (regional) spheres of influence. Again, America seeks to overrule the normal dynamics of history by demanding that history stand still and that other nations acquiesce in this static appointment for history. In this, American policy makers regrettably mistake the exceptional but transient factors leading to its global dominance as evidence America shall forever be the sole global power. America’s rise to power was an incident of history. Protected by two oceans from the incessant conflict of the old world, America developed economically in relative peace. It then uses its access to those two oceans, in combination with its colossal economic power, to spread its economic tentacles far and wide. While Europe and Asia destroyed themselves in two gruesome World Wars, distant America entered both conflagrations late. It was able to obtain the
The wise man knows the limits of his power but the powerful man rarely knows the limits of his wisdom
•Acting governor of the Donetsk People's Republic and leader of the Novorossiya Party, Pavel Gubarev, 2nd left, Prime Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Borodai, center, and head of the Supreme Council Presidium of the Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin, 3rd right, at the rally in support of the Donetsk People's Republic on Lenin Square in Donetsk yesterday
fruits of victory without experience the devastation of fighting a protracted war on its own soil. The power and wealth differential between America and the rest of the world was a vast expanse as a result of these global wars. America stubbornly insists the gap should be maintained. In this, it fights the futile fight. In the long-run, the power differential must decrease. The factors that led to America’s ascendance are no longer operative to the same extent. Moreover, no country has an overriding concentration of human genius and industry to justify such a gap in perpetuity. Many these rival powers own an enviable history of achievement, progress, prowess and power. Some of these nations were major contributors to world history for centuries. In the case of China, for several millennia, before America was a glint of an idea in the eyes of its rebellious founding fathers. As irony would have it, America now occupies a place similar to the British Empire against which it rebelled. Today, America uses its might to stop other nations from rebelling against its global domination. In the end, America cannot win this battle; it cannot hope to simultaneously contain the ambitions of Russia, China, India, Brazil and others. Implementing such a policy against an amalgam of nations with populations and landmasses several fold larger than America’s will be exorbitant madness born from ignorant arrogance. Yet, at this stage, America attempts this impossible feat. Ultimately, it will resign itself to the futility of the objective. This may take awhile. As the world awaits this prudent enlightenment, America may do much damage to itself and other nations in the process of trying to hold to an exalted yet intrinsically fleeting global position. In trying to simultaneously thwart numerous rivals, America ironically accelerates its own diminution by compelling these nations to cooperate with each to a degree that would not have been achieved had America embarked on a more nuanced strategic policy. Due to Ukraine, Russia has angled closer toward China, moving fast to establish a strategic partnership challenging America’s geopolitical, military and financial might. As intriguing as all this is, much of it lies in the uncertain future. The building blocks of that future are now being shaped in Ukraine. From the limited perspective of holding an election, the West gained a victory of sorts with the election of their acolyte, Petro Poroshenko, as the next president of this selfembattled nation. The election lends greater
legitimacy to the government in Kiev. Weeks ago, Presdient Obama referred to the then government I Kiev as elected. His statement was a lie when made. If made today, it would be true. However, this change may be more semantic than substantive, for, on the larger chessboard, where grand strategy is played, the West continues to be outwitted by the Russian leader. The Western-backed coup that overthrew the elected Yanukovych government ignited unrest in eastern Ukraine to the extent that the Crimea seceded from Ukraine to cohere to Russia. Obviously, Russia helped instigate this move. The change served Russian interests all too well for Moscow to have left such a thing to chance. In one quick grab, Russian regained a peninsula that it previously owned. Russia also preserved its Black Sea fleet, instrumental in projecting power into the Balkans and beyond the Dardanelles into the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean where the Syrian coast lies. Often what is not readily seen is the most important thing. By snatching Crimea, Russia more than doubled its shoreline on the Black Sea. Under the murky waters of that sea are great oil and gas deposits. Those deposits that once belonged to Ukraine are now, by virtue of the Crimean secession, Russian assets. The deals Western oil companies where to strike with the Ukrainian government are no longer to be unless the secession is reversed. The West thought the coup strengthened its hand against Russia. Instead, the coup strengthened Western influence in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, but weakened the West’s influence over how Russia would react to events in Ukraine. To regain its leverage, the West has embarked on a dangerous policy that can no longer pretend to be anything but antiRussian. Western policy is two-fold. First, impose sanctions to weaken the Russian economy with the thin hope this will undermine Putin and begin the process of his demise. Second, cause such havoc and violence in eastern Ukraine that Putin is forced to intervene militarily to protect the Russian-speaking populace of that region. If they can entice Putin into the snare, they will inflict grievous sanctions on Russia and flood military help into Ukraine. The desire is to heap such an inglorious defeat on Putin that the walls of his Kremlin will crack from within and without. Understanding the limits of his power and the extent of his nation’s interests, Putin refused the bait. Again, the West miscalculated. They believed Putin craved eastern Ukraine so much that he awaited the slightest pretext to
annex the region. They thought his annexation of Crimea had revealed unrepentant land lust. However, the strategic, economic and historic importance of Crimea is vastly greater than eastern Ukraine’s. Putin does not want to own eastern Ukraine. He would rather have it as a buffer between him and the West. To seize eastern Ukraine resolves no strategic question for him. All it would do is to draw a stark dividing line between EU/NATO Europe and Russia. This would be a line of friction, compelling Russia to devote tremendous resources to that border. It is more advantageous to have a buffer state between Russia and the West’s sphere of influence. Provided Russia maintains influence, such a buffer insulates Russia from Western provocations. It provides Putin breathing room. The West hoped Putin would salivate over Eastern Ukraine and leap at it like a starving man at a buffet table. He did not bite because he realized the meal was not for him. The more the West goads him, the more he backs away. He removed troops deployed at the border so that a border incident could not be manufactured. Then he asked the eastern provinces to suspend their autonomy/secession plebiscites. The regions proceeded with the referenda notwithstanding the lack of formal Russian imprimatur. Certainly, Putin did not try to bring the anvil down on the eastern secessionists in a way that they would be forced to terminate their insurgency. Additionally, he has likely looked the other way as Russian irregulars join to aid their kinsmen in eastern Ukraine. All this is allowed because the eastern Ukrainians are allies who serve his purposes. But he does not want them under his roof. He would like them in the outer tent. Putin would rather Ukraine remain whole, but in an unsettled condition, with the eastern region looking to him as its benefactor. In this way, he always has a hand in Ukrainian events while maintaining the buffer between him and EU/NATO. This scenario secures his interests better than expanding his border westward only to abut a rump westernleaning Ukraine completely in the EU/ NATO orbit. This is not to say that all Western nations are as seized with confrontation as America. While German Chancellor Merkel maintains a public face of solidarity with the American policy, German officials are unhappy with America’s hardnosed policy. They feel it is bellicose. German newspapers have carried stories of German intelligence leaks revealing that hundred of America intelligence, security and military operatives have clandestinely been inserted into Ukraine to help Kiev suppress rebellion in the eastern region. This help may have come with unjust and lethal results. During unrest in Odessa, groups of peaceful anti-Kiev protestors ran into a government building to hide from marauding pro-government skinheads. As police and army stood aside and watched, the skinheads tossed Molotov cocktails into the building until it was alit. Dozens of innocent people were killed in the ensuing fire. While trying to escape the flames, others were shot by the vigilantes. All of this was captured on videotape. No one was arrested for the gruesome massacre of people simply exercising their right to protest against government. The West did not issue a diplomatic protest or make a peep. This incident raises an interesting point. The West fervently accuses Putin of orchestrating eastern events. This could well be. However, justice requires that the West is measured by the same stick by which Putin is judged. If so, then the West must be complicit in fomenting trouble since the presence of American clandestine operatives has been revealed by one of America’s staunchest allies. Here, something must be said of mainstream electronic media. Their beating the drums of war has become shameless. They have abandoned all objectivity in the matter. They have carried the storyline of the American government as if they were America’s private-sector Ministry of Information. When the Odessa massacre took place, international television stations had the information about culprits. Yet, they purposely distorted their reporting so the Continued on page 75
Femi Orebe Page 16
SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Akpabio, Akpabio email@example.com 08054503906 (sms only)
ANY people must have been wondering why tongues have been wagging in Akwa Ibom State since Monday when the state house of assembly passed into law a bill presented to it by Governor Godswill Akpabio. The bill, as passed, sought a pension for life at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent governor, to former governors and ex-deputy governors. It also provided for the former governor a provision for funds to employ a cook, drivers and security guards at a sum not exceeding N5million per month and N2.5million for the deputy. The (former) governor would also be entitled to free medical services for his person and spouse at a sum not exceeding N100million per annum and N50million for former deputy governor. Moreover, the former governor is entitled to a befitting accommodation not below a five-bed room maisonette in either Abuja or Akwa Ibom and a yearly accommodation allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor of the state. I can hear you ask: what is a maisonette? You cannot know and should not bother, after all, you are not a retired governor. Other allowances include a severance gratuity of 300 per cent of annual basic salary as of the time the governor leaves office, among other things. I guess the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that had earlier threatened to embark on a protest to halt the passing of the bill eventually saw reason; hence, its failure to embark on the protest. A newspaper report said the union merely “turned numb as the House, after moving a motion for the bill to be read the third time, passed it into law”. That is what contemporary labour unionism demands – labour leaders don’t have to be unrealistically rigid; they also reserve the right to use their discretion and soft-pedal when confronted with superior argument. The proviso in this case is that the labour leaders have to be convinced that the people explaining the situation to them must at some point be making sense. So, the labour leaders can then ‘try their best’, to quote a prominent traditional ruler in the June 12 debacle. ‘Trying their best’ in this context means aborting the protest they had earlier threatened to embark upon. I know mischief makers with dirty minds would be saying all kinds of things now that the labour leaders have seen the light. For instance, they would start thinking that the governor must have silenced them with wads of naira or even dollar or pound sterling notes, or that their banks must have sent alerts to them about some strange but welcome deposits in their accounts. But beyond all that speculation, what the new law confirms is that our governors are not only going to have the good life here; they are also going to have it more abundantly hereafter. In other words, they will not only live well, they will also die well. Shakespeare agrees with that: “When beggars die there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes”? And, I think our governors deserve it all for the meritorious services they are rendering. You reserve the right to argue that not all of them deserve to be pampered, but no one can say that Governor Akpabio has not worked well enough. Apparently, it is in recognition of his hard work that the legislators quickly passed the bill into law before some people will throw spanner in the works in the name of protest. It is such people who do not see any-
Why should the governor’s stupendous retirement package for himself be an issue?
thing good in political leaders who have described as ‘indecent haste’ the hurry with which the house of assembly passed the bill. What they did not understand is that the lawmakers must have been guided by the governor’s achievements. The legislators should simply ignore people who might be thinking that they were induced to pass the law. Another thing that must have worked in the governor’s interest is the fact that Governor Akpabio is also a ‘friend of the president’. If the governor does not have complimentary cards to that effect, the presidency should ensure, as a matter of urgency, that he gets some. Such cards served as meal ticket for one influential Nigerian in the Obasanjo era. To be fair to Akpabio, he has been of tremendous assistance to President Goodluck Jonathan, whether in the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Governors Forum which he is its chairman, to whittle down the power of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) that the presidency polarised; or even in the NGF election that the presidency celebrated Governor Jonah Jang who had 16 votes as winner, against Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s 19 votes. Indeed, you must be of the world to be wondering why Governor Akpabio and President Jonathan are soul mates. The rest of us understand that this is quite natural. While the former has good luck always answering unto him, especially after his initial shoeless years, the latter always believes that whatever he does has the imprimatur of God. And there is a limit to how far we can query someone who bears God as part of his name if that person says his actions are based on God’s will, when even people who have no such semblance with God use God’s name in vain for all kinds of things, including waiting on Him to tell them if they should contest third term or not! Apart from these two incidents, and, lest I forget, a third, which was the governor’s manipulation of the result of a 2007 PDP senatorial primary election in the state by singlehandedly replacing the winner with the name of his preferred candidate, we should be able to canonise Governor Akpabio, more than seven years after assuming office, with the angels rejoicing in heaven. After all, he is human and, to err is human, and to forgive, divine. At any rate, none of these acts is corrupt practice. By President Jonathan’s (thank God he is not
“A governor that works well also deserves to retire well. Above all, if Governor Akpabio is said to be generous to a fault; why then should he be stingy to himself? Akpabio, Akpabio!”
our grundnorm) definition, they could only amount to mere em... em. As a matter of fact, these misdemeanours pale into insignificance when we consider the governor’s numerous achievements. But one that interests me is the way he has caused a scarcity of housemaids in the country. Before his coming to power on May 29, 2007, Akwa Ibom State was, in a writer’s view, “a foraging ground for persons seeking housemaids and house-help”. Governor Akpabio reversed that with his enactment of a Child Rights and Protection Law which makes it mandatory for every Akwa Ibom girl-child to be in school instead of wasting away in the homes of some rich people in Lagos and its environs. These Lagos big people, they are now like the tortoise that cannot be missing in any ignoble conduct. Remember it was their children that the president accused in 2012 of enjoying the entire subsidy that government pays on petrol! Akwa Ibom girls played immeasurable roles in the lives of their masters in those days before Akpabio made us understand that they did not have a monopoly of comparative advantage when it comes to tending the homes, or even preparing irresistible delicacies. No wonder many Akwa Ibom women (and men) have won elite cooking competitions in the country over and over again. But I know the Lagos masters preferred the ‘she-mails’ (as opposed to the ‘e-mails’) because Akwa Ibom girls and ladies are also said to be masters of a third ‘chore’ which I dare not mention because today is Sabbath Day which the Holy Bible tells us to keep holy. As a matter of fact, something tells me it is the big people who have now been denied the services of such ‘she-mails’ by Akpabio and are compelled to look for maids from neighbouring countries at very high costs (but who cannot deliver value in any material particular like the Akwa Ibom girls), that see as extraordinary the retirement package that Akpabio has arranged for himself and other governors and their deputies in the state. I can’t see anyone of substance objecting to the generous package in an oil-rich state like Akwa Ibom where money is not the problem but how to spend it. Are governors of less-endowed states not enjoying similar benefits, at least relatively? Honestly, it is difficult to blame the governor for doing it himself. In these days when erstwhile political aides become masters to their former masters once they have power in their hands, that is the commonsensical thing to do. You never can trust anyone to do such a thing for you; so, it is better to do it yourself. The governor seems aware of some sayings that even if we give a hoe to a mad man, he would cultivate towards himself. If a mad man can do this, do we expect less from someone like Governor Akpabio who is alright, not only up but down as well? Moreover, a governor that works well also deserves to retire well. Above all, if Governor Akpabio is said to be generous to a fault; why then should he be stingy to himself? Akpabio, Akpabio! I don’t know why the new law should be an issue considering that the governor has even helped the state by putting a ceiling to how much former governors could spend, say, on medical treatment. HItherto, it was open-ended.
No to Jungle justice
ITH the high level of crime in the country, including armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual murders and others, it is understandable why Nigerians are not pleased that many criminals escape justice. Instead of ensuring that the criminals are penalized in accordance with the law of the land to serve as a deterrent to others, the police have in some cases not been able to diligently prosecute matters referred to them. Many criminals have been able to bribe their way out of detention and it is not unusual to hear people say the best way to allow a criminal go scot free is to hand him or her to the police. While the accusation against the police may not be entirely true, there have been proven cases where the law enforcement agents have been found guilty of compromise and endangering the lives of informants and complainants. It is against this background that the public have become impatient about long and winding prosecution process sometimes exploited by those who are supposed to enforce them and resorted to taking the laws into their hands. The jungle justice by the mobs on the streets across the country these, days is a fall out of the lack of trust in the ability of the police to stem the wave of criminal activities which have become the order of the day. Criminals now seem to have a free reign and appear unstoppable by security agents who are sometimes ill equipped and not sufficiently motivated to perform their duties. However, notwithstanding the situation, jungle justice which has become rampant at the slightest accusation against anyone cannot be justified. Particularly worrisome is emerging evidence that some of the victims of instance justice may not be guilty of the offenses for which they were being punished. All what is require these days for one to be beaten up on the streets and set ablaze is to be accused of being a kidnapper by some faceless persons based on unsubstantiated accusations. A woman who was recently accused of attempting to kidnap some kids in Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos was mercilessly beaten, stripped naked and set ablaze turned out to be a mentally challenged graduate. Her accusers had claimed that she came to the area in a Jeep to abduct some school children. Now that the mob have had their way, the question to ask is where is the Jeep she allegedly drove to the area? and who are the children she attempted to kidnap? An old woman would have been killed in a similar way in Ajegunle recently but for the intervention of the police. Some miscreants who saw her with a new baby who they said she could not have delivered were not persuaded by her explanation that she was coming from the hospital where her daughter had just given birth. The old woman was carrying the baby home on the instruction of the doctor due to the state of health of the baby’s mother who needed medical attention and could not take care of the baby. If the mob had gotten away with their usual jungle justice, they would have sold another lie to the public about an old woman who had kidnapped a day-old baby. The claim of a bird which dropped from the sky and transformed into an old woman also turned out to be a false allegation which would have been the basis for the killing of another innocent woman. Much as we all have to be vigilant and assist law enforcement agencies in apprehending criminals of all kinds, it is necessary to ensure that innocent persons are not falsely accused and punished for offenses they did not commit. I would rather prefer that a criminal escape justice than an innocent person being a victim of jungle justice. The Lagos State Government should enforce its warning against this worrisome trend before more innocent victims are killed and penalise ring leaders who are usually responsible for the false allegations. The police and other security agencies working with the judiciary will also do well to live up to their responsibility of ensuring that criminals are not allowed to.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Exploring all options to end Nigeria’s afflictions
T is gratifying that one of the points made by President Jonathan on the occasion of the federal government’s Democracy Day is his commitment “to continue to partner with the civilised world to confront international terrorism and every other challenges with patriotic zeal and determination.” The president is certainly not alone; he must be echoing the determination of many Nigerians that the coming of foreign powers to Nigeria must be put to strategic advantage for the peoples of Nigeria. Not since 1960 has Nigeria had the blessing or misfortune of serving as host to international powers being referred to in President Jonathan’s speech as partners from the civilised world. In its infancy as a state-nation, Nigeria was even so ‘patriotic’ to the effect that it rejected offer of a Defence Pact from its colonial master, Great Britain. Just about fifty years later, the world’s hegemon, the United States, the creator of Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Britain’s colleague in the scramble for and partition of Africa, France, China that was not a power when Nigeria became independent, are all here to help Nigeria solve its daunting security problems. Many Nigerians are already displaying naïve patriotism that is blind to the new global governance ethic which enjoins each nation to respect the human rights of its citizens; prevent its citizens from falling into the pit of poverty; and promote citizens’ life, property, and happiness. What such Nigerians are invoking is the spirit of patriotism that was in vogue in the middle of the twentieth century when Nigeria was born. In those days, it did not matter how uncaring or effete a country’s governors were, leaders of other countries had no right to intervene in what was considered religiously as a country’s internal affairs. Nobody at that time ever thought that the world would advance from enclaves of power captured
Many Nigerians are already displaying naïve patriotism that is blind to the new global governance ethic which enjoins each nation to respect the human rights of its citizens; by strongmen through rigged elections or military takeovers to the point when democracy, especially freedom for all, would become the reference point for countries that require respect from the international community. When formal globalisation as an economic system emerged, several dictators thought it would stop at encouraging trade across nations without insisting on any global ethical framework to make such economic interaction across borders mandatory on member states. But with the coming of UN Millennium Declaration, leaders of all countries in the organisation signed on to a document that enjoins them to accept “a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level,” with all member countries accepting the duty to all the world’s people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs.” Many Nigerians have started to think aloud about the mess their country is in. Some people are already blaming President Jonathan for throwing the country’s doors open to international powers, saying that he is encouraging the United States that predicted the fall of the country by 2015 to come and do the job of undertakers while others say that the United Kingdom has come principally to protect the interest of those to whom it handed Nigeria in 1960. France’s presence is being interpreted as one to ensure that the colonial project is not dismantled overnight by the United States and China, two countries that did not ‘sacrifice’ to create the colonies that morphed into neo-colonies all over Africa. On the other hand, many Nigerians are castigating Jonathan for waiting too long to ask for help from those who have the wherewithal to help save a country from its own internal afflictions that help sustain its failed-state status and are thus capable of bringing an end to its status as Africa’s
largest multinational state. Both groups also claim to be ‘patriotic’ Nigerians. Still, many others are saying that the international powers now in the country to save it from destruction by Boko Haram should be given no more than three months to complete their assignment and leave the country to its ‘patriotic’ owners. Even though citizens are not privy to the internal workings of Jonathan’s government that encouraged him to finally accept the offer of special assistance from U.S., U.K., France, China, and Israel, it is not unlikely that Jonathan must have re-read the contents of the Millennium Declaration and its demand on heads of state or government to recognise the need to protect vulnerable citizens, such as the 200 Chibok girls kidnapped by the country’s most intolerant and vicious Islamic terrorist sect or hundreds of innocent citizens gunned down or destroyed by bombs in Nyanya, Borno, or Jos. We should leave the assessment of Jonathan’s decision to welcome many of the world’s military powers to the shores of Nigeria to professional historians and pay attention to how the country can take strategic advantage of the presence of these countries at a time that its security appears to be in shambles. If this country seriously needs to stay together as one, it certainly needs to look beyond nineteenth-century notion of statehood. It needs to recognise that the problem threatening its unity is not just Boko Haram. Without doubt, the violence being perpetrated by Boko Haram makes it the most fiendish of Nigeria’s challenges; however, there are other challenges that are being swept under the mat by those who have benefited (or still benefit) from governance of the country since 1960. With a terrorist group that successfully attacks army barracks with rocket launchers, armoured cars, and keeps hundreds of school girls captivity for over thirty days, it should not surprise genuinely patriotic citizens that the curtain of the
play of the Nigeria project is about to close. Anyone quick to cite the issue of puncturing of Nigeria’s pride to support calls for withdrawal of Western powers from the country’s shores must be overlooking the fact that Nigeria had lost its pride long ago. It is not in any way one of the countries on any of the positive lists of states that are meeting the demands of good governance. While Jonathan may be the leader under whose charge Nigeria deteriorates to an abysmal level, it is honest for all of us to admit that he is not the major author of the myriad problems that threaten the country’s peace and stability. Nigeria’s problems derive from decades of a manipulative political culture that privileges a section of the country over others. The root of Boko Haram and other forms of criminality including compulsive corruption in the country cannot be divorced from a political structure that imposes internal imperialism in the name of national unity or uniformity on a nation-space that requires respect for diversity. A time that two of the countries that colonised most of Africa and created most of the countries with the continent’s serious political and cultural problems choose to come to Nigeria to chase out Boko Haram and rid the country of the scourge of international terrorism is a good time for the world’s hegemon, the United States, to confer with various vested interest groups recruited to fight terrorism on how to support Africa’s political structures and institutions for the benefit of its citizens, not just its leaders. Getting rid of Boko Haram may not be enough to bring peace, stability, and development to Nigeria. Assisting Nigeria to come to terms with the requirements of sustaining a multiethnic and multi-religious country and thus provide a conducive environment for sustainable democracy and development may, in the long run, be more important than just driving out the violent Islamic sect. Regardless of the primary reason for Western powers to come to save Nigeria from Boko Haram, being here may be a rare opportunity for genuine friends of Nigeria to give teeth to the UN’s Millennium Declaration on meeting the special needs of Africa: “supporting the consolidation of democracy in Africa and assisting Africans in their struggle for lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable development, thereby bringing Africa into the mainstream of the world economy.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Infant mortality It is sad that Nigeria, as usual, is not doing well in this regard
ESPITE the grim and glaring reality of human mortality, the latest figures on newborn deaths released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are alarmingly revealing and signify a call for urgent action to arrest the death rate. Findings of a survey of 51 countries with the highest burden of newborn deaths showed that as many as nearly three million newborn babies die worldwide every year. India tops the list in South Asia and globally with 779,000 newborn deaths per year, while Nigeria leads in sub-Saharan Africa with 267,000, which is certainly a thought-provoking and unwelcome record for the country. According to UNICEF, newborn deaths account for 44 percent of total mortality among children under five, and represent a larger percentage of underfive deaths than they did in 1990, which suggests a disturbing deterioration in the quality of care infants receive in various countries these days, particularly given the organisation’s detail that 2.9 million babies die within their first 28 days. Further information that an additional 2.6 million babies are stillborn and 1.2 million die because their hearts stop during labour is little comfort and does not redeem the sad situation of such a heavy loss of infant lives in today’s world, with all the advantages of highly developed health equipment, advanced scientific know-how and improved child health care knowledge. The grave picture is especially striking against the background of clear identification of the problem, which the organisation expressed in informed terms, saying, “The first 24 hours after birth are the most dangerous for both child and mother – almost half of maternal and newborn deaths occur then.” Instructively, UNICEF’s head of global health programmes, Dr. Mickey Chopra, said, “We have seen tremendous progress in saving children under five, but where the world has stumbled is with the very youngest, most vulnerable children.” He added, “This group of children needs attention and resources.
ERTAINLY yes, Nigeria needs a federal anti-terF F F FtoFcomF F rorismF agency bat the domestic terrorism siege on the country today. This does not necessarily mean exaggerating the impact of terrorism on the country’s resources and human psyche to the global community. For whenever the tide of terrorism goes down, such an agency can be merged with one of several security agencies and from there they can still be in veiled operations to checkmate those gangs and other emerging threats. As commendable as the military operations against terrorists are, these gentlemen were trained to protect the territorial integrity of the country and so may only try their best in the offensive that requires counter intelligence that is sophisticated and complex. This is what zoologists refer to as evolutionary adaptability: as the predator evolves new ways to devour the prey, nature also makes it possible for the prey to evolve new ways to escape or evade the predator, so that it cannot be wiped out of existence. Terrorists are like wild animals - very dangerous, highly unpredictable and suspicious of every other animal except one of their kind. Knowledge of the behaviour of animals and animal studies has been used to extrapolate to human findings and this explains while those researches are valued and applied in developed countries. With the granting of amnesty to militants in the Niger Delta
Focusing on the crucial period between labour and the first hours of life can exponentially increase the chances of survival for both mother and child.” Perhaps it is pertinent to point out that, related to the UNICEF release, Nigeria is ranked 2nd among the top 10 countries with the most first-day of life deaths, according to a 2013 State of the World’s Mothers Report. At least 89,700 (nine per cent) babies die on their first day of life every year in Nigeria, said the report which compared first-day death rates for 186 countries. In addition, Nigeria was 169th on the Mothers’ Index out of the 186 countries assessed in critical areas such as mother’s health, education and economic status, as well as key child indicators of health and nutrition. Of course, situation recognition will not suffice, and the UNICEF statement expectedly recommended solutions that hopefully will be practicalised in the interest of humanity in general. Notably, the identified most effective interventions in saving newborns include breastfeeding; newborn resuscitation; ‘kangaroo care’ for premature babies – that is, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with the mother; and preventing and treating infections. However, perhaps more critically, the organisation called for more funding and adequate equipment, which cannot reasonably be divorced from politics and governance; consequently, the political
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 Adekunle Ade-Adeleye
will and performance is essential. It is significant to note that UNICEF argued that if the quality of care received by the richest were to become universal, this would result in a phenomenal reduction in newborn deaths, specifically, 600,000 fewer deaths per year. It may be wishful thinking on the part of the organisation to imagine that the day would come when access to health care would be a function of egalitarianism. However, the underlying lesson of its argument should not be trivialised, which is that a more socially responsive health care system is a desideratum in many countries. Such advocacy cannot be truer for Nigeria in particular, especially considering the fact its oil wealth should ordinarily ensure a health care system that is vastly superior to the dysfunctional one which many Nigerians have sadly got used to, even if regretfully. It is a fact that the country’s public health sector continues to attract widespread criticism for lamentably poor services due largely to funding issues. Indeed, it is noteworthy that the country’s proposed N262.74 billion budget for the health sector in 2014 represented a 6.7 percent decrease compared with the 2013 allocation which was N273 billion. Not surprisingly, experts rubbished the proposal for this year mainly on account of the figure earmarked for recurrent expenditure, which was about 80 percent of the financial plan and meant that there would be little or no funds left for infrastructural development, expansion and upgrade of medical facilities, research and development, and human capital development, the very essentials needed to improve the infant survival rate. Regrettably, a major implication of the UNICEF release is the high possibility that the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015 may prove to be a pipe dream. Perhaps even more unfortunate is the likelihood that Nigeria will count among the failures.
Do we need a federal agency to combat terrorism? and the provision of some opportunities, restiveness in the region has abated save for some pockets of occasional flashpoints by those claiming to be sidelined or not well-catered for in the program. Curiously, the emerging threat of oil thieves operating in that region has impacted negatively on the national economy. This has often resulted in the dwindling allocations to vital components of
EAR delegate, I have been a keen observer of the CONFAB so far. Some of you have salient points which you have argued cogently, however, a majority of you simply do not understand that you hold the key to unlock the destiny of this great nation from the prison of underdevelopment. You may not agree with me that we need stable power supply to operate our SMEs, we may disagree on the fact that massive unemployment in the country is fuelling gang-related crimes on the streets of Lagos, militancy and oil bunkering in the creeks of Niger Delta, cattle rustling and terrorism in the north and kidnapping in the south, we may argue about the fact that the present system of governance in Nigeria is not sustainable, but I bet you will agree
the government machinery. More worrisome is the recent calls that oil subsidy should be removed. Stealing oil should be considered as an act of national terrorism against the economy and should be matched with appropriate force and enforcement. The outstanding performance of our country in regional peace keeping operations and major Security Council role at the United Nations makes us (Ni-
geria) a global player in security issues which calls for establishment of such an agency. For we will have no moral justification pontificating on regional and global security issues when our house is in disarray as a result of a rag-tag Boko Haram sect that is threatening us with extinction. Terrorist activities especially in the northern part of the country have undeniably placed Nigeria on the unenviable glo-
Peaceful change with me that we need leaders who have the foresight to dream of a better Nigeria for our children yet unborn and the WILL to pursue this selfless ambition. The question is, can the presidential system we currently operate produce new Tafawa Balewas, Nnamdi Azikwes or Obafemi Awolowos at the national level without subsequent rancour, violence and litigations? Can this present system resuscitate the groundnut pyramids and textile industries in the north, can it revitalise the cocoa industry in the southwest or support genuine industrial revolution in the south east? Admittedly, no single system of governance is perfect, but sustainable development was at its peak when we had regional governments in Ni-
geria. The Federal Character policy which has promoted mediocrity and corruption was incorporated into Nigeria’s statute when the presidential system was introduced. However, until we have a system that makes each region accountable for its leaders and resources, civil strife and agitations against marginalisation will not cease in our societies. This is the greatest benefit we will derive from a parliamentary system. The courage of the average Hausa (military), the entrepreneurial sense of the Igbo (Industry) and the flair of the Yoruba for academics (Science and Technology) coupled with abundant mineral resources makes Nigeria a potential superpower, if we can only open our eyes and tap
bal map of terrorism whether we like it or not and this is serious and should be dealt with proactively. Terrorism is a very serious crime against the individual, community and state that needs a special agency or body to tackle it headlong and in perpetuity. After the deadly 9/11 attacks in 2001, America with one of the most efficient and well funded security forces in the world did not stop at taking into our strengths. In the wake of terrorism and civic extremism in the country, we need to look inwards and holistically proffer solutions to prevent the total collapse of the Nigerian state. Sooner or later, this republic will be restructured, we simply cannot survive much less thrive on bigotry, corruption and mediocrity. How can the Chibok girls, the victims of the Nigerian Immigration Scam and millions of other oppressed Nigerian youths be leaders of tomorrow if there is no tomorrow? The CONFAB may be the last chance we have to restructure peacefully. God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yours faithfully, Femi Oloro Federal Housing Estate, Ado Ekiti.
the war against terror to the door steps of presumed terrorist enclaves, the Department of Homeland Security was formed proactively with a lot of powers to boost security of the homeland and to prevent a recurrence. In our own case, the terrorists noticed all these lapses and staged a second attack within the same Nyanya, Abuja, barely one- two weeks after. This is sad and unfortunate. Public comments are taken for granted on the grounds that one is not an expert in that field, whereas our African fathers of old relied on information sharing from all sources to preserve their families, kingdoms and dynasties. I wish to conclude that the anti-terrorism agency is an agency of necessity for our country at this point in time of our national life since security matters affect all of us whether young or old, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim, atheist or traditionalist, Tiv or Yoruba and any other ethnic group. Indeed, an anti-terrorism agency is needed now. Again, where are all the Nigerians that were united against apartheid in South Africa? Where are you? Boko Haram terrorism is yet another good cause to fight against. Every tool must be deployed whether physical, spiritual, temporal or corporate; the battle against terrorism in Nigeria must be won. God bless Nigeria. Emmanuel Tyokumbur, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan.
