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Newspaper of the Year

Tension in Kwara ahead Jonathan’s visit –Page 5

Centenary: FG celebrating terror, says Soyinka –Page 4

APC: Police have arrested seven of our members Calls Abacha award insult Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper

Vol.08, No. 2775

TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM

SUNDAY

N200.00

MARCH 2, 2014

35 dead as twin bomb blasts rock Maiduguri 20 villagers killed by jet targeting Boko Haram

–Page 4

–Page 27

•An anxious crowd besieging the JLT petrol station in Mushin, Lagos yesterday in a futile bid to buy fuel. Photos: MUYIWA HASSAN

Ijaw youth vow to rescue President’s abducted uncle –Page 5

Fuel scarcity bites harder nationwide Petrol sold at N150 per litre in many cities

–Page 6


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

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Abuja toilets

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HE FCT Primary Health Care Development Board has appealed to the Federal Government to enact legislation, compelling house owners to construct toilets in their houses and offices. The Executive Secretary of the board, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, made the appeal at the inauguration of the National Immunisation Plus Days yesterday at Damagaza Community in the FCT. Mohammed said that many people had resorted to open defecation, due to inadequate toilet facilities, adding that it could lead to an outbreak of disease. ``We appeal to individuals constructing their houses to build toilets. We also appeal to the government to impose a law that no house should be constructed whether it is a local or modern house without a toilet.

The weeping ‘Pope’ It's tough being a Pope. Benedict quit suddenly under the weight of the office. Now, we are confronted with the sight of a 'Pope' reduced to tears because he couldn't take the stress anymore! Never mind that all he was asked to do was be a good boy and grin for the cameras. In this photograph, a 19-month-old Pope impersonator Daniele De Sanctis cries through his big moment as he's handed to Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican recently.

BAROMETER

Sanusi's powerful, unforgiving and numberless enemies

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Y now, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, must have gauged both the intensity of the hatred nursed against him by powerful Nigerians and how quite sizable in number his enemies are. His distinct and attractive elocution, not to say his measured and engaging cadence, may give the impression he could not care less what anyone thought of him or the policies he mercilessly enunciated as boss of the apex bank. But he is human, and judging from the way he scurried to the courts for relief, a step that opened him up to skewering by newspaper publisher Jimoh Ibrahim, he apparently now feels anything but the pianissimo calm that accompanied his public appearances during his eventful and furious five years in the CBN. President Goodluck Jonathan has many enemies, but it is likely they loathe him more on account of his giant and unending acts of omission than his piddling acts of commission. Not so Mallam Sanusi. His enemies, it has manifested in the past few days since President Jonathan sacked him, loathe him roundly, robustly, perfectly and fanatically. Such hatreds do not often need substantiation. The slightly built central bank chief now has the honour of being hated in an unreasonable way, as all men of stature and spunk usually are. He is hated by intellectuals whose gifted and deft deployment of logic to grand and complex issues we had, until now, admired over the years. He is hated by newspaper publishers and editorial writers whose judgement and reasonableness had for many years stood the republic well in the fight to enthrone liberal political and economic thoughts. And he is now alarmingly hated by famous legal minds and jurists to whose courts and services lovers of freedom had confidently made recourse for

decades. Clearly Mallam Sanusi is not in a position to be envied by anyone, where he is so hated that even before he is buried many are spitting on his empty grave. Perhaps if he had the opportunity to once again hold down the position of CBN governor, he would change his style. The fact, however, is that he will never get that chance again. And while his style and some of his policies grated badly on most Nigerians, they are no excuse for the unconstitutionality perpetrated by the Jonathan government and the clearly absurd logic propounded by those happy to see him humiliated. One such illogic dangerously averred by Mike Ozekhome, a lawyer and activist of great standing, is the argument that since the constitution was silent on whether or not a CBN governor could be suspended, the benefit of

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the doubt must be resolved in favour of President Jonathan. It probably never occurred to Mr Ozekhome and others who think like him that neither the con-

stitution not its framers were stupid to imagine that the office and onerous and delicate responsibilities of a CBN governor were compatible with the destabilising influence of a suspension provision, not to talk of whimsical removal. The constitution is sensible enough to know, unlike the president and his supporters, that there could not be a middle ground between the appointment and removal of a CBN governor. Arguing that what is not prohibited or forbidden is allowed, Mr Ozekhome blindly bases his conclusion on the two grounds that the removal of a CBN governor 'has' to be preceded by suspension a clear nonsense and that if a removal, it can follow due process, or if a suspension, does not need any process at all. The gravamen of both grounds, it seems to Barometer, is that Mr Ozekhome vouchsafes to the president the unhindered and authoritarian power to sack any CBN governor. For in the exultant and hysterical opinion of the lawyer, not in the understanding of any intelligent reader of the constitution, the president could sack even before making

recourse to the Senate. If the president was at first a little wary of the unconstitutionality of his desperate move against Mallam Sanusi, with the support he has garnered since he sacked the former apex bank boss, many of whom (like the aviation big player Ayirimi Emami) gloated over the sack, he must be supremely more confident now. The line between reason and unreason, between logic and illogic, and between law and lawlessness has been considerably blurred by emotions, petty hatreds and jealousies. The point is not that Mallam Sanusi cannot or should not be sacked; the point is that the law must be followed to the hilt, unambiguously and without the abstruse cleverness of legal rascality. The fear now is that, whether we like it or not, a dangerous man with the natural instinct of an autocrat has been armed to do more damage to a country long enfeebled by lack of bureaucratic and intellectual discipline.

Southwest Obas scramble for Jonathan's attention

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan may have failed spectacularly in meeting the country's economic and democratic expectations, but he has proved somewhat remarkable in political manoeuvring. He has embarked on church visits ostensibly to cultivate that constituency for the 2015 polls, but he says it is pure religious altruism. Of course no one believes him, nor is it likely he can fool himself, as adept as he is at telling himself untruths. If as he says he does not want to worship only at the Aso Villa chapel only, and he seeks variegated theological solace in churches, surely he knows that with his distinguished self in the congregation no preacher would dare explore the limits of doctrinal messages to the point of discomfiting

him. More than that, he also knows that though he lacks any exegetical prowess, pulpits are offered him on a weekly basis to dish out his peculiar form of liberation theology. Astounded by the success he encountered on his church runs, some bright mind in his campaign caucus has come up with the idea of cultivating the country's boisterous monarchies. This new tactic doubtless has Lugardian underpinnings. He has visited some emirs and talked with them and got to know them beyond the strictures of state visits, and he has also visited some obas. If colonialists, as Frederick Lugard's Dual Mandate showed, could rule the natives indirectly through chiefs, even creating chiefs through warrants where there were none, why could President Jona-

than not attempt to win elections through the same group? Indeed, President Jonathan is even a step more profound than Lugard: his own dual mandate entails using a combination of traditional and ecclesiastical authorities to sweep modern democratic polls. It was therefore not surprising that Southwest obas cottoned on to the president's idea and eagerly anticipated his flattering attention. However, it is saddening that given the character benchmark set by the inscrutable former Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, Southwest obas who should be incensed by the mischief and misrule of President Jonathan, not to talk of the contempt he has shown the zone since he assumed the presidency, have

struggled to pull rank on one another to attract his visit. Oral tradition may prove effective in passing the history of a kingdom from one generation to another; it is not often as successful in capturing and transmitting the more highly nuanced concept of character.

By ADEKUNLE ADE-ADELEYE


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

COLUMN

Local government and its discontents

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HAIRMAN of the occasion, keynote speaker and honorable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Distinguished Chairmen of Local Government Councils and their vices, Secretaries, Council Managers, Supervisors, honourable councilors, Body of Permanent Secretaries present and of course members of the Gubernatorial Advisory Committee, it is with great pleasure and a sense of occasion that I welcome you all to this workshop for our local government personnel taking place in this iconic building. The Lagos City Hall tells its own story as a symbol of the struggle to deliver service to the people at the grassroots level. This hall is a tribute and monument to the power of the people to forge ahead, and to grab their own destiny in their hands. In the heydays of colonial municipalities, the Lagos City Council was one of the best run municipalities in the world, approximating to the western standards of efficiency and integrity. As a state, Lagos is easily and unarguably the revelation of the Fourth Republic. So, whether as a protectorate, colony or later state, Lagos has always taken the lead for the rest to follow when it comes to service delivery. This is probably due to the cosmopolitan nature of the state, the high level of political consciousness and the above average level of education of its citizenry. From Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola through his illustrious predecessor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and stretching all the way back to Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, it can also be said that this state has been particularly blessed with a steady succession of visionary and outstanding leadership. Needless to add that the local council in various parts of the nation has also served as incubator and nursery for some of our most famous politicians. For this glorious legacy to be sustained, it is important that we take another look at the issue of local government and adequate service delivery to the people. As it has been famously observed, all politics is local. Local government may be the third tier of governance but it is the first realm of the people. The local government is the first line of assault whenever there is a breakdown of the sacred covenant between the governed and the governing. It is the first port of call for an enraged citizenry. In certain societies, city councilors are often deemed to be more important than parliamentarians. The election of the Mayor of London often generates more excitement and political tension than the national elections. To the average New Yorker, the mayor is more important than the state governor or even the president. But for Rudy Giuliani’s energetic and hands-on approach things could have turned out much worse in New York on September 11th, 2001. Let me quickly state that this is not a fault-finding workshop. It is a fact-finding mission meant to rub mind among those who have been in the field with a view to probing the problem from source and finding the way forward. The workshop itself is coming up against the backdrop of the proposed National Conference. That conference itself presupposes that something is structurally amiss with the country. The structure of local government in Nigeria is a crucial link in the chain of structural disorder that has hobbled Nigeria and stalled its march to authentic nationhood. Once again, this frontline state and home to the first real megalopolis in Africa has taken the lead and liberty to begin the dialogue ahead of the gathering of the nation. It has been argued by many that the crisis of local government and service delivery to the grassroots is itself merely a symptom of a more fundamental crisis: the structural crisis of the nation itself and the absence of genuine political and fiscal feder-

•Fashola

alism. In the misbegotten unitarist logjam, the federal government even bypasses state governments to reach the local governments which are their sub-autonomous structures thus insinuating a subtle rivalry and unhealthy tension into what is supposed to be complementary structures of the state. This is an anti-federalist absurdity writ large by lack of organic vision and conceptual rigour about the true nature of federating units. In this same state, it has taken the

daring and ingenuity of a Bola Tinubu to create the technical equivalent of local Government Councils in order to bring service faster and closer to the people. The ensuing battle with the federal authorities has already entered the folklore of a nation and its maladaptive institutions. Although everybody seems to have acquiesced with the status quo and the Lagos model is being copied in some other states, the judgment of the Supreme Court dismissing the nascent local councils as “inchoate” subsists. Yet all of this would not even have been necessary had everybody understood the fundamental tenets of federalism as a bottom -up process rather than a top-down state injunction. Rather than being chosen for them by government, people choose their own local governments in functioning federations. In the United States, once people agree to tax themselves and are willing to provide themselves with a specified list of deliverable services, they can legitimately be regarded as local governments. At a point, the number of such local governments in the United States stood at over forty thousands. By 1974, Britain with half of Nigeria’s population

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nooping around With

Tatalo Alamu had over 14,000 of such councils. Perhaps the key to unlocking the crisis of local government and federalism in Nigeria lies in the issue of taxation. Once people truly pay for certain services, they are more willing to see them delivered and on time. But once it is not really being funded by them, they can afford to relax and be indifferent. Taxing heightens civic consciousness and awareness. It is a natural law of nature for people to take a dim and dark view of the imprudent management of the proceeds of their sweat and toil. The fear of popular reprisal and jungle justice breeds a sense of responsibility and decorum in officials. The present system of providing local governments with largesse from some bogus Federation Account without any inbuilt mechanism for accountability and transparency in the management of funds breeds corruption and incompetence. The quietude of the civic populace and of civil society in Nigeria can be directly linked to the fact and awareness that it is oil revenues that provide the feeding bottle for all. Nobody is outraged anymore when outlandish sums are said to have disappeared from the treasury.

The day of the council underdogs

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LWAYS centralise! The key to human civilisation and development lies in this simple maxim. It arises out of the human need for order, stability and discipline to handle the chaos of existence. It led to the evolution of the state. As humans went about farming and hunting, the need arose for a strong breed that will protect them from external aggression, regulate the wilder impulses and impose laws and levies for the smooth running of nascent society. The state is the first human insurance against anarchy. But as it so often happens in history, every human advancement creates its own toxic side-effects. Centralization sometimes leads to overcentralization which leads to a distortion of human values, creates resentment and unhappiness and ends in the stratification of society along class lines. For every top dog, there must be many angry and sulking underdogs. This is why civil and un-

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EMEMBER him, the Alamu man? Oh yes Snooper does and with much adoration and admiration. If you lived in the old Oyo State in the late seventies and early eighties and you were a buff of broadcast journalism, you can never forget Smolette Adetoyese ShittuAlamu. With his rich mellifluous Ghanaian baritone rumbling in the background, the Ghana born ace broadcaster brought an intellectual flair and knowledge-based entertainment to broadcast journalism in that part of the nation. After the creation of Oshun State in 1991, Smolette relocated with his immense talents to his home state and its broadcasting imperium from where he retired from the topmost echelons only recently. He was an instant hit in the Snooper household with the spouse often calling her husband the Alamu man. Snooper had long been intrigued by the man behind the mast, as they say. When we eventually met, one was even more impressed by the man’s humility, his reticence and stout refusal to leverage his immense popularity for a mess of political pottage. This is an unusual Nigeria. A few weeks back, Snooper again

civil class warfare has been the unhappy lot of all human societies since the dawn of civilization. At the recently concluded workshop for Lagos State Council officials, this interplay of class distinction and societal division was in full and open display. There are council officials and there are council officials. It was a teachable moment and learning curve for yours sincerely as virtually every councilor took to the floor, bewailing their fate and berating their chairmen for treating them like scum and unworthy galley slaves. If anybody had thought that these feisty councilors would be mute and complaint about their fate, it was a profound mistake. The entire hall listened with rapt attention as they spilled the unpalatable beans. They had come to bury the Council Caesars and not to praise them. It was not just about the perks and perquisites of office. It was also about job satisfaction and career enhance-

ment. The professional council officials feel completely alienated and sidelined from the mainstream state civil service. A lady who is a manager in one of the councils squared up to yours sincerely and pointedly asked whether she was not qualified to end up as a permanent secretary. Yet the consensus even among the guest lecturers who are distinguished scholars and observers of the Local Councils in the country was that the Lagos Local Government was unarguably the best and most efficient in the country in terms of service delivery. If gold can rust, one can imagine the state of lesser metals. Something urgent needs to be done about the structure of local governance in the country. As home to a megalopolis and an urban conurbation of almost 20 million people, Lagos is unique and will have to take the lead once again. May God help Fashola’s successor.

Still in search of excellence ( In Praise of the Alamu man) ran into the old crooner in Ilase, deep in the rural entrails of Oshun State at the Thanksgiving Service of Pa Ajayi, beloved father of Modupe Gbadebo-Ajayi, former Editor of Sunday Times and one time Managing Director of the old Sketch empire. Before you could say Jack Robinson, the Alamu man had thrust into Snooper’s palms a copy of his memoirs with a glowing inscription to the other Alamu. The memoirs was appropriately titled: In Search of Excellence. It is a riveting read. Snooper now understands where Smolette is coming from. This is the laudable quest of one man as he struggled for personal and professional excellence in the face of official and unofficial adversities; full of sweet victories and bitter personal defeats including a shocking examination deflation which deprived the author of early university education against all expectations and predictions. For Snooper, the hero of this

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memoirs is the Alamu father. An illiterate, Pa Alamu grew up in Ghana and taught himself how to read and write. He became a professional litigant traversing all the courts in the region. By sheer force of personality and dint of hard work, he was also able to acquire stupendous wealth which he used to train all his children. As colorful as ever, he once deposed to a court when it became impossible to determine which of his numerous cases he was pursuing at the particular moment. “My Lord, I no come for cocoa case. Cocoa case e die over one years ago. No, I no come for cocoa case sir. I come for summons to show cause!” As self-effacing and humble as ever, Smolette believes that he is the least confrontational and most amenable of the great man’s numerous offspring. But reading through this memoirs even Pa Alamu would applaud his son’s grit, courage and integrity. This is inspirational stuff and a moveable literary feast.

We can see the logic of hardy selfreliance play itself out in the old community structure and draw appropriate and strategic lessons for the present. When they established community grammar schools through arduous self-taxation, the old communities always saw to it that they set the rules and procedures through which the institutions operate and usually mount a round the clock surveillance to see that laid down rules and regulations were being adhered to. Any infringement was swiftly and expeditiously punished either physically or through a resort to metaphysical hell-raising. It worked. By 1904, the old Egba city-state had been able to solve the problem of official corruption and sanitation. This was because it combined the efficacy of old communal ties with the harsh formality of modern state structure. The later allowed it to impose and raise tax with the efficiency of a modern bureaucracy while the former allowed it to tap into the old primordial consciousness of the populace for punitive deterrent. Although there has always been a measure of corruption even in our traditional societies, the advent of oil and massive revenues accruing from this has led to the swift collapse of values and unprecedented corruption in Nigeria. The problem with oil production in Nigeria is that it is merely extractive, with not much labour invested and no value added whatsoever. Its revenues can then be seen as mere manna from heavens. The result is the complete pollution of the moral reservoir of the nation. Since oil revenues do not arise directly from taxation and indirectly from the sweat and tears of the citizenry, it can be frittered away at will. Since the retention of the proceeds are not tied to any test of performance or ability to internally generate revenues at local, state or even federal levels, it leads to the most egregious forms of embezzlement and fiscal recklessness. This fiscal recklessness and monumental corruption have their multiplier effects which then become mutually reinforcing. Since they feel that nobody has actually paid for them, urban denizens do not feel any pang of conscience when they steal the street lamps meant to illuminate their movements when it is dark. Neither do they bat an eyelid when they cut off railings or dig up concrete slabs meant to safeguard their very lives in traffic chaos. Since oil is available, they evade taxes and rates as conscientious objectors. And since the revenues they misappropriate are not traceable to the labour or direct exertions of the people, government officials at all levels can get away with murder. The result is the anarchy and social anomie that stare us in the face. Just as Inca gold brought ruinous inflation and eventual destruction to old metropolitan Spain, oil has become the modern curse of Nigeria. It has brought about the complete negation of political and fiscal federalism. It will be too much of a shock therapy to ask for the imposition of a moratorium on oil extraction in Nigeria. The patient may die from the radical surgery. But unless we find a way back to the fundament of effective taxation compelling a more effective service delivery, we will continue to joggle in the jungle of mismanagement and ineffective service delivery. I thank you all. Opening remarks at the workshop on reforming Local Government for effective service delivery on Tuesday, 25th February.


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WO explosive-laden vehicles went off last night in Maiduguri claiming at least 35 lives. A military jet targeting Boko Haram hideouts along the Nigeria/Cameroun had earlier on Friday bombed Daglun Village, killing at least 20 civilians, survivors said yesterday. Yesterday's explosions occurred at the heavily populated Ngomari-Bulumkutu in Maiduguri. Time was about 6.30 when a lot of residents were preparing for prayers. Eyewitnesses said that the bombs were neatly packaged inside a fire wood truck, believed to had taken-off from the Sambisa Forest in Damboa Local Government Area. One of the eyewitnesses, Malam Mohammed Buba, said: ``Nobody can say exactly how it happened, the first blast occurred just about 15 minutes before the second one. Only few people were injured by the first blast, but while

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

NEWS

OBEL laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday lashed out at the Federal Government for including the late General Sani Abacha among those honoured to mark Nigeria's Centenary celebration. He called the action of government as a disservice to the nation and a failure of a moral rigour that calls into question "the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership." In a statement entitled The Canonisation of Terror, the Nobel laureate said, "According generalized but false attributes to known killers and treasury robbers is a disservice to history and a desecration of memory. It also compromises the future." Soyinka, who was also listed as one of the awardees, added in statement to explain why he declined to accept his own award saying, "I reject my share of this national insult." The playwright said it was the same Abacha who "placed this nation under siege during an unrelenting reign of terror that is barely different from the current rampage of Boko Haram. It is this very psychopath that was recently canonised by the government of Goodluck Jonathan in commemoration of one hundred years of Nigerian trauma." He said it was also under the authority of the late Abacha, whom he called "a vicious usurper" that " the lives of an elected president and his wife were snuffed out. Assassinations - including through bombs cynically ascribed to the opposition became routine. Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomachchurning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership." The Nobel laureate wondered why successive administrations have not had the courage to "wipe out" Abacha's memory from Nigeria. He observed: "One of the broadest avenues in the nation's capital, Abuja, bears the name of General Sani Abacha.

35 dead as twin bomb blasts rock Maiduguri From Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri and agency report

people were trying to rescue the victims of the first blast, the second one occurred killing many people.'' The State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Lawal Tanko, confirmed the blasts, saying that 35 bodies had been evacuated so far. ``We are still counting, so far we have counted 35 bodies. Our men are still working with rescue workers at the scene.'' As soon as the explosives went off, people started fleeing the area. Eye witnesses said some of the victims had gathered to buy fried bean cake (akara) and fried fish for dinner. Many of them had already been rendered homeless by the Boko Haram insurgency.

•20 villagers killed by jet targeting Boko Haram

Youth volunteers, known as civilian JTF, rushed to the scene to assist security agents in combing the area for the brains behind explosions and to pick up corpses of the victims. Defence spokesman, Major-General Chris Olukolade said by phone that he was aware of the situation but had no details yet. He confirmed that one of the suspects who detonated the bomb had been arrested and that efforts were on to identify and arrest the rest. Earlier on Friday, a military jet targeting terrorists bombed the village of Daglun near Nigeria's border with Cameroun, and killed at least 20 civilians, survivors said. Most of those killed were elderly, because most residents had fled because of the

recent violence and rumours that the military was about to mount attacks in the area in response. Military spokesman, Capt. Jafaru Nuru of the 23rd Armored Brigade operating in Yobe State, said he was unaware that any airstrike had killed civilians. An elderly resident of Daglun said he was sitting under a tree when he saw bombs dropping from a military aircraft. A nurse at the local hospital said it received many dead and wounded. A community leader said 20 people died and 25 were wounded. All requested anonymity citing fear of military reprisals. Jets have been bombing Boko Haram bases around Daglun daily for three weeks in a bid to flush the extremists

out of their remote forest hideouts and caves in mountainous terrain. In January, a jet dropped bombs near a federal senator, who was travelling in a convoy being escorted by soldiers and police. No one was hurt. The military called the bombing "an operational blunder." Also that month, a Nigerian jet pursued Boko Haram militants across the border into Cameroon and dropped three bombs on a Cameroon customs post, destroying two vehicles. The Nigerian armed forces are believed to have located about a dozen of deadly bases of, Boko Haram, in Cameroon. Consequently, the Federal Government is mounting pressure on Douala for col-

laboration in routing the insurgents who are hiding in those bases. President Goodluck Jonathan and President Paul Biya are already in talks on how deal with the security challenge,authoritative sources said yesterday in Abuja. Nigeria is said to have tabled four conditions before the Cameroonians for their consideration on the issue. A military source said that many Boko Haram leaders and field commanders have relocated to Cameroon from where they direct operations in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, the latest being Sunday's massacre of about 50 students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi,Yobe State and Wednesday's attack in Madagali and Michika Local Government areas of Adamawa State.

Soyinka faults centenary honours list •Deplores Abacha's listing

•Italian Ambassador , Fulvio Rustico, and Representative of Lagos State Governor, Mr Oladejo Seye, Special Adviser on Commerce and Industry, Representative of Army Chief, Major- General Moshood Adekanye, ; Representative of Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, the Commander of Italian Naval Group Cavour, Rear Admiral Paolo Treu, during the opening ceremony and press conference on the visit of Italian Aircraft Career Cavour to Apapa Port, Lagos yesterday. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

By Austine Ehikioya, Abuja Successive governments have lacked the political courage to change this signpost - among several others - of national self degradation and wipe out the memory of the nation's tormentor from daily encounter. "Not even Ministers for the Federal Capital territory within whose portfolios rest such responsibilities, could muster the temerity to initiate the process and leave the rest to public approbation or repudiation. I urged the need of this purge on one such minister, and at least one Head of State. That minister promised, but that boast went the way of Nigerian electoral boast. The Head of State murmured something about the fear of offending 'sensibilities'." He is of the view that the lack of will to do what is right tantamount to "moral cowardice and a doubling of victim trauma. When you proudly display certificates of a nation's admission to the club of global pariahs, it is only a matter of time before you move to beatify them as saints and other paragons of human

perfection. What the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done is to scoop up a century's accumulated degeneracy in one preeminent symbol, then place it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even - worship." He said he, like many Nigerians, he found it disgusting that the hospital to which victims of the recent attack on a school in Yobe by Boko Haram were rushed for treatment was named after Abacha. His words: "The sheer weight of indignation and revulsion of most of Nigerian humanity at the recent Boko Haram atrocity in Yobe is most likely to have overwhelmed a tiny footnote to that outrage, small indeed, but of an inversely proportionate significance. "This was the name of the hospital to which the survivors of the massacre were taken. That minute detail calls into question, in a gruesome but chastening way, the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership. "It is an uncanny coincidence, one that I hope the new culture of 'religious tourism', spearheaded by none other than the nation's president

in his own person, may even come to recognize as a message from unseen forces." He added: "Such abandonment of moral rigour comes full circle sooner or later. The survivors of a plague known as Boko Haram, students in a place of enlightenment and moral instruction, are taken to a place of healing dedicated to an individual contagion - a murderer and thief of no redeeming quality known as Sani Abacha, one whose plunder is still being pursued all over the world and recovered piecemeal by international consortiums - at the behest of this same government which sees fit to place him on the nation's Roll of Honour! "I can think of nothing more grotesque and derisive of the lifetime struggle of several on this list, and their selfless services to humanity. It all fits. In this nation of portent readers, the coincidence should not be too difficult to decipher." But the Federal Government in the brochure at the awards ceremony said it decided to honour Gen Abacha for his unprecedented economic achievements.

Abacha, government claimed, oversaw an increase in the country's foreign exchange reserves from $494 million in 1993 to $9.6 billion by the middle of 1997, reduced the external debt of Nigeria from $36 billion in 1993 to $27 billion in 1997. It also credited him with ending all the controversial privatisation programmes of the Babangida administration, reducing the inflation rate of 54 per cent inherited from Babangida to 8.5 per cent between 1993 and 1998, while the nation's primary commodity, oil was at an average of $9 per barrel. Besides, he was said to have created the most comprehensive and realistic blueprint for Nigeria's development through Vision 2010 committee chaired by his predecessor, Chief Ernest Shonekan. Abacha's widow, Maryam received the award. Also present to receive their awards were former Presidents/Heads of State Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Shonekan and Abusalami Abubakar

The past leaders received award for outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and National Development. Posthumously awards were given to the former Heads of State/ Presidents including Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, General Aguiyi Ironsi, Murtala Muhammed, General Abacha and Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. Representatives also received awards for the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Anthony Enahoro and former Labour leader, Pa Michael Imoudu. Presenting a book "The reforms that have transformed Nigeria, 2010-2013" at the occasion, President Jonathan said it would not be fair not to apologise to Nigerians about the selection of Nigerians for the award. He explained that it was difficult to select 100 people, saying that about 500 people are qualified for the award and that the government would look for a way to recognise them in future national occasions. The families of the late Bashorun M.K.O.Abiola, the late Lagos lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and the late music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti also rejected the posthumous awards earmarked for them. Mr. Kola Abiola, eldest son of the late Chief Abiola said the award was 'inappropriate' while, Mr. Mohammed Fawehinmi said it would be morally wrong for the family to stand on the same podium with General Babangida to receive an award. Babangida's government, he alleged, serially subjected the Fawehinmi to torture and that it was during one of such 'illegal and inhuman detentions' that "our late father's cell was sprayed with toxic substances while in Gashua prison in 1987. The cumulative effect of that dastardly action led to our father, a non- smoker, contracting lung cancer which eventually led to his death on September 5, 2009." The Anikulapo-Kuti family blamed government for destroying Fela's 'Kalakuta Republic' and subjecting his late mother, Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti to inhuman treatment, which led to her death.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

IYC vows to rescue Jonathan’s uncle

•Tension mounts in Bayelsa

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HE Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday said it would secure the release of President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle, Chief Inengite Nitabai, who was kidnapped at gunpoint last week in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Vowing to work with security agencies to secure the release of the 70-year-old man from his abductors, IYC condemned the kidnap and promised to help unmask those behind the dastardly act. IYC spokesman, Eric Omare, said in a statement issued Wednesday that the foremost Ijaw Youth group had already constituted a three-man committee to liaise with the security agencies to rescue the old man. “The Ijaw Youth Council, worldwide condemns in the strongest term, the kidnap of the 70-year-old” he said. Describing the incident as unfortunate, the group said the incident was coming at a time when President Jonathan needed to be fully concentrated to face the challenges of governing Nigeria. He expressed sympathy to the Jonathan/Nitabai family of Otuoke, saying that IYC would work with security agencies to fish out the kidnappers. Maintaining that there is no hiding place for kidnappers and criminals in Ijaw land, IYC reiterated that kidnapping and criminality is alien to Ijaw culture. The group said it believes that no crime can be committed without the involvement of people within the immediate environment. Omara added that this formed the basis why the group had resolved to confront kidnapping and all forms of crimes in Ijawland. The group also called on the Bayelsa State Government to ensure that the kidnappers of Nitabai are brought to book and its antikidnapping law tested. The statement contended that kidnapping and criminality cannot stop without bringing to justice those involved in the act. Unknown gunmen seized Nitabai in his family compound and whisked him away in a sports utility vehicle (SUV). His wife, in a bid to stop his abduction, had allegedly offered the gunmen about N400,000 to no avail. However, the Bayelsa State Police Command said two persons have been arrested in connection with the

From Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba and Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

abduction and are helping security operatives in their investigation. Bayelsa State was all fear yesterday as the state government and security agencies struggled to deal with the embarrassment of the abduction of Nitabai. Nitabai spent his seventh day in the den of the hoodlums yesterday with the security agencies yet to find a clue to his whereabouts. He was seized from his Otuoke home, in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state last Sunday by 10 gunmen who have since established contact with his family, demanding a N500million ransom. Following persistent kidnappings in the state, the House of Assembly passed a bill which prescribed the death penalty for convicts. Governor Seriake Dickson signed the bill into law but no one has yet been tried under it. Nitabai’s abduction is raising questions about the seriousness of the authorities to make the law work. The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) wants the state government to use the Nitabai abduction to test the efficacy of the law. IYC, in a statement by its spokesman, Eric Omare, asked Governor Dickson to ensure that the abductors are apprehended and brought to book, saying that unless people involved in kidnapping are dealt with the illegal booming business would continue. It also described the abduction as a distraction to President Jonathan. “Coming at a time when President Jonathan needs to be in the best frame of mind to face the challenges of governing a complex nation such as Nigeria is most unfortunate”, it said and announced the setting up of a three-man team to work with security agencies to find Nitabai. “There is no hiding place for kidnappers and criminals in Ijawland. Kidnapping and criminality is alien to Ijaw culture,” it declared. “The IYC believes that no crime can be committed without the involvement of people within the immediate environment. Hence, the resolve to confront kidnapping and all forms of crimes in Ijaw land.” Some other relations of the President are said to be apprehensive about their own safety following the kidnapping.

NEWS

Tension in Kwara ahead of T Jonathan’s visit

ENSION is building up in Kwara State ahead of tomorrow’s visit to the state by President Goodluck Jonathan with the All Progressives Congress (APC) accusing the police of arresting seven of its members on trumped up charges. The Police have denied the allegation. The APC sees the planned visit of the President as insensitive, ill-timed and utterly inhumane, coming so soon after the Boko Haram attacks in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. The party’s Interim Publicity Secretary in the state, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, said the PDP should allow Jonathan enough time to mourn those tragedies first before coming to Kwara. He said:”May we remind these insensitive politicians in the state and all those irrelevant politicians that he seeks to rehabilitate in the state that the saner thing to do by all patriotic Nigerians is to feel and act sober, draw the grief-stricken people together, share in their pains and attempt to restore hope in the almost hopeless situation that parts of the country have been thrown into. “We therefore call on our peace- loving President to turn the request of these desperate politicians to further justify his well known position that no individual ambition worth the blood of a single Nigerian.” But the Publicity Secretary, Caretaker Committee of the PDP in the state, Mohammed Alhassan, said the APC is shocked by the suc-

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin

cess of PDP’s outing in the state last week. The PDP said: “Without doubt, the shock of unexpected large crowd of people witnessed on Sunday, 23rd February, 2014 at the PDP reception would for a long time continue to cause blood-ripples and nightmares in the camp of the APC in the state. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed called on politicians and their supporters to conduct themselves lawfully as well as avoid any action capable of disrupting the peace in Kwara. In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Dr. Muideen Akorede, Ahmed said: “Although the president is not on a state visit, we welcome him to our state of harmony. “We will accord him all the courtesies and arrangements benefitting of his office. “As a peace- loving administration, we urge all to keep the peace, be lawful and avoid any actions or utterances capable of rupturing our reputation for harmony.” He added: “Regardless of political affiliation, our people must remain mindful of the rule of law and shun all actions that contravene the law, especially the maintenance of public order.” The APC also accused the state police command of be-

coming agent of the PDP after allegedly arresting seven of its members being in possession of APC posters in Ilorin, the state capital. The Interim Chairman of the APC in the state, Alhaji Ishola Balogun-Fulani asked the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar to call the state Police Commissioner, Ambrose Aisabo to order. Balogun-Fulani added that the police also invaded the premises of printer engaged by the party to produce street signposts and destroyed his equipment, carting away over 300 signposts of APC produced by the printer. Said he: “As if that was not enough, the people engaged by party to erect these signposts after being manhandled they were arrested and detained in the police cell for doing their lawful job. “The police command had gone to stop the APC members while erecting billboards; it also tampered with the street signposts of the party in all roads in the state leaving those of the PDP intact. “For the avoidance of doubt, the party met all the required guidelines laid down by the Kwara State Signage and Advertisement Agency (KWASSA) regarding erection of billboards in any part of the state as that is the only agency that is em-

powered by the law to remove or stop erection in any part of the state. “This police command in Kwara State has confirmed our initial position that the commissioner was posted here to intimidate our members, by his open partisanship apparently to satisfy his paymasters in Abuja and their cronies in the state. When contacted the commissioner Mr. Ambrose Aisabo denied the allegations, claiming that the command only arrested the APC members because it had intelligence report that the party was planning to use its posters to deface those of the PDP, whose national leaders, including President Goodluck Jonathan, are on a visit to the state on Monday. His words: “We had information that APC was planning to print several posters and use it to deface that of Mr .President and we went there and indeed we saw several thousands of posters that they had printed. We impounded them but the people explained to us they had no plan of defacing the posters of Mr. President and I now warned them and allowed them to go with their posters. I am not against anyone pasting posters but I am against when people use it to deface those of others because there is enough space for everybody; politics is a game of choice. I am not here for any party. And I even called the APC chairman to tell him what I have done, so it is not true that anyone has been detained because we have released all of them.”

•Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (2nd right), Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (3rd left), former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba (left), former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (3rd right), wife of former Lagos State Governor, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (right), Bride's mother and wife of the late founder of The Guardian Newspapers, Mrs. Maiden Ibru (2nd left), groom, Maxwell Piele (4th left) and his bride, former Miss Omotuvie Ibru (4th right) at the wedding of Maxwell and Omotuvie in Lagos yesterday

Nigerian convicted in South Africa for cheating in pilot’s license exam

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NIGERIAN now faces four years in jail in South Africa for cheating in an examination to procure a pilot’s license. The convict was not sure he would pass the required exam, so he got his friend to write the exam for him, using forged documents. The impostor passed the exam, according to reports from South Africa.

His collaborator also faces jail or a fine. Soponuchi Amadi from Nigeria and Nedsun Likhunya from Malawi both had private pilots’ licenses and had gone to Port Elizabeth for further training. Amadi wanted a commercial licence, but was uncertain he would pass the exam. He asked Likhunya to write it for him. He gave him his private

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pilot’s license and Likhunya alter it by replacing Amadi’s photograph with his own. Likhunya then wrote the exam posing as Amadi. Investigators were suspicious, and while the impostor was writing the examination with about 10 others, they set background checks in motion and found that he was not the man he said he was. Both men were charged

under the civil aviation laws in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court and found guilty on several charges. Likhunya was sentenced to one year in jail on a charge of forgery and three years for contravening various civil aviation regulations. The court also ordered that his private pilot’s licence be cancelled. Amadi, who had asked

him to write the exam on his behalf, was found guilty of contravening several civil aviation regulations and sentenced to three years jail or a fine of R10,000. Two of the three years were suspended for five years. Poppy Khoza, director of the SA Civil Aviation Authority, welcomed the conviction and said the two men “seemed to be oblivious of the fact that in the aviation industry, there

is absolutely no room for error” as this has led to the loss of lives. Although Likhunya passed the exam, posing as Amadi, this would not have enabled Amadi to fly a commercial airline. Pilots need other requirements, such as an air transport pilot’s licence and many flying hours before they can take control of a commercial aircraft.


News

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

Petrol scarcity bites harder

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OTORISTS and commuters across the land could not have had a worst weekend than this as more filling stations ran out of supply yesterday. And where fuel was available, the price was outrageous, ranging from N105 to N250 per litre. The immediate effects were long queues at such filling stations, scarcity of vehicles for commuters and exorbitant transport fates. It was not clear when the situation might improve. Many motorists in Lagos spent much of yesterday looking for fuel to buy. They had to queue at fillings stations, and where such queues extended to highways as it happened in many cases, the result was traffic jam. Many people who, had social engagements had had to cancel such so that they might not burn the petrol they had already. The situation also left motorists in Ado Ekiti spending endless hours at the few filling stations which have product to sell yesterday. Some petrol stations claimed that they had exhausted their supply and they the few ones that were selling did so for prices ranging between N110 and N115 per litre. The situation has forced a hike in transport fares to destinations within and outside the state. Commercial motorcycle operators have also increased their fares by about 28 per cent. There was no queue for fuel in Enugu, although transport fares went up by between 50 and 70 percent depending on the distance. Black market operators are having a field day in Makurdi and environs, capitalising on the furl scarcity to increase prices.

By Tony Akowe, Kaduna/ Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado Ekiti/ Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Onitsha/ Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba/ Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa/ Nicholas Kalu, Calabar/ Precious Dikewoha, Port Harcourt/Osemwengie Ogbemudia, Benin/ Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi/ Chris Oji, Enugu

They charge between N180 and N220 per litre. Some motorists said they joined the queue at the NNPC mega station on the MakurdiOtukpo road as early as 4am to buy fuel and ended up getting only 20 litres, the maximum quantity approved for each motorist at the control price of 97 naira per litre. Thousands of commuters were stranded in Benin on the account of the fuel scarcity. Queues formed by motorists at some filling stations were up to one kilometre. The situation was particularly bad in Port Harcourt where almost all the petrol stations claimed to have run out of supply. This has left the black market thriving. The State Government had to step in, sealing off two filling stations, Oando and Conoil, in Eleme Local Government Area of the state for allegedly hoarding petroleum products. The Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Okey Amadi, alleged that the affected filling stations, apart from hoarding petroleum products, were also involved in fraudulent meter adjustment. Commuters in Awka, the Anambra State capital pleaded with government to find an immediate solution to the problem. They said the prices they are being forced to pay for petrol were beyond their means.

Calabar was like a ghost town as many vehicles were off the road owing to the fuel scarcity. Only the NNPC mega station had the product which it sold at the control price of N97. The queue at the station was several kilometres long. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) chairman in Cross River State, Michael Udofia, said they were not hoarding petrol as being speculated. He said:”We don’t have any product. Even throughout the Christmas period, there was no scarcity. Even then when there were so much activities, petrol was not hoarded. So why should we hoard it now. For the past two years we have not had scarcity. So this is not our making. “We have about 14 depots in the city and none of them is working. Even the NNPC depot was not working. So we have not been supplied with the product and that is why there is scarcity.” The situation was not different in Bayelsa and Delta States. Transport fares from and to the commercial city of Onitsha have jumped up caused by the fuel scarcity. Some Lagos residents urged the Federal Government to address the lingering fuel scarcity in the state, to make life more meaningful for the people. The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that commuters now wasted a lot of time at bus stops as the fuel crisis takes a turn for the worse. Fuel queues were long at some filling stations, slowing down traffic on major highways. An artisan, Mr Yusuf Ismaila, told NAN that he was at a filling station for over two hours and was not been

able to buy fuel. “I do not know why we suffer for basically everything in this country. “There is no frequent power supply and now that we have a generator to use, getting fuel is also a problem. “I have been on the queue for over two hours,” he said. Ismaila advised government to tackle the fuel shortage and to also address the epileptic power supply in the country. A commercial bus driver, Mr. Jare Olawale, said it was unfortunate that Nigerians were experiencing fuel shortage at this point in time. He said the scarcity had encouraged sharp practices by filling station attendants, who now made brisk business. He said that a litre of petrol now attracts over N100 at some filling stations against the official price of N97. “I have been on this queue for about an hour before I was able to buy petrol. This is very bad,’’ Olawale said. A businessman, Wale Shogeyinbo, said he was not happy with the fuel scarcity as it had disrupted his business. “As a businessman, I operate a viewing centre, where you can watch football and play games but now, the business is affected because of scarcity of fuel,” he lamented. A lawyer, Mr. Andrew Rotimi, expressed disappointment over the lingering fuel shortage in the country. NAN checks indicated that commuters now pay more with a trip from Ikotun to CMS on Lagos Island, which used to cost N300 now attracting between N350 and N400. Some attendants at the stations told NAN on condition of anonymity that they were selling at the price they got the new stock, which they said, was now higher.

