EKITI GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION 2014
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Jonathan under fire over barring of APC governors
RITICISMS have continued to trail the decision of security agents to prevent Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and other All Progressives Congress (APC) governors from entering AdoEkiti on Thursday for the final campaign of the governorship candidate of the party, Dr Kayode Fayemi. Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wamakko, also had their bids to be part of the campaign train frustrated by security operatives. The plane that conveyed Amaechi had landed in Akure, the Ondo State Capital, but his convoy was stopped at Olorunsogo-Ilado village at the boundary between Ondo and Ekiti States on “order from above”. A statement by APC in Ondo State through its Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Adesanya, said the action of the security operatives showed a sign of compromise. The statement reads: “Last week, Sunday June 8, the Ekiti State Police Command threw tear gas at Governor Kayode Fayemi, a serving governor, during a peaceful rally in the state capital, Ado-Ekiti. “On June 19, four APC governors, Adams Oshiomole, Rotimi Amaechi, Rabiu Kwankwaso and his counterpart from Sokoto (Aliyu Wamakko), were held hostage at different locations in the country by soldiers and police to deprive them opportunity to attend the ground finale rally of APC in Ekiti on ‘order from above’. “The action of President Jonathan and PDP through the soldiers and police is unacceptable and inimical to democratic rule, and it was an infringement on their fundamental human rights. “It was an affront on a serv-
Damisi OJO, Akure and Osemwengie Ben OGBEMUDIA, Benin
ing governor with immunity under the constitution. We need to ask: where was Jonathan during the struggle for this democratic rule? He should remember that those opposition leaders were at the forefront, among others, during the ‘soldiers must go’ that he (Jonathan) and his cohorts are enjoying and presiding over today. “Jonathan’s clampdown on opposition leaders today is no threat and it is infinitesimal compared to the era of the military dictatorship, and yet they surrendered. The tree of liberty and freedom is watered with the blood of tyrants “It is high time the two chambers of the National Assembly stood up to their responsibilities to checkmate the executive lawlessness, especially the President, and investigate this abuse of office.” An Akure lawyer and activist, Charles Titiloye, condemned the action of the security agents against the four APC governors. He flayed the clampdown on opposition governors by agents of federal Government as a dangerous step unexpected in a civilised democracy. Titiloye advised President Jonathan to be tolerant of opposing views in order not to truncate Nigerian democracy. The activist said: “Of what purpose will the hostility against these opposition governors serve in a federal democracy? It will only lead to unnecessary political tension. “This is a politics of absurdity, intolerance, misuse of public office and security agents at play in Nigeria. President Jonathan needs to call his aides to order because he is not the President of PDP but that of
Nigeria. “ We Ondo state people apologise to Governor Amaechi for the unfair treatment he has suffered on our soil twice by the grounding of his plane at Akure Airport. Ondo State people are hospitable and care for every Nigerian citizen that steps on their feet on our soil. “ We are not part of this politics of bitterness and hatred spreading across Nigeria. President Jonathan should ask his boys to stop using Ondo State as a base to launch their hostilities against opposition in Nigeria. “Nigeria has a lot of problems. These anti-democratic forces should not add more to them.” However, a top official of the
going. They told me they were on order not to allow Governor Amaechi get to Ekiti. I asked if it was all the governors that were placed on the order, but they said: ‘It is you alone’. “Already, Governor Rochas Okorocha and Amosun had gone. At that point, my desire to assert my own right came up. I sat there for about 30 minutes and I said okay, because these are soldiers with guns and we were in a bush, with no communities there, I had to be careful. So, being a Catholic, what I did was to pray for my soul. When I meet such situation, that is what I normally do. “ As I was going, I got a call from the party’s hierarchy who assured me that they were aware of what was happening and were coming to meet me. So, I stopped only to turn my back and found they were following me. After about seven kilometres of driving, they were still following me.” The governor said when he noticed that something untoward could happened, he decided to stop and wait for the APC chieftains who were coming to intervene. “At that point, I insisted that I would not move any more. They came to me and said they gave me 20 minutes to
aware of that development.” When our correspondent visited the airport around 3 pm on Thurday, no fewer than four aircraft were on the ground waiting for their passengers, while one had set to take off. The convoy of Governor Amaechi later came into the airport to return to Port Harcourt after he was prevented from entering Ekiti State. One of the planes, it was learnt, brought the Minister of State for Defence, Alhaji Musiliu Obanikoro. The State Police Public Relations Officer(PPRO)Wole Ogodo could not be reached for comments. But one of the Senior Police Officers said the issue had nothing to do with the police.
Efforts made to get reactions from the Army Public Relations at the 32 Artillery Brigade,Owena Barracks were also unsucessful. In a similar vein, condemnations yesterday trailed the grounding of the chattered aircraft billed to convey Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to Ado Ekiti for the governorship rally. The Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor, in a statement made available to The Nation yesterday, condemned the Federal Government’s order against Oshiomhole, which according
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•: All Progressives Congress Chieftain, Senator. Bukola Saraki; National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun; Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; and the National Organising Secretary, Senator. Osita Izunacho, during a world Press Conference on the State of the Nation, Mostly on Ekiti State Election and Harassment of Rivers State governor, in Lagos.....yesterday
Presidency denies repression accusation
THE Presidency last night denied the allegation by the All Progressives Congress (APC)
My near bloody encounter with soldiers — Amaechi
GOVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi yesterday threw further light on his Thursday’s encounter with soldiers in Akure, who, acting on ‘order from above’, physically harassed and threatened to kill him. The governor was on his way to Ado-Ekiti by road to attend the final rally of his party –APC- ahead of today’s governorship election. He had flown into Akure in a chartered plane from Port Harcourt only for the plane to be grounded by the authorities. Speaking to reporters in Lagos yesterday, Amaechi said some officials of the federal government are working with military personnel to rule the country by the use of force. He said: “If I knew that I would be shot, I would have stayed in my house. I landed safely at the Akure airport. Meanwhile, they had queried the Port Harcourt airport for letting me fly. “And I was to take off from there to Ado Ekiti; the boundary between Ekiti and Ondo is about four kilometres. I saw about 15 soldiers carrying guns and as soon as they saw me, they corked their guns and were positioned. “They stopped me and said I would not go to Ekiti. Meanwhile, other vehicles were
the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said no governor was denied landing or had his plane grounded at Akure Airport on Thursday, stressing that the airport was in operation throughout the day. The official, who craved anonymity, said all the APC chieftains who came to the town in aircraft were allowed to take off and land according to their schedule without any hitch. The official said: “It was not true that the airport was shut for political reasons. We were in operation throughout and all the visitors who have been coming into town by air have been landing while some have taken off, depending on their schedule. So I am not
move or they would shoot me. Everybody was panicking. Now, I was ready for the shooting, so I made my prayers. “As I made my prayer, I told them I was ready for the shooting. I stayed put. After 20 minutes, they told us they gave us 10 more minutes or they would shoot. I said they better start shooting because in 10 minutes I woud be there. “While I was there, the party sent Lai Mohammed, Rotimi Akeredolu and another senator. It was at that point that I came down to address the gentle man, the captain who came forward. “When I asked why, they said they would speak no more; that I must leave there and I must not get into Ekiti. And I said this is not Ekiti but Ondo State. “A similar incident had played out at the Kano airport before. I walked into five soldiers at the airport who came with their vehicle, with machine guns mounted on them. “The man warned me that if I needed my life, I must leave there. So, my security details advised that I should leave. This is really unfortunate for the democracy that we pretend to have in Nigeria. It is a collaboration between civilians and militarymen.”
Augustine EHIKIOYA, Abuja that it was repressing the opposition towards the Ekiti State governorship election billed for today. Two APC governors, Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomhole of Rivesr and Edo states, had complained that they were prevented by the Federal Government and security agencies from travelling to Ekiti State on Thursday. They were heading to the state to take part in the APC’s mass rally for the incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is seeking a second term. But reacting to the accusa-
tion of repression, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, maintained that the administration has been most tolerant of opposition and most respectful of everybody’s right of association. He said: “It is absolutely wrong to accuse this administration of repression. If anything, this administration has been most tolerant of opposition and most respectful of everybody’s right of association. This accusation cannot stand at all. “The Jonathan administration remains committed to democracy and its principles. Where elections are concerned, it is a matter of public record that President
Jonathan is committed to free and fair elections and the integrity of elections. “This is in fact one of the major areas of achievements of his administration. “In Ekiti election and any other election at all, the government is committed to one man, one vote; one woman, one vote; and one youth, one vote, which is President Jonathan’s concept.” But he said that the security agencies have an obligation not to allow people who want to compromise the integrity of the election process not to acheive their aims. “Rather than cry wolf where there is none, it is the APC and its leaders that should embark on soul searching,” he stated.
DG seeks police protection for corps members AHEAD of today’s governorship election in Ekiti State, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, has called for police protection for corps members that will be used as adhoc staff for the election. Olawumi, who was in Ekiti on Thursday, solicited the support of the security agencies to ensure that corps members are protected at every point of election duty. At the Police Command headquarters, Ado-Ekiti, the Commissioner of Police deployed for the election, Mr I.A Aduba, told the Director General that they were ready to give corps members maximum protection and were also ready to withstand any
Bukola 0, Abuja form of upheaval that might arise. CP Aduba reassured the DG NYSC of the safety of corps members. Meanwhile, the Army Brigade Commander, Akure/ Ekiti battalion, Brig.-Gen. A.A. Momoh, also assured the DG of his support in ensuring the safety of corps members during the election. Momoh gave the assurance when the NYSC boss also visited him at his camp to solicit for corps members’ protection. Momoh, who noted that NYSC are stakeholders in the election exercise, advised that corps members should reject any form of inducement from anyone during the exercise.
Earlier at the Oluremi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti, the Director-General NYSC, while addressing corps members, told them to take the election assignment very seriously, as they are key to the election and the whole world is watching them. The DG issued stern warning to the corps members to adhere to all electoral law and warned them against engaging themselves in any fraudulent practice during the exercise. “We will not tolerate any misconduct from any corps member in respect of this exercise,” the DG warned. Olawumi also called on politicians to warn their supporters not to extend any form of violence to corps members.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
EKITI GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION 2014
•A police Armoured Personnel Carrier on display...yesterday PHOTOS: Dayo ADEWUNMI
•Some of the policemen practising using teargas ahead of today’s poll
KITI State was in the grip of anxiety last night as the clock ticked towards today’s governorship election. Ado Ekiti, the state capital, swam with heavily armed policemen and personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) while the hinterland was full of gun-wielding soldiers. The soldiers mounted road blocks in and outside the state, searching vehicles as they passed. Many residents expressed apprehension over the large presence of the securitymen. Some decided to stay indoor while those who opened for business closed shops early. Although, ban on movements officially started at 6 pm last night, most people had voluntarily stayed indoors much earlier.
Anxiety as soldiers, police take over Ekiti Adekunle YUSSUF, Sina FADARE, Remi ADELOWO, Seun AKIOYE and Sulaiman SALAUDEEN in Ado Ekiti.
A resident who craved anonymity blamed the security personnel for instilling fear in the people by shooting sporadically into the air. The situation, he said, helped in creating “an atmosphere of war.” His words: “While I want the election to be free and fair, I don’t think it is good for the federal government to over-protect the process of assuring the sanctity of the process. The security personnel in this state now are simply too many, I
mean too unjustifiably many.” The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) deplored the ‘militarisation’ of the state ahead of the elections. They said in separate statements that the development does not fit into democratic norms and is capable of intimidating the people. G overnor K a y od e Fayemi went on air yesterday appealing to the people to remain calm and be law-abiding during the election. Dimeji Daniels, spokesperson for the Fayemi Campaign Organisation, hoped that the Independ-
ent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies “will uphold the provisions of the Electoral Act by staying neutral and impartial throughout the election period.” He also asked the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to “beam their searchlights on Ekiti so that agents of retrogression don’t drag us back by rigging this election. “ At Afao, hometown of Mr. Ayodele Fayose, candidate of the PDP, supporters, aides and other party stalwarts were seen trooping in and out of his residence, apparently in readiness for today’s crucial election.
476,870 eligible to vote, says INEC
TOTAL of 476,870 voters are expected to file out today to elect the governor of Ekiti State for the next four years. The figure represents those who collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs),the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said yesterday. Spokesman for INEC in the state, Mr. Taiwo Gbadegesin, said only those with the PVCs will be allowed to vote today. Gbadegesin said that only 476,870 of the 732,166
•Assures of hitch-free exercise
Sulaiman SALAWUDEEN, Ado-Ekiti cards issued for voters in the state were collected by their owners. He said that the response to the collection of the cards was not encouraging enough. He said registration area centres (RACs) had been created by the commission to facilitate access to polling centres by electoral officers. “RACs were put in place to decongest election offices at the local govern-
ments. Rather than the officials of the Commission moving from the local governments towards the polling stations on election day, the RACs were created to ease administrative tasks and take the burden away from the councils,” he said. “Registration Area Centres are equal to wards. It is a new dimension to logistics of operations, especially on the day of election, to ensure that INEC officials get to the polling centres on time for accreditation and
voting. Instead of moving from local government area offices, you move from RACs. “By our estimation, the farthest location of polling stations to an RAC should not be more than 45 minutes. When the election officials move from RACs, they get to polling centres early enough. This is a departure from earlier practice.” Six National Commissioners (NECs) and 10 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been deployed to the state to support officials of the Commission on ground.
Be vigilant as you vote, Fayemi tells Ekiti people
OVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State yesterday asked voters to be vigilant as they go to the polls today to cast their ballots in the governorship election. Fayemi, in a statewide broadcast to the people of the state ahead of the poll, urged them to cooperate fully with security agencies and other relevant authorities with a view to making the election a success. The price of liberty, he said, is eternal freedom, urging all eligible voters to come out and perform their civic duty. He, however, condemned the action of some security agents who harassed serving governors and infringed on their freedom of movement while on their way to the state on Thursday for the final rally
Sulaiman SALAWUDEEN, Ado-Ekiti of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Fayemi said: “One must be concerned, however, as to the ignoble role that some security agents played in the harassment meted out to serving governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria yesterday, when their right to freedom of movement, as enshrined in the constitution of our great country, was violated without an infraction of any known law of the land. “As the chief security officer of our state, it is my hope that the unfortunate occurrence of yesterday is not a reflection of collusion between security agencies and partisan interests in preparation for com-
promising the integrity of Saturday’s election.” He stated that being free, fair and credibile are crucial conditions for the acceptance of the outcome of the election by the “honourable people of Ekiti State.” The governor pointed out that the election offers Ekiti people the greatest opportunity in their history to deepen democracy and the culture of freedom. He also charged the people to use the election to collectively pursue their honour and act as a role model for electoral integrity and transparency, despite the odds. Fayemi said: “In the course of our nation’s history, various dark forces have conspired to nullify the right of the people to choose their leaders. “These crimes against the
sovereign will of the people occurred during the long decades of military tyranny. But we have also witnessed them recently in the Fourth Republic when anti-democratic elements have tried to hold us in bondage indefinitely. “But by the grace of God and the indomitable will of the people of conscience, we were able to repel the darkness and reclaim our inheritance. “At no time are we in a better position than now to collectively pursue our honour and act as a role model for electoral integrity and transparency. “Ekiti is ours to dwell and build together. Whichever way we lean in tomorrow’s election, let us vote to perpetuate our land’s heritage of honour and harmony.”
There was also a heavy presence of armed security personnel around the house and other parts of the town. When our correspondent visited the residence yesterday, Fayose was not around. Although the PDP candidate spent much of yesterday at Spotless Hotel in Ado Ekiti, putting finishing touches to his plans, his residence was
still bubbling with activities. The Iyin Ekiti residence of Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was also a beehive of activities. Mrs. Olatunde Bruce, media and publicity secretary, Labour Party in Ekiti State, said supporters of the party “are fully prepared for this election.”
Police vow to prove critics wrong THE headquarters of the Ekiti State Police Command along the new IyinEkiti Road was a beehive of activities yesterday as officers and men of the Nigeria Police detailed to provide security during today’s governorship election awaited directives on their postings to different parts of the state. The police authorities also promised that adequate security measures had been put in place to ensure a hitch-free election and prove critics wrong. This assurance was given by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Ekiti State Command, Victor Babayemi, while speaking in an interview with The Nation at the Police headquarters in Ado Ekiti, the state capital. Babayemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), revealed that the Inspector General of Police, who was in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday to assess the preparedness of his men for the election, has given marching orders to all the policemen deployed in the state to ensure that they guarantee the protection of lives and property before, during and after the election. The police spokesman declined to give the number of policemen deployed in the state, but The Nation sighted officers and men drawn from neighbouring police commands, including Ondo, Edo, Delta and Anambra states. Giving a breakdown of the logistics that had been put in place by the police high command, Babafemi said: “Besides scores of vehicles equipped with sophisticated equipment, which reduces response time in case of any emergency, we are also deploy-
ing more than two helicopters for aerial surveillance. “We have also identified difficult terrains across the state, and that is why we are deploying mounted troops who will use horses to patrol such areas. There is also the dog section on ground. “Overall, we have the Special Protection Unit (SPU), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Bomb Disposal Squad, Air Wing, Canie (Dog Section) and the mounted troops in charge of horses.” The police spokesman, who also confirmed that a new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba has been posted to Ekiti, added that four other CPs were on ground to ensure the smooth conduct of the election. They include the CP in charge of the Mobile Police, Hosea Karma, while CPs Mohammed Ibrahim, Danladi Mshebwala and Augustine Eubakhabokum will head security operations in the Central, North and West senatorial zones of the state respectively. The entire security operations will be coordinated by an Assistant General of Police, Bala Nasarawa, Babafemi explained. Explaining the rationale behind the redeployment of the state police commissioner, Mr. Felix Uyanna, the police spokesman said: “You know that there have been some allegations against the police in recent times, and that is why the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, brought in a new senior officer. But that is not to say that the former CP is guilty of bias against any political party. However, we want to prove our critics wrong by being very transparent in our operations and everything we do.”
SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
ABDULAZEEZ ARISEKOLA-ALAO (1945-2014)
•From left: National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and the widows of the late Aare Arisekola-Alao, Alhaja Toyibat and Alhaja Bashirat...yesterday
•Some of the children of the late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland paying their last respects
Ibadan stands still, markets closed as Arisekola is buried I BADAN, the Oyo State capital, stood still yesterday as prominent Christian and Muslim clerics, top politicians, captains of industry and beggars, among others, stormed the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan to bid Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao farewell. Arisekola, who was the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, died in a London hospital on Wednesday. His remains were brought to Nigeria for burial yesterday morning. The corpse was conveyed to Ibadan through the LagosIbadan Expressway in a Cardilac Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) marked EBONY 11. His children and relations, who accompanied the corpse, rode in another black wagon Cardillac with M. I. C on the number plate. They were received at the Ibadan end of the expressway by Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, his wife, Florence, and commissioners around 9:30 am. The train entered the stadium at exactly 10:03 am to a rousing welcome by dignitaries and masses that had filled the place. The arrival of the corpse triggered wailing, particularly among the downtrodden who benefitted immensely from his philanthropic gestures. They had arrived the stadium in large number as early as 7:00 am. The train was received by his remaining children, some of his associates and religious leaders, including the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; governors of Osun and Ogun states, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Senator Ibikunle Amosun respectively; Oyo State Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, and his wife, Janet; Chief Kola Daisi; business mogul, Mr. Oba Otudeko; Evangelist Ebenezer Obey; Justice Bola Babalakin; Gen. David Jemibewon (rtd); Gen. Raji Rasaki (rtd); Chief Yekini Adeojo; Senator Teslim Folarin; Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN); former Inspector Gen-
Bisi OLADELE and Tayo JOHNSON, Ibadan
eral of Police Mr. Musiliu Smith; Elder Wole Oyelese and King Sunny Ade. Clerics from all the states in the South West were led by the President-General, League of Imams and Alfas; Secretary General, Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; popular preacher Sheik Muideen Ajani Bello and chief imams of Ibadan and those of some other towns in Yorubaland. President Goodluck Jonathan was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Abdul-Jeleel Adesiyan; the Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro and the Chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Mr. Jide Adeniyi. Prominent Christian clerics in attendance included the retired Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Felix Alaba Job; former Primate of the Methodist Church, Ola Makinde and retired Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu. The burial prayer, which lasted for just two minutes, was led by the Chief Imam of Osogbo, while the sermon was given by the National Missioner, Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria, Shiek AbdurRahaman Ahmad. In his sermon, the preacher said that Arisekola’s good deeds made his shoes too big for any common man to wear. He lauded his philanthropic activities as well as his expertise in serving as a bridge between the rich and the poor and between the government and the governed. He said Arisekola’s lifestyle served as a big lesson for all living beings, stressing that it is worth to live for others. The Chairman, Muslim Ummah in South West Nigeria, Prof. Dawud Noibi, prayed for the repose of his soul and family. Shortly after the prayers, his corpse was moved to his Oluwo Kekere residence at the Bashorun area of Ibadan
with a select group of mourners where it was interred. Speaking on the occasion, Governor Ajimobi extolled the virtues of the late religious leader, describing him as a philanthropist of philanthropists who served the poor and helped the rich during his lifetime. “Arisekola was to the Nigerian masses what the late President Nelson Mandela was to the South Africans. He served the poor and helped the
declare seven days of mourning and a public holiday for him, a feat which he said was unprecedented in the history of the state. Other dignitaries on the occasion included the wife of Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola; Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN); former Deputy Governor of the state, Hazeem Gbolarumi; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Monsurat Sunmonu; Sen. Femi Lanlehin; representatives of the Olubadan of
Ibadan land, Alaafin of Oyo and Awujale of Ijebu and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Olabode Grorge. Commissioners, House of Assembly members, local government chairmen and top politicians were also there. Meanwhile, all markets in Ibadan were yesterday closed in honour of the late Aare. The Babaloja of Oyo State, Alhaji Dauda Oladapo, said the deceased deserved the honour.
time to get someone who can act in his capacity,” Sheikh Ayinla said. National Amir (President) of The Companion, Alhaji Musibau Oyefeso, said Alhaji Arisekola-Alao “was a very successful businessman, dutiful husband, responsible father, passionate community and religious leader.” Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, described his departure as saddening. Prof Akintola said: “He was
a shining model for all and a leader of exemplary qualities.” Secretary General, AlMu’minaat Organisation, Mrs Kudirat Adedeji, described Alhaji Arisekola-Alao as a detribalised Nigerian leader “The late Islamic leader contributed to Islam and the development of Nigeria as a country. “Alhaji Arisekola-Alao’s belief in the human rights led him to publish The Monitor newspaper. He was an advocate of peace; he co-chaired a committee to facilitate understanding between Muslims and Chris-
tians in Nigeria in 1990 and was part of various efforts to bring about religious tolerance in the country,” Mrs Adedeji said. Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit Amir (President), Kamil Kalejaiye, said: “He was an exemplary character. He gave to the known and the unknown. He never advertised his generosity on the pages of newspapers. He did this everyday. He was one of those Muslim philanthropists who gave without looking for any compensation from his fellow human beings."
Oyo State in particular and the South West in general. While condoling with the government and people of Oyo
State over the loss, Tambuwal prayed to Allah to grant his family, colleagues and associates the fortitude to bear the loss.
rich. He came to serve humanity and served them to his very last. “He was accommodating, spiritual, religious and intelligent. He had been serving the poor from the age of 19. He was the greatest philanthropist of our time. He gave everything he had to people,’’ he said. The governor further said it was the good work done by the late business mogul that motivated his government to
Islamic leaders, others eulogise Aare Musulumi
OME notable Muslim leaders yesterday re acted to the death of Alhaji Abdulazeez ArisekolaAlao, a businessman and Islamic leader of note. Secretary-General, Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, described Arisekola-Alao’s death as a great loss. “We lost a bridge builder and lover of peace. JNI condoles with the deceased’s family, the Muslim world and all Nigerians. His philanthropical gesture is unquestionable. We pray Allah grants him Al-Jannah Firdaus,” he said. Senator Mudasiru Hussain, representing the Osun West Senatorial District, described the death of the late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland as shocking. “He was a good man who contributed immensely to the development of humanity; it was a great loss to the people of Oyo State and all Nigerians. The Islamic world will miss him,” he said. Hon. Lasun Yussuff, a member of the House of Representatives, prayed for the soul of the deceased. Yussuff said the late Arisekola-Alao epitomized Islamic tendencies. Chief Imam of Nawair-udDeen Society of Nigeria, Lagos zone, Sheikh Abdul Mojeed Ayinla, described Alhaji Arisekola-Alao as a rare human being among the Islamic personalities in the country. “His death is indeed a great loss to Islam and it will take
Tambuwal mourns businessman
HE Speaker of the House of Representa tives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has described the death of Ibadanbased philanthropist and businessman, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao as a great to the entire federation. In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal described the deceased as a man of conviction who dedicated the large part of his life to the promotion of religious harmony in the country. He said the late ArisekolaAlao used his wealth to promote education of the underprivileged and used his position as the Baba Adini to ensure the spiritual uplift of the people of
‘His death, a big loss to humanity’
chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Alhaji Abass Oloko, and the Caretaker Chairman of the Ibadan North East Local Government, Mr. Ladi Oluokun, have described the sudden death of AlhajiAbdulazeezArisekola– Alao as a “ big loss to humanity and the country”. The duo, in their separate statements made available to journalists in Ibadan, described him as “an exemplary leader, philanthropist and lover of peace.” Oloko said his death has cre-
Tayo JOHNSON, Ibadan ated a big vacuum in the religious community and the country. “ The death of my father, Alhaji Arisekola-Alao is still a mystery to me, and I cannot believe he is gone. He is my benefactor, and nobody can ever replace him in my life” Oluokun said: ”His death should serve as a lesson to everyone that we need to do our best to serve Allah.” He urged Nigerians to emulate the legacies the late philanthropist left behind.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
5 The Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao burial (1945- 2014)
• Widows, Mrs. Serifat Arisekola and Taibat Arisekola
• From left: Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu; Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun
•From left: Oyo State First Lady, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi and Lagos State First Lady, Dame Abimbola Fashola
• From right: Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Bishop Alaba Job and Primate Bishop Olu Makinde
• From left: Alhaji Abdul-Ganny Agbotomokekere, Chief Immam of Ibadan, Alhaji Bausari Haruna, Alhaji Mustapha Ajisafe and Sheik Abdul-Rasak Salaudeen
• From left:Oba Otudeko and Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Monsurat Sumonu
Mr. President got it wrong HILE speaking at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the People Democratic Party (PDP), held recently in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan said among other things that, “most of the PDP states are doing well. In fact, security challenges are less in PDP states because of the commitment of the governors.” As a Nigerian citizen, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is no doubt entitled to his opinion, particularly as President of the nation, whose view must be taken as that of the administration. In this very circumstance, the view or opinion of President Jonathan with regards to the performance of PDP Governors and that of their colleagues in other political parties stand contestable. This is because the assertion of President Jonathan failed to take cognizance of the history of the affected areas and the prevailing circumstances. In journalism, we are told that facts are sacred while comments are superfluous. In this instance, I beg to disagree with the President on his assertion that the security challenges are less in PDP states because of the commitment of the PDP governors. As a scientist, one would have expected the President to have buttressed his assertion with convincing and unassailable facts, instead of the generalized and sweeping statement that is tantamount to a political talk or window dressing. This reminds me of the saying of Tony Maurinho. In his column in The Nation newspaper of June 4, 2014, Maurinho, a public affairs commentator advised: “The Federal government should not destroy selected states because they are not from the ruling party.” Without prejudice to the view expressed by Tony
n Victor IZEKOR n Maurinho, I hold the President’s position on the issue in discourse faulty and lacking ingredients of facts or proof. The question we should ask here is, “Are the governors in the state facing insurgency or security challenges the authors of the unfortunate situation in their states? Certainly, the answer is no. Aside Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, states controlled by the All Progressive congress (APC), other states like Plateau, Nasarawa and Kaduna, controlled by the PDP have been spared of crisis presently ravaging parts of the north. Therefore, any attempt to judge, assess or compare
the performances of the 36 states governors, either collectively or individually, that fails to take into consideration the inherent challenges in the states lack credibility. At this juncture, it is pertinent to go further to prove that the present security challenges or the insurgency being experienced, especially in the north- east, is not the making of the governors in the affected states. Instead, it is an albatross they inherited from several years of bad leadership. The World Bank has described the central region of Savannah-Sudan, comprising the areas covered by the North-East political zone of Nigeria; the Republic of Chad; eastern portion of Niger Republic; Northern Cameroons and the Dafur Region of the Republic of Sudan, as being one of the poorest regions on earth. The region has very little infrastructure, a population with poor and highest level of unemployment, especially among the youths, a large number of hungry and angry population, inept and bankrupt leadership and little or complete absence of government control. The foregoing scenario provides a fertile ground for the emergence of radical organizations like the Janjaweed militia of the Dafur region and Jama’atul Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal jihad (often called Boko Haram by the Nigerian media) in the northeastern of Nigeria. Apart from occupying the largest land mass, Borno State also occupies the greater part of the Chad Basin • Continued on Page 10
SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Impeachment: Atiku, Wamakko, Kwankwaso move to save Nyako
ORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu,Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State have stepped in to stop the plot to impeach Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State. Nyako yesterday met with Atiku and Ribadu in Abuja to brief them on the plot against him. The ex-vice president and Ribadu are from Adamawa. It is understood that they have been trying to reach out to members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly to resolve the face-off with Nyako. There were indications that a prominent Northern emir prevailed on Atiku to bail out Nyako. A source said: “Efforts to resolve the impeachment are continuing with the governor’s visit to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to draft him into the peace effort. “Nyako, who was at Atiku’s Asokoro residence, was accompanied by Ribadu. The ex-EFCC chairman has also done his best in the last three days. Most stakeholders believe that Atiku is vital to the resolution of the ExecutiveLegislature face-off in Adamawa State.” The Chairperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adamawa State Chapter, Hon. Binta Garba Koji, was also present in the house. Shortly upon the governor’s arrival, they went into a closed-
•Ex-PDP national chair hosts Adamawa lawmakers to curious dinner •Legislators paste notice on Govt House wall Civil Rights Congress of NigeYusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation door meeting. Atiku was said to have committed himself to meeting the members of the state legislature last night to try and persuade them to drop the impeachment bid. “Where this fails, we hope that the former Vice President will ask his loyalists to withdraw their signatures. “Once he does that, the impeachment process will collapse because the requisite number for it to continue would have been lost," the source said. Another source said: “I think it is part of a series of meetings that these leaders had in the past few days. There was a communication gap between the governor and the lawmakers, and they are trying to see how this can be addressed. “These leaders have opened up talks with some of the aggrieved lawmakers who have relocated to Abuja. “There might be some headway because in this kind of situation, the two parties have to be mutually consultative.” A third source said: “We learnt that a prominent emir in the North actually begged Atiku to save the situation in Adamawa. “The emir, who is apolitical, was said to be concerned more about the aftermath of the impeachment than the politics of it.”
Many members of the State Assembly have already relocated to Abuja apparently to perfect their strategy. They were hosted to a dinner in the Federal Capital on Wednesday by a former National Chairman of the party. The assemblymen resolved on Tuesday to serve the impeachment notice on the governor and his deputy,Mr.Bala Ngilira, for alleged financial mismanagement. Following the unavailability of the governor in Yola to personally receive the notice,the legislators pasted the impeachment notice on the wall of Government House in Yola. A team from the Assembly, escorted by heavily armed mobile policemen, pasted the notice on the wall of the Government House,a source in Yola said. “Although the Government House was under lock and key, they succeeded in pasting the impeachment notice when they could not locate the governor,” said the source. “They are just desperate about the whole thing, fuelling concerns that some forces outside the state are sponsoring the plot. “There are arguments on whether the process was valid or not. So, there may be legal issues out of the procedure adopted by the Assembly. “I think some aggrieved people might go to court to challenge the desperate procedure adopted by the Assembly. Another source said the governor and the assembly-
men are in Abuja for “intense horse-trading” by both parties. He said: “Virtually all the stakeholders, including the APC Chairman in Adamawa State, Hon. Binta Garba, are in Abuja to reconcile the governor and the lawmakers. This is the usual lobbying of the lawmakers. “Governors Aliyu Wammakko and Rabiu Kwankwaso and some eminent Northerners have also waded into the impeachment saga. “They are seeking to prevail on the lawmakers to have a re-
think. “These governors have been meeting all day with some of the lawmakers in Abuja to see how to avert the plot.” At the Wednesday dinner for the state legislators, the exPDP National Chairman reportedly told his guests that “it is a good development that you are trying to ensure probity and accountability in Adamawa State.” He asked them to be “fair and just in seeing through the impeachment proceedings.” Meanwhile, the President,
ria, Comrade Shehu Sani, has described the impeachment plot against Nyako as a political vendetta. Sani, who made his position known in a statement, accused the PDP of sponsoring the plot. He said the impeachment notice is “nothing other than a scripted exercise by the ruling PDP to punish and persecute Governor Nyako for his principled stand to defect to the APC.The impeachment plot is a facade by the PDP and the Federal Government to retake the state.”
•President Jonathan receiving the report from Brigadier-General Sabo (rtd) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja... yesterday. PHOTO: Akin OLADOKUN
Chibok girls: Abduction real, 219 unaccounted for — Presidential panel
HE Chairman of the Presidential Fact-Find ing Committee on the abduction of Chibok girls, Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo(rtd), yesterday said the incident was real contrary to misinterpretation in some quarters. He also said 276 students of Government Girls’ Seconday School in Chibok were abducted, but 219 girls were unaccounted for as at the time of submitting the report. He said 57 of the abducted students had been reunited with their families after escaping along the zig-zag transport route taken by the insurgents. Sabo, who made the discloures in an address at the presentation of the committee’s report to the President, said 119 students escaped from the school premises before the insurgents took away their classmates.” Sabo said: “Your Excellency, in carrying out its assignment, the committee was not unmindful of the circumstances that led to the committee’s composition and inauguration. “After Boko Haram struck at Chibok on April 14, there were varying and conflicting accounts of what happened, and even more so of the number of persons affected by the unspeakable atrocities on that night. “As most Nigerians already know, there were some persons who doubted whether, in fact, any student was abducted from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok. “On the other hand, for those who believed that there
Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation and Augustine EHIKIOYA, Abuja was abduction, there were lingering doubts as to how such a number of kidnap victims were conveyed, considering also that information was sparse as to how the raiding insurgents evacuated the victims. “Mr President, the committee here wishes to lay to rest any residual doubt whether or not any student was abducted at Chibok. There was mass abduction on the night of April 14. “During the siege on the school, 119 students escaped from the school premises before the insurgents took away their classmates. A total number of 276 students were, thus, abducted. “As of today, 57 of the abducted students have been reunited with their families after escaping along the zig-zag transport route taken by the insurgents, or by bolting to safety when the insurgents laid-by for a rest. Sadly, 219 students remain unaccounted for. “Details of the circumstances of Government Secondary School, Chibok, remaining open, in spite of the ravages of Boko Haram in the state, are contained in the report of the committee. “Also contained in the report is the detailed explanation of the pain-staking measures taken by the committee in arriving at the number of students still to be accounted for.”
Sabo faulted the non-appearance of a Senator from Borno State before the panel. He said the motive of the Senator might not be too difficult to discern He said: “Indeed, the committee interacted with persons and groups considered relevant to the realisation of our fact-finding mandate. “The singular exception was a Senator from Borno who, after agreeing to an appointment with the committee, turned around to avoid the meeting, on the excuse that he had another appointment, and would thereafter be unavailable for another one month, or so. “Not that his non-appearance has materially, or in any way affected the outcome of the committee’s findings. But the Senator’s avoidance of an interface with the committee may well speak to a motive not too difficult to discern.” He said the panel was still pained that the girls were still in Boko haram captivity. He described the girls’ hostage situation as “delicate.” He said: “The schoolgirls are in the hands of insurgents whose record of wanton destruction of life and property in the North-East of the country is well known. The committee has articulated options in the rescue strategy, and these are contained in our report. “The committee’s report has also raised and addressed a number of issues that are incidental to the committee’s terms of reference. These incidental matters deal with insurgency in general, as well as the
military-political responses that are vital to overcoming the current security challenges. “However, although the committee has already begun the process of mobilizing the communities, in tandem with term of reference number four, it is as yet unfinished business. Achieving more worthwhile outcomes in this regard will require more time and a more compact team than the current time-frame and composition of the committee permit. Recommendations on the way forward are detailed in our report. “In conclusion, the committee members and I would like to express our gratitude for the opportunity to have undertaken this assignment in a very trying moment in our country’s history. We are, nevertheless, pained that the schoolgirls remain in captivity. The hostage situation that this represents is obviously delicate.” Receiving the report, President Jonathan asked school owners, especially in the North East, that want to keep students in boarding houses to put in place “basic security” for the students” safety. His words: "I am not expecting a battalion of army in the schools.Even if we had five policemen guiding that school that night, the students could not have been deceived into believing that the insurgents were taking them into protective custody. "The story is that the abductors came in military uniforms and told the students that they were taking them to safety so that they won't be attacked by Boko Haram.