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Ekiti/Osun 2014: PDP to import Niger-Delta militants The president should know that he can only ill afford another theatre of war, especially in a multi-ethnic geo-political zone like the Southwest
F there is any doubt about the Peoples Democratic Party playing games with the nation’s security, the involvement of a NigerDelta militant, one Okubo Robert, as coordinator at the meeting to finalise the security plans of the Southwest PDP for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections, with both Fayose and Omisore reportedly in attendance, should blow away such doubts. That the soldiers reported by newspapers, in a story that is yet to be refuted, as accompanying the militant could shoot at demonstrating students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is proof positive that President Jonathan will think nothing of deploying militants from his home base to shoot, maim or kill Yoruba people in the course of the coming elections in the region. Also, the fact that Okubo Robert could order soldiers to shoot at defenceless students shows that a Boko Haram variant is taking root in that part of the country: otherwise why shoot at university students? The presidential assurances of peaceful elections delivered through his Special Adviser on Inter-party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, at a meeting with the U.S Consular General, Jeffrey Hawkins, should therefore be taken with much more than a pinch of salt. Truth be told though, it is not that the president cannot be trusted as a person, but in the Southwest, he is at the mercy of absolute desperadoes who will do everything to misuse the sacred offices of both the Police Affairs
Minister and that of the Minister of State for Defence as we have already seen serially. The president will therefore be thoroughly mistaken to trust these and other ‘do and die’ politicians that populate the Southwest PDP. It is obvious from the dangerous involvement of these reconstructed militants that there is a coincidence of interests between members of the power-mongering Southwest PDP caucus who have been shoved aside into political Siberia since 2010, and the president’s intent to do whatever it would take to guarantee his victory in 2015. Nigerians could not have forgotten so soon how Chief Bode George, as then President Obasanjo’s Man Friday, for instance, rode roughshod all over Yoruba land. That he has now been out-muscled by the ‘soldier-recruiting’ Kashamu means that should the PDP ever get a toe-hold in the region again, Yoruba land would be engulfed in a massive turf war reminiscent of what happens among the Italian Mafioso or the Mexican drug barons. To have a glimpse of what that would mean for the entire Yoruba land in terms of socio- economic development, is to take a retrospective look at the confusion and rudderlessness that have characterised PDP in Lagos State for over a decade and a half. This is one more reason Ekiti and Osun must vote right to ensure that Yoruba land never returns to the locust years. As already publicly attested to by
former Ekiti State governor, Engr Segun Oni, those boasting to invest billions in the Ekiti election, and their infernal acolytes, are so desperate and dangerous that even if President Jonathan were not minded to personally approve of their evil designs, they could still go out, in his name, to infiltrate Niger-Delta militants into Yoruba land as we already saw in Ekiti with the influx of thugs coming in through Ondo State. The campaign of the Labour Party candidate, who is himself a PDP ally, is now not complete without an orgy of bloodletting. Being an accomplice, the Labour Party campaign has become a theatre of war, with thugs and fake police men shooting and maiming APC members as well as onlookers. A victim of such at its Ikere rally is currently lying critically ill at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti. In contrast to that, the APC candidate has taken his campaign to the entire 131 towns and villages in the state without a single incident of thuggery; the only exception being when thugs in Fayose’s campaign office shot at a passing APC campaign convoy and they had to be repulsed. PDP members and sympathisers in the Southwest may continue to bury their heads in the sand, living in denial, but they will wake up to reality the morning after, when some rag tag Niger-Delta militants would have devastated their homeland. It is then they will realise the futility of evil. Nwon ni nwon o fe o nilu o ni o fe da orin –You are not wanted in a community, yet you want to be a lead singer; who will sing along with you? The Yoruba people remember, as if it were yesterday, the total ruination the PDP brought upon them in those seven years of the locust after President Obasanjo had successfully messed up
the country’s entire electoral system and inflicted that clueless party on an unwilling people. It was a period of unmitigated blood, tears and ruin, as well as the total despoliation of our entire road infrastructure, with the Ile-Ife-Benin Express Road broken in two at Igbara-Oke, just as education reached its very nadir in the region. Insecurity, like we now have nationally, was the order of the day throughout Yoruba land, as epitomised by the activities of the late patron of amala politics in Oyo State. It is hoped, in the extant circumstances, that Yoruba elders, especially our revered royal fathers, as well as our other cultural icons, will draw the president’s attention to this looming danger for the Yoruba nation. It is far beyond partisan party politics or elections though these militants could also be used to ferry stuffed ballot papers into both Ekiti and Osun with unimaginable consequences. Nearly half a century back, and in similar circumstances, the incomparable Avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, declared as follows: “The truth about the people of Western Region (Yoruba People) is that they are sufficiently enlightened and bold to refuse to be led by the nose by any person or group, however sophisticated such person or group may appear. They are slow to anger, robust in contentions, alert to their rights, and will fearlessly resist and combat evil, whenever and wherever they discern it, with all their might and resources.” One can only hope that our elders will see the larger picture and plead with the president to restrain these Delta Boys and warn their patrons, the PDP hawks and power mongers in the Southwest, and those others, who have declared the Ekiti and Osun elections as war zones, to sheathe their swords. The president
What not to do with the children… Nigerian children are under siege and it’s mainly because the country has no respect for them
HIS week, reader, I am sharing tales of woe. Have you noticed that when a new leaf is in the birthing process, it is protected by the old ones in any number of ways: supported, surrounded or downright cocooned in pristine conditions? Have you also noticed that the new-shorn leaf, delicate, green and, oh so beautiful, often comes out closest to the top facing upwards so it can receive more sunlight than the other old leaves on the branch? I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that should you come near the whelp of a dog, you will need more than a prayer to escape the leap and bound of the mother. By some strange coincidence also, I seem to have noticed that western countries have sooooo many laws in place to protect their wee ones. Sir/ Ma’am, you may not put the child in the front seat, thank you; you must put the child in a baby carrier facing backwards as you drive; you may not leave the child hungry, cold or without a bed, etc.; and yes sir/ ma’am, you have to give the child his/her own room or you go to prison to cool your obstinate head, thank you. I don’t know if it is the same principle of protection that exists in the tree, lion, dog, western countries, etc., or if it is just a coincidence; whatever it is, I tell you, that bug has not bitten the Nigerian. What I consider to be the eighth wonder of the world is the complete
should know that he can only ill afford another theatre of war, especially in a multi-ethnic geo-political zone like the Southwest as that will tantamount to literally writing the country off the world map. It is apposite to mention in this regard, and as hinted here some two weeks ago, that the Oodua Foundation, a U.S-based think-tank of the Yoruba intelligentsia, has made good its promise to bring this looming danger in Yoruba land to world attention. Led by its chair person, Professor Adeniran Adeboye, the group consisting of its patron, Senator (Prof) Banji Akintoye, Legal Counsel, Ayo Turton and the Liaison Officer, Wale Adelagunja, visited the United States Senate on the invitation of the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee on African Affairs, Senator Chris Coons, this past week almost the same time as the Consular General was giving his own warnings about the importance of the Ekiti/Osun elections. That certainly was no mere coincidence. Having thanked the U.S for her assistance towards securing the release of our stolen Chibok girls, the delegation tabled the all-pervading fear that the PDP-led federal government was determined to rig the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states and urged the U.S to impress on the Jonathan government, the inevitability of a free, fair and transparent election which the Senator promised to facilitate. Those who, having seen the futility of their chimerical ambitions and now want to play the role of ‘agent provocateurs’, in the manner of kaka ki eku ma je eree a fi se awadanu , i.e wanting to work towards the Ekiti election being declared inconclusive by instructing their imported thugs to cause massive unrest, should be careful if they do not want to put a peoples’ cultural curse upon themselves.
disregard this nation has for her children. It baffles me endlessly. I find it so incredible that since this nation’s government woke up a long time ago, thought long and hard and declared that parents should send their children to school, it promptly washed its oily hands off the matter. So, till today, this very unmotherly nation has consigned her children’s welfare into the hands of the unholy alliance of inattentive parents, poverty-battling teachers, and now boko haram. So, around here, we watch with insouciance as children are transported around by ignorant mothers and fathers in the front seats of vehicles, sometimes even sharing the driving wheel with daddy, all the while giggling. Naturally, that puts the little tots in the first position to be thrown out through the windscreen when a crash occurs; that is, if they don’t hit their tiny little heads on the driving wheel first. I say, we watch as traffic wardens see these wonderful sights and pass such vehicles on, even smiling and waving to those stupid mothers and fathers. I don’t believe any nation could more unkindly put her offsprings under siege. That’s not all. One of the sights that get my goat anytime is seeing children being moved around the nation on motor bikes that we call Okadas. It practically sinks this country below soil level anytime I see
children in their twos or threes propped gingerly behind an Okada rider. Sometimes, I see a pregnant woman, or a woman with a child strapped to her back, riding on those death-is-waiting traps. Honestly, those things risk the children’s limbs and bones, apart from waking up the national shame or shamelessness. Wait, reader, there’s more. Take a trip to any public primary or secondary school classroom and see how our children are crammed into a tiny learning space; and you will leave wondering how there ever can be any space for learning. The seating arrangements actually befuddle the brain for the children are seated so closely together that they practically exchange air. You guessed it; the supply is higher than the demand. Somewhere along the line, even the principals have forgotten the exact number of children those rooms were originally built for; so everyone has to use what is available in space and resources. Wow now, did you say there is an alternative? Oh yes, there is: for some children, it is to be catapulted abroad by indulgent parents; for most other children, it is to be consigned under the good ol’ Baobab tree. Under the tree would sound idyllic in this hot African sun, but then come the rain, thunder and lightning. So, you see, most of our young ‘uns find themselves between the devil and the deep sea while the policy makers find themselves ensconced within the deep recesses of leather chairs in air-conditioned rooms. And I am telling a national story, believe me.
As if all these were not enough, Nigerian children have to bear even more indignities. Listen as I tell you, many sociopathic and psychopathic parents there are who have now taken to killing off the poor young things in their care under some erroneous belief that those children are possessed by witchcraft or are preventing the progress of the lazy, self-indulgent parent. Just a few days ago, I read of a soulless pair of parents who killed their twelve-year-old child for having the temerity to complain that he was hungry, and they kept the body under their bed. According to the report, the pair had been in the habit of beating the child, once to a coma, and had been arrested by the police for it, but no one had taken the child from them. And that’s just it. We know a welfare department exists in our ministries of Youth, Sports, etc., presumably run by sociologists, to do just that. NOW, WHY ARE THEY NOT EFFECTIVE IN THIS COUNTRY? WHY CAN THEY NOT BE POSITIONED TO SAVE YOUNG CHILDREN FROM SUCH SOCIETAL ABUSE? Why is this Nigerian society not protecting and supervising the growth of its young ones like the tree is doing its own? It gets worse. Now, the Nigerian society has taken to abducting children for political and commercial ends. For years now, news media have regaled us with stories of how young people are abducted and sold into slavery to be bought by unconscionable, wealthy western and Arab men and women in need of sex or domestic slaves. I mean, that just boggles the imagination. Unfortu-
nately, the market appears to be yawning and getting more and more widened. I cannot shake off the feeling that the Chibok girls abducted over seven weeks ago were meant to be used not only for political ends but for commercial purposes also. But, as they say, hope springs eternal on their eventual safe return. Clearly, Nigerian children are under siege, and it’s mainly because the country has no respect for them. Daily, many children are taken through the grind of social and psychological torture by their parents who refuse to feed them, or ask them to hawk some silly ware or the other before they go to school or even before they can be fed breakfast. My fellow countrymen and women, these things need not be so. There is no reason to take children through psychological traumas in the exercise of the power of protection that we parents and society have over them. As they say, there is no dictatorship in this world that can match that of a parent over his/her child. We parents should do well to remember that with such great power comes great responsibility. Just as an overindulged child soon comes to grief, so also will an unprotected child soon come to ruin. Unfortunately, a ruined child makes a ruined society. True, our leaders right now do not appear to care about the society even though the effects of ruined children are all around us. Look no further than boko haram members. They are the children of yesterday in whose lives there was no social welfare intervention, whose parents, where such existed, did nothing to protect them. Do we want to keep replicating them? It is time now to take the children seriously. If the inanimate tree can get it, then why can’t we Nigerians?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Federating units and suffering subjects: is the JNC in a quagmire of irrelevance? (2)
ENDED last week’s beginning essay in this series with the assertion that the Jonathan National Conference (JNC) is premised upon and bases its deliberations entirely on one half of the story of federalism and its problems and challenges in Nigeria while completely ignoring the other half of the story. In the part of the story that drives all the deliberations at the JNC, we are told that the great problem with federalism in Nigeria in the last three or four decades is the fact that the center is too strong, too bloated, too “imperial” by contrast with the federating units comprising all the ethnic groups and religious communities of the country. But in the part of the story that is never told and has in fact been completely left out of the deliberations at the JNC, there is no “strong” centre in Nigerian political governance; where such a centre should be we find an extremely weak, mediocre and dysfunctional system that has been remarkably incapable of controlling itself let alone controlling all the challengers to its power and authority, be they political elites or marauding bandits and jihadists from the lowest social order. In this concluding piece in the series, I would like to start from this observation, this assertion of the two halves of the bitter and tragic story of federalism in our country. Every Nigerian knows only too well the first half of the story, together with its plotlines and themes. In the context of this discussion, let us highlight some of these plotlines and themes. First, the central government based at Abuja takes the lion’s share of oil wealth, the principal source of revenue for the country as a whole. Secondly, having done this, Abuja and its potentates then distribute what’s left to the states and the local governments of the federation. Nearly every month, all the states have to go cap in hand to Abuja to receive what the almighty centre gives to them within the terms of a sharing formula determined by the centre. Thirdly, the most important functions of governance, both within the country itself and in relation to the rest of the world, are exercised by this same central government. The armed forces, the police, the uniformed men and women guarding our borders, ports and airspace, together with public officials vested with powers to license companies, issues passports and travel documents, and certify the legal existence of voluntary and civil society organizations, they are all controlled by this same central government. Even if it is only one part of the story of the kind of federalism that has been entrenched in Nigeria since oil wealth replaced cash or export crops as the principal source of revenue in our country, this story is valid and is not without some merits. This is because even in countries like Turkey or Lesotho that are, for the most part, nearly ethnically and linguistically homogenous,
•Map of Nigeria
control over such over-concentration of resources and power at the centre of governance is full of potential for abuse and misuse. In a multiethnic, multilingual and culturally diverse country like Nigeria, a center of governance that is so strong in relation to the federating units is nothing but a recipe for economic and social crises so deep, so endemic that the nation is forever on the brink of disintegration. This is why we have been through a bitter civil war whose aftermath and legacies still haunt us. This is why our ethnic, regional and religious differences are so heavily politicized that it is part of normal political discourse for threats of war and catastrophe to be issued in the name of the diverse ethnic communities of the country. Finally, this is why 2015, the year of the next cycle of presidential, state and local elections in our country, has emerged as yet another horizon of great fear and anxiety about the survival of the country as a federation. This particular point brings us to the profile of the other half of the story of federalism in Nigeria in the last three or four decades. It takes no great powers of observation and discernment to see that where there is said to be a strong and imperial center in political governance in our country, there is a bottomless pit of weakness, ineptitude and mediocrity of the highest order. The signs and expressions of this state of affairs are legion. All the incumbents of the presidency since the return to formal democracy in 1999 have been exceptionally weak and indecisive in their execution of all the things that mat-
ter in the processes of governance. Yar’ Adua was at first satirically given the nickname of “Baba Go Slow”. By the time of his death while still in office, that nickname had been changed to “Baba Standstill”. Jonathan, as the whole world knows, is so clueless about how to contain challenges to his authority both within his party, the PDP and from other sources outside the formal or “legitimate” governing process that his wife has emerged as the “strongest” person in his administration. But far from being perceived as a “strong” person, she is for the most part seen as an object of ridicule and derision. Some might exclude Obasanjo from this pattern of weakness, mediocrity and ineptitude in the supposedly “strong” centre at Abuja, but this is only because they mistake his blustering, vindictive and megalomaniacal style of governance with strength and decisiveness. For in all the things that matter and matter greatly, Obasanjo was as weak as Yar’ Adua and Jonathan. At the beginning of his presidency, he boasted that inadequate and epileptic supply of power would be a thing of the past within two years; at the end of his two terms in office eight years later, the billions of dollars that he poured into the project had produced no change in power supply in the country because he simply could not deliver on this promise. The two elections that he supervised as President stand as the worst in brazen fraudulence, violence and vote rigging in the country’s political history. As a final measure of his ultimate weakness and ineptitude in things that really matter,
there is the evidence of the failure of Obasanjo’s well publicized campaign against corruption, even though he had much help from the credibility and charisma and of his anti-corruption czar, Nuhu Ribadu. Dear reader, please remember this particular anticlimax to Obasanjo’s anti-corruption crusade: In the year 2006, he went to war with his Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, over allegations of corruption which Obasanjo backed up with a surfeit of documentary evidence; Atiku did not deny the charges; he simply countered with charges of Obasanjo’s own corruption that Atiku also backed up with copious documentary evidence published in prominent advertorials in the national press. After this, stories began to circulate both about Obasanjo’s own corruption and his embrace of the campaign against corruption, not because he was fundamentally against corruption, but as a tool against his real and imagined foes. No, Obasanjo was not a “strong” leader in the things that mattered; he was merely a pompous praetorian autocrat dressed in the garb of a born-again civilian democrat. It is not as difficult as it seems to bring these two contradictory halves of the tragic and also farcical story of federalism in our country together to form a whole. The basic requirement is that one must see that the fight for equality of opportunities and access to power and resources must be made simultaneously on two fronts: one, between all the federating ethnic groups and communities in the
country; two, between the rich and the poor, the haves and the havenots of all the communities in the land. If you concentrate on only one of these two fronts, your perception of the problems and challenges of federalism in our country will be skewed toward either the one or the other of the two halves of the story – a strong centre with weak federating units; or a weak and ineffectual centre that cannot guarantee, in a land flowing with oil wealth, even the barest minimum of the basic necessities of life to the vast majority of Nigerians in every part of the country. I would like to end these observations and reflections by using the example of the bitter opposition between the so-called “Core North” and the South-south as a way of bringing the two fragmented halves of the story of federalism in our country together. At the JNC confab, these two groups are the most antagonistic, the most seemingly irreconcilable on the issue of fiscal and administrative federalism. The “South-south” which more or less corresponds to the Niger Delta wants the share of the revenue that comes to it from oil wealth to be increased significantly; and it wants greater autonomy in resource control. All this boils down to a centre that is weaker than what we have now. In contrast to these positions, the “Core North” wants to abolish the principle of derivation in the sharing of our oil revenues; for this reason, it wants the “strong” centre of governance in Abuja to be preserved or even strengthened. Well, it so happens that these regions are the two poorest and most economically depressed areas of the country. The years and decades of a strong grip on power at the centre by the political elites of the “Core North” has enriched a few hundreds of enormously wealthy and powerful people but has done nothing to improve present conditions of life and prospects for the future for the vast majority of the peoples of the region. In the “South-south” the same pattern is beginning to emerge: the struggles of the militants of the Niger Delta, together with the principle of derivation, has brought untold wealth to a handful of people while the great majority of the peoples of the region continue to live in conditions of unimaginable immiseration and deprivation. Thus, the delegates from these two areas of the country should be natural allies, not bitter foes. But this is only on the condition that the “federalism” they are fighting for is a federalism founded on the solid rock of justice, with equality of opportunities and access to the necessities of life for all, not just for elites speaking for and on behalf of “federating” ethnic groups and regional communities while all the time cornering the good things of this life for themselves, their families and their cronies. Biodun Jeyifo email@example.com
MAGINE if there were no relentless #BringBackOurGirls protests, the unfortunate 276 Chibok schoolgirls whose story has captivated the world would have long been forgotten – another statistic in an brutal insurgency which government informs us has claimed 12,000 Nigerian lives. Imagine if the hashtag activists and the local and foreign media had not stayed on this case, the Chibok girls would have disappeared from the radar of national discourse to be replaced by politicians jostling for 2015 ascendancy. Who, for instance, remembers that a few months ago 19 job-seeking youths perished after a badly-bungled Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise? One or two weeks of outrage and a country used to Boko Haram killing hundreds for fun, quickly returned to business as usual. In some other land someone would have taken responsibility for the scandalous exercise and done the decent thing by resigning. In April, South Korea’s Prime Minister, Chung Hong-won, quit over the ferry tragedy in which over 180 died. He offered his resignation over criticism of the government’s handling of the sinking of a passenger ferry. Announcing his departure, Chung said the “cries of the families of those missing still keep me up at night”. The right thing for me to do is to take responsibility and resign as a person who is in charge of the cabinet.” Both President Goodluck Jonathan and his Minister for Interior, Abba Moro, consider it a light thing that 19 Nigerians are killed by the acts of omission and commission of government officials. That is why no one has been called to account. All over the world whenever a politician or government is caught up in some damaging scandal or controversy, their desire is that the issue quickly disappears or that the media would lose interest. Sometimes they get their wish as something more newsworthy breaks and the media moves on. But it doesn’t always work that way. Occasionally the public is transfixed by an issue and once the press sinks in its teeth it doesn’t let go easily. When that happens, those on the receiving end quickly resort to blaming imaginary enemies for their errors of judgment. The Chibok schoolgirls saga is one such matter that is not going to disappear from the front pages irrespective of what the president, his party or the military think of the #BringBackOurGirls protests and those they imagine are driving it. Nothing will please the president and his party men more than if the protesters disappeared from Abuja parks where they have been keeping the plight of the girls alive in the world’s consciousness. Their persistence is so un-Nigerian given that we are a people blessed with conveniently short memory. We hardly fight for anything – especially if the process would cause us pain. That is why a succession of rulers who understood our psyche never took our “up-
T’S been a long time since I looked with such anticipation to getting my picture taken. In the age of the selfie you would think that a snap or two would be no big deal. But this was no ordinary photograph. I was rushing to a Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) office on Lagos Island to get my visage “captured” as part of the final phase of the long process of renewing my driver’s license. I had heard horror tales from many who had managed to snag the new license, but nothing prepared me for the sight that greeted me that wet morning. My heart sank as I entered a hall where a tense crowd of between 200 and 300 persons was anxiously waiting for proceedings to take off. Helpfully, the official directing affairs assured that some of us might be there till 8.00 pm! As the process chugged along slowly, I tried to make sense of the seemingly chaotic
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
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A protest and its politics
•Nollywood actresses, Patience Ozokwor, Mercy Aigbe and others protesting in Lagos at a #BringBackOurGirls rally.
risings” over petrol price hikes and sundry matters seriously. They always took the cynical position that in a mere three days people would run out of steam. As hunger pangs begin to bite the ranks of the would-be “revolutionaries” will start to crack. In these instances mass poverty in the land became a tool in the hands of the rulers. Now that the hashtag activists have refused to stop making government uncomfortable with their protests, the tried and tested Abuja formula is to use thugs ostensibly exercising their own right to protest to muscle out the original demonstrators. That was essentially what played out last week when a bunch of clowns parroting the narrative of the government set upon #BringBackOurGirls protesters. After Oby Ezekwesili’s group decided to march on Aso Villa with the campaign to free the girls, President Jonathan headed off
License to torture comings and goings – convinced there had to be method to what was unfolding before our collective eyes. Predictably, it didn’t take long for frustrations to boil over. The longwinded official was having a hard time controlling a bunch of obdurate Nigerians who wanted to be served immediately. But even the more amenable were getting irritable because they had been coming and going, and today did not look like it was going to end well. At some point, a bunch of us were asked to return later in the afternoon. I dashed across town only to return to be confronted
a potentially awkward confrontation by sending his Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a couple of others to tell the protesters that they had better address their demands to Boko Haram. It was also not surprising to find Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alexander Badeh, addressing very supportive “protesters” last week. The very friendly bunch he spoke with bore banners singing praises of the military and denouncing its critics. It all lines up perfectly with the narrative emanating from Defence Headquarters which views every unflattering portrayal of its handling of the war in the North East as part of some dark conspiracy. To top it off, everyone from the president to very senior figures within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have reverted to the old line that the insurgency was not only manufactured by the opposition, the unwith a crowd that had only marginally shrunk. By this time some were already cursing a country where nothing works – wondering why they had to spend days just to get a picture taken. When it was 4.00 pm a group of us were informed that it was in our best interest to return the following Monday. Shoulders drooping we trooped out dreading the prospect of another day going through the same process. There is something dreadfully wrong with the way the driver’s license is currently being processed. It is crying for urgent reform. Whatever it was designed to achieve, it is also resulting Nigerians being treated in way that is akin to torture. Valuable man hours are being wasted on the process and it doesn’t have to be so: except if we are being told that making the process cumbersome is an end in itself. FRSC help!
dying global #BringBackOurGirls campaign was another sinister maneuver by the ever resourceful All Progressives Congress (APC). Information Minister, Labaran Maku and Senator Ita Ennang have suggested, incorrectly and mischievously, that the protests have been led largely by members of APC. They also claim that they only happen in states controlled by the opposition! The other day I noticed Mrs. Maryam Uwais, wife of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, speaking for the campaigners. That clearly means she’s picked up an APC membership card unbeknownst to many! There are lots of decent Nigerians backing these protests and they should feel offended by this attempt by desperate Abuja politicians to dismiss their genuine concern for these innocent children who are in their second month of captivity. In any event, being a member of the APC does not strip a Nigerian of his constitutional right to protest. Since the ruling party insists on pushing this ludicrous line, I would suggest they start their own global #Boko HaramReturnOurGirls campaign. That will put APC in its place, give Jonathan a good night’s sleep and make Abubakar Shekau drive back to Chibok to deliver the girls posthaste! First Lady, Patience Jonathan, obviously ventilating what the thinking in the corridors of Aso Villa was, famously set the tone when in the early days of the protests she warned demonstrators to “keep it in Borno State.” Unfortunately for those who would like the protesters to disappear even when the Chibok girls have not returned, the dog has long bolted from the kernel. This thing can no longer be contained by the usual crude strong arm tactics or by demonising the opposition. The powerful human story of these girls still trapped in the grip of an unstable terrorist has become an international cause célèbre. The only thing that will end the protests is the safe return of the girls. Those who say we should direct our protests to Boko Haram just don’t get it. As terrorists the group has done its ugly bit by snatching the girls. It is the responsibility of the government to protect Nigerians and to bring the girls. The buck stops at their table and it is to them that our demands will continue to flow. The direction of the calls for action can only be reversed once the government says it has ceded its constitutional responsibility to the sect.
AM one of those who took a positive view of the rebasing of our GDP – an exercise that saw Nigeria overtaking South Africa as the continent’s largest economy. That said I refuse to get carried away and join those who now think we are a rich country because a handful of individuals own private jets. Perspectives like this one by British Member of Parliament, John Redwood, might help. In a blog not too long ago, he said: “We have recently learned that following a recalculation of GDP for Nigeria, it emerged last year as Africa’s largest economy with a GDP of $509 billion. It overtook South Africa in terms of total output, but still remains a long way behind in per capita income given the much greater population in Nigeria. “What should give us pause for thought is how small this output still is for a country of 170 million people. It means Nigeria’s output is still lower than London’s, with just 8 million people. It should put our criticisms of the UK economy into context, and reminds us how much more there is to do to tackle poverty in other parts of the world.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Where are the local councils? PAGES 20
Lagos 2015: A battle of the old divisions
Nigeria has civil rule, not democracy, says Falana
2015: Sambo, Makarfi renew rivarly U
P until mid 2010, former Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi and his successor, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, enjoyed a near excellent relationship. It was one friendship that has lasted over two decades or more, it was gathered. In the run-up to the 2007 governorship election in Kaduna State, many top aides of Makarfi, then the state governor had commenced silent campaigns to succeed Makarfi. Despite Makarfi’s closeness to some of the aspirants, he kept his succession plans close to his chest. But few months to the 2007 general elections, The Nation gathered that Makarfi had summoned a meeting of his kitchen cabinet including some of the aspirants jostling to take over from him. The meeting held at the Kashim Ibrahim Government House on Ahmadu Bello Way in Kaduna. Midway into the secret parley, Makarfi reportedly dropped the bombshell: Mohammed Namadi Sambo is his anointed candidate for the 2007 governorship seat. The tone of finality in Makarfi’s voice left no one at the meeting in doubt that he had made up his mind on his preferred successor. Elections over, Sambo, a wealthy architect and one of the biggest contractors to the state government, was
The subtle but fierce battle for the soul of Kaduna State politics between the Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, seems far from being over, reports Remi Adelowo inaugurated as the Kaduna State governor on May 29, 2007. Makarfi chose to go to the Senate as the representative of Kaduna North. All was well between the duo until May 2010. The search for a new Vice President to succeed Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who became the president following the death of his boss, Umaru Yar’Adua, eventually culminated in the elevation of Sambo as Nigeria’s number two citizen. Sambo’s elevation allegedly did not go down well with Makarfi, who was strongly tipped to become the vice president before the pendulum finally swung in Sambo’s favour. Basking in his new status as the most senior political officer holder from the North, Sambo expectedly decided to stamp his imprints on the politics of his home state. This, Makarfi did not take kindly to. However, the two men managed to keep their frosty relationship out of public scrutiny. Aftermath of Yakowa’s death The rivalry over control of Kaduna politics between the two men reared its ugly head again following the death of Sambo’s successor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa
about two years ago from a plane crash in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. With Yakowa’s deputy, Ramalan Yero succeeding his late boss, an intense jostling for the vacant deputy governorship seat soon began with Makarfi and Sambo singing discordant tunes on the choice candidate. But once again, Sambo had his way. The vice president allegedly convinced his godson, Yero, to pick the former Chairman of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga from Kaduna South as the new deputy governor. Makarfi’s camp, a source alleged, felt sighted over Bajoga’s appointment, but however decided not to rock the boat. Ahead the 2015 polls As preparations for the 2015 general elections gather momentum, The Nation reliably gathered that both Sambo and Makarfi are set to renew their rivalry over the governorship race. While the vice president is solidly behind Yero, who served under him as the finance commissioner during his reign as governor, Makarfi is allegedly rooting for another candidate.
The alleged below par performance of Yero since he became governor is causing anxiety within the ruling PDP and the vice president’s camp. There are fears in Sambo/Yero’s camp that in his bid to get even and prove his political relevance in the State, Makarfi may work against the reelection of Yero in 2015. Speculations are rife in the North West state that Makarfi, who is currently serving his second term as a Senator, could work with the major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) if the PDP nominates Yero as its governorship candidate in 2015. Since its formal registration some months ago, the profile of APC in Kaduna State has been in an upward swing, with many political heavyweights in the State pitching their tents with the party. Interestingly, the trios of Yero, Sambo and Makarfi all come from the same constituency of Zaria province in the northern part of the state. Although the VP had severally laid claims to Zone 2 in Kaduna Central by virtue of his years of place of residence, he is originally believed to have hailed from Zaria city.
Sambo had lived most of his life time in Kabala West area of Kaduna Central. Conversely, Makarfi, Sambo’s supposed godfather, hails from Makarfi, in Makarfi local government area of the northern flank of the State. Although the lawmaker and the nation’s number two citizen had once publicly declared to sheath their swords during the inauguration of Ambassador Bajoga as the state PDP Chairman in 2012 at the Yar’adua Hall, Murtala Square, developments in the state in the last two years clearly point to the contrary. For instance, Makarfi’s absence from several PDP state caucus meetings presided over by the VP on account of what some believe to be flimsy excuses, and the threat to suspend him from the party’s activities in recent times are pointers to this effect. The alleged bad blood between the duos in view of their dispositions to different governorship contenders may intensify in the weeks and months ahead. While Sambo’s camp is rooting for Governor Yero’s continuity in office in 2015, sources say Makarfi’s camp is the brain behind Isah Mohammed Ashiru’s governorship
•Continued on Page 20
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Where are the local councils?