Nigeria has come to stay, says Obasanjo

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ORMER Presidents and Heads of State have expressed gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan for the Centenary awards he gave them in Abuja on Friday. They declared that Nigeria has come to stay having survived for the past 100 years. Seven past leaders Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdusalami Abubakar

•As Buhari, IBB, others inspire younger generation From Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

were honoured as ‘outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and National Development’ at the State House, Abuja. The former Nigerian leaders called for greater security and unity in the country and charged the future generations to strive to take the country to greater heights by achieving giant’s strides than the old and outgoing generation. Obasanjo said: “The

award means Nigeria is making progress. If Nigeria survived the first 100 years, it means that Nigeria has come to stay.” Buhari: said: “The award means a lot to me to be qualified to be recognised by Nigerians. My wish for Nigeria is security.” General Babangida said: “The award means a lot. Most of us that were awarded today, the younger generation should try to emulate us because

they will survive their sources of inspiration and aspiration.” On his part, Abdulsalami Abubakar said: “Nigeria has come a long way and we thank God. The future generation should try and do better than what we have done and keep this country together.” “The award means a lot to me. It makes me feel to work harder for the unity and progress of the country.” Shonekan stated

APC urges prayers for leaders

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HE Sokoto State Chapter of the APC yesterday urged Nigerians to pray for more wisdom for their leaders in their bid to ensure a peaceful, prosperous and united Nigeria. The party made the appeal in a message to

Gov. Aliu Wamakko of Sokoto State, who turned 61 on Saturday. The message, signed by the Interim Chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, observed that Wamakko had dedicated his life to the service of humanity and

the development of the state. ‘‘It is heart-warming that this significant milestone coincides with crucial moments when major decisions had to be taken on the political turf. “We are happy that our great leader has never been

found wanting as he had correctly read the mood of his people.” The statement said that the APC would continue to identify with the lofty ideals and political agenda of Wamakko, calling for support from stakeholders toward a stable Nigeria and a better Sokoto State.


NEWS

THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

‘How FG underdevelops Ekiti’

‘Why Nigerian graduates are unemployable’

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

From Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

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KITI State yesterday lamented what it described as “federal government’s systematic neglect and impoverishment of the state.” Listing a minimum of 26 projects spread across the state abandoned by the FG over the last twelve years, Ekiti noted efforts had been made to alert concerned federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure completion of the projects to no avail. The Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo, and his counterparts in Integration and Inter-government Affairs, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye, spoke with reporters in Ado-Ekiti, capital of the state, on the issue yesterday. They accused the federal government of diverted projects meant for Ekiti to other states. Ekundayo disclosed the state is being owed N8billion out of the N12billion expended on some federal roads across the state. Ekundayo said: “I believe we have the evidence that the PDP-led government has not only neglected Ekiti in terms of not properly funding its ongoing projects but has also pursued a policy of deliberate under-development of the state by not bringing projects that are of benefit to the people.” Afuye clarified that many of the projects being executed in the state by the federal government were imposed as the government was never consulted at any point in time. He said: “It seems Ekiti is not part of the federation. Aside the fact of extreme fewness of federal projects allocated to Ekiti, worse even is the fact that the few ones were not diligently prosecuted.’’

Obi inaugurates 2014 pilgrimage

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NAMBRA State governor, Peter Obi, yesterday inaugurated the 2014 Christian pilgrimage for the South East Zone at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. 189 of the 720 intending pilgrims from Anambra were transported to Israel via the airport during the inauguration. The governor urged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors, cautioning them against absconding or engaging in activities capable of tarnishing the image of the country. He thanked the Federal Government for providing facilities at the airport and implored the pilgrims to pray for President Goodluck Jonathan. Obi also commended the National Christian Pilgrims Welfare Commission for organising the trip and pledged the support and cooperation of government in ensuring a successful pilgrimage. The Executive Secretary of the Christian Pilgrims’ Welfare Commission, Mr. JohnKennedy Okpara, advised the pilgrims to view the trip as a period for spiritual transformation.

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•President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, commissioning the renovated building of Sierra Leone High Commission in Abuja PHOTO: NAN yesterday. With him is the High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Nigeria, Henry Macauley.

Koroma cautions West, World Bank over anti-gay law

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IERRA Leonean President, Ernest Koroma, yesterday cautioned western countries and the World Bank against withholding aid to African countries over new laws banning homosexuality in some countries. Koroma spoke to newsmen in Abuja after commissioning a building project at the Sierra Leonean High Commission. His remarks followed the World Bank’s suspension of 90 million dollars loan to Uganda over its tough anti-gay law. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that countries like Denmark and Norway had criticised the law, saying that they would redirect aid from the government to assist agencies. Koroma, who was in Abuja to attend Nigeria’s centenary said: “We have to ensure that the communities are sensitised

well enough. It is not right for issues to be imposed lock, stalk and barrel from the international world’’. He added that laws on issues such as homosexuality should be left to the prevailing circumstances in individual countries. “We have to take into consideration our culture, tradition, religious beliefs and all that. “I believe that on issues like this, like it is happening in other sensitive areas, time should be given to countries to engage,’’ Koroma. The Sierra Leonean president called for “further engagements’’ among African governments, western countries and donor agencies to resolve the differences on the issue of homosexuality. He warned that such engagements must respect the “consensus’’ of the African people.

“I believe with engagement with our communities, sensitisation and other public awareness programmes, we will get at a consensus. “When a country arrives at a consensus, I think the country should be led by what it believes is right for the country and not what is necessarily right for the international community because of the variations in our traditions.’’ Koroma inspected and commissioned ongoing building projects and the renovated Sierra Leone High Commission in Abuja. He also announced that Sierra Leone Export Promotion Agency would lead a trade and investment team to Lagos next week to showcase investments opportunities in the West African country. He encouraged Nigeria’s private sector to take advantage of the visit and explore oppor-

tunities in the areas of mining, agriculture and tourism. “Sierra Leone is one of the fastest growing economies and the opportunities are growing by the day, we have transformed ourselves into one of the leading places of doing business in the sub-region.’’ The president also said the country had made tremendous progress in the fight against corruption and attributed the success to the independence of country’s anti-corruption commission. “When we took over governance, our first step was to strengthen the anti-corruption commission. “We reviewed the Act and in the new Act, we have not only increased the number of charges from nine to 27, we have also given the anti-corruption commission the authority to investigate and prosecute cases, independent of government.

From Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja

common root but also pointed us to our rich heritage, which comes alive only when we combine our energies as a people. “It showed we are indeed one people determined to succeed and that our divisions are as ephemeral as they are artificial.” The PDP added: “Nigerians were moved and their hopes of a peaceful great nation were rekindled when they saw former President Shehu Shagari, General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida and Gen-

eral Abdusalami Abubakar come together. “Nigerians were moved when they saw General Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan together irrespective of their perceived misunderstandings. “This shows that our differences and disagreements as a nation do not get to the bones and can always be resolved. “Let us stand up and collectively establish and defend the unity and greatness of our dear nation so that the labours of our heroes past shall not and shall not be in vain.”

ficult for the military to win the battle as quickly as Nigerians want. In his view: “Civilians must play their own role. Carrying of guns is not the only thing that decides who wins this kind of battle. “People should be able to give information as to the where the members of Boko Haram are, their routes, their approaches so that the military can deal with the situation.” Notwithstanding the painful loses so far, Onyekweli assured that the country will eventually win the war. “The country is winning

and will win this battle. It takes time and is all over the world,” he said. Explaining why it has taken the military so long to handle the situation, the ex- combatant soldier said: “Have you imagined where they get their weapons from? Our borders are porous. “That is why the country is doing everything possible now to make sure they use all sorts of means to protect our borders; not only through physical occupation but also through the use of technical facilities to protect our borders.”

Centenary: Jonathan has restored unity, says PDP

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RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has restored unity with the centenary celebrations, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated yesterday. The celebrations, the party added, have ushered in a new and beautiful era of oneness, brotherliness, unity and peace in the nation. A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, commended the president for organising the event. The PDP said: “It not only succeeded in putting the na-

tion on the international arena to showcase our best but also fostered unity and genuine reconciliation among our leaders and the people.” The statement said: “The Centenary celebrations have ushered in a new era. They have rekindled the Nigerian spirit in all of us. They have revived our sense of patriotism; our inner love for one another as one people under God. “The Centenary concert not only reminded us of our

Boko Haram: How military can win, by Onyekweli

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ILITARY action is not enough to win the terror war against Islamist sect, Boko Haram. To deal with the tricky situation, the military will require the full support of the civilian population in the affected areas. These were the views of former Provost Marshall and later, Chief of Administration of Nigerian Army, General Charles Onyekweli (Rtd). Onyekweli, who spoke with The Nation in Lagos, stated the seemingly unending attacks and daily massacres by the terrorist group are not signals that the country is losing the war.

By Sam Egburonu, Associate Editor

Onyekweli said: “The country is not failing at all. What people must understand is the nature of the war we are fighting. “It is a difficult war, an expensive war and the military is doing the best they can. But the military requires the support of the civilian population. “The military cannot alone know who, amongst the civilian population, is a Boko Haram member, because some of them live amongst the populace.” Onyekweli warned that unless information gathering permeates the society, it will be dif-

ORMER Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, has expressed concerns over the number of Nigerian graduates seeking employments. Bamiro said many of them are not employed because they do not run programmes relevant to the country’s needs. He also disclosed that good academic qualifications are no longer enough for employability. The university don said this in Abuja at a British Council programme on higher education policy dialogue with the theme: ‘graduated but unemployed-the challenges facing Nigerian graduates’. Giving an overview of key challenges and opportunities, he advised universities to equip their students with the necessary competencies. Bamiro said: “Our enrollment in the universities and other higher institutions is going higher and the unemployment level is also high. “Universities need to equip their students with the necessary competencies. Universities while trying to give quality education to the students and making sure that they have employability attributes, must be aware of the external factor and labour market regulations, democracy and structure of the economy and considering the overall economy situation of the country. “Good academic qualifications are no longer enough for employability. Graduates need to also have other attributes which they call soft skills. “Graduates can no longer expect to be employed in just one sector through their professional life. “They will need to be impacted with skills that will make them to adapt to different situation. Some graduates do not know how to write application letters even some use internet English and short hand is not good.”

CP advises against do-or-die politics

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HE Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, yesterday advised politicians against “do-or-die politics.’’ The commissioner gave the advice at an interactive session with leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the councils’ polls slated for March 22. He said that politicians should make decorum their watchword while playing politics, describing that as necessary for peaceful elections. “Politicians must avoid acts that portray them as desperate, they must avoid being selfish.’’ Idris admonished the leadership of the two parties to enlighten their followers on the need to be orderly during the election, vowing to deal decisively with anybody or group, who might want to foment trouble. He said that the police had made adequate arrangements toward a peaceful election, calling for support from stakeholders toward a rancour-free poll.


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NEWS

Ondo byeelection holds April 5 From Damisi Ojo, Akure

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HE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday fixed April 5 for the byeelection in Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State. The decision of the electoral body followed series of consultations with relevant stakeholders in the state which include political parties, security agencies and electoral officials. The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Akin Orebiyi, who disclosed this in Akure, the state capital, added that the date was agreed upon after the House of Representatives had officially notified INEC of the death of Raphael Nomiye. The Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency seat became vacant following the death of Hon. Raphael Nomiye popularly known as “Groovy” who died in Abuja on November 22, 2013.

Fashola to FG: Use oil money to finance infrastructure, productive sector

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HE Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has urged the federal government to commit the revenue from the country’s oil sales into financing infrastructure projects and other productive sectors of the economy. The governor stated this while delivering the Inaugural George Etomi and Partners (GEPLAW Speaker Series) Lecture titled, “Life Without Oil” to mark 30 years of the law firm at the Muson Centre, Onikan in Lagos on Friday. He pointed out that the policy, if well implemented, would shield the country from the shocks and politics of global oil price fluctuations and save its economy from recession, while adding that

By Oziegbe Okoeki

the worst that could happen in such a situation would be a slowdown in the development process of the country until the situation reverses. “I envisage a situation where we use up this gift of nature; let us use the oil proceeds to build our infrastructure needs in terms of more schools, more hospitals and petrochemical plants and so on and let us go to much more productive and inclusive sectors of our economy such as agriculture and agro-chain, manufacturing, tourism, technology and research,” the governor advised. Noting that the country’s problem was not oil but her

people, the governor said that he could account for every kobo of the excess crude money that has come into the account of the state under his tenure, adding that every penny of the revenue has gone into infrastructure projects and is appropriately documented. “Lagos State has not used a kobo of its earnings from the excess crude oil account either to pay salaries or to pay bank loan. It has been tied to brick and mortar,” he said adding, “This is the model that I am canvassing for the nation.” Reiterating that Nigeria can prosper without oil, the governor declared, “The question that seems to be more appropriate is not about a life without oil, but whether a better life with oil is possible

and my answer to this is an emphatic yes, because the road to that better life is not too difficult in my view.” According to him, achieving such a better life with oil requires eliminating corruption at all levels in the oil industry by reforming the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). “It requires us to reform the situation by legislation such as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) perhaps in a form different from the current draft or what I have seen of it. I propose a draft which infuses more transparency into the acquisition process of oil assets and which eliminates rent and rent-seeking collection at all levels and focuses on local value-added instead of local content,” he added.

Fayemi has made Ekiti welfare state, says Ajibola

From Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

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retired judge of the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN) has commended the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for what he described as “his impressive welfarist programmes.” The former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice spoke in Ikere-Ekiti in Ikere Local Government Area of the state on Friday when he led a delegation of Senior Citizens Care Foundation to observe the payment of N5,000 Social Security stipend to elderly individuals by the state government for the month of February. Ajibola maintained that while there were some states in Nigeria that are implementing welfare programmes, the “Ekiti model,” according to him, “is clearly exemplary”, adding, “I am overwhelmed with what we saw and I will write the national confab to adopt the model.” Expressing joy that the programme is being implemented without hitches by the Fayemi administration, Ajibola added that this is a clear indication that the “programme can be replicated across the states of the federation.” The international jurist further pointed out, “It is important that more people have to be taken out of extreme poverty; we should not encourage a situation where we have a lot of poor people. Those who are deprived must be supported. The benefit of good life must be spread to everybody. Things must go round and it must be done every time.” Speaking at the occasion, Governor Fayemi said the social security scheme was an idea whose time has come, noting, “It is a crucial part of my administration’s objective of banishing poverty among the people.”

•From left: Parents of the groom, Mr Folami Ajala and Mrs Toyin Ajala-Amos; The couple Mr and Mrs Bolaji Ajala and parents of the bride, Mr and Mrs Kola Akomolede after the solemnisation of their children’s marriage at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church Victoria Island Lagos... yesterday PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

Driver docked over Mimiko deputy’s crash

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HE driver of the illfated vehicle that crashed into the convoy of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Akeem Bakare, has been arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Idanre, Idanre local government area of the state. The 30- year-old driver of the Obamuare of Ife Titun in Osun State, Oba Taofeek Olaposi, was charged with reckless and dangerous driving. Bakare reportedly drove

From Damisi Ojo, Akure

the Toyota Camry saloon car with plate number ‘OBAMUARE OF IFETUNTUN’ belonging to the monarch, which rammed into the convoy of the deputy governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, and other vehicles. The incident, which occurred on February 1 near Aponmu village along Akure-Ondo road, led to the death of the entire family members of the Chairman of the Nigerian Television Au-

thority (NTA), Akure Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Alex Akinwale. Aside the late journalist, his wife, Kehinde; daughter, Pauline, and their housemaid, Bose, died in the road mishap. The Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Omolayo Olusegun, brought a twocount charge punishable under the Ondo State Laws against the defendant. She, however, urged the court to remand the accused in prison custody, pending

when the duplicate of the case file is transferred to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the state Ministry of Justice for legal advice. But counsel to the accused person, Henry Orumen, asked the court to grant him bail, describing the charges as bailable offence. Bakare was later granted bail by Chief Magistrate Bob Manuel with the sum of N1m and two sureties who must be at least level 15 civil servants in Ondo or Osun states, while the case was adjourned till March 19.

lice Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Olabisi Ilabanafor (DSP), stated that the police discovered that when one of the girls living with the couple was to be made to have sexual intercourse with a man in the place. A request she turned down, claiming she was not aware that she was engaged by the hotel operator for that purpose. Ilobanafor disclosed that the girl believed that she was employed as a bar at-

tendant and not as commercial sex worker. The police spokeswoman added, “When our men swooped on the hotel, these four girls were found in the hotel, and so were arrested along with the couple. Once we are through with investigation, we shall hand them over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) for prosecution,” she said.

Oyo Police parade couple, four others over human trafficking, prostitution

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HE Oyo State Police Command on Friday paraded a couple for allegedly trading in prostitution of under-aged girls in Ibadan. Four other women allegedly hired by the couple to facilitate the illicit trade were also paraded. The couple, Temitope Falusi, aged 45, and his wife, Helen, were arrested at their ‘Sharp Corner Hotel’, Orita Aperin in Ibadan North East local government area of the

From Tayo Johnson, Ibadan

state. Parading the suspects at the Eleyele Police Headquarters, Ibadan, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Indabawa, gave their names and ages as Princess Igbinedion (20), Endurance Edabor (22), Jessica John (20), and Tina Nosa (23). Narrating how the suspects were arrested, the Po-

Aregbesola lauded for increasing community devt fund From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

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HE Osun Agency for Community and Social Development Project (OCSDP) has lauded the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for increasing the agency’s annual fund. Managing Director of the agency, Mrs. Funmi Abokede, at a press conference in Osogbo, the state capital, disclosed that the state government’s contribution has risen from N100million to N200million, noting that the increase will, no doubt, enhance the efficiency of the agency. Abokede, who said that out of 36states across the nation, Osun State was rated high in project implementation and prudent spending, said the state governor’s support for the agency has contributed greatly to the sustenance and development of community projects and also improving the living standards of the people in rural communities in the state. Abokede also disclosed that the agency was using the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach to take decision on allocation of resources to community groups, adding that interested communities are required to come forward with expression of their interest in the project. She said, “A formal sensitisation visit and a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRP) have been carried out and members of the communities visited identified their needs in order of priority and elected the Community Project Management Committee (CPMC) members in a democratic manner under the supervision of the agency.

Osun LP holds congress From Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo

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HE Osun State chapter of the Labour Party held its Congress on Friday, with some of its leaders confident of the party’s victory in the August 9 governorship poll in the state. The state congress produced a 22-member executive committee that will run the affairs of the party. The National Chairman of the party, Mr. Dan Iwuanyanwu, was represented by the South West Vice Chairman, Mr. Ganiyu Dawodu, at the event. Iwuanyanwu, who called for unity among party members, said, “With the turnout and orderliness of this congress, I am confident that the Labour Party will win the next governorship election in Osun.” The Congress produced Barrister Timothy Olatunji as the chairman, while Mr. Gbede Solomon was elected as the new Secretary. Olatunji, in his acceptance speech, pledged to work for the progress and victory of the LP at all times, charging members to remain “one big family.” He also appealed for continued voter sensitisation on the review of voter register and the collection of permanent voters cards as spelt out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

NEWS

Gbonigi’s wife, Ebun, dies at 81

Nigeria, Israel sign agric pact

From: Damisi Ojo, Akure

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RS. Ebun Gbonigi, wife of retired Bishop of Akure Diocese (Anglican Communion) Rt. Rev Bolanle Gbonigi, is dead. Mrs. Gbonigi died around 10am yesterday. She was 81. She died after battling with an undisclosed ailment in the past two years. Her illness was said to have become critical nine days ago, which forced the family to rush her to an hospital where she was admitted Her first daughter, Omolara, who spoke with reporters at Gbonigi’s residence at Oba-Ile Estate Akure, said they were hopeful she would recover at home but gave up the ghost despite all efforts. Omolara described her mother as very courageous and reliable. She said: “I am going to miss a lot of things about her because we learnt a lot from her. She was very hard working when she was still fit. “My mother ensured she got herself busy and she gave great assistance to my father in the vineyard.” The widower, Rev. Gbonigi, refused to speak with reporters. He said he was not in a good state of mind to speak on the death of his loving wife. The Retired Anglican Bishop sat in his sitting room as he received some sympathisers who besieged his house.

Nigeria will not break, says cleric By Sunday Oguntola

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HE Overseer/founder of El-Messiah Divine Cherubim and Seraphim Church Lagos, Primate Olukayode Adelugba, has declared that those working towards the disintegration of Nigeria will fail. Nigeria, he said, has come to stay and will never break no matter how much some people work in that direction. Adelugba spoke last week with newsmen in his church. He said: “Nigeria will not break. God told me that nobody was there when He built the foundation of this country.” He warned that the 2015 elections might be bloody going by the desperation of some politicians to win at all costs. The cleric stressed: “Some aspirants who are supposed to lift this country will be dropped because act of killing and political harassment with riot left and right will be in occurrence. “The Lord is warning all politicians in general that they should be vigilant, that he is aware of their thoughts; that they should be careful in whatever they want to build on the foundation. God said he will use 2014 to rearrange the January of 2015.” He also took a swipe at religious leaders who have collaborated with politicians to impoverish Nigerians. The leaders, Adelugba said, will soon face the wrath of God. “Nigeria,” he added, needs servants of God like Nehemiah that shall be useful in the areas of prayers.” He urged Nigerians to be steadfast, stating “better days are ahead and they will laugh again.”

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From: Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

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•President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) with former Heads of State, from left: Abdulsalam Abubakar, Muhammadu Buhari, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida and Ernest Shonekan during the centenary award at the Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa in Abuja… at the weekend PHOTO: Akin Oladokun.

Anger, anxiety in Langtang over withheld council results

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HERE are anger, anxiety, apprehension, suspicion and uncertainties in Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau state following refusal of the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) to release results of the council’s chairmanship election. It was widely believed that the election was clearly won by the Democratic People’s Party (DPP). The opposition party is funded by the former Federal Capital Territory minister, Gen Jeremiah Useni(Rtd.). Security agencies have been drafted to the council to prevent breakdown of law and other. PLASIEC is also yet to announce results of the councillorship polls in the council, fuelling tensions in the area. Many alleged the results are about to be manipulated. The commission announced the results for 14

•Polls recorded 85% success, says observers •APC: It was marred by fraud From YUSUFU Aminu Idegu, JOS

councils in the election, which held last Tuesday but has refused to announce the outcomes of the Langtang local government’s elections. Chairman of the PLASEIC, Peter Dalyop, who announced the results three days after the elections, said the exercise was inconclusive in Langtang. According to him: “There was no result of elections in one of the seventeen wards in Langtang North LGA. “The returning officer of that local government submitted the results of the local government without that of Jat ward. “In line with our law, PLASIEC will conduct a re-run of the election in Jat ward this week before announcing the result”. The ruling People’s Demo-

cratic Party (PDP) won in all the local governments so far released. The refusal to announce the results in Langtang have fuelled tensions as youths in are spoiling for a showdown with PLASIEC should the suspected victory of DPP be upturned. A councillor from Langtang, Nandum Ponfa said: “PLASIEC is only trying a way to snatch the victory from DPP. The people are angry and there is fear all over. “No one knows what PDP is trying to do but I’m afraid if they tamper with the result of Langtang, there will be breakdown of law.” However, a coalition of accredited domestic observers said the election recorded 85% success. Spokesman of the coalition, Boniface Okafor, said: “25

of us were accredited as domestic observers. We came in, monitored the election and we can say the election was 85% successful. “We observed that there was early distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, the voters were peaceful in their conduct as well as the contesting political parties.” But the opposition parties led by All Progressives Congress (APC) said the elections were marred with frauds and should be cancelled. Plateau State Interim Secretary of APC, Ibrahim Nakande, said: “There are some noticeable malpractices capable of discrediting the exercise; it should rather be canceled”. He alleged snatching of ballot boxes in several councils.

of the new law. The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) said the anti-kidnapping law in the state should be put to test in the case of Inengite. IYC, in a statement by its spokesman, Eric Omare, asked Dickson to ensure that the abductors are apprehended and brought to book. It observed that unless people involved in kidnapping were brought to justice, the illegal booming business would continue. IYC said it had set up a three-man team to work with security agencies and ensure that Nitabai regains his freedom. “There is no hiding place for

kidnappers and criminals in Ijawland. Kidnapping and criminality is alien to Ijaw culture. “The IYC believes that no crime can be committed without the involvement of people within the immediate environment.” There were also fears among other relatives of President Jonathan over the possibility of becoming targets of kidnappers. Some of them, it was learnt, were said to have relocated to Yenagoa, the state capital, where they believe it would be difficult for kidnappers to get them.

people can interact freely. It is a project of tagged technologies in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Medical and Dental Council, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders. The managing Director of tagged technologies and anchorman of e-clinic Naija, Omofoman Daniel, told re-

porters at the unveiling of the clinic in Abuja: “We will be collaborating with the health departments in some states, private hospitals as many as possible doctors within every zone or community.” Daniel added that every user will have an identity to verify subscribers to the portal.

Abduction of Jonathan’s cousin unsettles Bayelsa

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AYELSA State is yet to recover from fears and confusion surrounding the abduction of Inengite Nitabai, the septuagenarian cousin of President Goodluck Jonathan. Nitabai was whisked away last Sunday from Otuoke, Jonathan’s hometown in Ogbia Local Government Area by 10 gunmen who attacked him in his house at about 9pm. Though the hoodlums established contact with the family of their victim and demanded N500m ransom, security operatives were said to be confused over the whereabouts

From: Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa

of the kidnappers. It was observed that the development has raised doubts over the efficacy of the law against kidnapping in the state, which prescribes death penalty for convicts. Since the law was passed by the House of Assembly and signed by Governor Seriake Dickson, it had failed to deter criminal activities of kidnappers. Despite the increasing incidents of kidnapping, nobody has also been apprehended or prosecuted sentenced in the spirits

Nigeria’s first E-Clinic portal unveiled

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HE first ever online medical portal that enables patients consult with doctors and order for drugs or other medical services has been inangurated off in Nigeria. The portal, branded EClinic Naija, is an online medical community designed for health providers and the public to interact on

From: Grace Obike, Abuja.

healthcare delivery system in a convenient and cost- effective manner. E-Clinic Naija is a wellness clinic and telehealthcare service that also provides E- pharmacy, E-ambulance service, E-anti natal service and a community where doctors and patients or

HE federal government at the weekend signed a joint declaration for bilateral cooperation on agriculture with Israel. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who signed on behalf of the federal government in Abuja, described the partnership as the beginning of great things to be achieved in the sector. Adesina, who hosted the delegation from Israel at the headquarters of the ministry, said the collaboration would help boost fish production in Nigeria, improve on micro irrigation and facilitate agricultural mechanisation in the country. He said: “Nigeria will work closely with the Israel to boost fish production so as to cut down on the amount spent yearly importing fish. “It will interest you to know that Nigeria spends N125bn annually on fish import alone and this ought not to be considering the abundant water resources in this country.” Adesina added: “The cooperation will also include areas of beef production, horticulture and training. They (Israel) will help us also to structure our rural communities in a way that youths in these communities will be able to create wealth through agricultural activities instead of migrating from their local areas.” The minister explained that the federal government has intensified efforts in making sure that private investors are involved in the business of agriculture in Nigeria. According to him, the president has directed that private investors be wooed to the agricultural sector to drive wealth creation for agriculturists. He added that about $4bn private sector investments have been injected to the industry. Adesina explained that the Israeli-Nigerian bilateral cooperation would foster developments in the sector. “It would impact tremendously on private sector businesses, bringing wealth to youths by creating gainful jobs,” Adesina said. The minister explained to the Israeli delegation that Nigeria was a major player in the global agricultural market in the 1960s through groundnut and palm oil production. He noted that the over reliance on oil as the main source of foreign exchange led to the abandonment of agriculture and called on the Israeli team to support the country in revamping the agricultural sector. The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Yair Shamir, said his country was willing to cooperate with the Nigeria to develop agriculture. He said the Israeli government would commence the cooperation by training some employees of the Ministry, adding that the partnership was aimed at securing food for both nations. Shamir said: “We want to supply more advanced products to the Nigerian people and this is because we have a lot of technology and ideas that we will like to share. I do believe the need for a fresh idea and fresh resource sharing. “Our goal is to secure food for everybody. Israel is a strong willed nation. We want to continue our friendship with Nigeria.”


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

Pakistani Taliban announces ceasefire to revive peace talks

703 killed in Iraq in February attacks

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HE United Nations said yesterday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the year before as the country faces a rising wave of militant attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion. The figures issued by the U.N.'s mission to Iraq is close to January's death toll of 733, showing that a surge of violence that began 10 months ago with a government crackdown on a Sunni protest camp is not receding. Meanwhile, attacks Saturday killed at least five people and wounded 14, authorities said. Attacks in February killed 564 civilians and 139 security force members in February, the U.N. said. The violence wounded 1,381, the vast majority civilians, it said. That compares to February 2013, when attacks killed 418 civilians and wounded 704. The capital, Baghdad, was the worst affected with 239 people killed, according to the U.N. Two predominantly Sunni provinces — central Salaheddin with 121 killed and northern Ninevah with 94 killed — followed. U.N. mission chief Nickolay Mladenov appealed to Iraqis to stop the violence. "The political, social and religious leaders of Iraq have an urgent responsibility to come together in the face of the terrorist threat that the country is facing," Mladenov said in a statement. "Only by working together can Iraqis address the causes of violence and build a democratic society in which rule of law is observed and human rights are protected." February's numbers could be even worse that the U.N. reported, however, as it again excluded deaths from ongoing fighting in Anbar province, due to problems in verifying the "status of those killed.

S.Africa baby death probed after police fire tear gas

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OUTH African police are investigating whether a three-month-old baby's death was caused by tear gas fired by officers at a nearby protest, a spokesman said yesterday. Police intervened when residents barricaded streets during a strike in the Majakaneng community near the town of Brits, northwest of Johannesburg on Friday, Thulani Ngubane said. "Some things like tear gas and stun grenades were fired," the spokesman told AFP. "According to the family, the child was with the father in a house and the child died instantly in his room. They allege it was because of tear gas," he added. The family claimed an empty canister was found in their yard, Ngubane said. South African police, which has been plagued by scandals and blunders, opened an inquest into the death and said it would conduct pathological tests. An official watchdog's annual report said 431 deaths resulting from police action were reported over 2012 and 2013.

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• An unidentified man wearing military fatigues gestures in front of armed individuals blocking the center of Balaklava, near Sevastopol, yesterday. Photo: AFP

Russian lawmakers allow Putin to use military in Ukraine R

USSIA's parliament granted President Vladimir Putin permission to use the country's military in Ukraine and also recommended yesterday that Moscow's ambassador be recalled from Washington over comments made by President Barack Obama. The unanimous vote in an emergency session formalised what Ukrainian officials described as an invasion of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea. With pro-Russian protests breaking out in other parts of Ukraine, Moscow now could send its military elsewhere in Ukraine. "I'm submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on

the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country," Putin said before the vote. Putin's call came as proRussian demonstrations broke out in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east, where protesters raised Russian flags and beat up supporters of the new Ukrainian government. Russia's move sharply raised the stakes in the conflict following the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president last week by a protest movement aimed at turning Ukraine toward the European Union and away from Russia. Ukraine has accused Russia of a "military invasion and oc-

cupation" - a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis, and raised fears that Moscow is moving to intervene on the strategic peninsula where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Friday "there will be costs" if Russia intervenes militarily. In yesterday's parliamentary session in Moscow, one Russian legislator said Obama had crossed a "red line" and the upper house recommended the Russian ambassador in Washington be recalled. It will be up to Putin to decide whether that happens. In Crimea, the pro-Rus-

sian prime minister who took office after gunmen seized the regional Parliament claimed control of the military and police there and asked Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two neighbouring Slavic countries. Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said the election of the election of Sergei Aksyonov as prime minister of Crimea was invalid. It was the latest escalation following the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president last week by a protest movement aimed at turning Ukraine toward the European Union and away from Russia.

pital, but others died on the road waiting for help to arrive, he said. Another official, Assistant Political Agent Jehangir Azam, said all the casualties were members of the levies or Khasadar, both locally recruited government-backed militias. They were providing security for the health workers. Polio vaccination teams are frequently attacked, as are government security forces. A spokeswoman for UNICEF said it was unclear who was the target on this occasion.

Some religious leaders have denounced the multibillion dollar vaccination campaign as a cover for spying or a plot to secretly sterilize Muslim children. Pakistan is one of the last three countries in the world where polio remains endemic and the only one of those three where reported cases are increasing. The disease can kill or paralyze within hours. In a separate incident in western Baluchistan province, a roadside bomb killed three members of a government paramilitary force in

Sorab, about 230 kilometres southwest of the provincial capital of Quetta. Shortly afterwards, the paramilitary Frontier Corps announced it had killed ten men in Sui, 300 kilometres southeast of Quetta. The Frontier Corps said they were carrying out an operation to search for militants who had bombed gas pipelines. Baluchistan, a mineralrich and dirt-poor province, is home to a bloody separatist insurgency, other militant groups, drug lords and government-backed death squads.

Ambush kills 12 polio workers’ escort in Pakistan

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ILITANTS killed 12 members of the security escort for a polio vaccination team in northwest Pakistan yesterday, detonating a roadside bomb before opening fire on their convoy, according to officials. The attack lasted an hour and when rescuers approached the scene the gunmen also attacked them, according to Khan Faraz, an official in the Jamrud area of Khyber, a rugged tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Around a dozen wounded were taken to hos-

HE Pakistani Taliban yesterday announced a one-month ceasefire aimed at reviving peace talks after receiving what it said were government assurances it would not be attacked. A government negotiator could not confirm that there were such guarantees, but said talks could be restarted if the ceasefire was honoured. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks that the Pakistani military is planning an offensive against the insurgents after talks between the militants and government broke down. "The senior leadership of the Taliban advises all subgroups to respect the Taliban's call for a ceasefire and abide by it and completely refrain from all jihadi activities in this time period," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement. Peace talks between the Pakistani government and Taliban insurgents began on February 6 but broke down after insurgents said they executed 23 men from a government paramilitary force in revenge for the killing of their fighters by army forces. The Pakistani Taliban is fighting to topple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's democratically elected government and impose Sharia law in the nuclear-armed nation. Attacks have been on the rise since Sharif came to power in May, promising a negotiated end to violence. His stance unnerved global powers already worried that withdrawal of most U.S.-led troops from Afghanistan in 2014 would leave a security vacuum.

Japan pledges $200m in aid for Palestinians

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APAN pledged more than $200 million in aid yesterday to help the Palestinian Authority, as representatives from 22 nations reiterated their support of the Palestinians' quest for their own state. The pledge was announced by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development, held in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Kishida said the first disbursement of the aid - about $62 million - was expected later this month. Ministers and high-ranking officials from 22 countries and five international organizations participated in the one-day conference, which was jointly chaired by Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority and Japan. The conference agreed to expand the number of participants and encourage greater engagement of civil societies in East Asia to assist the Palestinians.


