Newspaper of the Year
Gunmen kill 100 in Kaduna villages –Page 66
NCAA grounds Med-View Airlines following emergency landing –Page 4
Boko Haram: Troops capture sect’s armoury near Lake Chad Insurgents attack –Page 4
Maiduguri barracks again
Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper
Vol.08, No. 2789
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
MARCH 16, 2014
19 Immigration job seekers die in stampede –Page 6
Body count: Abuja 8, Port Three pregnant women Scores injured Harcount 5, Minna 3, Benin 3 among victims in Benin City across the country
THIS IS NOT THE WORLD CUP FINAL! You may be forgiven for thinking that this is the final of the football World Cup. But it is not! This is the National Stadium, Abuja filled to capacity by thousands of applicants who turned out for the recruitment test of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) yesterday. Photo: NAN
MORE PHOTOS: PAGE 6
KIDNAPPING: FEAR GRIPS JONATHAN’S FAMILY MEMBERS
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
British Council, BUK training
HE British Council, Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Bayero University Kano are organising a Researcher Links Workshop in Abuja. It is to bring together early career researchers from Nigeria and the United Kingdom conducting research on the causes and consequences of urbanisation in Nigeria. The workshop will take place between March 1719 March.
Bad habit It's not everyday you catch two 'nuns' guzzling pints of beer in public. But these are not your regular 'women of God,' nor are they for real. They are two sports fans donning nun habits and drinking lager while watching the playoff draw between Quebec and Manitoba at the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier curling championships in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada recently. Photo: REUTERS
Kutigi, Peterside and national conference
OST commentators have applauded the appointment of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Idris Kutigi, as Chairman of the National Conference billed to start this week. Having been CJN for nearly three years between 2007 and 2009, and having also served in the apex court for about 15 years, he is enthusiastically described as a sterling choice, a man of integrity and erudition, a man who has earned respect. It is difficult not to concur. But the false impression is given that once a great choice of conference chairman had been made, it would be impossible for the conference's integrity not to be reinforced and validated as a prelude to a fundamental restructuring of the country. While the integrity and competence of Justice Kutigi cannot be doubted, and assuming his age would let him function optimally, history does not at all support the high hopes the incurable optimists among us are nursing about the conference itself. The Second
Republic constitution was kickstarted with the exceptional works of Rotimi Williams and Justice Udo Udoma, and that constitution was anchored on the prevailing mores and political milieu of the time. But the constitution also floundered on those mores and milieu, not to talk of the abysmal incompetence and undisciplined approach to politics of the political elite of the day. There was also the great works of Justice Anthony Aniagolu in the Constituent Assembly of 1989 during the Ibrahim Babangida regime. That one too floundered on the general and specific ambition of the regime of the day to subvert the republic and coronate the military leader as civilian leader. Then, of course, there was the Olusegun Obasanjo effort to rework the constitution, not to talk of the Justice Alfa Belgore exercise commissioned by President Jonathan to tinker with the 1995 Abacha effort, perhaps because of his interest in the single term provision. Justice Niki Tobi had advised the Abdulsalami Abubakar government to dump it. As proof that virtually all the efforts to remake the constitution were motivated by selfish considerations, Chief Obasanjo deliberately thwarted his own fair efforts with his third term agenda. There is nothing to show that President Goodluck Jonathan is motivated by patriotic considerations or even a hunger to bequeath a great legacy, having become reluctantly converted to a process he had denounced harshly and contemptuously as superfluous. Moreover, it is hard to explain why anyone should think Presi-
dent Jonathan capable of the discipline required to push through the conference's recommendations. There is indeed hardly any panel or committee he set up that received his prompt attention or unalloyed support. He loathed being arm-twisted to do the 'needful' on the Stella Oduah matter, a panel he himself set up. He has ignored the 2012 Stephen Oronsaye report to reform government agencies, and he has scoffed at the 2012 Nuhu Ribadu report on petroleum revenue, not to talk of his stubborn pleasure in circumventing the heads of agencies and panels to actualise his plans, just as he is doing with INEC. The northern part of Nigeria has not convinced anyone it is enthusiastic about the conference, maybe fearing that President Jonathan is full of chicanery, or as some say, because the region has profited from the current diseased constitutional arrangement. The
Southwest on its own has been more uncritically fanatical about the conference, perhaps a reflection of the charlatanry and internal schism that have underpinned the region's politics for decades, than it believes the president capable of any altruism. There are, however, many others gushing over the conference. Among them is Atedo Peterside, a notable Nigerian investment banker and rousing public commentator with often scabrous and sweeping views on national issues. He is a delegate to the conference, and has done his best to convince everyone it is either we had the conference or we perished. Last week, Mr Peterside tendered his trenchant views on the conference cynically, sarcastically, abusively and unreasonably. Describing those of us who criticise the Jonathan conference as misguided intellectuals, even putting the word intellectuals in quote, he
followed up by deriding us as malcontents who would needlessly scrutinise the delegates list no matter how short or long, whether 492 or 1000. He excused the president's lack of vision in embracing the idea of restructuring earlier on by suggesting implausibly that 'politicians are not always visionaries.' Then he rounds up on media professionals, whom he erroneously believes oppose the conference, by summing them up as a 'penpushing and lazy elite.' Mr Peterside is famously often pro-government, perhaps because nearly all bankers are. Whoever heard of a radical banker? But while he is at liberty to support any cause no matter how mischievous, he demeans the little reputation he has by seeking to deny us our right to show up President Jonathan for the hypocrite he really is, and by couching his opinions in unflattering and conceited phrases.
Between Barometer, Yuguda and PDP chairman
AST week in this place, Barometer inexcusably described Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State as former governor and new PDP chairman. This is nothing short of a time warp. The columnist may wish the clamorous governor to assume the post of party chairman whenever it becomes vacant, and furthermore that the post could even become hereditary for Bauchi governors, but the fact today is that the PDP chairman is former Governor Adamu Muazu, whom, by the way, Barometer had mentioned in this place a few times. Governor Yuguda of course made the views attributed to him by this columnist, but his identity is nothing like what Barometer
described. But perhaps Barometer was in a trance, or was being prescient. In case tomorrow Governor Yuguda covets the PDP post, let him recollect that the seed of that ambition was cheerily planted in his heart by Barometer. And in case Alhaji Muazu chafes that Barometer wishes his downfall, let him take heart that the homicidal inclination ascribed to Governor Yuguda was not ascribed to him. This column shudders to think what the two gentlemen would have done in the courts had Barometer mentioned them in terms lawyers describe as malicious and wicked statements calculated to expose them to public ridicule and odium.
By ADEKUNLE ADE-ADELEYE
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
The coup against capital
S there a historic or genetic conspiracy against capital and its useful accumulation in Africa? More than its self-inflicted political and spiritual wounds, the perennial and perpetual inability to accumulate and valorise capital is the festering sore of Africa. Even where there is a fundamental breakthrough, the Mansa Musa syndrome takes over. How many first generation businesses survive far into the next generation? Yet you turn any corner of England and you find tailors since the eighteenth century, florists since the nineteenth, bankers since the seventeenth, clothiers since the nineteenth etc. Perhaps the urgency of the situation must permit us to frame the question in a more desperate and despairing manner. Is the Black man’s brains genetically wired against capital accumulation? Or is there something about the societal configuration in Africa and its autochthonous formations which continually resists and rebels against being co-opted into the orbit of untrammelled capitalism? Is this a fall out of the hunter-gatherer phase of human existence or a case of errant but stubborn localism frustrating the forces of capitalist globalization? This is not a question of racial inferiority or lack of fundamental ability for capital capacity building and holding. After all, there are successful black entrepreneurs in post-apartheid South Africa and the western world. To be sure, there is nothing pre-ordained or inevitable about the triumph of western modernity and its capitalist mode of production. The west has been able to impose its economic vision on the rest of the world as a result of its military superiority and spiritual ascendancy. There were English slaves in the court of the Ottoman emperors. A survey once came up with the startling conclusion that despite the thunder and tinsel of modern capitalism, the golden and happiest period in England was the Elizabethan epoch. The compulsive generosity and willingness to share without looking back in times of plenty that we notice in certain traditional societies speak to some alternative life styles that could have moderated and modulated the traumas of modern capitalism. But since Africa has been frogmarched to the frontiers of western modernity, there is nothing anybody can do about that. The problem is that you cannot redistribute wealth that has not been created by labour and human exertion. To do so is to indulge in starry-eyed idealism which is another word for infantile radicalism. Let the lore not race ahead of the leitmotif. There are intellectual debts and obligations to be paid and discharged. In a famous essay titled, The Revolution against Capital, Antonio Gramsci, the great Italian journalist, philosopher and outstanding radical theoretician, argued that the Russian Revolution was a revolution against the grain and a social earthquake against the fundamental tenets of Marxism. The revolution crashed all the gears of Historical and Dialectical Materialism. The ideal conditions of a burgeoning capitalist state and a rampart proletariat were simply not there. Russia was a backward society, with a rudimentary version of capitalism and an underdeveloped workers class. Yet it happened. The Russian Revolution occurred despite the unpropitious circumstances. It was eight days that changed the world. This was due to the sheer ferocious voluntarism and heroism of the Soviet leadership. They had conjured something out of nothing. In effect,
(On the modern ruins of Gbadolite)
nooping around With
it was also a revolution against Das Kapital, Karl Marx’ opus, as Gramsci’s subtle dig would suggest. It is arguable that the subsequent tragedy of the Russian people and the revolution itself stems from this fundamental contradiction. But that is neither here nor there. Sometimes, you need barbarity to drive out barbarism, as somebody was to quip. History itself is a horoscope of horror. It is useful in passing to say something about this rare gem of an Italian political theorist and outstanding patriot. A mortally afflicted hunchback, Gramsci wrote virtually all his works in the most crippling and inhuman of circumstances. Yet he was unmoved by his personal misfortunes. At a point, he constituted himself into a one man think tank against fascism in Italy. When the Italian authorities finally tired of his intellectual provocations, Mussolini sent him to jail with the war cry: “We must prevent this brain from functioning for twenty years!” Unfortunately for Benito Mussolini, you can only imprison the man and not the mind. It was in prison and from horrendous captivity that Gramsci did his most productive and outstanding work. These days when you hear of American tenured professors under the comfort of fivestar hotels noisily quarrelling about whether Gramsci was a Marxist or not, you begin to feel sorry for the sheer attenuation of the human spirit. This general debility of the soul and attenuation of the human spirit is at its most compelling on the African continent. Here, the revolt against capital and capitalism is on the grand stage and it is unlike any other thing witnessed in the history of mankind. The BBC crew were at their best and most devastating in a recent panoramic survey of the diseased hulk of old Zaire. Nothing can match the modern tragedy of this potentially prosperous country with its infinite natural resources. Everything has been laid to waste in a series of wars without a formal front or frontier. The country itself had long regressed into a state of nature with the inhabitants reminding one of the feral denizens of a vast human zoo. For a moment, the camera zeroed in on the ruins of Gbadolite, Mobutu’s birthplace and home to his fabled marble palace. This scandalous eyesore must rank as the greatest indictment of the coup against capital in post-colonial Africa. The whole place was in ruins. The airstrip from which Mobutu used to import his barber and daily venison from Paris— that is when
he was not gorging on locally grown giant maggots washed down with pink champagne— had been reclaimed by nature and now home to savage reptiles. The palace itself lay in utter ruins with its gold-encrusted Jacuzzis. What cannot be looted had been vandalised, and what cannot be looted and vandalised had been overtaken by desuetude. This is the most compelling evidence of insanity among Africa’s post-colonial leaders. In a 31 year career, Mobutu looted and stole his country blind. At a point, the vicious kleptocrat even had the temerity to lend his “personal funds” to the country. Congo is one vast crematorium of wasted capital. If Mobutu had used just a fraction of the capital violently expropriated from the Congolese people to grow education and build factories, the country could have taken off. In the end, Congolese capital returned to metropolitan capitalists who needed it most. It was Mobutu’s greatest coup against the Congo people and Africa. As the National Conference unfolds tomorrow, the dire view from the old Zaire must concentrate the minds of Nigerian patriots. The two African giants are often compared. Nigeria’s luck, unlike the Congo, is that it is powered along by a micro-pluralism of countervailing power centres which ensures a negative equilibrium at least. Succeeding military and civilian despots have done their damnable best to upset the
delicate apple cart. But divine fate and Nigeria’s legendary luck have always seen them off. But Nigerians cannot be complacent about this fabled good luck. Until General Sani Abacha stole them blind even as he culled off their leading lights, many Nigerians believed that the kind of fiscal anarchy and privatised tyranny that characterised Mobutu’s Congo could not happen in Nigeria. But just short of five years, aided by modern technology and his contempt for conventional stealing, Abacha almost beat Mobutu in his own game. Yet when he died, there was no evidence that Abacha ever ploughed back a fraction of the money he looted from the treasury into any productive economic venture. Apart from his magnificent castle in Kano, Abacha did not leave any viable or visible economic monument. In a historic addendum, the United States only last week dismissed the former Nigerian despot as a vicious kleptocrat while impounding his stashed loot. African capital has returned to metropolitan capitalists with plenty of insults to the bargain. In the light of this unending kleptomania among African rulers which has returned the blighted continent to the Stone Age while the rest of the world marches on to new frontiers of civilisation, the original question must now be framed in a more fundamental manner. Is there something wrong about the genetic wiring of Africa’s post-colonial elite? In a curious paradox, it is Nigeria which provides the key to unlocking the problem. Whenever a fundamental economic crisis is framed as a political quarrel among squabbling elite, we may be sure that there is a red herring somewhere. Away from the hysterical cat-calls and strident abuses, this is a more productive way of framing the problem of the missing 20 billion naira, the Sanusi ouster and the culture of political and economic impunity on all sides. In her first tour of duty as Finance Minister, Ngozi OkonjoIweala, paid off all of Nigeria’s disputable debt in one fell swoop and swore to rid the nation of its international profile as a chronic debtornation. Many doubted the wisdom
and even sanity of this economic strategy but decided to watch and pray. In a cruel and ironic twist of fate, the same debt profile has opened up again with alarming implications and under the watch of the same Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Judging by all available data, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her second tour and now as the coordinating Minister, is presiding over the worst spell and spree of kleptocracy in the history of the nation. All she could now do is to wring her hands and hint about oil as a curse—a theoretical no-brainer for sure. Meanwhile, the presidential airline boasts of at least ten planes in its fleet while the British Prime Minister goes about on commercial flights. In Abuja, it is said that they now sell one million naira per bottle champagne. In the case of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, how can anybody justify or rationalise the bizarre feudal munificence by which under his watch the Central Bank of the nation became one huge financial almshouse dispensing largesse to anybody in sight? What is the modern theory of economic management behind this bastard feudalism, or is this a classic case of avant-garde political radicalism fronting for economic and social retrogression? In a general culture of lawlessness and impunity there is nothing to choose between impunity at the micro-level and impunity at the macro level. They are just two sides of the same bad coin. This is not the time for any partisan equivocation. Nigeria has been poorly served by its undeserving political elite. It will take a character-changing event to effect any rectification. But it is not a situation that can subsist for long. Once it was said that the Congo could not happen here. And then General Abacha came along. Even in a civilian dispensation under an ascendant faction of the political elite, the coup against capital continues. It is useful to recall that at a point Mobutu also indulged his cruel fancies in a sham National Conference. As a thousand mysterious militias and unknown gunmen continue to put Nigerians to sword at will, let the fate of the old Congo and the ruins of Gbadolite concentrate our mind for once.
Dem dey fight and dem dey chop N Friday morning as (Baba Lekki solves a state riddle) Snooper nursed his wounds
from internet felons who had hacked into his account and sent a message round the globe that yours sincerely was down on his luck in some Ukrainian hovel, Okon crept in wearing a massive scowl. He was brandishing a picture of Nigerian leaders backslapping and grinning from ear to ear at the recent centenary extravaganza. The centenary celebrations had elicited quite a fierce controversy from affronted citizens who dismissed the whole farce as a misbegotten misplacement of national priorities. A master of unforced errors, Jonathan had chalked up a couple of own goals on that one. Having contributed to the opening debate, yours sincerely refrained from joining the fray. But the crazy boy appeared inconsolable.
“Oga I think dem say dis magomago people dey fight? Come see how dem dey laugh and dem dey yabi after dem done finish dem country. Which kind fight be dis?” the mad boy exploded. “Okon, go away. Hackers have finished me. They have stolen my password”, Snooper moaned in distress. “Oga, why you no get failword?” the mad boy demanded. As Snooper chased him away, it was a forlorn and dejected Okon who went in search of Baba Lekki for a solution to the state riddle. The old crook cleared his throat. “You see Okon, you are a fool. Na dat one dem dey call Sunny Ade and Obey fight” the old man grunted. “Baba wetin be dat? Abi dem Area Five leaves don scatter your head again?” Okon sneered.
“You see, when you be small pikin and your yeye mama never pick race, he get dem two musicians, Obey and Sunny. Dem dey carry rumour say dem dey fight and we go dey buy dem record yafuyafu. Small time I dey wonder say dis dem Sunny Obey fight, how come one of dem no dey hospital and one of dem no kaput sef? I come follow dem yeye musicians to dem Empire Hotel for Idi Oro where dem dey eat and dem dey make merry. I come lose my mind.. I come order dem make dem dey fight kiakia or I go finish dem. Naim dem come pick race. So na Sunny Obey fight be dat. When crocodile dey chop dem dey cry”, the old man submitted’ “Kai, kai na Amadiora go scatter dis yeye people!”, a deflated Okon yelped and collapsed into a heap.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
•Arms and ammunition captured from the Boko Haram armoury by Nigerian troops at the weekend. Top right, bags of cash seized from the insurgents
EMNANTS of Boko Haram fighters who were battered in Friday’s ill-fated attack on the Giwa Army Barracks, Maiduguri, yesterday regrouped on the outskirts of the city for a fresh onslaught on the same military facility, but again met with defeat. Troops who were on a cordon and search operation at Kayamla and Alu Dam discovered the insurgents. A clash soon ensued. Many of them were killed with sources putting the death toll on the side of the insurgents at close to 80 between Friday and yesterday. The sect also lost a massive armoury which troops discovered to contain a large cache of arms and ammunition. The Boko Haram desperation, military sources told The Nation, was to liberate their strategic commanders in custody to prevent them from revealing vital information to the army. Security agencies are said to be taking stock of the number of fleeing terrorists who were killed in different parts of Maiduguri metropolis on Friday. Seven suspected insurgents were arrested around Lake Chad by the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
Battered Boko Haram regroups, death toll rises A
NCAA grounds MedView Air By Kelvin Osa Okunbor
•Troops capture sect’s armoury •MNJF arrests seven insurgents around Lake Chad •Military relocates kingpins out of Maiduguri FROM: Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
A top military source said of the Boko Haram attack: “What they did was to regroup in Maiduguri to attack our troops because they were desperate to bring down Giwa Army Barracks where some of their commanders and deadly fighters were being detained and interrogated. “With the latest encounters, the death toll in the encounters with troops at the barracks will be about 80. The Nigeria Police and emergency agencies should be able to give you the toll in different parts of the city because many insurgents were killed while fleeing or retreating.” Explaining why the sect was targeting Giwa Barracks, the source said: “The Boko Haram leaders would rather
want their detained members killed than allow them undergo interrogation which could lead to revelations on their modus operandi. “No fewer than 20 of their real kingpins or strategic commanders were being kept in the detention facility in Giwa Barracks and they considered it humiliating if they cannot set them free. “But they are wasting their time because some of these Boko Haram commanders are in underground cells outside Maiduguri. It is an error on their part to think that we will keep their strategists in such a facility. “Thirdly, Boko Haram leaders are worried that those detained might expose the sponsors or financiers of the sect. That was why they came in hundreds to attack Giwa Barracks.” The Defence Headquar-
ters, confirming yesterday’s confrontation, in a statement through its spokesman, MajGen. Chris Olukolade, said troops clashed with the insurgents in Kayamla and Alu Dam in the outskirts of Maiduguri. The DHQ also said a massive armoury of the sect was uncovered by troops with a large cache of arms and ammunition recovered. He said: “The large quantities of weapons recovered in the raid are still being evacuated from the scene of the night raid where several terrorists died. “Similar operations took place in coordination with the troops of Multi-National Joint Task Force in the raids in other camps located in the outskirts of Duguri, Polkime, Malafatori and other locations around the fringes of Lake Chad. “Substantial money in dif-
ferent currencies and denominations were also recovered from the camps. A total of seven terrorists were captured in the operation during which altogether a soldier died while five were wounded.” The DHQ also said that in a cordon and search by troops for remnants of the terrorists who attacked Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri yesterday (Friday), had an encounter with some of the surviving terrorists in the general area of Kayamla and Alu Dam in the outskirts of Maiduguri this morning. “More of the terrorists have been killed and arrested in the ongoing encounters. Those captured in the encounter are providing useful information towards the discovery of other hide outs of the daring terrorists.” More bodies of fleeing terrorists have been discovered along the routes of their escape. Troops morale and fighting spirit have been further boosted by the outcome of the operations so far.
Nigerians spend N10bn annually on armoured vehicles
LOSE to N10bn is being spent yearly in Nigeria on the procurement and maintenance of armoured vehicles, an expert has said. Mr. Adetokunbo Ogundeyin, Group Managing Director, Proforce Defence Limited, Ode Remo, Ogun State, makers of armoured vehicles in Nigeria, told The Nation that many high networth individuals, including military formations, among others, currently own state-of-the art bullet-proof cars. “When you talk about armoured vehicles in Nigeria, we’re not only taking about the individual, we’re talking about the military, about the police, and para-
•Politicians, other high net worth individuals top buyers By Joe Agbro Jr.
military,” he said. “You are talking about a business that is worth close to, I would say, about $50m to $60m (N9, 720, 000, 000) in Nigeria alone. Don’t forget that all these vehicles need to be maintained. We’re not just talking about importing of armoured vehicles, we’re talking of after-sales. “Even when you look at the number of individuals that import armoured vehicles into Nigeria in a year, it would go up to 1, 000.” This, he said, does not take into account those being imported by quasi-government parastatals. The purchase of two bul-
let-proof BMW cars for N255 million by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) last year sparked an uproar across the country leading to the removal of the then Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah . Many top politicians, businessmen, and clerics now ride bullet-proof cars. Ogundeyin decried the unbridled importation of vehicles, saying it was detrimental to the economy. He said: “By importing all these cars into Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange is being wasted, job opportunities that should have been created for Nigerians are not being created because job op-
portunities are now being exported.” Ogundeyin, who set up Proforce Defence Limited in 2008 to produce armoured vehicles, sided with the Federal Government on the recent automotive policy which kicked off in January and imposed huge importation duties of up to 70 percent on some automobiles. “I agree with the auto policy entirely,” he said. “A situation whereby we are not developing the country and we’re developing another man’s country does not make sense for us in the long run.” He likened unrestrained importation to destroying the future of younger Nige-
rians. “If you think longterm, you’ll know that you’re damaging the future of your children,” he said. “Research is the only way our country can grow. Why do you import finished products when you can easily create employment here? That is why you have Boko Haram all over the place. “Look at the amount of foreign exchange we spend importing vehicles into Nigeria. It is mindboggling.” Before the latest policy review on importation of cars, according to Aminu Jalal, the Director-General, National Automotive Council, by 2012, Nigerians imported 200,000 used-vehicles and 80,000 new-vehicles at an annual cost of N400bn.
false fire alarm on an Abuja-bound MedView Airline Boeing 737 from Lagos yesterday earned it immediate grounding by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The acting Director General of NCAA, Benedict Adeyileka, said the action was to enable the agency’s engineers and inspectors as well as engineers of the airline carry out checks on the aircraft. The plane made an air return five minutes after take- off from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, following a false fire alarm. There were 94 passengers and five crew members on board. Smoke was noticed in the cabin triggering the alarm, spokesman for the airline, Mr. Oyibotha Obuke, said. All the appropriate agencies including Airport fire fighters were promptly alerted and were ready for assistance on the tarmac by the time the plane landed. All the 94 passengers on board were promptly evacuated without disrupting other flights at the airport. An alternative plane was provided for them to go to Abuja. One of the passengers, Mr. Longe Olarenwaju confirmed that smoke was noticed on takeoff but by the time the pilot was returning for landing, the smoke had disappeared. He commended the pilot for the professional way he handled the situation. Air return is a standard professional practice the world over. The aircraft now parked at MMA 2 just returned from a major check three weeks ago. The NCAA acting DG said yesterday that the agency’s engineers had opened up the panels of the aircraft to find out the cause of the fire alarm. He said that findings so far suggested that the aircraft was in good order, and would be recertified and released for operations after completion of the necessary checks. He said the pilot acted in good faith by aborting the flight after passengers exhibited signs of panic, on board. He said: “We prefer a false alarm to an incident. Air return does not constitute an emergency. The NCAA and its team of inspectors are visibly in the ramp at the airport carrying out routine inspection. Air return is a precautionary safety measure.”
THE NATIO N ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
SCENES FROM THE NIGERIAN IMMIGRATION SERVICE RECRUITMENT
•Cross-section of applicants during The Nigerian Immigration Service Recruitment in Kaduna yesterday.
•An official of The Nigerian Immigration Service carrying on his back, a fainted female applicant during the service's recruitment in Ibadan yesterday.
•Applicants during The Nigerian Immigration Service Recruitment in Lagos yesterday.
•Applicants at The Nigerian Immigration Service Recruitment in Owerri yesterday. PHOTOS: NAN
RECRUITMENT drive by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) yesterday ended in death, tears and sorrow for many at most of the centres across the country. In all 19 people died: three pregnant women in Benin, eight applicants made up of six women and two men in Abuja, three in Minna and five in Port Harcourt including a pregnant woman. Dozens of others were injured in stampedes as the applicants struggled to position themselves at the recruitment centres. The ruling PDP last night expressed sympathies with the families of the dead. Those in Calabar were flogged by security men brought in to control the sea of heads that turned up for the aptitude test. The situation at the National Stadium, Abuja which served as the Federal Capital Territory centre was particularly rowdy. About 70,000 turned up for the test. About 50 of them including pregnant women were injured in the stampede that ensued as the applicants tried to gain entry into the main bowl of the stadium through only one point. The injured were rushed to the National Hospital in the city for treatment. They accused officials of poor handling of the situation. An applicant, Joel Omo, said of his experience: “I arrived this venue by exactly 5am and met a sea of other applicants already waiting for the officials to open the entrance gate. We waited until around 9am when the officials started trickling in. “Instead of them to throw
Four pregnant women, 15 others die at Immigration recruitment •Many injured in stampedes
From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja, Osemwengie Ogbemudia, Benin, Jide Orintunsin, Minna, Kolade Adeyemi, Kano, Nicolas Kalu, Calabar, Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe, Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja and Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
the whole gates open, they only managed to open one of them. But, with everybody eager to enter first, there was stampede and many found themselves on the ground. Others who were being pushed by those behind trampled on those on the ground.” Doctors at the National Stadium battled for much of the day to save the lives of the injured. At the Accident and Emergency section of the National Hospital, there are more than 19 casualties either lying on the bed or lying critically unconscious on the floor waiting for the doctors battling to attend to them. Another applicant, Mrs. Aroniya Abigail, said she was resuscitated at the hospital. But the mother of two grieved that she was yet to find her brother who was also at the recruitment ground. “I will say to God be the glory that I’m alive to tell the story. As I talk to you now, my brother is still missing. We came together to the stadium but I have not seen him after the stampede. I have tried his number repeatedly but it was not going. I still have his credentials with me now but I cannot reach him,” she said. Many of the applicants lost their credentials while
others had their dresses torn during the stampede. The three pregnant women who died at the Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin centre were said to have died while the recruitment was in progress. Trouble started at about 10am, when officials in charge of the screening lost control of the crowd prompting the soldiers on guard to start shooting sporadically into the air. The over 28,000 applicants who had gathered in the stadium panicked and started scampering for safety. The result was a stampede. The screening started at about 2pm by which time some of the applicants had had enough and left for home in annoyance. In Port Harcourt, authorities of the Rivers governmentowned Braithwaite Memorial Hospital confirmed that five candidates including a pregnant woman died during a stampede at the city’s recruitment centre. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that more than 20,000 candidates came for the test. A competent source at the hospital, told NAN that 12 candidates were brought to the hospital after the stampede.
“I can confirm to you that four have died, four others are in critical condition while four were treated and discharged,’’ the source said. The source, who pleaded for anonymity, said a pregnant woman was among the dead. Three of the 11,000 applicants at the Minna centre also died during a similar stampede triggered by the accreditation of the applicants. The large number of the applicants were said to have overwhelmed the officials assigned to conduct the exercise. One of the officials reportedly fired a canister of tear gas apparently to control the crowd but ended up triggering a stampede. One of the victims that was rushed to Minna General Hospital was in a critical condition while three other injured victims were said to be stable. The Niger State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ibrahim Sule, said only two of the applicants died. According to him, “one female was reported dead on arrival at the hospital and the other male applicant died at Minna General Hospital. He also said that four other males were equally treated and discharged, while seven other female applicants are currently receiving treatment for their injuries at the hospital. The State Controller of Immigration Service, Ezekiel S. Kaura, confirmed that 11,000
candidates sat for the recruitment examination in Minna centre but said that five collapsed as a result of stampede and were rushed to the hospital. Seven applicants were injured at the Kano centre. Two of the injured were women. The applicants were struggling to enter the Indoor Sports Hall of Sani Abacha Stadium when a stampede ensued. In Calabar, soldiers, and personnel of the Immigration Service and the Civil Defence flogged applicants at the Federal Government Girls College venue of the recruitment for allegedly being rowdy. One the job seekers who gave his name as Joe told our reporter he was in serious pain after receiving lashes from one of the security men. His words: “my brother, look at me: a Master’s degree holder. I was flogged because I’m looking for work. I cannot remember the last time I was flogged and looking for a job is the last place I expected such a thing would be done. It is so painful.” The exam did not start until 4pm. Many of the applicants even had no desk or chair to write the exam had to sit on the school sport field to do so. About 5,000 candidates turned out for the test in Gombe. The applicants were joined by those from Borno State because of the insecurity in the state. Five women fainted at the
Mudasiru Lawal Stadium, Abeokuta recruitment centre. The stampede ensured after Immigration officers deployed to the centre to maintain peace started shooting into the air. Many of the applicants returned home bruised, humiliated, wearied and disappointed as shootings and confusion took the better part of exercise in the state. The NIS Spokesperson, Felix Kuti, said those rejected but refused to leave the premises precipitated the confusion. He said: “they were getting unmanageable and you know this venue with lots of cars and property if they were not scared away by that shooting, they were ready to engage in violence as they had begun throwing stones.” The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last night expressed grief at the death of the applicants. The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said that the party was shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the untimely death of the young citizens who were at the exercise not only to secure jobs but to be allowed the opportunity to contribute towards the development of the nation. The party stated that it was unfortunate and disheartening that the victims paid the supreme price while trying to be more useful to the nation. While commiserating with the families of the deceased, the ruling party prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured in the stampede and charged the Ministry of Interior and all relevant agencies of government to, as a matter of urgency, unravel the remote and immediate causes of the stampede.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Late industrialist’s family hands over hospital to Oyo From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan
HE family of the late industrialist, Chief Samuel Adegbite, has officially handed over its hospital built for charity purpose to the Oyo State government yesterday. The hospital was built and completed by Samuel Adegbite Foundation on March 15, 1999 and was commissioned by former governor of Oyo State, late Alhaji Lam Adesina on January 7, 2000. Speaking at the event, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, who represented the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, commended the family for the charity gesture. Gbadegesin promised that the state government will provide additional equipment and an ambulance to upgrade the hospital. He said the late Adegbite before he died last year had met with Governor Ajimobi during which he promised to hand over the hospital to the state government, adding, “what we are doing today is to fulfill the vision and dream of the deceased.” In his address, the eldest son of the late Adegbite, Mr. Wale Adegbite, said the decision to hand over the cottage hospital is in keeping with the objectives of the foundation, which had some time ago handed a secondary school to the state government.
INEC registration: Police arrest 18 suspected mercenaries T A
Unity of Yoruba dominates talks at Ife Day celebration From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
total of 18 people were at the weekend arrested by the police in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on suspicions of planning to commit infractions connected with the ongoing registration and collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The 18 persons, who reportedly came from Idanre in Ondo State, were arrested by the police following a tip-off by residents around IkereAjilosun area of the capital. Their arrest followed closely on the heels of bitter exchanges of allegations among the major parties alleging that some unnamed parties were hiring individuals from across the borders of
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti
the state to participate in the ongoing PVC issuance by INEC ahead the forthcoming governorship election in the state. The Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, Mr. Victor Babayemi, confirmed the arrest, adding, “We heard they were coming for a certain mission, so the police laid ambush and intercepted them. Upon interrogation, they confessed they came to Ekiti to register as voters.” Speaking further, the police spokesman said, “But when our men conducted a thorough search on them, they were carrying temporary voters’ cards, which showed that they had registered once. It is against the Electoral Act to
engage in double registration.” Meanwhile, the DirectorGeneral of the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Hon Bimbo Daramola, has described the shortcomings in the registration exercise as part of a grand plot to rig the June 21 governorship election in the state. In a statement in Ado Ekiti by the Director of Media of the campaign outfit, Mr. Dimeji Daniels, Daramola said all well-meaning stakeholders in the state will not fold their arms and allow the Jega-led INEC to mess up the future of Ekiti, which the election represents. “Professor Jega came here and was very professorial, but we have seen this before. It is a grand design to rig this elec-
tion. We saw it in Anambra. Jega came on national TV and apologised for that election in Anambra. “We will not allow them to mess us up here. Jega does not have a stake here. This is systemic. People are beginning to have disdain for institutions. There just must be corrective measures to do things right,” Daramola said. Meanwhile, the governorship aspirant of the Labour Party (LP) in the State, Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, has also advised the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ekiti, Alhaji Halilu Pai to be vigilant about the activities of his men and ensure that none of them was allowed to get involved in untoward conducts while the exercise lasted.
2015: Nigerians should pray for a compassionate leader -Tinubu
HIS year’s edition of Ife Day was held with fanfare and with many dignitaries in attendance including the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the new Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Abduljelili Adesiyan. Also in attendance was the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Otunba Iyiola Omisore. The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who was the chief host at the event, counseled that the unity of the Yoruba should be paramount, irrespective of the political affiliations of Yoruba leaders in positions of authority. Speaker after speaker at the occasion emphasised the importance of unity if the region must take its pride of place in the country. The chairman of the occasion, Mallam Yusuf Alli (SAN), who described Yoruba land as the most homogenous tribal group in Nigeria, said, “There is need for leaders of the Yoruba race to preach, promote and practice inclusive regional integration, which he said could advance the cause and collective interest of the race.” He continued, “State creation was only meant for administrative convenience and not to divide the people. No doubt, there is strength in unity. But unfortunately, the Yoruba is the most divided. situation where Yorubas are expected to put forward names of people for national programmes and responsibilities and only names from one group are forwarded will further polarise the race.”
'Why the military can't defeat Boko Haram'
From Grace Obike, Abuja
HE senator representing Lagos Central, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, has urged Nigerians to pray for a leader with compassion come 2015. She said that the greatest attribute lacking in the nation’s current leadership is compassion and the fear of God. She said this in Abuja at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Harvest House Parish, Jabi, during the third edition of the Abuja Success Summit 2014 with the theme ‘Attainment’. She said, “We have leaders that even if they have the competence and capacity, one thing that is lacking is compassion. All over the world, compassion is needed and I think we have to work on that. We don’t have to go to church to have compassion for each other and I think our leaders should have that. I was speaking to one of my colleague’s children and I was saying that some of our leaders may be competent but the thing lacking is compassion. “To me we need prayers from every Nigerian not just the church, every Nigerian have come to a place where we all have to go on our kneels, asking God for mercy, this is not what Nigeria deserves but this is what we have. “As Nigerians we should all go on our knees and ask God for mercy that come 2015, God should choose for us someone that will give us peace.” Other keynote speakers at the summit included former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon(rtd); former Chairman, Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Dr, Chrisopher Kolade and former Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
From Bode Durojaiye
•L-R: Wife of Ooni of Ile -Ife, Olori Odunla Sijuwade; The Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, during the Ife Day 2014 Celebration in Ile-Ife, Osun State …yesterday
‘Why poor telecom service persists in Nigeria’
HE Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has attributed the epileptic telecommunication service being experienced by subscribers in recent times to the vandalisation of masts and multiple taxation incurred by telecoms companies. The Chairman, Board of NCC, Mr. Peter Igoh, stated this during a courtesy call on the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko at his of-
From Damisi Ojo, Akure
fice in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Igho noted that the telecommunication companies have been paying heavy taxes to the federal, state and local governments, stressing that some communities even demand for money before allowing the companies to install their masts. Igoh urged Mimiko to suppport the passage of a bill that will protect the telecom
infrastructures in various communities and cities. His words: “Sometimes, ignorance plays a part as many may not appreciate the need for massive infrastructure for telecom services. For instance in the UK, there are more than 65,000 base stations for telecommunications services in a land mass that is far less than Nigeria. “Nigeria is yet to achieve 25,000 installations across its huge land mass, yet many
feel that we already have enough and are defacing the environment. Given the scenario of infrastructure deficit that we have painted above, the situation on ground becomes very discouraging as the service providers are forced to depend on very few stations to serve the populace. Vandalisation of telecommunication infrastructure has taken its toll on the quality and availability of service.”
N170b for grabs at 6th Lagos climate summit
LOBAL warming, an offshoot of the climate change phenomenon, is being transformed from a threat of environmental doom to a promise of financial boom, thanks to a range of emerging profit-spinning prospects. As the unsavoury impacts of climate change persist on one hand, the positive side, on the other hand, is throwing up numerous opportunities for investors. For the first time in the history of the summit, participants will be brainstorming on the business aspect of the phenomenon, which has seen investors jostling for a piece of the multibillion-dollar global carbon market.