OR the 774 local government councils across the federation, fifteen years of uninterrupted democratic governance is yet to deliver the much-needed respites for their operations. Investigations revealed that most of them are hampered by partisan politics, governors’ suffocating influence and illegal revenue deductions, among others. Conceived as the third tier of government, local councils are expected to bring governance closer to the grassroots and give citizens a sense of belonging. They have the statutory powers to also initiate economic policies and carry out projects of significant value to citizens at the grassroots. The 1999 Constitution in its fourth schedule, section 7 sub sections 1 and 2 clearly spells the functions of local government to include: (a) The consideration and the making of recommendations to a State commission on economic planning or any similar body on (i)The economic development of the State, particularly in so far as the areas of authority of the council and of the State are affected, and (ii) Proposals made by the said commission or body; (b) Collection of rates, radio and television licences; (c) Establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds and homes for the destitute or infirm; (d) Licensing of bicycles, trucks (other than mechanically propelled trucks), canoes, wheel barrows and carts; (e) Establishment, maintenance and regulation of slaughter houses, slaughter slabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences; (f)Construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains and other public highways, parks, gardens, open spaces, or such public facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the House of Assembly of a State; (g) Naming of roads and streets and numbering of houses; (h) Provision and maintenance of public conveniences, sewage and refuse disposal; (i) Registration of all births, deaths and marriages; (j)Assessment of privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying such rates as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of a State; and (k) Control and regulation of (i) out-door advertising and hoarding, (ii) Movement and keeping of pets of all description, (iii) Shops and kiosks, (iv)Restaurants, bakeries and other places for sale of food to the public, (v) Laundries and licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor. Other functions, according to the constitution, include: the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education; the development of agriculture and natural resources, other than the exploitation of materials; the provision and maintenance of health services and such other functions as may be conferred on a local government council by the House of Assembly of the State. Checks revealed that most councils across the federation are not only failing in these functions but almost comatose. Steve Nwankwo, a public analyst, puts it more succinctly: “It’s obvious our councils are doing nothing other than paying salaries and collecting rates.” He added: ‘You only find them in parks and motor garages, maybe in their secretariats too during rallies or political meetings. Other than that, you don’t feel their impact at all. One wonders where they are when inner roads are not tarred and infrastructure at the grassroots
Since the return of democratic rule in 1999, local councils have been hampered and slowed by militating forces, making governance to suffer, reports Sunday Oguntola
•Obasanjo level remains at comatose state.” Nwankwo, who expressed grave sadness over the performances of councils, said most of them have failed. “It’s all there for us to see. What projects have they carried out? How many schools do they operate successfully? How many roads have they constructed? Have many water have they provided for the people? Nigerians have not felt their impact and are wondering whether or not they exist in the first place.” The odds against local government administration Many council bosses, who spoke with our correspondent, confirmed many stakes are arrayed against their performances. One of them pointed at undue interferences from states as the biggest challenge confronting them. He said: “Truth is it is difficult for us to perform much, since we are not miracle workers. When you have governors breathing down your necks and insisting you do things in certain ways, it is become impossible to really do otherwise.” Most governors, it was gathered, have council bosses where they want them-in their pockets. This is not unexpected because most council chairmen owe their emergence to the almighty state governors, who nominated and bankrolled their elections. In states where council polls have not been conducted, interim chairmen are handpicked loyalists and associates of governors. Last month, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) bemoaned the failure of at least 11 states to conduct council elections, saying the development erodes democratic values at the grassroots. The states, according to INEC, include Abia, Bauchi, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Kano, Katsina, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. Councils, in these states, are governed by appointed caretaker chairmen or Transition committees. Analysts believe governors who are indisposed to engaging in political popularity contest deliberately prevent council polls from holding to retain their grips in the grassroots. A former councillor in a local government recalled how his chairman was more or less the puppet of the gov-
Government (SSG), Hassan Hyet and former federal lawmaker, Ruth Jumai Ango, all of whom are staunch loyalists of Makarfi. Ashiru’s defection to APC to actualise his governorship dream, analysts noted, may have further brightened Yero’s chances at the 2015 PDP governorship primary. The need to consolidate his hold on the political levers of the state ahead the 2015 elections, may have necessitated Yero to dissolve his cabinet shortly on assumption of office. Expectedly, controversy trailed the dissolution of the cabinet and the appointment of new appointees into strategic government positions.
The Sambo/Yero camp also moved fast to take total control of the state House of Assembly, resulting in the impeachment of the Speaker, Hon. Usman Gangara and his deputy, Dr. Dogara Mato. The impeachment generated a lot of controversies, as some political opponents pointed accusing fingers at the VP as the brain behind it. The matter is still in court. The primary objective of these strategic moves, sources aver, was to obliterate the remaining structures of late Yakowa and thus smoothen the political environment for his Yero to assert his authority. Yakowa’s political machinery, according to
ernor. “He won’t do anything without clearance from the governor. Many of us were surprised he was that subservient but he kept telling us he had to comply to retain the seat. It was more or less a servant-master relationship,” he shared. Elections or affirmation? Even in states that held elections, the INEC’s stakeholders’ forum expressed serious concerns over alleged imposition of candidates. In most cases, the ruling parties swept the polls, making analysts wonder if voters were teleguided. Stanley Uche, who was an electoral officer in a northern state, said the exercise was more or less a mere affirmation. “There were no opposition candidates at all. You either vote for those presented by the ruling party or walk away. In most cases, people just voted for the only available candidates, not necessarily their preferred choices.” Such situations, it was learnt, abound in several states where governor forcefully stifle opposition and run them out of existence to pave way for the emergence of their anointed candidates. Whither accountability? Since most council bosses were elected through the magnanimity of states’ executives and godfathers, their loyalty to the electorates is totally nonexistent. They rather consider their political benefactors first in governance, a development that fuels corruption and nepotism. A council worker, who spoke under strict anonymity, said most of them were recommended for the jobs by a certain godfather. Another council worker in a south-east state stated that most of them suffer salaries’ deduction anytime a political godfather has any private function. Yinka Ogundeji, a rural dweller, lamented the complete breakdown of governance in his council area. “The chairman is never around. He only comes when he wants to dispense money or favour to his cronies. He is the only elected government official we get to see but we don’t feel his impact at all,” he said. His tale of woes reverberates throughout
many grassroots dwellers across the nation. Many of them say their council chairmen and chairpersons do not consider them important in the schemes of things. Most projects, they say, are not tailored for their immediate needs but to accomplish outlandish, lofty goals, most defined by godfathers and political benefactors of council heads. Financial starvation Perhaps, the biggest challenge facing local council administration is the illegal deduction from statutory allocations from the federation accounts. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was so incensed at a point that he started publishing the official monthly allocations to councils in the country. He alleged that many governors were removing certain percentage of the allocations before they eventually share whatever is left to the councils. Since he left office, illegal deductions of federal allocations has continued across the country. Most council bosses admitted the misnomer but refused to be quoted. They said it was simply a issue “beyond us”, choosing to remain silent until the “coast is clear.” A former council accountant, who refused to be named, said his council’s statutory allocation was never fixed due to unannounced deductions. “Sometimes, it would be say like N20 million while at another time it would be N22-24million, depending on the mood of the governor,” he began. “We could not complain but simply improvise or cut the salaries and allowances we pay based on what eventually gets to us.” This development leaves the councils financially depleted with no leftovers for capital projects. The fluctuating overheads and the reserves for political job-grabbers and benefactors further erode councils’ funds. These leave them with little or nothing for developmental projects. Where are the local councils? Haruna Abass, a primary school teacher, believes that local councils have not done much in the last 15 years. “They are just there. We only hear them in newspapers that they have done this and that. We don’t get to see or feel what they do. The grassroots is suffering because there is virtually little or no governance there”. Mary Eke, a trader, corroborates the claim. She said she only remember council administration exists when officials come to demand annual charges on her shop. “I pay all manners of charges without getting anything in return. For me, they are only rent collectors with no value whatsoever to offer the citizens.” James Alex is convinced councils have performed dismally in 15 years. “Look at Lagos, what do they do? The state government is carrying out the projects they should be doing. Even inner roads are constructed by the state. So, what have they done? You look around and cannot honestly mention one or two,” he argued. All of these have made some stakeholders and analysts canvass autonomy for the third tier of government. But autonomy, Nwankwo contends, will not address dismal performances at the council level. He said the moment councils are allowed to access federal allocations directly, corruption will exacerbate at the local level with graver consequences for the polity. “I support autonomy but I am convinced that accountability is what we need. If we give them a N1 billion, for example, they will spend everything without trace. The point is we must get people interested in governance at the local council level so that they can demand accountability and monitor councils’ activities for societal good,” he stated.
Kaduna 2015: Sambo, Makarfi renew battle •Continued from Page 19 ambition. In recent times, Ashiru, who is contesting the governorship on the platform of the APC, has intensified his consultations with stakeholders across the length and breadth of the State. Just a few weeks ago, he had a meeting with his campaign team from all the 23 local government areas and the wards. His candidature, according to sources, is garnering support from influential politicians including the former state chairman of PDP, Yaro Makama; former Secretary to the State
loyalists of Sambo and Yero, was not formidable enough, a situation that led to PDP’s loss in the vice president’s ward and local government in the 2011 general elections. The new crop of leadership of the state legislature and the new commissioners, who are mostly former chairmen of local governments, are unquestionably loyal to the incumbent governor and are believed to be solidly on ground politically. Will Makarfi regain his political control of Kaduna State or will Sambo finally prove that he has come of age politically in 2015? The 2015 general elections will surely provide the answer.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Lagos 2015: A battle of the old divisions
OLLOWING a brainstorming stakeholders’ meeting held by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) few weeks back, the party announced that it was zoning its 2015 gubernatorial ticket to Lagos East Senatorial District. Considering the way it was received by indigenes and residents of the state alike, the announcement may have ended speculations as to which of the three zones would produce Governor Babatunde Fashola’s successor. There are even strong indications that the two other senatorial districts may have resolved to concede the governorship to the east in 2015. But the announcement appears to have resuscitated the ancient rivalry among the old divisions in the state as three of the five divisions that make up today’s Lagos State are now engaged in a political battle to determine which of them should produce the governorship candidate of the ruling party. The East Senatorial Zone that is now favoured to produce the governor by APC includes Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Somolu and Kosofe Local Government Areas of the state. Of the five, three namely, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki and Ikorodu are parts of the original five divisions of old Lagos. But in spite of the announcement, a political group, Gunuvi Right Initiative of Nigeria, (GRIN) has said the next Governor of Lagos State must come from Badagry. The group said in a statement by its president, Mr. Bokoh Seyido, that Badagry had been marginalised in the state for too long, adding that the news making the rounds was that the All Progressives Congress was already zoning the position to the Epe area of the state. The group explained that there were five divisions in Lagos State — Badagry, Epe, Ikeja, Ikorodu and Lagos Island. It, however, maintained that only Badagry had not produced a governor before as Epe Division had al r eady p r o d u c e d l at e G ov e rn or Michael Otedola. The rivalry among the four is so tense that leaders of the party are said to be under severe pressure in deciding who will fly the party’s flag. A
•Otedola By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor
source at the state secretariat told The Nation that several appeal letters and proposals have been received from the leadership of the three divisions agitating that they be considered specifically as the zone to produce the governor. “The funny thing is that all three zones are canvassing firm reasons why they should get the nomination. While some are canvassing equity and justice, others are alleging marginalisation. The party is besieged daily with letters and agitations from all three,” he said. Insisting that the division should be given the nod not just by the APC, but by all political parties to produce the next governor, eminent persons in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State recently appealed to leading political parties in the state to give the division their governorship tickets in 2015 as a way of correcting the political marginalization of the area in the politics of the State. At the stakeholders’ summit of a group named Eminent Persons of Ikorodu Division (EPID) held at the palace of te Ayangbunren of Ikorodu, Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi last weekend, leaders of thoughts in the division said in the interest of justice and fairness, Ikorodu should be encouraged by other divisions in the state to produce the next governor of the state. The leaders also said they would request for intents from interested persons in the governorship race of Lagos State in 2015 from all political parties and urge the leading parties in the state to give priorities to aspirants of Ikorodu extraction in choosing their flag bearers. In a communiques signed by Chief B. O Benson and Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, Chairman and Secretary of the group respectively, the group said its effort is directed towards ensuring that all leading political parties in the state present indigenes of Ikorodu Division as gubernatorial candidates during the 2015 election. Specifically, the leaders want the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) amongst others, to zone their governorship tickets, not just to the East senatorial District but to Ikorodu Division in particular.
“When Lagos was created in 1967, our leaders gave us the impression that the manpower requirement of government and, indeed, the provision of welfare services and infrastructure development would be spread evenly across the five divisions in the state. “These divisions are Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos and Epe. Today, we know better. Ikorodu is no longer recognised as a division. It is only part of Lagos East Senatorial District. As part of Lagos East Senatorial District, it is struggling with others in the district for a position believed to have been zoned to the district. For the avoidance of doubt, the district consists of Ikorodu, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Kosofe, and Somolu/ Bariga. “We have information that Epe is poised for action in the struggle to snatch the governorship position in 2015 from Ikorodu despite the fact that Ikorodu, at one time, precisely in 1992, conceded the governorship position to Epe by outvoting her own son, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, in favour of Sir Michael Otedola. If one good turn deserves another and if we are to remain politically relevant, we must ask that the governorship race this time be conceded to Ikorodu Division. “Epe should therefore refrain from the struggle. Lagos East is now in search of an acceptable candidate who would be capable of raising the political and economic bars of Lagos State to a higher level. That is the task ahead of us all and it is a task that must be accomplished. Let us search for eminently qualified candidates for presentation to the powers-that-be in the politics of Lagos State. Thank God we have the numerical strength and the determination to occupy the Oval Office in Ikeja, come 2015,” the group said. But if there is anything Epe division appears ready to do, it is not to refrain from jostling for the governorship position in 2015. The zone currently has not less than four of its sons at the forefront of the contest. Akinwunmi Ambode, a frontline aspirant recently endorsed by Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, current Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Dr. Leke Pitan, former Commissioner for Health, are a few of the prominent aspirants of Epe extrac-
tion currently jostling for the job. While not denying the fact that it had once produced a governor for the state in person of the late Michael Otedola, the argument of the division, aside from the claim that Otedola’s regime was short-lived, is that it has been largely marginalised in the provision of infrastructure by successive governments. Leaders of the division are therefore committed to ensuring that one of them rules the state come 2015. “Our take is that the ticket has been zoned to Lagos East and Epe is part of Lagos East. We have thrown our hats into the ring with about four aspirants. Let the party choose one of them,” a party chieftain said. The agitation from Badagry, according to GRIN, is based on its demand for equity and justice amongst the old divisions in the state. “Since the creation of Lagos State in 1967, none of the indigenous persons of Egun-Awori extraction of Badagry Division has ever occupied the executive seat of the Lagos State. “Even, we have not been given the opportunity to serve in core substantive ministries like Works, Land, Transport, Budget, Justice, among others as a commissioner. However, we are not unaware of the grand plan to ostracise the original indigene of the state in the managerial affair of the state. “Our view is based on the happenings in the political appointment and elective arrangement in the state since 1999. Our division and our people have been seriously marginalised to the level that we are being treated as second class indigenes of Lagos. “History has it that all the administrative division which are Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe, with the exception of Badagry, have all produced the chief executive of the state either during the military or the democratic era. “Come 2015, Badagry Division of Lagos State is the only eligible division to produce the executive governor of the state. All the political positions in the state must be shared evenly among the five division of the state,” GRIN claimed.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
OLITICS in Enugu State, especially in the last couple of months, has been attended by a
Nigeria has civil rule, not democracy, says Falana
S a delegate at the National Conference looking at how to reshape the country, do we have every reason to celebrate 15 years of our democracy? We are here especially to expand the democratic and consolidate civil rule and ensure that it translates to democracy. If democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, you will agree with me that, we have not had the government for the people in the past 15 years but the government of the elite, which I call Elitocracy. This is a government whereby big guys in government have been able to smile to the bank whereas the masses of the people have continue to wallow in abject poverty. Out of the official figure of 170 million people, according to government official source, about 130 million are living within the poverty bracket. To those 130 million people, democracy remain a tantalizing reality that can never be actualized in term of how many people have been offered gainful employment in the last 15 years? Has the government been able to guarantee security of lives and property? Have we had any new major high way in the last 15 years? Not even a single expressway has been constructed in this country in the last 15 years. No new major hospital has been built in the country in the past 15 years, I stand to be corrected, I’m not aware of one. In that kind of a situation, we can’t say Nigeria has made a substantial progress in democracy. No doubt a number of people have become multi-millionaires, about 135 Nigerians now have their own private jets. But has that translated to any qualitative improvement in the lives of 130 million poverty-stricken people of huts country? The answer is No. Therefore, If we are talking about consolidating democracy, we have to build democracy first before consolidating it. What we have got so far, for the past 15 years is civil rule. With the mutual suspicion and unwilling postures of some delegates to drop some of their sensitive demands at the Conference, how do we then build the democracy. I have gone through the reports of all the 20 Committees and I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the recommendations are largely profound, some of them are even earth-shaking. What is worrisome for me however is the lack of political will on the part of the ruling class, political elite, the government of the day to see through the recommendations. As for me, at the end of the day, a new struggle would begin. Once the recommendations are popular, relevant and acceptable to the Nigerian people, a new struggle would have to begin for the implementation of those recommendations. I can not see the government welcoming us and accepting those
Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) said there was nothing to celebrate about the 15 years of the country’s democracy if 130 million Nigerians are living below poverty line. In this interview with Onyedi Ojiabor, Assistant Editor and Dele Anofi, Falana, who spoke on the intrigues at the on-going National Conference, warned that as long as government refused to change its tactics, the war against terrorism might remain a mirage. Excepts:
•Falana recommendations because some those recommendations questioned the status quo, established values and settled positions with respect to enjoyment of privileges by government officials. For us now to insist that they should wipe out or dispense with those privileges, it is going to be a struggle. Just yesterday (Wednesday), the position of the Committee on Religion was accepted that government should stop sponsoring of pilgrims to Jerusalem and Mecca every year. Those who benefit maximally are going to fight back. For political reasons, the government itself would not be comfortable, wondering whether these religious people would vote for them, or the beneficiaries of pilgrimages would vote for them. That is why a new struggle is going to begin. For instance, I have identified, in at least seven Committees that recommended that Chapter Two of the constitution be made justiciable. Those provisions have been there since 1979 but for the ruling class, the people should be satisfied with political and civil rights which are meaningless to them. For instance how do you talk of Freedom of expression to an illiterate, how would he express himself or Freedom of movement to a man who has no means of livelihood, how does he travel for leisure, holiday. That is why, like a Nigerian proverb says among the
poverty-stricken people that ‘You rest the day you die’. Meaning there is no holiday for the poor. In essence, if we make Chapter Two justiciable, Right to work would be guaranteed, an ablebodied Nigerian that has no works should be able to get a stipend from the government at the end of the month. If you say every body should go to school in the country, if everybody who is sick can access medical health and facilities, the situation will never be the same in the country again. And that would force government officials to think, have sleepless nights on how to fund Social security system for the people of our country. I have no doubt that many of them would have their hairs turned grey in a couple of months. We have seen some delegates unwilling to take patriotic decisions on some national sensitive issues with potentials to move the country forward. How do we reconcile that sir? As I did say when we were debating the President’s inauguration speech, many of those who brought Nigeria to its knees are here, many of them have been in the system since the First Republic benefitting from the decadence of the system. It is therefor going take appreciable time to convince them, to make them see reason for change. You can not but expect the kind of
discordant tones oozing out of the confab, but usually at the end of the day, we have substantially allowed reason to prevail. What other steps do we take, in addition to the Conference to build this democracy? The media has a great role to play. In the interest of the society, the media has to go beyond the ephemeral policy of trying to join them if you can’t beat them. The media played a leading role in the fight against colonialism, and even greater role in the struggle against military dictatorships which culminated in the restoration of civil rule. Unfortunately, in consolidating civil rule, and pushing the frontiers of civil rule leading to genuine popular democracy, the media has been found wanting. Today, only the views of the elites are largely published, so a stranger to Nigeria might just think the masses are comfortable. Stories about grinding poverty, the violations of the rights of our people from across the country, the abandonment of principles by government officials are hardly published in the Nigerian media. Indeed now, unlike before when the media would pursue a corruption case until whoever was involved is pushed out of government, we have a lot of media houses now shoutingHosannah. You remember the days of ‘If you Taka me, I Daboh you’, that is no linger there because we must also be critical of those institutions that can institutionalize democracy-the judiciary. There is not much to write home about the Bar Association, because in the interpretation of the law, in the enforcement of the law, including obedience to court orders, the official bar and the private bar played significant roles. But if the judges are just there to sustain the status quo without interpreting the law in the interest of the people, in the interest of the rule of law, in the interest of democracy, it is difficult to have a politically stable society. Aside the media, what about the masses perceived to be incapable of sustaining the struggles? No, no, as Carl Max said, “In any historical epoch, the ideas of the ruling class are the dominant ideas”. Even in every homes, if the parents are irresponsible, how do you expect them to turn our good children. Nigerians are the easiest to rule in the world, I have never seen a more patient people anywhere. All manners of military dictators that takes over reign of power and the attitude of our people is, let’s give them a chance, until they all messed up themselves, one after the other. So, Nigerians are very patient, very trusting but have been betrayed time and time again. So you can not accuse the people of complacency, they also have to be mobilized by the elite who may have committed class suicide by doing that. On security, what is the way forward?
I condemn the abduction of the Chibok girls but with profound respect to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and this is where I have to appeal to the media to be more critical. I have to say that before reporting news emanating from the Defence Headquarters, you have to cross check and verify your facts first. For instance, the cover story yesterday (Tuesday last week) about the statement credited to the CDS that the girls have been located. This is the same Chief of Defence Staff who made a similar statement four weeks ago. At that time, he appealed to parents of the abducted girls to give them a chance, that in a matter of days the girls would be returned to their parents. Four weeks later, he made the same stamens and you are celebrating it. On the war against terror, my view is that, are you not surprised that we fought the civil war for three years, exactly 30 months and heroes were produced on both sides. But since this battle on terrorism started, no heroes have been produced. That in itself question the commitment of the government to fight terrorism. On a yearly basis, not less than N3 trillion has been released by government to fight terror but unfortunately and painfully we are not getting value for that money. We are told now that we are not having vital equipment to fight the war, that our soldiers are not adequately equipped, not adequately trained, with low morale, not motivated, how do you win any war in an atmosphere of frustration. Our own media must help us. We don’t have to depend on the international media to let us know that despite the imposition of state of emergency in the three North East States, the people are not secure. To me that requires a change of tactics in fighting the war. We all know that in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, when a soldier is killed in battle, the family members are informed before the name is published. The soldier that lost his or life for service to the fatherland is given a hero’s burial. Here, the media simply report that x number of solders were killed, they have no name. We lost about a thousand soldiers in Liberia and Sierra Leone, no media house ever published the name of any of them. So when the soldiers are given the impression that their lives seems inconsequential, why would they lay their lives for the fatherland? Don’t be surprised to know that family members of soldiers killed in battle were chased out of where they were quartered by government as soon as their loved ones were killed in combat. These are some of the problems. Nigerian soldiers are a global force to reckon with in international peace keeping operations around the world. Nigerian soldiers were instrumental to the restoration of peace and democracy in Liberia and Sierra Leone, how come the same Nigerian soldiers can not defeat the rag-tag group of Boko Haram?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
‘Why I want to be Abia governor’
ENATOR Nkechi Justina Nwaogu is the Senator representing Abia Central senatorial District and a frontline governorship aspirant in the state. She is gunning for the 2015 gubernatorial ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). She spoke with journalists in Aba recently. Sunny Nwankwo was there. You just had a town hall meeting with the people of Osisioma Local Government. What prompted you to consult with the people at this stage? There are quite some reasons to consult the people of my local government area. First, is to acquaint them with the happenings in the polity. Another one is to discuss my next line of political action with them. I also felt that before I delve into the political arena of Abia State, I need to interact with them, get their opinion and of course their support and blessings. These are the major reasons for the town hall meeting. What are the things you intend to bring into the governance of the state if you emerged the governor? With my experience over the years at the national level, I should be able to bring value and dividends of democracy to Abia State by attracting federally sponsored projects because I know the process of getting a federal project into a state. I will be able to build upon the level attained by the current government. It is a natural thing that I will be able to continue with the legacies and framework that the present government is establishing. I have the capacity and experience in both the private and public sectors. I should be able to bring these experiences to bear on Abia State. Knowing and having lived in Abia State, I know what Abians need. Abia is a state where a lot of people are into private sector businesses; I should be able to provide them with conducive environment which in turn create employment and wealth. I should also be able to bring a new style of governance as a woman and mother. I intend to make it an inclusive governance. I should be able to look at the critical needs of our state which is majorly infrastructure. Once we get the infrastructure right, it would drive other sectors of the economy and in turn, bring in development. Aside infrastructure, don’t you think there are other challenges facing the state? I am also going to look at areas like the perennial floods that we always experience i n Aba whcih
has many of our roads. I think that we should revisit the issue of the World Bank projects that was here during the military era. If we reactivate that programme, we would be able to have assisted projects in Aba which will enable us to tackle the flood menace majorly in Aba and other areas. I should also be able to look at the problems of erosion in Isiukwuato, Uturu and other erosion prone areas. Why I am saying this is that I have the ability to attract international agencies to come to our aid. It is not what the federal government or what monies we get as monthly subvention can do for us. With my experience in the banking sector, I should be able to train our youths in skills and vocations and also attract some turnkey loans from the development banks in the country. There are a lot of things I know I can do to restore confidence in Aba economic environment. Aba used to rank as the fourth economic nerve center of this country, but today it has become a ghost of itself. We should all work together. I will also continue with programmes of the current government to ensure that we do not stop projects simply because that administration is no longer in place. I will continue them to ensure that we do not waste the meager resources Abia is getting by abandoning projects that are already running. We can also look into the agricultural sector of the state to see how we can become at least, reasonably self-sufficient in agro products rather than importing or buying everything from outside our state. Do you think Aba as a commercial city need alternative source of power supply? I know that Abia has oil and gas. We have abundant gas at Owazza in Ukwa West Local Government Area. I will use my contact to ensure that once the petroleum bill is passed into law, we will be able to go into partnership with some investors that will be able to establish gas processing plants at Owazza. Once we have that, we should be able to establish a power plant to provide power to Aba and its environs. And even with the privatization of the federal government on power, I believe that by the time my government comes on stream in 2015, power will be like communication where operators will come up with different networks and people will be subscribing to the network of their choice. Power and road infrastructure are the most critical areas that if we get them right in Abia State, we will increase revenue base, crate job and increase wealth. In all these, what do you consider as your unique selling point as you go into this contest? My unique selling point is the unique contact or the unique reach that I have. I should be able to attract, like I said earlier, federal and international a g e n c y projects w h i c h ordinarily our state m a y n o t have t h e capacity t o fund. I should be able to attract such. I should be able to look at areas like sanitation a n d environment and attract international
aid agencies to our state. You see the menace that we have in various places; it is only those who have the knowledge and capacity to go to those agencies to attract funding from them for handling the environment and sanitation as we have them. A typical example is the Aba Waterside River along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway; that place can be turned to a tourist site once the environment is changed. We can relocate the abattoir to a purpose built area. That Waterside River leads into the Akwette-Azumini Blue River which can form a transportation means from the Waterside to Azumini and even beyond. It can even create employment and wealth once we reactivate the place. We should as a matter of urgency rebuild that bridge. This will enhance the flow of traffic in and out of Aba. A lot of people think that it is only what we get from the monthly subvention that will be used, I do not believe so. I believe that there are a lot of economic mixes that we can take. One will be the Public Private Partnership (PPP). If we do that, we can get a lot of things done. We can also aim at reactivating some of our ailing agencies. A typical example will be the textile mill that has remained moribund in the last 15-16 years. If we reactivate it through PPP, that textile industry can create employment for over 200 youths and there will be spiral benefit that will come out of. There is the Ceramic industry in Umuahia, I know its been privatized to the Catholic people. We will work with them to ensure that it becomes operational so that they can truly go into active production. There are a lot more things that we can do with my finance experience, my banking exposure, legislative reach and executive contact/ relationship. I believe that I should be able to provide unique governance more than anyone that is aspiring now. Of course as a woman, I believe that I will be more accountable. I will be more responsive to accounting to the citizens of Abia State. Are you not worried that after Gov. Orji has reinstated that power shift to Ukwa Ngwa in 2015 is non-negotiable, the people of Isiukwuato are still kicking against zoning? I think what they are doing is getting themselves to be recognized because there is what we called justice and equity. You don’t do things you will regret in years to come. All these years, as far as the governorship in Abia State is concerned, we have two major political blocks; Old Bende and Old Aba division. The Old Bende is made up 8 local government areas starting from Umuahia South to Arochukwu and in Old Aba division, we have 9 local governments starting from Isiala Ngwa North to Ukwa. We do not do senatorial because in Abia Central, there is a mixture of Ngwa people and the Bende people, therefore you cannot say Abia North, Abia Central or Abia South. So, our brothers running around in Isiukwuato are political neophytes. It is not unexpected. They are just introducing themselves, we are not worried. They know they cannot go further than what they are doing because they of the old Bende and their own political block have been in charge since 1991. Are you also not worried about the number of aspirants that has so far emerged from Ukwa Ngwa zone for the same position that you are vying for? I am not worried because there are a lot of our brothers who are also trying to advertise themselves in the political arena. You know you can plant ten corn seedlings in one hole; at the end of the day, you get about two or three sprouting into chords. A lot of them know that they cannot go anywhere. Governorship is not for beginners or kindergartens; it is not for somebody with a local reach or a local champion. It is much more than that. Most are trying to boost their CV’s for future things, definitely not for governorship.
HEN, these days, I listen to Information Minister Labaran Maku speak on behalf of the Federal Government, I am reminded of the feats achieved by Uche Chukwumerije, now a Senator, and Tom Ikimi, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who both served the most despicable government in Nigeria’s history and distinguished themselves in presenting black as white. Perhaps suggesting that the IQ of the average Nigerian is as low as a lamb’s, Mr. Maku does his job even when his contention evidently flies in the face of the facts. Last week, he came up with the theory that 90 per cent of the protesters against the abduction of the Chibok girls are members of the opposition All Progressives Congress. The spokesman for the government interpreted that to mean they were engaged in mobilizing against the government. He explained that they had no moral right to adopt the stance given the prevalence of the insurgency in states controlled by the Federal Government. First, let me comment on the man, Maku. He was only acting true to character. He once recanted the role he played in opposing the anti-masses economic policies of the Babangida regime. Today, as publicist for the Jonathan administration, he would justify anything. He is at home with privatization and commercialization agenda of this government. He sees nothing wrong in foisting an exploitative electricity tariff on the people without commensurate improvement in quality of service. It is sickening and disheartening that a former comrade could feel comfortable being associated with the views credited to him on the current spate of insecurity in the country. Let’s examine the logic. First, how did Mr. Maku come about his statistics? Yes, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States are today governed by the APC. But, assuming as he has suggested, the insurgency is a result of poor governance, when did that start? In Adamawa where the governor was in the Peoples Democratic Party till last year, should the alleged incompetence be blamed on the APC or PDP? What about Plateau State/ The insecurity of lives and property in that state that has been under the PDP control since 1999 is probably the worst in the country. Yet, the Jonathan administration shamelessly chose to back Jonah Jang as chairman of the President’s Governors Forum. Second, who has the constitutional duty of controlling the security agencies? In most states of the federation, the Police Force derives its funding mainly from the state governments, while the operational command is from the centre with the Inspector General ultimately responsible to the President. By the revenue allocation formula, the federal government corners the funds, but hands the duties to state governments. We saw a recent demonstration of the incongruity of the arrangement in Rivers where the Police Commissioner openly confronted the state government and the latter could do nothing about it. Three, the federal government should face the real issue at hand. Under its watch, for the first time in the history of this country, more than 200 girls were abducted from a secondary school and the government lacks a clear, coherent policy to rescue them and combat the trend. Till date, we do not have the exact figures of girls in captivity. At a point the military said almost all had been rescued, when in fact none had. At another, the President and his missus were expressing doubt that anyone was actually kidnapped. Then, the military chief said they knew where the girls were kept but were helpless at launching a bid to liberate them. Mr. Maku should face the task of confronting the issues rather than chasing shadows. I suggest he heads for a top flight institution for a course in communication. AKPABIO AKPABIO Akpabio is a common name in the South South state, Akwa Ibom. But, when used in the manner I have here, it refers to only one person. It does not require prefixing it with Governor or Godswill for people to know it identifies the money man of the Niger Delta. Akpabio is not a money man in the sense of a Dangote or Bill Gates. He is by virtue of the office he holds. Even then, it is not on account of any ingenious manner in which he has raised the revenue accruing to the state government. Akwa Ibom still precariously depends on allocations from the Federation Account. But, he has the money and has mastered how to spend it on matters, physical and political projects and persons he may choose to. It does not matter if it is as frivolous as sponsoring a musician to Dubai to take his bride to the altar. He picks bills when the ruling party chooses to fritter money on party meetings. It is the only state willing to buy delegates to a regional party meeting in another state launch in the sum of one million naira each. Having done all these, he has now moved to secure his postoffice life in opulence. Despite showing interest in going to the Senate, he has also decided that he would require so much as pension, medical and sundry allowances. There is perhaps nothing as ludicrous as the explanations by the Speaker and the Information Commissioner on this matter. True patriots should not relent on this until the brazen misappropriation of public funds in perpetuity by AKPABIO AKPABIO is reversed.