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WORLD/COMMENTARY

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HIS will be my last article on the Black History Month. We exit the month as we entered - a people with small answers to large questions. This bewildered inadequacy is not confined to Black America. It applies to the entirety of our race. A small number of black people have reached their individual promise lands. They bask in fortune, fame and even power. Yet, for the vast number of us, being black means being in retreat. For most, yesterday looks better than tomorrow. It is a sad thing when the future appears leaner than the past. Sadness is compounded by the knowledge that the past has been a wholly inferior one. Yet, the danger lurks that we shall go further adrift. This need not happen. To prevent our continuing decrease, we need better understand forces arrayed against our betterment, especially diathesis of a collective psychology that directs us to think less of ourselves than while placing others on a pedestal that needn't exist. Let's return to the Jordan Davis trial for it offers striking lessons applicable on a wider scale. Since my last column, the verdict has been rendered. It is a case study in logic contorted by the ill advices of racism. The jury convicted the middle-aged white shooter, Michael Dunn, of attempted murder of the three black youths his ten bullets missed. Three of those ten shots entered Jordan Davis that life might leave him. The jury did not convict Dunn of murdering the lone person he shot. For shooting the unarmed Davis, the jury could not make its mind that Dunn committed illegal homicide. What a grotesque message this conveys for it carries an implicit invitation to kill. Better for a white man to quickly kill a perceived black assailant than miss the dark target. The black man might flee and later present conclusive evidence of never posing a threat to his erstwhile shooter. Such a threat would exist only in the mind of the gunman because hatred had conditioned him to see a black man as a violent felony in progress. Centuries ago, slave-holding whites slept in fear of an insurrection among the bondsmen. That a dark-skinned human being might fight for his freedom after being involuntarily thrust into servitude was something more than a curious notion. It was unalloyed evil. Slavery is gone but the racial fear, that was both born of it and that gave birth to it, remains. The old hatred permeates the modern air. It walks the streets, nigh ubiquitous for it enters almost every chance encounter between white and black men. It stokes fearful anger in whites and suspicious apprehension in those blacks aware of the crimson history between the two races. Blacks ignorant of that history fall bewildered, unable to comprehend while they always are on the wrong side of the unemployment line, a judge's gavel, or a vigilante's gun. Dunn said his life was threatened by Davis. He claimed the boy held an object that resembled a firearm or a stick. Nothing corroborates this assertion. The lone confirmed evidence was that the two engaged in a shouting match. Yet the jury gave Dunn a pass on the murder charge because they wanted to believe Davis, by virtue of his blackness, got what he deserved and Dunn, by virtue of his race, had ample reason to shoot as he did. We are left with the travesty of a man being convicted for missing the other youths but not for killing the one he shot. The jury did not want to believe this middle class, middle-aged white man could be guilty of murdering a black youth out of sheer annoyance simply because this lesser human being had the effrontery to argue with him. Racial stereotypes do not permit this conclusion. Social and political myths abound regarding the violent nature of black men. By social convention, Davis was guilty of assaulting Dunn. Forgetting or being ignorant of this social myth, Davis would pay with his life. This was too high a price simply for not recognizing the evil barriers society had imposed against his humanity. Had Davis and his companions been white youths, Dunn never would have reached for let alone discharged his weapon. Had Dunn been a black man who killed a white youth in the same circumstance, the jury deliberation would have been swift and sure. The shooter would have been convicted of the worst type of murder. This jury simply could not grasp the fundamental truth that a white man might lethally and illegally aggress a black youth. They dared not admit a white man could harbor illegal ill will to a black man. That would upset the cart. According to common perception, illegality and violence always flows the opposite way. For a black man to be attacked by a white man, the former must have provoked the latter. Consequently, the shooter could take the witness stand, bemoaning he was "the victim" and acting in hurt amazement that he would be compelled to stand trial to

Black history month: Can the spirit triumph? A biased eye incites a mean heart but a compassionate hand repairs the broken

•President Barack Obama (2nd R), United States Attorney General Eric Holder (C) and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett (R) meeting with leaders from African American civil rights groups at the White House on February 18, 2014 in Washington, DC.

defend his lethal deed. The facts of the case did not fit this tidy construct. Thus, the jury decided to keep faith with racist convention and ignore the truth. A deeper truth is that historic reality aligns with this case more so than with the stereotype. Historically, blacks have been targeted and killed by people like Dunn more so than people like Dunn had to worry about being killed by the likes of Davis. Whites have killed more blacks in racist outrage than blacks have killed whites. In the history of America, white men have been the most deadly of racist predators. Based on actual fact and history, that Dunn would murder the black Davis was always the more likely outcome, if only for the hue of the victim's skin. Yet, this historical reality is not the image that first jumps into the collective consciousness. Imagine a street criminal in America. Imagine a murderer. Imagine a drug dealer. The likely first image to surface is that of a black man. The truth is different. Blacks are no more likely to murder or traffic drugs than whites. This inaccurate image is not by chance. It has been carefully engineered so that whites subconsciously abhor blacks and disassociate themselves from them. It has been created also that blacks find manifold ways to degrade themselves and to believe that things white are things superior. The power of images is devastating. CNN interviewed one of two black people on the Davis jury. The young female juror asserted that Dunn, the shooter, was a good guy and that race played no part in the case. The poor woman denied almost the entirety of American social history in the space of that brief interview. Ignorance can be more deadly than any bullet. Her statements reveal a fundamental flaw common in the race. A diminishing number of us want to be black in terms of political, cultural and social orientation. These people want to blend in to larger society; they want to homogenize into a great and bland nothingness. They seek not the pride of diversity. They grope for the comfort of submission. They want to be accepted as human beings whose skin happens

to be black. They seek to turn sinister tragedy into a love story simply by calling it a different name. Thus, they seek to jettison our historical legacy and duty before the legacy has been completed and before our collective duties have been fulfilled. The quest for equality is not over for it has not been won. However, too many of us find it too uncomfortable and difficult to talk about. It is too stubborn a problem, thus better to ignore the thing and move along as best one can. As such, blackness is in retreat. We no longer press for greater justice. Our leaders seek not to inspire us to eradicate this obstacle or demand those on the other side of the barrier to seek greater humanity by dismantling the trap rather than making it more subtly powerful. We now are taught to manage racism. We are to live under its shadow. That is our plight. The best we can do is to position ourselves under the thinnest aspect of the menacing cloud. Since that space is keenly limited, we compete against each other in a winless war to minimize the racism we feel individually instead of gathering our collective strength to combat the injustice so that none will have to endure its sting. We have resigned ourselves to defeat because we have given up the fight. We have accepted the broken image of ourselves to the extent that we no longer believe anything can be fixed or that things need fixing. Thus, the pitiable black female juror mostly excused Dunn and saw nothing in him but respectability and good while Dunn despises the very essence of the woman. Dunn is a racist. Before the incident, he had penned letters to friends, asserting the more he came into contact with blacks, the more he hated them. From his lips streamed a flow of invectives against our race when he talked freely. Given his racist disposition, this case should have been prosecuted as a civil rights matter, a hate crime under Florida law because this case was about race. Instead those charged with prosecuting the matter, decided to whitewash race from the trial. They purposely avoided bringing it up. In doing so, they tried a case that did not exist. They turned

the search for justice and some modicum of truth into a lie. To distill race from an instance where an obvious racist shot an unarmed black youth is like building a house of wind and air. Nothing of weight and substance can live in the air perpetually, even an eagle has a nest which it inhabits. Those in charge of the case discarded the very essence of the thing they purportedly sought. They feigned toward justice but their objective was to preserve the racist covenant. Maintaining the racist social constellation was more important to them than justice. Preserving the social constellation profited them. Justice would not have done so. The Davis case is a microcosm of race in America and much of the world. Most whites deny their racism. They are comfortable and do not want to make the adjustments justice and right require to correct the evil imbalance. When asked to alter their ways, too many now claim to be victimized. They are like the errant driver who, after striking a hapless pedestrian on the roadside, stridently complains how the inconvenient it was for the walker to have damaged their car by not moving out of their way. World over black people have lost courage. It is no longer fashionable to speak of race as an active determinant in the political economy. Those who do are labeled troublemakers or regressive. Those words are mere labels used to disguise the truth. The work for justice and equity is half-done. Left unattended for many years, even that work is becoming unraveled for many of us. Most black Americans have lost ground economically in the past decade. There are more black men in jail than in university in America. This augurs ill for the future; nothing in the offing that suggests the change needed. President Obama met establishment black leaders in February. The gathering was more symbolic than real and more cynical than symbolic. The policy measures announced to salvage black males from the rigors of prejudice were so pitifully small and piecemeal that one had to wonder if the gathering was to solve a problem or just to take credit that such a meeting was held at all on this subject. This was the first such meeting the president held after six years in office. Still, the session was tepid and modest. The real reason for the session was to energize established black leaders to stoke the black community to vote during the congressional elections later this year. The Democratic Party needs their votes to stave Republican gains, thus averting a repeat of the Republican onslaught that occurred during the last (nonpresidential) congressional elections in 2010. That we now have a black president dangling false carrots before our nose shows equality to be quite real. Black politicians can be as calculating and cold-hearted as their white counterparts. What they offer the black community is ersatz hope so the people exert themselves, not for the common benefit but, to safeguard the jobs and positions of this elite. This is a terrible bartering of the people's welfare in exchange for the continued luxury of a cozy establishment. The people deserve much better. No race has suffered more in the past centuries yet received so little for its suffering. We now exist in that awful space where most of our people are so confused they can't distinguish their self interests from what are not. Our people work hard the world over; but, they mostly labor to the greater benefit others than themselves. The harder we labor, the more we lose and fall behind. If we are to survive and, at some point, thrive, we must first return to the point we see the world and how it operates in terms of race, in terms that are often starkly black and white. Until then, we shall live in someone else's world. We shall suffer the consequences of existing in a place not intended for us and incur the slings and bludgeons that happen to those who let others define their human worth. Until then, Black History Month is nothing to celebrate or even commemorate as if we have reached our destination. It is never prudent to stop to celebrate one's homecoming before reaching home. We have too far to go. Until then, Black History Month and every month for that matter should be times when we open our eyes to clearly view the challenge at hand then begin to talk in bold, unashamed terms about how to complete the journey initiated by those figures and personalities of our prouder past. (08060340825 sms only)

•This article was slated for publication last week


Ropo Sekoni

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Femi Orebe Page 16

SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

Of threats and Boko Haram tunjade@yahoo.co.uk 08054503906 (sms only)

Students’ massacre: Time to wipe out the sect

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ITH The killing of 59 students (so far) of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State, on Tuesday, at least three questions become pertinent, again. The first is: what does Boko Haram really want? And the second, what have innocent students got to do with whatever the grievances of the sect are? Above all, how effective is the existing structure to curtail the dangerous sect? According to a resident, “The attackers started the operation around 12:15 unperturbed until after 4 am; the students were slaughtered and fired with guns … I counted 39 corpses” he said, adding: “It was too horrible because, some of the students were slaughtered, some were burnt inside the hostel”. Unless one has eaten the head of a tortoise (it is believed in Yoruba land that people who eat such lose whatever regard they have for human life) one must feel touched by this kind of report, especially because the victims were children. These could have been anybody’s children. Now, their parents must be regretting their decision to send their children to that school. Who knows how many promising children had been so killed over some senseless reasons? With this kind of attack, life in that school can hardly ever be the same again. Indeed, no one should be surprised if parents with children in other schools in that part of the country start withdrawing them en masse because they would be the ultimate losers should anything untoward happen to their wards. All they can hope to get are the usual comforting words and assurances that the government is on top of the situation! And, as they say, “he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches”. And to think that this is not the first time the sect members had wreaked havoc on innocent students! Just before dawn on July 6, 2013, the gunmen attacked a government-run boarding school of 1,200 students in Mamudo village, Yobe State, killing at least 42 people, among such other attacks. It is against this backdrop that one should see the frustration of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State who claimed that Boko Haram fighters were “better armed and better motivated,” than the troops fighting them. This would appear to have been confirmed when on Wednesday the Boko Haram bloodletting extended to Adamawa State where the terrorists, armed with rocket-propelled grenades, nearly sacked four communities. Soldiers reportedly ran for cover on seeing the sheer number of the terrorists! If it was true that the insurgents burnt banks, shops and filling stations in their desperate search for food and cash, as the military authorities claimed, then they (insurgents) might not be better motivated. Perhaps the issue is that they are more committed to whatever they see as their cause. The point is that even if what Governor Shettima said might have been undiplomatic, it should be seen in the context of someone who sees it all. Presi-

• Gen. Minimah

dent Jonathan who is in the safe confines of Aso Rock in Abuja is unlikely to appreciate the gravity of the situation on ground as much as the governor. That was why the president ought not to have upbraided the governor as he did when reacting to the governor’s comment during his media chat on Monday. As the man on the spot, the governor sees and feels the pinch more than President Jonathan who relies more on briefings from his military officers, who may choose to let him into only what they feel like letting him into. If the president felt bad about the governor’s comment, and so reacted angrily the way he did, then, he too was guilty of whatever offence Governor Shettima might have committed. President Jonathan’s comment that he would see if the governor would be able to stay in the Government House if the soldiers were withdrawn from the state for one month, is unnecessary as it is unpresidential. Governor Shettima might have over-reacted, but he spoke the minds of millions of Nigerians. It was because of Boko Haram that the Federal Government imposed a state of emergency on three northwestern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on May 14, last year. The expectation then was that this would curb, significantly, the activities of the deadly sect. The first round of the emergency lapsed in November and was renewed for another six months, in line with constitutional stipulations. Now, it is about nine months since emergency was imposed on the three states, yet, the activities of Boko Haram do not seem to be abating. If anything, the sect is becoming more audacious, dispatching many defenceless people, including especially innocent students who have no idea of what the sect members want, and who contributed nothing to whatever might be the grievances of the sect members, to their untimely graves. And here is the president getting angry at a frustrated governor who ex-

“ We have reached a stage where the military authorities should stop threatening to quell Boko Haram. It’s high time they carried out the threat. When Boko Haram is finally quelled, we would not need any military officer to announce to us. We would all see and feel it because it is that palpable”

pressed worries over what is going on in his state. If President Jonathan must be reminded, provision of security is the very basic responsibility of any government properly socalled. Is it not worrisome that Boko Haram members would hold a whole school to ransom for hours, without any form of resistance or assistance from those who were supposed to provide security for the people? How come the sect members would go in convoys without the security men noticing, not to talk of stopping them? How come we are always closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? How come it is those who should have responded by repelling the sect members that are the very ones who reel out for us the number of casualties, tell us how the ‘invasions’ went and why they could not deal with the situation until it was too late? Is the president himself not tired of repeating the same graveside oration each time these unfortunate incidents occur? Is he not tired of giving us assurances that the government is in control when people see little in that regard? Nigerians will keep asking questions whether the president likes it or not, if only for the fact that human lives are involved, and secondly, because of the humongous amount of money that has been sunk into our attempts to rein in Boko Haram. This year alone, no fewer than 350 persons had been killed by Boko Haram. And that is for those whose identities were made public. It excludes the figures of military casualties too. The fact that students were hit this time around is enough to attract attention, and many eminent Nigerians have condemned the attacks as senseless. The international community has done the same. Even the Senate President, David Mark remarked that “It is also curious that under an emergency rule, when security operatives should be on red alert, this mayhem still persists. Honestly, this calls for soul-searching and I believe the security authorities must rise to this challenge”. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, echoed a similar sentiment:”While we must all join hands to bring this insanity to an end, we must, however, bear in mind that we are running out of excuses in our responsibility to our citizens”. The Chief of Army Staff, LieutenantGen Kenneth Minimah told the Senate Committee on Defence and Army that the army would soon defeat Boko Haram. For sure, General Minimah is aware that he is not the first military top brass to give such an assurance. Others before him made the same pledge. Yet, here we are! We have reached a stage where the military authorities should stop threatening to quell Boko Haram. It’s high time they carried out the threat. When Boko Haram is finally quelled, we would not need any military officer to announce to us. We would all see and feel it because it is that palpable.

Boko Haram menace

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ETWEEN last Sunday when my last piece titled Stop Boko Haram Now was published and last Friday night when I wrote this week’s piece, the insurgents in North Eastern part of the country have gone on rampage leaving no one in doubt about their determination to advance whatever cause they claim to be fighting for. Last Tuesday, the terrorists in one of their bloodiest attacks left 59 school children dead when they struck at the Federal Government College, Boni Yadi, Yobe State. Even before the country recovered from the shock of the mindless attack on innocent students, they struck again in neigbouring Adamawa State killing at least 37 persons. On Friday, there was panic during a condolence visit by the Adamawa state Governor Murtala Nyako to some victims of the recent attacks when Boko Haram men were said to be heading for the venue. Gun shots were fired into the air by security men to protect the governor from any possible attack. It is uncertain where next the insurgents would strike as the situation appears helpless despite assurances by the federal government that security measures are being taken to stop the endless killings. My heart goes out to the families of the school children and others who have so far lost their loved ones in various attacks. The students have paid the ultimate price for what they knew nothing about. Last year, students of a School of Agriculture in the same state were also killed a dawn raid. It’s inconceivable why the terrorists have chosen to make the students their target. If not for any other thing, it confirms the evil stuff they are made of while claiming to belong to a religious sect. Until the situation is really brought under control, it may no longer be safe to allow schools in the endangered areas to remain in session. While it is important for the students to acquire education, their lives are more precious. Except their safety can be guaranteed, which doesn’t seem certain presently, the students should not be exposed to further danger. Much as one appreciates the efforts of the federal government through the military forces to checkmate the terrorists, a lot still has to be done to prevent the insurgents from having a field a day killing residents of the affected states. It is evident that tactics being used by the Joint Task Force is not achieving enough result and new strategies have to be adopted before more havoc is wrecked by the insurgents who seemed determined to make the states ungovernable. Nigerians are tired of being told by the federal government that it is on top of the situation when hundreds of persons continue to get killed by the rampaging Boko Haram gunmen who have the least regard for the sanctity of life. Whatever urgent steps that need to be taken have to be acted on urgently in the face of the war declared against the country by the insurgents. If the country does not have the capacity to combat the terrorists as alleged in some quarters, it should not hesitate to seek necessary foreign support. The affected states and the federal government have to be more committed to ending this crisis once and for all before it consumes us all. The issue should not be politicized by any group. There is no need to trade blames. What we need is the solution.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

COMMENT

Making Nigeria thrive after its first centenary (I) There is a need to create a country in which the primary stakeholder is the citizen

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UILDING a country is much more than superintending its survival. It demands ensuring that it thrives. Many of us who believe mere survival is worth celebrating on account of testimonies from African countries in deeper malaise than Nigeria regarding the fact that Nigeria is doing better than most African countries should know that it is a brainless thing to use failure as benchmark for one’s output. The advantage of a humanist view of life is to strive to belong to the group that is doing well by engaging in perpetual selfamelioration. We could have survived several crises: civil war, inter-ethnic violence, increasing desertification, several military dictatorships, sectarian violence, etc. That kind of survival is not a sign of success. Nigerians need more than a country that is using its energy to survive crisis; they need a home in which they can thrive. As we round off the celebrations of one century of creation and survival, let us think and work towards a second century that is marked by peace, freedom, prosperity, democracy, and opportunities for all citizens. There is no better opportunity to do this than to use President Jonathan’s version of a national conference to solve all the riddles needed to defeat the Sphinx of failure that has been around the country for decades. It seems that all the six regions have finalised their list of delegates to the Abuja conference. According to the Governor of Niger Delta, speaking on behalf of the 19 governors from the former Northern Region, the North has prepared its position for the conference. The Southeast and South-south regions had also concluded a meeting in Calabar at which they took a position on behalf of both the former Eastern Region and a portion of the old Western Region amalgamated one century ago. On February 27, the core of the former Western

Region met in Ibadan to take a position on what to carry on behalf of close to 40 million citizens in the region to the Abuja or Jonathan conference. No sarcasm is intended for calling the conference Jonathan conference. We had had in the past Richard’s, Littleton, Macpherson, and Abubakar? Constitutions. This is just giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. There has been so much talk about the country’s unity. We have been at it for one century already. Those selected as delegates to the conference should not waste time to anchor the conference on unity. The only No-Go Area clearly spelt out by the Okurounmu Committee has already settled the issue of unity. Even President Jonathan’s recent Centenary Address has been unequivocal about the country’s unity. He has said there was no mistake about the amalgamation of 1914. Nigerians are not complaining primarily about the fact that the over one-hundred nationalities are in one huge country. They are complaining about the fact that the country is not working in a way to assist them to make sense of their lives in economic, political, and cultural terms. Many Nigerians expect that the conference would move from the decades of amalgamation under military rule and in the last fourteen years to one of federation. The issues for serious discussion no longer include the unity of the country. They require concentration on creating a functional federation and right conditions for the federation and its parts to realise their potentials. Despite decades of oil and gas exploration and exploitation, over 70% of Nigerians live in poverty and fear about the future of their children. If this signals anything, it is that anchoring the growth and development of a country on selling petroleum and sharing the proceeds among tiers of government from day to day may not take a country of over 160 million people out of the woods of underdevelopment and poverty. It will be worthless for delegates to go to Abuja to argue for more money to the states from proceeds from petroleum and gas.

Doing this for almost half a century has not yielded any substantial progress, except that it has spawned a few billionaires whose source of income almost invariably derives from access to political power. The stupendous wealth of the few from revenue allocation that derives from revenue garnered from a ‘rentier’ culture has created resource curse, rather than resource blessing for the nation. For regions or states to dwell on a better way to share the wealth oozing from petroleum is to misuse the opportunity of a conference that is long overdue. The challenge is for delegates to come up with new ideas about how to generate revenue for the whole country and its federating units and how to create a social contract that gives responsibilities to those who are charged to govern and the citizens they govern. There is a need to create a country in which the primary stakeholder is the citizen. The way to do this is to borrow ideas and methods from developed and democratic countries. Taxation is the effective device in modern nation building to create a bond between the government and its citizens. Delegates should pay attention to the need to move all forms of taxation, apart from mineral royalty tax, to the states, which in turn is to pass to Abuja the percentage agreed upon to keep the federal government running well. The argument about derivation versus allocation can also be put to rest through taxation. Once the federal government collects substantial tax on mineral royalties, the remaining revenue from mineral exploitation should be reserved for the states in which the minerals are exploited. The reason for the federal government and other states in the federation not to share whatever is left of revenue from mineral exploitation to the states of origin of such minerals is at variance with the theory of even development or of opposition to uneven development as a source of conflict and violence. For decades, military dictators popularised the theory of even development, on which they based the policy of sharing revenue from petroleum to all tiers of

government and at the expense of communities damaged by mineral exploitation. Even several governors in the post-military era have argued about too much money going to certain oil-producing states, just as apologists for Boko Haram have taken pains to theorise that poor revenues to some northern states have spawned terrorism by persons who feel alienated and pauperised. It may be possible for a few states and a few million citizens in other oil-producing countries to live as parasites, but it will be difficult for an entire country of 170 million people to thrive on the culture of parasitism made possible by petroleum exploitation. The Jonathan conference must move away from further entrenchment of the culture of parasitism to creation of a national culture of productivity. Doing this will save governors and their citizens from having to wait in the fashion of mendicants for allocations from the central government that supervises or even occasionally acts as the owner of the federation account. The central government will no longer need to make a job of allocating funds to 36 states and 774 local governments. It will also throw up a central government with limited responsibilities, as distinct from a central government that prefers to act as jack of all trades. In addition, citizens who pay taxes from their income or business to keep the governments alive will be less alienated from governance and more empowered to monitor the government they fund. Citizens and elected officials will become partners or joint stakeholders in the project of nurturing a modern multiethnic state. It is common knowledge that most countries in which Nigeria’s rulers in the era of dependence on petroleum buy and hide mansions fuel their civilisation with tax revenue. There are just a few countries that live on and off petroleum. Such countries have small populations. Even many of such countries are becoming productive economies. U.A.E., the country that hosts at least 500 Nigerians daily, is one such example. Many other petroleum-rich countries are already planning for a civilisation beyond oil, in response to fast changes in pattern of ownership of oil across the globe. The time that Nigeria is about to re-design itself for the future calls for a new polity that is driven by a social contract anchored on tax revenue.


COMMENT

THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

15

An elitist sermon

The NNPC GMD’s call to use gas instead of kerosene sounds like what triggered the French Revolution

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HE wife of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, wondered why the protesters on the streets of Paris clamoured for bread when they could have cake. It infuriated them, and led to a rabble that torched the city and the French monarchy. Similar language came from the leadership of Nigerian oil. We know that there are advantages in switching from kerosene to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). These include the provision of a cleaner and safer fuel option, especially for lower income households, reduction of indoor air pollution that causes significant health problems and a decline in carbon emissions caused by dirty fuels; but the decision of which to use should be for the consumers to make. It should not be imposed on them in a manner akin to the ‘if you can’t find bread, eat cake’ fashion. That is why it is not a befitting sermon from the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, and the chief executive of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Haruna Momoh, two people who are critical to making kerosene available in the country but have failed to do, to ask Nigerians to switch from kerosene to LPG. Messrs Yakubu and Momoh, while testifying before members of the Dakuku Peteside-led House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (downstream) investigating supply, distribution and subsidy expenditure on kerosene from 2010 – 2013, said the solution to the lingering kerosene scarcity lies in switching over to LPG because this will reduce pressure on kerosene and ultimately lead to a drop in the demand for it. This excuse is full of the usual trappings of public officials who rather than be pragmatic about solutions to our problems sniff for excuses for the easy way out. The duo failed to take cognisance of the fact that cooking gas is costly and is beyond the reach of many Nigerians. One reason for this is the absence

A

TTAINING half-a-century is a noteworthy achievement, especially in a country like ours where average life expectancy is below this landmark for both male and female. It gets more important when such life has been lived in pursuit of excellence and helping others to achieve their full potentials. Babatunde Aloysius Ahonsi’s life is a lesson in humility and excellence. Turning 50 on February 27 is, however, a noteworthy event even when he refused to have any elaborate celebration, which is very typical of him, as many of us who have interacted and worked with him at different levels know. But Nigerians have a duty to examine his life closely and see the lessons we can glean from it. It is doubtful if a critical analysis of our developmental efforts as a country in the areas of maternal and child health, HIV and AIDS, and gender empowerment in the last two decades would not reveal his imprint in all. Whether as a lecturer at the Universities of Ilorin, Calabar, and Lagos, or as a senior programme officer in the West Africa office of the Ford Foundation, or currently as Country Director

of a clear-cut policy to drive LPG consumption by the Federal Government. The fact is that deliberate government policies account significantly for the much progress made in countries like Brazil and Morocco, where LPG consumption is high. There is also the fear of gas in our society that would make people prefer kerosene that they perceive as safer and easier to handle. So, unlike Brazil and Morocco, the Federal Government will have to work harder to convince Nigerians to use gas. There was nothing new in whatever the duo told the House of Representatives committee members, either from the point of view of economics, or environmental safety. But what they failed to add is that even their own recommendation will come to naught if the same business paradigm they are using in the NNPC, for instance, is transferred to the process of producing the LPG. It is scandalous that Nigeria, a major producer of crude oil imports the bulk of the fuel that is used in the country. And there are reasons for these, including corruption and governmental ineptitude. For these reasons, it will only be a matter of time for the same problems leading to scarcity of kerosene to afflict the production of LPG. This is one ‘Nigerian factor’ that Messrs Yakubu and Momoh, as well as many others who have been making a case for LPG for domestic use in the country appear to be overlooking. If we promote LPG for domestic use, which is the

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

ideal thing to do, a time will come when more Nigerians will demand for it and the question of meeting the demand will surface. This is why we think the prescription of the duo is symptomatic of the typical Nigerian public official’s penchant to sidetrack rather than solve problems. Rather than tell Nigerians why kerosene remains scarce, which was the essence of their appearance before the House committee in the first place, they launched into the issue of LPG as solution to the scarcity. How does that explain why kerosene remains scarce despite the humongous amount the government pays as subsidy on the product? Yakubu himself admitted that about N8.49 billion was expended to subsidise a total of 5,015.413.022.06 trillion litres of kerosene in 19 months! So, why is the product still scarce? We know as a matter of fact that petroleum products are being smuggled out to neighbouring countries. We are also aware that the activities of pipeline vandals, the state of disrepair of pipelines and depots in the country, and the activities of unscrupulous elements who adulterate kerosene to sell it as automatic gas oil often referred to as diesel, all contribute to the scarcity of the product. All these are issues the government should tackle because they are the reasons why government exists in the first place. For as long as these issues are unresolved, it is immaterial whether Nigerians use kerosene or LPG, there will always be scarcity at some point. So, we restate: if cooking gas must be substituted for kerosene, it should be by choice and a deliberate policy on the part of government; it does not lie in the mouths of those who should make kerosene available and have failed in that responsibility to seek to impose gas on Nigerians. That looks to us a subterfuge to cover their shortcomings and the general ineptitude in the country. It is cynicism taken too far.

LETTER

Babatunde Aloysius Ahonsi at 50 By Wale Fatade

for Population Council in Nigeria, his life has been geared towards rescuing children from a myriad of diseases, ensuring pregnant and nursing women live life to the fullest, and lifting women from the shackles which our tradition and religion have bound them with. He has also made stellar contributions to scholarship as his copious papers on health, development, and gender issues are everywhere for all to read. Even when he left the university environment formally in 1997, he has remained attached to the system in churning out papers regularly and actually planning to return to academics fully later in his life. BAA, as colleagues and friends affectionately call him, graduated with a first class honours in Sociology from the University of Lagos and a doctorate in Population Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science

which he undertook as a Commonwealth Scholar between 1988 and 1992. BAA is a winner of over 20 awards for academic excellence and professional distinction since 1985, and he has been a Visiting Young Fellow at the Population Institute for Research and Training at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA (1993), a Laureate at the 1 st Gender Institute by CODESRIA, Dakar, Senegal (1994), and a World BankRobert McNamara Fellow (1995-6). He has also been actively involved in technical assistance to several Nigerian NGOs working on gender equity and sexual and reproductive health, and to major not for-profit companies on CSR issues. Highlights of his professional career in the last 17 years include helping to catalyse the schoolbased provision of comprehensive sexuality education for young people in Nigeria, the empowerment of persons living with HIV and AIDS in national responses to the epidemic, and the inter-linking of

reproductive health education for poor youth and women with economic empowerment approaches. His newspaper articles have not been as regular as when he used to write a weekly newspaper column but appearing rather sparingly possibly due to the nature of his current assignment. Our paths crossed in 2003 even though his name has featured repeatedly in conversations with some friends before then. What struck me that time and till now is his simplicity in dressing and approach to issues with a knack for breaking down complex stuff to easily understandable parts. Until recently when I asked him his mother tongue, it was difficult placing him particularly within the prism of that usually confusing phrase, “state of origin” as most of our discussions are held in Yoruba which he speaks very fluently having grown up in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. “Ogbeni, ki lo n happen?” he would intone in his baritone voice anytime we speak. More often than not, he plays the roles of a teacher,

counsellor, sociologist, and educator whenever we speak. His cosmopolitan outlook has, however, not stopped him from supporting his homestead. BAA sits on the board of Otuo Microfinance Bank in Edo State. His undying love for Nigeria remains unparalleled and he would always intone, “Let’s keep hope alive, Nigeria is our country,” even when situation appears to be going contrary. Despite numerous opportunities to live outside the country, he has consistently refused to do so saying “Nigeria si ma da,” loosely translated: Nigeria will still get better. Whenever I asked him why he remained so eternally optimistic about Nigeria, he always answered that our abundant potentials in human and natural resources properly harnessed will surely do wonders and that he sees his life-long occupation as giving hope to Nigerians. He does not relate with anybody on the basis of ethnicity but solely on the fact that such person is a human being and that’s why

his friends cut across the entire country and outside. He is also devoted to his family even when his career has forced him to live a peripatetic life recognising it as the hub for a successful and productive life. Babatunde – he loves that name greatly – is married to Francisca Ahlijah and they have two sons, Arenma and Osaemi. A devout Catholic who is not loud but whose life is an epitome of Christian virtues; he is an active participant in his community whether in the neighbourhood where he lives, the churches he worships both in Lagos and Abuja, and the schools his sons attend. He readily offers his skills and intellect in all these places. And for those of us his younger friends, he is the elder brother we don’t have offering us shade from the vicissitudes of life whenever we need it. I wish I could speak Otuo, a variant of the Bini language spoken in parts of Owan East LGA of Edo State, and wish him a Happy Birthday using the language. But this tribute suffices, and it comes with a prayerful wish that surely the best part of his life is still ahead. Fatade is a journalist in Lagos.

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16

COMMENT

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

Is the ‘Coordinating Minister’ title a misnomer?

There are tens of such massive thefts you begin to wonder what exactly any minister is coordinating in this corruption cesspit of a government

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HE more you look at literally every department of government becoming a cesspool of corruption, the more you wonder if anybody is truly in charge of the Nigerian economy. Add insecurity, and you wonder if the country itself is simply not on autopilot. The more you see seemingly untouchable mandarins messing up key sectors of the economy, the more confused you are about whether or not President Jonathan knows that the buck really stops at this table. Happily, one area where there could be no confusion, however, is in what exactly should constitute the responsibility of a so-called Coordinating Minister of Economy. Who then is a coordinating minister? By my Encarta Dictionary definition, this should be the one who organises a complex enterprise in which numerous people are involved and brings together their contributions to form a coherent or efficient whole. So, how effectively or competently has Dr Okonjo-Iweala performed her functions of coordinating an economy in which almost every funding initiative has been turned to a cesspit of corruption? Or to ask a more direct question: was she promoted over and above her competence? Is her supervisor, the president, adequately or properly overseeing her work or is the Nigerian system that congenitally corrupt that it is impossible to make a success of the job? Where exactly lies the problem of an economy that presents with so many fault lines as the one we have?

O

NE of the contributors to last week’s essay on this column berated me for insinuating in the essay that it was the president’s responsibility for cleaning up the noise pollution in the country. The writer went on to insist that we should stop the habit of piling every known and unknown responsibility on the president, insisting that there are a few things we should be able to do on our own. I would have been half inclined to agree with my esteemed reader’s view but for a tiny winy bit of things which some might call nonsense and some might say are of some national significance. Like it or not, everything still stops at the president’s table. You, reader, are not raising a new objection because it’s been raised before. When our Obj. was in government, he was said to have been angry that every failure in the country was being attributed to him, including if a woman failed to conceive. He did not understand then. Now I think he does and he it was who, in his famous Epistle to Aso Rock, held the present president liable for everything happening in the polity. Obviously, the shoe is on the other foot now; well it is if someone else is wearing it. Actually, if you are commiserating with the president as I am, then it may turn out that, perhaps, you and I understand his job better than he does. I, for instance, now understand that if chickens refuse to lay eggs, I hold the

It will be extremely difficult to question the qualification of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, a PhD holder in Economics, former World Bank President who has also had several years of cognate experience part of which involved shaping up the economies of some third world countries like ours. Is she otherwise being undermined by more powerful colleagues who she dares not as much as attempt to question, however perfunctorily they are performing in their equally key ministries? If that is the problem, why would she not, as she once did when serving under an imperial President Obasanjo, simply resign, head back to the U. S or elect to go into the murky waters of Nigerian politics? Only Mrs OkonjoIweala can answer these questions but she needs be told that the more she hangs on amidst this bravura of kleptomania, the more she risks a diminution to her integrity since the economic leakages occurring thereby are opening Nigeria up to international opprobrium. A good example of this embarrassment is the recent hasty suspension of the Central Bank Governor. While I hold firmly to the belief that there shouldn’t be any public officer the president cannot discipline, the process is of great moment and it must be seen to conform with constitutional provisions. I wonder if the Coordinating Minister is aware that, had she been alive to her responsibilities, there should have been no argument, whatever, about the balances on the country’s bank accounts or about how much NNPC made or how much

it remitted to the federation account. These are figures she should obtain by the mere pressing of a computer button. Let us briefly quote Professor Bolaji Aluko in his Mid-week Essay on the Sanusi conundrum in this regard: ‘Oil is the life-blood of Nigeria, and NNPC its conduit - and a JP Morgan account, its custodian. But she is sure that NNPC has a foreign account - or foreign accounts - since it trades abroad, but NOT sure whether it is JP Morgan or not, nor has she EVER seen such a statement. Granted she is not the Auditor-General, but, for crying out loud, this is where the greatest single amount of money that goes into the Consolidated Revenue account comes from. I would be curious to see that statement of account - either directly from NNPC, from the Auditor General’s Office or, indeed, from JP Morgan itself. Episodically, I shall see/ask, why out of the X trillion Naira in the account, only Y trillion Naira was paid into the federation account last month. NNPC should be infinitely more transparent, and the Finance Minister, much more curious.’ Given the Coordinating Minister’s less than serious engagement with her responsibilities therefore, should it surprise us that literally every funding initiative of the Jonathan administration has been turned to a watering hole by these smart Alec’s? When you see the oil subsidy racket of 2012 and think you had seen the worst, then pops up the humongous multibillion naira pension scam. As you are wondering what exactly your president is doing in office, then comes

the totally bewildering NNPC accounts. They are so bewildering you know neither how much oil is pumped or exported daily, nor how much of what was received had been credited into the NNPC’s open or shadowy accounts or transferred, as constitutionally prescribed, into the federation account. But you are actually just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in this circuitous corruption racket that now runs the national government. Going by The Nation’s Editorial of Monday, February 24, 2014, titled ‘Plundering Woes,’ none of this government’s mind-boggling rogueries equals what they have been doing with the Service Wide Vote (SWV), especially in its devil-maycare impunity, in the sure certainty that nothing will happen to them, the perpetrators which could go right up. Designed primarily to make provision for financial emergencies of government, the SWV has been turned into a criminal conduit pipe. And we have the House Committee headed by Hon. Solomon Adeola to thank for discovering how N4.7 trillion was spent, as against a vote of N2.1 trillion approved between 200412. To give only two examples, the authorities of the National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna, were alarmed when, on December 31, 2012, they suddenly had a bank alert informing them of a credit of N791M at a time it had not requested for any financial assistance. They promptly paid it back into government coffers. More amazing, however, was the Budget Office claim that it paid N5 billion to

NAFDAC whereas the agency claimed it received only N365 million. The National Boundary Office would later completely deny ever receiving any N2 billion from the same Budget Office just as Chairman Giade of the NDLEA said the agency received nothing of the N65 million penned against it. There are tens of such massive thefts you begin to wonder what exactly any minister is coordinating in this corruption cesspit of a government. Concluding, the editorial said “if the presidency does not account for, and punish the felons who perpetrated these acts, we doubt whether the new vote of N1 trillion will be deployed for its rightful purposes by entrenched gluttons of government believed to be working in cahoots with the presidency’. If the Jonathan administration ever wanted to fight corruption, this should be the starting point. Just allow the anti-corruption agencies take in the appropriate Director-General of the Budget Office and officials of the respective banks which transferred these sums and they should be singing like a canary. The National Planning Office cannot even account for a penny of its own N400m largesse since it has, apparently, all gone into thin air. With these non-exhaustive instances of leakages in the economy, it is obvious Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala has been coordinating nothing. And if she had been doing that, it has been so poorly coordinated that she hardly deserves a day’s pay. She is too highly regarded, home and abroad, to continue to play at this level.

Of course, the president is liable for everything! If you are commiserating with the president as I am, then it may turn out that, perhaps, you and I understand his job better than he does

president responsible for it. Don’t you know? If chickens are not laying, it is because there is no longer any security in the land. Anyone familiar with chicken behaviour knows that they need absolute peace and quiet to lay any eggs, just like any other human being, you know, when you go to do your business in the mornings in the toilet, if you’re lucky, or bush, if you’re not. Anyway, if a woman cannot conceive either, why, it is the president’s fault. Who is responsible for security in the land? Now tell me, how many men worried about security can think of making any babies when your average boko haram is shooting sporadically into the air anyhow now? Just look at the example of the fifty-nine school children killed by boko haram shooters in Buni Yadi, Yobe State; not to talk of the thirtyseven people killed even more recently in Adamawa State. Guess whose table that buck rests at: that’s right – the president’s. He is the one who can give the order for all this to stop. Definitely, he cannot give in to their demands that all schools be closed in the country or that the nation should convert to Islam. However, his is still the responsibility and initiative to convince the killers that one really should sit down and think seriously before putting an end to any human life, for money or for game. The reason is that, for sooth, none of us here can manufacture a toe nail. All that cloning business is really only repli-

cating what exists. Only the Almighty can make from nothing. So now, are you surprised that everyone is calling on the president to end all the destruction of Nigeria’s present and potential human resources? Believe me, governments all over the world are responsible for the level of sanity in their respective lands. Now, you and I know that many things can contribute to this sanity problem. There is first the ability of every individual to believe that waking up in the morning and assaying forth into the sunrise to make a living is worth the effort. I tell you, there are many people closer to you than you think who do not see any reason why they should. Well, for one thing, there is the fact that all their efforts may not produce enough food for the day for them and their dependents. Then there are other things such as fears: of the unknown, of crowds, bridges, rivers, valleys, and even of going outside. Do you know that there are people who are afraid of what would happen to them outside so they do not venture outside their houses? Sick, ehn? Then, there are the extraneous factors such as the sanity levels of others like vehicle drivers, civil servants, fellow workers, noise levels... One of the first thing the new government of a country did recently somewhere in a not-too-remote world was to clean up the noise level in the cities. So yes, it is the president’s duty to reduce noise; just pass a

law against it, that’s all. Let me tell you other bucks that stop at the president’s table. You will agree that many events have been tumbling over each other in a mad rush to out-do the other. There had been first talk of fifty billion dollars missing from the coffers of the NNPC and the nation. Then the figure came down to thirty. Now, it appears to have settled on about twenty billion dollars missing from the coffers. When I translated the money into Naira, I realised it came to trillions of Naira, enough to give the country an effective rail system. You tell me if you don’t think there’s something fishy going on in the land as usual. Worse still, even ICPC is washing its hands of it, insisting that it cannot ‘probe’ and ‘unprobe’ it. I added that last bit, but it did say that it did not have the competency to look into it. Can you just imagine that? What accounts can be so fuddled that it can’t be unfolded? I imagine though that what the body was really saying was that the NNPC issue was a no-go area for it; the issue is so deep that the ICPC is really out of its depths on it. Rather than attend to all these – national and personal fears, noise level, missing billions of dollars, shooting of children and adults everywhere in the north – I say rather than attend to all these, the government is busy celebrating a centenary which no other person in the country understands. Naturally, with the

president at the head of these celebrations, one can only assume that they are to his pleasing. In fact, the celebrations are so pleasing to him that I hear the organisers are even giving out honours now. Imagine that: to be honoured at an event one only wants to gape at in incredulity. It’s still a wonder that my name has not been included. Well, really, when you think that the country is even now in the throes of agony over how nothing in it is working, you honestly do not want to think of celebrations. Instead, you want to take a minute and pause over the country: to systematically restructure or to systematically dismember. It’s a little like reversing the ‘To be or not to be’ formula. Any which way, the answer will still be a slap in the face. Celebrate kini? Yes, dear reader, the president is liable for everything. He is liable for the police not working effectively; for electricity supply not being regular, for water supply not being regular, for food being expensive in the market, for roads being impassable and in particular, the ones leading to my village, for bad odours or noises in the air, for bad weather, etc. Obviously, the vision of the country that the president had when he vied for the presidency included one of doling out trillions of Naira in oil subsidy yearly to cronies, celebrating unendingly and fighting well-meaning friends. These are things we should focus on putting an end to.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

COMMENT

17

(54) The mode of surplus extraction changed and corruption became the glue that holds things together: notes for young compatriots (2)