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie
“It doesn’t mean we are celebrating climate change or advocating increasing emissions! Responding to your opportunities might mean helping others to reduce their own vulnerability to extreme weather or other impacts of a changing climate,” said a source. Valued at a whopping N170 billion, the increasingly lucrative industry has become the beautiful bride and indications are that participants at the 6th Lagos Climate Change Summit will attempt to steer Nigeria in the right direction towards becoming an active player. Speaking on the idea behind the business opportunities
in climate change, the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello said, “There is likely to be an increasing demand for products and services designed to function in the new climate. For example, products that is heat resistant, robust, waterproof, moisture retaining or made from permeable material. Also, there are likely to be market opportunities for new or existing products or services that help others deal with the climate risk.” The Commissioner observed that past summits have produced a wide range of recommendations which, upon their implementation, have helped to advance the state’s adaptation and mitigation ca-
pabilities to the impact of climate change. He said, “For instance, the state government a couple of years ago declared July 14 of every year as Tree Planting Day in the state. It came under a programme aimed at planting millions of trees to beautify Lagos and also provide a carbon sink. Over six million trees have so far been planted. “Similarly, the government has established the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) to beautify and regenerate the Lagos environment from the effect of climate change in the light of the intensity of global warming that is threatening the entire ecosystem.”
don, Professor Chidi Nwolise, has said no amount of military onslaught against the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents would defeat the terror group until the Federal Government drop what he called “its deceptive grandstanding and toe genuine path to peace and reconciliation.” Nwolise, Head of the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, stated this at the 10th Annual National Conference of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo. The theme of the conference is ‘Global Peace and Security: The Nigerian Experience.’ He stated that government was only postponing the evil day by engaging in hide and seek antics to avoid any civil means of dialogue with the sect members. He noted that the military strategy to crush the sect has been largely unsuccessful due to archaic and defective intelligence capacity. “No national army has defeated a determined terror group. Nigerians are tired of window dressing or how our security agencies are playing to the gallery on Boko Haram issue. The fact has become clear that this is not a matter to be handled through military strategy alone. They need to diversify and adopt Counter-Strategic Spiritual Intelligence (CSSI) to solve the menace and other threats’’.
FG identifies threats to national parks From: Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
HE federal government at the weekend identified degradation and poaching of wild life as major threats to national parks in the country. The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, stated this when Theophilus Danjuma Foundation paid her a courtesy visit at the ministry’s headquarters in Mabushin, Abuja. She identified attacks on parks protection officers, habitat destructions and infrastructural decay as the most daunting challenges to parks in Nigeria. She warned that most wide life would go into extinction if poaching is not checked. The minister said the ministry has stepped up efforts to address some of these challenges, while calling for collaboration with the private sector to overcome the challenges. The minister said: “Our national parks are under threats from degradation and poaching. If these threats are not checked, our wide life like elephants may go into extinction”. She appealed to stakeholders to commit to the protection and conservation of the environment and its natural resources for sustainable development. The foundation’s founder, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (Rtd.), commended the Federal Government for its efforts in preserving the environment.
One dead in Bayelsa clash
HE timely intervention of the police
yesterday prevented a communal crisis between Otu-Asiga and Oruma communities in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State. Operatives of the police were said to have immediately responded to a distress call after a freefor-all erupted in a wake at Oruma. It was learnt that youths suspected to be cultists turned the wake into a supremacy battle, a development that led to the stabbing of an OtuAsiga indigene. A source said the victim was seriously stabbed
From: Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
and died as sympathisers tried rushing him to the hospital in the morning. “There was a wake keep ceremony in Oruma. Early this morning somebody stabbed a boy. “While he was being rushed to the hospital, he died on the way. The boy happened to come from Otu-Asiga” the source who pleaded for anonymity said. He said the death of the boy angered the youths of Otu-Asiga who mobilised and started preparing for reprisal. “The aggrieved youths barricaded the road leading to Otu-Asiga. They
were mobilising and finet u ni ng t hei r st ra te gi e s when patrol teams of the police arrived the area and thwarted their plot,” he added. He said the police arrested some persons, cleared the roadblocks and restored peace in the area. “Without the swift intervention of the police, many people would have been killed today,” the source added. Confirming the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, said the police acted quickly to stop the incident from snowballing into a communal crisis.
He said the police also involved the two paramount rulers of OtuAsiga and Oruma as well as the Chairman of the local government area in the crisis and mandated them to stop the brewing crisis. A detachment of police operatives, Opara added, had been deployed to the communities to forestall breakdown of law and order. He confirmed that some persons had been arrested in connection with the incident. He added that the remains of the victim had been deposited in a mortuary.
Court awards N2.55 billion damage against bank
State High Court sitting in Osogbo, capital of Osun State, has awarded N2.55 billion against Skye Bank Plc as damage for breach of contract with Tuns farms Agricultural Limited, a subsidiary of Tuns Holdings. The presiding judge, Justice Oyejide Falola, in his ruling last Friday, stated that the management of Skye Bank Plc failed to fulfill a contractual agreement it entered into on a loan facility of N2 billion with the firm. The judge ruled that the bank exhibited poor corporate governance and diligence in handling the Central Bank of
•We’d appeal ‘poor’ judgment, says counsel
From: Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo
Nigeria (CBN) loan paid into the account of Skye Bank Plc for disbursement to its customer. The firm had dragged an Osogbo branch of the Skye Bank Plc before the court for disbursing the sum of N300 million out of the N2 billion loan it secured from CBN under a special loan facility called Commercial Agric Credit Scheme. The plaintiff (Tuns Farm) said all efforts for the bank to
release the balance of N1.7 billion failed. The bank, it alleged, claimed to have used the balance to offset a loan previously obtained by the firm. The plaintiff insisted that the previous loan had been taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON.) Counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Duro Adeleye SAN, said the ruling upheld justice and fairness in the case. He said that the judgment would restore the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.
Adeleye also urged the court to mandate the bank to pay the damage to his client soonest. But counsel to the defendant, Mr. Oladipo Olasope, said his client would appeal the judgment. He described the ruling as poor, stating it negates the principle of law. Olasope said: “I have made it clear that we will appeal against the judgment. Payment of such damages will definitely kill the bank. The judgment did not follow the general principle of law”.
NDLEA apprehends 39,364 suspects in four years By Kelvin Osa Okunbor
VER 39, 364 drug suspects have been arrested in the last four years, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said yesterday. Its head of Public Affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, said the agency has not relented in the drug war despite huge funding, logistics and legal bottlenecks. Speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at a four-day media roundtable organised in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Drug Control, Mitchell explained that the suspects consist 36,902 males and 2,462 females. The roundtable was sponsored by the European Union (EU). The NDLEA, he also explained, has won the conviction of 8,081 drug offenders. Mitchell xxx also disclosed that the total weight of drugs seized by the NDLEA in the last five years is 1,062,982.51kg. He gave the breakdown as cannabis 915,377.34kg; psychotropic substances 145,091.824; cocaine 1,931.383kg and heroin 582.102kg. According to him: “The NDLEA carries out surveillances to trace cannabis plantations in forests across the country. “This is a very tedious operation because officers trek for long hours to get to the farmlands. “In the past three years, the NDLEA has destroyed 3,169.3 hectares of cannabis plantations in the country.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16 2014
OMORROW, March 17, 2014, the "Preamble" of this year's Nigeria's national drama, "Holding Talks," would be staged in Abuja, the country's capital. Aside the glamour of the arrival of unending siren- escorted officials and the fashion parade of over dressed actors and actresses stepping out of their gleamy limousines to appear at the grand stage, the inaugural scene may not feature much real action. As a talk shop, the real drama is poised to feature a catalogue of hardly related speeches by people of opposing interests and loyalties in search of meaning and justification for their forced common existence. When one of Nigeria's finest dramatists, Ola Rotimi, over two decades ago, wrote his avant-garde drama, "Holding Talks," which has been aptly described as "a satire, showing how man's energies are spent on discourse, talks and dialogue even in situations requiring action," he was careful to locate the drama in the tradition of the absurd, where action is hardly propelled by movement as only very little, if any movement at all, is clearly identifiable through the scenes. At tomorrow's inaugural scene, majority of the characters would be known faces in the socio-political and economic life of the country. They will include past and present leaders in politics, the military, security services, industry, commerce, religion, sports and culture. This is unlike in most conven-
As the curtains for this yearsâ€™s National Conference opens tomorrow in Abuja, Sam Egburonu, Dare Odufowokan, Yetunde Oladeinde and Sunday Oguntola report on various agenda of participating stakeholders, politics of delegates selection and disagreements trailling the confab.
PROLOGUE tional absurd plays, where the characters are hardly rounded or of admirable quality. For example, in Rotimi's "Holding Talks," we have comic characters like Man, Barber, Apprentice, Blind Beggar, Boy Beg-
gar, Press Photographer, Police Woman, whose actions, if we can call them actions, may primarily invoke pity, frustration and even anger in the minds of members of the audience expecting progress and tangible result. Though it may be argued that most of the characters at this year's confab may not altogether be as formless as the characters one would
see in a usual absurd play like Samuel Beckett's "Waiting For Godot," or "Endgame," reports on the politics of delegates' selection and their alleged grand agenda have already raised questions on whether most of the known delegates have not lost the very qualities that have defined their personality over the years? Besides concerns over the
SOUTH-EAST * A new constitution * Review of the structure of Nigeria * Marginalisation
SOUTH-WEST * Regional autonomy * Parliamentary system of government * New constitution
SOUTH-SOUTH * Fiscal federalism * Restructuring * 50 percent derivation
NORTH * Fiscal federalism * Structure of government * State police
conference's ability to moderate the sharply opposed regional and ethnic agenda, the question of the real intention of the various delegates seems to be the very factor agitating the minds of Nigerian stakeholders as President Goodluck Jonathan flags off the conference. So, the big questions before Jonathan and the Chairman of the conference, Justice Idriss Legbo Kutigi, a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, include: Will the multibillion Naira national conference be another absurd drama that will end without any definable progress and result; Will Nigeria be better and more united after the conference; Can Kutigi and the other wise men and women, speak and confront the sensitive truths about Nigeria's existence and unity, which many have cleverly avoided over the years; Will basic problems of Nigeria, like corruption, indiscipline, marginalisation, greed, hatred, wickedness and such like receive the kind of genuine and bold attention they deserve; Whose agenda is Nigeria expending so much resources and time to pursue; Is it the agenda of Nigerians or that of the delegates and the godfathers that handpicked them? The tension is mounting as the hands of the clock tick. Just few hours from now, all things being equal, the curtain will finally open and the global audience will take their seats to see and hear how far Nigeria is willing and capable of creating the much referred to "Nigeria of our dreams."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
Delegates to watch o
ASED on antecedents and personal attributes, we present some of the delegates to watch out for JUSTICE IDRISS LEGBO KUTIGI The former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) will direct and moderate talks during the confab. How he chooses to coordinate the sessions would determine whether the parleys would be raucous or smooth. Should he betray leaning towards a particular interest, the talks might as well be kissed goodbye. CHIEF EDWIN KIAGBODO CLARK At 82, many observers thought the Ijaw leader should be taking a deserved rest from active national politics. But the tough-talking former Commissioner for Information is not one to turn his back during heat. He thrives generating controversies and making daring statements. Many Nigerians will be on the lookout for what he would say and do during the confab. The self-styled godfather of President Goodluck Jonathan made the list as an elder statesman on the nomination of the Federal Government. Not one to be outdone and outshone, Clark will sure attempt to play leading roles in the talks, perhaps create more controversies and dramas in the process. Clark has declared the re-election of Jonathan as a do-ordie affair. He is also a known advocate of the Ijaw causes. Other delegates would certainly be on their toes anytime he moves or talks. DR TUNJI BRAITHWAITE Another old horse nominated as an elder stateman, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, a lawyer and activist, does not look like he is ready to back down. His revolutionary streak cuts him out for recognition. The former presidential candidate of the National Advanced Party (NAP) has cut a niche for himself as a radical and rebel. His nomination to the conference came as a rude shock based on his unrelenting criticisms of government's policies. But Braithwaite would be in the eyes of the storm at the conference. Nigerians would love to see if he would make the many radical statements that brought him to national reckoning. Since his nomination, he has been fiercely defending the conference, declaring it would not fail. "Anyone condemning this conference because it is put
• Alamieyeseigha together by President Jonathan is wasting his time because there is no going back on it," he said. His agenda, at the confab, he stated, would be evolving a new constitution for the country. Wary Nigerians wonder how this would be possible when the resolutions would still be ratified by the National Assembly. Should he make any false move, Braithwaite could lose the radical, revolutionary stance for which he is reputed. PASTOR TUNDE BAKARE Since his involvement in active politics, leading to his nomination as a Vice Presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011, Nigerians have started reading political colourations to every move and statement of the fiery preacher. He made the delegates' list as one of the representatives of the socio-political/cultural and ethnic national groups of the South-West. For one, many will say his involvement in the confab would be an opportunity for him to advance some of the political theories he expound so passionately nearly every week from the pulpit. But others think he might damage his reputation should he canvass or support unpopular agendas. Curious Nigerians are even wondering what would happen to his church in Ikeja Lagos, where he does most of the sermons during the three-month he would be away on national assignment. Sources close to the founder of the Latter Rain Assembly said he decided to accept the nomination to play active roles in the execution of some key socio-political changes he has been yearning for. The lawyer-turned-preacher would sure command attention anytime he chooses to talk at the conference and his comments would be heavily measured and weighed. SENATOR JIM NWOBODO Since he was politically retired by his ex-political godson and then governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, Nwobodo has been off the radar. He only returned in 2008, after licking his wounds, to head the reconciliatory committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-East. Since that assignment ended, Nwobodo has been cooling off. The former Minister of Sports would attract interests during the conference. Delegates would seek to know if he still has some of those old tricks that paid off until he met his political waterloo in Nnamani. He made the list as an elder statesman.
• Mantu ABDULWAHED IBRAHIM OMAR As President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), all eyes would be on Omar. We gathered most Nigerians have not forgiven him and other labour leaders for reaching a truce that effectively ended the 2012 subsidy nationwide protests. Many believed the labour leaders sold out. Since that debacle, Omar has been operating more or less undergrounds. Nigerians would be on the lookout for positions he would take. Should there be any hint they are pro-government, it might mortally damage whatever reputation is remaining for the NLC. But should he choose to be the radical labour leader that his predecessors were, Nigerians might start believing again that they have a leader in him. JOE OKEI-ODUMAKIN The President of Women Arise for Change Initiative and Campaign for Democracy got an improved rating recently when she drew the nation's attention to the celebrated Ejigbo 2 case. Her advocacy led to the eventual arrest of suspects involved in the jungle justice case. Authorities ran from pole to pillar to ensure the case was followed to a logical conclusion with the nation keenly watching. Okei-Odumakin would be seeking to call attention to similar human rights abuses and women issues during the talks. There is no doubt Nigerians would listen when she talks. FEMI FALANA The popular Lagos lawyer made the list as a representative of the Civil Society Organisations. His advocacy and activism would add bite to the talks, which could be otherwise drab. CHIEF DIEPREYE ALAMIEYESEIGHA Since his controversial presidential pardon on March 12, 2013 of corruption charges, former Bayelsa State governor, DSP Alamieyeseigha, has been itching to return to the political turf. Many believe his nomination to the conference as a representative of Bayelsa State could be the perfect opportunity he's been craving for to regain national prominence. Fiercely loved in the Niger Delta region, the convicted exgovernor is treated with contempt in several other parts of the country. Observers would be keen to see what his contributions during the parley would be. It won't be out of place for some of the delegates to shout him down should he make any annoying statement. But he is expected to defend the Niger Delta causes,
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
Politics of nominations
• Nwobodo especially resource control and financial autonomy. DR. JUNAID MUHAMMED Muhammed is one of the representatives of Kano State. There was no doubt the outspoken former Second Republic lawmaker would cause several stirs during the confab. He is a confirmed anti-Jonathan figure, declaring that the President has failed the nation and should never consider seeking re-election. Last month, he said: "As far as I am concerned, Jonathan did not win the last election. Goodluck has not performed in any manner credible that will warrant his being re-elected or think of being considered for re-election. "Now, whether there was an agreement or not, the fact of the matter is that he has failed in very critical areas of governance. He has failed in security. "He has failed in law and order. He has failed in economy. He has failed in everything that matters to a government and to the people of a country. "Now, for me, he should not consider running but if he is determined to run and rig the election the way he did in 2011 together with INEC and security services, then he is asking for mayhem in the country and I have said it several times, if he insists on running and rigging the election, there will be mayhem". Should he repeat anything close to that at the confab, there is no doubt delegates would react, in support or against his position. SENATOR IBRAHIM MANTU The former Senate Deputy President is one of the delegates from the North Central zone. He openly supported the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and is working towards the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan. He has a penchant for attracting attention with his political positions. Radical delegates would be on the watch for him. LT. GEN. JEREMIAH USENI The former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will attend the conference with many suspicious of his moves. Since he joined politics, he has been unable to win any elective post. His Democratic People's Party (DPP) is only in parts of Plateau State, where he hails from. But Nigerians have not forgotten his many controversial roles during the military era. They would be watching to see what he has off his sleeve this time around.
FTER much hues and cries, the proposed national conference finally kicks off tomorrow with the inauguration of the 492 'wise men' in Abuja. But observers have expressed concerns over the composition of delegates to the confab, insisting it was determined more by politics than national interests. Of the 492 delegates nominated for the conference, the Federal Government effectively handpicked close to 300. They include the 37 elder statesmen; the 12 delegates of the retired security forces and police officers; the six retired SSS delegates; 13 traditional rulers across the nation; the six retired civil servants; the six National Youth Council of Nigeria delegates; the six students' representatives and six delegates of the other Youth organisations. Others are the 24 delegates of the Civil Society Organisations; eight representatives of Nigerians in the Diaspora; the six persons living with disabilities; the six judicial representatives; the 20 nominees of the Federal Government as well as several of the representatives from the socio-political/cultural groups in the six geo-political zones. Nominations from the associations of former elected political office holders couldn't have scaled through too without the active inputs of the Federal Government. This is aside delegates from states sympathetic to the Federal Government as well as other professional bodies. So, most observers who commented on the development during the week said national confab with only the Federal Government taking the lion share of nominations to the detriment of key federating units like states with only 109 delegates is certainly skewed and lopsided. Their fear is that during crucial discussions and voting, it would not be much of an effort for agendas favourable to the powersthat-be to scale through. A simple vote of dissension would also scuttle whatever proposals opposing camps might want to push forward. Whittling down state and regional influence Many observers told The Nation this week that the outcomes of the confab have already been predetermined and mapped out mainly because in the selection process, state and regional influence has been whittled down by the Jonathan-federal government. In this context, critical respondents pointed out that most disturbing is the configuration of the delegates. There are allegations that most of the Federal Government nominees are those disposed to promoting the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. The timing of the conference, itself, less than a year to general elections, says a lot about the alleged needs to raise a group of fiercely committed foot soldiers for the project. Analysts said the delegates were carefully handpicked to checkmate the influence of governors and nominees from the 36 states while also dividing the ranks of regions with publicised agendas. The socio-political/cultural groups in each of the six regions fought tooth and nails to present their delegates. The situation created tensions and distrust among the different groups with splinter groups outshining themselves to present nominees. In the South-West, for example, where the All Progressive Congress (APC) is calling the shot, several of the delegates are known to be antagonistic of the incumbent governors. It was gathered the ploy is to break the ranks of the region of the conference such that delegates will be singing discordant tunes until no consensus is reached. These delegates, it was also learnt, are also prepared to shoot down any anti-Jonathan agenda. The fact that the two different meetings in Ibadan and Abeokuta to present the region's agendas attracted different participants also points to the crack in the South West. Some of the delegates are also known to be against many governors in the region. Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, made the list even when it is obvious none of the governors in the South West would have nominated her. The same scenario played out in the North where Jonathan's sympathisers made the elder statemen's list and the Federal Government nominees. Last week, the Northern Elders Forum at the end of its Extraordinary Assembly in Kano said the Federal Government's delegates cannot speak for the North or any other part of the
nation. The group, in its Kano declaration signed by conference coordinator Paul Unongo and spokesperson Hakeem Bello, alleged that the proceedings, conclusions and recommendations of the confab "are designed to achieve goals that will compound the nation's problems, and they will not be accepted by the people of the north". NEF explained: "The planned National Conference has no constitutional basis, and its delegates lack any form of mandate or authority to speak for the people of the North or other Nigerians. Its proceedings, conclusions and recommendations appear designed to achieve goals that will compound the nation's problems, and they will not be accepted by the people of the North". Sources said most governors are concerned that the 107delegates they nominated for the confab would be swallowed and overwhelmed by the vast Federal Government's supporters during the proceedings. But investigations revealed that many of them already envisaged the development and are reaching out to specialised delegates from the professional bodies and others to neutralise the influence of the presidency. Besides, it was gathered that Northern governors deliberately nominated young and radical new breed to protect the regional agendas and challenge powerful interests bent on promoting Jonathan's re-election plots. This, it was learnt, is why they decided to send fresh faces without baggage that could confront interests serving interests of the presidency. The South West Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Magnus Atilade, believes most of the delegates are recycled elements that brought the nation down to her knees in the first place. "If you carefully look through the list, you will see that most of these people have been there. They brought us to where we are now. I don't see how they can fix this nation or propose radical changes that we need," he stated. He said what Nigeria needs at this critical time is a conference that can make radical proposals and changes to the nation's development and evolution. "We need changes. We need radical views and alterations. We cannot continue to make do with what we are. But it is unfortunate I don't see how these people can effect these changes. It's more of same of the same that we are used to people," he said. At the heat of the controversy over the politics of delegates nomination, government, at the last minutes adjusted the list of delegates it first endorsed. According to the changes announced at the countdown to the inauguration by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, elder statesmen now include, Dr. Kunle Olajide from Ekiti State replacing, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), for traditional rulers, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ibrahim Yaro, the Etsu of Bwari replaces His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ismail Danlami Mohammed, Sarki of Karshi on the request of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, while for Women Groups (National Council of Women Societies), Mrs. Millicent Okoronkwo replaces Mrs. Love Ezema on the request of the National Council of Women Societies of Nigeria. Also, for political parties, nominations of Chief Chris Ejike Uche and Dr. Sagir Auwal Maidoya to represent APGA was withdrawn "to allow the party resolve the issue of its nominees." From the socio-political/cultural and ethnic nationalities groups, replacements were also made on South West Geo-Political Zone's lists as Prince Rabiu Oluwa replaces Supo Sonibare, while Oba Kehinde Olugbenle replaces Barr. Niyi Akintola (SAN), whose name is retained in the Oyo State delegates list. National Academies were not left out in the last minutes adjustments. Professor Layi Erinosho has been nominated by the Academy of Social Sciences to fill the one (1) slot allocated to the Academy. Former Political Office Holders (Former Governors) The statement from SGF also said former Governors Forum has nominated Alhaji Mohammed Goni from Borno State to fill the slot for the North East Geo-Political Zone, adding that some states that had vacant slots had also sent lists.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
Conference: Regional agenda THE NORTH The North has so far projected a 30- point agenda. Apart from the enlarged Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the 19 northern states, in a bid to speak with one voice, held many regional conferences including the two-day meeting concluded in Kaduna. Commenting on the agenda of the region, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State said, "In our last meeting, we took a principled position to send our best and experienced people to the conference and this will include those who would be able to defend and discuss the issues withot fear or favour but which will not tamper with the unity and development of the country. Their demands will include fiscal federalism, structure of government, state police, labour matters, tenure of president and governors, devolution of power and the fate of traditional institution. SOUTH-WEST Regional autonomy, parliamentary system of government, state police, new constitution, taxation system/fiscal federalism and status of Lagos will top the list of Yoruba positions at the forthcoming National Conference. If the agenda set by the zone for its delegates to the talk shop is adhered to, the region will also be backing the limiting of the powers of the central government and the federating units and immunity of certain public officers from prosecution. The position of the South-West was presented at the Oyo State House of Chiefs, Ibadan, few weeks back by a committee led by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, with retired Lt.-Gen. Alani Akinrinade as the Vice Chairman. The gathering, tagged 'Pan Yoruba Assembly', reviewed, discussed and adopted the agenda drafted by a pre-Confab Committee. The group called for a political arrangement consisting of a central union/federal government based on the current six geopolitical zones - including all other Yoruba separated from their kith and kin. These include the Yoruba-speaking people of Edo, Delta, Kogi and Kwara. The committee, which had Dr Kunle Olajide as its Secretary, recommended Westminster model of government at the federal level. It also called for a ceremonial President and Prime Minister as the head of government business. However, at the regional level, the committee prescribed regional constitution, where there would be a governor and deputy governor; with the governor serving as the head of business. It also recommended a unicameral legislature at the centre, while stating that the details of the regional legislature would be worked out later.
â€˘Jonathan SOUTH EAST Until the South-East, earlier in the week, finally picked former Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, to lead the zone's delegates to the national conference, observers were somehow uncertain whether the zone has a unified position. This was because of reported disagreements between Gary EnwoIgariwey-led Ohaneze Ndigbo and other organised Igbo stakeholders groups like the Igbo Leaders of Thought, led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze. Nwachukwu's leadership's position was made known on Thursday shortly after the South-East Governors' Forum met with delegates from the zone to the conference. The new chairman of the forum and Governor of Abia State, Theodore Ahamefule Orji, presided over the meeting, held at the Enugu State Government House. Monsignor Obiora Ike, a Catholic priest, is the deputy to Nwachukwu. To confirm that the South-East zone is determined to operate in a united manner, Orji also said a former Nigeria's ambassador to
United States of America, Dr. George Obiozor, "is to manage the secretariat of Ndigbo that would be established in Abuja for the purpose of the conference." According to him, the brief of the South-East delegates is to protect the interest of the zone while taking the unity and prosperity of Nigeria as core priority. Leaders of the different states from the region include, Dr. Sam Egwu for Ebonyi, Senator Ken Nnamani for Enugu, Ike Nwachukwu for Abia, Dr. Dozie Ikedife for Anambra and Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu for Imo state. From the views canvassed by the various Igbo groups, it could deciphered that the position of the zone is to evolve a "new Constitution embodying re-negotiated terms and conditions on which the diverse ethnic groups comprised in Nigeria can live together in peace, security, progress, prosperity, general well-being and unity as one country under a common central government, but NOT a Conference the results of whose deliberations will only be integrated into the existing 1999 Constitution." They also want "a Conference of the ethnic nationalities making up or composing the Nigerian state as the pivot or focal point, NOT a Conference of individual Nigerians as autonomous entities or of interest groups, although the latter should be given reasonably sizeable representation." Nwabueze's Igbo Leaders of Thought and the Patriots, have constistely contended that the present "constitution of Nigeria is not a democratic Constitution because it was not adopted by the people in a referendum or through a constituent assembly, specially elected and specifically mandated in that behalf." Besides the issue of a new constitution, Igbo delegates would also be demanding a review of the structure of Nigeria, especially the structure that leaves the zone with only five states. They will fight to restore alleged marginalisation of Ndigbo among others. SOUTH-SOUTH Restructuring, fiscal federalism and 50 percent derivation may top the demands of the South-South. At the one-day South-South zonal conference on the talk shop held at the Cultural Centre in calabar, the Crioss River State capital, participants said local communities and states where natural resources emanate should control their wealth by at least 50 percent. Emphasising control of resource, they said, "Solid minerals should be exploited by states where such minerals are deposited. Compensation should be paid on monthly basis for game reserves and forest conservation as the owners have lost their means of livelihood which is predominantly farming."
'If we bungle this opportunity, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves' As the Deputy Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought and Founder of Igbo Youth Movement, Evang. Elliot Uko played key roles in sensitisation and eventual articulation of Igbo agenda for the national conference. In this interview with Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, Uko spoke on the Igbo agenda and other pressing issues relating to the national conference. Excerpts
HE National Conference is scheduled to tick off tomorrow. How would you assess the quality of the delegates? I do not think the problem is about quality of delegates. The problem of Nigeria is about the mindset and not how educated a delegate is. It's all about saving our country, by restructuring it along the lines of true federalism and enthroning equity so that our country can grow. If we achieve this, then we would have saved Nigeria. Do you see this conference really achieving this, since the government nominated over 80 percent of the delegates, directly and indirectly? The government nominated its friends, but I know that every Nigerian understands the need to rebuild and reconstruct Nigeria, so people should hold the delegates responsible. It is either the right thing is done or the proper things are not done at the end of the day. If we get it right, we will enjoy peace and prosperity. If not, the problems will not only continue, but may get out of hand. The people of Nigeria want to redesign our potentially great country through this conference. If we bungle this opportunity, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. Your booklet, "Igbo position," has been released, is it finding acceptance? The book "Igbo position" goes beyond this National Conference. It is our vision for Nigeria. It is a summery of the kind of Nigeria we want to be part of. It is the road map we adopted for peace to reign. We believe in Nigeria, but we also believe that without justice and equity, Nigeria may not survive. This book is the dream and vision of Ndigbo for a free and truly great Nigeria. Are you satisfied with the Igbo delegates nominated, and do you think they can effectively defend Igbo interests? My satisfaction is not important. Government, like you said, nominated most of them. It will be wrong to write off anybody. The proper thing to do is to watch developments at the conference. The result will determine the appraisal of anybody. My leader, teacher and mentor, Dim Odumegwu - Ojukwu, used to tell me that nobody can be popular with government and popular with Ndigbo. If Ndigbo are fond of you, government will be uncomfortable with you, if you are government's favorite, Ndigbo will look at you with suspicion, no Igbo man can be the darling of government and be the darling of Ndigbo at the same time. It is not possible, you must choose one. I made my choice many years also. You cannot serve both
God and mammon. Ndigbo are not the darling of any government in Nigeria since 1970. It is our duty to speak up and change the situation. If the national conference fails to resolve issues of injustice, then the future of Nigeria will remain bleak. I have been involved with Igbo youths for decades now and I know that the degree of discontent is growing steadily. Only justice and equity will restore confidence in Nigeria. Those government favorites who were nominated to the conference should know that if they betray Igbo interest, they will only be destroying our collective future. Let me tell you something, Ndigbo are bitter with
Nigeria, with the present unjust structure. Not even the security has the correct figure of the exact percentage of Ndigbo who pray with their families before the Biafra flag in their bedroom every morning and every night before they go to bed. Security does not know if it is just 10 percent of the Igbo population or 30 percent or 60 percent or 78 percent. To make it worse, those Igbo who live in Lagos and Abuja pretend to their friends that Ndigbo are happy with Nigeria. The truth of the matter is that no Igbo man is happy with this wicked structure foisted on us by the military, where the local government structure is skewed against Ndigbo, state structure skewed against Ndigbo, even the delineation of federal constituencies all skewed against Ndigbo. If Nigeria is not fundamentally restructured, we will only be deceiving our selves, as the agitation for restructuring will continue unabated and only God knows what form things will take next. Are you saying that if this conference does not address the structural issues of Nigeria that the conference will be adjudged a failure? I am saying that the only way to restore confidence and patriotism in our country is to give everybody a sense of belonging; there should be no first class and second class citizens. If the unjust 36 state structure is not removed, Ndigbo will remain bitter with Nigeria. I am not God. I do not know where this bitterness will lead. But I know that my people are bitter with the present structure, which is unfair to my people. Other zones are also complaining? Which is why we should look for a more acceptable structure? This one is choking us to death. People find it difficult to be loyal and patriotic to a system that is unfair to them. Nigeria is so sick that even Ghanaians look unto us with pity. The Sharia experiment the then Governor Yerima Sanni of Zamfara State introduced over a decade ago has borne fruit. If has inspired an insurgency that wants to Islamize Nigeria. Hate and distrust rule the land while every zone is plotting on how to grab central power. Nigeria cannot survive that way. We must tell ourselves the truth. If this national conference fails to redesign our country then the future remains bleak. Do you think the National Assembly will implement the decisions of the national conference? Let us hope and pray that our countrymen will arrive at positive decisions that will save Nigeria. If any group of people conspire to frustrate the decisions of Nigerians, they will only be frustrating the survival of Nigeria as an entity.
Femi Orebe Page 16
SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
United against Nigerians firstname.lastname@example.org 08054503906 (sms only)
We must be worried if truly state govts are at the vanguard of clamour for fuel subsidy removal again
NLY the uninitiated would not have known what was coming when motorists began to queue for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, at filling stations across the country about a month ago. But Nigerians who have known the tricks since the military era must have known the destination: withdrawal of fuel subsidy. That the fuel scarcity has persisted in spite of lies by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that there is enough stock is a strong indication that someone is going to tell Nigerians to prepare to pay more for fuel. It was a matter of time. The only question is: who will bell the cat? But Nigeria has never been short of hatchet men. This time around, the clamour for the removal of the so-called fuel subsidy is coming from states’ commissioners of finance, under the umbrella of the States Finance Commissioners Forum. The forum’s chairman, Mr Timothy Odaah, said Nigerians were deceived into believing that fuel subsidy is good whereas it is poison. “We looked at the subsidy on oil as more or less a solution worse than what it intends to solve … In the first place, the NLC and the majority of the Nigerian people appeared to have been deceived into clamouring for the subsidy. This is no doubt because syndicated projects were contrived, especially in the area of transportation problem … but now; you discover that it is the average man that suffers”, he said. Odaah added that “we know of course that the Federal Government had a good intention to subsidise transportation, so it will have an absolute benefit to the poor man and every Nigerian …” Reuben Abati, the president’s spokesman, could not have done a better job the way Odaah painted the picture, and one begins to wonder what the President is waiting for in replacing Abati with Odaah, with immediate effect, to boot! The commissioners of finance reportedly said they were going to brief their principals (governors) on the outcome of their deliberations at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting on Thursday. So, who is fooling whom? How many commissioners would append their signatures to a document as contentious as the subsidy removal without the prior consent of their governors? As if it is not common knowledge that in many states, commissioners are glorified errand boys who cannot disagree with the governors, irrespective of the strength of their (commissioners’) point. No doubt what is emerging has been well rehearsed. Hardly had the ink with which the commissioners of finance signed the papers at the meeting dried than the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Jonah Otunla, announced the setting up of a 12-member committee to review the existing partial subsidy on oil, with a view to completely removing it. Of course, Otunla quickly added that this was at the behest of the states as represented by their finance commissioners. “The committee (finance commissioners) members expressed their opinion on subsidy and we have set up a 12-man committee comprising six mem-
bers from the commissioners’ forum and six members from the Accountants-General Forum to help us review the impact of subsidy on the Federation Account. We will make our opinion known in the nearest future” he said. Other things being equal, that nearest future is the FAAC meeting coming up next month, that is if they do not find the issue urgent enough to warrant convening an emergency meeting to ratify the death knell for Nigerians so President Jonathan could append his signature. Such outcome excites the President whose government cannot imagine life without subsidy removal. But, the question now is: since when did the Jonathan administration (that prides itself as slow in taking decisions so as not to make mistake) begin to act promptly on national matters? Obviously for the government, it is selective promptness. It took it ages to decide to fire the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, despite the weightiness of the allegations against her, whereas such painstakingness was a luxury that the government could not afford in the Justice Ayo Salami matter. As if to further compound the fooling of Nigerians by their governments, all the members of the 12-man committee that the Federal Government set up on the matter are government officials. What of Labour, students, market men and women; what I call the Other Critical Stakeholders’ Forum? Who would the fly support if not the person with a festering sore? Who would these officials have supported if not their paymasters? This is one of the things I hate about the Jonathan presidency; it relishes playing the ostrich. Instead of pushing the thing down our throats as it really is, it wants to give whatever the outcome of his committee report is as a product of a wellthought-out endeavour; hence the government saying it had set up a committee whereas what it calls a committee cannot pass even for a kangaroo committee. Many of those who will be championing the cause of fuel scarcity withdrawal are saying so not with any sound argument beyond
“ Honestly, we have to be wary of all these forums of compromise and convenience - States Finance Commissioners Forum, States Accountants-General Forum, and all. But if it is true that state governments are truly the champions of this clamour for fuel subsidy removal, then it confirms the saying that there is no first born among pigs; they all play (roll) in the mud, first born, last born and all. This being the case, Nigerians must prepare for the worst on this issue”
the ones we are used to; many see it in the context of the approaching elections. Invariably, politicians need more money to prosecute the elections. One is tempted to ask whether it is only in Nigeria that elections are conducted. Why must we be apprehensive for the simple reason that we are about entering an election year? This is a thing done as a routine in many places, including African countries. But if we are not apprehensive that elections will not be free and fair, we will have to live under the perpetual fear that Nigerians must lose something just for politicians to win (read rig) elections, from which Nigerians are only further impoverished. Honestly, we have to be wary of all these forums of compromise and convenience - States Finance Commissioners Forum, States Accountants-General Forum, and all. But if it is true that state governments are truly the champions of this clamour for fuel subsidy removal, then it confirms the saying that there is no first born among pigs; they all play in the mud, first born, last born and all. This being the case, Nigerians must prepare for the worst on this issue. It is unfortunate that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government that has not delivered a single democratic dividend in 14 years is about compounding our woes. It is sadder still, that state governments want to join it in dancing naked in the market. Now, are the state commissioners aware that Nigeria is a major producer of crude oil? Are they and their principals aware that Cote D’Ivoire, one of the countries from where we import petrol is only a modest oil producer, yet an important regional refiner? Are they aware that the Jonathan administration promised us three Greenfield refineries, where are they? Are they not ashamed that our deregulation of petroleum products is based on the wrong template - importation? Are they aware that for over 14 years the PDP has not been able to make a single dent on petrol refining because it has always had its mind fixated to fuel subsidy removal? Are they aware of the billions of dollars that have been reported missing from federal purse? What have they done about this? Above all, what gives the commissioners the confidence that, because they cannot have their way with the Federal Government with regards to funds, despite staging walkouts and aborting FAAC meeting, they can have it by shifting the burden of corruption, ineptitude, etc. to ordinary Nigerians? The famed Nigerian docility? Until now, many Nigerians believed the Jonathan presidency has been overstretching its luck; but, it is now clear that it is not only the Federal Government that is doing that, the states are now equally complicit in the plot to stretch the people beyond limits. A government under which the worst corruption has been perpetrated in recent times is now cash-strapped and Nigerians should be the beasts of burden? Mba, babu rara, no.
MY ERROR Two weeks ago, on this page, I had referred to the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa under emergency rule as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency as being in the northwest. The states are in the northeast. The error is regretted.