T was a hectic journey last weekend to Ekeya Community in Akwa Ibom State, where I was invited by an organisation named the Advocacy for Equity and Justice (AEJ). AEJ is presently visiting some Niger Delta communities to assess the extent to which they have been touched by the dividends of democracy. The tour took us to several communities in Eket Senatorial Zone. Communities visited include: Amamo village, Obifit, Uba and Eyo Efai. Haven heard so much about the ongoing zoning issue in Akwa-Ibom, I decided that my three-day stay in Eket should include a fact finding mission. I interacted not only with stakeholders, but also with the ordinary people on the streets. From very reliable sources, I was able to garner a deeper understanding of the political arrangement in the State and why there is widespread sympathy for the people of Eket Senatorial Zone to produce the next governor of the state. The politics of Akwa Ibom State revolves round the four ethnic nationalities of Ibibio, Annang, Oro / Obolo and Ekid. The four nationalities are delineated into Uyo senatorial zone, Ikot / Ikpene senatorial zone and Eket senatorial zone. The Ibibios, who form the largest ethnic group lay upland mainly in Uyo and parts of Ikot / Ikpene senatorial zones while Annang, Oro / Obolo and Ekid ethnic nationalities spread across Ikot / Ikpene and Eket senatorial zones. So far, a total of 10 Governors have governed the state since old Cross River State. Out of this number, Ibibio has produced six Governors, viz: Chief Dr. Clement Isong, Navy Capt. Edet Archibong, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, Obong Akpan Isemin, Navy Capt. Sam Ewang and Obong Victor Attah. The Annangs, second largest ethnic group has produced three Governors. They are Senator Donald Etiebet, Navy Capt. Anthony Udofia and the incumbent Governor, Barr. Godswill Akpabio. The Ekid ethnic group has produced just a Governor in the person of Brigadier General U. J Usuene. Whereas, Oro / Obolo, the third largest ethnic group has not produced a Governor. According to some political elders of the district, since the creation of Akwa Ibom State in September 1987, of the six Governors that have governed the state, four of them are of Ibibio extraction in Uyo Senatorial Zone, while the other two Governors: Annang from Ikot / Ikpene Senatorial Zone, leaving Eket and the Oro extraction as the only senatorial zone and ethnic group that has not produced Governor in the state. From the foregoing, the Ibibios and the Annangs have jointly governed the state since its creation. Put otherwise, Ibibio with 14 local governments has produced six Governors, Annang with eight Local governments has produced three Governors, Ekid with two local governments has produced one Governor but Oro / Obolo with seven local governments has not produced a Governor. Thus, providing a justification for the agitation that power should shift to Eket zone and Oro in particular since nobody from the ethnic group has emerged Governor.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Akwa Ibom 2015: Why Eket senatorial zone is favoured
•Akpabio From Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt
Dr. Francise Iseghe, a political leader in the zone, in a chat with The Nation alleged that, “In spite of the obvious disproportion and asymmetry in the distribution of power in the state, a group of selfstyled PDP Elders are championing a campaign to undermine the zoning arrangement in the state, with a view of returning power to Uyo Senatorial Zone that has overenjoyed the Governorship seat of the state. The anti-zoning PDP Elders are not resting on their oars to wrestle power. Recently, in a sponsored newspaper advertorial; they accused Governor Godswill Akpabio of trying to impose his lackey from Eket zone as Governor in 2015. Governor Akpabio, was said to be favourably disposed to a just aspiration and clamour for power shift to Eket zone. In terms of population, the Ibibios are more. Thus, they tend to take advantage of its population to rout the other zones. But, the Oro people are anchoring their aspiration on the principle of equity justice and fairness. They are urging their Ibibio and Annang brothers to give them a chance and sense of belonging by allowing them to produce the Governor come 2015 in line with the zoning policy that was adopted in 1999 and 2006. “The anti-zoning group is working hard to upset zoning but in pursuing its agenda; it has not given thought to the need to have an integrated state or even the feeling of the people of Eket zone,” he said. In his own submission, Chief Emmanuel Arawore, National President Advocacy for Equity and Justice, said there is need to allow Eket zone to produce the next Governor given the history of its support of the other zones both to occupy and in running the state.
“Politicians of Oro extraction, ranging from late Chief Senator Lawrence Etim, Senator Victor Akpan, to Chief Edet Asuquo Anwana has not used privilege to suppress. Instead, they voted personal monies and devoted effort to ensure stability at all times. Personalities like Comrade Okon Osung, Dr. Edunam and Chief Terry Ekpo were part of the strong support base that brought Obong Victor Attah to power in 1999. Even the PDP primary deadlock between Godswill Akpabio and Dr. Udoma Ekarika in 2006, which resolved in favour of Akpabio was not without the support of the people of the zone. Arch. Otu ItaToyo, then state Chairman of the party played key role. Isn’t they say, that one good turn deserves another? If politicians from Eket zone supported others to become Governor, is it too much asking other zones to support them to be Governor?” he asked. T Speaking further, Chief Arawore said, “If for equity and fairness, the zoning policy was adopted, then it is incongruous to muzzle a zone that has roundly supported others. If equity is the essence of zoning; it is not proper to deny that zone that generates over 90% in revenue to the state Government. Eket senatorial zone is described as the goose that lay the golden eggs. Revenue accruing to the state from oil and used to finance development in other zones they say is derived from Eket zone and majorly Oro local governments. Thus, it is my view that the clamour to return power to Uyo senatorial zone could not be justified by fundamentals other than the tyranny of a majority. It is a clamour built on desperation.” However, the agitation of Eket zone viz-a-viz the Oro people is not just about zoning but much more about good neighbourliness and fairness to one another. The need to haul development to the zone
seems to be a more cogent justification for its 2015 aspiration. As indicated, Eket is the highest oil producing cluster in the state and yet does not enjoy adequate infrastructural deployment despite its exposure to environmental degradation and oil exploration related hazards. It was said that successive administrations in the state have not done enough to stabilize the environment. A Governor of Oro origin, who knows where the shoe pinches they believe will certainly do more to tackle the problem of adverse effect of oil exploration and underdevelopment in the area. This can be achieved without compromising all necessary developmental needs of the other zones. Chief Omoh Edem, a community leader in the area said the state has respected the party’s zoning arrangement in the last two dispensations. He noted that in a meeting of party stakeholders, paramount rulers and opinion leaders, convened by Governor Attah at the Ibom Hall, party leaders confirmed it that it was the turn of Ikot / Ikpene senatorial zone to produce Governor in 2007 and with emphasis on Annang and thereafter, Eket zone with emphasis on Oro. “Governor Attah allayed the fears of minority on the party’s commitment to zoning when he declared categorically at the Ikot / Ikpene Council Hall on Thursday April 13, 2006 during the swearingin of chapter and ward Chairmen that, “Ikot / Ikpene senatorial District will produce the next Governor and after that Eket senatorial District will take its turn. I stand here to tell you that I will support you to get what you want. After giving such assurances that bother on personal integrity and equity to all, will it be proper to renege on zoning after Ikot / Ikpene has had its turn?
If zoning was upheld as a fundamental policy to guarantee equity, justice and a sense of belonging, it cannot now become a bad policy. Thus, the current opposition to zoning by beneficiaries of it cannot be allowed to stand. Zoning cannot be bad because it is not in the favour of a clique. The propaganda that the people of Oro did not support the election of Godswill Akpabio and that they do not have the financial muscle to contest and win the Governorship election is laughable, ridiculous and portrays the desperation of a few. It suffices to say that Oro’s true wealth is not in the vanity of naira and kobo but in its quality of heart to serve all fairly”. In a move that clearly reveals the sympathy currently being enjoyed by Eket zone, the State Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obong Paul Ekpo vehemently warned against any smear campaign against the party zoning policy. He confirmed party’s commitment to zoning and equity. “A few dissenting voices should not distract us. We must uphold the principles of justice, fairness and equity that are enshrined in our party constitution”. There is need for committed to this position. By all indication, zoning appears the strongest re-assurance for equity and justice in a state hosting different ethnic nationality. To that extent, the leadership of the party should commit themselves to the zoning agreement in the state which was that power should rotate among the major ethnic nationalities of Ibibio, Annang and Oro / Obolo. The party will miss its objectives of equity, justice and fairness when a zoning arrangement to Eket is manipulated in favour of the Ibibio minority in the zone giving that Ibibio and Annang have had their turn. The party must guide against this ugly scenario from playing itself out,” the Chairman said. Apart from just agitating for the plum position, the people of Oro maintained that Oro has sellable people with experience and proven track records that the party can select from to build on the pioneering effort of Governor Victor Attah and widely applauded achievements of Governor Godswill Akpabio by fasttracking existing development and breaking new grounds in the state. “Uyo and Ikot / Ikpene zones need to support Eket zone to have it this time. The need for national and state leadership of the PDP to prevail on the antizoning group to respect party policy on zoning cannot be overstressed. As it is, Governor Akpabio has a duty both of defending the constitutions and of ensuring a peaceful Akwa Ibom state after his exit as Governor. Like his predecessor, Governor Attah did, Akpabio has to be explicit and unequivocal in his support for zoning to Eket and Oro in particular come 2015. Gratuitously, Uyo senatorial zone has not produced a Deputy Governor; it should produce one in 2015 while Eket senatorial zone that has not produced a Governor should produce one in 2015,” another chieftain of the ruling party said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
‘Terrorism threatens gains of democracy’
ECENTLY, Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) has been associated with advertisements promoting President Goodluck Jonathan’s national transformation agenda. What is TAN all about and is the national transformation agenda really working? Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) is a non-governmental movement made up of Nigerian patriots who are persuaded that the national transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration contains core paradigmatic elements that need to be propagated and extended. National transformation is both a deconstructive and a reconstructive exercise. It deconstructs the nation’s 100 years of colonial and post-colonial inheritance in the spheres of democratisation, building of economic structures, and the setting and execution of development goals. The Jonathan administration is reconstructing and reconstituting the foundational logic of Nigeria’s democratic system by strengthening the tools and instruments of electoral governance that made the 2011 general elections better than the 2003 and 2007 elections as the expression of the true will of the people. While the National Orientation Agency strives to codify positive national values into patriotic norms, the on-going National Conference aims at re-calibrating and resolving the contentious issues in the national agenda as the corner stone for the evolution of a more equitable, inclusive and compassionate social and economic order. But are Nigerians feeling the impact of all these... You must appreciate that some of these programmes and projects have an all-encompassing impact while others have sectoral impact. If you hardly travel by air you may not appreciate the fundamental changes that are occurring in that sector. If you are not a farmer, you won’t appreciate the revolutionary energy that is coursing through that sector. If you have never bothered with rail transportation, you may not have noticed that trains run in Nigeria today. Two challenges face the government in this regard. The first is to develop and sustain an integral mechanism for the promotion of these institutional changes, the creation of popular awareness about services already delivered and a structured buy-in process that ensures that Nigerians co-own the benefits of national transformation. The second is to develop a counter public sphere narrative that unconceals the truth of its achievements from the falsity of public perception procreated by the antagonistic segments of the political elite who have persistently dominated the public discourse spaces and sites. This is where TAN comes in. But some would argue that the transformation agenda has been overshadowed by security challenges in the country. Surely, the new terror threat that the government has been battling for some years now has created layers and levels of disequilibrium in the allocation and management of scarce national resources but it cannot unhinge the totality of national developmental planning and the implementation of policy choices and thrusts. As lamentable and tragic as the situation is with regard to lives lost, communities dislocated and economic activities negatively impacted upon in the affected areas, there is
In this interview, Dr Udenta O Udenta, Director of Public Communications and Strategy, Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) laments what he described as false narrative about government’s capacity. Sam Egburonu reports
yet another challenge; that is, oftentimes, not easily noticeable. The past three years have witnessed an escalation in the amount of money budgeted for security operations against terrorist insurgencies; funds that could easily have been deployed in the education, health, job creation and other human services sectors. However, even in the context of the excesses of the terrorists in our midst, the process of national transformation is being significantly facilitated in various national directions. Considering the rating of President Goodluck Jonathan recently, is it not possible the implementation of his national transformation agenda may be affected? There are misrepresentations and misreading of the situation in Nigeria by the Western media and unfortunately a segment of the local media and elite forces have bought into this false narrative about government’s capacity and commitment in ending terrorism in Nigeria. What is conveniently forgotten is that Nigeria, like the USA and her global partners are fighting a war without boundaries, a war without rules and a war that can strike you anywhere, anytime, without notice. While the USA public, media, and the whole of the Western world and media rallied around President Bush after the 9/11 attacks, Nigerians are being tutored to disparage their government. Yet, 9/11 was a clear case of a gross failure of intelligence, given that the World Trade Centre was previously bombed in 1993, a clear 8 years before the second attack. It took the USA government nearly 12 years and hundreds of billions of dollars to locate and take out Osama Bin Laden. The bombing of the USS Cole was a failure of intelligence, as were the London train terror attacks and the killing of the USA ambassador to Libya in 2012. Nigerians must begin to appreciate that the war against terror is a long, painful but ultimately winnable effort. That the USA failed in this regard in Iraq and is failing in Afghanistan does not mean that we cannot win the war against Boko Haram. Nigerians should not be seduced by the false impression being created by a few individuals who
are deluded by the objective nature of terrorism and who seek and even demand instant solution to a very complex situation. Hasn’t the Chibok incident exposed Jonathan as weak and tactless, and wouldn’t the situation have been better if he had acted earlier? Here you go again! Your question appears as a rehash of the verbalized mindset of a section of the Western media and their panegyric singers in Nigeria. Of course, President Jonathan is neither weak nor tactless. He has approached this national challenge with studied deliberation, focused commitment and quiet engagement with all the security and political related issues it has thrown up. The war against terror is not fought and won on the pages of newspapers, and neither is bellicose agitation nor self-opinionated hysteria the way to go forward. Our armed forces are daily placing their lives in the line of fire to bring these girls back. Our regional and international partners are on board to achieve a positive outcome
with regard to this situation. Of course, the media have a huge role to play in raising awareness, in processing open source information and in calling for more action; that is, if a section of the media desists from its judgmental, mob trial approach in handling this very sensitive and emotional situation. What is required is cool headedness, tack, commonsense, patriotic solidarity among Nigerians and the pooling ofour individual and collective assets to aid the government to achieve the objective of bringing the girls back and defeating terrorism in our homeland. Let’s talk about politics ahead of 2015. The interplay of powerful forces in the polity calls for concern. What should be the minimum parameters for adjudging elections to be free and fair? Nigerian politicians and political stakeholders have a crucial role to play in driving forward the national democratisation process. As patriots, Nigeria should come first in all their political calculations, utterances and conducts. Whether in government or in opposition, politicians and political parties have a key stake in the success of the Nigeria Project, in the war against terror, in guaranteeing national security and in creating an enabling environment for successful elections to occur in 2015.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
By Olubanwo Fagbemi firstname.lastname@example.org 08060343214 (SMS only)
Nigeria: 2014 In deference to ruminations past but eerily topical, the writer considers the following to be significant issues for 2014 and invites the reader to chew the assorted food for thought.
CHEEK BY JOWL
Deregulation: devaluation; depression. The necessity of surviving the hard times may have invented micro-economists across Nigeria. Beyond balancing personal income with deficit budgeting fuelled by hyperinflation (regardless of fairy-tale statistics from the Central Bank) looms the impact of government’s overall economic policy. However optimistic economic indices appear, a sense of damning deregulation lingers, following on from (successful?) liberalisation of telecommunications and electricity supply with oil refineries in view. As diesel pricing is long past acceptable levels and kerosene retail rate is fairly indeterminable, the fuel price war is all but lost. Usually 97 naira, petrol can cost anything from N120 to N300 from Kano to Calabar and from Yola to Yenagoa. Who will fight the common man’s cause? The Nigeria Labour Congress? Oh, perish the thought! After a docile end to the fuel subsidy or ‘Occupy Nigeria’protests of 2012, NLC seems occupied by ‘come-raids’ rather than comrades. Never mind the rebasing of the economy that shot the country to the top of the pile; there are more critical economic indicators for Africa’s ‘biggest economy’. For one, the average Nigerian grapples with poverty described by a standard of living below one dollar a day and life expectancy of 52 years, according to international standards. Yet, officials who should care seem preoccupied with outlandish policies while the government keeps a heavy hand on whistleblowers and one eye on the 2015 elections. Manufacturing: hypothesising; posturing. Tottering since the austere 1980s and eventually brought to its knees during former president, Olusegun Obasanjo’s two-term tenure ending 2007, the manufacturing sector sputters despite government bailouts and official figures cooked up to excite activity. Neither worked in textile firms’ favour nor would it for ‘auto manufacturing’ firms. As ever, Ghana, Benin Republic and Togo offer more viable homes to local industries while Nigeria retains market appeal. Even neighbourhood tailors and carpenters find economies of scale elsewhere on the West Coast irresistible. About the only thing guaranteed to roll out of the hastily implemented National Automative Policy appears to be increased smuggling across the border as Smart Alecs and daredevils race to slake unremitting thirst for used but reliable foreign cars. Corruption: military; everywhere. Government says the corruption fight is winnable and propaganda spawned by official brainwave from ministries, departments and agencies to the academia suggest as much. But corruption as a fundamental problem requires overhaul of ideas and methods rather than cosmetic repair of national fissures and an image daily singed at home and abroad. For damning effect of the monster look no further than the military’s flaccid resistance to Boko Haram. The fundamentalist sect’s serial incursion is surest indication yet of external abrasion of the national psyche and shockingly slow official response. Clueless: luckless; care-less. The fact that Nigeria’s most certificated leader struggles with routine acts of governance rankles to no end. President Goodluck Jonathan’s oft-cited ‘shoe-less’ beginnings and ‘lucky’ antecedents hardly inspire a weary nation that embraced his fortunate progress from Bayelsa deputy governor to acting president and then president in 2011. Under him, corruption festers, education suffers and poverty multiplies. And regardless of Obasanjo’s attempts to slip the yoke of responsibility, the country’s ‘most criticised’ leader will be forever linked to him. As if we didn’t know, Baba recently confessed to grooming Jonathan and predecessor Umar Musa Yar’Adua, despite the latter’s tragic health issues. Healthcare: foreign care; self care. Healthcare for mother, child and others as a millennium development goal? Not when ill-equipped hospitals and medical centres are needled by ineffectual administration and brain drain associated with personnel. And not when street-side chemists and medical tourism proliferate despite constant reference to ethics. •Concludes next week
QUOTE A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. —Texas Guinan
He Loves Me ... IT WAS their fifth anniversary, and Al and Alice had just returned from the movies. Alice was feeling romantic. “Will you love me when my hair has turned to silver?” she asked. “Why not?” Al said. “Didn’t I love you through four other shades?” No Tie A YOUNG man was walking through the Sahara Desert, desperate for water, when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked towards the image, only to find a little old man sitting at a card table with a bunch of neckties laid out on it. The young man said, “Please, I’m dying of thirst, can I have some water?” The old man said, “I don’t have any water, but why don’t you buy a tie? Here’s one that goes nicely with your clothes.” The young man said in anger, “I don’t want a tie, you idiot, I need water!” “OK, don’t buy a tie. But to show you what a nice guy I am, I’ll tell you that over that hill there, about three kilometres, is a
nice restaurant. Walk that way, they’ll give you all the water you want.” Relieved, the young man thanked the old man and walked away towards the hill and eventually disappeared. Three hours later he came crawling back to where the man was sitting behind his card table. The old man said, “I told you, about three kilometres over that hill. Couldn’t you find it?” The young man could barely talk. “I found it all right. Your brother wouldn’t let me in without a tie! For ‘Mary Poppins’ Enthusiasts A WORLD leader famed for his wisdom and passive resistance walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of callouses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail, and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him what? Wait for it … ‘A super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis’. •Adapted from the Internet
Writer’s Fountain IVING your story He commends it to the board. However, theme: Do you show the search opposing him is another top executive, engine’s chief programmer, Jimmy, beaming Sammy. He secretly plans world domination. like an underworld boss as he plots world He sets out to suppress Jimmy. domination? No. you are dealing with At the end, Jimmy goes into hiding, pursued working men and women. They have open by Sammy’s assassins. Jimmy goes on to access offices. develop a super virus that will destroy the Picture Jimmy as a decent fellow who is search engine. But does he have the right to do brilliant but naive. He has always sneered at it? The novel approaches the moral question. calls for his company to regulate itself. Then And readers will draw their own conclusions. he runs into an old girlfriend whose life has You don’t have to state: ‘The search engine been ruined by a criminal who stalked her is evil’. It isn’t. But readers will get the scary using his search engine’s apps. message. If the book sells well and is widely Now he sees the point of self-regulation. discussed, so will laws. Mission accomplished. What is the story’s theme? Perhaps ‘for evil Understanding science: to triumph, it requires only that good men •Most people know what pH means, but do nothing’? Of course, if you love search few people know that it stands for pondus engines you might detect a different theme: hydrogenii which means potential ‘You can’t suppress a great idea when its time hydrogen, and that each unit is a phidron. has come’. •Morphine was given its name in 1803 by Thus, for a story to be successful and the discoverer, a 20 year old German endure, it must embody a theme of timeless pharmacist named Friedrich Saturner. He appeal. If you write your story first, deepen it named it after Morpheus, the Greek god of by bringing out the latent theme that’s already dreams. there. If you find your theme first, examine it •Most gemstones contain several elements from a multiplicity of points of view and coax except diamond which is all carbon. the reader to draw their own conclusions.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Page 58, 59
New auto policy will create more jobs - Jonathan
Stories by Bukola Afolabi and across the entire automotive value chain. It will also fast-track the growth and development of other intervening industries such as automotive spare parts, auto servicing, steel industry,rubber, and petrochemicals and plastic industries among others. " In order to industrialize our country, diversify our economy, create jobs and generate wealth for our people, my administration, through the implementation of investmentfriendly policies, have been able to attract local and foreign investments and brands from different parts of the world into the critical sectors of the Nigerian economy. These ranges from the traditional oil and gas, to mining, agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing,
services, Information and Communications Technology, among others". While commending the Kunech Group for investing in Nigeria,the president said that the country had recorded significant progress in the automotive sector since the new auto policy was approved about seven months ago, adding that about 12 companies had already indicated interest in assembling cars in the country. He said, "Since my approval of the new auto policy on October 2, 2013, about 12 companies have signified intention or have already started making investments in the production and assembling of cars in Nigeria. These include those that doubted the policy at the beginning .Even those who said, that Nigerians could not do it are now part of the new automotive policy and have
now become advocates of the policy. In fact, within the last seven months, Nigeria has made more progress with the new automotive policy than it has made in the last 30 years. "The inauguration of this state of the art facility by the Kunech Group, which is the biggest of all the Precision Auto Care Centres in the world, is the manifestation of the perfect blend between local and foreign investment, local industry growth and job creation opportunities. I am particularly delighted at the franchising opportunities and training opportunities that this investment presents .This will benefit our people and create the needed jobs for them. Jonathan added, "I am delighted that this partnership between Kunech Group Nigeria, and the Precision Auto Care of the United States
Where was oil first discovered, in Nigeria
Making tax ‘work’ for all
RESIDENT Jonathan has said that the implementation of thenew automotive policy would create more direct and indirect jobs across different sectors of the Nigerian economy .Jonathan said this during the inauguration of Precision Auto Care Centre, an integrated, state-of the art automobile facility owned by Kunech Group, in Lagos, at the weekend. Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said, "The automotive industry in Nigeria currently employs about 2,500 people, but it expected that the implementation of the new automotive policy will generate more than 700,000 direct and indirect jobs. The policy will help create jobs in different clusters in the country
-- Page 53
Adultrated lubricants killing the economy •Ebiseni
GSK re-launches Horlicks
LAXOSMITHKLINE Consumer Nigeria Plc, has relaunched its high quality health food drink, Horlicks, among nutritional experts in Lagos as part of efforts to improve the general wellness and nutrition of Nigerians. The event which took place at the National Sickle Cell Centre, Idi Araba drew participants from health and allied professionals. According to Mrs. Adebimpe Osanyintuyi, Brand Manager- Horlicks, the health food drink is a delicious and nourishing beverage fortified with 23 vital nutrients that help to give families SSH i.e. strong bones, sharp minds and healthy bodies. While reiterating the company's commitment to helping more people to do more, feel better and live longer, GSK's Africa Marketing Director-Family Nutrition, Mr. Lampe Omoyele said launching Horlicks among nutrition experts, doctors and nurses who are care givers, is a giant step in encouraging all Nigerians to take good care of their diet, ensuring they get the required daily nutrients requirement. "Horlicks can be taken by the whole family daily and at anytime of the day as part of regular balanced diet", Omoyele stressed. Echoing similar sentiments, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, Professor of Nutrition, Ambrose Alli University, stated that recent studies show that children between ages 6 - 12 years who are regularly exposed to nutrients offered by products like Horlicks have steady growth and develop faster. "We encourage Nigerians to reduce the rate of malnutrition amongst children and adults with the intake of proper nutrients. Horlicks has been certified to contain needed daily nutritional requirements and we as experts are endorsing it for the nutritional benefits, fitness and alertness it provides when consumed," Onimawo advised.
Intel reaffirms commitment to education in Africa … Invests more in digital revolution in Nigeria
I From left: President DMS Retail West Africa, Joseph Ebata; Managing Director L'Oreal Central West Africa, Idy Enang ; Chief Executive Officer, Ruff 'N' Tumble , Adenike Ogunlesi ; Director Consumer Banking Group UBA, Ilesanmi Philips, during the Retail Leaders Conference held at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos…recently
Lafarge, Unicem sue SON over new standard order
HREE cement manufacturing companies, Lafarge Cement WAPCO, Ashaka Cement and Unicem have instituted different suits against the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) over its recent pronouncement and plan to implement a new Mandatory Industrial Standard Order for cement manufacturing, distribution and usage in the country. The SON published a public notice restricting the application of 50kg 32.5R
grade of cement to plastering only in syndicated adverts in some national newspapers on Wednesday, 14th May 2014. Lafarge WAPCO, AshakaCem Plc and Unicem are challenging this order, which they believe is, to all intents and purposes, aimed at the gradual phasing out of 32.5 cement grade, which has been widely known and used as general purpose cement from the market. Through the suits, the cement manufacturers are seeking the court to establish whether or not the
respondents (SON) have complied with the mandatory provisions of the law for establishing new industrial standard in the introduction of the Commodity Composition and Conformity Criteria for Common Cements and Specification of Mandatory Industrial Standard NIS 444-1 2014. Thus the complainants are seeking through the courts, a declaration that the introduction of the Commodity Composition and Conformity Criteria for
Common Cements and Specification of Mandatory Industrial Standard NIS 444-1 2014 by the Respondents (SON) without complying with the clear and mandatory provisions of the SON Act 2004 and other existing laws for doing so is unlawful, null and void. They are also seeking an order of the court restraining SON, their agents, privies and whosoever purporting to act through the respondents from enforcing and implementing the Mandatory Industrial Standard NIS 444-1 2014.
NTEL Corporation has restated commitment to modern teaching and learning techniques with investment in electronic educational resources to encourage the youths get access to quality education in a pleasant manner. The company announced this at the 4th Edition of the Nigeria Education Network Conference 2014 (Edunet) tagged "Fostering Technology Entrepreneurship in Nigerian Universities, "held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. This year's Edunet targets University students in Nigeria. It seeks to help them identify ways to draw on resources and structures as well as exploit emerging technology opportunities which enhance learning. In his words, Mr. Stanley Muoneke, Strategic Relationship Director for West Africa at Intel, "our participation in this year's Edunet stems from our awareness of the challenges that Nigeria education system faces. It is also borne out of our determination to collaborate with other stakeholders to interpret education data in our environment; jointly work to understand and sustain technological efforts which would ultimately accomplish technological change." He highlighted that the 'Intel Explore and Learn education marketplace,' provides access to locally relevant education solutions and content , and can be used as "a resource hub where learners can find relevant content to enrich their studies, while giving content providers and publishers , a platform to easily share rich learning content with learners." The basic aim of this initiative according to Intel was to meet the unique needs of emerging markets by delivering highquality; technology-based education opportunities, with target audience being young people. It encourages them to access education anywhere, from devices they choose, at home or at school. Explaining why the company has been working to improve education in the country, Stanley highlighted that all through Intel's 36-year history, active community involvement with education has been a strategic business focus for the company, having invested more than USD1 billion in support of education; providing programs and support in more than 50 countries around the world since inception.
Not many do it willingly, but a lot of progress in modern economies depends on paying taxes. In this report, Joe Agbro Jr. writes on Nigeria's tax evaders and how to balance the necessary act of taxation.
LL for one and one for all' was the motto which the trio of the Guard of Musketeer lived by in the 19th century novel, The Three Musketeers,by Alexander Dumas. While the musketeers stretched those words to matters of life and death, their motto may also best describe the bedrock of taxation in human society. That taxis for everyone - to build schools, roads, hospitals, and all other things members of the general public stand to enjoy - are for a common good. Sadly, many developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, have not benefitted from taxation. Last month, Finance Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr.NgoziOkonjoIweala, citing a report conducted by McKinsey & Company, a tax auditing firm, revealed that only 35 per cent of Nigerians pay taxes. It also showed that only a quarter of the number of SMEs are in the tax system, and '30 per cent of companies operating under the pioneer status incentives abuse their tax exempts.' According to her, over 65 per cent of companies operating in the country did not file returns for the past two years. What the minister said is not particularly new. Between evasion and avoidance Compliance remains the greatest problem of tax collection in Nigeria. Every taxable business and individual is expected to file monthly returns to determine how much to pay as tax. Not all do. For some who do, there is a connivance with tax professionals or accountants to 'cook' up their books to lessen their tax burden. This is referred to as tax avoidance, which while it is ethically immoral, is legal. However, when it involves not filing returns and just pretending as if there is no obligation to pay taxes, this is known as tax evasion. "Tax compliance problems in Nigeria are entrenched in the fabric of tax evasion and avoidance," said Chief Mark Dike, the president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), recently. "The consequence of this is that the main purpose of raising revenue, regulating consumer demand, boosting investment and savings, checking or halting economic depression, inflation and deflation, ensuring equitable distribution of income and wealth, ensuring appropriate allocation of national resources are almost always invariably weakened." He also expressed that it is not only corporate organisations that are guilty. "Under the Personal Income
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Making tax 'wo Tax Act, individuals lay claim to reliefs that they should not," Dike said. "There are today many eligible taxpayers who have not bothered themselves to register with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) or the various states Internal Revenue Service. We have found out that many taxpayers who register do so as a hedge against withholding tax deduction." ActionAid, a non-government agency seeking to eliminate global poverty, estimates that developing countries lose about $138 billion annually to tax exemption. "The amount could have been enough to put every primary school-aged child in school, meet all the health-related Millennium Development Goals, and leave enough money for the agriculture investment needed to end hunger," ActionAid noted in its campaign. According to the organisation, these companies involve in 'treaty shopping' - a legal but immoral system of shifting their profits between different tax jurisdictions in different countries so as to pay the lowest tax rates, based on signed treaty agreements. While figures of what Nigeria loses to tax evasion is not known, experts generally agree the sum involved is high. Financial Derivatives, a financial consulting firm, said last year that the country lost close to N85.2 billion through tax evasion in the automobile industry in four years. And following the rebasing of the Nigerian economy currently at $510 billion, the country's tax-toGDP ratio crashed from 20 per cent to 12 percent, a situation which Okonjo-Iweala described as 'threatening' to the economy. Comparatively, South Africa has 27 per cent tax to GDP ratio, while in Ghana, it is 15 per cent. The target for tax authorities in the country is how to increase the share of tax contribution to the GDP. Plugging the loopholes Recently, LedumMitee, the chairman of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), hankered on the matter, threatening to expose tax defaulters in the sector. The move, which he said is based on a global EITI agreement, would make companies accountable, and will be in collaboration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). According to Mitee, "the revised EITI standards require, for instance, disclosure of production figure, disclosure of ownership of the licence-holders and disclosure of beneficiary ownership." Also, AlikoDangote, President of the Dangote Group, alleged at a recent FIRS workshop that the companies who were supposed to be paying 85 per cent of the Petroleum Profit Tax recovered their payments through the dubious means "of raising their project cost." He also said the companies should be 'named and shamed.' Though FIRS has continued to make gains overall, the country is buckling under huge tax deficits. FIRS made N455bn in 2000 and N5.007 trillion in 2012. It projects to make N6.060 trillion in 2014. Decrying the current corporate practice recently, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Dr Hussein Abdul, slammed
•Gains from taxes build infrasructures like schools
multinationals in the oil and gas and telecommunications sectors and urged that Nigeria put in place a solid accounting policy to check fraudulent financial flows. "Nigeria does not know how much crude it exports," he said. "The information we get is based on what the multinationals tell us." Abdul also decried the various tax breaks and concessions, saying these were being manipulated by companies in order to avoid paying their fair tax or no tax at all. "Tax is not even a good incentive to draw foreign investment. For instance, a company will come to Nigeria, and is given tax concessions and holiday, maybe five years. Then the company runs for five years, enjoys the holiday and after that period, the company gets sold to another body, who changes its name, reapply for holiday, gets it, it expires, sells it again." Such scenarios ensure the
country does not collect any tax, whereas the business operates. Some of the reasons for this poor tax culture are loopholes in the tax laws, corruption, and inefficient enforcement. In many countries, taxes steep as income rises. However, some countries are 'soft' on taxes allowing lower tax rate or no tax at all. Such countries known as tax havens are prime destinations for tax evaders. A 2012 report by James Henry, a former chief economist at consultants Mckinsey and Company, for the Tax Justice Network, estimated conservatively that $21 trillion is hidden in tax havens. Companies take advantage of such tax havens' low tax rates, secrecy and extensive treaty networks. In Mauritius, there is a corporation tax of 15%, but tax credits for global business companies mean an effective rate of 3%. And there is no capital gains tax and no withholding tax on dividends. In Seychelles, there
is no tax on income or profits for international companies, no capital gains tax, and the government does not tax interest payments from abroad. In Dubai too, there is no tax on income or profits of companies registered there. ActionAid had in the past accused Deloitte, a global consultancy firm of advising firms on how to reduce their tax by investing in Mauritius. According to the report published in the Observer, a UK newspaper "the Deloitte document explains that, if the foreign company made its investment through a holding company in Mauritius, it could limit the withholding tax it would have to pay to just 8%, while capital gains tax would be reduced to zero. "The document explains that Mauritius could tax the holding company's profits at 15%, but that this does not happen in practice." Mauritius currently has 14
Tax is not even a good incentive to draw foreign investment. For instance, a company will come to Nigeria, and is given tax concessions and holiday, maybe five years. Then the company runs for five years, enjoys the holiday and after that period, the company gets sold to another body, who changes its name, reapply for holiday, gets it, it expires, sells it again.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
work' for all
‘Fidelity Bank gets awards
IDELITY Bank has been adjudged the bank with the most outstanding family friendly policies in Nigeria. In a survey conducted amongst corporate organisations in Nigeria by the Institute for Work and Family Integration (IWFI) in collaboration with the Lagos Business School and the Great Place to Work Institute, the institute said that Fidelity Bank emerged tops in all the measuring indices. Specifically, the IWFI, which has consistently promoted work family balance and good work ethics, through policy research, seminars, conferences, and training; working with major organizations and institutions in the last eight years with its principal objective of building better family, better business and better society said that they were impressed with Fidelity Bank’s efforts at improving the welfare of its staff members. Receiving the award last week during the Work and Family Conference 2014, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc. Nnamdi Okonkwo thanked the organizers of the award for recognizing the efforts of the bank towards improving the wellbeing of its staff. He noted that the award is an affirmation of the various staff-friendly policies initiated by the bank. Okonkwo, who was represented by the Chief Human Resources Officer of the bank, Napoleon Esemudje said that the bank is proud to be honoured especially because of its strong initiative and focus not only on staff welfare but also on the wellbeing of their families. He pledged the support of board and management of the bank towards the improvement of the welfare of the staff members. “Management remains keen to continuously support all staff and their families to establish a family friendly workplace”
Retail marketing in Nigeria witnesses vast transformation
•Acting Executive Secretary FIRS: Mashi
double taxation treaties in place with African countries and still negotiating with more has become attractive for investors. ActionAid argued that the terms of the treaties could be detrimental to economy of Africa. A Deloitte spokeswoman said it was wrong to describe applying double tax treaties as tax avoidance: "The absence of such treaties could result in a reduction of investment, and less profit subject to normal business taxes in the countries concerned." And Mauritius's vice prime minister Charles Xavier-Luc Duval says the country is not a tax haven. "There is no secrecy," Duval said. "You can't open a bank account here without giving your full details. We are happy to exchange tax information with all our partners." ActionAid had kicked against a recently signed Double Taxation Treaty signed between Nigeria and Mauritius because, according to its research, the costs involved in signing the treaty outweighed the benefits. It further advised 'Nigeria not to ratify the treaty unless certain changes are made to retain Nigeria's taxing rights as contained in the domestic tax legislation including the imposition of withholding tax on technical and management fees and other areas of the treaty that could undermine our tax revenue base.' According to ActionAid, countries such as South Africa and Rwanda have modified clauses in their treaties with Mauritius.The organisation has also protested the involvement of Barclays Bank for facilitating transactions with companies using tax havens. Lagos example
At a forum organised by Growth and Employment in States (GEMS3) to reconcile tax complaints of Lagosians with officials responsible with tax collections in local governments of the state, it showed that Lagos did not achieve success overnight. And it still had its shares of complaints, but it has shown that it was possible to increase internally generated revenues. In 2006, Lagos began shoring up its internally generated revenue. Hence, from accruing N3.6bn monthly in 2006, the state currently generates in excess of N20bn monthly. Much of the success can be attributed to Mr Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman of Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). According to Fowler, a former banker, the state achieved this feat because it sought synergy between the public and private sectors. To do that, Fowler said LIRS employed and trained its staff on best practices. It also introduced information technology into tax collection, the use of e-TCC to block revenue leakage, encouraged direct bank lodgements in banks which generated automated revenue receipts, continuous enumeration of tax payers, and a self-assessment scheme whereby individuals could determine how much was required of them as tax. With these measures in place, Lagos not only embraced the organised private sector in its tax drive, it also targeted the informal sector, including traders and artisans. These efforts resulted in Lagos being an exemplary state in terms of internally generated revenue in the country. "Tax evasion is massive in Nigeria," said Bola Shodipo, the special adviser on taxation and
revenue to the Lagos State government. "But Lagos has become a role model for taxation in Nigeria. They can come and learn from us." Tax authorities across the country know there is need for urgent actions to boost tax revenues. At a forum organised by Medium Tax Office in Lagos last Monday tagged: 'Tax Returns: Stakeholders' Collaboration for Voluntary Tax Compliance and Taxpayers' Rights and Obligations', the acting Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Mashi, represented by Peter Olayemi, Director, Medium Tax Department, FIRS, had warned: "It is no longer business as usual for individuals and companies who circumvent tax laws, henceforth culprits will face the full weight of the law." The FIRS boss also hinted at leveraging on technology before the end of the year in the collection of tax revenue across the country after a pilot phase in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It seems that following the success-story of Lagos, many states are now looking inwards how they get can spike up their IGR. Recently, it was reported that the Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue (OSBIR) hounded two higher educational institutions Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) - in the state for evading taxes to the tune of N2.454 billion. These examples show a tax renaissance in the country. It is, however, still a bumpy ride because as Okonjo-Iweala said, it is suicidal for a country's taxto-GDP ratio to be less than 15 per cent. However, that can only be achievable by reducing tax evasion.