•L-R: Gowon, Awolowo, and Nigerian workers at a mass rally

A

T the end of last week’s first essay in this series, I made the claim that when crude oil replaced export or cash crop production (together with industrial production of light consumer goods) as the medium of surplus accumulation by our political and economic elites, corruption became not only gargantuan and rampant but in fact became the means of massive distortion of income and wealth redistribution throughout all layers of the society in every part of the country. To this claim it is necessary to add a caveat, a qualification. It is not crude oil production itself that caused this epochal shift in how the social surplus is appropriated in our country, in how people became rich or poor. Crude oil production for export in and of itself has nothing inherently corrupting in it. Unlike Nigeria, many oil-producing countries of the world did not automatically and massively become corrupted by oil wealth. Examples are Norway, Venezuela and even some of the Middle East oil producing countries like the United Arab Emirates. As a matter of fact, historically speaking, in some countries of the world, oil wealth has greatly reduced the gap between the rich and the poor, between the powerful elites and the teeming majority of the given country’s urban and rural poor. Corruption has not vanished in such countries; indeed, it has not vanished in any country in the world and will probably never disappear from the face of the planet. But corruption has not in Venezuela or Norway or the UAE Gulf States become the glue that holds the society together in lieu of fair and just redistribution of wealth when oil wealth came to those countries. Why and how did this come to pass in Nigeria? That is the fundamental question. In responding to that question as the primary topic of this continuation of the series that began last week, I must again stress that my reflections in the series are primarily addressed to the younger generations of Nigerians, especially those born after 1980. Any Nigerian who had come of age by that date knew a vastly different country. Corruption did exist, and

sometimes in quite spectacular forms and expressions. But it did not remotely have the chance, the now seemingly inevitable reality of being the means of the redistribution of wealth and hence the glue that keeps everything together in economy and society in the oil-rich but poverty stricken country the country we now know and perforce have to transform. The root cause of the epochal shift of corruption in the political economy of Nigeria can be simply put: with oil wealth, surplus accumulation by our elites that was not based directly on the exploitation of farmers and workers became possible. Yakubu Gowon’s infamous statement in the period is particularly relevant here: money is no longer our problem, he said; our problem is how to spend it. Concerning that infamous statement, I have often thought that Gowon would have been right if he had only added the word, “wisely”. That is to say if he would have said something that posterity would never forget if he had said our problem is how to spend our new-found oil wealth wisely. But he did not say that and the reason he did not was because he was bragging petulantly about Nigeria’s emergence as one of the most important oil producing countries in the world; he was saying that with our new-found oil wealth, the powerful nations and forces in the world and in particular the West, could no longer condescend or dictate to us. Alas, that portentous statement of Gowon reveals a lot of what he personally and virtually all of our political and economic elites do not know about the production and maintenance of true wealth, as distinct from illusory wealth in all the nations and among the peoples of our planet. This is the fact that, all expressions and forms of waste, squandermania and conspicuous consumption duly acknowledged, true wealth in our world is always tied to the production of real, life-enhancing and humanizing value. Let me explain. To create true wealth, you must work, you must create value. It helps in particular if your work either enhances existing value-creating work or indeed creates new ways of mak-

ing work better and more productive. And it so happens that currently in our world, we are living in an epoch in which unprecedented innovations in technologies of knowledge production and the micro-processing of tools, appliances and operations of production in all areas of the circulation and exchange of goods and services between the planet’s regions and nations are the primary engines of wealth production. In the great universities, research institutions and frontline innovative “research and development” corporations of the world, new techniques of producing knowledge and making work more prodigious are being discovered and introduced into the marketplaces of the planet. The results, the ramifications are not always unambiguously positive and people all over the world still have to fight for equality of opportunities, justice and dignity. But it does help a lot if one’s nation and region of the world is abreast of these developments, these innovations in how real and sustainable wealth is produced. It is almost banal to say that our country, Nigeria, lags far behind in these developments. The cause, unambiguously, lies in the fact that oil wealth in Nigeria brought with it a massive devaluation of work as the creator of true wealth and value, especially when corruption became the means of an atrociously unfair and unproductive redistribution of wealth. I now come to the specific issue of corruption as the means of wealth redistribution in oil-rich Nigeria. In this regard, I find the statement made by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Federal Commissioner of Finance at the end of the Nigerian-Biafran civil war portentous. What was the statement? Awolowo said, with his characteristic dry sarcasm, that as far as he was concerned as the Finance Commissioner, no soldier died in the civil war because from start to finish, every kobo of every soldier’s salary was paid. The statement goes to the heart of the fact that in oil rich Nigeria, you not only don’t have to work to earn legitimate money, sometimes you don’ t even have to be alive! Beyond this, you don’t have to work; you don’t have to create value to become

immensely rich and well-off. I think most adult, thinking Nigerians know this fundamental reality of their oilrich but poverty stricken country. Everyone knows that it is not what you know, it is not what you can truly contribute that matters; rather, it is a question of who you know, what connections you can make with the rich and the powerful in whose hands lies the control of the oil wealth. And everyone knows that everybody wants to join the winners, those who are making it even in the midst and the thickness of widening circles of poverty. There is even an evangelical, Pentecostal denomination known, precisely, as “Winners”. But if this is all a well-known and widely discussed reality of wealth and poverty in our country in the last three and half decades, what is not fully appreciated is the fact that when things have gone this far in a country, it signifies that corruption has become the means of wealth redistribution and therefore the glue that holds everything together, a glue that we must dissolve completely the sooner the better. One of the reasons why corruption in oil-rich Nigeria is not generally and widely recognized for the atrocious means of wealth redistribution that it is can be traced to the fact that it is often confused with or explained away by link with genuine aspirations for growth and development throughout Nigeria, especially in the vast hinterlands of the land. Let me give two particularly crucial examples: state creation and the often resultant or accompanying creation of state universities. At the onset of oil wealth in Nigeria, there were four regions and about twelve universities in the country. As the oil wealth began to flow abundantly placing us in the position of the sixth or seventh largest oil-producing country in the world, we very rapidly moved from the four regions to twelve states, then nineteen states and then finally the current thirty-six states. Concurrently, the twelve federal and regional universities grew at an astronomical rate to dozens of universities as each new state created one, two or three more universities in each state, all within the space of

slightly more than two decades. In the modern world, no other country in the world has seen the same rate, number and rapidity in the creation of states and state universities. The ostensible justification was the legitimate aspirations of our peoples everywhere in the country for bringing political administration and education closer to our localities and communities across the length and breadth of the country. But the actual results do not in the least indicate that those legitimate aspirations have come anywhere close to fulfillment. Indeed, in precisely the same period, poverty, economic marginalization and political alienation of the masses of our peoples have increased tenfold in nearly all parts of the country. Meanwhile, what has really happened is that the national cake has been further shared, further redistributed among the elites throughout the country. Every single state administrative bureaucracy in the country has grown beyond rhyme and reason and redundancies and sinecures abound aplenty. Indeed, in most states, recurrent expenditure which consists primarily of the payment of salaries and emoluments, run as much as three times the size of capital expenditure for real growth and development. And in the universities, a vast professoriate has been rapidly created with the result that quantity now far outweighs quality, as every single professor reading this article knows deep down in his or her consciousness and conscience. The profile that I have given of state and state universities creation as means of corrupt wealth redistribution is a profoundly saddening thing for me to state. But it needs to be said, especially as this profile constitutes the tip of a vast iceberg. In next week’s concluding essay in the series, I shall indicate other instances, other ramifications of what I have shown with the profile of state and universities creation. And I shall also give an indication of what we might do or should begin to do about the problem, the crises. Biodun Jeyifo bjeyifo@fas.harvard.edu


18

THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

COMMENT

sms only: 08116759748

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OMETIME in 2011 a private in the Nigerian Army was arrested by agents of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Task Force for driving in the dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane at the Obanikoro area of the city. Angered at the audacity of the officials, the man left and soon returned with his comrades-inarms and a full-blown army-police clash ensued. In my column that weekend I excoriated soldiers who thought they were above the law simply because they wore fatigues. I suggested that whole lot of them be shipped off to the North East where they could work out their aggression tackling a Boko Haram sect that was fast becoming a nuisance. At that point government was still addressing the issue mainly using the police and secret service. I soon received a text message from an officer who while taking my caustic comments in good humour denied that military men only had contempt for the police. He pointed out that the army was always being called in to clean messes left behind by the Nigerian Police. He boasted that if the military were the ones handling the young insurgency, they would sort it out in three months. This week I was reminded of that boast as the death toll from the attack on the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State hit 60. In nearby Adamawa State, a further 32 persons lost their lives in separate attacks by Boko Haram in three towns. Overall the body count for February is over 300 and rising. Early in December last year, the sect swept unhindered into Air Force bases located near the Maiduguri airport. They left in their wake scores killed and five aircraft razed. It was a stunning and embarrassing blow to Nigeria’s military pride, and it occurred with the armed forces firmly in charge of managing the war against the insurgents. Eight months after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and gave the military extensive powers to stamp out the killings, the performance of the military is under scrutiny. Disturbing questions are being asked and nobody is providing answers. Frustrated and angry governors are raising posers. Bewildered legislators are scratching their heads wondering what on earth is going on. The questions cover everything from strategy to rules of deployment, funding and motivation. Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, got things going by claiming the insurgents were better equipped and motivated than Nigerian soldiers. This very serious charge drew a typically defensive riposte from President Jonathan who offered to withdraw the troops for one month to test the theory about their ineffectiveness. For his part, Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, has made the equally grave claim that there may be Fifth Columnists sabotaging the efforts of the military from within. The allegations arise from a string of strange deployments that preceded the Buni Yadi slaughter and some other recent high profile attacks. Wondering why soldiers were always late in arriving at scenes of incidents, he said: “In BuniYadi, Yobe State, the soldiers withdrew from checkpoint hours to the attack. Who ordered the withdrawal? In Shuwa and Michika, soldiers with-

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HEN the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was yet to remit $10.8 billion to the Federation Account, the oil firm’s leadership accused him of confusion and ignorance. Labouring to defend his dismissal of Sanusi during his last media chat, the president referred to how the CBN chief had tied himself up in knots bandying different figures allegedly not remitted by the NNPC. Now, it appears that the list of the ‘ignorant’ and ‘confused’ is getting longer. A presentation made by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, before the Joint House Committee probing the Berne Declaration report, has claimed that not only was Nigeria losing an estimated $8 billion annually through the crude oil-for-refined products exchange arrangement, aka crude oil swaps,

Boko Haram: Nigeria’s military on the spot

Nigerian troops heading into Boko Haram territory on the day a state of emergency was declared in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States drew, shortly after that Boko Haram attacked, who ordered the withdrawals”? “We also have the case of Gen. Mohammed Shuwa who was killed in Maiduguri by the socalled Boko Haram. There is an army unit there, but they didn’t respond during the attack. Who told them not to respond? “The Air Force base was raided in Maiduguri. There was a military base nearby; who gave the base the order not to respond during the raid on the Air Force base?” Questions, questions! As though worries about unseen hands manipulating the situation were not bad enough, we now have to contend with reports of soldiers in Adamawa abandoning their checkpoints and fleeing into the bush - leaving five villages at the mercy of the insurgents according to reports by Associated Press. Why would soldiers who are trained to kill or be killed, who are supposed to provide protection for the people, cut and run before the enemy? It all comes down to the same issues of equipment and motivation raised by Shettima. Anyone would beat a retreat in the face of superior firepower. They would definitely scamper before insurgents who joyfully embrace death if they see

in June last year. It is beginning to look like a case of underwhelming force confronting an implacable foe.

no reason to die for their country. It is not just the hapless troops in the middle of nowhere who have to deal with the question of motivation. How many are willing to die for Nigeria? It just becomes an issue because it is the business of the military to die, and turning tail before the enemy is one of the most serious offences a soldier can commit. So how do we begin to turn things around seeing as current efforts are doing very little to deter the terrorists? The first battle that needs to be won is that of finance. Reports indicate that the insurgents who struck at Buni Yadi drove into town in nine brand new Toyota Hilux vans. Each of these vehicles cost more than N6 million at today’s prices. How many do they have in the fleet? Who’s paying for them? Individuals and organisations with very deep pockets obviously. But no matter how rich they are they cannot be more endowed than the Nigerian state. That is why it is scandalous to even imagine that the insurgents can be better armed than our soldiers. What do we spend our huge defence budget on if troops can’t get the armament they need to prevail in battle? The ongoing war against terror provides the window to review not just the pattern of defence

NEITI and NNPC’s ‘complex’ accounts NNPC may have failed to remit $22.8billion to the Federation Account. Berne Declaration, a Switzerland-based non-governmental advocacy group published a report titled “Swiss Traders’ Opaque Deals in Nigeria” last year. The report alleged that every year Nigeria loses billions of dollars as large volumes of oil are exported for well below the market price. It further alleges that the subsidy scheme for imports of refined petroleum products was systematically defrauded. NEITI’s Ahmed told the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) that the findings came out of its audit report on the finances of the oil corporation for 2009 to 2011. Quick as a flash, NNPC spokesman Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim reacted to what he ar-

gued was an orchestrated campaign of calumny designed to tarnish the corporation’s image. He said sensational headlines had been written misrepresenting the contents of the NEITI report. Significantly, Ahmed has not retracted her assertions before the committee. When she appeared before the hearing Ahmed said, “There is similarity in NEITI’s audit report and the Berne Declaration report. The report has a lot of substance in it. NEITI will go back and link the Berne Declaration report with the NEITI audit report.” But until Ahmed comes up with damning evidence against the corporation, NNPC executives can sleep soundly - after all they are the only ones who understand this oily business and its peculiar accounts. Even statutory agencies that should be

expenditure, but the entire structure of our military. All over the world countries are reforming their armed forces based on their peculiar security challenges. It is obvious that for Nigeria in the foreseeable future those challenges would be terroristic – rather than conventional. In addition to throwing more money at the problem in a targeted way, we need to throw in more troops. Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has made this demand and he should be supported. We can learn from the example of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. When it seemed like the security situation in both countries was spiraling out of control, the Americans implemented a “surge” policy that introduced thousands of new troops into the theatre of conflict. The upshot was that the spiral of violence was contained. The North East is crying out for a surge that limits the room the enemy has

to maneuver. But that surge should not contemplate the temporary relocation of the Nigerian Army’s headquarters to the North East as suggested by senators. That would simply be an empty kneejerk reaction that will not materially change much. If anything it exposes the nation to psychologically devastating attacks against symbols of the Nigerian state like happened with the assault on the Nigeria Police headquarters in Abuja. Much has been said about addressing social and economic conditions that provide a ready recruitment pool for terrorists. It is hard to fault that. Still, the point needs to be made that Boko Haram is unique. They are an implacable foe that would settle for nothing less than victory for their evil ideology. The only thing that can stop them is defeat. That is why it is important to get our military strategy right. There’s no question that some progress has been made in limiting their activity to the North East. These days stories of IEDs going off in city centers in the North West are rare occurrences. Still more needs to be done. It begins with the military and President being humble enough to admit that their current strategy is not working and is in urgent need of a review. combing through the corporation’s books are throwing in the towel. At its budget defence before the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) said its inability to probe NNPC over the years was down to the ‘sophistication’ of the corporation’s accounts. Professor Olu Aina, Acting Chairman of the Commission’s board said: “The account of NNPC is so sophisticated that it would require hiring financial experts to study it for needed investigation the cost of which, however, cannot be afforded by us now due to underfunding.” As it was in the beginning, so it is now and forever - the words of Sanusi et al against those of executives who keep telling the rest of us “you can’t understand this!” Truly, we just can’t understand: except if the NNPC spokesman is suggesting that NEITI has now merged with the All Progressives Congress (APC).


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

Governorship slot tears Oyo PDP apart PAGES 20

Jonathan’s home state and growing APC scare

Jigawa 2015 governorship: Lamido, Turaki renew rivalry

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2015: Sambo battles to halt APC in Kaduna • Sambo

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AST Tuesday, chieftains of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State gathered in the residence of Vice President Namadi Sambo at an emergency parley to discuss what worried PDP sources called the troubling rate at which the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is growing in the state as well as other challenges facing the party ahead of the 2015 general election. The Nation gathered that apart from discussing the recent defection of some members of the party to the opposition APC, the meeting also discussed the implication of the seeming successes of the opposition party in the state on Sambo’s political fortune. The meeting had in attendance both the vice president and Governor Mukhtar Yero. Apparently worried by the ob-

Vice President Namadi Sambo is worried at the dwindling fortunes of his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the rising profile of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in his home state of Kaduna and is fighting hard to reverse the trend, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan vious growing popularity of the opposition in his domain, the Vice President appears to be coming all out in what is certainly a battle to halt the progress of the APC in the state. Sources said determined to save his political career, Sambo is reaching out to all stakeholders in Kaduna PDP to put their grievances aside and join him in ensuring that the PDP wins Kaduna come 2015. Sources at the meeting said Sambo, while speaking during the parley, ac-

knowledged that the party is faced with the challenge of ensuring cohesion within and preventing its members from joining the new party. “The vice president spoke of how he has been working tirelessly to map out strategies to maintain PDP’s dominance as the ruling party in the state, despite the overt threat posed by the fast growing APC. He revealed that he has already commenced the drive to not only return those that defected to the APC, but woo members of other

opposition party to the PDP. “Parts of his effort to save the soul of the PDP, according to him, are the numerous meetings he held with members of the PDP who had left the party to return before 2015 elections. He has also met with some aggrieved members of the PDP who were contemplating dumping the party. “Already, we are seeing some results. I can tell you that a lot of our members who wanted to defect are now staying back, while we are dis-

cussing with some already in the opposition party to return back to the PDP where they belong. All these are outcome of Sambo’s renewed bid to save the PDP in Kaduna State,” our source said. Sambo and his party really have reasons to worry as the APC continues to prey on leading PDP members since its formation last year. No fewer than 12 prominent chieftains of the crisis-ridden ruling party defected to the APC in Kaduna last December, leading to widespread worry over the ability of the vice president to keep the party intact in his home state. Among those who dumped the ruling party were, a former state chairman in the state, Yaro Makama, Ambassador Sule Buba, who was the campaign director

•Continued on Page 20


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

POLITICS

Governorship slot tears Oyo PDP apart N

O one knows where the pendulum will swing. But everyone can confirm the battle for the governorship slot of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be tough and testy. The aspirants who have risen to over 10 at the last count are expected to give themselves a good run. It is expected to be the fiercest primary in the South-West PDP. The fading influence This is because of the lingering battles in the Oyo State chapter of the PDP. It all started in 2007 when former governor, Rasheed Ladoja, was impeached by the machinery powered by late Ibadan strongman, Lamidi Adedibu. Ladoja’s deputy, Adebayo Alao-Akala, stepped in until the fiasco was upturned by the court. Since then, the party in Oyo State has known no peace. When Alao-Akala returned to the Agodi Government House in 2007, the crisis escalated. Adedibu held on to the structure while AlaoAkala played the good boy. When Adedibu passed on, Alao-Akala naturally became the PDP leader in Oyo. But the former governor’s leadership left the party further decimated. When it faced election in 2011, Alao-Akala had alienated too many people to win reelection. Once out of office, the PDP continued to suffer blows upon blows. The numerous factions cancelled out themselves. Supporters tore at one another. Party chieftains exchanged fire with fire. This was the situation when the last congress of the party held in March 2012. Two executive councils emerged and are laying claims to the party’s affairs in the state. But the national secretariat of the party recognises the faction led by Yinka Taiwo, which was produced at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (former Liberty Stadium), the officially designated congress venue. The sterling performances of Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has left the party with little or no sympathies. Oyo indigenes freely compared what exists with the mess that used to be under the watch of the PDP. The multiple infrastructural transformations in the state shocked many and attracted more disdain for the PDP. But despite the PDP’s fading influence in Oyo State, the party is still attracting many aspirants. No fewer than 10 persons have indicated interest in flying the party’s ticket in 2015. Enter the aspirants They include former governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala; Ibadan-based businessman, Engineer Femi Babalola; former State Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB); Prof. Soji Adejumo; former deputy governor, Azeem Gbolarumi; Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide and Nigeria’s ambassador to

•Continued from Page 19

Intrigues surrounding the quest to win the governorship slot of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State is further tearing the party apart, reports Sunday Oguntola

• Akinjide

• Folarin

have endeared him to the indigenes, who believe he was the first governor to open up the area. His Oyato political structure remains welloiled and eager to roll out. But many in the party have not forgiven him for slighting them as governor. His troubles with prominent traditional rulers in the state as governor also remain a big political liability. The ongoing N11.5 billion fraud case against him is another baggage that could work against him. Whether or not Akala could seize control of the party again to win the governorship slot remains dicey. He is, however, the only aspirant outside the Ibadan axis, a development that could sway sentiments in his favour. Akinjide: The minister’s profile has been rising since she rose to political notice on the strength of her father, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the Second Republic. Sources said she has succeeded in building a strong structure that has become dominant in the state chapter. This structure, it was gathered, is well-funded and expanding in scope. But she has

a formidable foe in Alao-Akala with whom she is not on good terms. Besides, analysts wonder if a conservative state as Oyo is ready to have a female governor. Outside Ibadan, PDP chieftains said she is not popular at all. Besides, she is seen as an aristocrat whose ability to relate with the grassroots is suspect. But she remains a force to reckon with, especially in view of her mending roles in the crisis ravaging the party. Folarin: Until he was remanded in prison over the murder of former NURTW leader, Lateef Salako, aka Eleweomo, the former Senate leader was by far the most formidable PDP aspirant in 2011. But things have taken a turn for the worse for Folarin. Though the party’s machinery is in his total control, he has been unable to win the followership of other factions. But he has Adedibu’s structure intact and behind him. Today, many insiders believe any of these three will clinch the governorship ticket of the PDP but it is believed Ajimobi’s solid performances will make the task of PDP winning the election, a miracle.

Sambo and the battles to stop APC

doubt that the fortunes of the PDP in Southern Kaduna are highly at risk. This is largely as a result of mismanagement or failure on the part of people in government to build on the foundation that was laid,” Nzama said. Nzama stated further, “Instead of listening to advice, they engage in childish gossips, name calling and persecution of anyone who speaks up, just as the trend is glaring in both Northern and Central Kaduna zones. The entire state is pregnant with feverish anger against the current administration in the state and as well our party. “When you meet politicians, they complain of exclusion, you meet businessmen they complain of non-patronage and over concentration of business opportunities in the hands of a few favoured fronts of those in government, you meet the youths, they complain of failure to empower them, among others. This trend must be arrested if we want to sustain the fortunes of the party in the state.” But to the APC’s Interim Chairman, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Vice President Sambo should not trouble himself further as the 2015 election will be contested strongly among two parties, the PDP and the APC. “ The 2015 election will be contested by two parties. That is the party that wants to bring development to the country. We have the vice president and governor but nothing is happening in Kaduna State despite the loan being collected for the state. We don’t even know what they are using the loan for because they have nothing to show in the state.” The political scenario in Kaduna today suggests that the APC is ready to give PDP a run for its money and with Sambo set to personally lead the renewed push to halt the raging political invasion, what is left to be seen is how far he can go before the 2015 general elections.

of the late Governor Patrick Yakowa in 2011, seven serving members of the state House of Assembly and four former commissioners. The large number of legislators involved and the pedigree of Makama as a renowned grassroots mobiliser, sent jitters sown the spine of the leadership of the PDP. Coming barely a week after 37 members of the House of Representatives left the PDP for the APC, the development caught the attention of both the national leadership of the party and the presidency. Sambo was said to have gotten a marching order to halt the trend immediately. But rather than abate, the wave of defection grew stronger as another batch of 2,300 chieftains of the PDP defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was gathered that among the defectors are five serving and eight former councillors in the council. Twenty-four hours later, about 1, 200 members from the vice president’s council area reportedly moved to the APC. The development assumed a more worrying dimension when insinuations emerged that the defection of Makama and others is a clear indication that the Senator Ahmed Makarfi group in the ruling party may be on its way out. Markarfi, a former governor of the state, and the vice president have been engulfed in a fierce political war since 2008. The former governor is one of the most influential politicians in the state with a large followership cutting across the state and across all divides. Makarfi and Makama are close friends and political allies and the defection of Makama is being interpreted in some quarters to mean that the former may also be on his way out of the PDP. Although the senator has denied the insinuation, many chieftains of the party are not con-

• Akala Jordan, Taofeek Arapaja; Others are former Senate leader, Teslim Folarin; Seyi Makinde; former Minister of Sports, Taoheed Adedoja; former Minister of Power and Steel, Elder Wole Oyelese; renowned politician, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, among others. Of the lot, some are considered heavyweights while others are simply dismissed as appointment seekers. Sources said Arapaja is not so keen on the governorship slot as he is enjoying his ambassadorial role in Jordan. He is believed to be working hand-in-hand in Akinjide’s faction and is willing to concede the slot to her provided certain conditions are fulfilled. Some, like Adejo and Oyelese, are seen as stalwarts who should not be vying for elections but supporting younger aspirants. This, in a way, effectively leaves the tussle to Alao-Akala, Akinjide, Folarin, Babalola, Makinde, Adejumo, Adedoja and Gbolarumi. Alao-Akala: The former governor is blessed with heavy financial war-chest and a large followership in Ogbomosho and some parts of Oke-Ogun axis of the state. His many road projects in Oke-Ogun

vinced. Consequently, efforts are being intensified to ensure that his grievances are taken care of. Sources say, sensing danger ahead of the next general election, Vice-President Namadi Sambo has practically relocated to Kaduna in a bid to save the party from losing to the APC in 2015. It was learnt that Sambo expressed worry that with Kano State now in the hands of the APC, the votes from Kaduna State has become very vital if the PDP is to make a good showing in the North-West in 2015. “You will recall that in2011, while President Goodluck Jonathan secured about 400,000 votes in Kano State, the former CPC presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, got more than 1. 6 million votes. So, there is need for us here in Kaduna to halt the invasion of the opposition if the PDP is to win in the North-West. “Don’t also forget that Sokoto and Zamfara state governors are now in the APC. These are some of the reasons why Sambo is disturbed,” the source said. But some observers of the politics of the state say the rivalry between Sambo and other influential party chieftains like Senator Makarfi, Alhaji Samaila Yakawada, Alhaji Shuaibu Mikatti, and Alhaji Suleiman Hunkuyi, amongst others, may affect the fortunes of the party in the state negatively in spite of ongoing effort by the vice president. “It is not just about the APC. Even within the PDP, there are people plotting to get even with Sambo and Yero for excluding them from the scheme of things in the state since the death of former Governor Ibrahim Yakowa. “For example, Yakwada, who served as the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government un-

der Yakowa administration, is yet to forgive Sambo and Yero for allegedly instigating the removal of Alhaji Usman Gangara as Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. “Though the governor and the vice president denied having a hand in the impeachment, Gangara and other principal officers, who claimed that their removal was illegal, although still in court to challenge the impeachment, may see the next election as payback time. “In fact, the PDP governorship primaries in the state would either make or mar the party, depending on who emerges as its flag bearer. This will also affect the fortunes of the party in the 2015 general election,” our source said. To further underscore the crisis within the PDP in Kaduna State, former National Legal Adviser of the party and former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice under the administration of Makarfi, Mr. Mark Nzama, recently said the PDP in the state was currently at its lowest rating since 1999, warning that unless things change, the party may be heading for disaster in the state. Nzama, who comes from Southern Kaduna, maintained that it was going to be difficult to get the block votes in the southern part of the state because the people of the area have not been carried along. “Instead of a policy of appeasement or discussion, we have a situation where people in government or leadership position make it a duty to insult the sensibility of our people. So, we can see discontent and sadness among our people who ordinarily would vote the PDP without asking questions. “Today, they are asking why there had been no improvement on what was left behind by Makarfi. So, I can say without any shadow of


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

POLITICS

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Ndokwa should produce next Delta governor - Onyekweli As preparations for 2015 governorship race in Delta State heats up, former Provost Marshall and the Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, General Charles Philip Onyekweli (Rtd), in this interview with Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, said equity demands that Ndokwa nation in Delta North should be allowed to produce the next governor of the state in 2015. Excerpts

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E are months away from the 2015 general election and already there are lots of issues on the ground. How would you view the political situation in the country today? The political situation in the country is not abnormal, really, because in any polity when election is approaching, things change, everybody is geared towards wresting power. You know power is sweet and power is very important for the governance of the society. So, that is why people are so hell-bent on making effort to ensure that they wrestle power from the incumbents in order to make changes in the society. They might have their own ideas on how the society should be run and they fight to ensure there is a change. Even within the same political party, people want change because there is nothing as good as a change. That is why it seems as if things are heating up. It is struggle for power. That is deepened by signals that the incumbent president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, is planning to re-contest and the fact that the opposition is now stronger than what it used to be for a long time now. Do you not agree that these make the present situation quite different? We have always wanted a strong opposition. A strong opposition will help the ruling party to give better governance for the society. It may look as if everywhere is shaky, but it is acceptable in a democracy. Democracy is an open field, but don’t forget that President Jonathan has not told us he would run. But he may run because he has the right to run. You are from the Northern Senatorial District of Delta State. There is this raging argument by your people that out of the three senatorial zones in the state; Delta North, Delta Central and Delta South, only Delta North is yet to produce an elected governor since 1999. Based on this, your people are agitating that it is their turn to produce the next governor in 2015. Now, are you aware of any zoning arrangement in the state to back up your agitation? First of all, let me explain that it is not an agitation. It is our wish that the north produces the next governor of the state. It is a fact that the central and the south have provided the state governors in the persons of Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan respectively. We think it is fair and just to allow the north to produce the next governor. It is a matter of equity and fairness that the thing comes, this time, to the Delta North, because what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You must look back and say, how did this whole thing start? We started this whole thing right from the Western Nigeria era. Then, the Mid-West was created and then we moved down to Delta State. When Mid-West was created, Osadebey was the premier of the region and Marere, an Urhobo man, was the governor of the Mid-West State. Then, Delta was created. Several people have ruled the state. Ibru was the governor. After Ibru, came Ibori, who is from Delta Central, another Urhorbo man. At this point, people said, look, this thing has to move on; let Delta South get it, and so, Uduaghan from Delta South got it. That is the present governor. So, common sense, for equity and fairness shows that it has to move to Delta North. It is not whether there is a written agreement. When people say this thing, it looks funny to me. Who writes agreement on who is going to be president or governor? No such thing exists. It is a question of common understanding, goodwill and cooperation, so that you can carry everyone along with you. You will agree with me that even in your family, if one person takes everything, claims everything, others will not be happy over that. There will be problem. So, for fairness, equity and

•Onyekweli justice, I think it is our turn. Somebody will come and tell me about written agreement. There is no such thing as written agreement. The leadership of the party, the caucus will sit down and agree so that everybody is carried along. That is why we seek to persuade, convince our brothers from other parts of the state. It is not a fight, it is not an agitation, it is persuasion. I have listened to the president of Ndokwa Neku Union, Chief Paul Enebeli, and some others from the area repeatedly canvassing the rotation of power to Ndokwa nation. Now, even if one easily accepts the argument that Delta North deserves to get what they are asking for, why must your people insist the shot should be given to an Ndokwa person? I think all the people that have spoken in that direction are right for the simple reason that since the creation of the state, 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 the ethnic groups in the state. We live together, inter-married and our culture is the same with that of Isoko, Urhorbo, Itsekiri, etc. So, you see how Ndokwa people connect with other areas and the Ika is our next neighbour. The Oshimili people are our next neighbour. We are just at the middle of this big family called Delta State and we think we never held the position and should be allowed to provide the state governor. Besides, oil has great role to play in the governance and economy of the state and we happen to be one of the oil and gas producing areas in the state. The gas in Ndokwa area is the biggest in West Africa. So, we provide energy, we have qualified personalities, we are inter- related with the other stakeholders in areas of culture and otherwise. So, the people pushing for Ndokwa nation to produce the next governor are right and I support them. The point is, we

never had it before, why can’t we have it now? But some people are saying that the personalities from Ndokwa nation have not really set up a strong political machinery to attract that office or are there some personalities in Ndokwa that have now set up such a political machinery? Of course there are so many of them! Like who and who? I am not going to mention names because it will look as if I am taking side with them. There are people who have been consulting. I know there are some of our sons and daughters consulting with all the ethnic groups in Delta State now. I know it because they report to me. So, it is not the person who made the loudest noise; it is not the person that is most vocal that may get it. If our people are consulting the right personalities in the various ethnic groups and we think those people doing such consultations are qualified, we support them and they are many of them. So, you have not narrowed down on one or two of your sons and daughters that you want to give support for the 2015 governorship race? It would be wrong to narrow down on anyone now because this is democracy. We must follow democratic principle. It is good to ventilate ideas and allow people to make their contacts. At a point, nobody will need to tell some of the aspirants to step down for better qualified aspirants. So, this idea of telling people you must not contest because my brother is contesting is wrong. Let people air their views, at the very end, the very best will emerge. In Ndokwa, we have well qualified aspirants consulting. But Godsday Orubebe, one of the vocal aspirants for the Delta governorship seat, was once quoted as agitating that the rotation should be based on ethnic nationalities. He had said: “All the ethnic nationalities of this state must have a taste of the governorship of this state. Urhobo people have gotten it, Itsekiri have gotten it, Ndokwa have not gotten it, Ijaw have not got-

ten it, Isoko have not gotten it. And so we are appealing to others that, this is the turn of the Ijaw people.” Now, how would you fault this argument? He is saying it’s the turn of Ijaw though he acknowledged that Ndokwa have also not produced a governor. Can you fault his thesis? He has forgotten that the state is run on three legs; three senatorial districts. We are talking of senatorial districts, not ethnic groups. If we are going to say, Ndokwa has not gotten it, Isoko has not gotten it, Urhobo has gotten it, Ijaw has not gotten it.... It will soon come down to the level where we can argue that Onyekweli family, which is a very big family, has not gotten it, Edozie family has not gotten it. No! The state is not going to be run on myopic sentiments. What we are saying is simply that if Delta Central and South have gotten it, let Delta North, which has not produced a governor, be given a chance to produce one. When it moved from Central to South, the argument was not since Urhobo has produced, let Itsekiri get it. No! That was not the argument. The argument was based on the three senatorial zones. So, Orubebe’s argument is faulty here. After all, the three senatorial zones have produced a governor, when next it gets to the turn of Delta South, it is then that Orubebe can say yes, when it was our turn in the past, it was Itsekiri that produced a candidate. Now that it has come back to us in Delta South, it should be the turn of the Ijaw or Isoko in Delta South. But this same Hon Godsday Orubebe, the former Minister of Niger Delta, is still considered a very strong aspirant for the PDP ticket. One, because he was once believed to belong to the camp of Chief Edwin Clark; two, because he allegedly has Mr. President’s full backing for Delta 2015. Given that he is from Delta Central, don’t you think this may be a signal that Abuja may not care about the zoning or rotation sentiment propelling the Ndokwa demand? No, please, let us forget about this deceitful pronouncement that Abuja or Asaba is behind me. Look, the president is not behind anybody. Has Mr. President said he is behind anybody? It is an open field for all PDP candidates, based on some arrangements, to contest this election. We cannot say that somebody, because he was a minister or because he is an Ijaw man, therefore the president is behind him. No! The president and the party leadership will not do such a thing because it will completely mess up the equation and the desire to carry everybody along. People are carrying such rumours because it is politics, they want to use something to outwit their opponents. As for the allegation that Orubebe is backed by Chief Edwin Clark, that is also not true because Edwin Clark told him a few months ago that he was not qualified to contest anything. But insiders are saying that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has the support of Asaba; that he is the aspirant Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan wants to hand over to. Since he is from the Delta North, are you people looking at him in the same light? When people come up with such reports, we should ask them if Uduaghan told them so himself. Understand me, I am not doubting Okowa’s potentials, all I am saying here now is that I know Uduaghan well enough to believe he would want a level playing field. Understand that the PDP is yet to produce its candidate and we know that Delta North has a lot of qualified aspirants. We also know that the intention of the state governor and the party is to give them a fair opportunity to showcase their potentials before the party will take the final decision to go for the primaries.


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POLITICS

Jonathan’s home state and growing APC scare T

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is getting worried by the increasing popularity of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa, the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan

HERE is palpable fear within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State. If feelers from the state are anything to go by, the government and the PDP leadership in the state may have come to the realisation that they cannot afford to fold their arms and watch the activities of the opposition party across the state. Following last year’s registration of the mega opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) by the Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its reverberation across Nigeria’s political landscape, leading figures of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state, Bayelsa, came out to say the new party is no threat to their dominance of the power equation in the state. To Governor Seriake Dickson and his party men back then, the fusion of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria’s People Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) into the APC was nothing to be troubled about. This is because, according to them, the opposition parties of ACN, ANPP and CPC had hardly pulled a political string in the state before now. Investigation showed that • Dickson except the ACN, whose former chairman, Ebikibina Miriki, turned into a paper tiger through consistent criticism of policies and programmes of the ruling PDP in the state, the other opposition parties simply kept sealed lips. The three merged parties do not have structures in the state. They do not have state executive committees to pilot their affairs. Speaking at a public function shortly after the emergence of the new party, Dickson said APC will have no where to stay in his state. He boasted that the merging political parties are unattractive to the people of Bayelsa State because they have, over the years, been mere platforms used by some aggrieved members of the PDP to push for their personal interest and political relevance in the polity. “They only function during elections and cease to exist after elections. Check their rank and file, you will hardly find any known name in the politics of our state among them. APC is nothing to be worried about for us in Bayelsa State. Our people know where to go and where not to go,” he reportedly said. But observers of the politics of the state say the governor may be feeling very differently now. According to reports from the state, the government and the leadership of the PDP now have reasons to be worried over the activities of the new party contrary to the earlier position of Dickson and his allies. “The situation in Bayelsa currently is that of measured anxiety. The government of the state as well as the leadership of the PDP in Bayelsa are bothered about the activities of the APC in the state,” Comrade Toremeyi Bernard, leader of the Preremabiri Community Youth Association (PCYA) told The Nation. Toremeyi, who is also the state secretary of the National Council of Nigerian Youths (NCNY), said the uneasiness in the PDP over APC started when prominent politicians from the state started joining the new party. He said the decision of former Governor Timipre Sylva and his loyalists in the New Peoples Democratic Party, to

• Sylva

finally dump the party for the APC last November jolted the government of the state out of its levity over the APC incursion. “You will recall that Sylva, who was denied a second term ticket by the PDP, took the decision as a last resort to return to political relevance. Also, you remember that PDP dumped Sylva and denied him despite all the sacrifices he made for the party, including his contributions to the election of President Goodluck Jonathan. “Before Sylva joined APC, the governor’s position that there are no relevant people in the new party may have been correct, but when the former governor moved into the party with former commissioners, special advisers and council bosses, it became wrong to say their are no big names in the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC. “Naturally, the people of the state started taking the merger party serious after Sylva and others moved in. Th party became attractive to a section of the people, especially those seeking change and a new lease of political leadership in our state. Note that since the return to democracy in 1999, PDP has been ruling this state. ‘So, a good number of the people are now hoping that APC will help bring about the much sought after change,” Toremeyi said. The Nation also gathered that the former governor’s defection caused more ripples in the state chapter of the PDP when few weeks after the development, an intelligence report made it clear to the party that some known political office holders in the state could defect to APC with Sylva. “It didn’t take long before the prediction of the report came calling as some aides of Governor Seriake Dickson joined some loyalists of Sylva to dump the PDP and move into the APC. “The development led to a restructuring of the APC in the state. At the end of the process, a former Security Adviser to Sylva, Chief Richard Kpodo, former Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government, Timipa Orunemigha, alias Tiway and former Youth Leader of PDP

in the South-South, Mr. Godwin Sidi, emerged as leading chieftains of the party.” Apart from Kpodo, Sidi and scores of special advisers and commissioners, other defectors included former Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government, Mr. Timipa Orunemigha, alias Tiway. A week later, the APC was inaugurated in Yenagoa, the state capital. This run of events set the PDP hierarchy in the state and beyond thinking about what has now become the APC scar in President Jonathan’s home state. And when it appeared that the influx of new members into the APC in the state was threatening the peace of the new party, the national leadership of the party moved in to nip in the bud what PDP chieftains has vowed would consume the opposition in no time. Rivers State governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and former Minister of External Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, were quickly nominated by the national leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, to resolve the matter. Also on the peace committee are the South-South members of the interim committee of the party, including the former National Youth Leader of Action Congress of Nigeria, Ebikibina Miriki. The decision of the national leadership of the party to set up the committee, it was learnt, was to avoid imposition of party structure and ensure formidable team of party executive in the state which is a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, strong hold. The choice of Amaechi, according to a party source, was based on his supervisory role as the leader in charge of Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, in terms of support and logistics. The committee was told to, among others, meet with the warring factions in Port-Harcourt over the crisis rocking the party in Bayelsa and also intervene in the party crisis in Akwa Ibom State, between the supporters of the 2011 flag bearer of the defunct ACN and other APC leaders in the state. As if to add to the worry of Dickson

and his allies, there was palpable tension in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, early in February as words went round that eleven members of the State House of Assembly may have defected to the All Progressives Party (APC). Although the news later turned out to be speculative, indications that there may be some truth to it remained till date. The development, according to sources within the party, forced the leadership of the PDP to hold series of meetings with the lawmakers and other public office holders afterwards. “The PDP was jolted by the rumor. The silence of the leadership of the state assembly on the matter contributed to the party’s worry. Several meetings were held, where lawmakers and other public office holders were urged to pledge their loyalty to the party and government. But a chieftain of the opposition party who spoke on condition of anonymity said the lawmakers were secretly negotiating with the party , adding that these legislators were also involved in the just concluded membership registration exercise in their various constituencies. “The truth of the matter is that the governor and his party know those who are leaving them very soon. They have their intelligence reports to tell them that. They are doing everything possible to dissuade the defectors from leaving but that

is too late,” the chieftain said. Signs that the APC in Bayelsa will not have it easy were soon to emerge as the new secretariat of the party in Yenagoa was burgled by unknown persons barely 24 hours after it was opened. And while the people were still pondering over who could have burgled the new party office, the building, which also houses a transport company owned by Mr. Kpodo, was marked for demolition. Undettered by the obvious challenge from the powers that be, the new party went further to announce its readiness to confront the ruling party when it mobilized a large cache of supporters to become its registered members during the last party registration exercise in the state. Interim chairman of the APC in Bayelsa state, Timipa Tiwei, told party faithfuls at the party secretariat in Yenegoa that the success recorded by the large turnout of Bayelsans at various works to register for the party is a proof that APC is the new ride. “This party will give you privilege in politics to contest in councillorship, to contest for chairmanship, to contest for assembly, and to contest anything you want’, he declared. Declaring the readiness of the party to unseat Dickson in 2015, Kpodo said the poor performance of the governor and the people’s desire for change are the main factors that will propel APC into power in 2015. “Dickson is not performing. He is a man who feels he has got to power through the back door; a man who feels he has the President by his side and that nobody can challenge him. Look at Bayelsa where he superintends today, what do you see? Let me tell you, since 1999, over N2tn accrued to the state. I can provide the evidence. There is nothing to justify that huge amount. As I speak to you today, Bayelsa State is still a slum – no water, no electricity, no road and the people are hungry. There is nothing different from slavery,” he said. For now, it is safe to simply say a political battle line has been drawn between the ruling PDP and the opposition APC in President Jonathan’s own backyard.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

POLITICS

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Confab: Disconnect between Igbo public officers and Ohaneze Centenary inanities

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•Igariwey Gary Enwo: Ohaneze President General

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N a few weeks’ time, the muchexpected National Conference would begin in earnest after so much hype at the nation’s capital, Abuja, amidst pomp and ceremony. Given the breakdown of participants, about 500 delegates, drawn from every segment of the Nigerian society, would be at the conference lasting three months. To say that the much-touted conference would provide a pedestal of crystallisation of ideas, canvassing strongly and articulating positions of strength done so lucidly enough to sway the day, would be to say the obvious. Given that the best are representing the Igbos through the apex social and political organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, it calls for concerted efforts of all in Igbo land, including Ibo-speaking Delta, to ensure that the delegation being sent to Abuja has all the wherewithal to perform creditably well. Over the years, one had watched with great bewilderment how the apex body hardly gets the support it should have from top public officers of Igbo extraction who ordinarily should see Ohaneze as their primordial home bed, that ought to be regularly oiled, funded and seen as a rallying point come sun, come rain. It baffles how other regional blocs wholeheartedly embrace their sociocultural political organisations, whereas the Igbos remain aloof, only to remember Ohaneze when they run into stormy waters. In some quarters, a few had posited and blamed the nonchalant attitude of Igbo top public officers, captains of industries and technocrats to the republican nature, whereas others hold the view in disagreement, emphasising that in present day Nigeria, any Igbo caught in this web of a lingo must be a victim of docility or simply put just crass selfish. Be that as it may, there is the urgent need for a rethink, especially now that the National Conference is at the beck and call. It is a most serious Igbo project, a conference going to showcase the standpoint of the collective Igbo agenda, anguish, aspirations, expectations and not a sectional or interpersonal vexations, vituperations and those at dagger-