"If there were at least five policemen on duty that night, they would have alerted the students. Even if there would be abduction, the number could not have been as high as this." The President vowed to do everything possible to crush Boko Haram which he described as a dragon and a monster. He said that the effort to root out Boko Haram would not be limited to military operations, but expanded to the economy with a view to boosting people’s welfare such as the Almajiri schools programme and the Victim
Support Fund to cater for children who have been orphaned by the activities of the sect as well as those whose business premises have been destroyed. He pledged that the federal government would rebuild the Chibok school,using army engineers. “ All buildings there will be demolished and rebuilt. That will start after the children are rescued." "On completion, the Federal Government will not manage the school because it is a state school. We will hand it over to the state government to manage," he said.
UK college partners Diadem School
partnership agreement between kensington Col lege of Business, United Kingdom, and Diadem School of Advanced Studies, Lekki, Lagos has now brought the UK quality standard of education to the doorstep of Nigerians. Through this agreement, which is first its kind in Nigeria, parents now have the opportunity to train their children through the British education curriculum to obtain the Cambridge A-Level certificate which qualifies them for direct entry into U.K universities. Speaking on this agreement, the proprietress of Diadem School of Advanced Studies, Mrs. Abimbola Oladinni, said the idea behind the programme was to address fear by Nigerian parents who are not comfortable with sending their young children abroad to study for Ad-
vanced Level courses which will qualify them for UK university entry. Mrs. Oladinni explained that under this scheme, Nigerian students, after their senior secondary school programme, can remain at home to undergo courses offered by UK schools at A-Level. Also speaking on the programme, Dr. Lawrence Watson, Chairman, Kensington College of Business, said Diadem School of Advanced Studies was linked through the education consultancy work with the British Council in Nigeria which advises Nigerian students on how to come for university education in the UK. He explained that his college is bringing in its 32 years of being in the business of education in the UK to ensure the success of the scheme.
THE NATION SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
The Ekiti saga: The road to tyranny and anarchy HURSDAY the 10th of June 2014 will remain a very frightening and disturbing day in the history of democracy in this country since 1999. The nation woke up to the incredible news that the military “had barred all APC Governors from entering and attending the APC Governorship grand rally for their Ekiti State colleague, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi. There was also an alleged threat by soldiers to shoot one of the APC Governors-Rotimi Amaechi in the process. It was like a coup d’état rehearsal by soldiers in a Banana Republic. Whichever way one looks at this saga, it represents a major threat to democracy and dangerous drift towards total anarchy in Nigeria. It will be recalled that only a week ago, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan led all PDP Governors and other stakeholders to the same Ekiti State for a similar rally for the PDP Candidate, Ayo Fayose. No PDP Governor was stopped or harassed and the incumbent APC Governor provided all the needed security for the rally to hold successfully in the true spirit of democracy and fair play. The PDP rally was successfully held with fanfare. It is shocking and embarrassing that soldiers (not even the Police) will invade the state to not only frustrate a reciprocal rally by the APC but to also assault some of the APC Governors in the process. The questions to pose are:– could the soldiers have acted without the knowledge of their Commander-in-Chief? Where did they take their orders from? Is their action in tandem with their avowed loyalty to defend democracy in the country or an attempt to introduce a new system of government? To sum it all, is their action in conformity with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which the Armed Forces have sworn to uphold? Or is it a wake up call of what to expect in 2015?
BREACH OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS Sections 40, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees freedom of movement and freedom from discrimination respectively for all citizens of this country. For the avoidance of doubt; S.40 provides “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and
n George AKUME n in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.” This right is only subject to the powers of the INEC and not any other authority. The restriction of APC Governors in this case was not at the instance of INEC. S.41 specifically guarantees that “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof ….” without molestation. This right is only subject to a law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society for restricting the
movement of a criminal suspect to prevent him from leaving Nigeria. S.42 provides that a citizen of Nigeria of particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person, be subjected to any restrictions to which citizens of other political opinions are not subjected to in the application of any law. Conversely, no citizen of a particular opinion shall be accorded privilege or advantage above others of a different political opinion in the application of any law. This is aimed at providing level playing field for the opposition in a democracy. What has happened in Ekiti State has brought to the fore a major challenge to democracy and has raised the fundamental question as to whether we are prepared to be ruled by law or by anarchy. If this can happen to Governors who enjoy some level of immunity, what is the fate of the common man? Where is the assurance that we may not wake up one day only to lose our democracy and country? I wish to appeal to Mr. President to respond to this situation promptly, appropriately and decisively before it gets out of control. It is a grave security situation that is capable of throwing the whole democratic process upside down sooner than can be imagined. It is a warning to all, not just APC. Nigerians must learn from the Arab spring, the experiences of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia etc. We must appreciate that the beauty of any democracy is opposition. The road to tyranny must be very stiffly resisted. Our leaders of today must avoid threading the ways of the likes of Charles Taylor and Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia to the International Criminal Court of Justice after they have left office. INEC should equally wake-up and respond to this call appropriately and decisively to ensure that they are no intimidated by soldiers or any authority in the conduct of all elections. They must ensure that elections are not only free and fair but seen to be conducted in a free and fair atmosphere. God help us to remain a free, democratic and indivisible country. •Senator Akume is the Senate Minority Leader.
Mr. President got it wrong • Continued from Page 5
in the northern part of the country. It shared borders with Niger republic to the north, Chad to the NorthEast and Cameroon to the east. The state is Nigeria’s gateway to Central and East Africa. Within the country, it shares borders with Yobe to the south, Bauchi to the west and Kano to the north-west, with a population of about six million. With Borno State sharing borders with the mostly conflict-ridden neighboring Franco-phone countries, the security implication of the crisis in these countries on Borno is definitely obvious. As a matter of fact, in the mid seventies and early eighties, the civil war in Chad, spearheaded by Hussein Habre on one hand, and the subsequent war spearheaded by Goukoni Weddeye on the other hand, had severe repercussions on Borno. Throughout the period of the war, Borno State, especially Maiduguri, became the rescue post for thousands of refugees from Tchad. The situation became compounded with the political upheavals and conflicts in Niger and Cameroon, where the fleeing citizens of the two countries ran in thousands to seek refuge in Maiduguri. The same applied to some leaders from those warring countries who sought political asylum in Maiduguri, with some of them becoming somehow permanent residents. Added to this menace were the constant raids of some of Borno towns and villages by the deserters from the troubled zone. The porous nature of Borno, coupled with the ineffective monitoring of the border posts by security agents, especially the customs and immigration services, compounded the unrestricted influx of illegal citizens. The large number of the illegal aliens consists mostly of questionable characters, some of who see Borno as a source of golden opportunity to fleece and plunder. Apart from its porous borders, the demarcation of boundaries between Borno and the neighboring countries is done haphazardly, with little or no restriction of aliens flocking into Borno. With scattered population of about six million people, amorphous size, dwindling revenue base, in addition to other socio-economic and political problems, and lately compounded by the security challenges, the challenges confronting the administration can therefore be imagined.
Unfortunately, the statutory allocation from the Federation Account, as well the internally generated revenue of Borno State is like a drop in the ocean, compared to what accrued to other states. As a matter of fact, Borno’s allocation from the statutory federation account ranks one of the lowest when compared with the other states. From historical perspective, Borno was the first to embrace Islam in the black world. Islam in Kanem Borno came through Egypt about 109AD, and it moved to Sudan. The fundamental factor responsible for the spread of Islam from Sudan to Borno was trading. Mai Ummi Jilmi was first to accept Islam around 1090. He was converted together with his followers. “Geidam, one of the historic cities of Borno, has an ancient history having inherited the glories of the great Safawa city of Birin Ngazargamu. Geidam was a centre of scholarship and learning where scholars from the Maghrib Al-Agas, the Nile valley and the Central Bilad Al-Sudan converged in search for knowledge. “The whole Geidam once represented the massive structure of the University. In part of the city, the great Imams read and discuss the Quran, the Tafsir, while in another part of the city, scholars were engaged in scholastic debate in Figh, Hadith, and Philosophy. In spite of the coming of Western education, Geidam maintained this position of prestige and honour to the extent that the names of some of the great Ulamas of this city have become very well known to people in other cities of the Central Bilad Al-sudan and the Nile Valley. Until recently, Borno was regarded as the world centre of Islamic learning or education. For example, until the Boko Haram insurgency, it was routine seeing trailers and vehicles of all sorts flooding into some cities of Borno especially, Maiduguri, with children between the ages of five and twelve from neighboring countries in search of Islamic education. The influx was of the Almajiris was massive, uncontrolled, leading to explosion, as the structures on ground could not withstand the magnitude of the influx. With the inability of the Mallams to contain the Almajiris, coupled with economic and social pressure, the well–intended Almajiris system began to experience leakages, making them easy catch for unscrupulous politicians and mischief makers in the current insurgency.
Between 2003 and 2009, political events in Borno State heightened, leading to the present security challenges in the north-east. Within this period, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), under the leadership of Governor Malla Kachalla, and later Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, experienced factionalization. Under the guise of protective cover, each of the factions had its own militia or vigilance group, formed for the protection of each group, especially the concerned leaders. One of such militia groups is ‘ECOMOG’. The formation of ECOMOG is said to have the blessing of the leadership of the state ANPP. Some of the atrocities committed in the state this time were attributed, rightly or wrongly, mostly to ‘ECOMOG’. However, what is instructive here is that the formation of this militia groups in the state later provided a fertile ground for the insurgency and other security challenges now being experienced. It is therefore unfair to hold Governor Kashim Shettima responsible for the ongoing insurgency and security challenges. Above all, it is interesting to note that in spite of the security challenges that have engulfed Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima has performed exceedingly well. When you consider the construction of a 2500 housing units in the state capital and beyond, the massive investment in human capital development, the large scale mass-oriented programmees, making agriculture more attractive to the youths, the introduction of a multi-dimensional approach to poverty alleviation programmes, the continued rehabilitation of victims of the insurgency, the rural and urban transformation agenda and the improved standard of education through enhanced salaries for teachers and the feeding allowance of students in secondary schools in the state, you will agree that the governor has indeed done very well since coming into office. Shettima has been commended by various bodies both national and international for a job well done in spite of the security challenges. For example, he was recently awarded the Bill Gates trophy for Borno and coming first in the polio eradication programme for the northeast zone, where Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba are PDP-controlled states. •Izekor writes from Maiduguri.
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
D-Day for gladiators ,
As people of Ekiti State go to poll today to elect a new governor that will look after the state affairs in the next four years, Assistant Editor, LEKE SALAUDEEN, examines the political activities in the past three months, how the parties’ candidates emerged and violence at campaigns.
Party (PDP) standard bearer in a controversial circumstance in spite of the assurance given by the party’s national leadership that the process for the selection of its candidate The decibel of accu- would be transparent and that the party would create a level-playing ground for all aspirants. There were 16 aspisations and counterrants jostling for the party’s ticket. But all except Fayose cried foul and alleged that the process was manipulated to accusations of viothe ex-governor. Former Police Affairs Minister, lence, threats and in- favour Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), and 14 other PDP aspirants could not understand what transpired at the Great HE people of Ekiti State will today perform the civic timidations have Eagle Hall, Ado-Ekiti where Fayose emerged the flag-bearer duty of electing their governor. The last time they went to poll for a similar exercise was in April 2007. The long- become almost deafen- of the party for the 2014 governorship election. outcome of the primary election, which struck them drawn legal tussle over the governorship election which ing since official cam- likeThea thunder bolt, saw former aspirants watch helplessly as was finally decided by the Supreme Court in 2010 denied them the former Ekiti governor dominate and dictate the pace. He paigns commenced. governorship election in 2011. The apex court declared the ina whopping 462 out of 477 votes cast at the Special cumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi as duly elected against the There had never been polled State Congress Election conducted by a five-member comIndependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaraheaded by the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr tion of Mr Segun Oni as winner. Thus, Fayemi took over power a lull in clashes among mittee Peter Odili. The controversies that have trailed the primaries in 2010 and his tenure will lapse this year. Hence, another govthe various opposing as well as the refusal of the other aspirants to accept it have ernorship election holds today. remained the source of anxiety to the party which faces a At least, 18 parties have presented candidates for today’s political interests in daunting task to unseat a sitting governor. election. However, the contest has been narrowed to three parThe incumbent governor of Ekiti State, Dr Fayemi, is seekthe state ties: the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Deming a return to office on the platform of his party, APC. Even ocratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP). though, he was the sole aspirant, the party still conducted The Electoral Act spells out the process through which goverelection to fulfil the Independent National Electoral Comnorship candidates and other elective offices could emerge. mission (INEC’s) requirement. Each party was mandated to conduct primaries right from the Fayemi emerged the candidate of the APC at the party primaries conducted in ward to state level so that the party members would have a say in selecting their the 177 wards of the candidates. Continued on page 14 16 local governments Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, emerged as Peoples Democratic
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Ekiti 2014... Ekiti 2014... Ekiti 2014... Ekiti 2014... Ekiti 2014...Ekiti Eighteen candidates are vying for today’s decisive governorship election in Ekiti State. But observers say it is likely to be a straight fight among three major candidates, including the ruling All Progressives Congress’s (APC) Governor John Kayode Fayemi, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Peter Ayodele Fayose and the Labour Party’s Michael Opeyemi Bamidele. Deputy Political Editor, RAYMOND MORDI, evaluates the chances of the three front runners. HOUGH an avalanche of 18 political parties are fielding candidates for today’s governorship election in Ekiti State, it is expected to be a three-horse race. From all indications, only the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) are seriously in the race for the plum job. The candidates are incumbent governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi of the APC, former governor Peter Ayodele Fayose, who is representing the PDP, and Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who is contesting under the platform of the LP. The election is very important for the three parties because it is expected to set the template for the 2015 general election in the state. As a result, they have campaigned vigorously and cajoled voters with juicy promises. But looking more closely at the candidates, Governor Fayemi is not new to the game, while Fayose could also be described as a veteran in Ekiti politics. But the same could not be said of the LP’s Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who has only tested his popularity under a different circumstance; in the election to the House of Representatives in 2011, under the platform of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which he won. As far as Ekiti is concerned, the LP remains a new party. Close watchers of Ekiti politics believe it is likely to be a straight battle between the APC and the PDP. This is based on the premise that both parties had won elections in the state before and governed it for about seven and half years each. So, they have formidable structures in all the 16 local councils and 177 wards in the state. Indeed, a critical look
at their spread and strength shows that both APC and PDP will contest all the 2,195 polling units. The LP is more or less playing the role of a spoiler in this election. It is seen as a third force, with no chance of winning, but it may be working a strategy of drawing enough votes to mar the chances of the incumbent APC in the race. There had been allegation of an alliance between the PDP and the LP and there are allegations that Bamidele had been penciled down for a key appointment, if PDP wins the election. The leadership of the LP has, however, denied the existence of an alliance between it and the PDP, insisting that the allegation is a ploy by the ruling APC to discredit its opponents in the election Two crucial factors are going to be decisive in winning this election. They are: the personality of the candidates and the role and influence of the political parties they represent. Fayemi As a sitting governor, Fayemi’s reelection chances are very bright. On the strength of his personality, achievements in the last three and half years, the image of the APC in Ekiti and the South West in general, Governor Fayemi is on a roller-coaster ride back to the State House in Ado Ekiti, the state capital. It would take a tsunami to dislodge him. He has stabilised Ekiti since he came into power about four years ago. For instance, when he came into power in October 2010, the academic, human rightsactivist-turned politician inherited a debt of N42 billion and many abandoned projects from his predecessor. The state ran on a paltry N109 million in
Internally Generated Revenue and a meagre N2.5 billion monthly allocation from the federation’s account, out of which N2 billion is spent on salaries and allowances. But with careful planning and commitment to the welfare of the people, he has been able to deliver. One of such welfare packages is the N5,000 monthly social security benefits to the elderly in the state. Beyond that, Governor Fayemi has turned Ekiti State into a huge construction site in three and half years. Based on his performance and the influence of his party, Fayemi is popular in the 16 local government areas across the state. In the state capital, Ado Ekiti, which has the largest number of voters, for instance, he has endeared himself to the residents of the city. He has transformed Ado Ekiti from an “ancient town” to a modern city. For instance, in his quest to turn the state into the ICT hub of Nigeria, he laid with optic fibre cables round Ado Ekiti. Coupled with the massive road constructions and provision of streetlights in the city, Governor Fayemi would do well in the city. Besides, Ado Ekiti indigenes such as Senator Babafemi Ojud; the Deputy Governor, Prof Modupe Adelabu; Bisi Egbeyemi; Sunday Ibitoye; Tope Olanipekun; Mrs. Omotunde Fajuyi, among others, are strong APC stalwarts Fayemi can bank on. They will certainly meet stiff opposition from the PDP chieftains like Chief Ojo Falegan, Adeyemi Orilele, Senator Bode Ola, Taiye Fasuba, former deputy governor, Sikiru Lawal, and Tosin Aluko. The large concentration of the civil servants, teachers, political office holders and non-indigenes will also play a significant role in deciding the party
•APC supporters scampering away from tear-gas fired by the police in Ado-Ekiti, that wins election in the capital city that has almost 35 per cent of the total votes expected from all the 16 local councils. In Ikere Local Government Area, the recent defection of the former deputy governor of the state, Surveyor Abiodun Aluko, to the APC is a plus for the ruling party and a big minus for the PDP. Aluko is expected to join hands with the former governor of old Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olomilua, Hon. Funmiyi Afuye, Bolu Akomolafe, and Babade Kayode for the APC. Continued from page 13
•A vandalised APC vehicle
of the state. The party primary which was supervised by a six-man panel headed by the party’s Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, was also monitored by the INEC officials, security operatives including, the police, State Security Services (SSS) and the Civil Defence Corps. According to the results of the primary as announced by the returning officer of each of the 16 council areas, Fayemi polled total votes of 192,767. Political observers commended the party for subjecting Fayemi to the rigour of primary despite the fact that he was the sole aspirant. They described the party’s act a worthy model to consolidate the democratic culture in the country. As for the Labour Party candidate, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, his defection and imposition did not go down well with the party members in Ekiti. Some of the old members left the party in protest against what they described as imposition of an “outsider” on the members that have laboured over the years to build the party in Ekiti State. Nevertheless, the LP national leadership ensured that Bamidele emerged as the sole candidate. The National Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, announced that at the close of the submission for the nomination forms, the party’s records showed that it was only Bamidele who had not only collected the form, but had also submitted same in line with the party’s con-
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
2014...Ekiti 2014... Ekiti 2014... Ekiti 2014...Ekiti 2014...Ekiti 2014...
front runners stand the smoke of last Saturday Fayemi is also expected to enjoy homeboy advantage in Oye Local Government. He is from Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government. Besides, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ganiyu Owolabi, and the Director-General of Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Hon. Bimbo Daramola, who are also from the area, are also to lead the onslaught to secure votes for the APC. Another local government area where APC is expected to maintain its dominance is Ekiti West, with headquarters
in Aramoko. Aramoko has been an APC dominated town, but the popularity of Bamidele in Ekiti Central Senatorial District may affect APC’s dominance in the town. In the same vein, the presence of political heavy weights like Senator Clement Awoyelu, Akin Osuntokun, Tope Ademiluyi and Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi of the PDP would also be a strong challenge for the APC. Similarly, Ijero, Ilejemeje and Moba local governments are APC strongholds. But the presence of the former Police Af-
fairs Minister, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade, in Ijero may likely boost the chances of the PDP and give the ruling party a big challenge in the area. Like neighbouring Oye, the fact that the incumbent governor hails from Ilejemeje would work in favour of the APC. According to observers, the PDP may find it difficult making any head way in the local government because of the sentiment that the governor is from Ekiti North Senatorial District. Since the advent of the current political dispensation, Moba has always voted for the party of progressives. In the 2007 general elections, it produced Saliu Adeoti, the late deputy speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly and he was a big ally of Governor Fayemi. There are no indications that the local government area would vote differently this time around. On its part, Ido/Osi Local Governent had always been a PDP stronghold since the return of civilian rule in 1999. But the recent defection of former Governor Segun Oni appears to have altered the political calculation of this local government. Even in 1999, when the Alliance for Democracy (AD) dominated the political arena in the entire South West, including Ekiti State, the PDP still produced the representative of the local government in the House of Assembly in the person of Lanre Fayemi from Ifaki-Ekiti. Today, the only member of the PDP in the House of Assembly, Mrs. Oriniowo Olubunmi Anike, is equally from Ido/Osi. But with the defection of Oni and others like Senator Olu Adetunmbi, Senator Femi Aborishade and Babatunde Odetola, APC is poised to turn the table.