State of the nation: What elder statesmen should do
By Gbemiga Olakunle
GBA KII wa l’oja, ki ori omo tuntun wo. (Meaning-An elder do not stay in the market place and fail to ensure that the head of a new born baby is not properly molded” (Yoruba Adage). For whoever cares to listen, President Goodluck Jonathan has been lamenting on the precarious situation that the nation-Nigeria has found herself security wise. At a National Thanksgiving Service held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja about two years ago, the President admitted to the bewildered congregation that the Boko-Haram sect has infiltrated every segment of the Nation’s Security/ Military apparatus and that , even his cabinet and the Presidency are not left out. Last week during the Nation’s centenary celebrations, again the President was quoted by one of the national dailies as saying that “Nigeria is at war”. And to buttress Mr. President’s lamentations, the Defense Headquarters (DHQ) reportedly disclosed the discovery of about 20 BokoHaram hideouts in Cameroon which has proved that Cameroon is an envious neighbor who rejoices when Nigeria is having challenges. Cameroon has indeed proved herself to be an unfriendly friend in the past couple of years. There are strong notions that the former French colony is being used as a cover or decoy by a foreign power, to destabilize Nigeria. If not, why should this French-speaking country continue to provide a safe-haven and hideouts for the Islamic dissidents that have vowed with their lives to destabilize Nigeria, at all cost? High level corruption that has become endemic and systemic in our nation is big enough to bring the country to her knees. But when the monster is now being aided by an international conspiracy using Boko-Haram sect as their arrow-head, then the situation becomes more precarious. It is at a time like this that the wisdom, wise-counsel and good will of our elder statesmen become very imperative. Specifically at a time like this when ship of the nation is drifting by the high waves of international conspiracy with their local collaboration, our elder statesmen, irrespective of their political affiliation or religious/ethnic background should rally round the current captain of the ship-President Goodluck Jonathan until the nation survives the high currents or the storms. For instance, elder statesmen like President Olusegun Obasanjo, Sir Emeka Anyaoku, among others should use their goodwill in the Comity of Nations to prevail on Cameroon to cooperate with Nigeria in her efforts to fight terrorism instead of providing launching pads for the dissidents to attack Nigeria. It is because Nigeria is existing as an entity with a relative peace, that is why some of these elder statesmen could be singled out for nation honours at the nation’s centenary celebrations. In addition to the wise counsels of our elder statesmen, Mr. President also need the fervent prayers of every lover of this country for God’s guidance and ability to enable him take the right decision at the right time even if he has to sacrifice his political ambition in the nation’s interest. There is no doubt that his inability to take prompt and decisive action to checkmate the activities of BokoHaram at the early stage is a major factor that has allowed the sect to gain time and resources/capabilities to confront the nation’s military on a regular basis to the extent that the dissidents had the effrontery to carry our surprise attacks on our military formations in the North-East successfully. President Goodluck Jonathan needs our prayer for the needed wisdom and courage to stamp out corruption and ensure that the Boko-Haram menace is halted either by international diplomacy, religious advocacy or military might. With God, nothing shall be impossible as we pray for our leaders, peace and tranquility of this nation.”Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Nigeria); they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls and prosperity within palaces “Psalm 122: 6-7 KJV.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Making Nigeria thrive after its first centenary (3) Where and when law enforcement officials and citizens speak different languages, public order and law enforcement are bound to suffer
AST week, we encouraged delegates to the national conference to give utmost attention to discussion of full decentralisation of provision of education in the country. We argued that education and culture are interlocked and that in a multinational and multicultural society, it stands to reason that education is designed to respond to the cultural values of the diverse nationalities in the country. We concluded the piece by calling for devolution of provision of education at all levels to the regions or states while leaving the matter of standardisation, quality assurance, and specialised research in the hands of the central government. The focus of today’s article is on public order and law enforcement. Political discourse in the country on how to achieve public order through proper design of law enforcement has been divided into two schools since the advent of military dictatorship. Just as they did in the education sector, military rulers also destroyed the pre-military multilevel police system enjoyed in many parts of the country until 1966. The Native Authority Police used in many parts of the country was jettisoned by military rulers and the practice of a monopoly of law enforcement by the central government was imposed on the entire country. At the end of the first round of military dictatorship in 1979, citizens and political parties called for devolution of the power to deter, detect, prevent, and punish crime to the states and local governments. The civilian government between 1979 and 1984 refused to countenance such calls. Again, at the end of the second round of military rule in 1999, citizens in various parts of the country called for establishment of state police as part of restructuring of the polity.
Such demands threw up an opposing school of thought, mainly in the northern part of the country. Northern governors, members of the national assembly, and cultural leaders argued forcefully against extending police powers to states and local governments. Many of them argued that Nigeria is not ripe for state police and that Nigerians are not mature enough to handle multilevel policing. Some even said that introducing state police is capable of destroying the country’s territorial unity. The two schools: those in favour of state police and those mortally opposed to it have not failed to engage each other rhetorically since 1999. Now that there is a national conference to discuss how to enhance the country’s unity and examine sources of tension capable of militating against national unity, delegates should not fail to grapple with this important matter in a sincere manner. Just recently, the Speaker of the House of Representatives brought the debate over how best to maintain public order and make law enforcement efficient and accountable back to the front burner. Worrying about the insecurity in the country, spawned largely by the indiscriminate killing of innocent citizens by Boko Haram terrorists, the speaker raised a few posers that should catch the attention of delegates. First, he wonders if this period of growing insecurity on account of Boko Haram is not the right time to put all national security agencies including the Nigeria Police on first line charge to ensure financial independence and timely release of funds. Second, he calls for encouragement of the Nigeria Police to “institutionalise community policing as a framework for engaging local communities in a partnership for checking crime and terrorism.” Third, he asks whether it is not time for the national assembly to revisit the idea of state police in its ongoing efforts to amend the 1999 Constitution, referring implicitly to earlier decision
by the national assembly to remove state police from the list of proposed changes to the constitution. The exercise, in its third year, now serves as the second window to the national conference with respect to constitutional change. Although the speaker has moved the debate over devolution of powers to maintain public order from the negative side closer to the positive side, his positions are still too far from the kind of reasoning that is needed in a multiethnic democracy. Choosing to approach law enforcement in a multicultural society solely from an administrative or bureaucratic angle has been on the table for long without yielding any positive results. The problem with federal monopoly over policing the diverse communities is much more than when and how the police is funded or whether the existing central police force can establish community policing, a contradiction in terms. However, delegates should take a cue from the latest concerns of the speaker about why the nation’s security is failing: inefficient and ineffective security architecture. Like education, public order is sustained by shared norms, social values and customs. Similarly, law enforcement also derives advantage from shared values and a common language between law enforcement agents and citizens. Individuals that engage in surveillance to prevent and unravel criminal activities function in specific languages. Where and when law enforcement officials and citizens speak different languages, public order and law enforcement are bound to suffer. Nigeria is a country of diverse nationalities and languages but security officials speak only English or a smattering of it, even when they are investigating or collecting intelligence from individuals who do not speak English. It should not surprise political leaders that there appears to be failure of intelligence and security in the country. Boko
Haram may now be the most monstrous organisation. Oil thieves and kidnappers have also created (and are still creating) serious challenges to security in the country. Delegates should separate the discussion of national unity from that of national security. A country that is territorially united but that is unsecured (and appears ‘un-securable’) stands the risk of destroying or compromising its unity. Delegates need to recognise the paradox that has defined governance in our country for too long. The current constitution gives power to subnational governments to create laws but denies them the power to enforce such laws. State governors are referred to as chief security officers of their states, without having any authority over the police that is detailed by the central government to protect such governors. The recent experience in Rivers State of a rivalry between the governor and the former commissioner of police illustrates this anomaly most graphically. It is important for delegates to realise that other federations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Arab world practice a multilevel police system. It is also necessary as delegates prepare for the conference to find out from citizens in their communities what type of police system they prefer. It is puerile to believe that Nigeria’s unity will be at risk if states and local governments are allowed to enforce laws, in collaboration with the central police that should be responsible for enforcing federal laws. State and local government laws need to be enforced by state and local government police. Delegates should note that adopting the multilevel police system in use in all federal countries and in the United Kingdom, a multiethnic state that operates a unitary system of government, is more likely to reinforce Nigeria’s unity than insisting on the present central police system that many communities and citizens perceive to be designed to promote the interests of those in charge of federal governments at the expense of states and local communities. Concluded
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Emirs and Northern leaders must fully join the war against insurgency in the North East
HE directive by the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar ibn Garbai, that all residents of Borno State should embark on three-day fasting and prayer to seek divine intervention to the insurgency that has led to killings of hundreds of people in the state is welcome, if only for the fact that it marks active engagement by traditional leaders in the zone in the quest for solution to the crisis. Exasperated that all measures taken so far by the Federal Government, including an all-out military offensive, have failed, the traditional ruler said only God could return peace to the state and the other two states where a state of emergency had been imposed since last year. He called on all Muslims to offer special prayers in all mosques in the state, and Christians in all churches. In the early period of the armed uprising, traditional and other leaders of the region were accused of refusing to comment on the untoward development. Earlier in the month, The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, called for continuous prayers for peace, unity and development in the country. He noted that, without peace and stability, there cannot be progress. While noting that the Emirs are coming late to the party, and are yet to employ strong enough terms in deprecating a development that has turned many into internal refugees, destroyed families and disrupted social relationships, the actions and comments being made now represent a new face in the concerted efforts to combat the threat to national sovereignty. It must be noted, however, that prayer and fasting alone are not enough to combat the menace. The military has been deployed in the area. A Civilian Joint Task Force has evolved to complement the armed forces and governments of the three states where the emergency has been
O, I finally caved in to reality. I garnered the courage to look at the photos we took together, again… A devastated acceptance that death had indeed done its worst, and that those smiles were forever frozen! Professor Jenkeri Okwori, erudite professor of Theatre Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and one of the pioneers of Participatory Development Communication in Nigeria, a first class intellectual and pride of our Ukalegwu, Orokam clan back home in Benue State, had yielded to death’s inconsiderate claws on February 12. It was the complications from an accident he had earlier on February 7 along the Abuja-Kaduna road. Three others, Professor Sam Kafewo (HOD of the dept), Dr. Martins Ayegba (the department’s postgraduate coordinator) and a PHD student of the department, Ayishatu Nana, had perished alongside. Jenks was only 52. Jenkeri. Of course, everyone knows him - one of the first graduates and the first professor from my village. He was the reference point for the academic-tilting child, the prodigy, the shiny light in a region darkened by socio-economic and socio-political exclusion… the ‘land of palm trees’, sandwiched, as it were, on the tripartite red-soiled bor-
declared have been unsparing in condemning the war against the Nigerian state. We call on the traditional rulers and leaders of the North to step up their engagement. The moving speech by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal,at the plenary of the House is a step in the right direction. The resolution by the House to probe allocation of funds for troops’ welfare is equally commendable. Other leaders of the North should join in the quest to isolate the murderous gang. As we noted in previous editorials, what is obviously lacking is intelligence gathering. The military cannot win the war against suicide gangs except its moves are guided by intelligence. All governments, federal, state and local, must work together to stamp out the menace. It does not help efforts to curb the menace when the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima sends out distress call based on his observation and appraisal of the situation, only to be abused by federal agents. The various governments must work in concert. The Federal Government, especially President Goodluck Jonathan who is the Commander-inChief of the Armed Forces, must appreciate that the state government is closer to the peo-
TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM
•Editor Festus Eriye •Deputy Editor Olayinka Oyegbile •Associate Editors Taiwo Ogundipe Sam Egburonu
•Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh •Chairman, Editorial Board Sam Omatseye •General Editor Adekunle Ade-Adeleye
ple and its views must be respected. We join conflict resolution and security experts who have called on the Federal Government to seek cooperation of neighbouring countries like Cameroun, Chad, Mali and Niger Republic in prosecuting the war. Fundamentalism and terrorism has assumed international dimension and require collaboration by friendly states to successfully terminate the evil. As Governor Shettima said, the Nigerian State is at war. Huge resources are being used to execute the war plans and the opportunity cost is that funds that could have been expended in revamping the education system, fix infrastructure and arrest the growing tendency to seek medical attention abroad are being diverted to fighting this senseless war. The traditional rulers should realise that they were part of the process that gave rise to the menace. Many traditional rulers who are supposed to be closest to the people, observe trends and report to the government have lost the local touch and are more of mouth-pieces of governments in the bid to live big. They are regularly spoilt with exotic cars bought with state funds and they depend on governments to build mansions for them. Thus, they lost their relevance in the social setting. Besides, in the Boko Haram case, they kept silent for too long, thus giving the impression that they condoned the development. It took attacks on palaces and emirs for them to issue tame statements. If the war against the Boko Haram insurgency must be fought and won, it must go beyond prayer and fasting. The insurgents must be made to see that all Nigerians, irrespective of religious, ethnic and social orientation are one in condemning their actions. Emirs have a crucial role in mobilising their people to denounce and fight the insurgents.
Tribute to Prof. ‘Jenks’ Okwori: Words are not enough ders of Enugu, Kogi and Benue States, claimed by the latter, but mostly in name… Back in his roots, Jenks was always in the news… When he was not working with other elites, coordinating efforts to bring electricity to our village, providing the village with a new police post, he was supplying our Ukalegwu community with bore-hole water, coordinating medical outreaches or organising town hall meetings. Always doing something
for his people, and so full of life! For a man ever on the move, I got very lucky to have an up-close and most memorable time with him in July last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was one of our facilitators at the ‘Artists as Peace-Builders’ Course (Using Participatory Theatre for Conflict Transformation) at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). We bonded like old buddies and chatted for a long time.
Chubby, lively and with his trademark boyish smiles, Oh! I had no inkling whatsoever that it would be our last physical meeting. Jenks the intellectual, stood out at the ISS training which took two weeks. He was with us for two days, conducting theory and practical training on how the writers, poets, actors, painters, among others, drawn from several African countries (with Chika Ede of the United Nations in South Sudan and I
Maku and unguarded utterances
HE Minister of Information Mr. Labaran Maku has courted controversies due to his various utterances as spokesperson of this administration. For instance, when some PDP governors decided to dump their former party for another Maku insulted one the most important ethnic groups in this country by calling the defecting
governors as pastoral Fulani who move from one place to another. The same man sitting prettily in Abuja condemned Governor Ibrahim Shettimah of Borno State who has seen all and know where its pinches. Maku should understand how Gov. Shettimah is feeling and appreciate his efforts in bringing relief and succour to those affected in various attacks
by the Boko Haram militants. The governor has been using the resources of the state to ensure the people’s needs are met and assuring them that government is with them at this trying period. The minister as spokesperson of this government need not overheat the polity through his unguarded utterances. By Bala Nayashi Lokoja, Kogi State.
being the Nigerians in the group) could utilise the arts to bring about enduring peace in our turbulent world. When he finished the theory in the course of which he unravelled ‘behind-the-scene’ scary security facts (being a consultant to several international agencies on peace-building in the Niger Delta and the North), the class fell into a deep depression. But later on, we were revitalised by the practicals – drama sketches, song and dance… knowing we could make a difference. What a fantastic teacher! No doubt Jenks lived the good life, led the way and shone so brightly. He was the best graduating student in the Theatre Arts in ABU in his 1982 Drama class and was employed by his university soon after NYSC, owing to his exceptional brilliance which the school discovered would be an asset that could benefit generations of students. And he had remained in ABU in over three decades, impacting knowledge, training generations of actors and actresses, and others. But also venturing into several other areas such as peace building, women’s rights, helping with the setting up of several new universities and building human capacities in Nigeria and beyond
while consulting for myriads of international agencies on dozens of projects. He was also an actor, director and film producer per excellence, and was the coordinator of the state of the art Development Communication Centre at ABU. So versatile! In his work, he garnered laurels and recognitions along the way. Most painfully, Prof had been nominated for the Centenary Awards in recognition of his great contributions to the development of the theatre in Nigeria and impacts on many fronts, but his death on February 12, only a few weeks to the award ceremony, robbed him of that glory. In a country where neither the roads nor air is safe, gems are never spared the crude hammer of extinction (The gnawing road had claimed similar genius Prof. Festus Iyayi only a few months ago). With progressively nose-diving standard of education, the tragic loss of these experienced hands at their most productive years is particularly colossal. Indeed, Jenks’ demise is not only a national but a continental and indeed a global loss—a loss beyond words. Adieu, Uncle Jenks. May your great soul rest peacefully with your Maker… Betty Abah Lagos.
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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
Governor Kayode Fayemi: Four more years (1) This coming election is another opportunity for us in Ekiti to once again demonstrate, and, confirm that Ekiti will never again be the play thing of these smart Alecs
S the Kayode Fayemi Campaign rolls out next week to canvass the votes of his trusting and ever appreciative Ekiti people, it is the bounden duty of this column to play John the Baptist and foretell his second coming because, as our people never fail to say: JKF = 4+4 =8. This assignment is a ‘must do’ because long before our people ‘knew’ him, even when impunity ruled the roust and mandate thieves arrogantly seized his mandate for a season, playing god, this column had started, and never for once waivered, that here cometh the man who will make all the difference to our lives in Ekiti. And why was I so sure? Simple. It was his total person. Here is a young man, scion of a decent Christian parentage, intellectually sound and supremely confident, humble yet so self-effacing you are bound to miss his stern interior; a man of principles. It took me no time to know this is a decent gentleman you can trust and one who, unlike the other wannabe governors, will never deceive our people. And so for the first time since 1983, when I was deeply involved in Ondo State politics and indeed had to run to Lagos from that year’s raging inferno as was copiously reported on the front page of The Guardian of Tuesday 20, 1983, I saw myself irretrievably drawn, first to Dr Fayemi, and only later to Ekiti politics. Governor Kayode Fayemi, as our people have come to roundly acknowledge, is simply a miracle worker. Extremely easy to
work with, he is a glutton for work; so untiring sitting by his table, all you can do is pray God for His continuing grace upon such a dedicated public servant. The Yoruba says, if you do not know where you are going, you must at least know where you are coming from. Ekiti is today, without a doubt, not where Governor Kayode Fayemi met it. Therefore, for some of us, who may have forgotten those parlous days of Ekiti being a state of ‘one day, one trouble’; days of murder and near assassinations, days of all manners of illegalities, we need remind them of those pre-Fayemi days, to let them know that only CONTINUITY can keep Ekiti in its present mode of multi-sectoral development, peace and concord, in the utmost hope that the caterwaulers will never be allowed to ever return us to those better forgotten days. Given these extant circumstances, Dr Fayemi, as governor, hadn’t a day’s honey moon. Rather, the long journey to damage control, reconstruction, renewal and modernising had to begin in earnest because it was a period when the preceding seven years had seen as many governors, one of which was for as long as one day; a state, as I mentioned earlier, of ‘one day one trouble’ and one that was nothing more than a client state of big PDP chieftains from as far afield as Ibadan and Lagos. Thus the doyen of amala politics, all the way from the old metropolis would come, pick and choose whichever contract
meets his fancy while the militrician from Lagos ensured he got from Ekiti what funding the party in Lagos could no longer source from its own estranged member of the federal cabinet, in addition to the big man descending to the measly level of hiring helicopters, at hugely inflated prices, for respective Ekiti governors. This coming election is another opportunity for us in Ekiti to once again demonstrate, and, confirm that Ekiti will never again be the play thing of these smart Alecs. We must, and will vote CONTINUITY, whatever the schemes of these villains. This trilogy will explicitly explain the devilish plans of the PDP which include, not only a massive misuse of the military and the police, but named towns where INEC will deliberately under supply electoral materials and villages, specially around border towns, where PDP intends to use the voters cards which they will not only obtain officially, but also print as happened in Akwa Ibom and Abuja in 2011. They will meet a very prepared Ekiti because our people, trusting in God, have said: NEVER AGAIN. But the above was only the tip of the Augean stable Dr Fayemi met on his inauguration on 16 October, 2010. State infrastructure had collapsed, education, for which the state had always been celebrated from time immemorial had gone comatose, Ekiti youths were now no better than hordes of okada riders, social relations had so broken down that a blood relation top party member could invite his own relation to a nonexistent
meeting only to get him killed in his bed room, and the whole place had become a killing field with life, in general, becoming short and brutish, analogous only to, please pardon the exaggeration, Europe after the thirty years war. The above was the unflattering Ekiti Dr Kayode Fayemi inherited at his inauguration. Countervailing all these, however, were a combination of an over pouring of love and support for him by the vast majority of our people, his own innate ability and willingness to bury himself in the herculean task of reconstruction, and the perspicacity to attract to himself , persons of ability, passion and commitment who would assist him in deconstructing this mountain of monstrosities. But first, the Augean stable had to be cleared. And one of the first individuals he called upon to join him in doing this, was Professor Bolaji Aluko, the then U.S-based Professor of Chemical Engineering, scion of the one and only Prof Sam Aluko of blessed memory, and now, ViceChancellor, Federal University of Otueke, who had many years back come to the then Ekiti State University, to offer inestimable assistance to the university during the Vice Chancellorship of Professor Akin Oyebode. For the short time he functioned, Bolaji, hard-headed and deep, with a very sharp and penetrating mind, was, to the governor, the equivalent of the U.S White House Chief OF Staff; his highest ranking ‘staff’, to whom there were no off limits in the government. This was the man who painstakingly,
Next week governor fayemi hits the ground running.
When poverty strikes, strike back with knowledge
Right now, there is such a tight squeeze in the employment market that the chances of a graduate now going shoeless again are getting higher every day OMETIME ago, when President Jonathan revealed that he grew up shoeless in his home village, everyone went ‘Ahh! Uhh!’ in complete sympathy because no one could imagine that someone who grew up shoeless could one day be president. Me, I did not go gaga over the news. I simply interpreted it to mean there was hope for me to also become president one day. And what qualifies me for that hope? I also grew up shoeless. What do you mean? What has my being a woman got to do with it? Anyway, I am not looking for the kind of sympathy you gave the president. I’m not sure but I think he said it at about the time we were going to the polls for him, and I’m not too sure if it did not tip the scales in his favour. You know, Nigerians are very sympathetic people. Forgive me if I’m wrong but anyhow, I want a different kind of sympathy from you. I would just like you to buy me some new shoes, that is all. Seriously, I remember roaming around my village like the waif I was, not having a care in the world and never knowing that shoes were important for the feet. You see, no one told us children, my fellow shoeless ones, that our feet needed to be shoed. So, there we were, roaring through the farms and fields with the most careless abandon you could imagine, mowing down hays and tossing out thorns with our bare feet. We were invincible. They do say that she knows no pain who knows
went through the books, asking questions, ferreting out extant policies which had been mostly observed in breach, and through countless meetings with heads of departments, was able to avail the governor a kaleidoscopic view of the putrefying state of affairs which needed to be promptly attended if the new administration was not to be manacled by the ineptitude of past years. Conscious of the parlous state he inherited, he immediately promised a complete turnaround beginning with a comprehensive review of what had transpired in government in the past 42 months, not as a witch hunt of the past PDP governments, but with a view to strengthening the fabric of democratic governance and to correct the ills of the past. He equally pronounced the following policies about which he must be extremely happy to be judged today given his sterling performance on all: free education for primary and secondary schools pupils, a review of the then recently jacked up fees at the state-owned tertiary institutions; free health programme for children below age five, pregnant women, the physically challenged and the aged and including massive job creation, modernisation of agriculture, improvement of infrastructure, provision of adequate security, care for the elderly, tourism and industrial development, as well as promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.
no difference. All the cobbles and stones and nails and brambles that prick normal feet and leave their prickly marks on the soles made no difference to us children then. We rammed right into them worse than Rambo would ram opponents’ faces. Looking back now, I do believe it is a wonder I entered adulthood with any toenails at all. I think we were too much taken by the freedom of the roam, the call of the wild and wide open hearths, the wonders of the literal birds and the bees, and all the animals that scurried in and out of our paths. Now, look what you’ve gone and done; you’ve got me started on my childhood! Actually, I think there are very many more of our leaders whose childhoods would reveal such experiences characterised either by shoelessness or shirtlessness or plain roaming around carrying beggarly bowls. For some strange reason, though, many of them have insisted on associating such experiences with pain and deprivation that bring out more shame and embarrassment and humiliation which they just want to repress and cover with some thick blanket. But that’s nonsense, absolute nonsense! Why would anyone ever want to cover the fact that they were once one with nature, eh why? Just because they now live in manysplendored mansions? I have always believed that the only childhood not worth living through is one characterised by anxiety, not over food, but over security
because of danger from wild animals attacking a village; or wild animals in the skin of fathers beating the lives out of his wives and children; or of school bullies. Seriously, though, we children had no anxieties over food. We simply entered the house next to our play area of the day and ate. Poverty was not a very common word at that time because it was really difficult to know who was really poor; the poor mixed as easily with the rich then. It was actually easier to know who was ill, evil, crazy or just too stupid for everyone’s liking. Even now, the most commonly designated and emphasised of the lot of poverties is economic poverty. True, its ravages cannot be overlooked. Just look at its effects in drought-stricken areas, war-torn areas, or even faminestricken areas. However, at the bottom of even these stricken places, the other poverties have formed all kinds of bedrocks and foundations. It is when you have mental and spiritual poverty that leaders refuse to think beyond their noses and use available resources to build for rainy days, or lack of rainy days. The problem is that mental poverty blocks the source of all knowledge – that the body can neither tolerate more than a little mound of eba nor a bed at a time. All other acquisitions, including villas, limousines and jets, are actually problems for the acquirer. Sooner or later, we find ourselves getting rid of them out of necessity either when economic poverty resurfaces, or when realisation dawns after mental poverty has been conquered. Spiritual poverty blocks our sense of decency and
fellow human love and concentrates the powers to self-love. Again, that makes us acquire things that are not needed: houses, villas and jets which we sooner or later get rid of when... I believe most of our national leaders, politicians and other leading elites in the society are, at the moment, in this stage of acquiring all things necessary for eradicating all memories of their childhood shoelessness and shirtlessness, hoping that somehow, that will dull the pain, shame and embarrassment they carry around as a result. Unfortunately, as I have often found to my chagrin, facts are facts. So, rather than build a nation of men and women where strong character and fellow human feeling are valued, our leaders have shown the populace that acquisition is better. Rather than create conditions where many more shoeless individuals can find their own shoes and build more shoes for other individuals who are shoeless, our formerly shoeless leaders are building a country where people are taught to acquire shoes, with the matching villas, limousines and jets from oberseas. Talk of a spending spree. A well-known government functionary’s new house was said to have been furnished entirely from head to toe with Italian products. I hear the chairs now speak Italiano. The pity was that the human occupants still found themselves to be Africans; worse, Nigerians. Yet, it’s so easy to create the necessary conditions for striking back at poverty. Let’s see now. How about if we empower families? I tell you, families
have been consigned to the dung heap in Nigeria largely because the family figures have been emasculated and reduced to figurines. Nothing emasculates more than being unable to be heroes and heroines in the lives of the little children in the house by putting shoes on their feet and shirts on their backs. Unfortunately, each time children ask why not, the parents answer ‘because the government would not let me’. By not creating enabling environments where every person can have access to social privileges either through jobs that pay reasonably or enterprises that yield reasonably, the government is defaulting. By creating that enabling environment, more employment opportunities will open up for all so that everyone can acquire shoes reasonably. Right now, there is such a tight squeeze in the employment market that the chances of a graduate now going shoeless again are getting higher every day. Now, you and I cannot predict what may happen when and if that were to happen. So, the best thing is to prevent it. Most importantly, let us have an ordered society where everything will have its place and everyone will know his/her place. Let’s no longer have such a disordered country that resembles a drinking tent where gypsies camp out during summer days. That’s right; that’s what we have now. Everyone is more or less his/her own powerhouse not just in the provision of amenities but even in the matters of the law. For now, let us thank God that our leaders are no longer shoeless. It were well that this good fortune, and the knowledge of how it came about, should spread round the entire country.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
VER the last two decades, the calls had been for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC). What has finally emerged is the Jonathan National Conference (JNC). Praise be! Since the JNC is not and can never be the SNC, please don’t bring the expectations of one to the other, the expectations of the SNC to those of the JNC. To clarify what this means, I have outline below the things that the JNC will talk about and the things that it will not talk about. Money sharing (or “fiscal federalism” and the principles of resource control and derivation): JNC will talk a lot about how oil wealth should be shared between the three tiers of government – the federal government; the state governments; and the local councils. There will be a lot of quarrelling, a lot of squabbling concerning what proportion of oil revenues should go to each of these three tiers. The oil producing states will argue passionately for an increase above the current 13%; the so-called “core” North will vigorously oppose that demand and will insist that population should be the main criterion of the share that goes to each state and each geopolitical zone of the country; the Southwest and the Southeast will in principle support the criteria of derivation and resource control, but it will be a weak, dithering support. Altogether, there will a significant pressure by most states and geopolitical zones for reduction in the share kept by the center, by the federal government. Money sharing as an issue of great importance at JNC will be completely silent on the paltry and insignificant share of our oil wealth that goes to workers, farmers, the poor, the unemployed, old age pensioners and the millions of jobless youths. This is the fundamental cause of economic insecurity and backwardness in our country, but JNC will not talk about it. It will not talk about it for several reasons. First, the great majority of the handpicked delegates to JNC have never shown the slightest awareness of the fact that the poverty and economic insecurity of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians is a problem, a problem of crisis proportions. Secondly, JNC will not talk about it because the delegates are perfectly satisfied with how our oil wealth is currently being shared, that is primarily among the elites with a trickling down of a mere pittance to the masses through patronage. Thirdly and finally, the majority of the handpicked delegates to JNC are so fixated on ethnic nationality and geopolitical zones as the basis of money and power sharing in our country that where they should see concrete, living and suffering human individuals and groups, they see the “tribe”, the geopolitical zone and the religious community as the only valid criteria and agents of negotiation. Power sharing (or “political and administrative federalism”): This will almost certainly be the most dominant issue of deliberations at JNC. The effective line of division will be between those who want the present order of a centre that is much stronger than the federating states and zones to continue and those who want considerable devolution of power and responsibili-
The national conference: things it will talk about and things it will not talk about (1)
•Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, NADECO chieftain
ties to the federating units. At the core of this division between what we might designate the “unitarists” and the “federalists” is the presidency itself and the presidential system as compared with the parliamentary system. Jonathan has picked delegates to his JNC with an incontrovertible numerical advantage to the “unitarists” but at the end of the deliberations, concessions will be made to the “federalists”. At any rate, compatriots, expect to hear and read much about a “rotational presidency” at JNC. But don’t expect that deliberations on power sharing as a subject at JNC will extend to true and genuine empowerment of the masses of Nigerians. Don’t expect to hear passionate and genuine respect for the rights of free association, of assembly, of rallies and demonstrations to be expressed at JNC. Don’t expect calls for building an active, mobilized and civic-minded populace as an inestimable expression of true democracy at JNC. Least of all should you expect that popular sovereignty, as contrasted with the “sovereign” power and authority of the President and the Executive State Governors, will be articulated at JNC. In the last four decades in our country, both the idea and the practices of popular sovereignty have been massively eroded, first by the run of military autocrats and then by their civilian legatees since 1999. Without exception, all the incumbents of Aso Rock Villa since 1999 have greatly feared any mass gatherings of Nigerians in their hundreds of thousands if and when such gatherings are not for religious revivals or in support of the government or a ruling class party. Without exception, when politi-
cians and ruling class political parties in our country think of and talk about power sharing, they mean, quite unequivocally, power sharing only amongst themselves! Will the terribly backward and ever regressing state of education, science and technology in our country be an important topic of deliberations at JNC? Don’t expect it, compatriots! On a per capita basis, Nigeria is one of the most irresponsible, even most delinquent countries in the world when it comes to public spending, public investment in education. If one makes an exception for a few state governors, spending and investment on physical and institutional infrastructures for education, science and technology in our country are abysmally inadequate. In a modern state – any modern state – this is like deliberately committing cultural and economic suicide. There ought to be an inviolable constitutional provision for this, that per capita spending and investment in education, science and technology that is consistent with UNESCO guidelines for developing countries should be enshrined in our Constitution. But don’t expect that this will be an important topic of deliberations at JNC. Why not? Well, have any of our rulers, any of our governing elites, shown the slightest concern, not to talk of panic, about the terribly inferior performance rates of secondary school leavers at NECO exams? Have they shown the slightest concern over the fact that Nigerian universities don’t rank high either in Africa itself or in the world at large? Do they have any inkling as to why our university lecturers and professors have
•President Jonathan, proponent of the JNC
not given up but continue to mount protests against this indifference, this neglect - against all the calculated attempts to demonize them and delegitimize their rights of protest and strikes? Let there be no doubt about JNC and what it portends. About slightly less than a year ago, Nigeria officially overtook South Africa as the country with the largest economy in Africa. Many economist and technocrats, either of the establishment itself or with an establishmentarian mind, rejoiced mightily over this “achievement”. But deep down and below the surfaces of growth without development, this “achievement” means little or nothing, either for the masses of ordinary Nigerians or for the Nigerian economy itself. For in the main, Nigeria continues to lag far behind South Africa and indeed most countries in Africa in per capita income. Nigerians living below the absolute poverty line still constitute the overwhelming majority of the populace, both in the urban centers and in the rural communities. The percentage of installed capacity for industrial production that is working is still very low as the aggregate cost of production, the aggregate cost of doing business in our country continue to be very high. Against the background of this array indices of growth without development, of the largest economy in the African continent that is also the most skewed and lopsided in its operations, our rulers and ruling class parties are extraordinary in their complacency, their mediocrity, their indifference to the plight of the great majority of Nigerians. JNC, in terms of the rela-
tionship between the things it will talk about and the things it will not and cannot talk about, JNC is the expression of this defining complacency of our political elites. I do not in the least with to imply that the things JNC will talk about and those things it will not and cannot talk about are unconnected. For instance, power and/ or wealth sharing among the elites and between the elites and the generality of Nigerians should be the concern of all true democrats and progressives. Indeed, I contend that we cannot or should not talk of one without talking simultaneously of the other. This observation has concrete, practical implications. Let me briefly spell out some of these implications in a provisional non-concluding end to this essay that will be more fully elaborated in next week’s continuation of the series. In the first place, democrats, progressives and radicals picked by Jonathan for his “national conference” should go there only or precisely to raise issues that JNC will not talk about. It is also okay for some of such progressive and democratic citizens who do not wish to join the JNC confab to decline the invitation, but to do so not in order to retreat into either silence or a jeremiad against the things that JNC will talk about. The great task before us is to show how power and money sharing among the elites connects to power and money sharing between the elites and the vast majority of our peoples. This will be the starting point in next week’s continuation of the series. Biodun Jeyifo firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
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Gusau and the generals T
HE drama over newly-installed Minister of Defence, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau’s (retd) continued membership of the federal cabinet may have blown over for now, but unless the fundamental issues that brought the matter to a head are resolved, there could be consequences for the war in the North East. The trigger that nearly forced the minister to quit barely one week after assuming office was his attempt to hold a meeting with the service chiefs. After giving him the runaround for a couple of days, the military brass mandated Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshall Alexander Badeh, to represent them. When it became clear that the service chiefs were sending him a clear message, an infuriated Gusau then made it clear he could not work with officers who would not respect his authority. To get a sense of perspective, it is important to remember that the position of CDS is a creation of the 1979 presidential constitution. Like most things in that document, it has an American equivalent – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The first person to serve in that role was Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd) who was appointed in 1980. Concerning this office, the Armed Forces Act of 1993 as amended in the 1999 constitution states: “The Chief of Defence Staff shall subject to the general direction of the president and of the National Assembly be vested with the day to day command and general superintendence of the Armed Forces.” The CDS reports to the President/Commander-in-Chief and has the minister as his administrative supervisor. His responsibility is to formulate and execute policies and ensure the operational competence of the Army, Navy and Air Force. He is assisted in this assignment by the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force Staff. The minister for his part is the political head of the Ministry of Defence and has two principal advisers – a civilian Permanent Secretary and the CDS. It is through the minister that the executive conveys policy directives which the military would implement. While he is clearly in the chain of authority, that does not extend to command and control and other operational issues which are left to the professional soldiers irrespective of whether the minister is a former military officer. If the roles of these two powerful individuals are so clear cut, how did we end up with this crisis? In the 34 odd years that the post of CDS has existed. I cannot recall an instance when there was this open turf war between Minister and CDS. Significantly, when Badeh met Gusau, he reportedly said the ‘military’ had met and their position was that it was not necessary for the service chiefs to be
N Nigerian politics, the more things change the more they remain the same. A cursory glance through the political scene and one could be forgiven for thinking they have been transported back to the Second Republic. In the place of fresh thinking, the same old tricks are being exhumed in the hope that they would deliver the same results. Back in the day, a certain Commissioner of Police named Bishop Eyitene who was deployed to Anambra State interpreted his brief as giving then Governor Jim Nwobodo and his Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) a torrid time. Until his removal, Joseph Mbu in Rivers appeared to have torn several pages out of Eyitene’s copy book. Another gimmick deployed by the then President Shehu Shagari’s National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was the appointment of what were referred to as Presidential Liaison Officers (PLOs) in different states of the federation
•Gusau present at the encounter. That immediately raises some questions. Does the minister have authority to summon the service chiefs for a meeting without going through the CDS? What is the existing tradition regarding this? When civilians like Rabiu Kwankwaso, Haliru Mohammed, Shettima Mustapha and others were ministers did they summon the service chiefs for such meetings? What sort of reception did they get? Gen. Gusau is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated military officers and one of the oldest surviving generals. So you would expect that he would be sure of where he stood in calling such a meeting. In the same way you would expect the services chiefs to know what they are doing in taking the position they have staked out. So what is going on here? What has changed in the basic rules of engagement to provoke both sides digging in? The answer could lie in the process leading to the return of Gusau to the cabinet. It is not news that before he agreed to rejoin Presi-
•Badeh dent Goodluck Jonathan’s team, he gave conditions under which he would serve. Among other things he asked for an enhanced role as coordinating minister overseeing the security forces. He wanted a free hand to operate and leeway to do whatever was necessary to address the security challenges facing the nation. My sense is that if this was the existing arrangement, it would simply be a case of an individual slotting into the system and carrying on. The fact that such specific demands were made by Gusau suggests that this was novel and uncharted territory. The demands, which have not been denied by the general, would make him a sort of super minister in the mould of Coordinating Minister on the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. But whereas the former World Bank chief managed to pull it off complete with the mouth-filling nomenclature, whatever Gusau agreed with the president remains a secret between them. The upshot is that the secret agreement has now come up against the brick wall of
legal reality. It is not as if everyone accepted OkonjoIweala’s role without cavil. Some pointed out the amplified portfolio usurps the constitutional role of the Vice President who as chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) should coordinate the economy. But if Vice President Namadi Sambo chose not to make waves, the same cannot be said of the military who have it in their DNA to do battle. And it all revolves around the provisions of the National Security Agencies Act. Their interpretation of the invitation to meet the minister was that it was a creeping way of getting them to start reporting to Gusau – something they were leery of doing without an amendment of the National Security Agencies Act. The trouble with the legal position is that it is an axe that either side can wield – not just the serving generals. For instance, under Section 217 of the Nigerian constitution, and Section 7 of the Armed Forces Act, the president has powers to issue commands directly to the military brass. But the same constitution allows the president to delegate his powers to ministers. Under those conditions does Gusau not have enough wiggle room to do what he wants to do? As at the time of writing this piece, the stalemate remained unresolved. Apologies may have been delivered on questions of etiquette, but on all the fundamental issues the soldiers have refused to budge. President Jonathan needs to act one way or the other. He can either give Gusau the sort of public backing for the terms he asked for before coming on board, or simply insist that that whatever system has been functioning seamlessly for 34 years is kept in place. After all, the Americans and British have similar structures and are not being treated to unseemly public spats by senior members of their security establishment. Feelings would be hurt and some could be demoralised, still Jonathan is the Commander-in-Chief. He must act swiftly to squash the Abuja turf wars so the most important people – the troops – can focus on the raging shooting war threatening to consume the North East and more.