RESIDENT, DMS Retail West Africa, Mr. Joseph Ebata, says Nigeria’s retail marketing has witnessed vast transformation in a short space of time. Ebata said this in his welcome address at the 2014 ‘Retail Leaders Conference held in Lagos, “In less than 10 years, a lot of change has occurred with the entrance of multi-national food chains and mega malls and supermarkets. Not many would have thought that concepts like online shopping would be a success in Nigeria,” he said. Ebata explained that “Guarantee is when a manufacturer says they will be responsible for something, and if that thing does not happen, the manufacturer, takes responsibility for it. It depends on the contractual relationship between the buyer and seller.” He said the issue of guarantee and warranty fell under the Sales of Goods act in the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Supply chains in Africa are more challenging than many other markets in the world. The key to success understands these challenges in order to offset the risks versus the opportunity which the continent offers. This knowledge will allow retailers to service markets with a supply chain that is agile enough to respond quickly to sudden or unexpected changes, flexible enough to customize products and efficient enough to protect margins.” While delivering his key note address, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, said that Nigeria’s retail sector holds huge potential for growth. The UBA boss, who was represented by the bank’s Director of Consumer Banking, Mr. Ilesanmi Owoeye, listed several factors driving the growth of Nigeria’s retail industry. These factors, according to him, include the ongoing reforms in key sectors of the Nigerian economy aimed at bridging infrastructural gap, reducing unemployment levels, improving literacy level and improving access to funding by SMEs, which will significantly impact the level of disposable income and effective demand in the near future, affording the sector unprecedented growth opportunity. He also identified increasing technology penetration in Nigeria as another factor driving the growth of the retail sector as this is giving retailers access to valuable market information about purchasing trends as well as segment preferences, making it increasingly easy to adapt sales and marketing approaches and improve consumer experiences. Another factor is the increasing penetration of the informal sector by retailers. “Without doubt, the continuous rise in mobile technology will be pivotal to the next stage of the retail market development, fuelling its integration with the global retail trade economy and significantly increasing its ease of doing business. This prospect is already becoming evident in the rising trend of online retailers are increasingly gaining traction and matching the emerging sophistication of Nigerian consumers’ changing demand and payment patterns.” Oduoza said.
Nigeria deals boost Standard Bank
TANDARD Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, has been awarded a number of accolades in several regional categories at The Banker Magazine's annual Deals of the Year Awards 2014. These awards recognise excellence for deals completed across Africa, taking into account the various categories for deal submissions. One of the notable transactions for which The Banker Magazine recognised Standard Bank, was its role in arranging Aspen Pharmacare's USD2.6bn dollar funding package. This involved structuring a deal which required the bank to underwrite, arrange and syndicate debt for subsidiaries of the Aspen Pharmacare Group. Standard Bank Group was also recognised for the following deals: Best Islamic Finance Deal for Osun State, Nigeria; Best Real Estate Deal for Orange Farm, Eyethu Mall, South Africa and Best Restructure of Term Facilities for Polo Park Mall, Enugu. Stanbic IBTC acted as the joint issuer and bookrunner for the Islamic finance deal for the Osun State Government of Nigeria. This transaction was the first time a Sukukbond was issued in West Africa and saw increased demand from institutional investors with the transaction increased from N10 billion (USD 61.87 million) to N11.4 billion (USD 72 million). Stanbic IBTC was also involved in the restructuring of term finance for Polo Park Mall in Enugu State, Nigeria, including overseeing the addition of equity into the deal. "Winning these accolades across numerous categories is testament to Standard Bank's African capabilities and on the ground local expertise in the markets in which we operate," said David Munro, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking, Standard Bank Group, adding that "Our distinctive African footprint has allowed us to gain strategic insights into the various African markets within which we operate, ensuring that we are uniquely placed to provide our clients with world class service."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa (SAN) the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. In this interaction with newsmen in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, he spoke on the number of issues including why he ventured into rice production and this quest to govern Benue in 2015, among other issues. Uja E m m a n u e l report.
HY did you choose to invest in rice production and processing? I ventured into rice production because it is an International staple food.It is a food item eaten everywhere on the continent. You talk of yam here, but it may be eaten in America or Asia, but rice is eaten in all continents of the world.So that is why we said let us look at rice. Then Nigeria was spending N1billion on importation of rice and so the idea was that if we are able to contribute at least 10 per cent of the rice consumed in Nigeria,we are not talking of export, out of N365 million, Benue will be going home withN36 million and that is quite a lot of money. What have been the challenges in the course of this business?
Why I ventured into massive rice production - Aondoakaa Thank you very much. You see, I don’t want to talk about challenges now, I would prefer to talk about the successes recorded, because if you talk about challenges, then you are scaring people away from your business. The motivation is to woo people to come into the business of agriculture from agricultural processing perspective so that we can boost the economy of Benue State. If we begin to talk about challenges, then people will withdraw. So I said earlier, greater success has been achieved so far. Sir, can you share with us the successes you have recorded so far? The success is that we have created awareness in the productivity of MIVA Rice in Benue State and then increased the income of the ordinary rice farmer. The end result of setting up an agro-company is to motivate farmers to produce more and then get better income. If there is the processor, he earns over 10 percent of the total cost of raw materials, because if I buy a bag of rice at N3,000.00, I am only going to get about 10 percent of that as my profit. So the bulk of the money goes to the farmers, and it is a success because for me to woo the US Ambassador who is also participating in the company, to come to Benue State and talk to farmers, I think it is no mean success aimed at stimulating the growth of agriculture. One of the main reasons is to get the young people out of the streets, make them productive so that they do not idle about. So, if somebody does not have a job, you cannot blame him for committing crime. So, that is the motivation. When I started the factory, more people
started coming in, and barely a year after the Minister of State for Trade and Investment and Supervising Minister of Aviation, Dr. Samuel Ortom, set up an animal feed plant. He was buying the bran from my rice industry, so if start talking about challenges he would not have come to patronise me. Do you have enough raw materials to facilitate production? Yes we have raw materials. In 2011 it was a challenge, but in 2012 the people rose up because of the motivation. But the calamity that occurred in 2011 affected
Helvetic Solar CEO is guest on Glo/CNN African Voices
HIS weekend's edition of African Voices will feature one of Africa's leading young entrepreneurs and founder of Helvetic Group, Patrick Ngowi of Tanzania, as the special guest. African Voices is a 30minute magazine programme on CNN International sponsored by national telecommunications operator, Globacom. The 29-year-old Chief Executive Officer of Helvetic Solar has dedicated himself to bringing light to the lives of Africans living in rural areas. Viewers will hear the inspiring and amazing account of Ngowi, one of Africa's pioneer solar energy entrepreneurs, on the programme which will be aired at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday and at 3.30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. There will be further repeat broadcasts on Monday at 2:30 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. and on Tuesday at 6.30 a.m. The final repeat will be done at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday. Coming from a country where many do not have access
to electricity, Ngowi has found a bright solution to the problem. At 22, he founded his solar power company, Helvetic Solar, in his home country of Tanzania to provide electricity to rural dwellers. This week on African Voices, CNN follows Ngowi to see how his passion for renewable energy is helping put Tanzanians on the power grid, one solar appliance at a time. Ngowi showed signs of entrepreneurship early in life. He began by supplying mobile call credit to local vendors, and later became an importer and dealer in cheap mobile phones which he sold mostly to poor rural people. Upon discovering that many of his customers had no electricity to charge their phone batteries, he saw the goldmine in solar energy. A few years after studying renewable energy, he built a million-dollar fortune in solar energy and is today one of the leaders in the industry. His Helvetic Group comprises numerous holding companies that operate in 3 countries. In the programme,
he will take viewers through his success journey and how a small business he started with a loan of $1,800 from his mother has grown into a group of companies with revenues in millions of dollars, with network and equity in renewable energy firms operating in East Africa. And all this success he has achieved at just 29 years of age. In recognition of his leadership qualities, vision and business prowess, Ngowi was named 1st Place Winner of Top Mid-Sized Companies Award in Tanzania 2012 – 2013 and Forbes 30 under 30 Best African Entrepreneurs. In early 2013, he was featured by Forbes as one of the 10 Young African Millionaires to watch in 2013. His company was also ranked at the top of KPMG’s East Africa’s Survey of Top 100 MidSized Companies in Tanzania in 2012. He has also been profiled by several publications and media outlets including The East African, Forbes, Start Young UK, MSN, CNBC, Africa Business Journal, Ventures Africa, and the BBC.
us, the communal clashes in 2013 also because rice is predominantly produced in Benue State within the axis of Gwer, Guma, Gwer West and Agatu Local Government areas which not less than 120 metric tons and any rice must be enough to take care of my rice farm,and of course my sister company Ashi Rice because we started at the same time, bought the same equipment at the same place. The idea was that the two companies will stimulate growth. Sir, but the local government areas you mentioned earlier as the highest
producers of rice in the state are have now been immersed in crisis following the invasion by Fulani herdsmen. Is your company threatened by this development? The crisis is not going to be there forever. I recently met with one of my rice suppliers from Naka, Gwer West and the young man started with me from 2011 and 2012 he bought his car. Three of them from this axis came to me and said,'' this is the money we earned from your company and we bought these cars.'' Today he is boasting that he is going to cultivate 50 hectres of rice, so certainly he is hopeful,he is not nursing fears of his business folding up. You know I am not afraid of anything. We should make people know that we are a determined people and food is one of the factors. First, they have attacked us, and second, if we dont farm we will go hungry, so I am not afraid. Many people, said MIVA rice is local and therefore, will not be patronised. What can you say about this? The rice that was supplied to Aso Rock Villa in 15 trailers was to the credit of Mr President. He made the order himself and the money was paid. That was the first time because people shy away from the fact that if you buy local food, you are helping somebody in the village, so there is patriotism in you. If you buy yam from the road side, you are helping him, if you go and buy indomie you are helping an Indian because Nigeria has laws, the laws allows for 100 percent repatriation of profit. But if you buy yam from somebody by the road side, you have helped him to pay school fees apart from the fact that you have also failed yourself, you
have also helped the man. Recently, the Minister of Agriculture staid that Nigerians should patronise locally produced products, but people thought it was just an attempt to publicise local rice but that is not so. And because of ignorance, people say rice must be white, but white rice is not good rice because it has no nutrients. How is the United States Government collaborating with Benue State and MICAP Company to boost rice production here? For the past two years, the American government has done so much to the state through me. In 2011, the American government signed an agreement with my company to train 6000 farmers and 75 percent of the funding came directly from the American government. I was to convert 30 percent basically if they came to launch but the basic support came directly from the American government. They later expanded that to Cross River State which I am also a partner. We are hoping to expand to Taraba State next year where I am a partner also. Out of these, our people are moving away from the short grain rice to the long grain rice; they are having new technologies, new methods of application of farm inputs like fertilizer and insecticides, among others. All these are coming from the American government. And this collaboration has been unique and incidentally we got a letter also from the German government to come in next year. So, that alone is helping our people, research is also very important if you want to become a successful rice farmer. What we want Benue farmers to do now is to increase the yield per hectare because of the increasing population of the state. That is why I said that Benue people should make me governor come 2015 because I know what to do to uplift the standard of living of my people.
'Dangote not initiator of SON cement standardisation'
HE management of Dangote Cement has refuted claims that it was behind the recent Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) standardisation of cement in the country. It said though it supports the recent classification of cements as being necessary in the face of building collapses in the country, but it is not the promoter as being insinuated by competitors. This was disclosed at a briefing held by the company to clear the air on the accusation that the company has monopolistic tendencies by "other competitors who do not want to standardise their cements as stipulated by SON." The Director of Dangote Cement, Mr Ekanem Etim, said: "It is only economic saboteurs and profiteers that would kick against the new standard for cement production as other countries of the world have moved up beyond the level and the low
By Toba Agboola and Ajose Sehindemi
grade being canvassed by some of the manufacturers opposed to the new standard." Etim said the review and the classification was coming too late after the nation and its citizens have been subjected to harrowing experience of loss of lives and properties and that the regulatory body should spare no further time to enforce the implementation of the new standard. He said: "SON is not asking for anything out of this world, just switch, though it might cost more, it is necessary in the interest of the people and the country and wonder why a company which has been operating in the country for decades would find it difficult to switch to 42.5". Tracing the history of the classification as not being alien to cement manufacturers in the country, he noted that "the SON had always set 42.5 as the minimum standard when preponderance of
consumption was being serviced with imports and all were importing 42.5 grade, with the little local production being 32.5 grade and now that production has been domesticated, what SON has only done is to extend the 42.5 to cover local production." According to him, the Technical Committee of the SON, which comprised all stakeholders in the building and construction industry including all cement manufacturers, had in the wake of wide spread protest against the collapse of structures across the country in which fingers were being pointed to the low quality of cement as being a key factor in the structure failures, met to review the existing standard. The committee at the end of the meeting came up with a review of the standard and classified cement into three grades and stipulated their exclusive uses to guide against misapplication and adulteration.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
NVESTMENT worth over N200 billion may be on the verge of collapse due to the adulterated and illegal operations in the lubricants industry. Unless the federal government addresses the issue, apart from losing revenue, lots of jobs will be lost and local manufacturers will greatly suffer. Sequel to this, stakeholders in the oil sector have expressed worries over the menace in the country and urged the federal government and its regulatory bodies, such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and others to take actions that would end the trend. Meanwhile, on a recent visit to the SON's Lagos office, a team of Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria, LUPAN, led by its Vice Chairman, Alhaji Ado Mustapha Muhammed, alerted the regulatory body on the rate at which fake lubricants and other products are peddled in the Nigerian market, which he said portends danger for development of the industry. According to him, the negative trend in the wake of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration is the much-touted local content agenda, which signals danger to users, the nation's economy and could cripple the local industry if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the alarming trend. He noted that a downward review of duty to five per cent would encourage genuine local production in the nation's quest for industrialisation, local content propagation and self-reliance, expressing the need to stop the influx by raising the existing tariff regime on imported lubricants to 50 per cent in order to discourage importation. Muhammed added that the association is ready to wage war against the menace with the help of SON as its members are losing huge amount to the perpetrators. "The mechanism to sustain the campaign has been put in place and severe sanctions would be given to offenders in the sector. "Though the regulatory agencies are assuring the association of better things to come, stakeholders in the Lubricant market, who are the victims of the situation, are losing hope every day by day," he lamented. But the Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, assured the LUPAN of actions that would stem the crisis, describing its Quality Summit as a child of necessity to tackle issues such as this, noting that the theme of the summit: "Less Waste, Better Results: Standards Increase Efficiency," was borne out of the desire to clean the markets of fake products, adding that the maiden edition of the summit offered opportunities for Nigerian businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to venture into other huge market of the West African sub-region and beyond. Recently, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Abuja uncovered and sealed up an illegal lube oil-blending plant operated by IMN Ato Parts Ltd in Usubu village, near Kontagora in Niger State. The inspection was led by the zonal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Muhammed Saidu, with a team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Briefing newsmen at the end of the exercise on the implication of such illegal opera-
Adulterated lubricants killing the economy • Over N200 billion lost in revenue If the Nigeria’s lubricant manufacturing industry is to contribute reasonably to the development country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), there is an urgent need for government to control the influx of fake and adulterated lubricants in the country. Investigations reveal that the country loses N200b annually to sale and circulation of adulterated lubricants. Bukola Afolabi Aand Toba Agboola report.
•Adultrated lubricants being produced
tions, Saidu said the company was operating without licence and in an unsafe environment thereby endangering the lives of the workers and inhabitants. According to him, the company was endangering the lives of the 38 women and children working in the plant who are constantly being exposed to dangerous chemicals without any form of protection and formal training. He said the products of the company could not be anything of standard since its operations were illegal and not in line with international industry best practices. He, however, took time to educate the community on the health implication and environmental effects on the workers
•Adultrated pack of lubricants
and the community at large as the product was likely to contaminate their source of drinking water as a result of sippages, and percolation into the underground source of water as evident by the polluted environment. "The factory now remains sealed while investigations continue on the activities of the plant. "The company produces two types of engine oil called Ribcon auto oil and Zikon super engine multi-grade oil," he said. He explained that before anybody could engage in petroleum product business in Nigeria, he must be licensed by the DPR in accordance with the petroleum industry law. The company manager, Mr. Ambi Phillips, confirmed that
the company did not have licence from the DPR, claiming that his boss, who was not in town, applied for a licence. Phillips took the team to IMN Auto Part Ltd purported site (an empty plot of land) for which an ATC application was submitted and not yet granted. However, DPR discovered that this site was entirely different from where the illegal operation was taking place. Speaking on the health implications of using adulterated oil lubricants, the Gas Manager, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Olasupo Agbaje, said: "Procurement, distribution and retailing of base oil and adulteration or improperly packaged lubricants by unlicensed vendors over the years resulted in malfunctioning and damage of engines and machinery." He expressed optimism that a joint action of SON, federal government and LUPAN against the menace would stop the influx of fake lubricants in the country, adding that a campaign to sensitise the masses on the consequences of using adulterated oil is necessary to coordinate its usage.
Patient -Health workers relationship
IX years to the set time for the achievement of the millennium development goals (vision 2020), we may want to find out how Nigeria as a nation if faring, and the tracks we still have uncovered. The fourth, fifth and sixth vision targets Reducing Child mortality, Improving maternal health, Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. To achieve these three out of the eight global goals, the responsibility lies heavily on the ministry of health at all levels, the various health agencies and of course health workers to sensitize the masses and ensure that basic healthcare is accessible and affordable by the entire populace. The various state governments are showering efforts to improve on the health sector. Lagos state for one has so far ensured that each local government has a general hospital and/or a primary health centre where common ailments and maternity issues are addressed. There has been major restructuring and overhauling of the existing general hospitals and new ones are established in local governments where they are lacking. This is however insufficient to cater for its estimated population of about 21 million people. Matters are worsened when the health sector is faced with a doctor to patient ratio as high as 1 to 6,400. This number is even higher in states like Benue and Katsina where it is one doctor to about 27,000 and 41,000 patients respectively. Some patients therefore have to make several visits to government owned hospitals before getting to see a doctor. With the crowd trooping in every now and then, many of them have to stand all day as comparatively few seats are available in the waiting area which for obvious reasons are left for patients whose state of health require support while they wait in line to get the medical attention they seek. Government hospitals are strategically ruled out by individuals who are able to afford the bills of a private hospital and in cases of emergency. Patients have expressed their dissatisfaction over their inability to run immediate medical laboratory tests, scans or x-rays. Most of them are given future dates ranging from two weeks to a month or more from the moment of request. A relative who drove a patient down to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) stated that the discomfort heightens the moment you step into the premises with the need to pay before you are allowed to park your vehicle. A large number of the nurses have lost the humane nature required by their profession. Some say they have seen it all, others believe each day's work load is overwhelming, leaving them with a tendency to vent on patients. Some others belong to the school of thought that the nurses render inconsistent service, wearing a sudden smile and a charming countenance at the sight of a patient who is likely to appreciate them in cash or kind. Nurses would rather chat away than offer support to doctors to speed up the process and improve on the overall efficiency. An elderly patient lamented at how badly things have changed when she compared the kind of services she received during her child bearing days at LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital) to what obtains now. In her own opinion, the medical doctors who attended to patients then were elderly. As such, they had value for lives, were empathic and gave each patient the required time and attention. When weighing this against the comments of a gynaecologist who stated that on the average, she attends to a minimum of 300 hundred case files on each day scheduled for antenatal spending less than 5 minutes with some expecting mothers. Others complain about being referred from the general hospital to privately hospitals owned and managed by either doctors in the government owned hospitals or their allies. With the increasing awareness on the importance of seeking immediate and medical help, many have begun to patronize private hospitals where they have an option, of course with medical personnel they can trust despite the outrageous medical charges by a lot of them. Some private hospitals have however built their brand over the years, improved and increased on the range of services they offer and consequently gained the loyalty of many. This is however being taken for granted by some of the people in their employ as so much bureaucracy has been introduced the process which increases the waiting time at the hospital. In the words of an annoyed patient whose identity is concealed "yes they offer good services, but at times I am unable to differentiate between the general hospital and some of these private hospitals as you end up spending several hours to get to see a doctor for an illness as slight as malaria" she added that some of the doctors find it awkward when their patients seek more information about medications being prescribed to them are fond of assuming rather than engage their patients in meaningful discussions to be able to identify other issues of concern. Clients registered with HMOs are sometimes pushed around on issues the hospital is expected to sort out. A patient once disclosed that she was seeking to switch hospitals from a popular one situated on Mobolaji Bank Anthony way in Ikeja to another where she was sure to get a measure of equally good or better service because she was made to contact her HMO on a Sunday when she visited the hospital without anyone considering that there might be a need for a first aid. In her opinion, it was not her place to contact the HMO if her name suddenly was not on the list anymore. She had been enrolled in the hospital for about two years and visited just a month before this incidence.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
CBN extends agric credit scheme to 2025 Page 66
OW did it all begin? My parents are Ebenezer and Monica Igwedinma. My dad is a retired civil servant while my mom is a tailor and we are a happy lot. Growing up, I schooled in Rivers State, Port Harcourt. I attended the township primary school, Oyibo for my primary education while I went to Government Secondary, Oyibo for my secondary education. As for my tertiary education, I started out at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso where I was studying Biochemistry. But when I developed my talent as a fashion designer, I had to leave LAUTECH for the University of Lagos, UNILAG, where I started seeing things happen for me in my career. Although I spent many years at LAUTECH, I think it was a wise choice moving to UNILAG because it exposed me to a lot of things. I started my career in 2011 after leaving LAUTECH while studying a science-based course and was forced to begin my university education afresh in Lagos having gained admission to study Accounting. Interestingly as a kid, I had enjoyed art-based classes but due to family pressure I went through school as a science student. My decision to transit to Accountancy was based on my belief that the course would provide the best platform to fulfil my vision as a fashion designer. And it wasn't hard to switch because I already had a combination of science and arts courses in my O'Level. How was it competing against other designers who had trained abroad? I really don't believe that someone's background should be a limiting factor in how far one can go. It's all about what's inside of you so I think that was what paved the way for me. During the auditions, I saw a lot of guys come in with swag, and I was challenged, amazed at some of the designs but I wasn't intimidated. Yea, they came armed with fashion degrees from Paris, UK, Vienna but they didn't move me. When I showed my brother what I was up against, we were just laughing. It was like a David and Goliath situation. Most of my friends just wished me all the best. When I made the top ten shortlist, my close friends told me that they won't shout or celebrate with me and that the only time they would rejoice is when I am crowned winner. This is the extent of belief and confidence which my close pals had in me. This kept me going. I had no fashion qualifications, whether local or international but I believed in my work. Did you know that you were going to win?
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
How fashion has boosted my earnings Rodney Emeka Igwedinma is the winner of the MTN Young Designer of the Year Award 2013. He is currently a student of the University of Lagos, studying Accounting. In this interview with Bukola Afolabi, Igwedinma, who comes from a family of seven, talks about his humble beginning and the journey to fame. (Laughs) I so much prepared for it. At the last edition in 2012, I attended the closing finale where the winner was announced. I studied the process and workflow of how the models and designers presented their materials. That was on the 28th of October. From that point on, my preparations began for this year's edition. What were the high points of your preparation? As part of my preparation regime, every month or at least once in two weeks, I tried to go through some of the collections from the last edition of the MTN Young Designer's competition at the LFDW. I meticulously studied the collections from Josh, last year's winner. I also studied the show generally, trying to gauge the perception of people about their fashion choices and needs. It was a journey that has taken about a year and has seen me crowned as this year's winner. We are really doing well in terms of fashion appreciation. Almost everything in Lagos has glam and style, looks like what you see abroad. And the beautiful thing is that it is still burgeoning. When did you realise you wanted to become a fashion designer? My mom is a tailor and she always put us through tailoring when we were young. Although back then, I was a bit stubborn and didn't find the experience pleasurable, she insisted that we all learn the art. It was as if she knew what was coming ahead in the future. When I got to LAUTECH, I became very serious about the craft when I saw some things that inspired me - there was a business case for it and I was hooked on it. I am into men's clothing, so while at LAUTECH, I saw boys looking good, fresh and wearing made clothes that were tailored here in Nigeria. My plan on entry was to change motifs in terms of the way boys were dressed. So what steps did you take? I went to Yaba Market and bought a piece of fabric. I designed something good from it and when my friends saw it on me, they all loved it. They were surprised to find out that I had made the shirt and called
me a genius. That was all the motivation I needed to start making clothes and before I knew what was happening, the dresses were moving round and attracting a lot of compliments from other students in school. What was the first piece you designed? It was a chinos pant. I bought the fabric for seven hundred and fifty naira at the Yaba Market. I made it while we were on vacation then. So when we got back to school, people loved the pants on me. It stood out because back then a lot of boys were making shirts and we didn't have people who designed pants. So I began to make chinos pants and shirts at LAUTECH. There is an influx of young designers, what new thing are
you bringing to the table? Finish, finish and finish. Just as you witnessed at the LFD show, our finish line looked perfect and that is something many people don't expect from a young designer. We pay attention to details and try to make it look so nice. We will continue to place value on the finishing for our collections and the details in our clothing line. Would you say that the work environment is clement for the realisation of your dreams? In Nigeria, the only way to thrive as a fashion designer is to be known and that is a challenge. If you are unknown, there's no way you can sell. The options are limited - you can enter for a competition, win, and become a star or you work your socks off till you become
relevant. As young designers, we don't have the kind of resources which are available to established names - large stores/showrooms where people can come and buy your pieces. As for funding, it's also a big issue. You need factories for production in large quantities as well as logistics and distribution. Describe the general process you go through to design and realise a piece of clothing. To produce a bespoke piece for a client, I get to sit down with the client to understand what he really wants and what occasion he is wearing the piece to - red carpet show, dinner, office wear. Once I understand what the client's thinking is, I sketch out my designs that are compatible with the purpose or occasion. Once the client is satisfied, I go out to select fabrics that will help to interpret the sketched designs. After this, I cut the fabrics and get them into the factory for production. The customer then comes back for a fitting to make sure that it's the perfect style as conceived. If there are adjustments, we take them back and amend accordingly till we meet the client's expectation. Has fashion been profitable for you so far? Yes, it has been, especially if you know what you are doing. Also your ability to reach the target market determines profit margins. Who are your major clients? My major clients are those who understand the essence of bespoke tailoring. Could you name some of them? Well I have had the privilege of working for a lot of Nigerian celebs. Guys like Nollywood actor/director Desmond Elliot, Uti Nwachukwu, Chinedu Ikieze (Aki), Gbenro Ajibade of popular TV series, Tinsel, Elenu the comedian, Ushebebe, an OAP and Yomi Casuals, to mention a few. I have worked with Veronica, a popular fashion stylist. How long have you worked as a designer? I have worked professionally for two years now but then I practically grew up learning how to sew with my mom. So I have been at it for a
while now. How would you describe your two-year sojourn? It's been two years of hard work. I haven't had any rest because I know what I was gunning for. As such, it's been a gruelling experience with great achievements like the Young Designer of the Year Award. In the first year, I brought out a collection and had a shoot for it but only my friends and close associates saw it. Then in 2012, I did another collection which was a bit more colourful. It was featured on BellaNaija and this launched me into the industry, people got to know about me and my works. In 2013, I launched another collection - Work Hard, Play Hard - which gained more traction than the first, before doing this last collection, Man about town, which was showcased at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week. So, as you can see, it's been a season of hard work these last two years. Who else is behind your brand? Do you have a team? I work alone. But I hope to expand and employ other people by God's grace. We would hopefully have space for creative directors and other people that would team up with me to up the ante and build the brand. That said, I have tailors who work for me. Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials? I get most of my fabrics here in Lagos. It also depends on the clients I am meeting. There are some of them who want to use materials that are not readily available here. But, usually, I comb through the Tinubu and Idumota markets on Lagos Island when I go out in search of fabrics. What matters to you most as a fashion designer? What I usually strive to avoid when making clothes is to prevent my dresses from looking tacky. I try to go the extra mile in making sure that there are no loose ends. I stick with it till I get what I am looking for on the finish line. I try to make sure that I produce dresses that when people see them outside, they fall in love with them. I love to please myself and I believe that if it can give me pleasure, the people out there will also like it. And, of course, my taste is high so this places a great demand for perfection on me. What are some of your fashion goals? I want to go international someday. Although I usually plan my movement, for example, early on in the year, I already had it in mind to participate in the LFDW. So, I love to prepare myself ahead of time. My goal as a fashion designer is to be the number one Nigeria's man-label to go global. I want to sell on a worldwide scale. And this explains why I have a tilt towards the British cut.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
o much have been said about the emerging online media, which has continued to spread and gain acceptance over the last ten years in a tremendous fashion. But one issue that has continued to reverberate and cause ripples is its threat to upstage the traditional print media and cause it to pack up. A few years back, the online or digital media was considered a potential threat; but not so anymore, as even practitioners and newspaper barons have seen most of these predictions come to play. To start with, the developed countries, such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the likes have already recorded significant impact of the online media onslaught, resulting in significant drop in sales and revenue for the print. In a swift reaction, Newsweek, a foremost American news magazine, shut down its print form in 2013, opting to simply trade its content online. In the same vein, other top newspapers and magazine companies, in the US especially, also started announcing gradual drops in their revenue, causing them to re-strategise and form new alliances with internet players such as Yahoo, Google and the likes. The result of a data collated by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) released as far back as the mid-2000s revealed that the daily circulation of newspapers on weekdays fell from 62.3 million in 1990 to 53.3 million in 2005; and much of it was credited to the emerging 'menace' of the internet. Another data report, also credited to the NAA, said that 57 million people, translating to an increase of 24 percent, visited newspaper websites in the US. Taken that this was America about a decade ago and considering the nonavailability of such kinds of aggregate data in our part of the world, it might be safe to say that Nigeria and, indeed, most of the third world countries, who failed to catch the 'early' online bus, are gradually coming on board, and literally bringing the threats much closer home. For instance, the 'proliferation' of laptops and smartphones has ensured that more Africans have access to the internet, such that it now becomes a matter of habit, rather than impediment. Of course, the problem of slow bandwidth, resulting in tedious connection had earlier hampered a lot of would-be internet surfers. The current reality, however, is that things are loosening up. A lot of traditional journalists and the new independent journalists and bloggers have also begun to create openings for themselves, generating considerable followership in the process. In Nigeria, a quick example will be Sahara Reporters, which has suddenly become like Nigeria's number one news breaker. There is also nairaland.com, Bellanaija.com and so on and so forth. Not forgetting twitter, facebook and co, where people freely share information and defy any kind of gagging. Together, they have made news instant, beating even the 24-hour radio broadcast system to the second place. Needless to say, internet savvy youths and corporate businessmen have found these sites handy; as news seems to stream into their mobile devices almost as they break. A good example here would be the situation that unfolded earlier in the year at a media parley organised by veteran journalist Taiwo Obe to stimulate Nigerian journalists to the huge advantages of migrating to the digital. As if to illustrate in clear terms what everyone had gathered to discuss, news streamed in that the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had been suspended. Not long after, another news streamed in, that an acting governor had been appointed; and in another short while, another news A non-governmental organisation, Africa Foundation for Peace and Love Initiatives (AFPLI), in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Education and Metro FM, Lagos, has concluded plans to hold the fifth edition of Students Acquiring Media Skill Training Programme (SAMS) come June 5, 2014. With the theme, Peace Education for the Growth of Inter-Religious, Inter-Ethnic
BATTLE OF THE MEDIA: How potent is the online threat to print media?