By Obinwa Nnaji

drawn. All such issues and distractions that would demean the Igbo, must be left at the frontiers of Igbo land and Delta, since a greater responsibility awaits us all, any true born of Igbo land. Given the galaxy of representation from other regional blocs and even states in the country, Igbos must arise and fund this project both in cash and kind, so that delegates would have the necessary accessories for optimum performance. There should be no inhibition, availability of required books, film slides, tapes and materials for research, in addition to being able to hire as the case arises any number of veritable resource persons expected to bring to bear their expertise, thus giving the Ohaneze an added value. The beauty of the Igbo man is that when he is challenged, he rises to the occasion. This conference is as important to Igbo states governors as it is vital for Igbo parliamentarians both national and state. Those heading top parastatals, blue chip companies, technocrats, would save them the harangue experience of mentioning names. No organisation in this conference sends its foot soldiers with bare hands. There is no doubt in my mind that the Igbos in Ohaneze are imbued with a first class intellect, thus not lacking in ideas; all that is needed is to provide the vital and essential logistics for a success at the conference. The Igbos, both at home and the Diaspora, expect fervently a wellorganised and functional secretariat, running at almost neck-break speed, open 24 hours daily, disseminating information on the goings on at the National Conference. The views of the Igbos and the correct position on the diverse issues that would definitely come up at the conference must be released undiluted so that wherever the Igbo man and woman are, they would be better informed instead of waiting for a second hand information. Ohaneze secretariat at the national conference ought to activate a virile Publicity Support Desk,

with all the accomplishes, web design so that wherever you are in the world, one can surf the communication highway with news from the conference and updates alike. A vibrant media outfit would be a liaison with the public and media houses in addition to publishing a daily news/features bulletin on the conference. There is no gain-saying that most viewpoints would be won and lost in the media and only an accomplished and articulate desk in the secretariat in Abuja during the conference would give the Igbos the respect and attention they deserve. The secretariat should also have backroom men as the engine room that supplies ammunition, so to say, to the seasoned delegates and should run a very dynamic think-tank that would daily, after each session, discuss, raise new issues as the case may be and also make amends where a particular subject had not been well articulated previously. No one is any longer keen with the cliché or be bored with the sing-song story of marginalisation. How best issues are advanced, tackled, and convincingly expressed by widely publicising the Igbo position at all times on any issue, would enhance the performance of the delegation. This is the finest moment and opportunity for the Igbo delegation to make its mark. The die is therefore cast. There should be no excuses. Igbos cannot afford to play second fiddle or be boxed to a corner at the conference because of any shortcomings. Let the support begin to flow in. Let’s collectively support Ohaneze by funding the Igbo project at the National Conference. Let the man, woman, old and young in the remotest village of Igbo-speaking states and Delta, the Igbos in Diaspora, beat their chests at the end of the day that, indeed, these are wise men and women who have duly represented the Igboland dutifully well. •Nnaji wrote in from Enugu

T is once again a season of comedy of errors. The Jonathan administration is at it again; it sees the Nigerian public space as a theatre stage where actors just hop on the podium to induce laughter. The joy so elicited does not go beyond the skin and the room. As soon as people step out of the hall, those who have worries and woes to sort out resume their anxieties. The Jonathan team comprises actors and actresses. They are not much bothered by the issues at hand. They make light of the worries of millions of Nigerians. Otherwise, why wildly celebrate a colonial contraption? What is in the amalgamation to commemorate? Frederick Lugard was on a mission to colonise and rule. He had to device the easiest and best means of getting the job done, and that, to him, was by putting together the Northern and Southern Protectorate. It resulted in Nigeria. What is therefore there to celebrate? In any case, assuming what has become of Nigeria is worth remarking, why put those who came on a mission to enslave in the Hall of Heroes? Lugard is not only being honoured, but Flora Shaw, his girl friend who merely suggested the name Niger Area for the conquered territory is also a hero by the Federal Government definition. Is the government returning a verdict that colonialism has been a virtue, that it has done us more good than evil? In that case, is it not better to step back a little in history to honour the slave traders who took our forefathers to the American plantations? How do we reconcile handing national awards to both colonisers and the freedom fighters? Men like Herbert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, and Nnamdi Azikiwe have been lumped together on the same honours roll. I find it even more ridiculous that the Queen of the United Kingdom is deemed worthy of recognition for being on the throne when the decision to lower the Union Jack was taken. Did the Jonathan historians know the woman was and is only a ceremonial leader? What part did she actually play in the process? Did they ask themselves the part played by Great Britain in the economic enslavement of Nigeria? Did they realise that Britain did a lot to subvert the young Nigerian state immediately after independence? Then Sani Abacha, a Nigerian hero? Has enough not been said of his misdeeds and crimes? His loot in Swiss banks is still a cause for worry. It is obvious that Abacha belonged to the same class as Adolf Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, Idi Amin in Uganda, Samuel Doe in Liberia, Jean Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti, Marcia Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, among others. Each of them was a cause to his country and his generation. They were blood thirsty tyrants who ran their countries aground. Would any German government celebrate Hitler? Would Liberians set aside a day or event to lionize Doe? They remember him as the man who mismanaged opportunities. Doe meant so much to the average Liberian at the beginning. He was seen as a freedom fighter that terminated the yoke of ages for indigenous Liberians. Yet, he got so power-drunk that he destroyed the very essence of his being. For that transgression, his memory is cursed. The society was plunged into a civil war and its innocence raped. But, to Jonathan, the fact that Abacha shot his way to power guarantees him a place among builders of contemporary Nigeria. What is Ernest Shonekan doing on the list? He was head of an interim government that had no soul. His band danced to the tune called by the military. He lacked courage or principle. He was colourless and has remained so. Before he was first appointed head of a transitional council that had no basis in law and could actually do nothing without the approval of General Ibrahim Babangida, he had a distinguished career at the UAC where he had worked himself to the top. He had no business working for the military. He had no reason to leave the UAC; yet, he did. He did not to work for Nigeria, but to serve Babangida. He is today allowed to participate in the Council of State merely because he had agreed to form a government that played games with the destiny of our country. Now, he is on the Jonathan list of the Greats of All Time. The interim government had no legislature that made laws for it; lacked the executive power to appoint members of the regime and the head could sack no one. Shonekan knew he was brought to power only because his kinsman who won the 1993 presidential election was locked up, but he accepted the assignment. He consented to injustice and, by his action and inaction, kept the country in chains. He is one reason why the military embarked on that course of action. He is now being rewarded by a government that lacks knowledge of history. If we want to know a little more of our past without insulting the true heroes, Nigeria has a past, and men like Jacob AdeAjayi, Tekena Tamuno, Obaro Ikime, Emmanuel Ayandele and other eminent historians who can act as compass as we embark on a proper interrogation of our past. This inanity must stop. The task at hand is to get this giant on its feet. It is not about celebrating a non-event. It is not about elevating nothing. It is not about a government that has embarked on a journey without map. All Nigerians must work together to set a proper national agenda.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

POLITICS

snippets Forget North-East in 2015, APC leader tells PDP

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R. Umar Duhu, national ViceChairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) North-East, has told the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations in Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba States to be prepared to vacate the Government Houses in 2015. Duhu, who expressed optimism in the ability of the APC to win the 2015 general elections in Gombe State, said the people of the region are yearning for the change being offered by the new party. “All we will do is to capitalise on the lapses of the incumbent governments in the states still under the control of the PDP. Our chance of winning in these states like Gombe, Bauchi and even Taraba is 75 percent because we believe that the entire North-East sub region is solidly behind the APC. “As you can see, three states in the region are controlled by the APC; the other three will not be exceptions. We are opti-

By Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor

mistic that with the structures we have on ground, our chances of winning are very high. “By and large, we will form the governments in these states come 2015. We will also deliver Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba States to the presidential candidate of the APC come rain, come sun,” he said. Hajiya Aisha Dukku, former Minister of State for Education, also said that the APC had come to stay in the northeast geo-political zone and the country in general. “This is the beginning of success; we will bring an end to injustice in the country. The APC is the vehicle that will take us all to the new beginning we want. The people want change and that is what the APC is offering,” she said.

Jonathan not planning to remove Shettima, says Gulak

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•Tinubu

Council boss hails Tinubu, Fashola over rural development

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HE Executive Chairman of Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon. Adeola Jokomba, has praised Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for what he described as the unprecedented rate of development in the rural areas of the state since the creation of the 57 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA). Jokomba, who disclosed this during the week, while presenting the 2014 budget of the council area at the LCDA secretariat, appealed to the government not to relent in its ongoing developmental projects in the rural areas of the state. The council boss, who is also the vice Chairman of the Lagos State Council Chairmen’s Forum, explained that the creation of the 57 LCDA by the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the unrelenting effort of the Fashola administration to ensure their survival, has taken development to the grassroots.

“We must continue to thank those who thought of creating LCDAs in Lagos State. God bless Asiwaju Tinubu and Governor Fashola for us. Before the creation of the LCDAs, development was very far away from the people at the grassroots, but today, I can sit here and think about how to touch the lives of the people of Isiu, Maya, Erikorodo and Agbala communities. Imagine what will happen if we have to wait for the man in Ikorodu Central to do all these?” People can now access the government easily. The government is now really for the people and other states are now copying us. Osun and Nassarawa States are now introducing LCDAs. That is a sign that what we did is good and enviable. The advantages are too numerous to mention,” he said. The council boss unveiled a budget of N828 million, out of which N500 million would be expended on personnel cost; N300 million on capital project and the balance to be spent on empowerment and poverty alleviation.

PDP stakeholders hail Jonathan over Arogbofa’s appointment

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S reactions continue to trail the appointment of a retired soldier, Jones Oladehinde Arogbofa, as the new Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, members of the South-West PDP Stakeholders Forum have charged the new COS to bring his wealth of experience to bear on his new office. Mr. Arogbofa was an Officer of the Signals Corps of the Nigerian Army. He hails from the Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State in the SouthWest geo-political zone of the country. He takes over from Mike Oghiadomhe, who resigned last week. Speaking to The Nation recently, a chieftain of the forum and Chairman of South West PDP Women Forum, Chief Mrs. Remi Adiukwu Bakare, stated that the choice of Arogbofa as the new COS in the presidency could not have come at a better time

than now that the party is trying to stage a serious come back in the region. According to her, “General Arogbofa is a dependable member of our great party in the South-West and has the requisite experience to function effectively in his new position. It is also an opportunity for him to help reposition the party and take it to greater heights here in the South-West.” Another chieftain of the forum, Senator Lekan Balogun, who thanked President Jonathan for finding a Yoruba son worthy of the appointment, said he was particularly happy that the president had demonstrated once again that he is not in any way against the people of the South-West Describing Brig-General Arogbofa as an intelligent and hard-working officer, Balogun added that he was sure that the new Chief of Staff will give his best in the new assignment.

PECIAL Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Ali Gulak, has faulted allegation that the president had concluded plans to replace the elected Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shettima, with a military administrator. According to Gulak: “At no time did President Jonathan contemplate removing Governor Shettima in the guise of fighting Boko Haram because such an option was not considered at the time that the state of emergency was imposed last year, or at the point of requesting for extension of same.” The presidential aide added: “The president was mindful of the fact that the three states affected by the problems of insurgency had elected governors and was not under pressure to apply “the garrison” approaches that were used in Plateau and Ekiti States.” Part of the statement read: “There was no basis to take any punitive action against the governor of Borno or any of the three states because the governors of these affected states were not the promoters of the insurgency and there was no evidence to suggest that they were compromising the efforts to restore order in the affected states.” According to the presidential aide,

By Sam Egburonu Associate Editor

“There are also social and economic factors associated with the crisis and the president is not sitting back and watching the unfortunate massacre of innocent Nigerians.” Gulak also said: “It is on record that the situation in the North East is not a creation of the federal government or President Jonathan, the presidency initiated a process of dialogue with the Islamic sect, and the North East economic summit which took place in Gombe State last October formed the basis of the social and economic programme that President Jonathan has put in place to address infrastructural deficiencies and human development in the region. “Above all, there are also processes of remediation and negotiations as well as consultations on sub regional security especially with our neigbours whose cooperation and collaboration we require to fight terrorism, those who are familiar with the cross border movement of small arms, the diffusion of peoples and cultures at the border regions should understand the complexities of fighting an invisible enemy.”

Accord Party rejects Ladoja, Nalado as confab delegates

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FACTION of the Accord Party has rejected the alleged nomination of former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, and the National Chairman of Accord Party, Muhammad Nalado, as delegates to the proposed national conference. The decision was taken during the party’s leadership meeting held in Abuja during the week and attended by party chieftains and some state chairmen. Sources at the meeting said to have largely been attended by members of a faction loyal to its National Secretary, Dr. Samson Isibor, said the meeting disclaimed reports that the party had endorsed Ladoja and Nalado as its delegates to the confab. The party also refuted claims by one Adisa Nureni, that he is the national secretary of Accord Party. The party

described Nureni as an impostor. “The meeting reiterated its support for Isibor as our national secretary and reject all decisions taken by the other faction. We reiterated our readiness for peace within the party while cautioning the other faction against taking actions that can deepen the already festering crisis within the Accord Party. “We also reminded the general public of the activities of one Adisa Nureni, who remains unknown to the party but has been parading himself as the national secretary of our great party. We call on relevant security agencies to be alive to their duties in respect of this impostor,” our source said. The party said it will announce the names of its delegates to the confab in due cause after the completion of consultations within the party on the issue.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

POLITICS

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Jigawa 2015 governorship: Lamido, Turaki renew rivalry The stage is set for a renewed battle for political supremacy in Jigawa State between the state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, and his immediate predecessor, Senator Saminu Turaki, reports Assistant Editor, Remi Adelowo

• Turaki

• Lamido

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FTER almost four years of absence on the political scene, former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, is back on the turf once more. The former governor’s political profile suffered a major setback in 2011 following his failed attempt to return to the Senate, where he served for four years from 2007 to 2011. One year before the expiration of his two terms as governor in 2007, Turaki had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) allegedly on the promptings of the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Contesting on the platform of the PDP, Turaki won the senatorial election to represent the Jigawa North West Constituency in 2007. But his no-lovelost relationship with his successor in the Jigawa State Government House, Sule Lamido, put paid to his ambition to retain his seat in the Senate in 2011, with Lamido throwing his weight behind Danladi Abdullahi Sankara, the former PDP National Vice Chairman (North-West). Angered by this development, Turaki, who defected to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), was handed the senatorial ticket but eventually lost to Sankara in the general election. Up until recently when Turaki was mentioned as one of the people being allegedly considered by President Goodluck Jonathan as a ministerial nominee, the Ahmadu Bello University-trained Actuarial Scientist has been in relative political obscurity for almost four years. The alleged intention of the

presidency, it was gathered, was to position Turaki as a counter-force to challenge Governor Sule Lamido in the run-down to the 2015 general elections. Sources revealed that the Turaki option initially appealed to the presidency following security reports that Lamido may be a stumbling block in respect of his perceived opposition to the re-election of the president in 2015. The Nation gathered that in spite of Lamido’s refusal to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside five of his former colleagues, who formed the new PDP sometime last year, not a few trusted aides of the president are still suspicious of Lamido’s game plan for the next election. While his name made the rounds in the media as a ministerial nominee, Turaki tactically kept mum, preferring to allow the issue to run its full course in the public space. His strategy to bounce back At a meeting held with hundreds of his political associates in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital last week, Turaki announced the formation of his new political association christened Saminiyya Amana Hallacci (Green Cap Movement). The new association, sources disclosed, is fashioned after the Kwankwasiya Movement founded by the Kano State Governor, Alhjai Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. But while members of Kwankwasiya are known with their red cap, Saminiyya Amana Hallacci members will have the green cap as their symbol. The Nation gathered that the new movement has embarked on an aggressive membership recruitment drive in Jigawa State across all the major political parties,

with some of the politicians who worked with Turaki during his tenure as governor, but lost out in the Lamido era, constituting its main arrowheads. In what expectedly will sound as good music in the ears of the powers-thatbe, Turaki, had during the formal inauguration of his new group, pledged his support for President Jonathan’s reelection in 2015. During the occasion, he also announced his plan to return to the PDP, in what sources say was the aftermath of the decision reached after Turaki allegedly recently held a secret meeting with a top presidency top shot. Lamido, Turaki renew rivalry While on the surface, Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, seems to have reconciled with the president, particularly after the exit of the former National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, there still appears to be a tinge of distrust from the presidency on the loyalty of Lamido to the president and his party. And against the backdrop of Turaki’s return to the PDP, Lamido’s camp, according to sources, is strongly suspecting that the presidency is wary of fully entrusting the president’s reelection operations in the hands of the governor. With Turaki back in the PDP, the calculation is to use him to whittle down the seemingly larger-than-life image of the incumbent governor in the state as the preparations for the 2015 get under way. Who holds the ace in Jigawa politics? With the frosty relationship between Lamido and Turaki dating back to the latter’s tenure as governor yet unresolved,

there are strong fears that the two politicians may soon resume their rivalry for the control of the soul of Jigawa politics. In Turaki’s camp, there is a strong optimism that the former governor is fully back to reclaim his lost political glory, but that feeling of confidence is being faulted by aides and associates of the incumbent governor, whose performance in almost seven years has been applauded by stakeholders within and outside the state. Sources told The Nation that the two camps are warming back for an epic fight, with each side poised to unearth all the ‘dirty stories’ of their principals. Regarding the ‘dirty stories’ about Turaki, the Lamido may be making reference to the alleged case of corruption and money laundering still hanging on the former governor’s camp. It would be recalled that shortly after he left office as governor in 2007, Turaki was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and subsequently arraigned in court on a 32-count charge of money laundering involving a whopping sum of N36billion. Though he was later released on bail with stringent conditions, Turaki’s trial has remained in limbo like most of the cases involving many ex-governors, including Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu) and Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), to mention but a few. Neutral observers of the unfolding scenario in Jigawa State are, however, hoping that Lamido and Turaki can work together in the overall larger interest of the PDP, but the big question is: can these two men work together in harmony and forget their past beef? It will soon be known.


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POLITICS

ripples Edo 2015: Ihonvbere, others plot for governorship

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HOUGH the Edo State governorship election is still about two years away, some of the close aides and associates of the incumbent governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, have begun discreet campaign to become the next occupant of the Dennis Osadebey Government House. One of them, it was learnt, is former Presidential Adviser and Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere. Other aspirants allegedly lobbying to get the governor’s endorsement include the Deputy Governor, Pius

•Ihonvbere Odubu, and the Chief of Staff, Patrick Obahiagbon, to mention but a few. Other reports however, claim that Ihonvbere is more interested in vying for the Senate and not the governorship

Al-Makura moves against impeachment

Kwara PDP leaders scheme against Bolaji Abdullahi

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OME unnamed leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State are kicking against the continued retention of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi as the Minister of Sports, sources have alleged. It was learnt that the PDP chieftains are alleging that Abdullahi is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in deference to his political mentor, Senator Bukola Saraki, who defected to APC from PDP some months ago. The plan by these leaders is to ‘provoke’ President Goodluck Jonathan to fire Abdullahi and appoint one of them as replacement. However, it is not yet clear if the President has succumbed to the pressure to sack Abdullahi, who is rated as one of the most performing ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet.

•Bolaji Abdullahi

Elumelu prepares for Senate C

•Elumelu

ONTRARY to earlier speculations that member of House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, will be contesting the 2015 governorship election, sources have revealed that the twoterm lawmaker is eyeing the Delta North Senatorial seat currently occupied by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa. Ripples gathered that based on Okowa’s alleged plan to run for the 2015 PDP governorship ticket, Elumelu has intensified his consultations within the Delta North with the aim of securing the backing of the power brokers in the zone.

The return of John Shagaya

•Al-Makura HE political scene in Nasarawa State is currently heating up over rumoured plans by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency to instigate its members, who constitute the majority in the state House of Assembly to commence impeachment

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proceedings against the state governor, Tanko Al-Makura. But the governor, sources revealed, is not sitting pretty believing the rumour was just a hoax. There are unconfirmed reports that the governor’s camp is working on some of the PDP legislators to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and make the impeachment plot dead on arrival.

F

ROM 2007 to 2011, Gen. John Shagaya served as a PDP Senator until sometime last year when he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). Now the interim Chairman of the APC in Plateau State, Shagaya’s performance on his new job is

reportedly sending jitters down the spines of PDP leaders in the state, including the state governor, Jonah Jang. There are feelers that some of his influential associates are persuading him to consider going for the party’s governorship ticket in next year’s election.


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GLAMOUR

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32 GLAMOUR

Social

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ADETUTU AUDU (E-mail: crownkool@yahoo.com, Tel: 08023849036, 08112662587)


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GLAMOUR 33


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&

OLUSEGUN RAPHEAL (08033572821) raphseg2003@yahoo.com


36 SPORT & STYLE

NATION SPORT & STYLE SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

ANYASI I’m in love with Enyimba, Chelsea

By Morakinyo Abodunrin

SPORT & STYLE 45

BLAST FROM THE PAST Steffi Graf: From struggler to Tennis' golden girl


Insight THE NATION ON SUNDAY

MARCH 2, 2014


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38 INSIGHT

•Sanusi

•Alade


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•Emefiele

INSIGHT 39


40 INSIGHT

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INSIGHT 41


44 INSIGHT

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•Obazee


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ETCETERA

SUNNY SIDE

Cartoons

By Olubanwo Fagbemi

POLITICKLE

deewalebf@yahoo.com 08060343214 (SMS only)

Finding Happiness

CHEEK BY JOWL

OH, LIFE!

THE GReggs

YEARS into manhood, Mike held on to the inclinations of youth. Owning a pet helped maintain heartfelt connection, and the latest was a shaggy, brown dog Mike named “Happiness”. Happiness could sometimes be an embarrassing name, but how embarrassing Mike didn’t know until the evening he took the dog for a walk, and the animal slipped her leash and trotted off. Mike looked all over town for his beloved companion. Hours after foregoing the comfort of his bed just to be reunited with the cultivated carnivore, he ran into a police officer who asked what he was doing at a dark sport late at night. Mike said: “I was looking for Happiness.” He was charged to court for ‘wandering’. One day in February, Mike went to the local council to get a license for Happiness. The clerk, a sombre specimen of an official, brightened at the mention of the word. He said: “I would like to have that too!” Mike wasn’t amused. “I’m talking about a dog,” he said. The clerk said he didn’t care what the dog looked like. Then Mike said, “You don’t understand. I’ve had Happiness since I turned 20.” With genuine affectation, the clerk said: “I wish I could say the same thing!” Months after, Mike fell in love with a wonderful woman named Maji who shared his love for dogs. He planned to get married and approached the Marriage Registry at the town secretariat. He told the official that he would like to have Happiness at the wedding. The official thought Mike should wait until after the wedding. “But Happiness has played a big part in my life and my whole lifestyle revolves around Happiness,” said Mike. The official would rather not hear about Mike’s personal life and announced that he would, in fact, no longer conduct the marriage. When Mike insisted on the ceremony because everyone coming to the wedding would enjoy having Happiness there, the official had had enough. Mike’s family was barred from the secretariat and the marriage was conducted elsewhere. Mike insisted on Happiness. He and Maji took the dog along on their honeymoon. As they checked into a hotel, Mike told the receptionist that he needed a room for a couple and a special room for Happiness. But every room in the hotel was designed for happiness, pointed out the receptionist. “You don’t understand,” said Mike, “Happiness can sometimes be too much to handle.” “You can say that again,” said the receptionist. Back home, Mike couldn’t stop himself from showing so much love to the fortunate pet, and Maji joined in. Both coveted the dog, but that didn’t stop her from wandering off now and then. In the event, bliss eluded Mike and Maji, and they were soon separated. A messy court battle ensued, but the fight was not for custody of children, for there were none between them. It was, instead, for Happiness, or the lack thereof. Asked to speak in court, Mike said: “Your Honour, I had Happiness before I was married.” “Me too,” said the Judge. Mike added that after he married, he often searched for Happiness. The judge couldn’t agree more. He sighed. “I know the feeling.” Mike won, but happiness seemed farther than ever; Happiness fell ill and died despite the best of medical care Mike could afford. Jailed, married, divorced and with more than a fair share of trouble with the dog than imaginable, Mike began to fear that he was losing his head. Upon the advice of his personal physician, he decided to see a psychiatrist. At the first session, she asked: “Now, what really is the problem?” Mike said: “Well, Happiness has died and left my life. It’s like losing a best friend and life is so lonely.” The doctor smiled and prescribed quick solution. “Look Mike, you and I know that happiness isn’t guaranteed. Why not get a dog?”

Reader’s Response Sunny Side awards Your award captures all spheres of human endeavour; well researched, inexhaustible, an encyclopaedia of awards, sort of. Well done. I pray your ink never dries. Dr J.T. Obaoye +2347017728***

QUOTE The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. —James Openheim

Jokes Humour

Advertised •A solar-powered computer wristwatch, programmed to tell the time and date for 120 years, comes with a two-year guarantee. •On the back of a septic-service truck: “Satisfaction guaranteed, or your merchandise cheerfully refunded.” •Seen on the door of a repair shop: WE CAN FIX ANYTHING. (Please knock on the door – the bell doesn’t work.) Wise Ones •DOCTORS tell us there are over seven million people who are overweight. These, of course, are only round figures. •An optometrist (eye doctor) once fell into a lens grinder. Folks said he made a spectacle of himself. •Two ships set sail. One ferried red paint, the other blue paint. They collided; the survivors were marooned. •A man and a woman walked into a supermarket in clothes that still had manufacturers’ labels on. Someone asked

them, “Are you two an item?” •A young man walks into the psychiatrist’s office wearing only underwear. The shrink says, “Well, I can clearly see you’re nuts.” •When she told the pupil he was average, the teacher was just being mean. •An athletics official walks into a bar with a starter gun. The barman yells, “You can come in, but don’t start anything!” •A thirsty duck walks into a bar and orders a soft drink. “Four bucks,” says the barman. “Put it on my bill,” says the duck. •A dog with his leg wrapped in bandage hops into a police station. He goes up to the counter and announces gravely: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.” •A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: “A drink please, and one for the road.” •Four fonts walk into a hotel lobby. The receptionist shouts, “Hey, get out! We don’t want your type in here.” •Adapted from the Internet

Writer ’s Fountain OW to write a n d win:French scholar Georges Polti The close of your story should revisit, in some way, its theme. The central problem may be identified only 36 master plots in all the stories of resolved, or the tale might close upon a note of the world. His first master plot involves a tantalising ambiguity. There might even be an Persecutor, a Supplicant and a dubious Power acceptance that the issue(s) will never be resolved, which may favour one side or the other. The but it must return – no matter how obliquely – to theme of this master plot? The power of mercy the theme. If it doesn’t, there’s no closure. over hate. Even the best stories which seem to end with Does your story close by revisiting the theme? no conclusion manage to close by returning the reader to the problem posed by the narrator at the Food for thought: start. That question or problem marked out in the •More than 25% of the world’s forests are beginning defines the story’s master plot. in Siberia. Have you engaged the original emotions? The •About half of the people in the world have theme must engage the protagonist’s, and, by never made or received a telephone call. extension, the reader’s, primal emotions or carnal •More than 80% of all the world’s drives. Defined in the crudest terms, these include earthquakes occur in the Pacific basin sex (or procreation), physical survival (for self, borders. family or tribe), emotional comfort (love, •More than 99.9% of all the animal species friendship and community), and spiritual survival that have ever lived on earth were extinct or advancement. before the coming of man. The theme and ensuing conflicts in a strong •Kuwait is about 60% male (highest in the story should involve one or more of these primal world) while Latvia is about 54% female drives. If the protagonist is not personally (highest in the world). threatened or engaged in these primal areas, he •What a crazy world: it is estimated that at must become emotionally involved with a any one time around 0.7% of the world’s character who is challenged in one or more of population is drunk. them.

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Give us this day ... cassava bread

'Why Nigerians in Diaspora are shifting focus to mining'

Page 58, 59 •Afolayan

Page 61

BPP saves N95.79 bn T

HE Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) said it saved N95.79 billion for the Federal Government in 2013 through its project review process. The bureau disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja over the weekend. The statement by BPP Public Relations Officer, Mr Tommy Odemwingie, said the BPP Director-General, Mr Emeka Ezeh, gave the figure while receiving a

delegation from the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV). The statement quoted Ezeh as saying that the amount was the total amount the bureau saved for the country in the four quarter of 2013. It said that in a country where expectations of service delivery were high, "the saved amount could boost infrastructure provision in critical sectors like education, energy and health".

It explained that BPP was able to save the money for the country in the discharge of its responsibility of regulating the process of public procurement to ensure that contract awards were transparent and competitive. The statement said that President of NIESV, Mr Emeka Eleh, commended BPP for transforming public procurement process in the country. It said that Eleh solicited the

support of the bureau to NIESV in ensuring that nonregistered estate surveyors and valuers in the country were excluded from functioning as facility managers and estate agents. Eleh also appealed to the bureau to accept personal income tax certificates from surveyors and valuers in place of company tax clearance certificates for procurement of contracts.

From left: General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs Chevron Nig. Ltd, Mr. Deji Haastrup, awardees, Chief Philip Asiodu, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, and Founder/CEO Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL). Prof. Pat Utomi, during the PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN 8th CVL Leadership Tribute Series in honour of Asiodu and Joda in Lagos...recently

Kenya promises to facilitate Dangote's $600m cement plant T HE Kenyan government said on Friday that it has almost completed the process of facilitating the establishment of a 600 million dollar cement plant by Dangote Group in that country. The Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr William Ruto, who said this shortly after being led on a facility tour of Dangote Group cement plant at Obajana , Kogi state, said that a licence, that would eventually pave the way for the establishment of the cement plant this year, would be ready in a couple of months.

Ruto, who was at the head of nine-man delegation from the east African country, said that he was ``thoroughly impressed '' by the development at the Obajan cement plant, adding that what he saw had further emboldened his country's inherent belief in African entrepreneurship. He described the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, as a major African entrepreneur, saying that he was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Kenya government was

dealing with the right man. The Deputy President said that his country was looking forward to the partnership with Dangote Group with a lot of hope that it will bring about a fundamental change in the cement production sub sector of the Kenyan economy. Also speaking to journalists, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said that his company had concluded arrangement to establish the 600 million dollar cement plant in Kenya this year. The cement palnt, he

said would have the capacity to produce three million tonnes of cement per year, saying that this intention was to replicate Objana and Ibeshe experiences in Kenya. He said that his company, which currently operates in 15 other African countries, would create millions of jobs in Kenya and help to boost activities in its cement sector. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Correspondent, who covered the visit, reports that Ruto planted a tree to commemorate his visit to the cement plant. Ruto and the team have since returned to Kenya.

‘I’m performancedriven’ •Onyenokwe

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Council shortlists 42 bidders for 10 power projects under NDPHC

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HE National Council on Privatisation (NCP) said at the weekend that 42 bidders were shortlisted to acquire 80 per cent shares of each of the 10 power plants of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC). A board member of the NDPHC, Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue, said this, Friday, while briefing State House correspondents after a joint meeting of the NCP and NDPHC presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo. ``On Nov. 8, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company received 66 proposals for the offer of sales of the 80 per cent of the shares in each of the 10 generating companies developed under the National Integration Power Projects. ``The evaluation team carried out an exercise following the approved criteria and guidelines and subsequent due diligence reports have now been reviewed and approved by the joint transaction board. ``Of the 66 proposals received, 54 met the criteria to be technically qualified based on the findings of the subsequent due diligence exercise. ``Forty-two proposals have qualified for the financial bids opening. ``Of the 66 proposals submitted, 24 failed either the technical evaluation or the due diligence assessment.'' Suswam stated that the 42 qualified bidders, who were selected from the 66 applicants, were recommended and approved by the Joint Transaction Board after passing an evaluation exercise. According to him, number of proposals received and qualified for each of the Niger Delta power generating companies will subsequently be published. On the epileptic supply of electricity in some parts of the country, Suswam said efforts had been intensified to address the problems by the appropriate authorities. ``There are difficulties in any transition. `` Since Independence, government has controlled the monopoly of power generation and distribution. ``This is the first time that they are going to transit from government to private sector. ``So, you should ordinarily expect some teething problems. These teething problems are being addressed by the ministry of power.

DPR strategises on industry stability

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HE Management of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) over the weekend met in Abuja to strategise on measures that would ensure stability of the oil sector. A source at the meeting told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the session attended by top management staff of the agency across the country deliberated on DPR's operations in 2014. The source said that issues at the meeting were mainly on ways to improve on the activities of the agency to meet the expectation of Nigerians. The agency, known among close watchers of oil sector and the "police of oil industry", according to the source, was worried over the resurgence of queues of vehicles at the fuel stations in parts of the country. "The meeting deliberated extensively on how to ensure that there are no hiccups in petroleum products distribution network and to check activities of unscrupulous marketers," it said. While expressing delight at the way the agency addressed the challenge through clamp down on filling stations to ensure that they did not sell above pump price, the source said "we did so because we knew they all had products". The source also disclosed the issue of pipeline vandalism, which almost paralysed operations of the sector in the South-South and South-West areas recently, was discussed.


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BUSINESS

Give us this day ... ca ss Thirty years ago, the concept of making bread from cassava was like a mirage. Today, perhaps, all the cassava bread just needs to become a staple is legislation, Joe Agbro Jr. writes

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HOUGH widely consumed from time in Nigeria, it used to be the dreg of crops - heavily despised in the southwest as the 'lazy' man's staple, second-rated to yam in the Southeast, and largely just perceived as a hunger buster in the north. But, it seems that is not the case anymore. Cassava has become the new king of crops. And attention is focused on it. From Abuja to China, cassava is in high demand. Locally in Nigeria, cassava is processed as food in the form of gari, akpu or fufu, starch and some other local snacks. It is also used as animal feed and in other climes, production of bio-fuels is actively being extracted from cassava. However, this time around, the interest cassava is generating, especially from the federal government, is coming from bread-making. Yes, cassava bread. Pioneered by the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, (FIIRO), Lagos, about 30 years ago, the cassava bread never really did enjoy widespread commercial patronage. In bits, people consumed it but largely, it didn't fly. However, in April 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan once again reiterated government's commitment to ensuring that all bread consumed in the country and made from wheat contained a good measure of cassava flour. At the time of the pronouncement, fears were rife that the policy would not succeed. Speaking around that period, the then President, Association of Master Bakers, Confectioners and Caterers of Nigeria, Chief Bayo Folarin, had cited lack of equipment needed in processing and blending the composite wheat/ cassava flour and lack of training to bakers as hindrances. The target was ultimately set for 40% cassava flour versus 60% wheat flour. Two years after, that target is yet to be achieved. President Jonathan's interference is the third time a campaign about introducing cassava flour into breadmaking was being spear headed by federal government. The first was during the military regime of Gen Ibrahim Babangida and the second was during the reign of Olusegun Obasanjo as civilian president. This time around, government, through the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, re-echoed the whole cassava bread rhetoric. It has gulped significant funds and

last December, a cassava bread fund worth N4.3b was set aside for the upgrading of small cassava flourmills. And it was agreed that the fund be managed by the Bank of Industry (BOI). The fund which was designed to drive the cassava bread initiative aimed to stimulate about 5,000 bakers to begin producing cassava bread within one year. Part of the fund was also poised to enable the bakers acquire baking equipment like rotary ovens easily. And of that amount, 35 existing small cassava flourmills are to get N1.05bn to upgrade their facilities 50:50 loan/grant ratio. And N2.2bn would be used to support bakers, also on a 50:50 loan/ grant ratio. Also, under the arrangement, the BOI would provide working capital of N425 million as loan to the SME and about N468 million would go to medium and large-scale cassava flour millers. The loans are to attract single digit interest rates. According to the minister, "The fund is to provide support for many cassava farmers to grow cassava in commercial quantities and to thousands of master bakers to move into the use of cassava wheat." As at December 2013, there were six industrial bakers and 20 master bakers producing cassava bread with 20% cassava flour. Chief on this is the ministry of agriculture that ensures the master bakers realise it benefits the nation's economy to adopt cassava in its bread. And the minister in January said that adopting cassava into breadmaking will generate N240m annually for farmers. He said then that "if bread is not produced and processed in Nigeria, eaten by Nigerians, it is not good enough for Nigeria." And buttressing the minister's point, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has also reiterated the need to start using cassava flour in baking bread and other confectionaries. Also, last December, the President, Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Simeon Abanulo, was reported as saying that the association had certified 360 trained bakers for the facility while about 740 more bakers would be trained by the end of January 2014. No doubt, cassava is the new king, especially as the federal government wants to ensure the cassava bread really flies. Also, research for the bread has also taken place at International Institute of

•Cassava now has more reason to be king

•Obasanjo presenting cassava bread to Tanzania's president Mrisho Kikwete Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State. In 2002, they played a huge role in Obasanjo's policy of 10% inclusion of cassava flour to wheat flour. And in May 2013, Obasanjo, an IITA goodwill ambassador and a farmer himself, promoted the cassava bread in Tanzania. And after eating the bread for the first time, Tanzania's president, Mrisho Kikwete, described it as having an 'excellent' taste and not different from the "normal bread we are used to." IITA's present cassava bread embraced by President Jonathan is made with 40% cassava flour. And with so much being said about the cassava bread, curiosity got hold of me. And off

I went to the FIIRO to have a taste of the bread. At the bakery which regularly bakes the bread, the whiff of the bread was a sweet one. And to my taste buds, there was little difference from the bread largely consumed in Nigeria which was made from 100% wheat flour. It tasted 'normal.' The workers at FIIRO said that particular loaf was made of 20% cassava flour. While that is not near the 40% targeted, the bread easily passed my taste buzz. That is the result of about 30 years' pioneering research by FIIRO. The Personal Assistant to the FIIRO's Director-General, Mr. Deji Oyediran, said that, now, it is up to the millers to

incorporate cassava flour to imported wheat flour. Currently, a policy exists whereby millers are directed to incorporate five per cent cassava flour. "It is that composite flour that bakers buy from millers," said Oyediran. "So, for the baker, he would be aware that XYZ miller is incorporating cassava flour into wheat flour because it is a policy." But, he said, at the end of the day, it is only the upscale industrial millers that incorporate it. Pertaining to the taste, Oyediran said, "it has been so done to make sure that the taste and texture is good because you're going to produce


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BUSINESS

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Experts on how to tackle oil theft in Nigeria By Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf HOLISTIC and not a one-size fit all approach, is required to stem the menace of oil theft in the nation's oil and gas sub-sector, experts have said. This was the submission of a cross-section of participants at the 11th edition of the annual Aret Adams memorial lecture series which held at the MUSON Centre, in Lagos, recently. While declaring the event opened, Mr. Atedo Peterside, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, who chaired the occasion, noted that the theme of the discussion tagged: "Oil Theft: Its Impact on Nigeria" was a very germane topic given the growing challenge of oil theft in the oil-producing communities. In his welcome address, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Mr. Egbert Imomoh, noted that the late Chief Aret Adams left behind a legacy of professionalism and humanitarianism as epitomised in many lives he touched, irrespective of tribe or religion affiliations while he was alive. According to him, it was those virtues of his that motivated few colleagues and associates to establish the Foundation, to propagate and sustain the life-long dreams of the late Godwin Aret Adams. In his presentation proper, the guest speaker, Mutiu Sunmonu, Chairman/Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), reiterated that the topic of discussion, which bordered on oil theft, was pertinent to the future of the nation's petroleum industry. The Shell boss, who was represented by Philips Mshelbila, General Manager, Corporate Communications, observed that as the largest operator in the Niger Delta, SPDC JV operations, would be obliged to share its experiences thus far. Going down memory lane, Sunmonu recalled that the Niger Delta region used to be a peaceful haven has since gained notoriety as a hotbed of crime where all manner of crimes went unabated, especially oil theft and brigandage. On the economic implications, he cited International think-tank Chatham House reports which declared that Nigeria lost at least 100,000 barrels of oil per day-around 5% of total output in the first quarter of 2013-to theft from onshore and swamp operations alone. "Most of this oil is shipped and sold in the international markets, while some of it is refined illegally along the creeks. You don't need a mathematician to calculate the value of this stolen oil. We are talking about billions of dollars. Money that could be used to finance much needed development in the country: roads, hospitals, schools, power generation. The list is endless. "Crude theft affects oil and gas operations on land and swamp across the Niger Delta. However, as the international oil company with the most extensive footprint in the country, SPDC has been hit the hardest. There were over 80 reported incidents of crude oil theft from SPDC facilities that involved vandalism, spills, fires or arrests in 2012. The Nigerian authorities seized several tankers, barges, and locally made boats that were involved in these criminal activities. "The scale and complexity of this problem is beyond the control of any one company, institution or even country. It requires coordinated action, both at the national and local levels inside Nigeria, and at a regional and international level outside Nigeria. It requires thorough investigation and surveillance as well as military or police intervention. Most importantly, the perpetrators of these crimes need to be arrested and prosecuted. It is only with that level of transparency and accountability that we can begin to fight this battle fairly." Echoing similar sentiments, Mr. Austin Avuru, Managing Director, Seplat Oil and Gas, said the best way to guard against pipeline vandalisation by miscreants in the creeks is for the oil companies to take responsibility for securing those pipelines rather than relying on the security agencies. For Mr. Lawrence Adamu, who served as Managing Director of the NNPC 30 years ago, there was need for the international community to take active participation in addressing the issue of oil theft, which has the active collaboration of some international criminal syndicate. The foundation also announced the institutionalization of the Aret Adams Professorial Chairs at the University of Port Harcourt with the support of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of cheques to three the trio of Afuye Taiwo Joseph, Olaoye Israel Adebowale and Olajide Kayode Oklugbenga by the foundation. Making the presentation was the wife of the late Adams, Mrs. Izarene Adams.