Jonathan channels Shagari where the ruling party was in opposition. This provocative move came at a time when certain states – especially those controlled by the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the West – refused to recognise the Shagari presidency. The PLOs were appointed ostensibly to monitor federal government projects and act as the president’s eyes and ears in those hostile states. In reality though, it was just another way of providing jobs for the boys. More importantly, the PLOs soon began acting as alternate governors. As the elections of 1983 approached, they became more openly confrontational towards governors of the opposing parties. If the governor had a convoy, they ensured theirs was
evenly longer and noisier. It was the perfect recipe for raising tensions and ensuring that the periods, before and after the elections, were marred by violence and bloodshed. Today, the same script is being played out. Take a look at the cabinet that President Jonathan is reconstituting to lead the country into an election year. In all the states where the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is in opposition, the ministers or likely ministerial nominees are ‘alternate governors’ – politicians who can make life difficult for the incumbent. That seems to be the primary consideration for getting into the cabinet. That is why you have the Nyesom Wikes, Bonnie Harunas, Musiliu Obanikoros,
Aminu Walis in the team. If the speculations are to be believed, very soon it would be the turn of the Gbemi Sarakis, Attahiru Baffarawas, Ibrahim Shekaraus to name just a few. This new breed are even more powerful now that they have the power of the federal purse to play around with in a manner that the Second Republic PLOs would never have dreamt off. Even worse, today the moral restraints that would have made 80s politicians baulk at certain things have long since disappeared. Anything goes and the scandalous has lost the power to shock. It is enough to make you shiver as we edge even closer to another critical election year.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Unending plots against Al-Makura
Choice before Ekiti voters is simple
‘My tenure as senator is destiny call’
2015: Jonathan’s emerging re-election strategy With five rallies held in six geo-political zones (and still counting) by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential visits to traditional rulers and worship at carefully selected churches within Abuja and environs, the declaration of a second term ambition by President Goodluck Jonathan, it is no longer a matter of if, but when, Assistant Editor, Remi Adelowo, reports
BOUT 11 months to the next general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is taking nothing for granted. Obviously jittery that the next election may not be a stroll in the park, like its previous controversial victories in elections held in the country since the return of democratic rule in 1999, the PDP now seems to be on edge in spite of the bravado of its leaders that it remains unperturbed over the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the last one month, there was no week that the ruling party did not engage in political manoeuvres which many Nigerians have dubbed subtle political campaigns, contrary to the directives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). From its control of about 22 states, post-2011 general elections, the PDP’s control has shrunk to 18, following the defection of five of its governors to the opposition APC, which currently holds sway in 16 states.
Until mid-January this year, the PDP had battled with an internal insurrection that almost brought it to its knees. But the resignation of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the National Chairman of the party with former Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, assuming the helm of affairs, has somehow come as a respite of sorts. Once Muazu settled down, the PDP quickly regained its groove and now appears poised to regain its lost ground within the political space. Though the ban on political campaign is still in force, there are concerns that the ruling party has had a clear head start ahead of the other political parties in the race for next year’s general elections. Visits to traditional rulers The visit was unannounced just as it took many Nigerians by surprise. A few weeks ago, the president had paid a one-day whistle-stop visit to Kano, Oyo, Osun and Lagos States. In Kano, the president conferred with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, from where he headed to Ile Ife in Osun State to see the Ooni of
Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade. The president held a closed-door session with the traditional ruler which reportedly lasted for about 45 minutes. From Ile Ife, the president proceeded to the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, in the ancient Oyo town. From Oyo, the president’s next port of call was Lagos, where the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, also played host to him in his Iga Iduganran palace. And 24 hours later, the president was the guest of the Akran of Badagry, Oba Aholu Menu Toyi. The purpose of what opposition politicians have called ‘belated visits’, according to the president, was to express his appreciation for the support of the people of the South West towards his election in 2011. In the last one week, the president has also visited the Sultan of Sokoto and the Obi of Onitsha, Alhaji Saad Abubakar and Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe respectively. The Nation, however, gathered that the visits to the monarchs was the beginning of a series of consultations the president will embark
on preparatory to his formal declaration to contest for a second term in office in the next two months. Rallies in six geo-political zones In spite of repeated denials that it has not started its 2015 campaign, the PDP has, in the last three weeks, held what it called ‘unity rallies’ in five state capitals covering five geopolitical zones of the country. The first of such rallies, with all the trappings of a full-fledged campaign, took place in Yola, the Adamawa State capital in the North East zone in February. Next point was Sokoto (North-West) during which the president formally received the former governor of the state, Alhaji Attaihiru Bafarawa, from the APC to the PDP. The PDP train, led by the President, his deputy, Namadi Sambo, and other top party and government officials, moved to the Imo State (South-East) on February 18 to receive new defectors from the APC, which included former governor, Achike Udenwa, Senators Ifeanyi Araraume and Chris Anyanwu. After Imo, came the turn of PDP members in Kwara State (North-
Central) to host the president on the 3rd of this month. The rally, which held at the Metropolitan Square in Ilorin, the state capital, witnessed the official defection of the former governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dele Belgore and Senator Gbemi Saraki, to the PDP. Kaduna State in the NorthWest zone was the next to play host to the president about two weeks ago, followed by Minna, the Niger State capital in the North-Central zone, last weekend. The next ‘unity rally,’ according to reports, will hold in Lafia, Nasarawa State, on May 10. Composition of a ‘war’ cabinet Part of the strategies to ensure the re-election of the president, according to reports, may be the sacking/resignation of some ministers in recent times. Brought on board to replace the sacked ministers are Gen.
•Continued on Page 22
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Unending plots against Al-Makura
VER since his erstwhile party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) joined some other political parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC) last year, the Nassarawa State Governor, Umaru Al-Makura, may have become a marked man. This is because of the unending plots to stop his re-election bid by opposition forces within and outside the state. In fact, observers of the politics of the North-Central state are quick to assert that things have not been the same for Al-Makura and the state following the emergence of an APC government in the Government House in Lafia, the state capital. Sources say the governor’s many troubles stem from the determination of the Peoples Democratic Party to ensure that he does not remain in office beyond 2015. But in spite of the many political forces arraigned against him from within and outside the state, sources say it appears AlMakura is not relenting in his determination to win the 2015 governorship election and rule the state for another term of four years. Following the realisation that it may not be easy to dislodge Al-Makura and the APC from the Government House come 2015, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has allegedly been plotting ways of checkmating the governor’s second term ambition. For instance, at the turn of the new year, there were strong indications Governor Umaru Al-Makura, may be impeached. It was then alleged that the PDP, suspected to be behind the impeachment plot, was wooing the deputy governor, Dameshi Barau Luka, to take over as a PDP governor after he must have defected from the APC. Days after the rumour hit town, AlMakura and Dameshi Barau Luka, publicly disagreed over what the state chapter of the APC described as the latter’s anti-party activities. The relationship between the duo has remained frosty since then. Determined to defy the governor, Luka has been seen hobnobbeing openly with PDP chiefs, including President Goodluck Jonathan, former national chairman, Bamanga Tukur and Information Minister, Labaran Maku, in spite of several warnings and condemnations from his then party, the APC and the governor’s camp. In January, the deputy governor worshipped at a church near Keffi with President Jonathan. After the church service, Luka criticised the APC for asking its federal lawmakers to block executive bills over “impunity” in Rivers State. Following what it described as a flagrant anti-party act, the state chapter of the APC suspended the deputy governor from the party, citing the statements he made on the APC directive. The party also said the deputy governor’s actions are pre-meditated and aimed at provoking the leadership of the ruling party. The stand-off continued until March 3, 2014, when Luka finally renounced his membership of the APC. His defection notice came in form of a statement signed by his Director of Press, Danjuma Joseph, and made available to newsmen in Lafia. “The deputy governor has submitted his letter of withdrawal from APC and will brief the press on Tuesday on his next line of action,” the release said. It also said that he would brief the press later to give more explanation on why he decided to leave. He therefore urged his supporters to remain calm and be law abiding as their destinies were in the hands of God. The people didn’t have to wait long to know where Luka was headed politically as the PDP, through its chairman in the state, Yunana Iliya, last Wednesday, announced that President Goodluck Jonathan will formally receive him into the PDP at a reception to be held on May 10, in Lafia. Also, the defection of Senator Ewuga, who was an ally of the Nasarawa governor before the Ombatse uprising in May last year, according to sources, is part of a grand plan to pitch people of the northern senatorial zone of the state against the ruling party. “What you are witnessing today in Nassarawa is a grand plot by the PDP and the presidency to stop Al-Makura at all cost. They will stop at nothing to achieve this.
Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Al-Makura, is currently walking through political land mines set up by the opposition ahead 2015, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan
Their idea of political rivalry is to make the state ungovernable ahead of the 2015 election. They know how popular the governor and our party is around here. They know we will win in any free and fair election in Nassarawa State. That explains why they are going about creating confusion amongst our people. Now they are talking about a zoning agreement purportedly signed by the governor in 2011. And we say bring out the agreement, they couldn’t find it,” an ally of the governor told The Nation. Another plot the PDP is allegedly putting together against the governor involve members of the state House of Assembly. Aside from being cajoled to see through the planned impeachment of the governor once the deputy governor finally moves into the opposition party, the legislature is also being lured into plans that will see the House moving against every move of the governor until his planned removal is effected. The governor had been finding it difficult to work with the assembly since his assumption of office in May 2011. The PDP has 19 members in the assembly, while Al-
Makura’s APC has five lawmakers. Also, sources said all the principal officers of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly are involved with the impeachment plot, and already impeachable offences are being compiled against the governor. The governor and the State Assembly are currently in a face-off, occasioned by the inability of the duo to agree on the number of years elected local government officials in the state will spend in office. While the government, through the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) has said those elected in the forthcoming council polls would spend two years in office, the House recently passed a bill to allow elected local government council officials spend one year in office. Speaking at a stakeholders meeting organised by the commission in Lafia recently,the chairman of the commission, Abdullahi Moddibo, said the electoral body would work with the existing law of two years, stressing that the bill passed by the State Assembly has not been
accented to by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. But the legislators said the NASIEC boss is chasing shadows as they will not succumb to what they described as a ploy by the state government to undermine the authority of the legislature in the running of the state. Another challenge currently being faced by Al-Makura in his bid to rule the state for another term is the mounting agitation in some quarters within the northern senatorial district to have the next governor of the state emerge from the area. While promoters of the agitation say it is a demand by the people of the zone, the ruling APC and the governor’s political camp are of the opinion that it is nothing more than a part of the many plans to destabilise the state ahead of the 2015 general election. Former House of Representatives member, Usman Isah Ambaka, went public with the agitation when he recently warned against alleged attempt to thwart the zoning principle in the state. “I want to believe that the zoning arrangement is about to be thwarted or violated because of the quest of the incumbent governor to go for a second term. I believe the concept of zoning is what is sustaining the system nationally. So, in Nasarawa State, the Nasarawa South West Senatorial District produced the first democratically elected governor in the person of Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu now a sitting Senator. He served for two terms from 1999 to 2007 without any rancour and without any struggle. It then shifted to Nasarawa South in 2007. Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma from Nasarawa South emerged as the governor without any struggle because we believe we ought to respect the zoning arrangement so that stability will be ensured and development can be guaranteed. He was supposed to have come back for a second term from 2011 to date but unfortunately something happened somewhere and he was edged out and we have the incumbent governor who is also from the same zone but from a different party, the CPC. We are saying that we should allow Nasarawa North to produce the next governor of the state in the spirit of fairness and equity. Our argument is that Nasarawa South has finished their term, irrespective of the party, whether its PDP, APGA or whatever, they have done their two terms. If he wants to come back again it means Nasarawa South would rule the state for 12 years. That is total violation of the principle of zoning and the spirit of living together,” Ambaka said. But the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Governor, Sani Musa Mairiga, said Al-Makura did not sign pact with anyone not to re-contest as governor in 2015. Mairiga, while speaking with journalists in Abuja recently, said it is only the people of Nasarawa that can decide whether the governor should contest or not. “It is not true that the governor had any pact with anybody to serve only one term, he will contest if the people want him. The people of Nasarawa would have to be patient with the governor in order to deliver fully on his agenda. They should understand that things were shapeless and very bad at the time Al-Makura assumed office. “Al-Makura is a man of his words, he has kept to his promises. It is a gradual process, within a very short time, every part of the state will feel the positive impact of the administration,” Mairiga said. When contacted, the Presidency said it was not plotting to instigate Al-Makura’s impeachment but said Luka had decided on his own to defect to the PDP. “The Presidency has never wooed or invited the deputy governor of Nasarawa State to join the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It is the deputy governor himself that has decided to defect to the PDP and Mr. President cannot say no to it,” President Jonathan’s Political Adviser, Ahmed Ali Gulak, said.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Obi, an enigma on the move
As Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State prepares to bow out Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, takes a fresh look at his politics and reports that his unpredictable style has made him one of today’s most complex political leaders from the South-East Zone
IEWED from afar, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State can be described as a very simple politician, not prepared for great intrigues. His soft voice, plus boyish, almost fragile looks lend credence to this impression. To a casual observer, even some of his public actions may also confirm this view. For example, there is a popular story often told discreetly amongst politicians in Anambra on how Obi gave out his seat to a political godfather ready to make trouble. On that occasion, the powerful politician, a dreaded godfather in the state, deliberately sat on a seat obviously reserved for Obi, daring anybody to challenge him. Most observers had expected some trouble, but to their utter disappointment, when Obi arrived at the event, he stopped his angry aides from confronting the political godfather as he simply shook hands before taking another vacant seat. There are also stories of when the escort of some of the powerful politicians and moneymen in the state would deliberately refuse to give way to Govenor Obi’s entourage. It is said that in many of such occasions, the governor had rather ignored the obvious confrontation. In one private meeting, where Obi tried to explain why he takes such decisions, he said, “Anambra is not like any other state. You will need extra wisdom and tact to succeed in the state. For example, the escorts of some of the political and money lords there are more than double that of a governor. So, why would such a governor bother to encourage a confrontation? It will only amount to an unnecessary distraction. In fact, after governing Anambra State for eight years, it would be wise for such a governor to go to a hospital and take some well deserved rest before thinking of doing any other thing. Anambra is a unique state to govern.” Given that he, against all popular calculations, survived most of the deadly political intrigues in the state for the eight years he has been in office, he may have greatly justified such unconventional philosophy and style. But some students of his brand of politics have said the issue is more of Obi’s politics and style than the alleged uniqueness of Anambra State. When he first emerged on the politics of Anambra State, a mere greenhorn, seeking the exulted office of the state governor on the ticket of a newly registered political party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), many had dismissed him as a joker, probably unaware of the land mines on the political terrain he chose to thread. But he plunged in, utilising a mass support of restless Anambra youths, who saw him as their representative. His campaign strategies then were also youth- based and aggressively innovative. On several billboards in Upper Iweka Onitsha and other strategic parts of Anambra, the youthful face of Obi can be easily deciphered from a sea of heads, mostly that of angry Anambra State youths crying for change from the politics of the godfathers. That notwithstanding, the official result of the election declared Obi the loser. He would not give up, but quietly moved to the courts and with that move, he began a political revolution that positioned him and his party, APGA, on the political map of the country. So, as he and his political party won case after case to emerge victorious in the politically volatile state, Obi became a political phenomenon, an enigma of some sort, too complex to place but too relevant to ignore in the political equation of Anambra State and that of the South-East. His public life, political battles and governance have been
•Obi quite intriguing. Born July 19, 1961, Obi became governor March 17, 2006 after almost three years of litigation. But that tenure was rudely cut short months after, on November 2, 2006, when he was suddenly impeached. His impeachment was, however, overturned on February 9, 2007, thus enabling him to continue his first tenure until May 29, 2007. To add to the intrigues, although a fresh election was held in Anambra on April 29, 2007, Obi was reappointed governor on June 14, 2007 following a court ruling that he should be allowed to complete a four-year term. He also won the February 6, 2010 governorship election for a second term that will end this month. Towards the end of this his second term in office, Obi, as the Chairman of South-East Governors Forum and a special member of the Eonomic Advisory Team of President Goodluck Jonathan, is considered one of the most influential elements in the politics of the South-East geo-political zone and the country. As the National Leader of crisis-threatened APGA and the PDP-led federal government’s super adviser, how he effortlessly combines and makes such seemingly divergent ends to meet remains a subject of study. As he bows out as Anambra State governor, with stories of elaborate plans at the presidency to immediately take him to the centre, many have been wondering if Obi’s complex style left a mark worthy of emulation in the politics of his state and that of the South-East. His politics At the last governorship election in Anambra State, Obi was at his best as a shrewd politician. Taking masterful advantage of the altercations that trailed the publication of Chinua Achebe’s “There Was A Country,” the deportation saga and his ennobling role during the last days and at the death of Chief Chukwuemaka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Obi succeeded in projecting himself as the genuine protector of Ndigbo’s interest. He also used the same strategy to play on the sentiment of
Anambra electorate, projecting that APGA is the political party of Ndigbo, though the party is still facing delicate leadership crisis. Commenting on the intricate politics played by Obi during the elections and if that has placed Obi as the new leader, Osita Nwaka, said, “APGA leadership position does not automatically translate to Igbo leadership status. It was not the APGA that endeared the late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to the Igbos; rather it was Ojukwu by his unprecedented and unmatched altruism towards his people that endeared the APGA to the Igbos.” While the interest of Ndigbo vis-a-vis the fortunes of APGA remains a major concern, especially now that Obi, the National Leader, is believed to be on his way to serve under President Jonathan, observers are sharply on Obi’s contributions to Igbo political fortunes in the last eight years. Chief Onyedika Udochukwu, a community leader in Anambra North, alleged that because of Obi and the politics he played with APGA, Ndigbo lost their chance of producing a president in the near future, at least within the PDP. A close aide of Obi, who pleaded not to be named, faulted such analysis, arguing that Obi is the best thing that has happened to the politics of Ndigbo in recent years. He added that soon, Nigerians and Ndigbo will begin to appreciate the benefits of Obi’s political relationship with Jonathan. It seems the real assessment of Obi’s political roles and relevance will be unveiled only when Ndigbo truly count their political and economic gains and losses in the Jonathan era. As a resource manager One of the intriguing details of Obi’s politics and style is that he is rather too difficult to predict. This image has played out in the way he has managed the scarce resources of the state since his emergence. Insiders to his administration alleged that Obi is unapologetically frugal. Until the tail end of his stay as governor, this image was widely acknowledged, but as Obi prepares to leave office, especially since his party began campaign for the election and swearing in of his successor, Willie Obiano, Obi suddenly became very generous, donating hundreds of millions of naira to schools, hospitals and churches. For example, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, the Most Rev. Hilary Okeke, earlier this month appealed to Obi of Anambra not to quit politics. The clergy made the plea at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Ihiala, after the governor gave him cheques totalling N130m. Barely two days earlier, Obi had also presented a cheque of N100m to Archbishop Valerian Okeke for the ongoing work at St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha, saying that other hospitals in strategic partnership with the Government of Anambra State would receive theirs as part of the “final push” by his government towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the years 2015. Such donations had remained consistent for some months now, and that notwithstanding, Obi in his end of tenure account said he is leaving N75bn in savings for Anambra State. He said the money includes N25 billion investment for the state. According to him, expected bank balances as at March 14, 2014 would be N11.5bilion federal government-approved refund, N10 billion and foreign currency investment of (US$155m) N26 billion. Obi also gave account of the investment Anambra made in some projects being executed, some of which are N3.5 billion in INTAFACT, N9b in Nigeria Independent Power Project; N4billion in Orient Petroleum Resources PLC, N1b in Onitsha Hotel; N1b in Agulu Lake Hotel; N0.9billion in Awka Shopping Mall, and N350m in quoted investment portfolio, among others. Since he gave that account, analysts have commenced fresh assessment of his tenure as governor. The last is yet to be heard.
Is Ndokwa the best place for Delta 2015 governorship?
VER the last few weeks, I have seen increasing claims and calls by Ndokwa leaders agitating for power shift to Delta North and at the same time calling that the next governor should, under the power shift arrangement, come from Ndokwa land of Delta North. Ndokwa leaders like Chief Paul Enebeli and General Philip Onyekweli have both come out strongly for Ndokwa people to be allowed to govern the state. What is their ground for this posture? They cite amongst other reasons the location of Ndokwa land, the cultural affinity and the oil and gas producing status of Ndokwa land as justifications. Comments by Chief Paul Enebeli, the president of Ndokwa National Union (NNU) in marketing Ndokwa as representing the best location for Deltans to consider the governorship of the state, goes like this: “Ndokwa epitomises all the ethnic nationalities in Delta North, that is why it is a peace centre. It is not against the interest of Delta North. If anything, the interest of Ndokwa for the governorship is positive for Delta North because there is not going to be the fear of marginalisation by any group. When you vote any Ndokwa person to be governor of Delta State, you have peace of mind. Without peace, there cannot be progress. Ndokwa people are the fairest people you can have in the whole universe. I just want to assure Deltans that once you give an Ndokwa person the governorship, they can go home and sleep.” Considering the peculiarity of Delta State, the ethnic configuration, the politics of oil production and location of capital city, it
By Onothoja Utobore can be understood why Chief Enebeli, would seek to position his ethnic place as the best place to have the governorship. It is obvious that Ndokwa has the distinctive characteristic of being positioned such that it has linkages with most parts of the other ethnic enclaves. It is Igbo speaking but an Igbo speaking that the Ijaws, Itsekiris, Urhobos and Isokos inter-marry and relate to. It is oil producing as well. Not in the same quantity as others but enough to constitute an income stream into the state revenue, something others in the Delta North may not have. I was also able to read another interview by another prominent Ndokwa leader, former Provost Marshall of Nigerian army, General Philip Onyekweli, who spoke in similar vein and perhaps the only additional point he made, if you look at it, was to canvass marginalisation of Ndokwa people. His comments goes like this: “ The Ndokwa people have not been given the opportunity to govern the state, to provide leadership for the state. We think we are qualified. We think that nature has made it in such a way that the old Aboh division is in the middle of all ethnic groups in the state. We live together, inter-marry and our culture is the same with that of Isokos, Urhobo, Iteskiri and Ijaws. So you see how Ndokwa people connect with other areas and the Ika is our next neighbours.” Obviously, General Onyekweli’s point, if you interpret it, seems to be saying to the effect that we are naturally located to be centre of the state but we have always lost out. We do not have capital as we should naturally have by the location of Ndokwa area. We have what some of our neighbours have—read oil—we share a lot in
common with them and because this has happened over time, we believe we have earned everyone’s trust to be considered for this, which is why they trust us to inter-marry with us. Instructively, in the interviews that were published in Vanguard and The Nation, both leaders insist they are not backing anyone but will encourage any Ndokwa sons and daughters to run and that they are giving them their blessings. Since reading these interviews, I have made some efforts to test these theories with friends and associates across the different divides of Delta State. Without wishing to mention names or ethnic origins of those I spoke with, it is obvious that the postures of these leaders are generating interesting responses. While some people are sympathetic viewing it as a good position and should be supported because the Ndokwa people have suffered, others fear, that Ndokwa leaders’ kind of politics will divide Delta North and can even sabotage power shift. One person in particular dismissed their position by saying; we knew that Ndokwas have never accepted they are Igbos. They are more aligned with the people from the other zones than with us. We know they will sell us out eventually. Comments like this gave one some feeling of the undercurrents in Delta polity as 2015 approaches. The Ndokwa leaders position is interesting and can either be a deal maker or deal breaker in the convoluted politics of Delta State. Time will tell whether this is smart politics. - Utobore lives in Lagos.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
OLITICS in Enugu State, especially in the last couple of months, has been attended by a lot of razzmatazz, scheming, and even outright blackmail, so much so that a once peaceful state is on the verge of serious political implosion. This is the direct consequence of the alleged agreement reached between Governor Sullivan Chime and Enugu State members of the National Assembly to the effect that none of the National Assembly members, who has done two terms or more, would be allowed to go back to the National Assembly. Added to this alleged agreement is Chime’s declaration that the governorship slot of Enugu State, under the PDP, would be zoned to Nsukka area. However, little attention has been given to the political developments in Nkanu land, which effectively is Enugu East Senatorial District, currently represented by Senator Gil Nnaji. But much as the political contest appears to be uncertain in the other parts of the state, the situation in Enugu East promises to be even more intense and unpredictable with the emergence of some political heavyweights as senatorial aspirants. At the last count, former governor and senator, Chimaroke Nnamani, former Minister for Information, Chief Frank Nweke Jr., former two-time Minister, Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji, the current Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, and the incumbent Senator, Gil Nnaji, have all been named as having serious interests in the position. What are their chances? Chimaroke Nnamani: He was the former governor of Enugu State from 1999 to 2007 and former senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Enugu East from 2007 to 2011. His emergence on the political firmament of Enugu State is replete with a lot of controversies but it is generally agreed that it was Chief Jim Nwobodo, former governor of old Anambra State, who ensured his emergence over a more acceptable Chief Nduka Agu. Chimaroke created the Ebeano political structure, which nearly subsumed the PDP in the state. The Ebeano structure was all powerful and almost a cult organisation and through it, all the political calculations of the former governor were actualised. It was the Ebeano structure that installed the incumbent governor, Sullivan Chime. But on assumption of office as governor, Chime had other ideas about the Ebeano family. The Ebeano structure has become so dreaded in the state at this time that he considered it a huge deficit. So, Chime had to distance himself from it to create a new image for himself and his administration. He also swore to dismantle it; and one way that Chime saw fit was to deny Chimaroke, who had gone to the Senate, a second term as senator.
Enugu-East Senate seat: Contenders and pretenders By David Nnamchi
It was at this time that Chime allegedly propped up Gil Nnaji, who was a Local Government chairman and later member, Federal House of Representatives under Chimaroke to take a shot at the Enugu-East Senatorial seat. Not being able to read the political danger signals, Chimaroke plunged into the battlefield and was greatly bruised in that combat. That was how Gil Nnaji went to the senate. With the coming of the 2015 general elections, Chimaroke Nnamani has emerged from the political wilderness to stage a comeback. He has reassembled his troop, oiled his political machinery and his eyes are on the senatorial seat of Enugu East. It has been speculated that he wants to come back to the PDP fold and fight for the ticket of the party. He is also said to be desperately trying to reach the presidency through the assistance of a former governor who is currently the national chairman of the party. However, the incumbent governor, Sullivan Chime, and the state PDP Chairman, Engr. Vita Abbah, are said to be indisposed to welcome Chimaroke back into the PDP family. Frank Nweke Jr. One thing Chimaroke Nnamani had going for him was his proclivity to thrust huge responsibility on people with little or no experience. His administration was replete with this kind of incidents. That was how Chief Frank Nweke Jr. emerged on the political scene of
Enugu State. He was first appointed by Chimaroke as the Chief of Staff, Government House. With the dissolution of the federal cabinet by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chimaroke nominated Frank Nweke as a Minister from Enugu State. Before this nomination by Chimaroke, Nweke had no political experience and was generally seen as a green horn. The Obasanjo administration accepted him and made him a junior minister and subsequently upgraded him to Minister of Information. However, his critics said Nweke Jr. has no existing political structure with which to prosecute his ambition but we know that he has begun serious political consultations. How far he will go will depend on future political developments in the state and probably beyond. Bartholomew Nnaji Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji is a well-known global scientist and inventor; a professor of Robotics, Automation and Geometrics. He has lived for so many years in the USA where he has made a brilliant career of his profession. He was a former Minister of Science and Technology under the IBB regime and recently under the Jonathan administration; he was the former Minister of Power and Steel. There is no doubt that Prof. Nnaji is a consummate engineer with a global track record, but politics is not like the exact sciences. He once made an attempt to contest for the governorship of Enugu State in 2003 under the platform of the All Nigeria People’s
Party (ANPP) but lost out to Fidel Ayogu, the then Minority Whip in the Federal House of Representatives. Information at our disposal is that he has begun serious political consultations throughout Enugu East and is willing to join the fray when the bugle sounds. He has tried to build some political structure but how viable or formidable such structure is, is yet to be seen. His supporters believe that he still has reasonable contacts within the presidency and that at the fullness of time, such contacts would come in handy to swing the pendulum his way. Buoyed by this impression and belief, he is known to be doing tremendous mobilisation underground. Gil Nnaji Gil Emeka Nnaji is the incumbent senator representing Enugu East Senatorial zone at the National Assembly. He was once a local government chairman under Chimaroke and it was during the Ebeano era that he was also given ticket to contest for the Federal House of Representatives to represent Enugu-East /Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency. His ambition to return to the Senate has not been helped by the governor’s insistence that all National Assembly members from the state would not go back at the expiration of their present tenure as he was alleged to have resolved to take a critical look at the proposition of not returning to the Senate come 2015. He has been fingered by the powers that be in the state as one of those “Abuja politicians” holding secret meetings to fight the governor
and bulldoze their ways back into the National Assembly and it does appear that the Abuja-based politicians from the state have drawn a battle line with the state government. Ifeoma Nwobodo This is the only lady in the mix. An unassuming person, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo is currently the Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu - a position she has held for six years now. Sources said she is well -respected within Enugu East zone and in all other sections of the state basically because it is believed that she has performed her duties very well. She has brought sanity to a once chaotic Government House and has streamlined government activities in the Government House. She enjoys the confidence of the political class, especially the governor, who once described her as a “workaholic and astute manager of resources.” Recently, she embarked on wide consultations in the zone. She is believed to have made positive contacts with women and church groups in the zone and dispensed patronages to them during the last August Meeting. Equally, throughout the last Christmas and New Year periods she was said to have intensified her consultations with former governors from the area, other political heavyweights and the who-is-who in Nkanu land. It is generally believed that most of the infrastructural developments executed under the present government in Nkanu land were attracted by her. She is also believed to have influenced the political appointments of many young men and women holding political positions in the state and at the local government level. This explains why local government chairmen, Supervisors and Councillors from Enugu East zone are reportedly rooting for her; as well as prominent traditional rulers in the zone. For the first time in the political history of Nkanu land, many women groups have come out openly to demand that Mrs. Nwobodo be given the opportunity to represent the zone, arguing that most of the men who represented the zone earlier in the National Assembly, with the exception of Senator Ken Nnamani, have failed them. What she has going for her is her calmness and intelligence and ability to be composed under pressure. She seems to have widely considered the engine room of the current administration in the state and this is perhaps why many say the governor has absolute confidence in her capacity and ability. What may, however, work against her is her freshness in political contest and limited financial outlay, but given a level playing field, she is the aspirant to beat. - Nnamchi is an Enugu-based legal practitioner and public affairs analyst.
Jonathan’s re-election strategy •Continued from Page 19 Aliyu Gusau, Musiliu Obanikoro, Ambassador Aminu Wali, with fresh faces, including Attahiru Bafarawa, Ibrahim Shekarau, Gbemi Saraki, to mention but a few, likely to be made ministers in the next few weeks. Gusau’s appointment as the Minister of Defence is particularly strategic. According to sources, he is expected to serve as a bridge builder between the president and key northern power brokers who are
fiercely antagonistic of the president’s re-election next year. Obanikoro, Bafarawa and Shekarau, in the calculations of the president’s strategists, will serve as counter-forces to the APC machinery in their home states of Lagos, Sokoto and Kano respectively. The ‘restructuring’ of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), The Nation gathered, will be a continuous exercise as, according to a source, “Nobody is too big to be sacrificed by the president if that will ensure his re-election in 2015.”
Pilgrimage to churches In what many have described as a thinly veiled strategy to mobilise Nigerian Christians behind his likely candidature in next year’s election, the president recently revealed his plan to worship at selected churches outside the Aso Rock Chapel at least once every month. The reason for this, according to the president, is to thank his Christian brethren for their prayers in the maintenance of peace in the country.
And in the last two months, the president has made good this promise by worshipping at different religious centres, including Our Lady of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Apostolic Faith Church in Jabi area and the Dunamis Gospel Centre in Area 1 also in the Federal Capital City. Many readily recall the president’s well publicised visit to the Holy Ghost Congress organised by Pastor Enoch Adeboye-led Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) prior to his election in 2011. The picture of the president
kneeling down before Adeboye for prayers, no doubt, resonated among the Christendom across the country who voted massively for him at the polls. Regardless of the concerns raised by the APC that the president’s visit to churches is a ‘dangerous ploy to divide Nigerians along religious lines,’ there are no indications that the president will put a stop to this anytime soon. Interesting times, indeed, lie ahead as preparations for the 2015 elections steadily gather momentum.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Choice before Ekiti voters is simple W
HAT lessons can our governments learn from Germans? Our governments should work with properly-formulated polices that are tied to well-defined desired outcomes, and the people should be actively engaged in governance. Governor Kayode Fayemi is doing that very successfully in Ekiti. His administration’s 8-Point Agenda is one of the most innovative, original programmes of governance that I know of. Why do you think Fayemi has done well? I live abroad but I visit home regularly and I notice that many things have changed for the better since he became governor. And from my interaction with Ekiti people, I know that the overwhelming majority of them are pleased with what he is doing. What changes have you noticed? Many! First, the peace that reigns in the state today is a marked departure from the insecurity that ruled before Fayemi’s coming to power, when political violence and urban banditry were pervasive. For me, a revolutionary feat of the Fayemi administration is the introduction of social security scheme for the elderly. It has greatly helped to alleviate abject poverty in the rural communities. Look at Ikogosi. The place has been completely transformed and it is drawing tourists from all over the country. That is a boost to the state’s economy. Programmes such as the Youth-Commercial Agricultural Development Programme and Youth Volunteer Corps Employment scheme have taken thousands of youths away from the streets into productive economic activities. The roads are much, much better also. In fact, Ekiti has never had such number of good roads. Fayemi has shown what a huge difference good roads make. Education is another big achievement of the government. And a good indicator of that is the pass rate of secondary school leavers in the state. When Fayemi assumed office in 2010, only 27 percent of students passed their WAEC. Last year, more than 70 percent were successful. Like an icing on the cake, the overall best male student in Nigeria in 2013 also came from Ekiti. That, for me, is the true meaning of transformation. I can go on and on. Do you think that the people see these achievements like you see them? Of course, the people are grateful for the enormous work the government is doing. I witnessed an expression of that gratitude during the APC registration exercise in my home town of Ipole Iloro on 5 February. As early as 7.30 am, residents, both old and young, had started trooping to the registration centres in the small town. There was no inducement of any kind. Not even sachets of pure water were distributed to the people. The whole town literally came out to register for a party. That is for me an evidence of people’s appreciation of the importance of the Fayemi government to their lives. We drove to Ikogosi and Aramoko the same day and mass enthusiasm was palpable at the centres we visited also. In Erinjiyan, it was like the town’s residents were being counted. It was an inspiring experience. I must commend the APC workers in Ekiti for a superbly organised exercise and the national leadership of the party should be happy to have an able manager like Chief Jide Awe in its ranks. Why do you think Fayemi has had so much success? I am awed like everybody else by Fayemi’s gargantuan intellect. But what I admire most about him is his passion for the people; a fervent desire to make a difference in the lives of the people. That is for me the true mark of religiosity, this deep-soul conviction of man’s duty to his fellow humans. Fayemi’s success makes a compelling case for more activists to get directly involved in governance.
Femi Awoniyi, Germany-based publisher of The African Courier magazine, was recently in Nigeria. The metallurgical engineer-turned journalist visited the The Nation in Lagos and spoke at length with Seun Akioye on the politics in his native Ekiti State. Excerpts
Facts, factors, actors in Ekiti election (2)
Why? We need self-sacrificing leaders! Remember that after Fayemi earned his doctorate in London, he could have gone on to a very lucrative career in international diplomacy. As one of the very few specialists in security sector governance then, he could have found a very good job within the UN system. No, he didn’t choose that path; he chose the cause of Nigeria at a time when that cause appeared hopeless due to the duplicity of Western countries that were more concerned with their economic interests in Nigeria than the plight of Nigerians under a brutal dictatorship. That heroic bent is what makes selfless leaders. Ekiti will go to the polls in June. What is your take on the election? The positive changes in the state in the past three years are visible to all. This was a state that wandered aimlessly in the political wilderness for seven years – a period bereft of any progress and when insecurity ruled. The choice before Ekiti people therefore is a very simple one. They are to choose either to continue on the path of sustainable peace and development or go back to the unsavoury past. Ekitis are a highly educated and smart people; I have no doubt that they will choose progress. How is life in Germany? People have the impression that Germans are particularly racists. Is that true? I get asked that question often. One thing I would say is that it is not that bad as it is often imagined in Africa. You can live in Germany for ten years without having experienced a single racist encounter. A very close friend based here in Lagos visited me and my family in Germany last year. After five days, one morning at breakfast, he suddenly exclaimed “why do people say that Germans are racist? Everywhere we have been to, people were very friendly.” That shows how wrongly the issue of racism is perceived. There is no colour-blind society in
Europe – or even anywhere in our world. However, one must give it to Germans that they are making strenuous efforts towards more equality. When I arrived in Germany in the early 1990s, you wouldn’t see a person of migrant origin manning the counter at the train station or post office. But today, an African, who came to Germany in 1985 as a student, sits in the Federal Parliament. That is for me a sign of an open, progressive society. Europe is in crisis but Germans are doing so well. What makes Germany tick? I don’t think that you can attribute German success to one single reason. It has to be a cocktail of many factors. For one, its highly competitive industry is a game winner. And the Germans are a frugal people; they have one of the highest savings rate in the world. That makes resources available for investment. These are some of the factors responsible for the prosperity of the country. Why is German industry so competitive? Remember that Germany has a long history of innovation. More than 75 per cent of the major technological breakthroughs of the 20th century were made by Germans or people who were born German and migrated to other places such as the US. That is why Germans pride their country as the land of ideas. Also, the country’s corporate culture, which places the interests of a company over and above those of its owners, makes a big difference compared to countries where shareholder value rules supreme. That is why Germany companies endure. And Germans are a very hardworking people. They are an exacting people who don’t leave anything to chances; everything has to be well planned and meticulously done. That is why German products are so exceptional.