As the online media continues to gain ground, with even the traditional print journalists feeling left behind, Gboyega Alaka explores the raging threat of an apocalypse and whether indeed the print media stands a chance. streamed in that a new governor had been nominated for senate scrutiny. All these in the spate of about three to four hours, and with no radio or television on, and no-one going out to buy a single newspaper! This clearly demonstrated the instant-ness of today's news and the reason why the print media may never be able to match the online medium. Even if a new technology were to emerge and make printing as immediate, the problem of circulation will always suffice. And this, the internet does not encounter. It permeates every wall and breaks every physical barrier, so long as there is a gadget and standard internet connectivity. To try and match up, virtually all newspapers worth their salt now have free news websites, where they post news as they break. Quite unfortunately for these traditional newspaper companies, however, is the fact that these sights hardly translate to money, at least in third world countries like Nigeria. The fact that they also left online news-breaking to the gate-
crashers for too long, have also meant that they at the moment play second fiddle. The fact that online news sites are also free, gives them clear-cut advantage. Everyone and anyone can visit. All you need is internet enability. Former Thisday Editor and new entrant into the online media business, Simon Kolawole, recently said at the launch of his new online medium, TheCable, that the number one advantage of online news and attraction for him is the fact that it is free. Nigerians, characteristically, are largely free readers, he said. We all get a clear illustration of this every morning at newspaper stands. Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com while contributing to the debate, “The Print Media Are Doomed,” also wrote that 'It is impossible to compete with free.' He had earlier argued that the business in newspaper business will die, whether or not the print medium itself dies. By this, he meant that a majority of those in the newspaper
Group holds media training for students By Adeola Ogunlade Dialogue in the Media, the event is to hold at Metro FM office in Ikoyi, Lagos and is expected to bring together over 150 senior secondary school students and teachers to drink from the wealth of experience of media icons and members of the civil soci-
ety. This much was revealed by the president of AFPLI, Rev. Titus Oyeyemi, in Lagos during the week. According to Oyeyemi, Students Acquiring Media Skill Programme is aimed at providing opportunities for
business, minus maybe the reporters, editors and the planners, will be out of job at some point in the future. Online media needs no paper, needs no distributor and needs buy no ink. He also said that “It's not that print is bad. It's that digital is better.” He went on to say that it has too many advantages including ubiquity, speed, permanence, searchability, ability to update; and that and there will be more. Veteran Nigerian journalist, Mike Awoyinfa, also admitted the digital media risk in a chat with this writer sometime last year. In his word: “The situation is scary.” As former editor of the hugeselling Weekend Concord of the late 1980s and early 1990s; and even the sensational Sun newspapers, Awoyinfa must have beheld the downward slide of newspaper sales chart in Nigeria with trepidation. The ubiquitous advantage of online media for the advertisers is also another major edge for it. All over the world, adverts revenue is expected to form a major part of a media organisation's income, whether print or electronics. The fact that the print, especially, is now playing second fiddle to the online news sites and blogs therefore means that it might no longer be premium, sites for advertisers and their products. Some die-hard newspaper addicts and practitioners have, however, continued to voice incurable optimism that the print form will ultimately survive. They are especially sure that a sizable portion of the world's population would always go for the print, for its physicality. Some, like the veteran journalist, Dan Agbese, point to the fact that the print medium survived the electronic onslaught. The fear currently being exhibited also came to the fore in the early days of the radio and later the television. World Newspapers Association co-chief executive officer, Timothy Balding, was also upbeat about the survival of the print medium, when he said, in 2009, that the global newspaper industry was far from facing an “apocalypse.” His point exactly was that even though there had been a decline in sales in the US and Europe, there has been considerable increase on the global level. He cited the 'consistent growth in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where new newspapers have kept emerging.' Nigeria, for instance has witnessed scores of news and fashion magazines joining the fray since the days of Tell, Genevieve Magazine and True Love. The same with the newspapers, where the industry most recently witnessed the advent of The Union, The new Telegraph, The Westerner and most recently, The Easterner. Balding's argument might also be buttressed by the development in India and Brazil, where circulation and readership of the print newspapers have risen. Many have also cited the return of Newsweek to print, as a testimony to the doggedness of the print medium. According to Segun Ogunbanwo, freelance journalist, the reality is that something just seems to be missing, if a newspaper is not in print. He argued that Newsweek management must have decided to return to print because they were missing something. What Balding didn't probably reckon with, however, was the fact that the incursion of the internet into these regions of the world was still slow at the time. It is doubtful if that argument will stand today. Nigeria for one now has over 100 million active lines, with about a quarter of those users within the youth and internet savvy population bracket. Even students are massively being introduced to the internet, with state governments in Nigeria giving out free internetconnected tablets to high school students, meaning they may never place any premium on the print media. One thing that might, however, stimulate a return to the print is the harm potentially dangerous computer rays pose to the eyes. As an optometrist recently argued, except the medical world or scientists discover a solution to the dangerous rays of the computer, the idea of everyone joining the digital fray might just be a mirage. teaching and learning peace journalism to young students in Nigeria. He also said the programme was “conceived in the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between our organisation on the first part, the Lagos State Ministry of Education on the second part, and the Nigerian Union of Journalists, on the third part.” The programme, he said, got the approval of the Lagos State Ministry of Education in 2009.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
WORDSWORTH J 08055001948
‘Protest over’? Never!
AILY SUN of May 26 welcomes us this week with the first set of headline foibles: “NNPC/Chevron commissions (inaugurates) N50m projects in Delta” “KWASU partners USA, China (Chinese) coys on solar energy” “Kogi farmers’ association allege (alleges) diversion of N1bn agric fund” Finally from DAILY SUN Back Page: “Do they know it’s Children’s Day” What of the question mark? THE NATION ON SUNDAY of May 25 combated the English language in the following entries: “Somalia (Somali) president attacked by alShabab” “…you have raised the bar of governance which will ever remain difficult for mediocre (mediocrities/mediocrists/the mediocre) to attain….” (Fullpage advertisement) ‘Mediocre’ is an adjective. “Benue 2015: PDP at crossroads over Gemade, Suswam” This way: at a/ the crossroads “Nigerians are, however, skeptical about the level of compliance to (with) the laws guiding the scheme….” “The governing council, members, management, staff & students of Osun College of Education, Ilesa (another comma) felicitates (how?)….” “As a symbol, your strides lead the way and inspires (what is going on here?) the hope of a brighter and rewarding future.” (Half-page advertisement by the above institution) “Any one (sic) with useful information (police cliché: would it have been useless information?) about his where about (sic) (whereabouts) should….” (Full-page advertisement by the FIRS) DAILY SUN of May 23 circulated headline and body flaws: “Those who say Ibadan don’t (doesn’t) serve gov twice are poor students of history, says Ajimobi” LASU students, JAF protest over (against/at/ about) fee hike” Let us extend our searchlight to DAILY SUN EDITORIAL of the above edition: “…work for the restoration of peace in (to) northern Nigeria.” From the editorial to opinion page: “…the citizenry still needs (need) his enormous wealth of experience to stir us to path of rectitude.”
“…the case against the “All Anambra (AllAnambra) LG soccer cham- Nigerian was serious on the ground (grounds) that he pionship set to kick off” Finally from DAILY had confessed that….” “FCT suspends controSUN Back Page with four errors: “…we had been in- versial ‘park and pay’ vited on (to/for) a facility policy” No controversy: ‘park-and-pay’ policy tour by the governor.” “MASSOB strikes out “I thought the governor would ride in his official ex-Gov Obi’s name from car, or join us in the bus as awardees list” Get it right: many other governors have awardees’ list “UN raises alarm (the (had) done on trips to other alarm) over ethnic slaughstates.” “We went round ter in South Sudan” “…restoring sanity in Owerri metropolis, seeing state of the art (state-of-the- (to) the land….” (EDITORIAL) art) schools….” The next three wrongdo“Issues in the Chibok schoolgirls abduction” ings are from the OPINION (DAILY SUN OPINION pages: “…unless they steal Page Headline, April 30) A because the varsity has been syntactic surgery: Issues in prized (priced) out of the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduc- reach of the poor.” “…Jonathan to take the tion Wrong: Face-me-I-face- bull by the horn (horns).” “I want to wholeheartyou house Right: Rooming house edly congratulate President “Royal father disowns Goodluck Jonathan for (on/ vigilante (vigilance) upon) keeping his word….” “Untold story of E. K. group” (DAILY SUN, April Clark (Clark’s) son’s kid23) The Guardian front nap, freedom” “…as you project the and inside pages of April 22 toyed with morphologi- vast potentials (potential) of cal truth: “Parents of ab- ‘ndi-Anambra’. We wish to ducted female students of appreciate our governor, the Government Girls Chief Willie Aduabuchi (Girls’) Secondary (Maduabuchi) Obianor School….” The Guardian (Obiano)….” (Full-page admust be underestimating vertisement) Is it that these its readers’ intelligence: folk do not know the spellwould it have been male ing of their governor’s students in a girls’ school? name? “…Chukwu on his 52nd If the front page can contain this kind of misprint, Birthday anniversary….” what will the inside pages (Full-page advertisement by Federal Neuropsychiatric look like? “The aggrieved and Hospital Enugu signed by traumatised parents spoke its Medical Director, Dr. Jojo at (on) the premises of the Onwukwe) Either 52 nd destroyed school when….” Birthday or 52nd Anniver“Umar, Southern sary (the two words cannot Taraba leaders trade co-function). “Sex enhancing drugs words over frequent crisis everywhere” Insight: Sex(crises)” “Nigeria has best dis- enhancing drugs everyease surveillance (disease- where (Otherwise, it will be surveillance) system in Af- sex that will be enhancing the drugs)! rica” “Pomp and glamour as “SURE-P assures over funding of East-West road” Lagos Traders (Traders’) Who did the agency as- Cup kicks off” Sports: either pomp and ceremony or sure? “…the ordinary poor pomp and circumstance or man in the street….” The just pomp DAILY SUN OPINION ‘man in the street’ does not require any embellish- Page of April 18 goofed twice: “He can still warm ment! Finally from The (worm) himself to his beneGuardian: “…the NJC is a factor in the true spirit of body which every lawyer love and reconciliation.” “He should deploy his revere (reveres).” Next is The PUNCH of energies to (in) rebuildApril 22 with this faux pas: ing….” “…as Kogi and Benue “FG wants African disease control (disease-control) states have experienced it at centre in N i g e r i aone ” time or the other (one DAILY SUN of April 22 time or another).” (SUNcirculated dozens of inaccu- DAY Sun EDITORIAL, racies: “He said about 150 April 13) DAILY Sun, April 11, parents have (had) made spirited attempts last week rounds off: “While a section in search of the abducted of the media has performed creditably well….” Yank off girls….” “He said government either ‘creditably’ or ‘well’ has (had) brought food items as both terms cannot co-exist. to the town for….”
Re-BRF’s Successor: Is Ambode the final choice?
UST before some other latter day meddlesome interlopers, spin doctors, hack writers and some hangers on around Akin Ambodetake up the gauntlet against this writer, it is important to state here that I write out of character. I am compelled to write because of the activities of those who parade themselves around those jostling to be possible successors to the incumbent governor, BabatundeRajiFashola, SAN in 2015. I am persuaded that I cannot be silent because of what the activities of these publicists turned seers portend for the politics of Lagos State especially at this time in the history of our nation. Chief amongst them is my colleague and friend, Mr. •Ambode Dapo Thomas with whom I By Jaiye Opayemi share the honour of having served in the Asiwaju Bola Lagos, reading two of his reAhmed Tinubu administra- cent writings titled, “BRF’s tion. While I concede that Successor: Between God and their right to aspire to be the Man” and another titled, next governor of Lagos State “BRF’s Successor: Is Ambode in the 2015 governorship race the final choice” betrays is legitimate, it is pertinent to where he truly belongs. Insay that they must rein in deed, having read his last two some of their Aides because writings, I have been forced of the implications of the to ask a few of our colleagues, things they are beginning to is everything well with Dapo write out of sympathy and in Thomas? Is Thomas also support of their aspirations. amongst the latter day seers What bothers me there- to one of the political camps? fore is not their aspirations, The answers I have gotten what bothers me are the is- clearly linked him to the Akin sues being thrown up delib- Ambode political camp. No erately by their spin doctors qualms about this. He has evwho double as seers.The very ery right to belong to a camp. issues that have kept Nigeria But the Ambode camp should on her knees and in the hands be worried about a man who of incompetent leaders. I see is not proud to publicly assodanger in the activities of ciate his writings with its these seers who want us to see brand.I have a profound relathings through the limiting tionship of mutual respect prism of religion and with Akin Ambode while he indigeneship. Anyone who was Accountant General of loves Lagos and who under- Lagos State. I must be quick to stands the peculiar character say to the consternation of of this mega city state should some hack writers who may be worried about the consid- wish to react hurriedly to this erations being raised by the piece that, Akin Ambode is in likes of Dapo Thomas and fact related to my wife’s famtheir divisive consequences. ily. This is a fact I never for Make no mistake, I am a once threw in his face to curry Christian but I care less if the his favour. That would have next governor of Lagos State been rather unnecessary.He is is a Muslim or what part of a decent gentleman who did Lagos he comes from.If all his job without asking for rethat it will take to be the next wards. He knew his onions. good governor of Lagos State There was no question as to is to be a Christian, let us be whether he was in charge of reminded that President the State Treasury Office. Akin Goodluck Jonathan is a Chris- Ambode was in charge. He ran tian and we have seen how the place professionally. This he runs Nigeria. Is Stella is a rare sterling quality in Oduah a Muslim? Is Dieziani Nigeria of today. I have dediAlison Madueke not a Chris- cated this explanation to the tian too? So what has faith got spin doctors who need his to do with it really? My posi- favour so they can get their tion is that, there are brilliant facts right before they react. minds from the five divisions So my worry is not the fact of Lagos State across the lines thatDapo Thomas belongs to of faith, let them run. Let the Akin Ambodecamp. My them tell us how they intend worry stems from the divisive to build on the legacies of contents of his recent writings. BRF? My concern is, who can My worry is about the burden make this mega city state glo- his writings may impose on bally competitive and market undiscerning citizens who it as a premium destination may think he is sufficiently for business and leisure? close to Tinubu to know the Who can help us expand the things he has inferred and incapacity of the Lagos sinuated in his writings.Some economy for more inclusive may in fact be led to believe, growth after BRF so that the Dapo Thomas was expressing Oshodi of yesterday will not the whispers in Asiwaju’s inre-surface in our tomorrow ner chambers. I know for a fact and hurt our children? that this is far from the truth. Though Dapo Thomas I shall take a few of his pretended to have written dangerous insinuations. The from the neutral standpoint first is his assertion that BRF ofan informed observer who had “a frosty relationship” understands the politics of with Ambode while in office
as Accountant General. Dapo had in fact stated categorically from a point of knowledge that, “the truth is that Ambode’s resignation was necessitated by a frosty relationship he had with BabatundeFashola. His reasons were never made public but the circumstances of his departure were strangely awry. The thinking is that being a very strong Tinubu boy in Fashola’s cabinet, there was no way he would have resigned his appointment without clearance from AsiwajuTinubu”. Also, Dapo asked a sarcastic question in the same illintentioned article, “Will Fashola be happy with the choice of Ambode as his successor knowing how much the two of them loathe each other? No right thinking member of the Tinubu political family should encourage these light headed insinuations being made by Dapo Thomas. I can publicly testify that while Dapo Thomas was busy writing his ill-intentioned pieces, genuine allies of Asiwaju like Mr. Dele Alake, TokunboAfikuyomi and Tunji Bello are busy mobilizing other allies close to Tinubu and BRF to ensure they both agree on the choice of a successor to BRF. Perhaps unknown to Dapo Thomas, Akin Ambode served as Accountant General along with RotimiOyekan, a childhood friend of BRF who was Commissioner for Finance. What was logically convenient was for BRF to use his Finance Commissioner, as they say in the Nigerian public sector parlance, to tighten the space against Ambode if indeed a frosty relationship existed. There was no question as to who was in charge of the most sensitive organ of that Ministry which is the State Treasury Office. As a practising PR Consultant, my company executed the FIFA Under 17 World Cup campaign for the Lagos State Government in the year 2009. Following our presentations to the Lagos State Executive Council, we received our first, second and third tranches of payment without me meeting the Finance Commissioner for a minute. In fact, our first tranche of payment was processed in forty minutes because Akin Ambode inspired the process of the payment. It is to the credit of the organ he was given a free hand to run by BRF that not a single person in the State Treasury Office ambushed us to ask for a bribe after the payment. His Secretary then, a certain Mrs. Otaru was always civil and never patronizing. Immediately, the World Cup was over and our report was presented to the Lagos State Government, all I needed to do was an exchange of text messages with Akin Ambode. He asked me to check back the following week and indeed our balance payment was made. The second of such dangerous insinuations in Dapo’s writing ishis declaration that, “the speculation in town is that Femi Hamzat enjoys the back•Continued on page 79
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
VERY year, the National Gallery of Art (NGA) selects an appropriate theme and turn it into an idea for the children to paint. It is a concept that has come to be part of the national identity of the NGA in trying to promote the visual art. The central idea, first and foremost, is to encourage children to express themselves freely through painting, graphics, textile and sculpture. It is clearly to show them that beyond drawing for pleasure, painting is equally a worthy profession that has abundance of economic potentialities in it. The crux of the matter is to direct the attention of children to those issues that concern them primarily as they grow up. Entitled Children Art Hunt, this year’s theme centred on child labour. They were guided on the theme ‘Say No To Child Labour’, not only by the organisers of the painting competition but also by their Art teachers to enable them limit their works within the concept. “It is for us to create the necessary awareness about the dangers of this injustice against our children,” was how Ekene Okoroma, head of the Lagos office of NGA put the issue before the children as they celebrated this year’s children’s day. With over 30 schools in attendance, it was obvious that they have indeed begun to show enough enthusiasm for the art. “From what we have on display here today”, Okoroma continued, “we can see that these children have produced yet another set of masterpieces in different media to express their feelings on the issue of child labour.” What it showed, according to Okoroma, is that art can always be used to advocate the right of children in not only child labour, but in other areas that concern them. “Our kids have to be taught on time to be aware of their right to be the best they can in life.” Most of the thoughts were chronicled in some of the creative pieces produced by the array of children that actively participated in the competition. From the works on display, it was clear that the kids understood the basic concept of the idea. They could show that child labour impedes and hampers progress. It inadvertently diminishes good thinking. On the whole, it is a habit that contradicts the principles of equity and good conscience. This was why the Director-General of the NGA, Abdullahi Muku, charged parents and guardians and teachers to show enough concern now more than ever before to prepare the kids for the future. “Our children desire and deserve good life,” Muku asserted. “Therefore, let us give it to them by encouraging and supporting them to live their dreams as against enslaving them to abandon their dreams. We need to wholeheartedly prepare them to give our nation a robust and flourishing tomorrow.” It was heartwarming to see the rich repertoire of art expressed mostly in textile and sculpture, two most difficult forms in the visual art. The proper usage of forms, the introduction of massive impressions, indeed, contradict the norm that art is only rich when applied with maturity and experience. The children were allowed to choose any media of their choice. And for a 10 year old boy, for instance, to juxtapose all the elements of child labour into a piece of woodwork demonstrated clearly that art has no age barrier. Chidiebere Ogbodo of the Redeemer’s International School, Lagos, who is just 10 years old was able to stun and shock the audience with his sculpture apparently mounted on a platform. It showed a child displaying his wares for patronage. The boy said he did it because he usually sees them while on his way to and from school every day. “I was touched by the sort of life many of them live on the streets,” he said. He particularly mentioned a boy of his own age whom he sees on the same spot on Apapa Road, Constain, Lagos, every morning. “It was the picture of the boy that came into me when I was painting.” For Uzoamaka Okoro of the Vivian Fowler Memorial School for Girls, Ikeja, Lagos, who emerged the overall winner, painting is a hobby she has come to develop because “my art teacher encourages me a lot.” At 14, her mind is already set to be an Architectural Engineer. ‘I have so many options but I prefer to be an Architectural Engineer,” Okoro said. In an interview, she described how she became involved in the talent hunt competition. ‘I painted child labour, dwelling more on how children and house-helps carry loads or goods
•Okoro, with her winnning trophy
•Painting by Derah Silas (6 years old)
•The overall winning work by Okoro
•Sculpture by Ogbodo house girl was raped on the street of Lagos. The scene indeed evoked sympathy from fellow students who hissed all through to show their disdain against the abuse. The climax, however, came when pupils of Dee Jewels School, Lagos, who, adorned in the black and white, danced to series of musical sounds provided by the Dee Jay. It was a good choreographic display done very smartly to show kids who have mastered the art of dance. Their level of professional dexterity stunned the audience that Okoroma explained that the The exhibition depicted the deep understanding of differ- idea was to allow them express themselves in aspects of the art. This was why Sola Oyelabi ent media of the visual art by the children. With the theme all of the Yaba College of Technology Secondary of the art competition anchored on child labour, children School, Lagos, who rendered a poem entitled dwelt on the need for mothers to hold from over 30 schools in Lagos did justice to the issue as Mama, strongly to their kids. Last year, Oyelabi, 11, was organised by the National Gallery of Art on Children’s won the first prize in painting, a feat she also repeated this year. For her poetry, is a form to Day. Edozie Udeze reports tell your story, to let the world know the place of mothers in the homes. “Let today be a day on their heads and hawk on the streets. It took to sell before the end of the day. to encourage children to be who they want to To cap it all, on the bottom side of the paint- be. Let our Mamas always be there to show us me one week to finish it. But before I commenced, I took time to think the issue over in my mind.” ing is a boy hawking in a busy motor park. He the way,” she sang as her voice rang deep into When the theme was given to the children, is also determined to be a part of the life at the the hall. many of them decided to draw inspiration from park to be able to convince people to patronise Different categories of prizes were given what they see every day. “Yes, I chose my own him. Most pathetic is sad-looking boy of about to the winners. The prizes were donated by idea from what I see in Lagos every day. I gath- seven years placed on the right side of the paint- some prominent art foundations in Nigeria. ered the pieces from here and there and then ing. The boy’s load appears to be the heaviest. They include Ben Enwonwu, Kolade Osinowo, made up my mind what to paint,” Okoro said. Covering part of his face with a fez cap, he Bruce Onobrakpeya, Nike Art Gallery, Ovie True enough, her work won simply because she heads towards a crowded area of the streets to Brume and Abayomi Barber. All of them instibrought different aspects of the theme to bear in begin the day’s labour. tuted prizes in their own areas of the art and On the whole, Okoro’s painting captured each winner was equally awarded a prize acher painting. Having painted, say no, very boldly on top and exposed the whole gamut of the sufferings cordingly. The overall winner usually has a of her work, Okoro proceeded to infuse other children face on a daily basis in Nigeria. It is place in the NGA art gallery as a demonstraaspects into the work. The first three set of the colour combination and the bold message tion of his/her proficiency in this regard. This children were carrying loads of fruits on their itself that distinguished the work from the rest. is so because talent hunt has been able to exheads. They appeared sad but determined to Even the drama brought on stage by New Stage pose a lot of kid artists ever since it started a convince people to buy. On the left side is a Baptist School, Lagos, also hammered on the few years ago. “And we will continue to do young girl with a baby in her left arm. On her issue of child labour. The dramatists were able our level best to discover more new talents,” head is a tray of fruits which she was prepared to interpret the message very well, in which a Okoroma promised.
Saying no to child labour in art form
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
HAT’S your position on the crisis? This is a very good question. By the grace of God, I am the District Superintendent of the Sango District Assemblies of God Nigeria. At the national level, I am the coordinator for Inter-Church Relationship. By implication, I am the person officially appointed to represent the church in the CAN, the PFN and other religious bodies AG is affiliated with. In a nutshell, I am like the External Affairs Minister of the denomination. It is my responsibility to inform the world on the true position of things, especially in times like this. All the while we kept quiet, Dr. Emeka had a field day with his boys saying all sorts of things in the news media and on the social network. The principal officers of the church: (the Acting GS, Dr Chidi Okoroafor; the General Secretary, Dr John Ikoni, and the General Treasurer, Dr Vincent Alaje) had a meeting with me and told me of the need to do my job and not just keep quiet while Dr Emeka is everywhere in the press. That is the reason why we are speaking up now. In the last interview Dr Emeka granted, he alleged that money is at the root of the crisis. Is this true? The whole thing is laughable. If actually he was carrying the EC along in all the decisions he took as he claimed, this crisis would not have arisen. The truth is that he was a principality; he ran the church as a one-man church. He said N16m car and a cash of N50m was given to Dr. Charles Osueke on his retirement. For the purpose of accurate records, Dr. Osueke served as the General Superintendent for 22yrs without a personal house and personal vehicle. He was a selfless leader. When he was retiring, the church set up a committee to raise some funds for his retirement. When the funds were raised, all the District Superintendents gathered, the house decided to give Dr. Paul Emeka’s in-law, who was the General Treasurer, a car worth N8m, a parting gift of N10m and built a house worth N15m. Rev Osueke was then
HE national head of TEKAN/ECWA, a bloc of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. (Dr.) Emmanuel Dziggau, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to call the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, to order for alleging marginalisation of Muslims in the country. The Sultan was reported to have said at a national prayer session organised by the NSCIA that the intractable insecurity in the country will be surmounted if government addresses injustice against
‘Emeka is fighting a lost battle ’ Rev. John Amah is the Coordinator for Inter-Church Relationship in the Assemblies of God Nigeria. He spoke with Sunday Oguntola on issues bordering on the suspended General Superintendent of the church, Rev. Paul Emeka. Excerpts:
• Amah given an SUV valued at N16m and parting cash of N15m and built a house worth N25m for him since he had no house of his own in Enugu. Why did he have to bring that to the public? That is being mischievous. He claimed he made a profit of N106m for the Sunday School; this is incredible! In January 2014, he told us the District Superintendents and our wives that he has re-organised the Sunday School Department and hopefully by the end of this year, the Sunday School will make a profit of N70m based on his projection of three million members. He forgot that the threemillion membership includes one million children and one million illiterates who can’t read our Sunday School manual. We were wait-
ing for the magic, but in less than five months from when he made the projection, he claimed he has made a profit of N106m as against the N70m he projected for the year. Well, judge for yourself if there is any truth in that. But even if there is, what is the correlation in this situation? How does that sound? All that Paul Emeka is trying to do is to whip up sentiments against the new administration. Paul Emeka claimed that he was trying to fight corruption. This is ridiculous! When he came into power in 2011, he requested that a new SUV Land Cruiser be bought for him and it was bought for N18m. Late last year, again, he bought another Sequoia 2014 Model SUV for N18m. In just two years of his reign as a GS, he has bought vehicles worth N36m.
These exclude other utility vehicles. He is fighting corruption, yet in the first year he came into office, he brought in principal staff at the General Council from his home town. They were the Corporate Director, the Director of Administration, the Camp Director (his nephew). His brother-inlaw, his brother-in-law’s wife and his sister-in-law are all workers at the Evangel TV house. All the construction jobs at Evangel Camp were awarded to his elder brother who became a building contractor immediately he became the GS so that all the contracts at the Evangel Camp would be handled by him. No tenders were presented to the EC before contracts were awarded to his nephew. So, who is corrupt here?
Call Sultan to order, Christians urge Jonathan Muslims. He reportedly added that Muslims are unhappy with the development but willing to support government’s efforts towards peace and stability. Reacting to the statements, Dziggau described Sultan’s claim of marginalisation as inciting. He said: “We are yet to overcome similar statements by an eminent Muslim politician who vowed to make the nation ungovernable if he was not pronounced winner of the 2011 presidential election. “When the CAN leadership called for his arrest for
making such inflammatory statement, many Muslims accused him of heating up the polity. But today, Nigerians know those who are heating up the polity,” he said, in a statement. The TEKAN/ECWA’s helmsman warned traditional, religious and political leaders in the north against statements capable of inciting uninformed Muslim fundamentalists into killing innocent adherents of other faiths in the name of fighting perceived injustices. “We therefore call on the Federal Government to call the revered Islamic leader to or-
der before another Islamic group will begin another round of terrorist attacks on innocent Nigerians perceived to be marginalising Muslims as the Sultan had claimed,” Dziggau pleaded. He added: “Nigeria and the international community must appreciate the leadership of CAN for his unwavering efforts to restrain Christian youth from retaliating numerous unprovoked attacks, institutionalised marginalisations of Christians in the hands of political, religious and traditional leaders.
But can the decision to suspend him be rescinded? The decision of the General Committee cannot be reversed. Discipline is one of the keys that kept this church together for 80 years. If a wrong precedent is set because of Paul Emeka, I am afraid this church will become lawless and disintegrate. In the Supreme Court of Nigeria, you don’t reverse the decisions of the judges, no matter what. Again, he claimed that a quorum was not formed in the General Committee meeting. What do you say to this? This is how AG functions. If a General Committee meeting or a General Council meeting is called, we don’t take head count to be sure everybody is available. The number that comes for such meeting automatically takes the decision so long as adequate information was passed for the meeting. In the case of that General Committee of 6th March where he was suspended, we were 54 unit heads as against 105. The Presbyters of other unit heads who couldn’t attend were all present. We were over 200 persons in attendance on that day. Many area supervisors couldn’t come because he had threatened to remove them if they honoured the meeting. He said we hired people to attend the General Committee meeting, are we political parties? How can that be done? Hired from where? There is a video recording of the whole proceeding. If he had attended the General Committee and defended himself and even apologised to the house, this situation wouldn’t have been this way. But as they say, pride comes before destruction. When will this media war stop? The way forward is for
“Our appeal to His Eminence, the Sultan, is for him to ensure that truth is being told at all times even if it hurts, rather than deceiving the whole world with this story of marginalisation of Muslims. “Nigeria will be great only if leaders like the Sultan will tell the truth at all times and in all situations because if there is any seemingly marginalisation of Muslims, it’s the traditional, political and religious leaders of Northern extraction who have pauperised and marginalised their followers that have led to the current mass poverty in the region.”
him to withdraw the two law suits he filed against the church. Whatever Paul Emeka is or has today is from this church and it is unfortunate he is systematically destroying the church that made him what he is today. If he humbles himself and takes the suspension, this crisis will come to an end. If he shows signs of genuine repentance in a month or two, he will be reinstated. He started the media war. He went everywhere. We just came up to keep the records straight. There had been whispers about Rev. Emeka’s professorship not being genuine… Sunny, you went to a university just as I did. You don’t buy professorship. Once you are made a professor, it will be published and on an appointed day, you are made to give your inaugural lecture. The inaugural lecture is published; it is not a thing you hide. You must also be a university lecturer before you can become a professor. I know he had his PhD from the University of Nsukka but we don’t know where he got his professorship from. He will explain that when the time comes, maybe against the state. Has any leader in AG been suspended in the past and what was their reaction? Several leaders in AG have been suspended in the past and they took it calmly as believers. They served their suspension and in some cases they were even re-elected in future. The first founder of the AG Nigeria before the Americans took it over was suspended in Port Harcourt even by those whom he converted to Christ and he faithfully served it. A one-time Assistant General Superintendent was suspended and heaven did not fall. He served it and was restored. Dr. Emeka has suspended many as a leader and they never rebelled against him. They served their suspension. It is one thing that keeps AG disciplined whether genuinely or pretentiously.