Road to June 21 stitution. Bamidele, a member of the House of Representatives, defected from APC to emerge as LP governorship candidate. His decision to contest against his former party bemused many as he was a very close aide of former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for eight years and as well served as commissioner under Governor Babatunde Fashola. Tinubu, a prominent leader of the APC , tried to settle the rift between Bamidele and Governor Fayemi to no avail. Campaigns hallmarked by violence Of the 18 parties contesting for the governorship seat, only three seem to have political structure to realise the ambition
of their candidates. That explains why only three candidates, Fayemi, Fayose and Bamidele were visible throughout the electioneering campaigns. They dominated the political space in the last three months. They have used all available means, public rallies, electronic media and the press to present their programmes to the electorate. The decibel of accusations and counteraccusations of violence, threats and intimidations have become almost deafening since official campaigns commenced. There had never been a lull in clashes among the various opposing political interests in the state. Ekiti State Police Commissioner, Felix Uyanna, said a lot of violent attacks had been recorded since
The significance of the Ekiti governorship election is not lost to the political watchers. Judging from the overwhelming power of governors in Nigeria, analysts have argued that the elections in Ekiti and neighbouring Osun State are tests of what will become of next year’s presidential election
the campaigns began on March 23, adding that many suspects had been charged to court. Historically, elections in the state have been marred by violence, intimidations and long-drawn legal tussles. The violence climaxed with the police attack on Governor Fayemi and the APC supporters on June 8 during a rally in AdoEkiti. Eye witnesses said hell broke loose after men of the mobile police unit shot tear gas canisters and live ammunition into the crowd. APC supporter, Taiwo Akinola, died after he was shot in the head. A MOPOL commander ordered some of his officers to dislodge Governor Fayemi’s security aides and threatened to arrest the governor. The APC claimed that attack on the governor was unprovoked and was orchestrated by the opposition PDP. In fact, Governor Fayemi said the attack could be an attempt to assassinate him. Suspected PDP thugs on April 21 attacked members of the APC in EgbeEkiti, Gbonyin Local Government during Fayose’s campaign visit to the community. Several buildings, vehicles and motor cycles belonging to APC supporters were vandalised by the political thugs. Similarly, Fayose had also complained of intimidation and threats against his supporters. Meanwhile, four persons
In Gboyin Local Government Area, the onslaught of the APC will be led by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adewale Omirin; member, House of Representatives, Bamidele Faparuyi; Paul Omotosho and Paul Abegunde. With the sour relations between Fayose and former Senator Gbenga Aluko, who holds the ace for the PDP in the area, the ruling APC may win Gboyin this time around. Aluko has kept a distance and has kept many people guessing about who he is backing in this crucial election. Aluko won a seat into the Senate in 1999 when the whole of South West was dominated by the AD. He was then the only PDP senator in the region.
Fayose It was foreseen that the ruling party at the centre was working towards a Fayose candidacy. For reasons best known to the PDP authorities, the party believes its interest in today’s election would be best served by the former governor. In spite of what anybody might say about Peter Ayodele Fayose, his emergence as the PDP flagbearer in today’s election generated discussions in every part of the state, including the market places, offices and relaxation spots. Fayose, who grew up in Ibadan, enjoys the reputation of being a crowd mover with a grassroots support, especially the youth population. But many observers within and outside think that the situation is different today for Fayose and the PDP. The problem within the South West PDP is likely to affect the fortunes of the party in this election. The irony is that it is one of the factors that led to the ascendency of the Continued on page 16 have been arraigned before an AdoEkiti Magistrate’s Court for alleged involvement in the attack on the campaign office of Fayose. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to a fourcount charge, which included attempted murder. The LP candidate, Bamidele, had at a time suspended his campaign in protest against the alleged incessant attacks on his supporters, which he claimed, led to some of them being killed and their property destroyed. The significance of the Ekiti governorship election is not lost to the political watchers. Judging from the overwhelming power of governors in Nigeria, analysts have argued that the elections in Ekiti and neighbouring Osun State are tests of what will become of next year’s presidential election. A close look at the support base of the PDP and the APC shows that the outcome of next year’s election in the South West may well decide the overall outcome of the presidential election. The APC controls the whole of South West except Ondo State. The PDP desperately needs to shore up its support base in the region if it intends to remain in power. To buttress how important the election is to the presidency, Vice President Namadi Sambo, last April, took a break from his lukewarm attitude to political issues and declared that the PDP will be going to war in Ekiti and Osun to reclaim what he termed the party’s stronghold. But the APC leadership has consistently warned against rigging.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
How the candidates stand
•Scene of another campaign violence
Continued from page 15 PDP in the South West region in 2003 that is currently working against it: the Obasanjo factor. The party is hopelessly disunited in Ekiti and elsewhere in the South West because followers of former President Olusegun Obasanjo have been sidelined and it may no longer be able to muster the kind of support it needs to give the incumbent administration of Governor Fayemi a serious challenge. Many PDP stakeholders in Ekiti decried the purported primaries that threw up Fayose as the party’s flag bearer. According PDP insiders, the party had screened and cleared 14 aspirants for the governorship contest. But on the D-day, only Fayose contested the primary election, as the 13 other aspirants boycotted it. Apart from the 13 aspirants, who shunned the exercise, other key stakeholders of the PDP in Ekiti State did not participate in it. Indeed, the public perception of the personality of Fayose in certain quarters is likely to work against his candidacy in this election. Fayose was impeached eight years ago under controversial circumstances. Till date, allegations of corruption are still hanging over his neck. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Monday that Fayose is still on trial for corruption. The EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, added, however, that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is competent to say whether he is qualified to stand as a candidate in the present election. His words: “Fayose, for your information, is still standing trial on corruption charges before the Federal High Court. That case has been on since 2007. Based
Fayose, who grew up in Ibadan, enjoys the reputation of being a crowd mover with a grassroots support, especially the youth population. But many observers within and outside think that the situation is different today for Fayose and the PDP
on Appeal Court’s decision, the matter was transferred to Ekiti State, where the crime was committed.” Nevertheless, Fayose has a considerable support in Ado-Ekiti. He claims to be the architect of modern Ekiti by constructing the first dual carriageway in the capital city and thereby laid the foundation that successive administrations have built upon. According to observers of Ekiti politics, Fayose is certainly not a push over in Ado-Ekiti. Ikere, which is less than 10 kilometers to Ado-Ekiti, is another town where Fayose is likely to do well. The town has the second largest concentration of voters, which explains why all the three major parties organised several mega rallies in the town. This one-town local government is the home of PDP big wigs such as former governorship aspirant, Chief Bisi Omoyemi; a former member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Dayo Okondo; Chief Bisi Aloba; and the running mate to Fayose, Dr Olusola Olubumi Eleka. However, the recent defection of the former deputy governor of the state, Mr Abiodun Aluko, to the APC is a big minus for the PDP. The former governor equally has a good chance in Ise-Orun and Ikole Local Governments. Ise-Orun is the home of PDP leaders such as, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Bimbo Owolabi, Ropo Ogunbolude, Owoseni Ajayi, Dare Omotosho, Chief Afolabi Ojuawo and former member of the House of Representatives, Titilayo Akindahunsi, among others. APC’s presence in the area is dwarfed by the influence the PDP bigwigs. The influence of the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Tayo Ekundayo, may not affect the PDP dominance, particularly since Adeyeye has been nominated by President
Based on his performance and the influence of his party, Fayemi is popular in the 16 local government areas across the state. In the state capital, Ado Ekiti, which has the largest number of voters, for instance, he has endeared himself to the residents of the city
Under different circumstances, MOB might have been able to make an appreciable impact with the passionate appeal he made during the campaign for this election, but...
Jonathan for ministerial appointment. Adeyeye is not just a prince of the town, but a political leader loved by his people. In Ikole, on the other hand, there is a glimmer of hope for the PDP flagbearer. Former acting South-West vice chairman of the PDP, Chief Ishola Filani and the current state chairman of the PDP, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe are among other party top shots that will have influence on this election. But the PDP’s calculations in Ikole may not materialise. This is because the APC may have an edge in the local government because the people may want to repay Fayemi and his party for his support during the controversy over where to locate the federal university in the state. Arise, as a serving senator then, wanted the ‘varsity in his hometown of Oye-Ekiti, where the institution was eventually located. Fayemi preferred Ikole-Ekiti, which in the end, got two faculties located there. The prospect of the election in Gboyin is not certain. Ordinarily, the PDP candidate is not supposed to have problems in the local government, which parades party faithful like Senator Aluko; former acting governor Tunji Odeyemi; Chief Ropo Adesanya, among others. But the disagreement arising from the emergence of Fayose as the party’s flagbearer in the election is yet to be settled. Bamidele Bamidele, popularly known as MOB, is perhaps taking a shot at the Ekiti State governorship election to fulfill his ambition of governing the state. The political feud between MOB, who represents Ado-Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency in Ekiti State in the House of Representatives, and the leadership of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria,
ACN, now All Progressive Congress, APC, over the party’s ticket for this election was what led him to defect to the LP. The legal practitioner was a Lagos State Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development under the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Commissioner for Information & Strategy during the first term of Mr Babatunde Fasola’s administration. Under different circumstances, MOB might have been able to make an appreciable impact with the passionate appeal he made during the campaign for this election. The central theme of his campaign message is change. The LP flagbearer has expressed optimism of his very bright chances in the forthcoming election. He said his unionism background and political exposure spanning over two decades are his selling points regardless of the limited resources at his disposal. There are indications that some PDP supporters in Ekiti may vote for Bamidele in protest over the emergence of Fayose as the party’s flagbearer in today’s election. Indeed, some observers in Ekiti told The Nation that Bamidele’s popularity has been rising at the eve of this governorship election. But the reality is that it may not be enough to give him victory at the polls. Being a new party in Ekiti State, the LP does not have the machinery to win across the state. In Ado Ekiti, for instance, there is an appreciable support for Bamidele as many of the indigenes benefitted from his empowerment programmes as their representative in the National Assembly. Besides, the influence of Chief Remi Oguntuase will also boost the chances of LP in the state capital. Two local governments where Bamidele is sure to receive massive support is Efon and Emure. Barring any last minute change of political calculation, Efon, which is a stronghold of the LP, would back Bamidele. Nevertheless, the APC and the PDP have a big following in some major towns in the council. The APC particularly would garner substantial votes in this local government. All told, the LP is expected to perform well judging by the popularity of Bamidele in Ekiti Central Senatorial District. In Emure, the alleged killing of the 33year-old Foluso Ogundare, a supporter of Bamidele, in controversial circumstances may negatively affected the fortune of the ruling party in the local government area. When Ogundare was buried, Bamidele led the funeral procession. The town is still in a mourning mood and the LP has worked on the emotions to win sympathy. But it remains to be seen whether the LP strategy would work because sentiments and emotions do not always win elections. However, the elections would be keenly contested in Irepodun-Ifelodun Local Government Area. Fayose, Bamidele and former Governor Otunba Niyi Adebayo are believed to be influential in this council. Adebayo and Bamidele hail from Iyin-Ekiti, while Fayose is from Afao-Ekiti. The margin for any party that wins might be inconsequential as there are other political heavy weights in the council that will certainly deliver their wards and towns to their parties. For instance, APC chieftains in the council include Taiwo Olatunbosun, Mrs Eniola Bello, Mojeed Jamiu and his brother, Hakeem from Igbimo, Churchill Adedipe, Ayodeji Odu and Deji Adesokan. The likes of Elder Peter Ajayi, Ms Bola Olatunde Bruce and Martins Ibikunle might boost the chances of the LP. At the end of the day, it is up to the people of Ekiti.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
‘Our bond with GAMBLING’ Story on pages 18&47
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
‘Why we’re addicted to lottery’
My brother, let me tell you, this game is real. I did not believe that it was real when I started playing. But after my friend won N1.2 million and I also tried my luck and won, I realised that they (lottery companies) are not fake
HEY gathered with high expectations on their faces. Their attention was focused on the result board. And with the pens and papers in their hands, you could take them for examination candidates whose results had just been released. Upon closer look, however, you would find that most of them had passed the age of university admission seekers. Rather, they are gamblers in perpetual search for fortuitous fortune. They are ardent patronisers of lottery, the uncertain source of fortune to which millions of Nigerians have turned their attention. In a nation where poverty is as cheap as air, lottery has become something of a fad. In every street you turn and every corner you visit, you are confronted with the sight of an army of fortune seekers surrounding a little red machine upon which they hinge their hope of a breakthrough. So common have such scenes become that some observers have christened them wealth acquisition centres while those who patronise them are called students. One of such ‘students’ is Chucks, who for more than five years has made it a habit to try his luck at winning some cash from one of the lottery companies. He said he had won some cash several times, with the sum of N480, 000 his biggest winning so far. A ‘hustler’ at the popular Ladipo
auto spare parts market in Lagos, he said he first learnt about lottery when his friend and fellow hustler won the sum of N1.2 million. “My friend once won a sum of N1.2 million. Before he won the money, we were all hustling at the market here together. But now he drives a car and lives in a flat,” Chucks said. With his friend’s example, Chucks needed no further convincing to try his luck with the lotto outfit. He played his first game with the sum of N2,000 and less than five hours later, the result showed that he had won the sum of N480, 000. Since then, he has not stopped patronizing the outfit on a regular basis. He said: “My brother, let me tell you, this game is real. I did not believe that it was real when I started playing. But after my friend won N1.2 million and I also tried my luck and won, I realised that they (lottery companies) are not fake.” Chucks is not alone in his belief. Ademola Taiwo is a driver in his late 50s. He said besides driving his cab round the streets of Lagos, he has also made some money from playing lotto. He was even surprised when he was asked if he plays the game. “You are asking me if I play Baba Ijebu (lottery). Of course, I play it,” he retorted with a look that suggested that the reporter ought to know without asking. “Only yesterday, I won N4, 800 with N20 to nap five figures and I won,” he added.