HE ride to the June 21 Ekiti governorship poll may be bumpy. The signs are beginning to appear. Stakeholders in the state are shouting that the continuous registration exercise has shown indications that the electoral commission is yet to transcend the sloppiness that characterized previous polls and turned the results to guess work. It is obvious that the commission needs help. Civil society organisations, election monitors and international observers should see themselves as partners with the people of Ekiti and assess every move made by the commission from now. Apart from the political parties, another major factor that could decide who wears the crown is the choice of candidates. On this, the APC candidate has a clear advantage. As the incumbent, it is clear that he already has the ticket. The only person who disagreed with the choice, Opeyemi Bamidele, has exited the party, seeking accommodation in the all-comers Labour Party. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, thus, has the advantage of setting up his campaign team ahead of others. The team has done extensive work and, being the incumbent, every government action also amounts to a campaign. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) started with a crowd of 26 seeking the ticket. Twelve have been cleared. It is unlikely that the plan to reach a consensus would work. At least four, of the 12 aspirants who have paid 11 million Naira and obtained the goahead of the Ndoma Egba screening panel, see themselves as serious contenders. Former Governor Ayo Fayose is in the race for real, Prince Dayo Adeyeye from Ise who looked lost since he “ported” to the PDP believes it is his time and former Police Affairs minister Caleb Olubolade is believed to have the backing of the Abuja lords. Former Wema Bank chief Abiodun Omoyeni plans to use his private sector experience and ability to mobilise funds to fight the battle. This would make the battle fierce and could threaten stability of the party. Ado-Ekiti’s votes could play a crucial role. Going by the voter’s register and votes cast in previous elections, the capital city, and Ikere, could swing votes in one direction or the other. This is probably one reason why the incumbent picked the late Mrs. Funmi Olayinka as his running mate for the 2007 election. Upon her death, another Ado indigene, Professor Adelabu, was appointed her successor. Since the PDP is yet to pick its governorship candidate, it is yet uncertain where the running mate was be selected from. This is yet another joker available to the APC. I intend to examine the figures in subsequent previews of the poll. Would the Ondo State government play a major role? The party in control of the state is known to be a surrogate of the PDP. Governor Olusegun Mimiko is believed to owe his re-election to the support of the federal government and the national leadership of the PDP. His initial plan was to mass logistics support behind the Labour Party in Ekiti. The bid has failed. Could Mimiko now openly back the PDP? This remains to be seen. However, such support would count for little once the PDP and the federal government opt to back their official candidate. Is money a factor? This is a potent force in Nigerian elections. But, it may count for little in the Ekiti governorship tussle. The PDP has the backing of a federal government desperate to secure a foothold in the West. The Ekiti election could influence the outcome of Osun’s coming up on August 9, and both would largely decide the fate of President Jonathan in the 2014 presidential election. The President is therefore unwilling to leave anything to chance. Money would be spent as if it is getting out of fashion. The APC, too, is unlikely to allow funding of its campaign derail its bid. As the party in power in the state, it could do many of its campaign using the official platform. Would the judiciary lend its weight to the antics of frustrated and desperate politicians to thwart the process? Would the security agencies do the bidding of the central authorities and aid subversion of the People’s Will? A notorious fact that all involved should note is that the Ekiti people have a high sense of political consciousness. In the First Republic when the Northern People’s Congress-controlled federal government decided to steal the votes in the Western Region, the people rose against the attempt. They rejected the collusion between the NPC and their cohorts in the region-the Nigerian National Democratic Party. The conflagration consumed the Republic. In the Second Republic when the National Party of Nigeria gale swept through the land, resistance came from old Ondo State that then included Ekiti. Despite an Ekiti, the late Akin Omoboriowo, being the NPN candidate, the people rejected the bid to subvert their will. Eventually, the ship capsized and the military struck within three months of the enthronement of perfidy in the country. In the more recent time, the typical Obasanjo bravado that installed the Oni-led PDP administration in the state was stoutly resisted, leading to retrieval of the stolen mandate. Anyone who understands the political history of Nigeria would not attempt to tamper with the people’s choice in the coming election. He, who has ears, let him hear.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
LOVE the aggression and the dynamics of the evolving political genius of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The political space, hitherto stiffened by a monotonous and nihilistic conglomerate of a directionless bunch, is assuming an exciting character. The terrain is becoming jazzy and the fun of the possibility of a change in climate and power is generating some sensations and ripples in the land. In the midst of our tragedies comes the rage of our politics. The President, Goodluck Jonathan, is unfazed by the many killings of the Boko Haram-our major national tragedy. But the citizens rose in unison to express their fury against state conspiracy. Why must a citizen die for believing in his nation? This is a matter for another day. Frazzled by the unconcernedness and insensitivity of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the challenges facing the nation, the opposition(s), through a merger arrangement, came up with the APC. Since then, both the PDP and the government have become flustered. When the new party christened itself “All Progressives Congress”, I was one of those who felt that the word “progressives” was again being abused, having been exploited and stripped naked from its content to its context in the past by politicians of assorted ideological orientations and creed. Initially, Nigerians, who were excited about the emergence of the APC, did so not because they believed that it was ideologically different from the PDP but because they were bored by the irritating dominance of the political space by the PDP since 1999. Before the APC, the opposition was nothing but a kibbled kernel. Even before the five PDP governors defected to the APC, the party was still not taken serious. Nigerians wanted a party with a functional spread; a party that can move into the remotest corners and crannies of the whole country. They loved what Bola Tinubu and Muhammed Buhari were doing but they wanted to be convinced that their efforts and drive for change were not motivated by their desire to promote their own political agenda. Frustrated and disappointed by past populist pretentions, Nigerians demanded and craved for a messiah that would galvanise the citizenry into a revival and crusade for national restoration. They (Nigerians) had become tired of helping politicians to realise their ambitions while nobody is paying any attention to their own deprivations. Buoyed by the defection of the five governors of the PDP to the party, the APC has increased the tempo of its activities and it is showing more exertion and commitment to dislodge the PDP from its Olympian scaffolding. The APC has recently become very aggressive and forceful in its propaganda and enlightenment campaign which is making the whole nation to begin to imagine the APC as the next party in government because of the quality of options and alternatives it offers the country in contrast to the failed policies and programmes of the PDP. Conscious of the fact that it would have to work very hard to get the PDP out of power, the APC launched a ten-point roadmap to convey its message of hope and vision to Nigerians. The high points of the road-map include (i) creation of 20,000 jobs per state (ii) free relevant quality education (iii) restoration of agriculture (iv) better housing plan (v) independence for EFCC, INEC, ICPC, SIECs (vi) peace and security (vii) ¦ 5000 monthly for 25 million poorest people (viii) establishment of technological driven industrial estates (ix) ex-youth corps members to get allowance for 12 months (x) zero tolerance for official and private sector corruption. Though Nigerians are used to beautiful presentations of programmes, agenda and plans by political parties, this time around they now have a road-map well structured and one that acts as both catalyst and template for growth and development at the same rate and at the same pace. A road-map that is ostensibly more operational and functional. This is why I believe that those behind the APC road-map have been wonderful in evolving a road-map that is rich and robust in terms of its intellectual content. The road-map seems a bit ambitious and utopian. I would have preferred a plan that is structured on gradualism. My fear is not about the funding of the programmes
APC presidential candidate: Consensus or primaries?
By Dapo Thomas
because I know that with its zero tolerance for corruption, the party can always have funds for its programmes. Neither do I think that some of its social or welfare programmes are unrealistic. With what Kayode Fayemi is doing in Ekiti with the Social Security Scheme and what Rauf Aregbesola is doing in Osun State with Agba Osun, I have no doubt that the APC can perform a similar feat at the national level. Most of these welfarist programmes were simply replicated from the agenda of some APC – controlled states and whoever is going to be the APC presidential candidate must be ready to implement these programmes intoto. This leads us to the big question: Who may likely emerge as the APC presidential candidate? As at today, nobody has officially declared his intention to run, but from speculations and antecedents, everybody feels that Muhammed Buhari and Abubakar Atiku are well positioned to compete for the ticket. Other people on the radar include Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Governor of Kano), Rochas Okorocha, (Imo State Governor), Nuhu Ribadu (former EFCC Chairman). There are signals that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, may still defect to the APC and also compete for the ticket. From all indications, the APC is taking its time in ensuring that it follows due process in the selection or election of its presidential candidate. There are two possibilities: one, the APC may still be expecting more defectors who for strategic reasons are still in the PDP. Their bodies are there in the PDP while their spirits and souls are in APC. It is
all a matter of strategy. Second, the APC may be waiting to see if the PDP will go through primaries in selecting or electing its own candidate or if the party will just nominate President Goodluck Jonathan based on consensus. If the PDP should choose Jonathan as a consensus candidate, this may likely result in mass exodus of PDP members to the APC. There are those who believe that Jonathan should not run for second term. The governors of Jigawa and Niger states, Sule Lamido and Aliyu Babangida, belong to this category. Though they refused to follow their other five colleagues to the APC, in politics, you can never tell what may happen tomorrow. It is, however, obvious that they are no longer committed to the PDP as they were before. Since the APC has not shut its doors against any interested member, it is not impossible to still see some PDP members overflowing to the APC in search of “greener pasture”. Expectedly, the APC will soon declare its policy on zoning. The general assumption is that the party will zone the position of the president to the north. This may not be absolutely correct in view of the fact that Rochas Okorocha is also interested in the position, except of course all his posturing and grandstanding are mere groundwork for 2019. Okorocha has not only expended his resources on the APC project, he is strongly committed and dedicated to its cause. He is a good mobiliser, a fantastic and trusted friend of the poor. If he is actually interested and he is schemed out of the race via an unfair zoning arrangement which eventually makes one of those who joined the party long after it was formed, the presidential candidate, this may lead to bad blood. The party cannot afford to expand
the network of its antagonists at a time that some disenchanted former members of the party, like Belgore of Kwara, Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto and Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano, left the party to join the PDP. Going by feelers in the public space, most people who have sympathy and sentiments for the APC would prefer Buhari and Atiku playing the role of elder statesmen by withdrawing from the race and allowing the “new generation” to go for it. The first reason for this is that the public seems to have become tired of recycled politicians. The second reason is that Nigerians want vibrant and dynamic young and enterprising politicians whose ideas of governance are of the sophisticated module. The world all over is changing the concept of governance by injecting fresh blood into its political system and assigning them higher responsibilities that will task them intellectually and morally. I wish to disagree with all the sentiments that have been expressed so far. Aspiring to the presidential position is a right that is guaranteed by the constitution. I do not subscribe to the view that a citizen’s inalienable right should be compromised because of age, colour, prejudice, bias, sentiments, race or religion. This is one of the reasons why the APC must tread softly on the selection issue. There is no doubt that the APC is now a popular party enjoying the support of all and sundry. The only fear people are expressing is about the process of selecting its candidate. The party should not under any circumstance contemplate using consensus to select its presidential candidate. The consequences may be very damaging and grave. Consensus in politics is a general agreement and understanding among party chieftains on the choice of candidates to be selected for certain elective offices instead of going through the rigours of primaries. This option is mostly preferred to primaries because it helps in reducing tension, acrimony, acerbity and conflict which primaries normally provoke. It may appear undemocratic but every party is at liberty to adopt a selection process for its candidates that will guarantee the stability of the party and cohesion among its members. In any situation where this system is adopted, all the candidates that are interested in certain elective offices must be carried along and treated with respect. The elders of the party must show compassion for the candidates’ aspirations. This is why consensus is all about persuasion, not coercion, about compromise, not oppression, negotiations, not rejection, agreement, not imposition and understanding, not tenacity. Consensus is complex and complicated but not undesirable. The only problem with consensus is that it seems unjust when a man will have to fulfil his own political ambition at the expense of others’. Party elders, in their wisdom, opt for consensus because they know that some of the candidates are not serious contenders but only want to use their participation as leverage for negotiating for other positions. But because the APC is a new party still battling for credibility and the citizens’ support, consensus may not be ideal for selecting its presidential candidate. Consensus may be applied or adopted at other levels if it is believed that primaries will throw the party into a state of anarchy and pandemonium. For instance, at the state level, consensus is not a bad idea because most of the party chieftains see the state as their own domain where they can wield some influence and appropriate some privileges to themselves. When you disallow them from influencing the choice of candidates who will rule the state, you are indirectly curbing their influence and rendering them unimportant politically. It is not fair to deny such major financiers of the party, the godfather status or diminish their political relevance. I agree that some of them abuse this privilege, but asking them to exercise some discretion in the course of wielding this influence is more appealing and attractive than castrating them into impotency. However, in view of the fact that the whole world is waiting to see how the APC will pick its presidential candidate, I think it is in the interest of the party to conduct open and transparent primaries for all its presidential aspirants in order not to engender its credibility and jeopardise the popular support Nigerians are willing to give to it.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
‘My tenure as senator is destiny call‘
T last the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge has been done by President Goodluck Jonathan. How do you feel as the senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, the location of the bridge? I feel very excited, very fulfilled. I’m fulfilled in the sense that the construction of the bridge comes at a time when I represent Anambra North. My tenure as a senator has been a destiny call. We have also witnessed the election of Chief Willy Obiano from Anambra North as the first person to be so elected from my Senatorial District of Anambra North after so many years of Anambra State’s existence. The case of the Second Niger Bridge, without gain saying, is going to open up covers in the area. It is going to release the pressure on the existing Niger Bridge which every day becomes worrisome because one doesn’t know the effect of the massive pressure on the bridge and how long all those weights can be carried on the bridge. So, the construction of the Second Niger Bridge is a very welcome development. In times past, I had said that the Second Niger Bridge has become some kind of a political slogan. Today, I say that it is no longer a slogan but a reality. So we’re all grateful about that. On my part, it is quite good that I sit on the Senate ad-hoc committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) where the counterpart funding meant for the Second Niger Bridge will be sourced. At the last budget defence where we had the Ministry of Works defending their budget, the issue of Second Niger Bridge came up because that is where the funding will come from. I am to make sure that this fund, as far as government makes it available, is fully utilised. Sitting on the Senate SURE-P committee also affords me the opportunity to oversee the progress of Second Niger Bridge. So, I can say that this journey of the Senate for me is a destiny call. Before I started this journey, I asked myself and asked God “what exactly is my mission?” But with every passing day I begin to see that there is a mission for me, a destiny call, maybe a call that my late husband could not fulfil because death took him away and then it fell on me to be on the same position to make this milestone in the history of Anambra North Senatorial district. I give God the glory for making me that point of contact for all these major things that happened in the senatorial zone. This is not the first time Nigerians hear about ground-breaking for the Second Niger Bridge. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo did some ground-breaking for the bridge when he was in office. What is the guarantee that the situation will be different this time around? I, for one, I’m privy to the fact that the funds are
LECTED under the banner of the markedly Igbo-interest APGA party, Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, a banker of international repute, a philanthropist and cultural custodian, a devout Catholic, a friend with a versatile sense for humour and a good son of modest background shall be sworn in — in the afternoon of March 17, 2014 - as the governor of Anambra State. First and foremost, to understand the realities and dynamics of Obiano’s emerging governorship, we must situate him in the recent political ecology of Anambra. Anambra is homeland to some of the formidable financial heavyweights in Nigeria and holds an impressive mix of talented leaders. Also, truth must be told that Anambra has, to this day, more than its fair share of spoilers and squads of acid-tongue, elbow-throwing politicos who thrive in crises and malice. Lest I forget, there’s the motley of pint-size political god-fathers and buccaneers for whom business gets its highest returns from politics. Over the past 20 years, Anambra has witnessed, except for two or three, an unimpressive confetti of political charlatanry and, in some cases, murderous events which turned away many well-meaning citizens of the state from competitive public service. Many refused to be involved in the partisan swindle for which the recent political business of the great state had become synonymous…. Consequently, Obiano’s emergence, his selection by outgoing Governor Peter Obi and subsequent election, I believe, reflect the popular vote of Anambrarians to maintain a responsible handling of the resources of Anambra. Evidently, the performance bar for governors in Anambra has been lifted higher by a hardworking, resourceful and populist Obi. Obiano’s performance expectation, I must
Senator Margery Chuba-Okadigbo is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health. In this interview with Assistant Editor, Onyedi Ojiabor, Margery, wife of flamboyant former Senate President, the late Dr Chuba-Okadigbo, spoke about the exclusion of National Assembly members in the affairs of Anambra State by Governor Peter Obi, the inauguration of the Second Niger Bridge and the need to tighten adoption law in Nigeria. Excerpts available in terms of the counterpart funding. Government will provide for the private public partnership arrangement for the project. Julius Berger we know is not the sit-around kind of company. So, they have the other side of the arrangement to complete. When we had the SURE-P meeting with the Minister of Works, we were informed that they have started moving materials and equipment to the site and actually that is what they have been waiting to do. Mr. President himself did say when a delegation from Anambra went to say thank you and also raised the issue of the Second Niger Bridge, Mr President said he wanted a situation where he would do the ground breaking and there would be no stop. I don’t see any reason why there should be a stop if all the enabling are on the ground. So I believe that this will not be a lip service where we talk about ground breaking and before you know it the ground is already rejuvenating. I believe the project is for real this time around. As the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, how did the interface to ensure the passage of the National Health Bill go? It was quite immense. Apart from long hours of writing, meetings and the retreat we had, we didn’t do it alone. We needed to have input from the ministry itself, the Minister of Health, the various groups in the ministry, we had a public hearing so that we could have input from Nigerians because the Health Bill is for all. So, it took long hours. It was a good team in the sense that in our committee we have doctors who have personal experience from working in the private and working in government hospitals and health-related agencies. For me, it was equally interesting because with my own background of law I was able to give some framework to the bill itself. So, it was a team work that turned out very well. How will the bill, if signed into law, impact on the lives of Nigerians? It is going to impact on the lives of Nigerians. I must bring to your attention the fact that in the constitution as we have it today, there is no schedule on health. It is unbelievable, but that is the way it is, it is not in the Exclusive, it is not in the Concurrent List. There is nothing on health in our constitution, there is a major amendment that we need to do in the constitution. In the constitution you talk about aviation, you talk about every other thing but there is nothing on health. The National
•Okadigbo Health Bill took care of many things and I think you could probably ask me why in the previous assemblies we have not been able to pass the health bill. I think the fundamental would be the source of the funding; where are we going to get funding from? That was a thorny issue in the past assembly. With this current one, we were able to get around that by saying that one percent of the Consolidated Fund will be applied to health issues. We also talked about regulation because quite a lot of health practices are not regulated because there is really no law for them. But now we’re going to be able to regulate so that the health practitioner or the health outfit or establishment is regulated. So that you as a Nigerian, if there is an issue you want to talk about, you have a guideline. You have sponsored a couple of bills in the senate,
what are the stages of the bills? I have since found out that in the senate, the important thing is to go as far as having a second reading of your bill. There are 109 senators and everybody has more than a bill. When you put in your bill, it is easy to get it done on the first reading. The second reading takes time, time because there are other issues that come up on the order paper for the day. So you may find that your bill is published on the order paper, something of national importance comes up and your bill drops and we have to address the issue of the day. So when you consider that that goes on and on, it takes a little bit longer. For me, I have three main bills in the kitty right now. The first one on the Kidney Dialysis Centre, I deliberately stepped down on that because I wanted the National Health Bill to scale through first. This is because the health bill will be the stepping stone and give the guideline to prepare the framework on which I can go forward on the bill on the Kidney Dialysis Centre. The whole idea of the Kidney Dialysis Centre is to at least have a standard dialysis centre one in each state. That is the very least the government can do, a standard dialysis centre in every zone of the country with the hope that it will grow. That state governments will even find it necessary to fund such centres. We hear on radio and see on the television Nigerian citizens pleading for assistance in getting kidney transfer. They are travelling abroad and then we have had Nigerians, be it in sports, in your own profession, journalism, we have people who have passed on while waiting for kidney transfer. From what I understand, this is what is easy to pick up at the early stage. The second bill is on the Child Rights Act. The Child Rights Act comes in different sections but the section I’m zeroing on is the section on adoption. We have the Anti Gay Right Act. The Child Rights Act I’m seeking to amend the section on adoption to clearly state that it takes a man and a woman to adopt a child. That we as Nigerians do not want any interference from out of our shores on the pretence of coming to adopt only for the child probably to end up in a home that is against our culture. So, my bill is seeking to tighten those areas that will allow for such. Because, for me, if you forfeit your right of reproduction because you want to be in a union of your own choice as an adult and I think that child should be allowed to grow up in a normal environment.
‘Obiano: Fit to lead Anambra’
• Obiano By Chido Nwangwu note, has been pushed very high. Second, in the big picture of geo-politics, especially ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 potentially explosive presidential election, the ObianoAPGA votes fulfilled and secured the broad sentiments around the Igbo interest for a relatively independent and symbolically autonomous political community of Anambra.
Therein lies the importance of Obiano as, potentially, a key leader of the Igbo eastern states, at this crucial period as Nigeria bifurcates along the geo-ethnic lines of the ruling PDP and the opposition APC. Third, all politics are local, as the political maxim states. Chief Obiano told me recently, during an exclusive USAfricaonline.com interview, that APGA and the Igbo voters “will get more mileage” by supporting Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (of the PDP) for the 2015 elections. My 100 minutes interview is, to date, the most comprehensive insight to Obiano, the accomplished banker, who bagged the USAfrica Best of Africa International Banker of the Year 2012 (long before he had an eye on partisan politics). Obiano charts a path for his priorities as Governor from March 17, 2014, speaks candidly on his relationship with the outgoing, popular Governor Peter Obi who strongly backed him to victory in the NovemberDecember 2013 elections. He reflects on how he got into politics and governorship campaign, and outlines why he considers security as critical to making Anambra State a business destination of choice in Africa. On a personal level, he speaks about his wife, Chief Mrs. V. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) who introduced me directly to Akpokuedike Obiano in 2012. Fourth, on the all-important issue of the direct impact of his plans, the retired banker cited, like he did during his campaign, that a number of the public policy pillars and economic enablers of his agenda for governing will drive economic development and growth,
exponentially, for Anambra. But governance and campaigns are two different realities. For the campaign, it’s largely an information warfare and mobilization battle, and…. For governance, first, it’s about definable achievements to be seen by the constituents; then followed, realistically, as both information messaging and mobilisation battle for the hearts and minds of the governed/voters. Why is this relevant to Obiano? Even the best plans and initial achievements have, sometimes, been drowned in the fire and thunder of the boisterous politics of Anambra (and parts of Nigeria). But I believe that Obiano’s pedigree and achievements show him as man who is determined to make history in Anambra for good reasons. The man, who goes by the courage-filled traditional title of ‘Akpokuedike’, cannot offer any less as Anambra beckons…. On balance, I believe that Willie Obiano has the integrity, the intellection and clarity of purpose to lead the great homeland of Achebe, Azikiwe, Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Osadebe, PSquare, etc. My brief inquiry to his history and upbringing show a family value of spartan discipline and resourcefulness —instilled by his late father, Sir Philip Onuorah Obiano, a wellknown headmaster in their hometown of Aguleri. Those two uncommon attributes are needed for leadership roles, particularly as governor of a state with scarce resources and fiercely competing priorities. Evidently, Obiano’s governorship promises to usher in the dawn of a new era where policy lucidity meets relevant experience. • Dr Nwangwu, is a public affairs analyst.
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ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail: email@example.com, Tel: 08023849036, 08112662587)
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34 GLAMOUR/OUT & ABOUT
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Jaywonâ€™s row deepens
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‘Real reason I dropped out of varsity’
How AY led me into actingâ€“Lillian Esoro
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‘Nigeria may become a software colony unless ... ‘
Season of sanctions in telecoms Page 58, 59
Works Minister urges engineering companies to invest in Nigeria
HE Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen at the weekend called on engineering companies to invest in the various sectors of the country's economy to speed up development. Onolememen made the call at the commissioning of the Head Office of the P.W. Nigeria Ltd., a road construction company, in Abuja. According to him, it is not enough to have companies investing in the country but the services rendered by them should be of high quality, while ensuring sound and timely service delivery. ``P.W. Company has been in Nigeria for 40 years and today marks 40 eventful years that PW has been known for quality service delivery, at least I can
attest to that in the road sector. ``The partnership between P.W. and the Federal Ministry of Works for me has been a very positive one and this had led to the delivery of quality services in road construction to the people of our nation. ``Particularly, P.W. has delivered three major projects under my leadership, a case in point is the VomManchuk road which is my favourite because it was a road with a very difficult terrain yet they delivered,'' Onolememen said. The minister said that P.W. also did a good work at the Ibadan-Oyo road and the Ikom-Ogoja a project under the World Bank and African Development Bank sponsored projects. He commended P.W. for doing high quality work and
delivering it on time precisely two months ahead of schedule. O n o l e m e m e n commended the company for the development of the office structure, adding that it was a show confidence in Nigeria. ``For the company to have embarked on the development of this edifice in Nigeria at a time of our national difficulties shows that the company has a lot of confidence in Nigeria. ``P.W. has proved to be a company that is devoted to delivering quality services in the road sector with records of completion before the scheduled time." He urged other companies to emulate P.W. and deliver more of such quality work and to also invest in the country in various sector of its national development.
Earlier, retired Lt.Gen.Garba Duba, the Chairman of P.W. Nigeria Ltd. said the company would continue to deliver quality work to Nigerians. Duba said that the company had embarked on many road projects in the country and that it intended to diversify its operations to better serve the nation. He thanked the minister and Nigerians for their support. In a remark, Mr Joe O'Driscoll, the company's Director of Operations said funding remained the major challenge facing the construction sector. He said that if the problem could be curbed it would go a long way in helping the construction companies to deliver quality jobs on time
‘I’m a team player’ •Olugbodi
Council tasks consumers on rights
HE Consumer Protection Council (CPC) said at the weekend that its greatest challenges was the inability of consumers to report when dissatisfied with products. The Director-General of the Council, Mrs Dupe Atoki, stated this during a road-show to announce the 2014 World Consumer Rights Day in Abuja. This year's World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated under the theme: ``Fix our phone rights''. The day, observed on every March 15 worldwide, is to sensitise consumers on their rights and what to do when those rights are violated. Atoki, who noted that the theme coincided with one of the major challenges in the country with regards to telecommunication sector, said over 122 million Nigerians were ``consumers of telephones''. ``As a consumer you have a right for your conversation not to be truncated and not to receive messages you did not subscribe for. ``You have a right to opt out very easily for services that had been imposed on you by automated services among others,'' she said. Atoki frowned at the ``I don't care attitude of consumers on the purchase of bag product'', saying the attitude would not help the Council to perform efficiently. She assured that the Council would ensure that consumers got value for their money by bringing manufacturers or service providers who violated consumers' rights to book.
Traders laud Obi for friendly tax regime
RADERS in Onitsha on Friday commended the outgoing Gov. Peter Obi for implementing a friendly and flexible tax regime for traders in Anambra. The Chairman of Onitsha Main Market Association, Chief Innocent Agudiegwu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha that Obi was a listening governor. He said that Obi was able to resolve the contentious tax issue amicably. Agudiegwu said that the governor made tax payment easy by working out the payment through the line chairmen in various markets. ``We are happy paying it. And I must tell you that our members have been paying with over 85 to 90 per cent compliance. ``The way our listening governor handled the contentious tax issue made us to believe more in his administration's determination to better the lots of traders.”
Expert tasks govt on effective aeromedical services •Financial Literacy Day : Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada; GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, officials of Kogi state and UBA with students of Crowther Memorial College Lokoja, during financial literacy training programme for students, an initiative of CBN, held in Lokoja...recently
'Amendment of labour convention will boost maritime'
HE National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) at the weekend said the proposed amendment of the Code of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 would boost the needs of the sector in the country. Dr. Clement Illoh, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, said this in Abuja at the end of the Technical Tripartite Meeting
of the NLAC. He said the new amendment was aimed at bringing up to date, the ever increasing needs of the sector and further strengthen the objective and goals of the MLC 2006. Illoh said the meeting was preparatory to the Special Tripartite Committee meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in April, 2014. He said that the
amendments would provide effective mechanism to ensure commitment and compliance to the provisions of the MLC 2006 towards the sustenance of quality shipping and universal standards. He said that Nigeria was the 35th Country to ratify the Convention which was deposited with the ILO by Nigeria in June, 2013. He said the code of the MLC 2006 would become binding on Nigeria from
June, exactly 12 months after ratification. The meeting was attended by stakeholders in the maritime sector, including some social partners. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that to comply with the requirements of the ILO, the proposed amendment must be subjected to individual member country's procedure for tripartite consultation mechanism.
By Adeola Ogunlade N expert in air emergency services, Dr. Afzal Khan has tasked the government to take advantage of the opportunities available in the biomedical sector of the economy by strengthening its effectiveness. Khan made this call at an interactive and enlightenment training for Executive staff of Flying Doctors at the office in Lagos. He said that considering the rate of development in the country, it will be profitable for the government to invest in aeromedical services as its a major sign of progress. Khan noted that this will go a long way to renew the confidence of the citizenry on air transportation and other emergencies. "I will be happy to see that a country like Nigeria is developed to a stage where it has a very vibrant aeromedical system to strengthen its health care because this show that it's making progress", he said. While acknowledging the effectiveness of the aeromedical services, Khan said with the offshore and mining sector of the economy, it must be strengthened to complement the existing health system because there will be need to evacuate people at some point in the future.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Season of sanctions in Another season of sanction has hit the telecommunication industry in Nigeria. The recent spate of sanctions imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission on the big mobile telecommunications operators has caused a stir in the telecom industry. In this report, Bukola Afolabi looks at the reasons, the previous sanctions and what needs to be done to address poor telecom service delivery. ECENTLY, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued fresh sanctions against three of the leading mobile telecommunications operators namely: MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Globacom for poor quality of services (QoS) and for not meeting up with the key performance indicators (KPIs). The performance of mobile operators in meeting the Key Performance Indicators set by the Nigerian Communications Commission will determine their fate, the regulatory agency had earlier said. The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, and Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, had threatened that the regulatory agency would impose sanctions on digital mobile operators if poor services persisted till the end of the year. Johnson had said, "We are concerned that the poor quality issues still abound. I am inundated with complaints about quality of service and the seemingly uncaring attitude of our telecoms operators to resolve these issues on a regular basis. We will continue, through the industry regulator, to apply sanctions when operators fail to meet the required standards in terms of service quality breaches." "Consumers cannot continue to bear the burden of poor service delivery. Though we are mindful that the operators are facing issues in deploying or maintaining infrastructure, we believe that the operators can do better in delivering acceptable quality of service, which they are clearly not doing now." The Commission sanctioned the three major mobile network operators for various breaches. The sanctions were contained in separate letters dated February 19, 2014, addressed to each of the affected MNOs. NCC asked Globacom, MTN and Airtel to pay N277.5 million, N185 million and N185 million respectively for the month of January. Before the latest fines, in December 2013, the Dr Eugene Juwah-led NCC issued a 'Notice of Intention to Sanction' to all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to improve Quality of Service and meet set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by December 31, 2013 or face regulatory intervention Previous warning Last year during a press briefing in Lagos, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said: "NCC has announced, and I repeat here, from December 31 any network operator that does not
meet previously agreed targets on quality of service, QOS, indicators will be immediately prevented from further expansion of their subscriber base until further notice. "In other words, they will not be allowed to sell SIM cards to new subscribers until quality of service targets are met." Juwah who blamed poor service quality on the operators, said "several factors lead to poor service quality, including environmental factors as currently being peddled by telecoms operators, but as a regulator, I do not think environmental factors are the major causes of poor service quality on our networks." According to him, "It is not that the big operators are not investing. They are investing quite well, but the challenge is that as they are investing, they are loading up their networks, such that the investment achieved is lost through overloading of the networks with additional subscribers and applications. What they should do is to make the capacity of their investments commensurate with the loading up of their networks.” "This is the reason why NCC decided to impose fines on them. We want to maintain a stable network, because the pride of Nigeria today is that we are the fastest growing telecommunications networks in the world, and we must have to maintain that status through proper regulation," Juwah insisted. Past sanctions This is not the first time the regulator is issuing 'Notice of Intention to Sanction' or even applying the sanctions. In fact, this is the third time in less than two years that the NCC is applying sanctions and fining the operators. In May 2012, NCC fined all the four Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators including MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat nearly N1.17 billion for failing to meet up with the minimum standard of quality of service (QoS) for the months of March and April 2012. Airtel, MTN, Glo, and Etisalat were fined N270 million, N360 million, N180 million and N360 million respectively. The sanctions were communicated to the mobile operators in letters dated May 10, 2012 and states that the four GSM operators failed to keep up with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as specified in Schedule 1 Table 2 of the Quality of Service Regulations 2012. The sanctions were communicated through letters jointly signed by U. Maska, Head, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement and Josephine Amuwa, Director, Legal and Regulatory
•Eugene Juwah: Executive Vice Chairman NCC Services on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah. It said, "The monitoring report indicated that your Company had failed to meet the minimum standard of quality of service including the key performance Indicators (KPI's) as specified in Schedule 1 Table 2 of the Quality of Service Regulations 2012." Airtel was fined a total of N270 million, N15 million and N2.5 million was for each parameter for a service contravened throughout the months of March and April respectively. NCC had directed Airtel to pay to the Commission on or before May 25, 2012, N270 million or attract further N2.5 million per day as long as the contravention persists. Glo was fined a total sum of N180 million. N15 million and N2.5 million was for each parameter for a service contravened throughout the months of March and April 2012 respectively and was expected to pay up N180 million on or before May 25, 2012 or risk additional N2.5 million fine per day as long as the
•Omobola Johnson: Communications Minister
contravention persists. Etisalat and MTN were fined a total of N360 million each. N15 million and N2.5 million was for each parameter for service contravened throughout the months of March and April respectively. NCC directed Etisalat and MTN to pay to the Commission on or before May 21 and May 25, 2012 respectively N360 million each or attract further N2.5 million per day as long as the contravention persists. It was like a showdown between the NCC and the operators, but after several weeks of trading blames, the NCC decided to lower the standard of its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), with which it uses to measure network performances. Based on that decision on KPI, the operators reluctantly paid the fine, several weeks after the fine was imposed. No details were, however, given that the operators paid the daily penalty. A breakdown of the combined N1.17 billion fine showed that MTN Nigeria Communications and Etisalat, paid the sum of N360 million, each while Airtel paid the sum of N270 million. Globacom
paid the sum of N180 million. NCC, however, advised the operators to take advantage of the lowered standards in its KPIs, to maintain stable network quality, and warned operators to either maintain better service quality on their networks before December 2013, or face another round of sanction. Reasons for poor telecom service Chief executive officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, laid the blame for recent poor telecom services on Nigeria's patchy power infrastructure which has long been an obstacle for the country's telecom operators. "In a country with about 25,000 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and a need for around twice that number over the next 10 years, the power infrastructure challenge is especially nagging. "The power costs of a site connected to the power grid are only about 1/6th those of a fuel-powered site, but only about 10 per cent to 15 per cent of BTS are connected to the electric power grid. The implications of such absence of reliable power
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
ns in telecoms
infrastructure are far-reaching. Nigerian operators spend around N8 billion to N10 billion a year in diesel costs to power up their base stations.” He said further "Such costs account for about 60 percent of operators' network costs. Primarily because of such fuel costs, average network costs in Nigeria are twice to thrice higher than in a number of other African markets. The multiple taxations of telecoms operators represent another challenge facing the industry. It was once merely a side effect of Nigeria's federal structure and the inherent risk of overlapping." Ogunsanya noted that there are other issues bordering on multiple regulations, frequent fibre-cut, community issues and other problems that are making it difficult for the common man to experience the desired quality of service. "Recently too, we saw cases of flooding and activities of terrorist groups that adversely hampered quality of service", he said. Subscribers' want compensations On his part, President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers, Deolu Ogunbanjo, the hard fines that the NCC had adopted is only putting money in the pocket of the government and is leaving the Nigerian subscribers with nothing as even these fines will still be paid indirectly by the subscribers. According to him, NATCOMS is advocating a soft fine such that will be of benefit to consumers, which can be achieved by asking the operators to give N10,000 worth of airtime to each subscriber on their network. This way, the subscriber gets the benefit of the fine. Subscribers that spoke with The Nation were equally worried just like the regulator and the operators, that the issue of poor service quality still lingered, in spite of efforts made by government, regulators, and the operators to address it. Mr. Johnson Dubem, a subscriber to MTN and Globacom said subscribers suffered a lot of challenges in telecoms services delivered in 2013. According to him, subscribers ought to be treated nicely with the best service quality, because we spend our hard earned monies on recharge cards, yet service delivery is still poor. Another subscriber, Mr Kalu Igwe said that the situation got worse during the last Yuletide season. “During Christmas celebrations, more people make calls and send text messages to their loved ones. Operators should know that they should expand their networks to accommodate increased volume of
calls and text messages” this season, but they will not do so, he said. According to him, "Every year we experience traffic jam on the networks and this year is not an exception. The operators have to address the situation now,". FG's efforts Worried by the slow pace of telecoms infrastructure rollout in the country, occasioned by high cost of Right of Ways (RoW) imposed by state governments, and the diverse levies imposed by government agencies, which is believed to be a major cause of poor service quality across networks, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson recently held a meeting with the Lagos State government at the Government House in Lagos, and telecoms operators were in attendance. At that meeting, the Lagos State government agreed to reduce telecoms charges in the state in order to allow for speedy rollout of telecoms infrastructure in the state. ALTON, ATCON hit back Some stakeholders in the industry condemned the NCC for imposing a fine of N647.5 million on Airtel, Globacom and MTN Nigeria, while lamenting that the regulator is only dancing round in circles. They believe nothing good should be expected from the latest move, as it is not likely to achieve anything with these punitive measures just like its efforts were fruitless in 2012 when it imposed sanctions on all the operators. The chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, an engineer, said by this action, the NCC was only shying away from its responsibilities. The latest fine, he recalled, is the third time the NCC was imposing sanctions on operators and wondered if it had changed anything. Also, he wondered whether it has any benefit on subscriber whom the regulator claims to be doing all these on their behalf, stressing that all the fines will go into the treasury of the Federal Government. He accused the NCC of acting as a sole administrator, not caring about the general good of the industry, while playing to the gallery and highlighting only the negative things in the industry. The President Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) ,Engr. Lanre Ajayi, said the action by the NCC was not only wrong, but unjustifiable. According to him, it was very difficult to picture how sanctions can improve quality of service. "It does not add on. We all know why there is poor quality of service. It is because of challenges and inhibitions on the way of operators so rather than impose sanctions, government should find ways to remove these impediments," he said. The ATCON boss maintained that the NCC imposed sanctions in 2012 and it did not yield any positive response and doubted if anything will change this time around. NCC and constant resort to fines Reuben Mouka, Head, Media and Publicity, NCC, said: "As part of NCC's routine regulatory activities, it has collated statistics from the network operating centres of the operators in the month of January and discovered that the services provided by MTN, Airtel and Globacom fell short of the KPIs published in 2013. However, Etisalat was given a clean bill, having met all
the established KPIs." According to him, some of the critical KPIs against which their services were evaluated include Call Setup Success Rate (CSSR), Drop Call Rate (DCR), Traffic Channel Congestion TCHCONG, and Stand Alone Dedicated Channel Congestion (SDCONG). Several of the stakeholders and operators said the frequent resort to fines to address the quality of services issues in the telecommunications sector has not helped matters. They argue that since the regulator started issuing fines, it has not addressed the real causes of the poor quality of services. Vandalisation of telecom equipment Telecom operators have lamented the heightened insecurity in some parts of the country which has limited their ability to carry out routine maintenance and emergency repairs. They have also deplored the continuous vandalism of telecom infrastructures as well as destruction of fibre cables by road construction companies causing the quality of service to drop. According to Akinwale Goodluck, MTN's Corporate Services Executive, the company remained committed to ensuring the best quality of service for its teeming customers. He said, “MTN continues to employ the greatest effort to overcome the infrastructural and environmental challenges that impede the delivery of consistently good quality of service." Emeka Oparah, Director, Corporate Communication and CSR, Airtel Nigeria said "We are still trying to come to terms with the fines, first as Airtel and second as a member of the telecom industry." Meeting with CPC after the sanction The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) recently summoned the chief executive officers of telecommunications companies operating in the country over complaints of poor services by consumers. Speaking with journalists after the meeting, the Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, said ways of addressing various consumer complaints arising from poor network and unsolicited services were discussed. Others are unlawful deductions/ wrong billings, exploitative automated services; unauthorised SIM swaps/line disconnection, as well as poor Internet and customer service. She said, "I called the meeting of all the CEOs of the telecommunications operators in Nigeria to discuss issues that all Nigerian subscribers are aware of. The main issues that are of concern to Nigerian consumers are drop calls, truncated services, poor network services, unsolicited services, unlawful deductions/wrong billings, exploitative automated services and poor customer services. I commend the operators that attended. Some of them did not attend. "However, I am glad to report that we had a fruitful deliberation. The telecoms operators have recognised that these are valid concerns. But the stand of the CPC is that consumers must get value for the money they pay for telecommunications services." At press time, The Nation learnt, that the affected telecos previously fined by the NCC had not only paid off the fines but restated their commitment to improve service delivery.