Femi Emmanuel loses mum
E A C O N E S S Christianah Emmanuel, mother of the presiding pastor of the Living Spring Chapel International, Pastor Femi Emmanuel, is dead. She was 85. She passed away last Sunday. The deceased was a church and community leader until her demise. A statement by Femi Emmanuel said funeral details will be released later.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo
Unveiling the wonders of thanksgiving!
•The Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Prof. Emele Uka (centre) commissioning the multi-million PresbyWaters factory located in the General Assembly Office of the Church in Aba, Abia State. To his right is the Principal Clerk of the Church, Rev. Ndukwe Eme while the Deputy Clerk, Rev. Daniel Etim is behind. The General Assembly Accountant, Elder E. E. Effiong is second left.
Boko Haram will not overcome, says Omobude
HE radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, will not succeed in its quest to draw Nigeria back to the Stone Age, the National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude, has declared. “PFN is resolute that evil shall not overcome our land. We categorically maintain that there is no place in Nigeria and there will never be for such an anachronistic and retrogressive philosophy which the so-called Boko Haram terrorists ignorantly espouse. “There cannot be accommodation for a misguided ideology which operates directly in opposition to civilisation, stands against education and seeks to relegate our women to the background,” Omobude reiterated. The PFN’s leader, in a
statement by the body’s Director, Media and Public Relations, Simbo Olorunfemi, expressed outcry over the abduction of over 200 students of Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in Maiduguri over a month ago. He said: “We condemn, in the strongest terms possible, this callous act on the part of these rogue elements who claim to be motivated by a desire to foist on Nigeria their own perverted ideology. “They should be ashamed of their wickedness and desist forthwith from this meaningless waste of innocent lives and unwarranted shedding of the blood of Nigerians. “We are without any doubt whatsoever that the evil they have continued to perpetrate will find them out and they
will be made to face justice soon.” Omobude appealed to federal and state governments to increase collaborations on security with a view to winning the terror war. He praised the Armed Forces for the courage to face the terrorists and called on them to “re-dedicate themselves to this cause and expedite action in ensuring the safe return of our girls.” While sympathising with parents and relations of the abducted girls, he urged them to remain strong, assuring them of continuous prayers for the safe return of their daughters. He commended Muslims who have spoken and acted against the sect’s demands, urging them to do “more in joining hands with all of us to checkmate this raging evil.”
Omo- Osagie spoke at the praise and prayer service organised by the school management to intercede for the abducted Chibok girls last week. She called on government to increase measures aimed at finding the abducted girls. The national coordinator of the youth wing in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Mr. Ayo Bello, noted
that Nigerians need prayer. He noted that though churches, human rights activists and women have prayed, the involvement of children in the prayer exercise will move God to act. He urged every child not to lose hope, adding that there is a great future for them regardless of current trends in the nation.
By Adeola Ogunlade
committed to the course of the Celestial mission. According to him: “His demise reminds us that death is inevitable for everyone and we must be prepared and ready with our life committed to God.” He advised Nigerians to keep praying and maintain good works for the resuscitation of moral in the country.
By Sunday Oguntola
ELCOME to the month of June. It is our year of Exceeding Grace and all through the remainder of this year, thanksgiving shall not cease in your home! This month, we shall be exploring the mystery of faith which is what empowers the saints for dominion. According to scriptures, faith is the mystery that confers mastery. As it is written: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Among others, faith empowers us for conquest in all the battles of life (Ephesians 6:16). Faith also empowers the fulfilment of prophecy. As it is written: “Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45). Therefore, faith is not a religious principle or a philosophy; faith is a mystery. Faith is not a belief system; it is a spiritual weapon and when our faith comes alive on any revelation of scriptures, we tap into virtues that turn it into testimonies (Ephesians 6:16). This week, we shall be exploring the mystery of faith that gives us access to the Wonders of Thanksgiving. First, we must understand that thanksgiving is loaded
with virtues. However, it is our faith that empowers us access to the wonders embedded in thanksgiving. But, what is Faith? · Faith is not a principle, nor a strategy, it is a spiritual force (1Cor 2:4-5) · Faith is not a dormant force, it is a dominant force – Matt 14:22-33/2Kg 1:10-15 · Faith is being fully persuaded of the truth, the prevailing circumstances notwithstanding, until the truth triumphs (Romans 4:17-21) · Faith is a spiritual force within that determines the triumphs without Mk 2:1-12 (5) / Act 14:9-10 / Matt 14:30 -31 /Mk 11:23 · As far as the Kingdom of God is concerned, faith is key to everything – Mk. 9:23 Faith overturns sicknesses and diseases from the root. Faith can bring down any “wall of Jericho” that stands as a barrier on our paths (Mark 1:1-12/Hebrews 11:30). The mystery of faith explains the resurrection to life from death (Mark 5:35:36). This implies that faith is the most potent force in the whole universe. It is our access to the realms of unlimited possibilities (Mark 11:23). Every unwanted situation is reversible by faith. Faith is the answer to every impossible situation.
How Faith Empowers our Access to the Wonders Embedded in Thanksgiving From the testimony of the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and the flow of blood stopped; according to Christ, her touch of faith drew virtue from Him which made her whole. This implies that every time our faith comes alive in any subject of the living Word of God, we tap into virtue that releases what that Word says. (Luke 8:40- 48) What faith does is to convert the Word into power, which turns it into testimonies. Even though thanksgiving is loaded with virtues, it is our faith in the mystery of thanksgiving that entitles us access to the wonders therein. We must therefore engage our faith in the mystery of thanksgiving, so that we can experience the wonders it promises. We must remember, it is to us according to our faith (Mathew 9:29). Friend, the access to the wonders of thanksgiving are the preserve of the saved. Are you born again? You can become a redeemed soul, by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You can be God’s child now, if you haven’t been, by saying this prayer: “Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. Deliver me from sin and satan, to serve the Living God. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now, I know I am born again!” 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: email@example.com
‘Insurgency affecting school children’ Nigerian-born pastor for TBN’s show
HE Boko Haram insurgency is making children in the country live in morbid fear, the principal of Christ the Redeemers College (CRC), Pastor Antoinette OmoOsagie, has said. She advised the federal government to rescue the abducted school girls so as to inspire confidence among children again.
Be faithful, Oshoffa charges clerics
HE Pastor and Spiritual Head of Celestial Church of Church, Pastor Emmanuel Oshoffa, has charged church leaders to remain committed to their ministry because they will render account of their stewardship on earth one day. He spoke at the funeral ceremony of the Late Superior Evangelist of Celestial Church of Christ, Calvary Parish, Dr Joshua Ogunorunlaiyede, at the church headquarters in Ogba, Lagos. Oshoffa said that the divine call of God on ministers to preach and disciple nations for Christ is not a guaranteed for making heaven. He charged them to ensure their lives and deeds align with Christ to secure their eternity. Oshoffa lamented that the
unwholesome lifestyle of some pastors are at variance with the teachings and life of Christ. Such sinful living, according to him, will lead to utter damnation regardless of the titles such ministers answer. Oshoffa, who extolled the life of the deceased, described him as peaceful, cheerful and
WHAT AND WHERE?
Holyfire in three-in-one celebration
OLYFIRE Overflow Ministries International Lagos will today begin its 8-day celebration of anniversary, family week and thanksgiving service. Tagged Life In the overflow blood-washed, Spirit-filled, word-
based living celebration, the theme of the service is “cruising high places.” Founder of the church, Dr John Ahamzie, said the threein-one celebration is packaged to enable Christians step into their godly heritage.
ROM the confines of Church of the Anointing (COTA) Los Angeles California, its Nigeriaborn founder, Pastor Nelson Ugwuzor, is shaking the whole of America, winning souls and initiating well-received community projects. The prophetic preacher has become a household name in America. He is seen as a pastor to the celebrities and stars in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. He led the city of Los Angeles in a prayer of victory for President Barack Obama, a week before his election at a gathering of over a quarter-million people during the city’s Taste of Soul Family Festival. For his efforts and spiritual insights, awards and recognitions have continued to pour in. The United States Senate and members of California State Congress have conferred several awards on him. The Mayor of Los Angeles, and former Governor of the State of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, also recognised Ugwuzor for his humanitarian role in the state.
By Sunday Oguntola
Awards and Certificates of Appreciation have also been bestowed on him by ministries, spiritual leaders and politicians across the globe for his ministerial inspiration and humanitarian service to the world. In 2012, Pastor Nelson, as he is popularly called, received the Stellar Award for his radio show, Spread the word, which airs every Sunday on Stevie Wonder’s legendary radio station in the US. The show attracts over one million listeners weekly. Born in Aba, Abia State to the late Mr. Ruben Ugwuzor and Chief Mrs. Pleasure Ugwuzor (a.k.a. Nneohaaba), Nelson was educated in Nigeria and the USA. He is a constant voice and face on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network. Come June 5, Nelson will be in Costa Mesa, California as special guest speaker on an upcoming edition of the “Praise the Lord” television programme on TBN. The episode will be broadcast worldwide and aired in Nigeria and Africa
from June 6. On the numerous roles he is playing, Nelson said: “I am so humbled to be used by the Lord Jesus Christ to touch the hearts of men and women for God’s glory in a time like this. “I am thankful that God uses me to go from house to house, city to city, and nation to nation changing our world for good.” He believes that one word from the Lord can change your entire life.
The Nation on Sunday June 1, 2014
tanker driver was shot dead for his refusal to cough out 500 naira allegedly demanded by a security officer attached to OPMESSA. The security officer in uniform allegedly brought out his rifle, corked it, at a close range pulled the trigger and shot the driver on his chest. The deafening sound disrupted the quiet night. The young man, Comrade Olalekan Lawal, immediately slumped as blood covered him all over. To cover up, the security officer, along with his colleagues, reportedly started shooting into the air to scare the deceased's mates away. In a jiffy, the officers in uniform allegedly removed the pellets from the body of the fallen man apparently to prevent their being traced. Later, a mob gathered and angrily summoned courage to attack the security men who eventually fled the scene. In their efforts to revive the driver and amidst the tension, none of the witnesses had the presence of mind to write down the registration number of the vehicle the OPMESSA operatives brought before they fled the scene. At the General Hospital, Isolo, in the course of The Nation 's investigation, the autopsy presented revealed that the victim was shot but the pellets that would have been embedded in him had been removed . The tragic event happened in the early morning of 25 April this year, precisely at 2am. The 34 year -old man, known as Comrade Lawal, had worked as a petroleum tanker for five years. He was said to have had a tall dream when he woke up the previous day, April 24. He was bubbling with enthusiasm and was with high hopes. He was preparing to host his friends and professional colleagues the following week for his birthday. He planned ahead, gave his wife money for it, and said goodbye to his three children and his wife who reside in Ibadan. Little did he know that would be his last interaction with them. In the wee hours of April 25, his wife received a call that her husband was in the hospital. She was later told that he had been brutally murdered by a triggerhappy unknown security operative. According to Comrade Tayo Aboyeji , the Zonal Public Relations Officer of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers Lagos Zonal Executive Council, " I was called on that fateful morning around 2:30 am to tell me that one of the Operation MESSA officers had shot dead one of our tanker drivers, Olalekan Lawal, who refused to give them 500 naira at the Coconut Park along Apapa Road (Tin Can Island Express Road). The deceased was said to have patiently waited for days until it was his turn to load the petroleum products and travel that night. However, after loading and on his way to his destination, a security officer from Operation MESSA allegedly accosted him and asked him to give him some litres of petroleum for 'testing', according to their common parlance, meaning he should pay 500 naira. This was said to be customary though illegitimate. The tanker driver, however, refused to pay. The security operative vowed to teach him a lesson for proving stubborn the officer opened fire and then shot him at a close range, hitting him on his chest while the sound attracted others. He fell down , but immediately he fell other soldiers were shooting sporadically into the air to scare sympathizes away. The fear, annoyance could not let anybody write down the number of the said vehicle while we could identify the assailant , it was the driver who was the next turn to the deceased on the line that saw all these and gave us the full details
Olalekan’s corpse lying on the ground
Murder at dawn
Comrade Olalekan Lawal, a petroleum tanker driver was brutally murdered by suspected security operative for refusing to part with 500 naira. His remains had since been buried while members of his family and the Tankers Drivers Association are begging for justice. Taiwo Abiodun reports to us. When the angry mob got there the soldiers had fled the place , While efforts were made to revive him. He was taken to the Isolo General Hospital but before he got there, he had died. A rowdy riot and demonstration ensued but the personnel at the OPMESSA calmed us down and promised to dig into its root and fish out the culprit. We reported the case at the Trinity Police Station , Ajegunle -Apapa. From where we took the case to the the Naval office , NNS Beecroft. If I had not arrived that spot on that morning there could have been a riot. Since that Black day in April, everybody has been asking what could have made the assailant pumped hot lead into this young man's heart?" For the family of the late Lekan and members of the Trailer Tankers Association, it has been a sur-
prise that the officer who pulled the trigger has not been apprehended till now. Speaking to The Nations, his younger brother, Taiwo Samuel, who was drenched in tears, said “he was the family's bread winner! His last child was three years old. He still has aged parents he was taking care of. Lekan's corpse was later retrieved from the mortuary after an autopsy and he had since been buried . His wife had gone to stay with her mother in a remote area in Ibadan because she said she would not be able to cope or live alone in the house the family were living before the death of her husband. Another cousin of the deceased, Saheed Samuel, said the news jolted them and hit them like thunderbolt. His words:" We all live in Ibadan and he comes to Apapa here to offload and drive
his tanke,r not knowing this is what will end him. It is too bad for a man looking for his daily bread to be killed like that, it is bad. It is too sad .I was called to come to Lagos and appear before his co-workers and comrades here to represent the family, for his wife and aged parents cannot come". The National PRO of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (NUPENG branch), Comrade Atanda Adebayo fought back his tears and narrated how these security men used to force them to part with 500 naira, he said. Our member who was on his legitimate duty met his untimely death when the officials of OP MESSA shot him at a close range for his refusal to part with an illegitimate fee of. 500naira, a practice which is common among the officials The National PRO also said ''We wish to bring to the public notice, constant harassment ,brutalization and extortion of our members by the officials of the Operation MESSA and the law enforcement agents , a situation which is already taken its tolls on us as a union." He continued," The circumstances leading to Olalekan' s death was unfortunate and unbearable to say the least. A situation whereby he was killed prematurely over a fee of 500 naira is disheartening and we want the government to take necessary steps to arrest the situation." Adebayo reminded the Lagos State government that the union had at several times alerted the government on the use of force by these law enforcement agents to extort money from them. He said: On the number of occasions, we have drawn the attention of the government to series of high handedness of law enforcement agents on our members without any cogent response. But for the intervention of our Lagos Zonal officers who were at the scene on that fateful day , the situation could have degenerated to an unprecedented level. Our officers ' investigation confirmed the killing of Comrade Olalekan Lawal by officers of Operation MESSA" According to Comrade Adebayo, " The office of OPMESA had been approached and though they denied but said they are still investigating .The personnel calls me almost every day giving me update about their investigation and promised to call whenever the suspect is caught . I believe they are cooperating. They even called me yesterday morning, telling me that investigation was still going on as they had intensified efforts to get the suspect and charged him to court. So we are still waiting for the outcome. " On the whereabouts of the vehicle driven by the slain driver, one of the comrades said 'the owner had taken it away, I'm sure he had returned to his business." What has become of his assistant, the motor boy? According to Adebayo, the motor boy has been psychologically affected, because he could not believe what happened to his boss in his presence could be true. Adebayo added that the driver's assistant “has gone back to his village in Ijebu as he was said to be having nightmare of the incidence. I learnt he said he would never do the job again. It is just pathetic." A petition has been written by the tanker drivers' union to the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, asking him to investigate the matter and have the family of the slain driver compensated,” The wife of the deceased refused to talk to the press. According to one of his inlaws, “She does not want to talk to the press at all for she is too weak and she is crying day and night". However, when contacted, the police confirmed the story.
Oddities The Nation on Sunday June 1, 2014
Samuel with the coffin
ONSPICUOUSLY displayed on this Mountain of Prayer is a big van with the inscription, 'The Holy Michael Church of The Lord ( Aladura) Cherubim and Seraphim , Preacher Prophet S.O Olawale (a.ka.Kogberegbe)." In the said vehicle is a big white-creamy painted coffin covered with a black cloth having the following words 'THIS IS THE END OF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR POST' inscribed on it, all in capital letters! Fear will normally envelope most people seeing for the first time a coffin draped with black cloth and a grave dug by the altar . This is, however, a familiar sight to the congregation of this church. They have grown used to it. What is the connection between an empty coffin and the church? Why should there be a grave by the altar? These are questions begging for answer. Speaking to The Nation on why he keeps both strange and curious objects, the spiritual leader and founder, Pa Samuel Olawale, who is in his 80s, declared " Yes, it is true that I have a coffin covered with a black cloth in the church , it is in a big van .Not only this, I have a big hole dug by the altar. You can go and see it, take the picture .But for the grave or the hole, it is by the altar. And next time, I will open it for you while I am there .The two strange objects are pregnant with meanings .I have reasons why I am keeping them there." While preachers , evangelists and men of God go out preaching with the Holy Bible, asking sinners to repent , Pa Samuel Olawale ( a.k.a Kogberegbe) goes out not only with the Holy Bible but always 'armed' with an empty coffin , a bell in his hand, preaching to sinners to repent and come to God. He said: " Yes it is true that I am carrying the coffin about while preaching and what I am trying to point out is that no matter how wealthy you are you will not leave this world with these money , it all ends here .You will not go into the grave with your wealth or with money , be you a civil servant who stole money , be you an armed robber, be you a landlord or a caretaker, your money and wealth ends here the moment you are dead." He continued: "Any time I go out, I would at times sleep in the coffin, telling everybody that that is how we will end .Yes, we should remember this. If you are buried with expensive coffin, clothes and jewelleries, all will be stolen from you in the night and your carcass will be left .To me, life has no meaning until we come to God .Things are going wrong in this world and we should mend our ways." Kogberegbe added: “Yes, I even sleep there (in the coffin and the grave) at times too, to let us know that we will all end up in the grave!" Asked whether people read different meanings to it , he replied: "Oh no, no, they all know that we are preaching the word of God .It is just to let us all know that there is nothing in
This preacher sleeps in a coffin while preaching Mere sighting a coffin instils fear in many mortals. But for Prophet Pa Samuel Olawale ( a.k.a Kogberegbe) it has no meaning as he sleeps in the coffin and in the grave preaching the gospel. Taiwo Abiodun reports this life. This is an ephemeral world, the grave is for prayer and we open it every year while praying on the mountain." On what it is in the grave, the old man said, “Nothing , it is empty , nothing .” When this reporter requested to see the coffin and the grave, the old man did not hesitate as he called one of his disciples, Joshua Samuel, to take him there. Road to the mountain The road to the church's mountain is about three kilometres from the residence. It is along Ikotun/Ejigbo Road. The big church is located in a compound on the expansive mountain. On the mountain is also a vehicle, and inside it is an object covered with a black cloth. The reporter asked the guide, Samue,l to open it. The guide first of all screamed, “Holy Jah!,'' and prayed. He then removed the cover for this reporter to see the cream - coloured coffin with the words: 'THIS IS THE END OF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR POST' inscribed on it. And after the reporter had taken some shots of photographs, the guide again thanked Jah for His mercies and then covered it again. According to the guide, Kogberegbe is a bold man who is a man of God worshipping God Almighty. He said while evangelising with the bus, they carry the coffin about and would stop once in a while to bring out the coffin. In his words, “We carry the coffin from the vehicle; it is normal coffin .We are about four people who carry it while I would be in my church warrior soutane dress." Asked to comment on the motive behind it, he said: "Baba is trying to show the world that at the end of everybody in this world, irre-
spective of his status, whether you are rich or poor , whether you are a witch or wizard, whether you have children or childless, whether you are a tenant or landlord, this is how and where we will all end .Baba would with a bell in his hand sleep in the coffin in the public and be shouting on top of his voice to everybody to come and see how everybody would end. It is a big lesson for us all, and it is very interesting. It is time we should all change from our bad behaviours and turn to Christ" Encounters with the evil spirit Kogberegbe also spoke to this reporter about his encounters with the evil spirit. He said “I remember that we used to trek from Somolu to this mountain several years ago. We faced many challenges. I can remember when on a midnight as myself and two kids were going to the mountain, we got to the base of an Araba tree ( mighty tree), we saw a strange light that beckoned at us from the tree top and we heard the voice that said 'This stupid boy ( Kogberegbe ) has come to disturb us again.' But trust my God, nothing happened to me. I prayed and the tree got dried up .It is God's work .The evil spirit attempted to stop me from worshipping God , but no evil spirit had the power. Again, at Ojuwoye, they (evil spirits) fought us, and again I commanded the tree to dry up and it happened. It is the work of God. Only God knows what havoc the tree could have caused. You know a man with swollen scrotum cannot be a goalkeeper. And it is God's work, not of mine." Who is Kogberegbe? Call him a stubborn agitator. Label him a non conformist; he is a different person
entirely from many other preachers. No wonder he is nicknamed Kogberegbe (A no nonsense man). He said “My name is Samuel Olawale. When God called me, people started calling me Kogberegbe, meaning a man who does not tolerate nonsense." He speaks with authority, and his congregants listen with rapt attention. In his living room, he conducts services and counsels those who come for counselling and prays for them too. There are portraits of Jesus Christ and of some Saints hung on the walls. In his living room are big rubber drums of water which he prays on to become 'holy water' and this he gives to people to heal them of their ailments. He prays for people who come to him for prayer. His voice is heard as he prays. People of all status mill around him for prayer. Whenever he is praised that his prayer works, he would tell you that it is not his handwork but God's. Immediately he was told that he had a visitor from the press, he humbly left the congregation to attend to this reporter. He is loved for his humility, passion for mankind. One thing he is noted for is that he does not tolerate nonsense in his church. In fact, he is treated as a king as his followers and other people kneel down to talk to him. A disciplinarian to the core, in the presence of this reporter, Kogberegbe acted out his name as he scolded one of his followers for removing his soutane and going to another place when the service was still on. He admonished him for not respecting God. Genesis of his life He told The Nation that: “I have been in evangelisation since 1957 when I was called and started it .It is God that called me. I was once a police officer but that was a long time ago .If God wanted to call you , he will do so immediately and you will not steal, will not take another man's wife, will not be dubious. You must not tell lies because you want to be rich. Many become prophets because of money. Most of you who are practicing journalism are fraudsters. People are afraid to walk in the night. Many of you reporters are fake and go about taking pictures, interviewing people about and collecting money." He spoke about the Boko Haram: "Now there is the problem of Boko Haram, and you don't know those praying for the country. Many of the prophets are doing that silently. Those pastors and prophets using human blood for many things are devilish and will go to hell fire. But God knows the truthful ones. Well, only God knows who is worshiping Him. Today, the prophets and pastors are doing what they like. But I love the Catholic, who suffer a lot and they are doing well. The Pentecostal Church is trying their best too." But he added, "He (God) said it is not those who called me God, God that will come to His Kingdom. It is not all of us prophets, pastors, men of God that would go to heaven'
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I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Onyegbule, Ijeoma Ruth, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ejelue Ijeoma Ruth. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Onyeka Nina Ikonnaya, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Kalu, Okonwu Nina Ikonnaya. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adekoya, Aderemi Rasida, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ohiolei, Joshua Aderemi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogundipe, Mayowa Janet, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olonitola Mayowa Janet. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Local government Service Commission, Ido-Osi Local government and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olabimpe Laolat Shonubi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Olabimpe Laolat Atinuke Odubona. All former documents remain valid. Olabisi Onabanjo University and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Raheem Shakirat Abimbola Ruth, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Isaac Abimbola Ruth. All former documents remain valid. NYSC, KWARAPOLY and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Chidi Esu Friday Mmor, now wish to be known and addressed as Chidi Esu Philip Moore. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Adeyanju, Olanrewaju Rahman, now wish to be known and addressed as Oshodi Adeyanju Olanrewaju Rahman. All former documents remain valid. Lagos State Local government Service Commission and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Joy Obianuju, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Joy Obinuju Njaka. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take. note.
CHANGE OF NAME ENABOIFO
I,formerly known and addressed as MISS. ROSEMARY ONOTIEMORIA ENABOIFO now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ROSEMARY ONOTIEMORIA E. MBA. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Bar Association and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as MISS ABOSEDE ROSELINE ADEGBENRO now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. ABOSEDE ROSELINE KOLAWOLE. All former documents remain valid. Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, NYSC and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as MISS FAKEYE, OLUWASEUN ESTHER now wish to be known and addressed as MRS. OLUSESI, OLUWASEUN ESTHER. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take. note.
I, formerly known and addressed as WOKO VICTORIA BAKAM now wish to be known and addressed as WOKO VICTORIA. All former documents remain valid. University of Port Harcourt and general public should please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, ADIE VALENTINE and AFOR FRIDAY AFOR refers to one and the same person. Now wish to be known and addressed as ADIE VALENTINE. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. General public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME I, BEN SOLOMON MBA and BEN OKAFOR OGWO refers to one and the same person. Now wish to be known and addressed as BEN SOLOMON MBA. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. General public please take note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME Mr. AJOMIWE STANLEY CHIDI and Mr. OKEREKE STANLEY CHIDI refers to one and the same person, now wish to be known as Mr. OKEREKE STANLEY CHIDI. all former documents remain valid, general public please take note.
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I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adeniji Kehinde Ajoke, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Akinmurele Kehinde Ajoke. All former documents remain valid. YCT Secondary School Yabe and general public should please take. note.
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I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Abara Lilian Chikodi, now wish to be known and addressed as Miss Collins Lilian Chikodi. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take. note. CONFIRMATION OF NAME Real name is OKOLI CYRIACUS C., not OKOLI SYRACUSE. All documents bearing the above names remain valid. general public should please take note.
I, formerly known as Miss Chidinma Okoroafor, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Chidinma David Ikeokwu. All former documents remain valid. general public should please take note.
CHANGE OF NAME CHIGBO
I, formerly known and addressed as Chigbo Chizoba Vera, now wish to be known and addressed as Chigbo Chizoba Favour Veronica. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Sarah Olanma Azubuike, now wish to be known and addressed as Sarah Azubuike Ohuche. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take. note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Queen Blessing Oguh, now wish to be known and addressed as Queen Blessing Uche Aloy. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Olaoye Nike Temitayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adepeju Nike Temitayo. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Adams, Abosede Mary, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Whensu, Abosede Mary. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Ajayi Oluwabunmi Olanike, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Adekunle Oluwabunmi Adenike. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Adeniji Omotola Nofisat, now wish to be known and addressed as Odetola Omotola Nofisat. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take. note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Togi Violet Silas, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Violet Emmanuel. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Nwannenna Adaku Gladys, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ezebunwa Adaku Gladness. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Osibanjo, Adebisi Oluwatosin, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Oluwatosin Adebisi Alayande. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Folasade Adebisi Idowu, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Folasade Elizabeth Ejimogu. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. OLOYEDE
I, formerly known and addressed as Dr. Oloyede, Habeebah,(nee Bolarinwa) now wish to be known and addressed as Dr. Habeebah Folorunsho Jimoh. All former documents remain valid. Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, LUTH, Idi-Araba, West African College of Physicians, OAU, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Lagos State Health Commission and general public should please take note.
I, formerly known and addressed as Miss Nkiruka Lilian Ike, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Lilian Nkirukah Iwu. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note.