To him, the lotto game has provided an avenue for people to free themselves from the shackles of poverty, because he once won the sum of N100, 000. Taiwo said: “I have won several times in the past. But my biggest win so far is N100, 000. I played ‘two sure’ on the day and I was lucky to win. Let me explain how it works: if you play the ‘two sure’ with the sum of N200, you will win the sum of N48,000.” He said he was not unaware of the possibility of getting addicted to the game. “You cannot afford to play it all the time,” he said. “You must first check what you have in your pocket before going ahead to play lotto. If you don’t control yourself, you will run into debt because you cannot win every day. “I play the game whenever I feel like playing. You know that people like us cannot afford to put big money. But the little that we play with has been giving us good results. For me, I have won small amount of money many times, and this is because I don’t stake big money. But the truth is that Baba Ijebu has given some people the opportunity to free themselves from poverty.” Taiwo believes in the saying that insane people are capable of predicting winning numbers. “It is not impossible for someone to win with a number supplied by a mad man. People get numbers from various sources. For instance, you may be
walking on the road and you suddenly see a number on a car or on anything. If it strikes you to use the number, you may win. “I have won by using the number on my car. We can sit down and forecast which numbers we think would win. So there are many ways of getting the numbers to play the game.” Taiwo, who said he was already above 60, recalled that he once won the sum of N50, 000 by staking N700. But he said he was conscious of the risk of investing too much of his hard-earned income in lottery, even though he believes that the N50,000 win was big enough to make him to continue trying his luck from time to time. “I am a driver. I don’t play it all the time because I know that you cannot win all the time. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t win. That is the reason it is called a lottery,’’ he said. For Uche, a young auto parts dealer at Ladipo Market in Lagos, lottery holds a lot of attraction. For his age, you would be surprised at what the attraction with lottery is for him. He told one of our correspondents that he believes in the game a lot and had been involved in it for a few years. He said he went into it after seeing some of his close pals winning huge sums of money. “I believe in the game very much,” he said. “I play it because I like it a lot. I cannot count how many times I have won. I once won
N240, 000 after playing the game with N1000,” he said. Asked how he sources the numbers he plays with, he said: “These numbers have keys. If the keys set, then you will win. There are some games you can compare the figures, if you try your luck.” Uche believes his jackpot is on the way. To achieve this, he said, he has been trying his luck with the ‘three direct’, which he says is the biggest of all the stakes. “I have tried three direct, but I have not won. There is a guy here who played it and won close to N2 million. I am sure that I will win the three direct one day,” he said. Kazeem Salami is another loyal believer in lottery. He sought refuge in the game when he realised that help was not forthcoming from anyone around him. And he said he had had no cause to regret his action. He said: “Baba Ijebu (lottery) helps a lot. Sometimes you win when you don’t even expect it, and most times, the win comes when you are in dire need of cash. I can tell you that most of us who play it don’t regret because we win when we need money. “Whenever a game sets and you have the key, you will win. And if you win, you will surely get your money. Baba Ijebu has never disappointed me. I have received all the money that I have won.” Asked how a winning number is arrived at, he said: “It requires a lot of experience to set a winning num-
•Scoreboard ber. Sometimes we go to the board and compare the old numbers. You can tell if you would win by looking at a number that had been used in the past, compare it with whatever number you have and then make up your mind.” Experience, he said, had helped him to win many times. “I have won N100, 000 or N60, 000 many times in the past,” he said. On his part, Salami, an auto mechanic, says the best approach to the business is not to hope of winning, so that it comes as a pleasant surprise if you do. He said: “You cannot rely on Baba Ijebu. If you win, it is your luck. But if you put your hope on it, you may be utterly disappointed. So, what I do is to play and devote my time to other things. That way, I don’t get myself disturbed unnecessarily.” Shina Adeola, an agent of Premier Lotto, says the game is played every day by those who are interested in it. He said they can ask the agents to forecast a winning number for them or come up with their own numbers. Throwing more light into how the game is played, Adeola said: “It is played three times in a day. The first game is played between 7 am and 10 am. While the result for that is awaited till about 11 am, another game starts at about midday and end around 3 pm. The third session takes place between 4 pm and 6 pm. “The evening game is called the Ghana game. It is so called because
PHOTOS: DIMEJI SALAM
the result is decided in Ghana. What happens is that after the lottery is done, the result would be forwarded to Nigeria. Everything is done in the public, and it is seen by several witnesses. Many believe that pool betting is done with the forecast of the results of matches in organised football leagues across the world, Adeola said that forecasting in the Premier Lotto does not make use of football leagues. “Each of the agents can forecast for the people who play with them. For instance, I can forecast what I feel would be the winning number, and those who play the game at my point may decide to go with whatever forecast I have. They may also decide to come up with their own forecasts. “A man once won quite a huge sum of money. I cannot really remember how much, but it was in millions. The man played with N15,000, and played both direct and napping. “You can either nap or play direct. The direct one is the most lucrative. It consists of three numbers. If you get the three numbers correctly, you would win a huge sum, depending on how much money you used in playing the game. “If you play direct with N500, you’ll win N1.2 million. On the other hand, if a player pams with the same N500, he will win only get N120, 000. So, the direct game is more lucrative.”
•Lottery players checking results
You cannot rely on Baba Ijebu. If you win, it is your luck. But if you put your hope on it, you may be utterly disappointed. So, what I do is to play and devote my time to other things. That way, I don’t get myself disturbed unnecessarily
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
CRIME & OTHER STORIES Suspected four-man robbery gang arrested for theft of IGP’s friend’s car
Vigilance group arrests Ogun monarch’s son, O friend, for allegedly kidnapping one-yr-old •The parent’s with baby
n Okungbowa AIWERIE n
dent vehicle and towed it to Kaduna where the gang was arrested by the police. According to him, he turned to crime after the He denied involvement in other car snatching operations, adding that the High Lander SUV and the Delta State Government destroyed his mechanic Toyota Corolla were the only cars the gang had workshop during the recent demolition of illegal structures in Warri. stolen. His words: “Really, I am a mechanic in Warri. Na Another gang member who claimed to be a mechanic, admitted to being the driver of cars stolen by the state government scatter my workshop. Na dat n Kunle AKINRINADE n thing make me start to steal.” the gang. Another suspected member of the gang, ChristoHe said he was involved in an accident in the OR allegedly taking his appetite for sex too snatched Toyota Corolla car while heading to pher Ode, who claimed to be a musician, said the far, Avoseh Satingo, 19, has been arraigned Kaduna in a bid to sell the vehicle to a buyer simply four armed robbers were friends. He regretted his before a Yaba Magistrate’s Court for raping involvement in crime. called Alhaji. his 80-year-old grandmother. He said the buyer insisted on retrieving the acciThe accused was said to have sneaked into his grandmother’s apartment at Agbovipe village, Badagry, Lagos State on February 17, 2014 and forcibly slept with her. The distraught woman, who is said to be visionimpaired, raised the alarm which attracted neighbours who promptly apprehended him and reported the matter to the police. The prosecuting police officer, Mr Godwin Anyanwun, told the court that the accused committed the offence at about 1pm on the day of the incident, adding that the offence was contrary to sections 258 and 259 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State (2011). Avoseh, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The magistrate, Mrs Yewande Aje-Afunwa, or•Oke Ese, (far right) the leader of the four man gang dered that the accused be remanded in prison custody pending the availability of official advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Kwara police parade alleged fake medical doctor
•The suspects with baby
ANRE, a 37-year-old son of a traditional ruler in Odeda Local Government Area, Ogun State, and his friend, Funso, have been arrested by the Ogun State Vigilante Services for allegedly kidnapping a one-year-old. The suspects were said to have visited the community on May 17, 2014 and were warmly received by the villagers because the monarch’s son had not visited the community in a long time. They were said to have come all the way from Omi Adio, Ibadan, Oyo State, where they worked as commercial drivers, to carry out their mission. They allegedly sneaked into the home of a couple at midnight and seized the child, Olabisi. The suspects allegedly kept the baby in the bush and went into hiding. The mother of the child was said to have immediately raised the alarm which attracted other villagers, following which the outraged villagers stormed the residence of the
KE Ese, suspected leader of a four-man robbery gang which specialises in car snatching, has said that his failure to make it as a professional footballer lured him into crime. The 20-year-old robbery suspect said he was a member of J.B Strikers Football Club, Warri but chose crime because he was not making enough money from football. He said he tried his hands as a mechanic and later as a motor park tout in Ekpan, Uwvie L.G.A, but soon formed a robbery gang. Parading the suspects in Asaba, Delta State capital, DSP Charles Muka said the police, acting on a tip off, arrested four hoodlums who had snatched a High Lander SUV with registration number KJA 696 CD and a Toyota Corolla car with registration number FKJ 822 CL, adding that both cars were recovered in Kaduna State. Muka described the gang as hardened criminals who had also snatched a car belonging to a friend of the incumbent Inspector General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar, in Abuja last year. He said the gang was arrested after the cell phone of the victim was traced to a girl in Warri, Delta State. He said the gang was freed by the courts. According to Ese, after completing his first school leaving certificate, he joined a football club but later dumped football and teamed up with an armed robbery gang. On how the gang carried out its operations, Ese said the gang would block a vehicle they wished to steal with their own car and, at gunpoint, dispossess the car owner and drive off.
n Adekunle JIMOH n n Kunle AKINRINADE n monarch, demanding the whereabouts of the suspects. The monarch (name withheld) was said to have asked the villagers to fish out his son and his friend. The missing child was allegedly recovered after the suspects were arrested at their hideout by members of the local vigilance group while they were subsequently handed over to men of the Odeda Police Station, Abeokuta. Meanwhile, some residents fear that the suspects might have been released from police custody. A resident who asked not to be named said: “Unconfirmed reports indicate that the suspects may have been freed by the police after they were granted bail. This is disturbing in view of the fact that the suspects might evade justice forever.” The deputy spokesman of Ogun State Police Command, Mr Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a telephone conversation, said: ”
The suspects were almost lynched when they were rescued by men of the Odeda Police Division. While they were detained at the station, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) invited the couple who claimed that their child was stolen to come to the station in order to confirm the veracity of the story, but they refused to show up. “The police also invited some of the villagers for their statement but nobody obliged us. Besides, it was discovered that one of the suspects was without a sound mind. “You will recall that there have been an increase in cases of jungle justice arising from false kidnap alarm by misguided members of the public, and that is exactly what the Ogun police command will not tolerate. “The suspects were released from police custody because there was nothing to prove against them since they were rescued while being lynched and there was no evidence to strengthen the fact that they were kidnappers.”
HE Kwara State Police Command has paraded a former student of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) for allegedly posing as a medical doctor. The fake medical doctor, whose name was given as Adams Ayeh, was a 400 level medical student of the university before he was expelled a few years ago. The suspect was arrested at the premises of the State Civil Service Clinic, Ilorin, while allegedly canvassing for patronage. However, Mr. Ayeh blamed the devil for his ordeal, alleging temptation for going about with stethoscope even though he is not a qualified medical doctor. Parading the suspect at the State Police Command headquarters, the Commissioner of Police, Ambrose Aisabor, said that “the fake medical doctor had been on the wanted list of the police command for multiple medical offences.” Items found with him included a stethoscope, needles, syringes, two bottles of chloroquin injection, cotton wool and assorted medical textbooks. Mr. Aisabor said “on interrogation, the suspect confessed to the crime, adding that he was a rusticated medical student of UNIMAID. He will soon appear in court.”
Court remands 29-yr-old murder suspect in prison n Rukayat JIMOH n 29-year-old mechanic, Olayinka Ogunsola, who is standing trial at the Ebute Metta Magistrate’s Court over the killing of a 62-year–old man, Saliu Salako. The accused was said to have beaten Salako to death following a disagreement over electricity cable at their residence at No 56, Clem Road, Ijaiye –Ojokoro, Lagos State. Salako was said to have been rushed to a hospital after he was beaten by Olayinka, while the case was reported at the Ojokoro Police Division. He was said to have died from the injuries he sustained from the brutality. The magistrate, Mr. Y.J Badejo, granted the prayer of the police prosecutor, Inspector Osuji Cyracus, for the remand of the defendant in prison custody pending legal advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). The case has been adjourned to July 21, 2014.
Abia NSCDC arrests six suspected pipeline vandals, impounds trucks EN of the Abia State Command of the Nigeria people to engage in the business of n Ugochukwu UGOJI-EKE n Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) petroleum products adulteration. have arrested six suspected petroleum pipeline vandals and two trucks So many vehicles have been lost to such products by unsuspecting vehicle ownladen with adulterated petroleum products. ers. Therefore, my command will not tolerate the activities of pipeline vandals While parading the suspects in Umuahia, the new commandant of the NSCDC, and anyone caught in the act would be made to face the law. Mr Andy Dateer explained that his men had intercepted the two tankers carrying “I also want to advise those operating baby factory and child traffickers to find the adulterated petroleum products along the Aba axis of the Enugu-Port Har- another place to operate, because we shall make Abia State unsafe for them to opcourt Expressway. erate.” Dateer said: “While carrying out a search on the tankers, we found six drums of adulterated diesel which made us to arrest the suspects.” Dateer said “it remains a puzzle how drums loaded with adulterated petroleum products were tucked inside the tanker.” He gave the names of the suspects as Musa Ibrahim, Ibrahim Gabrilla; Idris Gabrilla and Dauda Umaru. The second truck (with registration number XB 445 NSK), loaded with 7,000 litres of adulterated diesel, was arrested at Ubakala in Umuahia South Local Government Area while returning from Enugu. The commandant gave the names of those arrested as Ngwuoke Sunday and Eze Chukwujekwu. Speaking with The Nation, Ngwuoke, the truck’s driver, said he was hired by a company (name withheld), to convey the products to Umuahia before he was arrested, adding that he had informed the company that hired him. Dateer said that his men had been placed on alert to arrest unscrupulous elements, especially pipeline vandals and child traffickers. “It is a bad thing for some •The suspects
Police arraigns 19-yr-old for raping 80-yr-old grandmother
Tragic sex lands woman in court n Rukayat JIMOH n
28-year-old woman, Joy Godspower, has been arraigned before an Ebute Metta Magistrate’s Court for alleged complicity in the death of one Dipo Omobolanle,32, during sexual intercourse. Joy was accused of kicking the late Dipo while they were making love together at No 1 Oluwole Street, Cele, Lagos, leading to the death of Dipo shortly after the sexual intercourse. The two lovers were said to have met at an undisclosed hotel before launching into the affair that cost Dipo his life. It was in the course of investigation that she was arrested and arraigned before the court for murder. Her plea was not taken. The plea of the police prosecutor, Inspector Nwosu George, that the accused be remanded in prison pending legal advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was granted by the presiding Magistrate, Abolarinwa Olatunbosun.
Speaking with reporters, the suspect said: “The police arrested me at the state Civil Service Clinic that I was parading myself as a medical doctor. I have never done that. Even the godly people among the staff there will testify that I have neither treated nor checked anybody there. “I was always there with my wife. But because they saw a stethoscope on me, they arrested me. I acquired the stethoscope while I was still a student at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Borno State. “I was expelled by the UNIMAID when I was in 400 level. I bought these injections they found in my possession while I was ill. I am always with the stethoscope as medical students from 300 levels are entitled to use it. Ask any qualified medical doctor and he will testify to this. I was arrested within the clinic’s premises with the stethoscope. I don’t go about with it but on that day I was tempted to use it.”
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Juju music maestro turned preacher, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, was recently appointed a professor emeritus at the Olabisi Onabanjo University. He told PAUL UKPABIO and OLASUMBO OTAGBO what is expected of him on account of the appointment. He also speaks about the secrets behind his evergreen songs and how he has coped with life without his late wife. OU have just been appointed a visiting artiste and professor emeritus in the Department of English and Performing Arts at the Olabisi O n a b a n j o University. How do you feel about it? I feel happy about it. As a child of God, I believe that all honour comes from God. You know, I have been into music since I was born. If we should trace it, it means for the 72 years that I have been on this planet, music has taken a larger part of it. So, it is not a surprise to me because I know that God has made me a successful musician. That is why I have been been on the scene for over 50 years; known and recognised as a music star worldwide. This is another honour added by God. What are you expected to be doing as an emeritus professor? Before now, a lot of students of higher institutions have written their thesis on Ebenezer Obey. Now I'm going to lecture, to teach them about my music so that people will have easy access to knowing more about the technical knowhow involved in putting my music together. We will deal with the nitty-gritty of Obey’s music. Even generations yet unborn will meet the legacy and will be able to study Obey. That's going to be a legacy. Can you tell us about Obeys music? Obey’s music is unique. It is not an ordinary kind of music. Before one can become a household name and keep the acceptance for decades like I have been able to do, there must be a secret. Many may not know that there is something that makes a lover of music to continue to buy your record, including the ones that were released even before the technology we have today. To become relevant, there must be something about this Obey's music. That is why I said it is not an ordinary music. Ebenezer Obey’s music is not just music, it combines good music with good melody; meaningful lyrics that teaches wisdom, morality and things that can teach the older generation, this generation and the coming generation. Take for instance the lyrics that says iwa ika ko pe ara mi, ye ma danwo. Iwa ika ko pe ara mi, rara ko da. Rere a pe, ika a pe, ile ni o mo eni ti o te oun pe, and so on. It is a song that is melodious and good to the ears. The melody catches you and at the same time telling you that wickedness is not good. How do you compose your music to make it evergreen? It is the gift of God. Everybody on earth is on a mission to do something. When we don’t miss that particular thing that God has sent us to do here on earth, we will be able to deliver. Therefore, wherever God places us, we will shine as a star. So, it is the gift that God deposited in me. Secondly, I am sent not to come and sing just anything but to
teach something that will educate both the old and the young. That is how I compose. It is always something of importance to me. How do I go about this record that I want to release? That is the first question I always ask myself. How do I do it? What am I to sing about? The how and what is what gives me a title. It is then I say let me advise people on wickedness. When you are thoughtful in whatever you are doing, you just don’t dish out anything? It is like talking; some people talk but what they say would not make sense. Others would talk and you would say yes, what this person is saying makes
will hear and like to listen to; something that everyone can apply to himself or herself. For example, I want to sing something for daily use, like the song that says ‘A njade lo loni eledumare’. It says 'I have committed everything to the hands of God. I am going out today to seek what to eat, don’t let me be devoured by evil. I apply it to myself and everybody who plays it applies it to his or herself. You also praise sing, like in Board Members… Praise singing is part of juju music. But even in praise singing, you must know how to do it. If you don’t know how to do it, it won’t make sense to listeners. Board Members was meant to introduce the club, then I started taking them one by one. So, even in praise singing, you must know how to do it if not people won't like it. Your music shows a mastery of Yoruba language. Where did you get it from at that time? I grew up as a baby listening to my parents. My parents are from Abeokuta. My mother is an Owu. My father is from Egba Alake. But I grew up in Idogo, Yewa. We used to call it Egbado province in those days. It is nine miles from Ilaro. It is a railway terminus. During the colonial days, we had railway to ease transportation for both human and foodstuff, and Idogo was the end of the railway line. It gave people opportunity to bring their goods. I grew up there and started my elementary school there. It was there my mother started taking me to church in my early days. So, I grew up in church. I was influenced to m u s i c through the church choir. My mum said I used to crawl to disturb them during rehearsals. Since that time, all eyes were on me. I grew up to become a member of the choir and a member of my school band. I later became the band leader. That was how music started for me. Did you have any formal training in music? I didn’t study music. But when I discovered the talent, I taught myself percussion. Nobody taught me. The first band I joined was formed by the elders of Idogo called Ifelodun Mambo Orchestra. It led to Ontario Mambo orchestra. I was the youngest in both bands, but if they didn’t see me, things were never the same. So, it was my show actually. From there, people focused on me because my musical gift came out. Later on, the elders saw that it was my show and decided they didn’t want to go ahead. That led to the formation of my first band, Royal Mambo Orchestra, in 1955. After my secondary modern education, I told my parents I wanted to pursue my music career. They resisted, especially my mother, but I was bold to ask her why she didn’t want me to be a musician and she told me that musicians drink, smoke and live badly. I told my mum that I would go into music and be a good example. With that all of my mum’s fears vanished and, by the grace of God, I became a successful musician and I was able to fulfill all the promise I made to my mother. I became a good example many years before she went to be with the Lord. Who was your role model as a young musician? My role models in those days included Adeolu Akinsanya and his Real Lingo Orchestra. He released so many numbers and I saw him as a good composer. So, I started composing, writing my songs down. I moved closer to him and showed my compositions to him. He encouraged me that my songs were good. So, I took him as my role model. I played under Fatai Rolling Dollar. He was a very talented musician and he appreciated the gift in me. He was my friend who believed so much in me and I in him. Our friendship led to the formation of his band, Fatai Rolling Dollar and His Federal Rhythm Brothers Band. After that, I started my own band. The rest is history. Can you share some of the lessons you learnt growing up? Number one, my mum played a prominent role in
‘Questions I ask before I compose my songs’ sense. Those are the points. It is the how that makes me determine the title. Then what are the components? It is after doing these that I think of going to the studio. You now see how and what leads me to say let me bring out a prayerful number that people will be able to play in their homes before they leave for work or play it in their cars when they are going to work. When I think of that I think of something everyone
When you are thoughtful in whatever you are doing, you just don’t dish out anything. It is like talking; some people talk but what they say would not make sense. Others would talk and you would say yes, what this person is saying makes sense. Those are the points
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014 my life. We never lacked as children. My mum lived It is not an easy thing to experifor her children; she catered for everything we ence. We had been together needed. We are Christians but one of my uncles for a long time. She underwas a Muslim. We were only allowed to go to stood everything about his house during the Ileya festival, because me—my ways, the she didn’t want us to be enticed by other peothings I want and the ple’s food. things I don’t want, My mother would cook special food that which is one of the even if we went to my uncle’s place, we things that helped me always rushed back home because there in life. I didn’t have a was good food at home. Another one is wife that troubled me. that if we were going on the road and we I formed the policy saw money and picked it, on getting home, on how the house my mum would take us back to the place, should be. Most of saying that the owner might trace it back. the time, I'm not So, even when we saw money, we would around, so she implenot pick it. Those were good lessons that I mented every rule I learnt from my mum. laid down and that Did you make any mistake in the past? If made things so easy. yes, how were you able to correct it? When God called her, To be frank and sincere, nobody is perfect. it was difficult. But there But I know that I have committed my ways to is nothing too hard for the hands of the Lord and I am always guided. God to handle. The realI know how to say sorry when I know that I am ity is that she went the one at fault. I don’t like hurting peobefore me. One ple; to the extent that when I hurt day, I too will anybody, I will call that perg o . son to say that I'm sorry, it was not intentional. It helps me to have peace. I don’t like offending people. It would be in my mind. That always helps me to correct myself and apologise. With that and the fact that I have committed myself to God, He always directs my path. There are certain experiences that if you don’t go through, you won’t know how to take care. At times, mistakes give us stepping stone to •Obey higher heights. Once you do it and see the repercussion, you won't do it again. But frankly speaking, I give thanks to the Almighty, all my life, God has been taking care of me and directing me. The Holy Spirit comforts me. When Jesus was going, He said, ‘I will teach you all things.’ He didn't say 50 per cent; he said all things. It depends on the personal relationship we have with him. When we have the Holy Spirit as our partner, whatever happens, we will take it back to Him and He will tell us how to handle it. I thank God that most of the things I do, I do them by the Holy Spirit. You started with contemporary music and switched to gospel. How was it for you? What happened is that music is my career but gospel is my ministry. It is the ministry of God that God called me into. I only use music as a medium of spreading the gospel. That is why I am an evangelist. I spread the word of God. I use music as a way of reaching out to people and you know people like music. So, it prepares them to listen. Which of your music ministers to you most? All my songs Apart from your own songs, which other musician's songs do you listen to? I listen to all kinds of music When you listen to music these days, how do you Everyone feel? on earth will I appreciate the younger generation’s music. They go one day. I have taken the easy path in reaching their audience, have good children which is the way their generation can understand the. who know this. They react to them positively. What they sing is differOne of my children moved down with his whole ent from what we sang. When they started, I used to family just because of that. I see all my grandchildren laugh, because I always asked, ‘What is the meaning all the time. It helped me to carry on. of Ori e, o jabo sile, and they explained that it means How were you able to ward off women after the you are there. demise of your wife? Is any of your children following in your footsteps One cannot pretend that the advances are not there, careerwise? but it depends on how you react to such. I know I Yes. All my children have the gift of music in them. have my peace. I don’t have anything troubling my Tolu Obey sings juju music like me, and Pastor Lanre mind. I fear remarriage. I don’t know if it is possible Obey also has a good voice. to see who will understand me as my wife. So, the Which other way do you evangelise? fear is there. I'm a very peaceful person. I don’t like I have my own ministry, Evangelist Obey problems. I don’t want to enter into anything that will Evangelistic Ministry, and Decross is the gospel mis- give me problem. I still have my (engagement) ring sion arm of the ministry. We have Decross Gospel on my finger. Mission. We have a few branches and a headquarters. I went for a special appearance and two of my chilDo you still have the strength to go for ministra- dren were there with me. A very young and pretty tion? girl called my children and said I want to marry your I minister in my church and other places. father; I love him. Before my children could say anyWhat is the secret of your healthy looks? thing, their friends attacked the woman, saying you I have a gym, treadmill and other exercise equip- are a thief! Why do you want to marry Baba Obey? It ment. is his money that you want! The lady asked them to How has life been without Lady Evangelist let her speak to me. I said okay, I may want to listen Juliana Obey? to her. I am not promising anything; I just want to lis-
I went for a special appearance and two of my children were there with me. A very young and pretty girl called my children and said I want to marry your father; I love him. Before my children could say anything, their friends attacked the woman, saying you are a thief! Why do you want to marry Baba Obey? It is his money that you want!