•From left: Chief Internal Auditor, Sterling Bank, Mr Abiodun Aderoja, Group Chief Internal Auditor, UBA, Mr Udochi Nwaodu and Chief Internal Auditor, Ecobank Nig Ltd. Mr Olufemi Komolafe, at a public forum organised by the Committee of Chief Internal Auditors of Banks in Nigeria (CCIABN) in Lagos...recently. Photo: MUYIWA HASSAN
UBA boss, others seek financial literacy for kids By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie and Bukola Afolabi
R. Phillips Oduoza, the Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and his counterpart at Sterling Bank plc, Mr. Yemi Adeola have called on parents to ensure that their children become financially smart at an early age. They spoke separately at a public forum in Kogi and Lagos respectively to mark the Global money week. "Financially smart kids will become financially smart and wealthier adults," Oduoza said. Oduoza gave the advice while teaching students of Crowther Memorial College, Lokoja, Kogi State, financial literacy skills last Thursday. The GMD/CEO took students through the basics of savings, budgeting, pensions, insurance and investments. "When we were growing up, no one thought us about money. We were thought biology, physics chemistry, economics, but nothing about money. Yet we all grow up realizing money is something we have to deal with everyday. That is why the Banker's Committee, with the Central Bank of Nigeria, decided to embark on this initiative." Oduoza said. Adeola spoke at Vetland Junior Grammar School, Agege, Lagos. Oduoza also explained that UBA decided to come all the way to Lokoja to carry out its financial literacy training because it realizes such education should not be restricted to students in the big cities only. He advised the students to take an interest in knowing about money as it will make them better adults in future. In his address, Adeola, who was represented by Mr Shina Atilola, Group Head, Strategy and Communications, said beyond the lessons the JSS1-3 pupils received from the Sterling Bank employees who volunteered to teach under the Sterling Volunteers Program (SVP), they would get vital information from the books to make informed decisions towards financial independence. He said: "Nationally this week has been declared Financial Literacy Week. Those of us in the older generation do not have the knowledge of how to keep our money and that is why we are here today to teach you young ones. But we have gone further than teaching; we have been able to come up with two books about finance. They talk about what money is; how to save, differences between wants and needs; and they will help you." It is a worldwide celebration to empower the next generation to confident responsible and skilled economic citizen. In his remarks, Principal of the school, Mr Isaac Olatunde, praised the bank for the initiative and said it would be useful not only to the pupils but the teachers as well in preparation for retirewment. "This programme is not only for the children. We are also learning from it," Olatunde said. He urged the pupils to be attentive to whatever they were taught so they can avoid the pitfalls made by their parents. Similarly, Mrs M.F. Adejobi from the Ministry of Education told the pupils the programme would help them lay a good foundation to enjoy their lives. One of the pupils, David Adeyeye, told The Nation that the initiative would enhance his saving culture. "I have learnt that it is good to save. If you save, you can use the mony for future purposes," he said. Also speaking at the occasion, Captain Idris Wada, the Governor of Kogi State, commended the GMD for taking time off his very busy schedule to personally come to teach the students financial literacy skills. He commended UBA, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Bankers Committee for taking on the initiative of introducing students to financial concepts. The governor explained that he personally attended the training because of the priority his government places on education. "As a government, we have three priorities; education, education, education." He also commended UBA for selecting Lokoja, "Nigeria's historic capital," to host the event. He disclosed that UBA's contribution to education development in the state has been significant and called on other financial institutions in the state to contribute to the economic development of the state Earlier, Ijeoma Aso, the MD/CEO, UBA Foundation, donated several copies of literature books to Crowther Memorial College under the UBA Foundation Read Africa Initiative. Also speaking, Mrs Grace Elebiyo, the commissioner education, Kogi State, commended UBA for coming to the school to educate the children on financial issues. He said that the initiative will have a long term impact on the well being of the students in future.
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EKEDC appeals xxxxto Festac Financial experts call for residents over power outage quick passage of 2014 budget T S
HE Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) at the weekend appealed to residents in Festac Town to bear with it over the persistent power outage in the
OME financial experts on Friday said that the delay in the passage of the 2014 Appropriation Bill could slow down economic activities this year. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos that the non- passage of the bill by the end of the first quarter was not good for economic development. Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, Managing Director, Maxifund Investment & Securities in Lagos, said that it was not good for the economy to operate for long without a
budget. Unegbu, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), urged the legislature to urgently finetune the budget and pass it. He said that the budget acted as investment guide to discerning investors and operators in the various sectors of the economy. Mr Harrison Owoh, the Managing Director, H J Trust & Investment in Lagos, advised that the budget should be passed early. According to Owoh, this is because economic activities revolve around the
government as the highest spender in the economy. He said that delay in the passage of the budget could bring untold hardship to the masses and increase the rate of employment in the country. Owoh said that this situation could worsen the domestic debt as government would find it difficult to settle contractors. Mr Sehinde Adenagbe, the Managing Director, Standard Union and Securities Ltd., Lagos, said that the development would affect the nation's vision to be among the best economies
by 2020. Adenagbe said that the urgent passage of the budget was necessary because of the preparations for 2015 general elections. NAN reports that the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Dec. 19, presented N4.6 trillion budget for 2014 fiscal year to the National Assembly. A breakdown of the proposed budge showed that N3.7 trillion, representing 72 per cent, is for recurrent expenditure, while N1.1 trillion is for capital projects.
NIMASA partners agencies to fight maritime crimes
HE Nigerian M a r i t i m e Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is strengthening its relationship with other security agencies toward fighting illegal bunkering and other maritime crimes, an official said. NIMASA's Director of Shipping Development, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that the agency and other relevant agencies had been strengthening the relationships through the signing Memorandums of
Understanding (MoUs). Enisuoh said it was necessary for all relevant agencies to collaborate to tackle the maritime security problems as no one agency could do so alone. ``The challenges with other agencies are getting minimal now because we are addressing all those challenges by virtue of signing MoUs' and you can see the MoUs are building up. ``As the MoU is built up, our strengths also build, as the strengths of other agencies involved. ``So there is no one agency that can tackle all problems and that is why we have to come
together. ``We've been sharing information. As you know, NIMASA is a regulatory body; we also gather a lot of intelligence. ``However, we do not have the power to prosecute. We also do not have power of arrest. ``So we have to pass this information to those with the power of arrest and the power of detention, which is one of the biggest cooperating areas that we have ever worked on.`` He said that NIMASA had stopped many maritime crimes, adding that crimes committed at sea reduced in
2013 owing to the collaborative efforts of relevant agencies. The director said that one of the objectives of the regulatory agencies in the maritime industry was to reduce sea crime to zero level. He said that NIMASA had put in place the necessary surveillance that would enable it to achieve its target just as it acquired more boats to empower the armed forces to assist the agency in protecting the nation's waters. Enisuoh urged the Federal Government not to relent in supporting the agency in its quest to free Nigerian ports of illegal activities.
area. Mrs Chinlelo Amah, the Public Relations Officer, Festac Business Unit of EKEDC, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the persistent outage was due to damage to underground cables in Festac. Amah said the damage was caused by the ongoing reconstruction of roads in the area. She said that the management of EKEDC in Festac was not informed before the reconstruction work commenced. "We would have organised our engineers to be on the watch out in case there is any damage to the underground cables like what happened. "The management will meet the chairman of Amuwo Odofin to advise the contractor handling the construction to fast track the reconstruction work," she said. According to him, the engineers within the unit cannot commence repair work on the damaged cable until the completion of the road. Amah, however, appealed to consumers in the affected area to be patient and promised that electricity would be restored soon. Amah urged consumers in the affected areas not to vandalise EKEDC equipment in the area because of the outage.
DPR seals three fuel stations in Ilorin
HE Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) at the weekend sealed three filling stations in Ilorin for alleged under dispensing, selling above official pump price and hoarding petrol. Mr Amos Jokodola, the Controller of DPR in the state, gave the order when he led some officials of the department on unscheduled inspection in Ilorin. Jokodola said the unscheduled tour was to enforce the N97 per litre official pump price and ensure that no filling station was hoarding the product. The sealed stations included the Conoil Filling Station on Muritala Mohammed Road and MRS Filling Station along Wahab Folawiyo Road for alleged under dispensing. The department sealed Total Filling Station along Ibrahim Taiwo Road for allegedly hoarding over 8, 500 litres of petrol. The controller described the action of the affected stations as economic sabotage and a calculated attempt to frustrate efforts of the Federal Government to make petrol available. Jokodola ordered Poosab Filling Station in Adewole Estate in IIorin to immediately reverse its pump price from the N120 to N97 per litre. The controller said the visit was to monitor activities of the filling stations throughout the state to restore sanity and curb sharp practices by petroleum marketers. He said that the unscheduled visit would be a continuous exercise and promised that the department would not hesitate to shut any filling station that engaged in sharp practices. Some motorists commended the DPR for sealing the stations whose action were described as "wicked and dubious".
IDL sponsors Nollywood movie
I From left: Lagos State Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, Oba Elejinrin of Ejinrin land, His Royal Highness, Oba Rafiu Ishola Balogun,cutting the tape to commemorate the handing over of Ejinrin Micro water Scheme donated by Lagos State Government to the community and Special Adviser to Governor Raji Fashola on Rural Development, Mr Babatunde Hunpe over the weekend.
Association urges TUC delegates address corruption at confab
HE Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) at the weekend urged the Trade Union Congress (TUC) representatives to make corruption a subject of discourse at the National Conference. The Secretary-General of ASCSN, Mr Alade Lawal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that once corruption was tackled, the country would be the better for it. ``Majorly the TUC as a body has a blueprint which
they are going to pursue there, in addition that we want them to harmer so much on this issue of corruption. ``Because with the level of corruption in the country, nothing can move. So, no matter the kind of government we have in place and we still have this level of corrupt tendencies. ``I must be very frank with you nothing will move, so we need to change our attitude in respect of the issue of corruption. ``So we want corruption to be put in the front burner
in the conference, so that let them come up with certain measures that will check this corrupt tendencies that we do have in the country now. ``And we believe if we have that one, coupled with all other arrangement that will be put in place to rearrange some of those things we have in the country now. ``The country will be better for it and I want plead with our delegates from the TUC to push this item very strongly so that other delegates will also see the
necessity of it. ``And they can enshrine it into whatever blueprint that will be coming up to reshape the life of the Country.`` Lawal expressed the hope that the 12 delegates selected to represent TUC at the conference would do so creditably. The national conference has been scheduled to run from March 17 to June 16. ``We know they will represent us very well, they are made up of credible Nigerians; they have been in the struggle over the years.
DL has further reinforced its 'Spirit of Naija' drive by sponsoring a movie titled 'When Dreams Fall Apart' that premiered last Sunday, in Victoria Island Lagos. Produced by Chico Ejiro, the movie premiere was stormed by the likes of Segun Arinze, Fred Amata, Saint Obi, and Monalisa Chinda. Also in attendance were Ibinabo Fiberesima and Zeb Ejiro. The movie is a satirical drama on the life of a young girl who goes through lots of challenges but finally makes it in life. The girl's resilient spirit attracted IDL's partnership and according to the Brand Manager, Veleta Fruit Wine, Chioma Alonge, said: "This is not just another movie; it is a movie with a message." It is a message from IDL to Nigerians. We say 'Never give up, never throw in the towel, and as Lupita Nyong'O said in her acceptance speech at the 2014 Oscar awards for best supporting actress for her role in the movie '12 Years a Slave' said in her speech is exactly what we have and will continue to say ; 'Whoever you are, your dreams are valid',
never throw in the towel. Indeed the emotions displayed on the face of the audience after watching the movie actually depicted that the message had indeed been passed across. Tunji Adebayo, a brand consultant, said, "I actually enjoyed the movie- I was inspired by this. Kudos to those who made this happen." The main character who was played by ace actress Uche Jombo, goes through several twists and turns in life. The downward spiral begins with her being framed for the death of her boss and continues down the speedy path of shame disgrace, homelessness and pain. She however comes out of it triumphant and successful. Head of Marketing IDL, Innocent Oboh said: "We at IDL are committed to championing the true Nigerian spirit. The Nigerian spirit never dies; the spirit of Naija is one that keeps going, no matter the challenges and trials. This Spirit is what has kept Nigeria and it is what will continue to take us to greater endeavours."
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
N the 2014 budget presented to the National Assembly, Nigeria's Federal Government indicates that the sum of N7b is required to acquire software for both domestic and foreign agencies. What type of software would require such huge sum? Let me start by first commending The Nation newspaper for always being one of the papers on the forefront of looking at issues critically within the nation-building perspective of the Nigerian economy and well-being at large. You are doing a good job. The insight that you have brought to bear now with respect to the software development, products and solutions, is a very important aspect of our economy. This is because software, as they say, moves the world, now. According to one of the Air Force generals in US, he said "we now live in a software-forced world." But the issue is not really about the budget, the real issue is about the understanding of the strategic imperative of information technology input, particularly, the software in our lives and the building of a nation like Nigeria. Indeed, if you look at N7b within the trillion naira that is budgeted, then we can say that the people who are creating the architectural construct of our nation are blind. Software supposed to be at the high echelon of the budgetary. If all the domain and facet and nook and cranny of Nigeria is taken into consideration, and the need for software, everything that runs on any device in this world, as well as in the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FGN), is powered by software. Telecommunications is a gateway to ensure that the intelligence domain of software and related services are delivered and sustainable. Be that as it may, it would have been good if N7b was budgeted, which is not to say that it would bring in true software of N100b. That would be something. But then, N7b connotes innovation and creativity. So, we don't look at the figure, we are looking at the gamut of the processes -what would N7b do within the software eco-system? It would provide labour, security, productivity and social entertainment among others. The question then is, what aspect of this gang would domestic practitioners or professional of software in the country, do? Then, you come into understanding that there are three distinct domains of software -the operating system, which we are yet to master. The data bases, which we are trying to emulate. Then, the application solutions, which of course, we can compete with anybody in the world, right now. And what constitutes the bulk of the N7b is applications software which Nigerians have capability. And if you measure that within the spectrum of local content, the Local Content Law of 2010 presupposes that it is domiciled in the oil and gas, but if you look at the tenants of the law, it applies compliance to other segments of society because oil itself cannot develop without all the chains of the economy. So, if you are going to create a perspective on that, N7b to me, does not mention any serious in software development anywhere in the world. The real issue is about the creativity what can the N7b create and by who? So, what we are look-
'Nigeria may become a software colony unless...' Mr. Chris Uwaje, Chairman, Mobile Software Solutions Limited, and President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), and pioneer, ICT Policy for Nigeria, in this interview with Assistant Editor, Investigations, Joke Kujenya, speaks on the proposed acquisition of N7billion worth of software by various government agencies, among other issues. ing at now is capital flight, labour and employment flight and of course, corruption. The government is simply throwing away the scarce money in our coffers. And when you create capital flight, you lose the employability of your people. You lose the patronage of local software. And of course, you create a flood of unemployment. And you create a flood of hopelessness for those who are still in the universities hoping to find jobs in the software sector of the economy. As we speak, there are over 180, 000 computer students in Nigerian universities. Amongst them, you have about 50, 000 software students who hope to gets jobs in their relevant sector in another year or two. But with what we are looking at now, where will they find the jobs. So, on our own, ISPON, we have been drumming home the point that without software, Nigeria nation cannot fully develop. In many fronts -software for education, agriculture, politics, production, legal issues, entertainment, movies, social media, architecture -name it, there is no aspect of life these days that software does not cover. Can you tell us the specific software that government could be looking at acquiring here in the light of your comments? Within the IT construct, you have the hardware architecture. Within that, you have what is called embedded system â€˘Akinkuotu which are built-in software like chips. Chips are instructive codes that tells you what to do or not do. They are in cars, offices, our homes and lots of other places. The real software are the ones that drives the ecosystems put together which is why they are embedded. It's a function of processes that lunch out the hardware and tells it what to do. So, every hardware must need a software. Software then becomes the driver. But without that, it is an irony because they are like Siamese twins in which case one cannot function without the other. Software is the brain box in our computers and it comes through with the central processing unit (CPU) where all the bios and every other thing that we need, reside. It is also where the registers and the instruction channels are launched. What I am thus saying is that in terms of its uniqueness, the purpose for which the ones the government is set to acquire, the purpose it is meant to serve, needs to be clearly stated. The government needs to be able to establish -what are they going to be needing the software for? It is their identification of establishing this purpose that would help them to be able to set the objectives or the correctness of the software to be acquired. This will help them to be able to determine if it is worth the sum or not. And like I said, software that you are going to import, should be such that would add values to the
overall economy. Or, they should be overwhelmingly be tied to a clause of domestication such that even when the software are imported, the operating and embedded systems as well as the submarines, camerabased software and probably high tech security applications must be able to condition the contract to aligning with domestication so that the foreigner cannot executive such a contract without the helpful input of local software engineers in the country. These conditions are very imperative. Now, even if our government meet these conditions, does that mean that software are to be changed every year? That is a very brilliant question. Software do have their life expectancy and lifespan. But then, the problem would be that the buyers do not have the professional expertise to determine what type of software they buy. People bring in lots of brochures to display for people to buy and you see buyers rush at them. But you need to know that for a nation that is sporadically developing as ours, we must establish a National Software Commission (NSC) where all issues of software either to be purchased or actually purchased, imported and all what have you would be brought to be table, be determined before any decision can be arrived at. On this platform, any contractor, foreign or home based, would submit well in advance a sample copy of the proposal he or she has to the commission to be vetted before he or she could be granted approval. At such a commission, expertise advise would be granted, the proposal duly tweaked before anyone can dream of getting any contract. Now, this must be
done for several reasons namely, security. Software globally, has become the most spyware or spy-agent that has been converted and embedded in systems and devices. It brings in data and exports it back to those who have manufactured them or configure them to do the specific jobs it was meant for. That is why you find out that software is not allowed to be imported into China anyhow unless it is subjected to the country's professionals' approval. Even in India, you can't just go and market software in that country unless you go through the due process of verification and authentication. Whereas, our own market is open, so people simply throng us with funny software and dump. Thus, we are becoming a dump market. But the significant aspect of this, and you can quote me, is that there is no software in the world that is 100per cent secure. And foreign software have failed in this country -in governments, banks and in every place. So, when you now say you're importing foreign software because Nigerian-based software are not good, then we are being smart by half; because that is a lie. Software have versions. That is why there would always be need to look for perfection. So, we need to seriously sit down and review our perspective. The issue about the intangibility of software, because I can't see it, so, I don't know how much it is to be able to make up for all that would be needed. But whatever it is, the FG's quotation of N7b is really a far cry from what can make up for software needs in the country. However, we all need to get the fact that software is a some-
thing internalised in the system -it is about codes, and of course, a process. Better put, software is a language. No one can just wake and decide to speak software language. So, government still needs to learn about how it works to know its' worth before it can be applied to the logics of the society by planning for it in the national budget. The rule for software is that it has language to use to be able to codify the process so that when you are given an assignment , you can get it done. And the notion that Nigerians cannot write our own software is really mundane. The fact is we study with the same tools as our international counterparts. The difference between us and them is in our effective usability. And we have been developing software for the past few years. In the wake of that, ISPON instituted a National Software Competition (NSC), where we have about thirty universities coming to compete at the Tunapa Knowledge Park, for the last three years. We do this because we recognise that Nigeria is entering the knowledge Olympiad phase of development of civilisation. The famous Olympia is about athletes. But the future Olympia is going to be knowledge-oriented -about what you know and can contribute to nation-building, not about who you know. This is where software become so strategic in polity. An example of this was what happened with Joe Snowden, who by taking up his laptop did something that threatened the whole of United States. Now, he was able to do that by the use of software. That means you can be somewhere and have the capability to shutdown an entire country's economy or its central bank by a system and even make the forex market to collapse. So, software that are not verified for importation can be brought into the country and used for medical examinations and can cause death on surgery machines due to malfunction. The Trojan Horse as we know them are spywares that can send unsolicited information across to anyone. When we sit on our computers and give the command 'download', Trojan horses is like a guy who see you but you don't see, and because he knows what you are downloading, 'he' can just decide to shut you down without prior notice. That is why you suddenly see that your email can be shut down and you are not able to access it. It can enable someone else to know your password and break into your email or something like that. It can thus change your password and shut out the real owner. It is just as a small boy can shut down a bank and block transactions and demand negotiations without being seen. Although banks may have backups and they can retrieve their password without having to negotiate. But if they don't have the backups, it means that with
a software, a bank can be sent out of business. It's that serious. So, what we are saying is that instead of government importing these things, Nigeria needs to develop capability for software developers that can even be used by other parts of the world through our established NSC to certify professionals. This capability is in terms of structure, not in numbers. So, when we say capability, it comes from the processes of developing skills commensurate to the challenge we need to tackle. For example, China has about 200 hundred thousand software developers in their country. US is a silicon valley and lots are happening there. But software developers does not just happen overnight. It is a process in which to get to maturity, it requires an ample of time. This means you have to continually design your time to suit your long-term mission. And no two nations have the same software or software need because software is so wide. So, if we want to develop our software electronic government, we would then ask ourselves, do we really need to go abroad for such? We can be here with our gadget and all it requires is for us to get the commission and approval to go ahead. And we can do it so perfectly. All it requires is that while others are sleeping, one can be awake and finish the job in a few hours and send to where it is required. And you are paid because there is a transparent network system in place, all the same there is risks attached to it. So, software is a lifelong environment for learning, employment, circulation, and all works of life. That is why children all over the world play with e-gadgets, download all sorts, credit cards of their parents because they are software savvy. So, I cannot over emphasize it, Nigeria must establish her own software capability development and then, our government won't have to depend on unnecessary importation of such. We also need Software Development Engineering Institute (SDEI), to help our younger ones in many specialised areas of life. An example of developing capability is of Infosys in India, which has about 100 hundred thousand software workforce. This is just to give you an example of developing capability. Out of this number, 85 thousand are resident in that campus. Do we have a university or even a hotel with such population in our country? Out of the 85 thousand, 25 thousand are excluded from public life. These are the brain box of the country made up of women, men, girls, boys with high educational degrees such as PhDs, Masters and first degrees. When you go into such a place, you have the capability a serious minded government requires to run a country. The government can lean on them for esecurity, e-government., e-payment. That's example one for capability. Two, developing internalised capability is the example of Singapore which has in their e-government 100 dedicated "hackers" working for them. These are people employed by their government to officially break into the systems that other people have developed. The government do this because they want to sharpen the skill of their people and find out what are the bulbs and loops that are there.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Photo: Olusegun Rapheal
firstname.lastname@example.org, 07069429757 THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
* Network marketers at a meeting
AST week was a very eventful week for Nigerians. It marked the end of the year-long centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Southern and the Northern protectorates. The amalgamation in 1914 gave birth to Nigeria - an entity that has become our home and pride. The centenary celebration was not just a huge success, but also presented an opportunity for all wellmeaning Nigerians to reaffirm their faith in the Nigerian project. It also afforded the international community the opportunity to brainstorm on the enormity of the current security challenges facing our dear nation. The programme also presented a veritable platform for our sister countries to bare their minds in appreciation of the numerous roles Nigeria has played in not only stabilizing the West African sub-region, but on the entire African continent. Speakers took time out to thank Nigeria for her many roles in the stability of the African continent. The occasion, which drew over 48 serving and past heads of governments from across the globe, was almost marred by the callous and cowardly killing of hapless secondary school students by the Boko Haram sect. Like has been the case almost all through the advent of the Jonathan administration, the security challenges of the country took shine of other successes achieved by the administration. It is nonetheless clear that the Jonathan administration has continued to record giant strides in every other sector of
When Accra stood still for Federal Mortgage Bank By Chijioke James the economy, which has regularly drawn accolades from within and outside the country. While the centenary event was rounding off in Abuja, the Goodluck administration was being honoured in Accra, Ghana. It was in recognition of the administration's excellence in a sector that has remained very critical to the Jonathan administration. The recognition was in a sector that is pivotal to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs. The event held at the Presidential Banquet Hall, State House, Accra, Ghana. It was an award night to deserving governments and institutions - the African Achievers' Awards. The organisers of the event singled out the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria as the most Creative and Innovative agency of the government. The African Achievers' Awards is geared towards recognizing excellent individuals and organizations that have contributed immensely to the advancement of the developmental sectors of the African continent. It was in this category that the FMBN was honoured and the managing director/chief executive of the bank, Mallam Gimba Yau Kumo, was right on hand to receive the award.
‘Trailer park in Apapa 76 per cent completed ‘
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
HE Director, Federal Highways (SouthWest), Alhaji Kabir Abdullahi, said at the weekend, in Lagos, that the ongoing construction of a trailer park at Apapa was 76 per cent completed. Abdullahi said that the project, tagged construction of Access Roads to Apapa/ Tin Can Port, NNPC Depot (Atlas Cove) to Mile II, included the reconstruction of the road, construction of a trailer park and a pedestrian bridge. ``The global completion for the project is 75.85 per cent,`` he said. Abdullahi explained that at the trailer park, the pavement has been constructed with the security post already built, adding that the pedestrian bridge had also been completed. He, however, said that the pedestrian bridge was not yet opened to human traffic. Abdullahi said that the ongoing phase II reconstruction of the 10.8 kilometres Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, had reached 44 per cent, with the first phase of the project completed in 2013. ``The scope of work has to do with reconstruction of the road pavement and construction of lined drains. ``Percentage completion of 43.73 has been achieved on
phase II,`` he said. On Phase III dualisation of Lagos/Ota road, he said that the work was 17 per cent constructed but that the contractor abandoned the project in 2012 due to lack of funds. ``The contractor moved out due to cash flow problems,`` he said. Abdullahi said that the work on the rehabilitation/ reconstruction and expansion of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway which was flagged off in 2013 by President Goodluck Jonathan was ongoing. The Director listed projects completed in 2013 to include the Apapa/Oshodi Section one reconstruction, Rehabilitation of seven kilometres Access Roads to NNPC Depot at Ejibgo in Lagos, dualisation of 27.5 kilometres Ota-Abeokuta road in Lagos/Ogun states, construction of Sango OtaWinners Chapel Road, among others. Abdullahi, however, said that the contract for the repair of Access Roads to the NNPC Depot (Mosimi) along Ikorodu-Sagamu Road was terminated, because the Lagos state Government awarded another contract to reconstruct the road. He added that 11 per cent of work on the road was done before the termination in 2013.
The 2014 African Achievers' Awards (AAA) was done in partnership with the Institute of Leadership and Management. The event was done in three segments, namely: • The Future is Africa Conference (series 2); Theme: Enterprise and Technology as a catalyst for the Development of Africa's Economy/ Emerging Leaders Recognition. • The African Achievers' Awards Ceremony • The Achievers' Gala Night The Future is Africa Conference offered a platform to over 1,000 policy-makers and global business leaders from Africa, Asia and Europe and beyond to discuss current challenges and business opportunities in finance, agro-business, logistics, and trade across the economic blocs of the Common Market for Southern Africa, East Africa, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU). The event had two sections that included an informative session that drew front-burner issues that challenged development in Africa and a section that related to business opportunities and
HE Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has called for a continuous capacity building programme to update knowledge and skills of members working with the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT). This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Paul Mshelizah, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the institute, at the weekend in Abuja. It said the call was made when a delegation of NSE, Zaria, Kaduna State branch, visited Dr Aminu Yusuf, the Director -General, NITT, to
networking. Through the methods, bridges were built across the gaps that exist in Africa, which has fuelled the problem of inequality and underdevelopment in our societies. The recognition of the FMBN is instructive in many ways. The FMBN which operates as an effective vehicle for increasing the mobilization of long-term funds, lending volume and expansion of mortgage lending services to all segments of the Nigerian population has not only lived up to its mission statement under the present leadership but has moved a step further in internalizing most of the transformational programmes of the Jonathan administration. The bank has not only succeeded in developing more technological innovations in the advancement of the government's housing-for-all policy, but has engendered more creative approaches in the art of enterprise that has now demystified the once obsolete federal government development bank to one that every Nigerian can approach. As the foremost federal government agency that has the responsibility to supply the mortgage and housing markets with sustainable liquidity for the advancement of homeownership among Nigerians anchored on
mortgage financing, the bank under the leadership of Mallam Gimba Yao Kumo has repositioned for the current challenges facing the nation's real sector. The bank has not only acted as a Federal Government-Sponsored Enterprise (FGSE) with more focus on secondary mortgage and capital market functions, it is also playing the critical role of developing a robust mortgage finance system for the country. To meet its mandate, the FMBN has shifted operational emphasis to expand its functions from only social housing onlending under the NHF to include commercial onlending for housing, commercial mortgages refinancing, mortgage purchasing and warehousing and mortgagebacked securitization. Through innovation and enterprise, the FMBN under Kumo has been refocused for the delivery of housing for the vast majority of Nigerians at home and abroad under affordable mortgage products. Being the custodian of President Jonathan's Transformation Agenda in the housing sector, the bank has developed a robust mortgage finance solutions through the management of the National Housing Fund (NFH); mobilizing domestic and foreign direct investment in the housing sector and
provision of estate development loans for private and cooperative real estate developers among several other schemes. One area that is worth mentioning is the information technology innovations introduced by the bank management under Kumo. Having introduced electronic remittances of the NHF contributions, the FMBN has been able to comfortably block fraud and leakages, thereby enhancing manpower and capacity development and accountability. The electronic platform comes with an NHF identity card that is secure, transparent and gives individuals 24 hours to access their contributions through verifiable electronic channels. The bank, having built enormous capacity, has now brought in the hitherto informal sector of the economy into the scheme of things. This means that the informal operators that were once left out in the mortgage industry can now participate wholly. They can now make contributions and have access to mortgage loans through housing cooperative organizations. The FMBN has also been directly involved in the construction of mass houses for the Nigerian people and has through this means made affordable houses available. It is on this premise that we not only see this recognition by the AAA to the FMBN as deserving but one that will spur the bank to do more. As it said, to whom much is given, much is expected! •James writes from Abuja
NSE calls for capacity programme for skills update enhance the working relationship between the two organisations. It, however, commended the management of NITT for initiating programmes with direct bearing on the growth of the institute and engineering profession. The statement acknowledged the immense contribution of the institute toward the economic
development of the country. It assured members of the NSE of the institute's willingness to support its activities, particularly programmes initiated by engineers serving in the institute. It stated that over 85 per cent of staff serving in the Transport Technology Centre (TTC) were trained engineers.
``As part of NITT's commitment toward enhancing the ideals of engineering, over 85 per cent of staff serving in the Transport Technology Centre (TTC) are trained engineers. ``This is to further enable the centre achieve its noble goals of innovation, invention and other forms of technological development,'' it said.
•From left: Principal, Vetland Junior Grammar School, Ifako-Ijaye, Agege, Lagos, Mr. Isaac Olatunde Adetolu, Director, Cocurricular Service & Technology, Lagos Eko Project, Mrs. Felicia Okonta and Group Head, Strategy & Communication, Sterling Bank plc, Shina Atilola at the commemoration of the Financial Literacy Week by the Central Bank of Nigeria...recently. Photo: ADEJO DAVID
Booming trade of events marketing Page 66 & 67 â€˘Ogunjimi
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ERITAGE Bank came into the market at a time the industry was facing high level of completion. How has the bank coped with this trend in the last one year of its operation? I have had to say this over and over again: We have not focused on competition. We have, rather, focused on other little things, and let competition bother on what we are doing. We came out boldly and said, we would be looking at the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). We want to grow SMEs of our own. We want to empower that sector, and off course the whole market reacted to it. We said we want to deal with channels; the whole market reacted to it. So the truth is, we have remained focused on the things we can do well and let competition bother about what we are doing. What is your experience with SMEs? Our experience with SMEs is that they are a group of people that are well driven in terms of ideas, in terms of how to turn their ideas into product services, wealth creating opportunities. But there are certain ingredients that are lacking. One, because of the way we are traditionally structured, that one man must own everything, and so rather than work in partnerships and in teams, people like to go it alone. That makes them very un-bankable, that makes them high risks, and it makes them easily default when they are looking for funds. In fact, it makes it difficult for them to access capital to fund their projects. How has the monetary tightening policy impacted on your operation? I will say it the way it is. The impact has been very severe on us as a bank. We have had to struggle most times to deal with it. Given what we inherited from our predecessor organisation, they were very heavy in public sector. So the residue of what we took was largely public sector. But we also know that it was not sustainable to go in that direction. So we went out seriously to do the SMEs. You see when you are on space of SME; you are not worried too much about Cash Reserve Ratio. But that does not mean we did not feel the impact, all of us felt the impact. It is a major drain to our liquidity. That is on one side. As a national economic goal of curbing inflation, of defending the naira, of dealing with exchange rate issues, what was happening was also not sustainable. Where we take public sector funds and go and buy treasury bills, and borrow the same money to the government who gave the money to us. That business model is also not sus-
'Sole ownership makes SME-banking risky' Heritage Bank Limited has carved a niche as a lender with drive and commitment to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) subsector especially when it comes to lending and training. The Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo speaks with Bukola Afolabi on how well the lender has fared in the last one year of its operations.
tainable for the country. Should it be a CRR of 75 percent, 100 per cent of 25 percent, it is neither here nor there. For me, that is my personal opinion, can we diversify our revenue base as a country. The real sector has to work and if we were deploying the public sector fund to the real sector, then it is a veritable option to keep, allowing the public sector funds stay with the banks but if we are just moving it into treasury bills, then not. Should we have policies that enable us move public sector money into the real sector? Maybe that would have been a better way to look at it. But don't forget that there are a lot of pros and cons for each of what I am saying, and I would not claim to be an expert in it. I will only suggest that we need to weigh all the options. A one way ticket of saying, let us just slam CRR would not be a sustainable policy options for us to take. But something has to be done, don't forget, something has to be done. What has to be done has to be well thought through. My opinion or advice is, let's grow the real
sector. Manufacturing must be back on the table, we must build our infrastructure, and the roads must be built. We must support the government initiatives on the power sector. We have only done one tenth of this by allowing the assets to be bought. The assets have to be renewed, there has to be investments now in renewal of assets. We have to fix the transmission line for transmission, to evacuate the power that is been generated before distribution can take place. So there are a lot of things we need to do. If the government money will help us to achieve that, then there is no need sterilising it. But if there would be no guided policy to make that happen, then sterilise it. So it is one of the other. You can't have both. What is the involvement of the bank in real sector and the power sector? Yes we have been involved in the funding of the distribution companies. We are also involved in the funding of the Independent Power Projects which also are being put out in
Lagos and outside Lagos. We have also been part of one or two projects that have to do with infrastructure that are being put in place; yes, we would continue to do that. That is what our job is as a bank; to be the intervention, to be the support to such projects that will make economic meaning to the generality of the people. We are mediators; we collect deposits and lend it to those who have the need for the money. All we have to do is to secure the money, to ensure that what we take from the depositors are not lost by putting up all the necessary risks and control to make it possible that we don't waste it. What is your outlook for the bank in the next 12 months? I am sure it is public knowledge that we are one of those in contention to acquire Enterprise Bank. And it is important that in the next 12 months, our dual approach on where we are going to: One, we have an organic growth plan, that in the next one year, we do hope that we achieve 30 branches, organically. We are growing on our
capital and what we have. The inorganic option is where we have organic fit, which we believe we do have. We should not shy away from it. We want to make that move because of the strategic fit, because we have been through restructuring and reorganisation of this, and the government and current management of Enterprise Bank in restructuring and putting that organisation together. We don't want a misfit or a mismatch in that space. And so, we are not shy to say we are fit for it. Now that judgmen, as to whether we are fit for it, why we think we are, is left for those selling to say Heritage Bank is fit or not. If we achieve our strategic acquisition drive, then we would have shortened our five year projections almost in one year, achieved that in one year but if we don't achieve the strategic acquisition, then we would follow through with our five year projection, of which we think this year we hope to achieve 30 branches. What advice do you have for others that would want to
take similar steps as you did in reviving a dead bank back to life? I will say the knowledge, and we should not take it for granted. The knowledge we have acquired over the last three years of pre-commencement and one year of operations are things we can never find in Harvard or Stanford Business School. And I go back always to talk about the Central Bank and regulation; it took a lot of effort on the part of the Central Bank to be able to understand the complexity of old bank, new bank. That knowledge cannot be wished away. So today, if there is another organisation like us, the regulators are better equipped, have better knowledge of what to do and the challenges it presents. People like me have knowledge on the operating side, on the dos and don'ts, the hows and wheres. Timing-wise, we would able to shorten a lot of things, which we would have been able to do, that we did not do well. Have you gotten to where you want to be? Far from it, but we can clearly see the direction which we are headed. As part of our anniversary, we shall be launching our agency banking on March 4. And it is also part of the little things we are doing, to show that it is possible, agency banking is possible. We need to diversify our own distribution channels; we need to diversify our own revenue base. We run into the market and we said we are not going to charge Commission on Turnover (COT). For some banks, that is 25 per cent of their revenue base, and we say zero and we are just coming in new. What is your take on financial inclusion being promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)? It is one of the best we can do it to get people who are not in the financial services space, to join us. And so for us, financial inclusion remains a viable means of sustainable banking, and we seem to feature just at the nick of it. So, nobody is old in that space, we are all new but our edge above others is our newness. How do you see the epayment platforms in the country? Modestly, we did invest a lot in Information Technology which is one of the strategies we brought to the platform. So for us, our e-payment platform is the way of life. It is the only way we have been able to stay in the industry and in the market in the face of all the competition. That we are participating in every activity that every bank could undertake have been because of the robustness of our e-payment platform. It is very robust and we intend to improve on it.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
100 killed in Kaduna villages
ADUNA State was all mourning yesterday after yet another orgy of violence unleashed by marauders suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. No fewer than 100 people died in the latest massacre in Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwar Gata and Chenshyi villages all in Bondon district, Southern Kaduna, late Friday by the gunmen. The victims were given mass burial at about 4.15pm yesterday. Communities in southern Kaduna have under repeated attacks from gunmen in the last two years with many people killed and property including farmland destroyed. Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State denounced the latest attack as ungodly and barbaric. The attackers were said to have invaded the three villages, one after the other at about 11.30pm shooting and setting houses ablaze. Villagers who tried to run for their lives were either gunned down or matcheted. One of the survivors, Nuhu Moses from Chenshyi village put the number of the attackers at 40. They were armed with guns, knives and other weapons, he said. He said over 50 people were killed at Chenshyi alone. Moses said “there is no house standing. All the houses were burnt by the attackers while people who attempted to run were gunned down. I was just lucky to have escaped, but our Pastor’s wife, and kids were among the people that were butchered.” A resident of Ungwar Sankwai, Jonathan Bako said he did not know how he managed to escape. Speaking with The Nation by phone, the President of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Dr. Ephraim Goje said the attack was one too many. He renewed the union’s call on the federal government to establish a military post in the area. He challenged government to take urgent steps to address the situation and protect the people of the area from extinction, while asking both the federal and state governments to provide relief materials to those affected by the incident.