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•President Jonathan launching the cassava bread initiative

•Adewunmi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture

Come March 6, stakeholders are expected to converge at a workshop at FIIRO in Lagos to conclude drafting a bill, which among other things, will look at legislating the percentage of cassava flour that flour millers should add to wheat flour to make bread. Once we do that (conclude drafting the bill), the bill will be sent to the House (of Assembly). And once there is legislation, whatever percentage that is agreed upon; whether five per cent or 10%, it will be incorporated right from the flour mills.

something that is different all of a sudden in terms of taste to the consumers." And the over-all plan is to incorporate a larger percentage of cassava flour into the wheat flour. "So, the wheat content in bread would be reduced by 30 to 40% over time," Oyediran said. At FIIRO, however, the level of cassava flour used in some confectionaries could get as high as 80%. And Oyediran said, "FIIRO's recipes are now being tested in the market through training programmes where some of our staff go to workshops where Master Bakers are trained jut for them to understand the technicalities." However, Dele Oyeku, a deputy director at FIIRO who facilitates training on behalf of ministry of agriculture and FIIRO for some of the bakers also said an absence of legislation has made the policy to be a bit ineffective. But, come March 6, stakeholders are expected to converge at a workshop at FIIRO in Lagos to conclude drafting a bill, which, among other things, will look at legislating the percentage of cassava flour that flour millers should add to wheat flour to make bread. "Once we do that (conclude drafting the bill), the bill will be sent to the House (of Assembly). And once there is legislation, whatever percentage that is agreed upon; whether five per cent or 10%, it will be incorporated right from the flour

mills. So that, any flour that you see in the market will contain that. And any bread you're taking is cassava/wheat component bread." Oyeku also said that while flourmills strive to comply with the policy directing them to include five percent cassava flour, the level is still is low. "We did a survey some years back to monitor level of compliance," Oyeku said, "and we found out that the average level of inclusion is about 2.5%." However, despite these hiccups, FIIRO is focused on pushing the cassava bread. At their office in Lagos, intending small-scale milers interested in processing cassava flour can purchase either the flash dryer or the rotary dryer. Other manufacturers are also exploiting opportunities in that sector. On fears that we might run out of cassava, Oyediran dismisses it. "It is unlikely," he said. "Once there is demand, farmers would grow more cassava for the processor to process for the flour mills." Cassava is grown locally and Nigeria is the highest producer of cassava in the world and over 40 varieties are produced. And being cheaper than wheat flour, by adopting cassava flour in the bread-making process, the price of bread is expected to become cheaper. But with a draft-bill just about to be prepared, it seems the dream of achieving 40% cassava flour in bread in Nigeria still remains in the foreseeable future.

From left: State Team Leader, PATHS II, Dr. Ibironke Dada, Chairman, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) and a staff during the disbursement of some consignment of drugs to AGPMPN by PATHS II in Lagos…recently


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

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ESIDENTS of Ikorodu, Imota, Agbowa, Epe and other neigbouring communities in Lagos East Senatorial District, Lagos, have had course to smile. Massive infrastructural upgrade and renewal is now ongoing in the area, with some of them completed. Last week, Governor Babatunde Fashola moved government machinery to the area to inspect ongoing projects and hand over already completed ones. One of the projects is the Imota Asphalt Plan that will solve the problem of production of asphalts for road construction and rehabilitation in Lagos East. The plant is expected to service Ikorodu, Ibeju Lekki, Eredo, Epe, AgbowaIkosi, part of Eti Osa, Ijede, among others. One of the significant advantages derived from the citing of the plant in Imota area is the regeneration of their environment, which is to be demonstrated in terms of an increase in the number of roads maintained annually, employment generation and a boost in commercial activities. According to the Chairman, Lagos State Public Works Corporation, LSPWC, Mr. Gbenga Akintola, the sciting of the plant would increase the number of road maintained, saying that the host community as well as four other Local Government such as Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu and part of Eti-Osa would experience an increase in the number of roads maintained annually, estimating that the plant would cater for 420 roads in this axis. The new LSPWC Imota Asphalt plant is of a batch of mix type with a maximum production capacity of 180 tons per

xxxx Lagos scales up infrastructural renewal in Lagos East By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie

hour. The plant was manufactured in Italy by a company called, Marini, a company founded in 1899 and with over 60 years experience. The Imota plant is of the Marini Ultimap 2000 B5 range. It is considered the most universal range Ultimap plant type with best ratio hourly production, price and quality and charaterised by ample and easy access to whatever plant component in accordance with European regulations. Some of the major components of the Imota plant include cold feed bins, bitumen storage, dryer drum, asphalt storage silos, emission control system, recycled filler storage and reclaimed asphalt pavement

section. A batch plant's strength such as the Imota plant primarily reliesm in its ability to make saleable hot mix out of almost any reasonable stockpile of aggregate. The plant has high flexibility of production, making it possible to frequently change the formula and to produce small quantities. It also has maximum efficiency and performance for the production of special products and more versatile. General infrastructure in the yard where the plant is located are administrative block, gate house and security tower to oversee the whole site, staff quarters, goods store, generator house housing three generators of 635 KVA and

135 KVA, 16 concrete foundation, weighbridge, weighbridge office and bitumen tanks, diesel tanks and asphalt production. According to Akintola, the plant's civil engineering works such as preparing the foundations on which all the plant components are sitting, were solely carried out by in-house engineers and technicians of the Corporation adding that they also played significant roles in the installation of the plant upon its arrival from Italy, expressing joy that the Imota environment has already begun to witness an upsurge of commercial activities in the form of trading and vending which, according to him, are improving by the day. Handing over the plant,

Fashola assured that his administration would continue to find solutions to its developmental problems in the State instead of talking about them, appealing to Lagosians to cooperate with his administration in its developmental efforts by giving up land where required in the interest of the generality of the people, pointing out that government was making steady progress with its plan to develop all parts of the State. He expressed dismay that in some areas where it had sought to carry out projects for the general good, some people had taken government to court, thereby delaying such a project and the benefits that would have accrued to the

•From left: Representative of the Lagos State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Mr Hakeem Adeniyi, Managing Director/CEO Bhojsons Plc, Deepak Dalamel, award recipients Mr. John Onyela and Mr. Frank Obinna, AIG Zone 2 Lagos State Police Command, Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe and Director Bhojsons Plc, Pradip Deshpande during the Bhojsons Lifan dealers award ceremony in Lagos...recently

MTN, Ecobank sign mobile money partnership

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TN Ghana and Ecobank have partnered to extend card-less automated teller machines (ATM) services in the country. With this partnership, MTN Mobile Money subscribers can now enjoy the convenience and ease of withdrawing money instantly from Ecobank ATMs anytime and from anywhere without a card. Ecobank is the latest partner bank to offer this service to MTN Mobile Money subscribers in Ghana. The Senior Manager for MTN Ghana Mobile Money, Eli Hini, said, "MTN is constantly finding new ways of delighting customers through our Bold New Digital strategy." He urged other banks to emulate this initiative to enrich the user experience of customers. Owureku Asare, Regional Manager for Cards and Electronic Banking (Ghana and West African Monetary Zone) at Ecobank, welcomed the partnership. "The partnership with MTN to offer Mobile Money

customers the opportunity to perform Cardless withdrawals from over 200 Ecobank ATMs in Ghana is to strategically make branchless banking a reality by activating multiple channels," Asare said.

These channels include mobile phones, internet, Points of Sales (POS), ATMs and through Agents." He further mentioned that, the branchless banking strategy will provide convenience that complement's the lifestyle needs

of the Ghanaian. He stated that increasing access to banking services to youth, under-banked and unbanked, with cheaper and more convenient financial services was at the heart of Ecobank's strategy.

•From left: National Senior Partner, KPMG, Mr. Seye Bickersteth, Guest Speaker, Mr. Aigboje AigImoukhuede and Mr. Yomi Sanni, Partner/Chief Operating Officer, KMPG, during the KPMG Alumni Cocktail Session on: "Leadership Growth and Succession' in Lagos…recently. PHOTO: MUYIWA HASSAN

people, adding that such projects would also solve the problems of unemployment. Citing the Imota Asphalt Plant as example, the governor said while under construction, scores of unemployed youths got jobs directly while other indirect jobs such as selling of food and other support jobs became available, saying that after the construction many residents had gotten engaged in supply of raw materials for the production at the plant. "The plant is already impacting on the community addressing youth unemployment in a positive and visible way. The most interesting thing about the Plant is that it is most modern and sophisticated as it reuses all asphalt scrapped from the roads. The community has a few years ago complained of non-government presence. Slowly, but surely, the economy of this place is picking up. I will not be in the discussion of youth employment but I will engage in finding solution to it," he said. The governor also toured the Vocational and Technical College, Ikorodu where he inspected the MTN Youth Skill Development Centre and commissioned the Nigerite Projects Building, urging Lagosians to partner with the government so as to continue to sustain its development plans for the State. He expressed joy that his administration's objective to lift the image and value of the Technical education in the State was being realized.

Recognition for Master Energy boss

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HE Business World Newspaper has honoured Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, President of Master Energy Group as its Man of the Year 2013. Justifying the award, the editorial Board of the Business World Newspaper said that the selection and investiture of Ogah was informed by his stupendous investments and contribution to the nation's economic development. Currently, his company employs a sizeable number of Nigerians even as it is projected that his business empire, whose growth can only be described as meteoric, will be employing about 42,000 Nigerians in the nearest future. Master Energy Group is a conglomerate with over 25 subsidiaries and interests cutting across oil and gas, banking, insurance, aviation, shipping, dredging, logistics, construction, travel agency, power, agriculture, fertilizer production, liquefied petroleum gas, lubricant blending commodity, pipeline engineering, fabrication etc. In his remark, the award recipient said he has never solicited or paid for any of the numerous awards he had received, adding that the he was delighted that his modest contribution was being recognised by the Board of Business World. The event, which held at Sheraton and Towers, was chaired by the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Ernest Ebi, with Director General of the Nigeria Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr John Isemede as guest speaker, among others.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

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AN you shed light on the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit (NDDIS)? Yes. After I became chairman of CANUK, I discovered that most of the Nigerians I meet in the UK always want to have something to do with Nigeria. Everywhere I go to, people are always asking me questions about what they can do in Nigeria. They always bombard me with projects upon projects. Many of them plan to relocate back to Nigeria or stay abroad and then do something in their country. Unfortunately, I then realised that many of them do not have the links or they don't know how to come back home. For example, if somebody wants to buy a land, the normal procedure will be for them to go and talk to their brother or their friends. And many of them got their fingers burnt because they talked to the wrong people. I then decided to set up a platform which I called the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit (NDDIS) and this becomes a bridge, a link to Nigeria. I am leveraging on my position as chairman of the community which gives me some access to government agencies - Federal and States - and I can bring in some state governors or governments to the UK and preach directly to Nigerians who live in the UK. One fact remains that Nigerians who live in the UK love their country so much. The level of their patriotism is second to none. They are always thinking about their country. Unfortunately for them, they now realise after sometime in the UK that it is easier to re-locate abroad than to re-locate back home because the process of coming back home is really, really difficult. And they look at those who are living in Nigeria as some kind of 'kings', wondering how they manage to do it. So, this platform has been set up as an enabler for most of them because we don't pray that they will come back home and start looking for job when those at home are even struggling to get jobs. In a nutshell, the NDDIS was set up to become a platform that can help them to set up small scale industries. The first edition of the Summit which we had in 2013 focused on developing SME sector. We went to SMEDAN (the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria); the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, spoke to the Minister; spoke to the DG; went to other agencies and then started approaching some states over incentives for direct foreign investments; incentives that can encourage Nigerians to come and create jobs in the states. Oyo State accepted; Bayelsa accepted; and so also Kogi and Kaduna States. Oyo State came with very powerful delegation of a 23-man team. Even the wife of the governor was there with the Governor. Bayelsa was there with their commissioners. Kaduna was there with their commissioners. And then we had some agencies like SMEDAN. We had the NIPC and we had representatives from the Federal Ministry of Trade •Akinkuotu and Investments. We also had some business people because what we also tried to do is that if somebody wants to set up a business in Nigeria, there are two things they could do: set a new project up or get into partnership into some existing projects in Nigeria. We realised that some projects in Nigeria are small scale businesses, may be, a candle manufacturing plant that somebody has somewhere in Bodija. The person may be looking for a partner. And within the Diaspora in the UK, we may be having someone who has money and does not have enough to start a new company but can partner with somebody in Nigeria. We provided a platform for this at the summit and they can talk of how they can form a partnership. That was about the first one we did. The feedback was excellent. The High Commissioner, Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, spoke to us that he has never been to any Diaspora Summit that was so well attended. We had exhibitions and we made sure that it was not just an ordinary talk shop. It is not the usual summit where people only make speeches - of course they would make speeches but we went a bit further by having Deal Rooms where people fix appointments with the commissioners, sit with them at the same table and then say 'Honourable Commissioner, I want to set up this and this, how can I get land?' And the Commissioner will say 'Oh, do you want land? I can provide you. This is the Director of Land. These are the forms you need to fill.' So, that cuts away the middlemen, so that Diaspora would not have to deal with family landowners. They can deal directly with the government and they can start to do good business. So, we did the first one and it was very successful. What specific reactions have you got from participants after the first Diaspora Investment Summit? The reaction has been overwhelming. It has been tremendous. Prior to the first summit, Nigerians in the Diaspora were never used to having opportunities of formally sitting together with

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'Why Nigerians in Diaspora are shifting focus to mining' Chief Roberts Bimbo Folayan is the Chairman, Central Association of Nigerians in the United Kingdom (CANUK). He spoke to select reporters on how the association is opening up partnership investment opportunities for existing and new businesses at home for improvement of the Nigerian economy. Bisi Oladele was there.

•Folayan

commissioners, directors in charge of investment from the home country in the UK. Rather, they always have to come down to Nigeria individually. But what we have done is to bring these people from Nigeria to actually meet them in the UK. So, they have been very happy over this. And the feedback has been excellent. The High Commissioner told me that some factories are currently being set up in Kaduna on the strength of what we had. And even though we did not want to invite Kaduna again to the forthcoming second summit, Kaduna is insisting that it will be coming because they have benefitted from it. In Bayelsa, we see lots of ongoing development projects initiated by beneficiaries of our first investment summit. I personally went to Bayelsa a few weeks after and I met a Nigerian Diasporan from the UK surrounded by six white British men and the man greeted me, but I said 'please, I cannot recognize you.' He simply responded saying 'but I was at your summit. And because of that summit, I had a meeting with the commissioner, and that is why he invited these six investors to Bayelsa.' So, in a nutshell, it's been very positive; it's like a revolution and we are hoping that in the next five to 10 years, it will become a solid platform of engagement for mobilisation of the Nigerian Diasporans. Can you shed some light on CANUK and its main objectives? CANUK was set up by Dr. Christopher Kolade, the former High Commissioner. When he came to the UK some seven years ago, he discovered that there were hundreds of Nigerian organizations in the UK and among these hundreds of organizations, some are professionals, some are cultural, some are state associations. For instance, we have the Oyo State Indigenes; Ondo State; we have Kaduna, Enugu, Ndigbo and all that. Dr. Kolade did not know who actually to engage with whenever he intended to talk to the Nigerian Community. He then decided to set up a platform that is all-embracing, hence the birth of CANUK. This is an umbrella organization. Every Nigerian organization in the UK belongs to CANUK. And our strength is over 250 associations while Nigerians in the UK are almost two million. In fact the High Commissioner calls me 'President' because two million Nigerians, and imagine I am the head of that community. We are equivalent of some small countries. Some are even less than one million population. So, you can imagine the strength of the Nigerian population in the UK. And the vast majority of this population are spread across all sectors from cleaning to notably specialized areas such as Medicine, Engineering and anything you can think of.

On the second edition of the NDDIS, when exactly is it coming up and why are you focusing of mining? The Summit, which has as its theme: 'Mining and the Diaspora: Nigeria's Unexploited Wealth Opportunities', is billed for April 10 and 11 this year in London, United Kingdom. Why are we focusing on mining? We are focusing on mining because many of the Nigerians who live abroad want to get involved in the oil sector. In my position as Chair of the Nigerian community, I try to advise them in the right direction and what I said to them is that the whole of Nigeria is already focused on the oil sector, and if you are now looking at the sector, you are not bringing anything new; then you will only be joining the bandwagon. So, our resolve was to look at ourselves as agents of change. We have a sector that has not been tapped; and we can turn the mining sector into our own oil sector because Nigerians now do not want to go into the mining sector because it is capital intensive and is difficult to get into. We can go there and add value and turn it into a mine field where we'll be making serious money because nobody is looking at it now. The current contribution of mining to our GDP is just one per cent. So, if we are able to bring Diasporans into this country, and they go into the various states of the Federation, for example, Oyo, Nasarawa, Enugu, Niger or Kaduna to mine, and we start to make money, then we would have added value. The purpose of our coming is not just to come and share in the wells; it is virtually to come and add value because this is our country and we've gained so much by the virtue of the fact that we were originally from Nigeria. So, that is the reason we are focusing on the mining sector. We feel that if we allow the Diaspora to stimulate the mining sector, we will re-engineer Nigeria's economy on a way that there will be a bit of diversion and people will pay less attention to oil; they will start to create new wealth. But the way the NDDIS planned to do it is that at some stage, we will be dealing with security. We will be gathering security experts from among Nigerians that live in the UK to come and invest in the security of our country. We will also be going into agriculture and such others. We are going to be dealing with it sector by sector. But this time around, it is the mining sector. So, if we have succeeded in bringing in, even if it is just 100 people nationally, to start small businesses or, may be, mining support services like creating roads, creating infrastructure to develop the mining sector, we will have achieved a lot. In what ways is the Federal Government and the states supporting this project?

When the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, came to London some weeks back he gave a feedback and said he was very happy with what we are doing. And I went to Abuja, unfortunately we only shook hands, I could not see him that day. But we are getting a lot of support from them. They are helping us, even though we are trying to get the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to get involved, particularly the Bank of Industry. The NIPC and SMEDAN are giving us fantastic support but we need more support. We have been able to mobilize a lot of states. For instance, Niger State wants to come. The governor has already given us his consent. Kaduna State wants to come. We went to meet Ogbeni Aregbesola of Osun State. Unfortunately, we could not see him but I was so happy when he called by himself a few days ago to say that he would soon reach out to us. So, we are hoping the State of Osun will be there. And for Oyo State, we are hoping they will also join us, much more so, because Oyo State has a lot of mining potentialities. So, these are some of the few states we are talking to at the moment and we are getting support, even though we need more. But we don't want to bring more than six states to ensure effective coordination. We have toured about five states so far. We have about five more states to travel to. And within these, we can select about six states nationally that will be there. But watching the political scene across the federation, are Nigerians in the Diaspora not bothered with the state of the polity? What plans do you have in this regard? We have a lot of plans. We have plans to get involved politically; and we have plans to get involved economically because this is our country. We feel strongly that, like some other sectors, we Diasporans are also a sector that has been marginalized. And Nigerians have not even recognized how important we are to the economy of the country because as long as we have Nigerians, we will also have the Diaspora. And what we want to do is to fight our way into Nigeria. And the way we'll fight our way is to start to put pressure on government. There are certain areas that we feel that the government needs to do more - in the area of infrastructural development. I think in some parts of the country notably Oyo, Niger and Osun States, we have seen some positive changes in the infrastructure development. This positive trend should be stepped up across the nation. What we want to do is that we will continue to put pressure on the government. But one major thing we want to do is to start to help the Nigerian masses here indirectly. If we, as Nigerians in the Diaspora, start to provide jobs for ordinary Nigerians through creation of small scale businesses, we will be in a position one day when we will tell Nigerians, 'this is the way you should go' and they will go there. They will listen to us because we would have built the credibility and there will be trust for Nigerians in the Diaspora that they love their country. What we have realised is that mere talking to government has not really changed much on the system. You can say anything to the government, if they are not going to act, they will not act unless they know you have the power. And this is why we are going through the economic process to effect a positive change in the system. We want to win the hearts of Nigerians and, in fact, this is one of the reasons for the second edition of the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit coming up in London in April this year. The theme of the investment summit is 'Mining and the Diaspora - Nigeria's Unexploited Wealth Opportunities. Right now, CANUK has started mobilizing all Nigerian mayors, Nigerian members of Parliament and all Nigerian politicians in the Labour and Conservative in the UK, to contribute their wealth of experience to improve on the polity in Nigeria, their home country. In the UK, we currently have four mayors of Nigerian origin.


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Beware of that baby diaper

LG introduces new chest freezer


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

BUSINESS

T is unacceptable for Nigerians to buy cement at N1, 800 per bag instead of N500 per bag in countries that have attained self sufficiency and are net exporters of cement. We challenge the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN) to stop the baseless information fed to the federal government and people of Nigeria that the nation has attained self-sufficiency in cement production and that Nigeria has become a net export of cement. This is not true.The cement produced in Nigeria is under 50 percent of the nations requirements. The misleading information by CMAN to the Federal Government has resulted in driving the price of locally manufactured cement from N500 per bag to N1,800 per bag, as the federal government has been prompted to push up the duty and levy on cement import to 35 percent. Add other import bills associated with NPA and NMA, imported cement attracts a total of 45 percent dues on imported cement. The government suspended all already granted cement import licenses such that manufacturers can sell their cement at N1,800. As at today, there is only one cement license holder in the name of Ibeto cement that is importing cement. This is because they took Federal Government to court and obtained judgment in their favour. This allows Ibeto to import cement till 2017. While others have withheld action against the federal government for the political reason of allowing President Goodluck Jonathan to succeed. The action of CMAN has shut the doors to other players into the industry blocking competition in the industry which has led to poor quality of the product leading to collapse building and loss of lives as lamented by the coalition of civil society groups and professional bodies in the construction industry as published in front pages of several national dailies including the Guardian and The Nation newspapers. The late President Musa Yar'Adua considered in his wisdom acknowledge the importance of cement to the economy that was why he decided to grant cement import license to 6(six) new entrant each from a geopolitical zone of the Federation. Madewell Cement, Reagan Cement, Minag Cement, Bua Cement, Nicca Cement and Lababidi, to force down the price of the product to N1,000 per bag during the brief period of his regime. We pray his immediate predecessor in office whose Vice-President then was President Goodluck Jonathan should as a matter of necessity should revalidate the utilizedcement import licenses. He should make wide consultation by looking beyond the boasting by a single manufacturer claiming import of 5,000

'Nigeria has world's highest cement price'

NEXIM rated best performing African development finance institution

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By David Iweta

trucks to bring down the price of cement to N1,000 per bag which never happened, when the total numbers of its road worthy trucks are less than 1,000 units.We think it is time the President revalidates the all suspended licenses to bring down the price of cement to N1,000 it was selling during the late President Yar'Adua's regime with duty and vat at 5% and 10%. It is strange for a group to deceive the Federal Government to believe that Nigeria has attained self sufficiency in the cement production when the product is selling for above 100% and 150% as it is sold in other Countries that have attained sufficiency like China, Taiwan, Turkey, India, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Romania, Norway etc. where cement is sold at N500 per bag of cement. It is a known fact by Nigerians and indeed the whole World that the cement industry in Nigeria is mortgaged to a Cabal. This is a threat to the economy as cement being an essential commodity should not be left in hands of few tilting toward monopoly because it could pose a great danger to the country as few individual could hold the nation to ransom. It is in the best interest of the nation to allow other players to come into the industry as foreigners and local players are interested to invest in the cement industry are staying back as government is doing nothing to attract investors into this sector as the cement policy is in direct favour of a single group giving no room for competition, price affordability and guaranteed quality as India alone has about 154 cement factories. As things are, no new entrant can approach the Nigeria Stock Exchange for long term fund for a

Greenfield cement project as they will tell you that there is a glut in the market already. The reason behind late President Yar'Adua granting license to new entrants was to encourage them to progress into producing cement over 34years of cement import as in the case with those now blocking others they having enjoyed same privilege for more than 4years. The issue of cement quality is associated with standard set by the British Standard Specification (BSS 12/197842.5R/N as the acceptable quality which was adopted by Nigeria and anything short of this quality such as 32.5R/N as disclosed by the Coalition of Civil Society Group is a crime against cement users in Nigeria. During the late President Yar'Adua cement import license regime, our members imported CEM I which is even a higher grade than CEM II which brought local manufacturers to their toes as there was no more room to supply low quality cement which led to heavy media campaigns against the then Minister of Commerce and Industry Engr. Charles Ugwu who recommendation to Mr. President the need for cement import. Sponsored by CMAN and the Cabal which led to his abrupt removal. Japan with the highest cement quality in the World will never comprise quality and Nigeria should emulate by setting good standard. The major determinant of cement quality is limestone and the quality of clay used in the right proportion and most importantly strict adherence to the 5% gypsum content as recommended by the British Standard Specification for Ordinary Portland Cement. Owing to the high price of this raw material which is imported from Spain and Brazil, manufacturer tends to compromise quality by

reducing the content to as low as 3% to make more profit at the expense of unsuspecting consumers. This will quicken the drying time for block molders' but every good quality cement with required 5% gypsum will have a slow but standard setting period of about 27days as gypsum is the hardener ingredient and responsible for the strength of cement. If gypsum content is reduced from 5% to 4%, 3% and 2.5% all you get is poor quality cement that will obviously lead to collapse building. This can only happen where there is near monopoly situation where consumers have no choice but to buy the only brand in the market whether the quality is good or poor. The Cement Manufacturers are deceiving Nigerians when they say Nigeria is a net exporter of cement. There is not a single country near Nigeria like Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Cameroon where cement is sold above N1,000 per bag. Can the manufacturer give name of the Country that is importing cement from Nigeria where cement price is as high as N1,800 per bag before paying road transportation cost and duty in such countries? The Federal Government need to revalidate unutilized cement import licenses to encourage new entrants and make the price of the product affordable and also guarantee quality of the product to meet the 17,000,000(seventeen) million housing deficit of the country and give room for healthy competition among players in the cement industry. •Iweta is ChairmanCement Producers Association of Nigeria (CPAN), President-Sapele Chamber of Commerce and Deputy-President-SouthSouth Chambers of Commerce

HE Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) has rated the Nigerian Export-Import Bank- NEXIM as 'Best Performing African DFI.' The decision was an outcome of the '2013 Annual AADFI CEOs Forum of African Development Banks and Finance Institutions' on the theme "Strengthening African DFIs with Appropriate Standards and Guidelines: 3rd Peer Review & Rating of African DFIs" held at the Serena Beach Hotel & Spa, Mombasa Republic of Kenya from 13-15 November, 2013. The Forum marked the conduct of the 3rd Peer Review of DFIs with the AADFI Prudential Standards, Guidelines and Rating System (PSGRS). In the letter conveying the message to NEXIM Bank, titled: "Congratulation on your Rating as Best Performing African DFI", Mr. J.A. Amihere, the Secretary General of AADFI, stated, "In the light of your institution's rating as 'Best Performing DFI", we are pleased, on behalf of the Chairman of the Association, to extend our warm congratulations to your Board of Directors and Management Team on this record performance, and urge you not to relent in your effort at entrenching best practices in the operations of your institution as you continue to sustain your development financing mandate." According to AADFI, the Peer Review Exercise with the AADFI PSGRS was not a competition but an approach to evaluate DFIs in the various areas of governance, finance and operation in order to identify areas of weaknesses for self-improvement and strengths for consolidation. Suffice to state that considering NEXIM Bank was in the 'Negative rating' for a long time before the Roberts Orya-led Management took office in August 2009, it is instructive to note that it quickly moved to 'B' rating in 2012, then progressed to 'Best Performing African DFI' in 2013. Continuing, Mr. Orya stated that "…the ultimate plan of the Bank is to invite an international rating agency, may be Standard and Poor or Agusto & Co, or any of such agencies to rate the Bank….ideally, this is the time for such a rating…." In concrete terms, between August 2009 and December 2013, the Bank has supported Nigerian exporters, mainly Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) in the MASS sectors, to the tune of N30.99billion, and issued Guarantees valued at US$27.30million. In terms of developmental impact to the Nigerian economy, the Bank has through its funding interventions generated/sustained over 21,075 direct jobs, in addition to many indirect jobs and facilitated the generation of estimated US$250.32million annually in foreign exchange earnings. In line with the strategic objective of building a profitable institution with a robust balance sheet, the Management has ensured an appreciable return on the equity investment of the shareholders. Accordingly a dividend for the 2010 financial year performance was declared and paid, which was the first time since year 2003 when dividend was last paid. Dividend for 2011 has also been declared and paid, while dividend for 2012 will be paid after the approval of the accounts by the CBN. This would make it three years of unbroken profitable performance, whilst fulfilling the Bank's role as a development finance institution.

'$2.9tn needed to build infrastructure'

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ROM the Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr. Foluso Philips has come a damning verdict: "Nigeria needs a total of $2.9tn to close its infrastructure gap in the next few years." He said this during the investiture of Dr. Temilola Kehinde as the 15th President of the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria in Lagos recently. "A total of $2.9tn is required to close Nigeria's infrastructure gap over the next 30 years, with $2.3tn on transport, energy, ICT and water, and $600bn on agriculture, mining, social infrastructure, housing and regional development," Philips said. While congratulating Kehinde, he said the National Integrated Infrastructure Plan provided a huge opportunity for ACEN and the Nigerian Society of Engineers to emerge. Kehinde, in his speech, noted that engineering was at the core of development and that any nation that aspired to greatness must treasure and value engineering. He observed that through the National Content Development Act, 2010, the government had opened a new vista of opportunities for consulting engineers and other professionals to participate actively in the oil and gas sector. "Perhaps, this new opening will offer future tremendous business opportunities for Nigerian consulting engineers. We are gearing up and reviving our tools to be active participants in this new endeavour," he said. The ACEN president said that nobody could become a member of the association without ascertainable relevant skills and a reputation for high quality work. With a current membership of 250, he said the association was aware of the existence of over 1,000 consulting engineering firms currently operating in the country. "While still maintaining our lofty standard, we shall continue to encourage more member firms to join our fold," he said.


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GSMA report shows active Mobile Money customers reached 61 million in 2013

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HE GSMA's Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme today released its third annual Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry Report, providing a quantitative assessment of the state of mobile financial services, including mobile money, mobile insurance, mobile credit and savings. The report draws on the results of the annual MMU Global Adoption Survey, as well as on data from the online MMU Deployment Tracker and qualitative insights on the performance of mobile financial services from the MMU Programme's engagement with the industry over the last year.

•Inyang addressing participants at the workshop

'How to xxx make it big in Nigeria' Excel Africa, a non-governmental organisation, last week shared a simple tenstep process to starting thriving businesses and hitting the goldmine in Lagos while unveiling the availability of start-up capital for entrepreneurs with viable proposals, reports Sunday Oguntola

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R Dennis Inyang saw poverty at its crudest form. It was so bad that for several years, he had nowhere to call a home. "I grew up in a broken home with a troubled childhood. I went to school on credit; it took friends to pay my tuition. I finished from school, not knowing where to go," he recalled. "Three days to my wedding, we didn't have anywhere to call a home. We had nothing to call our own. Life was so difficult that the only thing people gave me was pity," Inyang added. But times have since changed for him. He is now an entrepreneur with thriving business concerns. But he does not want to waste his encounters with poverty. As President of Excel Africa, he is committing his past, nasty shaves with poverty to teaching upcoming business-minded Nigerians how to make it in the country. Last week, Inyang held a coaching class dubbed Access to wealth seminar to share ideas on how to beat the poverty trap in Ajegunle

Lagos. According to him, it is possible to deal poverty a big blow and march to greatness despite the socio-economic challenges in the nation. The solution, he explained, is "not in stealing, 419, prostitution or occultism." Anyone determined to follow a ten-step he designed, Inyang assured, will not only make it in Nigeria but make it big. The first step, he stated, is to believe it is possible to make it in Nigeria. Inyang lamented that many have given up on the country but bent on immigrating at the slightest opportunity for greener pastures. The pastures, he said, cannot be greener elsewhere than they are in Nigeria. "For as long as you are looking for a way to get out of this country, you won't make it here. God located you here because there is everything here to make it in Nigeria. Nigeria is good enough for you to make it here," he shared. He also said mental belief is critical to beating the poverty trap. Many Nigerians, he pointed out, consider themselves poor and act as such. "You cannot rise above your thoughts. The image you conceive and believe of

yourself will play out in life," Inyang added. The personal development coach tasked Nigerians to take responsibility for their lives. Only those who blame nothing and nobody but themselves for everything in their lives will have the opportunity to deal poverty a blow. Nigerians, he pointed out, have played the blame games to debilitating effects. The reality, according to him, is that everyone is responsible for the quality of his or her life. "The government is not responsible for your poverty. It is not government's fault if you don't have money; you simply have not known where the money is," he argued. Inyang added that Nigerians must be willing to do anything and everything legal to earn a living. No job, he said, should be considered disgraceful as long as it is legal and offers a living. Nigerians, Inyang stated, are a talented, gifted lot with potentials for the impossible. He said hardship should drive them to seek out their talents and utilise same for profitability. "There is always something in you that the world will willingly pay for.

Seek it out and you will be on your way to wealth creation," he stated. To really create wealth, the trainer said people must be willing to sell than they ever buy. According to him, "The world is a marketplace; we are all buying or selling. If all you do is buying without selling, you won't be rich. If you can't sell more than you buy, you won't be prosperous." The other paths to making it in Nigeria, according to Inyang, include development of wealth creation habits, keeping the company of progressive, positive people and learning to give money away. To demonstrate commitment to helping budding entrepreneurs succeed, the president of Excel Africa announced the availability of N50, 000 start-up capital for participants at the seminar with viable business proposals. The capital, he explained, comes with no strings attached, other than the willingness to commit it to the purpose for which it is provided and supervision of the business. Inyang said beneficiaries are not expected to give returns or pay interest on the start-up fund.

"This annual report underscores the enormous impact that mobile money is having in emerging markets, by providing access to increasing numbers of products and services and helping millions of people to manage their daily lives and improve their livelihoods," said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. "Each year our review reveals greater insights on the wide range of uses of mobile money and on how operators are working collaboratively in developing mobile money services to meet growing customer demand." Growing and Expanding Services The report shows that the number of active mobile money users continues to grow rapidly year-on-year, with more than 61 million accounts active as of June 2013, compared to 37 million in June 2012. Further, the number of registered mobile money accounts nearly tripled from 71 million in June 2011 to 203 million in June 2013. Services have expanded across a greater number of regions, with 219 services in 84 countries at the end of 2013, compared to 179 services in 75 countries at the end of 2012. Positive regulatory reforms that are enabling mobile money services are contributing to the growth of the industry in terms of number of deployments. The majority of services remain in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 52 per cent of all live mobile money deployments located in the region. However, mobile money is also expanding outside of the region, with, for example, 19 mobile money launches planned in Latin America. Mobile Money Services Widen Financial Inclusion The MMU 2013 Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry Report has highlighted that an increasing number of providers are overcoming operational challenges to create solid distribution networks and a large base of active customers. Today, 13 services each have more than 1 million active mobile money accounts and those services that have created solid foundations are moving forward with new products such as bulk payments and merchant payments. The increased number of mobile money users and access points illustrates the important role of mobile financial services in driving financial inclusion in developing countries. At the end of 2013, nine markets, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, already had more mobile money accounts than bank accounts, compared to just four markets last year. In these markets, the mobile money industry has made financial services accessible to more people than the traditional banking industry. The development of other mobile financial services, including 123 mobile insurance, mobile credit and savings services, 27 of which were launched in 2013, will allow service providers to deepen financial inclusion by offering financial services beyond money transfer and payments. Ecosystem Development As mobile money becomes a mainstream product for a growing number of operators, competition is also increasing. At the end of 2013, 52 markets had two or more mobile money services compared to 40 in 2012. In June 2013, transactions involving external companies using mobile money as a platform to receive and make payments drove the growth in mobile money globally, representing 29 per cent of the total value of transactions. These transactions are also growing much faster than airtime top-ups and on-net transfers. In June 2013, 53,000 merchants were accepting payments via mobile money and 16,000 organisations use mobile money as a payment platform for accepting bill payments or making salary payments. Phillips added, "As the mobile money industry grows, we are seeing how these services are benefiting the lives of millions of citizens in developing countries all around the world. We will continue to track these tremendous developments and work with mobile operators and the broader ecosystem to expand the scope of services available and to extend services to more of the world's population."


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FirstBank empowers Honeywell tasks youths on youth with financial literacy programme entrepreneurship development A H ONEYWELL Flour Mills Plc has urged youths to sharpen their entrepreneurship skills with a view to be self-dependent with less emphasis on pursuing nonexisting white collar jobs. Senior Brand Manager, Mr Lanre Da-Silva, who stated this in Ado Ekiti during the Honeywell-sponsored second Trade Fair for Public Primary Schools in Ekiti said the company partnered the Ekiti State Government on

entrepreneurship development at the primary level of education to combat the geometric increase in the level of unemployment in the country. Besides, he said the objective of the fair was in tandem with the philosophy of Honeywell which believes in introducing the children to entrepreneurship development to make them self-sufficient when they grow up. He, however charged the

parents to be conscious of the natural potentials in their children, saying such natural knack must be nurtured to maturity for them to have sustainable and prosperous future. Da-Silva, who said his company was glad to partner with Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to boost early education in Ekiti, said "there is no human being without potential or natural endowment. You don't have to

be Professors before you become great in life. With minimal education and good skills, you can rise to any level", he said. The Deputy Governor of the state, Prof Modupe Adelabu, while commending Honeywell for investing in such project, said the essence of the programme is to enhance the pupils' entrepreneurial and technical skills that could make them employers of labour in future, rather than job seekers.

•From left: Senior Brand Manager, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Mr Lanre Da-Silva, Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Commissioner 11, Mrs. Olubunmi Adelugba, wife of the State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof Modupe Adelabu , at the Honeywell-sponsored 2nd Trade Fair for public primary schools in Ado Ekiti…recently

HEAD of this year's Financial Literacy Day, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria's largest lender through its FutureFirst Initiative kicked off a Financial Literacy Programme as part of its strategic intervention towards youth empowerment. The Financial Literacy Programme which is in partnership with Junior Achievement of Nigeria (JAN) will run for 13weeks across various secondary schools in the Lagos metropolis. The programme is designed to provide an experiential supplement to the business education of high school students in Nigeria and empower students with financial knowledge through training on running a business and learning of basic money skills to promote a savings culture and building a crop of future financial managers. According to the Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, at FirstBank, there is no denying that the future is our most present priority. It is on this premise and coupled with our passion to see a more financially independent generation that we have designed the Financial Literacy programme because we believe that young people, who are the beneficiaries of this project, are indeed critical for economic growth and therefore represent the future of the nation, as well as the future of the Bank. "As Nigeria's leading financial service institution, through our Corporate Responsibility Platform, we are setting the pace in building a talent hub of future leaders and working to avert the negative effects that may result from financial indiscipline. The project will be implemented based on a structured employee volunteering program where, employees of FirstBank will offer one hour weekly for a period of 13 weeks and employ their skills in providing financial literacy knowledge to the chosen secondary school students." she said. You will recall, that last year, FirstBank launched the FutureFirst initiative, a unique initiative with two expressions (Career Counseling and Financial Literacy Programme) both aimed at ensuring the youth of our Nation are financially independent through fulfilling careers and the right financial knowledge. FutureFirst through the Career Counseling and Financial Literacy Programme will be used to empower secondary school students between the ages of 12 and 17years old in JSS 2 to SS2 to build fulfilling careers and be better equipped with the tools and knowledge for long-term financial independence. The Financial Literacy Programme is coming at a right period as it's coincides with the commemoration of this year Global Money Week.