ten maybe I will be able to diagnose what she is saying. I’m not desperate about marriage, though I can't say it is not possible. It's only God that orders the steps of man. How do you relax, apart from going out to minister? I love reading the Bible. That helps me a lot. The things I get from the bible are the things that give me direction and confidence in the lord. He is my all in all. Each time I read the Bible, I gain something. So, I love reading the Bible. It is through reading the Bible that the Holy Spirit helps us. I also like listening to music. How are you coping with all the ministrations and shows? Is it not too hectic for you? Do you still travel for shows? I still travel abroad. Before, I started special appearance, two weeks before, there were rumours that he is dead, he is lame, he can't walk. But by the time I started special appearance and people started seeing me, all the rumours died down. Even my health improved a lot. I thank God. Most of the people you sang their praises have gone. Do you still miss or remember them? There is no way one would not remember old acquaintances. But there is nothing you can do; just as I told you about my wife. As a matter of fact, I blame myself. Before my wife was called, I used to think that I would be the first to go and she would take care of the home. Only God knows who will go first. Do you still relate with your friends, like Sunny Ade? Yes, we relate. Having travelled far and wide, can you compare music in Nigeria with what obtains abroad? America, UK, Europe and even Asian countries have good music. We have good talents and I can say our musicians can stand anywhere. The only thing is the level of development. We are just catching up. We are not yet where they are, but we are catching up. What word do you have for the younger generation? I want to advise that people should move closer to God. Divine direction can only come from God. The younger people of these days are in haste; they want to have everything quickly. They need to calm down and understand life. We should show them a better way of life. Turning out graduates every year is not helping us. We have been deceived by the colonialists because they wanted us to learn their language. And they have taken our eyes away from something very important. In America, you have so many bricklayers, so many painters and carpenters, As a matter of fact, they are earning more than the white collar jobs. Our people are not looking into that area. We don’t have enough artisans. Graduates should go into it, and because they are educated, they will spend less time to master the art. People go all the way to the Republic of Benin to bring artisans. What is the essence of becoming a graduate and later an okada rider? Dangote placed an advert for drivers recently and several PhD holders applied. Yaba Tech started as Yaba Trade Centre. Let us have more trade centres. Let us have more artisans. Everybody wants to sit in an air-conditioned room. That is not the way.
The Travelport team, from left, Sharif Chowdhury, Timothy Goodman, Stella Otteskov, Rabih Saab (President and MD, African, Middle East and South Asia), ,Anis Ahmed and Peter Barry
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Troops kill terrorist commander on Jos-Bauchi Road –DHQ HE Defence Headquarters said yesterday that troops had killed a terrorist commander, identified as Mallam Hussaini, on the Jos-Bauchi road. The Defence Headquarters said in a statement on its website , defenceinfo.mil.ng, that the suspect was killed during a gun battle between his group and a military convoy. It said that the suspect was billed to launch an ttack on Jos before he was killed. The statement said that Hussaini and his gang attacked the military convoy,
which was on an operational patrol in the area, but the troops repelled the attack and captured their operational vehicles and some Improvised Explosive Devices, arms and ammunition. “The terrorists gang had attacked a military convoy while on an operational patrol between Jos and Bauchi. “At the end of the encounter, the Ford bus used by the terrorists was captured, eight primed Improvised Explosive Devices, rifles, pistols and about 70 rounds of ammunition,” it said.
Presbyterian Church kicks over church tax resolution •Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (left), former Minister of Defence, Erelu Obada, Prince Arthur Eze, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar (rtd), his wife, Hajiya Aisha Uwani Umar, and Dr. Obira Okonkwo, at the public presentation of a book, entitled the Pursuit of Providence, a biography of Air Marshal MD Umar, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo Abayomi Fayese
Jonathan’s Taraba campaign office attacked HE office of the National Youth Vanguard’s (NYV’S) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo was yesterday attacked and vandalized. The state Coordinator of the group, Stephen Ibrahim Agya, said he escaped death by the whiskers. When Saturday Nation visited the office, located along Jolly Nyame road, Jalingo, yesterday, the Suite II, where the coordinator occupies, was disorganized and the president’s billboard mutilated. Agya, who alleged “threat to his life and attempt to murder”, said the attackers came at about 12:42 a.m with
•Youth coordinator escapes death by a whisker Fanen IHYONGO, Jalingo guns, axes and cutlasses to kill him. “They came to kill me. I would have been killed if I slept in that room yesterday,” he told reporters. The coordinator said he slept in another room because aide to a top politician in the state had recently threatened his life. “He invited me, and after exchanging pleasantries, he said I was operating an illegal office. “I told him no, this is a national office with a branch here, and that my appointment is by the national coordinator. The office has nothing to do
with the state. He said I have a different agenda with his so he would deal with me. “He said the appropriate authority would deal with me. I told him not to threaten my life and I left straight and alerted the state security. “That same day I was attacked in the night by hoodlums I believe are working for him. So, he is the mastermind,” he said. “They were looking for me to kill. They said I should come out, when they was no response, they damaged the doors and windows and entered the office.”
HE Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has deplored the resolution of the National Conference in Abuja that religious bodies in the country should pay taxes on the ground that they are making a lot of money. In a communiqué issued at the end of its quarterly meeting held at Isiama Central Parish, Elu Ohafia, Abia State, the General Assembly Executive Committee of the Church (GAEC), described the recommendation as a negation of the spirit of Section 38 (1) of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees freedom of worship and protects Nigerians from any acts that could infringe the choice and practice of their faith. “Besides, it is a universal convention that donations to non-profit organizations are not subjected to taxes, more so, when the donors have already paid their taxes as citizens,” the church said, arguing that monies raised in churches and mosques are donations divinely inspired for God’s work including the upkeep and expansion of such religious bodies, and the execution of health, education and similar social programmes. The Church urged the National Conference and Nigerians generally to steer away from sensitive issues that could worsen the religious divide in the country and concentrate on matters that would enhance the peace and progress of the nation. It, however, commended the National Conference for calling for an end to the sponsorship of religious pilgrimages by government at all levels.
Emir Sanusi turbans new Wazirin Kano HE Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, yesterday turbaned Malam Sa’ad Shehu Gidado as the new Waziri of Kano. Gidado replaced Sheik Nasir Muhammad Nasir, whose appointment by the late emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, on June 6, was rejected by the State Government. Speaking at the ceremony in Kano, the emir charged the new Waziri to work diligently for the progress of Kano Emirate. He said the title was based on merit and urged him to discharge his duties with utmost fear of God. Sanusi implored him to justify the confidence reposed in him by providing meaningful advice, which would assist in ensuring justice and fairness to all. The Emir also called the appointee to cooperate with other council members to enable him discharge his duties effectively. Responding, the new Waziri, thanked the emir for giving him the opportunity to serve the emirate. He pledged to work with justice and fairness for the accelerated development of the emirate. He solicited the support and cooperation of all to enable him discharged his duties. Gidado as born in 1966 at Kurawa Quarters, Kano and attended Jarkasa Primary school from 1972 to 1978. He proceeded to Government Arabic Secondary School Gwale from 1980 to 1986.
APC ready to dislodge PDP from T Katsina, says party chair
he newly-elected chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Katsina State, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, yesterday declared that the party has resolved all the differences among the various interests that brought about infighting. Dr. Inuwa also promised that his leadership is determined to carry everybody along, and urged all aggrieved parties to bury the hatchet in order to move the party forward in the state. According to the party boss, APC is well-rooted in Katsina and ready to sack the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the Katsina State Government House in 2015.
n Kolade ADEYEMI, Katsina n “We have settled all our differences. It is normal even in a family setting that two brothers can disagree; but this time round, we have reached to the peak of understanding and we remain one united family. The APC in Katsina is now ready for the 2015 elections and our common goal is to capture the Government House,” he stated. Speaking to newsmen shortly after the party’s maiden executive meeting, Inuwa said there were three groups who contested the party’s recent election, adding that one group emerged victorious, “and we did not consider anyone as
a loser. Our victory is victory for all. "People were imagining that after election, the APC would be divided. But with the mercy of Allah, this did not happen. We have resolved that we shall work together and remain one indivisible family. We are now well prepared to confront the PDP, not only in 2015, but in August this year when there will be local government election in the state." According to him, “the seven million people in Katsina are yawning for change and deserve change. Change is what the APC stands for. Our people deserve a better leadership and the APC has all it takes to rescue Katsina people from the shackles of bad leadership.”
Bond for public good, says Benue HE Benue State government has refuted the allegation by a nongovernmental organization (NGO), Benue Non-governmental Organisation Network (BENGONET) that it has failed to account for the N13 billion bond floated by the state government in 2011. In a press statement issued by the government and signed by the Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on Media and Public Affairs, Dr Cletus Akwaya, the government said the fund obtained through the bond was used for the purpose for it was obtained. The statement read: “In order not to allow the falsehood churned out by BENGONET to settle in the minds of the some members of the public, the state government wishes to make
available the following facts: The Benue state government in 2011 floated a N13 billion bond at the Nigeria Stock Exchange for the purpose of using the proceeds to finance the provision of critical infrastructural projects in line with the development policy of Governor Suswam; the bond which had First Bank Plc as the Issuing house was approved by all regulatory bodies especially the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) after full compliance with the detailed guidelines relating to bond offers as enshrined in the extant laws, including approvals by the State House of Assembly and the state Executive Council respectively; key capital projects earmarked for part- funding from the bond include major road projects across the state,
the Benue state University teaching Hospital, New Makurdi International Market, the greater Makurdi water project and numerous other infrastructural projects including rural electrification in a number of communities.” The government said the need to apply for a second bond of N11billion was because of the strategic consideration to complete some of the very critical infrastructural projects for which execution had been slowed down due to paucity of funds but the completion of which will be in the overriding interest of the state. The statement said the Suswam government was determined to leave a lasting legacy behind as it quits the stage next year.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Catholic lawyers honour Obi HE Association of Catholic lawyers, Abuja Branch, has honoured the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, with the Thomas Moore Award for Visionary leadership. During the presentation of the award, the leader of the body, Barr. Innocent Eremionkhale, said the group decided to bestow the honour on the former governor because of his courage to return schools taken from the missionaries back to them. He said that everybody that visited Anambra State is proud of the schools in the state, whether owned by the Catholic or the Anglican Church. “Not just in terms of infrastructure, which has improved astronomically, but also in terms of output. We note with pride that Anambra State came first in the 2013 WAEC and NECO exams which are attributable to the return of schools to the churches and the continued funding of the schools,” he noted. He called on other governors to emulate Obi and return schools to their original owners. He also said that Obi set a wonderful example by buying over 30,000 computers and laptops for Anambra schools, providing them with libraries, sickbays, generators, internet and microsoft academies among others. Speaking during the award, Mr. Peter Obi said that it would spur him to greater achievements, adding that for Nigeria to make progress, Nigerians ought to ask themselves questions and examine their lives. On how he got the money for the restoration of education in the state, Obi said that with careful planning and cutting down cost of governance, the leaders will have enough money to do the basic things. John Cardinal Onayiakan also received an Award for Exemplary Conduct and promotion of peace in Nigeria. He was represented by the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Anselem Umoren.
Amosun, Osoba advised on Ogun APC crisis member of the Advisory Committee of the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) in Ado Odo/ Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, Alhaji Wasiu Dawodu, has advised the former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba and the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to sheath their sword and reconcile their differences over the party’s crisis rocking the party in the state. He advised the duo not to not allow intra-party differences to destroy the party, adding that this may affect the progress of the APC in the state. He said the two leaders should set good examples that other members would emulate. According to Alhaji Dawodu, the power tussle can be resolved amicably between the two leaders at both the state and national level. He charged other party leaders, especially the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Roquib Adeniji, use their good offices and intervene in the matter.
Kidnappers release 90-yrold Speaker's mother-in-law
•Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi (left) receiving the St. Thomas Moore a ward for Visionary Leadership from Ben Anachebe (SAN) on behalf of the Association of Catholic Lawyers, Abuja Branch, at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja...
•Security agents continue search for abducted commissioner’s mother n ODIEGWU, Yenagoa n
Arrest of 486 Boko Haram suspects:
Ex-Army chief Ihejirika warns North ORMER Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General, Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday warned against inflammatory statements from northern leaders over the recent arrest of 486 alleged Boko Haram suspects in Abia State. Ihejirika spoke at the public presentation of the biography of the 17th Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, in Abuja. The book entitled: "The Pursuit of Providence" was written by the Abuja Bureau Chief of The Guardian Newspapers, Mr. Madu Onourah. Ihejirika said rather than
n Sanni ONOGU, Abuja n speaking in manners that portray the country as divided, northern elders should assist the military to identify the insurgents among those arrested by the military. He said: "Referring to the contemporary situation, currently, we have some people of northern extraction arrested somewhere in my state by the military and other security agencies. "Let us not forget that not too long ago, we spoke in one voice that we are going to join hands to rid the nation of the menace of terrorism.
"One good way of doing this is for people from that same extraction to avail their services to the military and they will definitely help the military in sorting out the chaff from the wheat rather than speaking in a manner that tends to create the impression that this country is divided. "The truth is that ordinarily, you do not choose who to buy pepper from. If you want to eat in a restaurant you do not ask if the owner is a Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa, you just buy. "If a man is good he is good, irrespective of where he is coming from. I think all
we need in this country is development and progress. "We need peace and peace can only be possible the moment we, the elite, begin to mellow down on tribalism or statements that lead to violence, no matter how sweet and no matter how expedient politically to make such statements." The Chief Presenter of the book, Prince Arthur Eze, extolled the qualities of the celebrant. He said he met him when he served as the pilot to the Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar.