From Tony Akowe, Kaduna
Governor Yero expressed deep sadness and shock over the unwarranted attacks on innocent citizens of the state. He assured the victims of government’s commitment to the protection of lives and property of the entire people of the state and called on people in the communities to remain calm as government is already working with security agencies towards scaling up its strategies in order to improve security, especially in border communities. The governor noted that constant attack on innocent community was unacceptable, saying that government will step up efforts to improve surveillance and curtail future occurrence. The governor who vowed to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice ordered full investigation into the attack and promised to empower community surveillance by vigilance groups in areas that have become prone to such ugly violence, to complement formal security arrangements towards forestalling reoccurrence.
He prayed that God should expose the ‘merchants of darkness’, who are bent on sowing seeds of confusion and hate in the state, saying “We pray that God should expose the people that are causing this problem. We pray that God should touch their hearts to stop such dastardly acts or destroy their evil machinations.” Vice Chairman of the Local government Daniel Anyip said countless homes were set ablaze, saying “From our records, in all the three villages attacked, only five houses are standing while people killed are about 100. These are villages that housed a lot of people but they are now homeless,” he said. Anyip who is overseeing the local government however told journalists in southern Kaduna that two of those killed were attackers identified to be Fulani resident in one of the villages in the area. The member representing Kaura Local Government in the State House of Assembly, Yakubu Bityong, who visited the scene of the attack condemned the massacre, describing it as satanic, barbaric and condemnable by right think-
ing persons. The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Local Government, Rev. Isa Goar, condemned the attack and asked the people of the area to remain calm. The Kaduna State Police Command Spokesman, Aminu Lawan said security men had been mobilised to the area. Reacting to the development, the Southern Kaduna Indigenes Progressive Forum (SKIPFo) described the attack as barbaric, pointing out that the attack has further exposed government’s insensitivity to the plight of the people of the area. Its chairman, Major George Asake (rtd) accused government of failing to take action on the killings taking place in the area despite advise and protest, saying “we are living in a state of anarchy and we will do everything possible to take the government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer charges on the massive killings of our people on a daily basis. It is very painful and difficult that we keep mourning everyday without the government doing any-
thing about it”. Also reacting to the massacre, the Centrum Initiative for Development and Rights Advocacy (CEDRA) renewed its earlier call on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in southern Kaduna. Spokesman of the group, John Danfulani in a statement said that the incessant attacks in the area were gradual genocide and extinction. He called for a state of emergency in Southern Kaduna to stem the violence. He said: “It is clear that Kaduna state government and their agents are only playing politics with the insecurity ravaging Southern Kaduna region. We will also not shy away from stating the obvious that Kaduna state government has failed and only playing double standard, so also security agencies operating in the state. “It is abundantly clear that the elders and elected representatives from Southern Kaduna are less concerned due to their political expediencies. They should know that posterity will judge them and they have began journey into political wilderness as blood of our helpless villagers is on their heads”.
Jonathan resident in his home state of Bayelsa are now living in fear following the recent abduction of Chief Inengite Nitabai, the President’s foster father, by kidnappers. Nitabai was rescued last week by security operatives after three weeks in the den of his abductors who demanded N500million ransom.. Many of the President’s relations believe that they are being targeted by armed gangs of kidnappers who have laid siege to Ogbia, the local government area of the President.
By Vincent Ohonbamu, Gombe
OMBE State Police Command says it has arrested an armed robbery kingpin who specializes in snatching cars at gunpoint. Spokesman for the Command, DSP Fwaje Atajiri said the suspect had been elusive in five neighbouring states before he was caught in Gombe. He said that three vehicles (two Golf III cars and a Honda Civic saloon) were recovered from the suspect. The PPRO also said an imposter, Ishaya Yila who has been parading himself as a policeman, harassing innocent citizens and policemen alike has also been arrested in the state. He said his arrest came as a result of him going to one of their stations to harass and intimidate policemen over securing the release of a suspect connected with miscreants who harass young ladies and dispossess them of their belongings. “Because of his attitude, the junior police officers there believe that a senior police officer couldn’t have gone out of his ways to insult a junior one, therefore, they demanded to know him more. And through the interrogation, it was discovered that he was not a policeman.
‘Ensure votes count in Ekiti, Osun elections’
From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado Ekiti
• L-R: Etsu Nupe, HRH Alh. (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar, CFR, and Hon. Abdumalik Dagaci Cheche, Vice Chairman, House Committee on Culture & Tourism, at the opening of the maiden edition of Nupe Art Conference/Exhibition in Bida, Niger State recently.
Kidnapping: Fear grips Jonathan’s relations ELATIONS of President Goodluck
Police arrest robbery kingpin in Gombe
From Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
Their fears were raised after another gang of kidnappers made an attempt on Thursday to abduct one Madam Patience Agbani,a cousin of the President. The move was foiled by the Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Pulo Shield. Speaking to reporters in Yenagoa, Agbani who is said to be related to the mother of President Jonathan, said:”I am scared because l feel that my life is in danger.” She said she had escaped two attempts by different gangs of criminals to abduct her.
The first attempt, according to her, involved six masked men three weeks ago while the latest incident last Wednesday involved two men. Narrating how she escaped before JTF came to her rescue, she said: “After l closed from my shop, l noticed that two persons were following me. When l crossed the road, they stared at me. “When l moved, they moved and when l stopped they stopped. So, l started watching them. I moved again, they moved. Then l became afraid. “I turned and started going back then they
started pursuing me. I ran and hid in an uncompleted building. But they ran across the building. Agbani, 35, said she later called JTF operatives in the area for help. “After the first incident, I collected the telephone number of the JTF in my area. When this one happened, l quickly called them.” Also, a source close to Jonathan’s family said members of the President were discussing measures to personally secure themselves from the prying eyes of kidnappers. He said though recent incidents had led to tight-
ening of security in Otuoke and other Ogbia communities, it is necessary for key members of the family to personally secure themselves. But the Commissioner Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, said the police had mapped out strategies to stop kidnapping in the state. Opara had on Thursday called for security meeting involving all stakeholders in Ogbia local government areas. Traditional rulers, chairmen of the eight local government areas, chairmen of community development committees and youth leaders attended the security meeting.
TAKEHOLDERS at a oneday training programme for observers in the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise in Ekiti State have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the efforts of voters are not wasted in the coming elections in Ekiti and Osun States. The training, which was attended by political parties and civil society organisations, was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with Democratic Governance for Development Project (UNDP/DGD ll). In an interaction with journalists, the National Chairman of Peoples Progressives Alliance (PPA), Comrade Peter Ameh, clarified that the expectations of Nigerians were that Ekiti and Osun State Elelctions should be free, fair and credible. Lamenting that democracy was yet to engender development in the country, Ameh said the training programme would strengthen democracy in the country. He said, “INEC should wake up and do the right thing in Ekiti and Osun to ensure that people have confidence in the electoral process.” In a welcome address, the representative of UNDP, Mr. Zikrullah Ibrahim, said the organisation attached much importance to the continuous registration exercise. Ibrahim said, “Ekiti election should be given every attention; we want to add value and credibility to what is happening in Ekiti,” noting, “We believe before we go to the field, it is necessary for the observers to know what to do on the field.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Governors worried about Nigeria’s direction –Fayemi
Police arrest eight suspected thugs in Ondo From Damisi Ojo, Akure
OVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State says the just concluded retreat of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in Lagos, was borne out of the worries of the governors about the direction in which Nigeria is headed. He told reporters shortly after the retreat that the governors believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction and must be rescued with a view to making life better for the people. He said: “We have a lot of challenges but we don’t have all the answers to the challenges of Nigeria and we have not pretended to have all the answers. One of the reasons we are doing this is to listen to those who have spent their time to study these challenges and ready to proffer solutions. “For the fact that we do not have all the answers does not mean we must let the perfect become the enemy of the good. If we keep doing the good things, we will improve on them. “We have talked about security, agriculture, corruption and education. Those are inexplicably interconnected issues that have a bearing on poverty and if as we have all decided as serious minded people, elected to make life better for the people that poverty is a war that we must fight to a standstill then issues must be comprehensively addressed in an integrated manner so that we have policies that we can share, lessons that we can learn, ideas that come from whole range of states of different and specific ways of addressing agricultural challenges, corruption, education, quality of education and chess to education, and of course addressing the issue of security.” On the spate of insecurity in the country, Fayemi noted that religion and ethnicity are not the root cause of insecurity but economic inequality which has led some to taking up arms
L-R: Chief Operations Officer, Communications Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tom Allen, Group Chairman, Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, Dr Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi, Managing Director, Century Power, Mr. Chukwueloka Umeh and Managing Director, Ericsson Nigeria, Kamar Abass during a special press conference to announce the rollout of Smile Broadband Internet Service in Lagos held at The Wheatbaker,Ikoyi, Lagos.
Scores wounded, displaced as Ugborodo boils again •Factional leaders trade blame, accuse military of complicity
UNDREDS of persons have been displaced in Ugborodo Community of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State after armed youths struggling for the control of the $16.5 billion Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in the area engaged in another fierce gunfight on Saturday afternoon. Scores of people were injured in the latest hostilities between supporters of the Chief Thomas Ereyitomi and Hon David Tonwe who are battling for the control of the leadership of the community. A resident who identified himself as Ogbemi, told The Nation yesterday that “several of our people are either wounded or missing since they ran into the bush in Ajudaibo.
From Shola O’Neil, Bolaji Ogundele, Warri
They were attacked by (a youth leader’s) boys who were armed with sophisticated weapon.” The death toll, if any, from the latest onslaught was not immediately known, even though several persons were yet unaccounted for at the time of this report last night. Ogbemi said gunmen believed to be supporters of a key player in the power struggle invaded Ogidigben on Tuesday morning. The attendant confusion led to injuries to many people and dozens of persons displaced. He said SOS to military personnel went unheeded. The cause of the latest hostility could not be independently ascertained al-
though Chief Ayiri Emami, one of the arrowheads of the Ereyitomi-led faction blamed it on one Michael Lodge. Ayiri accused the Ugborodo Youth Leader, Mr Michael Lodge (aka Ugbede) of instigating the clash by visiting Ogidigben and other towns prior to the Tuesday’s clash. He said members of their faction in OdeUgborodo and environs were chased out of their homes by Tonwe supporters, adding, “The Youth President, Mr Julius Atete, cannot go to OdeUgborodo, but Michael Lodge went to Ogidigbe. That is the cause of the crisis.” However, Mr. Femi Uwawa who supports Towne, said the latest car-
nage was perpetuated by Ayiri and other members of Ereyitomi group because the outcome of a peace parley brokered by the Chief of Naval Staff did not favour them. He said they agreed that the traditional leadership of the community led by the trio of Benson Omadeli, Pa Eworitse Tsebi and Eghare Wellington Ojogho, should take over discussion of the community’s interest with the Federal Government. “We are peacemakers, we are not going to carry guns, those who are carrying guns should be arrested and brought to book by the Federal Government that is our plea. Some people want to take over the leadership of the community through the barrels of the guns,” he added.
Russia vetoes UN resolution on Crimea, China abstains
USSIA vetoed a Western-backed resolution condemning the Crimea referendum at a UN Security Council emergency vote yesterday but China abstained, isolating Moscow further on the Ukraine crisis. The draft resolution, which says today’s referendum would have no validity, got 13 votes in the 15member council. But it was rejected when permanent member Russia exercised its veto. “Russia isolated, alone and wrong blocked the resolution’s passage,” US ambassador Samantha Power told the council at its seventh emergency session on Ukraine since the crisis began. “This is a sad and remarkable moment,” she said. “As we speak, Russian armed forces are massing across Ukraine’s eastern border,” she added in a short
speech. China often backs Russia at the council, especially on Syria-related votes, and Western diplomats had seen its abstention as the best possible outcome from yesterday’s vote. When the Security Council ruled on a similar international crisis, between Russia and Georgia in 2008, Beijing abstained. Yesterday’s emergency meeting was called at Washington’s request and the resolution had been drafted by the United States in very measured terms so that it could be accepted by Beijing. Beijing has long defended the need to respect territorial integrity and does not back interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Russia’s veto had been certain after last-ditch talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Rus-
sian counterpart Sergei Lavrov broke down in London on Friday. “It is a secret to no one that the Russian Federation will vote against the resolution,” Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council in opening remarks before the vote. He defended today’s referendum as necessary to fill the “legal vacuum” that arose “as a result of an unconstitutional coup d’etat in Ukraine.” The resolution declared that the referendum on Crimea coming under Kremlin rule has “no validity and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea.” The draft resolution did not explicitly call for Russian troop reinforcements to withdraw from Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, where Moscow has military bases. Nor did it threaten sanctions.
After today’s vote in the autonomous region of Ukraine, which has a large ethnic Russian population, Western powers will ratchet up their criticism of Russia. The resolution called on states to refrain from recognising the result and from “any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognising any such altered status.” It was a convoluted formula to demand that Russia not annex Crimea. The resolution also reaffirmed commitment to the “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” It urged Moscow and Kiev to hold direct talks and exercise restraint, and noted the willingness expressed by Kiev to protect the rights of all Ukrainians, including minorities. Moscow says Russian
speakers in eastern Ukraine have been threatened since the fall of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych after deadly protests late last month. British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant demanded Russia rethink its moves and work to find a peaceful solution. “If this referendum takes place tomorrow it will have no validity, no credibility and no recognition. We trust that Russia will take notice of its isolation,” he told the council. “If Russia fails to respond to Ukraine’s outstretched hand, it will lead to further escalation of tension in the region and further consequences for Russia,” he said. “We ask Russia to hear the collective voice of the international community today... and take the decision to work with Ukraine and with the rest of the world to find a peaceful solution.”
EN of the Ondo State Police Command at the weekend arrested eight persons suspected to be political thugs in Iju in Akure North Local Government Area of the State. Led by one Tosin Owonifari, the suspects including Dada Amos and Sunday Daramola among others, were alleged to have triggered violence in Iju/ Itaogbolu during the sensitisation programme held ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congresses in the State. The lawmaker representing Akure North/ South at the House of Representatives, Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde and his supporters had last weekend toured all the towns and villages in Akure North to mobilise APC supporters for the Congresses. But few hours after the tour ended, it was learnt that another APC chieftain in the area with his supporters also embarked on the same sensitisation exercise in the community. Sources, however, said this party chief’s ward to ward tour was allegedly hijacked by suspected hoodlums, eight of whom were later arrested by the Police. It was learnt that the two traditional rulers in the area, Okiti of Iju, Oba Amos Farukanmi and Ogbolu of Itaogbolu, Oba Idowu Faborode, consequently summoned supporters of the said APC factional leader and warned them against bringing breaching the peace in the community.The Police spokesman, Wole Ogodo, confirmed the arrest of the suspected thugs.
Ondo APC chieftain hails party road map
HE road map of the All Progressive Party (APC) has been described as a template for the rescue mission needed in Nigeria. A chieftain of the APC in Akure North local government in Ondo State, Hon. Leye Akinola, made this observation while addressing reporters in Akure, the state capital. Akinola said the road map unveiled by the party has shown that the APC has a vision that can pull the country out of the doldrums. He said the country currently needs to be rescued from the rudderless government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) The grass root politician said the people of the country will enjoy reasonable democracy from the APC.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
THE NATIO N ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
HAT kind of a church do you run? The church is about 15 years, but we started Grace to Grace International Ministries some five years ago. It’s a family church and we believe in the power of the word. One of the things that make us different is that we do more of projects. We believe in helping the less-privileged. What bought you home this time? From time to time, we go to nations to alleviate suffering. We have been to Uganda, Kenya, UK and Nigeria for projects. What we do are projects not because of churches. We have a project in Ikorodu that people thought was going to be a church. The purpose is to help the masses, so that they can see the other sides of Christianity. We have to be able to show people the same grace and mercies that we have received from God because we are the only Bible now that people are reading. We are more into humanitarian projects. Jesus not only walked on the streets of Jerusalem and Judea but he met individual needs What are some of the projects you have done in the UK for a start? In the UK right now, we started a foundation called Atinuke Adesanya Foundation. What we do every Saturday, we go to Dagenham Library and we are recognised by the council there. We give aids to people. We offer medicare because we realised there are lot of cut downs in the UK. A lot of the hospitals, especially walk-incentres, have been shut down. What we do every Saturday is to do blood check and cholesterol check. We also assist the less-privileged because some of the benefits have been cut down. We give them food and it is amazing. In Nigeria, what have you done? We are doing the same thing we do abroad over here. We have been able to do empowerment programme. We have concentrated in Isawu parts of Ikorodu. We have trained people there and released them to stand on their own. Some of them are now selfsufficient. What new programme is in the offing? It is called GAMP 2014, meaning Grace and Mercy Programme. What we want to do is to launch it on 3rd May. We have doctors and nurses coming from abroad to run checks on people. You find out that people don’t go to the hospitals. In fact, abroad even where there are facilities, people are just afraid to do checks because they don’t want to hear any bad news. But what they don’t know is that what you know, you can fight and that can prolong your life. In fact, I was talking to a colleague in America who stated that cancer kills more
‘People look down on female preachers’ Pastor Atinuke Adesanya is the founder and senior pastor of Grace to Grace International Ministries, Dagenham, UK. She spoke with Sunday Oguntola on the challenges of being a female church leader as well as the many humanitarian strides of the church. Excerpts:
blacks in America. The white Americans have higher vulnerability to cancer but they detect early and work round it. But blacks don’t care to know. That is why it kills more blacks. So we are focusing on Isawu, Igbo Olomu and Agric communities in Ikorodu. We want to check their blood level, cholesterol and train them on computer. We have free laptops that we want to give out to outstanding students among our trainees. We are bringing used clothes, bags and even shoes that we can distribute to those who want. Why did you choose Ikorodu of all places? There are no specific reasons why we chose Ikorodu. At least, I am not from Ikorodu. One of the reasons why we chose Ikorodu is because we have a land there. We want to build a health centre, church and bible school in the future on the land. When you do stuffs like these in this part of the world, you must have a political or religious agenda. So, are you starting a church any time soon in Ikorodu?
where. A lot of people believe that women are not supposed to lead churches and I always have a simple illustration for them. I tell them if a man drowns in a river and he needs assistance, will it matter to him if a woman offers to help him out? Everybody keeps saying it doesn’t matter. So, I have challenges as a female church leader. People wonder why my husband is not in the ministry. There is an evil I have seen here. If a man is called, the woman automatically joins him in the ministry and I believe it should not be like that. Ministry is not by nomination but by calling. That a man is called does not mean the wife should join him. Same with the woman who is called. My husband is not in the ministry PHOTO: OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL with me and I don’t Yes, we are starting a have to force him to join me. church in Ikorodu. We are He is into secular practice. Our starting with a house fellow- first son is a pastor and I did ship. And you must know not influence anything. When that land has been there for God called him, it was glarthe past eight years. So, we ing to everyone. Everybody are not doing this empower- knows that going by what he ment because of the church. does in the kingdom that he If we wanted to do that, we has a calling. He had to go to would have started eight Oral Roberts University, came years ago. We just want to back to London and joined the touch people and empower church. I can’t force my husthem. band to say he has to be a pasAre these projects spon- tor. He recognises the call and sored solely by the church? anointing of God upon my Yes, they are. life. He supports the church No grants whatsoever? and has his own work. None, I can assure you. I have a lot of challenges The sponsorship is solely by with acceptance until people the church. The last one was come around and see what from the church’s purse. This God is doing through us. I GAMP, I just shared with have a deliverance service them what we want to do and every Tuesday and people see my people are dangerous what God is doing. Demons givers. are crying out, God is delivIt must be a big church ering people and the barren then to be able to handle such are getting fruits of the projects? womb. Then, people don’t Yes, it is. mind again that I am a woman Is it dominated by Nige- of God. rians? People have challenges We have members who with female preachers. They are Nigerians, Ghanaians, Ja- say they are not submissive maicans, Sierra Leones, Zim- at the home fronts. Is that babweans and others. true with you too? How is it like being a feI really can’t speak for mymale church leader? self. If I had some of my memIt is the same every- bers here, they would have
been able to speak for me because I can’t blow my own trumpet. If my husband were here too, he would have been in the best position to talk on it. For example, I don’t travel without his permission and I travel a lot. Today, I have spoken with him, feeding him on what I have done. So, we are pretty close. I wish he was the one speaking now. Well, many female preachers also hardly have time for their children, making many of them become delinquents. Maybe you can blow your trumpet on how well or badly your children are doing now. I have four children, and by the grace of God, all of them have turned out good. My first daughter is here. Last year, she told me she wanted to move back to Nigeria. So, she is here. She is finishing her youth corps in February. She said she wanted to see life and be part of what she came from. Now, she is the manager in a micro-finance company, LAPO Bank in Ikeja. She is standing out and doing a marvellous job there. I have my second child, who is a pastor. Both of us are in the ministry and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder. My third child has just graduated from the university and I have my last child in college. Every one of them will say that I am a good home manager despite my schedules. When I come back from church on Sundays, my first point of call is always my kitchen. I don’t allow my house helps to cook my food. I have to cook and look after my husband. What I don’t do recently is the cleaning of the house but I supervise that too. My house help in Nigeria
says she has never seen a woman like this. Up till now, I do my cooking myself. I don’t allow my house help to do it for me because I consider it as laziness. And I believe no one can cook to my taste. So, churches have to be humanitarian? Yes, we should be. I know many are not but may God open their eyes to see it. Church is not about the gospel; it is about what we want to offer. For example, we do a church humanitarian project but I have people whose school fees I pay. I have to take the burden off them. I preach the same to my members and some of them are following suit. They ask for names they can help and I offer from the many on my list. I believe that pastors will come to realise as time goes on that showing people the human sides of God makes the gospel easier to preach. As we help people, you feel inner joy. The people appreciate what you do and the news spread quicker about Christ. But beyond the appreciation and what people say, you feel the joy. I don’t believe in living for myself but helping people to find fulfilment in life. When you help people, you are building a nation because the deposits you leave in them make them to be able to help others too. So givers don’t lack? Never, givers never lack. The Bible says give and it shall be given to you. I tell people that when you give, it returns to you in multiple folds, not in the same measure. You find that because we give, our members are not where they used to be. There are testimonies of greatness and uplift. Where are the branches of your church back in Nigeria? We have two in Lagos. One in Ayobo and the other in Iju Water Works. Why do you choose such average and not highbrow communities? That is because we want to reach out to people in those areas. Those in Lekki are comfortable already. They need Christ as well but that will be later. We are interested in those down, down there for now. By the time we go to Lekki, they will easily reckon with us.
Yewa Diocese gets new Bishop
ENERABLE Michael A d e b a y o Oluwarounbi has been elected Bishop for Yewa Diocese of the Church Of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Ogun State. Before his election, he was the supervising Vicar of the Cathedral Church of Advent, Abuja. His consecration comes up next Tuesday at St James Cathedral, Oke Bola, Ibadan, Oyo State.
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo
Praise: Gateway to supernatural harvest!
•Okonkwo(middle) flanked by General Overseer, Deliverance Church Kenya, Bishop Mark Karuiki(L); General overseer, Efatha Ministry, Apostle Josephat Mwingira; Chairman African Apostles, Bishop Tudor Bismark(2nd right) ... at the closing ceremony. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN
Adeboye lauds Jonathan on anti- gay law T HE General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has thrown his weight behind the enactment of the law punishing individuals or groups associated with gay. He spoke at a special prayer and thanksgiving service for First-borns organised by the church last Sunday at the National Headquarters in Lagos. The programme tagged: Born to excel, attracted thousands from across the country and featured prayers, bible teaching, song renditions, and prophetic ministrations. According to him, the commission of God for mankind is to be fruitful and mul-
By Adeola Ogunlade
tiply and replenish the earth. Adeboye said homosexuality is at variance with God’s command and an anathema to the society which should be ignored and rejected by every heaven-bound citizen. Adeboye who spoke through his special Assistant on Personnel and Administration, Pastor Johnson Odesola, said: “I think for everyone who wants to know about the mind of the creator will need to go through the manual of God’s word which stands firmly against gays.” He cited Romans chapter 2 which states very clearly that homosexuality is sin and outright disobedience to God‘s plan for man. More so, he asserted that
our culture in Africa stands against the practice of homosexuality, urging Nigerians not to be taken away by the western culture. He cautioned individuals and groups opposed to the law, stating that it is sad that many western countries have gone far away from God and may end up even legalising suicide and other ungodly acts. Adeboye, who declared a 100-day prayer and fasting programme in the church, said that Nigeria should continue to pray and lift challenges of the nation to God who alone can make all things well. God, he claimed, told him that there will be total transformation in the nation this year.
Former Hillsong vocalist, Darlene Zschech, battles breast cancer
ORMER Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech recently finished one of the five rounds of chemotherapy she must undergo for breast cancer. Amid losing hair and having emotional ups and downs, she’s being assured of God’s love, which is “one of the sweetest parts of the journey.” “I am coming to the end of round one of chemo (I have 5 to go) and all I can say is, ‘Grace, grace and more grace,’” Darlene wrote on her blog Friday. “I am learning to rest in every promise from Jesus. In fact, it’s His word that is giving me the strength to inhale and exhale moment by moment.” The singer/songwriter announced she had cancer around last Christmas. On Dec. 29, she wrote on her blog that the doctors discovered at a routine mammogram she had developed breast cancer. “Since then, it has been a whirlwind of appointments, scans and surgery.” “To be completely honest, this is not the kind of news anyone ever really wants to tell. However, I have seen two absolute miracles in my body thus far and I know there will be many more to come,” she said at the time, and quoted Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance charac-
ter and character HOPE. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Zschech is most famous for penning the worship song “Shout to the Lord.” After serving as worship pastor at the Pentecostal Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, for over a decade, Zschech stepped down to co-pastor another church with her husband Mark. The couple has been leading Hope Unlimited Church on the Central Coast of New South Wales since 2011. Since her cancer announcement, Zschech has been writing about her journey. She has been finding strength in the many prayers directed toward her as she goes through six
months of treatment. This week, she lost her hair which she finds “very confronting.” “It definitely makes me look sicker than I feel.” The gospel singer wrote that her husband jokes with her saying she can now save a lot of money she would otherwise be paying to hairdressers. And their daughters have named her wig “Betty.” “I love my girls and they are keeping it light and laughter filled for me.” While this has been “a quite a ride on an emotional roller,” she said, “I am assured of God’s love for me. Truly this has been one of the sweetest parts of the journey. My beautiful Emmanuel is never far away. Our Friends, family and our beloved church family are amazing every day. I’m ever convinced that life was always designed to be done in true community. Good days and bad days yet always better together.” She said she has been using this time to write more songs and thoughts, which she’ll share “when I am on the other side of this mountain.” “In fact, we are already planning a Thanksgiving service at our church in November, where we will record songs birthed during this season. We simply want to fill the place with praise for all that God has done,” she added. Source: Christian Post
RAISE, amongst others, is the gateway to supernatural harvest. Fearful harvest is always in response to fearful praise. We must understand that harvest is only sequel to seed time. If no seed is sown, then harvest is never in view. Remember, While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22). Your returns are in response to your investment. When there is no investment, returns are not in view, because in all labour there is profit (Proverbs 14:23). So, profit will only answer to input. There has to be something going in, for something to come out. Even when we have sown our seeds, it takes praise to reap our harvest. What Is In Praise? Wonders: God shows us His wonders when we praise Him (Exodus 15:11). Praise is the Gateway to Supernatural Harvest: Our harvest is not in view until our praises rise up to heaven (Joel 1:12). It is our praise that determines our harvest time. Fearful praises will always culminate in fearful harvest (Psalm 67:5-7; Genesis 8:20). So, we don’t talk of harvest without seedtime. It is, therefore, important for us to know that it is seedtime that precedes harvest. The Bible recognizes different kinds of investment. According to scriptures, in all labour there is profit. That means our harvest or returns are a function of our invest-
ment. Dimensions of investment in scriptures: Spiritual Investment: This is superior to any other kind of investment. It includes prayers and fasting i.e. interceding for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, and the wellbeing of the church of Christ (Mathew 6:6, 18; Colossians 4:12). Soul-winning: This is a form of spiritual investment that guarantees amazing returns, which makes a star of every consecrated soul-winner. Every tireless soul-winner ends up a star (Daniel 12:3). Mental Investment: We can also invest mentally into the Kingdom, by engaging in strategic planning and programming for effectiveness in our stewardship. So, it is not just about serving God, but also engaging strategically in it. He said: Come now, and let us reason together... (Isaiah 1:18). Physical Investment: Our strength is required in our engagement with God. When we invest our energy in the service of the Kingdom, God multiplies it back to us. Our “energy-seed” returns to us as “energy-harvest” (Luke 10:27). So, see physical engagement as an opportunity for renewal of strength (Isaiah 40:31). Material and Financial Seed: This is the key to material abundance and financial blessings. The seed we sow materially and financially, entitles us to returns (Malachi 3:10). Your material and financial investments are your access to the realms of financial fortune (2 Corinthians 9:8).
There is, therefore, nothing you give to God that is wasted! However, we are not to invest grudgingly or of necessity, for “God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). That means He hates a grudging giver. From Deuteronomy 28:47-48, we understand that we need joy in our service to God, else it becomes a curse. That is why we need the Holy Ghost for empowerment, and the anointing of the Holy Ghost is the oil of gladness. In conclusion, it takes joy to invest acceptably; and it takes joy to access our returns. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us (Psalm 67:5-6). The Bible also says: Is any merry? Let him sing... (James 5:13). Therefore, receive the anointing to keep serving God tirelessly with the joy of the Lord that entitles you to His harvest, everyday of your life, in the name of Jesus! Friend, the power for supernatural harvest is the preserve of those saved. You get saved by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. If you are set, please say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, Jesus for saving me! Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, you can get my books: Understanding The Power Of Praise and Wonders Of Praise. I invite you to come and fellowship with us at the Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, the covenant home of Winners. We have four services on Sundays, holding at 6:00 a.m., 7:35 a.m., 9:10 a.m. and 10.45 a.m. respectively. I know this teaching has blessed you. Write and share your testimony with me through: Faith Tabernacle, Canaan Land, Ota, P.M.B. 21688, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria; or call 7747546-8; or E-mail: email@example.com
‘Nigerians need God, not more churches’
N Abuja-based gospel artiste, Mrs. Evelyn Akinwale, has said what Nigerians need at this time is not more churches or men of high standing but God. She spoke to reporters after the launch of her new album titled ‘Majoo’ (I will dance) in Abuja. She stated that only love for God would deliver the country out of its current challenges. “Until we go back to that first love, so many things will be going wrong. Even this country, until we go back to our first love, not just establishing churches but loving God for who God is, things will continue to go wrong,” the songstress insisted. She added: “God wants us to go back to our first love and to the stage where we will love Him not because of anything but because of who He is.” Akinwale, who said God has been using her to heal people through music, urged Nigerians to learn to listen to the
From Sanni Onogu, Abuja
right kind of music. She warned that some genres of music can influence people negatively. “Don’t forget that there is power embedded in every music,” she said, adding: “Look at Saul, David had to sing for Saul to be comforted. Also when some people listen to music, they get thrilled, they get comforted, testimonies, healings and deliverance follow. But there are some kinds of music that people listen to and an evil spirit will come upon them.” On her sojourn in Christian music, she said: “I will continue to worship God. It is a must for me because God has been good. I come from a humble background and God has been so good to me. ”The experience has been so nice. I started in Christ Apostolic Church about 15 years ago. I have always been singing. A lot of people say ‘something is touching about your voice.’
“It is not just about the voice but the Spirit of God. It has been backing me up and supporting me all this while. “My song has impacted positively on people so many times and I believe it is the spirit behind the songs and my voice. I remember vividly when I was in the Chapel of Grace, in Dolphin Estate, a mad man came into the church - I was not even aware - the mad man came and they were trying to chase him away and he went and stood by the entrance. Before the end of that worship that man came back to his senses.”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
ESTERN nations are in a state of dense irritation by what will likely occur today in Crimea, the Russianbacked breakaway province of Ukraine. A plebiscite will hold. Minus a jarring surprise, the result is foregone. Crimea will vote to reintegrate into Russia. This will be a sharp, voluble rebuke of Western diplomatic pressure to quell Russia's obvious engineering of the Crimean secession. Western capitals and the international media houses that serve them have been unsettled by Russian contumacy. They are perplexed Russia has not backtracked to take its hands off Crimea. They thought Russia would eventually succumb to the avalanche of criticism that it was in breach of their holy book of international etiquette, becoming an unregenerate along the way. They overestimated Russia's need for their approval or goodwill. The man in the Kremlin evidently concluded that, in acquiring and maintaining power, he could better secure his place at the international table. He would command and own the legitimacy of power. His personal history and that of his country instructed him the legitimacy of power is a more reliable shield and redoubt than that of good intentions and goodwill when it comes to the fluid and uncertain relations among states. He surmised should he do what the West told him, the West would keep telling him what to do. Considering himself the helm of a great power that defines its own way independent of the vocabulary of the West, Russian Premier Vladimir Putin would not strap himself to such a bridle. That the West would seek to control him as he sought to control another nation confirmed his worldview: Power not only rules, it writes the rules. Faced with Russian obduracy, the West has pitched a fulsome fit. Self-righteous to a fault, the West claims Putin is acting imperially, even against the wishes of the Russian people and was stoking a return to the Cold War. No doubt, Russian action has come with a hard hand and steel heart. But this is no worse an incursion against a lesser nation than Western action against Iraq or, more recently, Libya. Russia's usurpation of Crimea has been more surgical and done with less carnage than Western adventurism in the two abovementioned nations. Russia may owe a profound apology to the people of Ukraine but it owes no such apology to the West which has a greater penchant for military trespass and bloodlust than Russia has shown in the recent years. During these rare episodes when nations openly act recalcitrant to its wishes, Western nations self-righteously resort to speaking on behalf of the "international community." In so doing, they commit the same offense of which they accuse Russia regarding Crimea. They believe their power gives them the right to speak as if they are right and to speak on behalf of those with whom they have not bothered to consult. Had they talked frankly to nations beyond their elite club, they would likely find much of the world disapproves of the hard tack Russia has taken. However, people also understand Russia's concerns, realize Russia historic interests in Ukraine and are devilishly pleased Russia now stands up to the West's artificial high-mindedness. The views of the genuine international community are more nuanced and sympathetic to Russia than the West dares to allow. The West is partially right in drawing a historic analogy to Russia's current actions. However, the West errs in drawing the wrong link to the wrong period. They claim Putin is an unrepentant Cold Warrior pining to return to that era. Implicitly, they claim Putin aches for a fight and will lunge at any pretext to invade former soviet republics. Because he has publicly trashed their script, Western leaders now cast him as the greatest threat to world peace besides the lunatic of North Korea. The facts vitiate this depiction. The Cold War was a time where America and the Soviet Union wrestled in ceaseless geopolitical confrontation. There was no spot on the globe immune from the game. Putin has not acted in such grandiose, global fashion. He has been fairly discriminating in deploying Russian power. When the West sought to deracinate Qaddafi's regime, Russia did not lift a finger to help him. Russia gave the West a green light to recreate Libya in its own image. That the West turned that dessert nation from an orderly house ruled by a madman into a madhouse cannot be blamed on Russia. Likewise, Russia has given the West a free pass in Africa. Russian assistance to traditional allies in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba and Venezuela, has been minimal. However, Russian saw vital sea lanes and other interests threatened in a nation with which it has a strategic alliance, Syria. Here,
The Ukrainian Gambit: Back to the great game
War is that rare game best played when not played at all.