Carpenters to benefit from Eternit training programme in 2014

IFAD President meets top officials, smallholder farmers in Angola E

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R. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will meet top officials in the Republic of Angola during his official visit country from Wednesday to Friday. While there has been economic growth in Angola, inequality remains as well as poverty, particularly in rural areas. Despite being a middle income country, significant parts of the country remain "fragile" and justify continued and incremental support to rural development. Also, as the Government has increased levels of public resources, there is a need to use these public resources to leverage private-

sector financing and the support of other development partners to scale up successes, for example in IFADsupported projects. Scaling up is a critical mission for IFAD in Angola. On the eve of his departure for Luanda, Nwanze said: "Farming is a business and a dignified profession, one that produces food, creates jobs, generates wealth and empowers people". He went on to say that "IFAD is committed to working together with the Government of Angola in investing in rural people in the country, in particularly young women and men, so that they can stay in rural areas and contribute to their own

development." In Angola, Nwanze will meet President José Eduardo dos Santos, the Vice President Manuel Domingos Vicente, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development Afonso Pedro Canga, the Minister for Fisheries is Ms Victoria de Barros Neto, the Minister of External Relations Georges Rebelo Chicoti, the Minister of Finance Armando Manuel and the Minister of Environment Maria de Fátima Jardim. Their discussions will focus on the role of smallholder farmers in ensuring food security in Angola, climate change and the opportunities agriculture can offer to the rural youth. While in the country,

Nwanze will visit the IFADsupported Market-oriented Smallholder Agriculture Project to see first-hand how project participants have improved their lives. This project aims to increase the agricultural production of small farmers in the Province of Bié, Huambo and Malanje. A new Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture Project is in the design phase. Its purpose is to reduce poverty in artisanal inland fishing and support small-scale fish-farming households. To date, IFAD has financed four projects in Angola for a total investment of US$36.1 million, benefiting 185,800 households.

BENCCIMA partners banks in developing trade fair complex

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HE Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BENCCIMA) said over the weekend it would partner with banks to develop some parts of the trade fair complex in Benin. Mr Andy Edobor, the newly elected president of BENCCIMA, spoke on the plan in Benin, during the 47th

Annual General Meeting of the body. Edobor, who was interim president before his election, said his administration would revamp activities of the chamber, boost business activities in the state and develop the trade fair complex. He noted that the complex, which covered

about 6.4 hectares, lacked basic infrastructure and was in dire need of renovation and development. ``We want to develop the trade fair complex; we don't want to leave it fallow. ``We intend to build a shopping mall, event centre and bring other business ventures into the complex, while we still leave enough

land for trade fair exhibitions. ``We want to partner with the banks to invest in these projects through the PrivatePublic Partnership," Edobor said. He said that his interim administration carried out laudable projects such as renovation and electrification of the BENCCIMA secretariat and strengthened partnership with the state government.

TERNIT Nigeria limited, one of the leading manufacturers of roofing and ceiling products plans to train carpenters in 12 states of the federation. The company intends to boost local technical skills and create jobs in the building and construction industry. This was made known by Dirk Modderman, the managing director, while unveiling the company's strategies towards ensuring increase in sophistication within the construction industry especially in the installation of certain products. "There are new products now in the marketplace that requires highly skilled manpower to install. Without proper training, many of our local carpenters and product installers would struggle to meet the demands in the construction industry today" .This he further said, informed the company's decision to commence the special product installation training. The training will cover all the states within the business jurisdiction of Eternit and will involve participants across many towns in the states. The states that will benefit from the training programme are: Imo, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Bayelsa, and Rivers. Others are Enugu, Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and the federal capital territory, Abuja. It should be recalled that in 2013, Eternit trained about 1000 carpenters and building products installers across the country in fulfillment of its commitments to equip craftsmen with modern techniques and skills. As part of the company's corporate social responsibility, the managing director said that the training programme is now a tradition which the company intends to sustain. "We have already demonstrated our commitment towards improving manpower development and skill acquisition through special training for carpenters and other products installers. This tradition we intend to replicate in 2014 in all the states within our areas of operation in the country." Commenting further he said, this is a social intervention to ensure that people living within Eternit areas of operation get the benefit of its experience as a world class firm.


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Reasons for boost in industrial production in Nigeria suggested that government was anything but inert with regard to using the policy framework to boost the manufacturing sector, even though there was agreement that more political will was needed to back the policies. From the foregoing, three critical factors are to be held to be responsible for the takeoff of the "industrial revolution" in Nigeria. They are improvement in governance under the current democratic dispensation, stable macroeconomic environment, and wider reach of government's incentive system, especially under the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Improved governance framework Nigeria's new democratic dispensation reaches a decade and half in May. The incontrovertible point of this is that governance of the country is now quite predictable. Democratic norms of regular elections have taken roots. This is good for policymaking and policy implementation. Unlike in the past when a cocktail of (conflicting) policies by successive military dictatorships that held sway for about three decades before 1999 brewed uncertainty, democracy and the entrenched electoral cycle has mitigated risks of policy volatility. This is even made better by the appetite for policy continuity as one administration gives way to the other through the electoral process. No doubt, perception of high political risk had been a mitigating factor for longterm investment in Nigeria. By its nature, investment in manufacturing requires medium-to-long-term political risk outlook that is subdued. This holds to be true whether or not we refer to private domestic investment or foreign direct investment. Therefore, both local and foreign investors are responding to the brighter outlook of the governance framework in Nigeria. Indeed, the level of confidence in the governance environment is not better expressed than that Nigerians, who understand best the risk profile of the country, are

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T is beyond question that an industrial revolution is ensuing in Nigeria. In the past, when an agent of the government made this claim, it was usually viewed as a public relation spin; seen to be completely devoid of any bearing with the reality on the ground. It is therefore gladdening that the validation of the progress which we have made as a country with regard to the revival of industrial activities in Nigeria is not only coming from policymakers; it is readily provided now by different stakeholders in the economy. At meal time, Nigerians across the age brackets validate the leap in food processing with their menu. For instance, there was a time when Italian spaghetti brands were all we had for pasta. Today local brands dominate that food segment. Similarly, domestic production has dominated the packaged fruit drinks subsector. The strong push to leverage the status of the country as the largest producer of cassava in the world to the largest processor of the produce is well underway. Last month, one of Nigeria's more influential, non-partisan trade a s s o c i a t i o n s , Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), attested to successful outcomes of government's policy interventions in the manufacturing sector in a well publicised media statement. Same January, Nigeria's foremost industrialist, Aliko Dangote, was the cynosure of all eyes at World Economic Forum 2014 in Davos. His success, being rooted in manufacturing, underlines the performance of private investment in non-rent-seeking activities, and the consumption capacity in Nigeria - a country of 170 million people, with a fast-growing middle class. What's more; the NSE Industrial Index grew by 78% in 2013. The recent successes in the manufacturing sector have been long in coming. Successive Nigerian governments have always looked for ways to lift the real sector. In spite of the fact that oil revenue has been significant as Nigeria maintains the profile of Africa's highest oil exporter, policy measures to engineer and support real sector growth have always been in the policy mix. The enthusiasm to do something to incentivise industrial production had in the distant past led to even opposing policy measures being aimed at achieving the same results, amid a raft of policy interventions under very unpredictable governance environment of military dictatorship. This led to the coinage: "policy somersault." Its negative connotation nevertheless

BUSINESS/SME REPORT

•Dr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment By Roberts Orya

now investing in long-term businesses. There is no sector of the economy where you do not have substantial investments by Nigerians in the private sector. Agroprocessing and manufacturing are going to be the driving force for private sector prosperity as Nigeria continues to face the future with certainty. The prospering Nigerian businesses in these sectors are further attractions for inflow of investment from foreign entities. Stable macroeconomic environment Nigeria is evidently committed to macroeconomic stability. Why would we not? It could be said that we learnt a hard lesson. We saw the negative impacts that unstable and u n s u s t a i n a b l e macroeconomic policy can have on public finance and citizen welfare before we started to fight it off at the turn of the millennium, as we ushered in the nascent

democracy that continues to entrench. We did the deal to exit the Paris Club debt overhang in 2005. The deal not only freed funds for social programming and development projects, it has signposted Nigeria's commitment to sustainable public debt. Countercyclical measures have since been imbued in federal budgeting, and the subnational governments are raising tax revenue to reduce dependency on shared oil revenue. From the height of 27% in 2003, inflation rate has been brought down to single digit by the end of 2013. Nigeria's 2014 budget (awaiting passage by the National Assembly) demonstrates the commitment of the fiscal authority to price stability in line with the monetary policy objective which the Central Bank of Nigeria has continued to pursue. Also, the CBN's exchange rate policy which delimits a band outside of which the local currency would not be allowed to depreciate, limits

currency risks to foreign investment flows to the country. Overall, Nigeria is a responsible player in the international system that looks to contribute to stability of the global economic space. Macroeconomic stability is important for Nigerian manufacturers. It helps to ensure that they are not paying high premium on international credit. Nigeria risk is now priced at par with peer emerging market economies. Therefore, as the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) has facilitated several transactions in the manufacturing sector, a lot of Nigerian manufacturers are now able to import machineries and tools to modernise their operations and scale up production capacities. Previously, the rate of inflation made this very difficult to happen. Aversion to Nigeria risk attracts pricing that is beyond what is operationally doable for Nigerian real sector firms. A more stable currency outlook is not divorced from the rising new investment in manufacturing in Nigeria by foreign entities that long ago or recently shed the little-warranted phobia for investing in the country. Recent reinvestments by Procter and Gamble, GSK, PZ, SABMiller and others tell the tale that Nigeria is a good place to invest. Wider reach of incentive system Nigeria has always incentivised investment in manufacturing. Its generous offer of incentives for investing in the sector is currently undergoing reforms to ensure wider reach for investors and create a level-playing field. In the past, the incentive system was administered in a manner that market participants saw to be preferential of persons and not just of industries. We are going past this learning curve. Under the President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan's Administration, the incentive system has been 'democratised.' Qualifications for the incentives are now well defined to apply more generally. Under this

Indeed, the level of confidence in the governance environment is not better expressed than that Nigerians, who understand best the risk profile of the country, are now investing in long-term businesses. There is no sector of the economy where you do not have substantial investments by Nigerians in the private sector

regime, supports for SME manufacturers, including special funds which lend at affordable rate, are known in the market. NEXIM Bank has been a significant player in this subsector with our loan portfolio to SMEs reaching N30.99 billion and we have issued guarantees worth $27.30 million to the sector in the last four years. Conclusion Mr. Kola Jamodu, President of MAN notes: "There is a clear evidence of the positive impact of the sector based incentives. Incentives and concessions given to the cement industry have contributed to the phenomenal increase in national cement production from less than 2 million tons in 2002 to over 20 million tons in 2013. As a result, from being a net importer, Nigeria has become a net exporter of cement. This was achieved in less than a decade thanks to the enabling environment fostered by government policies." Nigeria has got comparative advantage with regard to manufacturing. We have the population to support the sector. Government policies and the indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerian manufacturers have seen the operators through the period when they operated marginally, because infrastructural challenges exacerbated cost, and there were difficulties in accessing the investment incentives and affordable finance. All the problems are not solved yet. However, with the commitment of the Administration of President Jonathan, the power sector reform nears fruition. The playing field is now level in administering investment incentives. The infrastructural gap is gradually being bridged and we are now in more predictable environment. NEXIM Bank is especially excited by these developments because we know the industrial sector is the bedrock of sustainable job creation for Nigerians. Our activities in manufacturing, agroprocessing, solid mineral and services that support the value-chains (under our MASS Agenda) will continue to help the government to diversify its sources of foreign exchange earnings to make our national economic growth to be more robust and assure the attainment of shared prosperity. •Roberts Orya is Managing Director/CEO, Nigerian Export-Import Bank


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Brands and Visual Artists

O much happens with change. Though it is constant, sometimes change come with some damaging effect such that leaves more for negativity than add value. Part of the negative impact of change we talked about in our appreciation of technological development with special focus on social media vehicle. In that circumstance, we pointed out the fact that the appreciation and application of social media as a brand management tool does more harm than good in the face of IT development in our local market. Yes, we did establish the truth in the need to be rational in our application of technology because the efficiency of our thinking cannot be divorced from the readiness of the local environment for such applications. Take for instance the new cashless transaction planned to take place from January 1st, 2012; how else can one describe mistake: in a society where trust is the most priced currency for payment, how can you force the use of card money? How do you want to facilitate big volume cash-based trade transaction on PROMISORY cards when we know that the average trader in Nigeria do not trust even the bank draft? Such is the negative impact of change, yet we must observe change. However, growth dynamics requires some measure of careful consideration in the acceptance and application of change – in the face of established norms. As it most often turn out, careless acceptance of change can be dangerous. So we ask: of what use is change when it does not add up to growth, development or progress? How can we justify change when it ebbs away on quantifiable gains and established core values, no matter how minute? We question hypothesis on the basis of rationalization in the face of change. So, we question CHANGE some times.One of such questions we have had to raise concerning change is the impact it has had on brands management from the angle of creative arts! I have just come to the conclusion that in most cases, the OLD SCHOOL is better than the product of change around the world today – even in religion. But here we are looking at the incidence of CHANGE in special relation with the efficiency of creative arts in the process of brands management. The structure of today’s advertising agency is so suspect; traditionalists like me are at a loss as to how to refer to them. But they have also turned out smart in the image perception they have made of themselves. It’s been so apt one from the old school some times doubt some of these old thinking’s. Today we hear of brand architects, brands managers, brands management consultants, and so much more. In form and substance these are all different new reference to what we originally know as ADVERTISING AGENCY. Also annoying is the knowing that these so-called professionals do not really practice the profession in its true form. Consequently, we now see consumers exposed to campaigns or tactical advert materials lacking in message content or functional creativity. Some time last week I was privileged to see Coca-cola’s seasonal TV Commercial conceptualized as a Christmas salutary ad on CNN. It was awesome; a masterpiece of a creative work. It refreshed my appreciation of creative ingenuity. The TVC came across as a piece from the masters, with excellent use of lighting, appropriate music and sound effect and deep-thinking casting (use of models was exact); reminds me of the work I and the team I worked with did for Procter & Gamble’s euro Pampers when they were

preparing to enter Nigerian market. It all came properly put together by a team committed to agreed creative work plan. I believe and practice by the Old School tradition because I know it is more effective. It may not be very competitive in terms of very fast response-timing, convenience and style, but it has proven to be more beneficial. As my contemporaries and I know it, the creative artist or visualize(r) is first and primarily someone naturally gifted and trained in the expression of creative art. They are trained and prepared for creative thinking and expression in their natural medium sending messages and expressing emotion. For advertising, as we knew it then, we primarily dealt with the visual artist we called VISUALIZER. The visualizer, by reason of his/her natural creative abilities is charged with the responsibility of expressing the agency’s strategic thinking in pictures. The criterion for engaging visual artist was largely based on the extent of creativity and ability to apply same for advertising. So we had men and women proven to be naturally expressive in visual arts. Another beautiful thing about them is the tools of trade way back; the creative process was thoroughly investigative. Starting from understanding the overall creative direction agreed for a given brief, the Visualizer primarily puts his/her thought down in form of ‘pencil scamps’ – a format that allows for consideration and scrutiny. At that stage, the entire creative team inclusive of the strategic planning unit, the client service person and even the creative services person, come up to critically

evaluate the pencil scamps which are essentially visual expression of the artist’s understanding and interpretation of the assignment on hand. At this preliminary stage, nothing is agreed until it is agreed. It is only when the scamps are passed for appropriateness of thought and expression the creative team go on to finishing, in preparation for creative review, preparatory to agency presentation to the client. The process of progressing from scamps to finishing involves the use of the computer with all the software in aiding beauty and exactitude. Then we had the airbrush machine, the pantone color markers, pencils, cardboard papers, water color sets and erasers as basic work tools for the visual artist (in addition to other quite strange materials they some time require then, depending on the assignment and objective). Those were days that really tasked creative thinking and visual arts. I remember how my colleagues in the creative department manually produced storyboard for television commercial by use of hand. Then we had wild strokes strong and expressive of great thinking. There was no short cut in the creative process. We dare say brands gained more from that OLD SCHOOL than what obtains today. In the first place, change crept in but unfortunately met with laziness and desire for short cut, undermining natural talent. All kinds of things happen today in the average advertising agency that amounts to die-service to brands and the creative process as we started out with. In fact, it is so bad today, that some people who are not

artists by nature and by training, bow function as creative artist because all sorts of software is now available for work. Consequently hustlers quickly get computer use skills with a bent for application of tools for visual arts and there we go, as creative artists. It is exactly same reason all sorts of thing now pass for music: laziness and fast means to success. The entire system and process gets corrupted because nobody wants to go through the hard road. Most of the creative materials in advert materials today are lacking in deep thinking, awkward in expression and constitutes noise in the use of words and picture in the communication for brands. Just as anything sells for music in this market today, anything sells for advertising, leaving the brands compromised, the target audience confused and throwing negativity in the brand building process. In 2012, we shall step up this critical analysis to include analyzing campaign materials with special attention on concept and finishing. We know there are a few advertising Agencies out there who appreciates the true process and can rekindle the ‘old school’ pattern if the rules are strengthened for guidance. Unfortunately the clients are also not too strong in appreciation of creative products. But as mentioned above, next year, we shall concern ourselves with playing up the rules with a view to cleaning up the stains. Change is good and constant, but its implication is only as good as it is expressed.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

POLITICS

Ekiti 2014: Fayemi’s ‘Dangerous Weapons’

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HE Campaign for the governorship election in Ekiti State officially begins this month. All the gladiators in the race are fine-tuning their strategy. The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) had assured the nation that the election would end up becoming a model for future elections. The nation is enthusiastic about the election having seen the disaster that attended the Anambra election last year. The so-called international observers, whom we invite all the time to come and observe the sham we call election, are anxiously expecting INEC to avoid all kinds of unforced errors. The position of the presidency, on a free and fair election in Ekiti State, has not been made public but I want to believe that a man who trumpets it, everywhere he goes, that God has been so kind to him by “crowning” him the President of a big and complex nation like Nigeria despite his humble background, will also allow God and the people of Ekiti to decide who governs them. And being a very good, quiet, easy-going and unassuming man, our president will not support his party, the PDP causing any mayhem in Ekiti by trying to smuggle their candidate into power through electoral fraud and magic. But in case they don’t know, I wish to inform them that the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also seeking re-election, is battle -ready. He is armed to the teeth with his own dangerous weapons, and I must confess, these weapons are indeed formidable. Anyone who therefore wants to contend with Fayemi will first have to contend with the wrath of God. That is his first dangerous weapon. In discussing the election, the first thing he tells you is that God set him up as governor to come and rescue the state from its decline and the people from the disenchantment and frustrations unleashed on them by previous administrations. Today, a state that was notoriously christened,” a state of one week, one trouble”, has now become a peaceful state attracting tourists from far and wide. The second weapon of Fayemi is also of spiritual essence: the prayers of the aged. Why are they praying for him? When he assumed office, the governor came up with a scheme to take care of the indigent elderly citizens of the state. More than 20,000 indigent elderly people have benefitted from the State’s Social Security Scheme. At the launching, Fayemi said of the scheme: “It is painful to note that across the length and breadth of Africa, poverty visibly walks on the streets with impunity. Of the many identifiable strands of poverty that is confronting the developing world is the one associated with old age when one’s strength and vitality is lost and the bones are irredeemably weakened. The objective of his scheme is therefore to take care of these aged citizens in order to make life enjoyable to them… Even if it is impossible to re-enact in absolute terms, the good old days of fending for our elderly through our extended family, it is the determination of this government to reduce old age poverty significantly. This is the essence of this scheme”. Though the amount given is N5,000, the beneficiaries of the scheme are still full of appreciation for the government gesture. A beneficiary, Mr. Obafemi Awoluyi of Okemedo, Ikere Road, said the

By Dapo Thomas

scheme has been the best thing to happen to him in his old age. He said: “This is a big money for a peasant farmer like me. Even when I was still strong to go to farm, I knew the quantity of yam I sold to make N5000. But now, I don’t have to work before I get money to feed”. Another one, Mrs. Felicia Jegede had this to say: “This government is the best thing to have happened to us, the elderly in this state. We will continue to pray for the governor to succeed in all his endeavours”. In one of the recent interviews he granted to some newspapers, Fayemi mentioned the social scheme for the elderly citizens as his most cherished achievement. His reason was that everywhere he goes, the beneficiaries of the scheme show their appreciation by praying for him and his administration. He stated that as a Christian, he knows the significance of the prayers of the aged. It is therefore in the interest of Fayemi’s opponents to fear a man that carries the blessings of the aged. Fayemi’s third weapon is transparency and accountability. It is a rarity in this part of the world that a government which has been in office for more than three years, will be free of scandal. It becomes more amazing if the state involved is Ekiti where there are so many “professors of public scrutiny” and “independent public auditors”. The integrity of a government is strengthened by the quality and degree of credibility such government garners from the citizens as a result of the confidence it generates in them with its accountability and transparency. The only accusations and allegations of misappropriation against the Fayemi administration are coming from the opposition parties and this is understandable. The opposition has shown that it is bereft of issueoriented campaign hence its employment of odious propaganda and gratuitous grandstanding. The ruckus of the kill-joys with regards to these spurious allegations is buried in the popular acclamation of the people who appreciate the monumental projects and laudable programmes the Fayemi administration has done with their resources. Another significant added advantage for Fayemi is that he is a scholar presiding over the affairs of a state whose major resource is cerebral deposits. The Ekitis cognitive profundity was acknowledged by the Late Chief Ladoke Akintola through an unconfirmed mockery of Professor Igun’s and Professor Aluko’s intellectual superfluity. Fayemi is an accomplished and outstanding scholar with a reputation for excellence and quality research work on development, war studies and policy issues. He is a political scientist, a war theorist and a foreign policy expert with intimidating intellectual profile that places him far ahead of other contestants whose only credentials are aluta rhetorics and political sloganeering. As an intellectual, Fayemi is a pride to the Ekitis. His intuitive and perceptive articulation of economic interdependence, war and the theory of trade expectations projected through one of his submissions on environmental securities and violent conflict was a clear demonstration of his prodigy. Since the Ekitis place much value on knowledge, their present governor symbolises nothing more

•Fayemi

than the metaphor of their valued heritage. Without being disrespectful to Fayemi’s opponents, Ekiti deserves a leader with Fayemi’s kind of international profile in order to enhance the State’s prestige outside Nigeria’s land space. The Ekitis, with their intellectual ego, deserve a governor that can raise the stature of the state beyond the local precinct of the South West. Another valuable weapon the governor has, is his wife. The Governor’s wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi is a natural mobiliser, particularly of women, whom she adores, respects and loves with such a stupendous passion that is beyond human comprehension. Her advocacy for the rights of the women must have been responsible for the state’s agenda number eight which dwells on gender equality and women empowerment. It is a standard practice in Ekiti that at least, one third of all appointments will be for women. With Bisi Fayemi protecting the rights of women and showing such incomparable compassion for the women of Ekiti through the assistance she gives to the needy, the aged, the oppressed and the physically challenged, it becomes natural for the women of Ekiti to convert their appreciation and gratitude into electoral compensation by voting for her husband on the day of election. Aside from her passion for activism and her compassion for the under-privileged, Bisi has other qualities that can win votes for her husband. She is very beautiful, respectful,disciplined, hardworking, supportive, amiable and intelligent. She has poise, charisma, character, ebullience, personality, carriage and a plethora of dis-arming smiles. All these unique characteristics are good for cultural marketing. Our people

love any woman in such high position that is blessed with all these attributes. I know of some ladies and men who just love her because of her beauty. Such people will not hesitate to vote for her husband as a way of expressing their admiration for a fine gal. Despite having a very big GOD always by his side, despite his intimidating academic profile and, notwithstanding the support of an active wife, Fayemi’s greatest weapon is what he has been able to achieve in his more than three years in office. When he assumed office, he came up with a governance framework tagged EightPoint Agenda or Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery. The strategy was to use this framework to encourage what is known as participatory accountable governance and it can also be used as assessment index for government’s general performance. A few citations under the 8-point agenda will suffice as a proof that the Fayemi Administration has indeed made giant strides in its developmental efforts in Ekiti. Before he assumed office, promotions for civil servants which had been suspended for three years were restored by the Fayemi led-administration which also restored housing and car allowances for civil servants. His introduction of electronic payment system assisted in raising the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the State from N109 million to an unprecedented high of over N600 million monthly. The government also renovated the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti, commenced work on the construction of a mega pavilion, new government House and the Civic Centre in Ado Ekiti. It increased water from 25per cent to 52percent and reactivated all mini

dams in the state. The government also purchased and distributed over 100 transformers to boost power supply in several communities across the state. One of the many bridges the administration constructed to facilitate movements and interactions among its citizens is the Ewu bridge in Ilejemeje Local Government Area. In all, the Fayemi administration has constructed more than 800 kilometres of roads in the entire state. The government also established the Youth Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) and employed about 250 youth who showed interest in agriculture. The government provided micro-credit facilities to farmers worth N 35 million at N 150,000 per farmer which was disbursed to peasant farmers in 177 wards in the state with no interest. It also distributed 143,781 bags of fertilizers to Ekiti farmers and through its proactive support, it distributed implements, hybrid seedlings, herbicides and pesticides. Education and human capital development enjoy massive support from the government. This is not unexpected because the governor cannot afford to neglect his own constituency, as an academic. Most of, if not all, the schools in Ekiti were rehabilitated, renovated while some were even rebuilt from the scratch. The result was immediate: the State moved from 20percent in the Senior School Certificate Examination to between 70percent and 80percent. At the tertiary level, for the first time in the 32-year history of the Ekiti State University, all the courses in the university received NUC accreditation. Ekiti remains the state with the highest life expectancy in the country and also the state with the lowest maternal mortality rate. The state also has a lot of initiatives in its healthcare delivery system to cater for the different categories of people such as children, adults, the traditional rulers and HIV patients. Six months after the death of Fayemi’s Deputy, Funmi Olayinka, a diagnostic centre was established with full mammogram and a whole lot of equipment for early detection of cancer. Under the Fayemi administration, industrial development was fast-tracked. The governor transformed the former Odua Textiles into the Odua Skill Acquisition Centre while commencing mining activities by the Fountain Solid Minerals company in Itawure, Orin, Isan and Ijero. In partnership with the NDA, the state government had trained 229 youth under EEDA in agricultural enterprises and had also empowered 200 youth trained under EEDA to the tune of N 20m loan with interest fully paid by the governor. The fortune of the Ikogosi Warm Springs has been turned around in a way that the government may begin to contemplate using tourism as a revenue generating resource. Fayemi also established Ekiti State Council of Arts and Culture with a bill that was passed by the State Assembly. Enjoying the incumbency advantage, depending on very solid accomplishments, relishing a personal and public profile of excellence and counting on the goodwill of the Ekiti people who are the direct beneficiaries of all the projects and programmes that his administration has put in place, Kayode Fayemi can begin to sing the song: “…on Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand”. Thomas wrote from Lagos


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

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UST some few days ago, you were part of the Christian delegation that held a private meeting with the Osun State governor over the policy on mergers of schools. What did you come away with? Well, we thank God for the opportunity to meet and brainstorm with the governor. We have been able to sort out some of the grey areas. On dressing, we agreed that the students should have uniforms that will unite, not divide them based on religious identities. That is the essence of having school uniforms; it would be wrong to make them feel different from the others because of religion. We don’t want to have religious bigots right from secondary school days. Those of us who are adults have friends from other religions and we relate well. So, why do we want our children not to follow suit? Whatever will accentuate our differences should be removed. We have told the governor we want the use of hijab as parts of uniforms in Christian mission schools to be stopped. In the public schools, the students can put on whatever is considered appropriate but not in Christian mission schools. Has the governor agreed to that? Well, we are still talking and negotiating. You see this kind of meeting cannot be one-off. It’s still an ongoing process. The process has already started. What else did you raise with the governor? We also discussed the return of mission schools to their original owners. Lagos did it and we can see the differences. All the cries wouldn’t have arisen had the schools been run by their original owners. What is the governor’s disposition to this? Well, I will not want to speculate. I will just say again that we are still negotiating on this. You have been very close to the governor long before he was elected. Does he strike you as someone with a ca-

‘We’re negotiating for return of mission schools in Osun’

The South-West chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Magnus Atilade, spoke with Sunday Oguntola on the Osun schools merger policy and sundry issues affecting Christianity in Nigeria. Excerpts: pacity for religious fundamentalism as he has been accused of? Deep within me, I don’t suspect or believe that he has any leaning towards religious fundamentalism. We have both been socialists for a long time and related as such. As socialists, we differentiate between religion and politics. The two do not mix at all. That is why I took up this case seriously. I believe that he has good intentions and the people of Osun can testify that he has developed the state. Yes, nobody is perfect and when someone comes up with a decision that has negative impacts or reactions, one must be able to reverse it. Osun has always been peaceful. Former Governor Bisi Akande ruled the state without any problem. We had a Christian-Christian ticket during the Oyinlola’s years and there was no problem. Why is it that it is now with all the developments we have seen that the state is witnessing this crisis? I believe that this crisis is very unnecessary and it should not be able to fester. That is why we intervened that anything that will disturb the peace should not be allowed, for any reason. Osun State government has always insisted that the opposition is fanning the ember of religious crisis. Do you agree with this? They can fan only what has been planted. The governor should not give them an opportunity to discredit his good works or fan the ember of crisis. As close as I am to the governor, our

•Atilade

friendship and comradeship will end once I suspect he is trying to injure his faith. I will continue to love and support him as long as he does not act against my faith while I won’t dare do anything against his religion too. In the same vein, I will not want any Christian governor to harm the Islamic faith. What would be your message to Christians in Osun

who have believed rightly or wrongly that there seems to be an agenda against them? My message would be that they should be calm, patient and be peaceful until this process that has been initiated is concluded. They should believe we are working things out and everything will be fine sooner than they expect. We have to be vigilant and be prayerful. We

have to maintain a process where we can always dialogue. We should never close the doors against one another. There are things in the pipeline that will sort the crisis out. For example, as soon as the governor is able to provide schools, those students who want to be in public schools can move there while those who want to be in mission schools can remain. The killings and persecutions of Christians up north continue unabated. Isn’t there something that can be done? It is appalling that people are just being killed because they belong to another religion. If Christians do it, I will say it is wrong. If it is against Christians, it is wrong. This insurgency is something that government must tackle headlong. Aside from the religious angle, just the act of killing is condemnable and illegal, against every sense of reasoning. I think we must all stand against it. Muslims must speak out now before it is too late. On our part, we are building coalitions with Muslims to speak out against this evil. Last week, we held a meeting with AlMustapha. We are planning to meet the Sultan and former President Babangida. We must all stand and speak against killing, for any reason. Just some days ago, former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, for the first time, spoke against Boko Haram. That is the way others should go. Prominent Muslims must speak out and

let these guys know they are giving the religion a bad name and image. Are you worried that religion is taking the front burner in the run-off to the 2015 elections? Well, I think we have to be careful not to promote injustice against any religion. Most people are crying foul now because they sense that one religion seems to be having an edge every time over the others. That is why some of us are saying we want a Christian governor in Lagos because since the return of democracy, no Christian has ruled the state. If it is not by design, let’s have something different. It’s just the cry of balance and justice that are promoting these cries. Does it matter what religion one belongs to when it comes to governance? It matters to an extent as long as there is open, level playing field. But we want to admit that Christians shot ourselves in the foot when we stayed away from politics. We should move in and reform politics. If elective offices are ceded to Christians, can the church agree on candidacy? Yes, we can and that is what we are doing. We want candidates to come forward for screening and we can produce the best that will be acceptable and has the fear of God as well as the love of the people to deliver. What is the situation with the peace talks over Lagos CAN? The crisis has been on now for like 18 years. Both parties have realised that this is not doing anybody any good. This crisis must be resolved now. The people involved are getting tired themselves. So, we are still in talks to reform things. We want new people who can run the body since both sides cannot resolve the crisis. We might conduct elections very soon. How soon? You know the church is a conservative organisation. So, I cannot confirm when the talks will be over. But we are at it and we would soon overcome.

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NEWS C & S Eternal Sacred Order gets new head ‘Latter Day Saints is a classless

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HE Church of the Latter Day Saints has explained why its members are always uniformly dressed on white shirts during services. It said the practice is because it is a classless church where no one is highly placed than the others. The church also with its growing membership is down to unity, oneness and love as well as operation in an environment where everyone is willing to serve. One of the church’s stake presidents, Christian Chigbundu, stated these last Sunday while speaking with newsmen on certain features of

church’ By Nneka Nwaneri

the church shortly after a conference. The theme of the conference was Faith. Stakes gather every six months to hold conferences on topics that bother on their faith, spirituality, marital and family lives. Chigbundu also revealed why the church does not pass baskets for offerings or hold launches. According to him: “The things of the Lord are mysterious and such ‘seemingly strange practices’ are not to

make us different but it goes in line with what our Saviour expects of us. “It might be surprising that none of our preachers attend a theology school. Jesus himself teaches the leaders what to say, that is why only missionaries are the ones allowed to propagate the gospel of the church.” He pointed out that the church is a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). The church, he added, attends the meetings of the Christian groups and partner with them as long as their practices conform to divine mandates.

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HE Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim & Seraphim World-wide has a new supreme head. He is His Eminence Michael Erebi(JP). He was installed last week in Lagos. Also installed were Superintendent General Apostle David Ojo as the Vice Baba Aladura in charge of the Mount Zion Mother Church and Superintendent General Apostle Godwin Adedoyin Okulaja for the Hotonu Mother Church. In his acceptance speech, Erebi promised he and the two newly- elected Vice Baba Aladura and the board will continue to protect the legacy and

By Sunday Oguntola

doctrines of the Holy Order as handed over by its founder, St Moses Orimolade Tunolase. According to him: “I quite understand the enormity of challenges of this office especially considering where we are coming from, the complexities and various human factors that have inhibited the unity among the members of The Eternal. “I am also aware of the ongoing peace meeting and I declare my support for any step or decision that will bring permanent peace to the Holy order.” The Supreme head of the Cherubim & Seraphim Unifi-

cation Church of Nigeria worldwide, His most Eminence Akinsanya Akinyemi JP, congratulated Erebi. He said: “The major task is how to heal the wounds and bring members of the flock together in the Nigeria and the world at large. “It’s very important for us to work together but the attitude of some is what is giving troubles to the church and we want him to direct his attention and energy to healing wounds and bringing people back.” He expressed delight that the succession was not marred by crisis contrary to expectations.


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THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

WORSHIP NEWS

COLUMN

Living Faith By Dr. David Oyedepo

Unveiling the blessedness of prayer and fasting!

•The Supreme Head, C & S Unification Church of Nigeria, His Most Eminence Abel Akinsanya (left); Rev Dr Lekan Akintayo of Ikirun Conference and Baba Alakoso of Sacred C & S Church, Solomon Alao, presenting staff of office to the newly installed Baba Aladura of The Eternal Sacred Order of The Cherubim and Seraphim, His Eminence Dr Michael Erebi, at St Moses Orimolade Cathedral, Egbe, Lagos...last week

Yonggi Cho, founder of world’s largest church, convicted for breach of trust, corruption

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AVID Yonggi Cho, founder of world’s largest Pentecostal congregation, was found guilty by South Korean court for committing breach of trust and corruption of 130 billion won (US $21 million), according to Yonhap News Agency. Yoido Full Gospel Church senior pastor received a suspended sentence of three-year prison term with five year probation and was ordered to pay a penalty of 50 billion won (US $4.7 million) by Seoul Central Court on Feb. 20, 2014. The court also sentenced Cho’s elder son Hee-jun, secretary general of Yeongsan Christian Cultural Center and former chairman of Next Media, to a three-year prison term without suspension. He was formally arrested before the court ruling, the Yonhap News reported. In 2002, while serving as chairman of a church-affiliated newspaper Kookmin Ilbo, Hee-jun sold the church 250,000 shares of stock in I-

Service at 86,984 won (US$80.06) per share, which was much more expensive than the market price of 24,032 (US$22.12) per share, the hankyoreh reported. Prosecutors identified David Cho as an accomplice to the crime of breach of trust, claiming that Cho used the money to help his son recover losses made in stock investments. According to hankyoreh, Cho had directed the transaction, which the church has “absolutely no need for” and resulted in a loss, to be dealt with as quietly as possible despite his full knowledge of the potential “uproar” from the elders and congregation if they find out. The church’s loss of 131 billion won resulted in 29 church elder’s filing the lawsuit in 2011, accusing him of embezzling US $20 million. In addition, prosecutors acquired evidence of tax evasion during the investigation, where Cho was suspected of evading

35 billion won (US $3.3 million). While Cho has denied the allegation, he has also been criticised for privatising church assets. Although the judge believes that Cho should be severely punished for committing breach of trust, especially for a person of his status in society, he gave a light sentence on Cho’s tax evasion in consideration of Cho’s long-term contributions to the society, the Yonghap News reported. The court sentenced Heejun to three years in prison for being the main culprit, who tried to evade responsibility placing his personal financial loss on the church and the blame on others. Cho, 75, founded Yoido Full Gospel Church in 1958 and it now claims more than 450,000 followers. His proteges have built their own “disciple churches” across the country, creating a congregation of around 800,000, with Cho as the leader.

Yobe killings: NOSCEF calls for actions •Uche expresses outrage T HE Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) has called on security forces to halt further killings in the Northeast. It said last week’s killing of over 50 boys at the Federal Government College of BuniYadi Yobe State was a crime against humanity and an attack on all Nigerians. The group, in a statement by its president, Olaiya Phillips and National secretary, Barrister Emmanuel Subilim, said: “This slaughter of the innocent is just the latest and worst example of Boko Haram’s violence, cruelty and hatred for all the people of Nigeria - Christian and Muslim. “This is more than a tragedy for BuniYadi and Yobe State. This is an attack on all Nigeria and all Nigerians. It is a crime against humanity itself.” It added: “No child, no family, no citizen should have to rely on God’s mercy alone for protection from these killers. We rightly ex-

By Sunday Oguntola

pect the armed forces to prevent these outrages and protect our children and ourselves from these terrorists. “Yet, while Buni Yadi’s children were being butchered in their beds, the Chiefs of Nigeria’s Armed Services were sleeping. “We demand that the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, urgently lives up to President Goodluck Jonathan’s orders and ensures none of the army are sleeping at their post until the lives of peaceful Christian and Muslims across Northern Nigeria are properly protected.” The Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Dr Samuel Uche, expressed ‘great shock and sadness over the gruesome attacks. In his reaction made public by the Church’s Media and Public Relations Officer, Rev. Oladapo Daramola, Uche said: “The targeting of children is

heinous and unthinkable.” He added: “This was a senseless loss of innocent young lives, especially since schools should be sanctuaries for our children. “These children are innocent, full of life and promise but cut down in a hail of bullets in a preventable ‘act of terror.” “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics and our religious biases. “We have had too many deaths all different acts of terror and yet, we seem to have no clear-cut direction on how we intend to put a stop to this madness. “It saddens me to see that no one is being brought to justice in all of these evil acts as if the perpetrators are ghosts and not men like us. Until the promoters of these satanic events are unmasked and brought to book, these attacks may continue unabated.”

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HE Word of God concerning this year has gone forth. But we must realize that nothing of value is ever free. Value is essentially a function of cost. Waiting for anything of value without a readiness to pay the price, is wasting one’s life. Therefore, Exceeding Grace must cost us some exceeding price. We can’t get out of life more than we are willing to put into it. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). We must understand that we cannot enter into great grace this year without fasting and prayer. We already have the offer of Exceeding Grace, but we must engage ourselves essentially on the altar of prayer and fasting, to partake of the amazing provision of Exceeding Grace this year. Also note that, we don’t wait for prophecies to be fulfilled; we are to engage in spiritual warfare to actualize the fulfilment of prophecies (1 Timothy 1:18). So, prayer and fasting are not for our punishment, but for our ‘furnishment.’ They are the covenant platforms for the fulfilment of our glorious destiny. This is because they are prescribed by God, and all His commandments are ordained for our profiting (Isaiah 58:6-14). All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man

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O fewer than 397 young Nigerians graduated penultimate week from the Daystar Skill Acquisition Programme. They were the 13set to graduate from the academy. The graduands learnt vocational skills in make-up, photography, web design, graphics, sewing, shoe-making, bead-making, cake-making and pastries, among others. The senior pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi, charged them to make the best use of their training. He said: “The skills you have learnt here can take you to places you never expected if put to good use. “The money you’re looking for is in meeting people’s needs and it is skill acquisition that helps us to solve people’s problems.” Adeyemi, who was represented by the church’s Chief Operating Officer, Pastor Kenny Folarin, also tasked them to strive to be the best.

of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Profitable Approach to Fasting: •Our Purpose must be clearly defined: Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he (Proverb 29:18). •Jehoshaphat and the inhabitants of Judah fasted to secure victory over the great company that rose against them (2 Chronicles 20:5-24). •We also saw Israel fast in Ezra 8:21-23, to seek the right way through their journey, and God granted them their desires. The Bible also records a graphic picture of fasting and prayer at work in Esther 4:16, when Queen Esther fasted for favour and her petition was granted (Esther 5:2). Therefore, our purpose must be defined, or we’ll get weary and frustrated along the line. We must also engage our hearts in Seeking the Lord: The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:1). The preparation of the heart is vital to the outcome of our prayer and fasting adventure (Jeremiah 30:21). And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Jotham who reigned over Jerusalem, became great because he prepared himself. So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God (2 Chronicles 27:6).