...Anxiety grips South East HE arrest of 486 suspected members of the Boko Haram group and the discovery of explosives inside a Winners’ Chapel in Owerri, Imo State, have continued to generate tension and fears across the southeast, as residents continue to express divergent opinions over a possible attack by the insurgents. Different groups and notable Igbo leaders have expressed their views on the arrest, with most warning that any such attack may warrant a reprisal. The apex Igbo cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said it was not comfortable with the arrest of the 486 suspected terrorists. The organization’s Deputy President, Chief Ogochukwu Onyema, cautioned that the arrest should not be politicized. His words: “As far as I am concerned, the arrest of 486 Northerners en route to Port Harcourt should not be politicised, or seen to be awkward. Every suspicious movement ought to be intercepted and duly investigated in the interest of our nation and each and every one of us residing therein. “We all know the state of insecurity in our country now; and security agents had been severally encouraged to be more up and doing in intercepting any suspicious
INETY-YEAR-OLD Mrs. Ogboro Orumo, the mother-in-law of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Kombowei Benson, yesterday regained her freedom, after spending more than 20 days with her abductors. Orumo was abducted by unknown gunmen at her residence in Seibiri compound, Korokorosei, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on Friday, May 30. The kidnappers had earlier demanded the sum of N40million as ransom to set her free. But Orumo was said to have been abandoned by her assailants at the Abua waterside in Rivers State. Security operatives were said to have identified her at 6.30am and brought her to Yenagoa, the state capital at about 9am. A statement by the Media Assistant to the Speaker, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, said the security operatives handed the nonagenarian over to the speaker. The statement said: "The Speaker, who announced the unconditional release of his mother-in-law at plenary, during Friday sitting of House, has expressed his gratitude to God for the safe and unconditional release of his mother-inlaw, by her captors. "He also used the occasion to show appreciation to the state governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, his colleagues in the House, security agencies, men of God, the media and the general public for their prayers and encouragement during the trying moments. Meanwhile, the police have continued to comb the creeks to locate the 78-yearold Patimi Akene, the mother of the state Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr. Furoebi Akene, who was kidnapped on Saturday.
Innocent DURU (Lagos) Okodili NDIDI, (Owerri), Chris OJI, (Enugu), Sunny NWANKWO, (Aba) and Nwanosike ONU, (Awka)
movement. “This does not mean that anybody arrested by security agents is guilty of the offence suspected. It is only investigations that will tell whether those arrested are guilty or not. Police, indeed has unfettered powers to arrest anybody compellable, on reasonable suspicion, he said. The Prof. Ben Nwabueze led Igbo Leaders of Thought also spoke on the security issue in the South East. The Deputy Secretary of the group, Evang. Elliot Uko, told our correspondent that: “As a wanted Boko Haram kingpin was identified amongst the arrested suspects in Umuahia, this new fact has upped the ante confirming that Nigeria is presently experiencing its most dangerous times since the civil war. Not even the June 12 crisis created such panic and “preparations” in the South East. “The most frightening danger of all is the fact of the possibility that both the Federal Government and the sponsors of Boko Haram might not realize the level of fear and preparations for any eventuality that has pervaded the entire eastern region since Owerri Church and Umuahia junction incidents.
“Should any explosion occur in the East with casualties, it will be impossible to hold down or control the avalanche of reprisals which naturally will also attract further reprisals up North, thereby confirming Late Muamar Ghadaffi as a prophet. “The 2015 prediction will become a reality and the refugee problem alone will destabilize the entire West African sub region. “A stitch in time saves nine, we plead with the backers of terror, to have a rethink on any plans to attack the East, as both the states government and elders of the zone cannot, no matter how hard they try, control the unpleasant reactions that would flow from the masses whose patience have been tried over and over by Boko Haram. “May the pent up anger boiling in the bowels of our people over the years not get to implosion point. We can only hope that these nightmarish stories of an impending attack in the East are not true.” Obigbo, a pan Igbo sociocultural cum political organization, warned that the South East is a no-go-area for the insurgents, saying “It is no longer in doubt that there is clear and present danger to
the lives and properties of Indigbo in Igbo land.” Speaking in Lagos, the national leader of the group, Chief Charles UgochukwuAhize, expressed concern over the infiltration of the Boko Haram into the South East. According to him, “Obigbo hereby sounds a clear note of warning to the Boko Haram insurgents, their financiers and backers that the South East region is a no go area for them. Ndigbo is not and will never be part of whatever cause they are fighting for. “The Igbo race has suffered enough marginalization, subjugation and injustice but these have not deterred Ndigbo from contributing immensely to the economic development and unity of this country. Any attack on Ndigbo on Igbo soil will be considered as crossing the Rubicon and a haram.” He warned that Ndigbo would not take it lightly with the group if they attack any part of the eastern part of the country. “We want to make it abundantly clear to the Boko Haram insurgents, some political elements, a few of the shameless Igbo politicians collaborating with them that if any life is lost on Igbo soil as a result of Boko Haram activities, there will be a reprisal of monumental proportions that the country will find difficult to contain.
Former NUJ president dies n Wale AJETUNMOBI n DAGENE Akwu, a former president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), is dead. Akwu, who led the union between 2006 and 2009, died yesterday after a brief illness. The union, in a statement by the National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, described the deceased as a remarkable journalist, who pursued professionalism in his lifetime. The statement read: “We regret the passing away of NdageneNdamele Akwu, the NUJ former president, who died yesterday after a brief illness. One of his remarkable achievements that will remain indelible in our hearts was the inauguration of Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) in 2007 in Abuja. As the sitting president of NUJ, he ensured a smooth congress, which left delegates from more than 38 African countries praising Nigeria.
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
EKITI GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION 2014
APC to Jonathan: Militarisation of election is illegal
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday described the militarisation of Ekiti State by the Federal Government ahead of today’s governorship poll and alleged intimidation of the people as madness, asking President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene immediately. The APC said that the PDP-led Federal Government has turned the state into a war zone in violation of the Electoral Law which not only precludes the deployment of troops for electoral duties but also the deployment of armed policemen. Addressing reporters in Lagos on the preparation for the election, the new National Chairman of APC, Chief John OdigieOyegun, said the militarisation of the state is a ploy by the PDP to win the election at all cost. He cited Thursday’s physical harassment of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State by soldiers in Akure while on his way to the APC grand rally ahead of today’s election. The soldiers claimed to be acting on ‘order from above’. He also alleged a plan to send a detachment of soldiers to the Ado-Ekiti Government House today to escort Governor Kayode Fayemi to the polling centre and thereafter put him in ‘virtual house arrest’. He said never before “has an election been held under such armed invasion! The truth is that security for any election does not have to be so invasive, except it is programmed to achieve one thing and one thing only: to intimidate voters!” Odigie-Oyegun called the attention of Nigerians and the international community to “the grave threat posed to our democracy and indeed the very survival of our nation by an increasingly-tyrannical federal government.” President Jonathan, he said, should “halt the impunity in Ekiti and not to plunge Nigeria into a political crisis.” He said: ”The final electioneering campaign of our candidate in the Ekiti election, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, provided the perfect setting for the Jonathan-led administration to bare its fangs with a series of arbitrariness and unconstitutional acts that threaten the very fabric of our democracy. “First, several APC governors were prevented from attending the rally. The helicopter that was to ferry Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State from Benin to Akure was denied permission to take off by the aviation authorities apparently acting on ‘’orders from above’. “Then while the plane bearing Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, was allowed to land at the Akure Airport, his convoy was stopped by soldiers at the border of Ondo and Ekiti states, and ordered to return to Akure by the leader of the troops, an army cap-
Musa ODOSHIMOKHE tain who said he was under orders not to allow him into Ado-Ekiti and threatened to shoot him if he defied his orders. “Governor Amaechi was detained along the road in the bush for as long as it suited the soldiers before he was forced to return to Akure. While the governor was being detained on the road, the convoys of the Minister of Police Affairs and the Minister of State for Defence sped past and were not stopped by the troops. “But the worst was yet to come. On arrival in Akure Airport, he found out that the airport had been shut, leaving him stranded. By the time other governors, including Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Ibikunle Amosun of Rivers, and party leaders including myself, Chief Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu arrived at the Akure Airport for their onward journey to their various destinations, they discovered that the airport had been shut, apparently on the same nebulous ’orders from above’. He said information available to the APC suggested that “ a detachment of troops will be sent to the Ekiti State House on Saturday to escort Governor Fayemi to vote and then put him under virtual house arrest thereafter. This is totally unacceptable.” He then posed the following questions: * If one of the candidates in the election could be prevented from holding his final rally with the full compliments of his party leaders and supporters, a treatment that was not meted out to other candidates, can we honestly say that a level playing field has been provided for all the candidates in the election? * If a state governor, despite the high office he occupies and the constitutional immunity from arrest which he enjoys, could be detained and ordered around by security agents, what fate will befall ordinary Nigerians under this administration that is increasingly sliding into fascism? * If key institutions of state can be abused so brazenly just to stop the opposition from moving freely because of a state governorship election, what will happen during next year’s general elections? * Where in the world are airports shut at the whims and caprices of the ruling party just to punish the opposition? Is it not true that in recent times, the airports in Kano and Gombe, among others, have been shut just to prevent the opposition from using them? * If an army captain and his troops can enforce unlawful orders, as was done when Governor Amaechi and other key leaders of our party were denied their constitutionally-guaranteed rights of free movement, free assembly and free speech, just to mention a few, can’t the same troops be given orders to hijack ballot boxes or tamper with the electoral process in Ekiti on Saturday? Doesn’t this give a
•Oyegun alleges plot to rig
cause for concern in view of the over-militarisation of Ekiti State ostensibly to provide security for the election but now obviously to stifle the process and rig the election? * Is President Jonathan aware of the treatment being meted out to elected governors under his watch? If so, what is he doing to stop this madness before it gets out of hand?” He said the latest developments were preceded by the June 8 attack on Governor Fayemi and his supporters by gun-trotting policemen acting on ‘orders from
above’, and the landing in nearby Akure of two aircraft ferrying cargoes of money for the election and the interception of over 200 boxes of electoral materials by security agents in the state. He added that on June 18, a gang loyal to one of Fayemi’s rival candidates was busted in a resort owned by the candidate’s manager thumbprinting ballot papers ahead of Saturday’s election. “The 22 young men, who were arrested, were also caught preparing INEC form EC8.” “Under the guise of provid-
ing security for the election, Ekiti State has been turned to a war zone, with thousands of armed policemen and troops as well as fearsome armoured personnel carriers dotting the entire Ekiti landscape. Never before has an election been held under such armed invasion! The truth is that security for any election does not have to be so invasive, except it is programmed to achieve one thing and one thing only: to intimidate voters!” He said that given this situation the APC doubts very seriously whether a free, fair,
credible and transparent election can be held in the state today, adding that the party would not accept the outcome of any election in Ekiti State that does not comply with the best practices. “Under the Electoral Act, troops are not supposed to be deployed to polling stations. Also, police personnel deployed to polling booths are not expected to carry arms. All these stipulations of the Electoral Act must be strictly adhered to on Saturday,” he said. He wondered what role the Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro is playing in the Ekiti election.
•From left: Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Mr Steve Dunston and Dr Adrian Mark Walker, grandson of Capt Herbert Sutherland Walker during the return of two Benin Bronzes looted during the invasion of Benin Kingdom in 1897 by the British.
THE Chairman Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barrister Anslem Ojezua, yesterday described the grounding of opposition governors and that of governor Adams Oshiomhole’s aircraft as a violation of his fundamental human rights. “The grounding of Oshiomhole’s aircraft and other similar incidents involving other opposition governors is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights. “It reveals the fascist nature of a desperate Presidency and its clear intention to subvert the Constitution
Oshiomhole aircraft: Edo APC urges Nigerians to resist impunity
John OFIKHENUA, Abuja of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said. In a statement made available to The Nation in Abuja, he urged Nigerians to resist the act of impunity. Ojezua asked the governors to take a legal action against the Federal Government to contain the dangerous trend before Nigeria is plunged into crisis. He urged the Nigerian Bar
Association, organised labour and Civil society organisations must also rise to the occasion. Ojezua said: “The Governors concerned must take immediate legal steps to arrest the dangerous trend before the country is plunged into crisis by a clueless and insensitive regime. The Nigerian Bar Association, organised labour and civil society organisations must also rise to the occasion.” According to him, the action
of the Federal Government is an indication of what would happen during the 2015 general election. His words: “It also gives us an insight as to what to expect in 2015. Nigerians must brace up and be ready to resist these brazen acts of impunity. If they can do this to governors, what about the very ordinary Nigerians?” Calling the citizenry to defend the democracy, he submitted that the responsibility to protect it is a collective one.
Anger over Presidency’s repression of Amaechi, other APC governors •Continued from Page 2 to him was in total violation of the rights of Governor Oshiomhole to freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution. “The grounding of Comrade Oshiomhole’s Ekiti-bound aircraft and those of other state governors without any explanation other than ‘order from above’ is condemnable and a descent to dictatorship,’ Ugolor said. The ANEEJ helmsman said “the grounding of Oshiomhole’s aircraft as well as that of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and other delegates to the All Progressives Congress is an open invitation to anarchy in the country where peace is currently very fragile.” On his part, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Mr. Dan Owegie,
and Comrade John Akhigbe , Executive Director, Protocol, both said the Federal Government had declared war on the opposition party by the grounding of Oshiomhole’s aircraft. “The Federal Government has declared war on the leading opposition parties few months to a general election,” Owegie, who spoke to The Nation from his sick bed in Houston, Texas, USA, and Comrade John Akhigbe, who spoke in Benin, said. They lambasted President Goodluck Jonathan, who they said was desperate to hang on to power, accusing him and the PDP of wanting to subvert the wishes of the electorate in Ekiti State in today’s governorship election. The Movement for the Political Emancipation of Nigeria, in its reaction, blasted the PDP-
led Federal Government for preventing a sitting governor from his official trip. The group in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday and signed by its President Mallam Abba Jidda, said: “The Federal Government has introduced dictatorship and totalitarianism into the Nigerian state,” urging President Jonathan to retrace his steps so as not to end up like other dictators in world’s history. The movement remarked that whereas PDP governors criss-crossed the length and breath of Nigeria with their personal private jets and chattered aircrafts, the APC governors were being ambushed and embarrassed. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday denounced the ‘tyrannical use of power’ by the federal government and the militarisation of
the state in the build up to today’s governorship election. The NLC called the government’s action “an assault on our hard earned democracy and MUST NOT be allowed to stand.” President of the union,Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar in a statement in Abuja asked President Goodluck Jonathan to “ensure this never happens again”. The union deplored in particular,Thursday’s denial of access to Ekiti of Goverrnors Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomhole, Musa Kwankwaso and Wammako of Sokoto State who were billed to take part in the party’s last mega rally before the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State. It said:”The security officers that barred the governors cited orders from above. We wonder who gave these orders and on the basis of which authority the orders were given.”
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
COMMENTARY 61 All eyes on Ekiti
THE NATION, SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Ade Ojeikere on Saturday email@example.com
Beyond prayers (My World Cup diary, 10)
’M not a seer. I also don’t take delight in celebrating people’s slips. At the risk of being immodest, I like to say the truth-no matter whose ox is gored. I won’t join the crowd in the total condemnation of the Super Eagles’ outing against Iran in Curitiba on Monday. But I will look at where we got it wrong and proffer solutions. What happened in Curitiba isn’t shocking. It was an expression of some of the fears I raised in this column before now. I anticipated some of the freak injuries that hit the team’s regular defenders, such as Elderson Echiejile and Godfrey Oboabona. I hinged my doubts about our players’ inability to prosecute Nigeria’s World Cup games without injury worries on the fact that most of them were either match-rusty or recuperating from injuries. I talked about taking Ikechukwu Uche to the World Cup. I canvassed for Chinedu Obasi’s inclusion in the Eagles. I couldn’t understand the rationale in picking Babatunde Michael, Rueben Gabriel and Juwon Oshaniwa. Again, the pace of World Cup matches is higher than what happens in training sessions or friendly games. World Cup ties are games for the fittest. Coaches’ eyes are open to any vacuum noticed in any team to be exploited. Fitness in football includes being able to bear the pains of crunchy tackles, most times intentional to players with known history of injuries. I sincerely hope that Oboabona’s injury is the last for the Eagles. What we have seen from the matches so far shows that only countries with their best players will fight for the coveted title. Half fit teams will fall by the side, except luck is on their side. Yet, much of what we call luck is hinged on efforts of fit players not those playing with caution not to get injuries. Besides, countries do not prosecute matches blindfolded, like we did against Iran in Curitiba. I had the privilege with Punch Group Sports Editor Pius Ayinor to watch the Iranians prepare for the Nigeria game. Iran’s manager, despite his contractual disagreement with his employers, recruited two renowned Englishmen grounded in defensive strategies and positioning of goalkeepers in the formation. The Englishmen and the team’s assistant coach worked in tandem. They use dummies to show how Nigerians play. The simulated setting where everyone chased the ball kicked into space. They were timed. How they arrived at their choice of players remains a puzzle. The Iranians broke their session into three groups-goalkeepers, midfielders and defenders. Not much was done with taking the ball forward. Much of the time the training centred on swift interchange of passes, ensuring that whenever the ball is lost to the opponent, no fewer than three men move to retrieve it. Once they retrieve the ball, it is returned to the centre defender. He keeps; passes to either side of the defence or to the goalkeeper. Other times, they bunch up in the middle of the field, knock the ball among themselves during which Reez, the lad who wore jersey number 16, makes decoy runs from the right side with the attacking foray terminating in Reez centre forward position. Ayinor and I noted that the Eagles would fall into Iranian traps. While the Iranians were preparing for Nigeria, our players, coaches and the government delegation were locked in a palava with NFF chieftains to resolve what the team members would get. We were told that Senate President David Mark lampooned the NFF, even though what was said is still being kept to the chest. The session was so stormy that the Eagles ‘ training for that day was shifted forward by an hour. Why couldn’t one of the coaches meet with the government delegation and NFF men while the others trained? I don’t want to believe the story that every member of the Eagles was allowed to express his feelings towards the NFF. Mark should be wise to know that nothing good would be said about the federation. Mark ought to have known that such mindboggling sessions would create more bad blood than resolve the issues. Perhaps, the result against Iran has opened Mark’s eyes to the ignoble fact that Super Eagles players and coaches see Nigeria’s World Cup matches as their Last Supper, which must be eaten with their ten fingers and feet. Mark, after being should have asked the players why other countries were
not locked in bonus wahala? The Senate President, playing the role of the peace maker, should have asked the players if paying appearance fees to players who were paid winning bonuses for every qualifying game was global? Mark should have asked the players why they asked for appearance fees after being paid between $5,000 and $10,000 for qualifying games? The Senate President ought to have asked the players what the hurry was in getting the bonus issues resolved 24 hours before the Iranian game? After all, they still had four days ahead to tidy things up. We have been through this path of bonus wahala in the past. And the results have been the same. It happened at France ‘98 where the late Emeka Omeruah returned to Nigeria to ask for more cash for the Eagles. The late Omeruah got to Nigeria to discover that Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha had died. It was not really known if the late Omeruah brought the cash to France, with the unfortunate incident in the country. Shortly before Nigeria went to the Confederations Cup in Brazil last year, the Eagles and their coaches embarrassed us by insisting on getting their dues before heading to Sao Paulo for the event. The embarrassment was monumental in the sense that the aircraft hired by FIFA for participating countries flew out of South Africa without our players and officials. It took the Presidency’s intervention before the team departed with a commercial airline. Not even the pleadings of former Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi, who talked to the team’s coaches, could cajole the team to make the trip to Brazil. The pertinent questions to ask are: Did the government give the cash to the NFF or the NSC and they held on to it? If no, what did the government do to the team for the international disgrace? Is anyone shocked that they had the temerity to repeat the show-of-shame here? Why won’t it happen? Did we not beg the coach not to resign simply because he guided us to lift the Africa Cup of Nations? What did we say when the news broke that no less than six countries were chasing our chief coach? Did he deny it? Did we ask the coach why now? Nigeria is the only country where employees dictate to their employers. Coaches and players in other climes are seen putting in their all to raise the flags of their countries. But in Nigeria, coaches and players are the politicians. They decide what jerseys we should wear, where the team should camp and the rules governing their camp. The government must stop this idea of dealing with the players and coaches. We must emulate what others do - allow the designated federation handle such negotiations. The Eagles under this coaching regime have been a nuisance. They have taken advantage of Nigerians’ fondness for the Eagles to cause us pains and compelled business-minded Nigerians to incur colossal losses when they invest in the businesses associated with the World Cup. At all the World Cup centres here, it is a bazaar of some of the things unique to certain countries. I have seen several shops showing what their countries have. Not Nigeria. It is Eagles and Eagles and Eagles. Indications towards this shameless negotiation had been commonplace in the media. The players and coaches denied it all, until Mark’s intervention. Let us hope that this will be the last. It is about time our players chose between cash and sweating for Nigeria. If we took our Golden Eaglets to the World Cup here, FIFA wouldn’t have prevented us from participating because the rule says what is needed is your country’s international passport. Eaglets would have made history by drawing Iran, which is what our overpampered Super Eagles did. I don’t want to talk about today’s game against Bosnia. I wish the Eagles well. If we exit the competition today through a loss, it wouldn’t be because we don’t have the players to excel. It would be because of the government’s meddlesomeness in Eagles’ affairs. The things our players and coaches dare not do in their European clubs, they insult us with here. Other sports earn less cash than what the Eagles get, but they give us plenty to cheer? Compare the Eagles’ achievement and Blessing Okagbare’s. This nonsense must stop. Shouldn’t it?