â€˘ Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
Russia thwarted perceived as Western overreach into its traditional sphere of influence. When Russia promulgated anti-gay legislation, Putin stood firmly against vociferous Western condemnation. As a patriot, he thought he had the right to define his nation as he saw fit. The propriety of his actions is susceptible to debate. However, talk that he dreams of another Cold War is dangerous claptrap. Instead of demonizing the leader of a vital nation, the West would further the cause of peace by better understanding him. Putin has shown himself to be nothing more or less threatening than a shrewd practitioner of balance of power geo-politics. Here a brief primer is warranted. Spheres of national influence represent the geo-political equivalent of gravity. Just as every material object has gravitational pull, every nation has a sphere of influence. The small and weaker the state, the more modest its sphere. The obverse is true in similar proportion: the greater the "mass" of a nation, the larger its sphere. Every nation's strategic interests involve the element of extraterritoriality. Assets important and essential to that nation's maintenance will lie well beyond the country's borders. For example, a strategic piece of foreign land in Cuba (Guantanamo Bay) is more important to America's defense than capital of the state of Utah. As a corollary, the older and more established a nation, the more discernible its sphere should be to itself and others. Sadly, humans are fallible, and the ambitious among us are the most wrongheaded of an imperfect lot. Thus, ambitious leaders often err by overestimating their sphere while underestimating that of another country. Upon these miscalculations, wars have been fought and lost. Thus, we should discern which side, Russia or the West, seems more awry in calculating the balance of power. To argue balance of power considerations should no longer apply is to argue subjective morality and not the reality of how things are. If humanitarian morals and not calculations of power and strategic interests governed international conduct, Western nations would have ended wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia which have endured for generations and costs millions of lives. We must
live or die with the fact that nations operate according to their own interests and do so most prudently when they do so without encroaching upon another strong nation's sphere of influence. To argue that morality dictates an end to these calculations is a disingenuous artifice used by those who have encroached onto another's sphere yet do not want to defend that encroachment in the customary way - by force of arms. It is a hairraising gambit to think a nation can cajole another to cede important interests without an expenditure of limb or lucre. If we objectively view Putin's actions, we see those of a tough Russian nationalist. The farther afield another nation, the less interest Putin gives it. Thus, he left Libya to the wolves. Conversely, Crimea has been integral to Russian history for centuries. More to the point, it is the headquarters of Russian's Black Sea Fleet. This is Russia's only guaranteed warm water port, its vital entry into the Mediterranean Sea and a conduit of influence to Syria and the Middle East. This is Russia's backyard. You do not go shouting insults in a strongman's back yard without expecting his dog to growl and the man to fetch his weapon. The seeds of this crisis were planted twenty years ago when America committed a grave strategic overreach precipitated by its victory in the Cold War. That this crisis would sprout would be as inevitable as death. The only question was how long would false peace last before reality erased it. The Cold War did not end with an explicit treaty allocating specific fruits to the winner and a menu of bitter herbs to be suffered by the ruptured empire. Even if it had ended with an explicit treaty, such a formal nicety would be of no lasting avail. As soon as the actual balance of power on the ground changed, the party favored by that amendment would seek to amend the treaty, not by rewriting its terms through negotiations but through its actions on the ground fueled by its renewed strength. When the Cold War ended, America thought it had been handed the world on a platter. It believed it had the right and power to rewrite the entire global system in its own image. For
America, it was the final end to the final global competition. This was a naĂŻve view held by a strong nation remarkably ignorant of the arc of world history. Blinded by its own power, America was unable to contemplate it would ever have to engage in balance of power calculations again, particularly on the European continent where its interests in Western Europe were many and vital. Consequently, America extended NATO to the very doorstep of then prostrate Russia. Some form of NATO membership was offered all European nations save Russia. However, America would disclaim Russia as the implied adversary. This was nonsense. To invest so much in a nearly pan-continental treaty without an adversary is superfluous. Everyone understood what Russia's exclusion meant. Weak Russia would bide time until strength was regained. Russia was a remnant of a global empire but it remained a strong nation with a proud military history, a large land mass, vast resources and a traditional sphere of influence. At some point, its vigor would return. The nation found its footing and regained power. As this happened, it would naturally seek to reestablish the sphere of influence it held prior to the advent of the Soviet Union. If the Soviet Union were to give way to a smaller Russia, so be it. If Russia were to stand, then let it stand as Russia had always stood, with its sphere of influence intact and recognized. Consequently, there would be inevitable tension between the dimensions of NATO-EU expansion into Eastern Europe and the Kremlin's reclamation of its traditional sphere of influence. There is not enough space for both sides to win. Either the West's expansion eastward or Russian expansion westward would be thwarted. The answer is found in which side finds its expansion to be more vital. That side will use whatever means necessary, including force. The other side will talk but balk when it comes to muscular action. That crisis came to Ukraine was not accidental. The West has been trying to pull Ukraine from Russia's orbit. The proposed EU deal was just one of many enticements. While the media downplays this point, the EU deal would have downgraded Ukraine's relationship with Russia. By its very provisions, the deal forbade Ukraine to accept certain assistance from Russia. The West dangled money to finesse the Ukrainian government away from Russia's shirttail. When that did not work, it funneled more money, this time to fuel the political opposition. According to a senior American diplomat, America channeled five billion dollars to the opposition to promote "regime change." That is a very hefty investment to make in another nation, particularly in an opposition movement. This sum can purchase many street protests. It did. Thus, the protests aired by electronic media have been presented to you as spontaneous and home-grown; to a significant degree, they have been orchestrated and foreign-funded. Russia was cognizant of these Western machinations and decided to protect its interests the best way it knew. Unable to match the West ruble for dollar, Russia decided to use force, correctly believing the West would not reply in kind. It was a calculated risk but, since core interests were at stake, a risk worth taking for the Kremlin. This raises another basic precept of geopolitics. The nation willing to use force generally bests the nation willing to go no further than spend money. Gun diplomacy usually beats money diplomacy. That the U.S. missed this lesson is remarkable given America uses the same strategy to stymie Chinese financial diplomacy in Africa, particularly South Sudan. In the end, the Ukrainian crisis is not a battle of democracy versus despotism. It has distilled into a war of Western money and propaganda against Russian arms. The objective has been to recalibrate the balance of power in Eastern Europe. Given this perspective, the West is the initial aggressor but subtly so because it used only money and words. Russia is the respondent but is deemed the aggressor because it upped the ante by resorting to force. China anxiously watches the outcome because America now seeks to isolate China in much the same fashion it has tried against Russia. I leave you to determine on which side morality lies, if it lies on any side of the matter. The more important issue is that we learn to see thinks for ourselves and not accept the version fed us. If your mind is to be bent one way or the other, then you should be the one bending it in a manner than suits your interests. Never allow someone to shape your mind and its thinking in a way that does you less good than it does them. 08060340825 (sms only)
THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
THE NATIO N ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
APC condemns irregularities in Osun voter’s registration
WORDSWORTH T 08055001948
Enquiry or inquiry?
ATIONAL MIRROR Front Page Lead Headline of March 13 welcomes us this week: “ARG, others kick against national conference delegates list” Basic etymological application: delegates’ list THE NATION of March 12 takes over from NATIONAL MIRROR with five errors on parade: “Fed Govt to deploy air patrol borders to (in) Northeast” This headline is clumsy! Is it that air patrol officials will be deployed along Northeast borders? “Gang up against PDP will fail, says Jonathan” Mr. President, there is no gang-up, but national redemption. “UNILAG alumni holds (hold) dinner”, but UNILAG Alumni Association holds dinner “Such platform (a platform) would be analysed in terms of mileage we will get before we attend.” DAILY TRUST of March 12 comes next with a series of infelicities: “Wada flags off (inaugurates) N2.9bn GanajaOtokiti road” “NDLEA arrests 3 over (for or in connection with) possession of Indian hemp” “FG sets up commodity marketing companies” Is it the commodity that is marketing the companies as implied in the extract? Get it right: commoditymarketing companies “PDP commends Jonathan over (for) 2 nd Niger bridge (sic)” This is not newsworthy at all. Could his party have condemned him? Still on DAILY TRUST under review: “PLASIEC’s rejection of Langtang North result sets bad precedence (precedent)—PDP” “The bank said in a statement that effective from the same date, (needless comma) he will (would) no longer be a director of ETI.” “Vigilante (Vigilance) members or vigilantes want govt’s recognition” For the first time, we introduce New Telegraph to this column. Its March 12 edition contained five infractions beginning from its front page headlines: “Finance Ministry owing marketers nine months (months’) subsidy” “Shell shortlists Seplat, Glencore for N480bn oil blocs’ sale” This way: oil blocks sale “…what they are expected to do in other (order) to improve their performance”
“Search for missing Malaysian aircraft intensifies (intensified)” Mr. Kola Danisa (07068074257) contributed the next two observations: Just to tell you that we have ‘Judicial Panel of Inquiry’—not enquiry. We probe when we inquire but enquire ‘to find out something.’ “South African Airways celebrates 80 years (years’ or 80th year) anniversary. ‘Year’ and ‘anniversary’ (anno Latin) do not go together because they mean the same thing. The following intervention is by Baba Bayo O g u n t u n a s e (08029442508): “Obasanjo: Amaechi’s k-leg (knock knees) have been straightened”/Amaechi has knockkneed legs. THE NATION ON SUNDAY of March 9 terrorized the English language: “11-years-old girl escapes rape, three others raise alarm (the alarm)” Get it right: 11-year-old girl… “Confab: Itsekiri, Ijaw youths protest delegates (delegates’) list” “An evening with the Green (Super) Eagles” “Christian Elders (Elders’) Forum of….” “…at the commissioning (launch) of Commint Buka in Surulere, Lagos” From THE NATION ON SUNDAY COMMENT (EDITORIAL) of March 9 comes this: “We have our reservations on (about) the conference….” “Jega’s make or mar (make-or-mar) elections “My foray into philanthrophy” Glamour: philanthropy “The regularity of road traffic accidents involving trucks and tankers have (has) become frighteningly high claiming innocent lives.” What is the relevance of ‘innocence’ in vehicular mishaps? And who or which are the guilty lives? Drivers? “Trucks account for majority (a majority) of road (vehicular) crashes” “Social media: Potentials, business mileage for SMEs” ‘Potential’ is non-count. Finally from THE NATION ON SUNDAY under review: “Edo sets (set) to revive state sports festival” “…it is proper that we put in place measures that would prevent a repeat occurrence (recurrence—instead of ‘repeat occurrence’) in the future.” Would it have been in the past? I beg una-o-o-o! “It was bound to be given that the election was stripped off all the basic
democratic ingredients that conduced for free and fair election.” No charade: stripped of. And, of course, a free and fair election when not elections “Beyond Nigeria’s experience, drug abuse is a plague in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States, Britain and the numerous other European countries and has permeated virtually every strata of society.” Lexical sanity: every stratum or all strata. “In the unlikely event that a similar situation reoccurs, the military should step in… and hand over the reigns of government….” A case for appropriate English words: recurs and reins of government (which leaders assume or drop). “British citizens evacuate war-torn country” Either British citizens evacuated from…or British citizens vacate (alternatively) war-torn country. “As was the case last year, reports of this year’s Nobel Prize winners, has (have) been confined, in our newspapers to footnotes, tucked away in the inside pages.” “…electrical fixtures are overused or completely destroyed: the halls even get burnt on some occasions.” ‘Destruction’ has an element of completion (finality) ‘Damage’ is employed when redemption is involved. Therefore, ‘completely destroyed’ is simply pleonastic. Common on notice boards: “Supply of stationeries” ‘Stationery’, like ‘bedding’ and ‘cutlery’, is uncountable. “The rational (rationale) for demanding that the names of these candidates be made public is….” “It is recorded that more than 3, 000 destitutes died in her frail old hands.” ‘Destitute’, used mostly as an adjective, doubles as an uncountable noun in the context of destitution. “The bold efforts the government is making is (are) commendable….” “Recently Nigeria added another feather to her (sic) cap when she (why this feminization of language?) became thirty seven (thirty-seven) years old as an independent nation state.” Towards the MDGs: a feather in its cap. “NFF surmons player for Gateway” A vote for fair play: summons. “But the fall-outs (fallout) and wider….”
HE All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State yesterday protested to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over what it called irregularities observed in the voter’s registration exercise. The irregularities, including deliberate blurring of voters’ cards at Moore Ojaja in Ife Central Local Government area, according to the APC are capable of discrediting the whole process. The Party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Barrister Kunle
Oyatomi, said the APC was alarmed as Ile-Ife is the base of one of the PDP governorship aspirants. Hundreds of prospective voters are affected by the blurring of their cards, he said. He asked INEC to effect changes in the affected areas. In a separate statement, Oyatomi accused the head of a Federal Government agency in the state of violently disrupting the voter’s registration in Ila Orangun. The man was alleged to have stormed Isedo Ward 05 at St Mathew School with a team of mobile police and soldiers (all in uniform),
firing bullets into the air. After scaring prospective voters away, he and his team allegedly proceeded to destroy plastic chairs being used by INEC officials. The APC said that it has made several complaints about several violent incidents involving the maiming and killing of civilians including the destruction of property by the PDP since the commencement of the registration on March 12. It also accused the party of acting with audacious impunity and appearing to get away with it.
•Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba (L), speaking during his visit to the 708 displaced victims of gunmen’s attack at Faskari Model Primary School… yesterday Photo: NAN
Kumuyi to Nigerians: Vote credible leaders in 2015
HE General Overseer of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, has called on Nigerians to choose credible leaders during the 2015 general elections. He spoke in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, while announcing the Deeper Life twoday crusade in the state, which kicked off last weekend. He insisted that political sovereignty belonged to the people and advised the electorate to shun tribal and religious sentiments while voting for their leaders. He advised Nigerians to se-
From: Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa
lect leaders that could deliver on good governance and development. Kumuyi said: “Concerning the coming elections, the political power is in the hands of the people. “It is for the people to vote for credible people who can rule the country well and not those with selfish motives. “I urge Nigerians to vote for the right people. I believe that when we are able to vote for the right and proper people, we will together lift up the country”.
Kumuyi dismissed the insinuation that members of his denomination are debarred from embracing modern technology, including watching television. He said as a graduate of Mathematics and a former lecturer, he had access to some technologies, stressing he would not deny people from using them. “I am a beneficiary of technology because we have been able to reach out to so many countries in the world through transmission on satellite,” he explained.
‘51million Nigerians don’t sleep well’
O fewer than 51 million Nigerians suffer from sleep disorders. A sleep disorder specialist, Dr. Obafemi Akinjobi of Marvina Sleep Disorders Centre, stated this at the weekend during a programme organised to mark the World Sleep Day in Lagos. Akinjobi said: “It is imperative to talk about the alarming rate of sudden deaths in Nigeria occasioned by Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), because of its adverse medical and public health effects. “About 51 million are estimated number of Nigerians who snore and are at the risk of OSA. Yet the
medical disorder is alarmingly underrated and generally under-diagnosed in Nigeria”. He said: “It is time for public health authorities to embark on accelerated awareness campaign for the public basic signs, symptoms, treatment and management of the medical problem”. Expatiating further, Akintobi said: “There are about 77 sleep disorders and what most people in Nigeria know is insomnia. “But there is also snoring, which many people attribute to stress but is a major cause of Obstructive
Sleep Disorder. “It is common with hypertensive and diabetes. Sleep disorder can cause a variety of chronic physical and mental health problems. “There is a direct link between sleep disorders and medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, obesity, erectile dysfunction, among others.” He lamented that many medical practitioners don’t know how to diagnose and treat people with sleep disorders. Instead, the specialist said, such practitioners prescribe drugs as against proper treatment.
theme “Let my people move forward” open. The Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Revd. Oluyemisi Ogunlere, said: “As Methodists, we’ve challenged ourselves to take a position on how best we can
move forward by adding value to our immediate societies by bringing it to the front burner at this year’s Synod of the Diocese and pray for peace and togetherness among nations all over the world”.
By Kunle Akinrinade
Methodist’s synod holds
HE 8 annual synod of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Lagos West kicks off on Thursday. The Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, is expected to declare open the synod with the th
THE NATIO N ON SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
SPORTS THE NATION ON SUNDAY
F/Eagles second phase camping starts Monday
MARCH 16, 2014
* Peter Odemwingie celebrates against West Ham
HE Flying Eagles have picked 35 players after an intensive two-week open screening in Abuja, which attracted over 1,500 hopefuls. The second phase of the Nigeria U20 team's training camp will commence in Abuja on Monday, when the 35 players from the open trials are joined by 20 other players who were involved with the country's U17 team last year. “We expect a much fiercer competition in the second phase and players need to be more consistent to survive then,” said Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba. Manu plans to soon form a standing team in time for the Flying Eagles African Youth Championship qualifying match against either Kenya or Tanzania in early May. Goalkeepers: Joshua Enaholo, Adamu Abubakar, Amos Benjamin, Zaradeen Usman Defenders: Babatunde Ade, Baba Garba Ghaddafi, Mazadu Surajo Abdullahi, Julius Emalaju, Chukwuma Okpara, Timothy Danladi, Ifeanyi Nweke, Bashir Mansur Midfielders: Anthony Chukwudi Omaka, Fidelis Irene, Samuel Mathias, Uche Okeke, Aremu Abdulhafeez, Raphael Ayagwa, Alashe Sherif Ajibola, Shabanya Jonathan, Uche Chibueze, Bankole Segun, Salman Ibrahim, Jimoh Wasiu Strikers: Suleiman Abdullahi, Abubakar Lawal, Billy Auta, Mahmoud Mohammed, Orji Promise, Aliyu Sani Jandi, Victory Omadigbe, Eze Chisom, Yakubu Mohammed, Peter Araodion, Isaac Uduak
Pellegrini salutes City's response against Hull
ANUEL Pellegrini praised Manchester City's “very good response” to their Champions League exit after 10-man Citizens were comfortable winners at Hull. The visitors made a shaky start fresh from their defeat at Barcelona midweek as captain Vincent Kompany received a red card in the opening 10 minutes for a foul on Hull striker Nikica Jelavic. However, Spain international David Silva helped City make an immediate response to the setback, with the 28-year-old curling a powerful strike past Tigers goalkeeper Allan McGregor in the 14th minute. Pellegrini introduced Joleon Lescott as Hull midfielder David Meyler came close to scoring a second-half equaliser before Bosnian Edin Dzeko sealed three points on the stroke of full-time at KC Stadium.
Rivaldo retires from football
Rooney warns mates against 'super' Suarez W AYNE Rooney says stopping Luis Suarez will be Manchester United's priority against Liverpool on Sunday, feeling he has developed into one of the world's greatest players. Suarez has scored 24 goals for Brendan Rodgers' side this season and his burgeoning partnership with Daniel Sturridge is one of the main reasons behind their Premier League improvement. Liverpool sit second in the table with 10 games remaining and head to Old Trafford on Sunday 11 points ahead of their fierce rivals. Scoring goals has been the biggest difference between
the sides with Liverpool having hit the net a league-high 73 times, some 27 more than United as Rooney and Robin van Persie went through their struggles with form and injury. And Rooney knows United's defence is going to have to be at its best to cope with the twin threat Suarez and Sturridge have provided on a regular basis. "Suarez, for me, is up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best players in the world," the United striker told MUTV. "He has been that good and the two of them together have been in great form this season. We will have to do everything
Sherwood eyes fiery derby between London rivals
IM Sherwood wants the North London derby to be a "blood and thunder" encounter as he believes that will give Tottenham the edge. Spurs head into the match in need of a morale-boosting victory after heavy back-toback defeats this past week at Chelsea and then at home to Benfica in the Europa League. The results likely mean another season without a trophy at White Hart Lane and leaves their top-four ambitions hanging by a thread ahead of today's pivotal encounter with Arsenal. This, though, is the kind of fixture which can give Spurs a timely shot in the arm and Sherwood wants the game to be a throwback to the derby matches he used to play in. "It is a fantastic occasion -
always was to play in these games," the former midfielder told Spurs TV. "It is my first time as a manager at the Lane to be standing opposite Arsene Wenger and hopefully I will get one over on them. "I don't think there is much blood and thunder these days - I want it to be more of that. "I think that gives us the edge. We are possibly more functional than they are, but if they get into their stride we know they can be very dangerous, so we need to knock them off their stride." Sherwood's first match in the dugout for a north London derby came in January, when the Gunners ran out 2-0 victors in their FA Cup thirdround tie at the Emirates Stadium.
we can to stop them on Sunday. "I think they are both fantastic players and obviously it is good to see Sturridge doing well because he has never really had a chance at his previous clubs. "Brendan Rodgers has given him a chance and he has taken it with both hands. That is good for England as well." Rooney and Van Persie have scored 11 goals apiece
this season but the England striker hopes their strike-rate will improve now they are back to 100% fitness. "We can do better and if we are not at the top of the league then that will get looked at and we understand that," Rooney added. "We can score more goals and we know we can. We are working hard to do that, we have to keep going and hopefully that will come.”
Odemwingie grabs double against West Ham
WO goals from Peter Odemwingie helped Mark Hughes' Stoke City side to an impressive 3-1 against West Ham in a game which saw Hammers striker Andy Carroll grab his first goal since April, 2013. Stoke City came from behind to beat West Ham United 3-1 at the Britannia to put real distance between themselves and the bottom three. Both sides came into this on 31 points and the magical 40 point mark in their sights so both were desperate to add another three to their tally. It was the Hammers who made a flying start to proceedings and it won't make good watching for Asmir Begovic when he gets home. Mark Noble hoisted a free kick into the box on five minutes and Begovic came but didn't get near the ball and Andy Carroll was on hand to nod into the unguarded net. Stoke didn't make much by way of a response as the Hammers looked composed and comfortable at the back until just after the half hour mark. It won't live long in the
memory but Peter Crouch rose to head against the bar and somehow hooked the rebound back on target too before it bounced in off the shoulder of Peter Odemwingie. West Ham saw a goal ruled out just after the hour mark when Kevin Nolan was correctly flagged for offside after Begovic had again come and missed a cross, and Carroll headed back across goal before his strike partner tapped home. The next mistake though came from Adrian on 69 minutes as he failed to keep out Marko Arnautovic's tame drive after the winger had beaten two men on the edge of the box. Ten minutes later it was game over though when Stephen Ireland led a Stoke counter attack and he fed Odemwingie who made no mistake with a first time drive from the edge of the box that Adrian could do nothing to keep out.The win lifts Stoke above the Hammers and nine points above the drop zone and keeps West Ham just looking over their shoulders for a little longer yet.
ormer Barcelona and Brazil playmaker R i v a l d o h a s announced his retirement at the age of 41. The 1999 FIFA World Player of the Year, who most recently played for Campeonato Brasileiro Serie C side Mogi Mirim, confirmed the news in a message posted on Instagram. He said: "With tears in my eyes today I would like first to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player. "Today I communicate to all my fans in the world, my history as a player came to the end. Just I have to thank the lovely career I have built over these years." Rivaldo started his professional career with Santa Cruz in 1991, but it was with Palmeiras three years later that he really started to catch the eye. After helping the club clinch the league title in 1994, he headed to Europe and joined Deportivo La Coruna in 1996 before switching to Barca the following year. Two league titles and a Copa del Rey crown were swiftly collected in his spell in Catalonia, along with numerous personal and international accolades.
Wanted: Government intervention in stadia management
L A L E K A N Akinyemi, an undergraduate of the National Institute of Sport (NIS) is of the view that proper maintenance of sports facilities would help the overall development of sport in Nigeria. Now on secondment to the Ijebu-Ode Stadium on mandatory internship, Olalekan said his eyes are opened to the new reality why most clubs in Nigeria does not perform well against their counterparts on the continent. Speaking against the elimination of both Enyimba and Kano Pillars from the CAF Champions League, the Stadium Management student noted that it is about time the training pitches in the stadia across the country should be upgraded to required standard. “It is unfortunate that we are not paying proper attention to the management of our stadia especially the playing pitches,” noted Akinyemi even as he gives plaudits to the management of Ijebu Ode Stadium. “Sunshine and Bayelsa came to Ijebu-Ode on a training tour but assuming we don't have good facility here in Ijebu ode how would they have trained and enjoy themselves here?”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2014
Sundowns deny Eze interest
AMELODI Sundowns spokesman Thulani Thuswa has rejected reports linking the side with a bid for Enugu Rangers midfielder Emeka Christian Eze. The Brazilians recently signed Eze's compatriot Ejike Uzoenyi, who will arrive at the Tshwane outfit in July in time for the new PSL campaign. Thuswa has, however, denied that the free-spending South African club are keen on the 21-year-old Nigeria international. "The reports are not true, we are not interested in Nigerian midfielder Emeka Christian Eze," the Sundowns spokesman told Goal. "We only signed his countryman Chrisantus Ejike Uzoenyi recently." Sundowns have 18 foreigners on their books and could find themselves in a tricky situation next season as they can only register five of them.
SPORT EXTRA 79 Makinwa drags Chinese club to FIFA court Sunday Mba X-NIGERIA interna- with the necessary docu- claim against them to FIFA for my options now, issues with scores in France t i o n a l A y o d e l e ments for my re-entry visa terminating my contract with- Baxy came up when most
Makinwa has filed a complaint with FIFA over an alleged breach of contract by his Chinese club Beijing Baxy. As the 2014 China League One season gets under way this weekend, the Nigerian is no longer in China - claiming that Baxy did not provide the necessary paperwork to enable him to return to the country, despite having a year of his contract left to run. “Baxy failed to provide me
out just cause,” he said. “I'm no longer a Beijing Baxy player.” Beijing Baxy finished an impressive seventh in 2013 with Makinwa scoring four times in 11 appearances. In the close season, Baxy signed 28-year-old Uruguayan forward Julián Lalinde and striker Felipe Almeida Félix of the same age, leaving the future of Makinwa in limbo. “I don't know about
transfer windows were already closed in Europe and about to close in Asia so now I'm just waiting for opportunities. I would consider a move to China again," he said. One of his representatives, Akinola Makinwa, confirmed to MTNFootball.com that Ayo Makinwa has taken Beijing Baxy to FIFA:"It is true Ayo (Makinwa) has taken Beijing Baxy to FIFA for a breach of contract."
Delph's stunner sinks Chelsea at Villa Park
ABIAN Delph's touch of class downed nineman Chelsea and threw the title race wide open again. Delph produced a stunning backheeled finish from Marc Albrighton's cross that sneaked past Petr Cech into the bottom corner on 83 minutes. Willian had been sent off in the second half for two bookable offences while a late Ramires lunge saw him too given his marching orders. RESULTS Chaos ensued in stoppagetime and Jose Mourinho was ENGLAND Hull City 0 - 2 Man.City sent from the dugout as he Everton 2 - 1 Cardiff City protested against the decision Fulham 1 - 0 Newcastle Southampton 4 - 2 Norwich to red card Ramires. Delph nearly made it two Stoke City 3 - 1 West Ham at the death but his beauty Sunderland 0 - 0 Palace Swansea 1 - 2 West Brom proved the difference. Aston Villa 1 - 0 Chelsea Chelsea remain six points GERMANY Dortmund 1 - 2 M'gladbach clear at the top but Manchester City have three games in B’weig 1 - 1 Wolfsburg hand over the Blues followHertha 0 - 3 Hannover 96 Hoffenheim 2 - 4 Mainz 05 ing their win over Hull. Bremen 1 - 1 Stuttgart Match-winner Delph Bayern 2 - 1 Leverkusen
after the Chinese New Year. The president made it clear they wanted to sign other foreign players due to decisions taken with new sponsors and partners,” Makinwa said. “We left for the new year break after pre-season in Kunming and when it was time to return, after many warnings and efforts to reach them without a reply, I concluded they had terminated my contract. So I lodged a
beamed: "I thought we were the better team from the start. "We wanted it more and we were well organised. "No-one gave us a chance but we knew we had the tools to get the job done."
On his fine finish, Delph added: "I didn't surprise myself. We've been scoring goals like that in training and it's nice for it to come off in a game. "It's the best goal of my
career but the main thing is the three points." Meanwhile, Chelsea's anger will be stoked by the fact that Foy has now dismissed six Chelsea players in his last eight matches officiating their matches. Willian will have felt hard done by but Ramires had to go while Villa triumphed through a fine goal from manof-the-match Fabian Delph. Suddenly, as Mourinho continued to maintain, Manchester City are in their slipstream and no longer dependent on goal difference should they win their games in hand. Mourinho again failed to win at Villa Park - it is now three defeats and three draws at this stadium - which for such a serial achiever is remarkable. Chelsea also felt hard done by after a Nemanja Matic effort was ruled out for offside. To add salt to their wounds it was Delph who scored the only goal.
IGERIA international midfielder, Sunday Mba Friday night helped his Ligue 2 side CA Bastia to a 'rare' win as he scored the only goal in their 1-0 victory over Troyes. Mba scored in the 3rd minute of the Week 28 Ligue 2 tie played at the Stade Armand Césari (Furiani) with a paltry 819 fans in attendance. Friday night's goal by Mba is his second League goal; the Super Eagles midfielder also netted a couple of gaols in the Coupe de France before CA Bastia were dogged out. Despite Friday night's win, it was not enough to lift Bastia off the bottom of the Ligue 2 table as they now have 17 points from 28 matches.
Ogbeche returns to action
ARTHOLOMEW Ogbeche returned to action for CS Cambuur as they recorded a 3-2 home win over RKC Waalwijk. Ogbeche came on as an 81st minute substitute for Paco van Moorsel, after being ruled out by a hamstring injury since early February. Bob Schepers gave Cambuur a 17th minute lead, but Damiano Schet equalized for Waalwijk four minutes later. Martijn Barto restored the lead for the hosts two minutes before the break, but Waalwijk again evened the scores through Jean-David Beauguel in the 66th minute.
QUOTABLE “State governments can do more and achieve more in the fight against corruption, because they control a substantial amount of development resources. If they leave the fight to centrally-controlled agencies alone, we will not get the desired results.”
SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 8, NO. 2789
—Former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, advising states governors to tackle corruption in their respective states rather than relying solely on EFCC and ICPC.
T is difficult not to contemplate Ukraine’s Crimean crisis with an eerie sense of déjà vu. Jostling for strategic or religious influence in the Holy Land, Crimea and the Black Sea in the mid-19th century, Western powers in alliance with the weakened Ottoman Empire took on Russia in a bitter war that caused the death of more than 350,000 people and stymied Russia’s 200 years attempt to expand southwards towards the warm water trading and naval ports of the Black Sea around the Crimea. The Western powers alliance of Britain, France and Sardinia achieved the aim of halting Russian territorial expansion, securing Britain’s ambition in the eastern Mediterranean as well as gaining for France the control of the rights of Catholics in the Holy Land. Christened the Crimean War or the Eastern War, it was fought between 1853 and 1856, and was hallmarked by tactical and logistical incompetence memorialised in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s narrative poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Today, borders may have been redrawn, and the reasons for disagreement may have changed considerably from religious to strategic and ethnic/nationalist, the general outlook of the conflict between the West and Russia on that peninsula has, however, ossified, in spite of the intervening variables of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s inroads into Eastern Europe. Crimea itself, the reason for the dangerous flexing of muscles going on between Russia on one hand and the West and Ukraine on the other hand, has the unenviable history of being occupied by many powers, and its ethnic pastiche altered often catastrophically, as the 1944 wholesale deportation of the Crimean Tatars showed. By the time the Tatars returned in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians had become the dominant ethnic group in Crimea, constituting about 60 percent of the population. Tatar- and Ukrainian-speaking peoples constitute about 13 and 24 percent respectively. Russia, however, never really stopped coveting Crimea principally because of the warm ports of the Black Sea where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based. It also has a declared policy of defending Russian-speaking people wherever they are, as it claimed to have
Crimean crisis as a modern anachronism
“In the long run force is more likely to poison relationships between the two countries than create atmosphere for friendship and trust. Given the ethnic composition of Crimea, the chances of future destabilisation and violent resistance cannot be ruled out should Russia annex the peninsula. Importantly, too, Russian insistence that it reserved the right to intervene wherever Russians outside of Russia faced a bad deal is a throwback to the destabilising nationalism that pushed the world into wars and conflicts in the 20th century”
done in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008 during the Russo-Georgian War. It was against this background that the Ukrainian revolution was set, a revolution primarily designed to bring the country into the orbit of the European Union (EU), economically and politically. The revolution however, had the unintended consequence of accentuating the dichotomy between the Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking parts of the country. So, when on February 23, the Ukrainian parliament abolished the law of languages of minorities, which Russian-speaking Ukrainians and Russia itself felt was provocative, the stage for intervention was set. It no longer mattered that in 1953, the Ukrainian-born Soviet Leader, Nikita Khrushchev, had ceded Crimea to Ukraine, nor did it matter that Russia’s intervention violated international law. Nor, still, did it matter that the intervention was certain to draw
the ire of the European Union, attract sanctions and engender a massive boycott of the G-8 summit expected to hold in the Winter Olympic city of Sochi on June 4. While Russia has legitimate military concerns in the Crimea, it is difficult to excuse the invasion of the peninsula, or connive at the desperate intervention in Ukraine. Though the trigger for the February revolution was the EU deal the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign due to Russian pressure, it is unproductive to analyse the Crimean crisis from the standpoint of one’s geopolitical preferences. Whether one supports or opposes Western powers and their values hardly matters as much as the legal, moral and political interpretation of international law, particularly the principle of non-intervention. Russia doubtless made efforts to influence Ukraine to remain within its orbit
Boko Haram: have we learnt any lesson to end the war?
IKE most other policies, including the flip-flop on rice import ban and the automotive policy, there is little debate, not to talk of deep, intellectual introspection accompanying the Goodluck Jonathan approach to fighting Boko Haram and terrorism in general. We are conversant with the endless presidential dithering on the menace, but finally, it seems, events and circumstances have compelled the government to stand and fight, instead of yielding, as its natural instincts always dictated. Horrifyingly, however, the government and the populace have decided to do nothing but fanatically fight the terrorist sect almost to the total exclusion of other measures. There is no discussion going on with the sect, as now seems obvious. And there is nothing beyond the trashed panel reports on the sect to show that both the government and the military have a minimal understanding of the sect’s social, political and ideological underpinnings. This column has always maintained that the sect should be fought with single-minded resolve. But it has also always reminded the government of the need to address the factors that predisposed the Northeast in particular to the revolt, and urged the military to appreciate the kind of tactics required to defeat the sect and other revolts like it. I once reminded the military after the Baga, Borno State debacle that it must begin to furnish itself with the requisite knowledge needed to combat the multifarious challenges to stability and peace in the modern era. The country’s military doctrine, not to say our foreign policy doctrine, should be thoroughly revamped and modernised to take care of modern exigencies.
But given Dr Jonathan’s often inexplicable silence on the war and his reluctance to empathise with the victims, as well as the military’s sometimes exaggerated opinion of its understanding of the sect’s methods and what should constitute the rights and liberties of enemy combatants and victims of the war, it appears nothing is being done to ensure that when the war ends, the right lessons have been learnt and future reoccurrence made nearly impossible. There are a number of elements that show no lesson has been learnt. First, is the all-important matter of justice. Not only has the trial of the policemen who extra-judicially murdered the sect’s former leader, Mohammed Yusuf, been clumsily handled, even the trial judge recently threatened to discharge the suspects on account of state/prosecution apathy. The government is truly apathetic to justice. Second, all those who contributed to the impoverishment of the region and other parts of the country continue to underplay their guilt and complicity. To show how distracted the federal government is, it managed to allocate two billion naira to address the devastation in the Boko Haram region. And third, and of course very significantly, the Northern political class that inherited the political mantle of the late
Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, without his wisdom, restraint and accommodation, have shown absolutely no contrition for perpetrating decades of religious discrimination that fostered the fanaticism being witnessed today. It was obvious to most Nigerians that they were at first silent over the sect’s bestiality, before waking up to the reality that extremism of any kind and within or outside any faith is absolutely intolerable. Do Northern leaders now have this clear understanding, learning, as it were, from the experiences of Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, among others? The military has appeared to find its teeth in facing up to the Boko Haram madness. Hopefully the cessation of hostilities will not morph into scattered and intermittent suicide attacks on selected targets such as take place in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and now China. However, the factors that sparked and now feed the war can only be denied fuel if the injustices and short-sightedness that serve as its lifeblood are eliminated. Could we trust the federal government and the political elite to take the revolutionary steps needed to remake the northern society and build it into a beautiful tapestry of heterogeneousness, the kind conceived and administered by the late Sardauna of Sokoto? Could we, indeed, trust those saddled with the onerous responsibility of ruling a large and complex society like Nigeria to embrace reason rather than emotions in administering the affairs of the country? I have my doubts. For, even after Boko Haram is defeated, the absence of a remade and re-engineered society, one anchored on the right mix of liberal values, could yet trigger sporadic outbreaks of sectarian and ethnic wars that may ultimately doom the polity. This is the time for the philosopher-king, if we can find one.
by offering juicy economic deals and loans, but the efforts failed to bear fruit. Hence the resort to force. But In the long run, force is more likely to poison relationships between the two countries than create atmosphere for friendship and trust. Given the ethnic composition of Crimea, the chances of future destabilisation and violent resistance cannot be ruled out should Russia annex the peninsula. Importantly, too, Russian insistence that it reserved the right to intervene wherever Russians outside of Russia faced a bad deal is a throwback to the destabilising nationalism that pushed the world into wars and conflicts in the 20th century. It will be recalled that Germany under Adolf Hitler used the pretext of the maltreatment of Germans in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to invade that Eastern European country. That fateful step pushed the world into war and cost the more than three million Germans living there to be whittled down to less than 160,000 after the war. It would be strange to use the German-speaking peoples of Switzerland and Austria as pretext for an invasion in this modern era. There is, however, the possibility that Russia may be using the occupation of Crimea as a bargaining tool to win more concessions and gain firmer assurances of the neutrality of Ukraine. In other words, if Ukraine does not love Russia, it must not love the EU. And in the face of expanding NATO influence and incursion in Eastern Europe, Russia is determined that the line be drawn in the sands of Ukraine, as it drew the line in South Ossetia by balkanising Georgia during the Russo-Georgian War of 2008. But overall, for Russia to achieve enduring foreign policy goals and rebuild itself into a more durable superpower, it may have to find ways of concocting a worldview infinitely more appealing to its neighbours than it has been for centuries. This it can do by either designing an attractive ethical core for its foreign and domestic policies or by coaxing neighbouring and far-flung entities into its orbit through economic, social, cultural and other relations. In the long run, as history shows, including the history of Crimea itself, force does not prove as capable and adequate as more novel and indirect measures in creating lasting impressions, attraction and love in weaker or vassal states.
Is anyone inciting the military?
AST week, the Director of Defence Information , Maj Gen Chris Olukolade, accused politicians of making remarks capable of inciting troops battling the Boko Haram insurgency to mutiny. He did not expatiate. But he threatened that the authorities could invoke relevant provisions in the State of Emergency Act to bring offenders to book. Even if it is true that anyone is inciting troops, the job of cautioning or prosecuting offenders should be left to the Minister of Defence to handle. The way he spoke and the content of his speech, however, show that the military rule mindset has not left the officers. If the military is frustrated about its inability to quell the revolt, so are we. We are even more frustrated and worried, and fear that the military has not found the right mix of strategies and tactics to deal the insurgency an effective blow. Had we not criticised the military in its relationship with civilians in Baga, for instance, the improvement in psychological operations (Psy-Ops) that followed and won the populace over to their side would not have occurred. The military top brass must appreciate public worries and find ways of reassuring and conciliating them. Threats are counterproductive. The army general should know that threatening or arresting the so-called inciters is like opening another major, needless and unwinnable front in the war against terror. Gen Olukolade should brief the public on the progress of the war and leave the minister the task of winning over the public and muffling criticisms and complaints.
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