We must come confessing and forsaking our sins: We must confess our sins because our prayers will not be answered if we hide iniquity in our hearts. Also, we must do it to avoid barriers between us and the God that answers prayers (1 John 1:89). He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy (Proverb 28:13). Therefore, we must strive to see sin become a thing of the past in our lives. If we want to grow in grace, we must grow out of sin. Friend, the power to key into the profitable approach to fasting, is the preserve of those who are children of God. Are you a child of God? You become a child of God, by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You can be God’s child now, if you haven’t been, by saying this prayer: “Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious Blood. Deliver me from sin and satan, to serve the Living God. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You, for saving me! Now, I know I am born again!” I will continue with this teaching next week. Exceeding Grace and the Unspeakable Gifts of God are your portion this year! Every exploit in life is a product of knowledge. For further reading, please get my books: Winning Prayer and Keys To Answered Prayer and Born To Win. 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: feedback@lfcww.org

NEWS

Daystar graduates 397

•Some of the graduates of shoemaking class during the ceremony

“Please don’t underestimate the skills you’ve acquired as there are millionaires all over the world who live on what you’ve learnt,” he stated. Bukola Oyedokun, one of the graduating students, said: “Although I’m not a member

of Daystar, I came around to learn makeup because of my love for it and I was literally blown away at what I was able to learn and do within two weeks. “It’s been an empowering experience and may God continue to bless this church.”


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

NEWS

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Centenary celebrations and souls of the slaughtered O N 26th February 2014 one Mr. Adegoroye wrote “only an insane government will be celebrating centenary while the youths, women,children and citizens are being killed daily in cold blood. Rather than mourn the dead, we want to celebrate one hundred years of a failed state ruled by a failed and cursed generation. This country (Nigeria) needs more than just prayers if the government will be unable, for just twenty four hours, to protect the citizens. Who says we don’t have a war situation in Nigeria? Oh! Families of the pained and the dead should celebrate too? Why not invite them all to Abuja to come and dance and entertain you? Shame has only one definition - shame!”. These are deep and powerful words and the rage, frustration and despair that fuels them reflects the thinking of many. Mr. Joseph Tobi Daniel drove home the point when, on the same day, he used his twitter handle to ask “what kind of leader focuses on a centenary celebration when the souls of slaughtered children are crying out for justice?” Millions of Nigerians would like an answer to that question and they were utterly appauled as they watched our President glibly delivering his centenary broadcast speech on national television the night of 25th February 2014 where he extolled the socalled virtues of 100 years of our national existence. And as he spoke more innocent people were being slaughtered. Yet the concerns did not stop there. My friend and brother Mr. Azubike Ishiekwene, who is undoubtedly one of the most formidable and compelling columnists in our country today, spoke the mind of virtually every self-respecting and civilised Nigerian when, after watching the obscenity that was called the centenary ball on NTA on the night of 27th February 2014, he wrote ‘’I can’t believe that President Goodluck Jonathan and co, are having a centenary ball, literally dancing on the graves of over 50 innocent children murdered by Boko Haram. I can’t believe it. I’m bereft”. Azu got it absolutely right. As a matter of fact, so shocked and disgusted was yours truly that the centenary ball actually went ahead barely three days after the mass murder of those innocent souls that I couldn’t even bear to watch it on television. We are in trouble in this country and our nation clearly needs deliverance. The war against terror is raging and we appear to be losing it. Hundreds of people are being killed on a regular basis and it appears that noone really ‘’gives a damn’’. The bowels of our compassion have run dry and we no longer shudder or shed a tear when we hear that hundreds of our citizens have been butchered in one go by Boko Haram. We are just not interested anymore and as long as it does not affect any member of our immediate family the best we can do is to shake our heads and whisper ‘’what a pity’’. We feel no empathy with the victims and neither is there any sense of outrage. We simply feel numb for a few seconds and after that we couldn’t care less. Yet the truth is that the minute we become so dehumanised and so insensitive that we stop caring about those that are being slaughtered then we may as well give up hope and conclude that life is no longer worth living. The minute we begin to regard those that are being butchered on a daily basis as nothing but distant numbers we may as well stop regarding ourselves as human beings and instead we ought to describe ourselves as a colony of beasts or a nation of vampires. The minute we stop caring about what is going on in the north and we no longer feel that it is necessary to

•Jonathan and Buhari with Centenary torch

By Femi Fani Kayode

honour the dead or to protect the living, we are no longer worthy of life. It is for this reason that I believe it is necessary to once again remind my compatriots about what is happening in some parts of northern Nigeria today and to remind them again about the sheer havoc that Boko Haram is unleashing on our people. They are indeed an affliction for which there appears to be no cure. Please consider the following: On 26th February 2014 in Madagali and Michika Local Government Areas of Adamawa State three communities were attacked and 37 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram. They also attacked some banks and police stations and burnt them to the ground. There are eyewitness reports that allege that on sighting the large number of wellarmed insurgents in their Hillux vans our soldiers fled the scene and ran into the safety of the bush to hide. On the night of the 24th February, 2014 at Federal Government College Buni in Yadi, Yobe State 59 innocent school children were slaughtered by Boko Haram in the middle of the night in their dormitories as they slept. On 23rd February 2014 in Malari and Izge villages, Borno state 12 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram and both villages were levelled. On 19th February 2014 in the town of Bama, Borno state 91 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram. Again on 19th February 2014 Boko Haram attacked the Buratai, Borno state country home of the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta Area, Major General Tukur Buratai, and they killed one soldier. On 17th February 2014 in Galga Village, Gombi Local Government Area, Adamawa state 11 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On 16th February 2014 again in Izge Village, Borno state 90 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On 15th February 2014 in Baga Village, Borno State 10 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On 12th February 2014 in Borno state 60 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram and 24 young girls were abducted and carted off without any trace. On January 27th 2014 in Adamawa and Borno states respectively 70 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram in a series of attacks. On January 14th 2014 in the heart of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, no less than 50 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered by Boko Haram in a suicide bomb attack. Not too long

before then Boko Haram attacked an army barracks in Borno state, killed 200 soldiers, carted off the wives and children of our military personnel and burnt the barracks to the ground. The soldiers were later buried in mass graves. A few weeks prior to that, numerous schools were attacked and hundreds of our children were either shot to death, hacked to pieces or had their throats cut and blood drained. Consequently many schools have been closed down in Borno and Yobe states respectively. A few weeks back no less than 160 of our soldiers were killed by Boko Haram in one skirmish simply because they ran out of bullets. In June 2013 at Government College Secondry School, Damatru, Yobe state 8 young students and one teacher were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On July 6th 2013 at the Government Secondry School, Mamudo, Yobe State 41 young students and one teacher were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On September 29th 2013 at the College Of Agriculture, Gubja, Yobe state 44 students and a number of teachers were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On the night of April 19th 2013 till the early hours of April 20th at Baga town in Borno state 228 people, including women and children, were slaughtered by Boko Haram. On March 8th 2010 in Dogo Nahawa, Plateau state 500 Villagers, including women and children, were slaughtered by affiliates and associates of Boko Haram. There were many other attacks on churches, markets, motor parks and schools in various parts of the north including Kano state, Niger state, Abuja, Kogi state and others between 2009 and 2014. In each of these attacks many women and children were killed. The situation seems to have degenarated even further today with vast areas of the Nigerian state in the north-east literally being overwhelmed by the terrorists and insurgents even though there is a state of emergency in place there. Worst still it has been generally acknowledged that the Boko Haram fighters are better equipped and better supplied than our soldiers. The beleagured Governor of Borno State himself, my friend and brother Alhaji Kashim Shettima, sent out an S.O.S to Nigerians last week when he told journalists at the Presidential Villa in Abuja that ‘’Nigeria is at war. The Boko Haram insurgents are better equipped than the Nigerian military. We need more equipment and more troops’’. President Goodluck Jonathan responded to the governor’s concerns during his Presidential Media chat on 24th Feb. 2014 by saying the follow-

ing- “Boko Haram is not easy to fight. If the Governor of Borno feels the military are that useless against Boko Haram I can pull out the military for one month and see what happens there and after I can send the military back to take charge. The Governor should be sensitive in his choice of words. It’s unfortunate”. Clearly we are in trouble. The Governor of Borno state is asking for more help and more troops from the Federal Government because hundreds more of his people are being killed and abducted EVERY DAY by Boko Haram and this is the best response that our President can give to him? Are those being slaughtered and abducted not Nigerians? Would this have been his response if those being killed on a daily basis were his own ijaw people? Finally no less than 130 churches were burnt down in Borno state in 2013 alone and the Catholic Church alone lost 53 churches out of that figure. This genocidal pattern of behaviour and cycle of butchery by Boko Haram is systemic and has been recurrent and regular for the last three years. All in all Nigeria has lost almost 8000 innocent civilians to Boko Haram in the last three years and that includes women and children. It does not however include the vast number of women that have been captured and kidnapped by them and that are now being used as sex-slaves. Goodness me....what a mess. The truth is that we as a people have lost all sense of compassion and decency when it comes to such matters and our feelings and consciences have become seared. To the majority of Nigerians those precious souls and compatriots that have been killed by Boko Haram over the last three years are just a number- they are nothing but distant names, from a distant place, belonging to distant figures. There is simply no sense of national outrage from our people about this insidious rebellion and about these brutal killings and vicious attacks and neither is their any sense of urgency on the part of our government to bring them to an end. Given the way we conduct ourselves, one would not have thought that Nigeria is currently enmeshed in the most brutal war against terror in it’s entire history. Yet as we go on with our day- to day business and act as if all is well thousands are being killed in the north-eastern part of our country by Boko Haram. There can be no greater evidence of man’s inhumanity to man when one considers our attitude. Such inhumanity and insensitivity to the plight of others has taken firm root in the Nigeria of today.

What a monuemental tragedy this is. When did we, as a people, degenerate to this abysmal level of lack of empathy and when did we stop becoming our brother’s keeper? As millions of Nigerians ‘’celebrate’’ our one hundred years of national unity I hope that they find it in their hearts to spare a thought and say a little prayer for those whose loved ones are not with them today simply because they have been murdered or kidnapped by Boko Haram. May God heal their wounds and have mercy on them even as we grieve with them. And may God forgive our President and the majority of the Nigerian people for simply ‘’not giving a damn’’ about their sad and unfortunate plight. There is no question in my mind that Nigeria is currently being governed by vile and evil men. These are cowardly men that are being guided by Satan, that have no fear of God and that are more interested in persecuting the innocent and attempting to intimidate the opposition than in providing good and accountable government, protecting the lives of our citizens or fighting the war against terror. We have become a nation of vampires that is being run by a vampire President who feels no pain and who harbours no remorse when the blood of children is shed and when the lives of the innocent are cut short. Permit me to end this contribution with two parting shots. The first is from the government of the United States of America which had said that ‘’Boko Haram is the second most dangerous terrorist organisation globally’’. The report says ”apart from the Taliban in Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria recorded the highest number of terror attacks last year whilst Boko Haram killed the second highest number of people’’. The statistical report called ‘START’ which was conducted by the University of Maryland for the American government on global terrorism in 2012 revealed that ’’while the Taliban killed 1,842 people in 525 terror attacks last year, and came tops on the infamous ranking, Boko Haram came second, killing 1,132 in 364 terror attacks. Both the Taliban and Boko Haram have killed more than AlQaeda in Iraq, the Maoists in India, AlShabaab, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, rolled into one.”- United States Government, June 11, 2013. This is indeed food for thought. The second parting shot is a chilling and insightful contribution from Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State who is a man that has proved to be far more discerning and forthright than most when it comes to this matter. Barely 24 hours after 37 innocent people were butchered by the terrorists in his state he asked the following pertinent questions. ‘’In BuniYadi, Yobe state, the soldiers withdrew from checkpoints hours to the attack. Who ordered the withdrawal? In Shuwa and Michika, soldiers withdrew and shortly after that Boko Haram attacked. Who ordered the withdrawals? We also have the case of General Mohammed Shuwa (who was killed) in Maiduguri by the so-called Boko Haram. There is an army unit there but they didn’t respond during the attack. Who told them not to respond? The Airforce Base was raided in Maiduguri. There was a military base nearby. Who gave the base the order not to respond during the raid on the Airforce base? Either this thing is controlled by unknown fellows or an unknown Boko Haram strategic commander who is in the defence system or are things being staged managed?’’ Needless to say these questions need to be answered. Within 24 hours after making this insightful contribution Governor Nyako was attacked by unknown gunmen in Borno State who attempted to take his life. May God help us all.


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NEWS

HIV/AIDS prevalence drops in Borno, says commissioner

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IV and AIDS prevalence in Borno has dropped from 4.5 per cent to 2.6 per cent, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Salma Kolo, has said. She announced this in her office in Maiduguri, when she received members of the state chapter of the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) According to Kolo, the drop is noticed from 2011 to date, attributing it to aggressive sensitisation campaign across the state. “This is due mainly to the efforts of the administration in educating the people on the dangers of the virus,’’ she said. Kolo expressed the desire of the government to collaborate with the association to further reduce the prevalence. She said that government had paid its entire counterpart funding for all health assisted programmes in the state. The state coordinator of the association, Malam Hassan Mustapha, appealed to the government to redeem its pledge of donating a bus to the association.

THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

‘True federalism, path to economic growth’

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RUE federal system is the shortest path to economic growth, development and prosperity. This was part of the resolution of participants and stakeholders after a two-day deliberation at the 3rd SouthWest Regional Integration Programme with the theme Micro-SMEs as solution to unemployment and Economic Development. The programme organised by Vintage Press Ltd, publishers of The Nation newspaper and CEEDEE Resources attracted participants from the six Western states of Nigeria as well as business executives and entrepreneurs. The Managing Director of Vintage Press, Victor Ifijeh, said the annual programme is to endorse the Regional Integration initiative of the

By Seun Akioye Ado-Ekiti

South Western states and initiate the process of implementation at weaning the South West from dependence on the government at the centre. The communiqué stated that regions should be the basic components of the economic hub, stressing that the South West economic integration should be the model. The conference also resolved that it is imperative for Nigeria to be broken down to smaller economic regions and Micro SMEs should be the basic strategy to solve the problems of massive youth unemployment which has been described as a time bomb. Many of the resource persons and entrepreneurs advocated for inculcation of the spirit of mass enterprise among Nigerians to curb

rising unemployment. “The youths must know that the era of government jobs is gone. Now, is the era of selfemployment? “The government should also provide the new era of enterprise institutional support: the laws must be SMEfriendly, and taxation must be SME-friendly,” the statement said. Most of the participants lamented the difficulty in accessing credit facilities and decried the high rate of interest. The National Secretary of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Adebola Alagbada, said the government must provide the enabling environment for credit facilities. “Even when the bank is willing to lend you money

and they need your house as collateral, we find that lack of Certificate of Occupancy will become a stumbling block.” He called on the Ekiti State government to fast track the issuance of C of O to enterprenuers. The State Coordinator of the Nigerian Association of Women Enterprenuers (NAWE), Princess Adenike Oluwajana, said NAWE has been able to empower about 50 women enterprenuers but have been hampared by lack of access to loans. “We have improved in our production which is industralised and well packaged. But we can help more women out of poverty if we have more capital. We plead with the government to come to our aid,” she said. Other participants also advocated a radical reordering of the Nigerian education curriculum to favor technical instead of liberal education. They also said young Nigerians must be IT-savvy to leverage technical skills for local and global competitiveness.

Workers feared trapped as storey building collapses in Nsukka T HE police have confirmed that some workers were trapped when a three-storey building under construction collapsed yesterday at Enugu Road, Nsukka. Enugu State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amarizu, who confirmed the incident, said investigation was on to ascertain the cause and number of workers trapped.

“Yes we have received the report of the collapse of the three-storey building on Enugu Road in Nsukka, and we have commenced investigations to ascertain the cause and number of causalities,’’ he said. An eyewitness who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that he saw

more than seven workers in the building before it collapsed at about 2.30 p.m. “I saw some of the trapped workers because I was close to the premises when the building collapsed; some carpenters and bricklayers were even working in the building then. “People say seven people

were working there and some people ran away when it collapsed, but I know that the rescue operation will confirm how many people were trapped,’’ he said As at the time of filing this report, a combined rescue operation involving the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Federal Road Safety Commission, were at the scene to rescue the trapped workers.

Police arrest 7 for allege murder in Minna

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HE Police command in Niger said yesterday that it had arrested seven persons, suspected to have killed one Safiyanu Zakari, a member of a cult gang. The command's Public Relations Officer, Mr Richard Oguche, named the arrested people as Abdullahi Jibrin, Abdullahi Hashimu, Yusuf Mohammed, Ubaida Abubakar, Salim Abdullahi, Salha Sulaiman and Salihu Abubakar. Oguche told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the murder occurred at about 3 pm on Feb. 14, during a clash between two suspected cult groups in some communities in Minna. ``The two groups, the `Yandaba' cult group of Dutse Hausa, clashed with their DutseGwari rivals along London Street in Minna, during the Eidel Maulud celebrations, following some disagreements,'' he explained. Oguche said that during the clash, dangerous weapons like cutlasses, knives, iron rods, broken bottles and sticks were used. The spokesman said that the deceased suffered deep cuts during the fight and was rushed to the Minna General Hospital, where he died. He said that one Alhaji Isah Abdullahi, a retired police officer, who is the deceased's father, reported the matter to the GRA Police Station in Minna. ``The suspected cultists have since confessed to the crime and will soon be charged for culpable homicide,'' Oguche said.


THE NATION ON SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014

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THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

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A day of gory tales at the US consulate

EBERE WABARA

WORDSWORTH E 08055001948

ewabara@yahoo.com

An illiterate? No!

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HE GUARDIAN Business of February 21 welcomes us to this month: with two insecure lines “…the potentials of growth.” ‘Potential’ is uncountable, unlike potentiality (potentialities). “The minister said those are (were) the areas the World Bank study identified as areas….” “Amazing! Over N100bn TETFUND, UBEC funds lay (lie) idle” (National Mirror Screaming Headline, February 20) “NFF condoles (condoles with or consoles) Iloanusi” (Complete Sports Headline, February 25) “Lagos alerts residents of (to) heavy rains in 2014” (THISDAY, February 20) A repeat from last week: Next on parade is The PUNCH of February 10: “Aregbesola education policy confusing—Methodist Church” This way: Aregbesola’s educational (preferably) policy… I received a few contributions to this extract which insisted that the excerpt was correct. I never said it was wrong! I merely declared my preference for ‘educational’. Mr. Kola Danisa (07068074257) contributed this: “Government policy on the judiciary, education, agriculture, finance etcetera is not judicial, educational, agricultural or financial. The nouns before these sectors serve as adjectives.” My comment: I agree, but that does not mean that the adjectival forms of those words cannot be alternatively used. Judicial panel of enquiry; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; agricultural revolution/policy; education/educational standard—I believe it is largely a function of choice. What do you think my dear reader? More interventions from Baba Bayo O g u n t u n a s e (08029442508): “Pact with China conducive for (to) peace, says Taiwan (Taiwan’s or Taiwanese) president” (DAILY TRUST, February 20) “Obasanjo: Amaechi’s k-leg has (knocked knees have) been straightened” Wrong: school-boy howlers; right: school boy howlers My own slip-up: With the LG polls now fixed for next week Tuesday….” Either next Tuesday or Tuesday, next week—no mumbo-jumbo (not jumbomumbo) as inadvertently published last week. “Any defecting senator can choose anywhere to sit but the sitting (seating) arrangement is quite

clear….” (DAILY SUN, February 11) (This was contributed by Dr. Stanley Nduagu, Aba, 08062925996) “…an illiterate (illiterate person) who was opportuned (opportune/ had the opportunity) to acquire fraudulent wealth and found his way to the corridor (corridors) of power.” (THISDAY Insight Page, February 8, letter written by one Chinedu Chimwemu) From DAILY TRUST of February 20 comes the next impropriety: “My major challenge is fertiliser and more manpower and modern farm machineries.” A rewrite: My major challenges are fertiliser, more manpower and modern farm machinery (which is non-count). “Okorocha advised to set-up committee on derivation fund” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation. “Police arrest five students over (for) NECO exam fraud” “Its body is adapted to breath (breathe) air during periods of draught....” “Consequently, the proper policing of our streets are (is) sorely neglected.” “In the past, as there was (were) no clear-cut policies and demarcation of roads.…” “This situation works against the use of vigilante (vigilance) groups to combat crime because most of them are ethnic based.” “Face off (a hyphen, please) between chairmen, councillors paralyse (paralyses) activities in 3 LGs” “Fashola charges electronics media to halt….” Get it right: the electronic media to halt…. “…the closure and later reopening of the school, but with a divide and rule tactics.” Education without tears: a divide-and-rule (note the hyphenation) tactic (not tactics). “…the crisis currently being faced in fuel supply and distribution will be a child’s play.” There is currency in ‘being’. So, ‘currently being’ is an overkill. “A fatal motor accident…has claimed the lives of eleven wedding guests among them a youth corp (corps) member.” Once death results, it becomes obviously a fatal mishap. Therefore, there is no point including the fatality aspect in the intro. “… as a condition of peace in (on) the whole continent.” “Nigeria farmer’s export pumpkin leaves” Just rewrite: Nigerian farmers export pumpkin leaves.

“Holy Rosary Nursery School, Abuja (another comma) holds first graduation ceremony” Simply graduation (no embellishment). Yet another headline blunder: “Criteria knocks out firms on privatization” Singular: criterion; plural: criteria. “Sensing danger, the palace and its vicinity was (were) fortified.” “Much more painful is the fact that officials charged with such high responsibilities betray the confidence reposed on (in) them.…” “We congratulate the governor for (on/upon) this.” “Until he decided to join the political bandwagon as one of the facilitators….” State of the nation: climb or jump aboard/on the bandwagon. “Lufthansa Cargo devices new means of tracking shipment” British Standard English: device (noun) and devise (verb). “Oshodi/Isolo LG sets to re-build (sic) burnt market” Lagos Insider: set to rebuild. “Players shape-up for Fashola Tennis” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation. “That appears to be the thrust of the arguement raging right, left and centre.” Spell-check: argument. “… as an affront on (to) them as a people.” “…since he believes the police has (have) failed.” “Even Fashola himself has proposed that a largely populated and commercial city like Lagos, with its multi-ethnic colourations (colorations) and a teeming population of about 12 million people, require (requires) 50,000 policemen….” The Lagos State Police Command was expected to have given a shoot-at-sight order to its officers recently.” New (dynamic) school: shoot-on-sight order. “The regulatory agency have (what?) acknowledged its shortcomings, before now, in certain areas.” “It was common practice (a common practice) under military rule for military officers to flout court orders and get away with it (them).” “It was put in place to ensure that everyone falls in line from the bottom of the leader (ladder) up the rungs.” “The shortcomings of this document were apparent to the discerning observer right from the onset (outset in this context).”

VERY upsetting creation has its own odd value, though. This blustery morning, it was a huge rat hurdling in the bathroom that thankfully stirred me from the bottom of deep sleep. Time was 4am, the hour Lagos would be in slumber, but applicants seeking the US visa that day had to be on their feet: Some came with little children, some with breast-sucking infants; some on wheel chairs, some in the last days of their pregnancy, some moribund, with fatal illnesses but able to trudge. Some were punks, seeking cheap escape from the awful economy. Some with frivolous claims, but not to outcast those with genuine judgment. For many Nigerians, undying impressions about US and her civil image would not come through sumptuous dinners with the Ambassador, which they are unlikely to have, but rather through the mandatory come across with the temper or idiosyncrasies of an interviewing officer usually caged behind a steel glass, leaving visual and audio pin-holes as the only means of contact with locals. The five torment hours of this reporter revealed the raw nightmares of Nigerians, rich or poor, armed or defenseless, royals and peasants. In the past, I had appeared courtesy of the United Nations’ invitation to speak on indigenous issues and also subsequently as a guest speaker on self-determination at international Yoruba conferences, and therefore, ‘robbed’ of the piercing grief. This Friday, some came from remote towns and villages, from crisis-torn Yobe State to far off Calabar to meet the largely irreversible visa appointments, traveling several of kilometers. Even in this odd hour, at the office located in down town Lagos, overlooking a long stretch of splashing and clapping sea, sometimes mixed with the faint, harmonious chorus of crickets and frogs, hundreds of applicants already milled in the shadow of the dwindling darkness. Many had slept on the bare floor, and had their bath or defecate in the adjoining bait of the roaring sea. I thought: history is never static. The old is pregnant with the new and the new contains elements of the old. Barely 300 years ago, our forebears who were taken into slavery against their wish, would not have imagined their great grand children would battle, out of their own volition to seek passage to the land that degraded them and which they had detested. However, encounters of many visitors at the US consulate make them believe that though laws of slavery have been expunged, but the mindset, that tiny invisible box, of some consuls, remains as it was four centuries ago. “What has changed is the form, not the content of slavery”, one dying applicant who sought medical attention in the US but whose visa was rejected told me that Friday. For one thing, the 5hour experience of this reporter left vestigial traces of repugnant memories of Nigerians as underdogs. It ap-

•Entwistle By Adewale Adeoye

pears like a daily routine of trauma. One applicant who had three kids lined them up on the bait of a drainage near the embassy, all night long, for a 6.30 am appointment. For Ebong, he came in from Calabar, it was his third trip having missed the appointments in spite of an all night agonizing bus travel, spanning 20 hours. Two of his cousins with their three kids perished few years ago on their way to a visa appointment. As we snaked through the line, one dead beat ebony black pregnant woman was seen moaning through the horrific line of largely hopeless applicants, including some women, some of who had to be frisked by male security guards. Outside the embassy, there were no toilets; women and children are at the mercy of a dungeon-like pit, managed by thugs. A young man told how a pregnant woman was raped near the on-looking, gibbering and furious beach. After the start whistle for the screening was blown, after 5am, a dutiful chocolate coloured lady announced the rules for applicants. A comic police guard rolls out the “dos” and “don’ts”, which included not bringing your “anointing oil” into the embassy. But nothing could be so perplexing as the sometimes humiliating questions thrown at applicants, especially terrifying questions that infringe on the privacy of the individual and the dignity of the human person. For hundreds of thousands of Nigerians seeking the US visa for scientific research, ill health, human rights conferences, medicare, knowledgedriven events, securing the US visa has become as difficult as an elephant passing through the needle’s eye. An Ekiti medical doctor at the point of death who needed medical attention abroad was denied last month, because he had “no tie” with his country. Ties are sometimes defined in economic terms, placed far above the family. Leader of the Coalition of Nigerian Right Groups, (CONRIG) said his appearance was like passing through a “torture chamber.” At the end, the consular told him with ignominy to ‘go and apply for Visa lottery.” He vowed never to apply for the US visa in his lifetime. Rasaq Olokooba of the Coalition of O’odua Self Determination Groups, (COSEG) had a running bat-

tle reminding his questionnaire that he was going for a conference that promotes global security and his denial would amount to a classic case of betrayal against the cherished image of the US. The rules say you must have a fat account, suggesting that financial standing overrules the dignity and public reputation of the individual, a horrendous reminder of how the US appears to promote transient ethics at the expense of values that sustain humanity’s utilitarian grandeur. You should not have a relation in the US, meaning that you largely need to deny your own, since most Nigerians have relations in the US. One applicant once said an official almost hit him with her scorn when he asked him how many children he had and he said 12. Visa applications appear to be largely anti-children, as if every Nigerian would take their children abroad for auction or as if children do not have the right to free movement. A source said black officials at the consulate are hardly allowed to go on holidays abroad with their offspring. Another narrated she was questioned years back why she had another child when she was yet to wean her infant. One first class Oba in Yorubaland told me he heard of new regulations that reject Obas submitting passports with their heads covered. It is a taboo for an Oba or King to leave his head barren. Largely, it appears Nigerians are generally seen as dishonest, bruising the collective ego and hosting the boosting of generalisation. For one thing, the Nigerian authority, considering the influx of applicants for the US visa, should know it is her responsibility to protect the dignity of her citizens applying for legitimate visit. Abuja should show interest in the way her citizens are treated by some officials who encounter trauma daily at the “trial box.” The South East states should prevail on the US to have a consular in Enugu and same for Kano. This will reduce the pain and anguish of applicants and the deaths associated with long travels. The US may wish to adopt the German and British models, where applicants submit visas to be processed in weeks, leaving a fair deal for both parties. The US authority should make her consuls abide by the relevant laws of her own country which promotes the dignity of mankind. The US should train and retrain her officials on the ethics of the host country. It is unethical to ask a woman unknown to you if she was pregnant, more, to the listening ears of several other applicants. Yes. Some Nigerians are liars. Some are drug couriers. Some are cheats, but not all Nigerians are. In fact, only very few Nigerians are. Hasty generalization is a mark of illogic. It simply runs against critical and logical thinking. As the old saying goes, there may be moments when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time we fail to speak out. Adeoye is an activist and journalist and CNN African Journalist of the Year Award winner


THE NATION ON SUNDAY MARCH 2, 2014

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With Hannah Ojo 08062952262

Hello kids, Do you pray for your country? God answers the prayers of children so I encourage you all to pray for Nigeria and our leaders. Please pray for the peace, security and prosperity for our nation. Wishing you all a week full of pleasant tidings. Cheers!

INTER HOUSE SPORT

•100 metres junior girls blue Fisayomi Adesoye, green Isikalu Eniola, Yellow Lamide Sapara

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School thrills with inter house sport

EBIRUSS College, Lekki Lagos recently held an inter house sports competition for the year 2014. The colourful events was full of excitement as students competed in the track as well as the field events. The field

By Afolabi Oni

events included long jump, high jump, javelin throw, shot put throw and discuss throw for both male and female in the senior and junior category. The memorable event saw yellow house carrying

•Yellow house won with 15 gold medals

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the day. Speaking with the house captain of yellow house, 11 years old Omolade Oni, she said , “we give God the glory, we worked, prayed, strategized and it paid off. Our slogan is Yellow is Gold and indeed we are the golden house.”

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Quick facts about fly

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ID You Know the female common housefly lays from 600 to 1000 eggs in its lifetime? Class: Insecta Order: Diptera Sub Orders: Nematocera, Brachycera, Cyclorrhapha Range: Worldwide and in most habitats. Size: Smallest: 2 mm (0.08 in) long. Largest: 50 mm (2 in) long. Feeding Habits: Adult flies eat insects, pollen, nec-

tar, blood, or fruit. Most fly larvae consume dead organic matter. Offspring: Most fly species lay eggs 5 to 25 times a year. Flies metamorphose from embryo to larva, pupa, and adult forms. Metamorphosis lasts an average of two weeks. Life Span: Generally not more than a few months. Of major insect groups, flies are the only ones with just one pair of wings. The eyes of the smallheaded fly almost completely

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cover its head. The skipper fly lives in cheese and can survive more than a day submerged in wax. Culled from Microsoft Encarta 2009.

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

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E D Send in your stories, poems, articles, games, puzzles, riddles and jokes to sundaynation@yahoo.com

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H O W m a n y words of three or more letters, each including the letter at centre of the wheel, can you make from this diagram?


QUOTABLE “The structure of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has never made it independent. The CBN Governor has tenure of office, but GMD of NNPC has none. He can be fired at anytime, so his loyalty therefore is to the President and not to the Act that established the Corporation. … NNPC is now the settlement house for the good, the bad and the ugly. I am still waiting for the Nigerian President that will go against the cartel’s interest in the oil industry.”

SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014 TRUTH IN DEFENCE OF FREEDOM VOL. 8, NO. 2775

—Former President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, explaining why the NNPC has remained a cesspool of corruption over the years.

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N a lengthy but uninspiring speech last Wednesday to mark Nigeria’s centenary celebrations, President Goodluck Jonathan indulged one of his curious and often contradictory theological explanations for the country’s nationhood. According to him, “I have often expressed the conviction that our amalgamation was not a mistake. While our union may have been inspired by considerations external to our people; I have no doubt that we are destined by God Almighty to live together as one big nation, united in diversity.” It is an incredible claim to make, an unfounded and annoying political theology and falsehood. Historians will be aghast that in this modern era, when time and space no longer circumscribe knowledge, any leader could still make spurious and anti-intellectual claims about the dynamics of history. Had Dr Jonathan been president of the Soviet Union before its breakup in 1991, he would have sworn to the country’s destiny, attributed it to God, and threatened campaigners of separatism with death and destruction. Whoever wrote the speech for Dr Jonathan must suffer from an acute lack of rigour and understanding in the distasteful attempt to imbue Nigeria with an implacable and false messianic destiny. If God destined the existence of Czechoslovakia in 1918, who then destined its breakup in 1993? And when the country was a part of the AustroHungarian Empire, who destined the existence of that empire in 1867, the excision of Czechoslovakia from the empire in 1918, and the split of the Central European country into Czech and Slovakia? As far as theology goes, the Book of Daniel in Chapter 2 discusses the fearsome dynamics of world history through Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue of four metals representing the morphing of major powers from one kingdom to another over centuries. Babylon fell, Medes and Persia also fell; so did Greece and Rome. Nigeria, which comprised many kingdoms and empires, was put together in 1914. Any historian of modest understanding knows it will not remain so forever. Borders will change, powers will change, indeed everything will change. Dr Jonathan quotes God casually without understanding Him or the forces of nature and history, as if God Himself is opposed to change. But beyond Dr Jonathan’s poor understanding of history and his sometimes superficial analysis of theological doctrines, there is also the matter of his poor grasp of general issues. When the idea of celebrating Nigeria’s centenary was first mooted, this column took the government to task, denouncing the effort as a poor misreading of Nigerian history and a lack of political consciousness. We may not be able to rewrite history, Palladium argued, but neither the selfish motive behind the amalgamation, which Dr Jonathan cursorily glossed over in his Wednesday address, nor the even crueller story of colonialism that led to appalling mistreatment of our peoples and distortion of our values and society deserved celebration. However, to demonstrate the irredeem-

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Sham honours and centenary “It is not lost on this columnist that scions of some famous families gladly and heedlessly accepted the honours. They are entitled to their imprudence. The sensible among us must, however, understand that those scions accepted the honours more as a consolation to themselves than to their illustrious forebears, and perhaps because they needed to nurture their political and economic interests at a time when ideological lines have become dangerously blurred. Their behaviour is in fact a reflection of how precariously those scions have stopped representing the values and principles their famous fathers and mothers stood for” able vacuity of the Jonathan presidency, its frivolity and waste, and its appalling lack of a sense of proportion, it produced a list of 100 people, living or dead, saint or sinner, tyrant and murderers on whom to confer centenary honours. And horror of all horrors, leading the list are our former overlords, the Queen of England, Lord Lugard and Lady Lugard; the first a representative of the thieving and conniving metropole; the second a highly contemptuous and quite cynical colonial master whose deplorable objectives ignored our pride and feelings; and the third, the idle consort of the field-based colonial master. On the occasion of Nigeria’s centenary, the largest black nation on earth deemed it appropriate to honour those who raped it. Such lack of a sense of history is nowhere to seek. Imagine the United States in 1876 honouring the British monarch of the day and, say, General Thomas Gage who commanded the colonial army in the American War of Independence. It is depressing to live in these times, especially under the Jonathan presidency. The world laughs at us, ridicules us, and shakes their heads. I wonder what will be going on in the mind of the Queen of England herself, an intelligent woman who should naturally expect us to painfully endure the mocking vestiges of colonialism, such as the Commonwealth, rather than celebrate them, not to talk of conferring honours on their perpetrators. When did we decay intellectually to the point of producing a list of honorees that included our tormentors? Contained in the list are our own homegrown tyrants and tormentors, including the hedonistic Gen Sani Abachja, and a host of other truce breakers and constitution destroyers, people who ordinarily should be completely

ostracised from civilised society and polite circles. Knowing that Nigerians will stare at them in disbelief, the government has offered the incredulous argument that Gen Abacha merited top honours because he did wonders with the economy at a time of great scarcity. The statistics of general economic improvements cannot be controverted, I admit. But the general also murdered, stole, schemed madly, needlessly and ferociously to feed his paranoia, and also destroyed values on a scale that beggars belief. Whatever good he did with the economy is more than counterbalanced and vitiated by the huge scale of his enduring malfeasances. Like all other honours Nigeria dishes out periodically, many of which have now become completely meaningless, the Jonathan presidency perfunctorily included in the list all past heads of state, three-quarters of whom undermined the constitution to seize power, and nearly all of whom recorded no meaningful industrial and political advancement for us to remember them by. Yet, Dr Jonathan last Friday even moaned that he found it arduous to pick the 100 honorees from a list of 500 candidates thrust under his nose. The 100 is disputed, let alone the 500. Much worse, the idea of a centenary itself could only have been conceived by usurpers with house negro mentality. Dr Jonathan’s pathetic list of course included eminent sons and daughters of Nigeria. Unfortunately for him, however, were they to be alive, they would have violently declined to be listed among so many villains, not to talk of being honoured by a government that is unenlightened, misdirected, autocratic and clearly unpatriotic. Would a Chinua Achebe who all his life spurned their honour, and a Fela Anikulapo Kuti who rebelled against the

suffocating madness that afflicted and still afflicts the country have welcomed the wasteful and inappropriate centenary honours? Would a Gani Fawehinmi in his grave not curse any family member purporting to represent him in collecting the honours? And what of the paradox of this needless mafficking at a time of great national mourning and angst represented by the mass murder embarked upon by Boko Haram and aggravated by religious, ethnic and political bigots of all shapes and sizes? It is not lost on this columnist that scions of some famous families gladly and heedlessly accepted the honours. They are entitled to their imprudence. The sensible among us must, however, understand that those scions accepted the honours more as a consolation to themselves than to their illustrious forebears, and perhaps because they needed to nurture their political and economic interests at a time when ideological lines have become dangerously blurred. Their behaviour is in fact a reflection of how precariously those scions have stopped representing the values and principles their famous fathers and mothers stood for, and how far they have veered away from the struggles those patriarchs and matriarchs waged for a better society. I note, of course, that the Soyinkas and Achebes simply ignored the charlatans, and the Fawehinmis and Kutis viciously lampooned the freak show artists and political contortionists. Alive, they proved it was not worth dignifying the nonsensical celebration with even a rejection of the honours. And dead, they proved that their legatees not only inherited the genes of their departed patriarchs, but that they have also imbibed the values that shaped and ennobled their struggles over the decades. Nigerians must thank this defiant set for giving us hope that all is not lost, and that whether by gentle deliberateness or by brutal accident, perhaps even a mutation, this country will someday fall under the hypnosis and influence of sensible leaders and people. The Jonathan presidency is stubborn and imperious. Once their impressionable minds were set on that needless centenary distraction, there was nothing anyone could do to persuade them they were embarking on a foolish adventure. They have had their way, after voting taxpayers’ money to indulge themselves. They have refused to tell us how much they spent, and the National Assembly couldn’t be bothered. However, were our image as a people and our race as blacks not involved in that atrocious display of wealth and folly by this government, why, of course, it would not have mattered one bit whether they celebrated the transatlantic slave trade and conferred honours on the leading slave-holding and slave-torturing families of that era. For no matter how much you proved to this insensitive government that slave trade presaged the colonialism they now celebrate 100 years after and that colonialism in turn helped foster a racist ideology from which the continent still suffers, they are too hard of hearing to care.

Senate comes out of their reactionary closet

AST week, I indicated in this place that the Nigerian Senate had unashamedly become a unit of the Jonathan presidency. I was led to that conclusion by the way senators spoke and behaved over the controversial removal of the CBN governor, not because any of them openly confessed to loving the unparliamentary tactics of hanging Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. But since I made what I at first feared was a sweeping conclusion, ranking senators have openly and proudly acknowledged their attachments to the Jonathan presidency, an identification they have neither bothered to conceal nor explain nor even anchor on any reasonable foundation. We have both Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe and Victor Ndoma-Egba to thank for opening our eyes. If anyone should say Jonathan did not act within his pow-

•Jonathan

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ers in suspending Mallam Sanusi, argued Senator Abaribe disdainfully, they are making ‘spurious and self-serving’ arguments. Quite right, deadpanned Senator Ndoma-Egba combatively and with a barely disguised hint of exasperation. “Senator Abaribe is the official spokesman of the Senate,” he summed up. He obviously offered this reiteration for effect,

in case anyone thought the jaunty senator spoke only his mind and not that of the majority of the Senate. Now that we know where the Senate stands, and how self-assuredly they array themselves against common sense and the people, it is up to us in the next polls to throw them out or watch our democracy get sucked into the autocratic vortex being created by the likes of Dr Jonathan. The Sanusi affair is of course not the first time the Senate has acted with reactionary zeal and insouciance. They worked hand in glove with the president on the budget and confirmation controversy, and they angrily endorsed the president’s position on the Rivers State affair, even to the extent of turning a blind eye on the indignity meted out to one of their own, Senator Magnus Ibe. At first I thought there was no end to the Senate’s conservatism; now I think there is no end to its reactionary proclivity.

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Museveni on homosexuals

OTH President Goodluck Jonathan and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda are generally classed as homophobic. But while the former has tended to avoid being pinned down openly on the issue, which both countries’ parliaments have passed laws on, the latter has been eager to place himself dialectically on record. And, boy, was he articulate on CNN last week! It does not matter which side of the divide you are, as far as polemics go, Mr Museveni put his arguments together cogently, logically and fearlessly. I admire such people, who whether they are wrong or right always have the courage of their convictions. We already know where he stands, but could the much less intrepid and less eloquent Dr Jonathan please put himself on record verbally in the noisome controversy?

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The Nation Mar 2, 2014