Yobo: Nigeria will fight to win Yobo told AfricanFootball.com in Brazil. “We know it will be very, very difficult against Bosnia. They lost their first game, we drew ours. They will come at us, we will go at them because both teams want to win. “Had we won against Iran, it would have been a different story. But the ball is still in our court and we will grow from strength to strength.
“It will be an exciting game, very different from the game against Iran, who sat back in their defence. “It’s a must-win for both nations and as current African champions we are aware of the expectations. We will do our very best to make Nigeria proud.” Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi told AfricanFootball.com they have enough information on Bosnia going into the World Cup cracker.
“We have some information about Bosnia. One of their players is my teammate at Lazio and there is another one who plays for Roma and I have played against him,” he revealed. “We have watched their video clips, we are ready to use the information to be successful in the game.”
2014 AFN-CRS ALL NIGERIAATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP
GERIA skipper Joseph Yobo has vowed that the African champions will fight to win their World Cup Group F match against BosniaHerzegovina tonight. Bosnia lost their opening group game 2-1 to Argentina, while Nigeria were held to a goalless draw by Iran. “We have to fight to win,” a bullish
US-born Jelks dethrones Egwero, Metu in 100m
NITED STATES-BORN Mark Jelks ran a time of 10.23secs to emerge as the new champion of Nigeria in the men's 100m race at the 2014 AFN-CRS All Nigeria Athletics Championship which was concluded at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Cross River State yesterday. Jelks, who said his paternal grandfather is a Nigerian from Warri, Delta State, dethroned defending champion, Egwero Ogho-Oghene who posted a relatively distant time of 10.45secs to clinch the third position, while Mozavous Edwards was second with a time of 10.39secs.
30-year old Jelks, who was running as a Nigerian for the first time having represented the United States at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics, told NationSport that he decided to dump the US for Nigeria because he believes his prospects at gaining global recognition is brighter if he represents his African homeland. Although the time he posted in Calabar is not world-class, Jelks’ personal best of 9.99secs, according to the Nigerian-American, will propel him to train harder for the Commonwealth Games where he hopes to represent Nigeria. Jelks exclaimed: "Yes!
Yes! I will run for Nigeria. My next target is to contact my agent if there would be need for more races before the Commonwealth Games." However, a former Nigeria's fastest man, Obinna Metu could only manage a time of 10.51secs which got him a disapointing fifth position. Tripple jumper, Tosin Oke, who has garnered seven gold medals since the inception of the All Nigeria Athletics Championship, won a gold medal in the men's tripple jump with a leap of 17.21m. The men's tripple jump was also concluded on Friday.
•Continued from Back Page he has little good in him. Any good he has done, has been by accident. During his tenure as governor, he covered the state in a blanket of suppression, intimidation, violence and blood. Where Fayemi is a statesman, this man is sinister. Where Fayemi builds and unifies. Fayose destroys and divides. Fayemi represents the dream of an improving future. Fayose represents the reprise of a departed nightmare. No one in their right mind chooses a nightmare over a dream or bad over good. The Ekiti people must choose the path of “Commonsense Evolution” that can deliver development and societal emancipation. The peace and development of Ekiti should not be replaced by a retrogressive mind; in party formation, lack of character, lack of content and lack of discipline. Sadly, Labour Party’s Bamidele has let unbridled ambition get the better of him. Had he waited to gain the requisite experience and knowledge, perhaps he could have become a decent candidate in time. But that would have been years from now. That time has yet to come. At the moment, he is like unripe fruit picked much too early from the tree. We all know what happens when you eat such a thing. It is bitter to the mouth and hard on the stomach. The people of Ekiti do not need this. Thus, we watch an election that will not be so much about the candidates as it will be a revelation about those conducting the election and the puppet masters pulling the strings of those conducting the election. INEC blotched the election in Anambra. It will likely perform poorly and with manifest bias in Ekiti. If INEC continues in this troubled way, history will record it as one of the authors of democracy’s death knell. The security forces are under instruction to obstruct the process and intimidate those who stand for Fayemi. PDP has raided the public treasury and is pouring the people’s money to buy the election for someone the people don’t want. Adding insult to injury, Minister of State for Defence has deployed to Ekiti where he is brandishing every tool at his disposal to thwart the will of the people. With the dire security conditions in the nation and the status of the Chibok girls still at ominous risk, one would think this senior defence official has more important work on his desk than to be the chief campaign hack of a candidate who strikes fear in the hearts of the people of the state. If only the PDP and its errant minister of state devoted as much energy and drive to our security challenges as they do to stealing elections, this nation would both be safer and more democratic. Instead, we sink into deeper insecurity and despotism. The election in Ekiti is important not only to the fate of that state, but of the entire nation. No doubt the PDP gang will stop at nothing to abridge the right of the people so that their brutish loser may win. This gives rise to the questions of the day. Will INEC bend as always or will it finally stand and do its duty as is proper? Will the people decide that enough is enough and not only vote but defend their vote in all proper and right ways? Will we see the advance of democracy or its retreat in the face of mounting suppression? These are the questions of the day and the answers that arise not only will determine the governorship in Ekiti, but also will augur for good or evil regarding the 2015 elections. As such, the fate of Nigeria lies in the balance and is being shaped right before us. All eyes must be on Ekiti for what we see there today will be what we will see for the rest of Nigeria in the months to come. Pray what we see will be democracy. If not, then it will be something that pushes us closer to disaster. •Asiwaju Tinubu is a National Leader of APC and former Governor of Lagos State.
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
THE NATION SATURDAY JUNE 21, 2014
TOMORROWPUNCHLINE IN THE NATION
I know of no sport, no game like football to teach you so much in such little or compressed time. My therapy is not complete but I think that the metaphors are rich enough to keep my mind working
SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL.9, NO. 2879
S we drove through the Nyanya suburb of Abuja, the cab driver calmly pointed out to me as if it was the most natural thing in the world, the two points where Boko Haram recently detonated bombs resulting in the death of hundreds of Nigerians and injuries inflicted on scores of others. Normalcy had been restored. Resilient as ever, Nigerians went about their business in high spirits. Smartly dressed and eagle-eyed security men searched vehicles at strategic points. I was on my way to Bingham University, New Karu, Nasarawa State. My mission was to attend the presentation of two new landmark books, ‘Keynes: 63 Years in Memory (1946-2009) – His Policy Relevance in the 21st Century’ and ‘The IMF, World Bank and Nigeria’s Economic ReformsReadings on 25 Years of Economic and Political Reforms in Nigeria (1986-2012). Both books were authored by Dr Michael S. Akpan, Head of the Department of Economics of the university who was also seizing the opportunity to launch a rather ambitious $2 billion endowment fund for the establishment in Nigeria of a John Keynes University of Economics. On the way to Nasarawa State, I saw quite a number of primary and secondary schools with pupils and students in full attendance. I marvelled at their courage in the face of the Boko Haram onslaught in the North. The truth is that western education is alive and well in Northern Nigeria. Boko Haram is fighting an unwinnable war. Bingham University itself is a beautiful sight to behold. Lying on a vast expanse of land in an idyllic and serene environment, it is an institution in a fast and furious pace of development. There are scores of structures – hostels, lecture halls etc – being constructed. The students are generally well dressed and comport themselves with dignity. Incidentally, as I was writing this piece, I read the news that 1000 students of the university had been suspended for failing to attend midweek services. This is my problem with some of our faith-based universities. They seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the idea of a university. Yes, freedom in a university must not be taken for license. But then, what is the point in attending midweek services if the student does not believe in it and is only forced to act hypocritically under compulsion? But then, I digress. In his book on Keynes, which runs into nearly 300 pages divided into 13 chapters, Dr Akpan poignantly and exhaustively depicts the life, times, ideas, idiosyncrasies and inclinations of the 20th century economic and philosophical giant. In his clinical and succinct review of the book, Professor Inaniya Chuta demonstrates how Dr. Akpan relates Keynes’ ideas and policy prescriptions to the Nigerian experience emphasising particularly the critical fact that unless a market economy can create jobs, it cannot survive. The ideas of Keynes played a key role in helping to overcome the depression of the 1930s. He helped explode the myth that the free market could operate automatically in a self- equilibrating manner under the guidance
ITH today’s election, Ekiti State has become the epicentre of Nigerian electoral politics. Here, the major political fault lines converge into a great foreshadowing. Fateful questions not only about Ekiti but about the course of our nation and its uncertain democracy will be asked and may be answered this day. If this is how history will have it, so be it. Elections in Nigeria have rarely been a transparent exercise. The ruling party has mostly dug into its bag of electoral tricks to cast about a vast assortment of malpractice over almost every important contest. As the ruling PDP senses its popularity flag and apprehends the existence of an opposition party that it cannot dominate, PDP anxiety has become acute. Rigging is no longer a tool it uses in election. Rigging has become an article of faith for them. With the advent of the APC, the PDP finally faces a challenger strong enough to remove its chokehold on the nation’s future. If the PDP truly had the people’s welfare at heart, the APC’s onset should have spurred the PDP to improve its ways of governance. Instead, the PDP shifted in the opposite direction. Faced with this new political reality, the PDP pays even less attention to the essentials of democratic governance so that it may engulf us in deeper and deeper miscon-
Intellectual fireworks at Bingham University
The map of Nasarawa State of some mystical invisible hand. Rather, the market would often require a vicious kick in the groin from a visible leg through direct state investment and other forms of stimulus including deliberate tax policies. In 2009, Professor Robert Skidelsky also wrote a book ‘Keynes: The Return of the Master’, in which he discussed the relevance of Keynes’ ideas to resolving the financial crisis of 2007-2010. The real intellectual fireworks at the event were generated by the review of the second book on 25 years of Economic and Political reforms in Nigeria. The book had two reviewers, Professor Ethan Michah, a political scientist at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and an economist, Dr Ononoju Kachi. Professor Michah’s review was critical, thrilling and explosive. His scintillating presentation is obviously an indication of the high quality of the academic staff at the NDA. In his preliminary skirmishes, he pointed out some of the shortcomings of the book including long-winding sentences, excessive emotional attachment by the author thus limiting academic objectivity and reliability as well as deficiencies in the handling of sources of information. However, more
fundamentally, he questioned the author’s analysis of Nigeria’s economic reforms without situating them within the requisite political and ideological contexts. Professor Michah argued cogently that the notion of reforms did not drop out of the blues but has ideological roots and real philosophical underpinnings. The whole concept of reform, he contends, is informed by neo-liberal economic thinking which in turn derives from the ideas of social Darwinism and the survival of the fittest. Central to the IMF and World Bank economic and political reform prescriptions, Professor Michah explains, are privatisation of public enterprises, liberalisation and deregulation of the economy. The whole essence is to roll back the participation of the state in the economy and surrender to the sovereignty of so-called market forces. He cites examples of how corruption and cronyism pervert the process of privatisation and compounds the problem of inequality among social classes with implication for access to political power. He also raises the pertinent question of to what extent the developed countries that prescribe these reforms to underdeveloped countries take their own medicine when they subsidise key sectors of their economies and blatantly violate the tenets of free trade. In a sharp departure from Professor Michah’s perspective, Dr Ononoju Kachi asserted confidently that the IMF/World Bank inspired reforms have been of unmitigated benefit to Nigeria. I found this position quite startling. If true, how come we have been on a continuous diet of economic reforms for two and a half decades with the plight of the vast majority of Nigerians getting worse by the day? According to Dr Kachi, the reforms have not had the desired impact as a result of poor governance and our not fully fulfilling the conditionalities required by the Bank and the Fund. He argues that it is a case of the patient refusing to take the full dose of the medicine prescribed by the physi-
All eyes on Ekiti
All eyes must be on Ekiti for what we see there today will be what we will see for the rest of Nigeria in the months to come. Pray what we see will be democracy. If not, then it will be something that pushes us closer to disaster
Bola AHMED TINUBU duct so long as that misconduct guarantees their continuation in power. One of the terrible by-products of this descend into authoritarian behaviour is the decision that the APC
shall not win another governorship election, notwithstanding the candidate the people actually prefer. Thus, the commandment of
cian. It does not occur to him that this strange physician prescribes the same drugs for all ailments and steadfastly refuses his own medicine when plagued by economic ill health. Dr Kachi brims with confidence that Nigeria has the largest market in Africa with unlimited prospect for growth and expansion. He does not address his mind to the wide divergence between growth and development in Nigeria’s grossly malfunctioning economy. He argues that we went to the IMF because we were consuming more than we were exporting with the consequent negative balance of payments repercussions. But what were the historical conditions that made Nigeria an import-dependent, externally-oriented economy? Beyond this, even the World Bank and IMF have admitted errors in their past policy prescriptions and made adjustments. Again, are the latest global financial and economic crises not partly consequences of the excesses of deregulation and liberalisation? On the whole it was a most intellectually stimulating and fulfilling day at the Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma Lecture Theatre of Bingham University. Many of the invited guests did not turn up most likely for security fears. But Dr Akpan’s new books deserve to be widely read, discussed and debated. The idea of a University of Economics is also worth pursuing. But why must it be named after Lord Keynes? Why not after any of Nigeria’s great economists – Pius Okigbo, Ojetunji Aboyade, Claude Ake among others. As he saw me off to the car, Dr Akpan insisted “Segun, the question we must ask is ‘why did we run to the IMF to help us out? They didn’t come to us. We ran to them because we were in crisis”. But then, why did our economy run into crisis? Perhaps it will be useful to read Dr Akpan’s books in conjunction with John Perkins’ 2004 book, ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’. In it, he documents how western agents lured gullible third world governments to obtain huge loans that were later responsible for the debt peonage that drove them into the suffocating embrace of the IMF and World Bank. As I drove out of Bingham University, I was convinced that we will hear more from this young and promising institution.
Ekiti: Truth will triumph
As is now usual with Nigerian elections under President Goodluck Jonathan, the number of security agents will probably outnumber voters in today’s polls. On one hand is a candidate yet to clear himself of corruption and murder charges currently in court. He confronts an incumbent with impeccable moral and intellectual credentials. There is a candidate whose loftiest idea of governance was to build poultry sheds. There is an incumbent with sterling performance in infrastructure provision and social service delivery. In between is a decent progressive who unfortunately finds himself on the wrong side of history. Ekiti is a land of honourable and valiant people. They can neither be deceived nor intimidated. We shall ultimately celebrate the triumph of truth.
the PDP is not to allow an election to be an election. Their golden rule of elections is ‘that it is better to steal than to lose’. Elections for the PDP are not seen as exercises in democratic expression whereby the people are allowed the leaders of their choice. Elections to them are a perverse ritual where they explore the terrible lengths to which they will go to suppress the people’s will. Thus, all eyes are on Ekiti today. Ekiti is not high political drama because of the scheduled election. It is suspenseful because everyone knows the despot of Abuja seeks to hijack the people’s will. Thus, there shall be a contest within the contest. Can the will of the people withstand the arbitrary, undemocratic power and pull of the Aso Villa monarch and his court jesters? That is the question on everyone’s mind. So, it might as well be brought into the open. If allowed to proceed freely and fairly, the election is a foregone conclusion. Governor Fayemi has distinguished himself as a leader dedicated to the welfare of the people of his state. He has done more good in four years than his PDP challenger can do in a lifetime of lifetimes. Fayose can do little good because
•Continued on Page 61
Beyond prayers (My World Cup diary, 10) — Ade Ojeikere
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