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Ukraine: Befuddling those who would rule the world Continued from page 12
general public would be confused as to who did the dying and who did the killing. Beware of what you see on television regarding the Ukraine. So much is at stake; the controlling powers will not leave world opinion to be shaped by the truth. That would leave too much to chance. Instead, they have rigged their news accounts to direct our minds to an appointed end. There was even a CNN report lambasting Putin for purportedly being friendly with the “Italian Scandal,” former PM Berlusconi. Such a report would seem scurrilous and not even worthy of comment except that this is the same negative rollout deployed against Libya’s Gaddafi before sending him to another realm. However, Putin is not Gaddafi and Russia is a much heavier load than Libya. We must keep our eye on Ukraine. It is a cautionary tale for nations seeking to ply the path of independence in their foreign policies. If a nation opposes western foreign policy, the West’s reaction may be a muscular, military one although the offending nation never issued a threat of a martial nature. The present crisis also reveals a dilemma in the concept of democracy. Is it equally important to have democracy and equality between nations as within nations? The West has mastered the ploy of attacking its international foes on the grounds that these nations are undemocratic. In claiming to promote democracy within nations, America and its allies seems to have scotched the notion about democracy and equality among nations. Instead, if a nation does not behave as they wish, they are primed to toss sanctions or worse until that nation repents. Thus far, Putin has danced around their clumsiness to avoid major confrontation. Should he maintain such poise, he will deserve a peace prize that he will never get. Should he misstep, he will have war instead. Against this backdrop, Ukraine trembles as potentially the most dangerous spot on earth. While Russia plays the traditional amoral game of power politics, America and its allies claim a moral superiority that affords them the right to do whatever they wish, including the incitement of violence in one nation to set a trap goading another nation into war. Through such machinations are great wars started. Conservative American militarists would like nothing better than fight Russia in order to finish through firepower what the Cold War partially accomplished by attrition – the destruction of Russia as a competitor. However, the disastrous Afghan and Iraqi military campaigns demonstrate that, for all her power, America is not very good at finishing wars that it starts. More importantly, there is nothing great about war except the enormity of the destruction it visit on the unarmed and innocent. 08060340825 (sms only)
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Prayer and the prosperity hustle (1) A
CCORDING to popular belief in Nigeria, praying is the ultimate, or indeed the prime, solution to all human problems, including the country’s lingering crisis. Not surprisingly, this idea that socio-economic stability can be conjured with prayers has somehow become a mental handicap against thinking out strategies for nation building. And, whereas democratisation policies for addressing the “national question” are disfavoured by the ruling oligarchy, enthusiastic support is afforded the current evangelical crusade for national salvation through praying rituals. Since this crusade began some four decades ago, invocation of divine intervention in the country’s affairs has virtually become a substitute for governance. Yet, the country, instead of waxing prosperous, has seen worsening poverty and social instability. But the presumptions about the power of prayers in matters that call for commitment to good governance remain unquestioned. Moreover, the peddling of cure-all prayers has become a hustle for making easy money the way indulgences were sold in Christendom before the Reformation. Even so, these excesses seldom evoke informed comment, let alone official regulation, if not oversight by the religious establishment itself. Rather, the political/ clerical/intellectual oligarchy continues in the pious belief that the surest safeguard against the country’s collapse under the weight of its man-made tribulations is more and more prayers. Nigerian streets have for long been infested by beggars. However, following the economic downturn, and with the Pentecostal explosion, dis/able-bodied praying mendicants have become very common. Some of these roam around market stalls, sponging on traders. Others survive as freelance emergency pastors counselling the faithful, and conducting prayers/ naming ceremonies. From the tithes and other dues regularly harvested by the established churches, to the new possibilities of making a frugal living by praying, as demonstrated by itinerant clerics, it has been but a logical step to the development of praying as a commercial enterprise on an industrial scale. This has been the achievement of charismatic preachers who have effected a privatisation of new churches and mosques, including these institutions’ landed estates and properties, businesses, schools and “universities”. It was these same entrepreneurs who popularised and raised the profile of religious revivals, crusades and prayer vigils, while customising “power” services and prayer carnivals for special purposes in town squares or vast open spaces, auditoriums, or university campuses. In order to do justice to the praying industry’s
…the desperate appeal which human weakness has made to prayer …in the hope of thereby bending nature to greater sympathy with human necessities, is a pathetic spectacle… (Santayana, Reason in Religion Collier Bks N.Y. 1962 p.187)
•Christian worshippers By G.A. Akinola
claims to being a salvationist crusade, it is necessary to elucidate what praying is in essence, including whether the act of praying (“in faith”), by itself, can make requests and supplications addressed to God to materialise. Praying, either privately or in groups or congregations, including the simultaneous babel-like affairs characteristic of the Aladura, could be a form of meditation or psychotherapy. However, those who market prayers, and the faithful who resort to them, do so for far more arcane reasons - namely, that there is a supernatural power somewhere which monitors prayers and deals with the requests therein with incomparable benevolence. Although the act of praying itself is usually a simple ritual, the gravity of what praying is often expected to deliver, and the mystery about how this is done makes praying to appear, more or less, like some form of magic. Surely, faith in prayer-guaranteed Pentecostal breakthroughs (often without hard work or as much as buying a ticket to a lottery) is not dissimilar to faith in magicians’ ability to conjure money, without asking whether such money would develop wings from the mint, some bank, or private safes. Right from his primitive origins, man has always sought accommodation with the physical world through the supernatural, which is considered usually capricious, uncaring and vengeful, but occasionally benevolent. Hence the development of customary rites of supplication, appeasement and sacrifice, as well as the invocation of protection fa-
vours, and blessings, all directed towards a host of deities. Alongside these gods there arose the first clerics – a class of clairvoyants, mystics, and diviners claiming the ability to interpret the disposition of the supernatural and how to make the gods serve the aspirations of men. It is through the spiritual leadership of these mystics and soothsayers that the concept of the gods and of the supernatural radically evolved to that of one supreme god of all creation. This idea, which probably originated in the Semitic world is, however, found in most cultures. One of its concomitants is the notion of a god who has all powers to do whatever he pleases, even if this would involve interfering with the course of the natural world which, according to the laws of physics, is immutable. The rise of the monotheistic concept, did not, unfortunately, illuminate the mystery of how God’s favours in response to prayers materialise. After all, praying often involves asking for God’s intervention in matters that call for manipulation of natural processes, e.g. raising the dead, or curing a patient with a terminally damaged heart. This mystery of how God’s putative miraculous answers to prayers work would seem to have inspired in Nigeria all sorts of weird and fanciful/fraudulent claims to miraculous cures in response to prayers. It has also contributed to making the seemingly benevolent praying enterprise an insidious business, with disguised, though veritable, dangers to society, as will be seen presently. The arcane power of prayers itself is supposedly often, though not always, transmitted through, and ex-
ercised by, a coterie of prayer peddlers. These range from the itinerant mendicant to the freelance “prayer warrior” or pastor, and the private jet/yacht-owning “manof-God” celebrity. It is the latter who sometimes conducts the state house breakfast prayers, and undertakes “deliverance” rituals at our leading “universities”. That these princes of the church move in the circles of the potentates of earthly kingdoms does not necessarily discount their “powers” to invoke miraculous solutions to problems by prayers. The question is: regardless of what people are called upon to believe, could anyone at all have such powers? Of course there are always references to sacred scriptures as guide to the source of these powers. Precedents are cited from Semitic/Christian mythologies and the life and teaching of Jesus. People are then invited to put on the garb of the faithful, to accept the scriptures literally, and to assume the mentality and prescientific worldview of over two millennia ago. Thus fortified by faith, one’s prayers, it is affirmed, are bound to be answered. Obviously, not everybody can attain this degree of intellectual regression/self-deception and humbug, although many can go along with the pretence. Either way, when the magic solution fails to materialise, the hapless supplicant invariably gets blamed for lack of faith. The possibility that praying won’t interfere with the established course of the natural world is practically discounted. After all, the odd coincidences can always be passed off as “testimony” of the power of prayers! The point is that the thinking about prayers in
the modern world, outside the scripture-thumping outposts of religious fundamentalism, has transcended the dogmas of religious doctrines. Thus, there are such crucial issues as the psychology of praying, the philosophical and scientific implications of the advertised efficacy of prayers, and the prescientific worldview that seldom questioned beliefs relating to the supernatural/ miraculous. For example, it is not an idle or blasphemous inference, going by astrophysics, to say that the world cannot be an object of capricious manipulation, even by a God conceived as the Almighty author of the cosmos. Praying obviously harks back to one of man’s primitive rituals for invoking success with the magic of incantations (e.g. Yoruba ogede), formulas, and coded language. Used during the hunt or festivals, it became formalised into liturgies. After centuries, these liturgies and the hymns developed along with them, became incorporated into the modes of worship as in Christian Europe. All this time, belief in miraculous intervention/intercession as a valid basis of knowledge was seldom questioned. It was in fact not until the 17 th Century that systematic scientific inquiry shorn of superstition, more or less, became the principal basis of formulating knowledge. Thus, today, in the West and parts of the Orient, stories of miracles in sacred scriptures are treated with due circumspection. For it is known that accounts of miracles in the Gospels are not conventional historical records. After all these Gospels were compiled from oral traditions centuries after the events to propagate a faith. The contents of the tra-
ditions, too, are a reflection of the worldview of an age when miracles were so common they were practically a “natural” phenomenon. Finally, most advanced societies now accept these and similar stories from sacred scriptures as allegories conveying religious truth in contrast to scientific truth about the natural world. Praying for miracles, then, ultimately, is wish-making which, as the adage insists, won’t translate (without a sound ethic) into horses that beggars could ride. But this may sound blasphemous to believers who, in expectation of “breakthroughs”, and as token of faith in sacred doctrines, are inclined to sow their fields and stock their barns and warehouses with prayers. This discourse, so far, may be summarised as follows: There is no denying the possibility that praying might serve as emotional/ psychological balm, apart from acting as spur to positive action. However, nobody acquainted with the history of Christendom would attribute Western civilisation (in spite of its having been inspired by Christian values) to praying in the neo-Christian, Nigerian fashion. Nor can the Jewish people’s legendary survival over the millennia be credited to a perversion of the praying ritual into magic. Thus praying, by its nature and essence, won’t automatically usher in universal prosperity, least of all in a moribund economy. Nor peace and stability where the rulers themselves abuse their office to plunder the treasury, and to undermine the institutions that uphold justice as well as law and order, while pursuing policies and courses that promote conflict and instability.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
SPORTS THE NATION ON SUNDAY
Lampard signs for New York City on a free transfer
JUNE 1, 2014
Organisers unfold plan for 2014 Nigerian Sports Award
RANK Lampard has agreed a free transfer to New York City - and Atletico Madrid marksman David Villa is set to join him. The highly-decorated exChelsea midfielder and the Spanish title-winning striker were at Manchester City's Carrington complex on Saturday to complete the internal formalities of their respective moves. Lampard and Villa met with Jason Kreis, installed as New York City Head Coach back in January by the Premier League champions' Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano. Lampard broke off from his preparations with England for the World Cup to sort out his move. Both deals are a huge statement of intent from City's US franchise which kicks off in the new Major League Soccer season next March.Lampard is understood to be have agreed to a basic wage significantly less than the £150,000-a-week that he picked up at Chelsea. That pay packet is expected to be boosted subIGERIA international stantially by bonuses howP e t e r ever with the England Odemwingiehas midfielder's signing a masaccepted responsibility for his sive coup. clash with Super Eagles head coach Stephen Keshi. The striker who is currently with the national team currently preparing for the 2014 HE Greater Tomor- World Cup in the United row Foundation, a States of America blamed the charity-based organi- breakdown with the former sation has flagged off its Mali and Togo gaffer to his operation-feed the children poor adaptation to the change campaign with a feeding ses- in management of the Super sion for pupils of St Paul's Eagles after coach Samson Primary School in Costain, Siasia era. Lagos. "Coach Keshi took over and The feeding session in the first game (against which took place in Lagos at Rwanda) I was subbed quite the school's premises saw early, which I've never been the foundation donating a variety of food items, com- used to because I always prising noodles, sphagettis, played 90 minutes, both for fruit juice drinks, biscuits club and national team," and snacks saw the pupils Osaze told The Guardian UK. being handed their own gift packs by the school's head teacher cum head mistress, Mrs Grace Jalekun, who presented the gifts on behalf of the foundation, founded by Paul Okoku, with active support of Eagles coach SteIGERIA U-17 hanphen Keshi. dler Emmanuel Speaking before handing Amuneke has said out the items to the joyous he is not satisfied with the kids, Mrs Jalekun said that the Greater Tomorrow performance of his boys Foundation made the dona- despite their win over tion in commemoration of Egypt on Friday. A first half brace from Children's Day on May 27 and World Hunger's Day on Ebere Osinachi and a secMay 28, which fall under ond half strike from Victor the purview of the organisa- Osimhen ensured the tion's mission to help feed Golden Eaglets triumphed less-privileged kids in the 3-1 against their Egyptian society. Noting that even before U-17 side to complete a douthe launch of the foundation ble over the north African last month in Abuja that side after the first leg of the Okoku and Keshi had been warm up game had ended doing things for less- 3-2 in favour of the Nigeriprivileged children, Mars ans. Jalekun said it was noteworCoach Amuneke thy that the pair have con- lamented wasted scoring tinued to stand out as wor- chances by his team but thy role models, who are concerned about the well- admitted that the side is being of children from poor still a work in progress and intimated that more playhomes.
Golden Eaglets players, Alimi Sunday, Samuel Chukwueze and Kelechi Nwaka scored one goal each in the 3-2 win against Egypt at the ABS.
Osaze admits fault over Keshi row N
Keshi, Okoku donate to alma mater
"So I felt: 'OK, he's probably not sure about me.' I thought I should leave the national team for now. It could be that I misjudged the situation, and after watching how he does it … he made a lot of early substitutions during the qualifiers and the African Cup, so then I was like: 'OK, I shouldn't have taken it in the way I did.' He also revealed that he decided to make peace with the 'big boss' after admitting his fault. "I'm humble enough to admit that, because when the same things happen to other players, then clearly it's not personal to you. “ So for me it was then a case of coming to him and saying: 'Let's hug it out and move on.' He was happy to do that,” he
added. "The Nigeria team psychologist also played a big part. He came to see me in January, spoke to the coach and explained: 'Peter's an honest guy and, most importantly, he's a good player who can help your team.' The coach agreed with that and gave me a chance again." The 32-year player expressed his disappointment for not the squad to the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa citing it as one of his biggest regrets of his
Lagos boxing champion dies in swimming pool
Amuneke unmoved despite Eaglets win
career. "In the past few years my only regret is that, as I've become a better player, I probably would have got more goals for myself and the country but I missed out a bit. I've missed a year and a half, missed out on the cup they won, unfortunately. "I wish I was part of that squad because I've played in four Africa Nations and got three bronze medals, never a gold. But I can't look back. This is another opportunity for me," he concluded.
ers will be given opportunities to prove their worth. "Yes, we won but I'm not too impressed," said Amuneke. "But the most important thing is that we have been able to see the players against a very good Egyptian team. "We would continue to work hard and we still have more players that we would give opportunity to in the days ahead, “ he concluded. The reigning world champions will, in July, take on the winner of a preliminary fixture between Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, as the race for the 2015 African U-17 Championship in Niger hots up.
medalist in the boxing event at the justconcluded Ibile G a m e s , M u j i b Philips,yesterday died in the swimming pool at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park in Yaba, Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Philips died during the Boxing Hall of Fame championship event which takes place every last Saturday of the month. Philips won a gold medal at the Ibile Games, hosted by the Lagos State Government to showcase talented athletes in Local Governments Areas in the state. The boxer was confirmed dead by the medical doctor in charge of the Lagos State Sports Council, Dr Akin George, who also invited the state's emergency ambulance service, LASAMBUS. ``The body of the deceased would be taken to the appropriate place for a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of his death,'' George said. The Manager of the swim-
ming pool, Rahaman Fadugba, said that he was not around when the boxer came to the pool. He disclosed, however, that security guards had challenged Philips, when the medalist came to the pool side. ``I was told the security guards challenged him at the gate and he told them that he was one of the boxers for the Hall of Fame event and a Lagos State champion. ``I ordered some of the divers at the swimming pool, who then went under the water and brought his body out from the water immediately. I sent for the doctor,'' Fadugba said One of the divers, Idowu Ephanus, said that the deceased jumped into the deepest part of the pool around 3:30 p.m. and it was later discovered that his body was not found on the water. ``We immediately jumped inside the water and brought him out and immediately invited the doctor to the sports centre who on arrival certified him dead,” Ephanus said
RGANIZERS of the prestigious Nigerian Sports Award Unmissable Incentives Limited has unfolded the plans and activities for the 2014 edition of the award which is instituted to for recognizing and rewarding outstanding Nigerian sports men and women for their excellent performances in their respective sporting events. Speaking at the Press conference to herald the activities for the 2014 edition of the award which is also the third edition, the chairman of the Award Panel, Mr. Ikeddy Isiguzo noted that the award has evolved to be recognized as a respected award for Nigerian sportsmen and women for their exploits in the world of sports. Isiguzo further disclosed that the organisers of the award will not relent in its effort to continue to improve on the processes of the award by taking public feedbacks and comment with a view to make the award a legacy within the sports sphere in Nigeria. Presenting the timelines for the 2014 edition of the award to the Press, the General Manager Unmissable Incentives Limited Mr. Kayode Idowu disclosed that entries for nomination from the members of the public for the various categories of the award will open on May 14, 2014 and closes on September 7, 2014 while the main award ceremony will hold on November 13, 2014 at Muson Centre, Lagos. Idowu disclosed that the media category of the award has been expanded from two to four in response to the clamours from the Sports Journalists.
Villa undergoes medical ahead of MLS move
TLETICO Madrid striker David Villa is undergoing a medical in Manchester ahead of a move to New York City FC, Goal understands. The 32-year-old arrived at the Bridgewater Hospital in Moss Side on Saturday and is in England to complete contract negotiations with Manchester City's Major League Soccer franchise. Prior to his marquee switch to New York City FC, whose season will start next March, Villa will be able to train with City's first team but will not make an appearance for Manuel Pellegrini's side. Villa scored 13 goals in 36 Primera Division appearances for Atletico Madrid this term and has been named in Vicente del Bosque's final Spain squad for this summer's World Cup.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY JUNE 1, 2014
Suarez included in Uruguay's final 23-man squad
Van Gaal names Netherlands World Cup squad Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has announced his 23-man squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Vitesse defender Patrick van Aanholt has been left out, while Feyenoord's Terence Kongolo, who can play left-back or in the centre of defence, has been included. Jean-Paul Boëtius, Quincy Promes, Karim Rekik, Tonny Trindade de Vilhena and Jeroen Zoet are the five other players in Van Gaal's provisional squad who do not make the final cut. Kevin Strootman and Rafael van der Vaart miss out through injury. "It was an emotional and impressive morning," said Van Gaal, who will become Manchester United FC manager after the tournament. "This morning I have spoken to the six players [who miss out] personally. I am really satisfied with the commitment of those who will be involved and I am proud of all their efforts." Feyenoord are the most represented club, with five players, ten men in all plying their trade in the Eredivisie.
Fabregas set for £30m Barca departure
REMIER League clubs have been put on red alert at the news that Cesc Fabregas is set to leave Barcelona this summer - and that a return to English football could be on the cards. Just 24 hours after club president Josep Maria Bartomeu declared that he expected the midfielder to remain in Catalunya this summer, reports suggest that the 27year-old IS for sale for a fee of £30million. Fabregas returned to Barcelona - where he had starred at youth level - in 2011 following eight successful years at Arsenal.
L-R: Chief Willie Obiano, Governor, Anambra State, Victor Ikpeba, former African Footballer of the Year and Hon. Tony Nnacheta, Commissioner for Youths and Sports during the presentation of sports equipment to 1000 pupils in the state by Super Sports...at the weekend
Spain drop Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas
ANCHESTER City pair Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas have been left out of Spain's 23-man World Cup squad, but Chelsea's Fernando Torres has been selected by manager Vicente Del Bosque. Torres is one of six Premier League players in the squad, which includes Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa. Sevilla's Alberto Moreno, Real Madrid's Daniel Carvajal, Fernando Llorente of Juventus and Ander Iturraspe of Athletic Bilbao have also been cut. After opening with a repeat of the 2010 final against the Dutch, world and double European champions Spain continue the defence of their crown against Chile and Australia in Group B. Costa has been struggling with a hamstring injury suffered when Atletico won the league title at Barcelona, but has been given the chance to represent Spain in his native Brazil. The 25-year-old was been born and raised in the South American country and made
paign as the Manchester club claimed a second Premier League title in three seasons. Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara had also been named in Del Bosque's 30-man provisional squad but withdrew after tearing a knee ligament. Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United). Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona). Midfielders: Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich). Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Pedro (Barcelona), Juan Mata HRM Y.G Oseni presenting trophy to the winner of Oniba Super (Manchester United), David Cup, organised by Oba Oniba. It was won by Iba Housing Estate Villa (Atletico Madrid). Senior Secondary School
two friendly appearances for them last year before becoming a naturalised Spaniard. Torres is also included despite making only 16 Premier League starts and scoring five goals this season. The 30-year-old marked his return to the Spain line-up after an 11-month absence by scoring a penalty as Spain
defeated Bolivia 2-0 in a friendly match in Seville on Friday. Torres will be joined in Brazil by team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta, Arsenal's Santi Cazorla, Manchester United's Juan Mata and David De Gea, while City will be represented by midfielder David Silva. Navas, 28, missed the last five matches of City's cam-
UIS Suarez has been included in Uruguay's final 23-man squad for the World Cup as he continues his recovery from a knee operation. The in-form Liverpool striker underwent keyhole surgery on May 22 after damaging the meniscus in his left knee and immediately doubts were cast on whether he would be fit for the World Cup. However, Uruguay remain cautiously optimistic that Suarez, who is said to be progressing well following the operation, will be able to feature in Brazil and on Saturday the 27-year-old was confirmed in coach Oscar Tabarez's squad for the finals. It remains to be seen when Suarez will be able to return to action, though, with Uruguay kicking off their World Cup campaign against Costa Rica in just over two weeks. England and Italy are the other two teams in a toughlooking Group D. The two players who have been cut from Tabarez's 25man provisional squad are Palmeiras midfielder Sebastian Eguren and Lanus defender Alejandro Silva. Uruguay squad for World Cup: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Rodrigo Munoz; Diego Lugano, Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez, Martin Caceres, Maximiliano Pereira, Jorge Fucile, Sebastian Coates; Egidio Arevalo-Rios, Walter Gargano, Diego Perez, Alvaro Gonzalez, Alvaro Pereira, Cristian Rodriguez, Gaston Ramirez, Nicolas Lodeiro; Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, Abel Hernandez, Christian Stuani.
International friendly Uruguay 1 - 0 N.Ireland Bosnia 2 - 1 Ivory Coast Chile 3 - 2 Egypt Finland 2 - 0 Estonia Croatia 2 - 1 Mali Norway 1 - 1 Russia Algeria 3 - 1 Armenia Albania 0 - 1 Romania Latvia 1 - 0 Lithuania
Re-BRF's Successor: Is Ambode the final choice? Contd from page 68 ing of Fashola.” If I did not know Dapo Thomas very well and his strict adherence to his Christian doctrine, I would have assumed he must have picked this kind of idle talk up from a beer parlour. Herein lies a not too clever attempt to pitch BRF against Tinubu having surreptitiously positioned Akin Ambode as Tinubu's anointed candidate and Hamzat as BRF's. Dapo then went on to admonish BRF to tread softly saying, “ there is no need to create fresh tension between him and Tinubu. As the symbolic leader of the progressives and a major financier of the APC, Tinubu should be given the privilege of having a major input in who becomes the APC candidate, and in fact who becomes next governor of the State.” If by the year 2014, this is still the most important political role Dapo Thomas thinks should be assigned to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then he has done the man a great disservice in his
life time. Tinubu's constituency has grown beyond the borders of Lagos and indeed the South West. The position we must all encourage Tinubu to take as the leader of the team is to ensure there is a level playing ground for any qualified member of the party who wishes to govern Lagos to aspire freely. The third of his dangerous insinuations is embedded inhis strange argument that, “the plan of the APC to become a major rallying point for all the progressives nationwide can only be realized if Lagos regains the high political tempo witnessed under Tinubu. As at now, the Lagos under Fashola has lost its political steam. The entire environment is not business friendly for those who live on politics. Those who feed and live on political entertainment are moving to Osun and Ekiti where there is market for their business.” My question is, what does Dapo Thomas really want? How could a man of great intellect engage in this kind of light headed thinking? Would he rather prefer that BRF satisfy the
cravings of these folks who live on politics with the resources of Lagos than build roads for our people? Would he rather have BRF placate those he claims live and feed on political entertainment and bring them back from Osun and Ekiti where he claimed they have relocated than build more schools for our children? Of what value is this “political steam” Dapo desires so earnestly for Lagos? Has Dapo posed the question to Lagosians to make a choice between steam and serenity? I argue the case that Lagosians cherish the prevailing serenity in Lagos to Dapo's desirable steam. This serenity has brought development and real growth to Lagos and I am sure our people will prefer this serenity. Dapo's attempt to compare Lagos with Osun also reveals a poor understanding of the peculiar dynamics of the two States. You can only compare apples with apples. His assertion that, “this is how and what Lagos should be but unfortunately… is not” is therefore logically puerile.
If Akin Ambode wants to go far in his governorship bid, he should rein in seers like Dapo Thomas. They will earn him more enemies than friends. Truth is, they will move on to the next candidate as soon as his ambition hits the rocks, if it does.Perhaps because I am not a seer like Dapo Thomas, the State Treasury Office that I witnessed Akin Ambode run did not seem to me as an organ hampered by a frosty relationship with BRF. I have worked closely with BRF for seven good years as a PR Consultant, nothing in my interactions with him suggestshe nurses any ill feeling towards Akin Ambode or indeed any of the aspirants. Perhaps again I am not gifted as Dapo Thomas in reading body languages of political leaders. You do not need to struggle to read BRF's body language. With BRF, what you see is what you get. His life is an open book you will not struggle to read. This is a true Nigerian in whom there is no guile. If BRF doesn't like a thing, he tells you so, no bitterness, no grudge! That is the
character of the man who runs Lagos today. Nothing has humbled me more in over four decades of my life as when the man BRF called me to his office early this year and apologized to me over an issue he perceived I was hurt about. He apologized and still made his point clear to me with surgical precision. Yes, that is the BRF you see on telev i s i o n a n d t h e newspapers!He is all too human and humane. He will rather tell you straight to your face you are messing up than maintain a frosty relationship that will consume his own government. Again, I concede I am not as spiritually gifted as Dapo Thomas when it comes to reading body languages. This brings me to the last but not the least of the dangerous insinuations in Dapo Thomas' recent writings. In his second article I referred to earlier, he made allusion to the likelihood of Akin Ambode being the next governor going by Tinubu's body language.Dapo Thomas no doubt worked with Asiwaju longer than I did, but he has
not displayed a convincing mastery of the master's body language. This is what I often say, when it comes to politics, it is a misadventure to attempt to read Tinubu's body language.I say this not because, Asiwaju is mischievous but rather because the man is deeper than many of his followers realize. He has his own moment of introspection away from the influences of political jobbers and lobbyists. This quality has set him apart as a Master Strategist in the Nigerian political landscape. Many are the afflictions of those who kept vigil at Tinubu's residence and departing in the morning with a sense of victory at having read his body language only to find out by noon that Asiwaju has acted otherwise.This is the ill-fated road Dapo Thomas has chosen to walk in his prophetic engagement with one of the political camps. To the politicians who follow his prophesies, my last word of counsel is, caveat emptor! Opayemi is a Public Relations Consultant
“War is a sucker. It sucks the resources of a nation. Only those who don’t know it cost propagate it. We must not have war in Nigeria. We should not even think of it. Its consequences are unimaginable. War is a crime against humanity. It erodes dignity, destroys and devastates. It is staring at us in the face but we must avoid it.”
SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 8, NO. 2867
—Founder and Chancellor, Covenant University, Bishop David Oyedepo, calling on the Federal Government to quickly resolve the insurgency in the North East in order to prevent the country from turning into a war zone.
T is rare for African leaders to turn on themselves, except perhaps over border disputes and maybe ideological disagreements. It is rarer still for more than one African leader to come together to take a fellow leader to the cleaners. But when the number of attackers rises to three in the space of a few months, the victim of their merciless putdowns must feel dejected, assuming he has the capacity to appreciate insult. If there is proof President Goodluck Jonathan recognises the burden to his presidency of the disfavour he has fallen into in the estimation of many of his fellow African leaders, and the image crisis their very frank verbal putdowns has caused him, he has not shown it. Alas, in less than three months, Dr Jonathan has been brutally excoriated by no less than three African leaders, to wit, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Contributing to a panel discussion on “Solving conflicts and peace building in Africa” organized by the African Development Bank (ADB) during its recent annual meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, Mr Kagame came down hard on West African leaders who travelled to Paris to discuss perspectives on Boko Haram as a regional terror menace. It was clear the Nigerian leader was his real target. Said he: “I think we must take responsibility and accept our failures in dealing with these matters...When I am watching television and I find that our leaders, who should have been working together all along to address these problems that only affect their countries, wait until they are invited to go to Europe to sit there and find solutions to their problems…it’s as if they are made to sit down and address their problems…Why does anybody wait for that?...In fact, the image it gives is that we are not there to address these problems…they are (African leaders) happy to sit in Paris with the President of France and just talk about their problems…It doesn’t make sense that our leaders cannot get themselves together to
Jonathan in the eyes of Kagame, Mugabe, Museveni address problems affecting our people…African leaders, we don’t need to be invited anywhere to go and address our problems, without first inviting ourselves to come together to tell each other the actual truth we must tell each other.” Mr Kagame’s sarcasm must rank as one of the most elegant president-topresident broadsides ever. He was gentle on Nigeria; indeed, he was mindful of pushing the knife too deeply into the malleable backs of West African leaders. Nevertheless, he made the point very firmly that the leaders who gathered in Paris at the patrician behest of French President Francois Hollande to discuss the Boko Haram problem were vacuous. Nigeria has done its incredulous best to paint the Boko Haram nightmare as a West African problem, nay even a global (al-Qaeda) disease, but Mr Kagame wondered why neither Nigeria, which is buffeted by terrorists, nor West African leaders who were half-expectant the Nigerian disaster would come knocking at their doors, understood that their in-
ability to provide leadership was more to blame for the morass than the resolve of the insurgents to subvert the sub-region. Mr Mugabe had earlier given Nigeria a good hiding. Like Mr Kagame, the Zimbabwean leader was chary of mentioning Dr Jonathan by name. But though he generalised, the target of his abusive remarks was undisputable. Speaking in the presence of his military chiefs at a luncheon given in his honour on his 90th birthday, the ageing leader delivered this rasping invective against Nigeria: “Are we now like Nigeria where you have to reach your pocket to get anything done? You see we used to go to Nigeria and every time we went there we had to carry extra cash in our pockets to corruptly pay for everything. You get into a plane in Nigeria and you sit there and the crew keeps dilly-dallying without taking off as they wait for you to pay them to fly the plane.” Dr Jonathan disputes the semantic certainty of what constitutes corruption and stealing, but there is no disputing
Is anyone really subverting Jonathan’s govt?
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan pursues red herrings with relentlessness that shames his security forces’ pusillanimous effort to exterminate the Boko Haram menace he now says threatens his government. Dr Jonathan’s dilemma is clear: in his uncomplicated philosophy, he had expected to run a presidency that would not be challenged beyond its normal capacity, that would not be threatened by any force, overt or covert, that would have easy ride into fame and acclaim. His delicate worldview explains why he constantly sees plans to bring down his government when all he is confronted with is simple criminality committed by extremists, sponsored or self-motivated. If anyone, therefore, expects the Jonathan government to rise up to the challenges confronting his government with the seriousness and brilliance great leaders muster, such expectations are obviously misplaced. Speaking at the Democracy Day interdenominational church service in Abuja last Sunday, Dr Jonathan said this of Boko Haram: “You can imagine if this government had not been facing these distractions within this period, definitely, we would have moved farther than this. All these distractions are planned to bring this government down and since they failed, terror will also fail. We have been witnessing terror attacks for two years plus, but the Chibok incident has added a major dent on the security of the country. There is nothing God cannot do. With your prayers, our girls will be seen by our security personnel. Terror will not stop this country from progressing. We know that these terrorists are human and they are evil men. Definitely, they are among those we categorise as evil forces. Forces of evil will never prevail. Forces of darkness will never prevail. I call on all Nigerians, Chris-
tians and non-Christians who pray, to continue to pray and I believe that God is on our side. Forces of evil and darkness will never prevail.” His view on the Boko Haram insurgency is a disingenuous variant of the conspiracy theories he and some of his aides began to nurture when all their puny efforts to rein in the sect failed. He had tried propaganda, but this weapon failed because the art of propaganda, a common denominator in many dictatorships, proved too arduous and complex for him and his cabinet. Then he tried prayer, but his prayers and those of others he was able to rally when the insurgency started to take on fierce urgency fell flat on his discredited theology, a theology he characteristically anchored on nothing resembling personal, public or governmental fidelity to truth, justice and equity. And rather than find ingenious ways of ending the rebellion, he first considered it as nothing bigger than a routine challenge to a secular government, then turned round to clothe it with religion to enable him preach and proffer the anodyne effects of more prayers. But even if it were true that someone, not the least Boko Haram, conspired to bring down his government, should his response be to assail the problem with lethargy and unending
dissimulation? It was expected he would reorganise his security forces, adopt a scientific approach to combating the terrorists, and execute his counterterrorism strategies with conviction and determination that admit no chance of failure. Rather than inspiringly lead the charge, however, he has sought to curry sympathy, mine religious emotions, lather them with ethnic sentiments propagated by his sabre-rattling and rabble-rousing supporters, and top them with wasteful, uncoordinated and ineffective style of governance. He and his commanders can’t even agree on strategy, with him ruling out negotiation, and his officers expediently counselling and countenancing anything but force. More than six weeks after the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, and well after the president and his aides had finally managed to persuade themselves against their natural instincts that an abduction took place, neither he nor his commanders are sure how many schoolgirls were actually abducted, let alone calibrate their strategies to match the information at their disposal. Dr Jonathan must understand that the Boko Haram menace is less about bringing down his government than subverting the entire country and its constitution. The terrorists are not so stupid to think that by deposing Dr Jonathan, the decadent system that enrages them would unravel. They know that in spite of what Dr Jonathan thinks of himself, he is irrelevant in their calculations. It is time the president began to de-emphasise himself in the equation and appreciate that the peace and security of the country transcend his feeling of self-importance. He must understand that his government’s appalling tactics of sponsoring countervailing “Bring Back Our Girls” demonstrations to focus on the terrorists rather than his failing presidency is cheap and counterproductive.
the revolting image of Nigeria that he carries with him. Perhaps the most galling and injurious insult against Dr Jonathan came from Mr Museveni, himself an aficionado of leadership and a connoisseur of the rigour and mystique of power. Addressing a political event in Kampala, and eager to win the approval of his country’s electorate, the intemperate Ugandan leader offered this memorable lampoon directed mainly at Dr Jonathan: “I have never called the United Nations to guard your (Ugandans) security. Me, Yoweri Museveni, to say that I have failed to protect my people and I call in the UN….I would rather hang myself…We prioritised national security by developing a strong army; otherwise our Uganda would be like DRC, South Sudan, Somalia or Nigeria where militias have disappeared with school children. It would be a vote of no confidence in our country and citizens if we can’t guarantee our security. What kind of persons would we be? It would be a mistake for the government of Nigeria to negotiate with these people. The most important thing is to defeat them; then negotiations can come after that.” Mr Museveni of course exaggerates his distaste for Nigeria’s weakness and his approbation of Uganda’s capabilities, but he nonetheless conveys his exasperation with Nigeria’s leadership failures in unmistakable terms and telling language. Coming at a time of universal disapproval of Nigeria’s lack of decisiveness in the face of grave terrorist challenge, as well as Dr Jonathan’s languid response, the opinions of the three African leaders, not to say the overwhelming media disapprobation of Nigeria’s leadership elite, can hardly be faulted. The three leaders are themselves not unimpeachable. Mugabe has done more damage to Zimbabwe than Dr Jonathan has seemed capable of doing. In fact by refusing to lay a solid foundation for Zimbabwean democracy, Mr Mugabe appears to have set the stage for a very turbulent post-Mugabe era, perhaps far worse than Dr Jonathan’s lack of vision. On his own, Mr Museveni may have offered Uganda a fairly intellectual and effective leadership, but corruption, authoritarianism, extra-judicial killings, lack of true democracy and poor handling of the Lord’s Resistance Army revolt in the northern parts of the country do not give the impression he stands on a higher moral ground to lecture Nigeria. But neither Mr Museveni’s egregious shortcomings nor Mr Mugabe’s intransigence and political short-sightedness, nor yet the sometimes strong-arm tactics of Mr Kagame, vitiate the force and moral impact of their criticisms. More, their opinions accurately reflect the dismay the whole world feels about the shocking incapacitation of the Jonathan government in tackling Boko Haram, and especially in effecting the release of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by militants on April 15.
Irrational electricity tariffs
HERE are indications investors in the power sector are close to achieving their aim of securing an upward review of electricity tariffs. Given the nature of economics, in which costs change from time to time, this is not an unusual request. But both the government and power investors must take into cognisance the country’s income profiles as well as their own continuing inability to provide adequate supply of electricity. Otherwise, the unintended consequence of an upward tariff review would be to make the little electricity available to consumers very expensive, exploitative and unrewarding, while to the producers and distributors of electricity, that same little electricity produced and distributed by DISCOs and GENCOs would earn them much profit from the consumers’ pains. Indolence and complacency would in effect be well rewarded, and patience and endurance would be truly punished.
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